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fair copy - 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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[A Bil]l for new-modelling the form of Government and for establishing the Fundamental principles thereof in future.
Whereas George Guelf king of Great Britain and Ireland and Elector of Hanover, heretofore entrusted with the exercise of the kingly office in this government hath endeavored to pervert the same into a detestable and insupportable tyranny;
by putting his negative on laws the most wholesome & necessary for ye public good;
by denying to his governors permission to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operations for his assent, and, when so suspended, neglecting to attend to them for many years;
by refusing to pass certain other laws, unless the person to be benefited by them would relinquish the inestimable right of representation in the legislature
by dissolving legislative assemblies repeatedly and continually for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people;
when dissolved, by refusing to call others for a long space of time, thereby leaving the political system without any legislative head;
by endeavoring to prevent the population of our country, & for that purpose obstructing the laws for the naturalization of foreigners & raising the condition [lacking appro]priations of lands;
[by keeping among u]s, in times of peace, standing armies and ships of war;
[lacking]ing to render the military independent of & superior to the civil power;
by combining with others to subject us to a foreign jurisdiction, giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation.
for quartering large bodies of troops among us;
for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;
for imposing taxes on us without our consent;
for depriving us of the benefits of trial by jury;
for transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences; and
for suspending our own legislatures & declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever;
by plundering our seas, ravaging our coasts, burning our towns and destroying the lives of our people;
by inciting insurrections of our fellow subjects with the allurements of forfeiture & confiscation;
by prompting our negroes to rise in arms among us; those very negroes whom he hath from time to time by an inhuman use of his negative he hath refused permission to exclude by law;
by endeavoring to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, & conditions of existence;
by transporting at this time a large army of foreign mercenaries [to complete] the works of death, desolation & tyranny already begun with circum[stances] of cruelty & perfidy so unworthy the head of a civilized nation;
by answering our repeated petitions for redress with a repetition of injuries;
and finally by abandoning the helm of government and declaring us out of his allegiance & protection;
by which several acts of misrule the said George Guelf has forfeited the kingly office and has rendered it necessary for the preservation of the people that he should be immediately deposed from the same, and divested of all its privileges powers, & prerogatives:
And forasmuch as the public liberty may be more certainly secured by abolishing an office which all experience hath shewn to be inveterately inimical thereto or which and it will thereupon become further necessary to re-establish such ancient principles as are friendly to the rights of the people and to declare certain others which may co-operate with and fortify the same in future.
Be it therefore enacted by the authority of the people that the said, George Guelf be, and he hereby is deposed from the kingly office within this government and absolutely divested of all it’s rights, powers, and prerogatives: and that he and his descendants and all persons acting by or through him, and all other persons whatsoever shall be and forever remain incapable of the same: and that the said office shall henceforth cease and never more either in name or substance be re-established within this colony.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that the following fundamental laws and principles of government shall henceforth be established.
The Legislative, Executive and Judiciary offices shall be kept forever separate; no person exercising the one shall be capable of appointment to the others, or to either of them.
Legislation shall be exercised by two separate houses, to wit a house of Representatives, and a house of Senators, which shall be called the General Assembly of Virginia.
Ho. of Representatives.
The sd house of Representatives shall be composed of persons chosen by the people annually on the [1st day of October] and shall meet in General assembly on the [1st day of November] following and so from time to time on their own adjournments, or at any time when summoned by the Administrator and to shall continue sitting so long as they shall think the publick service requires.
Vacancies in the said house by death or disqualification shall be filled by the electors under a warrant from the Speaker of the said house.
All male persons of full age and sane mind having a freehold estate in [one fourth of an acre] of land in any town, or in  acres of land in the country, and all persons resident in the colony who shall have paid scot and lot to government the last [two years] shall have right to give their vote in the election of their respective representatives. And every person so qualified to elect shall be capable of being elected, provided he shall have given no bribe either directly or indirectly to any elector, and shall take an oath of fidelity to the state and of duty in his office, before he enters on the exercise thereof. During his continuance in the said office he shall hold no public pension nor post of profit, either himself, or by another for his use.
The number of Representatives for each county or borough shall be so proportioned to the numbers of it’s qualified electors that the whole number of representatives shall not exceed  nor be less than [125.] for the present there shall be one representative for every [ ] qualified electors in each county or borough: but whenever this or any future proportion shall be likely to exceed or fall short of the limits before-mentioned, it shall be again adjusted by the house of representatives.
