Birth of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
June 18-25, 1776
Love of Virtue, and Zeal for Liberty
Transcription from an Original as printed by W. and T. Bradford. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has preserved a copy of the original Proceedings of the Provincial Conference and we are indebted to them for permission to reproduce it here.
Began JUNE 18th, and continued by adjournments to
This day a number of gentlemen met at Carpenter's Hall, in Philadelphia, being deputed by the Committees of several of the counties of this Province, to join in Provincial Conference in consequence of a Circular Letter from the Committee of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, inclosing the resolution of the Continental Congress of the 15th May last.
Col., McKean, as chairman of the city Committee, declared the motives which had induced that Committee to propose the holding of the present Conference, and then laid on the table a certificate of deputies appointed to attend on the part of said Committee.
Returns were also given in from the counties of Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, Berks, Northampton, York, Cumberland, Belford, and Westmoreland, by the deputies of said counties, by which it appeared the following Gentlemen were appointed, § viz.
For the COMMITTEE of the city, &c, of PHILADELPHIA.
§ All the Members attended except those marked with an *
For the COMMITTEE of PHILADELPHIA County.
For the COMMITTEE of BUCKS county.
For the COMMITTEE of CHESTER County.
For the COMMITTEE of LANCASTER County.
For the COMMITTEE of BERKS county.
For the COMMITTEE of NORTHAMTON County.
For the COMMITTEE of YORK County.
For the COMMITTEE of CUMBERLAND County.
For the COMMITTEE of BEDFORD County.
For the COMMITTEE of WESTMORELAND County.
A Quorum of the Members from the above Counties being met, except that only two appeard from Chester County; proceeded in the choice of a President, Vice-President, and two Secretaries, and
Col.THOMAS McKEAN was chosen PRESIDENT
Then the conference adjourned to 3 o'Clock, P.M.
June 18,1776, 3 o'Clock P.M.
The Conference met, present as above, and
Adjourned to 9 0'Clock to-morrow Morning.
Wednesday, June 19th, 1776.
The conference met, present 12 Committees, 97 Members.
A return was delivered at the Table from Northumberland, and the Deputies attended being
As did those also from Chester.
On motion it was ordered that the Resolution of the Continental Congress, of the 19th May last, recommending the total suppression of all Authority under the King of Great Britain, &c. be read, and it was read accordingly, and is the words following, viz.
In CONGRESS, May 15, 1776.
Whereas his Britannic Majesty, in conjunction with the Lords and Commons of Great Britain, has by a late act of Parliament, excluded the inhabitants of these United Colonies from the protection of his crown — And whereas no answer whatever to the humble petitions of the Colonies for redress of grievances and reconciliation with Great Britain, has been, or is likely to be given, but the whole force of that kingdom, aided by foreign mercenaries, is to be exerted for the destruction of the good people of these Colonies — And whereas it appears absolutely irreconcilable to reason and good conscience, for the people of the these Colonies now to take the oaths and affirmations necessary for the support of any government under the crown of Great Britain; and it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown should be totally suppressed, and all the powers of government exerted under the authority of the people of the Colonies for the preservation of internal peace, virtue and good order, as well as for the defense of their lives, liberties and properties, against the hostile invasions and cruel depredation of their enemies — Therefore
Resolved, That it be recommended to the respective Assemblies and Conventions, of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs has been hitherto' established to adopt such government as shall in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general. By order of the Congress
JOHN HANCOCK, President.
By Special Order the same was read a Second Time, and after mature Consideration
Resolved unanimously, That the said Resolution of Congress of 15th May last, is fully approved by this Conference.
On motion, Resolved unanimously, That the present Government of this province is not competent to the exigencies of our affairs.
On motion, Resolved, N.C.D. That it is necessary that a Provincial Convention be called by this Conference for the express purpose of forming a new Government in this Province, on the Authority of the People only.
Resolved unanimously, That a Committee be appointed to ascertain the Number of Members of which the Convention ought to consist, and the proportion of Representatives for the City and each County; and that two Members from the City and each County be appointed on said Committee, except from Westmoreland, which can furnish but one, and the following Gentleman were appointed, viz.
Resolved, That the committee now appointed be instructed to fix upon some number, not less than ninety, nor more than one hundred and ten, for the whole province.
Then the Conference adjourned to half 3 o'clock, P.M.
On motion, Resolved unanimously, That this Conference will now enter into a consideration of the qualifications of electors, and of persons who may be elected.
Resolved unanimously, That this Conference will immediately resolve itself into a Committee of the whole, to enter upon said consideration.
The President left the chair.
The President resumed the chair.
Col. Hart, from the Committee of the whole reported, that the Committee had come to no resolution, and desired to leave to sit again.
Ordered, That the Committee of the whole have leave to sit again tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock.
The Conference adjourned to 8 o'clock tomorrow, A.M.
THURSDAY, June 20, 1776
The Conference met, every Committee present.
The order of yesterday, for resolving the Conference into a Committee of the whole was read.
The President left the chair.
The President resumed the chair
Col. Hart, reported from the Committee of the whole, that they had come into two resolutions, which he was ready to report, when the Conference would receive them.
