THE PROPERTY OF DIRECT DESCENDANTS OF EBENEZER HAZARD (1744-1817)
LAURENS, Henry (1724-1792), President of Congress. Autograph letter signed ("Henry Laurens President of Congress") to Governor [George] Clinton, York Town [Pennsylvania], 19 February 1778. 1 full page, folio, integral blank with recipient's docket. Fine.
CONGRESS DIRECTS CLINTON TO FORTIFY THE HUDSON HIGHLANDS. A fine autograph letter of Laurens, as President of Congress, written in his distinctive, elegant italic hand. "I had the honour of writing to Your Excellency...and since of reporting to Congress your Excellency's favour...which had been just thirty one days on its tour by way of Baltimore...I have observed that the conveyance by Post is precarious, the channels from the principal office require much attention to keep them in tolerable order for public benefit." He forwards "an Act of Congress of yesterday authorizing & requesting you to superintend the business of obstructing, fortifying etc. the passes of North River [the Hudson] agreeable to the resolve of Congress...." He also sends "a warrant on this loan office for 50,000 dollars for defraying expenses of the intended works," and, under separate cover, "six copies of Acts of Congress establishing divers regulations in the Civil & Military Lines of the Army & appointing auditors of Accounts in the Army under Gen. Washington...."
On receipt of the Congressional authorization and the funds, Clinton undertook a massive fortification of the crucial Hudson Highlands: the Polish engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko began construction of elaborate forts, batteries, redoubts and signal stations and strung the famed Hudson River chain booms, one at West Point, another at Bear Mountain. Provenance: See note preceding 316.