One of the most important early activities is the laying down of rules that aim to encourage deliberation and discourage grandstanding. The aim of Congress was to prepare for war and at the same time hold open a restoration of relations with Britain. George Read provides his wife with his daily schedule.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Stephen Hopkins from Rhode Island and Patrick Henry from Virginia “took their seats in Congress.”
Resolved, “That the Rules of conduct to be observed in debating and determining questions laid down by the last Congress be adopted and observed by the present Congress.”
The Congress received information that “Ticonderogo” had been taken by a “cruel [British] invasion from the province of Quebec, upon these colonies, for the purpose of destroying our lives and liberties.”
Resolved, this Congress earnestly recommend it to the committees of the cities and counties of New York and Albany, immediately to cause the said cannon and military stores to be removed from Ticonderogo… and if necessary to apply to the colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, and Connecticut, for such an additional body of forces as will be sufficient to establish a strong post at that place and effectually to secure the said cannon and stores or so many of them as it may be judged proper to keep there.–And that an exact inventory be taken of all such cannon and stores in order that they may be safely returned when the restoration of the former harmony between Great Britain and these colonies so ardently wished for by the latter shall render it prudent and consistent with the overruling law of self-preservation.”
Adjourned till tomorrow at 9 o’Clock.
George Read to Gertrude Read
The life I lead here in some measure will Account for it. I prepare in the Morning for the Meeting at 9 O’Clock and often do not return to my lodgings ’till that time at Night. We sit in Congress generally to half past 3 O’Clock, and once ’till after 5 O’Clock & then dine at the City Tavern where a few of us have established A table for each day in the Week save Saturday when there is A general dinner. Our daily table is formed by the following persons at present, to wit Messrs. Randolph, Lee, Washington, and Harrison of Virginia, Alsop of New York, Chase of Maryland, and Rodney & Read. A dinner is ordered for the number 8 and whatever is deficient of that number is to be paid for at 2/6 A head and each that attends pays only the Expense of the day. I have dined there thrice in this Way as I find it very disagreeable to keep A table covered for me to these late Hours at my brother’s.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.