Front Cover
 Title Page
 Bicentennial commission of...
 General editor's preface
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Provenance of the Romans map
 The "two whole sheet maps"
 The publication of the maps
 Abel Buell of New Haven
 The account of Florida
 The printer of the book
 The account of New Smyrna
 Revolutionary services
 Life in Connecticut
 His achievement


Notes on the life and works of Bernard Romans
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00101393/00001
 Material Information
Title: Notes on the life and works of Bernard Romans
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Phillips, Philip Lee, 1857-1924
Ware, John D.
Publisher: University Presses of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Copyright Date: 1975
Edition: Facsimile reproduction of 1924 ed.
Subjects / Keywords: Description and travel
Romans, Bernard, -- ca. 1720-ca. 1784.
Maps -- Bibliography -- United States
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 1055586
lccn - 74020757
isbn - 0813004136
System ID: UF00101393:00001


This item has the following downloads:


Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Bicentennial commission of Florida
        Page v
        Page vi
    General editor's preface
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
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        Page xii
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    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Provenance of the Romans map
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    The "two whole sheet maps"
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    The publication of the maps
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Abel Buell of New Haven
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    The account of Florida
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    The printer of the book
        Page 38
        Page 39
    The account of New Smyrna
        Page 40
        Page 41
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    Revolutionary services
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    Life in Connecticut
        Page 67
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    His achievement
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Full Text





John D. Ware


A University of Florida Book

The University Presses of Florida
Gainesville 1975

published under the sponsorship of the
SAMUEL PROCTOR, General Editor



.r'>, .

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Phillips, Philip Lee, 1857-1924.
Notes on the life and works of Bernard Romans.
(Bicentennial Floridiana facsimile series)
Three hundred and twenty-five copies printed. No. 77.
Reprint of the ed. published by the Florida State
Historical Society, DeLand, as no. z of its Publications.
i. Romans, Bernard, ca. 72zo-ca. 1784. 2. Florida
-Description and travel-To 1865. 3. United States-
Maps-Bibliography. I. Ware, John D., 1913-1973.
II. Title. III. Series. IV. Series: Florida State
Historical Society. Publications; no. 2.
GA4o7.R65P48 1924a 526'.092'4 [B] 74-20757
ISBN o-8130-0413-6


Governor Reubin O'D. Askew, Honorary Chairman
Lieutenant Governor Tom Adams, Chairman
Pat Dodson, Vice Chairman
Shelton Kemp, Executive Secretary
George I. Baumgartner, North Miami Beach
Wyon D. Childers, Pensacola
Johnnie Ruth Clarke, St. Petersburg
A. H. Craig, St. Augustine
Dorothy Glisson, Tallahassee
James A. Glisson, Tavares
Jack D. Gordon, Miami Beach
Richard S. Hodes, Tampa
Joe Lang Kershaw, Miami
Ney C. Landrum, Tallahassee
Mrs. Raymond Mason, Jacksonville
Mrs. E. D. Pearce, Coral Gables
Charles E. Perry, Miami
W. E. Potter, Orlando
Samuel Proctor, Gainesville
Ted Randell, Fort Myers
F. Blair Reeves, Gainesville
George E. Saunders, Winter Park
Don Shoemaker, Miami
Don L. Spicer, Tallahassee
Harold W. Stayman, Jr., Tampa
Alan Trask, Fort Meade
Ralph Turlington, Tallahassee
W. Robert Williams, Tallahassee
Lori Wilson, Merritt Island



Scholars have long regarded Bernard Romans as "a remark-
able man . a universal genius," while still recognizing his
prejudices and his errors of judgment. His books, drawings, and
maps are cited as primary sources for eighteenth-century Amer-
ica and are considered great prizes by collectors of rare Ameri-
cana. His book, A Concise Natural History of East and West
Florida, published in 1775, was the best written and most com-
plete account of the two Florida colonies ceded to Britain by
Spain at the conclusion of the French and Indian War. P. Lee
Phillips, himself a writer and scholar of distinction and author
of this facsimile, stated that Romans' "writings will always be of
value and interest, not only from their own merit, but as pioneer
information gained from personal research."
Bernard Romans was writing about Florida on the eve of the
American Revolution whose Bicentennial the nation is now pre-
paring to commemorate. He was in East Florida as early as the
1760s, and for two years he was employed by William Gerard
De Brahm, the Surveyor General of East Florida, as "draughts-
man, mathematician, navigator." In 1766 Romans began work on
his best-known map, "Part of the Province of East Florida," and
surveyed the coast south to the Keys and perhaps even the north-
ern shore of Cuba. In 1769 he spent more than six weeks survey-
ing Tampa Bay, and in the summer of that year he traveled
overland with an Indian guide and horses to St. Augustine. In
September 1770 he launched a self-financed one-year surveying
voyage, and spent almost six months exploring the west coast of
Florida as far as Apalachee. When he arrived in Pensacola in
mid-August 1771, John Stuart, superintendent of Indian Affairs
for the Southern District, directed him to survey the western


part of the province. He mapped the rivers and territories north
and east of Pensacola for Governor Peter Chester. His compre-
hensive "A General Map of West Florida" is one of the major
contributions to eighteenth-century American cartography.
While Romans is best known for his maps and writings, he
was also a naturalist and a botanist, and he tried to interest Lon-
don officials in the botanical possibilities of Florida. Along with
his surveying, he gathered plants, seeds, and specimens, classify-
ing and drawing sketches of many of them. Governor Chester
and Britain's secretary of state, Lord Dartmouth, were so im-
pressed with Romans' scientific ability that they authorized him
fifty pounds "for his care and Skill in the Collection of rare and
useful Productions in Physick & Botany."
Completing his work in West Florida, Romans left the prov-
ince for Charleston in 1773. Later, he moved to New York. His
Concise History appeared in 1775, about the time of the first
Revolutionary skirmishes at Lexington and Concord. Romans
was not English-born, and his loyalty to the Crown may well
have been sustained more by expediency than rooted in deep con-
viction. Whatever, he quickly decided to cast his lot with the Pa-
triot cause, and he became involved with the poorly organized
but successful mission to take possession of "Ticonderoga and its
dependencies." Associated with him in this adventure were
Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen, the self-appointed leader of
the "Green Mountain Boys."
Romans' activities during the American Revolution were not
outstanding. He was employed for a time as a military engineer
in New York. For two years, 1776-1778, he held the rank of cap-
tain in a company of "matrosses" authorized by the Committee
of Safety of Pennsylvania. There is reason to believe that he was
captured by the British during the war and held as prisoner. Al-
though much of his later life is shrouded in mystery because of a
lack of records, it is known that he continued his intellectual


pursuits, producing several cartographic and literary works. If
the records on the closing of Romans' life are sparse, it is yet pos-
sible to assess his skills. P. Lee Phillips, who for many years was
superintendent of the Hall of Maps and Charts of the Library
of Congress, has described him as "a universal genius . a
botanist, engineer, mathematician, artist, surveyor, engraver,
writer, cartographer, linguist, soldier, seaman, and he possessed
many other talents, any one of which would have given distinc-
Mr. Phillips was a noted authority on maps and charts. Under
his supervision, a remarkable library of notable maps, predomi-
nantly American, was assembled at the Library of Congress.
His A List of Maps of America in the Library of Congress has
long been considered an invaluable reference work in libraries
throughout the world. The Woodbury Lowery Collection,
which came to the Library of Congress in 1906, held a special
interest for Phillips. The greatest single part of the Lowery Col-
lection related to Florida. This notable collection is described in
A Descriptive List of Maps of the Spanish Possessions within
the present limits of the United States, 1502-1820. Phillips mod-
estly credited himself only with editing and annotating the work,
published in 1912. It was because of Phillips' long service with
the Library of Congress, his pre-eminence in the field of carto-
bibliography and the history of cartography, that the publi-
cations committee of the Florida State Historical Society invited
him to write this volume about Bernard Romans. This society
had been founded in DeLand, Florida, in 1921 by John B. Stet-
son, Jr., and Phillips' book was its second publication. Dr.
James A. Robertson, another outstanding scholar of Florida his-
tory, was associated with Phillips' Notes, and served as editor
for the book. Professor Robertson was on the faculty of Stetson
University and was executive secretary of the Florida State His-
torical Society. This was truly a joining of great talents to pro-


duce a biographical account of one of the major personalities
who lived and worked in Florida at the time of the American
This facsimile of Phillips' Notes is one of the volumes in the
Bicentennial Floridiana Facsimile Series published by the Flor-
ida Bicentennial Commission. The twenty-five facsimile editions
will make a substantial contribution to the scholarship of Flor-
ida history. Scholars with a special interest and knowledge of
Florida history are editing the volumes, which were selected to
represent the whole spectrum of Florida's rich and exciting his-
tory. Each volume carries an introduction and an index.
The Florida Bicentennial Commission was created by the
Florida Legislature to plan the state's role and involvement in
the national celebration. Besides the ten members representing
the legislative branch of government and seven ex-officio mem-
bers, there are ten public members appointed by Florida's chief
executive. Governor Reubin O'D. Askew serves as honorary
chairman of the Commission. The Bicentennial offices are in Tal-
Besides the facsimiles, the Florida Bicentennial Commission
is publishing a series of monographs, pamphlets, and books on
Florida for the use and enjoyment of its own citizens and people
everywhere. The commission's publications are supervised by its
Committee on Publications and Research.
The late Captain John D. Ware, an authority on the Spanish
and English colonial periods in Florida, edited Phillips' Notes
on the Life and Works of Bernard Romans and wrote the exten-
sive Introduction. A native of St. Andrews, Florida, Captain
Ware was a seafarer and ship-master. He held a license as mas-
ter of steam and motor vessels and piloted ships along the Flor-
ida and Gulf coasts, the Mississippi River, and bays and harbors
on the east coast of North America from Miami north to Canada.
His research and writings on eighteenth-century Florida were


widely recognized. Several of his articles were published in the
Florida Historical Quarterly, Tequesta, the journal of the His-
torical Association of Southern Florida, and El Escribano, the
St. Augustine Historical Society's journal. Captain Ware's re-
search on Romans and Phillips, had carried him into libraries
and archives throughout the United States and Spain. At the
time of his death, January 21, 1974, he was working on a defini-
tive biography of George Gauld, the'eighteenth-century British
Admiralty coastal surveyor and cartographer who examined and
charted much of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

General Editor of the
University of Florida FACSIMILE SERIES



It is ironic but in a way understandable that Florida, with the
longest history of any of the fifty states of the Union, should have
lagged far behind many others in seeing the events of her colorful
and often turbulent past recorded for posterity. First discovered
in 1513, Florida flew the banners of Spain, France, and England
at different times until 1821, when it was acquired through nego-
tiation by the burgeoning United States. Reunited as a single ter-
ritory, Florida took her place as the twenty-seventh of the United
States on July 4, 1845. Thus, for more than three centuries,
unlike the other states of the Atlantic seaboard, "La Florida"
lacked the continuity of culture and heritage which so often in-
spired the recording of their historic past.
While it is true that from the time of Florida's discovery each
period has had its chroniclers, and as indispensable as their ac-
counts have been, little of a definitive nature was written about
the events of her past until relatively modern times. P. Lee Phil-
lips' Notes on the Life and Works of Bernard Romans and the
accompanying reproduction of Romans' rare map of Florida,
published by the Florida State Historical Society in 1924, to-
gether constitute one of a series of eleven works directed toward
this end. This series represents the first successful attempt by any
such organization in the state to achieve its publication goals, if
only in part. A brief review of the activities of the less fortunate
predecessor groups places them all in perspective.
The earliest of these, the Historical Society of Florida, was
organized in St. Augustine in 1856 with fifty charter members,
including officers, and twenty-four honorary members. Within
these two classifications were individuals distinguished in vari-
ous fields, including historians, certain of whom had already


published noteworthy works, and others who would leave an in-
delible mark on the written history of Florida. The society's con-
stitution, which limited membership to residents of Florida, pro-
vided for, among other things, "the collection and preservation
of documents and records bearing upon the history of Florida,
from the earliest dates." Its by-laws required that its funds, after
payment of expenses and library acquisitions, would be used for
"the publication of manuscript works, or valuable translations,
illustrating the history of Florida." Presumably there was no
residency requirement for honorary members, as many of these
were from out-of-state.1
The following year, the second and last publication of the so-
ciety appeared, entitled "The Early History of Florida," an in-
troductory lecture by George R. Fairbanks. This pamphlet noted
a significant increase in membership to more than 100 honorary
and 134 resident members, the latter list including many promi-
nent Floridians. With this publication, the society and its subse-
quent activities, if any, disappeared from view, probably sus-
pended because of preoccupation with the impending Civil War
and the impoverished circumstances of the populace thereafter.2
Reorganized in 1902 under the leadership of George R. Fair-
banks as the Florida Historical Society, it was incorporated three
years later. The objectives set out in the charter were more sweep-
ing in scope, but were only partially realized under its next presi-
dent, Governor Francis P. Fleming. For a while membership
increased, historical material was acquired, and its official "mag-
azine," the Quarterly, was published. With the last of its six
issues, dated July 1909, the year after Governor Fleming's death,
publication of the Quarterly was suspended for lack of funds.
Realizing the great need for a journal as the medium of commu-
nication between members and to bring the work of the society
to public attention, a revitalized leadership authorized resump-
tion of publication of the Quarterly in 1924." This publication

and the activities of the Florida Historical Society have con-
tinued without interruption to the present time. The issues of the
Quarterly contain the greatest single collection of Florida his-
tory extant today.
If the hopes and objectives of the earlier groups were unre-
alized, the same was less true of the Florida State Historical
Society. It was founded in DeLand, December 1, 1921, "by some
citizens of the State of Florida and northerners who were in-
terested in the history of the State." These individuals considered
that it would be desirable "to form a society of a different char-
acter from that of any already existing in the State, having for
its object study and research in history that has a direct bearing
on Florida." It was also considered that a close association with
an institution of higher learning would assist materially in ac-
complishing the purposes of the society. It accordingly worked
in close harmony with John B. Stetson University, yet had no ties
as an organization. Similarly, there was no connection with the
older Florida Historical Society, although there was full co-
operation between the two groups.4
To achieve its initial goal it was considered essential to enroll
250 sustaining members who would subscribe to the publica-
tions of the society as they were issued, at approximately the cost
of production. Although a limitation of 300 copies of each publi-
cation was at first decided upon, this figure was later increased in
modest but varying numbers in virtually every instance. Thus,
copies of these limited editions have become collector's items,
highly-prized and eagerly sought by bibliophiles and scholars
alike. The first edition of this monograph and the accompanying
Romans map were the second in the series. Many other works re-
lating to Florida history were planned, but it appears that with
the eleventh publication in 1933, the society and its future plans
fell victim to the Great Depression.5 John B. Stetson, Jr., chair-
man, and Jeannette Thurber Connor, who both did so much for




the society and for Florida history, along with two other mem-
bers, comprised the publications committee which produced this
monograph. Stetson was the first and only chairman of this com-
mittee and Mrs. Connor served from its inception until her
death, June 9, 1927.'
One need look no further than the first page of the foreword
of this volume to find the reasons the committee selected P. Lee
Phillips to write about Romans and to assemble the material
contained herein on this remarkable man of many talents. The
members were aware of Phillips' long service with the Library
of Congress and his knowledge of the subject gleaned from the
many notes he had gathered over the years. In recognizing his
pre-eminence in the field of cartobibliography and the history of
cartography, they rightly credited him with the "persistence, in-
tuition and energy" which contributed so much to the dominant
position of this national repository with respect to cartographic
knowledge of the United States. Moreover, the committee itself
deserves much credit for having certain of Romans' works re-
produced in extenso, thus allowing a deeper insight into the char-
acter of the man and enhancing this volume as a research tool.7
As perceptive and judicious as the publications committee was
in its choice, it is probable that its members knew little or nothing
of Phillips the man or his truly impressive list of publications.
Over a period of thirty-six years, some forty-four of his works
were published, including books, monographs, and articles.
Moreover, he left eight unpublished manuscripts, seven of which
are preserved in the Library of Congress. Almost all of his pub-
lications deal with cartography or cartobibliography, and a
glance at the list of titles offers ample evidence of the wide geo-
graphic range of his interests. His cartobibliographies are stand-
ard reference works in libraries throughout the world, and items
listed in dealers' catalogs as "not in Phillips" may claim a special
degree of rarity and probable value which otherwise might be


Phillips' "Notes" and the "Two Whole Sheet Maps"

"The second publication of the Florida State Historical So-
ciety places in the libraries of its members and through them
within the reach of students, the document upon which all the
detailed geographical knowledge of the Florida Peninsula is
based." This reference by the publications committee to the
rare Romans map, like many generalities, might well be chal-
lenged in certain particulars. It is nevertheless undeniable that
Phillips' Notes and the accompanying reproduction of the map
constitute significant milestones in the historiography and geog-
raphy of British East and West Florida. Furthermore, the mon-
ograph contains important documents and references to Romans'
participation in certain events prior to and during the American
A study of the more than fifty reference cards relating to Ro-
mans in the Bibliography and Cartography catalog of the Li-
brary of Congress, together with the final unedited draft of Phil-
lips' monograph, indicates that he relied largely on these and
standard reference works held by that institution in the prepara-
tion of his manuscript. Not surprisingly, certain of these cards
are in Phillips' own distinctive hand. These sources represent by
far the greatest single collection of information on Romans, but
by no means all. Further research in smaller and widely scattered
repositories discloses other significant source material, thus sug-
gesting that Phillips was unaware of its existence or neglected to
avail himself of their resources. Yet even with this additional
source material in hand, the record is far from complete on the
life of Bernard Romans.'0
There are two versions of Phillips' monograph: his final type-
script draft, and the freely edited and amended but improved
version, published posthumously. The first merits certain com-
ment if for no other reason than to place the latter in proper con-


text. Phillips' final draft was titled Bernard Romans, His Bi-
ography and Bibliography With a Reproduction of the "Two
Whole Sheet Maps" of Florida 1774. The title aptly described
the topics into which Phillips divided his work, except that he
also included a section of twenty-five pages called "A Concise
Natural History of East and West Florida," half of which con-
sisted of excerpts from Romans' work which Phillips considered
might be of particular reader interest. He quoted many valuable
sources in his biographical "chapter" of Romans but fell short of
placing his subject in historical perspective."
Existing correspondence between John B. Stetson, Jr. and
members of the publications committee suggests that Phillips
was initially given a free hand in his treatment of the subject,
even to the editing and final proofreading. Phillips, however,
was suffering from a debilitating illness, and these duties were
then assumed for a time by Stetson with only indifferent and mi-
nor assistance from two other members of the committee. Al-
though Phillips returned to work briefly and even corresponded
with Stetson, he did not live to see the published version of his
work. During this interval, two nearly identical chorographical
maps of the "Northern Department of North America" came to
light. Fortunately, Stetson was able to obtain the description of
each, thus permitting authentication from the originals of Phil-
lips' earlier bibliographical entries from secondary sources. This
entailed last-minute changes in the text before the work went to
Although his name does not appear in Phillips' Notes, the
final editing fell to James A. Robertson, who joined the faculty
of Stetson University on May 1, 1923, and was named corre-
sponding secretary and later executive secretary of the Florida
State Historical Society. In addition to proofreading and rou-
tinely editing Phillips' draft, Robertson shortened the title to its
present form and provided annotations and the appendix. Stet-


son himself had earlier decided to delete most of the section Phil-
lips had devoted to the bibliography of "A Concise Natural His-
tory of East and West Florida," along with all of the excerpts
from Romans' book, since the society had plans for republishing
the book. Noting that Phillips and other sources accepted Ro-
mans' criticism of Dr. Andrew Turnbull at face value, Robert-
son attempted to provide a more balanced view by including in
his annotations both the relevant passage from Romans' book and
Turnbull's published "refutation." Robertson also subdivided
certain of Phillips' four general categories, thus creating an even
more topical treatment of the work as a whole. In this respect he
drifted even further from placing Romans in historical perspec-
tive than did Phillips. Why Robertson, a professional historian,
failed to write a short biographical sketch of Romans directed
toward this end can only be surmised. The work is therefore
more source than biography, but nevertheless remains an invalu-
able research work for history and geography scholars in general
and specialists of Florida in particular." Naturally, all comments
and references hereafter are to the published version of P. Lee
Phillips, Notes on the Life and Works of Bernard Romans.