The house of Representatives when met shall be free to act according to their own judgment and conscience.
The Senate shall consist of not less than  nor more than  members who shall be appointed by the house of Representatives. One third of them shall be removed out of office by lot at the end of the first [three] years and their places be supplied by a new appointment; one other third shall be removed by lot in like manner at the end of the second [three] years and their places be supplied by a new appointment; after which one third shall be removed annually at the end of every [three] years according to seniority. When once removed, they shall be forever incapable of being re-appointed to that house. Their qualifications shall be an oath of fidelity to the state, and of duty in their office, the being  years of age at the least, and the having given no bribe directly or indirectly to obtain their appointment. While in the senatorial office they shall be incapable of holding any public pension or post of profit either themselves, or by others for their use.
The judges of the General court and of the High court of Chancery shall have session and deliberative voice, but not suffrage in the house of Senators.
The Senate and the house of representatives shall each of them have power to originate and amend bills; save only that bills for levying money bills shall be originated and amended by the representatives only: the assent of both houses shall be requisite to pass a law.
The General assembly shall have no power to pass any law inflicting death for any crime, excepting murder, & such those offences in the military service for which they shall think punishment by death absolutely necessary: and all capital punishments in other cases are hereby abolished. Nor shall they have power to prescribe torture in any case whatever: nor shall there be power anywhere to pardon crimes or to remit fines or punishments: nor shall any law for levying money be in force longer than [ten years] from the time of its commencement
[Two thirds] of the members of either house shall be a Quorum to proceed to business.
The executive powers shall be exercised in manner following.
One person to be called the [Administrator] shall be annually appointed by the house of Representatives on the second day of their first session, who after having acted [one] year shall be incapable of being again appointed to that office until he shall have been out of the same [three] years.
Under him shall be appointed by the same house and at the same time, a Deputy-Administrator to assist his principal in the discharge of his office, and to succeed, in case of his death before the year shall have expired, to the whole powers thereof during the residue of the year.
The administrator shall possess the power formerly held by the king: save only that, he shall be bound by acts of legislature tho’ not expressly named;
he shall have no negative on the bills of the Legislature;
he shall be liable to action, tho’ not to personal restraint for private duties or wrongs;
he shall not possess the prerogatives;
of dissolving, proroguing or adjourning either house of Assembly;
of declaring war or concluding peace;
of issuing letters of marque or reprisal;
of raising or introducing armed forces, building armed vessels, forts or strongholds;
of coining monies or regulating their values;
of regulating weights and measures;
of erecting courts, offices, boroughs, corporations, fairs, markets, ports, beacons, lighthouses, sea-marks.
of laying embargoes, or prohibiting the exportation of any commodity for a longer space than  days.
of retaining or recalling a member of the state but by legal process pro delicto vel contractu.
of making denizens.
of pardoning crimes, or remitting fines or punishments.
of creating dignities or granting rights of precedence.
but these powers shall be exercised by the legislature alone. and excepting also those powers which by these fundamentals are given to others, or abolished.
A Privy council shall be annually appointed by the house of representatives whose duties it shall be to give advice to the Administrator when called on by him. With them the Deputy Administrator shall have session and suffrage.
Delegates to represent this colony in the American Congress shall be appointed when necessary by the house of Representatives. After serving [one] year in that office they shall not be capable of being re-appointed to the same during an interval of [one] year.
A Treasurer shall be appointed by the house of Representatives who shall issue no money but by authority of both houses.
An Attorney general shall be appointed by the house of Representatives
High Sheriffs, &c.
High Sheriffs and Coroners of counties shall be annually elected by those qualified to vote for representatives: and no person who shall have served as high sheriff [one] year shall be capable of being re-elected to the said office in the same county till he shall have been out of office [five] years.
All other Officers civil and military shall be appointed by the Administrator; but such appointment shall be subject to the negative of the Privy council, saving however to the Legislature a power of transferring to any other persons the appointment of such officers or any of them.
The Judiciary powers shall be exercised
First, by County courts and other inferior jurisdictions:
Secondly, by a General court & a High court of Chancery:
Thirdly, by a Court of Appeals.
County Courts, &c.