Ordered, That they be received forthwith; then the said resolutions being read and considered, were agreed to by the Conference, without one dessenting voice, and are as follows, viz.
Resolved, That every Associator in the province shall be admitted to a vote for members of the Convention, in the city or county
in which he resides; provided such Associator be of the age of twenty-one years, and shall have lived one year in this province immediately preceding the election; and shall have contributed at any time before the passing of this Resolve to the payment of their provincial or county taxes, or shall have been rated or assessed towards the fame.
Resolved, That every person, qualified by the laws of this province to vote for representatives in assembly, shall be admitted to vote for members of the intended Convention ; provided he shall first take the following test, on oath or affirmation if thereunto required by any one of the judges or inspectors of the election, who are hereby impowered to administer the fame.
"I __________ do declare that I do not hold my self bound to bear allegiance to George the third, King of Great" Britain, &c. and that I will not, by any means, directly or indirectly, oppose the establishment of a free government in this province, by the convention now to be chosen ; nor the measures adopted by the congress, against the tyranny attempted to be established in these colonies by the court of Great-Britain."
Ordered, That the committee of the whole have leave to sit this afternoon at 3 o'Clock
Then the Conference adjourned to 3 o'Clock this afternoon.
June 20, P.M. The Conference met.
On motion, Resolved unanimously, That whereas the County of Westmoreland hath been exempted from the payment of taxes for three years last past; and thereby many persons may be excluded from a vote at the ensuing Election in consequence of the foregoing regulations, contrary to the intention thereof, therefore every person of 21 years of age, being a Free man, residing in said county shall be admitted to vote, he being an Associator, and having lived one Year in this province next preceding the Election, and taking the test aforesaid, if thereunto required.
Resolved unanimously, That the Election shall be made by Ballot in the manner heretofore used in this Province at the General Elections.
Resolved unanimously, That no person who has been published by any Committee of inspection, or the committee of safety
in this Province, as an Enemy to the Liberties of America ; and has not been restored to the favor of his Country, shall be permitted to vote at the Election of Members for said Convention.
The Conference adjourned to 8 o'clock, tomorrow A.M.
Friday, June 21, 1776
The Conference met.
On motion resolved unanimously, That every voter, at the proposed election shall be a free man, and if thereunto requested by any of the judges or inspectors shall, before his vote is received, take the foregoing test.
Resolved unanimously, That any person qualified to vote for members of assembly, by the law of this province, may be elected a member of Convention provided that he shall have resided at least one year immediately preceding the said election, in the city or county for which he shall be chosen, and shall, before he takes his seat in Convention, take the following oath or affirmation, viz.
"I _______ do declare that I do not hold myself bound to bear allegiance to George the Third King of Great-Britain, &c. and that I will steadily and firmly at all times promote the most effectual means, according to the best of my Skill and Knowledge, to oppose the tyrannical Proceedings of the King and Parliament of Great-Britain against the American Colonies; and to establish and support a Government in this province, on the Authority of the People only, &c. That I will oppose any measure that shall or may in the least interfere with or obstruct the Religious Principles or Practices of any of the good People of this Province, as heretofore enjoyed." ALSO
Resolved, That no Person elected to serve as a Member of Convention shall take his seat or give his vote until he shall have made and subscribed the following Declaration.
"I _______ do profess faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ his eternal Son, the true God, and in the Holy Spirit, one God blessed for evermore; and do acknowledge the Holy scriptures of the Old Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration."
An address and petition from the Commanders of the thirteen Row Gallies, in the Service of this Province, praying to be head on a difference with the Committee of Safety, was presented at the table, and read.
Ordered, To lie on the Table for the perusal of the Members.
Resolved, That Messrs. Moulder, Lollar, Wallace, Hockley, Lowry, Eachard, B. Dupue, McPherson, Clarke, Davidson, Cook and Parry, be a Committee, to consider of the proper time, place and manner, of holding and regulating the ensuing election, and to fix a day for the meeting of the representatives of the people so chosen.
A memorial from the Patriotic Society, of the city of Philadelphia, was delivered at the table by a Committee from said society, and read by their clerk on special request.
Ordered, to lie on the Table for the perusal of the Members.
The Conference adjourned to 3 o'clock, P.M.
June 21, 1776, P.M. The Conference met.
The Committee appointed to ascertain the number and proportion of members to represent the province, and each particular city and county in Convention, made their reports in the words following, viz.
The Committee appointed for, &c. report, That your Committee having conferred together, and endeavored to obtain the best intelligence that can be had, find that full information respecting the number of taxables in each county cannot now be had ; and therefore cannot be adopted as a rule in fixing the Number of Representatives for the City and Counties respectively; — your Committee, however are satisfied that Number of Taxables in the counties respectively does not differ so much as to make it of any probable Disadvantage, to allow an equal. Representation from each County; especially as the Convention will probably Vote by City and Counties, (as in the preceding Conventions) upon the Questions which shall come before them.
We therefore recommend, That it be Resolved that Eight Representatives be sent by the City of Philadelphia, and Eight by each County in the Province, to the Convention.
On Motion, that the Inhabitants of the City be divided from the County of Philadelphia, and that they be not admitted to vote or be voted for, in the Election of the County Members for the Convention.
