Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: October 24, 1775

October 24, 1775

The Journal does not report any discussions or decisions that took place. And that is because the delegates were mourning the death Peyton Randolph. Thomas Jefferson called him,“our good old Speaker.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

The Congress met and adjourned to two o’Clock P. M.

Eodem die P. M. [Editor’s Note. On the same day]

Met and adjourned to 9 o’clock tomorrow.

Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes

Since my last, we have nothing new from England or from the camps at either Cambridge or St. John’s. Our eyes are turned to the latter place with no little anxiety, the weather having been uncommonly bad for troops in that quarter, exposed to the in clemencies of the sky without any protection. Carleton is retired to Quebec, and though it does not appear he has any intimation of Arnold’s expedition, yet we hear he has embodied 1,100 men to be on his guard. A small vessel was the other day cast away on the Jersey shore (she was one of the transports which had some time ago brought over troops to Boston), on board of which were a captain, with his subordinate officers and marines, amounting to 23 in all, and also a Duncan Campbell, who was going to recruit men at New York for General Gage, he having some time before undertaken the same business in the same place, and actually carried off 60 men. The marines and their officers were all taken immediately, except their captain and the recruiting gentleman; these pushed off in a little boat, and coasted it to Long Island, where they got on board a sloop which was to have sailed in an hour, when the party sent after them came upon them. They were brought to this city this morning, the marines having been here some time. Our good old Speaker died the night before last.

Samuel Ward to Henry Ward

Since my last We have had the Honor of a Letter from the Deputy Governor which was immediately read in Congress. [Editor’s Note. On October 17th Congress read an October 9th letter from Rhode Island Deputy Governor Nicholas Cooke] As soon as any Resolutions are formed upon the Subject We shall transmit them to his Honor; I was very desirous of obtaining a Resolution of Congress so as to have forwarded it to the Assembly at the ensuing Session but could not obtain it.

Not a Word from Europe since my last, the Vessels which have arrived having had long Passages. This Morning one Duncan Campbell… was brought before the Committee of Safety of this Province. He and one Sims [Symes] a Lieutenant under him & a Sergeant & about twenty Privates were on Board a Transport from Boston which was cast away at Little Egg Harbor, they were going to New York to enlist Men for General Howe. The Wretch had sometime ago enlisted 60 men & carried them to Boston & had engaged a Number of others in the County he lived in….

Dr. Kearsley is sentenced to close Imprisonment by the Committee of Safety in the back Counties & this Morning a Guard set out with him accordingly his Confinement to continue during the present Contest with Great Britain.

On Sunday Evening our late worthy President Mr. Randolph died very suddenly, he dined at one Mr. Hills three Miles out of Town, soon after Dinner he was taken with a choking & one Side of his Face was distorted & about eight He expired. The Congress determined yesterday to go into mourning (as permitted by our Association) appointed a Committee to wait on Mr. Duchee & request him to preach a funeral Sermon & the Committee to give all proper Directions in concert with his Friends & Lady for the funeral Service & We shall all walk as Mourners.

Everything of Importance done at the Assembly you will naturally communicate, & the Proceedings at the Conference at Cambridge with your Sentiments upon such measures as you think best for us to pursue in Congress I shall be glad of.
With Regard to the Voyage proposed by the Deputy Governor. I have wrote to his Honor twice by Order of the Secret Committee of which I am Chairman and everything necessary upon our Part is ready & I hope the Voyage is undertaken before this time….

Robert Treat Paine’s Diary

Fair Cool. Rode to German Town. P.M. the funeral Peyton Randolph Esqr. attended in the most respectable Manner & a Sermon preached at Christ’s Church by Mr. Duche.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.