Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: January 5, 1776

January 5, 1776

Congress deals with financial disclosures from all committees. The Committee appointed to consider the letter of General Washington, dated 18th December, reports on the condition of the “eminently virtuous” James Lovell.  Congress resumes consideration of the Report of the Committee on the state of New York and recommends specific military policies. Robert Treat Paine is added to the committee on General Schuyler’s letters.  James Duane writes that “I am not without some Hopes of a Just and honorable Peace.” 

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A vacancy happening in the first of the Pennsylvania battalions, by the promotion of Captain Allen, the Congress elected Benjamin Davis as his replacement.

Resolved, That all committees provide an account of their expenditures.

The Committee appointed to consider the letter of General Washington, dated the 18 December, and the enclosures, brought in a report upon that part, which relates to James Lovell, a prisoner in Boston, by order of General Howe, commander of the ministerial troops

The Committee to Consider the Letter of General Washington Report

That it appears to your Committee, that the said Mr. Lovell hath, for years past, been an able advocate for the liberties of America and of mankind; that by his letter to General Washington, which is a part of said enclosures, he exhibits so striking an instance of disinterested patriotism, as strongly recommends him to the particular notice of this Continent.

Your Committee therefore submit the following resolutions, to the consideration of the Congress.

Resolved, That Mr. James Lovell, an inhabitant of Boston, now held a close prisoner there, by order of General Howe, has discovered, under the severest trials, the warmest attachment to public liberty, and an inflexible fidelity to his country; that by his late letter to General Washington, he has given the strongest evidence of disinterested public affection, in refusing to listen to terms offered for his relief, till he could be informed by his countrymen that they were compatible with their safety and honor.

Resolved, That it, is deeply to be regretted that a British general can be found degenerate enough so ignominiously and cruelly to treat a citizen, who is so eminently virtuous:

Resolved, That it be an instruction to General Washington to make an offer of Governor Skene in exchange for the said Mr. Lovell and his family.

Resolved, That General Washington be desired to embrace the first opportunity which may offer, of giving some office to Mr. Lovell equal to his abilities, and which the public service may require.

Ordered, That a copy of the foregoing resolves be transmitted to the General as speedily as possible.

Resolved, That the president write to General Washington, and desire him after consulting the general officers to inform Congress, what rank the aids-de-camp of the general officers should have in the army of the United Colonies.

The Report was considered and agreed to.

The Committee of claims reported, that there is a claim due.

Ordered, That the same be paid.

The Congress having conferred with the gentlemen sent to Congress by the Convention of New York, resumed the consideration of the report of the committee on the state of that Colony, and the same was agreed to; and is as follows:

Resolved, That for the reasons contained in the papers hereunto annexed, this Committee are of opinion, that no farther fortifications be erected at Martler’s Rock, on Hudson’s river, and that a point of land at Puplopen’s kill, on the said river, ought without delay to be effectually fortified.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the Convention, or in their recess, to the committee of safety, of New York, to carry into execution the above resolution, by erecting an earth battery at the place aforesaid in the most expeditious manner, and upon the most reasonable terms.

Resolved, That the delegates of New Jersey and Connecticut be directed to take the necessary steps for carrying into execution the resolutions of Congress passed on Wednesday last, respecting the inhabitants of Queen’s county.

A memorial from the inhabitants of the town of Newport was presented to Congress, read, and referred for consideration tomorrow.

Resolved, That Robert Treat Paine be added to the committee on General Schuyler’s letters.

Adjourned to 10 o’clock tomorrow.

James Duane to Robert Livingston

The Situation of public affairs is too critical to justify my leaving the Congress without permission of our Convention which will not assemble till the beginning of next month. To speak candidly I expect important Intelligence from England which will fix the Fate of America….I am not without some Hopes of a Just and honorable Peace.  The ministry can expect no Success without the aid of foreign Troops.  Lord Drummond who left England in September is arrived here; full of the opinion that matters may be accommodated….

[P.S.] I am in a Quaker Town. Nobody has wished me the Compliments of the Season, & I forgot to pay you that Respect.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.