Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: October 17, 1775

October 17, 1775

Congress creates a Committee of Five to draft a response to the Connecticut motion made on Saturday for “a Temporary Line of Jurisdiction” between Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Two committees submit reports. John Jay writes that there is “No news yet as to the Effect of our Petition. God grant it may be a means of restoring the Peace…of the Empire now rent by unnatural Convulsions.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress considered the motion made on Saturday by the delegates of Connecticut.

Resolved, That a Committee of five be appointed to take into consideration the disputes between the people of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and report what in their opinion is proper to be done by Congress. The members chosen are, John Rutledge, Samuel Chase, Thomas Jefferson, James Kinsey, and Stephen Hopkins.

The Committee appointed to prepare an Estimate, &c. brought in their report, which was read, debated, and re-committed.

The Committee of Claims reported that two claims were due.

Ordered, That the above be paid.

A letter from Governor Cooke, 9 October, was read.

Doctor John Morgan of Philadelphia was elected to replace Doctor Benjamin Church.

Ordered, That the president write to the Convention of New York, and inform them, that it is the desire of the Congress, that the sulphur in the city be removed to a place of safety.

Adjourned to 9 o’Clock to Morrow.

Connecticut Delegates’s Proposed Resolution

Whereas it is represented to this Congress, that some Disturbances have lately happened among the People inhabiting the Lands in Controversy between the Colony of Connecticut and the Proprietors of the Colony of Pennsylvania, which, unless speedily quieted, may interrupt the Harmony and weaken the Union of the confederated Colonies, when their united Efforts are necessary for the Defense of their common Rights and Liberties; and that the Peace of said Inhabitants cannot be preserved, nor Offenders duly punished there by the Civil Authority of the Colonies of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, or either of them, by Reason of their interfering Claims of Jurisdiction, and the Assembly of the Colony of Pennsylvania and the Delegates of the Colony of Connecticut have requested the Interposition and Advice of the Congress in the Premises.

Resolved that in the Opinion of the Congress, it is expedient for preserving the Peace of said Colonies that a Temporary Line of Jurisdiction be fixed between them….

Provided nevertheless, that nothing contained in this temporary Provision shall any way affect or prejudice the legal Title or Claim of either Party to any of the said Lands. And it is further recommended that all Persons who have been arrested only for attempting to enter upon and take Possession of any of the vacant or uncultivated Lands in Controversy, be forthwith released, and that all their Effects be restored to them. And that for the future all concerned carefully avoid whatever may tend to disturb the Peace, or interrupt the Harmony and Friendship that ought at all Times, and more especially the present, to subsist among all true Lovers of their Country.

John Jay to Alexander McDougall

Though I lament your absence from the Scene of Action It gives me Pleasure to find you on a field which you should not quit with Precipitation. Prudence forbids my being explicit. Were I sure that this Letter would reach you unopened it would be a very long one.

Why you restrain Exports permitted by the association I know not. The Sacrifice though well intended is expensive. Your Seamen will forsake you. I should not be surprised if Necessity should add them to the Number of your Enemies.

No news yet as to the Effect of our Petition. God grant it may be a means of restoring the Peace & I may add the Prosperity of the Empire now rent by unnatural Convulsions. But we ought not to rely wholly on it, lest it prove a broken Reed & pierce us.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.