Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: July 4, 1775

July 4, 1775

Congress Resolved that two recent commercial acts of the British Parliament violate the Association agreements of the First Continental Congress. A decision on the Petition to the King is postponed. Thomas Jefferson declares that “Powder seems now to be our only difficulty,” and Edmund Pendleton notes that the British failed in their attempt at Boston to “diffuse terror through the Continent.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Congress met according to adjournment, and having taken up the consideration of the report from the committee came to the following resolution:

Resolved, That the two Acts passed in the first session of the present parliament, the one, entitled “An act to restrain the trade and commerce of the province of Massachusetts bay and New Hampshire, and colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island and Providence plantation, in North America, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the British islands in the West Indies; and to prohibit such provinces and colonies from carrying on any fishery on the banks of Newfoundland or other places therein mentioned, under certain conditions and limitations:” The other, entitled “An act to restrain the trade and commerce of the colonies of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the British islands in the West Indies, under certain conditions and limitations,” are unconstitutional, oppressive, and cruel; and that the commercial opposition of these colonies, to certain Acts enumerated in the Association of the last Congress, ought to be made against these, until they are repealed.

Ordered, That the above be immediately published.

The Congress then took into consideration the letter of General Schuyler of 28 June and Ordered, That the Delegates of the Colony of Pennsylvania procure letters from the German Clergy and other respectable persons of that Nation, in this city to their friends and countrymen in the Colony of New York, and also to their countrymen in North Carolina.

Resolved, That the Committee for Indian Affairs be so far released from the Obligation of secrecy as to have liberty to enquire of proper intelligent persons the situation and condition of the Indian Nations.

The Congress resumed the consideration of the petition to the king. After some debate, the further consideration of it was postponed until tomorrow.

Resolved, that the Congress will tomorrow again resolve itself into a committee of the whole to take into consideration the state of America.

Adjourned till tomorrow at 9 o’Clock.

Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes

Our accounts of the battle of Charleston have become clear, and greatly to our satisfaction…. Major Pitcairn is among the slain, at which everybody rejoices, as he was the commanding officer at Lexington, was the first who fired his own piece there and gave the command to fire….Powder seems now to be our only difficulty, and towards getting plenty of that nothing is wanting but saltpetre.  If we can weather out this campaign, I hope that we shall be able to have a plenty made for another.  Nothing is requisite but to set about it, as every colony has materials, but more especially Virginia and Maryland.  

Edmund Pendleton to William Woodford

It is I fancy, their plan was to have struck a bold stroke at Boston and as they vainly supposed frightened them out of all resistance, and then to have dispersed part of their Generals with Troops to other parts to diffuse terror through the Continent, but the scene is changed, they find all their force little enough to defend themselves at Boston and have accordingly ordered several transports which have arrived at New York, to proceed directly with their cargoes to Boston, and I doubt not the like orders are lodged at other places. My last account of the enemy’s loss seems so far confirmed.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.