Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: February 20, 1776

February 20, 1776

Joseph Hewes sends out copies of Common Sense. Samuel Huntington is concerned:  “Col Dyer not being continued in Congress was unexpected & disagreeable to me.” New Jersey select five delegates for 1776. Oliver Walcott writes that “Our difference with Great Britain has become very great & I imagine but little prospect of a speedy accommodation.”

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

William Livingston, John D’Hart, Richard Smith, John Cooper, and Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, were selected to represent New Jersey in the Second Congress for the current year,1776.  The quorum requirement was three.

A Letter from General Lee, dated 17 February, 1776, was read.

A memorial from the inhabitants of Northumberland, Pennsylvania, dated 17 January, 1776, with enclosures, was presented to Congress and read.  A petition and remonstrance from Pittsburg residents was presented and read.

Resolved, That the memorial and petition be referred to a committee of five: Joseph Hewes, William Livingston, William Paca, Edward Rutledge, and Samuel Chase.

Resolved, That reports on the capture of prisoners be sent to the Committee on Prisoners.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee implement the request of Colonel Maxwell.

Congress considered the report of the Committee on procuring cannon.  That a new member be added to that committee: William Livingston was chosen.

Congress agreed with the Committee of Claims Report that accounts be paid.

Resolved, That Colonel Wayne and his battalion march to New York, and report to General Lee.

Resolved, That two prisoners captured be ordered to Philadelphia, and put under the direction of Mr. Rittenhouse.

Congress was informed that a quantity of powder, belonging to the United Colonies, had arrived at Brunswick, New Jersey,

Resolved, That Francis Lewis, John Alsop, and Philip Livingston, be directed to forward the said powder, under a guard, with all possible expedition, to General Washington, for the use of the army under his command.

Resolved, That an order be drawn on the treasury in favor of Monsignor la Jeunesse, for the sum of 250 dollars, for his services in behalf of the United Colonies.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Joseph Hewes to Samuel Johnston (North Carolina Politician)

I mentioned to you in my Last 2 per express that we had not sent any copies of the Pamphlet entitled Common Sense but finding Brother Penn had a fondness for them have agreed some should be sent; the Council can Judge of the propriety of distributing them.

Samuel Huntington to Joseph Trumbull (Army Commissary General)

I received your favor of the 31st but was then confined with the Smallpox which…accept as an excuse for delaying an answer until this.  Col. Dyer not being continued in Congress was unexpected & disagreeable to me….This morning at About Eight o’Clock the Worthy Mr Lynch of South Carolina was taken with an Apoplectic fit; remains very Ill though his reason is restored & Speech So as to answer questions.

Oliver Wolcott to Samuel Lyman (Georgia)

You hear it Said in the prints, that the Port Bill, Fish Bill, and restraining act are repealed, and that instead thereof, they have ordered all our shipping to be seized; and that they are about to send over commissioners, to treat with the Congress. All this news makes no impression on firm Whigs.  It is considered as an insidious maneuver….The ports, except such restraints as the Association laid, would of course open the first of March….But as no decisions have been passed, can say no more than I did before, that the ports will be open under Some regulations.

The Subject of no undecided matter may be communicated. I mean a Subject of discussion. Our difference with Great Britain has become very great & I imagine but little prospect of a speedy accommodation. The people of the colonies will give up no material point, and a foolish, wicked, court are (I believe) inflexibly determined to support (if possible) an unrighteous authority. What matters will issue in, I cannot say, but perhaps in a total disseverance from Great Britain. This, I perceive, has got to be a good deal of a popular expectation. I do not perceive but little intimidation, and our union I hope is firm.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.