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Instructions to the Commissioners at the Highlands


A draught of Instructions to the Superintendents at the Fortifications in the Highlands, respecting vessels passing the said Fortifications, was read and filed, and is in the words following, to wit:

In Provincial Congress, New-York, October 19,1775.

GENTLEMEN: We are favoured with yours of the 15th instant, and are pleased with your activity in forwarding the fort and works under your charge in the Highlands. To obviate all disputes relative to your conduct, it is our desire that you would dispense with the ceremony of vessels lowering their peak as they pass the fort; we think it cannot answer the purpose of detecting the foe; and that for the future you would observe the following rules:

1st. In general, we do not apprehend any danger can arise from vessels coming from the northward. You may, therefore, let them pass unmolested, unless you shall have evidence, on oath, or a certificate from some Committee, previously given, that they are intended to supply the Ministerial Army or Navy with succours or necessaries; in which case, you are to detain them until you can give the Congress or the Committee of Safety notice thereof, together with such evidence or certificate, and receive their orders.


2d. You will permit all vessels from the southward to pass by unmolested, unless you shall have good reason to suspect that they are prosecuting designs inimical to the general cause; and in such case, you will prevent them from proceeding, until you shall be satisfied that they have no such designs.

3d. We recommend it to the Superintendents of the fort, and also to the inhabitants of the Colony, by their general conduct to use their endeavours to cultivate a good understanding with each other; being confident that the Superintendents will not permit those employed under them to use illiberal language to persons navigating the river, and that they will, in the exercise of their office, give as little trouble to the inhabitants of the Colony as is possible.

We are, respectfully, Gentlemen, your very humble servants. By order:

To the Commissioners at the Fortifications in the Highlands.

Ordered, That a copy thereof be engrossed, and signed by the President, and transmitted.