Committee Report on Petition from Nova Scotia

(On 2 Nov. the congress took cognizance of a petition from the inhabitants of Passamaquoddy, Nova Scotia, who had chosen a committee of safety and asked for admission into “the association of the North Americans, for the preservation of their rights and liberties.” To determine what steps should be taken in response, the congress named a committee of five: Silas Deane, John Jay, Stephen Hopkins, John Langdon, and John Adams (JCC, 3:316). The Journals note that the committee’s report was considered on 9 Nov. but give nothing of its substance. The next day the congress acted on the report by adopting three resolutions (same, 3:343–344, 348). It is possible, of course, that the proposals here printed were only John Adams’s preliminary suggestions for a committee report; if so, they must have made their way into it, for some of the language appears in the congressional resolutions.)

“That a Number of Men be immediately Sent into Nova Scotia, to inform themselves of the Temper and Disposition of the Inhabitants of that Colony with respect to the Present Struggle between G. B. and these Colonies, and how far they may be willing or able to take an active Part in the present Dispute.”

(This paragraph was the basis for the first resolution adopted by the congress, which again borrowed some of John Adams’s phrasing. But the congress settled on two persons for the mission and listed several additional subjects for their inquiry: fortifications, docks, military stores, and the like. In short, the mission was to gather more than political information.)

“VI. Committee Report on Petition from Nova Scotia, 9 November 1775,” Founders Online, National Archives,