Second Continental Congress: June 19, 1775
June 19, 1775
Congress provides for the appointment of officers for the Army in addition to General Lee. Three new appointment committees are created and the committee to prepare a Petition to the King submit their report. George Washington writes about “honor.”
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
The Congress got into the details of Regulating the Army.
The Congress Ordered, that Patrick Henry, Thomas Lynch, and John Adams, be a Committee to inform General Lee of his appointment and request his answer whether he will accept the command. Lee responded that before he accepted the appointment “he desired a conference with a committee to consist of one delegate from each of the associated colonies, to whom he desired to explain some particulars respecting his private fortune.”
The Congress accepted Lee’s request. John Sullivan, Samuel Adams, Stephen Hopkins, Eliphalet Dyer, Philip Livingston, William Livingston, George Ross, Cæsar Rodney, Thomas Johnson, Patrick Henry, Richard Caswell and Thomas Lynch were appointed to be a committee to confer with General Lee. Lee “communicated to them an estimate of the Estate he risked by this service.”
Congress Resolved, unanimously, “That these colonies will indemnify General Lee for any loss of property which he may sustain by entering into their service, and that the same be done by this or any future Congress as soon as such loss is ascertained.
Congress also continued its involvement in the deployment of troops from one colony to another. And it Resolved, that Richard Henry Lee, Edward Rutledge, and John Adams, “be a committee to prepare the form of a commission for the Major Generals, and also for the brigadier generals, and other officers in the army” which they did.
The committee appointed to prepare a petition to the king submitted their report.
Adjourned till tomorrow at 9 o’Clock.
George Washington to Burrell Bessett (Brother in Law)
I am now embarked on a tempestuous ocean from whence perhaps, no friendly harbor is to be found. I have been called upon by the unanimous Voice of the Colonies to the Command of the Continental Army. It is an honor I by no means aspired to–It is an honor I wished to avoid, as well from an unwillingness to quit the peaceful enjoyment of my Family as from a thorough conviction of my own Incapacity & want of experience in the conduct of so momentous a concern but the partiality of the Congress added to some political Motives, left me without a choice. May God grant therefore that my acceptance of it may be attended with some good to the common cause & without Injury (from want of knowledge) to my own reputation. I can answer but for three things, a firm belief of the justice of our Cause–close attention in the prosecution of it–and the strictest Integrity. If these cannot supply the places of Ability & Experience the cause will suffer, & more than probably my character along with it, as reputation derives its principal support from success–but it will be remembered I hope that no desire, or insinuation of mine, placed me in this situation. I shall not be deprived therefore of a comfort in the worst event if I retain a consciousness of having acted to the best of my judgment.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.