Papers of John Adams, volume 3

From James Warren

To James Warren

John Adams’ Service in the Continental Congress: 13 September – 9 December 1775 John Adams’ Service in the Continental Congress: 13 September – 9 December 1775
John Adams' Service in the Continental Congress
13 September – 9 December 1775











Editorial Note Editorial Note
Editorial Note

In the fall of 1775 Adams worked in the congress to the point of exhaustion; by December he asked permission to leave to restore his energies. He served on thirteen committees, and judging from the fragmentary evidence that has been found, he gave full measure. He was not exaggerating when he told Mercy Warren he was “engaged in constant Business. . . . Every Body is engaged all Day in Congress and all the Morning and evening in Committees.” The workday began at seven in the morning and ended at ten at night (JA to Mercy Warren, 25 Nov., below). Adams' intense activity contradicts the assessment of Benjamin Rush, who saw Adams as a man shunned because of the intemperate remarks about Dickinson disclosed in the intercepted letter (JA to James Warren, 24 July, note 6, above).

Adams arrived in Philadelphia on 12 September, just in time for the official opening for business the next day. Actually, the congress had tried to begin on the 5th, but for lack of a quorum had had to wait eight days for enough members to arrive. In contrast to the preceding spring, Adams found time to record in some detail debates taking place during one month's period, 23 September through 21 October ( Diary and Autobiography , 2:178–180, 183–187, 188–217). Among the subjects discussed were the mode of dispensing supplies to soldiers, the gunpowder contract with the firm of Willing & Morris, the wisdom of arresting royal officers and shutting down the royal postal service, the mode of appointment of officers, and, most important, the desirability of modifying the Continental Association by opening the ports and encouraging trade and the establishment of an American fleet.

Although Adams records the positions of many of his colleagues on these issues, he records his views only twice: as making a motion to consult Washington and as making a point of order (same, 2:185, 198). It is mainly from his letters to close friends and associates, James Warren in particular, that one must learn where he stood. And these are not wholly satisfactory, for the congress continued to operate under a rule of secrecy that was reaffirmed on 9 November. Adams and other members at that time signed a formal statement carrying a penalty of expulsion and condemnation as an enemy to American liberties for divulging congressional secrets without authorization (Jefferson, Papers , 1:252–253; photostat 136of MS in MHi). Another source for Adams' positions is his recollections written down in 1805 in his Autobiography, but the evidence is plain that with the lapse of time his memory, even when stimulated by research in the Journals of the congress, confused the facts, and hindsight caused him to claim more than he should have.

In later years Adams was proudest of his contribution to the establishment of an American navy. His pride was justified, despite his oversimplifications. The naming of a committee on 5 October to plan for the interception of two British vessels carrying arms and ammunition to Canada was the first congressional step toward creating a navy ( JCC , 3:277). Adams is the only source for identifying the makeup of the three-man committee, but his recollection was not disputed by his correspondent and former colleague John Langdon (JA, Works , 10:27, 28). Besides himself, the committee was composed of Langdon and Silas Deane. Seen now as a first step, the committee was not considered as such then, and much was to occur before the congress clearly saw where it was heading. No great effort was required to turn Adams' mind to the possibilities the sea offered. He had grown up on the coast, his legal business had acquainted him with merchants and seamen, and he got letters from Josiah Quincy urging upon him schemes for bottling up shipping in Boston harbor (Quincy to JA, 11 July, above, and 22 Sept., 25 Oct., both below). Yet he was not appointed to the committee named on 13 October to prepare an estimate of the expense of fitting out and contracting for two armed vessels for the purpose of the interception. He was not called upon until this new committee was enlarged by four on 30 October and ordered to fit out two additional ships. The enlarged committee gradually became known as the Naval Committee, not to be confused with a standing committee of later origin called the Marine Committee. The membership of the Naval Committee included Silas Deane, John Langdon, Stephen Hopkins, Christopher Gadsden, Joseph Hewes, Richard Henry Lee, and John Adams ( JCC , 3:293–294, 311–312; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:217, note, 273, note).

Any account of the emergence of a Continental navy that confines itself to the actions of the congress overlooks the independent action of General Washington, who before word of armed vessels was received from the congress had set about hiring several to intercept British transports supplying Boston (Clark, Washington's Navy , p. 3–17). One can argue, of course, that a real navy could be the creation only of the congress, but certainly Washington saw the need for action at sea given the situation he found—a besieged town supplied through its harbor. A recent scholar would go back even further to find the origin of a Continental navy—back to the congressional resolution of 18 July 1775 which urged each colony to fit out armed vessels for its own defense. In so resolving, the congress may have been swayed by the action of Massachusetts' Third Provincial Congress, which on 7 June appointed a committee to consider the feasibility of arming small vessels to cruise along the coast to protect trade and 137annoy enemies (Raymond G. O'Connor, “Second Commentary” in Maritime Dimensions of the American Revolution, Washington, 1977, P. 27; Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours. , p. 308–309).

Formal proposals for an American fleet actually came to Philadelphia from Rhode Island on 3 October and provoked vigorous debate (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:198–199, 201). As the instructions from that colony put it, the best way to achieve peace based upon constitutional principles was to fight a “just and necessary war . . . to a happy issue,” and an American fleet would greatly contribute to that end ( JCC , 3:274). Although in the ensuing debate Adams does not record anything he said beyond his raising a point of order, he unquestionably supported the establishment of a fleet, and probably from the first. According to Samuel Ward, the initial attitude of many members was that a fleet was “perfectly chimerical,” but opinions gradually changed until a favorable vote was achieved to create a committee made up of one delegate from each colony that was charged with “furnishing these colonies with a naval armament” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:256; JCC , 3:420). This was the Marine Committee, named on 11 December and reconstituted on the 14th, that Adams in his Autobiography confused with the Naval Committee, and that gradually absorbed the functions of the other.

By 11 December, however, Adams had departed from Philadelphia. Still, he had been able to advance the cause of a navy through his membership on the Naval Committee. His duties involved him in recruiting likely men to serve as officers, a responsibility that caused him to write to correspondents for suggestions. (For his list of possibilities, see Diary and Autobiography , 2:221.) The Naval Committee was ordered to prepare commissions, to purchase ship supplies, to engage With Captain Stone for the seizure or destruction of Lord Dunmore's fleet, and to see to it that ships violating the nonexportation agreement were detained ( JCC , 3:316, 392–393, 395–396, 406). This committee prepared Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies (No. VIII, below), which continued in use under the Constitution. These were adapted by Adams mainly from existing British regulations, but listing them in formal fashion with a care for the needs of the colonies was an argument that a naval service would be no casual or temporary thing. The congress was making a commitment not unlike that made when it decided to remodel the army. John Adams' industry gave the congress a nudge.

