Second Continental Congress: October 11, 1775
October 11, 1775
The border dispute between Pennsylvania and Connecticut continue to be an issue. Congress receives reports from two committees and creates a new one. John Hancock seeks the aid of General Schuyler in Canada, and Samuel Ward receives word “from a faithful & very sensible Friend in England which gives us a most minute Account of affairs. The K says He… is at the Head of the violent Measures pursued & planning.”
Link to date-related documents
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
The delegates of Connecticut and Pennsylvania were called on to report, on the matter referred to them, but were not yet ready.
Ordered, that the delegates of Connecticut and Pennsylvania meet this afternoon and prepare a Report to be laid before Congress tomorrow respecting the disputes between the inhabitants of these colonies on the lands in the forks of Susquehannah.
The Committee of Claims reported several accounts as reasonable.
Ordered, That the above accounts be paid.
The Congress resumed the consideration of the motion made yesterday, for appointing of officers, and after debate, further consideration was postponed.
On motion made, Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed to report the best method of billeting the soldiers for the continental army, etc. The following members were chosen: James Kinsey, Silas Deane, and John Langdon.
The Congress considered the answer to General Schuyler, which being debated by paragraphs, was agreed to.
The Committee appointed to report the best method of billeting the soldiers, &c., brought in their report, which was read.
Ordered to lie on the table to be taken up tomorrow.
Adjourned till to Morrow, 9 o’Clock.
John Hancock to Philip Schuyler
The Congress have considered your Letters of the 19th and 29th of September last, and directed me to assure you, that they are very sensible of the Difficulties under which you labor, and your unremitted Diligence to remove such as may in any wise obstruct the public service….
The Congress see the Necessity of attending to the Situation of Canada, but trust that your Care and Prudence will render any Delegation from this Body unnecessary, at least for the present. What they expect from your Endeavors is, that the Canadians be induced to accede to an Union with these Colonies, and that they form from their several Parishes a Provincial Convention and send Delegates to this Congress. And as in the present unsettled State of that Country, a regular Election can hardly be expected, we must acquiesce in the Choice of such Parishes and Districts as are disposed to join us.
You may assure them that we shall hold their Rights as dear as our own, and on their Union with us, exert our utmost Endeavors to obtain for them and their Posterity the Blessings of a free Government, and that Security to their Persons and Property which is derived from the British Constitution. And you may further declare that we hold sacred the Rights of Conscience, and shall never molest them in the free Enjoyment of their Religion….
The Establishment of a Civil Government in Canada is a Subject of great Consequence, and requires the most deliberate Councils. The Temper, the Disposition and local Circumstances of our Brethen in that Colony must be known, before we can form a proper Judgment on so important a Question. You will endeavour therefore to collect the Sentiments of the most discreet and sensible among the principal Canadians and English on this Head, and communicate their opinion, with your Remarks to the Congress.
It is the Determination of this Congress at all Events to keep the Command of Lake Champlain. They would therefore have the most effectual Measures adopted for that Purpose; and if our Enemies should be expelled [from] Montreal, will exert their utmost Endeavours to secure the River St. Lawrence, and prevent by Batteries, Vessels, and every other Obstruction the ministerial Troops from regaining the Possession of that Town.
The Congress approve of the Presents made to the Coghnewagas, also of the Disposition of the Prisoners, and have borrowed one Ton of gun Powder from the Committee of Safety of this Colony, and directed it to be sent to the Provincial Convention of New York, with a Request to transmit to you the whole, or such a Part of it, as they can spare. Nails will be supplied you, by the Convention of New York, when they receive your Direction on that Head. They, together with the Committee of Albany, and the Governor of Connecticut will on Application, furnish such Carpenters and Blacksmiths, as you may want over and above what may be procured from among the Troops. As for the Artificers taken from thence, you will pay them the customary Allowance, if you think their Services entitle them to any Reward.
The Congress are greatly hurt at the Misconduct of a Part of the Troops, and hope they will take the earliest opportunity to obliterate their Disgrace. It is their earnest Wish, that the strictest Discipline be observed. For, as on the one Hand, they are resolved to reward those, who deserve their Favor, so on the other, a Regard for their Country forbids them to overlook the offenses of such as neglect their Duty, or basely betray their Trust.
Samuel Ward to Henry Ward
I have seen one Letter from a faithful & very sensible Friend in England which gives us a most minute Account of affairs. The K says He, who out does Lord Mansfield himself in Dissimulation & Lust of Power is at the Head of the violent Measures pursued & planning; Councils are frequently called, various Conclusions formed but all agreeing in this to make an absolute Conquest of America. The K hath himself prevailed on Sir Jeffery Amherst to come over next Spring, has engaged him a Reinforcement of 20000 Men, 2000 of them Highlanders 3000 Roman Catholics the remaining 15000 to be Hanoverians & Hessians, the Plan of Operations much the same as in our Letter to Governor Cooke….
The People of New York have moved & are daily moving their Families & most valuable Effects into the Country. A very Strong Fortification is building on the Highlands about 45 miles above New York which it is said will effectually command the North River. Two Battalions are ordered by Congress to be immediately raised in the Jerseys for the Defense of that Post & the neighboring Coasts in one Word all Hopes of a speedy Reconciliation are given over and We unanimously determine to push the War with the greatest Vigor….
I am upon a standing Committee of Claims which meets every Morning before Congress; and upon the Secret Committee which meets almost every afternoon. These with a close Attendance upon Congress and writing many Letters make my Duty very hard; And I cannot get time to ride or take other Exercise but I hope the Business will not be so pressing very long.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.