Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 23, 1775

November 23, 1775

Several Committee Reports are read and further consideration postponed. After debate, Congress agreed with the proposals recommended by The Committee on Douw’s Letter and The Albany Treaty and then added members and responsibilities to the Committee. Two new Committees created. Josiah Bartlett complains about being inadequately informed and overworked.

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Committee for fitting out 4 armed vessels brought in a set of rules for the government of the American Navy, and articles to be signed by the officers and men employed in that service, which were read, and ordered to lie on the table for the perusal of the members.

The Committee of Seven to whom General Washington’s letter was referred, brought in their report, which was read, and ordered to lie on the table for the perusal of the members.

Resolved, That these reports be taken into consideration tomorrow.

The Committee of Inspection of the City of Philadelphia laid before Congress information of importance which was read.

Committee Report on the Douw Letter and the Albany Treaty

Congress then resumed the consideration of the report on Mr. Douw’s letter, and the Albany treaty, and after debate, the first paragraph was postponed; the remainder was agreed to as follows:

That it is the opinion of this Committee, that the Indians be assured that this Congress are pleased with their desire, that the trade should be opened as formerly at Albany and Schenectady, that the Congress will exert their strenuous endeavors to procure the goods the Indians may want, and put the trade under such wise regulations, as that mutual justice may be affected, and that they hope those endeavors will be successful.

That General Schuyler be desired to furnish the Commissioners at Albany with some powder, if he can spare it, to be distributed among the Indians, who in the present circumstances, are much distressed by the want of that article.

That the Commissioners for transacting Indian Affairs in the northern department, be desired to obtain from the Mohawk Indians, and the corporation of Albany, a state of the controversy between them, concerning the land desired by the former in the late treaty at Albany, to be restored to them, and report the matter as it shall appear to them, to the Congress.

That the said Commissioners be desired, at the expence of the United Colonies, to provide for and entertain the Sachems or warriors of the Six Nations, and other Indians friendly to these colonies, their attendants and messengers, with the accustomed hospitality when they come to Albany or Schenectady, to treat, or give intelligence of public affairs, or upon a visit, and for this purpose that 750 dollars be lodged in the hands of the said Commissioners.

That the said Commissioners be directed to employ two blacksmiths for reasonable salaries, to reside among and work for the Indians of the Six Nations.

That the said commissioners be empowered to employ an interpreter and James Deane, if they judge him well qualified, is recommended to execute this office.

Resolved, That three members be added to the previous committee to become a larger committee to devise a plan for carrying on a trade with the Indians, and ways and means for procuring goods proper for that trade. The members added: James Wilson, Silas Deane, and Francis Lewis.

Congress granted Major Joseph Hawley wish, for private reasons, to be excused from his position as a Commissioner for Indian affairs.

Resolved, That tomorrow be assigned for electing a commissioner for Indian Affairs in the northern department, in place of Mr. Hawley.

Information being given, that certain frauds have been attempted in executing contracts for the Continent,

Resolved, That a Committee of Five be appointed to enquire into this matter.

The members chosen: Roger Sherman, Thomas Lynch, Thomas Johnson, Colonel Richard Henry Lee, and Samuel Adams.

Application being made by John Jay, in behalf of Lieutenant Hamar, now at Trenton, for leave to reside with Mr. William Duer, near Saratoga, the same was granted, he to be upon the same parole as heretofore, with this variation, not to go farther than 12 miles from the place now assigned him.

Application being also made in behalf of Lieutenant Symes, a prisoner now in the gaol of this city, for leave to reside at Trenton, on the same parole as the other officers there. The same was granted.

Information being given by the committee of inspection of this city, that sundry persons in this city have refused to receive in payment or give a currency to the bills issued by order of this Congress, and also to those emitted by the Assembly of this province,

Resolved, That the same be referred to a Committee of Seven who are to take the same into Consideration, and make report thereon to Congress.

The members chosen: John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, Thomas Johnson, George Wythe, Edward Rutledge, and Thomas Jefferson.

Adjourned to ten o’Clock tomorrow.

Josiah Bartlett to Nathaniel Folsom

When I left New Hampshire I was in hopes to have been favored by my friends, who had the care of public affairs; with frequent accounts of Everything of a public nature transacted in the colony. You must be Sensible that besides my anxious Desire of Knowing everything that Relates to welfare of the Colony; it is highly necessary as your Delegate that I should be well & Early informed of all its public affairs; somethings that perhaps you would think of little consequence would have been of great Service if I had been informed of them. Every other Delegate Every week Receives Regular accounts from their Congresses, Committees of Safety & private Gentlemen, so as to be able to give a particular account of their Respective Colonies; while I Know but very Little of our Colony affairs Since I left it….

Captain Langdon went off to Ticonderoga the 12th Inst so I am left here alone in behalf of our Colony & I am obliged to attend constantly otherwise the Colony will have no vote. We frequently leave off so late as to Scarcely to Dine by Day light. I am in good Health; hope this will find you & your family so too.

P.S. I write in haste by Candle light.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.