Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 21, 1775

November 21, 1775

Discussion of the partially completed Report of the Committee of the Whole on the trade of the United Colonies is postponed. Thomas Jefferson is optimistic about Canada, and Samuel Ward reflects that the “Timidity and Fluctuation of Counsels which a Hope of Reconciliation induced have done Us infinite Mischief.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress approved the report by Robert Morris after conferring with Mr. Lowry.

Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider further the trade of the United Colonies and after some time spent, Samuel Ward reported that the Committee had come to certain resolutions, which he was ready to report.

The report was read, ordered to lie on the table.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow morning.

Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes (Lieutenant Colonel)

After sealing my last letter to you we received an account of the capture of St. John’s which I wrote on the letter. What I there gave you was a true account of that matter. We consider this as having determined the fate of Canada. A Committee of Congress is gone to improve circumstances so as to bring the Canadians into our Union….

Robert Treat Paine to Philip Schuyler

This day I arrived here in Company with Mr. Langdon who together with Mr. Robert R. Livingstone are a Committee from the Congress to repair to you & Consult divers matters mentioned in your Letters to the Congress. Mr. Livingstone is not arrived here, but proposed to join tomorrow night, after which we shall make all dispatch possible…. We have brought with us blank Commissions for the New Army to be raised. We congratulate you on the Success of our Army.

Samuel Ward to Henry Ward

Yesterday We had a Number of Letters (taken on Board the Transport from Ireland) to the officers in Boston read in Congress. The Writers of some of them freely condemn our Enemies, assure their correspondents that the People at large heartily wish Us Success & some even say that it is Time for Ireland to follow our Example. There is great Reluctance to the Service; additional Bounties are given by the leading roman Catholics. Other Letters say that the People of both England & Ireland in general are against Us, that many who have supported our Interest until the Proclamation came out have now changed Sides, but though these Letters vary in that Respect They all agree that the King is determined let the Consequence be what it will to reduce us to Submission. I am vastly pleased to find that our Friends in England give us such good Intelligence….

Happily for America the Congress will cheerfully adopt the most vigorous Measures & pursue them with the utmost Spirit; that Timidity and Fluctuation of Counsels which a Hope of Reconciliation induced have done Us infinite Mischief. One of the above referred to Letters says that Ministry concluded from our Petition that the Congress found themselves too weak to carry on Opposition & took a Resolution to exert their whole Force to crush us at once. Many of Us expected this would be the Consequence of those measures but Thanks be to God We are not like to be again haunted with that evil genius And the Sin of Fear is now entirely banished from amongst us.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.