Virginia and Pennsylvania fail to meet their quorum requirement, but the Congress, nevertheless, is able to proceed with the presentation of two Reports. E. Rutledge opposes the recruitment of Blacks into the Army, but his motion was defeated. John Adams is eager to return home and Richard Henry Lee has just arrived in Philadelphia with renewed energy and hope.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Since the delegates for Virginia and Pennsylvania were not present, the consideration of the letters and papers from Messrs. Morris and Wilson deferred until tomorrow.
The Committee appointed to prepare an answer to General Washington’s letters, delivered their report which was read and agreed to.
The Committee appointed to examine the journal of the Congress during the last sessions, in order for the press, delivered their report.
Adjourned to nine o’clock tomorrow.
Richard Smith’s Diary
The Committee brought in a Letter to General Washington, in the Course of it E Rutledge moved that the General shall discharge all the Negroes as well Slaves as Freemen in his Army. He was strongly supported by many of the Southern Delegates but so powerfully opposed that he lost the Point. [Editor’s Note. But see Congressional Resolution of January 16, 1776] The Question of the Lines between Pennsylvania & Virginia agitated but Nothing determined. The Letters between Washington & Gage ordered to be published, then the Journal was read in Order for Publication and some Parts of it ordered not to be printed as improper for Public Inspection particularly all that was there about fortifying the Passes on Hudson’s River & the Directions to the New Yorkers to arm themselves &c.
John Adams to Abigail Adams
I have enjoyed better Health, this session than the last, and have suffered less from certain Fidgets, Pidlings, and Irritabilities which have become so famous. A more serious Spirit prevails than heretofore. We shall soon be in Earnest. I begin to think We are so. Our Injunctions of Secrecy are so much insisted on, that I must be excused from disclosing one Iota of any Thing that comes to my Knowledge as a Member of the Congress. Our Journal of the last session however, I conjecture will be speedily printed and then I will enclose it to you….
I hope to be excused from attending at Philadelphia, after the Expiration of the Year. I hope that Dr. Winthrop, Mr. Sever, Mr. Greenleaf, Colonel Warren, Mr. Hawley, Mr. Gerry, some or all of them will take their Turns, in the States and suffer me, at least to share with my Family, a little more than I have done, the Pleasures and Pains of this Life, and that I may attend a little more to my private Affairs that I may not be involved in total Ruin, unless my Country should be so and then I should choose to share its Fate.
Richard Henry Lee to George Washington
Two days ago I arrived here from Virginia, which the late short adjournment just allowed me time to visit and return…. Your labors are no doubt great both of mind and body, but if the praise of the present and future times can be any compensation you will have a plentiful portion of that. Of one thing you may certainly rest assured that the Congress will do everything in their power to make your most weighty business easy to you. I think you could not possibly have appointed a better Man to his present Office than Mr. Mifflin. He is a singular Man ….
We have no late accounts from England, but from what we have had that can be relied on, it seems almost certain, that our Enemies there must shortly meet with a total over throw. The entire failure of all their schemes, and the rising spirit of the people strongly expressed by the remonstrance of the Livery of London to the King, clearly denote this. The Ministry had their sole reliance on the impossibility of the Americans finding money to support an army, on the great aid their cause would receive from Canada, and consequent triumph of their forces over the liberties and rights of America. The reverse of all this has happened, and very soon now, our Commercial resistance will begin sorely to distress the people at large. The Ministerial recruiting business in England has entirely failed them, the Ship builders in the royal yards have mutinied, and now they are driven as to their last resort to seek for Soldiers in the Highlands of Scotland. But it seems the greatest Willingness of the people there cannot supply more than one or two Thousand men, A number rather calculated to increase their disgrace, than to give success to their cause.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.