Congress debates and accepts the main recommendations of the detailed report of the Committee appointed to confer with General Lee about the defense of New York. The Report provides a detailed strategic plan of the number and location of troops and fortifications. One part of the plan was controversial. According to delegate Richard Smith, “Much Time was spent in a Resolution to disarm the Tories generally, the Thing was not opposed but the Terms of the Resolves were fully discussed.”
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Resolved, That the committee on prisoners be directed to confer with General Prescot on the subject of his letter of February 14, 1776, and report to Congress.
Resolved, That it be recommended to the several assemblies, conventions, and councils or committees of safety of the United Colonies, immediately to cause all persons to be disarmed within their respective colonies, who are notoriously disaffected to the cause of America, or who have not associated, and shall refuse to associate, to defend, by arms, these United Colonies, against the hostile attempts of the British fleets and armies; and to apply the arms taken from such persons in each respective colony, in the first place to the arming the continental troops raised in said colony; in the next, to the arming such troops as are raised by the colony for its own defense, and the residue to be applied to the arming the associators; that the arms when taken be appraised by indifferent persons, and such as are applied to the arming the continental troops, be paid for by Congress, and the residue by the respective assemblies, conventions, or councils, or committees of safety’
Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing resolve be transmitted by the delegates of each colony, to their respective assemblies, conventions, or councils, or committees of safety.
The Committee of Claims reported that accounts due on various claims be paid.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.
Richard Smith’s Diary
The Minutes read. R. H. Lee from a Committee reported General Lee’s Opinion about fortifying New York which was considered. He recommends 8000 Troops to be kept there which was agreed to….
William Livingston moved that a Day of General Fasting and Prayer be appointed which was relished & he desired to draw up his Motion. [ Editor’s Note. See the Journal of Congress, March 16, 1776 for the text of the Fasting and Prayer Resolution passed by Congress] Some Accounts passed. Much Time was spent in a Resolution to disarm the Tories generally, the Thing was not opposed but the Terms of the Resolves were fully discussed. They passed at length and the Delegates of each Colony are to transmit them for Execution. A Letter was read from Brigadier [Richard]Prescott complaining of a Breach of Capitulation in the Treatment of his Person and Effects. It was referred to the Committee on Prisoners (myself one of them) to hear & examine the General and report to Congress. The Vote was taken to hear Him before the House but carried in the Negative. [Editor’s Note. See the Journal of Congress, April 6, 1776.]
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.