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PREFATORY NOTE

This volume includes the Journals of the Continental Congress in its two sessions of 1775, transcribed from the original record of the Secretary, Charles Thomson, and illustrated by such historical material from other sources as was indicated in the prefatory note to the Journal of 1774. Many of the reports, petitions and memorials laid before this Congress, and referred to in the Journals, have been lost or separated from the Papers of the Continental Congress; the letter book of the President of the Congress and the letters received from many of the Generals of its armies, are not all to be found; and the skeleton record given by the Journals is often insufficient to give so much as a clue to their contents. The larger number of the surviving papers are printed in Peter Force's “ American Archives,” and it is safe to assume that if he did not include a letter or report in that monumental compilation, it was not to be found in the Papers of the Continental Congress in his day. The segregation of the larger collections of historical manuscripts in the Library of Congress has greatly facilitated the task of making this issue of the Journals more complete, and the Washington and Jefferson manuscripts have supplied matter of high historical interest.

Among the more important documents inserted under their proper dates in this volume may be named Frank

lin's “Proposed Articles of Confederation;" the same member's proposal to throw open the ports to a free trade, with John Jay's report on trade, and Charles Thomson's minutes of the action of Congress on the trade resolves; the Instructions prepared for General Washington, and Jefferson's memorandum on unfinished business; the resolutions on salt-petre (July 28), which were not entered in the manuscript Journal, or printed in any of the editions of the Journal, but were found in the pamphlet on methods of making salt-petre, issued by order of Congress; Willing's report on necessaries for the army; Dickinson's draft of the “Declaration to the Army,” and the two drafts of Jefferson's frame of the same paper. Comparison with the known editions of the Journal will show hardly a page that has not undergone important modifications of fact as well as of language. To complete the record of this session John Adams's notes of the debates have been added taken from the second volume of his writings. Although brief and fragmentary, they throw much light upon the subject under discussion and the manner of conducting the debates. The bibliographical notes are intended to cover the issues made under the direction or by order of the Congress.

Beginning with September 5, 1775, there is a second copy of the manuscript Journal, an edited transcript made by Charles Thomson, or his assistants from the original record. This transcript, of which all but a few sheets was written by Thomson, is contained in ten volumes, and terminates with the entry for Wednesday, January 20, 1779. It was made the basis of the printed Journals, and bears evidence of being the copy that passed through the various editing committees appointed from time to time for preparing the Journals for the press. The word

ing and text are, in general, those of the printed Journals,

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