The first part of Phillips' monograph is devoted to a study of
Romans' map, "Part of the Province of East Florida." Herein
are presented documents which substantiate in considerable de-
tail the provenance, engraving, and publication of the map. In
writing of its origin, Phillips noted that only one copy was known
to exist, and concluded that its very large size was responsible
for its rarity. His monograph assures the scholar that the map
and Romans' A Concise Natural History of East and West Flor-
ida were produced as companion works, each to accompany and
supplement the other. In pointing out the geographic deficiencies
implicit in the title of Romans' map, Phillips neglected to men-
tion that it also included part of Spanish Louisiana. And with

respect to publication of the map, Phillips introduced documents
which demonstrate that Paul Revere and Abel Buell, the latter
an engraver and cartographer of some note, assisted Romans in
the preparation of the copper plates. Certain of these documents
give some indication of the complexity of producing this map.
Phillips also included news items and "advertisements" in-
serted by Romans and others which are remarkably revealing
of the subject, certain of which are indispensable in tracing his
activities. Most of Romans' notices were to report on the progress
of his publications and to urge the reading public to purchase
copies. Two notable exceptions were included: the previously
mentioned accounts of Turnbull and his New Smyrna colony,
and Romans' defense against the accusation of "pirating" the
work of others, especially that of George Gauld. Phillips made
no attempt to analyze the relationships among Romans, Gauld,
and Dr. John Lorimer, all rather arniguously referred to in
Romans' "advertisement."
The distinction between a map and a chart may be important
only to the seafarer, and Romans, a master mariner himself,
used both terms in referring to his cartographic masterpiece,
"Part of the Province of East Florida." Unquestionably, he had
the navigator and shipmaster in mind when he produced this
work. This is evidenced in certain writings and features em-
bodied in the chart itself. In an early "advertisement" of his
work he noted that "ample directions to Navigators will be
given, and extensive soundings on the Coast, pointed out, so as
to render the whole as desirable for the Sage in his cabinet as
for the Mariner in his ship." And in the three dedicatory car-
touches, one to the Marine Society of New York, another "To
all Commanders of vessels round the Globe," and still another
"To the Honble. the Planters in Jamaica and all Marchants
[sic] Concerned in the trade to that Island," Romans character-
ized his work as a "chart." True to his word, he included numer-



ous compass roses, distance scales of English, French, and Dutch
derivation, latitude and longitude scales along the margins, and
numerous soundings, bottom characteristics, and current "darts."
As a further aid to the navigator he inserted written notices in
appropriate places. He also featured profile views of "Fort St.
Marks at Apalache" [sic], the entrance to St. Marys River, and
the mountains of the north shore of Cuba. Romans' appeal to
the seafaring community is therefore unmistakable. That this
appeal had the desired effect seems equally clear.
An examination of the list of somewhat more than two hun-
dred subscribers to Romans' book and the "Two Whole Sheet
Maps" discloses that fifty-four were captains and four were naval
officers. This excludes two military officers of that rank whose
identification as such suggests that all other captains were com-
manders of vessels. If so, of the total orders placed by these sub-
scribers, about one-fourth went to members of the seafaring pro-
fession. In addition, the Marine Societies of New York, Salem,
Newbury-Port, and Boston were also subscribers." Orders were
placed by six members of the last-named society.6
Aboard ship, charts have always been considered expendable
items, and just how many of Romans' limited printing of his
"Two Whole Sheet Maps" subsequently were used as naviga-
tional aids can never be known. Those that served as such, how-
ever, would have been taken aboard the merchant vessels, armed
privateers, and warships of the Revolutionary period by their
commanding officers. Here they would have been exposed to the
ever-present dampness of the wooden vessels of that era and to
the wear and tear of parallel rulers, dividers, and erasures, all
incidental to plotting courses and positions in "Florida waters,"
until they were finally discarded as worthless. Thus, while Phil-
lips' claim that "the size is responsible for the rarity of the map"
and "that the larger the map the more destructible it becomes"
remains as valid as ever, the probable use of some one-fourth of



this now-rarest of cartographic documents may also be consid-
ered as a reason for its scarcity." The ninety-two page appendix
of Romans' Concise Natural History consists almost entirely of
sailing directions for the waters leading to or embraced by his
chart. Numerous references are made to this document, and
three important plates are included: "Entrances of Tampa Bay,"
"Pensacola Bar," and "Mobile Bar." Many copies of this book
may also have been taken aboard ship, there to suffer the same
fate as the charts, albeit through different usage.
In discussing Romans' "Account of Florida," Phillips once
again touches upon the rarity of the book and map, comparing
them with other little-known works. He concludes that the
printer of both editions of the book is unknown, and views both
Romans' engravings and writing kindly. He reminds the reader
that the author "was a foreigner wrestling with the intricacies of
a foreign language" who, moreover, succeeded in bringing his
works to publication against almost insurmountable difficulties.
Slightly more than half of the remainder of Phillips' Notes
is concerned with the introduction and brief comment on docu-
ments and early news accounts touching on Romans' life in
Georgia and the Floridas, his services in the American Revolu-
tion, and his marriage to Elizabeth Whiting in Connecticut.
From his monograph, from certain information contained in
Romans' Concise Natural History, and from material only re-
cently brought to light, one may reconstruct an accurate though
at times sketchy account up to the closing years of Romans' life
in the American colonies.
The nature of Phillips' monograph is best described by the
first word of its title: "Notes." Though the distinction may seem
fine, the work is more collection than synthesis. Yet it cannot be
denied that its objective has been served, for it still remains a
valuable research source for the two academic disciplines of his-
tory and geography.



Philip Lee Phillips

Philip Lee Phillips was born in Washington, D.C., March 1,
1856. His father, Philip Phillips, a native of Charleston, South
Carolina, was the son of German-Jewish immigrants, and his
mother, Eugenia Levy Phillips, was born in Savannah, Georgia.
The son, who later indicated a preference for the name "P. Lee
Phillips," perhaps to distinguish his name from that of his fa-
ther, is thought to have been the youngest of the nine children,
at least two others of whom were boys." Lee's father began the
practice of law in Cheraw, South Carolina, and served in the
state legislature for two years. Moving to Mobile, Alabama, he
was elected to the legislature there, and went on to serve as repre-
sentative to the thirty-third Congress of the United States. He
declined renomination in 1855, choosing instead to remain in the
nation's capital where he engaged in a successful law practice.
Here, the following year, P. Lee Phillips was born.
As the Civil War loomed, Philip Phillips opposed secession,
yet his sympathies were with the South. The outspoken state-
ments of his wife, Eugenia, and their two eldest daughters in
support of the Confederacy led to the house arrest of the entire
family. Through the help of influential friends in government,
however, they were soon released and were sent south under a
flag of truce, eventually making their way to New Orleans. This
city, however, was occupied some months later by enemy troops,
and the outspoken Eugenia was once again arrested and impris-
oned for three months in a squalid hut on Ship Island. After her
release in October 1862, Phillips moved his family to LaGrange,
Georgia, where the six-year-old Lee began school under private
Hoping to return to Washington when the war ended, Phil-
lips found he was unable to obtain a license to practice law there



because he could not in good conscience swear that he had not
aided anyone opposed to the Union government. He therefore
returned with his family to New Orleans for two years. When
the Supreme Court nullified the requirement of the test oath in
1866, Phillips moved to Washington and once again began the
practice of law. Lee resumed his education in the public schools
there and entered Columbia College Law School in 1874. Un-
like his older brother, who had joined his father's law firm, Lee
evinced little interest in the legal profession. The result was that
he left school in 1875 to join the staff of the Library of Congress.
His father, as a former congressman and a prominent attorney,
may have used his influence to secure the position for his son.
Suggestive of this is the fact that for almost four years he paid
Lee's salary without his son's knowledge. The records show that
it was not until July 1, 1879, that P. Lee Phillips became an offi-
cial employee of the Library of Congress as a cataloger at an
annual salary of $1,200.
Lee's family background and his own genial personality
earned for him a niche in the inner circles of Washington so-
ciety, a position he apparently enjoyed. Since he remained un-
married until his early forties, he led the annual bachelor's cotil-
lion for a number of years. His unwedded state came to an end
in 1899 when he married Imogen D. Hutchins, the daughter of
a local merchant. He was then forty-three years old and his bride
was some twenty years younger. Their only child, a daughter,
Mary Lee, also came rather late in life for Phillips: she was
born about 1914, when her father was fifty-eight years of age. It
is probable that the additional expense of a family imposed a
financial hardship on him and his wife, since he was never
highly paid. As chief of the map department his annual salary
was raised to $2,500 in 1902, and to $3,000 some years later. De-
spite vigorous protest from Phillips, the last in 1920, the figure
remained at this level until his death.



By 1913, Phillips had many publications to his credit, and he
had just completed reading the galley proofs of volume three of
his atlas list when he suffered a nervous breakdown. In August
of this same year, he was taken to the home of a sister in Pitts-
burgh, and in his depressed state of mind, on September 27, he
sent a letter of resignation to the librarian. Phillips had not prac-
ticed the Jewish faith of his parents for years but had associated
with the Episcopal Church after his marriage. In the home of
his sister, however, he turned to Christian Science as a way out
of his severe depression. His improvement under this treatment
prompted his nephew, without his uncle's knowledge, to write to
Dr. Herbert Putnam, librarian of Congress, informing him of
this fact and asking him not to accept the resignation. Accord-
ingly, on October 1, Putnam wrote Lee Phillips: "You cannot
get away from us so easily; nor can I consent to let you go. Con-
tinue your experiments towards a cure and give no thought to
an obligatory date at present for your return. That you will re-
turn and render many more years of useful and distinguished
service to the Government and the science of cartography, I feel
confident." Phillips did indeed return to the Library on May 4,
1914, where he continued to work for another decade.
The Library of Congress had stored its maps, uncataloged, in
odd nooks and corners of its quarters in the Capitol building
since 1801. Noting the chaotic condition of these valuable rec-
ords, Phillips began to organize and catalog them as he found
time from his regular duties, although probably without specific
orders. When and for what reasons he developed an interest in
maps, cartography, and cartobibliography is not known. He re-
ceived a good classical education befitting the son in a well-to-do
nineteenth-century family, and no doubt read extensively from
a well stocked home library. This library may well have included
books on geography and maps, as Lee's father was a member of
the Congressional Committee on Territories. Earlier the elder



Phillips had been president of an internal improvement com-
pany concerned with building a north-south railroad across Ala-
bama. In any event, by 1878 Lee Phillips began a catalog of
American maps held by the library. This catalog, many of the
cards in Phillips' own hand, is still preserved in the Geography
and Map Division, and is arranged alphabetically by authors.
For the next twenty years he continued to add relevant descrip-
tions to both the author and area lists. The result was that in 1897,
upon his appointment as superintendent of the Hall of Maps
and Charts in the newly-constructed building, he recommended
to the librarian that "Congress be requested to make an appropri-
ation for publication of a monograph entitled 'Maps of Amer-
ica,' a bibliography of American cartography in the Library of
Congress." Support for this publication was not immediately
forthcoming, but on October 4, 1900, Phillips reported that "a
large volume relating to maps of America principally found in
books and magazines, is now with the committee of printing of
the House of Representatives with prospects of being published
during the next season."
Phillips' optimism in this instance was well placed, for the
following year his A List of Maps of America in the Library of
Congress was published and soon found acceptance as an in-
valuable reference work in libraries throughout the world. In
pointing out the historical and bibliographical value of such
monographs, Phillips stated that "this list made at intervals in
connection with other work in the old library at the Capitol,
comprises about fifteen thousand titles. . It is the product of
twenty years of hard labor in the old library ransacking through
hidden sources, a work which is original in its idea and which
will be a valuable assistance to the Library and to the student."
Phillips noted in the introduction to this volume: "This list only
includes such maps as were in the Library at the time of the
opening of the new building in November 1897. The large in-



crease since then will eventually result in a supplemental vol-
ume. Some important titles of recent date, however, have been
inserted." Arranged alphabetically by geographic and politi-
cal entities, maps of the Americas from Alaska to Chile's tem-
pestous and forbidding Cape Horn are included. Some forty-
five pages of world map titles are also included.20 Originally
offered for sale at $1.25 per soft-covered copy, two reprint edi-
tions published in 1967 sell for $35.00 and $40.00 respectively.
Mindful of the difficulties attendant in securing appropria-
tions from Congress, even for publications emanating from their
own library, Phillips included as an eighty-page preface to the
List of Maps of America another catalog which he had com-
piled during his years in the old library. Entitled "A Bibliog-
raphy of Cartography," it consisted of a list of references re-
lating to maps, map makers, and the history of cartography.
Certain of these works were not in the Library of Congress and
therefore must have entailed considerable outside research by
Phillips." His expressed hope was "to add to and improve the
'Bibliography of Cartography' and to make of it a work of more
extensive scope."
Over a period of some twenty years Phillips and his staff
added to his original catalog, so that by 1922 he reported that the
work had grown to "6528 typewritten leaves, 30,464 estimated
titles." His periodic recommendations to publish "Bibliography
of Cartography" went unheeded during his lifetime; nor has it
yet been published. The fourteen-volume typescript, with addi-
tions through 1923, is preserved in the Geography and Map Di-
vision of the Library of Congress. The original catalog, with
many of the cards still in Phillips' distinctive hand, has been
augmented through the years, and it is still one of the invaluable
research tools of the division.
Although Phillips joined the staff of the Library of Congress
as a cataloger, he also withdrew books and perhaps maps for li-



brary patrons. Catalog cards of American maps in Phillips'
handwriting as early as 1878 suggest that his interest and atten-
tion to the cartographic collection took tangible form at this
point. The care of this material was gradually assumed by Phil-
lips, and by 1895 it was receiving most of his attention. His sal-
ary had been increased to $1,800 per annum. As much as he
contributed to cartography and cartobibliography, Phillips en-
gaged also in other activities, one of which led to his first publi-
cation. He was a member of the exclusive Metropolitan Club
and served as its librarian. During off-hours from his job he
compiled a catalog of its library collection, which was published
in 1890.
The first two decades of Phillips' service with the Library of
Congress were busy and eventful. His first cartographic publica-
tion, an eighty-five page booklet entitled Virginia Cartography:
a bibliographical description, appeared in 1896. Two papers im-
mediately followed, both of which were published the same year
in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association.
In the second article, "The value of maps in boundary disputes,"
Phillips asserted that "the importance of maps and a correct bib-
liographical knowledge of them is of vast interest, especially as
to those relating to this country, for what with State boundary
disputes and the immense supervision which we have assumed
over the affairs of this continent, questions will arise requiring,
at short notice, that all maps of America should be well known
and accessible." It is thought that Phillips wrote this paper as
the result of his earlier participation in compiling a list of maps
relating to the boundary dispute between Venezuela and British
Guinea, a contribution for which he was subsequently awarded
the Order of Bolivar by the government of Venezuela. His list
of maps of the two disputant nations also appeared in the An-
nual Report of the American Historical Association.
Phillips' reputation as an expert in the field of cartography re-



suited in another call for help, this time in connection with the
Alaskan-Canadian boundary dispute. From his work on this
problem he compiled a list entitled "Alaska and the northwest
part of North America, 1588-1898, maps in the Library of Con-
gress," which was published in 1898. This same year the Span-
ish-American War and events preceding it brought forth a bib-
liography of the maps of Cuba which was included in A. P. C.
Griffin, List of Books relating to Cuba.
Over the years the Library of Congress had outgrown its quar-
ters in the Capitol building. This condition reached a climax in
1870 when a law was passed requiring the deposit in the library
of two copies of every copyrighted publication. Yet, it was not
until 1886 that a new building was authorized, and another
eleven years would go by before it would be occupied. Before
completion of the building, Congress recognized the need for re-
organization and accordingly passed legislation which, among
other things, provided for several new administrative units, in-
cluding a Hall of Maps and Charts. Phillips hoped to be the
new superintendent of this division; it is probable that his sev-
eral publications were intended to strengthen his application for
the position. In fact, in the closing paragraph of one of his arti-
cles he gave himself credit, not undeservedly, for the vast
amount of work he had put forth "at odd moments spared from
other duties" to catalog the collection of over fifteen thousand
items. Although a new Librarian of Congress apparently fa-
vored another candidate for the job, Phillips was appointed the
first Superintendent of the Hall of Maps, effective September 1,
1897. He won out no doubt because of his knowledge and past
experience, and possibly with some help from influential per-
sonal and family friends.
Because of the demands made on his time and energies inci-
dental to the transfer to their new quarters, Phillips was able to
do but little cartographic work during the first year or so after



