Congress considers the ways and means of raising money. Thomas Johnson, a member of the Saltpetre Committee, reflects on the interrelationship between economic policy and international politics.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Congress resolved itself in a committee of the whole to consider the ways and means of raising money and also the state of America. After some time spent, Samuel Ward reported that the committee not having come to a conclusion wished leave to sit again.
Resolved, that this Congress will tomorrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole to take into consideration the ways and means of raising money, and also the state of America.
Adjourned till to Morrow at 9 o’Clock.
Thomas Johnson, Jr., to Samuel Purviance, Jr. (Baltimore Merchant)
We had the King’s Answer to the Address of the City of London by a vessel in here last week…. I very much fear any Relaxation of our System would be imputed by our Enemies to irresistible Interest and that they would not place any Thing of it to the account of Humanity. If they ever conceive that we are shifting our Means of Defense they will cross us and conclude we shall give way in Confusion for if they know any Thing they cannot be ignorant that the people are not more violent in their Demands when Demands are making than in giving up when it is the fashion to give up. I am therefore afraid at this Time to stir any point of the association. I am in Hopes no Body will perish though the West Indies will be much straightened till we get our Trade open again either by a Reconciliation without Mother Country or by her being engaged in a War with some foreign power. It appears plain to me that neither our Imports or Exports will continue long if the Ministry are resolved to finish the Dispute by Knocks….
I tell you with a great deal of Candor all I know of this Business. I have learned from a Gentleman out of Doors talk of shutting up the ports the same Day that the Act is to take place as a proper Measure but I hope enough to prevent it will think it very unwise.
I wish you could get some ingenious Gentleman to go about Salt petre and teaching others to make it. We certainly may have an internal Supply if we will exert ourselves. The Congress will I dare say do every Thing in it’s power to promote this very useful Work but I believe most Gentleman of the Congress have as much to learn as myself…. The people here continue their Industry to learn the Military Art every Thing wears a favorable Appearance.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.