Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: June 26, 1776

June 26, 1776

Congress makes several military appointments effecting Canada and New York without the agreement of the New York Provincial Congress.  George Clinton regrets the timing of this decision, Oliver Walcott and the New Hampshire delegates want to return home, but feel obliged to stay, and John Adams laments “The Small Pox.”

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from Brigadier General Wooster, of the 26th was presented to Congress, read and referred to the committee appointed to inquire into the causes of the miscarriages in Canada.

The Board of War brought in a report, which was taken into consideration; Whereupon, several appointments were made.

Resolved, That the president write to the convention of New York, and explain to them, the reasons that induced Congress to make the appointments, and to request the said convention to appoint the other officers of said battalion, and to use their best endeavors in equipping and forwarding the said battalion as soon as possible. [See June 27 letter from the New York delegates to The New York Provinicial Congress]

Resolved, That the Marine Committee be empowered to purchase the armed brig Catharine, with her guns, tackle, apparel and furniture, as she now lies in Connecticut.

The Committee of Claims reported, that there is reimbursement due to 12 people.

Ordered, That the said accounts be paid.

Resolved, That a bounty of ten dollars be given to every non-commissioned officer and soldier, who will enlist to serve for the term of three years.

Resolved, That the resolutions passed yesterday, be enclosed to General Washington, and that he provide assistance to the northern or Canada department, consistent with the safety of New York; and to give such directions as he may think expedient.

A portion of a Letter from General Washington to one of the members, was laid before Congress, read, and referred to the Board of War and Ordnance.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee supply the Marine Committee with one ton of powder, for the use of the vessel which they were empowered to purchase.

Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.

George Clinton to John McKesson

The Board of war reported the necessity of sending more troops into Canada to reinforce our army there, and among other things, the necessity of immediately appointing the officers in the regiment ordered to be raised in New York, that they might immediately set about recruiting the regiment; and at the same time reported a list of the officers, taking them in rank as arranged by General Montgomery at Montreal; which report the Congress have confirmed, and made the appointments accordingly.  I should have had no objections to this had it been done before the resolve of last Friday, directing your Congress to recommend the officers for this new regiment, as in that case it might have saved you from troublesome application and blame; but as that resolve was transmitted to your Congress some time ago, at least three days, and you may have proceeded to the appointment of new officers, as thereby directed, I could not approve of this new step; especially as I cannot think it will much hasten the recruiting the regiment, and at any rate, I think the recruits yet to be raised cannot be got ready in time to save Canada. However, I did not choose strenuously to oppose a measure which many thought essentially necessary. If it is wrong, we are not to blame.

Oliver Wolcott to Laura Wolcott

As my Health is rather low and Other Reasons strongly Urge Me to Return to my Family, I purpose therefore to Set out for home in a few days. [Editor’s Note. Walcott left Philadelphia around June 28. He asked for reimbursement for 182 days from January 4th to July 4th] I have not been so ill as to be in the least confined, but a long Attention to Business of the Sedentary Kind has produced a Relaxation which nothing but a Journey can Cure. Mr. Huntington I hear is on the Way, he will likely be in this Morning. Mr. Sherman puts in to Return but as he went home about Two Months ago, I think I have a prior and better Right.

[Editor’s Note. Samuel Huntington returned to Connecticut around May 25. Huntington’s appearance at the Connecticut Assembly was reported by Eliphalet Dyer in a June 25 letter to Joseph Trumbull]

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Our Misfortunes in Canada, are enough to melt a Heart of Stone. The Small Pox is ten times more terrible than Britons, Canadians and Indians together. This was the Cause of our precipitate Retreat from Quebec, this the Cause of our Disgraces at the Cedars. I don’t mean that this was all. There has been Want, approaching to Famine, as well as Pestilence. And these Discouragements seem to have so disheartened our Officers, that none of them seem to Act with Prudence and Firmness….

Amidst all our gloomy Prospects in Canada, We receive some Pleasure from Boston. I congratulate you on your Victory over your Enemies, in the Harbor. This has long lain near my Heart, and it gives me great Pleasure to think that what was so much wished, is accomplished.  I hope our People will now make the Lower Harbor, impregnable, and never again suffer the Flag of a Tyrant to fly, within any Part of it.

The Congress have been pleased to give me more Business than I am qualified for, and more than I fear, I can go through, with safety to my Health. They have established a Board of War and Ordinance and made me President of it, an Honor to which I never aspired, a Trust to which I feel myself vastly unequal. But I am determined to do as well as I can and make Industry supply, in some degree the Place of Abilities and Experience. The Board sits, every Morning and every Evening. This, with Constant Attendance in Congress, will so entirely engross my Time, that I fear, I shall not be able to write you, so often as I have. But I will steal Time to write to you.
The small Pox! The small Pox! What shall We do with it?

New Hampshire Delegates to Meshech Weare (Chief Justice, New Hampshire)

The repeated Misfortunes our army in Canada have met with, make it necessary that a Strong reinforcement should be sent there as Speedily as possible. The many Disadvantages we shall Labor under by the Enemies being in full Possession of that Country, & the Lakes, is so obvious, it is needless to mention them….Sickness and other disasters have much dispirited our men, unless they are speedily supported by a strong reinforcement its uncertain what will be the consequence….. Congress have come to the Resolutions that are transmitted to you by the President Requesting that a Regiment in addition to that which was some time ago Requested, may be sent with all Possible dispatch from our Colony to join the Army in Canada. If these troops can be raised soon it will have a tendency to raise the spirits of those already in that Country, and will in our opinion, be the only method of securing the frontiers of our Colony at the expense of the Continent.

We understand Mr Langdon intends to resign his seat in Congress; if that should be the case we hope somebody will be immediately appointed in his Room. [Editor’s Note.  Signed by Bartlett and Whipple. John Langdon notified Whipple of his resignation from Congress on July 1, 1776. Matthew Thornton replaced Langdon but was not appointed until September 12 and did not take his seat in Congress until November 4, 1776]

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.