Second Continental Congress: May 28, 1776
May 28, 1776
1) Congress decides to regulate the price of salt, 2) Canada is still very much on the minds of the delegates, and 3) several colonies decide to become independent states.
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
The Committee that considered a mode for regulating the price of salt, recommended That some persons possessed of large quantities of salt imported before the late restrictions on our trade have taken an undue advantage of the recommendation of Congress to desist from any further regulation of the prices of merchandize, by demanding an extravagant price for that necessary article.
That though regulations of that nature on trade tend to discourage Commerce and increase the scarcity which they were designed to remove, yet that the same is not applicable to salt, unless it is sold so high as to be very burthensome to the poor, as it can only be imported in large vessels the risk of which is extremely great.
That in order to remedy this inconvenience without burdening trade it will be proper to fix the price of salt now in the Country, or hereafter to be imported or manufactured, when sold at the place into which the same is imported, or at which it is manufactured.
Resolved, That Colonel Turbutt Francis attend the next conference with the Indians, and assist in interpreting for them.
Samuel Chase and Charles Carroll of Carrollton to Philip Schuyler
We believe the Generals will find it very difficult to supply the Army here with flour, therefore whatever you can furnish send with the utmost expedition. Our Army is so weakened with the small pox and so badly provided in other respects that we are of Opinion if Carleton should be reinforced with three thousand Regulars it will not be in our power to continue in Canada much above three weeks, unless we should receive a considerable reinforcement of Men who have had the small Pox, flour and Cash.
Regiments of General Sullivan’s brigade most of whom it is said have had the smallpox Should be sent immediately to Canada….Thursday a council of War will be held by the General & Several field Officers at Chambly to consider of what is most eligible to be done in our present situation.
New Hampshire Delegates to Meshech Weare
Our misfortune in that Country [Canada] is imputed to tardiness of that & two other New England Regiments, if that Regiment had Marched at the time we expected, & frequently asserted, the evil might have been averted; we hope (for the Honor of the Colony) there will be a strict inquiry made and the cause of the delay fully investigated, that the Officers (if they are faulty) may be brought to justice.
The Convention of Virginia have instructed their delegates to use their endeavors that Congress should declare the United Colonies a Free independent state, North Carolina have signified the same desires. South Carolina & Georgia will readily Accede. The Proprietary Governments will be the last to agree to this necessary step, the disaffected in them are now exerting themselves but their exertions are no more than the last struggles of expiring factions. We hope in a few months Civil Governments will be established in all the United Colonies on a firm & permanent Basis. We should be glad to know the sentiment of our Colony on the important subject of a total separation from Great Britain. Let our own opinions be what they may, we think ourselves in duty bound, to act agreeable to the sentiments of our constituents. [On June 15, the New Hampshire Assembly instructed its delegates in Congress “to join with the other Colonies in Declaring The Thirteen United Colonies, A Free and Independent State.”]
Richard Henry Lee to Thomas Ludwell Lee
Colonel Nelson is not arrived, but I suppose he will by this day’s night, about which time I shall set out for Virginia, and after resting at home a day or two, will attend the Convention at Williamsburg. [Thomas Nelson arrived between June 9 and June 12 and attended until August 11. Lee left Philadelphia on June 13.] The sensible and spirited resolve of my Countrymen on the 15th has gladdened the heart of every friend to human nature in this place, and it will have a wonderful good effect on the misguided Councils of these Proprietary Colonies…. [On May 15 a committee was charged to draft a declaration of rights and a plan of government for Virginia]
We have not lately heard from Canada, but we hope for better news soon than our last. A potent push will assuredly be made there this Summer by our enemies, and if we can prevent them from communicating with the Upper Country, and thereby debauching the Indians, we shall answer every good purpose there…. Let no consideration interrupt your attention to the making of Common Salt, Salt Petre & Arms; and every kind of encouragement should be given to all sorts of useful manufacture.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.