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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

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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, certain paragraphs being omitted. On the fly leaf of the first volume is written the following:

N. B.-The passages and resolutions which in this and the following books are crossed were all passed by Congress; But a com[mittee) having been appointed to revise the Journals for publication; such parts as the house determined, on the report of their com[mittee] should not be published, were ordered to be crossed or marked so as not to be transcribed for publication. As the crossing defaced the minutes another mark was introduced, which was by dots in the margin.

CHA. THOMSON Sec It would be neither convenient nor necessary to attempt to give all the variations in the two series of Journals. The double entries would only confuse, and the entries in the original Journal were full and suffered no editing or excision.

It is to be understood that the text of this reissue is that of the original Journals; any marked difference is noted by the insertion of parallels, thus, III

, which include matter taken from the “Corrected Journal,” not appearing in the original Journals. Should the reader still entertain a doubt, any one of the earlier printed editions of the Journals may be consulted, as they followed the text of this “Corrected Journal."

No suggestion of a removal from Philadelphia to a place nearer the center of disturbance, Boston, is found on the Journals or in the Papers of the Continental Congress. Yet it is known that such an idea was entertained and discussed almost from the first assembling of the Congress, and before it was fully organized for business. On May 21, 1775, Deane could write. “Imentioned adjourning to Hartford, but no motion has as yet been stirred or made public on the subject, and all is uncertainty.” Three days later he added, “Our discourse about adjourning is somewhat abated;” but the heat of the summer

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again brought forward a plan for a Committee to sit at
Hartford or elsewhere near the scene of action, during
the adjournment of Congress, and for the reassembling
of Congress at the place chosen. Deane, on June 16,
returns to the subject in a manner expressive of its
increased importance. “Mr. Lynch of South Carolina,
desires me this day to engage him lodgings for himself,
lady and daughter, near Hartford, conditionally.
The members talk more and more every day of a removal
to Connecticut. . Probable it is to me, and I think
it necessary, and shall in due time move it, that a part of
the Congress remove to Hartford, as a Committee of the
Whole, to direct and superintend the movements.” No
decision was reached before the adjournment, and while
the matter of adjourning to Hartford or Albany was
again mentioned late in September, the removal was not
seriously discussed.

WORTHINGTON CHAUNCEY FORD
Chief of Division of Manuscripts

Editor HERBERT PUTNAM

Librarian of Congress

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