his appointment. The magnitude of the problem with respect to
his own division is indicated in his report to the librarian after
one year of operation. Phillips wrote that in the Capitol "maps
were deposited with the old paper in corners of the old library
and in cellars too dark, damp, and dusty for examination. From
these nooks and corners were collected a mountain of maps
which were deposited in a mass in the room assigned them in the
new library. Out of this chaos much time was needed to systema-
tize and geographically arrange, so that in a few moments such
maps as were wanted by the student would be found without dif-
Phillips visited the few map libraries then established in
America, which he found "in a very primitive condition in re-
gard to their maps and awaiting this Library to take the initia-
tive." With no guidelines to follow he devised his own cata-
loging and storage techniques, the preliminary procedures of
which were first published in the New York Tribune, Novem-
ber 26, 1899, entitled, "Preservation of maps. How they are clas-
sified, preserved and catalogued. The method employed in the
Library of Congress." This article was reprinted the following
year in the January issue of the Library Journal. Phillips' con-
cern with procedural problems in map libraries and his desire
to pass along to others the benefit of his experiences and prac-
tices led him to write a short section on "Maps and atlases" for
Charles A. Cutter's Rules for a dictionary catalog. Under the
title Notes on the cataloging, care and classification of maps and
atlases, this same section in a revised and amplified form was
separately published in 1915 and again in 1921.
The organization of the material in his division completed,
Phillips once again was able to direct his attentions to the
compilation of cartobibliographies for publication. His earlier
works for Guinea, Venezuela, and Cuba, and the relationships
he had established in the Bureau of American Republics re-



suited in requests from other Latin American countries. Thus,
for the next three years from the turn of the century, cartobibli-
ographies were published for Mexico, Brazil, Central America,
and Chile. In 1903, Phillips' "Chronological list of Maps [of
the Philippine Islands] in the Library of Congress" appeared in
Griffin's A List of books (with reference to periodicals) on the
Philippine Islands in the Library of Congress, both of which re-
lated to the acquisition of the islands by the United States after
the Spanish-American War. Subsequent additional material on
Cuba resulted in a list of maps some five times greater in number
than the one earlier published in Griffin's List of books relating
to Cuba. This enlarged version was published in International
Bureau of the American Republics in 1905.
These were by no means all of Phillips' accomplishments dur-
ing this period. Among his publication credits was a "List of
plans of Quebec, 1660-1851," which appeared in 1901 in A. G.
Doughty and G. W. Parmelee, The siege of Quebec.22 For the
occasion of the centennial of the city of Washington he prepared
a List of Maps and views of Washington and District of Colum-
bia in the Library of Congress which was published in 1900.
Three years later, at his urging, the famous Kohl collection of
reproductions of original maps in European archives relating to
the discovery of America was transferred from the Department
of State to the Library of Congress. He was instrumental in
having Justin Winsor's bibliographical study of this collection
reprinted, and to this edition he contributed a brief introduction
and an index. In 1905, Phillips' Check List of large scale maps
published by foreign governments (Great Britain excepted) in
the Library of Congress appeared, inspired perhaps by the
Eighth International Geographical Congress, which convened
in Washington in September 1904, and perhaps with the hope
also of encouraging gifts to the library of other foreign maps not
preserved in its collection. There is some suggestion that publi-



cation of the foreign map list may have been the idea of Assistant
Chief Oswald Welti, a native of Switzerland. Phillips relied
upon the help of his assistant chief and other capable members
of his staff in the preparation of several of his cartobibliogra-
Shortly after Phillips assumed direction of the map division,
he began what was to become his most significant cartobiblio-
graphical work, the List of geographical atlases in the Library
of Congress. Despite his initial optimism about the time re-
quired to complete this work, it was 1908 before the atlas list
was sent to press. Even then he expressed dissatisfaction with the
progress of the printer. Finally, in his 1909 report he announced
publication and offered the opinion that the two-volume work
"will be the means of an immense saving of labor to the Map
Division and considerable assistance to the Library proper. . .
To the student it will be useful for reference purposes and often
to libraries as a means of identifying their material." His work
with the list of atlases, however, was far from finished. The as-
tonishing number of later acquisitions by the map division neces-
sitated a third volume, published in 1914, and a fourth in 1920.23
Rounding out his work of the first decade of the twentieth cen-
tury was Phillips' "Some early maps of Virginia and their mak-
ers, including plates relating to the first settlement of James-
town," an article which appeared in the July 1907 issue of the
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. This was one of
his few contributions to professional journals. The following
year W. H. Lowdermilk and Company published an edition
limited to 200 copies for sale of Phillips' descriptive essay, The
First map of Kentucky by John Filson; a bibliographical ac-
count with facsimile reproduction from the copy in the Library
of Congress. Phillips had acquired this map in 1907 on one of
his three trips to Europe, made at his own expense, to purchase
rare maps and atlases for the Library of Congress. In 1910, a



Spanish language version of his "Maps of Cuba, Porto Rico,
and the West Indies" appeared as "Cartografia Cubano" in the
January-February issue of Revista Bimestre Cubano.
In addition to certain of Phillips' previously mentioned
works, he wrote descriptive monographs on other rare maps:
Augustine Herrman's Map of Virginia and Maryland, 1673
(1911), John Fitch's Map of the Northwest, 1785 (1916), and
Manasseh Cutler's Ohio, 1787 (1918). These monographs and
the corresponding facsimiles of the maps were also published by
Lowdermilk in editions limited to 200 copies for sale. His study
on General Daniel Smith and his map of Tennessee was never
published, and the typescript has not been located. A certain di-
versity of interest is evident in the titles of five of Phillips' arti-
cles which appeared in the Magazine of the Daughters of the
American Revolution. His "The Jefferson States," "A rare cari-
cature of Bunker Hill," "Some peculiar maps," and "Some old
time directories" appeared in 1918 issues of the Magazine, and
the fifth, "Washington as surveyor and map-maker," was pub-
lished in the March 1921 issue.
Phillips' professional affiliations were limited to membership
in the Royal Geographical Society and the Columbian Histori-
cal Society of Washington. He proudly acknowledged his mem-
bership in the former by adding the initials "F.R.G.S." to his
signature. It appears that his brief note on "Captain Thomas
Pound and his 1691 map of New England" was his only contri-
bution to the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society. This
appeared in the July 1916 issue. The following year the Records
of the Columbian Historical Society carried his article on "The
negro, Benjamin Banneker, astronomer and mathematician." 24
In 1917, Phillips published privately an edition limited to 600
copies of a small booklet entitled The beginnings of Washing-
ton, as described in books, maps and views. Expanding geo-
graphically on this work, he reported to the Librarian of Con-



gress the following year that "a descriptive list of maps and
views of Washington and District of Columbia, including
Mount Vernon," containing some seventeen hundred entries,
was ready to go to press. Although he recommended this work
for publication in subsequent years as late as 1922, it was never
published but is still preserved in typescript as a reference work
in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.
Other works by Phillips were destined also to remain unpub-
lished, including cartographic lists of California and San Fran-
cisco, New York City, and Boston. These, too, are preserved in
the division, along with his five-volume "Initials and Pseudo-
nyms not in Cushing," and his ten-sheet "Bladenburg and the
British peerage and how it happened." In 1926, Phillips' A De-
scriptive list of maps and views of Philadelphia in the Library
of Congress, 1683-1865, was published posthumously with per-
mission of the library by the Geographical Society of Philadel-
The effects of World War I were reflected in a reduction of
publication funds for the library, a condition, however, that did
not prevent the publication in 1918 of Phillips' A list of atlases
and maps applicable to the World War. The late publication
date limited the use of this volume, and despite Phillips' opti-
mistic report the following year, it was not a notable success.
Phillips' interest in "The Lowery Collection" resulted in a
volume which is considered the standard reference work in its
field. Over a period of years, Woodbury Lowery, the "scholarly
investigator and historian of the early Spanish settlements in this
hemisphere," assembled volumes of manuscripts and many rare
maps and books. All of this material, including his own unpub-
lished work, was left to the Library of Congress by Lowery upon
his death in 1906. Additionally, under the provisions of his will,
certain books from his library which were not in the Library of
Congress at the time were to be selected by the librarian for its

xxxv ii


collection. Not unexpectedly, the greatest single part of this col-
lection related to Florida.25 Lowery's will contained only one
condition: his collection of maps was to "be preserved intact and
be known as the Lowery Collection of Maps relating to the
Spanish possessions within the present limits of the United
States." He had left a "Preliminary List" of such maps in the
collection, and it was to the editing of this manuscript that Phil-
lips addressed his attention. The editor was faithful to the spirit
of the stipulation of the bequest when the resulting monograph,
published in 1912 under the authorship of Woodbury Lowery,
was entitled A Descriptive List of Maps of the Spanish Posses-
sions within the present limits of the United States, 1502-1820.
Phillips modestly credited himself only with editing and anno-
tating the work. Yet he added almost 400 related titles to the
monograph, compiled an index, and wrote a "Prefatory Note"
containing a short biographical sketch of Lowery and a list of
part of the Kohl collection of maps. Thus, Phillips contributed
immeasurably to the author's "Preliminary List." Moreover, he
placed the work in proper perspective when he wrote: "The
'Descriptive List' fills an important gap in describing the maps
relating to the Spanish settlements not only in the United States
but in North America as a whole." 26
Phillips possessed no academic degree, nor did he have any
formal training in geography or cartography. As a self-educated
individual in these fields, he is said to have been ill at ease with
specialists in these disciplines. From the foregoing list of publi-
cations, certain of them original in concept and comprehensive
in scope, and the monograph of which this is now a part, it is ap-
parent that Phillips did not allow his lack of formal training to
deter him from notable achievements. Indeed, he may well have
been spurred on by this lack. Yet the value of his work was slow
to be recognized, especially at home. He expressed his disap-
pointment in 1915, when he wrote: "The third volume of the




List of Atlases is now in circulation and is so [sic] useful in
labor saving as the volumes previously published. . Our re-
viewers, who have shown general appreciation are only found in
Europe." This oversight in the meantime has been corrected, as
evidenced by the general acceptance of P. Lee Phillips' carto-
bibliographies as major reference aids in libraries the world
over for more than half a century.
It is indeed fortunate that as this is written it is possible to add
a personal postscript to Phillips' life, based on the recollections
of one who knew and worked with him for the last nine years of
his life. This surviving, active staff member, who began work in
the map division under Phillips' direction in November 1915,
remembers him almost half a century later "as a very kind per-
son, a Southern gentleman in every respect, who remarked more
than once that he never worked more than four hours a day in
accomplishing all he did. He had a phenomenal memory for the
maps in the Library of Congress collections, and, so far as funds
were available, built up a remarkable library of notable maps,
predominantly American." 27
P. Lee Phillips was stricken with a cancer which began to sap
his strength some two years before his death, and during this
time his absences from his job were more frequent. He died in
Washington, January 4, 1924, after serving the Library of Con-
gress for almost half a century.28

Bernard Romans

Apart from the knowledge that Bernard Romans was born in
Holland about 1720 and that he migrated to England where he
received training as an engineer, little else is known of his early
life." Implicit in what may have been his last literary work,
along with certain of his statements, is the suggestion that he re-


ceived much of his education in his native country and that his
removal to England came as a youth or young adult. Annals of
the Troubles of the Netherlands, a collection of Dutch works
which he translated into English during his later years in Con-
necticut, implies a familiarity with both native and adopted
tongues normally associated with advanced studies of each. In
the preface of volume one, Romans admitted his shortcomings in
the English language when he wrote: "As a foreigner, it cannot
be expected that I should excel in elegance of composition, or
correction of language; especially in a tongue, whose idiom, or-
thography, connexion [sic] and pronunciation are, of all others,
the most difficult and uncouth to the ear and powers of articula-
tion in strangers." o3 In another work Romans warned his readers
that "no elegance of style, nor flowers of rhetoric, must be ex-
pected from a person who is conscious that he is not sufficiently
acquainted with the language to write in such a manner as will
please a critical reader, and if he has wrote [sic] so as to be in-
telligible, he hopes the candid will excuse such inaccuracies in
composition as it is difficult for a foreigner to avoid." It is
therefore likely that his pattern of speech and writing was rather
firmly established by the time of his arrival in his adopted coun-
Romans' manifest knowledge in such diverse academic disci-
plines as botany, mathematics, and languages suggests the wide
range of his scholarly interests, leading one to believe that he
studied much more than civil engineering in his adult years. On
the other hand, it is known that he learned much from observa-
tion and experience, as evidenced by his familiarity with the na-
tive tribes of the New World between Labrador and Panama, a
familiarity he acquired by traveling among them. Moreover,
this indicates that he ranged the coasts of North and Central
America and therefore must have acquired a geographic knowl-
edge of the littoral as well, all before his late thirties.32 From an-


other hitherto obscure source it is learned that his travels took
him at least as far south as present Colombia in South America,
and that he was familiar with certain of the flora of that area."
His activities thereafter until near the end of the American
Revolution are fairly well documented.
About 1757 Romans was sent to North America either as an
engineer or on some other type of professional work." In his
Concise Natural History, first published in 1775, Romans stated
that he had "been acquainted with the continent" eighteen years.
In another source he related: "for fourteen years back I have
been sometimes employed as a commodore in the King's service,
sometimes at the head of a large body of men in the woods, and,
at the worst of times, I have been master of a merchantman,
fitted in a warlike manner." The first two assignments were ob-
vious references to his surveying activities, and despite his often
flamboyant language, much can be learned of his life and work
from his accounts.36
The earliest record of Romans is found in William Gerard De
Brahm's Report of the General Survey in the Southern District
of North America. His "A List of the Inhabitants of East Flor-
ida . from 1763 to 1771" recorded Romans as "Draughts-
man, Mathematician, Navigator," employed by the surveyor
general, De Brahm himself. But this list is misleading, as the
author made no attempt to provide dates of arrival, departure,
or employment of the inhabitants of East Florida. Thus he
leaves the erroneous impression that Romans was employed the
entire eight years by him, when in fact he was De Brahm's assist-
ant less than two years.37
Romans began work on his now best-known but perhaps rarest
map, "Part of the Province of East Florida," in 1766. This same
year, while surveying the southern extremity of the peninsula
and perhaps the north shore of Cuba, he had the minor misfor-
tune of running his vessel aground on the southern part of the

Dry Tortugas bank." On September 27, he arrived in Savannah,
Georgia, from Cuba in his sloop, Mary." Losing little time, he
set out on a second voyage which ended in near-disaster with the
loss of his vessel and property valued at about 500 pounds ster-
ling.40 With reference to the loss of this vessel he wrote: "I re-
ceived a wound in my circumstances which is as yet far from
healed." Although the reference to "circumstances" suggests
that he was writing of his monetary loss in a figurative sense, it
can not be known with certainty that he did not in fact sustain an
actual "wound" which may have plagued him for many years.
From the foregoing, it is reasonable to assume that Romans' sur-
veying activities along the coast of East Florida had been in
progress for some years, perhaps as early as 1763."2
After the loss of his vessel, Romans returned to Georgia,
where he managed to secure appointment as deputy to Henry
Yonge, surveyor general of Georgia." On January 6, 1768, Ro-
mans announced through an advertisement in Savannah's Geor-
gia Gazette that he was settling his affairs by the end of March
and that all of his debtors should "make immediate payment on
pain of finding their accounts in the hands of an attorney at
law." He also informed his friends that he would perform no
further private surveys except under certain stipulated condi-
tions." Apparently Romans experienced unforeseen delays, for in
July of the same year he placed another advertisement in the
Gazette advising the readers that "The Subscriber intending to
leave the province for some time, gives this public notice, that
he is ready to settle all his affairs, and give bail to any suit or ac-
tion that may be brought against him, agreeable to the attach-
ment law of this province." Thus, Romans' tenure as deputy
surveyor for Georgia was relatively brief, extending probably
from the latter part of 1766 to midyear 1768-in all, perhaps
slightly more than one year and a half. Tending to confirm in
general his probable time of departure from Georgia and his




later appointment as "Principal Deputy Surveyor for the South-
ern district, and first commander of the vessels on that service"
is a news item which appeared in the Georgia Gazette, April 12,
1769: "On Sunday last put in here [Savannah] to refit, the
schooner Betsey, having on board Mr. Bernard Romans, with
proper assistants, employed for a considerable time past to sur-
vey the coasts, under the direction of William G. de Brahm, Esq.
Surveyor-General of the southern district of North-America." "
During his relatively short term as deputy surveyor of Geor-
gia, Romans applied for substantial land grants in that colony.
His first petition, read May 5, 1767 in a meeting of the governor
and council, was for 100 acres divided into lots numbered ten
and eleven in Highgate, parish of Christ Church. When one of
these tracts was later found to have been granted previously to
another individual, Romans petitioned for a grant of 57 acres
some ten months later in the same parish. He allowed his claim
to this tract to lapse, and it was granted to Charles Watson in
May 1769."4 His second petition was for the purchase of 500
acres on the Ogeechee River. This was approved on the condi-
tion that he take out a grant for the land and register it within
seven months. He did not purchase this tract, nor did he even
survey it. He instead petitioned for an adjoining tract of 300
acres, 150 of which he sought on family right by virtue of owner-
ship of three slaves and the remaining 150 on purchase. These
tracts were also granted, subject to the usual time and registra-
tion conditions. But they, too, like the adjoining 500 acres, were
lost by default because of Romans' failure to take out the grants
within the allotted time. On December 5, 1769, they were
granted to Henry Yonge, Jr., probably the son of the surveyor
general of Georgia and by then Romans' former employer."
Thus, of the hundreds of acres of crown property in Georgia
sought by Romans, it appears that the fifty-acre lot of his initial
grant was the only tract which he may ever have owned.

