Gentlemen, and meet them himself as such, at such place as they should
That he in conjunction with General Howe, had full
Powers, to compromise the dispute between
Great Britain and
America upon terms Advantageous to both; the Obtaining of which
delayed him near two months in
England, and prevented his Arrival at this place, before the
declaration of Independancy took place:
That he wished a compact might be settled at this time, when no decisive
blow was struck, and neither party could say they were compelled to enter into
That in case Congress were disposed to treat, many Things, which they had
not as yet asked, might and ought to be granted them; and that, if, upon the
Conference, they found any probable ground of Accommodation, the Authority of
Congress must be afterwards Acknowledged, otherwise the Compact would not be
In this written Statement of the Message it ought to be observed that
General Sullivan has not inserted, what he had reported
verbally, that Lord Howe had told him "he
would sett the Act of Parliament wholly aside, and that
Parliament had no right to tax
America or meddle with her internal Polity."
The Board of War brought in a report, which was read, and a number of
Resolutions adopted upon it, which see in the Journal.
Wednesday September 4,
Resolved that the board of War be directed to call in the several Recruiting
Parties of the German Battalions, and to have them formed and armed with all
possible Expedition, and forwarded to
New York, taking measures, and giving proper directions to have
the battalion recruited to the full Compliment of men as soon as the
same can conveniently be done.
Resolved, that the proposal made by General Howe,
as delivered by General Sullivan, of exchanging General
Sullivan for General Prescott, and Lord
Sterling for Brigadier
General [McDougal?] McDonald be complied
Congress took into Consideration, the Report of the Board of War, and after
some time spent thereon
Resolved that the farther Consideration thereof be postponed, till
Thursday September 5.
A Petition referred to the Board of War.
Resolved That General Prescot, and Brigadier
General McDonald be sent by the Board of War, under an Escort,
to General Washington, to be exchanged for
General Sullivan and Lord Sterling.
Congress resumed the Consideration of the Report of the Board of War,
Resolved, That General Sullivan be requested to
inform Lord Howe that, this Congress, being the
Representatives of the free and independent
States of America, cannot with propriety send any of its
members, to confer with his Lordship in their private Characters, but that,
ever desirous of establishing peace, on reasonable terms, they will send a
Committee of their body, to know whether he has any Authority to treat with
persons, authorized by Congress for that purpose in behalf of
America, and what that Authority is, and to hear such
propositions as he shall think fit to make respecting the same:
That the President be desired to write to General
Washington and Acquaint him, that it is the Opinion of Congress, no
proposals for making peace between
Great Britain and the
United States of America ought to be received or attended to,
unless the same be made in Writing and Addressed to the Representatives of the
said States in Congress, or persons authorized by them: And if application be
made to him, by any of the Commanders of the British forces on that Subject,
that he inform them, that these
United States, who entered into the War, only for the defence of their Lives and Liberties, will
chearfully agree to peace on reasonable terms,
whenever such shall be proposed to them in manner aforesaid.
Resolved That a Copy of the first of the two foregoing resolutions, be
delivered to General Sullivan, and that he be directed to
repair immediately to Lord Howe.
Resolved That tomorrow be assigned for electing the Committee.
Fryday September 6. 1776.
Resolved that General Sullivan be requested to deliver
to Lord Howe, the Copy of the Resolution
Resolved that the Committee, "to be sent to know whether Lord Howe has any Authority to treat with persons
authorized by Congress for that purpose in behalf of
America, and what that Authority is, and to hear such
propositions as he shall think fit to make respecting the same" consist of
Congress then proceeded to the Elections, and the ballots being
taken,Mr. Franklin, Mr. John Adams,
and Mr. Rutledge were elected.
Letters from Generals
Washington, Schuyler, Gates and Mercer,
referred to the Board of War.
The Board of War brought in a Report -- Resolutions upon it.
Saturday September 7.
A Letter of the 5th. from Charles Preston, Major of the
26th. Regiment a Prisoner, was read and referred to the Board of War.
Resolved, that a Copy of the Resolutions passed by Congress, on the Message
brought by General Sullivan, and the names of the Committee
appointed, be sent to General Washington.
Congress resumed the Consideration of the Report of the Board of War
Resolved, that all Letters to and from the Board of War and ordinance or the
Secretary of the same, be free of all Expence in the
Post office of the
United States. &c.
Monday September 9, 1776.
Resolved, that in all Continental Commissions, and other Instruments where
heretofore the Words, "United Colonies," have been used, the
Stile be altered for the future to the
The Board of War brought in a report, which was read.
On this day, Mr. Franklin
, Mr. Edward
Rutledge and [illegible] Mr. John
proceeded on their journey to Lord Howe
Staten Island, the two former in Chairs and the last on
Horseback; the first night We lodged at an Inn, in
New Brunswick. On the Road and at all the public Houses, We saw
such Numbers of Officers and Soldiers, straggling and loytering
, as gave me at least, but a poor Opinion of
the Discipline of our forces and excited as much indignation as anxiety. Such
thoughtless dissipation at a time so critical, was not calculated to inspire
very sanguine hopes or give great Courage to Ambassadors: I was nevertheless
determined that it should not dishearten me. I saw that We must be
chastised into order
and had no doubt but We should be chastised into
order in time.
The Taverns were so full We could with difficulty obtain Entertainment.
At Brunswick, but one bed could be procured for Dr. Franklin and me, in a little Chamber little
larger than the bed, without a Chimney and with only one
small Window. The Window was open, and I, who was an invalid and
afraid of the Air in the night blowing upon me, shut it close. Oh!
says Franklin dont shut the Window. We shall be
suffocated. I answered I was afraid of the Evening Air. Dr.
Franklin replied, the Air within this Chamber will soon be, and indeed
itisworse now worse than that without Doors:
come! open the Window and come to bed, and I will convince you: I believe you
are not acquainted with my Theory of Colds. Shutti Opening the
Window and leaping into Bed, I said I had read his Letters to Dr.
Cooper in which he had advanced, that Nobody ever got cold by going
into a cold Church, or any other cold Air: but the Theory was so little
consistent with my experience, that I thought it a Paradox: However I had so
much curiosity to hear his reasons, that I would run the risque of a cold. The Doctor then began an
harrangue, upon Air and cold and Respiration and
Perspiration, with which I was so much amused that I soon fell asleep, and left
him and his Philosophy together: but I believe they were equally sound and
insensible, within a few minutes after me, for the last Words I heard were
pronounced as if he was more than half asleep. . . . I remember little of the
Lecture, except, that the