It was moved, that the previous Question be put, viz. Whether this question shall be now put: And it was accordingly, and carried in the negative.
Resolved, That this Conference approve of the report of the Committee.
The Conference then adjourned to 8 o'Clock to Morrow, A.M.
SATURDAY, June 27 1776, A.M. The Conference met.
On motion, Resolved unanimously, That the determinations of this conference on the Representation of the City and of the County of Philadelphia, shall not be drawn into a precedent in future.
An address form the committee of Privates of the Association of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, was delivered in and read, praying this Conference to take into their consideration diverse Matters relating to the present State of this Province.
Ordered to lie on the Table for the perusal of the Members.
On motion, Ordered, That the Petitions and Addresses from the Commanders of the Row-Gallies, the Patriotic Society, and the Committee of Privates of the Association of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia be read a second Time, and they were read accordingly.
A Paper, being a copy of a Minute from the Proceedings of the Committee of Safety of this Province was read, and is in the Words following, viz.
In CONGRESS, June 20th, 1776.
ROBERT MORRIS, one of the Delegates from the Province of Pennsylvania, reminded the Congress that the Assembly of said Province had adjourned on the 14th Inst. without having been able to carry into execution the Resolves of Congress of the 3d Inst. for raising 6,000 Militia for establishing a flying camp.
And then informed the Congress that their said Resolve not being directed in Terms to the Committee of Safety, but addressed to the Colony, the said Committee were in doubt whether it would be expected from them to execute said Resolve, as they are in Recess of Assembly, the Executive Body of this Province. He also alleged, that the Congress expected the Committee to proceed in this Business, it would be necessary or advisable that they should recommend it expressly to them, for under the present circumstances of the Province he much doubted if they would be obeyed unless to authorized, and added that if the Congress did not see proper to take further order in this matter, he hoped the Committee of Safety would always be held blameless, as they were expected to act in this important Business, which they were ready to undertake if so desired.
This Application was made by Mr. Morris, by order of the committee of Safety, and after a debate of a considerable length, and two Motions made and seconded, one was withdrawn, the other determined in the Negative; in consequence whereof I have made this Memorandum immediately in the spot to appear when it may be necessary, and to prevent blame being cast where it is not merited.
The above is a true State.
Resolved unanimously, That the consideration of the said Petitions and Paper be referred to the Afternoon.
The Conference then adjourned to 3 o'Clock, P.M.
June 22, 1776, P.M. The Conference met
The Committee appointed Yesterday, to consider of the Proper Time Place and manner of regulating the ensuing Election, and to fix a Day for the meeting of the Representatives so chosen, made their Report.
On Motion Resolved, That this Conference will take into consideration the propriety of dividing all or any of the Counties into several Districts in which the Election shall be held, when the said report shall be considered.
On Motion, The said Report being read a second time, by paragraphs, was by order recommitted.
The Conference then adjourned to 8 o'clock Tomorrow.
SUNDAY, June 23, 1776, The Conference met.
The committee appointed to consider of the proper Time, &c. Of holding the Election, delivered their report at the table, which being read by Order, was unanimously agreed to by the House, and is in the Words of following, viz.
The Committee appointed to consider of the proper time, place and manner of holding an Election for Members of Convention, and the time of the Meeting of the Persons so chosen, report as followed, — That they appoint Monday the 8th Day of July next for electing said Members, — That several Counties proceed to choose their respective Members at the following places, viz.
For the City and County of Philadelphia, the Counties of Bucks, Berks and Bedford, at the usual places of Election.
Chester County, to be divided into three Districts, that is to say, Chester, Upper Chichester, Lower Chichester, Bethel, Ashton, Concord, Middleton, Thournbury, Birmingham, Nether-Providence, Upper Providence, Ridley, Marple, Springfield, Darby, Haverford, Newtown, Edgemont and Willistown, being the first District to be held at Chester; the Second District, London Grove, East and Marborough, Kennet, Pennsburgh, New Lynn, New-Garden, London-Britain, New London, Londonberry, West-Fallowfield, Sadsbury and West Cain, to be held at Chatham, commonly called the Halfway-House; the third District, East and West-Fallowfield, East and West Bradford, Charlestown, Tredyfren, Uwchland, Pikeland, Coventry, East and West-Nantmill, East Cain, East-Town, West-Town, Gothen, Vincent, Radnor, to be held at the White-Horse.
For York County to be divided into five Districts, viz. The First, York Town, the Townships of York, Manchester, Codolas, Shrewtbury, Windsor and Heliam, to be held at the Court-House in York Town.---The Second District, Cumberland, Hamilton's Pan, Sterna, Mount Joy, Menailan and Tyrone; to be held at the House of Samuel Graldis.--The third District Heidelberg, Berwick, Mountpleasant, Manheim, Paradise, and Germany
to be held at Hanover-Town. The fourth Division Fawn, Hopewell and Chanceford, to be held at Nichelion's Mill.- The fifth Division, Dover, Newberry, Warrington, Mannahan, Huntingdon and Reading, to be held at the house of Robert Stevenson. For Northampton County, to be divided into four Districts, the first, Easton, William, Lower Saucon, Bethlehem, Forks, Mount-Bethel, Plainfield, to be held at Easton, the second District, Northampton , Saltiberg, Upper Saucon, Upper Milford, Maccongy, Weifenberg, Lynn, Whitehall, Heidelberg, to be held at Allen's Town, — The third District, Allen, Moore,Chesnuthill, Towamensing, Penn Leheigh, to be held at Peter Anthony's ; the fourh District , Hamilton, Lower Smithfield, Delaware, Upper Smithfield, to be held at Nicholas Dupue's.
