Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: January 20, 1776

January 20, 1776

Congress focuses on the defense of Canada as well as securing sufficient ammunition and soldiers. James Duane and Thomas Lynch lament about “The loss of Montgomery.”

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress approved Reports from the Committee of Claims about accounts to be paid and received “a memorial” from Colonel Bull explaining his resignation from the First Pennsylvania Battalion despite his “attachment to liberty and a regard for the rights of mankind” that induced him to join up in the first place.

Most of the day was spent responding to General Schuyler’s letter and the defense of Canada.  This included not only sending arms, medicine, and soldiers, but also encouraging a deliberate effort by “general assemblies, conventions, and councils or committees of safety, upon the continent, to employ proper persons, within their respective colonies, to collect all the gold and silver coin they can, and inform Congress of the sum collected.”

“Resolved, That the president be directed to send an express to General Schuyler, with a letter, informing him of the measures the Congress have taken for the defense of Canada, and desiring him to forward the same to General Wooster.  That he likewise dispatch an express, with the like information, to General Washington, to the Governor of Connecticut, and the conventions or councils of safety of New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire.”

Congress 1) approved the recommendation of the Committee on Qualifications that six “gentlemen” receive “ensigns for the first Pennsylvania battalion,” 2) directed the Secret Committee to supply the delegates of New Jersey with 300 pounds of powder for the battalion, 3) empowered the New Jersey delegates to secure ammunition for the battalion and 4) secure silver and gold in exchange for continental money.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock on Monday next.

James Duane to Philip Schuyler

Everybody here feels for the Fate of our brave and worthy Friend Montgomerie. It is deplored as the greatest public Loss, and you may be assured that Congress will do every honor to his memory which his most sanguine Friends can wish. I have no Time to enlarge on this melancholy Theme which on many Accounts distresses me beyond Expression.

Thomas Lynch to Philip Schuyler

Never was any City so universally Struck with grief, as this was on hearing of the Loss of Montgomery.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.