In the acquisition of town lots, if not in any tangible benefits
derived therefrom, Romans was more fortunate. He was the
owner of four lots in Sunbury, numbered 189 through 192." In
what manner he acquired these is not known. On October 13,
1783, John Dollar, sheriff of Liberty County in the then recently
created state of Georgia, attached these lots by court order and
published a notice advising claimants to appear "to shew cause
why the said lots should not be adjudged the property of and be-
longing to the said Bernard Romans, the absent debtor." o In a
subsequent suit filed in Superior Court by George Rolfes, Ro-
mans was ordered to appear and "plead within a year and a day,
otherwise judgment by default." The last notice was published
February 10, 1785, but by this time the defendant was deceased."
The way was thus cleared for Rolfes to acquire these lots, prob-
ably by the payment of outstanding indebtedness and court costs.
It was also during his term as deputy surveyor of Georgia that
Romans was employed by John Percival, the second earl of Eg-
mont, to survey and divide his estates on Amelia Island and on
the St. Johns River. According to Romans, it was Egmont who
"introduced [him] into East Florida." 52 From his observations
on these surveys he obtained a knowledge of the northern parts
of the newly-acquired province which he wrote about in his
Concise Natural History and which provided a beginning for
his chart, "Part of the Province of East Florida." And although
it appears that he was still a resident of Georgia on January 12,
1767, Romans nevertheless petitioned for 200 acres of land in
East Florida. A survey and grant for this amount were approved
some two years later, and the grant was signed September 19,
1769. Less than four months later Romans sold his tract of 200
acres on the Nassau River to John Moore for twenty-seven
By the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, England acquired
Canada, Florida, and all lands east of the Mississippi River ex-



cept New Orleans. Additional knowledge of these vast new ter-
ritories was of vital importance. Extensive surveys, both coastal
and inland, were therefore ordered, not only for much of the
original thirteen colonies, but for the newly-created "fourteenth
and fifteenth" colonies of East and West Florida as well. An im-
portant part of this plan was the appointment of surveyors gen-
eral, one each for the northern and southern districts of North
Named to the latter post in 1764 was William Gerard De
Brahm, an eccentric German, who earlier had led a group of
European Lutherans who settled Bethany near Ebenezer, Geor-
gia. He, like Romans, was a learned individual possessing many
talents as "a surveyor, engineer, botanist, astronomer, meterolo-
gist, student of ocean currents, alchemist, sociologist, historian,
and mystical philosopher." For the general survey he received
an annual allowance, which he was expected not to exceed, but
no salary. However, as provincial surveyor general of East Flor-
ida, a position he held concurrently with the other, he received
an annual stipend of 120 with a 30 allowance for an assistant
-an allowance which he also regarded as his own. Furthermore,
he and his deputies were allowed to survey provincial land
grants and charge fees for this service. Moving from Georgia to
St. Augustine in January 1765, De Brahm complied with the
initial priority placed on him by the Board of Trade when he
surveyed "that part of the Province of East Florida which lyes
to the south of St. Augustine, as far as the Cape of Florida, par-
ticularly of the lands lying near the sea Coast of the great prom-
ontory." His eventual insistence on performing the lion's share
of the provincial surveying himself led to charges that the gen-
eral survey suffered as a result, that settlement of the province
was being impeded, and that land grantees were being over-
Romans' appointment by De Brahm in 1769 to the position the
former impressively described as "Principal Deputy Surveyor




for the Southern district, and first commander of the vessels on
that service," inevitably implicated him in this controversy."
Though of different national origins, De Brahm and Romans
shared a common Teutonic heritage which may have done more
to exacerbate than to harmonize the personal and professional
relationship of these two strong-willed and contentious individ-
uals. In any event, on April 16, 1770, numerous charges were
lodged against De Brahm, two of which involved Romans' work
as deputy surveyor. On a "precept from the Surveyor General's
office directed to any lawful deputy," De Brahm refused to cer-
tify the survey of 2,000 acres on Carlos Island performed by Ro-
mans for one William Haven for a fee of 15 9s. According to
Haven, the surveyor general demanded additional fees for his
office, yet refused "to certify the platts" [sic]. A further deterio-
ration of the relationship between the surveyor general and his
"principal deputy" is suggested by De Brahm's action some five
months later. The latter issued a precept on a warrant of survey
dated February 10, 1770, for 500 acres granted to John Heard.
This too was issued "to any Lawful deputy," but later was re-
called by De Brahm and another issued "to any Lawful Deputy
except Bernard Romans." This in effect amounted to the suspen-
sion of his deputy. These and other charges were transmitted to
Lord Hillsborough by Governor James Grant, who, on October
4, 1770, with Council concurrence, finally suspended De Brahm
as provincial surveyor."
Romans' first surveys as "principal deputy" took him to the
west coast of the Florida peninsula and through the central part
of the interior, the examination of both of which he completed in
1769-70. Just how much of the thirty pound annual allowance
for an assistant De Brahm intended to pay Romans can not be
known. But the matter became academic with the suspension of
the surveyor general, as Romans had to sue him to recover only
one-fourth of what he considered was owed him."
During the first year of this work Romans spent more than six


weeks surveying Tampa Bay and at least one of its tributaries.
He praised the body of water as a harbor and provided detailed
sailing directions for safely entering any one of its three pas-
sages. Upon completion of his surveys he sank his small boat in a
river he called the "Manatee," which from his description must
surely have been the present Hillsborough. Departing in June,
he traveled overland with an Indian guide and horses to St. Au-
gustine, where he arrived September 1769. He examined the
"ridge country" of central Florida, later commenting on the bar-
ren sand hills he encountered en route."
Romans wrote knowingly and with feeling of Dr. Andrew
Turnbull and his ill-fated colony of New Smyrna, although, as
previously mentioned, in a manner leaving some doubt as to his
fairness and objectivity in the matter. On his return to St. Au-
gustine he sat for fifteen days as a member of the grand jury
which investigated and returned indictments against certain of
the leaders of the insurrection within the colony. He was present
and witnessed fulfillment of the bizarre judgment of the court,
which ruled that two of the guilty men should be executed by a
third whose life was thereby spared.60
In September 1770, Romans left St. Augustine on a one-year
surveying voyage financed at his own expense. Funds for this
voyage could only have come from his fees as deputy provincial
surveyor, controversial and uncertain as they were, since the sale
of his 200-acre tract on the Nassau River was not consummated
until January of the following year. He completed the unsur-
veyed areas of the "Florida and Bahama Banks," and spent the
last seven months exploring the west coast of the peninsula as far
as Apalachee. From there he followed the coast, obtaining
soundings along the way, until his arrival in Pensacola in mid-
August of 1771. On this voyage he stopped briefly at the south-
ern extremity of the peninsula to survey a 2,000-acre tract for
one Samuel Touchet. He was to have received seventy pounds

for this survey, but it was declared "irregular" by George Mul-
caster, who had replaced the suspended De Brahm, his father-
in-law. Thus, he did not receive "one farthing of this pittance,
which would have scarcely paid for provisions," according to
Upon his arrival in Pensacola about August 15, 1771, Romans
was immediately employed by John Stuart, superintendent of
Indian affairs for the southern district, to survey the western
part of the province.62 Remaining in Pensacola and Mobile long
enough only to survey and chart their bays,"6 he left the latter on
September 20 on a four-month journey which took him through
the Indian nations north and west of his point of departure. By
January 19, 1772, he had completed this phase of his survey and
was back in Mobile, just missing the week-long Choctaw Con-
gress which had adjourned thirteen days earlier.64 Returning to
Pensacola, Romans consolidated his field notes and began a
sketch of the province, utilizing in addition to his own work the
coastal surveys of George Gauld and those of the interior by
David Taitt.65 Gauld was then in Jamaica surveying the Kings-
ton-Port Royal harbor area by order of Admiral Sir George
Rodney, commander in chief of the Red Squadron stationed
there.66 Gauld's work was therefore made available to Romans
by their mutual friend, Dr. John Lorimer, and by John Stuart,
Romans' employer. The small part of Spanish Louisiana west of
the Mississippi depicted on Romans' map came from earlier
French manuscript drafts."
There is no reason to doubt Romans' allegations that Lorimer
was the intermediary for exchange of survey work between Ro-
mans and Gauld. As mentioned earlier, this arrangement led to
the insinuation that Romans "pirated" George Gauld's work.
Quick to take offense, Romans published vehement disavowals
in which he acknowledged his debt to Gauld for his work and to
Lorimer for providing it. He noted that he, too, had made avail-




able part of his work to Gauld at the desire of Lorimer. Romans'
denunciation of his accusers bordered on the libelous and, in the
case of one individual, had to be retracted when it was discov-
ered that he was innocent.68
Despite the frequency with which Gauld's name appears in
connection with Romans and his work, it is doubtful that they
ever met. During the period of a year and a half that Romans
ranged West Florida, Gauld was in Pensacola only two weeks
-December 11-24, 1772." Apart from this interval, the prob-
ability of a chance encounter while each was on survey trips
was remote if not impossible, as Gauld was either surveying the
west coast of the Florida peninsula, Jamaica, or working along
the Florida Keys, while Romans' activity was confined exclu-
sively to West Florida after his arrival in Pensacola in August
Peter Chester, governor of West Florida, was also favorably
impressed with Romans and his work. He employed the sur-
veyor to examine and map the rivers and territories north and
east of Pensacola. Romans spent the three-month period of May,
June, and July of 1772 on this survey and quickly delivered a
draft of his map of this area to Chester.7 In his letter of trans-
mittal to the earl of Hillsborough, the governor characterized
this as a "Map of the Eastern parts of this Province which had
not hitherto been explored." He added that he thought Romans
very capable of performing such surveys, and since much was
yet to be learned of that part of the province, he would continue
to employ him in this service.72
Apart from Governor Chester's reference, nothing else has
come to light of such a map of West Florida based on Romans'
three-month survey. Nor does there appear to be extant a copy
of any such described work, although it was unquestionably in-
corporated in his larger maps. In a letter to George Gauld, who
was then in Jamaica, John Lorimer alluded to this particular

survey by Romans and his drawings of the rivers flowing into
Pensacola Bay. Lorimer also enclosed sketches by Thomas
Hutchins of the same area, and indicated that "Romans' Yellow
Water [Chester River] seems to be more accurately done." This
letter offers further evidence that Lorimer was the mutual con-
tact for exchange of cartographic information between Romans
and Gauld during the relatively short sojourn of the former in
West Florida. Enclosed in this same letter were some roots of the
"real jalap" discovered by Romans on the Chester River. Dr.
Lorimer was able to authenticate the herb and speak with au-
thority on its efficacy, since he was a physician and had tested it
on himself.73
Less than three weeks after transmittal by the governor of his
"Eastern part of the Province," Romans had completed his com-
prehensive "A General Map of West Florida." Styled by
Chester as "A Map of the Province of West Florida," it was
dispatched within a matter of days to the earl of Dartmouth, who
succeeded Hillsborough as secretary of state for American af-
fairs in 1772. This map was also completed at his direction, ac-
cording to Chester, who noted in his letter that he believed it "to
be more perfect and compleat [sic] than any hitherto trans-
mitted from hence." He further noted, as did Romans in another
source, that this map was a compilation: the seacoast from
Gauld's surveys; some parts of the work from [Elias] Durn-
ford's surveys; but the eastern and interior parts of the province
were "laid down from Survey's [sic] made by Mr. Romans." "
Romans himself credited Gauld with the seacoast, making no
reference to the use of any of Durnford's work, but instead
giving credit for part of the interior to David Taitt, sometime
deputy surveyor and Indian commissioner. Combining this work
with his own surveys, he noted that "the Whole [was] Examined
and Carefully Connected at Pensacola the Thirty first day of
August one thousand Seven hundred and Seventy two by the




Same Bernard Romans." He attested to the accuracy of this map
when he stated that the inland parts were often corrected by the
latitude. Inviting particular attention of the seafarer, he further
declared that all the latitudes of the seacoast could be depended
upon with certainty, and that "The Longitude of the Entrance of
Pensacola Harbour upon which all the Rest Depend [sic] was
taken from Observations of the Eclipses of Jupiters [sic] Satel-
lites in one thousand Seven hundred and Sixty Six by John
Lorimer, Esqr. M D [sic] and makes New Orleans in West
Long. 90 which very nearly Agrees with the Observations of
M. Baron of the french Academy and may be Sufficiently De-
pended upon for all the Purposes of Navigation." 76
Transmittal of all dispatches between America and England
was always slow and often uncertain. Romans' map and Ches-
ter's covering letter were placed in the personal care of one Cap-
tain Chadwick of the 16th Regiment, who promised the gover-
nor to deliver them safely into the hands of Lord Hillsborough.
But H. M. S. Planter, bearing Chadwick and his important mis-
sive, put into Ireland in distress and there was condemned as un-
seaworthy. Thus it was that Romans' handiwork was delayed
many months in reaching its final destination."
Romans spent his final months in West Florida employed by
John Stuart, surveying the seacoast between Pensacola and the
mouths of the Mississippi River, including the intervening is-
lands, lakes, bays, and sounds. The cartographic records of this
work, a finished pen and ink chart, delineating as well the Span-
ish Island of Orleans and the river more than fifty miles above
the town, reflected his surveys between June 1772 and January of
the following year. At Stuart's request this and another larger
map were inscribed to General Thomas Gage, commander-in-
chief of forces in North America, and subsequently delivered to
him in New York by Romans."
It was during Romans' sojourn in Pensacola while working on


his maps that he applied for land grants in West Florida. On
August 4, 1772, his two petitions for 100 acres each were read
before a meeting of the governor and council. He sought the first
tract as part of his "Family Rights," no doubt referring to his
slaves, as he had done years earlier in his petition for a similar
family grant in Georgia. The tracts were situated on the "East
part of Pensacola Bay near to a place where John Simpson hath
lately made a Hutt," according to the language of the petition.
The second of these, sought in his own right, was forty or fifty
chains more or less to the southeast of the first. Both petitions
were rejected immediately as "being within the Indian Line." "
In a meeting of September 1, however, his petitions were once
again read, along with a surveyor's certificate signed by Elias
Durnford. The certificate attested to the fact that the tracts were
vacant and appeared to be within the Indian boundary line.
Nevertheless, the governor and council reconsidered and "ad-
vised that the two Tracts be Granted of Vacant and within the
Indian Cession." 8 Thus Romans became the owner of these
tracts even though he was to face a challenge from his neighbor,
Simpson's objection took the form of a petition read before the
governor and council October 7, and a caveat against granting
the land to Romans. In his petition Simpson alleged that he had
"a long time since settled on a Tract of Land up the Middle
River on the Bay of Pensacola where he built a Hut for the ac-
commodation of the Creek Indians." He went on to relate that
he had cleared a great part of the land to raise corn and that he
had informed Romans he intended to apply for the land when it
was ceded by the Indians. Although a squatter himself, he in ef-
fect accused Romans of acting in bad faith and in "an under-
handed manner kept it a secret from your Petitioner until [sic]
he had the Same Land advised to be Granted to him in Council."
And despite the caveat, Romans had applied for a warrant of


survey. Simpson ended his petition by advising that he had never
had any lands granted to him in any part of America. He there-
fore prayed that the circumstances be maturely considered and
that "Your Petitioner may have a Grant of the two hundred
Acres of Land in two Tracts in preference to the Said Romans
in part of his Family Right having a Wife and four Children."
The governor and council postponed the matter until next
"Land day." 81 The final outcome of this controversy is not clear
from the record, but it is unlikely that Romans pressed his claim,
since he left the province some four months later. It is also prob-
able that Romans bore no malice toward his neighbor then or
later, as he subsequently referred to a "Mr. Simpson, the inter-
preter for the savages . and a man of veracity." 82 Presum-
ably this was the same individual who took legal action to block
Romans' land grants.
After one year of surveying and drafting maps of the western
part of West Florida for Governor Chester and John Stuart,
Romans no doubt could see an end to work for him in the prov-
ince. He therefore made a concentrated personal effort in Pensa-
cola and at the same time wrote to London to interest one highly-
placed official in the botanical possibilities of the country. In so
doing, he revealed yet another facet of his many-sided storehouse
of knowledge. Even as he continued his surveying he gathered
plants, seeds, and specimens, classifying and drawing sketches of
certain of these. He submitted botanical sketches and a specimen
of "Jalap" to Governor Chester for transmittal with his map.
One may assume that Romans did an effective job of selling him-
self and his ideas, since the governor was prompted to comment
that "As this Mr. Romans appears to be an ingenious man, and
both naturalist and Botanist-I think him worthy of some En-
couragement." Chester suggested to Hillsborough that an an-
nual salary of fifty or sixty pounds might well be sufficient
inducement for Romans to remain and take up the duties of pro-

vincial botanist." The governor's dispatch praising Romans and
his work was "laid before the King," who approved the pro-
posal. Accordingly, Lord Dartmouth, by now secretary of state,
authorized the salary in the closing month of 1772. Thus there
was included in the budget for the fiscal year June 24, 1773-74,
"an allowance to Mr. Romans for his care and Skill in the Col-
lection of rare and useful Productions in Physick & Botany" in
the amount of fifty pounds. But Romans' salary, if not too little,
was at least too late to achieve its stated purpose, for by then he
had departed the province.84
Romans' initial attempt to interest the colonial home office in
his botanical proposals is evidenced in two dispatches to John
Ellis, fiscal agent for West Florida. Born in Ireland about 1710,
Ellis lived to become, in the words of Carl Linnaeus, "a bright
star of natural history [and] the main support of natural history
in England." At forty-four years of age he became a fellow of
the Royal Society and subsequently had numbers of publications
to his credit, one of which was translated into the French lan-
guage. Ellis was engaged in business as a merchant in London
with but little success until his appointment in 1764 as agent for
West Florida. Six years later he received as well the agency for
Dominica. With these appointments came many correspondents,
including Romans, and the opportunity to import various Amer-
ican seeds. It was to a man who had distinguished himself in the
diverse fields of business, politics, and natural history that Ro-
mans therefore directed his attentions in London."8
The fact that the fiscal agent for West Florida was also a natu-
ralist of international renown could only have been regarded by
Romans as a stroke of good fortune. This fortuitous circum-
stance, he rightly guessed, would assure that Ellis the botanist
would view his proposals with kindly and discerning eyes, while
Ellis the fiscal agent, he hoped, would use his influence to im-
plement them. Penned in the precise hand of the master drafts-




man over a signature adorned with flourishes, two dispatches
were sent by Romans to Ellis at Gray's Inn, London, on the same
date-August 13, 1772. One of these was titled "Some Observa-
tions on a Catalogue of Plants publishes [published] by John
Ellis, Esqre., F.R.S." In this he listed and commented on some
twenty genera of plants indigenous to Carolina, Georgia, the
Floridas, and one which grew "on an uninhabited island in the
West Indies." As its title implies, all were found in Ellis' cata-
log. Though Romans' "observations" unquestionably contrib-
uted to the knowledge of botany in West Florida, they also con-
stituted a rare and subtle form of flattery. Ellis could not have
failed to note that his work was read and understood even in the
wilds of this frontier province.86
Accompanying the dispatches was Romans' "Scheme for a Bo-
tannical Garden in West Florida." He proposed a nursery near
Pensacola to transplant and observe curious or unclassified
plants which might be discovered in "any distant part of this
country" from the time of its flowering, through the fruit-bear-
ing and seed-producing periods, to final propagation. He ob-
served that this could be very tedious and "sometimes be even
liable to the disappointment of years." Clearly, Romans envi-
sioned long-range planning for his proposal. He suggested a lo-
cation with a northern and southern exposure which would in-
clude moist and swampy ground as well as dry and sandy soil
with some oak lands. The preparation of the soil with clay, sea-
weed, and manure would, he thought, produce a greater variety
of plants than far richer soil, including every plant that "Grows
from the Capes of Florida to Canada." Even certain of the West
India plants of Jamaica and Cuba might be brought more easily
to this garden than to any other part of the continent. The vari-
ety of curious and useful plants growing along the coast from the
Mississippi to the Tortugas, and especially along the banks of
the rivers of West Florida and the high land toward the Indian