For Cumberland County, to be divided into three Districts,viz the first and third Divisions, Carline, East-Penniborough, Allen, Middleton, West Pennborough, Newtown, Hopewell, to be held at Carlisle ; the second and fifth Division, Antrin, Peters, Guilford, Hamilton, Thannet, Lurgan, Letterkenny, to be held at Chambersburgh ; the fourth division , Tyrone, Tybone, Rye, Milford, Greenwood, Armagh, Leck, Derry, Fermanaugh, to be held at Robert Campbell's in Tuscarora.
Northumberland County, to be held at George McCandlish's in Turbert Township.
Westmoreland County, to be divided into two Divisions; That on the South side of Youghagena River at Spark's Fort, and Northern district at Hannah's Town.
For the County of Lancaster, to be divided into Six Districts, viz. in the first, the borough of Lancaster, Lancaster Township, Leacock. Warwick, Manheim, Hempfield, Manor, Conestoga, Lampeter, to be held at the Court-House in the Borough of Lancaster. — The second Division, Little-Britain, Drummer, Bart, Coleraine, Martick, Strasburgh and Sadibury to be held at James Porter's, jun. — The third Division, Derry, Londonderry, Ralph, Donnegall, Mounjoy, to be held at Elizabeth-Town. The fourth Division, Salisbury, Carnarvon, Brecknock, Earl, Cocolico, to be held at New-Holland. — The fifth Division, Elizabeth, Heidelberg, Bethel, Lebanon, East Hannover, to be held at Lebanon Town. — The sixth Division, West Hannover, Paxton, Upper-Paxton, to be held at Garber's Mill.
And the Electors of every borough, Ward, or Township, in each of the Counties, shall meet on Saturday the 6th of July next, between the hours of Two and Six o'Clock in the Afternoon, and chose inspectors to receive the votes from the Electors of their Boroughs, Wards or Townships respectively.
The place for said Elections to be advertised by the County Committee, who shall also superintend such elections, and make Returns of the Inspector chosen, to the judges of the General Election. And if any District shall neglect to chose Inspectors as aforesaid, in such case the judges of the Election, Shall appoint Inspectors, for chose who so neglect, on the Morning of the Day of the General Election; and that each of the said Inspectors, on the Day of the General Election, shall, before he proceeds to take or receive any votes, take the following Oath or affirmation, viz.
"I A.B. do declare, That I will duly attend the ensuing Election, during the Continuance thereof, "and will truly and faithfully assist the Judges of said Elections, to prevent all Frauds and Deceits whatever"of electors, or others, in carrying on the same and in causing the Poll or votes at such Election to be "marked "off on the respective lists, and fairly cast up;" Which Oath of affirmation to be administered by one of the Judges.
And that the Deputies from the City of Philadelphia, and from each County, shall nominate and appoint three discreet and able Members of their respective Committees residing within the several Districts, to be judges of the General Election within said Districts; which said judges, together with the Inspectors, shall appoint clerks for taking the polls at the said Election; and the said Judges and clerks shall respectively take the same Oath or affirmation as is required to be taken by the Inspectors, which shall be administered by any one of the Judges to the others, they being hereby authorized and appointed to administer the same.
And that the Commissioners of the City and Counties in this Province, when required, shall deliver unto the judges of said Election true Duplicates of all the Taxables in the several Districts of their respective Counties. And that the judges aforesaid shall, and are hereby required and impowered to act in all Cafes respecting said Elections in the room and places or Sheriffs, until the fame are Finished; and when the Polls are closed and the votes counted off, or call up, in the several Districts
of such Counties as are divided as aforesaid, the judges and Inspectors shall cause certified Accounts thereof to be taken by some of them, their respective County Towns, on the next day, and of the names of the persons chosen in the several Districts, with the numbers of votes for each Candidate; which, when compared and added together, the Eight highest Numbers shall be the persons to represent such a county in Convention; and also that the judges, or any two of them for the city and Counties respectively, shall certify from under their Hands and Seals to the Convention, on the Day appointed for their Meeting as aforesaid, a true list or Certificate of the Names of the Members to chosen, in the City and Counties respectively, together with the Number of Votes for each of them. And the Captains or Commanding Officer of each Company in the several Battalions of this province, are hereby required to furnish complete List of their Company to the Judges and Inspectors of the several Districts, on the Morning of the Election." Which persons to chosen to be embers of the Convention, shall meet at Philadelphia on Monday the 15th Day of July next, in Convention as aforesaid.
Ordered, That the following Gentlemen be appointed to be Judges of the Election the Counties, and the respective Districts, viz.
