A Committee reports and a committee is created. John Hancock writes to General Washington: “By the latest advices from England it appears that administration are determined to exert themselves and to send a considerable force against us next Spring, though at the same time they pretend to say that they will offer terms of accommodation and mean only by their armament to enforce their terms.”
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Governor Trumbull’s letter, dated January 20th, was received, read, and resolved. Also resolved was payment for “battalions ordered to be raised in Pennsylvania.”
The committee, to whom were referred the letter from General Washington, dated 19 of this instant, with the enclosed papers and the letter from Lord Stirling, dated 24th of the same month, and the letter from Mr. Tucker, chairman of the committee of safety of New Jersey, dated the day last mentioned, brought in their report.
Congress dealt with a number of war related issues such as the availability of recruits, “the enlistment of apprentices,” the misbehavior troops, “the alertness, activity and good conduct of Lord Stirling, and the forwardness” and voluntary spirit of the people of Elizabethtown.
A petition from Dr. Wheelock, being laid before Congress, was read, and referred to the Committee on Indian affairs in the Middle Department.
The Committee of Claims reported expenses due to an express from Pittsburg.
Resolved, That General Prescot be committed to, and kept in close confinement in the jail of Philadelphia, till farther orders of Congress. That Captain Chace be remanded to Trenton, and permitted to reside with the other officers on his parole.
John Nelson, Captain, Moses Decker, first lieutenant, Adam Ott, 2d lieutenant and Isaac Newkirk, 3d lieutenant were appointed to lead a Canadian battalion.
A committee of 3–John Morton, Henry Wisner, and Roger Sherman—were appointed to confer with Captain Nelson and fix the route of the Company.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.
John Hancock to George Washington
The Congress have received your Letter of the 19th Instant, and highly commend your prudence and zeal in applying to the Governments of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut to raise forces for the service of Canada at this exigency. They have fond hopes by the zeal and alacrity of these Colonies troops will be forwarded with such expedition as will not only succor our friends, but in some measure retrieve our loss and put us in possession of Quebec….
The Congress have agreed to add the Massachusetts regiment to the forces they at first destined for Canada; This is the more Necessary as it is now uncertain whether two battalions as was expected, can be raised out of the troops in that country. But they do not by this mean to weaken your Army….
By the latest advices from England it appears that administration are determined to exert themselves and to send a considerable force against us next Spring, though at the same time they pretend to say that they will offer terms of accommodation and mean only by their armament to enforce their terms.
It behooves us therefore to be ready to receive them. For should an accommodation take place the terms will be severe or favorable in proportion to our ability to resist.
The Congress highly approve your sending general Lee to the assistance of New York as a measure judicious and necessary and have also appointed three of their body to repair to New York and confer with General Lee and the committee of Safety of New York on the subject of putting that colony in a posture of defense. General Prescot arrived here last Thursday and is this day ordered into close confinement in the goal of this city.
New York Delegates (Henry Wisner and William Floyd) to Philip Schuyler
It has given us much Concern to hear of the unsuccessful attempt of General Montgomery on Quebec. But Congress is Determined to get possession of Canada this winter if possible, and for that purpose they have ordered Seven Battalions from the Colonies and two in Canada; the troops are Daily marching in Companies from this place, and we hope they will be Soon on their march from the other Colonies.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.