nations, was immense. And apart from being the most centrally
located, Pensacola was the only place which afforded frequent
opportunities for sending growing plants to England, Romans
In preparing his estimate in [Spanish milled] dollars and
reals of the cost of this "Botanical Garden," Romans included the
cost of a house and fencing at $500, to be amortized at an annual
cost of $50 for ten years, further indication of the long range im-
plications of his plans. "Wages for two hands constantly em-
ployed in the Gardens" he set at $96 and provisions for them at
$72. Tools, utensils, and frames and glass for the protection of
tender tropical plants brought the total to $250. He shrewdly
omitted the salary and traveling expenses of the botanist, nor did
he total the estimate, perhaps hoping thereby to encourage Ellis
to insert a more generous sum than he himself would have dared.
Unquestionably, Romans wanted the assignment as botanist and
was leaving the door open for salary and expenses. As previously
mentioned, Romans was belatedly named botanist for West Flor-
ida, but just what part Ellis played in his appointment, if any, is
not known. On the basis of subsequent letters it is evident, how-
ever, that Romans came to regard the famous naturalist as his
benefactor. One need wonder no longer why his Concise Natural
History was dedicated "To John Ellis, Esq., Fellow of the Royal
Societys [sic] of London and Upsal" [Upsala]."8
In February 1773, Romans was in New Orleans after con-
cluding the surveys and maps for Stuart and Chester. His
knowledge of the country thereabouts, gained on this or a pre-
vious trip, led him later to write movingly and prophetically
"upon the fatal mistake of leaving the isle of New-Orleans in
the hands of the French and consequently of the Spaniards!"
They were using the unsurpassed timber for the building of fine
frigates, he noted. But worse yet, the Spaniards were leaving
their own trees standing and despoiling the English side of the


lake of its valuable timber. "Might not England herself in-
finitely rather build ships of war, and sell them to her enemies,
and so make profits of them, than to be obliged to behold this
with supineness?" he moralized."
Romans by now must have viewed his surveys and cartogra-
phy of West Florida as largely completed. And since he had not
heard from John Ellis, nor could he have had any inkling that
he would be named botanist of West Florida, he accepted an
offer of employment in Carolina from John Stuart, with the
promise of a salary of 150 annually. Engaging passage on the
schooner Liberty, Captain John Hunt commanding, he departed
in February 1773. While proceeding northbound in the Gulf
Stream along the lower east coast of the Florida peninsula, the
vessel was swept over on her beam-ends, no doubt by a sudden
and unexpected squall. Their boats and "caboose," as their
small on-deck galley was termed, were lost, and the vessel sus-
tained serious damage.90 His prior knowledge of the coast was
used to good advantage by Captain Hunt and the crew when
Romans conducted the crippled vessel to a nearby deep-water
refuge where emergency repairs were made. Here a man and a
boy were sent ashore on a makeshift raft to secure sand for a
"kind of caboose" and no doubt to replenish their supply of
firewood and fresh water, thereby enabling them to continue
their voyage."
The capsize or "over-set" of the schooner Liberty, as Romans
termed the casualty, was a near disaster for all on board, but was
perhaps more serious in its consequences for him than for the
others. His irreplaceable collection of seeds and dry specimens
of plants "gathered in the Western parts of America" [West
Florida], with the exception of a few of the former, were also
lost. The few seeds he managed to save he gave to a "Dr.
Gardner at Charlestown" [sic], but he feared that they were "in
a State past vegetation." Having thus advised John Ellis of this

loss, he assured him: "I shall continue to send some more draw-
ings of curious plants & employ myself as regularly as my
present situation will permit to make a Collection of what Ever
comes under my observation & is rare, in order to Send to
Europe." 92 There is little doubt that had this collection been
saved from the perils of the sea Romans would have sent it on to
Ellis. Notwithstanding this and their other losses, the casualty
was not the tragedy it might have been. Their lives were spared,
and the subsequent publication of Romans' numerous works
offers mute testimony that he was able to save at least part of his
copious notes, journals, and drawings from which the final
drafts of certain of these emerged.
Romans' arrival in Charleston was not a happy occasion for
him. For some undisclosed reason Stuart refused to employ him,
leading to the statement by Romans that he had been deluded by
the superintendent. Romans viewed this alleged deception as
later justification for him to publish without permission that
part of his work done under Stuart's direction. From the stand-
point of his own personal finances, leaving West Florida was
even more critical than his earlier departure from East Florida,
where he had been able, at least for a time, to earn fees as deputy
provincial surveyor. Thus he arrived in Charleston after a trying
and perilous voyage, probably short on funds if not destitute. He
could ill afford to remain there without employment, and he
therefore proceeded to New York, where he set about capitaliz-
ing on the only thing of value he possessed-his observations on
East and West Florida."
Before Romans departed Charleston, Stuart had one final as-
signment for him, although minor in nature and perhaps
gratuitous. He entrusted to Romans' care the two maps which he
had earlier authorized the bearer to draft, with instructions to
deliver them personally to General Thomas Gage, commander
of His Majesty's forces in North America. In his letter of April




22, 1773, from Charleston, which suggests as well the approxi-
mate date of Romans' departure for New York, Stuart referred
to the first of these as a "Map of West Florida containing Mr.
Romans and Mr. Taitts [sic] observations and the different es-
tablished boundary lines." Stuart advised the general of certain
errors introduced into the map by Taitt and Romans, particu-
larly with reference to the course of the road "as laid down" by
the former, and the misplaced Chickasaw Nation drawn in by
the latter. Stuart expressed regret for sending the uncorrected
map but wanted Gage to have it before his imminent departure
for England. Besides, he wrote, if your Excellency should
think proper to ask him any Questions [Romans] will Account
(he says) for this Blunder." Stuart added that he had "employed
Mr. Romans to take a Survey of the Sea Coast [sic] between
Pensacola & the Mouths of the Mississippi with the Bays &
lakes of which I also Submit a Copy, and Hope the whole will
be Acceptable." "
Stuart's thoughtfulness in providing Gage with these two
maps and his foresight in having Romans inscribe them to him
as commander-in-chief could only have pleased the general.
Upon his arrival in New York about June 1, 1773, Romans was
ushered into the presence of General Gage who received the
maps and listened attentively to his explanation of the "blun-
der." Gage evinced his appreciation to the superintendent when
he wrote: "Mr. Romans delivered me the Map of West Florida
for which I have many Thanks to give you. He cleared up the
Error you take Notice of and upon the whole I have a much
better Idea of all that Country than I ever conceived before." "
It was in New York that Romans learned of his appointment
as botanist of West Florida and his fifty-pound annual grant,
information which he transmitted to John Ellis, perhaps un-
necessarily. Romans had begun work on his publications and
desperately needed the money, but there was one hitch: he had


had no opportunity to obtain Governor Chester's "Certificate"
for payment. In these circumstances he took what he considered
to be an unusual measure; he procured a "Certificate of my Ex-
istence under the Seal of the Mayorally [sic] of this City," and
drew on John Ellis for the entire fifty pounds in favor of E[nn]-
is Graham. Romans admitted to the possible irregularity of
this method, but in justification wrote Ellis: "as I am at present
much streightened [sic] for want of cash I have been obliged
to take this step. I hope therefore you will be so kind as to
honour my Draught." Romans' reference almost five months
later to a "beneficence" unrelated to the "draught" leaves no
doubt that the naturalist had befriended Romans in an extraor-
dinary manner. Whether this reference was to possible influence
exerted in London by the fiscal agent to secure Romans' appoint-
ment as botanist with its fifty pound annual salary cannot be
known in the absence of Ellis' letters."
Romans' lack of funds later reached such a critical state that
he again wrote Ellis asking that he use his influence and recom-
mend him "to some place or business." He assured his bene-
factor that "be it never so trifling, I will strive to shew my
gratitude by close application to duty." As in an earlier letter he
once more suggested that he be granted an exclusive patent for
the "curing and vending of Jalap in West Florida," noting that
it would be of great service to him. The quality was very good,
he observed, and he had no doubt that he could "so increase the
quantity, that Britain might be Supplied with this article from
the Province, but without Such a privilege for Some Years at
least I think it would hardly be any persons [sic] while," he con-
The coming months brought no noticeable improvement in
Romans' finances, depleted no doubt by the constant demand for
funds to complete his publications. He was therefore compelled
to take extraordinary measures to provide at least one of the


luxuries, if not the necessities, of life. On August 10, 1774, he
signed a note payable three months later to one Benjamin
Hildreth in the amount of 27 5s Id for two hogsheads of rum.
To secure this note in case of his death he pledged all his effects,
"especially the Copperplates of his work." One can only specu-
late on the acquisition of such an inordinate quantity of rum at
a cost of more than half a year's salary by an individual who had
written on its evils in a book he was even then publishing." Con-
ceivably, his personal habits were at some variance with his ad-
vice to others.
In New York Romans began a period of activity marked
by some two years of writing and appearances before learned
societies seeking support and subscribers for his forthcoming
publications. His various "advertisements" in the colonial peri-
odicals from time to time attested to the progress of his work
and also were calculated to encourage subscribers. He was ad-
mitted to membership in the Marine Society of New York on
August 2, 1773, and eighteen days later was in Philadelphia
where he attended a meeting of the American Philosophical
Society. He deposited with this distinguished group a description
of two nondescript West Florida plants, a paper on the improve-
ment of the mariner's compass, and exhibited "A Chart of the
Navigation to, & in, the New Ceeded Countries." The chart was
referred to a select committee "to compare it with Mr. Gauld's
account of the same country; also to consider their opinion of
the Paper on the Compass." Romans later mailed to the Society
a drawing of the previously described specimens and a drawing
and description of another. On January 21, 1774, Romans, John
Ellis, and George Gauld, among others, were honored by elec-
tion to membership in the Society-Gauld, oddly enough, for a
second time. Although never a member of the Boston Marine
Society, Romans probably appeared before this group. A terse
notation in their records indicated their thought "that Mr.


Romans [sic] draught to the southwd [sic] is worthy of recom-
mendation." These pursuits did not entirely occupy his time or
energies. During the early months of 1774 he submitted three
articles for publication in the Royal American Magazine."
Some idea of the depth of Romans' inquiring mind is sug-
gested by his visits with Ezra Stiles, one of the outstanding intel-
lectuals of the day and later president of the then struggling
Yale College. On a trip to Newport, Rhode Island, in March
1775, Romans met with Stiles on three different days during
which they discussed the former's forthcoming publications and
his knowledge of the native tribes of the New World based on
his travels among them from Labrador to Panama. Stiles in turn
allowed Romans to examine Plato's Critias and Diodorus Sicu-
lus "for the history of the island of Atlas" [Atlantis].
That Romans was also a man of vision and imagination seems
equally clear. His earlier proposal to Lord Dartmouth, years
ahead of its time and obliquely mentioned in his Concise Nat-
ural History, would have involved a "journey through America
to Asia." Naturally, he hoped to lead such an expedition, but by
May 1774, he noted that the "present troubles in America" left
him with little hope that it might be undertaken. This "grieves
me much," he wrote to Ellis, "as I live in a part of the World
where the Study of Nature and its votaries is in a most unac-
countable manner Neglected & I have but Little Else to recom-
mend me to the attention of mankind."10'
Quite apart from his literary efforts and public appearances,
Romans had to attend to certain purely technical details before
he would finally see his work in print. Presumably these, too,
entailed travels from New York to Philadelphia, where special
paper had been manufactured for the maps; to New Haven to
secure the expert services of his fellow surveyor and engraver,
Abel Buell; and thence to Boston where the master coppersmith,
Paul Revere, completed the plates and finally delivered the first

of these to Providence. His optimistic publication date of Janu-
ary 1, 1775, was delayed by some four months because of the
"struggle . with the art and mystery of Copper-plate print-
ing." Thus it was near the end of April before he was able to
advertise that his published work was ready for delivery.
Romans was pleased with the number of subscribers and pub-
licly acknowledged his thanks for their favors. He hoped, how-
ever, that their orders and payments would be forthcoming im-
mediately, as the expense had greatly exceeded his expectations.
He added that the book could not be spared separately, but that
a few complete copies were yet available to non-subscribers at
sixteen dollars each.102
The growing unrest in the American colonies erupted in April
1775 with the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord. The pre-
occupation with the impending revolution, coming at the same
time that Romans was advertising his publications, could not
have been a propitious time for their sale. If the record of his
earlier financial condition is any indication, he must have been so
deeply in debt that his fifty-pound stipend as botanist of West
Florida would have been inadequate for his needs. Nor had his
friend and benefactor, John Ellis, been able to provide further
help. Indeed, his death the following year severed Romans'
final link with the home government. In an earlier plea to Ellis,
he succinctly summed up his position when he wrote: "I lead a
very neglected life and am very hard put to it to maintain my-
self and I have no [other] friend in Europe to whom to ap-
Most of Romans' work in the American colonies had been
performed for officials of the British crown. But the relatively
short tenure of each assignment suggests a degree of dissatisfac-
tion on the part of certain of his employers, on his own part, or
both. His acknowledged displeasure with De Brahm and Stuart
suggests that he felt aggrieved by them. Moreover, Romans



was not English-born, nor did he have anyone to consider but
himself. Thus his loyalty to the crown may well have been more
sustained by expediency than rooted in deep conviction. The
only thing he stood to lose was his fifty pound grant as botanist
of West Florida, and he could not reasonably expect this to
continue indefinitely, since he had done nothing to earn it since
his appointment. His decision to join the American patriots was
therefore probably not difficult.
Knowledge of Romans' defection eventually reached Gov-
ernor Chester in West Florida, who notified Lord Dartmouth
that the surveyor had left the province in 1773 and had not re-
turned. He therefore recommended that Dr. John Lorimer
be appointed botanist in Romans' place and receive the same
fifty-pound salary. Dartmouth's successor, Lord George Ger-
main, approved the proposal and noted in his letter to Chester:
"I am sorry that Mr. Romans has made so ill a return to the
kindness shown him by Government. . But as he has proved
himself to be an unfaithful subject of his Majesty, he no longer
deserves countenance or protection; and I have accordingly
given orders to the agent to refuse payment of his bills for such
part of the former grants as remains in his hands." Romans'
sinecure, for which he received payment for no more than two
fiscal years, thus passed to his friend and former associate in
West Florida, John Lorimer.10
It was in 1775, while Romans was in Hartford, that he was
caught up in the initial enthusiasm of the patriots' cause. Their
action at this time consisted of a poorly organized but success-
ful mission to take possession of "Ticonderoga and its depend-
encies," the ordnance of which was considered to be of great
strategic value. Since the proposal was first suggested by Captain
Edward Mott, he was placed in charge of the operation. Ro-
mans, named a member of the "committee," was, he thought,
qualified for a leadership role by virtue of his training as an



engineer. As the expedition gathered momentum-and followers
-the question of command became the most troublesome of all.
Setting out from Hartford a day early, Romans and his com-
panion, Noah Phelps, were soon joined by Mott and a small
contingent. Their mission was perhaps the poorest kept secret of
the American Revolution: all the leading "windbags" of Con-
necticut knew about it and were anxious to make their mark by
actively participating in it, including Benedict Arnold and
Ethan Allen, the self-appointed leader of the "Green Mountain
Boys" who even then had a fifty-pound price on his head as a
"rioter" for participating in "sundry violent outrages on the
person of one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace." "1
When Mott, Romans, and the others reached Pittsfield, the
plan was revealed to James Easton, a local tavern owner. He,
too, was anxious to share the glory and summoned John Brown,
a local lawyer, to whom the details were also confided. Together
they scoured the countryside "rousing the militia and gathering
provisions with the utmost secrecy." Their arrival in Bennington
at the Catamount Tavern, Ethan Allen's "headquarters," was
the signal for him to take command of his "boys." His sub-
ordinates would be Easton and Seth Warner, a latecomer pos-
sessed of "poise and good sense."
When Benedict Arnold learned that the Allen-Mott expedi-
tion was well along in its plans and proceeding without him, he
sped toward Castleton on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain,
where the group had assembled prior to the attack. "Send for-
ward as many men to join the Army as you can posably [sic]
spare," he wrote, sensing that he might otherwise be short on
troops in the midst of Allen's "army" of exuberant highlanders.
It was into an expedition already top-heavy with self-appointed
leadership that Colonel Arnold rode, brandishing his commis-
sion and demanding to take command. Though the colonel had
not a single man, his duly authenticated commission and his



persistence won for him co-leadership of the hastily recruited
militia. Thus Arnold and Allen marched side by side to victory
over a surprised and sleeping garrison, accepting jointly the
"capitulation" of Fort Ticonderoga-"Sounding Water"-from
a captain still in his night clothes at dawn of May 10, 1775.107
By the time the expedition reached Bennington, Romans had
seen more than enough of self-appointed leaders. Indeed, he
was no doubt overwhelmed by them, despite his protestations
that he, too, had been assigned a leadership role. He therefore
left the group and proceeded to the head of the lake and took
possession "of what time and weather had left of Fort George."
Romans' discontent with the manner in which the expedition
was being conducted was indicated by Mott's comment: "Mr.
Romans left us and joined us no more; we were all glad, as he
had been a trouble to us, all the time he was with us." Romans'
only "prisoner" was one John Nordberg, who informed Romans
that he did not belong to the army but "may be considered a half
pay officer invalid." Romans accordingly issued him a "passport
to go to New London" to recover his health, adding that because
of his age he might go wherever he pleased.108
Romans could claim no outstanding credit for the "capture"
of Fort George, nor did he attempt to do so. He returned quietly
to Ticonderoga where he assisted Arnold in making an inven-
tory of the captured cannon and ordnance stores taken with the
fort. Romans further assisted Arnold at Fort George where they
prepared the serviceable cannon for shipment to Albany for use
of the patriot army at Cambridge. Romans journeyed to Albany
in this connection and was of such service to Arnold that he
wrote to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety in praise of
Romans: "I think him a very spirited, judicious gentleman, who
has the service of his country much at heart, and hope he will
meet proper encouragement." 1o9
Having failed in his preemptive bid to become the sole com-