City, &c. of Philadelphia
County of Philadelphia
Second Division, at Chatham
Third Div. at the White Horse
Bucks County, at Newtown
Berks County at Reading
Sec, Div. at James Porter's, jun.
Third Div. at Elizabeth-Town
Fourth Division, at Lebanon
Fifth Division, at New-Holland
Sixth Division, at Garber's Mill
York County, First Divsion, at York Town:
Second Div. at Samuel Gatty
Third Division, at Hanover
Fourth Div. at Nicholson's Mill
Fifth Div. at Rob. Stevenson's
Second Division at Chambersburg
Third Div. at Robert Campbell's
Second Divison, at Allen's Town
Third Div. At Peter Anthony's
Fourth Div. at Nic. Dupue's
Sec. North-div. Hannah's Town
Ordered, That Doctor Rush the Chairman, Colonel Hill and Colonel Smith, prepare a Draft of an Address to the Inhabitants of the Province and Report to the Conference.
Resolved unanimously, That Messrs, Bayard, Bird and Smith be appointed a Committee to wait upon the chairman of the Committee of Safety and desire a copy of all Orders given to Captain Samuel Davidson, since his Appointment as principal Commander of Navy of this Province to be laid before this Conference.
Resolved unanimously, That it be recommended to the said Convection to choose and appoint Delegates or Deputies to represent this Province in the Congress of the United Colonies; and also a Council of Safety to exercise the whole of the Executive Powers of Government, so fare as release to the military Defense and Safety of the Province, and to make such Allowance for the Services of the said Delegates and Council of Safety respectively as shall be reasonable. Which said Delegates and Council of Safety, are to continue for six Months, unless a new Government shall be formed within that time in which case their appointment is to cease.
The Conference then adjourned to three o'Clock, P.M.
June 23, P.M. The Conference met.
The Gentlemen appointed to prepare a Draft of an Address to the Inhabitants of Province, delivered at the Table a draft
which was read — On motion, That divers Resolutions of Congress of 3d and 4th days of June, Inst. requiring 10,000 of the Militia of the Colony of Pennsylvania, the Government of the Counties of New-Castle, Kent and suffix upon Delaware, and the Colony of Maryland; be raised to form a Axing camp, be read, the, fame were read accordingly, and are in the Words following
In CONGRESS, June 3.
June 4th, 1776. resolved, that it be recommended to the assembles and Convention of , the Colonies, requested to supply or furnish Militia by the Resolution of Yesterday, to take particular care that the Militia come provided with arms, accouterments, and Camp Kettles.
Extract from the Minutes,
CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.
That three Provincial Brigadier Generals be employed for the flying camp, two from Pennsylvania, and one from Maryland. That the said Brigadiers Generals be appointed by the respective Colonies above mentioned. That the flying camp be under the command of such Continental General Officers as the Commander in Chief shall direct. That the Militia when in Service be regularly paid and victualled in the same Manner as the Continental Troops.
Resolved, That the Militia be engaged to the first day of December next, unless sooner discharged by Congress.
That the pay of the Militia commence from the day of their marching from home, and that they be allowed one penny a mile lawful Money, in lieu of Rations for traveling Expenses, the general Rendezvous going and returning.
Extract from the Minutes.
CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.
By Special Order the same were read a second Time.
On motion, Ordered, That a resolution of the Assembly of this Province of June 14th inst. in consequence of the foregoing Requisition of Congress, be read, and the fame was read accordingly.
By special order the same was read a second time, and is in the words following, viz.
In ASSEMBLY, June 14, 1776.
Resolved, By the Members of Assembly now met, that they are earnestly desirous of carrying into Execution the Resolutions of Congress of 1st Inst., but as they despair after repeated Disappointments of procuring a Quorum of the House, they find themselves unable at this time to proceed on said Resolutions.
Extract from the Minutes,
ABEL EVANS, Clerk.
On motion, Ordered, That the copy of a Minute from the Proceedings of the Committee of safety of this Province, entered on the journal of this Conference on Saturday last, be read, and it was read accordingly.
Whereas it appears to this Conference, that the Six Thousand Militia required of this Colony by Congress, and agreed by the Assembly of this Province to be raised, are absolutely necessary for the Defense and Security of the Thirteen United Colonies; and whereas it appears that the requisition of Congress was made to the Colony of Pennsylvania, and the same cannot be complied with the Assembly or Committee of Safety of this Province; and that unless this Conference, being the only representative Body of this Colony that can at this Time with propriety interpose in this Business, undertake to accomplish the Desires of the Congress, and of the Assembly in the Premises; the aforesaid flying Camp cannot be raised in due time; and the Liberties and Safety of this Province, as well as of the other Colonies may be thereby endangered; and whereas the Militia of this Province at first Associated by the advice and under the authority of the Committee of Inspection and Observation of the City and the several Counties.
Therefore, Resolve unanimously, That this Conference do recommend to the Committees and the Associators of this Province, to embody 4500 of the Militia, which with the 1500 Men now in the of this Province, will be the Quota of this Colony required by Congress.
