Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: September 30, 1775

September 30, 1775

Congress chooses 1) the three members of the Washington Response Committee and 2) the five members who will give instructions to the three members and requests that other colonial officials attend the proposed October meeting. John Hancock and Samuel Ward summarize the day.  Ward explains why it is difficult to secure unanimity on the issue of reconciliation or independence.

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That Mr. Lynch, Doctor Franklin, and Mr. Harrison be the Committee for the purpose expressed in the resolution of yesterday.

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to draw up Instructions for the above committee: John Rutledge, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Johnson, Robert R. Livingston, and Samuel Adams.

Resolved, That the president write to General Washington, to inform him of the above decisions dealing with the most effectual method of continuing, supporting, and regulating a continental army.

That a like letter be written to the Governor of Connecticut, and to request him, in case he cannot himself attend, that he will appoint a proper person to represent that colony, to confer with the Committee of Congress on the subjects entrusted to them.

That a like letter be written to the council of Massachusetts Bay, and to the Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island, and to the president of the convention of New Hampshire.

Resolved, That the resolution of Congress respecting the lowering the rates of postage be suspended until farther orders from this Congress.

The Committee of Claims reported that three claims be paid.  Congress approved.

The resolutions of the Committee of the City and liberties of Philadelphia were Referred to Monday next.

The Committee appointed to consider the trade of America, brought in their report, which was read, and referred to Monday next.

Adjourned to 10 o’Clock on Monday next to meet at the Lodge.

Samuel Ward’s Diary

Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch & Colo. Harrison the Committee; John Rutledge, Colo. Lee, R R Livingston, S. Adams & Mr. Johnston a Committee to draw Instructions for the above Committee. President to write to Genl. Washington to acquaint him with the Appoint. & the Governors Council & President desiring them to attend the Committee 12th October next. Postage of Letters to be same as usual. Some Accts. allowed, a Complaint made by Delegates against the Connecticut People at Susquehannah, a Report from the Committee for considering of the Trade &c read.

John Hancock to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

The Congress have received sundry Letters from General Washington Containing Matters of great Importance, touching the supporting and regulating the Continental Army. As the Congress are desirous of the fullest Light on these Subjects before they come to a final Determination, they have appointed three of their Members-viz Mr. Lynch, Doctor Franklin, and Mr. Harrison to wait on the General and confer with him, and with the Governors of Connecticut & Rhode Island, and with the Council of Massachusetts Bay, and the President of the Convention of New Hampshire.
The Committee will set out as soon as possible, and expect to be at the Camp by the 12th. of next Month.  Of this I am desired to inform you, and to request you will meet the Committee on that Day. In Case the Business of your Colony will not admit of your personal Attendance, it is the Desire of the Congress that you appoint a proper Person or Persons to represent your Colony at the Conference with their Committee.

Samuel Ward to Henry Ward

I am upon several Committees for very important Purposes which takes up My Time so that I was forced to omit writing to you by last Post…. Business cannot be done here with the same Dispatch as in New England but I have this Satisfaction that I am never absent either from Committees or Congress….

A Letter from General Washington relative to the forming a new Army, and that Paragraph of Governor Cooke’s Letter that only Captain Ward amongst all the Rhode Island officers had received a continental Commission alarmed the Congress, or rather some Members of it. A Motion was made that a Committee should be appointed to consult General Washington, the Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, the Governor of Connecticut, the Council of the Massachusetts Bay & the President of the Congress of New Hampshire upon the best Method of continuing supporting & regulating a continental Army. Mr. Adams, the Connecticut Gentlemen & myself were against it & many others but lest We should be supposed to think our Army would not bear Inspection We did not exert ourselves and suffered the Motion to be carried without calling the Colonies when a Majority of them were against it. Letters to the Governors &c go by this Express that they may meet the Committee 12th next Month at Cambridge.

The Gentlemen fond of the Motion wished a very different Committee from that actually appointed. I saw their Aim and proposed to the New England Colonies a Plan for defeating them & succeeded saving that We failed in getting Colonel Dyer appointed with the other Gentlemen. The Committee as it now stands is Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch & Colo. Harrison, the two first You are well acquainted with, the last is a Virginian a Friend of Liberty a Man of Sense & Spirit but not at all Times so wise & judicious as some from that glorious Colony. A Committee is appointed to draw Instructions for them. I imagine they will set out on Tuesday next. I wish You could accompany Governor Cooke to Cambridge. …. Neither of the Gentlemen save Dr. Franklin is equal to you in natural or acquired abilities.

Some of the southern Gentlemen seem to consider this matter as an affair between New England & the other Colonies & upon that Plan balloted for Gentlemen only of the other Colonies. (Colo. Dyer & Colo. Harrison had equal Votes at first, upon a second Trial another Southern Member came in & turned the Vote for Colo. Harrison)….

An unhappy Dispute subsists between the Virginians & the Pennsylvanians & another between the latter & Connecticut both which are before the Congress & I hope such Measures will be adopted as may prevent the sad Mischiefs.

[I mention] that unhappy Jealousy of New England which some weak Minds are possessed with great Unanimity prevails in Congress. Our Measures are more Spirited and I believe We are now ready to go every Length to secure our Liberties. John Adams Letter has silenced those who opposed every decisive Measure, but the moderate or as I consider them the Enemies of our Cause have caused Copies of it to be sent throughout the Province in Hopes by raising the Cry of Independence to throw the Friends of Liberty out of the new Assembly the Choice of which commences next Monday but I believe they will fail & that the House will be more decisive than ever. One Comfort We have that divine Wisdom & Goodness often bring Good out of ill; that the Issue of this severe Contest will be the Establishment of our Liberties I as firmly believe as I do my Existence for I never can think God brought us into the Wilderness to perish or what is worse to become Slaves but to make us a great & free People.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.