The accompanying documents and calendared item reflect the work of those committees for which some evidence exists of JA's role in their deliberations and reports or in which he had a particular interest. Following these is a synopsis of his membership on committees for which there is no record of his influence on their actions. The listing gives the names of members in the order in which they appear in the Journal, the responsibilities assigned, and the dates, locations, and authorship, when known, of reports and subsequent resolutions.

The weeks Adams spent in Philadelphia in the fall of 1775 were try-138ing ones. Important decisions whose consequences could not be fully foreseen pressed for action. Although Adams stood with those who saw no hope of reconciliation, he did not minimize the dangers of the course on which America was embarked. He was bold in his recommendations, but he sought constantly the nourishment he could get from the letters of those in Massachusetts. Occasionally, he even had to explain to them why the colonies could not press on faster. He operated always within the political realities that confronted him in the congress.

I. Resolutions of the Congress on Intercepting British Vessels, 5 October 1775 JA Continental Congress I. Resolutions of the Congress on Intercepting British Vessels, 5 October 1775 Adams, John Continental Congress
I. Resolutions of the Congress on Intercepting British Vessels
Thursday, October 5, 1775

Resolved,1 That a letter be sent by Express to Genl Washington, to inform him, that they Congress having received certain intelligence of the sailing of two north country built Brigs, of no force, from England, on the 11 of August last, loaded with arms, powder, and other stores, for Quebec, without a convoy, which it being of importance to intercept, that he apply to the council of Massachusetts bay, for the two armed vessels in their service, and despatch the same,2 with a sufficient number of people, stores, &c. particularly a number of oars, in order, if possible, to intercept said two Brigs and their cargoes, and secure the same for the use of the continent; Also, any other transports laden with ammunition, cloathing, or other stores, for the use of the ministerial army or navy in America, and secure them in the most convenient places for the purpose abovementioned; that he give the commander or commanders such instructions as are necessary, as also proper encouragement to the marines and seamen, that shall be sent on this enterprize, which instructions, &c., are to be delivered to the commander or commanders sealed up, with orders not to open the same until out of sight of land, on account of secresy.

That a letter be wrote to said honble council, to put said vessels under the General's command and direction, and to furnish him instantly with every necessary in their power, at the expence of the Continent.

Also that the General be directed to employ said vessels and others, if he judge necessary, to effect the purposes aforesd; informing the General that the Rhode Island and Connecticut vessels of force will be sent directly after them to their assistance.

That a letter be wrote to Govr Cooke, informing him of the above, and desiring him to despatch one or both the armed vessels of the 139 image colony of Rhode Island on the same service, and that he take the precautions abovementioned.3

Also that a letter be wrote to Govr Trumbull, requesting of him the largest vessel in the service of the colony of Connecticut, to be sent on the enterprize aforesaid, acquainting him with the above particulars, and recommending the same precautions.4

That the encouragement recommended by this Congress to be given shall be, on this occasion, that the master, officers and seamen, shall be intitled to one half of the value of the prizes by them taken, the wages they receive from the respective colonies notwithstanding.5

That the said ships and vessels of war to be on the continental risque and pay, during their being so employed.

Reprinted from ( JCC , 3:278–279); Dft not found.


These resolutions grew out of the report (not found) of a committee appointed on 5 Oct., which, according to JA, was composed of himself, Silas Deane, and John Langdon. The Journals do not give the names of the members (same, 3:277). As JA recalled the episode, the question of whether to try intercepting the ships caused sharp debate, for the attempt was thought by some to be imprudent and potentially destructive of the morals of American seamen because it might put their minds upon plunder. JA and others argued that success would bring needed supplies and would be an encouraging stroke at the enemy. JA added that it would be the beginning of “a System of maritime and naval Opperations.” Because he wrote these recollections long after the event (in 1805) and because he showed some confusion about his own role at this early stage in bringing naval operations into being, one must be cautious about accepting JA's account. He says nothing about his contribution to the report which led to these resolutions ( Diary and Autobiography , 3:342–343).


Actually Washington had decided on recruiting two armed vessels before he received these orders from the congress (Instructions to Col. John Glover and Stephen Moylan, 4 Oct., Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:6–7). For the outcome, see Benjamin Hichborn to JA, 25 Nov., note 9 (below).


The published records of Rhode Island do not give the colony's action on the request of the congress.


For the action taken by Connecticut, see Conn. Colonial Records , 15:131.


“On the margin of the ‘corrected Journal’ the words ‘2. this particularly’ were written against this paragraph” (ed. Worthington C. Ford's note).

II. Committee Report on Gunpowder Sent to the Northern Army, 16 October 1775 JA Langdon, John Dyer, Eliphalet Continental Congress II. Committee Report on Gunpowder Sent to the Northern Army, 16 October 1775 Adams, John Langdon, John Dyer, Eliphalet Continental Congress
II. Committee Report on Gunpowder Sent to the Northern Army
post 16 Oct. 1775 1

The Committee appointed to enquire, what Powder has been Sent to the Army in the Northern Department, have attended that service and beg Leave to report

That five Thousand Weight of Powder, sent from South Carolina, has been forwarded to the said Army. 5000 wt.
That Two Thousand one hundred and thirty six Pounds Weight have been forwarded to the Same Army from the City of Philadelphia. 2136
That Seventeen hundred Weight have been forwarded from New York. 1700
That Eight hundred Weight has been forwarded from Connecticutt. 800
That Thirteen hundred Weight has been forwarded at another Time from the City of Philadelphia. 1300
In Addition to which Two thousand Weight has been lately ordered to New York and from there to the same Army.2 2000

MS in JA's hand (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 346, filmed under date [1776–1778]).


On 16 Oct. a committee composed of John Langdon, Eliphalet Dyer, and JA was ordered to make a survey of the amounts of gunpowder sent to the northern army and by whom. The Journals do not record any report made or accepted ( JCC , 3:296).


Pres. Hancock informed Gen. Schuyler of the shipment of powder in his letter of 11 Oct. (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:228).

