Adams Papers
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II. Report of a Committee on Fitting Out Armed Vessels, 11 January 1776

II. Report of a Committee on Fitting Out Armed Vessels

[11 January 1776]

The Committee of both Houses appointed to consider a Plan for fiting out one or more Armed Vessels for the defence of American Liberty,1 have attended that service, and Report in the following Resolves, vizt.

John Adams Per order

Resolved that two Ships be built, as soon as may be, at the expence of this Colony; One Suitable to carry Thirty-Six Guns, vizt., Twenty <Four> Guns carrying twelve Pound Shot, and Sixteen Guns for Six Pound Shot; and the other Ship suitable to carry Thirty-two Guns, vizt., Twenty Guns for nine Pound Shott, and Twelve for Six Pound shot; and that these Ships be built in a manner best calculated for swift sailing, and of Timber and other Materials suitable for Ships of War of such a number of Guns and weight of Metal, and furnished with a Suitable number of Officers, Seamen and Mariners and that all kinds of necessary Arms, Ammunition and Provisions be furnished for such Ships.

Resolved, That   with such as the Honble. <House> shall join, be a Committee to carry the foregoing Resolution into execution as soon as possible; and that a Sum of Money, for that purpose, not exceeding   be put into their Hands, they to be accountable to this Court for the expenditure of the Same.

In Council Jany. 11th. 1776 Read and sent down,

Perez Morton Dpy Secry

In the House of Representatives Jan. 12th. 1776

Read and ordered to be recommitted, and the Committee are directed to report an Estimate of the Expence of building and Furnishing the Vessels above proposed to be provided.

Sent up for Concurrence,

J Warren Spkr

In Council Jany. 12th 1776 Read and concurred,

Perez Morton Depy Secry

Resolved that Thos. Cushing Esqr. be of the aforesaid Committee on the part of the Board in the room of Jno. Adams Esqr. who is absent. Sent down for Concurrence,

Perez Morton Dpy Secry

Read and concurred. Sent up.

J Warren Spkr

FC (M–Ar: 137, p. 58); docketed, probably by Perez Morton, on a separate slip of paper bound in the volume: “Report to fix out 2 armed Vessels in Defence of American Liberty Jany 11th: Recd. Page 487”; also on the same slip but partially lost: “in Jany. 24 1776 [. . .].”

1Formed on 29 Dec. 1775, this committee included JA and Joseph Palmer from the Council and Col. Azor Orne, John Brown of Boston, and Col. Joseph Otis from the House (Mass., House Jour. description begins Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts [1715- ], Boston, reprinted by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1919- . (For the years for which reprints are not yet available, the original printings are cited, by year and session.) description ends , 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 94; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 405). JA’s membership on the committee and his apparent authorship of the report probably arose from his involvement in naval affairs at the congress, his correspondence with people in Massachusetts on naval matters, and his request to the General Court that he be supplied with information on the naval resources of the province (JA to Elbridge Gerry, 5 Nov. 1775, above). The report was the first formal step in the creation of the Massachusetts Navy as distinct from the force of privateers authorized on 1 Nov. It was not, however, the instrument by which the ships for the navy were actually built. That resolve, probably drawn up by the committee of 29 Dec., to which Thomas Cushing had been added in the place of JA, was passed on 6, 7 Feb. 1776 with an appropriation of £10,000 to build ten sloops of war. By the following July the first ships, led by the Tyrannicide, the Rising Empire, and the Independence, were ready for sea (Mass., House Jour. description begins Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts [1715- ], Boston, reprinted by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1919- . (For the years for which reprints are not yet available, the original printings are cited, by year and session.) description ends , p. 192, 253–254, 256–257; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 539; Paullin, Navy of Amer. Rev. description begins Charles Oscar Paullin, The Navy of the American Revolution: Its Administration, its Policy, and its Achievements, Cleveland, 1906. description ends , p. 324–325).

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