Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: May 30, 1776

May 30, 1776

Congress 1) debates numerous committee reports and 2) regulates the price of salt. John Adams believes that, finally, “the die is cast.” And Caesar Rodney gives a positive progress report—with the exception of Pennsylvania—on the response to the Congressional Resolution calling for the adoption of state governments.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress considered the report of the committee on the mode of regulating the price of salt.  Resolved to regulate the behavior of “avaricious, ill designing men,” who have extorted from the people “a most exorbitant price for salt.”

The Committee, to whom the letter from Joseph Woodward, chairman of the committee of the New Hampshire grants, was referred, and who were directed to hear the persons mentioned in said letter, brought in their report, which was read and resolved: that the petitioners, for the present, submit to the government of New York, and join the contest between Britain and the united colonies; and that, when tranquility be restored, Congress will re-consider the subject matter of the petition.

The committee who considered what kind of reward should be given to the person who brought recent intelligence from England, brought in their report.  Resolved, That he receive his pay, being a soldier in Captain Morgan’s company of riflemen, to be continued from the time of his captivity until the 15th day of June next, and a gratuity.

A petition from Captain Herman Allen was presented to Congress, and read.

An extract of a letter from a person in Bermuda, dated April 26th, and May 1st, to a person in Philadelphia, was presented, read, and resolved That it be referred to the committee appointed to examine the most proper ports to be fortified.

Resolved, That six of the heaviest cannon at Newport, and fourteen of the heaviest cannon at New London, be transported to Philadelphia as soon as possible. That a copy of this resolution be sent to the governors of Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The Congress debated the report of the committee appointed to confer with General Washington, Major General Gates, and Brigadier General Mifflin; and, after some debate, Resolved That the General be authorized to direct the building as many fire rafts, row gallies, armed boats, and floating batteries as may be necessary, and suitable for the immediate defense of the port of New York, and Hudson’s river.

Resolved, That this Congress will tomorrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to further consider the report of the Committee of Conference.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

John Adams to Samuel Cooper [Congregational minister in Boston]

You have given me great Pleasure by your account of the Spirit and Activity of our People, their Skill and success in fortifying the Town and Harbor: But there are several Things still wanting, in my Judgment. I never shall be happy, until every unfriendly Flag is driven out of sight, and the Light House Island, Georges and Lovells Islands, and the East End of Long Island are secured….

We are making the best Provision we can, for the Defense of America. I believe We shall make Provision for 70,000 Men in the three Departments the Northern, including Canada, the middle, and the southern. The Die is cast. We must all be soldiers and fight pro Aris et Focis. [For hearth and home] I hope there is not a Gentleman in the Massachusetts Bay, not even in the Town of Boston, who thinks himself too good to take his Firelock and his Spade. Such imminent Dangers level all Distinctions. You must before now, have seen Some important Resolutions of this Congress, as well as of Separate Colonies.

Caesar Rodney to Thomas Rodney

You tell me you are proceeding on the Recommendation of Congress by way of Instruction to the members of the House for that county. [Thomas Rodney to Caesar Rodney, May 26, 1776] I fully approve the methods and hope You will proceed in the business Deliberately, Coolly and persuasively, but diligently. I don’t doubt the Assembly will Act prudently. If otherwise, it will then be time Enough for the people to take the Matter up in another way. The Recommendation of Congress was certainly Meant to go to the Assemblies, Where there were such who had Authority to Set; and the people of this province having taken the matter up upon other Grounds have occasioned very great disturbance, Such as I would not wish to see in our Government.

The Colonies of North-Carolina and Virginia have both by their Conventions for Independence by a Unanimous Vote, and have Instructed their members to move and Vote for it in Congress reserving to Each Colony the exclusive right to frame government for it’s Self. The Convention of North-Carolina has appointed a Committee (of its own Body) to draw up and Report to them a plan of Government. South Carolina and all the New-England Colonies have declared off some time Since. When these things are known to the people they will no doubt have great weight with them….

[Several Battalions] Were all Reviewed the day before Yesterday, on the Common, by the Congress, Generals Washington, Gates and Mifflin accompanied by a great number of other officers, most of the Assembly, the Presbyterian Clergy who were here at the Synod-and 21 Indians of the Six Nations who gave the Congress a War-dance Yesterday….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.