III. Form Letter Requesting Information on British Depredations, 19 October 1775 JA Deane, Silas Wythe, George Continental Congress III. Form Letter Requesting Information on British Depredations, 19 October 1775 Adams, John Deane, Silas Wythe, George Continental Congress
III. Form Letter Requesting Information on British Depredations
Philadelphia, 19 Oct. 1775 Sir

The continental congress having been pleased to appoint us a committe1 for collecting an account of the hostilities committed by the ministerial troops and navy in America, since last March, with proper evidence of the truth of the facts related, the number and value of the buildings destroyed, and of the vessels inward and outward bound seised, by them as nearly as can be ascertained, and also the stock taken by them from different parts of the continent, as you may see by the resolve inclosed; we entreat the assistance of the convention of your colony in this business, that we may be enabled to perform what is required of us, in the manner and with the expedition congress expects; and, to that end you will be pleased to furnish us with the necessary materials sending to us clear distinct full and circumstantial details of the hostile and destructive acts, and the captures 141or seizures and depredations in your colony, and accurate estimates of the loss and damage with the solemn examinations of witnesses, and other papers and documents officially authenticated. We are, Sir, Your obedient humble servants,

Silas Deane John Adams George Wythe

MS (PHi:Sprague CoIl.).


This letter was the work of the committee formed on 18 Oct. to obtain “a just and well authenticated account of the hostilities committed by the ministerial troops and navy in America since last March” ( JCC , 3:298–299). For JA's comments on the committee and its purpose, see his letters to James Warren of 12, 18, and 19 (1st) Oct. (below). No indication of when or whether this committee reported to congress has been found.

IV. Resolution of the Congress on New Hampshire Government, 3 November 1775 JA Rutledge, John Ward, Samuel Lee, Richard Henry Sherman, Roger Continental Congress IV. Resolution of the Congress on New Hampshire Government, 3 November 1775 Adams, John Rutledge, John Ward, Samuel Lee, Richard Henry Sherman, Roger Continental Congress
IV. Resolution of the Congress on New Hampshire Government

3 November 1775. Dft not found. printed: JCC , 3:319. Based on a report (not found) from a committee appointed 26 October composed of John Rutledge, JA, Samuel Ward, Richard Henry Lee, and Roger Sherman, which reported on 3 November (same, 3:307, 319).

On 18 October the delegates from New Hampshire laid before their colleagues instructions from their province which asked the advice of the congress “with respect to a method of our administering Justice, and regulating our civil police” (same, 3:298). The congress recommended the calling of “a full and free representation of the people” and the establishment of a government that would promote the people's happiness and secure good order during the dispute with Great Britain.

In his Autobiography JA recalled that when the New Hampshire delegates presented their instructions, he took the opportunity to harangue “on the Subject at large” and to urge the congress “to resolve on a general recommendation to all the States to call Conventions and institute regular Governments” ( Diary and Autobiography , 3:354–357). The congress was deeply divided on the issue, but according to JA, some began to come around. If he spoke as he claimed, he was anticipating by some seven months his motion for independent governments offered in May 1776. Again, JA's recollection may very well have been inaccurate. At any rate, moderates saw to it that the advice to New Hampshire was to be operative only until the dispute was settled. In private correspondence, where the need for circumspection was less, JA saw more than temporary possibilities (JA to Elbridge Gerry, 5 Nov., note 4, below; see also his first letter to James Warren of 6 July, note 6, above).

printed: ( JCC , 3:319).

142 V. Naval Committee to Silas Deane, 7 November 1775 JA Hopkins, Stephen Gadsden, Christopher Lee, Richard Henry Hewes, Joseph Langdon, John Continental Congress, Naval Committee Deane, Silas V. Naval Committee to Silas Deane, 7 November 1775 Adams, John Hopkins, Stephen Gadsden, Christopher Lee, Richard Henry Hewes, Joseph Langdon, John Continental Congress, Naval Committee Deane, Silas
V. Naval Committee to Silas Deane
Philadelphia November the 7th 1775 To Silas Deane Esqr.

You are desired to repair immediately to the City of New York, and there purchase a Ship suitable for carrying 20 nine pounders upon one deck, if such a Ship can there be found. Also a Sloop, suitable to carry ten guns, which we would choose should be Bermudian built if such a one can be had. If you succeed in purchasing both, or either of these Vessels, you will use all possible expedition to procure them to be armed and equipped for the Sea. For this purpose you will apply to, and employ such persons as can carry this business into the most speedy execution. Should there be danger in fitting these Vessels at New York from the Kings ships, you may then send the Vessels eastward thro the Sound to New London or Norwich in order to be armed and fitted. Should this be the case you will repair immediately to the place where the Ships are to be fitted, and there use every means in your power to procure this to be done with the utmost expedition. In the Colony of Connecticut you are to procure powder for both these Vessels, and such other Military Stores as can there be had. You will procure the Cannon and other Stores at New York or any other place where it can be done in the best and most expeditious manner. You will also procure Officers and Men suitable for these Vessels. As soon as these Vessels can possibly be fitted for the Sea, you will order them immediately into Delaware Bay. You will by every opportunity give us the most exact intelligence of all your proceedings by conveyances the most safe and secure that can be obtained. You are empower'd to draw on Governor Hopkins for such sums of money as may be necessary for the above business.

Step Hopkins Chris Gadsden Richard Henry Lee Joseph Hewes John Adams Jno. Langdon1

PS. In the course of your Journey at New York, or elsewhere you are to employ proper Persons to engage experienced and able-bodied seamen to man the ships now fitting out who must repair to Philadelphia with all possible dispatch.

RC in Lee's hand (CtHi: Deane Papers.)


This commission was signed by all members of the Naval Committee except, for obvious reasons, Silas Deane. It is printed as a sample of the kind of 143commissions that the committee sent out. On 6 Nov. Stephen Hopkins had written his brother Esek regarding the command of the fleet which the committee had offered to Esek on the day before (CSmH:Harbeck Coll., in JA's hand but signed by Hopkins). Hopkins said in part, “they have pitched upon you to take the Command of a small Fleet, which they and I hope will be but the Beginning of one much larger.” See also S. Adams to JA, 22 Dec., note 2 (below).

VI. Committee Report on Petition from Nova Scotia, 9 November 1775 JA Deane, Silas Jay, John Hopkins, Stephen Langdon, John Continental Congress, Safety Committee VI. Committee Report on Petition from Nova Scotia, 9 November 1775 Adams, John Deane, Silas Jay, John Hopkins, Stephen Langdon, John Continental Congress, Safety Committee
VI. Committee Report on Petition from Nova Scotia
ante 9 Nov. 1775


That two Battallions of Marines be raised consisting of one Collonell, two Lt. Collonells, two Majors &c. (officers as usual in other Regiments) that they consist of five hundred Privates each Battalion, exclusive of Officers.

That particular Care be taken that no Persons be appointed to office or inlisted into Said Battalions but such as have actually Served in the Merchant Service as seamen, or so acquainted with maritime Affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea, where required.

That they be enlisted and commissioned to be held for and during the present War, between G. Britain and the Colonies, unless regularly dismissed by orders of the Congress.

