Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: May 14, 1776

May 14, 1776

Congress continues to manage the war effort. Caesar Rodney writes about the Resolution of Congress Recommending that the colonies “(Who have not already done it) to assume Regular Government,” i.e. to create state constitutions.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Letters from General Washington, General Schuyler, and from Daniel Robertson, were laid before Congress, read, and referred to a committee of three: William Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

The petition of Dr. Benjamin Church was settled.

Rhode Island chose two delegates–Stephen Hopkins and William Ellery–to Congress.

The committee, to whom the letter from General Washington of the 5th, and the letter from Captain Delaplace of the 2d, &c. were referred, brought in their report, which was taken into consideration and resolved.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to deliver to Colonel Jacob Ford, Junior three tons of salt petre, to be by him manufactured into gun powder for the use of the United Colonies, on the same terms as others have agreed to manufacture it. 

That the said committee be directed to 1) sell to Joseph Ellis, 400 lb. of powder, and a quantity of iron ball, sufficient for 900 lb. of powder, for the defense of New Jersey and 2) deliver to Colonel Bird, 200 lb. of powder, to prove the cannon he has made for the United Colonies.

That the committee appointed to contract for the making cannon, be directed to employ proper persons to attend and see that the cannon works.

Resolved, That eight battalions be fully operative in the eastern department.

A letter from General Lee of the 7th, and sundry papers, was laid before Congress, read, and referred to the committee to whom a former letter of Lee, was referred.

Resolved, That Martin Strobach be discharged from the marines in order to apply for a lieutenancy in the Pennsylvania artillery company.

 Congress considered the report of the committee on the eastern department, the resolves from the officers, and a petition from the committee of privates of the military association of the city and liberties of Philadelphia.

Resolved, That an additional Major General and Brigadier General be appointed in the continental army.

Resolved, That General Washington be directed to order a major general forthwith to take the command in the eastern department, and also that he order a brigadier general on that service.  Resolved, That the election of the major general and brigadier general be postponed till tomorrow.

Resolved, That this Congress will, tomorrow, resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their farther consideration the resolves of the officers and the petition from the committee of privates of the military association of the city and liberties of Philadelphia.

The Congress took into consideration the report of the committee, to whom the letter from the committee of safety of New Hampshire, and other papers from that colony, were referred.  Resolved, That one battalion be raised in New Hampshire for the service of the United Colonies.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to send to General Washington, the muskets that are at Newport.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow,

Caesar Rodney to John Haslet

You will find published in the next paper of tomorrow a Matter of such importance as ought and No doubt will, Command Your serious Attention. It is no less than a Resolution of Congress Recommending it to the Assemblies or Conventions of all those Colonies (Who have not already done it) to assume Regular Government, that the several Colonies may be Competent to the opposition now making, and which may tend to the good Order and well being of the people. In Short, the Absurdity of a Governor and Magistrate holding their Authority under our principal Enemy must be Evident to everyone….

It is impossible to tell how long the War may last; And no prudent man would choose to Trust himself long, without the Security of a regular Established Government….

The Continuing to Swear Allegiance to the power that is Cutting our throats, and attesting Jurors to keep the Secrets and try offenders against the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, &c is Certainly absurd.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.