The judges of the county courts and other inferior jurisdictions shall be appointed by the Administrator, subject to the negative of the privy council. They shall not be fewer than [five] in number. Their jurisdictions shall be defined from time to time by the legislature: and they shall be removable for misbehavior by the court of Appeals.
Genl. Court and High Ct. of Chancery
The Judges of the General court and of the High court of Chancery shall be appointed by the Administrator and Privy council. If kept united they shall be  in number, if separate, there shall be  for the General court &  for the High court of Chancery. The appointment shall be made from the faculty of the law, and of such persons of that faculty as shall have actually exercised the same at the bar of some court or courts of record within this colony for [seven] years. They shall hold their commissions during good behavior, for breach of which they shall be removable by the court of Appeals. Their jurisdiction shall be defined from time to time by the Legislature.
Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals shall consist of not less than  nor more than  members, to be appointed by the house of Representatives: they shall hold their offices during good behavior, for breach of which they shall be removable by an act of the legislature only. Their jurisdiction shall be to determine finally all causes removed before them from the General Court or High Court of Chancery, or of the county courts or other inferior jurisdictions for misbehavior: [to try impeachments against high offenders lodged before them by the house of representatives for such crimes as shall hereafter be precisely defined by the Legislature, and for the punishment of which, the said legislature shall have previously prescribed certain and determinate pains.] In this court the judges of the General court and High court of Chancery shall have session and deliberative voice, but no suffrage.
All facts in causes whether of Chancery, Common, Ecclesiastical, or Marine law, shall be tried by a jury upon evidence given vivâ voce, in open court: but where witnesses are out of the colony or unable to attend through sickness or other invincible necessity, their deposition may be submitted to the credit of the jury.
All Fines or Amercements shall be assessed, & Terms of imprisonment for Contempts & Misdemeanors shall be fixed by the verdict of a Jury.
All Process Original & Judicial shall run in the name of the court from which it issues.
Two thirds of the members of the General court, High court of Chancery, or Court of Appeals shall be a Quorum to proceed to business.
IV. Rights, Private and Public
Unappropriated or Forfeited lands shall be appropriated by the Administrator with the consent of the Privy council.
Every person of full age neither owning nor having owned  acres of land, shall be entitled to an appropriation of  acres or to so much as shall make up what he owns or has owned  acres in full and absolute dominion. And no other person shall be capable of taking an appropriation.
Lands heretofore holden of the crown in fee simple, and those hereafter to be appropriated shall be holden in full and absolute dominion, of no superior whatever.
No lands shall be appropriated until purchased of the Indian native proprietors; nor shall any purchases be made of them but on behalf of the public, by authority of acts of the General assembly to be passed for every purchase specially.
The territories contained within the charters erecting the colonies of Maryland, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, are hereby ceeded, released, & forever confirmed to the people of those colonies respectively, with all the rights of property, jurisdiction and government and all other rights whatsoever which might at any time heretofore have been claimed by this colony. The Western and Northern extent of this country shall in all other respects stand as fixed by the charter of until by act of the Legislature one or more territories shall be laid off Westward of the Alleghaney mountains for new colonies, which colonies shall be established on the same fundamental laws contained in this instrument, and shall be free and independent of this colony and of all the world.
Descents shall go according to the laws Gavelkind, save only that females shall have equal rights with males.
No person hereafter coming into this county shall be held within the same in slavery under any pretext whatever.
All persons who by their own oath or affirmation, or by other testimony shall give satisfactory proof to any court of record in this colony that they propose to reside in the same  years at the least and who shall subscribe the fundamental laws, shall be considered as residents and entitled to all the rights of persons natural born.
All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution.
No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands].
There shall be no standing army but in time of actual war.
Printing presses shall be free, except so far as by commission of private injury cause may be given of private action.
All Forfeitures heretofore going to the king, shall go to the state; save only such as the legislature may hereafter abolish.
The royal claim to Wrecks, waifs, strays, treasure-trove, royal mines, royal fish, royal birds, are declared to have been usurpations on common right.
No Salaries or Perquisites shall be given to any officer but by some future act of the legislature. No salaries shall be given to the Administrator, members of the legislative houses, judges of the court of Appeals, judges of the County courts, or other inferior jurisdictions, Privy counsellors, or Delegates to the American Congress: but the reasonable expences of the Administrator, members of the house of representatives, judges of the court of Appeals, Privy counsellors, & Delegates for subsistence while acting in the duties of their office, may be borne by the public, if the legislature shall so direct.
