Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: May 25, 1775

May 25, 1775

After nearly a week of deliberations, Congress adopts the six resolutions respecting New York proposed by the Committee of the Whole.  Silas Deane captures the spirit of the debate. Stephen Hopkins informs his wife that “the Members of the Congress are nearly all here.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Samuel Ward reported that the committee of the whole had come to certain resolutions respecting New York, which he reported. But not having gone through the rest of the business referred to them, the committee requested “leave to sit again.” The six New York resolutions were read and agreed to.

1. Resolved, that a post be immediately taken and fortified at or near King’s bridge in the colony of New York, that the ground be chosen with a particular view to prevent the communication between the city of New York and the country from being interrupted by land.

2. Resolved, that a post be also taken in the highlands on each side of Hudson’s River and batteries erected in such manner as will most effectually prevent any vessels passing that may be sent to harass the inhabitants on the borders of said river; and that experienced persons be immediately sent to examine said river in order to discover where it will be most advisable and proper to obstruct the navigation.

3. Resolved, That the militia of New York be armed and trained and in constant readiness to act at a moments warning; and that a number of men be immediately Embodied and Kept in that city and so disposed of as to give protection to the inhabitants in case any insult should be offered by the troops, that may land there, and to prevent any attempts that may be made to gain possession of the city and interrupt its intercourse with the country.

4. Resolved, That it be left to the provincial congress of New York to determine the number of men sufficient to occupy the several posts above mentioned, and also that already recommended to be taken at or near lake George, as well as to guard the City, provided the whole do not exceed the number of three thousand men, to be commanded by such officers as shall be thereunto appointed by said provincial congress; and to be governed by such rules and regulations as shall be thereunto appointed by said provincial congress; and to be governed by such rules and regulations as shall be established by sd Congress until farther order is taken by this Congress; Provided also that if the sd provincial congress should be of opinion that the number proposed will not be sufficient for the several services above recommended, that the said Congress report their sentiments upon this subject to this Congress as soon as may be.

5. Resolved, That it be recommended to the said provincial congress that in raising those forces they allow no bounties or clothing, and that their pay shall not exceed the establishment of the New England colonies.

6. Resolved, That it be further recommended to the provincial Congress aforesaid that the troops be enlisted to serve until the last day of December next, unless this Congress shall direct that they be sooner disbanded.

A motion being made for an addition to the foregoing Resolutions, a debate arose thereon and after some debate the same was referred until tomorrow. Adjourned.

Silas Deane’s Diary

Motion [4] read–dispute about the Number of Men–4000. proposed.
Mr. McKean against so large a Number.
Mr. E Rutledge in favor.
S Deane in favor of the Number.
Jno. Adams in favor.
Mr. Pendleton for altering to 3000
Agreed To
To be left to the Congress at N York To raise, Officer &c, &c.

Stephen Hopkins to Ruth Hopkins

The Members of the Congress are nearly all here, had entered on business a Week before I arrived, but go on Slowly, and Heaven only knows when we Shall leave this place. The Small pox is much here and whether we Shall escape it or not nobody knows yet.

Washington Chauncey Ford, et al, eds., Journal of Congress

Ford cites George Bancroft Volume IV of his History of the United States: “On that same day [25th] Duane moved in the committee of the whole, that the opening of a negotiation to accommodate the unhappy disputes subsisting between Great Britain and the colonies be made a part of the petition to the king. After a warm debate of two days, to this the motion of Duane was added in spite of an unyielding opposition.”

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.