Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 4, 1775

November 4, 1775

Congress 1) receives the reports of several committees including the committee handling the boundary dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania, 2) passes twenty resolutions for the administration of the new army, and 3) encourages New Hampshire and South Carolina to create a government that will secure the happiness of their people.  Samuel Adams opines that the King’s “Administration will necessarily produce the grandest Revolutions the World has ever yet seen,” and along with the Rhode Island delegates emphasizes the importance of virtue in the people.

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

A letter from General Schuyler, with sundry enclosed papers, containing an account of the taking of fort Chamblé, being received and read,

Resolved, That the same be referred to the Committee appointed to draft instructions to the Committee appointed to repair to the northward.

Ordered, That General Montgomery’s letter, and the articles of capitulation, be published by the secretary.

The Committee appointed on the differences between the people of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, brought in their report, which was read, and

Ordered, That the same be taken into consideration on Monday next.

Congress passed the following Resolution:

The Congress, considering that the most perfect Union between all the colonies, is essentially necessary for the preservation of the just rights of North America, and being apprehensive that there is great danger of hostilities being commenced, at or near Wyoming, between the inhabitants of the colony of Pennsylvania, and those of Connecticut,

Resolved, That the Assemblies of the said colonies be requested to take the most speedy and effectual steps to prevent such hostilities.

Ordered, That Thomas M’Kean and Silas Deane, be a committee to wait upon the honorable House of Assembly of Pennsylvania with a copy of the resolution.

Ordered, That a copy of the above resolution be transmitted by express to the magistrates, and people of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, on the waters of Susquehannah.

The Congress, considered the report of the Committee from the Camp of Conference and passed twenty resolutions for the new army that included the number of troops, pay scales, rations, arms, clothing, provisions, retention, transportation, retirement, recruitment, and desertion.

Resolved, That the further consideration of the report be referred until Monday.

The Committee appointed to consider the state of South Carolina, and Georgia, brought in their report, which being read,

Resolved, that provisions be made for the defense of these two colonies.

Resolved, That if the Convention of South Carolina shall find it necessary to establish a form of government in that colony, it be recommended to that Convention to call a full and free representation of the people, and that the said representatives, if they think it necessary, shall 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 colony, during the continuance of the present dispute between Great Britain and the colonies.

The matters referred to this day postponed, and the order of the day renewed.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock on Monday.

Samuel Adams to James Warren

It is very afflicting to hear the universal Complaint of the Want of that most necessary Article Gunpowder, and especially in the Camp before Boston. I hope however that this want will soon be supplied, and God grant that a good Use may be made of it.
The Congress yesterday was presented with the Colors of the Seventh Regiment, taken in Fort Chamblee which is surrendered to Major Brown. The Acquisition of 124 Barrels of Powder gives a happy Turn to our Affairs in that Quarter the Success of which I almost began to despair of….

In Addition to the Continental Army four new Battalions are to be raisd viz three for the Defense of South Carolina and one for Georgia. These with 1000 Men before ordered for North Carolina, with the Assistance of provincial Forces it is hoped will be sufficient to defend the three Southernmost Colonies.

It is recommended to New Hampshire to form a Government to their own liking, during this Contest-and S Carolina is allowed to do the same if they judge it necessary. I believe the Time is near when the most timid will see the absolute Necessity of every one of the Colonies setting up a Government within itself.

No Provisions or Produce is to be exported from any of the united Colonies to any part of the World till the first of March except for the Importation of the Unum necessarium…. We shall by the Spring know the full Effect of our Nonexportation Agreement in the West Indies. Perhaps Alliances may then be formed with foreign Powers, and Trade opened to all the World Great Britain excepted….

We live in a most important Age, which demands that every Moment should be improved to some serious Purpose. It is the Age of George the Third; and to do Justice to our most gracious King, I will affirm it as my opinion, that his Councils and Administration will necessarily produce the grandest Revolutions the World has ever yet seen. The Wheels of Providence seem to be in their swiftest Motion; Events succeed each other so rapidly that the most industrious and able Politicians can scarcely improve them to the full purpose for which they seem to be designed.

You must send your best Men here; therefore recall me from this Service. Men of moderate Abilities, especially when weakend by Age are not fit to be employed in founding Empires….

The Eyes of Mankind will be upon you, to see whether the Government, which is now more popular than it has been for many years past, will be productive of more Virtue moral and political. We may look up to Armies for our Defense, but Virtue is our best Security. It is not possible that any State should long continue free, where Virtue is not supremely honored…. Our Ancestors laid an excellent Foundation for the Security of Liberty, by setting up in a few years after their Arrival, a public Seminary of Learning; and by their Laws, they obliged every Town consisting of a certain Number of Families to keep & maintain a Grammar School. I should be much grieved if it should be true as I am informed, that some of our Towns have dismissed their Schoolmasters, alleging that the extraordinary Expense of defending the Country renders them unable to support them. I hope this Inattention to the Principles of our wise forefathers does not prevail….He who is void of virtuous Attachment in private Life, is, or very soon will be void of all Regard to his Country. There is seldom an Instance of a Man guilty of betraying his Country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral Obligation in his private Connection….

When People are universally ignorant & debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own Weight, without the Aid of foreign Invaders.

Rhode Island Delegates, Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward to Nicholas Cooke

We have no news from England since the arrival of the Ship which brought the Proclamation for suppressing Rebellion and Sedition. We have the pleasure to assure you Sir that this has a most happy Effect upon the affairs of America. Gentlemen no longer expect a Redress of Grievances from Petition, etc. They now speak out plainly and cheerfully enter into the most liberal spirited and decisive measures. We congratulate you Sir upon the happy Reduction of Fort Chamblee. The Paper containing the Articles of Capitulation, List of Stores, etc., we have enclosed. There is no doubt but we have possession of St. John’s before this time.

The Congress has taken into consideration the state of the trade of the United Colonies. We enclose you an Extract of their proceedings. We are sensible of the vast Importance of Trade to our Colony but when we consider the invaluable privileges for which we are contending, We are sure that the Virtue of our Constituents will with pleasure sacrifice a temporary Commerce to the salvation of their Country.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.