Adams Papers

[Wednesday July 17. 1776.]

[Wednesday July 17. 1776.]

Wednesday July 17. 1776. The Board of War to whom the Letter from General Washington of the 14th was referred brought in their report which was taken into consideration; whereupon

Resolved That General Washington, in refusing to receive a Letter, said to be sent from Lord Howe, addressed to George Washington Esqr., acted with a Dignity becoming his Station; and therefore the Congress do highly approve the same; and do direct, that no Letter or Message be received on any Occasion whatsoever from the Enemy, by the Commander in Chief or others the Commanders of the American Army but such as shall be directed to them in the Characters they respectively sustain.

Resolved that Mr. J. Adams, Mr. Harrison and Mr. Morris be a Committee to bring in a Resolution for subjecting to Confiscation, the Property of the Subjects of the Crown of Great Britain, and particularly of the Inhabitants of the British West Indies taken on the high Seas or between high and low Water Mark.1

1This committee brought in a report on 19 July which was tabled for later consideration; on the 24th Congress adopted a preamble and resolution relative thereto, but two days later expunged the preamble and the final sentence of the report. The amended resolution appears in JA’s Autobiography under 24 July, below. See JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 5:591, 605–606; Hancock to Washington, 26 July, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress, Washington, 1921–1936; 8 vols. description ends , 2:26. The authorship of the report and preamble is not known.

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