Resolve unanimously, That Massey, Hill, Gurney, Hart, Montgomery, Morgan, Cunningham, Gray, McCallister, McClean , Espy, Cook, and Perry, be a Committee to devise Ways and Means for raising the said 4500 Men, and to inquire into all Matters necessary to fit them for taking the Field.
On motion, Unanimously ordered, That the Chairman, DR.Rush, and Col. Smith, be a Committee to draft a Resolution declaring the sense of the Conference with respect to an Independence of this province, on the Crown and Parliament of Great-Britain, and report To-morrow morning.
Resolve unanimously, That it be recommended to Commodore Samuel Davidson, and to the Captains of the Row-Gallies, &c. to forbear to take any steps which may involve the Fleet in confusion; and that they wait the results of and interview, which this Conference intend to propose to the Committee of Safety, and that Massey, Blewer, Levis, Bird, Loller, and Colhoon, be a Committee to wait on those gentlemen on board their Vessels To-morrow morning.
The Committee appointed to wait on the Chairman of the Committee of Safety reported, that they had waited on George Clymer, esq; according to Order; and had delivered the Message they had in charge, and that he said he would immediately call the Committee and give an Answer this Afternoon.
The Draft of an Address, &c. was by Order read a second time; and being considered and amended, was agreed to unanimously, and is in the following Words.
To the PEOPLE of PENNSYLVANIA.
IN obedience to the Power we derived from you, we have fixed upon a Mode of electing a Convention to form a Government for the Province of Pennsylvania, under the Authority of the People.
Divine Providence is about to grant you a favor which few people have ever enjoyed before, the privilege of choosing Deputies to form a Government under which you are to live.
We need not inform you of the importance of the Trust you are about to commit to them. Your Liberty, Safety, Happiness and everything the Prosperity will hold dear to them, to the End of Time will depend upon the Deliberations. It becomes you therefore to chose such Persons only to act for you in the ensuing Convention, as are distinguished for Wisdom, Integrity, and a firm Attachment to the Liberties of this Province, as well as to the Liberties of the United Colonies in general.
In order that your Deputies may know your Sentiments as fully as possible upon the Subject of Government, we beg that you would convey to them your Wishes and Opinions upon that Head immediately after their Election.
We have experienced an unexpected Unanimity in our Councils, and we have the Pleasure of observing a growing Unanimity among the People of the Province. We beg that this brotherly Spirit may be cultivated, and that the present unsettled State of the Province requires that you should show Forbearance--Charity--and Moderation to each other. We beg that you would endeavor to remove the Prejudices of the Weak and Ignorant, respecting the proposed change in our Government, and assure them that it is absolutely necessary to secure Property--Liberty--and the sacred Rights of Conscience to every Individual in the Province.
The Season of the Year, and the exigencies of our Colony require Dispatch in the Formation of a regular Government. You will not therefore be surprised at our fixing the Day for the Election of Deputies so early as the 8th of next July.
We wish you Success in your Attempts to establish and perpetuate your Liberties, and pray God to take you under his Special Protection.
Signed by unanimous Order of the Conference,
THOMAS McKEAN, President.
Col. Roberdeau and Mr. Parker from the Committee of Safety, Delivered in at the Table a Letter from George Clymer, Esq.; Chairman of said Committee, enclosing the Instruction given to Capt. Davidson by that Committee. Ordered to lie on the Table for the perusal of the Members.
MONDAY, June 24 A.M.
The Conference met according to adjournment, but many of the Members being on Committees, the Conference adjourned to 3 o'clock this Afternoon.
The Conference met, June 24, 1776 P.M.
The Committee appointed for that Purpose brought in a Draft of a Declaration, on the Subject of the Independence of this Colony, on the Crown of Great-Britain, which was ordered to be read by special Order, the same was read a second Time, and being fully considered, it was with the greatest Unanimity of all the Members agreed to and adopted, and is in the Words following, viz.
Whereas George the Third, King of Great-Britain, &c. In violation of the Principles of the British Constitution; and of the Laws of Justice and Humanity, hath by an Accumulation of Oppressions unparalleled in History excluded the Inhabitants of this, with the other American Colonies from his Protection; and whereas he hath paid no regard to any of our numerous and dutiful Petitions for a redress of our complicated Grievances, but hath lately purchased Foreign Troops to assist in enslaving us; and hath excited the Savages of the Country to carry on a War against us; as also the Negroes to imbrue their Hands in the Blood of their Masters, in a Manner unpracticed by civilized Nations; and hath lately insulted our Calamities, by declaring that he will show us no Mercy until he has reduced us: And whereas the Obligations of Allegiance (being reciprocal between a King and his subjects are now dissolved on the Side of the Colonies, by the Despotism of the said King, insomuch, that it now appears Loyalty to him is Treason against the good People of this Country: And whereas not only the Parliament, but, there is reason to believe; too many of the People of Great Britain, have concurred in the aforesaid arbitrary and unjust Proceedings against us; And whereas the public Virtue of this Colony (so essential to it's Liberty and Happiness) must be endangered by future political Union with or dependence upon a Crown and Nation so lost to Justice, Patriotism, and Magnanimity;
"We the Deputies of the People of Pennsylvania, assembled in FULL PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE, for forming a Plan for executing the Resolve of Congress of the 15th of May last,
" for suppressing all Authority in this Province derived from the Crown of Great-Britain: and for establishing a Government upon the Authority of the People only, do in this public Manner in behalf of Ourselves and which the Approbation, Consent, and Authority of our Constituents, UNANIMOUSLY declare our willingness to concur in a Vote of the Congress, declaring the United Colonies free and independent Sates, provided the forming the Government, and the Regulation of the internal Police of this Colony be always reserved to the People of the said Colony; and we do further call upon the Nations of Europe; and appeal to great Arbiter and Governor of the Empires of the World, to witness for us, that the[S1]is Declaration did not originate in Ambition or in an Impatience of lawful Authority; but that we were driven to it , in obedience to the first Principles of Nature, by the Oppressions and Cruelties of the aforesaid King and Parliament of Great -Britain, as the only possible Measure that was left us to preserve and establish our Liberties and to transmit them to Posterity."
