Papers of John Adams, volume 4

VI. Amendment to a Committee Report, 21 May 1776 JA Continental Congress VI. Amendment to a Committee Report, 21 May 1776 Adams, John Continental Congress
VI. Amendment to a Committee Report
ante 21 May 1776 1

13. Resolved that the Commissioners in Canada and General Schuyler be informed that We cannot give them any positive assurance of maintaining our Army there by hard Money, but that We are this might not check discourage our Operations, Congress being2 determined to send from these Colonies, the necessary Supplies of Provisions and all other Necessaries if hard Money cannot be obtained, and that in the mean Time the Utmost the best Endeavours shall be used to procure, the sum of one hundred Thousand Dollars in hard Money.

Resolved that Some Person or Persons be sent to Boston Employ'd by the President in New England3 as an Agent or agents to procure, if possible hard Money to the amount of an hundred Thousand Dollars.4

Dft in JA's hand (PCC, No. 19, VI, f. 211). This is a separate slip made part of the full committee report, which is in the hand of Robert R. Livingston. JA's amendment, whose wording was altered as indicated in the notes (below), was used as a substitute for the original paragraph 10. The full report, showing revisions, is in JCC , 4:375–378.


On 14 May the congress appointed a committee composed of William Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and JA to take into consideration letters from Washington of 11 May, from Schuyler of 3 May, and from Capt. Daniel Robertson, a British prisoner of war, of 9 May. On 16 May letters from Schuyler 13and Washington, of 10 and 15 May respectively, and of the Commissioners to Canada of 1 May were referred to the same committee. On 18 May the committee was enlarged to include Robert Morris, James Duane, Richard Henry Lee, Edward Rutledge, and Robert R. Livingston when additional letters were received: from Washington, of 17 May, and from the Commissioners, of 6, 8, and 10 May. On 21 May the committee reported its deliberations on those letters received by the congress on the 16th and 18th of May. Congressional discussion continued on 22 May, when the congress took action on the proposed resolves (Force, Archives , 4th ser., 6:396; JCC , 4:352, 358–359, 362–363, 374, 375–378).


The substitution for “We are” of “this might not discourage our Operations, Congress being” is in the hand of Duane ( JCC , 4:377, note 3).


The substitution for “sent to Boston” of “Employ'd by the President in New England,” as well as the words “or Persons” and “or agents,” is in the hand of John Hancock (same, p. 378, note 1).


The intent of JA's amendment was to soften the original flat statement that hard money could be secured only with “great difficulty” and that future supplies were “very precarious.” Moreover, the original statement left the Commissioners to devise a way to overcome the shortage (same, p. 377).