Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: May 8, 1776

May 8, 1776

Governing by committees is on full display today. We don’t hear much from Robert Morris on the floor of the Second Congress, but he is working behind the scenes to secure ammunition and shipping at a reasonable price.

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress supported the recommendations of The Committee of Claims.

Letters from General Washington; William Palfrey, pay master general; Captain De la place, a prisoner; were referred to a committee of 5: Samuel Adams, George Wythe, Caesar Rodney, Richard Henry Lee, and William Whipple. A Letter from Joseph Woodward, chairman of the committee of the New Hampshire grants, was referred to a committee of five: Caesar Rodney, Benjamin Harrison, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Lynch, and Robert Alexander. A petition from Captain Gideon Warren was read.

The orders given by the Naval Committee– Stephen Hopkins, Chris Gadsden, Silas Deane, and Joseph Hewes– to Commodore Hopkins, Commander in Chief of the Fleet of the United Colonies, were laid before Congress read and referred to a committee of seven: Benjamin Harrison, John Adams, Thomas M’Kean, James Duane, Thomas Lynch, Roger Sherman, and William Livingston.

Information being given to Congress, that Kirkland, a prisoner, has escaped from jail, Resolved, That a committee 3– Thomas M’Kean, Thomas Lynch, and Elbridge Gerry–be appointed to devise ways and means to have him retaken.

Resolved, That whenever it shall appear to this Congress, that any officer or officers, bearing continental commissions, shall have departed from orders, that an enquiry shall be made.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to sell to Aaron Biddle and John Helm, 75 lbs. of powder, for the use of the inhabitants of Upper Penns Neck, in New Jersey.

Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to consider the state of the colonies; and, after some time spent thereon, Benjamin Harrison reported, that they have had under consideration the matters referred to them, but not having come to any resolution moved for leave to sit again.

Resolved, That this Congress will, tomorrow, again resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the state of the United Colonies.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Robert Morris to John Bradford

A Committee of Congress of which I am a Member have requested me to purchase a small fast sailing Vessel of about 80 to l00 Tons Burthen, either at Boston, Salem, Marblehead or Cape-Ann, whichever there is least danger of her being blocked up at, by our Enemies Cruisers.…. I request you will look out for the fastest sailing Vessel you can hear of, about the Burthen of 80 to 100 Tons. She is intended to Cross the Atlantic and…go & come safe. I know you are an excellent Judge and have no doubt you will procure one to our wishes. You will doubtless purchase her on the best terms in your power, let her have a clean bottom, be well fitted and sound, particularly with plenty of good Sails, this done you’l please to buy on the best terms in your power as much good dry Cod Fish Oil, Whale Bone, Pott Ash, Bees Wax or any other Articles suitable for the markets in the Bay of Biscay as will put said Vessel in a good Set of Ballast but no more. The more the Cargo is assorted the better and the more valuable the better, provided the Goods are well bought and good in quality. You will please to employ a Sprightly, Active, Sensible Man that is faithfully attached to the Interest of America to go Master of this Vessel, a Man of Spirit he should be because we shall direct her to be armed on the other side the Water. This business must be performed with all possible expedition.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.