Adams Papers

[Committee on the Importantion of Gunpowder, September–November 1775.]
[from the Autobiography of John Adams]

[Committee on the Importantion of Gunpowder, September–November 1775.]

I have omitted some things in 1775 which must be inserted.1 On the 18th of September 1775. It was resolved in Congress, that a Secret Committee be appointed to contract for the Importation and delivery of any quantity of Gunpowder, not exceeding five hundred Tons. That in case such a quantity of Gunpowder cannot be procured to contract for the Importation of so much Saltpetre, with a proportionable quantity of Sulphur, as with the Powder procured will make five hundred tons. That the Committee be impowered to contract for the importation of forty brass field Pieces, six pounders, for 10,000 Stand of Arms and twenty thousand good plain double bridle musket Locks. That the said Committee be impowered to draw on the Treasurers to answer the said Contract. That the said Committee consist of nine members, any five of whom to be a quorum. The Members chosen Mr. Willing, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Livingston, Mr. Alsop, Mr. Deane, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Langdon, Mr. McKean and Mr. Ward. On the Eig[h]th of November 1775. On Motion resolved That the Secret Committee appointed to contract for the Importation of Arms, Ammunition &c. be impowered to export to the foreign West Indies, on Account and risque of the Continent, as much provision, or any other produce (except horned Cattle, Sheep, hogs and Poultry) as they may deem necessary for the Importation of Arms, Ammunition, Sulphur and Saltpetre. See the Journals of Congress for 1775. Page 238. Wednesday November 8. 1775 and the Note.

1JA was reminded of these omissions by picking up a copy of the Journals of Congress. Containing the Proceedings from Sept. 5. 1774. to Jan. 1. 1776.... Volume I, Phila.: R. Aitken, 1777, which he had long owned but until now had not consulted for autobiographical purposes. From this point through his departure from Congress in Oct. 1776, the Autobiography consists almost entirely of a series of extracts from the Journals, chosen rather unsystematically but with emphasis on JA’s own activities, copied without benefit of quotation marks, and amplified by a running commentary. CFA in his edition distinguished matter drawn from the Journals by a smaller size of type (JA, Works description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends , 3:3–88), but direct quotations, paraphrased passages, and comments are so inextricably woven together that CFA sometimes erred in trying to disentangle them and thus proved his method unfeasible. The present editors follow JA’s MS.

Index Entries