A rare mid-day adjournment. John Adams reports on a debate involving at least twelve delegates over the best way to appoint military officers. Thomas Jefferson writes that “Our Advices from England breath nothing but Malice, Revenge and Cruelty.”
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
The Committee of Claims reported several accounts which ought to be paid.
Ordered, That the accounts be paid.
Adjourned for one hour.
The President reported that he had dispatched an express to General Schuyler with an escort of four of the light horse of this city.
The Committee appointed to prepare an answer to Gen Schuyler’s letters, reported a draft, which was read and
Ordered to lie on the table for the consideration of the members.
The appointment of officers in the continental army was postponed until tomorrow.
Resolved, that this Congress will tomorrow resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to take into consideration the state of the trade of the united colonies.
Adjourned till to Morrow at 9 o’Clock.
John Adams’s Notes of Debates
Who shall have the Appointment of the Officers in the 2 Battalions to be raised in New Jersey?
Sherman. Best to leave it to the Provincial Conventions.
Ward seconds the Motion.
Chase. This is persisting in Error in Spite of Experience. We have found by Experience that giving the Choice of Officers to the People, is attended with bad Consequences….
Dyer. We must derive all our Knowledge, from the Delegates of that Colony. The Representatives at large are as good Judges and would give more Satisfaction.
E. Rutledge. We don’t mean to break in upon what has been done. In our Province we have raised our Compliment of Men in the Neighboring Colonies. I am for it that We may have Power to reward Merit.
Ward. The Motion is intended for a Precedent. The Men will not enlist. When the Militia Bill was before Us. I was vs. giving the Choice to the Men. I don’t know any Man in the Jerseys.
Duane. A Subject of Importance-a Matter of Delicacy. We ought to be all upon a Footing. We are to form the grand Outlines of an American Army-a general Regulation. Will such a Regulation be salutary? The public Good alone, will govern me. If We were to set out anew, would the same Plan be pursued. It has not been unprecedented, in this Congress. Mr. Campbell, Allen, Warner, were promoted here. We ought to insist upon it. We shall be able to regulate an Army better. Schuyler and Montgomery would govern my Judgment. I would rather take the opinion of General Washington than of any Convention. We can turn out the unworthy and reward Merit. The Usage is for it. Can’t We appoint with the Advice of our Generals?
Langdon. Looks upon this a very extraordinary Motion, and big with many Mischiefs.
Deane. It is the Peoples Money, not ours. It will be fatal. We can’t set up a Sale for Offices, like Lord Barrington.
E. Rutledge. The appointment hitherto has been as if the Money belonged to particular Provinces not to the Continent. We can’t reward Merit. The Governor appointed Officers with Us.
Ross. My Sentiments coincide with those of the Gentlemen from N.Y. and Carolina and would go farther and appoint every Officer, even an Ensign. We have no Command of the Army. They have different Rules and Articles.
Jay. Am of opinion with the Gentleman who spoke last. The Union depends much upon breaking down provincial Conventions. The whole Army refused to be mustered by your Muster Master.
John Adams to James Warren
Our Expectations are very Sanguine, of Intelligence from Schuyler that Canada is ours. Our Advices from England breath nothing but Malice, Revenge and Cruelty.
Powder, and Salt Petre are Still the Cry from one End of the Continent to the other.
Samuel Ward’s Diary
Mr. Duane authorized to propose to the Committee of Safety of this Province to borrow one Ton of Powder for New York. Letters from Generals Schuyler & Montgomery read referred to a Committee of John Adams, John Rutledge, Mr. Chace, R Livingston & Mr. Deane. The affair between Pennsylvania & Connecticut further deferred. The Delegates of Pennsylvania to send what hard Money the Treasuries have got to General Schuyler by two of the light horse.
Recommend to the provincial Convention of New Jersey to immediately raise two Battalions of 8 Companies each at continental Charge, each Company for a Year 68 Privates & Officers as recommended by Congress in the militia Bill, privates at 5 Dollars per month & discharged at any time allowing 1 Months Pay gratis, instead of bounty, 1 pr. Shoes, 1 pr. yarn stocking & a felt hat given each private. Pay of the Officers the same as that now in the continental Army; if that be raised the officers of these Battalions to have the same.
Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes
We have received from England news of much importance, which coming through many channels we believe may be confidently relied on. Both the ministerial and provincial accounts of the battle of Bunker’s hill had got to England. The ministry were determined to push the war with vigor…. The plan is to lay waste all the plantations on our river sides. Of this we gave immediate notice to our committee of safety by an express whom we dispatched hence last Friday, that if any defense could be provided on the rivers by fortifications or small vessels it might be done immediately. In the spring 10,000 men more are to come over. They are to be procured by taking away two thirds of the Garrison at Gibraltar (who are to be replaced by some Hessians) by 2000 Highlanders and 5000 Roman Catholics whom they propose to raise in Ireland. Instead of the Roman Catholics however some of our accounts say foreigners are to be sent. Their plan is this. They are to take possession of New York and Albany, keeping up a communication between them by means of their vessels…. The co-operation of the Canadians is taken for granted in all the ministerial schemes. We hope therefore they will all be dislocated by the events in that quarter.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.