Second Continental Congress: March 26, 1776
March 26, 1776
Congress prepares for the funeral of fellow delegate Samuel Ward who dies of small pox,“the natural way.” Elbridge Gerry encourages James Warren to build on the victory in Boston and expresses his support for “independency,” and Joseph Hewes urges North Carolina to send additional delegates in order to share the burden in the Continental Congress.
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
The Congress being informed that Samuel Ward, one of the delegates of Rhode Island, yesterday, departed this life, Resolved, That this Congress will, in a body, attend the funeral of Mr. Ward, tomorrow, with a crape round the arm, and that the Congress continue in mourning for the space of one month.
Resolved, That Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Adams, and Oliver Wolcott, be a committee to superintend the funeral, and that they be directed to apply to the Rev. Samuel Stillman, and request him to preach a funeral sermon on the occasion:
That the said committee be directed to invite the assembly the council of safety of Pennsylvania, and other public bodies in Philadelphia, to attend the funeral.1
Resolved, That the privates of the companies ordered from Maryland in the Southern Department be allowed the pay of the privates in that department.
Resolved, That if the convention or council of safety in North Carolina shall judge it necessary for the common safety to raise one or two more battalions, the same, when armed fit for service and mustered, be taken into the pay of the continent.
Resolved, That an order be sent to Commodore Douglass, immediately to repair to the lakes, and take command of the vessels on that station.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock on Thursday.
Elbridge Gerry to James Warren [Speaker of the Massachusetts House]
I received with great Pleasure…the aggregable News of the Reduction of Boston…. What an Occurrence is this to be known in Europe? How are parliamentary pretensions to be reconciled to Facts? “Eight or ten thousand British Troops are sufficient to pervade America” & yet that Number of their best Veterans, posted in Boston…have done what?
The Congress have voted Thanks to the General, & all the Officers & Soldiers of Army for their Valor on this Occasion & ordered a Medal of Gold With a suitable Device to be presented the former….
I sincerely wish that You would originate Instructions expressed with decent Firmness (your natural Style) & give your Sentiments as a Count in Favor of Independency. I Am certain It would turn many doubtful Minds & produce a Reversion of the contrary Instructions adopted by some assemblies. To accomplish such a Reversion the Committee of Inspection of this City have preferred to the Assembly a petition for that purpose; & since some timid Minds are terrified at the Word Independency It may be well to give the Thing another Name….
Is it not curious that the British ministry should know so little of our feelings or character that after seizing our property, burning our towns and destroying their inhabitants, they should make an act to interdict our trade, and suppose that towns, counties and colonies will bury in oblivion all former abuses, and subscribe themselves slaves in order to be rescued from the severities of this commercial tyranny? This is an instance of the wisdom and policy of the British ministry! Have they not yet ascertained that we know our rights, or at least that we think we know them? Have they not learned that we can defend them too?
Joseph Hewes to Samuel Johnston (North Carolina Patriot)
You must make Salt or you will be undone. You must also make Salt Petre & powder if you mean to defend your liberties to the last extremity.
If you mean to have your province represented in Congress you must add one or two more delegates so that they may take it by turns, no man can attend constantly. [Editor’s Note. On May 1, 1776, the North Carolina Congress ignored Hewes’s advice and reappointed Hewes, William Hooper, and John Penn.] You know my Constitution and how it is affected by a constant attention to business. We sit till four, sometimes five o’Clock and I attend some Committee every night and frequently in the morning before Congress meets, I find myself declining….
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.