Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: July 18, 1776

July 18, 1776

Seven new delegates are chosen from Maryland. John Adams recommends a choice of career to a young man, and Samuel Chase is concerned about his wife’s health.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Delegates from Maryland provided Congress with new credentials.

On July 4, the Maryland Convention selected seven delegates with three forming a quorum: Matthew Tilghman, Thomas Johnson Junior, William Paca, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll, (of Carrollton,) and Robert Alexander, or a Majority of them, or of any three or more of them, be Deputies to represent this Colony in Congress, in as full and ample Manner as the Deputies of this Colony might have done under any appointment heretofore made, until the next Convention shall make further order.

A letter from General Washington, of the 15th, was laid before Congress, and read. Sundry intercepted letters from Lord Howe to Governors Franklin, Penn, Eden, Dunmore, Martin and Wright, together with sundry letters to several private persons. were referred to a committee of three: Thomas Jefferson, Robert Treat Paine, and Charles Carroll.

A letter of July 17th from General Washington, together with sundry dispatches from General Schuyler, and a letter from Brigadier General Mercer, of the 16th, were received and read and referred to the Board of War.

Congress responded to a letter of July 14th, from the committee of inspection for the county of Cumberland.

Resolved, That Charles Carroll of Carrollton be added to the Board of War.

The committee appointed to prepare a plan of treaties with foreign countries brought in a report, which was read and Ordered, To lie on the table.

Resolved, That the draft of Ephraim Blaine, for two thousand dollars, worth of blankets, purchased by Congress for the continental troops in Virginia, be paid.

Resolved, That the convention of Pennsylvania be informed that Congress have agreed to raise a battalion for the defense of the western frontiers and request them immediately to recommend proper persons to Congress for field officers.

Resolved, That two members be added to the committee appointed to contract for the making cannon: Samuel Chase and Thomas Heyward.

Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.

John Adams to Jonathan Mason, Jr. (Adams’s former law clerk)

The Confusions in America, inseparable from So great a Revolution in affairs, are Sufficient to excite Anxieties in the Minds of young Gentlemen just stepping into Life. Your Concern for the Event of these Commotions, is not to your dishonor. But let it not affect your Mind too much. These Clouds will be dispersed, and the Sky will become more Serene….

Accomplishments of the civil and political Kind are no less necessary, for the Happiness of Mankind than martial ones. We cannot be all Soldiers, and there will probably be in a very few years a greater Scarcity of Lawyers & Statesmen than of Warriors.

The Circumstances of this Country, from the years 1755 to 1758, during which Period I was a student in Mr Putnam’s office, were almost as confused as they are now and the Prospect before me, my young Friend, was much more gloomy than yours. I felt an Inclination, exactly similar to yours, for engaging in active martial Life, but I was advised, and upon a Consideration of all Circumstances concluded, to mind my Books. Whether my determination was prudent or not, it is not possible to say, but I never repented it. To attain the real Knowledge, which is necessary for a Lawyer, requires the whole Time and Thoughts of a Man in his youth, and it will do him no good to dissipate his Mind among the confused objects of a Camp. Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna, must be your Motto….[From The Art of Poetry by Horace. “Turn over (the pages) by night and by day”]

If you read Plowden’s Commentaries [Edmund Plowden 1518-1585] you will see the Nature of Special Pleadings….

Upon the whole my young Friend, I wish that the State of public affairs would have admitted of my Spending more Time with you. I had no greater Pleasure in this Life, than in assisting young Minds possessed of ambitions to excel, which I very well know to be your Case. Let me entreat you not to be too anxious about Futurity. Mind your Books. Sit down patiently to Plowden’s Commentaries, read them through coolly, deliberately, and attentively. Read them in Course. Endeavor to make yourself Master of the Point on which the Case turns. Remark the Reasoning, and the Decision-and tell me a year hence, whether your Time has not been more agreeably, and profitably spent than in drawing Writs and running of Errands.

Samuel Chase to Horatio Gates

I was obliged to return to Maryland on Account of Mrs. Chase’s Illness. Every Moment of my Stay there was engrossed by my Attendance on my Lady and our Convention. On yesterday I came to Congress, with Mr. Carroll….

I am very anxious to know the real State of your Army, and to know what You think proper to be done by the Congress.

I am compelled to return to Maryland on 8th of August.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.