Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: October 2, 1775

October 2, 1775

Congress sits at Lodge Hall and not Independence Hall because of local elections. The five recommendations of the Committee on Trade Report are considered and a decision postponed. The seven recommendations of the Committee to Instruct the General Washington Committee approved. And Silas Deane sounds like John Adams with respect to the late, but appreciated, change in mood toward independence!

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Congress resumed the consideration of the report of the Committee on Trade.

Resolved, That this Congress will, tomorrow, resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the report.

The Committee on Trade Report [Edited]

1. That the Regulations respecting Imports and Exports agreed to by this and the preceding Congress ought to be continued and observed. And further that no Lumber, Hides, Leather, live stock, or Deer Skins, should be exported from these Colonies to any Part of the World.

2. That the Island of Bermuda be permitted under the Direction and Inspection of the Provincial Convention or Committee of Safety of General Committee of the City of [ … ] in the Colony of — annually to purchase for their own Consumption and export from the Port of –, and from no other Place. And that they be allowed to pay for the same in Salt or any other Commodities not of the Growth or Manufacture of or exported from Great Britain or Ireland, except Tea.

3. As the Cessation of the American Trade with Ireland originated in Policy dictated by Principles of self Preservation and may be attended with Distress to a People who have always manifested a Noble Regard to the Rights of Mankind and have ever been friendly to these much injured Colonies, Your Committee are of opinion that great Kindness and Attention ought to be paid to such of that oppressed Nation as have or may come to settle in America, and that it be earnestly recommended by this Congress to the good People of these Colonies to let them have Lands at a cheap Rate, and on easy Terms, and that the several Conventions and Assemblies and Committees through out these confederate Countries, afford them Aid and to them every friendly office. And it having been represented to your Committee that the withholding Flax seed from Ireland will be attended with a much greater Degree of Distress and Ruin to the poor of that Kingdom, than the Congress apprehended, they are of opinion that our Friends and Fellow Subjects in Ireland should be admitted to take Flax seed from these Colonies in Exchange for all such Powder and other military Stores and woolen Yarn of their Manufacture as they shall bring to America.

4. That as the Manufacture of Woolens in these Colonies, tho’ rapidly advancing may not furnish an immediate Supply of Clothing, your Committee think it would be for the Interest of the Inhabitants to go into the Practice of wearing Dear Skin leather Waist Coats and Breeches, and that the Members of this Congress should set the Example.

5. That to encourage the internal Commerce of these Colonies, your Committee think Provision should be made to facilitate Land Carriage, and therefore are of opinion that it should be recommended by this Congress to the several provincial Conventions and Assemblies, to put their Roads in good Repair, and particularly the great Roads that lead from Colony to Colony. And that such Troops as may be quartered and unemployed in the Neighborhood of such Roads be aiding and assisting therein. And that the Colony who shall employ any Soldiers in that Service, pay to each Man of them the (sixth of a dollar) for every Day in which they shall be so employed.

The Committee appointed to prepare Instructions to the Committee ordered to wait on the General, reported a draft, which was debated by paragraphs, and agreed to.

Committee Instructions to the General Washington Committee [Edited]

1. That upon the Committee’s Arrival at this Camp, they cause proper Methods to be taken for continuing the Connecticut Troops now near Boston in the Continental Service upon the same Terms they are at present until the last Day of next December.

2. That in the Conference with the General, the Committee declare to him the Sense of the Congress respecting an Attack on the Ministerial Troops at Boston and on Bunkers Hill, viz. That if before the last Day of December his Excelency upon Consideration of all Circumstances shall think it practicable and likely to defeat the Enemy and gain Possession of the Town it will be advisable to make the Attack upon the first favorable Occasion and before the Arrival of Reinforcement, which the Congress apprehend may be soon expected, the Congress having the most perfect Confidence in the Courage and good Conduct of the General and his Officers, and the Spirit and Bravery of the Men under his Command. If the Number of Men which compose the present Army, should be thought insufficient for the Purpose, that the General employ so many minute Men as he may apprehend to be necessary on the Occasion, upon such Terms, as he shall think proper. That if the Attack should not be made by the Time above mentioned, it is the Wish of the Congress, that the Number of the Army for the Remainder of the Winter should be reduced and the Pay of the Men lessened to 5 Dollars per Calendar Month: if these may be done with Safety: But that the Attack should nevertheless be made under the foregoing Circumstances as soon as a favorable Opportunity shall offer with the Troops then in the Service and the Assistance of the Minute Men above mentioned.