That they be distinguished by the Name of the 1st. and 2d. Battalion of American Marines.2

That a Sufficient Number of Vessells be taken up, and provided at Newbury Port, or Portsmouth by the 1st. day of December next for transporting Said two Battalions and three Months Provisions, and other Necessaries.

That Said two Battalions be raised and marched to said Place of Rendezvous, by the 1st. of December, and in Case they are not easily raised or there is likely to be delay, that the General Draught out of the Forces under his Command to make up, any such Deficiency, of those who have been employed at sea if such are to be had.

That Said Battalions, shall be armed in the following Manner, vizt. a light Fusee,3 fitted for Slinging, a large Hatchet with a long Handle, and a Spear, with thirty two Rounds per Man of Ammunition.

That a Number of Men be immediately Sent into Nova Scotia, to inform themselves of the Temper and Disposition of the Inhabitants of that Colony with respect to the Present Struggle between G. B. and these Colonies, and how far they may be willing or able to take an active Part in the present Dispute.4


That two swift Sailing Boats be employed constantly to ply between Minas and Portsmouth or Newbury to bring Intelligence of the State and Situation of the Province, in general, but most minutely of every Thing, respecting the Town and Harbour of Hallifax.

That as soon as the Said two Battallions, shall be arrived, at either of Said Ports and the situation of that Colony and the Town of Hallifax shall be known the Said Battallions embark for Minas and make their Voyage with all possible Dispatch.

That previous to their Arrival, Horses and Carriages, be privately engaged for their Use, and that on their Landing they immediately make a forced March for Hallifax and possess themselves of that Town and of the naval and other Stores there and if practicable of the Shipping.

Note. Coll. Arnolds Expedition was Supposed in Boston to have been against this Place, which caused the General to send thither Shipps, and Troops, but not enough to make Resistance to two Such Battallions. Further the Country are intirely in our favour, a few Scotch Traders and renegade Tories excepted.

Should this Expedition by any Accident be found impracticable, these would be two Battallions of the Utmost service, being capable of Serving either by sea or Land.

Should the Expedition succeed, the Consequences will be of the Utmost Importance, nothing less than the greatest Distress, if not the Utter Ruin of the ministerial Navy in America. The Naval Stores in that Place are Said to be of vast Value, the Docks and Barracks and Yards cost the Nation more than one Million sterling, and is the only Place at which Shipps of War can refitt in America.

These Battalions Should consist of Ten Companies each of fifty privates in a Company. The Reason for this is, that in fitting out any Ship of War one of these Companies would compleatly man a Small Vessell and two of them make a large Proportion of Marines for the largest.

Should this Expedition succeed, which it most unavoidably will, if prudently managed, the Destruction of the Docks and Yards, and the Stores, which may be brought off,5 will be an immense affair, and a Retreat can ever be made with Safety.

But if a ship or two of Warr, should be taken, in the Harbour, of which you may be certain, and the Place by Reinforcements held, untill a force Superior can be brought from G. B. it will unavoidably destroy, and defeat every operation of our Enemy for the next Campaign, as all their Transport Ships may by a few Armed Vesells from 145this Port be intercepted before they can have Intelligence to avoid them.

MS in JA's hand (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 345, filmed under date [ante 1 Dec. 1775].)


On 2 Nov. the congress took cognizance of a petition from the inhabitants of Passamaquoddy, Nova Scotia, who had chosen a committee of safety and asked for admission into “the association of the North Americans, for the preservation of their rights and liberties.” To determine what steps should be taken in response, the congress named a committee of five: Silas Deane, John Jay, Stephen Hopkins, John Langdon, and JA ( JCC , 3:316). The Journals note that the committee's report was considered on 9 Nov. but give nothing of its substance. The next day the congress acted on the report by adopting three resolutions (same, 3:343–344, 348). It is possible, of course, that the proposals here printed were only JA's preliminary suggestions for a committee report; if so, they must have made their way into it, for some of the language appears in the congressional resolutions.


These first four paragraphs constitute the third resolution adopted by the congress, most of the wording being taken verbatim from JA's MS. There are three substantive differences: the congress ruled that the size of the battalions should be the same as others; it called for good seamen, omitting mention of service in the merchant marine; and it added that the two battalions should constitute part of the authorized strength of the Continental Army.


A light musket ( OED ).


This paragraph was the basis for the first resolution adopted by the congress, which again borrowed some of JA's phrasing. But the congress settled on two persons for the mission and listed several additional subjects for their inquiry: fortifications, docks, military stores, and the like. In short, the mission was to gather more than political information.


The second congressional resolution called for the seizure of military stores and the destruction of installations if Gen. Washington deemed such an expedition practicable. The congress tempered JA's enthusiasm with more caution than he felt, and it insisted upon seeing such an expedition as an integral part of a total effort. The congress preferred to leave the details of mounting an attack to the General's judgment.

VII. Naval Committee to Dudley Saltonstall, 27 November 1775 JA Hopkins, Stephen Gadsden, Christopher Deane, Silas Hewes, Joseph Continental Congress, Naval Committee Saltonstall, Dudley VII. Naval Committee to Dudley Saltonstall, 27 November 1775 Adams, John Hopkins, Stephen Gadsden, Christopher Deane, Silas Hewes, Joseph Continental Congress, Naval Committee Saltonstall, Dudley
VII. Naval Committee to Dudley Saltonstall
Philadelphia Nov. 27th. 1775 Sir1

The Congress are now preparing two Ships and two Brigantines to be fitted out as soon as possible to cruise against our common enemy. They have thought of you as a proper person to take the command of one of those ships as Captain. If you enter into this service, which we take to be the service of your country, you will give us the earliest information and repair to Philadelphia as soon as your affairs will possibly admit, and bring with you as many officers and seamen as you can procure at New London and between that place and Philadelphia. Those who may not be able to come with you, leave proper persons to encourage and conduct along after you.

If money should be necessary for the performance of this service 146 147 you may draw on Mr. Eleazur Miller Merchant in New York who has money in his hands for that purpose.

In a day or two after you receive this, you will receive by the Messrs. Mumfords2 the Conditions and encouragement offered to the Seamen. We are, Sir, Your humble servant

Signed by Order of Comme. Step. Hopkins Christ. Gadsden John Adams Joseph Hewes Silas Deane

Facsim. of MS in unidentified hand ((Magazine of History, 29 [1926]: 242 [Extra No. 116]).)


Dudley Saltonstall (1738–1796) commanded the ship Alfred under Como. Esek Hopkins, with John Paul Jones as his first lieutenant ( DAB ).


One of these Mumfords was probably Thomas, of Groton and New London, an active whig (Charles R. Stark, Groton, Conn., 1705–1905, Stonington, Conn., 1922, passim).