mander of the expedition, Arnold at least shared in the glory of
capture and now seemed disinclined to remain on the scene, even
as commander. One may suspect that he hoped to move on im-
mediately to even greater triumphs. In any event, the day after
the fall of Ticonderoga he wrote the Massachusetts Committee
of Safety apprising it of the capture and the undisciplined and
chaotic situation created by Allen and "his own wild people."
He added that he would be "extremely glad" to be relieved by
a proper person but vowed to stay on until he had received
further advice and orders. Three days later he wrote again, ad-
vising, among other things, that he had about one hundred men
with more to be expected "every minute," noting that the dispute
between him and Allen was "subsiding." Romans was quoted as
"representing the garrison at Ticonderoga in a feeble state, both
as to men and provisions." Less than a week later Arnold once
again wrote that he would be "extremely glad" to be superseded
in his command, and added discouragingly that it would be
"next to impossible to repair the old fort at Ticonderoga" and
that he was not qualified to build a new one. "I am really of
opinion it will be necessary to employ one thousand or fifteen
hundred men here this summer, in which I have the pleasure of
being joined in sentiment by Mr. Romans, who is esteemed an
able engineer," Arnold wrote in further praise of his associate
and in support of his own judgment."0
Only a few months after the capture of "Ticonderoga and its
dependencies," the Provincial Congress of New York, at the
urging of General Phillip Schuyler, recognized the necessity of
securing the Hudson River for patriot use and thus closing this
vitally important waterway to the British. The suggestion that
fortifications be built at the Highlands opposite West Point was
made to the Continental Congress, which in turn approved the
plan and authorized the provincial body to proceed accordingly.
To implement this plan they appointed five commissioners, "any

three or more of them empowered to act, manage and direct the
building and finishing thereof."' During the recess of the New
York Provincial Congress, the Committee of Safety of that
colony held a conference with Romans and engaged him as
engineer to build this fortification. Romans remonstrated that
he might lose his fifty-pound "pension" as botanist of West
Florida when this fact became known. He therefore hoped that
he would be employed as an engineer in the Continental service
-in effect, a permanent assignment. The committee was unable
to grant that request, but it promised a temporary salary of $50
a month "and informed him that it was probable his services
would be wanted." Though the committee earlier had intended
to have a conference with the commissioners and the engineer
who was expected from Philadelphia before issuing instructions,
the record is not clear that any such meeting occurred. Romans
later wrote that "said gentlemen gave me their words that I
should be appointed principal Engineer for the Province, with
the rank and pay of Colonel." With this division of authority
and responsibility the seeds of a full-scale controversy were thus
sown. That the "Commissioners at the Fortifications in the
Highlands" later resented Romans and that he regarded their
authority over him lightly if at all is apparent from the record
of their subsequent altercation.1
With characteristic dispatch, Romans began work on the
project August 29 and in less than three weeks had prepared
cost estimates and plans for what he considered adequate de-
fenses at the Highlands. These he submitted not to his nominal
superiors, the commissioners, but to the Committee of Safety,
which in turn forwarded them to the Continental Congress. In
his accompanying signed report, dated "North River, Marte-
laar's Rock, or Martyr's Reach, September 14, 1775," Romans
explained in some detail the terrain, the batteries, blockhouses,
and the suggested armament for each. In apologizing for his




draftsmanship he wrote: "I must beg the Honourable House to
pardon the coarseness of the drawings, they being done in an
inconvenient place, and at a distance from my instruments." 112
John Berrien, one of the commissioners and commissary for
the group, was able to give first-hand information of these
developments when he write from New York to "Constitutional
Fort," probably to his three colleagues at the Highlands:
"Mr. Romans arrived here Last Sunday; on Monday I went
with him to the Committee of Safety, where he Exhibited his
plan of the works to them & the next day the Estimates of Ex-
pences; on the Whole they seem Pleased with them & I must
Confess to you I have a high Opinion of the Plan & of his
Abilities-the Committee sent off an Express with the plan &
Expences; to the Continental Congress the Same day he gave the
last in. Yesterday Morning he Set off for New Haven, to be
back in Six days & as soon as he Returns here I Expect he will be
Dispatched to you." Despite the presence of their colleague
with Romans, the three commissioners apparently viewed his ap-
pearance before the Committee of Safety before consultation
with them as insubordination and a slight to their responsibility
and authority. Thus, on September 25, they dispatched a letter
advising this body: "We should have esteemed ourselves happy,
had we been consulted on this subject before it had been sent
forward. . We conceive that an operation of this kind is in-
tended for the defence of the Colony, and for the advantage of
America in general. If we are right in our conjecture, Mr. Ro-
mans's plan is not sufficient; it will be only a temporary ex-
pedient, to prevent vessels going up the river; and should the
fortification fall into the hands of the Ministerial Troops, it will
prove the ruin of the Province." The three commissioners con-
tinued by questioning Romans' estimate of the cost of the de-
fenses and emphasized their position when they added: "As we
will not be answerable for measures we cannot conduct, there-
fore request the favour of you, gentlemen, to inform us whether

we are under Mr. Roman's direction, or whether he is obliged
to consult with us upon the measures to be pursued. You cannot
blame us for this request, as the safety, honour, and interest of our
Country, and its future welfare, depend upon this important
post." "1 How the commissioners were able to prejudge Romans'
plans without seeing them is not clear.
This letter apparently was not without effect. On September
9, Romans once again appeared before the Committee of Safety
and delivered what amounted to a contract to erect the fortifica-
tions at the Highlands. He offered to complete the entire project,
only ordnance excepted, for 5,000, a figure some 350 greater
than his earlier itemized estimate. He proposed that the whole
management be under his direction and "that the commissioners
only have the trouble of supervising my execution, and answer-
ing the orders I draw from time to time in favour of the work-
men and furnishers of material." In effect, he suggested that they
rubber-stamp his work and meet current expenses. The other
stipulations were relatively minor in nature. Consideration of
the entire proposal was postponed until the following day.14
The decisions made by the Committee of Safety in answer to
the requests of Romans and the commissioners could not have
pleased either. After conferring the next morning they rejected
his proposal to contract the construction of the fortifications,
agreeing only to pay him for his services as an engineer. Nor
would they designate him as [colonial] engineer or agree on his
suggested salary of twenty shillings per day for his services,
hinting instead that twelve shillings would be more appropriate.
During the same meeting the Committee agreed to a letter which
was transmitted to the three complaining commissioners remind-
ing them "that Mr. Romans was brought to assist in planning
and directing the fortifications by your advice and request."
They added that "Mr. Romans is now to proceed to you and give
you his best advice and assistance as an engineer." "'
The New York Provincial Congress was equally indifferent



to the smoldering controversy when, on October 12, 1775, in
compliance with a resolution received from the Continental
Congress, it ordered the commissioners to journey to the High-
lands and several other places along the Hudson, and with
Romans' assistance, render their "opinions as to the fortifications
necessary to be built at these [other] places, with an estimate of
the expenses." 116
The report of this tour of inspection, dated October 16, was
written by Romans and enclosed in a letter from the commis-
sioners to the Provincial Congress. The report gave an optimistic
view of the progress of the work at the Highlands, considering
the late seasonal start and the shortage of timber. He thought
that in three weeks time the fortifications would be of sufficient
strength to withstand "the brunt of as large a ship of rank as can
come here, and two or three small fry." He listed the need for
cannon and urged more workmen, especially masons. He con-
sidered that a battery at Moore's House, about one mile up-
river from West Point, "seems, at present . entirely useless."
He promised, however, to examine the matter further. Romans
wrote discouragingly of the idea of works on the west side of the
river above Verplanck's Point, but "at Pooploop's Kill, opposite
to Anthony's nose, it is a very important pass; the river [is]
narrow, commanded a great ways up and down, full of counter
currents, and subject to constant fall winds; nor is there any
anchorage at all, except close under the works to be erected." He
gave other reasons for the suitability of this location for defense
works and ended his "Remarks" by noting: "I understand that
it will be an easy matter to obstruct the navigation of the river,
so as to confine it to 12 or 14 feet; and in that case it remains
large enough [i.e., deep enough] for our use, and without new
inventions and construction the enemy can do us very little hurt."
Considering their earlier disagreements, it is noteworthy that
two of the dissident commissioners agreed with Romans when



they endorsed his report, writing: "We have considered the
above remarks and fully concur in opinion with the engineer." "
On the same day the New York Provincial Congress issued
orders for the tour of inspection, Romans wrote that body from
the Highlands, by now called Fort Constitution, reminding its
members of their promise that he would be appointed principal
engineer for the province with the rank and pay of colonel. He
further pointed out that he had been engaged in the work at
the fort since August 29 and prayed that his "commission may be
made out and sent." Indulging in a degree of hyperbole on the
one hand, yet viewing his benefits from the crown with the ut-
most realism on the other, he concluded: "I have left the pursuit
of my own business, which was very considerable, and en-
dangered my pension with the Crown, by engaging in our great
common cause. These matters considered, I hope my request
will be thought reasonable, and therefore complied with." Con-
sideration on his request was deferred until the appropriate
committee report was read. Though his subsequent petition and
memorial to the New York Provincial Congress leaves no doubt
that he considered that he had been appointed provincial en-
gineer with the rank and pay of colonel, there is no record that
any such commission was ever issued."8
Despite the disappointment of not receiving his commission,
Romans continued work on Fort Constitution under conditions
which he considered far from satisfactory. In a long letter to
the commissioners he first of all criticized the plan he was
obliged to pursue as "a very lame one." He expressed his dis-
satisfaction with the inadequate number of attendants for the
twenty-seven masons, blaming their slow progress on this short-
age. He pointed out the unavailability of timber on the island
and the necessity for delivery from other areas. He found fault
with the carpenters and their work, preferring, however, the
country carpenter over his counterpart from the city. He strenu-



ously recommended that oxen be procured, and pointed out the
savings which would thereby result. He admitted his own error
in misjudging the roughness of the terrain and the shortage of
timber, which occasioned a corresponding error in the number
of tools he had ordered. Blasting powder for the miners [quar-
reymen] was also needed, the use of which he felt would result
in a substantial saving. He found fault with the accounting of
the steward and pointed out the need for a tool clerk whose
duties, he thought, could be performed by the steward without
adding greatly to his labors. His final complaint involved un-
authorized visitors, of which he wrote: "The number of stran-
gers who come, nolens volens, to visit us, is a gross grievance. A
rascal, who does not vouchsafe to lift his hat to us, nor even
avoids to insult us, comes into our innermost recess, and inter-
rupts us, perhaps at a time when we are consulting the welfare
of the community." Throughout this long letter he supported
his conclusions of a technical nature with appropriate figures and
estimated savings.119
The commissioners, who obviously regarded Romans' letter of
complaint as an attack on their own judgment, were quick to
respond. They categorically answered each complaint, disagree-
ing with many of his conclusions, defending their own actions
for the most part, and giving grudging support only in minor
degree on certain technical matters. Their "ninthly" touched an
unusually sensitive area with Romans. They accused him of in-
terfering with the steward's office and the accounting of victuals
expended, inferring that he was also requesting an assistant
when in fact he suggested only that the steward assume the
duties of tool clerk. Moreover, the commissioners insisted that
Romans dismiss his Negro servant as they alleged they had
previously ordered. According to them he was "a nuisance, and
has caused more dissatisfaction amongst the people than ever
we could learn from any particular favours shown to the country



Determined to have the last word in his controversy with the
commissioners, Romans appeared equally resolute in his desire
to overwhelm them with logic. He therefore proceeded to re-
fute, also categorically and in virtually every particular, the
items contained in their answer to his earlier letter of complaint.
Romans wrote in part: "As I am a great hater of epistolary al-
tercation, I was not willing to answer your long starter of diffi-
culties, which seems to me a declared commencement of a paper
war, instead of an answer to my reasonable remonstrances . .
but as I am determined that you should not think yourselves
unanswerable, I resolved, this morning, to honour your long
answer with as short a reply as the nature of things will allow;
at the same time assuring you that this will be the last paper I
shall blacken on this head, and that I will take care that my pen
shall proclaim the voice of truth." His "short reply" ran on for
several pages, but did in fact appear to end the "paper war" if
not the actual controversy. He was adamant on the matter of his
Negro servant, as he continued: "It is hard indeed, that I, who
in my private station have for many years past never been with-
out a servant, or even two or three, should be raised to a public
one to be debarred that privilege. While I was in the service of
the King my pay was greater, and I had sundry rations allowed,
although my servants were in pay, and drew provisions besides."
Concluding his long letter, he reminded the commissioners: "I
interrupt none of your powers. I meddle with none; but you
have hindered me from having as much again work done; and
till I am sole director of my plans, things cannot go well. None
can be more happy in the union you mention; but if I must be
cap in hand, gentlemen, to be an overseer under you, it will not
do, depend on it. I have too much blood in me for so mean an
action, and you must seek such submissive engineers else-
where." 121 Interestingly, when this exchange of correspondence
occurred, Romans and the commissioners were at the same site,
suggesting that their relationship had deteriorated beyond the



point of oral communication or that they were anxious to make
their respective positions a matter of written record.
The work continued despite the inclement winter weather and
the impasse between Romans and the three commissioners at the
site. Money was advanced by the New York Provincial Con-
gress to the former for his wages and to the latter through John
Berrien to meet the costs of construction. Clearly, however, there
was a need to resolve the controversy if the fortifications were
ever to be completed. Accordingly, the New York Congress or-
dered Berrien to accompany an investigating committee com-
posed of three legislators, Thomas Palmer and Colonels Francis
Nicoll and Joseph Drake, authorized to journey to the fortifi-
cations and report on the entire situation. It was represented to
the Congress that Berrien knew of the controversy but was dis-
interested and, moreover, had some influence with the engineer
and the other commissioners.122
The committee report was not at all favorable to Romans,
either as to the military value of his plans or as to his relation-
ship with the commissioners. Of the latter the committee re-
ported in part, "that after examining into the matters of com-
plaint from both parties, they are of opinion that Mr. Romans
must either have mistaken the charge committed to him by the
honourable Committee of Safety, by request of the Commis-
sioners, or, as appears from his conduct, has assumed powers
with which he knew he was not entrusted . [and] that Mr.
Romans was to blame in refusing to consult the Commissioners
on every matter of importance, before he attempted to carry it
into execution." The report continued by finding fault from a
military point of view with virtually everything that Romans
thus far had done or had planned for continued construction.
The committee instead recommended alternative plans for the
site and offered the opinion that Pooploop's Kill was "by far the
most advantageous situation in the Highlands for a fortifica-
tion." 123



On the following day Palmer delivered a short supplemental
report to the New York Congress in which he and his two mili-
tary colleagues agreed that the fortifications already erected and
proposed would be insufficient because of two large eminences
[West Point and beyond] overlooking the works. They there-
fore recommended that these be fortified. And as if to complete
their indictment of the engineer, they ended their report by
stating "that the Committee were [sic] further agreed in opinion,
that it was the indispensable duty of Mr. Romans accurately
to have observed those matters in his first report to the Continen-
tal and Provincial Congresses, which the Committee told him
when there on the places, to which Mr. Romans answered, he
had pointed out the necessity of the one, and the other he had
but lately thought of." The next day-December 20, 1775-the
New York lawmakers approved a letter for delivery to the
Continental Congress with the reports. To what extent, if any,
John Berrien influenced the provincial congressmen in drafting
their reports is not known.124
Earlier concern by the Continental Congress over the state
of defenses on the Hudson River is evident in the report of a
committee sent to confer with General Schuyler at Ticonderoga,
to survey and report on the fortifications at the Highlands, and
to confer with the Canadians on the possibility of joining forces
with the American colonies. Arriving at the fort November 17,
1775, their subsequent report, read more than a month later to
the Continental Congress, could have held no comfort for Ro-
mans. Their consensus was "that the fortress now erecting will
by no means be sufficient to secure Hudson's river [sic] if it
should be attacked by any considerable force. They did, how-
ever, "hint at the propriety of obstructing the channel, at least
lessening the depth of water," a scheme which Romans had
earlier suggested."" In a separate letter to John Hancock, presi-
dent of the Continental Congress, the committee quoted Romans
on certain matters, avoiding any personal criticism of him or his



work, but nevertheless reported: "We must own that we found
the fort in a less defensible situation than we had reason to ex-
pect, owing chiefly to an injudicious disposition of the la-
bour." 12 Both statements suggest that Romans had conversed
with the congressmen.
The New York Committee of Safety also shared the concern
of the Continental Congress that everything possible should be
done to secure and fortify the Hudson River. Since they had
appointed Romans in the first instance, they obviously felt a
keen sense of responsibility for the turn of events. They there-
fore summoned him to produce his plans for the fortifications
at the Highlands. These, together with his explanations, con-
vinced the Committee that he should make a similar appearance
before the Continental Congress. Accordingly, they wrote Han-
cock that Romans was prepared to journey to Philadelphia and
lay his plans before that body and provide any other necessary
information. The unpleasant position in which Romans had
found himself for some time was now mitigated in part when the
Committee of Safety pointed out in their letter that the site [of
Fort Constitution] was decided upon before he was employed.
Moreover, he had offered the opinion that it could not be
adequately fortified or rendered secure for troops within the
cost thought prudent by the commissioners. The Committee
acknowledged the earlier efforts of the provincial investigators
to resolve the difficulties between Romans and the commission-
ers. They noted that Palmer, one of this group, "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' scheme." They requested Congress to consider to what
extent present construction should continue, either under
Romans' plans or under Palmer's proposals. They hoped their
letter would not be construed as a disadvantage to Palmer while



attending Congress, adding further that had the engineer been
present with his plans, they would have required him to accom-
pany Palmer. Concluding, the Committee of Safety wrote: "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." Romans was ad-
vanced fifty dollars and sent on his way.12
Romans was not accorded the privilege of defending his
position before the Continental Congress. Instead, this body ap-
pointed a committee of five to consider the letter, to confer with
Romans, and to render a report. Some days later an additional
member was appointed to the committee. After consideration of
the committee report, Congress passed resolutions which pro-
vided: "That no further Works be erected on Martelaer's
Rock, but that those already erected be supported and garrisoned.
S. That it be recommended to the Convention, or Committee
of Safety of New York, to forward the Battery at Pooploopen's
Kill [sic]. . That such of the Continental Troops as are or
may be stationed at the aforesaid places be employed in erecting
these Works and Batteries under the direction of the Engineer."
Congress thus offered no criticism of Romans, a fact later con-
firmed in his petition to the Committee of Safety when he wrote
"that your humble Petitioner was some time since at Philadel-
phia, with the honourable the Continental Congress, upon the
business of his then office, and that he then and there had the
pleasure to meet with an entire approbation of his conduct." But
the New York governing bodies had had enough bickering. The
Provincial Congress therefore appointed Thomas Palmer as an
additional commissioner to superintend the erection of the addi-
tional fortifications, with instructions to seek [another] engineer.
Romans therefore did not return to his assignment, and another



