Second Continental Congress: July 11, 1776
July 11, 1776
Congress refers several matters to committees, focuses on protecting the frontiers of New York, and creates a new committee to investigate a conspiracy at the Philadelphia prison. John Adams is exhausted and introduces a scheme of rotation.
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Sundry letters were received and read:
The General recommended eight people to be officers of the two remaining riffle companies of Colonel Stevenson’s battalion at New York.
Resolved, That they be accepted, and commissions be granted to them accordingly.
Resolved, That an order for 2131/3 dollars, be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of the delegates of Maryland, for defraying the expenses of transporting powder.
A letter from the convention of New Jersey and three petitions were read and referred to the Board of War. Resolved, That a letter be written to the convention of New Jersey, informing them that their report is incomplete.
Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to sell John Cox half a ton of powder, for the use of the private vessel of war by him fitted out.
A petition from certain individuals, together with a memorial from the committee of inspection [and observation] for the city and liberties of Philadelphia, recommending their case to the notice of Congress:
Resolved, That the petitioners can dispose of the goods mentioned in their petition.
A letter of the 10th, from General Washington, and five letters from Governor Trumbull, of the 5th and 6th, were laid before Congress, and read.
The Congress resumed consideration of the report from the standing committee for Indian affairs, and came to the following resolutions: The Congress are so fully persuaded of the necessity of protecting the frontiers of New York from the incursions of the enemy, that they recommend that General Schuylers take proper steps for erecting a fort at Oswego and building gallies on Lake Ontario, and pursue such other measures as may be best fitted to answer the views of Congress.
That the commissioners of Indian affairs in the middle department be directed to inquire what naval force on Lake Erie will be necessary to secure to the United States the command of the navigation of that lake and to report the result of their inquiry as soon as possible to Congress.
That the convention of Virginia be notified that the Congress are willing to take into continental possession various ports and garrisons.
Resolved, That the Marine Committee be directed to order the Captains, Saltonstal and Whipple, to return to their commands; and that it be recommended to Captain Whipple to cultivate harmony with his officers.
Benjamin Franklin, one of the commissioners to Canada, laid before Congress an account of his expenditures which was referred to the Board of Treasury.
The president acquainted Congress, that last evening, information was given to him, of a conspiracy to liberate the prisoners in the Philadelphia jail. A committee of five was appointed, and that they, together with the president, get to the bottom of the issue. The members chosen: Thomas Jefferson, Richard Stockton, Button Gwinnett, Robert Morris, and James Wilson.
Resolved, That an order for 40,000 dollars be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of Mr. Mease, to enable him to advance a month’s pay to the military associators of Pennsylvania, ordered into New Jersey, and to those who engage to form the flying camp; he to be accountable.
The Committee of Claims reported, that there is reimbursement due to seven people.
Ordered, That the said accounts be paid.
The committee, to whom the letter from John Macpherson, of the 31 of May, was referred, brought in their report.
Resolved, That the application and request of Mr. Macpherson is unreasonable.1
Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.
John Adams to Abigail Adams
I design to write to the General Court, requesting a Dismission, or at least a Furlough. I think to propose that they choose four more Members or at least two more, that so We may attend here in Rotation. Two or three or four may be at home at a Time, and the Colony properly represented notwithstanding. Indeed, while the Congress were employed in political Regulations, forming the Sentiments of the People of the Colonies into some consistent System, extinguishing the Remainders of Authority under the Crown, and gradually erecting and strengthening Governments, under the Authority of the People, turning their Thoughts upon the Principles of Polity and the Forms of Government, framing Constitutions for the Colonies separately, and a limited and defined Confederacy, for the united Colonies, and in some other Measures, which I do not choose to mention particularly, but which are now determined, or near the Point of Determination, I flattered myself that I might have been of some little Use here. But, now, these Matters will be soon completed, and very little Business will be to be done here, but what will be either military or Commercial, Branches of Knowledge and Business, for which hundreds of others in our Province, are much better qualified than I am. I shall therefore request my Masters to relieve me….[See Adams’s letter to John Avery, July 25, 1776 for his proposals to the Massachusetts Assembly to rotate the delegates to Congress. Adams left Congress on October 13, 1776]
The Fatigues of War, are much less destructive to Health, than the painful laborious Attention, to Debates, and to Writing, which drinks up the Spirits and consumes the Strength.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.