Rhode Island instructs its delegates to encourage Congress to arm for the common defense AND to seek an accommodation with Britain. Benjamin Franklin thinks the British Government is not seriously interested in “proposals of accommodation,” and Samuel Adams writes that the actions of the British Government are persuading more people “that it is folly to supplicate a Tyrant.”
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
The Committee of Claims reported at least ten claims for payment linked to the war effort to Congress.
Ordered, That the accounts be paid.
Resolved, That the sum of three hundred thousand dollars be immediately sent to the Paymaster general, for the use of the army in the Massachusetts.
Resolved, that General Washington may, if he thinks proper, for the encouragement of an Attack on Boston, promise, in case of success, a month’s pay to the army and to the representatives of such of our brave countrymen as may chance to fall, and in case success should not attend the attempt, a month’s pay to the representatives of the deceased.
One of the Delegates for Rhode Island laid before the Congress a part of the Instructions given them by the House of Magistrates, Aug. 26,1775.
Rhode Island Instructions
Whereas notwithstanding the humble and dutiful petition of the last Congress to the King, and other wise and pacific measures taken for obtaining a happy reconciliation between Great Britain and the Colonies, the ministry lost to every sentiment of justice, liberty and humanity continue to send troops and ships of war into America, which destroy our trade, plunder and burn our towns and murder the good people of these colonies.
Resolved, That this Colony most ardently wishes to see the former friendship, harmony and intercourse between Britain and these Colonies restored, and a happy and lasting connection established between both countries upon terms of just and equal liberty and will concur with the other colonies in all proper measures for obtaining those desirable blessings; and as every principle divine and human requires us to obey that great and fundamental law of nature, self preservation, until peace shall be restored upon constitutional principles; this colony will most heartily exert the whole power of government in conjunction with the other colonies for carrying on this just and necessary war, and bringing the same to a happy issue, and amongst other measures for obtaining this most desirable purpose, this Assembly is persuaded, that the building and equipping an American fleet, as soon as possible, would greatly and essentially conduce to the preservation of the lives, liberty and property of the good people of these Colonies and therefore instruct their delegates to use their whole influence at the ensuing Congress for building at the Continental expense a fleet of sufficient force for the protection of these colonies, and for employing them in such manner and places as will most effectually annoy our enemies, and contribute to the common defense of these colonies, and they are also instructed to use all their influence for carrying on the war in the most vigorous manner, until peace, liberty and safety are restored and secured to these Colonies upon an equitable and permanent basis.
Resolved, That the Congress will on Friday next take the above into consideration.
Resolved, That this Congress will tomorrow resolve itself into a Committee of the whole to take into consideration the state of trade of these Colonies.
Resolved, That the Committee appointed to repair to the camp, confer with David Rittenhouse, and see if he would be willing to serve the Continent as an Engineer, and, if so, to hire him, and send him, with all convenient speed, to the Camp.
Adjourned to 9 o’Clock tomorrow.
Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan (Member of Parliament)
Since my Arrival here I have received Four Letters from you, the last dated August 2, all filled with your Reasonings and Persuasions, and Arguments and Intimidations on the Dispute between Britain & America, which are very well written, and if you have shown them to your Friends the Ministers, I dare say, they have done you Credit. In Answer I can only say that I am too fully engaged in actual Business to write much; and I know your Opinions are not easily changed. You wish me to come over with Proposals of Accommodation. Your Ministers have made that impracticable for me, by prosecuting me with a frivolous Chancery Suit in the Name of Whately, by which, as my Solicitor writes me, I shall certainly be imprisoned if I appear again in England. Nevertheless, send us over hither fair Proposals of Peace, if you choose it, and nobody shall be more ready than myself to promote their Acceptation: For I make it a Rule not to mix personal Resentments with Public Business. They have voted me here 1000 Dollars per annum as Postmaster General, and I have devoted the whole Sum to the Assistance of such as have been disabled in the Defense of their Country, that I might not have, or be suspected to have the least interested Motive for keeping the Breach open.
Samuel Adams to James Warren
This day Dr. Franklin sets off for Cambridge, being deputed by the Congress in Conjunction with Mr Lynch of South Carolina and Colonel Harrison of Virginia to consult with the General and some Gentlemen of the four New England Colonies concerning the most effectual Methods of continuing supporting and regulating the Continental Army. This Embassy I conjecture will be attended with great and good Consequences.
The Intelligence received by the July Packet which arrived at New York a few days ago, has convinced some, who could not be prevailed upon to believe it before, that it is folly to supplicate a Tyrant, and that under God, our own virtuous Efforts must save us….
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.