Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: June 13, 1776

June 13, 1776

Congress selects five members for the Committee of War and Ordnance, the Secret Committee and the Committee on Qualifications are hard at work.  John Hancock addresses the insurrections in Delaware and Samuel Chase is concerned about the “great abuses and mismanagements in Canada.”

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from Thomas McKean, dated 2 o’Clock this morning, and a letter from the Committee of Lewistown, of the 11th, was laid before Congress, and read.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to forward ammunition to the committee of safety of the counties on Delaware, for the use of the militia in that government.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the assembly of Pennsylvania, immediately to order a battalion of the provincial riflemen to march to the assistance of the militia in Delaware government.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the assembly, or committee of safety of Delaware government, to cause all the disaffected, in their colony, to be disarmed, and the arms to be disposed of agreeable to a former resolution of Congress.

Resolved, That the commanding officer of the rifle battalion in this city, be requested to order a company of said battalion to escort the powder sent to Delaware government, until they shall reach the provincial battalion of riflemen, ordered to march to the assistance of the militia of Delaware government.

A letter from James McLene, chairman of the committee of Shippensburg, enclosing certain resolutions respecting some powder they have stopped, which was sent by Lewis Morris to Mr. George Morgan, at Pittsburg, was laid before Congress and read.

Resolved, That the president return an answer, and inform the committee, that the powder was ordered by Congress to be sent to George Morgan, and request them to use their endeavors to have the same forwarded, with all safety and dispatch, to said G. Morgan, at Pittsburg.

A letter of June 11th from the convention of New York was laid before Congress read, and referred to the committee appointed on the 6th.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to stop the exportation of any salted provisions, which they may have ordered to be made at New York.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to deliver 100 lb. of powder to the order of the committee appointed to contract for making cannon.

Resolved, That an order for 600 dollars be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of Captain James Grier, he to be accountable for the same, and to render an account thereof to the pay master general, upon his arrival at New York.

Resolved, That the pay of the secretary of the Board of War and Ordnance, be at the rate of 800 dollars per annum.

Congress then proceeded to the election of the committee to form a Board of War and Ordnance: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Harrison, James Wilson, and Edward Rutledge.  Richard Peters was elected secretary.

The Committee on Qualifications recommended Doctor Benjamin Allison as surgeon to the first Pennsylvania battalion now in Canada, and four others people to military positions in the battalion.

Captain De Lausay produced credentials to the Committee showing that he had been a captain in the French Service, and comes well recommended. He wishes to be appointed Lieutenant Colonel.

The Committee would be glad to have a list of Officers, that they may be proper Judges of their Seniority.

Resolved, That the said report be agreed to, and that commissions be granted to them accordingly.

The Congress then resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the reports to them referred, and after some time spent thereon, Benjamin Harrison reported that the committee have not yet finished their work.

Resolved, That this Congress will, tomorrow, again resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the reports to them referred.

The Marine Committee informed Commodore Hopkins, Captain Saltonstal, and Captain Whipple, of the complaints of breach of orders and other malpractices, lodged against them, and ordered them immediately to come to Philadelphia, to answer for their conduct.

Resolved, That in case the enemy’s men of war attempt to come up the river [Delaware] that the Secret Committee be empowered and directed to deliver such a quantity of powder as to them shall seem necessary, to the committee of safety of Pennsylvania.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

[John De Hart, delegate from New Jersey resigned for family reasons]

John Hancock to the Pennsylvania Assembly

The Congress have just received Advice, that a Number of Disaffected Persons have got together in Sussex County, in Delaware Government; that there is Reason to apprehend those deluded People are supplied with Arms and Ammunition from the Men of War of our Enemies, and mean to act in Concert with them. As it is of the utmost Importance, that such Insurrections be immediately quelled and totally suppressed, the Congress have come to the following Resolution: That it be recommended to the Assembly of Pennsylvania, immediately to order a Battalion of the Provincial Rifle-Men, now at Chester, to march to the Assistance of the Militia in Delaware Government.

Samuel Chase to Horatio Gates

I am compelled to leave this City early tomorrow. Mrs. Chase is extremely ill.
We have laid before Congress the many and great abuses and mismanagements in Canada, and proposed such Remedies as We thought most expedient in our present Situation. A General is to be sent there with the powers of a Roman Dictator. Many of the Congress have cast their Eyes on You, and I doubt not You will be appointed to this great & important Command.  I am pleased with the Reflection that You will now have an Opportunity to render great Services to America, your Inclination and Abilities will have Room for Exertion and Laurels are still to be reaped in Canada….

If You have not a constant & friendly Intercourse with General Schuyler, You will fail in Canada…. You will have the assistance of many able Officers in Canada. You are acquainted with General Sullivan. General Arnold is brave, active & well acquainted in that Country…. Be extremely cautious who you trust.

[Chase and Charles Carroll of Carrollton attended Congress on June 11 to give an oral account of their mission to Canada, and on June 12 they submitted a written report which was immediately considered. On June 17 Congress resolved “that an experienced general be immediately sent into Canada” and instructed Washington to send Gates to take command of the forces there.]

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.