Second Continental Congress: September 27, 1775
September 27, 1775
Congress receives the Reports of The Committee of Accounts and the Committee on Washington’s Letters. John Adams reports on the debate over the Purveyance Memorial concerning the September 10th deadline. The Secret Committee Minutes reveal the conflict over the deal with Thomas Willing, a member of the Committee, and Robert Morris over the “delivery of . . . gunpowder” etc.
Link to date-related documents
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
The Committee of Accounts asked Congress how to charge sundry accounts.
Resolved, That the expense of kettles, canteens, and spoons, supplied to the soldiers, be charged to the Continent.
Resolved, That the sum of one hundred and sixty thousand dollars be paid to Connecticut, for supplies they issued for the service of the United Colonies.
The Committee of Accounts laid before the Congress three accounts.
1) for a balance due to Robert Erwin, wagon master, 2) for a sum due to George Frank, for riding express, 3) from the Committee of Northampton County, for money advanced for the rifle companies. Ordered, That the three accounts be paid.
Congress resumed the consideration of the report of the committee appointed to examine the journals of the last session.
Ordered, That the journals be published and superintend by the Secretary, and that he correct the press.
A memorial of Samuel and Robert Purveyance, was Ordered, to lie on the table. [Editor’s Note. The Purveyances requested permission to export a cargo of wheat after the September 10 nonexportation deadline]
Certain resolutions of the Committee of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, respecting an application made to them by a Captain to take a cargo of flour to Gloucester, in Massachusetts, were laid before the Congress and read.
Ordered, To lie on the table.
Adjourned to 9 o’Clock on Friday.
John Adams’s Notes of Debates
Willing in favor of Mt. Purveyances Petition. Harrison vs. it.
Willing thinks the Non Exportation sufficiently hard upon the Farmer, the Merchant and the Tradesman, but will not arraign the Propriety of the Measure.
Nelson. If We give these Indulgences, I know not where they will end. Sees not why the Merchant should be indulged more than the Farmer.
Harrison. It is the Merchant in England that is to suffer.
Lynch. They meant gain and they ought to bear the Loss.
Sherman. Another Reason. The Cargo is Provisions and will probably fall into the Hands of the Enemy.
R. R. Livingston. There is no Resolve of Congress vs. exporting to foreign Ports. We shall not give License to deceit, by clearing out for England.
Lynch. Moves that the Committee of this City, be desired to inquire whether Deans Vessel taken at Block Island and another at Cape Codd, were not sent on Purpose to supply the Enemy.
Read. The Committee of this City have enquired of the owners of one Vessel. The owners produced their Letter Books, and were ready to swear. The Conduct of the Captain is yet suspicious. Thinks the other Enquiry very proper.
Lee. Thinks Lynch’s Motion proper. Thinks the conduct detestable Parricide-to supply those who have Arms in their Hands to deprive us of the best Rights of human Nature. The honest Seamen ought to be examined, and they may give Evidence vs. the guilty.
Richard Smith’s Diary
160,000 Dollars ordered to be advanced to Connecticut. in part of their Claim on the Congress. Willing from the Committee on Accounts asked Whether a Charge should be allowed made by the Committee of Northampton County in Pennsylvania for their Time & Trouble in settling certain Accounts; Mr. Willing was directed not to allow it. The Journal continued to be read & various Parts ordered not to be published, as the Instructions to Gen Washington, the Directions to the German Ministers &c. A Petition was read from Messrs. Purviance of Baltimore praying Leave to ship off a Cargo of Wheat which the late Storm prevented, refused & ordered to lie on the Table.
Secret Committee Minutes of Proceedings
At the Meeting of the Committee of Secrecy appointed by the Honorable continental Congress of the 13 United Colonies in N. A. present-Samuel Ward, John Langdon, Silas Deane, John Alsop, Philip Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, John Dickenson & Thomas McKean Esqrs-Members of the said Committee of Secrecy.
A Contract was entered into by Thos. Willing & Robert Morris & Co. of the City of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania, Merchants of the one part, with Samuel Ward, John Langdon, Silas Deane, John Alsop, Philip Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, John Dickenson & Thos. McKean the aforesaid Members of the other part as follows vizt.-That the said Thos. Willing, Robert Morris & Co. shall & will, with the utmost speed & secrecy send a ship or vessel to some part of Europe & there purchase at the cheapest rate they can a thousand barrels of good powder, twelve good brass guns (six pounders), two thousand stand of good arms vizt. Soldiers muskets & bayonets & five thousand gunlocks double bridled, of a good quality, & in case the aforesaid quantity of powder cannot be procured, that they shall & will purchase as much Saltpetre & Sulphur if to be had as will make as much powder as shall be deficient.
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.