Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: July 30, 1776

July 30, 1776

The report of the Committee on what went wrong in Canada is discussed at length, and several other committees are at work. The Articles of Confederation is still under consideration and Samuel Chase explains the three difficulties to be resolved. Thomas Jefferson can’t wait to go home and Benjamin Rush comments on the influence of the Declaration of Independence.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That it be recommended to the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia, to provide all necessary assistance to South Carolina in prosecuting the war against the Indians with the utmost vigor.

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to take into consideration the state of North Carolina, and report thereon to Congress: Benjamin Harrison, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Lynch. Jr.

The Congress passed resolutions based on the report of the committee appointed to inquire into the causes of the miscarriages in Canada: 1) “the short enlistments of continental troops,” 2) “the want of hard money,” 3) “the small pox.”

Resolved that parts of Colonel Easton’s and Major Brown’s petition be referred to the Board of War.

Resolved, That General Schuyler investigate the conduct of Colonel Hazen, who is charged with having beaten and ill-treated François Cuillot de la Rose, a continental captain of Canadian Militia, and Charles Robert de la Fontaine, a Canadian, at Chambly, and put such conduct into a proper channel for trial and punishment:

Resolved, That it be recommended to General Schuyler, whenever the pay of officers or soldiers is stopped, on account of any charge against them, to have such charge determined by trial as speedily as possible, that there may be no delay of justice.

Resolved, That General Wooster acted properly in stopping Bernard and Waddon, who were carrying goods without permission, to the Indians in the upper country.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to supply the 3 riffle companies, now in town from Lancaster, with 11 lb. of powder and 44 lb. of lead.

Resolved, That 500,000 dollars be sent to the pay master general. That 60,000 dollars be sent to the deputy pay master general, for the use of the flying camp.

The Congress elected William Govett Assistant Auditor general.

Resolved, That all public unsettled claims and accounts be referred to the Committee of Treasury, and that the Committee of Claims be discharged from proceeding further upon any claims or accounts; and that all the books and papers now in the hands of the committee of claims, be delivered to the auditor general.

The Board of War brought in a report, which was considered and resolutions passed.

Congress approved General Schuyler’s intention to publish such parts of the treaty with the Six Nations as may dispel the apprehensions of the frontier inhabitants:

That the commissioners for Indian affairs, in the middle department, be instructed to thank Cayashuta, in the name of the great council fire, for his friendly conduct at Niagara, communicated by Peter Richman (whose Indian name is Queda) and to inform him, that it would be very agreeable to Congress to receive a visit from him.

A letter from General Washington, of the 29th, and one from the council of Massachusetts of the 19th, were read and referred to the Board of War.

The Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the Articles of Confederation; and, after some time, John Morton reported that the committee, not having yet finished, desired “leave to sit again.”

Resolved, That this Congress will, tomorrow, resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the articles of confederation.

Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.

Thomas Jefferson to John Page (Virginia Politician)

Having declined serving here the next year, I shall be with you at the first session of our assembly. I purpose to leave this place the 11th of August, having so advised Mrs. Jefferson by last post, and every letter brings me such an account of the state of her health, that it is with great pain I can stay here till then. But Braxton purposing to leave us the day after tomorrow, the colony would be unrepresented were I to go. Before the 11th I hope to see Colonel Lee and Mr Wythe here, though the stay of the latter will I hope be short, as he must not be spared from the important department of the law.

Samuel Chase to Richard Henry Lee

I hurried to Congress to give my little assistance to the framing a Confederacy and a plan for a foreign alliance, both of them Subjects of the utmost Importance, and which in my Judgment demand immediate Dispatch. The Confederacy has engaged our close Attention for a Week. Three great Difficulties occur. Representation, The Mode of Voting, and the Claims to the South Sea. The whole might in my opinion be settled if Candor, Justice and the real Interests of America were attended to. We do not all see the Importance nay the Necessity of a Confederacy. We shall remain weak, and distracted and divided in our Councils, our Strength will decrease, we shall be open to all the arts of the insidious Court of Britain, and no foreign Court will attend to our applications for Assistance, before We are confederated. What Contract will a foreign State make with Us, when We cannot agree among Ourselves?…

Benjamin Rush to Walter Jones (Physician, Richmond, Virginia)

I have stolen a few minutes from the Congress into a committee room to drop you a few lines, not to inform you of any news, but to convince you that in my political as well as medical line I am still your friend.

What shall I say of the august assembly of our States? It is a wide field for speculation. Here we behold the strengths and weakness of the human Understanding and the extent of human virtue & folly. Time will meliorate us. A few more misfortunes will teach us wisdom & humility, and inspire us with true benevolence. The republican soil is broke up-but we have still many monarchical & aristocratical weeds to pluck up from it. The history of the Congress that will sit in the year 1780 will be the history of the Dignity of human nature. We have knocked up the substance of royalty but now & then we worship the shadow. Oh liberty-liberty- I have worshipped thee as a substance, and have found thee so. The influence of the Declaration of Independence upon the Senate & the field is inconceivable. The militia of our state pant for nothing more than to avenge the blood of our brave countrymen upon our enemies on Staten Island.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.