No person shall be capable of acting in any office Civil, Military [or Ecclesiastical] The Qualifications of all not otherwise directed, shall be an oath of fidelity to state and the having given no bribe to obtain their office who shall have given any bribe to obtain such office, or who shall not previously take an oath of fidelity to the state.
None of these fundamental laws and principles of government shall be repealed or altered, but by the personal consent of the people on summons to meet in their respective counties on one and the same day by an act of Legislature to be passed for every special occasion: and if in such county meetings the people of two thirds of the counties shall give their suffrage for any particular alteration or repeal referred to them by the said act, the same shall be accordingly repealed or altered, and such repeal or alteration shall take it’s place among these fundamentals and stand on the same footing with them, in lieu of the article repealed or altered.
The laws heretofore in force in this colony shall remain in force, except so far as they are altered by the foregoing fundamental laws, or so far as they may be hereafter altered by acts of the Legislature.
report on cedars cartel1
[June 17, 1776.]
The Committee to whom were re-committed the Cartel between Brigadier General Arnold & captain Forster for the exchange of prisoners & the several papers relating thereto have had the same under their consideration and agreed to the following report.
Your committee having proceeded to make enquiry into the facts relating to the agreement entered into at St. Anne’s between Brigadier General Arnold & Capt. Forster, find a part of them well authenticated and others not, yet being apprehensive that silence on the part of Congress may be construed by some into a ratification of the said agreement they have thought it best to state the same as they appear at present, with such resolutions as they will justify if found true, reserving final decision till the whole truth shall be accurately enquired into & transmitted to Congress.
Your Committee on the best information they have been able to obtain find:
That on the 24th day of May last a party of the enemy consisting as is said of about 600 men under the command of capt. Forster attacked a post at the Cedars held by a garrison of 350 Con[tinental for]ces, then under the command of Major Butterfield.
That the said post was secured by a Stoc[kade of wood?] to cover the garrison from the enemy’s musquetry, that there were mounted therein two field pieces, & that the enemy had no cannon.
That the said garrison had ammunition & provisions sufficient to have lasted them ten days, that they had reason to expect immediate reinforcements in a few days,1 which on a requisition from themselves, was actually on it’s way from Montreal, and moreover were so near the main body of the army that they could not doubt being joined by detachments from thence sufficient to oblige the enemy to retire.
That the enemy for two days kept up only a scattering fire, by which not a single man of the garrison was killed or wounded, & that on the third day the garrison surrendered themselves prisoners of war having capitulated for the preservation of their own baggage from plunder, & that their persons should not be deliver’d into the hands of the savages.1
That the enemy broke the capitulation utterly & immediately on their part. Plundering the garrison of their baggage & stripping the cloathes from their backs, & Delivering the Prisoners into the hands of the Savages.1
That they then proceeded against the reinforcement which was on it’s way consisting of about 150 men under the command of Major Sherburne, that Major Sherburne & his party engaged & fought them with bravery; but being at length surrounded by numbers greatly superior and informed that the fort and garrison were already in the hands of the enemy, they were obliged to surrender themselves prisoners of war also; but whether on capitulation or not your committee are not informed.
That after they had put themselves into the hands of the enemy, the said enemy murdered two of them, butchering the one with tomahawks & drowning the other; and left divers others exposed on an island naked and perishing with cold & famine.
That by this time Brigadier General Arnold who had been detached by Major General Thomas to relieve the fort at the Cedars, approached & was making dispositions to attack the enemy.
That capt. Forster, thereupon notified1 General Arnold, that if he attacked him, the prisoners, then 500 in number, would every man of them be put to death; & proposing at the same time an exchange of [torn out.]
Arnold was extremely averse to entering on any agreement of that kind, & was at length induced to do it by no other motive than that of saving the prisoners from cruel & inhuman death, threatened in such terms as left no doubt it was to be perpetrated.
