Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: January 15, 1776

January 15, 1776

The existing South Carolina delegation is re-elected. Three new committees are created and Congress sits as a Committee of the Whole to consider “the state of the trade of the United Colonies.” Samuel Adams expresses his concern to John Adams that Portsmouth, New Hampshire is “totally disavowing Independency,” and hopes it does not represent “the Sense of that Colony…. If that Colony should take a wrong Step I fear it would wholly defeat a Design which I confess, I have much at heart.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The provincial convention and committee of safety of South Carolina decided “to continue the delegates,” and “any two of them” constitute a quorum.

A letter from General Washington, concerning army expenses and activities, was referred to a committee of three: George Wythe, Samuel Adams, and James Wilson.

Letters from Lord Stirling, Governor Trumbull, were read and referred to a committee of five: William Livingston, Thomas Mc’Kean, William Floyd, Samuel Ward, and Robert Alexander.

A letter from the committee of Safety of New York was read  and referred to the committee on the state of the colonies.

A committee of 5– Henry Wisner, Stephen Hopkins, John Rogers, Andrew Allen, and Robert Treat Paine–was appointed “to make an estimate of the number of cannon, that may be wanted for the defense of the United Colonies, and to devise ways and means for procuring them, and that it be an instruction to the said committee to enquire how large cannon can be cast in this country:

Ordered, That Captain Matthew’s draft on the treasury of Virginia be delivered to the delegates of that colony; and that they pay the same to the continental treasurers.

Resolved, That no bought indented servants be employed on board the fleet, or in the army of the United Colonies, without the consent of their masters.

The Committee of Claims reported that money be paid to cover expenses is due to Jacob Hiltzheimer, Jonathan Trumbull, and to Thomas Apty.

The Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the state of the trade of the United Colonies.  Samuel Ward reported that the committee not having yet come to a conclusion, moved “for leave to sit again.”

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Samuel Adams to John Adams

I have seen certain Instructions which were given by the Capital of the Colony of New Hampshire to its Delegates in their provincial convention the Spirit of which I am not all together pleased with.  There is one part of them at least, which I think discovers a Timidity which is unbecoming a People oppressed and insulted as they are, and who at their own request have been advised & authorized by Congress to set up and exercise Government in such form as they should judge most conducive to their own Happiness….

They indeed explain themselves, by saying that they “should prefer the Government of Congress (their provincial Convention) till quieter times.” The Reason they assign for it, I fear, will be considered as showing a readiness to condescend to the Humors of their Enemies, and their publicly, expressly, & totally disavowing Independency either in the nation, or the Man who insolently & perseveringly demands the surrender of their Liberties with the Bayonet pointed at their Breasts may be construed to argue a Servility & Baseness of Soul for which Language doth not afford an Epithet. It is by indiscrete Resolutions and Publications that the Friends of America have too often given occasion to their Enemies to injure her Cause. I hope however that the Town of Portsmouth doth not in this Instance speak the Sense of that Colony. I wish, if it be not too late, that you would write your Sentiments of the Subject to our worthy Friend, Mr. L—, [Langdon] who I suppose is now in Portsmouth. If that Colony should take a wrong Step I fear it would wholly defeat a Design which I confess, I have much at heart….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.