short-lived phase of his life came to an end, marked throughout
by almost continuous controversy.28
Although his letter was written months after the decision in-
volving Romans and his employment at Fort Constitution and
thus could have had no effect on the final outcome, Lord Ster-
ling's report to General Washington regarding the fortifications
along the Hudson contained, among other things, a description
of Romans' work which was highly critical of his abilities as an
engineer. Sterling summed up his opinion when he wrote:
"Upon the whole, Mr. Romans has displayed his genius at a
very great expense and to very little public advantage." 129
Romans, no doubt sensing that all was not going well for him,
accepted meanwhile a commission as captain of a newly formed
company of "matrosses," effective February 8, 1776. This unit
was authorized by the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania for
service in Canada.'30 Only one thing remained to conclude his
previous assignment: collection of his back pay. His petition to
the Continental Congress, considered one week later, resulted in
a resolution in which that body "recommended to the Convention
of New York to pay Mr. Bernard Romans up to the 9th day of
this month." The "Convention of New York" (Provincial Con-
gress) was not unquestioning in their deliberations. Some two
weeks later they decided to defer consideration "until B. Romans
is called in, and interrogated as to the reasons of his so long ab-
sence from the Fortifications at different times." Romans ap-
peared before the New York Committee of Safety rather than
the Provincial Congress, and on March 18 explained the reasons
for his absences from the job and defended his right to back pay.
In his previously mentioned petition of the same date he made
known his desperate need for funds when he wrote: "The time
is now expired in which your humble Petitioner was to have ap-
peared at the head of his company and want of money prevents.
. . Your humble Petitioner therefore prays an order may be



granted him, pursuant to the said resolves of Congress, that he
may be able to proceed, and save his honour." No record thus
far indicates that he received any additional wages after the final
$50 advance granted by the Committee of Safety in early Janu-
ary. At this same session John Berrien, the commissary, was also
summoned to make an accounting of the funds charged by him
as having been advanced to Romans."'
Returning to Philadelphia, Romans took command of his
company and on April 8, 1776, set out with all haste for Quebec.
One week earlier the Continental Congress had authorized one
month's pay and subsistence money for Romans and his com-
pany. In a letter to General Schuyler from Ticonderoga Landing,
Romans asked him to use his influence by "writing a word or
two in my favor to the Commanding officer, with respect to my
being employed as Engineer. . I have a right to expect this
from Mr. Hancock's promises, and therefore taken pains to have
a Captn. Lieutenant who is well experienced and much used to
command," he added. Clearly the march thus far and the diffi-
culties he had encountered along the way had been a great trial
to Romans, and he was anxious to return to the relative calm of
an engineer's assignment.132 The local gentry north of Albany
had been particularly troublesome, he wrote. In retaliation
against his order forbidding the purchase of rum from their tav-
erns, they had encouraged four men to desert. Another had re-
fused his men a drink of water, still another would not be satis-
fied with repayment for a turkey which had been killed, while
others falsely accused his men of slaughtering their fowls. And
finally, the landlord of one inn, struck by one of Romans' men,
would be satisfied with no less than an official complaint. He
presumed that these reports had by now reached the general.
Romans assured Schuyler "that I would sooner be guilty of a
crime of a Black dye than to be at the head of a gang of ruffian
mauraders-& that I will break my Sword & give up my Com-



mission that instant it is out of my power to Carry Command &
to maintain discipline." 133
The reaction of the populace in general was unquestionably
due to the undisciplined behavior of certain elements of the
poorly-trained and ill-equipped troops. Schuyler commented on
this to General Washington in a letter from Albany, dated
May 10, 1776, reporting on, among other things, the difficulties
of procuring supplies, noting that "the licentiousness of some of
the troops . has been such that few of the inhabitants have
escaped abuse." He added, "I have done all in my power to pre-
vent this disgraceful conduct of the Army; but Court-Martials
are vain where officers connive at the depredations of the men.
I have ordered Captain Romans to be sent from Canada for trial
here, as a string of complaints are lodged against him." Benedict
Arnold, by then a general, wrote from Sorel, Canada, comment-
ing that "Mr. Romans's conduct, by all accounts, has been very
extraordinary." Apparently Romans was cleared of all charges,
since he returned to his company and resumed command. On
July 21 his unit was ordered to encamp with the Fourth Brigade
and to man certain artillery which had been placed in "the Old
French lines." 134
The trouble-free days of the company commander were des-
tined to be few in number. On July 23 a military court was con-
vened to inquire into Romans' conduct involving a dispute be-
tween him and his recently-promoted lieutenant, John Dewitt,
or Druit as his name was also recorded. In a letter to Major
General Gates thanking him for granting the court of inquiry,
DeWitt explained that Romans had later intentionally dropped
his name from the company returns. The subaltern left no doubt
of his opinion of Romans or of his own probable future in the
army when he wrote: "He has neither honour, honesty, nor true
valour in him. If I am to receive no further satisfaction for the
injury done me, I would most ardently request your Honour's



leave to resign and quit the service." DeWitt was in fact dis-
missed the day after he wrote General Gates."" Even with this,
the company commander was not entirely free of the DeWitt af-
fair; the journal of the Continental Congress later records that
Romans was charged with the sum of sixteen dollars which he
apparently had advanced his erstwhile lieutenant.136
As for Captain Romans, the findings of the court are un-
known, but it appears that he was honorably acquitted of any
and all charges. The past record of complaints against him, his
problems with military discipline, together with meager subse-
quent information, all suggest that he did not return to command
of his company. Instead, it appears that he was assigned to other
duties wherein leadership qualities were less important than uti-
lization of certain of his other specialized talents.137
On November 8 Romans submitted a detailed and lucid re-
port on his surveys with drawings, all of Fort Anne (Cheshire)
and Skenesborough, made at the request of General Gates. For
the most part he praised the defenses at Fort Anne, noting that
the woods should be cleared around the blockhouse if it was to
be effective in defense of the nearby sawmill. He acknowledged
the suitability of the location of the defenses at Skenesborough,
"but the thing called a fort baffles all description: It is an ir-
regular polygon; irregular indeed; and by its form, indefensible
with a vengeance," he wrote. He then proceeded to describe its
faults in detail. Some two weeks later the Pennsylvania Council
of Safety passed a resolution to "furnish Mr. Romans, Engineer
with such materials as he may require to perform an experiment,
in order to give a specimen of his skill in destroying distant ob-
jects by fire." The results of this experiment are not known, but
the reference in the resolution and his previous assignment sug-
gest that he had in fact been returned to engineering duties. No
subsequent records have come to light indicating his activities in
military service until he resigned his commission July 1, 1778.138



Romans found time to continue his intellectual pursuits after
the publication of his Concise Natural History and his maps of
the Floridas despite his some three years of direct or indirect in-
volvement with the Continental military service. Indicative of
this are the cartographic and literary works which he produced
during this period. Upon viewing this impressive list one may
well wonder when he was able to perform his official military
duties. These works do not include certain of his maps, charts,
and sailing directions based on his own earlier surveys in south-
ern waters and those developed in combination with the bor-
rowed work of others, all published posthumously.'3
From advertisements which appeared in two colonial news-
papers it is known that he moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut,
after leaving the army. He advertised that on or about August 18,
1778, he had lost a sum of money amounting to 370 or 390 Conti-
nental dollars between New Haven and Wethersfield. Although
he offered a reward of thirty dollars in his first advertisement
and one-tenth part of the cash in the second for the return of the
money to him or to Timothy Green, the printer for whom it was
intended, there is no record that it was ever found or returned.140
It was during these years in Connecticut that he published his
final literary work, Annals of the Troubles of the Netherlands.
He described it as "Collected and Translated from the most
Approved Historians in the Native Tongue." Volume one was
first advertised for sale in two Connecticut periodicals on Janu-
ary 5, 1779. In an apparent attempt to attract buyers he appended
the following to his advertisement: "The second volume (much
more interesting than the first) is ready for the press; with it the
Author will endeavour to publish a map of the Country." This
public notice, dated Hartford, November 27, 1778, over Ro-
mans' name, appears to be the last known reliable record indicat-
ing his activities or whereabouts. The map did not appear with
volume two. Despite his optimistic announcement, it was not un-



til February 11, 1783, that the second volume was advertised for
sale by the printers. By then Romans was purportedly a captive
of the British, which could have accounted for the absence of the
map and the prolonged delay in publication.'4
Confirming the fact of his residence in the Connecticut town
is the record of his marriage to Elizabeth Whiting on Janu-
ary 28, 1779, in Wethersfield, Hartford County. Romans was
then almost sixty years of age and his bride only twenty, and ac-
cording to certain unconfirmed sources they were introduced by
George Washington. Less than a year after their marriage they
were blessed with a son whom they christened Hubertus, proba-
bly named for Romans' brother who had remained in Holland.
Elizabeth survived her husband by some sixty-four years, and
less than two years before her death on May 12, 1848, she ap-
plied for a pension which, oddly enough, in view of Romans'
record, was denied on the ground that his services were not mili-
tary in nature.142
Two versions exist recounting the final years of Romans' life,
each at variance with the other and both inconsonant with logic.
In her application for a pension, submitted more than three
score years after her husband's death and therefore subject to the
vagaries and uncertainties of advanced years, Elizabeth Romans
stated that he had remained in military service until 1780, and
that about a year and a half after their marriage he had set sail
from New Haven or New London for South Carolina, where he
was ordered to join the Southern Continental army. His vessel
was captured by the British and he was taken as a prisoner of
war to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where he remained until 1783.
In the meantime, application for his return to America under
the terms of an exchange of prisoners was refused by the British
because of his "ability to do so much injury to the British inter-
ests." And finally, she stated that she was informed and believed
that he was shipped under the pretext of sending him to some



port of the United States, and on the voyage he was wilfully
According to British historians, Romans was captured in 1779,
probably at Stoney Point on the Hudson, and sent to England.
His exchange as a prisoner of war was refused, and when peace
came he practiced in England as an engineer. In 1784, he em-
barked on a vessel bound for New York, carrying with him a
large sum of money. He was never heard from again and was
presumed to have been murdered for his money.!"
The differences between the two accounts are at once appar-
ent; there is, as well, certain documentation which cannot be
reconciled logically with either. Romans left military service
June 1, 1778, well before the capture and internment as a pris-
oner of war alleged by the two accounts. There is no known rec-
ord that he rejoined the Continental forces after he resigned his
commission, nor does it appear likely that as a civilian he would
have been taken prisoner and sent from the colonies. The pre-
sumption, therefore, is that neither account is entirely correct,
and that the closing years of Romans' life must remain shrouded
in uncertainty unless or until additional records are brought to

Elsewhere in this volume, P. Lee Phillips referred to Bernard
Romans as "a universal genius . a botanist, engineer, mathe-
matician, artist, surveyor, engraver, writer, cartographer, lin-
guist, soldier, seaman, and he possessed many other talents, any
one of which would have given distinction." This is a fair assess-
ment of Romans' skills, but what of Romans the man? One can
only partially judge his character and personality vicariously
from his known achievements and the incomplete records availa-
ble. From these one must conclude that he was quarrelsome, im-
patient, and quick to take offense; almost without exception, he
had difficulty in getting along with others. Perhaps because of




this or possibly impelled by an insatiable wanderlust, he went
from one job to another, ever heeding the beat of distant drums.
Yet throughout, he demonstrated a singleness of purpose which
more often than not resulted in success, not because of his less
desirable qualities but in spite of them. His maps, books, and
other publications, little known outside scholastic circles, shall
remain as a monument to his abilities and determination.
Tampa, Florida


1. Historical Society of Florida (New York, 1856), 4-5, 9-11. Only a few copies are
known to exist of this small, 11-page pamphlet which contains the roster of officers, com-
mittees, constitution, by-laws, and a list of honorary and charter members. The cited
information was taken from the copy in the library of William M. Goza, with his kind
permission. Among the honorary members were Peter Force, George Bancroft, and
William H. Prescott. The noted Florida historian George R. Fairbanks was a vice
president, and the Hispanophile Buckingham Smith was a charter member, as were
Dr. W. H. Simmons and John Lee Williams, the two men who recommended the site
of the present capital of Florida.
2. George R. Fairbanks, The Early History of Florida: An Introductory Lecture (St.
Augustine, 1857), 3-24, 29-31, a copy of which is also preserved in the library of
William M. Goza. See also Julien C. Yonge, "Minutes of Organization in 1856 and List
of Members," Florida Historical Quarterly, 3 (July 1924): 6-8.
3. Yonge, "Minutes of Organization in 1856," Florida Historical Quarterly 1 (April
1908), 3-4; "Report of President F. P. Fleming to the Annual Meeting of the Florida
Historical Society, Held November 19th, 1907," Florida Historical Quarterly 1 (April
1908: 7-10. The straitened financial condition of the society and Governor Fleming's un-
successful attempt to secure a modest state grant is touched upon in his report. A verbatim
copy of this bill, requesting an annual appropriation of $1,200, is contained in "An Ap-
peal for Legislative Aid," Florida Historical Quarterly 2 (April 1909): 49-50. The
reasons for the suspension of publication of the quarterly and the resumption of same are
stated in "Report of Arthur T. Williams, President, to the Annual Meeting of the Florida
Historical Society, Tallahassee, November 13, 1924," Florida Historical Quarterly 3
(January 1925): 43.
4. The Florida State Historical Society, Prospectus, in a bundle of uncataloged material
(FA H674) in the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gaines-
ville. See also Florida Historical Quarterly 4 (January 1926): 156.
5. Florida State Historical Society, Prospectus, supra. See also "Report of the Executive
Secretary of the Florida State Historical Society for the year ending January 31, 1931
submitted by James A. Robertson," typescript, FA H674, P. K. Yonge Library. The elev-
enth and last of the series was the 2-volume facsimile with foreword and preface, the
latter by James A. Robertson, of True Relation of the Fidalgo of Elvas, 1557 (DeLand,
1932), and Robertson's translation with preface (DeLand, 1933).
6. The name of John B. Stetson, Jr., as chairman of the publications committee appears
in all eleven of the series; Mrs. Connor's name last appears as a member of the com-
mittee in number eight of the series, published in 1928. Correspondence of Stetson between
January, 1922, and October, 1923, relative to the Florida State Historical Society is
preserved in the P. K. Yonge Library, manuscript collection, Box 55. Certain of this
correspondence touches upon this monograph and is between Stetson and P. Lee Phillips,
J. Franklin Jameson (director, Department of Historical Research, Carnegie Institution
of Washington), George Parker Winship (Harvard College Library), and others. The
last two named individuals were also members of the publications committee.
7. P. Lee Phillips, Notes on the Life and Works of Bernard Romans (Deland, Fla.:
Florida State Historical Society, 1924) [11-12].
8. Walter W. Ristow, "Philip Lee Phillips, Cartobibliographer," Kartensammlung und


Kartendokumentation. Festgabe fur Heinrich Kamm zur Vollendung seines 65. Le-
bensjahres [1971], 95-109, with Bibliography of Philip Lee Phillips. The present writer
is indebted to Dr. Ristow, chief, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, for
copies of this article. It has been reprinted with permission in Surveying and Mapping
32, no. 3 (September 1972).
9. Phillips, Notes, Foreword [11]. This work is devoted to source material on Romans,
cited and quoted, sometimes in part and often in full. In order to avoid needless repeti-
tion, this work will be cited when appropriate and will be intended to refer as well to
the sources contained therein unless otherwise noted.
10. Cf. cards on Bernard Romans in Bibliography and Cartography catalogue, Library
of Congress. Phillips and the editor failed to cite certain original source material pre-
served in the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; the
Georgia Historical Society, Savannah; the Public Record Office and the Linnean Society,
both of London, England, all of which sources will be cited hereafter.
11. A bound carbon copy of Phillip's final typescript draft is preserved in the Geogra-
phy and Map Division of the Library of Congress. A copy with comments, comparative
analysis, and notes by John D. Ware is also held by the P. K. Yonge Library.
12. See relevant letters in John B. Stetson correspondence from July 7, 1922 through
September 24, 1923, P. K. Yonge Library. The two maps were "discovered" by Henry
Stevens in a Boston bookstore. See Phillips, Notes, 88-91 for their title and description.
13. Stetson to G. P. Winship, April 5, 1923; Stetson to G. Prentice Carson, Stetson
University, April 6, 1923; LeGear to Ware, November 7, 1972; Ristow, "Philip Lee
Phillips," 109. See also Phillips' final unedited draft, and Phillips, Notes, edited for
publication by Stetson and Robertson. Editorial and proofreader's notes in Robertson's
own hand appear in the final draft by Phillips. For a description of the Romans' map
added to the bibliography by Robertson or Stetson, see Phillips, Notes, 75.
14. Phillips, Notes, 25-26, quoting Romans' advertisement in the Boston Gazette, Janu-
ary 10, 1774, no. 979. Other passages therein also suggest its utility to the mariner.
15. Bernard Romans, A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida . (New
York: Printed for the Author, 1775), "List of Subscribers" (i-viii), Appendix, "A List
of Subscribers, whose Names came too late to be prefixed to this Work"; cited hereafter
as Romans, Concise Natural History.
16. William A. Baker, A History of the Boston Marine Society, 1742-1967 (Boston:
Boston Marine Society, 1968), Appendix, 8: 318-61, passim.
17. Phillips, Notes [15], 35.
18. Unless otherwise noted, all information on Phillips and his work, including quota-
tions which were taken from typescript administrative records of the Geography and
Map Division of the Library of Congress, is from Ristow, "Philip Lee Phillips."
19. P. Lee Phillips, A List of Maps of America in the Library of Congress (Washing-
ton: Library of Congress, 1901), "Introduction," 3.
20. Ibid., 94-96, 233-35, 1083-1127.
21. Ibid., 5-90.
22. Phillips' publications herein cited which do not appear in the text of Ristow,
"Philip Lee Phillips," may be found in the bibliography, pp. 106-9.
23. Ristow, "Philip Lee Phillips," 104. In the "Prefatory Note" to vol. 3 of the atlas
list, Phillips generously credited Oswald Welti, acting chief of the division during Phil-
lips' illness, and others with preparation of the index. The List of Geographical Atlases
has since been supplemented by vol. 5 (1958), vol. 6 (1963), and vol. 7 (in press),
compiled by Mrs. Clara Egli LeGear, who was a member of the staff during Phillips'
last nine years with the library and presently serves as honorary consultant in Historical