VIII. Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies, 28 November – December 1775 JA Hopkins, Stephen Gadsden, Christopher Lee, Richard Henry Hewes, Joseph Langdon, John Deane, Silas Continental Congress, Naval Committee VIII. Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies, 28 November – December 1775 Adams, John Hopkins, Stephen Gadsden, Christopher Lee, Richard Henry Hewes, Joseph Langdon, John Deane, Silas Continental Congress, Naval Committee
VIII. Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies
28 November–December 1775 1

ART. 1. The Commanders of all ships and vessels belonging to the THIRTEEN UNITED COLONIES, are strictly required to shew in themselves a good example of honor and virtue to their officers and men, and to be very vigilant in inspecting the behaviour of all such as are under them, and to discountenance and suppress all dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices; and also, such as are contrary to the rules of discipline and obedience, and to correct those who are guilty of the same, according to usage of the sea.2

ART. 2. The Commanders of the ships of the Thirteen United Colonies, are to take care that divine service be performed twice a day on board, and a sermon preached on Sundays, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents prevent it.

ART. 3. If any shall be heard to swear, curse or blaspheme the name of God, the Captain is strictly enjoined to punish them for every offence, by causing them to wear a wooden collar or some other shameful badge of distinction, for so long a time as he shall judge proper: If he be a commissioned officer, he shall forfeit one shilling for each offence, and a warrant or inferior officer six pence: He who 148is guilty of drunkenness (if a seaman) shall be put in irons until he is sober, but if an officer, he shall forfeit two days pay.

ART. 4. No Commander shall inflict any punishment upon a seaman beyond twelve lashes upon his bare back with a cat of nine tails; if the fault shall deserve a greater punishment, he is to apply to the Commander in Chief of the navy in order to the trying of him by a court martial, and in the mean time he may put him under confinement.

ART. 5. The Captain is never by his own authority to discharge a commission or warrant officer, nor to punish or strike him, but he may suspend or confine him; and when he comes in the way of a Commander in Chief, apply to him for holding a court-martial.

ART. 6. The officer who commands by accident of the Captain's absence (unless he be absent for a time by leave) shall not order any correction but confinement; and upon the Captain's return on board, he shall then give an account of his reasons for so doing.

ART. 7. The Captain is to cause the articles of war to be hung up in some public places of the ship, and read to the ship's company once a month.3

ART. 8. Whenever a Captain shall enlist a seaman, he shall take care to enter on his books the time and terms of his entering in order to his being justly paid.

ART. 9. The Captain shall before he sails make return to and leave with the Congress, or such person or persons as the Congress shall appoint for that purpose, a compleat list of all his officers and men, with the time and terms of their entering; and during his cruise, shall keep a true account of the desertion or death of any of them, and of the entering of others; and after his cruise, and before any of them are paid off, he shall make return of a compleat list of the same, including those who shall remain on board his ship.

ART. 10. The men shall (at their request) be furnished with slops that are necessary, by the Captain or Purser, who shall keep an account of the same; and the Captain in his return in the last mentioned article directed to be made, shall mention the amount delivered to each man in order to its being stopped out of his pay.4

ART. 11. As to the term inferior officers the Captain is to take notice, that the same does not include any commission or any warrant officer, except the second master, surgeons mates, cook, armourer, gun-smith, master at arms, and the sail-maker.

ART. 12. The Captain is to take care when any inferior officers or volunteer seamen are turned over into the ship under his command 149from any other ship, not to take5 them on the ship's books in a worse quality or lower degree of station, than they served in the ship they were removed from; and for his guidance, he is to demand from the commander of the ship from which they are turned over, a list under his hand of their names and qualities.

ART. 13. Any officer, seaman or others entitled to wages or prize-money, may have the same paid to his assignee, provided the assignment be attested by the Captain or commander, the master or purser of the ship, or a chief magistrate of some county or corporation.

ART. 14. The Captain is to discourage the seamen of his ship from selling any part of their wages or shares, and never to attest the letter of attorney of any seaman until he is fully satisfied; the same is not granted in consideration of money given for the purchase of his wages or shares.

ART. 15. When any inferior officer or seaman dies, the Captain is forthwith to make out a ticket for the time of his service and send the same by the first safe conveyance to the Congress or agents by them for that purpose, appointed in order to the wages being forthwith paid to the executors or administrators of the deceased.6

ART. 16. A convenient place shall be set apart for sick or hurt men, to be removed with their hammocks and bedding when the surgeon shall advise the same to be necessary: and some of the crew shall be appointed to attend and serve them and to keep the place clean. The cooper shall make buckets with covers and cradles if necessary for their use.

ART. 17. All ships furnished with fishing tackle, being in such places where fish is to be had, the Captain is to employ some of the company in fishing, the fish to be distributed daily to such persons as are sick, or upon recovery, if the surgeons recommend it; and the surplus by turns amongst the messes of the officers and seamen without favour or partiality, and gratis, without any deduction of their allowance of provisions on that account.7

ART. 18. It is left to the discretion of the Commander of squadrons to shorten the allowance of provisions according to the exigence of the service, taking care that the men be punctually paid for the same. The like power is given to Captains of single ships in cases of absolute necessity.

ART. 19. If there shall be a want of pork, the Captain is to order three pounds of beef to be issued to the men in lieu of a two pound piece of pork.

ART. 20. One day in every week shall be issued out a proportion of 150flour and suet in lieu of beef for the seamen; but this is not to extend beyond four months' victualling at one time, nor shall the purser receive any allowance for flour or suet kept longer on board than that time. And there shall be supplied once a year, a proportion of canvas for pudding bags, after the rate of one ell for every sixteen men.

ART. 21. If any ships of the Thirteen United Colonies shall happen to come into port in want of provisions, the warrant of a Commander in Chief shall be sufficient to the agent or other instrument of the victualling to supply the quantity wanted; and in urgent cases where delay may be hurtful, the warrant of the Captain of the ship shall be of equal effect.

