Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: February 6, 1776

February 6, 1776

Several committees deliver their reports and new committees are created. John Hancock underscores the importance of securing Canada, and William Hooper reiterates that “Slavery or Liberty are the Stakes.”

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from the committee of Safety of New York announcing the arrival of General Henry Clinton from Great Britain was read and a copy sent to the southern colonies.

Resolved, That a committee of three–Stephen Crane, Edward Rutledge, and Thomas McKean–be appointed to confer with Colonel Heard, and receive his report.  The committee of three conferred with Colonel Heard and provided a list of the names of 19 persons taken into custody and brought to Philadelphia.

Ordered, That the 19 prisoners be delivered up to The Convention of New York with a request to confine them pending a final report to Congress. That the committee confer with Colonel Heard about the mode of sending them.

The Congress also heard a petition from sundry captains of the New Jersey battalions for the recruitment of troops, and provided encouraged General Schuyler to employ “sutlers” in the Canadian war effort. [Editor’s Note. A sutler is a merchant who sells provisions to armies in the field of battle.]

A letter from the Committee of Reading, in Berks county, concerning the support of captured prisoners was referred to the committee appointed to contract for supplying the prisoners.  Two members of the committee were absent; James Wilson and Oliver Wolcott were chosen as replacements.

The Committee on the Regulations of Trade after March 1, 1777 brought in their Report, which was read and referred to the committee of the whole for consideration on Thursday.

Congress endorsed a Committee of Claims Report for the war effort in Virginia.

Resolved, That a committee of five–Joseph Hewes, Francis Lewis, Samuel Ward, Robert Treat Paine, and Samuel Adams–be appointed to consider regulations for exporting naval stores for the use of the United Colonies and bring in a resolution respecting the exportation of naval stores for the public service.

Adjourned to ten o’clock tomorrow.

John Hancock to Philip Schuyler (Army General)

Your Letters of the 22d & 25th of last Month, together with the Narrative of your proceedings in Tryon County, & the several enclosures have been duly Received and Communicated to Congress.

It is with great pleasure I inform you, that the Prudence, Zeal and Temper manifested in your late Expedition met with the warmest Approbation of Congress, though at the same time I cannot forbear expressing my Grief for your Relapse, I hope your Exertions in the cause of your Country, will not make you forget the necessary Attention due to your health.

As the Operations in Canada which are so important in their consequences cannot be carried on without a large supply of Specie, the Congress have Recommended it to the several Colonies to Employ proper persons for Collecting all the Gold and Silver they can to be Exchanged for Continental Bills, and have Recommended to you to Encourage Sutlers to attend the Army in Canada, and the Money arising therefrom to be Disposed of agreeable to the Resolve enclosed which mode will be very Advantageous, and Doubt not your Exertions to Effect it.

William Hooper to Samuel Johnston (North Carolina Politician)

General Clinton is at New York in the Mercury of 26 Guns bound to Hampton in Virginia with 3 transports of 200 light troops, there to join 7 Regiments from England & from thence proceed to North Carolina, & in all probability to Cape Fear….

Must not every man a friend to the Cause, and capable of duty turn out with his musket.  Do we not now play a Game, where Slavery or Liberty are the Stakes-but why do I tease you who are much better capacitated to judge of the proper measures to be pursued than I am-but suffer me….Were I to advise, the whole force of the Colony should be collected ready for immediate exertion when called upon, & bid adieu to plough shares & pruning hooks till the Sword can find its scabbard with safety & honor to its owner. My first wish is to be free.  My second to be reconciled to GB. God grant that both may soon take place.  Measures must be taken immediately-‘er this the Troops of the Enemy are in your Country. May you Stand forth like Men & fight the Cause of Liberty the Cause of the living God.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.