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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-02-23

I. Resolutions on Saltpeter and Powder Mills

Resolved,1 That it be recommended to the several Assemblies, Conventions, Councils or Committees of Safety, and Committees of Correspondence and Inspection in the United Colonies, to exert themselves in devising farther ways and means of promoting and encouraging the manufacture of Salt-petre, and of introducing that manufacture into private families.
Resolved, That it be recommended to the several Assemblies and Conventions in the United Colonies, that they immediately establish public works in each and every county in their respective Colonies, at the expence of such Colonies, for the manufacture of salt-petre, and appoint Committees of their own members immediately to set up such manufactures.
Resolved, That it be recommended to the Assemblies, Conventions, or Councils of Safety of every Colony, forthwith to erect Powder Mills in their respective Colonies, and appoint Committees to build such mills, and procure persons well skilled in the manufacture of powder, at the expence of such Colonies.
Resolved, That a Committee of this Congress,2 to consist of one member from each Colony, be appointed to consider of farther ways and means of promoting and encouraging the manufactures of Salt-petre, Sulphur and Powder in these Colonies, and to correspond with the Several Assemblies and Conventions, and Councils or Committees { 5 } of Safety in the Several Colonies, that this Congress may be, from time to time, truly informed of the progress made in these manufactures in all the Colonies.3
Reprinted from (Pennsylvania Gazette, 28 Feb. 1776); Dft not found.
1. According to Richard Smith's Diary, these resolutions were offered by JA (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:361). The objectives were briefly stated in one item of JA 's memorandum of [Feb.? 1776] , which may have been a kind of strategic plan for those in the congress pressing toward independence ( Diary and Autobiography , 2:231 and notes thereto). JA apparently presented the resolves as an individual, for he was not a member of the Secret Committee, which had been entrusted with the task of acquiring saltpeter and powder (same, 3:340–341). He had long worked through his correspondents, however, to urge greater production of these war necessities.
2. The committee chosen included Josiah Bartlett, Robert Treat Paine, Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Huntington, Lewis Morris, Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, Charles Humphreys, George Read, William Paca, Carter Braxton, Joseph Hewes, Edward Rutledge, and Archibald Bulloch ( JCC , 4:171). The names were also printed in the newspaper.
3. The congress not only passed these resolutions but ordered their publication (same).