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Letter from the New-York Committee of Safety to the President of Congress



New-York, January 3, 1776.

SIR: As it is an object of great moment with us, as well as the Continental Congress, to have the important pass, on Hudson' s river, properly secured and fortified, we think it our duty to furnish them with all possible information on the subject. For this purpose, we find Mr˙ Romans, the Engineer, employed in that department, who is prepared to lay before the Congress his drafts, with the necessary information.

We beg leave to mention, that the place at which the works are to be erected, was fixed before Mr˙ Romans was employed in the service; and, from his ideas of the matter, that place cannot be rendered sufficiently secure for a lodgment of troops, and to answer the end of a fortified pass, without more expense than our Commissioners, appointed to superintend that business, think prudent; besides which, they observe that his scheme cannot be completely executed, with the despatch the service may require.

Mr˙ Palmer, in conjunction with the resolve of the Commitee, appointed by our Congress to remove the difficulties occasioned by a difference of opinion between the Commissioners and Engineer, has, doubtless, pointed out to Congress certain places on the river which would better answer the purpose of a temporary defence, and at much less expense than will necessarily attend the execution of Mr˙ Romans' s scheme. We are fully of opinion, that the places in Mr˙ Palmer' s proposal ought, by all means, to be covered with fortifications, that will cost but little, and command two considerable reaches of the river. We, at the same time, submit it to the consideration of Congress, how far the completion of the fortifications, already begun, ought to be carried on, either upon Mr˙ Romans' s plan, or that which has, doubtless, been proposed by Mr˙ Palmer, as the sense of our Committee who were sent to view the work.

We hope this application, while Mr˙ Palmer is attending on the Congress, will not be construed to his disadvantage. Had we been possessed of Mr˙ Romans' s plan, in its present complete state, and had he been in town at the time of Mr˙ Palmer' s departure, we should have required his accompanying that gentleman. As there is some prospect that Mr˙ Romans may reach Philadelphia before the plan of fortification is finally determined by Congress, we should think ourselves inexcusable in withholding from them any means for enabling them to determine so important a matter, on the best lights in our power to furnish.

We are, sir, with the greatest respect, your most obedient, humble servants.

By order of the Committee:


To the Honourable the President of the Continental Congress.