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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


This foot note contained in document ADMS-01-02-02-0006-0002-0002
2. On 21 July 1775 Franklin had laid before Congress a draft plan of “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union,” but the subject was so touchy that no record of it was made in the official Journal. Copies of Franklin's plan circulated in the colonies and even reached print, but without noticeable effect (Burnett, Continental Congress , p. 91–92; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:179–180). On 23 Dec. 1775 Jefferson, as chairman of a committee to ascertain the unfinished business before Congress, entered the “Report of the Proposed Articles of Confederation (adjourned from August last)” as the first item, but it was struck from his list, probably by the committee before reporting ( JCC , 3:454–456; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:274–275). According to Richard Smith's Diary there were “considerable Arguments” on the floor of Congress, 16 Jan. 1776, “on the Point Whether a Day shall be fixed for considering the Instrument of Confederation formerly brought in by a Comee. it was carried in the Negative [and so not recorded in the Journal]. Dr. Franklin exerted Himself in Favor of the Confederation as did Hooper, Dickinson and other[s] agt. it” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:313; and see Samuel Adams to JA , 15–16 Jan. 1776, Adams Papers; same, p. 311–312). The Journal of Congress is silent on this subject until 7 June, when the Virginia Resolutions “respecting independency” were brought in, one of which proposed “That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation,” and after debate extending over several days a committee was appointed “to prepare and digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between these colonies” ( JCC , 5:425, 431, 433). For later developments see entries of 25 July and following, below.