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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0004-0006-0034

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1774-09 - 1774-10

[Notes on Measures to Be Taken Up by Congress, September–October 1774.]1

Non Importation, Non Consumption, Non Exportation to Britain, and W. Indies.
Petition to the King—Address to the People of England—Address to the People of America.
Societies of Arts and Manufactures in every Colony.
A Militia Law in every Colony. Encouragement of Militia and military Skill.
Raising 500,000£ st. and 20,000 Men.
Offering to raise a sum of Money, and appropriate it to the Support of the Navy.
Sending home Agents from the Congress to negociate—and propose an American Legislature—<to impose>2
1. Petition to the King.—<Send> Agents to carry it.
2. Offers to raise Money 200,000£ say, and appropriate it to the Support of the Navy.
Agents to negotiate this—and propose an American Legislature— to lay Taxes in certain Cases and make Laws in certain others.
3. Address to the People of England—and America—commercial Struggle
4. Societies of Arts and Manufactures, in every Colony. Auxiliary to.3
5. N. Importation, N. Consumption, N. Exportation.
Preparations for War, procuring Arms and Ordnance, and military Stores
6. Raising Money and Men.
7. A Militia Law in every Colony. Encouragement of Militia and military skill.
1. These two undated and hitherto unpublished lists are separated from each other by several intervening pages in JA's loose notes of debates in the first Continental Congress (D/JA/22A). The items in the first list (up to the subhead “Petitions” in this entry) are obviously simply rearranged in a classified form in the second, but in view of JA's clerical caprices their respective locations in the MS provide no real clues as to when they were written. It is very likely, however, that the first list was inspired by the debate “on the means most proper to be pursued for a restoration of our rights,” which began on 24 Sept., was { 146 } continued on the 26th and 27th, was taken up again on 6 Oct., and from that point on was blended with plans for both an “Association” (approved 18 Oct., and signed 20 Oct.) and a “Declaration of Rights” (agreed to on 14 Oct.). See JCC, 1:42, 43, 55, 63–73, 75–81.
JA's proposed measures for action by Congress include some that were already in train in September, others that were taken up in October, and—most significantly—still others that were far too bold for this Congress to consider at all but that were evidently in the forefront of JA's mind, e.g. an intercolonial navy, an intercolonial army, “an American Legislature” vested with power to raise funds for a war chest, &c. Presumably he hoped that these positive steps could be added to the three measures, only one of which proceeded beyond mere assertions of principle and protest, at the end of the Declaration of Rights (JCC, 1:73). See JA to William Tudor, 7–9 Oct. 1774 (MHi: Tudor Papers; printed in MHS, Colls., 2d ser., 8 [1826]:311–313).
2. Possibly “impress.”
3. Thus in MS. The intent of this fourth measure was included in the Association of 20 Oct. (JCC, 1:78).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.