Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: February 5, 1776

February 5, 1776

Most of the day is devoted to providing for the usual military assistance of men, money, and mattresses, and the redeployment of shipwrights and experienced explorers for the St Lawrence River.  The Commissioners of Indian Affairs are requested to spread the commercial arts and the Christian religion among the Indians. Thomas Lynch informs General Washington of Lord Drummond’s peace proposal.  Andrew Allen writes about the fear of war that is gripping America.  General Lee informs Washington that he has been in communication with Congress.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress issued “warrants for completing the regiment directed to be raised in New York, for the service of Canada…[and]…to appoint such officers thereof, as General Schuyler hath nominated.” 

The committee to whom General Schuyler’s letters etc. were referred, reported that the “disaffected” in New York were disarmed with display of “a proper temper towards that deluded people.”

Congress confirmed the appointments of Hubbard Brown, to be conductor of artillery, Gysbert Marselis, to be barrack master, Peter Schuyler to take charge of the arms, and Philip Van Rensselaer, to be store keeper at Albany.

The Congress then turned to Indian Affairs and responded to the Committee Report concerning the memorial of Samson Ocean, a Mohegan Indian, in Connecticut.

Resolved, That a friendly commerce between the people of the United Colonies and the Indians, and the propagation of the gospel, and the cultivation of the civil arts among the latter, may produce many and inestimable advantages to both; and that the commissioners for Indian affairs be desired to consider of proper places in their respective departments for the residence of ministers and school masters, and report the same to the Congress.

That the commissioners for Indian affairs in the northern department be desired to inquire of Jacob Fowler, of the Montauke tribe, and Joseph Johnson, of the Mohegan tribe, upon what terms they will reside among the Six Nations of Indians, and instruct them in the Christian religion.

Ordered, That General Schuyler’s narrative of his march into Tryon county be published in the public papers.

Resolved, That Dr. Cadwalader provide a proper lodging for General Prescot, and also to keep a proper guard over him.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Thomas Lynch to George Washington

You have doubtless heard of my being here on a Committee of Congress [New York Committee of Safety, February 1].  The object was to consult with General Lee & the People of this Place on the best manner of securing it. God knows there is ample room for it. Everything is wanting.  The strong Apathy that hold Congress in fetters is still more forcible here….

I mentioned to you some Time ago [January 16] some Propositions, which Lord Drummond had been talking to me of.

Lord Drummond’s great Point is to get some Member of Congress to go home, to inform the Cabinet of the real desires and Intentions of that Body respecting the Reestablishment of Peace. To promote this Purpose he has desired me to enclose you a Letter which, after you have read, if you think it can do no harm you will be so kind as to forward to Robinson & to send his answer to his Lordship under your Cover. Robinson will doubtless send it open to you. 

Andrew Allen to Sarah Allen

This Town has been in the greatest Confusion and Distress ever since we arrived; the People had taken it into their Heads that we had come with positive Orders from the Congress to General Lee to attack Men of War lying here, which would have introduced the Destruction of the Town.  In Consequence of this they were all in Motion moving out their Household Goods & Families. With Difficulty we quieted their Apprehensions by Assurances that the Purport of our Journey was directly Reverse. No sooner was this Matter accomplished than their Fears we revived, and with greater Probability of Reason, by the Arrival of General Clinton, who we had Intelligence, sailed from Boston with some Men of War & 600 Soldiers destined as was supposed for this Town. The Troops which accompanied him are not yet arrived but are supposed to be left behind at Sandy Hook, & we have every Reason to conclude are intended to make an Attack on … most probably Virginia….The Dangers which threaten this Place [Philadelphia] must effectually exclude all Tranquility & agitate their Minds with the most distressing Apprehensions.

General Lee to George Washington

The Congress Committee, a certain number of the Committee of Safety, and your humble servant, have had two Conferences. The result of these conferences is such as will agreeably surprise you. It is in the first place, agreed, and justly, that to fortify the town against shipping is impracticable; but we are to fortify lodgements, in some commanding part of the City, for two thousand men. We are to erect enclosed batteries on both sides the water, near Hellgate, which will answer, the double purpose of securing the town against piracies through the Sound, and secure our communication with Long Island, now become a more capital point than ever, as it is determined to form a strong fortified camp of three thousand men in that island, immediately opposite to New York. The pass in the Highlands is to be made as respectable as possible, and guarded by a battalion. In short I think the plan judicious and complete.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.