Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: May 31, 1775

May 31, 1775

The Committee of the Whole considers “the state of America,” especially Ticonderoga. Benjamin Franklin proposes resolutions of thanks to those people in Britain who support the American cause and proposed a reconciliation.

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole to further consider the state of America. The Pennsylvania delegates laid some papers before the Congress that were referred to the committee of the whole. After some time spent, the president resumed the chair, and Samuel Ward reported that they had made progress in the business, but not yet having finished, moved for leave to sit again.

Resolved, That the Congress will, tomorrow, again resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to further consider the state of America.

A Letter from Col. Arnold, dated Crown Point, 23 May, 1775, was laid before the Congress, informing that he had certain intelligence, that “on the 19th there were then 400 regulars at St. John’s, making all possible preparations to cross the lake, and expected to be joined by a number of Indians, with a design of retaking Crown-point and Ticonderogo,” and earnestly calling for a reinforcement and supplies.

Resolved, That the Governor of Connecticut send a strong reinforcement to the garrisons of Crown Point and Ticonderogo, and that cannon and other stores be retained as may be necessary for the immediate defense of those posts, until further orders from Congress, and that the provincial Convention of New York be informed of this resolve, and to furnish those troops with provisions and other necessary stores, and that a sufficient number of Batteaus be immediately provided for the lakes.

Ordered, That the above resolve be immediately transmitted in a letter to Governor Trumbull, and the convention of New York.

Ordered, That the president acquaint Governor Trumbull, that Congress wishes that he should appoint a person to command the forces at Crown Point and Ticonderogo.

Adjourned till tomorrow at 9 o’Clock.

Benjamin Franklin’s Proposed Resolutions

That the Thanks of this Congress, and of all America, and in our Opinion of Britain likewise, are due to the Right Honorable the Earl of Chatham; for his benevolent Endeavors to accommodate the present unhappy Differences, and particularly for the wise & excellent Plan he offered in the House of Lords for that purpose, which was rejected by their Lordships without Consideration, and which if it had been received & attended to, might have been the Basis of a Reconciliation & lasting Agreement. [Editor’s Note. Chatham introduced his plan for “Settling the Troubles in America” on February was rejected by the House of Lords on February 1, 1775]

That the Thanks of the Congress be presented likewise to Edmund Burke and to David Hartley, for their generous Endeavors in the same common Service to the whole British Empire. That Thanks be also presented to the Right Reverend The Bishop of St. Asaph, for his most excellent Sermon & Speech on American Affairs. And to all the noble Lords & Commoners in both Houses of Parliament who have been pleased to espouse the Cause of our much injured & oppressed Country.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.