Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: March 21, 1776

March 21, 1776

Congress concentrates on the production and distribution of arms and ammunition.  The correspondence indicates that the Tories are losing on the battlefield and in the political arena.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from General Schuyler of March 7th was referred to the committee–George Wythe, Benjamin Harrison, and Samuel Adams–to whom his earlier letters were sent.

Resolved, That General Washington send an account of the troops in his camp, who are deficient in arms, to the several assemblies or conventions of the colonies, to which those men belong; and request them to send a sufficient number of arms and that those still without arms be dismissed.

Resolved, That the committee of safety of Pennsylvania employ some trusty persons in each county, to purchase as many good muskets as will be sufficient to arm the battalions raised in said colony; and that they exert their utmost diligence in procuring the said arms speedily, and on the most reasonable terms; that an order be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of said committee, for the sum of 12,000 dollars to enable them pay for said arms, the committee to be accountable.

Resolved, That the sum of 600 dollars be sent to Colonel Charles Stewart, and that he expedite the march of Captain Wolverton’s company to New York, agreeable to the orders of Congress; he to be accountable for the money put into his hands.

Resolved, That Monsieur le Chevalier de St. Aulaire be recommended to the commanding officer in Canada, and employed “suitable to his genius and ability.”

Resolved, That it be recommended to the several assemblies, conventions, councils or committees of safety, and committees of correspondence and inspection, that they 1) exert their utmost endeavors to promote the culture of hemp, flax, and cotton, and the growth of wool in these United Colonies and 2) take the earliest measures for erecting and establishing, in each and every colony a society for the improvement of agriculture, arts, manufactures, and commerce.

That it be recommended to the said assemblies, conventions, and councils or committees of safety, that, they forthwith consider of ways and means of encouraging the manufactures of duck and sail cloth and steel.

Resolved, That a committee of three be chosen–James Wilson, Benjamin Harrison, and Andrew Allen–to superintend the printing the Journals of Congress.

Colonel Magaw, agreeable to the order of yesterday, sent two samples of spears.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Richard Smith’s Diary

John Adams from a Committee reported some Resolutions which were amended and passed recommending that the Colonies encourage the Culture of Flax, Hemp, Cotton and the Increase of Wool, to form a Society in each Colony for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, Agriculture and Commerce &c.  

Some Letters and Papers from North Carolina were read giving an account of the Defeat of the Tories by Colonel Caswell.  

John Hancock to George Washington

I have Sent Two hundred & Fifty Thousand Dollars for the use of the Army under your Command, to the Care of Thomas Hanson, John Donaldson & Moses Franks Esqrs. Gentlemen of Character, who I am Confident will meet your Notice.

John Adams to James Warren

What a mighty Question is before the Tribunal of the Public.  The Decision is yet in suspense, but a Guess may be formed what it will be.

You will soon see a set of Resolutions, which will please you. The Continental Vessels, the Provincial Vessels, and Letters of Marque and Privateers will be let loose upon British Trade.  I hope and believe it will not be long before Trade will be open.  Foreign Nations, all the World I hope will be invited to come here, and our People permitted to go to all the World….I think the Utmost Encouragement must be given to Trade-and therefore We must lay no Duties at present upon Exports and Imports- nor attempt to confine our Trade to our own Bottoms, or our own seamen.

The Act of Assembly here for Seventeen additional Representatives, will give a finishing Blow to the Quaker Interest in this City-at least to its ascendency.  It will strip it of all that unjust and unequal Power, which it formerly had over the Balance of the Province.  The Tories here, attribute this Maneuver to your Friends to whom you are sometimes so partial.  If the Charge is true the Posterity of Pennsylvania will have cause to bless your Friends from Generation to Generation…. I am inclined to hope, that a small Portion of this Merit, is due to me.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.