Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: July 5, 1776

July 5, 1776

Congress returns to business as usual, and Elbridge Gerry and John Adams enclose a copy of the Declaration in their correspondence.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from Captain Crawford, a prisoner of the 26th regiment, was read, requesting leave to visit the prisoners in the several places where they are confined. Denied.

The committee on ways and means, brought in a report, which was read, and ordered to lie on the table.

The Board of War brought in a report: Whereupon,

Resolved, That a regiment be raised out of the officers who served in Canada, on the same terms on which the regiment, to be commanded by Colonel Dubois, is to be raised; and that twenty persons be appointed officers of the said regiment:

Resolved, That the president write to Governor Cooke, requesting him to order fifty ship carpenters to be engaged, on the best terms, at the expense of the continent, and sent to General Schuyler at Albany, as soon as possible, in order to build vessels for the defense of the lakes.

The committee of Congress, appointed to confer with the committee of safety of Pennsylvania, and the committee of inspection and observation for the city and liberties of Philadelphia, and the field officers of the five battalions of the said city, submitted their report.

Whereupon they agreed to several resolutions concerning the militia and the battalions.

That the committees of inspection and observation, in the several counties, furnish a good kettle to every six men, and give all the assistance in their power, that the said militia be well armed and equipped, and march with the greatest expedition.

Resolved, That this Congress highly approve the foregoing resolutions, and recommend it to the good people of Pennsylvania, to carry the same into execution with the same laudable readiness, which they have hitherto manifested in supporting the injured rights of their country.

Resolved, That an order issue to Colonel Hazlet, of the battalion in Delaware government, to station one company at Lewistown, and to march the remaining seven companies of his battalion to Wilmington, and remain there until further notice. Congress.

Resolved, That the commissioners for Indian affairs in the southern department, while on actual service, receive four dollars a day.

The committee on the treasury reported, that reimbursement is due the commissioner of Indian affairs in the southern department.

Ordered, That the same be paid.

The committee appointed to consider the state of Georgia, brought in their report, which was considered and resolved.

Resolved, That blank commissions for the field officers be sent to the convention of Georgia, to be filled up with the names of such persons the convention shall choose.

Resolved, That the same be recommended to the assemblies, conventions or councils of safety of the colonies of Virginia, North and South Carolina, to permit the raising of troops; and, if requested, to afford their advice and assistance, with regard to suitable persons in the said colonies for captains and subalterns, and that blank commissions be delivered to the delegates:

Resolved, That four gallies be built at the expense of the United States, under the direction of the convention of Georgia, for the further defense of said colony

And whereas the delegates of Georgia have represented to the said committee, that it will be necessary that two forts be erected

Resolved, That two companies of artillery be raised, consisting of fifty men each, officers included, for the purpose of garrisoning such forts, in case they shall be erected, at the expense of the said colony; and that blank commissions be delivered to the delegates for the officers, to be filled up by the assembly or convention of said colony

Resolved, That General Washington be empowered to order three of the fullest regiments, stationed in Massachusetts, to be immediately marched to Ticonderoga; and that an equal number of the militia of that state, be taken into pay, and embodied for its defense, if the government of Massachusetts bay judge it necessary.

The Board of War brought in a report, which was taken into consideration.


That a chaplain be appointed to each regiment in the continental army, and their allowance be increased to thirty three dollars and one third of a dollar a month:

Resolved, That immediate steps be taken, in the several colonies, to procure lead:

Resolved, That the post master general be directed immediately to have expresses established between this city and New York, and that General Washington be desired to send off dispatches to Congress every day:

The Board of War brought in a report, which was taken into consideration.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to send forthwith to General Lewis, at Williamsburg, five tons of powder, for the use of the troops in the southern department, part of which to be forwarded to South Carolina:

Resolved, That the British officers and soldiers who are prisoners, and now in New Jersey, be sent to York, Pennsylvania, and that the convention, or committee of safety of New Jersey, be requested to carry this resolve into immediate execution:

Resolved, That four companies of the militia be directed to remain in Philadelphia, to guard the continental stores in that city.

Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.

Elbridge Gerry to James Warren

I have the pleasure to inform you that a determined resolution of the delegates from some of the colonies to push the question of independency has had a most happy effect, and after a day’s debate all the colonies excepting New-York, whose delegates are not empowered to give either an affirmative or negative voice, united in a declaration long sought for, solicited and necessary, the declaration of independency.

New-York will most probably on Monday next, when its convention meets for forming a constitution, join in the measure, and then it will be entitled the unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America.  I enclose you a copy of the declaration.

[Editor’s Note.  See New York Delegates to the New York Provincial Congress, July 2, 1776.]

John Adams to Joseph Ward

You are Still impatient for a Declaration of Independency. I hope your Appetite will now be Satisfied. Such a Declaration passed Congress Yesterday, and this Morning will be printed.

John Adams to Mary Palmer

I will enclose to you a Declaration, in which all America is remarkably united….(3) It completes a Revolution, which will make as good a Figure in the History of Mankind, as any that has preceded it-provided always, that the Ladies take Care to record the Circumstances of it, for by the Experience I have had of the other Sex, they are either too lazy, or too active, to commemorate them.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.