Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: October 13, 1775

October 13, 1775

Congress 1) makes some decisions on the state of trade, 2) receives and acts on the report of the Committee appointed to prepare a plan for intercepting vessels, 3) creates a Committee of Three to continue the work of the original Committee and 4) appoints a Committee of Five to consider Memorials from New York and Pennsylvania. John Adams reports on what J. Rutledge considers a “really trifling” debate unworthy of three weeks consideration.

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole to further consider the state of the trade of the united Colonies, and after some time spent thereon, the president resumed the chair, and Samuel Ward reported, from the committee, that they had taken the matter referred to them into consideration, but not having come to a conclusion, wished to continue their deliberations.  John Adams reports on

In the Committee of the Whole.

That whatever resolutions the Congress come into relative to the non importation and non exportation agreement should be conclusive during this session of Congress.

That it is the opinion of this committee that New York, the lower counties on Delaware, North Carolina and Georgia ought not to avail themselves of the benefit allowed to them by the last restraining Act and therefore that no persons should apply at the Custom houses in those colonies for clearances or other documents, which other colonies are deprived of by said restraining act for securing the navigation of vessels with cargoes from their ports.

That the several provincial Assemblies, Conventions or councils of safety of the united colonies to export as much provision or any other produce except horned cattle, sheep, hogs and poultry, as they may deem necessary for the importation of arms, ammunition, sulphur and salt petre.

That no Rice be exported under the exception contained in the 4th Article of the Association from any of the United Colonies to Great Britain, Ireland or any other European Island or Settlement within the British Dominions.

That no live stock (necessary sea stores at the discretion of the Committees, and horses excepted) be exported from these colonies.

That as the Manufacture of Woolens in these Colonies may not furnish an immediate supply of clothing, it would be in the interest of the Inhabitants to of wear leathern waistcoats and breeches as far as may be consistent with the convenience and necessities of Individuals and that the Members of this Congress should set the example. And that it be earnestly recommended to all dealers in skins sell them at the usual price and not take advantage of any additional demand for that article.

A letter from General Washington, dated 5th of October, with sundry enclosed papers, was read.

Congress considered the report of the Committee appointed to prepare a plan for intercepting vessels coming out with stores and ammunition. After some debate,

Resolved, That a swift sailing vessel, to carry ten carriage guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, with eighty men, be fitted, with all possible dispatch, for a cruise of three months, and that the commander be instructed to cruise eastward, for intercepting such transports as may be laden with warlike stores and other supplies for our enemies, and for such other purposes as the Congress shall direct.

That a Committee of three be appointed to superintend the fitting the said vessel to prepare an estimate of the expense, and lay the same before the Congress, and to contract with proper persons to fit out the vessel. That another vessel be fitted out for the same purposes, and that the said committee report their opinion of a proper vessel, and also an estimate of the expense. The members were chosen were Silas Deane, John Langdon, and Christopher Gadsden.

Resolved, That the remainder of the report be referred for further consideration to Monday next.

Congress considered the memorials from sundry merchants of New York and Philadelphia respecting a quantity of tea imported before the first of March last and

Resolved, That a Committee of five be appointed to take the above Memorials into consideration, inquire into a state of the facts, and report to the Congress. The members chosen were: John Rutledge, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Samuel Ward, and Richard Henry Lee.

Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.

John Adams’s Notes of Debates

R. Livingston. Hopes the whole Matter will be put off. Is willing as it seems the general sense, that all should be put upon a Footing.

Gadsden. Hopes it will not be put off. S. Carolina will be in the utmost Confusion if this matter is not decided. Let the Continent determine.

Stone. Can see no particular Inconvenience to Carolina. 2ds. the Motion of Mr. Livingston, for postponing the Question…

Lee. I see very clearly, that the best Time for putting a Question is when it is best understood. That Time is the present….

J. Rutledge. Thinks this Motion extraordinary. This Subject has been under Consideration 3 Weeks. It is really trifling…. What Confusion would ensue if Congress should break up without any Resolution of this sort. The Motion seems intended to defeat the Resolution entirely. Those who are against it, are for postponing.

Jay. We have complied with the restraining Act. The Question is whether we shall have Trade or not? And this is to introduce a most destructive Scheme, a scheme which will drive away all your Sailors and lay up all your Ships to rot at the Wharves.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.