Second Continental Congress: September 13, 1775
September 13, 1775
The credentials of the Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland delegates read and accepted. Benjamin Franklin writes that the prospects of reconciliation are pretty much over.
Link to date-related documents.
Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]
Newly elected delegates from three states arrive.
Georgia elected five delegates to the Continental Congress. Archibald Bullock, John Houstoun, the Reverend Doctor John J. Zubly, Noble Wimberly Jones, and Lyman Hall. The quorum requirement was three. And the instructions were familiar. “To do, transact, join and concur with the several Delegates from the other Colonies and Provinces upon this Continent, in all such Matters and things as shall appear eligible and fit, at this alarming time, for the preservation and defense of our Rights and Liberties, and for the restoration of Harmony upon constitutional principles, between Great Britain and America.”
Edmund Pendleton, Patrick Henry, and George Washington were excused because of other public service commitments.
Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Richard Bland, and George Wythe, were “appointed Deputies to represent this Colony in General Congress for one Year, and that they have power to meet and to Adjourn for such time and to such place or places as may be thought most proper.” Four present represented a quorum. Francis Lightfoot Lee was appointed to replace Bland because of the declining health of the latter.
Resolved, That Matthew Tilghman, Thomas Johnson, jun., Robert Goldsborough, William Paca, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, and John Hall, or “any three or more of them, be deputies.”
Sundry letters and papers received during the recess of Congress, were produced and read: Two from General Washington, written in August; Four from General Schuyler, 16 and 21 July, and 2 and 31 of August; One from Messrs. Lewis Morris, and James Wilson, of 6 September, and One from Gunning Bedford.
The Congress sent money to General Washington since he “was under great diff[iculty] for want of money.” There was also “a Letter from the deputies of the several districts in Bermuda” detailing costs for the last three years.
Resolved, That the importation by Benjamin Franklin of his personal belongings does not fall within the meaning of the first article of the Association, and that accordingly the books, papers, and furniture be delivered to the owner.
A memorial from “the Committee of the county of Westmoreland, in the province of Pennsylvania,” was presented and read.
Adjourned to 10 o’Clock tomorrow.
Richard Smith’s Diary
Mr. President (Hancock) in the Chair. The Credentials of the Georgia, Virginia and Maryland Delegates were read and accepted without any Objection. The Marylanders were the same as at the last Session. An Order was made that the Pennsylvania Delegates shall send off to General Washington under a proper Guard, the remainder of his Money amounting in the whole to 700,000 Dollars, and they were at the same Time to send the Clothing for Two Regiments lately seized at Philadelphia. Duane & Robert R. Livingston came today from the Indian Treaty at Albany. Another Treaty is about to be held at Pittsburg.
Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Shipley
Our united Wishes for a Reconciliation of the two Countries, are not I fear soon to be accomplished; for I hear your Ministry are determined to persevere in their mad Measures, and here I find the firmest Determination to resist at all Hazards. The Event may be doubtful, but it is clear to me that if the Contest is only to be ended by our Submission, it will not be a short one. We have given up our Commerce…And in our Minds we give up our Sea Coast (though Part may be a little disputed) to the barbarous Ravages of your Ships of War; but the internal Country we shall defend. It is a good one and fruitful. It is with our Liberties, worth defending, and it will itself by its Fertility enable us to defend it. Agriculture is the great Source of Wealth & Plenty. By cutting off our Trade you have thrown us to the Earth, whence like Antaeus we shall rise yearly with fresh Strength and Vigor….
I am here immersed in so much Business that I have scarce time to eat or sleep. The Winter I promise myself will bring with it some Relaxation. This Bustle is unsuitable to Age. How happy I was in the Sweet Retirement of Twyford, where my only Business was a little Scribbling in the Garden Study, and my Pleasure your Conversation, and that of your amiable Family!
Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.