That agreement was thereupon entered into between Brigadr. Genl. Arnold & capt. Forster, bearing date at St. Anne’s, on the 27th day of May, whereby the s̃d Forster stipulated that he would deliver up all the said prisoners except such as were1 Canadians, to Genl. Arnold; who agreed on the other part that so many of equal rank & condition should be returned to the enemy of those taken by our arms on former occasions. That the prisoners so stipulated to be given up to the enemy were not in the possession of Genl. Arnold, nor under his direction but were at that time distributed through various parts of the continent under the orders of this house.
That capt. Forster in violation of this agreement also detained a considerable number of the prisoners he had thus stipulated to deliver, & sent them into the Indian countries for purposes unknown.
Whereupon your Committee have come to the following resolutions.
Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that plundering the baggage of the garrison at the Cedars, stripping them of their clothes, & deliverg the Prisonr into ye hands of the Savages1 was a breach of the capitulation on the part of the enemy, for which satisfaction ought to be demanded.
Resolved that the murder of two of the prisoners of war was a gross and barbarous violation of the laws of nature & nations, for which satisfaction should be made by the enemy by delivering into our hands either captain Forster or the individuals concerned in committing the murder.
Resolved that the agreement entered into at St. Anne’s was a mere sponsion on the part of Brigadr. Genl. Arnold, he not being invested with the powers for the absolute disposal of the Continental prisoners in general; and that therefore it is subject to be ratified or annulled at the discretion of this house, the sole representative of the United Colonies.2
Resolved that it is the opinion of this committee that Major Sherburne & his party having fought as men should do, so much of the said sponsion as relates to their exchange should be ratified & confirmed by this house; & that an equal number of captives from the enemy, of the same rank & condition should be restored to them as stipulated by the said sponsion.
Resolved that [torn out] opinion of this com. [torn out] the said sponsion as relates to the exchange of Major Butterfield & the garrison surrendering with him, ought not to be ratified: because we should redeem none but those who will fight, and because too the said sponsion excepted the Canadian prisoners, & we will in no case admit a distinction of countries among men fighting in the same cause.
Resolved therefore that the said Major Butterfield & garrison should still be considered as prisoners of war, appertaining to the enemy; but as by the actual murder of two of the prisoners & the threats at St. Anne’s to put the others to death, the enemy are found capable of destroying their captives, the s̃d prisoners ought not to be put into their hands, but should be permitted to remain in their own country; that in the meantime they shall not bear arms nor otherwise act against the enemy, but are bound to demean themselves in all things in the manner of prisoners of war enlarged on their parole, & to hold themselves subject to be recalled by the enemy whenever proper security shall have been given that their lives shall be safe.
Resolved that previous to the delivery of the prisoners to be returned in lieu of majr. Sherburne & those captivated with him, satisfaction be required from the enemy for the murder of the two prisoners by delivering into our hands capt. Forster, or the individuals concerned in perpetrating that horrid act; and likewise restitution for the plunder at the Cedars taken contrary to the faith of the capitulation; and that till such satisfaction & restitution be made, the said prisoners be not delivered.
Resolved that it is the opinion of this committee that if the enemy shall put to death, torture, or otherwise ill treat any of the hostages in their hands, or of the Canadian, or other prisoners captivated by them in the service of the United colonies, recourse must be had to retaliation as the sole means of stopping the progress of human butchery, & that for that purpose punishments of the same kind & degree be inflicted on an equal number of their subjects taken by us, till they shall be taught due respect to the violated rights of nations.
Resolved that it is the opinion of this committee, that a copy of this report be transmitted to the Commander in chief of the Continental forces in Canada, to be by him sent to the British commander there; and that he moreover make further & diligent [torn out] into the facts therein stated, & such others as may [torn out] same subject & rel [torn out] same duly authenticated [torn out] possible despatch [torn out] for their final decision, & that in the meantime the prisoners delivered up by the enemy abstain from bearing arms or otherwise acting against them.1
report on canadian affairs1
[June 17, 1776.]
The Committee to whom the report from the Com̃mee of the whole house was recommitted, have had the same under their consideration & agreed to the following resolutions.
Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that an experienced general be immediately sent into Canada, with power to appoint a deputy adjutant general, a Deputy Quarter-master general, and such other officers as he shall find necessary for the good of the service, and to fill up vacancies in the army in Canada, and notify the same to Congress for their approbation. That he also have power to suspend any officer there till the pleasure of Congress be known, he giving his reasons for so doing in the orders of suspension & transmitting to Congress as soon as possible the charge against such officer. Provided that this power of suspending officers & filling up vacancies shall not be continued beyond the first day of October next.
