Diary of John Adams, volume 3

346 [8th of November 1775] JA [8th of November 1775] Adams, John
8th of November 1775

On the 8th of November 1775 Congress resolved, that the Bills of Sale of the Vessells ordered to be purchased, be made to the Continental Treasurers, or those who shall succeed them in that Office, in trust never the less for the Use of the Continent or their Representatives, in Congress met.

[10th of November 1775] JA [10th of November 1775] Adams, John
10th of November 1775

On the 10th of November 1775 Congress resolved that two Battalions of Marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other Officers as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal Number of privates with other Battalions; that particular care be taken, that no Person be appointed to Officers, or inlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good Seamen or so acquainted with maritime Affairs, as to be able to serve to Advantage by Sea when required: that they be inlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War between Great Britain and the Colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of. Ordered that a Copy of the above, be transmitted to the General.

[17th of November 1775.] JA [17th of November 1775.] Adams, John
17th of November 1775.

On the 17th of November 1775. A Letter from Gen. Washington, inclosing a Letter and Journal of Colonel Arnold, and sundry papers being received, the same were read, whereupon

Resolved that a Committee of seven be appointed to take into Consideration so much of the Generals Letter, as relates to the disposal of such Vessells and Cargoes belonging to the Ennemy, as shall fall into the hands of, or be taken by the Inhabitants of the United Colonies. The Members chosen Mr. Wythe, Mr. E. Rutledge, Mr. J. Adams, Mr. W. Livingston, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Johnson.1


Washington's letter, 8 Nov. 1775, is printed in his Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:71–75. The report of this committee, recommending the establishment of prize courts, was brought in on 23 Nov., debated the next day, and adopted on the next ( JCC , 3:364–365, 368–369, 371–375). JA copied it into his Autobiography under 25 Nov. but did not assert his authorship.

[Thursday. November 23. 1775.] JA [Thursday. November 23. 1775.] Adams, John
Thursday. November 23. 1775.

Thursday. November 23. 1775. The Committee for fitting out armed Vessells laid before Congress, a draught of Rules for the Government of the American Navy and Articles to be signed by the Officers and Men employed in that Service, which were read and ordered to lie on the Table for the Perusal of the Members.1


This “draught” was the work of JA. It was debated, probably amended, and adopted by Congress on 28 Nov., and was printed (with some last-minute changes) as Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies of North-America . . . , Phila.: William and Thomas Bradford, 1775. See JCC , 3:364, 375–376, 378–387, 393, 513. A facsimile reprint of this exceedingly rare founding document of the United States Navy was issued by the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, 1944.