Second Continental Congress: July 6, 1776
July 6, 1776
Congress expands committee membership and acts on the work of the committees, Robert Treat Paine explains why the New York delegates were silent on July 4, and John Hancock urges that the Declaration be proclaimed across the land.
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
A letter of the 5th from the convention of New Jersey, was received and read.
The Board of War brought in a report, which was taken into consideration; Whereupon,
Resolved, That Mr. Carpenter Wharton be appointed commissary, to supply [with rations] the militia who are immediately to march from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, until the commissary general shall order otherwise:
That William Sherman, Junior be appointed pay master of Colonel Warner’s regiment:
That Major Rogers be sent to New Hampshire, to be disposed of as the government of that state shall judge best.
Recent letters from General Washington, General Schuyler, and General Sullivan were received, read, and referred to the Board of War and Ordnance. Other letters were forwarded to Washigton.
Ordered, That Mr. J. Mease, commissary, advance one month’s pay to Captain William Kelsay, for the use of a company he raised in New Jersey.
The Congress elected Thomas Jefferson, Philip Livingston, and Samuel Huntington were elected to the committee on Indian Affairs to replace absent members.
William Floyd, Cæsar Rodney, and Abraham Clark were added to the committee to inquire into the miscarriages in Canada.
Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to deliver one ton of powder to the convention of New York.
That General Schuyler be directed to collect and audit the public accounts of the late General Montgomery.
The Board of Treasury reported that Congress owed money to James Warren, the former pay master general of the United Colonies.
Adjourned to 9 o’Clock on Monday.
Robert Treat Paine to Joseph Palmer
The day before yesterday the declaration of American independency was voted by twelve colonies, agreeable to the sense of the constituents, and New-York was silent, until their new convention (which sits next week) express their assent, of which we have some doubt. Thus the issue is joined; and it is our comfortable reflection, that if by struggling we can avoid that servile subjection which Britain demanded, we remain a free and happy people; but if, through the frowns of Providence, we sink in the struggle, we do but remain the wretched people we should have been without this declaration. Our hearts are full, our hands are full; may God, in whom we trust, support us.
John Hancock to the New Jersey Convention
I do myself the Honor to enclose, in Obedience to the Commands of Congress, a Copy of the Declaration of Independence, which you will please to have proclaimed in your Colony in such Way & Manner as you shall Judge best.
The important Consequences resulting to the American States from this Declaration of Independence, considered as the Ground & Foundation of a future Government, will naturally suggest the Propriety of proclaiming it in such a Mode, as that the People may be universally informed of it.
John Hancock to Certain States [For Example: New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire]
Although it is not possible to foresee the Consequences of Human Actions, yet it is nevertheless a Duty we owe ourselves and Posterity in all our public Counsels, to decide in the best Manner we are able, and to trust the Event to that Being who controls both Causes and Events so as to bring about his own Determinations.
Impressed with this Sentiment, and at the same Time fully convinced that our Affairs may take a more favorable Turn, the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve all Connection between Great Britain & the American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States, as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed by Congress to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed in your Colony in the Way you shall think most proper.
The important Consequences to the American States from this Declaration of Independence, considered as the Ground & Foundation of a future Government, will naturally suggest the Propriety of proclaiming it in such a Manner, that the People may be universally informed of it.
John Hancock to George Washington
The Congress, for some Time past, have had their Attention occupied by one of the most interesting and important Subjects, that could possibly come before them, or any other Assembly of Men.
Although it is not possible to foresee the Consequences of Human Actions, yet it is nevertheless a Duty we owe ourselves and Posterity, in all our public Counsels, to decide in the best Manner we are able, and to leave the Event to that Being who controls both Causes and Events to bring about his own Determination.
Impressed with this Sentiment, and at the same Time fully convinced, that our Affairs may take a more favorable Turn, the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve the Connection between Great Britain and the American Colonies, and to declare them free & independent States; as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed at the Head of the Army in the Way you shall think most proper.
Robert R. Livingston to John Jay
I have but a moments time to answer your letter. I am mortified at the removal of our convention. I think as you do on the subject. If my fears on account of your health would permit I should request you never to leave that volatile politician a moment. [Editor’s Note: Gouverneur Morris ids probably “the volatile politician.” See John Jay to Robert R. Livingston, July 1, 1776] I have wished to be with you when I knew your situation. The Congress have done me the honor to refuse to let me go. I shall however apply again today.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.