Resolved that no officer suttle or sell to the soldiers on penalty of being fined one month’s pay & dismissed the service with infamy on conviction before a court martial.
Resolved that the baggage of Officers and soldiers be regulated conformably to the rules in the British armies.
Resolved that all sales of arms, ammunition, cloathing and accoutrements made by soldiers be void.
Resolved that no troops employed in Canada, be disbanded there: that all soldiers in Canada ordered to be disbanded, or whose times of enlistment being expired shall refuse to re-enlist, shall be sent under proper officers to Ticonderoga or such other post on the lakes as the General shall direct, where they shall be mustered, and the arms, accoutrements, blankets, & utensils, which they may have belonging to the public shall be delivered up and deposited in the public store.
Resolved that Doctor Potts be employed in the Continenal service in the Canadian department or at Lake George as the General shall think best: & that his pay be dollars per month. But this appointment is not intended to interfere with the office of Doctr. Stringer.1
Resolved that a Deputy Muster Master General be immediately sent into Canada.
Resolved that the local Commissaries and Quarter masters appointed at the different garrisons or posts shall make weekly returns to the General of the provisions & stores in the places at which they may happen to be stationed.
Resolved that the General to be sent to Canada be directed to view Point au fer and to order a fortress to be erected there if he should think proper.
Resolved that the General officers, Deputy Quarter master general, Local commissaries, Paymaster in Canada, and all other persons there who have received public monies be ordered without delay to render and settle their accounts; on which settlement no General officer shall receive pay as Colonel of a regiment, nor Field officer as Capt. of Company.
Resolved that Commissioners be appointed to settle in Canada the debts due on Certificates given by officers to the Canadians for carriages and other services. & to settle also the accounts for such goods as may have been seized through necessity for the use of the army to be by them finally discharged & that it be given in instruction to them to attend particularly to the case of Mr. Bernard: and also that in settling the certified debts they state carefully the names of all those who have given certificates, the nature of the service, & the time when performed; to return the whole when settled & stated to the board of treasury to be by them finally examined and discharged.1
Resolved that the Deputy Paymaster General be directed to transmit to Congress copies of the particulars before mentioned on the original certificates, with the report & remarks of the commissioners thereon.
Resolved that General Schuyler be directed to make a good waggon road from Fort Edward to Cheshire’s; to clear Wood creek & to construct a Lock at Skenesborough, so as to have a continued navigation for batteaus from Cheshires into Lake Champlain; to erect a grand magazine at Cheshire’s & to secure it by a stockaded fort; to erect a saw mill on Schoon creek; to order skilful persons to survey and take the level of the water’s falling into Hudson’s river near Fort Edward & those which fall into Wood creek & interlock with the former, particularly Jones’s run & Half-way brook, the latter of which is said to discharge itself into Wood creek at Cheshire’s. That he be directed to have a greater number of boats and hands kept on Hudson’s river, at the different stations between Albany & Fort Edward in order to save the expence of waggonage. That he be empowered to appoint proper officers to superintend the carriage by land and transportation by water of provisions, military stores and other things into Canada, that neither waste nor delay may arise therein. That he build with all expedition as many gallies and armed vessels as in the opinion of himself & the General officer to be sent into Canada shall be sufficient to make us indisputably masters of the lakes Champlain & George: for which purpose it is the opinion of this Committee there should be sent to him a master carpenter acquainted with the construction of the gallies used on the Delaware, who should take with him other carpenters, & models also if requisite. And that it be submitted to General Schuyler whether a temporary fortification or entrenched camp either at Crown point or opposite to Ticonderoga may be necessary.
Resolved that the Commissary general be directed to supply the army in Canada with provisions, and to appoint proper officers under him to receive and issue the same at the several posts taking the directions of the General; that he be empowered to contract with proper persons in Canada for supplying the army there with fresh provisions; that he be directed to purchase a quantity of Albany peas, and to furnish as much biscuit as may be necessary; and that his pay be raised to one hundred & fifty dollars per month.
Resolved that the Quarter-master General be directed to provide & forward such tents, cloathing and untensils as are wanted for the army in Canada, subject to the direction of the Commander in chief.
