Second Continental Congress: June 3, 1775
June 3, 1775
Congress creates seven Committees to further address the twin objectives of securing 1) the common defense and 2) a reconciliation with Britain. Silas Deane helps us to understand why so many committees are created and that the care given to secure representation from the various colonies is in pursuit of an unanimity of outcome.
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
A Letter from the Convention of New York, was laid before Congress and read.
Resolved, that a committee of five persons be chosen “to take into consideration the letter from the Convention of Massachusetts bay, dated the 16 of May, and report to this Congress what in their opinion is the proper Advice to be given to that Convention.” John Rutledge, Thomas Johnson, John Jay, James Wilson, and Richard Henry Lee were chosen.
A committee composed of the delegates from Pennsylvania was appointed with the power to borrow money for the patriot cause.
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to draft a Petition to the King. John Dickinson, Thomas Johnson, John Rutledge, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin were chosen. [Editor’s Note. On June 19, Congress discussed the conciliatory draft. On July 5, Congress turned the petition over to Richard Penn for presentation to George III, but the king refused to receive it.]
And that committees be appointed to report an address to the inhabitants of various countries in the British Empire.
The Committee to report an Address to the inhabitants of Great Britain be Richard Henry Lee, Robert R. Livingston, and Edmund Pendleton.
James Duane, William Livingston, Samuel Adams and John Adams be the Committee to report an Address to the people of Ireland.
William Hooper, James Wilson and Thomas Lynch be a Committee to draft a Letter to the inhabitants of Jamaica.
That George Washington, Philip Schuyler, Silas Deane, Thomas Cushing, and Joseph Hewes be a committee to bring in an estimate of the money necessary to be raised for the patriot cause.
Adjourned till Monday at 9 o’Clock.
Silas Deane to Elizabeth Deane
The Congress, though not numerous, are yet a very unwieldy Body, in their very nature, as no motion or resolution can be started or proposed but what must be subject to much canvassing before it will pass with the unanimous approbation of Thirteen Colonies, whose situation and circumstances are various. And Unanimity is the basis on which we mean to rise; and I thank God, it hitherto prevails to a most surprising degree.
John Jay’s Draft Petition to the King
That your Majesty’s American Subjects bound to your Majesty by the strongest Ties of Allegiance & affection and attached to their Parent Country by every Bond that can unite Societies, deplore with the deepest Concern the continuance of that System of colonial Administration which for twelve Years past has filled the minds of the loyal Inhabitants of North America with apprehensions of the most alarming Nature.
That reposing the utmost Confidence in the paternal Care of their Prince and the Justice of the British Nation they were urged by the perilous Situation of their Liberties to solicit his Majesty’s Attention by their late Petition to their real & unmerited Grievances, and to request his royal Interposition in their Behalf.
That though disappointed in their Expectations of Relief they still remember their Duty to their Sovereign, & imputing the Rigor of their Treatment to insidious Counsels & wicked Misrepresentation, they again beg Leave to entreat for Justice & to request only that Portion of Liberty to which God and the Constitution have given them Rights.
That Nothing but the Overruling Laws of self Preservation could ever have induced them to pursue any Measures which might be deemed offensive to their King or disrespectful to the British Nation, and that they ardently desire an opportunity of manifesting their Fidelity to the one and evincing their affection for the other.
That neither repeated oppression nor all the Miseries which attend the sword or are threatened by Famine have yet weaned them from their Parent Country, and that they cannot yet cease to seek by every dutiful & peaceable Means in their Power to obtain a Restoration of that Harmony which formerly gave union Wealth & Power to the Empire.
That they most earnestly beseech his Majesty to commission some good & great Men to inquire into the Grievances of his faithful Subjects, & be pleased to devise some Means of accommodating those unhappy Dissentions which unless amicably terminated must endanger the safety of the whole Empire and that shd. his majesty not be disposed to hear the Complaints of his American Subjects from their Representatives in Congress we most humbly beseech his Majesty to direct Com [missioner] s from their different Assemblies to convene for the Purpose.
That although the People of North America are determined to be free they wish not to be independent and beg Leave again to assure his Majesty that they mean not to question the Right of the British Parliament to regulate the Commercial Concerns of the Empire in the Manner they have before declared as their Enemies have unkindly insinuated and to remove all Doubts upon this Head are ready to confirm these Declarations by Acts of their Legislatures in the different Colonies.
That (to facilitate the Restoration of Union & Harmony) they most humbly submit it to his Majesty’s Wisdom [whether] it would not tend to facilitate the Restoration of Union & Harmony that the further Effusion of Blood should be prevented & every irritating Measure suspended and should his Majesty be graciously pleased by his royal Interposition to relieve his faithful Subjects from the Uneasiness & Anxiety they feel from the several acts of the British Parliament by which they think themselves so greatly aggrieved, they will with the utmost Gratitude & Cheerfulness return to & resume that former Intercourse with their parent State which Nothing but the most pressing necessities could ever induce them to interrupt.
They also take the Liberty of suggesting that when Concord & mutual Confidence shall thus be reestablished between his Majesty’s British & American Subjects, their several Claims may be examined with Temper, adjusted with Precision and the present unnatural Contest end in a Compact that may place the Union of the Empire on a firm & permanent Basis.
Eliphalet Dyer to Joseph Trumbull
There is no doubt but the Congress will approve and Support the Measures Which have been taken by the New England Colonies & I think we have got New York now Completely taken in….
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.