“Opening the ports?” That is the big question today. Robert R. Livingston writes that “another year of war and devastation will confirm me a republican though at present I wish to join hand with a nation which I have been accustomed to respect.”
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to furnish Colonel St. Clair’s battalion with arms and troops and go to Canada “with all possible expedition.”
The Committee appointed to make an estimate of the cannon wanted for the defense of the colonies, and to devise ways and means for procuring them, &c. brought in their report, which was read, and ordered to lie on the table.
Congress considered at length the propriety of opening the ports, and what sort of restrictions and regulations of the colonial trade will be operative after March 1.
Resolved, That Congress will, tomorrow morning “take into their farther consideration the propriety of opening the ports, and the restrictions and regulations of trade after the first of March next.”
The committee on General Washington’s and General Schuyler’s letters presented their report on arms and troops especially with respect to the Canadian expedition.
Resolved That two additional Commissioners be appointed for Indian Affairs in the Northern Department.
Resolved That the committee of Fredrick County Maryland be informed that instructions to Doctor Connolly were artfully concealed in two pieces of wood and, if found, to transmit them immediately to Congress.
Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.
Robert R. Livingston to James Duane
I cannot help thinking from the late advices from England on the increase of our Friends there that we shall before long be enabled to carry our great points and that they are already prepared to give up the right of taxation and I can hardly think that they will deem our external government of sufficient consequence to make it the subject of a war. Upon what ground we stand I have been too long absent from Congress to say, or how far our views may be enlarged. This I know that another year of war and devastation will confirm me a republican though at present I wish to join hand with a nation which I have been accustomed to respect, yet I am persuaded that the continuance of the war will break my shackles and I shall learn to despise the pusillanimity of our British friends and abhor the cruelty of our foes. But perhaps I feel too much to judge impartially.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.