Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: May 23, 1776

May 23, 1776

Congress anticipates the visit of General Washington and Caesar Rodney writes that the people of Philadelphia “have acted rather unwisely,” in light of an anticipated force arriving from Britain.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That a committee of five– Benjamin Harrison, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, James Wilson, and Edward Rutledge–be appointed to confer with General Washington, Major General Gates, and Brigadier General Mifflin, upon the most speedy and effectual means for supporting the American cause in Canada.

Resolved, That the committee appointed to contract for the making fire arms order the manager of the continental factory to be more expeditious in arming the continental battalion under Colonel Shee’s command.  And that the committee bring in a resolution for promoting and encouraging the making of good fire arms.

A letter from Charles Miller to Joseph Trumbull, the commissary general, was read and referred to a committee of three: William Whipple, Elbridge Gerry, and Francis Lightfoot Lee.

Congress settled the James M’Knight and the sloop Sally issue.

Ordered, That General Washington attend Congress tomorrow.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Caesar Rodney to Thomas Rodney

The people in this City I think have Acted rather unwisely. They have Called a Town Meeting-by which they have determined to apply to the Committees of Inspection of the Several Counties throughout the province, to depute a Certain number of each of those Committees to meet together at Philadelphia, And there agree on, and order What number of Members Shall be Elected by the people in Each County within the province, to meet in Convention at Philadelphia, The Whole number for the Province to be One hundred. This Convention is to be Chosen for the Special purpose of Laying the plan of Government-and when that is Done, and an Assembly Chosen and Returned agreeable to Such plan, the Convention is to be dissolved. This mode for Establishing a Government appears to be, and really is very fair. Yet I think they are unwise, Because we are Certain that a very powerful force is Expected from England against us, some are Come, the rest will undoubtedly Arrive before Midsummer. We shall be Obliged to Exert every Nerve, at every point, and we well know how necessary Regular Government is to this End-and by their Mode it will be impossible for them to have any Government for three months to Come, and during that time much Confusion. If the present Assembly Should take Order in the Matter, the work would be done in one Quarter of the time. However many of the Citizens seem to have little or no Confidence in the Assembly.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.