Resolved that General Washington be directed to send into Canada such small brass or iron field pieces as he can spare: that he be instructed to issue orders that no certificates be given in future by any but Brigadiers, Quarter-masters & their deputies, or a field officer on a march or officer commanding at a detached post.
Referr’d to 18th June
Resolved that General Washington be directed to order an enquiry to be made into the conduct of the officers heretofore employed in the Canada department; that the said enquiry be made at such times and places as in his judgment shall be most likely to do justice as well to the public as to the individuals; & that the result of the said enquiry together with the testimonies upon the subject be transmitted to Congress. That moreover all officers accused of cowardice, plundering, embezzlement of public monies & other misdemeanors be immediately brought to trial, and whereas Congress is informed that an opinion has prevailed that officers resigning their commissions are not subject to trial by a Court martial for offences committed previous to such resignation, whereby some have evaded the punishments to which they were liable, it is hereby declared that such opinion is not just.
Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that Lieutt. Colonel Burbeck be dismissed from the Continental service for disobedience of orders.1
Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that General Washington be authorized to fill up vacancies in the army by issuing Commissions to such officers under the rank of field officers as he shall think proper to supply such vacancies; he making a monthly return to Congress of such appointments which, unless disapproved of by Congress on such return, shall stand confirmed; and that blank commissions be sent to the General for that purpose.
Resolved that the pay of such of the soldiers at New York as have been enlisted at five dollars per month be raised to six dollars and two thirds per month.
Resolved that letters be written to the Convention of New
Resolved that a bounty of Ten dollars be given to every non-commissioned officer and soldier who will enlist to serve for the term of three years.
Resolved that letters be written to the Conventions of New Jersey & New York and to the Assembly of Connecticut recommending them to authorize the Commander in chief in the colony of New York, to call to the assistance of that colony (when necessity shall require it) such of the militia of those colonies as may be necessary; and to afford him such other assistance as the situation of affairs may require. And that it be further recommended to the Convention of New York to empower to said Commander in Chief to impress carriages and water craft when necessary for the public service, and also to remove ships and other vessels in Hudson’s and in the East rivers for the purpose of securing them from the enemy.
Resolved that General Washington be permitted to employ the Indians whom he may take into the service of the United colonies pursuant to a resolution of Congress of the 25 May last in any place where he shall judge they will be most useful, and that he be authorized to offer them a reward of one hundred dollars for every commissioned officer, & of thirty dollars for every private soldier of the King’s troops that they shall take prisoners in the Indian Country or on the frontiers of these colonies.
to william fleming1
Philadelphia, July 1, 1776.
—Yours of 22d June came to hand this morning and gratified me much, as this with your former contains interesting intelligence.
Our affairs in Canada go still retrograde, but I hope they are now nearly at their worst. The fatal sources of these misfortunes have been want of hard money with which to procure provisions, the ravages of the small pox with which one half of our army is still down, and an unlucky choice of some officers. By our last letters, Genl. Sullivan was retired as far as Isle au noix with his dispirited army and Burgoyne pursuing him with one of double or treble his numbers. It gives much concern that he had determined to make a stand there as it exposes to great danger of losing him and his army; and it was the universal sense of his officers that he ought to retire. Gen. Schuyler has sent him positive orders to retire to Crown point but whether they will reach him in time enough to withdraw him from danger is questionable. Here it seems to be the opinion of all the General officers that an effectual stand may be made and the enemy not only prevented access into New York, but by preserving a superiority on the lakes we may renew our attacks on them to advantage as soon as our army is recovered from the small pox and recruited. But recruits, tho long ordered, are very difficult to be procured on account of that dreadful disorder.
The Conspiracy at New York is not yet thoroughly developed, nor has any thing transpired, the whole being kept secret till the whole is got through. One fact is known of necessity, that one of the General’s lifeguards being thoroughly convicted was to be shot last Saturday. General Howe with some ships (we know not how many) is arrived at the Hook, and, as is said, has landed some horse on the Jersey shore. The famous major Rogers is in custody on violent suspicion of being concerned in the conspiracy.
I am glad to hear of the Highlanders carried into Virginia. It does not appear certainly how many of these people we have but I imagine at least six or eight hundred. Each effort should be made to keep up the spirits of the people the succeeding three months; which in the Universal opinion will be the only ones in which our trial can be severe.
