Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: March 22, 1776

March 22, 1776

The focus today was the four hour debate over the draft of a Preamble or Declaration to the Privateering Act.  Should the King and Parliament, or just the King, be held responsible for the miseries of “the United Colonies?”

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from General Washington of the 13th, enclosing the proceedings of a council of war, and a letter from Lord Stirling, of the 19th, were laid before Congress and read.

Resolved, That a commission be granted to William Shippen to captain a privateer to protect the Virginia coast and that he be supplied with three hundred weight of powder by the Secret Committee, he paying for the same.

Resolved, That the petition of John Secord be referred to a committee of three: John Penn, Edward Rutledge, and John Jay.

Ordered, That the claims reported by the Committee of Claims be paid.

Resolved, That the sum of 750 dollars be advanced to the Baron de Woedtke, he to be accountable out of his pay.

Resolved, That the rank of all such officers in the continental army as held similar commissions in that service, before the term of their late appointment expired, be settled by the dates of their former, and not their present commissions.

Thomas Mc’Donough was elected to be a major in the Delaware battalion and provided funds in support of the battalion.

The committee appointed to prepare a declaration pursuant to certain resolutions, brought in a draught, which was read and after debate, was postponed till tomorrow.

Ordered, That the secretary publish the substance of the letters received from the Camp at Cambridge.

Resolved, That the marine committee be empowered to dispose of the coal on board the Blue Mountain Valley for the benefit of the United Colonies.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Richard Smith’s Diary

Votes read & Letters from General Washington, Lord Stirling and others.

Dr. Franklin moved that 750 Doll[ar]s be advanced to the Baron de Woedtke out of his Pay & this was agreed to.  He moved also to present the Baron with 250 Dollars to bear his Expenses in coming over Sea & to buy Horses &c.  Lee and others supported the Motion which was opposed by Duane & al. & carried in the Negative.

Wythe reported the Preamble about Privateering.  He and Lee moved an Amendment wherein the King was made the Author of our Miseries instead of the Ministry. [This] was opposed on Supposition that this was effectually severing the King from Us forever and ably debated for 4 Hours when Maryland interposed its Veto and put it off till tomorrow.  Chief Speakers for the Amendment: Lee, Chase, Serjeant, Harrison; against it Jay, Wilson, Johnson.  

Willing presented Heard’s Accounts and asked Whether Congress would allow Pay to the Minute Men who went on the late Expedition to Queens County.  This was denied….A Petition from a Sufferer in the Disputes at Wyoming was committed to 3, after Objection that it was improper for our Cognizance.  Agreed to grant Commissions to Captain William Shippen & his Officers who are about to cruise in a Privateer on or out of Chesapeake Bay, agreed also to sell Him lbs. 300 of Powder.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.