ART. 22. The Captain is frequently to order the proper officer to inspect into the condition of the provisions, and if the bread proves damp to have it aired upon the quarter deck or poop, and also to examine the flesh cask; and if any of the pickle be leaked out, to have new made and put in and the cask made tight and secure.8

ART. 23. The Captain or purser shall secure the cloaths, bedding and other things of such persons as shall die or be killed, to be delivered to their executors or administrators.9

ART. 24. All papers, charter parties, bills of lading, pass-ports and other writings whatsoever, found on board any ship or ships which shall be taken shall be carefully preserved, and the originals sent to the court of justice for maratime affairs, appointed, or to be appointed by Congress for judging concerning such prize or prizes; and if any person or persons shall wilfully or negligently destroy, or suffer to be destroyed, any such paper or papers, he or they so offending, shall forfeit their share of such prize or prizes, and suffer such other punishment, as they shall be judged by a court-martial to deserve.10

ART. 25. If any person or persons shall embezzle, steal or take away any cables, anchors, sails, or any of the ship's furniture, or any of the powder or arms, or ammunition or provisions of any ship belonging to the Thirteen United Colonies, he or they shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial shall order.11

ART. 26. When in sight of a ship or ships of the enemy, and at such other times as may appear to make it necessary to prepare for an engagement, the Captain shall order all things in his ship in a proper posture for fight, and shall, in his own person, and according to his duty, heart on and encourage the inferior officers and men to fight courageously, and not to behave themselves feintly or cry for quarters on pain of such punishment as the offence shall appear to deserve for his neglect.12


ART. 27. Any Captain or other officer, mariner or others, who shall basely desert their duty or station in the ship and run away while the enemy is in sight, or in time of action, or entice others to do so, shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial shall inflict.13

ART. 28. No person in or belonging to the ship shall utter any words of sedition and mutiny, nor endeavour to make any mutinous assemblies upon any pretence whatsoever upon such punishment as a court-martial shall inflict.

ART. 29. Any officer, seaman or marine, who shall begin to excite, cause, or join in any mutiny or sedition in the ship to which he belongs on any pretence whatsoever, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as a court-martial shall direct.14

ART. 30. None shall presume to quarrel with, or strike his superior officer, on pain of such punishment as a court-martial shall order to be inflicted.15

ART. 31. If any person shall apprehend he has just cause of complaint, he shall quietly and decently make the same known to his superior officer, or to the Captain, as the case may require, who will take care that justice be done him.16

ART. 32. There shall be no quarreling or fighting between ship mates on board any ship belonging to the Thirteen United Colonies, nor shall there be used any reproachful or provoking speeches tending to make quarrels and disturbance on pain of imprisonment, and such other punishment as a court-martial shall think proper to inflict.17

ART. 33. If any person shall sleep upon his watch, or negligently perform the duty which shall be enjoined him to do, or forsake his station, he shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial shall think proper to inflict, according to the nature of his offence.18

ART. 34. All murder shall be punished with death.

ART. 35. All robbery and theft shall be punished at the discretion of a court-martial.19

ART. 36. Any Master at Arms who shall refuse to receive such prisoner or prisoners as shall be committed to his charge, or having received them, shall suffer him or them to escape, or dismiss them without orders for so doing, shall suffer in his or their stead, as a court-martial shall order and direct.20

ART. 37. The Captain, officers and others, shall use their utmost endeavours to detect, apprehend and bring to punishment, all offenders, and shall at all times readily assist the officers appointed for that purpose in the discharge of their duty on pain of their being proceeded against, and punished by a court-martial at discretion.21


ART. 38. All other faults, disorders and misdemeanors which shall be committed on board any ship belonging to the Thirteen United Colonies, and which are not herein mentioned, shall be punished according to the laws and customs in such cases used at sea.22

ART. 39. A court-martial shall consist of at least three Captains and three first Lieutenants, with three Captains and three first Lieutenants of marines, if there shall be so many of the marines then present, and the eldest Captain shall preside.23

ART. 40. All sea officers of the same denomination shall take rank of the officers of the marines.

ART. 41. Every Member of a court-martial shall take the following oath, viz. “You swear that you will well and truly try, and impartially determine the cause of the prisoner now to be tried according to the rules of the navy of the United Colonies; so help you God.” Which oath shall be administered by the President to the other members, and the President shall himself be sworn by the officer in said court next in rank.

ART. 42. All witnesses, before they may be admitted to give evidence, shall take the following oath, viz. “You swear, the evidence you shall give in the cause now in hearing, shall be the whole truth and nothing but the truth; so help you God.”

ART. 43. The sentence of a court-martial for any capital offence shall not be put in execution until it be confirmed by the Commander in Chief of the fleet; and it shall be the duty of the President of every court-martial to transmit to the Commander in Chief every sentence which shall be given, with a summary of the evidence and proceedings thereon by the first opportunity.24

ART. 44. The Commander in Chief of the fleet for the time being, shall have power to pardon and remit any sentence of death that shall be given in consequence of any of the afore mentioned articles.25

There shall be allowed to each man serving on board the ships in the service of the thirteen United Colonies, a daily proportion of provisions, according as is expressed in the following table,26 viz.

Sunday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips.

Monday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, 1/2 pint peas, and four oz. cheese.

Tuesday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips, and pudding.

Wednesday, 1 lb. bread, two oz. butter, four oz. cheese, and 1/2 pint of rice.

Thursday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, and 1/2 pint of peas.

153 image

Friday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips, and pudding.

Saturday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, 1/2 pint peas, and four oz. cheese.

Half pint of rum per man every day, and discretionary allowance on extra duty, and in time of engagement.

A pint and half of vinegar for six men per week.

The pay of the officers and men shall be as follows:27

Captain or commander, 32 dollars, Per Calendar month.
Lieutenants, 20 do.
Master, 20 do.
Mates, 15 do.
Boatswain, 15 do.
Boatswain's first mate, 9 1/3 do.
Ditto, second ditto, 8 do.
Gunner, 15 do.
Ditto mate, 10 2/3 do.
Surgeon, 21 1/3 do.
Surgeon's mate, 13 1/3 do.
Carpenter, 15 do.
Carpenter's mate, 10 2/3 do.
Cooper, 15 do.
Captain's or Commander's clerk, 15 do.
Steward, 13 1/3 do.
Chaplain, 20 do.
Able seaman, 6 2/3 do.
Captain of marines, 26 2/3 do.
Lieutenants, 18 do.
Serjeants, 8 do.
Corporals, 7 1/3 do.
Fifer, 7 1/3 do.
Drummer, 7 1/3 do.
Privates or marines, 6 2/3 do.28

MS not found. Arts. 1–44 reprinted from (Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies of North-America, Phila., 1775, facsim. edn., Washington, 1944, with “Introductory Note” by Adm. Joseph Strauss); material after Art. 44 from ( JCC , 3:383–384).


These rules were reported on 23 Nov. by the committee for fitting out armed vessels, later called the Naval Committee, which had been enlarged on 30 Oct. to include four additional members, among them JA. After its reading, the report was ordered “to lie on the table for the perusal of the members.” The congress considered the rules on 25 Nov. and approved them on the 15428th. The order to have them printed came on 30 Nov. ( JCC , 3:293–294, 311–312, 364, 375, 378–387, 393). As will be explained in note 2, the rules before being printed were stylistically revised to facilitate their use, and they were in the hands of fleet officers by 8 Dec. (Strauss, “Introductory Note”).


