Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: July 14, 1776

July 14, 1776

The condition of the flying camp in New Jersey is the center of Congressional attention. And an express letter from George Washington leads John Hancock to call a rare Sunday session.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Two letters from General Washington, dated July 11th and 12th, were received.  [ Editor’s Note.  On July13th, Hancock also received a letter from Washington dated July 12th, announcing that Admiral Richard Howe’s fleet had reached New York. This information led to the special Sunday session of Congress on July 14th.]

Resolved, That money dollars be drawn on the treasurers in favor of Colonel Clement Biddle, deputy quarter master general, for the use of the flying camp and militia ordered to the Jerseys.  That he be given additional powers.

That application be made to the convention of New Jersey to supply all the lead they possibly can for the flying camp and militia:

That application be made to the committee of safety of Pennsylvania, to supply the flying camp, and militia, in the Jerseys, with as many musket cartridges, well balled, as they can possibly spare:

That the Secret Committee supply the committee of safety of Pennsylvania, with a quantity of powder, equal to that spared to the Continent in cartridges:

That an express be sent to overtake the powder wagons going to Virginia, with a letter to Colonel Fielding Lewis, to send in the return wagons, all the lead he can collect at Fredericksburg:

That the committee, or council of safety of Virginia, be requested to send to Philadelphia, by the return of the wagons, as much of the lead they now have at Williamsburg, as they can spare, and to order from the mines 15 or 20 tons more of lead to Philadelphia, as soon as possible:

That a letter be written to the commanding officer in the Jerseys, to march such of the militia, and flying camp, to Brunswick or other places in the Jerseys, as he may judge necessary, most conducive to the public service and prior directions of Washington:

That the committee of safety of Pennsylvania be requested, immediately, to order to the several places of their destination, all the British officers, prisoners, in this city: their ladies not to be desired to go until the weather is more suitable:

That the commanding officer in Pennsylvania issue fresh orders to forward the march of the militia to New Jersey:

That the deputy quarter master general be directed to request the use of some house of public worship, to cover the troops during their short stay in this city.

Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.

Abraham Clark to Elias Dayton (Colonel of a battalion of Jersey Troops)

I continued at Philadelphia till Thursday last when I returned homeward ….

Our Declaration of Independence I dare say you have seen. A few weeks will probably determine our fate. Perfect freedom, or Absolute Slavery. To some of us freedom or a halter. Our fates are in the hands of An Almighty God, to whom I can with pleasure confide my own; he can save us, or destroy us; his Councils are fixed and cannot be disappointed, and all his designs will be Accomplished.

John Hancock to George Washington

I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favor of the 10th Inst., and to acquaint you, that it is under the Consideration of Congress.

The enclosed Resolves I do myself the Honor to transmit, as necessary for your Information. I wrote to General Schuyler, and the Commissioners for Indian Affairs, respecting the same. [Resolves of July 11th about the defense of the Great Lakes]

I have enclosed you two Copies of sundry Resolves they have passed, relative to the Treatment of our Prisoners by Captain Foster in Canada….

Should the United States of America give their Sanction to the Jesuitical and villainous Distinction which Captain Foster adopts to justify his Conduct, there would be no End to butchering our Prisoners. They have therefore very properly reprobated it, and in the genuine Spirit of Freedom, resolved, that such Cruelty as shall be inflicted on Prisoners in their Possession, by Savages or Foreigners taken into Pay by the King of Great Britain, shall be considered as done by his Orders, and Recourse be immediately had to Retaliation. It is to be hoped, this Determination will have the desired Effect: and that for the future, such barbarous Scenes will never be acted under the Eye and Approbation of a British Officer….

Josiah Bartlett to Mary Bartlett

Last Evening an Express arrived from General Washington with some accounts that required our being Called together this Day (though Sunday) to give some immediate orders. I Expect Every Body will be very much Engaged for sometime to come, some in taking Care of the harvest and many in opposing the several British & German armies that are sent to Destroy & ravage the Country; But I hope & trust that the Supreme Disposer of all Events, who loveth Justice & hateth iniquity will Continue to favor our righteous Cause and that the wickedness of our Enemies will fall on their own heads.

George Read to Gertrude Read

I did expect to have been with you last Evening but was detained by a special call of the Marine Committee. This Morning there is a call of Congress, owing to a Letter by express from General Washington, who writes that 2 Men of War & 3 Tenders passed New York up the North river on Friday, notwithstanding a heavy fire from several Batteries, that a large Ship with a Flag at her fore topmast head had come up to the Fleet at the Narrows and was saluted, supposed to be Lord Howe (the Admiral’s Ship). We have no Accounts from the Army at the Lakes. Most of the companies of Militia of this city have proceeded to Trenton where they rendezvous….

This day week I confined myself to the house and have taken some Bark that has relieved me & am now better and I should have dined with Gurney today but the rain induced me to accept of a Seat in Mr. Braxton’s Coach & I have been at Mr. Robert Morris’s Country house with a set of People who think & act alike, some Consolation in these times. As our Assembly are to meet tomorrow Week I shall have a proper excuse to return to you the last of this.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.