Second Continental Congress: June 26, 1775
June 26, 1775
North Carolina is encouraged to raise an armed forces. The Report of the Committee of Five for Indian Affairs is read and the Committee on Saltpetre receives further encouragement. Congress also reconsiders the Declaration of the Report to be delivered by George Washington upon his arrival in Boston. Thomas Jefferson writes that “the war is now heartily entered into, without a prospect of accommodation but through the effectual interposition of arms.”
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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
A letter from Governor Trumbull was read, and referred to the committee appointed to devise ways and means for introducing the colonial manufacture of salt petre. This Committee of Five was created on June 10. The members were Robert Treat Paine, Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Schuyler, and Thomas Johnson.
The delegates learned that the British were attempting to destroy “the liberties of America” by encouraging North Carolina to separate from “the American Association.”
The Congress recommended that North Carolinians 1) “embody themselves as a militia under proper officers,” and 2) to raise a body of forces not exceeding one thousand men, Congress will consider them as an American army, and provide for their pay.
The Congress then resumed the consideration of the Declaration of the Report to be delivered by George Washington upon his arrival at the Camp before Boston. After some discussion, John Dickinson and Thomas Jefferson were added to the Committee of Five—John Adams, John Rutledge, James Duane, Benjamin Franklin, and James Wilson—selected on June 23.
A letter from the Committee of Albany received by express was laid before the Congress and read.
The Report of the Committee of Five for Indian Affairs created on June 16 was read. The five members were Philip Shuyler, Patrick Henry, James Duane, James Wilson, and Philip Livingston.
Resolved, “That the delegates of Pennsylvania be appointed from this Congress to wait on the Committee of this City and to request of them that a supply of powder be immediately furnished for the use of the fortifications of Ticonderoga and Crown point, and sent forward immediately.”
Ordered, That Governor Trumbull, the provincial conventions of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and the government of Rhode Island be informed that the Congress had appointed “George Washington, Commander in Chief of all the forces raised or to be raised for the defense of America.”
Adjourned till tomorrow at 9 o’Clock.
Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes
You will before this have heard that the war is now heartily entered into, without a prospect of accommodation but through the effectual interposition of arms. General Gage has received considerable reinforcements, though not to the [wh]ole amount of what was expected. There has lately been an action at the outlet of the town of Boston. The particulars we have not yet been able to get with certainty….
Washington set out from here on Friday last as Generalissimo of all the Provincial troops in North America. Ward and Lee are appointed major Generals, and Gates Adjutant. We are exceedingly anxious till we hear of their arrival at Boston, as it is evident to everyone that the provincial encampment is the most injudicious that can possibly be conceived….The Congress have directed 20,000 men to be raised and hope by a vigorous campaign to dispose our enemies to treaty. Governor Carleton has been spiriting up the Canadian Indians to fall on our back settlements but this we hope will be prevented.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.