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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


This foot note contained in document ADMS-04-02-02-0012
2. Here and below, suspension points are in MS . On 7 June Richard Henry Lee had moved “certain resolutions respecting independency,” which he had composed but which were understood to { 23 } be submitted on behalf of the Virginia delegation in accordance with their instructions of 15 May by the Virginia Convention, directing the delegates “to propose [that Congress] declare the United Colonies free and independent states” (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:290–291, 298–299; JCC , 5:425–426). Although, as usual, the Journal does not record the name of either the mover or seconder of this motion, it has been generally accepted that JA seconded it; see his Diary and Autobiography , 3:392–393. Congress deferred considering the resolutions (one of which called for the preparation of a plan of confederation) until next day, a Saturday, when they were debated in a committee of the whole house; the debate was continued on Monday the 10th, but further debate on the first and crucial resolution was then deferred until 1 July; “and in the mean while, that no time be lost, in case the Congress agree thereto, that a committee be appointed to prepare a declaration to the effect of the said first resolution” ( JCC , 5:427, 428–429). On the 11th it was “Resolved, That the committee, to prepare the declaration, consist of five members: The members chosen, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. J. Adams, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Sherman, and Mr. R. R. Livingston” (same, p. 431). For JA 's principal accounts of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence in the weeks that followed (until the committee reported its draft to Congress on 28 June), see his Diary and Autobiography , 3:335–337, and references there. His arguments in the debate in the committee of the whole, 8–10 June, are summarized in Jefferson's Notes of Proceedings (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:311–313).