Second Continental Congress: June 6, 1776
June 6, 1776
Congress 1) continues to direct the war effort, with an emphasis on Canada and the Marine Committee, and 2) postpones a draft of an address to the Indians. Elbridge Gerry thinks that even “the middle states” must now abandon “reconciliation.” Samuel Adams can’t wait for the motion for Independence tomorrow.
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Sundry letters and papers, several dealing with Canadian affairs, were laid before Congress and read.
Resolved, That a copy of the letter from the commissioners in Canada be sent to General Washington.
Resolved, That Brigadier General Wooster be directed immediately to repair to Headquarters at New York.
Resolved, That the letters received be referred to a committee of 5: Roger Sherman, George Wythe, Jonathan D. Sergeant, Francis Lightfoot Lee, and Button Gwinnett.
Resolved, That the Standing Committee for Indian Affairs be directed to devise ways and means for carrying into effect the June 3 resolution empowering the General to employ up to 2,000 Indians in Canada. The Congress approved the speech prepared by the committee to be delivered to the Indians. Resolved, That the delivery of this speech be deferred for some days.
The committee to whom was referred an extract of a letter from a gentleman in Bermuda to a gentleman in Philadelphia, brought in their report, which was read, considered, and postponed.
The Committee of Claims reported that there is money due to several people.
Approved the nine recommendations of The Marine Committee for captains and officers for the ships building or built for the continent. Nicholas Biddle and John Barry were chosen from Pennsylvania.
Congress chose the names of the thirteen ships: the Congress, Randolph, Hancock, Washington, Trumbull, Raleigh, Effingham, Montgomery, Warren, Boston, Virginia, Providence, and Delaware.
Resolved, That the Marine Committee be empowered to affix the names to each particular ship, and determine the vessel which each captain is to take command of.
Resolved, That the Marine Committee consider the propriety of building two more ships of war, and their size, and report to Congress.
Resolved, That three members be added to the committee appointed to devise ways and means for raising 10 millions of dollars, passed on May 6: Carter Braxton, Robert R. Livingston, and Matthew Tilghman.
Resolved, That the Secret Committee, the committee of Secret Correspondence, and the Marine Committee be instructed to take such measures as they may think proper for purchasing, manning, arming and fitting at the said islands two sloops of war for the service of the United Colonies.
Resolved, That the remainder of the report lie on the table for consideration.
Resolved, That a physician and surgeon in the Canada department, or at Lake George, as the general shall direct; but, that this appointment shall not supersede Dr. Stringer.
Resolved, That an express be sent to Hugh Mercer, who was yesterday appointed a brigadier general, with his commission, to go at once to New York headquarters.
A memorial of Jacob Ummensetter was presented to Congress, read, and referred to the committee appointed to contract for casting cannon.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock to Morrow.
Elbridge Gerry to James Warren
The Answer of the King to the London Petition has given the Coup de Grace to all Expectations of Reconciliation in the middle Colonies & I think will produce excellent Effects from the observations to be made in this City but it is much [to be] regretted that their Knowledge was so shallow as not to have discovered the Designs of the Ministry which were equally apparent to every discerning Person in the Beginning of the present Year.
Congress have voted but 6000 Men for Canada & 2000 Indians if the General can obtain them instead of 10000 Men which I mentioned to Colonel Orne as intended to reinforce the Army, having left out 2000 after the same were agreed to in a Com. of whole House. The Army at New York is to be reinforced to the Number of 25000 & a flying Camp at the Jerseys of 10000. General Whitcomb is appointed a Brigadier, Colonel Mercer another, & Colonel Reed Adjutant General.
Samuel Adams to James Warren
I have for some time past been expecting to visit my Friends in New England, which has made me the less solicitous of writing to them, but Business of the most interesting Importance has hitherto detained me here. Our Affairs in Canada have of late worn a displeasing Aspect, but Measures have been adopted which I trust will repair Misfortunes and set Matters right in that Quarter. This will, in my opinion, be an important Summer, productive of great Events which we must be prepared to meet.
If America is virtuous, she will vanquish her Enemies and establish her Liberty. You know my Temper-Perhaps I may be too impatient. I have long wished for the Determination of some momentous Questions. If Delay shall prove mischievous, I shall have no Reason to reflect upon myself. Everyone here knows what my Sentiments have been. However, tomorrow a Motion will be made [Richard Henry Lee’s motion on independence, foreign alliances, and confederation] and a Question, I hope, decided, the most important that was ever agitated in America. I have no Doubt but it will be decided to your satisfaction. This being done, Things will go on in the right Channel and our Country will be saved.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.