Ordered, That this Declaration be signed at the table; and that the President deliver it in Congress.
The Committee appointed to wait on the Captains of the Row-Gallies, &c. made their report, which was read, and is in the following words; That they had proceeded to said Flaws in order to execute their Appointment, and wait on said Captains, (the Commodore being gone to Philadelphia) who declare solemnly, that they would pursue no Measure that would involve the Fleet in confusion or in any wife incapacitate them from serving the public in the most effectual Manner for the support, Safety, and Defense of this Province, further then that they would not submit to, but would ever protect against the Advancement of Cap; Davidson , whom the Committee of Safety have appointed Commodore of said Fleet, and farther requested to be heard by this Board or the Convention, respecting the Premises, as will appear by a Declaration of said Captains to said Board.
The Committee also delivered a written Report of the Captain of the Provincial Gallies, which was read and is in the following Words, viz.
We the said Commanders, do resolve, to abide by the Determination set forth in our Remonstrance of the 18th Inst. to the Committee of Safety , respecting the Appointment of a Commodore (We do therefore warmly remonstrate against any such Appointment, and declare to the sub-Committee. That the Reports which has prevailed in Town about our going on board the Province Ship, to strike the Board Pennant, with Boats manned and armed, is false, and without the least Foundation. There was not a single fire arm in One of the Boats, neither the smallest appearance of Hostility or Design on our Parts, even, orders were given to our Men not to stir out of their Boats, or attempt to come on board the Ship . We do pray, when convenient that we may have a hearing before the Honorable the Committee of Conference or Convention; in the Interim your Committee may rest assured, that we will constantly remain in the Line of our duty, for the Defense of our River and Province, and that no Differences of Whatsoever Kind shall interfere with the good of the Public, and glorious Cause in which we are engaged.
Ordered, That the above Reports lie on the Table for perusal of the Members.
On motion, Resolved unanimously, That the same Committee be appointed to wait on the Committee of Safety, and define a Conference on the Subject Matter of their Report, from their conversation with the Captains of the Row- Gallies &c, in the Service of this Province, and to make report of their Proceedings in the Premises.
Resolved, That Messier, Bayard, Ruth and Smith be a Committee to prepare a Draft of an Address to the Associators of this Province, on the Subject of embodying 4500 Men.
The Committee appointed to devise Ways and Means &c. made their report, which being read, was refereed to Tomorrow.
The Committee appointed to wait on the Committee of Safety reported in the following words. That in conversation they found they were willing to agree to any thing with this Conference in reason, that would promote Harmony and good Order; and further, that any of the Conference was welcome to examine any of their Accounts or Proceedings.
June 25, 1776. The Conference met.
The conference resumed the Confederation of the Report on the Ways and Means &c. and after full consideration. Resolve unanimously, That it be recommended to the Associators of the City of Philadelphia, and the several Counties, to embody themselves in the following Proportion, viz.
Resolved unanimously, That the 4500 Militia recommended to be raised, be formed into Six Battalions; each Battalion to be commanded by one Colonel, one Lieutenant Colonel, one Mayor, the staff to consist of a Chaplain, a Surgeon, an
Adjutant, a Quarter Master, and a surgeon's Mate; and to have one Sergeant, a Drum Mayor and a fife-Mayor; and to be composed of nine Companies. viz. Eight Battalion Companies, to consist of a Capt. two lieutenants, and one Ensign, four Sergeants, four corporals, a Drummer, a Fifer, and 66 Privates each; and one Riffle Company, to consist of a Captain, Three Lieutenants, four sergeants, four Corporals, one Drummer, one fifer, and 80 privates; excepting that for the Chester County Battalion; one Company of Artillery is to be raised in the City of Philadelphia, instead of a Rifle Company.
Resolved unanimously, that it be recommended to the Committee of Inspection and Observation for the City and Liberties &c. of Philadelphia, and for each County to order the Militia aforesaid to be raised out of the Battalions associated within their respective limits, in such proportion as they shall judge most equal.
Resolved unanimously, that the committee of inspection and observation in each county, wherein whole Battalion is to be raised, shall nominate and appoint the field and other Officers to command such Battalion; and that the Committee aforesaid of the City and the Counties wherein only a Part of a Battalion is to be raised, shall have the Right respectively to nominate and appoint the Field Officers and other Officers as nearly as may be in proportion to the number of Men raised, in the same, and they are desired to send Sub-Committees to confer together on such appointment, that Harmony may prevail in this whole transaction.