About his role in drawing up these rules, JA wrote: “They were drawn up in the Marine Committee that is, Naval Committee and by my hand, but examined, discussed and corrected by the Committee” ( Diary and Autobiography , 3:350). Nothing in the Journals specifically indicates that either the original committee or the enlarged one was to draft rules for the regulation of a navy, although rules undoubtedly were necessary for ships being fitted out by the congress. Worthington C. Ford, in citing an endorsement by Charles Thomson in a letter from Washington of 5 Oct., seems to have found some authorization for the committee's rule-making, but Ford misread the MS. The endorsement reads: “That part of this letter which relates to the capture of a vessel in N. Hampshire referred to the committee appointed to bring in regulations for privateers.” Ford read the final word of the endorsement as “navy.” Although Washington's letter was read on 13 Oct., the part requesting “the determination of Congress as to the Property and disposal of such Vessels and Cargoes as are designed for the Supply of the Enemy and may fall into our Hands” received no action in subsequent days. In all likelihood, Thomson wrote his endorsement after a committee on disposal of prizes was established on 17 Nov., in response to a second letter from Washington urging that the congress give him guidance on prizes ( JCC , 3: 293 and note 2, 357–358; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:11, 73).

The separately printed version of the rules, of which only one copy is known to be extant, that at Yale University, differs in several respects from the version in the Journals. Only the rules regulating the day-to-day conduct of officers and men were separately printed. The rules on rations and wages and the terms of the covenant which officers and men signed upon entering into service would not have been appropriate for a handbook meant to inform them of fixed duties and rights and of penalties for infractions of the rules. Probably for this reason also, the paragraphs were numbered for ease of reference, and some stylistic changes were made (see note 14, below), although the order to have the resolutions of the congress printed does not specifically authorize such alterations. The handbook was even provided with an enticing subtitle: “Established for Preserving their Rights and Defending their Liberties, and for Encouraging all those who Feel for their Country, to enter into its Service in that way in which they can be most Useful.”

One difference between the handbook and the Journals, however, needs another sort of explanation. Thomson's rough draft shows a change of wording in Art. 24 that was included in the transcribed or corrected Journals, but does not appear in the handbook. Obviously the change occurred after the articles went to the printer (PCC, No. 1, I, f. 248; No. 2, I, f. 130; note 10, below).


The first seven articles were taken virtually verbatim from Arts. I–VII under “Rules of Discipline and good Government to be observed on Board His Majesty's Ships of War” in Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea, eleven editions of which had been issued at London by 1772 (hereafter cited Regulations, page numbers being for the 11th edn.), p. 45–47. In these as in other articles that JA drew upon, all mention of British institutions or administrative bodies was of course omitted and the term “Thirteen United Colonies” or other such terms substituted.


Art. 10 was adapted from Art. II under “Instructions relating to the Execution of two Acts of Parliament . . .” in Regulations, p. 49. Slops were clothing and other necessities furnished to seamen out of the ship's stores ( OED ).


A printer's error. Both the rough and transcribed Journals have “rate” (PCC, No. 1, I, f. 246; No. 2, I, f. 128).


Arts, 11, 12, 14, and 15 are virtually verbatim from Arts. VII, X, XV, 155and XVI under “Instructions relating to the Execution of two Acts of Parliament . . .” in Regulations, p. 50–54. Art. 11, however, does not list a school-master or a corporal, which are mentioned in the British regulation. The former was meant to teach navigation, arithmetic, and writing to young volunteers on British war vessels. The corporal was an assistant to the master-at-arms (Regulations, p. 136–137). In the British regulation comparable to Art. 14 no mention is made of shares. Indeed, the section on prizes makes no mention of anyone sharing in prize money (same, p. 89–91).


Art. 16 was based on Arts. I, II, and III, and Art. 17 is virtually verbatim from Art. IV under “Rules for the Cure of Sick or Hurt Seamen on board their own Ships” in Regulations, p. 55–56.


Arts. 18–22 are virtually verbatim from Arts. II, VI, VII, XII, and XVII under “Of the Provisions” in Regulations, p. 61, 63–65, 67. Art. 18, however, neglected to include the British stipulation that when rations had to be reduced, the purser was not to supply the officers full allowance of provisions, that all were “to be equal in Point of Victualling.”


The comparable British article provides that the effects of those dying or killed on board should be sold at auction, the proceeds to be given “Executors or Administrators of the Deceased” (Art. XI under “Of Slop-Cloaths” in Regulations, p. 75–76).


Except for the designation of the court which was to have jurisdiction, Art. 24 is a close paraphrase of Art. II, Sect. 7 under 22 Geo. II, ch. 33, passed in 1749 (Danby Pickering, The Statutes at Large, Cambridge, Eng., 1765, 19: 327 [cited hereafter Statutes]). Although the handbook mentions the congress as the power appointing a court for maritime affairs, the rough Journal has “Congress” stricken out and the phrase “the legislatures in the respective colonies” substituted (see note 2, above). Obviously the congress was not yet ready for a central court with this jurisdiction. In the fall of 1775 JA would have seen the original language as an important step toward unification.


The Statutes make no mention of theft of ship's equipment or arms, but condemn any sort of robbery. See note 19 (below).


Adapted from Art. II, Sect. 10, but the British provided the death penalty or other punishment by court martial for faintheartedness (Statutes, p. 328).


This provision on desertion was briefly paraphrased from Art. II, Sect. 16 (same, p. 329).


Arts. 28 and 29 on seditious speech and mutinous action were adapted from Art. II, Sect. 19 (same, p. 329–330), in which mutiny is mentioned before seditious speech in a single paragraph—just as in the Journal version ( JCC , 3:381–382). The presumption is that this order was followed in the committee report and changed only when the paragraphs were numbered for printing. Separation into two articles gave greater emphasis to two kinds of conduct. The Americans, however, lumped together speech and attempting “to make any mutinous assemblies,” behavior which could incur a penalty of less than death. The British punished by death the making of a mutinous assembly, reserving a possible lesser punishment for words alone and failing to make a distinction between assembly and joining in a mutiny.


Briefly adapted from Art. II, Sect. 22 (Statutes, p. 330). The British penalty for striking or threatening with a weapon any officer was death.


Briefly adapted from Art. II, Sect. 21 (same), which mentions “complaint of the unwholesomeness of the victual, or upon other just ground.”


Adapted from Art. II, Sect. 23 (same).


Adapted from Art. II, Sect. 27 (same, p. 331), which mentions death as a possible penalty.


