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Letter to the Continental Congress


Mr˙ Bernard Romans, the Engineer, attending at the floor, was called in. He produced a Plan of the Forfifications at the Highlands, which, with Mr˙ Roman' s explanations thereof were considered by the Committee. After some time spent therein, the Committee conceived if proper that Mr˙ Romans be permitted to lay his Plan, with his explanations thereof, before the Continental Congress, that they may have every information that can be offered them relating to the state of, and place of erecting the said Fortifications.

Thereupon a draft of a Letter to the honourable the Continental Congress, was read and approved of, and is in the words following, to wit:

SIR: As it is an object of great moment with us, as well as the Continental Congress, to have the important pass on Hudson-River properly secured and fortified, we think it our duty to furnish them with all possible information on the subject; for this purpose we send Mr˙ Romans, the Engineer, employed in that department, who is prepared to lay before Congress his drafts, with the necessary information. We beg leave to mention, that the place at which the works are erected, was fixed before Mr˙ Romans was employed in the service, and from his ideas of the matter, the 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 that despatch the service may require. Mr˙ Palmer, in conjunction with the rest of the Committee


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 purposes 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 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 works. We hope that 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 gentlemen; and 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, Philadelphia.

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

Ordered, That Peter B˙ Livingston, Esq˙, as Treasurer of this Congress, advance to Mr˙ Bernard Romans, as Engineer at the Fortifications on the banks of Hudson River, in the Highlands, the sum of fifty Dollars, on account of his pay, and take Mr˙ Romans' s receipt for the same.