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report to congress on congress committee 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
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report to congress on congress committee1
[December 15, 1775.]
The Committee appointed to consider and prepare instructions for a committee who are to sit during the recess of Congress have agreed to the following resolutions
Resolved that it is the opinion of this committee that the sd Committee during the Recess of Congress should be authorized & instructed
To receive and open letters directed to the Congress
To correspond with the several Conventions, Assemblies, or Committees of safety, with the Committee of Congress sent to Canada, the Commissioners for Indian affairs; and the Commanding officers of the Continental forces in the several departments
To give counsel to the sd commanding officers whenever applied to by them
To supply the Continental forces by sea and land with all necessaries from time to time
To expedite the striking monies ordered by the Congress to be struck
To transmit to the several Commanding officers, Paymasters & Commissaries from time to time such sums of money as may be necessary for the pay & subsistence of the Continental forces, and order paiment by the Treasurer for such contracts as they, the said committee, may make in pursuance of the authorities and instructions given them
To take charge of all military stores belonging to the United Colonies, to procure such further quantities as may probably be wanted, & to order any part thereof wheresoever it may be most requisite for the Common service.
To direct the safe keeping and comfortable accommodation of all Prisoners of War.
To contribute their counsel and authority towards raising recruits ordered by Congress
To procure intelligence of the condition and designs of the enemy.
To direct military operations by sea and land; not changing any objects or expedition determined on by Congress
To attend to the defence and preservation of forts and strong posts and to prevent the enemy from acquiring new holds
To apply to such officers in the several colonies as are entrusted with the executive powers of government for the occasional aid of Minute-men and militia whenever & wherever necessary
In case of the death of any officer within the appointment of Congress, to employ a person to fulfil his duties, until the meeting of Congress, unless the office be of such nature as to admit of a delay of appointment until such meeting
To examine public claims and accounts and report the same to the next Congress.
To publish and disperse authentic accounts of military operations.
To expedite the printing of the Journal of Congress as by them directed to be published
To summon a meeting of Congress at an earlier date than that to which it may stand adjourned, if any great and unexpected emergence shall render it necessary for the safety or good of the United colonies
And to lay before the Congress at their meeting all letters received by them with a report of their proceedings.
Resolved that the said Committee shall be authorized to appoint their own clerk who shall take an oath of secrecy before he enters on the exercise of his office.
Resolved that in case of the death of any member of the said Committee, they immediately apply to his surviving colleagues to appoint some one of themselves to be a member of the said Committee.
to thomas nelson1
Philadelphia, May 16, 1776.
—I arrived here last Tuesday after being detained hence six weeks longer than I intended by a malady of which Gilmer can inform you. I have nothing new to inform you of as the last post carried you an account of the naval engagement in Delaware. I inclose a vote of yesterday on the subject of government as the ensuing campaign is likely to require greater exertion than our unorganized powers may at present effect. Should our Convention propose to establish now a form of government perhaps it might be agreeable to recall for a short time their delegates. It is a work of the most interesting nature and such as every individual would wish to have his voice in. In truth it is the whole object of the present controversy; for should a bad government be instituted for us in future it had been as well to have accepted at first the bad one offered to us from beyond the water without the risk & expence of contest. But this I mention to you in confidence, as in our situation, a hint to any other is too delicate however anxiously interesting the subject is to our feelings. In future you shall hear from me weekly while you stay, and I shall be glad to receive Conventional as well as publick intelligence from you.
P. S.—In the other colonies who have instituted government they recalled their delegates, leaving only one or two to give information to Congress of matters which might relate to their country particularly, and giving them a vote during the interval of absence.
I am at present in our old lodgings tho’ I think, as the excessive heats of the city are coming on fast, to endeavor to get lodgings in the skirts of the town where I may have the benefit of a freely circulating air. Tell Page & McClurgh that I received their letters this morning and shall devote myself to their contents. I am here in the same uneasy anxious state in which I was the last fall without Mrs. Jefferson who could not come with me. I wish much to see you here, yet hope you will contrive to bring on as early as you can in convention the great questions of the session. I suppose they will tell us what to say on the subject of independence,1 but hope respect will be expressed to the right of opinion in other colonies who may happen to differ from them. When at home I took great pains to enquire into the sentiments of the people on that head, in the upper counties I think I may safely say nine out of ten are for it. Adieu. My compliments to Mrs. Nelson.
May 19. Yesterday we received the disagreeable news of a second defeat at Quebec. Two men of war, two frigates and a tender arrived there early on the 6th instant. About 11 o’clock the same day the enemy sallied out to the number of a thousand. Our forces were so dispersed at different posts that not more than 200 could be collected at Headquarter’s. This small force could not resist the enemy. All our cannon, 500 muskets & 200 sick men fell into their hands. Besides this one of their frigates got possession of a batteau with 30 barrels of powder & an armed vessel which our crew was forced to abandon. Our army was to retreat to the mouth of the Sorel.
Genl. Arnold was to set off from Montreal to join them immediately, upon whose rejoining them, it was hoped they might return as far as Dechambeau. General Wooster has the credit of this misadventure, and if he cannot give a better account of it than has yet been heard, I hope he will be made an example of. Generals Thomas and Sullivan were on their way with reinforcements. Arnold had gone up to Montreal on business, or as some say, disgusted by Wooster.
The congress having ordered a new battalion of riflemen to be raised in Virginia, Innis wishes much to be translated to it from the Eastern shore which was so disagreeable to him that he had determined to have resigned.
[1 ]This committee, consisting of Jefferson, Hooper, Franklin, Jay, and Dean, were appointed December 13, 1775, to prepare instructions for a “Committee to sit during the adjournment” of Congress. They reported this paper on December 15th, but it seems never to have been acted on by the Congress, as no immediate adjournment took place, as was at that time expected. The feeling seems to have been in favor of a committee which should sit at Hartford or some other town nearer the seat of war. (See Coll. of Conn. Hist. Soc., ii., 249.) Compare with Jefferson’s “Draft of Report on a Committee of the States,” post., January 30, 1784.
[1 ]From the original in the American Antiquarian Society, of Worcester, Mass.
[1 ]The Virginia Convention passed the instruction for independence the day before this was written.