Canada is the main concern. North Carolina Delegate John Penn writes that “Matters are drawing to a crisis…. My first wish is that America may be free, the second that we may be restored to peace and harmony with Britain upon Just and proper terms…. I send you a pamphlet called Common Sense.” John Adams thinks the situation is beyond the position of “Restraint.”
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Letters and papers from General Schuyler 7 February, 1776; General Wooster 29 January, 1776; and General Arnold 24 January, were referred to George Wythe, John Adams, and Samuel Chase.
A letter from the committee of Amboy Elizabeth Town, February 10, 1776, with sundry papers enclosed were referred for consideration until tomorrow.
Congress approved The Committee of Claims Report.
It is the opinion of Congress that the public will be more essentially served by master carpenters staying in their current positions in the private sector.
Congress considered the report of the committee on the regulations and restrictions under which the ports shall be opened after March1, 1777. Samuel Ward reported that the Committee had not reached a conclusion. Congress resolved to take the matter into consideration on Thursday.
The Committee of Secret Correspondence, who were ordered to confer with the gentleman from Canada, brought in their report, which was read. The gentleman from Canada thinks “it would be of great Service if some Persons from the Congress were sent to Canada, to explain vivâ voce to the People there the Nature of our Dispute with England, which they do not well understand, and to satisfy the Gentry and Clergy that we have no Intention against their Interests, but mean to leave put Canada in full Possession of Liberty, desiring only their Friendship and Union with us as good Neighbors and Brethren. That the Clergy and Gentry might, he thinks, by this means be brought over, and would be followed by all Canada. And unless some such Measure is taken, he is of Opinion our Affairs there will meet with continual Difficulty and Obstruction.”
Resolved, That the consideration of it be referred till tomorrow.
The committee appointed to consider the best method of subsisting the troops in New York, laid their report on the table.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.
John Penn to Thomas Person (North Carolina Provincial Congress)
It appears that the King and his ministers are determined if possible to subjugate us to the control of a British Parliament. All accounts mention that they intend to send over a large Force against the Spring….Our dispute with Britain grows serious indeed. Matters are drawing to a crisis. They seem determined to persevere and are forming alliances against us. Must we not do something of the like nature?…The consequence of making alliances is perhaps a total separation with Britain and without something of that sort we may not be able to procure what is necessary for our defense. My first wish is that America may be free, the second that we may be restored to peace and harmony with Britain upon Just and proper terms.
I send you a pamphlet called Common Sense published here about a month ago.
John Adams to James Warren
Scarcely a Paper comes out, without a Speculation or two in open Vindication of opinions, which Five Months ago were Said to be unpopular. A vast Majority of the People, indeed, I very well knew Secretly entertained the Same Persuasion then, but injudiciously avoided Speaking out. The Restraint, however, is now taken off. I expect to hear the New England Papers, very soon chiming in, with the Concert.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.