Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: May 7, 1776

May 7, 1776

Congress, as usual, focuses on several letters and also on the war effort in North Carolina.  William Wipple reminds us that the quest for independency is the central issue.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That letters from 1) General Washington, May 5, 2) John G. Frazer, April 14, 3) prisoners at Hartford, March 21, and 4) Le F. of St. Eustace, April 1 be referred to a committee of three: Samuel Adams, Carter Braxton, and James Duane.  The letter received yesterday from General Lee was also be referred to the committee.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to sell to the petitioners 600 lb. of powder to John Bayard, P. Moore, and John Patt.

Resolved, That the treasurers pay Monsr. Giasson, a Canadian prisoner.

The Congress considered the report of the committee on the papers laid before Congress by the delegates of North Carolina.

Resolved, That another battalion raised, in North Carolina, in addition to the five battalions already ordered, be taken into the pay and service of the United Colonies and that a deputy quarter master general be appointed for the southern department to serve in North Carolina.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee provide ammunition for the troops in North Carolina.  That the Committee on Qualifications purchase a chest of medicines and instruments, and forward the same to North Carolina, for each of the six battalions.

The Congress proceeded to the election of a deputy quarter master general for the southern department to be employed in North Carolina. Nicholas Long was elected and given the rank of a Colonel in the army of the United Colonies.

The convention of North Carolina recommended sundry gentlemen for field officers of the six battalions. Congress chose 18 people, 3 for each battalion.  Among those chosen was Alexander Martin.

Resolved, That the committee appointed to purchase stockings for the troops in Canada, be directed to apply to the general assemblies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and request them to assist in procuring said stockings.

The Congress took into consideration the memorial from the committee of safety of Pennsylvania.  Resolved, That twenty of the heaviest cannon, taken by Commodore Hopkins, at New Providence, be brought to Philadelphia, and delivered to the committee of safety and to remain there at the pleasure of Congress.

Congress elected Charles Scott to replace William Peachy, colonel of the 5th Virginia battalion, and Alexander Spotswood was elected Lieutenant Colonel of the second battalion to replace Scott.

Resolved, That the iron cannon, brought from Ticonderoga to Boston, and have not been removed by General Washington, be lent for the defense of Boston, and to remain there at the pleasure of Congress.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

William Whipple to Joseph Whipple [Brother and Customs Officer]

I don’t wonder at your anxiety to know the disposition of Congress Respecting the most important Question before them. I should be happy was it in my power to satisfy you on this head, but it is not. Thus much I’ll tell you under the Rose [in secrecy].

The four Northern Colonies are perfectly united, South Carolina have taken a form of Government, North Carolina are doing the same (the Convention of the latter have unanimously declared for Independency), I daily expect to hear Virginia has done the same, New Jersey will undoubtedly follow the example, there is but very little doubt of New York, The Propriety Colonies are coming over with great Rapidity. From this state of matters you may judge the day is not far distant when there will be such a Power, as the free & Independent states of America….

Our affairs in Canada have not been so successful as I could wish, this is owing to delay!  However that expedition is now going on with more spirit…. The Commissioners are also there e’er now. The southern Department in all probability will be the seat of war this summer, this plan will be consistent with the wisdom of the British Court, that is: consistent with all their other plans respecting America. The Climate will no doubt kill more than the sword. May the supreme director of all events ever afford them a Hushai to direct their Counsels. [Hushai betrayed Absolom.  Second Book of Samuel]

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.