Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: May 22, 1776

May 22, 1776

Congress deals with hard money, letters from General Washington, and the war effort in Canada. John Adams praises Abigail.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The petitions of James M’Knight and P. Simmons were addressed.

Resolved, That the Marine Committee, be instructed to procure an exact account of the number and weight of the cannon lately taken at Providence.  Resolved, That the Naval Committee inquire how far Commodore Hopkins has complied with the said instructions. And That the committee have power to send for witnesses and papers.

The Congress resumed the consideration of the report of the committee on the letters from General Washington, &c. received on May 16th and 18th.

Resolved, That 1) the instructions given to Mr. Price by General Schuyler be approved, 2) General Schuyler be directed to take any further measures for supplying the army in Canada with provisions, 3) he be informed of the difficulty of procuring specie, and directed to purchase such necessaries as can be obtained in these colonies, and to appoint store keepers, and other officers, for the sale and distribution thereof 4) he open such roads as will facilitate the communication between the eastern Colonies and Ticonderoga, 5) he consider the propriety of throwing up works at Ile au Noix, and sending a small supply of provisions thither, in order to secure a retreat, if (unfortunately) our army should be driven to the necessity of evacuating Canada.

That General Schuyler be informed, that Congress have in view these two great objects, the protection and assistance of our Canadian friends, and the retaining securing so much of that country as may prevent any communication between our enemies and the Indians: The means of effecting these purposes by fortifying proper posts, building armed vessels where most expedient, opening roads of communication or otherwise, are left to the determination of a council or councils of war, governing themselves by events and their knowledge of the country:

That General Washington, or the commanding officer at New York, be directed to send from thence to Ticonderoga, so many light cannon as will be sufficient to arm the vessels now in Lake Champlain:

That the attention of the commissioners in Canada to the restoration of order and discipline, and to the punishment of those by whom they are violated, deserves the approbation of Congress.

That the specie now in the treasury, and as much more as can be procured, not exceeding the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, be immediately remitted to the commissioners for the payment of debts due from these colonies in Canada, and for the preservation of public credit.

That the commissioners in Canada be directed, if necessary, to appoint proper persons to collect and audit the public accounts in that province and That they, and General Schuyler, be informed, that we cannot insure them of maintaining our army there by hard money; but, that [this ought not to discourage our operations, Congress being] determined to send, from these colonies, supplies of provisions and all other necessaries, if hard money cannot be obtained; and that, in the meantime, the best endeavors shall be used to procure the sum of one hundred thousand dollars in hard money:

That some person dsw[or persons be employed by the president in New England,] as an agent or agents, to procure, if possible, hard money, to the amount of one hundred thousand dollars, [and as soon as a considerable sum is obtained, the said agents be directed to transmit the same to the commissioners of Congress in Canada, for the use of the army there, and in case of the absence of the commissioners, the same to be delivered to the deputy pay master general]

That the Commanders in Canada be directed (if unhappily our army sh’d be reduced to the necessity of evacuating that Colony,) to receive into our pay all those who have adhered to us, and shall wish to leave that country, and to render every assistance in their power to such of them as cannot be provided for in that way, and to give them the firmest assurances of the aid and protection of Congress.

That such present be made to the Indians on the delivery of the hatchet, as the commissioners in Canada think prudent:

That 500,000 dollars be sent as soon as possible to General Schuyler.

That Surgeons and mates be added to the Hospital in Canada and that Doctor Stringer be directed to procure them.

The Committee of Claims reported, that there were several claims due. Congress Ordered, That the said accounts be paid.

Resolved, That General Washington be empowered to appoint an assistant clerk to his secretary, with the pay of 40 dollars per month.

Resolved, That an order for 10,500 dollars be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of the delegates of Connecticut, to be by them transmitted to the governor and council of said colony, for the use of the battalion ordered to be raised there by a resolution of the 16 instant, the said governor and council to be accountable.

That an order for 21,000 dollars be drawn on the treasurers in favor of the delegates of Massachusetts bay, to be by them transmitted to the Assembly of said Colony, for the use of the two battalions ordered to be raised there and that the pay of the said three battalions commence from the time they are armed and mustered:

That an order for 10,500 dollars be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of the delegates of New Hampshire, to be by them transmitted to the Council of said colony, for the use of the battalion ordered to be raised there, by a resolution of the 14th Instant, the said Council to be accountable.

The Congress considered the report of the committee for superintending the treasury. Resolved, That the five millions of dollars, directed to be emitted in continental bills of credit, shall consist of the following denominations:

That the inspectors of the press for the last emission, be directed and authorized, to perform that service for the present emission, being first qualified agreeable to the resolution of Congress, passed the 21st of February last:

That the gentlemen appointed to sign and number the bills of credit of the last emission, be authorized to sign and number the bills of credit of five millions of dollars now agreed to be emitted, taking, before they shall enter upon their office, the oath or affirmation prescribed by the resolution of Congress of the 9th of March last:

That the plates engraved for the two first emissions, shall be used in the emission now directed, and that the bills be expressed with certain words.

The committee, appointed to examine and ascertain the value of the several species of gold and silver coins current in these colonies, and the proportions they ought respectively to bear to Spanish milled dollars, brought in their report, which was read:

The Committee appointed on the 19th of April, to ascertain the value of the several species of gold and silver current in these colonies, and the proportion they and each of them bear and ought to bear to Spanish milled dollars, have taken the same into consideration and

Resolved, that the several gold and silver coins passing in the said colonies shall be received into the public treasury of the continent, and paid out in exchange for bills emitted by authority of Congress, when the same shall become due, at the rates set down in a table.

Resolved, that a deduction at the rate of one twenty ninth part of a Dollar per Grain shall be made on all gold coins falling short of the weight specified in the aforesaid Table, and an advance at the same rate shall be allowed on such as exceed the aforesaid weight.

Resolved, that the value of all other gold coin in these Colonies all parts of the several Gold Coin before enumerated shall be rated in Just proportion to those contained in according to the foregoing table according to their weight and fineness: and that Goldnot coined in Bullion shall be at the rate of Seventeen Dollars per ounce Troy weight Sterling alloy, and silver at one Dollar and one ninth of a Dollar per ounce.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

John Adams to Abigail Adams

General Washington will be here tomorrow-when We shall consult and deliberate, concerning the Operations of the ensuing Campaign. [Editor’s Note. See Journal of Congress, May 23 and 24, 1776]

We have dismal Accounts from Europe, of the Preparations against Us. This Summer will be very important to Us. We shall have a severe Trial of our Patience, Fortitude and Perseverance. But I hope we shall do valiantly and tread down our Enemies….
I am a lonely, forlorn, Creature here. It used to be some Comfort to me, that I had a servant, and some Horses-they composed a Sort of Family for me. But now, there is not one Creature here, that I seem to have any Kind of Relation to….

Your Sentiments of the Duties We owe to our Country, are such as become the best of Women, and the best of Men. Among all the Disappointments, and Perplexities, which have fallen to my share in Life, nothing has contributed so much to support my Mind, as the choice Blessing of a Wife, whose Capacity enabled her to comprehend, and whose pure Virtue obliged her to approve the Views of her Husband. This has been the cheering Consolation of my Heart, in my most solitary, gloomy and disconsolate Hours. In this remote Situation, I am deprived in a great Measure of this Comfort. Yet I read, and read again your charming Letters, and they serve me, in some faint degree as a substitute for the Company and Conversation of the Writer.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.