Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: March 5, 1776

March 5, 1776

Congress faces the regular difficulties of 1) managing the war effort in terms of the availability of arms and troops, 2) responding to decisions made in Britain, 3) replying to the correspondence sent by army commanders in the field and 4) distinguishing between matters that are primarily local and those that are continental.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from James Deane to General Schuyler, for example, was referred to a committee of three: Edward Rutledge, George Wythe, and William Livingston

“After some time” debating, Congress also sent a letter from Washington dated February 14 “to the committee to whom the letters from the General, dated 24 and 30 January were referred.”

The Congress took into consideration the report of the committee to whom was referred among other things, the memorial of a number of inhabitants of the county of Northumberland, brought in their report, which was read and agreed to.

Resolved, that the said memorial with the papers therewith delivered, be transmitted to the general assembly of said colony.

Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the letter from General Washington of the 14 February, with the enclosed letter from Lord Drummond to General Robertson, and after some time the president resumed the chair, and Benjamin Harrison reported that the committee have considered both letters, but have come to no resolution.

Resolved, That the letter of General Washington, so far as has not come under consideration of the committee of the whole, be referred to the committee to whom the letters from the General, dated 24 and 30 January were referred.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

William Whipple to John Langdon

A Brig arrived this morning from Holland with 27 1/2 tons gun powder, some salt petre and 300 arms. 10 tons was immediately ordered to the camp.  Brigadier General Thomas is advanced to the rank of Major General and ordered to Canada.  A committee also set off for that place in a few days. The committee are Dr Franklin, Mr Chase and a Roman Catholic gentleman belonging to Maryland. [Charles Carroll of Carrollton.]

Josiah Bartlett to John Langdon

Congress [has constantly declared] not to interfere with internal Government of any of the Colonies, any further than to recommend to them to adopt such forms, as they shall think best calculated, to promote the quiet and peace of the Society, leaving every Colony to take such government as is most agreeable to the majority, during the present dispute…. Yesterday a vessel arrived here with twenty seven tons and a half of powder, 5 tons of salt petre, 300 stand of arms.

I expect in 10 or 15 days to set out for New Hampshire to see how affairs go in with you, when I hope to have the pleasure to see you well.

Richard Smith’s Diary

4 or 5 Hours were spent in Grand Committee.  Colonel Harrison in the Chair, on Lord Drummond’s Letter to General Robertson. Wyth offered a set of Propos[ition]s importing that no Public Bodies or private Persons other than the Congress or the People at large ought to treat for Peace &c which were negatived 8 colonies to 3 & one not fully represented….The Letter ordered to remain with our Papers & the President desired to acquaint General Washington that the Congress agree in Sentiment with him on the Subject.  The rest of the General’s Letter was referred to a former Committee. It appeared that Lord Drummond had conversed with several Delegates as E. Rutledge, Wilson and Duane on the Subject of Pacification and, unauthorized by the Ministry, had thrown out his own Ideas of what the Ministry would concede and expect and had endeavored to draw from those Members what Congress would demand & accede to on their Part.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.