3. That the Committee confer with the General and whom else they think proper on the Subject of raising a Continental Army and keeping it up one Year from the last Day of December next subject to be disbanded or reduced by Order of the Congress within that Time upon being allowed one Months Advance Pay and report to the Congress of what Number it should consist, what should be the Pay of the Officers and Privates, that of some of the former in the present Army being it is apprehended too low, and that of the latter too high; What Number each Company? and how many Companies a Regiment should contain; of what Quantity and kind of Provisions a Ration should consist; the best Method of providing Arms, Clothing and Provisions for the Troops; What Rules and Regulations are necessary for their Government; by whom the Officers should be chosen and recommended; how the best Officers and Men in the present Army may be engaged for the next making a complete Arrangement of the whole, by putting all the Forces in what Colony so ever recruited on one Establishment in every Respect and thereby abolishing all Provincial Distinctions; that the Committee report, how, when, and where the said Army may be best raised and levied.

4. That they confer and consult as above directed on the several other Matters mentioned in the General’s Letters to the Congress, upon which no Order has been made, and the best Methods of removing the Difficulties or remedying the Evils therein stated, and upon any other Matters which in the Course of this Business may occur to the Committee relative thereto and make Report thereon to the Congress.

5. That the Committee having made the necessary Inquiries report what Number of effective Men it may be expected that the Colonies of New Hampshire Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island respectively could and would furnish if necessary by the 10th March next and on what Terms.

6. That the Committee report an Estimate of the Expense which will attend the Measures they may recommend or submit to the Congress.

7. That the Committee appointed to confer with General Washington consider as included in their Inquiry not only the Forces necessary to be kept in the Massachusetts Bay but in the Northern Department, and that they obtain and report as exact an Estimate as they can of the Expenses which have been and by the 1st December next will be incurred in Pursuance of the Resolution of the Congress for putting these Colonies into a proper State of Defense.

Adjourned to nine o’Clock tomorrow.

Robert Treat Paine’s Diary

Congress Sat at Lodge Hall, the State House being taken up by the Elections.

New Hampshire Delegates (Josiah Bartlett and John Langdon) to Matthew Thornton

Before this Comes to hand, doubtless, you’ll Receive [a] letter from our President desiring your Attendance at head Quarters, to Consult with a Committee from this Congress, Relative to the Army.  Doctr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch and Colonel Harrison are the Committee.

We humbly beg leave here to Suggest whether it would not be [a] good opportunity to mention the Convu[lse]d state of our Colony and the absolute Necessity of Government and also to forward by them a Petition from our Convention, to take government. We have Consulted many of the members on the Matter and as Soon as Colonel Bartlett is able to Attend the house (which will be in a few days, as he’s almost well of the Small pox) shall Motion for leave to take the same government as Massachusetts Bay. [Editor’s Note.  See the Journal, October 18, October 26, and November 3] 

Silas Deane to Elizabeth Deane

By all the accts. from London the inveteracy of the Ministry is increasing, and nothing in their power, will be left to reduce Us to their humiliating Terms. The reduction of Montreal, & Quebec would put a very good Face on Our Affairs, & give the Ministry a blow indeed. The most cool & moderate Men among Us, now sing the same song, which I rung in their Ears, last May & June, until they almost called Me mad, and tell me plainly every day, We now wish we had followed Your advice in Season. This is some satisfaction, but the poorest in the World, to have Your Opponents own you were right, when too late to take advantage of it either for them or Ourselves.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.