Congress considers two Committee Reports and proposes “a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer.” James Duane writes that “Our public affairs are at length arrived at the most dangerous Extremity.” Robert Treat Paine notes the arrival of “Major Skene.”
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Resolved, “That Thursday the 20th of July next, be observed throughout the twelve United Colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer.” A committee of William Hooper, John Adams, and Robert Treat Paine, were selected to submit such a resolve.
The committee appointed to prepare advice in answer to the May16th letter from the convention of Massachusetts submitted their report, which was read, and ordered to lie on the table.
The Congress resolved themselves into a committee of the whole to consider the state of America; after some time spent therein, Samuel Ward reported that the committee had proceeded in the business referred to them, and moved for leave to sit again.
Resolved, That Congress will, tomorrow, again resolve themselves into a committee of the whole, to further consider the state of America.
Adjourned until tomorrow at nine o’Clock.
Robert Treat Paine’s Diary
This Evening Major Skene arrived from London & his Papers taken into Custody.
James Duane to Robert Livingston
Our public affairs are at length arrived at the most dangerous Extremity. The ministry with inflexible Obstinacy persevere in that inhuman System of Despotism which was contrived to rob us of our Liberties; and because we cannot submit to so humiliating a Condition they have drawn the sword against our suffering Friends as Traitors and Rebels, and the Authority of Parliament is called in to starve the Southern as well as the Eastern Colonies into base Submission. To stand forth at such a Juncture in the Situation in which I am placed is indeed an arduous and difficult Task, requiring an uncommon Exertion both of Wisdom and Fortitude. In the best View we must expect numberless Inconveniencies from this Conflict–We must be exposed to Danger and be loaded with heavy Expenses: but if we can thereby secure our Liberties on a Just and solid foundation, the End is worthy of the Means, and we ought not to repine. We contend in a good Cause, and if we continue firm & united among ourselves, If by a wise and temperate Conduct we manifest to the World a desire of Reconciliation and reunion with the parent State, on Terms consistent with our Safety and the Interest and Happiness of the whole Empire, We may hope with the Blessings of Heaven that our virtuous Struggles will be rewarded with Success. Many of the measures we are pursuing must from their nature unfold themselves to public View: but I am not at present at Liberty to communicate them.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.