Papers of John Adams, volume 4

VII. Committee Report on Esek Hopkins’ Letter, 7 June 1776 JA Continental Congress VII. Committee Report on Esek Hopkins’ Letter, 7 June 1776 Adams, John Continental Congress
VII. Committee Report on Esek Hopkins' Letter
ante 7 June 1776

The Committee1 to whom was referred the Letter from Eseck Hopkins Commodore of the Continental Fleet dated Providence May 22 1776,2 have taken the same into Consideration and come to the following Resolutions.

Resolved that Mr. Charles Walker of N. Providence ought to be paid the Value of the Sloop Endeavour, together with four Tons of Lignum Vita and one hundred Cedar Posts taken by the said Commodore for the Use of the Colonies,3 and the Damages the said Walker has Sustained by the taking and Detention of Said Vessell, Lignum Vita and Posts the Said Walker giving a full Acquittance for the Said Vessell Goods, and Damages.

Resolved that Commodore Hopkins be directed, the Gov. and Council4 of the Colony of Connect. be Requested to appoint judicious and indifferent Persons to appraise the Vessell and Goods aforesaid at the Time when they were taken into the service of the Colonies, and to estimate the full Damages sustained by the said Mr. Walker, and report it to this Congress forthwith, that the said Walker may be indemnified by this Congress.

Resolved that the Said Walker have his Election to receive his Vessell again and the Hire of her, and his Damages, or the Value of her to be ascertained as aforesaid.

MS in JA's hand (PCC, No. 19, III, f. 169); docketed: “Report of the 14committee on Comr. Hopkins' letter of the 22d. May 1776 determined June 7th.”


On 8 May the congress named a committee to review the instructions prepared by the Naval Committee for Commodore Hopkins. On 22 May this review committee, composed of Benjamin Harrison, JA, Thomas McKean, James Duane, Thomas Lynch, Roger Sherman, and William Livingston, was given the additional duty of determining how far Hopkins had followed his instructions and on 31 May the responsibility for considering a letter from Hopkins dated 22 May ( JCC , 4:335–337, 375, 407). This committee was discharged on 12 July and superseded by the Marine Committee, of which JA was not a member (same, 5:545).


Hopkins said in part, “Should also be glad you would direct what is to be done with the Sloop which I took at New Providence to bring the Guns and Stores, as no other Person in that Island suffered one Shilling it would be hard the Owner should not have his Vessel or be paid for her” ( Naval Docs. Amer. Rev. , 5:200).


On 18 June, Walker petitioned the congress concerning his losses and attached an account of the costs in building his sloop Endeavour, but no account of the cost of lignum vitae or cedar posts is included (PCC, No. 42, VIII, f. 125–132; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev. , 5:603–604).


When it adopted the committee's report, the congress deleted the phrase “and Council.” On 12 July the congress voted to return the sloop to Walker and to pay him $2,000 ( JCC , 5:424–425, 545–546).