Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 16, 1775

November 16, 1775

Congress creates a new Committee of Three and a Committee of Five. Congress is also experiencing and absentee problem and an attendance issue among the delegates who are present! The implications of the King’s response to the Congressional Petition looms large over the delegates. Samuel Ward and Samuel Adams state that the King’s response shows that he “compel(s) the Colonists to absolute Obedience,” and Joseph Hewes laments that “It seems the Reduction of America is a favorite plan of his own.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That two small swift sailing vessels be provided for packets, to be under the direction of the Congress.

Ordered, That Robert Morris provide said vessels, and that he get one ready to sail as soon as possible, and the other in a month.

That a Committee of Three be appointed to devise ways and means for employing these vessels to the best advantage.

The Members chosen: Thomas Lynch, Mr. Robert Morris, and Benjamin Franklin.

Resolved, That the appointment of a Brigadier General be deferred until Thursday.

The Assembly of Pennsylvania recommended three people for field officers for the battalion ordered to be raised in said Colony. The applications were read.

Ordered, To lie on the table.

A Committee of Seven was created to review sundry papers from the general Court of the colony of Massachusetts

The members chosen, Thomas Johnson, Roger Sherman, William Livingston, Samuel Ward, Thomas Jefferson, William Hooper, and Benjamin Harrison.

Resolved, That the Committee appointed on the 11th to contract for supplying the Pennsylvania battalion in Philadelphia, be empowered to contract for supplying the same wherever sent for 12 Calendar Months.

The Committee of Claims reported that there are four claims due.

Ordered, That the same be paid.

The Committee of Claims also reported an account of Major Coates and Captain Cowperthwaite, which being read,

Ordered, That the same lie on the table for the perusal of the members.

Ordered, That the delegates write to their colleagues, who are absent, and inform them that the Congress expect their immediate attendance.

Resolved, That for the future, no member absent himself from Congress without leave of Congress.

That the Report of the Committee on the disputes between Pennsylvania and Connecticut be referred till tomorrow.

On motion, Resolved, That it be a rule of this Congress, that every member remain in his seat whilst any paper is reading or question putting.

A letter from Thomas Mifflin, Quarter Master general of the 3rd to the Committee for providing clothing, was read, and returned to the Committee.

Resolved, That the consideration of the Instructions to the delegates of Rhode island be deferred until tomorrow.

Adjourned to ten o’Clock tomorrow.

Samuel Ward to Henry Ward

I have seen many Letters from England since my last; they all agree in the Accounts I then gave you. In a Conference which the King had with a Person from America He told him that he was unalterably determined let the Consequence be what it would to compel the Colonies to absolute Obedience. Thank God his Power does not equal his Obstinacy & Pride. Our Instructions for an American Fleet has been long upon the Table; when it was first presented it was looked upon as perfectly chimerical, but Gentlemen now consider it in a very different Light. It is this Day to be taken into Consideration & I have great Hopes of carrying. Dr. Franklin, Colonel Lee, the two Adams & many others will support it; if it succeeds I shall remember your Idea of our building two of the Ships; Duty calls Me away.

Samuel Adams to James Bowdoin, Sr.

We live my dear Sir, in an important Age-An Age in which we are called to struggle hard in Support of the public Liberty. The Conflict, I am satisfied, will the next Spring be more severe than ever The Petition of Congress has been treated with insolent Contempt. I cannot conceive that there is any room to hope from the virtuous Efforts of the People of Britain. They seem to be generally unprincipled and fitted for the Yoke of arbitrary Power. The opposition of the few is feeble and languid-while the Tyrant is flushed with Expectations from his Fleets and Armies, and has, I am told, explicitly declared, that, “Let the Consequences be what they may, it is his unalterable Determination, to compel the Colonists to absolute Obedience.”

Joseph Hewes to Samuel Johnston

Since I wrote last several ships have arrived from England and brought accounts to the 14th of September. They also brought Letters for a number of Persons inimical to our cause; many of these Letters have been opened by the Committee of Safety by which we find the Ministry are determined to carry on the War against American Rebels with the utmost Vigor…. It seems the Reduction of America is a favorite plan of his own; he has declared he will pawn all the Jewels of his Crown in order to effect it. You will see by the papers our Troops have taken Fort Chamblee and St. Johns in Canada. We expect Montreal & Quebec are ours by this time….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.