Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: June 7, 1776

June 7, 1776

Congress receives certain resolutions 1) “respecting independency,” 2) for preparing a plan of confederation, and 3) exploring foreign alliances. John Hancock is troubled by the events in Canada, and Thomas Jefferson confirms that three resolutions were under consideration. The New York delegation seeks guidance and authorization.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The committee to whom was referred the letter from Eseck Hopkins, commodore of the continental fleet, dated Providence, May 22d, brought in their report, which, being taken into consideration, was agreed to; Whereupon,

Resolved, That Mr. Charles Walker, of New Providence, ought to be fully recompensed for damages to his vessel.

The Congress considered the report of the committee on the resolutions of the convention of South Carolina, respecting the battalions raised in that colony; and, after some debate,

Resolved, That it be recommitted.

Information being given that complaint is made with respect to the powder manufactured at Mr. Oswald Eve’s mill.  Resolved, That Henry Wisher, Robert Treat Paine, and Robert R. Livingston be a committee to inquire into the defect, and take measures to have it remedied.

Certain resolutions respecting independency being moved and seconded,

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.

Resolved, That the consideration of them be referred till tomorrow morning; and, that the members be enjoined to attend punctually at 10 o’Clock.

The committee on counterfeiting proposed that it be recommended to the respective Legislatures of the United Colonies to pass Acts of Legislation for making the Continental Bills of Credit a lawful tender in all payments, and for the most effectual prevention of counterfeiting.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

John Hancock to George Washington

The enclosed Letter from the Commissioners in Canada, I am commanded by Congress to transmit to you. The Contents of it are truly alarming. Our Army in that Quarter is almost ruined for Want of Discipline, and every Thing else necessary to constitute an Army, or to keep Troops together. The Congress, in this Situation of our Affairs, have resolved that General Wooster be recalled from Canada.

Thomas Jefferson, The Proceedings in Congress, June 7, 1776

The Delegates from Virginia moved in obedience to instructions from their constituents that the Congress should declare that these United colonies are & of right ought to be free & independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is & ought to be totally dissolved; that measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.

New York Delegates to the New York Convention

Your Delegates here expect that the question of independence will very shortly be agitated in Congress. Some of us consider ourselves as bound by our instructions not to vote on that question & all wish to have your sentiments thereon.

[Editor’s Note. William Floyd, Robert R. Livingston, Henry Wisner, and Francis Lewis followed the April 22, 1775 instructions to work “for the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the Colonies.” The New York Provincial Congress responded on June 11. The delegates were not authorized “to give the sense of this Colony on the question of declaring it to be . . . an independent State; nor does this Congress incline to instruct you on that point; it being a matter of doubt whether their constituents intended to vest them with the power to deliberate and determine on that question.”]

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.