Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: July 12, 1775

July 12, 1775

The Report of the Committee on Indian affairs is debated by paragraphs, and results in Twelve Resolutions. A Committee of Five is appointed to devise ways and means to protect the trade of the Colonies.  The Virginia delegation raises the issue of appropriate length of service with the President of the Virginia Convention.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Report of the Committee on Indian affairs was debated by paragraphs, and lead to the following Twelve Resolutions:

1)That the securing and preserving the friendship of the Indian Nations, appears to be a subject of the utmost moment to these colonies.

2) The British Administration will spare no pains to excite the several Nations of Indians to take up arms against these colonies; and that it becomes us to be very active and vigilant in exerting every prudent means to strengthen and confirm the friendly disposition towards these colonies, which has long prevailed among the northern tribes, and which has been lately manifested by some of those to the southward.”

3) As the Indians depend on the Colonists for arms, ammunition, and clothing, “that Commissioners be appointed by this Congress, to superintend Indian affairs.”

4) That there be three Departments of Indians, the northern, middle and southern. The northern will cover “the Six Nations.”  The Southern Department includes the Cherokees.  The middle to contain the Indian Nations between these two departments.

5) That five Commissioners be appointed for the Southern Department.

6) That for each of the other two departments, there be appointed three commissioners.

7) That the Commissioners have the authority to act on behalf of the united colonies, in order to preserve peace and friendship with the Indians, and to prevent their taking any part in the present commotions.

8) That the Commissioners receive money from the Continental Treasury to defray the expense of “treaties and presents to the Indians.”

(9) That the Commissioners respectively have power to appoint friendly Agents who will work with the Indians.

(10) That when the Commissioners have “satisfactory proof,” that any “person whatsoever, are active in stirring up or inciting the Indians to become inimical to the American colonies, “such Commissioners ought to cause such superintendent or other offender, to be seized and kept in safe custody until order shall be restored.

(11) That the Commissioners shall keep the Congress informed “from time to time,” of the “expenditure of all monies,” “the general state of Indian affairs,” and “from time to time, of every such matter as may concern them to know and avail themselves of, for the benefit of the common cause.”

(12) That there be a seminary for the instruction of and monetary support provided for  Indian youth.

Resolved, that the election of the Commissioners be deferred until tomorrow.

Resolved, that a committee of five be appointed to devise ways and means to protect the trade of these Colonies.  The following delegates were chosen.  John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Gadsden, Silas Deane, and Richard Henry Lee.

Resolved, that the consideration of the report of the committee respecting the Militia be entered upon tomorrow.

Congress adjourned until tomorrow at 8 o’Clock.

Virginia Delegates to the President of the Virginia Convention

The continued sitting of Congress prevents us from attending our colony Convention: but, directed by a sense of duty, we transmit to the Convention such determinations of the Congress as they have directed to be made public. The papers speak for themselves, and require no comment from us. A petition to the king is already sent away, earnestly entreating the royal interposition to prevent the further progress of civil contention by redressing American grievances; but we are prevented from transmitting a copy of it, because a public communication, before it has been presented, may be improper. The Convention, we hope, will pardon us for venturing our sentiments on the following subjects, which we submit to their superior wisdom….

The present crisis is so full of danger and uncertainty that opinions here are various. Some think a continued sitting of Congress necessary, whilst others are of opinion that an adjournment to the Fall will answer as well. We conclude that our powers go not to the latter, but that a Fall Congress will be indispensable, with adjourning powers given to your delegates that they may be prepared to meet contingencies. The Convention will therefore see the propriety of proceeding to a new choice of delegates and being explicit about the time to which they choose to limit the continuance of their delegation….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.