Resolved unanimously, That each Private procure his own Musket or Rifle, with the other Accouterments raised by Congress; but it they cannot be procured, it is recommended to the Colonels of the several Battalions in this Province, to lend the Colonels of the Battalions now to be raised, the Muskets which have been made by order of the House of Assembly, and have been delivered to them for the use of the Militia; and the Colonels are hereby authorized and directed to receive the Arms to be delivered; and to lend the same to such privates as cannot procure arms for themselves, until registration of the present Service; and if any Private shall neglect or refuse to return the Arms to him lent in good Order to the Colonel of the Battalion to which he is belong, at the end
of the service; the original Price thereof shall be deducted out of his pay.
Resolved unanimously, That it be recommended to the Committees aforesaid to advance to each Private engaging to in this Service, the Sum of fifty Shillings, being the first Months Pay, and also to furnish one camp Kettle for every six Men, and to take particular care that the Troops now recommended to be embodied provide themselves with good Arms and Accouterments, a Blanket, a Haversack, and Knapsack each at their own Expense, The Camp Kettles to be returned to the Colonels of the respective Battalions, at the End of the campaign.
On motion, Resolved That it be Recommended to the Committee of Safety of this Province, to confine the command of Commodore Davidson, to the ship of War and Floating Battery belonging to the Province; and to issue no Orders to the Captains or other Officers of the Row-Gallies, Fire-Ship, or Fire-Rafts, thought the said Commodore until the Convention meets; and that it be recommended to the Captains and other Officers of the Gallies & c, to pay all due Obedience to the Committee of Safety until that Time, and until a new Appointment shall take Place.
Resolved, That Messrs. Hill, Smith, and Blewer, be a Committee to wait on the Committee of Safety, with a copy of the said Resolution.
The above Committee Reports that they have delivered the said Recommendation to the Committee of Safety, which was then setting.
Resolved, That it be recommended to every County and District Committee in this Province, to pay the strictest Attention to the Examination of all Strangers or Persons traveling through the City or Counties, and Permits no Persons traveling through the city or Counties to remain there in unless they produce a Pass or Certificate from the city, county or District Committee free whence they last came. And it is further recommended to all Committees to furnish proper Paffes to all Friends to American Liberty upon their Application therefor.
The committee appointed to prepare a Draft of an Address to the Associators, on the subject of embodying 4500 men, in consequence of the Resolution of Congress &c. presented a Draft thereof, which was read.
By Special Order the same was read a second Time, and agreed to unanimously, and is as follows, viz.
The address of the Deputies of the Committees of Pennsylvania assembled, in Provincial Conference at Philadelphia, June 25,1776.
To the ASSOCIATORS of PENNSYLVANIA.
We need not remind you that you are now furnished with new motives to animate and support your courage. You are not about to contend against the Power of Great Britain in order to displace one set of Villains, to make room for another. Your arms will not be enervated in the Day of Battle, with the Reflection that you are to risk your lives, or shed your Blood for a British Tyrant, or that your posterity will have your work to do over again. You are about to contend for permanent Freedom, to be supported by a government which will be derived from yourselves, and which will have for its Object not the Emolument of one Man, or class of Men only, but the Safety, Liberty, and Happiness of every individual in the community.
We call upon you therefore by the Respect and Obedience which are due to the Authority of the United Colonies, to
concur in this important Measure. The present campaign will probably decide the Fate of America. It is now in your Power to immortalize your Names, by mingling your Achievements with the Events of the Year 1776--a Year which we hope will be famed in the Annuals of History to the End of Time, for establishing upon a lasting Foundation of Liberties of one Quarter of the Globe.
Remember the Honor of our Colony is at stake. Should you desert the common cause at the present juncture, the Glory you have acquired by your former exertions of Strength and Virtue will be tarnished, and our Friends and Brethren, who are now acquiring Laurels in the most remote Parts of America will reproach us, and blush to own themselves Natives or Inhabitants of Pennsylvania.
But there are other Motives before you — your House — your Fields, the Legacies of your Ancestors, or the dear bought Fruits of your own Industry, and your Liberty, now urge you to the Field. These cannot plead with you in vain, or we might point out to you further, your Wives, your Children, your aged Fathers and Mothers, who now look up to you for aid, and hope for salvation in this Day of calamity only from the instrumentality of your Swords.
Remember the Name of Pennsylvania. Think of your Ancestors, and of your Posterity.
Signed by an unanimous Order of Conference,
THOMAS McKEAN, President
June 25, 1776.
Resolved unanimously, that thanks be given to the President for his impartiality, and close attention to the business of this Conference.
Resolved unanimously, That the thanks of this Conference be given to the Committee of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, &c. For their unwearied endeavors in the public Service and particularly for their patriotic exertions in carrying into execution the Resolve of Congress of May 15th last, for suppressing all authority under the crown of Great-Britain.
Then the Conference dissolved itself.
THOMAS McKEAN, President