Congress creates The Skene Committee of Three. Silas Deane, Eliphalet Dyer, and John Morton write about the impact of the Skene investigation. The King is “astonished” that there are British subjects who support the American cause.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
The Congress received word that a Major Philip Skeene, recently appointed Governor of Ticonderosa, and an unnamed lieutenant, had arrived in Philadelphia from London. The delegates appointed a Committee—John Adams, Silas Deane, and Thomas Mifflin—to examine “in the presence of said Skene and lieutenant, all the papers in their possession.”
The Congress provided guidelines to the investigation Committee.
Samuel Ward reported from the committee of the whole that he chaired had not yet completed the business referred to them “desired him to move for leave to sit again.”
Adjourned till to Morrow at 9 o’Clock.
Silas Deane’s Diary
In the Evening waited on Major Skene by Order of the Congress, and examined papers &c.
Eliphalet Dyer to John Trumball
We have the King’s Answer to the Address or Petition of the City of London which I dare say will kick up a dust in that great City. The King replied, he was Astonished that Any of his Subjects in Briton should Countenance his rebellious Subjects in America…
Major Skene the Elder came passenger in one of the Ships with a Commission as it is said to be Governor of Ticonderoga Crown Point &c with Orders as he says on his passage to raise Ten thousand Men to Subdue the Rebels &c but how amazingly was he chagrined when on the ships arrival here he was immediately taken prisoner & all his papers & letters taken into custody….
We had this day a grand review of the Militia of this City. They performed to Admiration, they consisted of above 2000 dressed mostly in Uniforms among which was one complete Quaker Company their Uniform light blue lapeled &c with white, who were exceeded by none in dress or exactness of discipline, their officers Quakers beside many men of that denomination mixed in the other Companies. The Military spirit runs full as high in this Country as in New England & all seem determined to stand or fall with us.
May Prudence direct & Heaven Succeed & prosper every enterprise.
John Morton to Thomas Powell (A London merchant)
Major Skeene is under a Guard of our Militia, & I imagine our Committee will insist on seeing his Papers. It’s said he has some proposals to lay before our Congress from Authority….I sincerely wish a Reconciliation, the Contest is horrid, Parents against Children, & Children against Parents, the longer the wound is left in the present State the worse it will be to heal at last.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.