Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 6, 1775

November 6, 1775

Pennsylvania elects nine new delegates. Congress creates a Committee of Five on the state of New York and a Committee of Three to examine what money remains in the Treasury. Robert Treat Paine writes a scolding letter over the lack of saltpeter production, Josiah Bartlett is torn between returning home and staying in Philadelphia, and John Langdon is optimistic about the future: “The Colonies Seem more and more united and Determined to make a vigorous Defense.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Assembly of Pennsylvania appointed new delegates: John Morton, John Dickinson, Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Humphreys, Edward Biddle, Thomas Willing, Andrew Allen, and James Wilson.

Resolved, That a Committee of Five be appointed to take into consideration the sundry letters lately received from the convention of New York, and the state of that colony, and report what should to be done. The members chosen: Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Lynch, Benjamin Harrison, Andrew Allen, and Samuel Ward.

Congress, resumed the consideration of the report of the Committee returned from the Camp, and agreed to sundry Articles and resolutions.

Ordered, That the secretary “digest” the Congressional response and present it to Congress tomorrow for further consideration.

Resolved, That a Committee of Three be appointed to examine what money remains in the continental treasury, estimate the public debts already incurred, and those that will become due on the first day of June next. The members chosen: Thomas Nelson, James Duane, and Thomas Cushing.

The Committee of Claims reported that there are claims due to at least twelve people.

Ordered, That the above sums be paid.

The petition of Messrs. Sears and Randal was postponed until tomorrow.

Resolved, That further consideration of the report of the Committee of Conference be referred until tomorrow.

Adjourned to ten o’Clock tomorrow.

Robert Treat Paine to William Whiting (Massachusetts Provincial Congress)

I received your Letter of October 6th in which you give me an Account of your progress in making Salt-petre…. I think we are wholly inexcusable if we do not turn out very large quantities of Salt petre by the Spring of the Year. We have Specimens of exceeding fine Petre brought us here from many parts of this Colony, New Jersey & other places & nothing is clearer than that numbers of People in different places are able to make it. The grand Matter is to propagate the making it in large Quantities. I was in great expectation that the Resolves of the Congress on this Subject would have produced good Effects in the Tobacco Colonies, but on Enquiry I find that the Convention of Virginia did not take any steps to carry it into Execution (having many Matters before them). Maryland voted a Sum of money but appointed no operators. The Congress very justly alarmed at the astonishing inattention of the Colonies to this most essential Matter, have Appointed Another Committee to devise Ways & Means to promote this Manufacture.

I have the honor to be one of this Committee, & great pains have we taken about it, we have not yet determined how, but we have under Consideration to send certain Germans who are here, & who have given Specimens of their skill, into the Tobacco Colonies to carry on the manufacture there….

The Germans I have consulted on this Matter are of Opinion that if proper Materials are now put up in a judicious manner they will be so impregnated in 6 months as to yield largely. Therefore at all events Materials must be forthwith provided in as large a manner as possible.

Josiah Bartlett to Mary Bartlett

If I was within 100 miles So as to Come home once in a month or two & see you and Return I Should be very Glad but must tarry till the Congress rises and as there is So much Business before us, I know not when that will be. I have some hopes I may be able to Return next month; if not I fear I shall be obliged to tarry till Spring as I fear it will be impossible to Return in the winter with Safety if Business should permit it. I Shall Do Everything in my Power to Return as soon as I Can with propriety.

John Langdon to Ammi Ruhamah Cutter (New Hampshire Physician)

The Colonies Seem more and more united and Determined to make a vigorous Defense. Have the Pleasure to inform you that, have obtained, after paying Close Attention, a Resolution of Congress to take Some Sort of Government, During these Disputes, which I’ve enclosed to our Convention…. I have the Honor of being Appointed one of a Committee to go to Canada, to Regulate some matters there but as the Season is so far Advanced had some hope to get off but fear shall not. Expect to set off in few days.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.