Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: July 24, 1775

July 24, 1775

The Committee of Three submit their Report for establishing a hospital, John Hancock and Benjamin Harrison ask for favors, and John Adams regrets the actions of a certain “piddling Genius.” It sounds like time for a break!

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from General Washington dated 14 July with an enclosed list of the officers of the ministerial troops killed and wounded in the battle at Charlestown was read.

The Congress then resolved themselves into a committee of the whole and considered the state of America. After some time, Samuel Ward reported that the Committee had taken the matter referred to them into consideration, but desired leave to sit again.

The Committee of Three—Francis Lewis, Robert Treat Paine, and Henry Middleton– submitted their Report for establishing a hospital.

Adjourned until tomorrow.

The following letters show the extent to which members of Congress pressured and were pressured in return concerning the power of appointments.  They also show the desire to put an end to the current proceedings.

John Hancock to Artemas Ward and John Thomas

The Bearer Captain Thomas Price who Commands a Company of Rifle Men from Maryland, is a Gentleman of [. . .] great Reputation, & strongly Recommended to me as a gentleman of great Merit, & who I should wish might meet the Countenance of you & all our good Friends with you. I therefore Beg to Introduce him to your particular Notice, & pray your Civilities to him, & earnestly Desire you will Introduce him to the Notice & Acquaintance of the Circle of my Friends. I Beg your particular Attention to my Recommendation of this Gentleman, which I shall Esteem a favor.

Benjamin Harrison to George Washington

I proposed a Committee but could not Carry it. I think the last Method would have answered your purpose best, but the Gentlemen could not think of parting with the least particle of their power. Pendleton left us yesterday, all Maryland are gone off this Day, and we intend to follow them [next] Sunday if nothing material happens betwixt this & then. Our Going I Expect will break Up the Congress, indeed I think it high time there was an End of it. We have been too long together. Edmund Randolph is here, & has the greatest Desire to be with you, he has begged of me to Say something in his favor, & that if you can you will keep one of the places now in your Gift for him. He is not able to Support himself, or he would not Ask this of you. You know him as well as I do. He is one of the cleverest young men in America, & if Mr. Reed should leave you, his place of Secretary cannot be better Supplied.

John Adams to James Warren

In Confidence, I am determined to write freely to you this Time. A certain great Fortune and piddling Genius whose Fame has been trumpeted so loudly, has given a silly Cast to our whole Doings. [Editor’s. Note. John Dickinson.] We are between Hawk and Buzzard. We ought to have had in our Hands a Month ago, the whole Legislative, Executive and Judicial of the whole Continent, and have completely modelled a Constitution, to have raised a Naval Power and opened all our Ports wide, to have arrested every Friend to Government on the Continent and held them as Hostages for the poor Victims in Boston–And then opened the Door as wide as possible for Peace and Reconciliation: After this they might have petitioned and negotiated and addressed, etc. if they would. Is all this extravagant? Is it wild? Is it not the soundest Policy?…

We are lost in the extensiveness of our Field of Business. We have a Continental Treasury to establish, a Paymaster to choose, and a Committee of Correspondence, or Safety, or Accounts, or something, I know not what that has confounded us all Day….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.