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John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776
sheet 33 of 53, 14 - 23 March 1776

This Resolution and Order was indeed assuming the Powers of Government in a manner as offensive, as the Measures We proposed could have been: But it left all the Powers of Government in the hands of Assemblies, Conventions and Committees, which composed a Sc ne of much Confusion and Injustice the Continuance of which was much dreaded by me, as tending to injure the Morals of the People and destroy their habits of order, and Attachment to regular Government. However I could do nothing but represent and remonstrate: The Vote as yet was against me.
Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the whole to take into Consideration the State of New York, and after some time the President resumed the Chair and Mr. Harrison reported, that the Committee have come to certain Resolutions. These may be seen in the Journal and relate wholly to the defence of New York.
This is the first Appearance of Mr. Harrison as Chairman of the Committee of the whole. The President Mr. Hancock had hitherto nominated Governor Ward of Rhode Island to that conspicuous distinction. Mr. Harrison had courted Mr. Hancock, Mr. Duane and Mr. Hancock had courted Mr. Duane, Mr. Dickenson and their Party, and leaned so partially in their favour, that Mr. Samuel Adams had become very bitter against Mr. Hancock and spoke of him with great Asperity, in private Circles, and this Alienation between them continued from this time till the Year 1789, thirteen Years, when they were again reconciled. Governor Ward was become extreamly Obnoxious to Mr. Hancocks Party by his zealous Attachment to Mr. Samuel Adams and Mr. Richard Henry Lee. Such I supposed were the motives which excited Mr. Hancock, to bring forward Mr. Harrison.
Although Harrison was another Sir John Falstaff, excepting in his Larcenies and Robberies, his Conversation disgusting to every Man of Delicacy or decorum,Obsc ne, profane, impious, perpetually ridiculing the Bible, calling it the Worst Book in the World, yet as I  [illegible saw he was to be often nominated with Us in Business, I took no notice of his Vices or Follies, but treated him and Mr. Hancock too with uniform Politeness. I was however, too intimate with Mr. Lee, Mr. Adams, Mr. Ward &c. to escapetheir M the jealousy and Malignity of their Adversaries.

Hence I suppose the Calumnies that were written or otherwise insinuated into the Minds of the Army that I was an Enemy to Washington, in favour of an annual Election of a General, against Enlisting Troops during the War &c. &c. all utterly false and groundless.
Mr. W. Livingston brought in a Proclamation for a Fast on the 17th of May.
Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the whole, according to the standing order of the Day. Mr. Harrison reported no Resolution.
Order of the Day again. Mr. Harrison reported no Resolution.
The order of the Day again. Mr. Harrison reported that the Committee have come to sundry Resolutions, which they directed him to lay before Congress. The Report of the Committee being read Resolved that a Committee of three be appointed to draw a Declaration pursuant to said Report and lay the same before Congress. The Members chosen Mr. Wythe, Mr. Jay and Mr. Wilson.
Mr. Wythe was one of our best Men, but Mr. Jay and Mr. Wilson,tho excellent Members when present, had been hitherto generally in favour of the dilatory System.
Resolved that it be an instruction to the said Committee to receive and insert a Clause or Clauses, that all Seamen and Mariners on board of Merchant Ships and Vessells taken and condemned as Prizes, shall be entitled to their pay, according to the Terms of their contracts,untill the time of condemnation.
Congress resumed the Consideration of the Instruction and Commission to the Deputies or Commissioners going to Canada, and agreed to them as they appear in the Journal. In these We obtained one Step more towards our great Object, a General Recommendation to the States to institute Governments. Congress recommended to the People of Canada to set up such a form of Government, as will be most likely in their judgment to produce their happiness. And pressed them to have a compleat Representation of the People assembled in Convention, with all possible Expedition to deliberate

concerning the Establishment of a Form of Government, and a Union with the United Colonies. -- It will readily be supposed that a great part of these Instructions were opposed by our Antagonists with great Zeal: but they were supported on our Side with equal Ardour, and the Acceptance of them afforded a strong proof of the real determination of a Majority of Congress to go with Us to the final Consummation of our Wishes.
There are three Resolutions, which I claim
Resolved That it be recommended to the several Assemblies &c. that they exert their Utmost Endeavours to promote the Culture of Hemp, Flax and Cotton and the grouth of Wool.
Resolved that it be recommended to the said Assemblies &c. that they take the earliest measures for erecting and establishing in each and every Colony, a Society for the Improvement of Agriculture, Arts, Manufactures and commerce, and to maintain a Correspondence between such Societies, that the rich and numerous natural Advantages of this Country for supporting its Inhabitants may not be neglected.
Resolved that it be recommended to the said Assemblies &c. that they forthwith consider of Ways and means of introducing the Manufactures of Duck, Sail Cloth and Steel, where they are not now understood, and of encouraging,encreasing and improving them, where they are.
These Resolutions I introduced and supported, not only for their Intrinsic Utility, which I thought would be very considerable: but because they held up to the view of the Nation the Air of Independence.
Congress took into Consideration the Declaration brought in by the Committee, and after debate, the further Consideration of it, at the request of a Colony was postponed till tomorrow.
The Congress resumed the Consideration of the Declaration, which was agreed to as follows.
Whereas the Petitions of the United Colonies to the King, for the redress of great and manifold grievances, have not only been rejected, but treated with Scorn and contempt, and the Opposition to designs evidently formed to reduce them to servile Submission, and their necessary defence against

hostile forces, actually employed to subdue them, declared Rebellion, and whereas an unjust War bath been commenced against them, which the Commanders of the British Fleets and Armies have prosecuted, and still continue to prosecute, with their Utmost vigour, and in a cruel manner, wasting, spoiling and destroying the Country, burning Houses and defenceless Towns, and exposing the helpless Inhabitants to every Misery from the Inclemency of the Winter, and not only urging Savages to invade the Country, but instigating Negroes to murder their Masters; and Whereas the Parliament of Great Britain hath lately passed an Act, affirming these Colonies to be in open Rebellion, forbidding all trade and commerce with the Inhabitants of them, untill they shall accept Pardons, and submit to despotic Rule, declaring their property, wherever found upon the Water, liable to seizure and confiscation, and enacting that what had been done there, by Virtue of the Royal Authority had been just and lawfull Acts, and shall be so deemed; from all which it is manifest, that the iniquitous Scheme, concerted to deprive them oftheir the Liberty they have a right to by the Laws of Nature and the British English Constitution, will be pertinaciously pursued: It being therefore necessary to provide for their defence and Security, and justifiable to make Reprisals upon their Enemies, and otherwise to annoy them according to the Laws and Usages of Nations, the Congress, trusting that such of their Friends in Great Britain (of whom it is confessed there are many intitled to applause and gratitude for their Patriotism and Benevolence, and in whose favour a discrimination of Property cannot be made) as shall suffer by Captures, will impute it to the Authors of our common Calamities, do declare and resolve as followeth to Wit
Resolved That the Inhabitants of these Colonies be permitted to fit out armed Vessells to cruise on the Enemies of these United Colonies.
Resolved That all Ships and other Vessells, their Tackle, Apparell and Furniture, and all Goods, Wares and Merchandizes, belonging to any Inhabitant or Inhabitants of Great Britain, taken on the high Seas or between high and low Water mark, by any Armed Vessell, fitted out by any private Person or Persons, and to whom Commissions shall

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776, sheet 33 of 53 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776. Part 1 is comprised of 53 sheets and 1 insertion; 210 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 3. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.
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