Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 3, 1775

November 3, 1775

The Committee of the Whole 1) considers the state of South Carolina and 2) recommends that New Hampshire choose a form of government that “will best produce the happiness of the people.”  The New Hampshire delegates write that “The Arguments on this Matter (being the first of the Kind as we had no Charter) were Truly Ciceronial.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Congress, taking into consideration the report of the Committee on the New Hampshire Instructions,

Resolved, That it be recommended to the provincial Convention of New Hampshire, to call a full and free representation of the people, and that the representatives, if they think it necessary, establish such a form of government, as, in their judgment, will best produce the happiness of the people, and most effectually secure peace and good order in the province, during the continuance of the present dispute between Great Britain and the colonies.

The Congress then, taking into consideration the state of South Carolina, and sundry papers relative thereto, being read and considered,

Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to take South Carolina into consideration, and report what is necessary to be done. The Committee chosen: Thomas Lynch, Benjamin Harrison, Archibald Bullock, William Hooper, Mr. J. Rutledge, Samuel Chase, and Samuel Adams.

The Committee of Claims reported two claims were due.

Ordered, to be paid.

The recommendation from the Convention of New Jersey was considered and referred to Monday next.

The report of the committee returned from the Camp and the state of the army at Cambridge was referred until tomorrow.

Adjourned until to ten o’Clock tomorrow.

New Hampshire Delegates (Langdon and Bartlett) to Matthew Thornton

This Serves to Enclose a Resolve of the Congress Relative to Civil Government for the Colony of New Hampshire by which you’ll see they Recommend such a form, as shall be agreeable to a free Representation of the People, in short Such a government as shall be most Agreeable to the Province. The Arguments on this Matter (being the first of the Kind as we had no Charter) were Truly Ciceronial, the eminent Speakers did honor to themselves and the Continent; Carried by a very great Majority.

The Power is ample and full, even to the Choice of governor, if the Colony should think it Necessary but that, we humbly Conceive worthy of Consideration. You’ll See that the government is Limited to the Present Contest to ease the minds of Some few persons, who were fearful of Independence, we thought it Advisable not to oppose that part too much, for once we had taken, any Sort of government, nothing but Negotiation with Great Britain can Alter it.

We would here beg leave to Suggest whether a government Somewhat Similar to the Massachusetts would not be best-a free Representation of the Province though not too many as they may be increased at any Time, but it would be hard to Diminish; those Representatives to Choose a Council, of proper number; Say 15; these two Branches to Act in all Cases whatever and not to Proceed so far as governor at Present, though the Door may be left open for that purpose. We throw out these hints with great Submission to the Honorable Convention….

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.