Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: March 18, 1776

March 18, 1776

Congress passes Resolutions approving the transfer of funds, Patrick Henry declines a position with the first Virginia Battalion and Congress discusses at some length what Richard Smith calls the “Privateering Business.”  William Whipple says the Acts of Parliament will “cause a final separation.”  New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, and Georgia do not meet their own quorum requirements.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That the treasurers be directed to lay on the table an Account of the silver and gold coin in the treasury.

Resolved, That Monsieur Arundel be directed to repair to the southern department, and put himself under the command of General Lee; and that General Lee, if he find him capable, be directed to employ him in the artillery service.

Resolved, That an order be drawn on the treasurers in favor of James Meuse to be applied to the procuring necessaries, and payment of the subsistence of the Pennsylvania battalions; and that the colonels be directed to account with Mr. Meuse for the several sums advanced to them.

Patrick Henry declined the position of Colonel.  Congress proceeded to the election of a colonel for the first Virginia battalion, and selected William Christian, formerly lieutenant Colonel in said regiment, as Colonel, Frank Eppes, formerly Major, was elected lieutenant Colonel; and John Green, was elected Major.

Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole to further consider “the memorial from the merchants, traders, and others, of the city of Philadelphia, the memorial of Edmund Custis, the letter from the committees of Accomac and Northampton, and the petition of Joseph Blewer and Daniel Robinson.” After spending “some time” spent on the subject, Benjamin Harrison reported that although they have settled on “sundry resolutions,” they requested a postponement.

Resolved, That this Congress will, tomorrow morning, resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their farther consideration the memorial of the merchants, traders and others, Inhabitants of Philadelphia, the memorial of Edmund Custis, &c.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Richard Smith’s Diary

The Votes read.  20,000 Dollars advanced to Commissary Mease.  Some Promotions made in One of the Virginia Regiments in Consequence of Colonel Henry’s Resignation.  

The Congress was again in Committee on the Privateering Business. Several Resolutions were come to after an able Debate.  By the first, Leave is to be given to commission Privateers and Letters of Marque to cruise on British Property.  The Vote stood thus.  For the Resolution New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Virginia and North Carolina.  Against it, Pennsylvania and Maryland, the other Colonies not sufficiently represented to vote.  Ireland was excepted & the other British Dominions with the Consent of all but Chase & myself (it appearing to me very absurd to make War upon Part only of the Subjects & especially after the Irish Parliament had declared decisively against Us).  Leave for the Committee to sit again on the same Affair.  

R H Lee moved to take Monsignor Arundel and another [unnamed] Frenchman into the Southern Department which was opposed by Dr. Franklin and referred to our Committee for Considering the Application of Foreigners.

William Whipple to Joshua Brackett [Whipple’s brother in law]

Every warlike Preparation is making at N. York, two Brigadier Generals viz Thompson, & Lord Sterling, are there, 8,000 men are ordered there, & requisitions to Connecticut, New York, & New Jersey, to hold their Militia in readiness to go to the assistance of York, if needful-13 Regiments for Virginia & Carolinas, Major Genl.  Lee & four Brigadiers General in that department.  Commissioners are to set off for Canada in a few days; they have with them two Roman Catholic Gentlemen of Maryland warm Friends to the American Cause, one of them an Ecclesiastic; there is no doubt in my Opinion but that Province will be secured to the United Colonies. Baron De Woedlke who is taken into the Continental service is also going there….

Our Friends in England recommend Firmness in the strongest terms. Its fully expected that the late acts of Parliament (Justifying the Pirates in seizing & destroying American Property & confiscating all American Property where ever to be found) will cause a final separation.  In short, administration themselves can think no other as is evident from their setting scribblers to work to show that the Colonies are of but very little consequence to Britain….

Bow the knee to B?  God forbid.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.