This is the only allusion in
's Diary to his journey from Philadelphia to Staten Island and back, in company with
Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge, a committee appointed by Congress on 6 Sept.
to confer with Admiral Lord Howe in his capacity as a commissioner to accommodate
the dispute between Great Britain and America (
, 5:728, 730–731, 737–738). The conference took place on 11 Sept. but accomplished
nothing because, as the committee reported to Congress on 17 Sept., “it did not appear
... that his Lordship's commission contained any other authority of importance than
... that of granting pardons ... and of declaring America, or any part of it, to be
in the king's peace” (same, 5:766). But the circumstances were dramatic, and the incident
attracted much attention and comment.
's account of it in his Autobiography is justly famous (printed in his
, 3:75–81, without the supporting letters that appear in the
). Much the fullest account of the conference itself is that by Henry Strachey, secretary
to the British commissioners (the Howe brothers), first printed accurately by Paul
L. Ford (from a
now in NN
) in an article entitled “Lord Howe's Commission to Pacify the Colonies,” Atlantic Monthly
, 77:758–762 (June 1896). See also Burnett, ed., Letters of Members
, 2:15 and note, 66 and note; Benjamin Rush, Autobiography
, 119–121, 140; Ambrose Serle, American Journal
, ed. Edward H. Tatum Jr., San Marino, Calif., 1940, p. 100–101.
On 19 Nov. Congress resolved that there was due to Rutledge, Franklin, and
, “a committee to Staten Island, for their expences there and back, 71 [and] 30/90