Arts. 34 and 35 are comparable to Art. II, Sects. 28 and 30, respectively, except that the British rules mention death as a possible penalty for robbery (same).


Adapted from the first part of Art. II, Sect. 32 (same), which, however, does not mention the guilty party's suffering in the place of the escaped or dismissed prisoner.

156 21.

Adapted from the second part of Art. II, Sect. 32 (same).


Adapted from Art. II, Sect. 36 (same, p. 332).


The British rules require from three to thirteen officers, three of them to be captains. No mention is made of marine officers (Arts. XII and XIV, same, p. 334).


Adapted from Art. XIX (same, p. 336), but the British made additional stipulations, particularly when the offense (except mutiny) took place within the “narrow seas,” that is, the English Channel and Irish Sea. Then approval of the death penalty had to come from the lord high admiral.


The pardon power for the British was the prerogative of the king. The British rules limit confinement to a maximum of two years and forbid the use of naval court martials for trying soldiers on transports (Arts. III and V, same, p. 332). But generally, the British code is harsher in that it makes the death penalty available for twenty-four offenses; the Americans specify death only for murder. The American rules make no mention of buggery (Art. II, Sect. 29, same, p. 331) nor of a number of other crimes listed in the British rules—spying, aiding the enemy, striking for arrears of wages, failing to protect convoys, wasting ammunition, sabotage of stores or equipment, negligent steering of ships, and several more.


Under “Of the Provisions,” Art. I in Regulations (p. 61) sets forth a table of rations which probably inspired the American table, but the latter provides for beef or pork on every day except Wednesday; the British on only four days. Where the British provided for beer (wine and spirituous liquors being substitutes), the Americans stipulated rum. The allowances for cheese are equal, but the British allowed 6 oz. of butter per week to the Americans' allowance of only 2.


For officers, rates of pay are difficult to compare, since the British had six different rates for each rank. Thus a British captain, depending upon his rate, could earn from 6s to £1 per day. At 6s per Spanish dollar, the American captain could earn slightly over 6s per day; but an American lieutenant would earn slightly less than 6s per day compared to a maximum of 5s for a British lieutenant. The British able seaman earned 24s per month compared to the American wage of 40s, later raised to 48s ( JCC , 3:427). All comparisons must take into account that the British paid in sterling, the Americans in lawful money, which overvalued silver by over one-fourth (Regulations, p. 146–149).


In JCC , 3:384–387, the section on pay is followed by “Orders of Congress,” which consists of a covenant of seven parts entered into between the ship's commander, representing the United Colonies, and the officers and men. The latter promised to do their duty and abide by the rules, and in return were assured of pay according to schedule and a fair share of prizes, those disabled having first claim on prize money. It is not clear whether the covenant was part of the Naval Committee's report. In any case, the covenant is omitted here, for it has no apparent relation to the British regulations.

IX. Committee Assignments
14 September – 4 December 1775
14 September. Eliphalet Dyer, Thomas Lynch, John Jay, JA, Francis Lewis ( JCC , 2:250). A standing committee to devise ways and means for supplying the Continental Army with medicines. This committee left only scattered evidence of its activities and is treated here through August 1776. JA may not have been an active member for this entire period. 157 Thomas Heyward Jr. and Lyman Hall added to the committee: 18 June 1776 ( JCC , 5:463). Reported on memorial from Dr. John Morgan and report tabled: 12 July; Dft in PCC (same, 5:460–461, 556; PCC, No. 19, IV, f. 181–184). Resolutions adopted: 17 July ( JCC , 5:568–571). Benjamin Rush added to the committee: 7 Aug. (same, 5:636). Reported on petition of Dr. Samuel Stringer and resolutions adopted: 20 Aug.; Dft not found (same, 5:661, 673). Reported on petition of Dr. James McHenry and resolutions adopted: 26 Aug.; Dft not found (same, 5:698, 705). See also, for other references to the committee, JCC , 3:261, 344; 5:528, 622, 633. 25 September. Thomas Lynch, Richard Henry Lee, JA ( JCC , 3:261). To prepare an answer to letters from George Washington of 4 and 31 Aug. 1775. Reported and report agreed to: 26 Sept.; Dft not found (same, 3:263; see John Hancock to George Washington, 26 Sept. 1775, LbC in PCC, No. 12A, I, f. 3–6). 9 October. JA, John Rutledge, Samuel Chase, Robert R. Livingston, Silas Deane ( JCC , 3:284–285). To prepare an answer to letters and enclosures from Philip Schuyler of 19 and 29 Sept. Reported and report tabled: 10 Oct.; Dft not found (same, 3:287). Report agreed to: 11 Oct. (same, 3:288; see John Hancock to Philip Schuyler, 11 Oct. 1775, LbC in PCC, No. 12A, I, f. 13–16). 13 October. John Rutledge, Samuel Adams, JA, Samuel Ward, Richard Henry Lee ( JCC , 3:294). To consider memorials from New York and Philadelphia merchants on tea imported before 1 March 1775. Reported and report postponed: 18 Oct., 13 Nov., 25 Nov.; Dft not found (same, 3:298, 353, 370). Report rejected: 28 Nov. (same, 3:388–389). 2 November. Thomas Lynch, John Jay, Richard Henry Lee, Silas Deane, JA ( JCC , 3:317). To draw up instructions for the committee to confer with Philip Schuyler. Letter from Philip Schuyler of 21 Oct. with enclosures referred to the committee: 4 Nov. (same, 3:320). Report agreed to and instructions printed: 8 Nov.; Dft not found (same, 3:339–341). 17 November. George Wythe, Edward Rutledge, JA, William Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, James Wilson, Thomas Johnson ( JCC , 3:357–358). To consider the portion of George Washington's letter of 8 Nov. relating to the disposal of captured ships and goods. Reported and report tabled: 23 Nov.; Dft not found (same, 3:364–365). 158 Report debated and deferred: 24 Nov. (same, 3:368–369). Resolutions adopted: 25 Nov. (same, 3:371–375). Reported again, modifying second resolution of 25 Nov., after JA had left congress: 19 Dec. (same, 3:437). Additional duties assigned, 25 Nov.: to consider the portion of George Washington's letter of 11 Nov. concerning a vessel captured by inhabitants of New Hampshire (same, 3:375). Report not found. 4 December. JA, Thomas Cushing, Thomas McKean ( JCC , 3:406). To inquire into the facts which caused congress to give permission, on 2 Dec., to Capt. Thomas Jenkins to supply Nantucket. Reported and report read: 8 Dec.; Dft not found (same, 3:415). Resolutions adopted: 11 Dec. (same, 3:421–422).