Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 14, 1775

November 14, 1775

Silas Deane encourages Thomas Mumford to be of service to the Continent, John Adams urges restraint in the face of “burning towns, so disgraceful to the English name and character.” To Joseph Ward he pronounces that “Virtue, my young Friend, Virtue alone is or can be the Foundation of our new Governments, and it must be encouraged by Rewards, in every Department civil and military.”

Link to date-related documents

Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Several matters to this day postponed.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.

Silas Deane to Thomas Mumford (A Connecticut Merchant)

I received your’s per your Brother just as I was leaving Philadelphia for this place….

The Terms most suitable to The Committee are, for you to take up the Vessels, and load them, on Commissions, at risk of the Continent. Your Neighbor contracted in this way, and though I have not the strongest Faith in him, yet I should have appeared singular, had I refused him the Chance, which others obtained, & Mr Alsop was in his favor in the Committee. No Time is to be lost in this Affair. I shall complete The Business I came here upon, in Two Days more & then return to Philadelphia. Is there a single Decked Vessel in your Neighborhood which will carry Sixteen Guns? If there is write Me. Can you contract for a Ship that shall Carry Thirty Nine-pounders to be off the Stocks in March next? This hint will enable you to judge of my Business here, and that you may possibly be of Service to yourself, & Country by coming down to Philadelphia.

John Adams to Joseph Ward (Secretary and Aide to General Artemas Ward)

The report you mention, that Congress have resolved upon a free trade, is so far from being true that you must have seen by the public papers before now that they have resolved to stop all trade until next March. What will be done then time will discover. This winter I hope will be improved in preparing some kind of defense for trade. I hope the Colonies will do this separately. But these subjects are too important and intricate to be discussed in a narrow compass, and too delicate to be committed to a private letter.

The report that Congress has resolved to have no more connections, &c., until they shall be indemnified, for the damages done by the tyranny of their enemies, will not be true perhaps so soon as some expect it. Verbal resolutions accomplish nothing. It is to no purpose to declare what we will or will not do in future times. Let reasoning Men infer what we shall do from what we actually do.

The late conduct, in burning towns, so disgraceful to the English name and character, would justify anything, but similar barbarity. Let us preserve our temper, our wisdom, our humanity and civility, though our enemies are every day renouncing theirs. But let us omit nothing necessary for the security of our cause.

You are anxious for Arnold. So are we, and for Montgomery too, until this day, when an express has brought us the refreshing news of the capitulation of St. Johns-for Arnold I am anxious still-God grant him success.

John Adams to William Tudor (Judge Advocate of the Continental Army)

Virtue, my young Friend, Virtue alone is or can be the Foundation of our new Governments, and it must be encouraged by Rewards, in every Department civil and military….

[P.S.] Wearing an Uniform and receiving Pay is not all. I want to see an Emulation among our young Gentlemen, which shall be the most perfect Master of all the Languages and Arts which are subservient to Politics and War. Politics are the Science of human Happiness and War the Art of Securing it. I would fain therefore have both perfectly understood.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.