I wish you had depended on yourself rather than others for giving me an account of the late nomination of delegates. I have no other state of it but the number of votes for each person. The omission of Harrison and Braxton and my being next to the lag give me some alarm. It is a painful situation to be 300 miles from one’s country, and thereby opened to secret assassination without a possibility of self-defence. I am willing to hope nothing of this kind has been done in my case, but yet I cannot be easy. If any doubts has arisen as to me, my country will have my political creed in the form of a “Declaration” &c. which I was lately directed to draw. This will give decisive proof that my own sentiment concurred with the vote they instructed me to give. Had the post been to go a day later we might have been at liberty to communicate this whole matter.
July 2. I have kept open my letter till this morning but nothing more new. Adieu.
declaration of independence1
July 4, 1776.
[1 ]On June 16th Congress referred this matter to Jefferson, Braxton, Paine, and Middleton. They made this report on June 17th, when it was read and laid on the table. On June 24th it was recommitted, and again reported to the Congress on July 10th, when it passed in a much modified form. Cf. Journals of Congress, ii., 256.
[1 ]Words in italics not in Jefferson’s handwriting.
[1 ]Words in italics not in Jefferson’s handwriting.
[1 ]Words in italics not in Jefferson’s handwriting.
[1 ]Words in italics not in Jefferson’s handwriting.
[1 ]Words in italics not in Jefferson’s handwriting.
[1 ]Words in italics not in Jefferson’s handwriting.
[2 ]Here Jefferson had written “States of America” which has been stricken out by another hand and “Colonies” written in its place.
[1 ]Endorsed: “Report of the Comte. on the capitulation entered into between genl Arnold & capt. Forster. No. 1 brot. in June 17, 1776, read & ordered to lie on the table, recommitted June 24, 1776, passed July 10.”
[1 ]On May 23, 1776, Congress appointed Harrison, R. H. Lee, J. Adams, J. Wilson, and Edward Rutledge a committee to confer with Washington, Gates, and Mifflin, “upon the most speedy and effectual means for supporting the American cause in Canada.” They reported to Congress the following day, but were directed to confer further with the generals. They reported again May 29th, and on May 30th Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole to consider the report. It was considered from time to time, a few resolutions being reported, till June 15th, when the committee of the whole reported the results of their deliberations to Congress. On the same day Congress named Jefferson, Braxton, Paine, and Middleton a committee “to digest and arrange the several resolutions agreed to in the committee of the whole.” They presented the following report (which is in Jefferson’s handwriting) on June 17th, and with some changes it was adopted the same day. Cf. Journals of Congress, June 17, 1776, and Ford’s Writings of Washington, iv., 109.
[1 ]This paragraph is stricken out.
[1 ]This and the succeeding paragraphs are stricken out.
[1 ]This and the succeeding three paragraphs are stricken out.
[1 ]From the Southern Literary Messenger, iii., 306.
[1 ]The text in the first column is from a copy in the handwriting of John Adams, now in the Adams papers at Quincy, for which I am indebted to the courtesy of Mr. Charles Francis Adams and Mr. Theodore F. Dwight. From a comparison of it with the facsimile of Jefferson’s rough draft, it is evident that it represents the first phrasing of the paper. The text in the second column is approximately that reported by the committee to Congress, and is taken from Jefferson’s rough draft reproduced herein in facsimile from the original in the Department of State. The text in the third column is from the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence, also in the Department of State. Another MSS. copy in Jefferson’s writing, slightly altered in wording, was inserted by him in his Autobiography, and is printed, ante, 1, 35. This is in the Department of State, as is likewise a copy in his handwriting made for Madison in 1783, which is reproduced in facsimile in the Madison Papers, vol. iii. Between July 4th-10th, Jefferson made copies of the Declaration, indicating his phrasing and that adopted by the Congress, and sent them to R. H. Lee, Wythe, Page, Pendleton, and Mazzei, and probably others. Lee gave his copy to the American Philosophical Society, where it now is. Those of Wythe, Page, and Pendleton have never been heard of. Mazzei gave his to the Countess de Tessie of France, and it has not been traced. A copy in Jefferson’s writing is now owned by Dr. Thomas Addis Emmett, and a fragment of another is in the possession of Mrs. Washburn of Boston. Thus at least five copies and a fragment of a sixth are still extant.—Cf. ante, vol. i., 35.