Adams Papers

[June 11. 1776. Tuesday.]
[from the Autobiography of John Adams]

[June 11. 1776. Tuesday.]

June 11. 1776. Tuesday. Resolved that a Committee of three be appointed to consider of a Compensation to the Secretary for his services. The Members chosen Mr. J. Adams, Mr. Rutledge and Mr. Hewes.1

Resolved that the Committee for preparing the declaration consist of five. The Members chosen Mr. Jefferson, Mr. John Adams, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Sherman and Mr. R. R. Livingston. Jefferson was chairman because he had most votes, and he had most votes because We united in him, to the Exclusion of R. H. Lee in order to keep out Harrison.2

Resolved that a Committee be appointed to prepare and digest the form of a Confederation to be entered into between these Colonies.

That a Committee be appointed to prepare a plan of Treaties to be proposed to foreign Powers.3

1This committee brought in a report on 14 June, and Congress acted thereon (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 5:442). The original report has not been found.

2This sentence was interlined in the MS after the following paragraph was written. It is at least partly an invention of JA’s memory. The real reason why R. H. Lee did not serve on the committee to prepare a declaration of independence was that he wished to be in Williamsburg during “the formation of our new Government” (the Virginia Constitution), and he left Philadelphia for that purpose on 13 June (R. H. Lee, Letters, ed. Ballagh description begins The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, ed. James C. Ballagh, New York, 1911–1914; 2 vols. description ends , 1:201, 203). For JA’s accounts of the drafting of the Declaration see p. 335 ff. and p. 337, note 3, above.

3As JA records below, he was named a member of this committee next day. See also JA’s earlier discussion of this subject in his Autobiography, p. 337–338, above, and notes there, which, taken together, summarize the history of this important measure and JA’s part in it. See also p. 432, below.

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