24. Banneker assisted Andrew Ellicott in the survey of Washington D.C., in 1792;
Ristow, "Philip Lee Phillips," 105.
25. Ibid., 104; Woodbury Lowery, A Descriptive List of Maps of the Spanish Posses-
sions within the Present Limits of the United States, 1502-1820, edited by P. Lee Phillips
(Washington: Library of Congress, 1912), iii-iv.
26. Ibid., title page and iii-x; Ristow, "Philip Lee Phillips," 104.
27. The present writer is indebted to Mrs. Clara Egli LeGear for her letter dated
Washington, November 7, 1972, upon which this paragraph is based.
28. Ibid.; the date and place of Phillips' death are confirmed in a letter, Ristow to
Ware, July 12, 1972.
29. Dictionary of National Biography (London: Oxford University Press, 1968.) For
a more comprehensive and somewhat different version of Romans' life see Rembert W.
Patrick's introduction to the facsimile edition of Romans, A Concise Natural History of
East and West Florida (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1962), ix-xxx.
30. Phillips, Notes, 94.
31. Romans, Concise Natural History, Introduction.
32. Phillips, Notes, 51.
33. Romans to John Ellis, king's agent for West Florida, Pensacola, August 13, 1772,
in which Romans noted seeing the genus Smilax "in plenty in South America about two
degrees Southward of the City of Carthagena [sic]." Cartagena is in the present re-
public of Colombia. The original of this and other letters from Romans to Ellis are
preserved in the Linnean Society of London. (The letters are cited hereafter as Romans-
Ellis Letters.) Regrettably, the society does not have the letters from Ellis to Romans.
Like other Romans materials they are feared lost. See Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., and Mur-
phy D. Smith (compilers), Archives and Manuscript collections of the American Philo-
sophical Society (Philadelphia, 1966), 81, "415, Linnean Society of London."
34. See DNB; Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,
1963). These two works are not in agreement on Romans' year of arrival and the nature
of his work.
35. Romans, Concise Natural History, 116; Phillips, Notes, 59. This excerpt from
Romans to Commissioners for Fortifications, Martelaer's Rock, November 16, 1775, is
found in Peter Force, American Archives (Washington: M. St. Clair and Peter Force,
1840), 4th series, 3: 1367; and William Bell Clark (ed.), Naval Documents of the Ameri-
can Revolution (Washington: U.S. Navy Department, 1964), 2: 1049. Other documents
by Romans, or relating to him, which are included in these multi-volume works will be
cited therefrom only when necessary to supplement excerpts contained in Phillips, Notes,
or when they are not included in the last-named work.
36. Phillips, Notes, 29.
37. Ibid. Romans was appointed "principal Deputy Surveyor" in 1769 by De Brahm,
who himself was suspended from office October 4, 1770. See Louis De Vorsey, Jr. (ed.),
De Brahm's Report of the General Survey in the Southern District (Columbia: Univer-
sity of South Carolina Press, 1971), 43, 48, 180-86.
38. Phillips, Notes, 29; Romans, Concise Natural History, Appendix, i.
39. Savannah Georgia Gazette, October 1, 1766, in Records of the States of the United
States, Georgia, Na, Reel 1, 1763-68; cited hereafter as RSUS.
40. Phillips, Notes, 29; Romans, Concise Natural History, Appendix, i.
41. Romans, Concise Natural History, Appendix, i.
42. DNB states that between 1760 and 1771 Romans was living near the town of St.
Augustine in East Florida. It should be noted that Romans was then a British subject,
and Florida was Spanish until 1763. Furthermore, East Florida as such did not come into
being until it was created by proclamation October 7, 1763. Wilbur H. Siebert, Loyalists


in East Florida, 1774 to 1785 (DeLand: Florida State Historical Society, 1929), 2: 342,
relates that Romans lived in East Florida from 1763 to 1766. Romans himself credits
Lord Egmont with introducing him into East Florida shortly after 1766. See Phillips,
Notes, 29.
43. Phillips, Notes, 29; Allen D. Candler (compiler), The Colonial Records of the
State of Georgia (Atlanta: Franklin-Turner, 1907), 10: 489.
44. Savannah Georgia Gazette, January 6, 1768, in RSUS.
45. Ibid., July 13, 1768.
46. Ibid., April 12, 1769; Phillips, Notes, 29.
47. Candler, Colonial Records of Georgia, 10: 171, 352, 414, 765-66, certain of which
are quoted in Phillips, Notes, 45-46, though page 414 is erroneously cited for page 501
in Candler.
48. Candler, Colonial Records of Georgia, 10: 338, 501, 974; 11: 364; certain of these
are also quoted in Phillips, Notes, though page 501 is erroneously cited for page 414 in
49. Located on a bluff near the mouth of the Midway River near present Dorchester,
Georgia, Sunbury once ranked second only to Savannah in importance as a seaport. After
the Revolutionary War, it was made the county seat of Liberty County, but as its com-
merce moved elsewhere, its commercial importance declined and the county seat was
moved. By the 1860s Sunbury had ceased to exist, and today only the cemetery remains.
See Brunette Vanstory, Georgia's Land of the Golden Isles (Athens: University of Geor-
gia Press, 1970), 28, 31, 34-37, 40-41.
50. Savannah Georgia Gazette, October 16, 1783.
51. Ibid., August 19, 1784, February 10, 1785.
52. Phillips, Notes, 29; Siebert, Loyalists in East Florida, 2: 3-4, n2.
53. Statement of Mrs. Dorothy Moore, Claimant, in Siebert, Loyalists in East Florida,
2: 116-17, n87, wherein it is noted that her husband bought this property from Romans,
January 8, 1771. See also the Claim of Mrs. Dorothy Moore and Mr. Robert Payne, De-
cember 15, 1786, ibid., 120. The date of the signing of the grant as claimed in Mrs.
Moore's statement in Siebert was September 14, 1769, while September 19 was recorded
in Minutes of Council of latter date and year in PRO, CO 5/571, f. 21. See also PRO,
AO 12/3, p. 193, for further reference to this tract.
54. Lord Colvill to captains under his command, October 15, 1763, PRO, ADM 1/482,
308-9; De Vorsey, De Brahm's Report, 3-7, 33.
55. Charles L. Mowat, "That 'Odd Being,' De Brahm," Florida Historical Quarterly, 20
(April 1942): 323-24, 326-27, 330-34; De Vorsey, De Brahm's Report, 8-9, 33-43. De
Vorsey notes that De Brahm was German rather than Dutch as claimed by other sources.
The "Salary of the Surveyor of Lands" and "Allowance for an Assistant" are documented
in "Estimate of the Civil Establishment of-His Majesty's Province of East Florida .. ."
from 1764 through 1772, PRO, CO 5/563.
56. Phillips, Notes, 29; see also p. 59 for a somewhat different version of his assign-
ment. The first known evidence of Romans' work as deputy surveyor for the southern
district is reflected in a drawing showing part of the terrain from the Okefenokee Swamp
northward past the Ogeechee River, with the "Indian Hunting Grounds" to the westward
thereof. He certified this March 31, 1769, as being a true copy from the original by Sam-
ual Savory, deputy surveyor for lands in Georgia. The original is preserved in the Public
Records Office, London, as MPG/337.
57. Mowat, "That 'Odd Being,' De Brahm," 333-34; Extract from Minutes of the Jour-
nals of Council, April 16-17, in Grant's letter (no. 36) of April 23, 1770, to Lord Hills-
borough, PRO, CO 5/551, pp. 65-71.
58. Phillips, Notes, 29.



59. Ibid.; Romans, Concise Natural History, 35-36, 227, 275, 287-88, Appendix, lxxix-
lxxxii. Romans' reference to a "waterfall" could only be applicable to the present Hills-
borough River.
60. Romans, Concise Natural History, 268r-73; Carita Doggett, Dr. Andrew Turnbull
and the New Smyrna Colony of Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.: Drew Press, 1919), 59-61.
61. Phillips, Notes, 29, 30.
62. Ibid., 30.
63. The tangible results of the surveys of these two bodies of water were published as
"A Plan of Mobile Bar [and] Plan of the Harbour of Pensacola . ." in Thomas Jef-
freys, The West India Atlas . 1818, cited in Lowery, Descriptive List of Maps, 362.
64. Romans, Concise Natural History, 304-34, passim; Cecil Johnson, British West
Florida, 1763-1783 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1942), 81.
65. George Gauld (1732-82) was a Scottish coastal surveyor and hydrographer em-
ployed by the British Admiralty to survey and chart the coast of the Floridas. He arrived
in Pensacola in August, 1764, and was repatriated to England after the capitulation of
West Florida to Bernardo Gailvez, May 9, 1781. Gauld died in London June 8, 1782. See
William Faden, An Account of the Surveys of Florida, Etc. (London: W. Faden, 1790),
4, 27. David Taitt was employed by John Stuart as his deputy, and on January 30, 1772,
Taitt set out on a mission to the Creek Nations to ,gain certain land concessions and to
promote more amicable relations between the Upper and Lower Creeks and the British
in West Florida. His efforts in this regard did not meet with marked success. Addition-
ally, Taitt, who was credited by Stuart as being "a good surveyor," was instructed to
examine and chart the important geographic elements of the territory over which he
traveled. Romans utilized this work in his chart. See "Journals of David Taitt's Travels
from Pensacola, West Florida to and through the Country of the Upper and Lower
Creeks, 1772," in Newton D. Mereness (ed.), Travels in the American Colonies (New
York: Antiquarian Press, 1961), 493-96.
66. Rodney to Philip Stephens, secretary to the Admiralty, Port Royal, January 29,
1772, PRO, ADM 1/239.
67. Phillips, Notes, 27, 74-75, 119, 127-28; Romans, Concise Natural History, Appendix,
ii; Faden, Account of the Surveys of Florida, 4-5. For information on Lorimer and his
work see Robert R. Rea and Jack D. L. Holmes, "Dr. John Lorimer and the Natural
Sciences," Southern Humanities Review (Fall 1970).
68. Phillips, Notes, 28.
69. Muster Table of H.M.S. sloop Earl of Northampton attesting to Gauld's assignment
aboard this vessel from June 15, 1771, until January 18, 1774, PRO, ADM 36/8519, and
logbook detailing the travels of the vessel for this period, PRO, ADM 51/4178.
70. Ibid.; Phillips, Notes, 30, 127-28.
71. Phillips, Notes, 127-28.
72. Ibid., 47.
73. "Extract of a letter from Doctor Lorimer at Pensacola dated the 13th of August
1772 to Mr. Gauld at Port Royal, Jamaica," and "Hutchins' Sketch of Middle & Yellow
Rivers, West Florida, A3." These documents are preserved and filed with Gauld's "A
General Description of the Seacoasts, Harbours, Lakes, Rivers, etc. of the Province of
West Florida, 1769" as document Mss 91759: G23 in archives of the American Philosophi-
cal Society, Philadelphia, with copies in P. K. Yonge Library. See also Bell and Smith,
Archives and Manuscript Collections, no. 281, 58-59. Webster's New Twentieth Century
Dictionary (1953) describes jalap as the root of the climbing plant Ipomaea purga. Its
name was derived from Jalapa, a city in Mexico from which the herb was, and still is,
74. Phillips, Notes, 74, 119-28.



75. Ibid., 47-48; see also PRO, CO 5/579, f. 297; Mowat, "That 'Odd Being,' De
Brahm," 335.
76. Phillips, Notes, 127-28.
77. Chester to Dartmouth, Duplicate no. 60, October 7, 1772, PRO, CO 5/579, f. 297;
same to same, Duplicate no. 12, August 27, 1773, ibid., f. 381.
78. Phillips, Notes, 30; Stuart to Gage, Charles Town, April 22, 1773; "A Map of Part
of West Florida . Surveyed & Drawn by Bernard Romans between the Months of
June 1772 and January 1773," cited and described in Christian Brun (compiler), Guide
to the Manuscript Maps in the William L. Clements Library (Ann Arbor: University of
Michigan Press, 1959), 160-61 and plate between. The other and larger of the two maps
is titled in part: "A Map of West Florida [and] Part of Et: Florida. Georgia [and] Part
of So: Carolina . [1773]. By Bernard Romans, David Taitt, and George Gauld."
These maps are also described in William P. Cumming, The Southeast in Early Maps
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1958), 252-53. The originals are in
the Gage Papers, William L. Clements Library, and are not cited in Phillips, Notes.
79. "Minutes of the Governor in Council, August 4, 1772," in RSUS, Fla., W. A, 7, E.1
(PRO, CO 5/634). Hutchins, "Sketch of Middle & Yellow River," cited in note 73, supra,
depicts "A Hut of Simson's [sic]" near the head of present Escambia Bay. U.S. Coast and
Geodetic Survey, Chart 1265, Pensacola Bay and Approaches, shows "Simpson's River"
in the same general area.
80. "Minutes of the Governor in Council, September 1, 1772," in West Florida Papers,
reel 4 (PRO, CO 5/630) ; original in Library of Congress.
81. "Minutes of the Governor in Council, October 7, 1772," RSUS, Fla. W. A, 7, E.1
(PRO, CO 5/634).
82. Romans, Concise Natural History, 301-2.
83. Phillips, Notes, 47; Chester to Hillsborough, Pensacola, August 14, 1772, PRO, CO
5/579, p. 229; duplicate ibid., 5/589, p. 457; Romans to Ellis, "Some Observations on a
Catalogue of Plants . ." and "Scheme for a Botanical Garden in West Florida," both
dated Pensacola, August 13, 1772, Romans-Ellis Letters.
84. Lord Dartmouth to Chester, no. 2, Whitehall, December 9, 1772, in "Secretary of
State's Letter Book 'A,'" p. 224; copy in PRO, CO 5/589, p. 465; also cited in part in
Phillips, Notes, 48. See also "Estimate of the Civil Establishment of His Majesty's Prov-
ince of West Florida . from 24th June 1773 to the 24th June 1774," PRO, CO 5/591,
p. 127.
85. DNB; Johnson, British West Florida, 97-98, n29.
86. Romans to Ellis, "Some Observations on a Catalogue of Plants . ." Pensacola,
August 13, 1772, Romans-Ellis Letters. Cf. "A Catalogue of Such Foreign Plants, as are
Worthy of Being Encouraged in Our American Colonies, for the Purposes of Medicine,
Agriculture and Commerce," from a pamphlet by John Ellis, F.R.S., presented by Thomas
Penn, Esq., to the American Philosophical Society, through the hands of Samuel Powell,
Esq., in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia: Printed by
William and Thomas Bradford, 1771), 1: 255-71.
87. Romans to Ellis, "Scheme for a Botanical Garden in West Florida," Pensacola,
August 13, 1772, Romans-Ellis Letters.
88. Ibid. The Spanish milled dollar, or piece of eight, was a standard monetary unit
used throughout the colonial period. One real equaled twelve and one-half cents of the
later U.S. dollar and was known as a "bit." See R. S. Yeoman, A Guide Book to United
States Coins (Racine, Wis.: Whitman Publishing Co., 1966), 2, 5; Romans, Concise Natu-
ral History, dedicatory page.
89. Romans, Concise Natural History, 150, 182-83 ; Phillips, Notes, 30.
90. The Oxford English Dictionery gives the following as one of the several definitions



for caboose: "The cook-room or kitchen of merchantmen on deck; a diminuitive substi-
tute for the galley of a man-of-war. It is generally furnished with cast-iron apparatus for
cooking" (Smyth Sailor's Work-bk).
91. Phillips, Notes, 30. Romans, Concise Natural History, Appendix, vi-vii, wherein he
noted the bold deep water of "7 fathoms at the very beach" between latitudes 26 and
260 50', and the availability of fresh water. It was to a position along this stretch be-
tween the vicinities of present Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach that Romans conducted
the partially disabled vessel. An examination of a modern U.S. Coast and Geodetic Sur-
vey, Chart 1248, Jupiter Inlet to Focwey Rocks, confirms that deep water extends close to
shore, with seven fathoms as near as three-tenths of a mile in places. See also Romans to
Ellis, New York, March 1, 1774, Romans-Ellis Letters. V
92. Romans to Ellis, New York, March 1, 1774. Romans' "Dr. Gardner" was probably
Alexander Garden, who practiced in Charleston from 1752 until near the end of the
American Revolution. Dr. Garden was a friend of John Bartram, and his interest in
botany and zoology also resulted in voluminous correspondence with John Ellis and Carl
Linnaeus. See Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia, 1942),
New Series, 33, part I: 6, 8, 13, 56, 62.
93. Romans to Ellis, May 14, 1774; Phillips, Notes, 30.
94. Stuart to Gage, Charles Town, April 22, 1773; original in Gage Papers, William L.
Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. See also Christian Brun, Guide
to Manuscript Maps in William Clements Library, 160-61.
95. Gage to Stuart, New York, June 3, 1773, Clements Library.
96. Romans to Ellis, New York, November 6, 1773; same to same, March 1, 1774. The
Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of the Linnean Society of London, Calendar
of the Ellis Manuscripts, does not list Ellis' letters to Romans, a fact confirmed in a letter
from Gavin Bridson, librarian, London, January 2, 1973, to the present writer.
97. Romans to Ellis, New York, March 1, May 14, 1774, Romans-Ellis Letters.
98. Phillips, Notes, 50; Romans, Concise Natural History, 13, 77, 81, 93.
99. Phillips, Notes, 24-26, 31, 37, 48-50, 76-80, 103, n4; Early Proceedings of the
American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia: McCalla & Stavely, 1884), 48, 82, 87, 90;
Baker, A History of the Boston Marine Society-an appendix contains a complete roster of
members from its inception but does not list Romans. Phillips suggests (p. 50) that Ro-
mans' "draught to the southwd" was "probably of this coast southward from here [Bos-
ton]," thus implying that Romans made hydrographic surveys of this area. No chart or
other documentation thus far has come to light to support Phillips' suggestions or impli-
cation. It is thought rather that the notation was referring to Romans' chart of the waters
adjacent to East and West Florida.
100. Phillips, Notes, 51; DAB. Atlantis as referred to in Plato, Critias, is discussed
briefly in Encyclopedia Britannica (1965), as are the life and works of Diodorus Siculus,
the Greek historian.
101. Romans to Ellis, New York, May 14, 1774, Romans-Ellis Letters; Romans, Concise
Natural History, 53.
102. Phillips, Notes, 24.
103. Ibid.; Romans to Ellis, New York, May 14, 1774, Romans-Ellis Letters; DNB.
104. Chester to Dartmouth, Pensacola, April 10, 1776; George Germain to Chester,
Whitehall, August 7, 1776, PRO, CO 5/592, pp. 229, 303; Chester to Germain, Pensacola,
December 27, 1776, PRO, CO 5/593, p. 121. The allowance for Romans' salary for
1774-75 appears in "Estimate of the Civil Establishment . of West Florida," in Peter
Force, American Archives, 4th series (Washington: M. St. Clair and Peter Force, 1837),
1:1711. See also Rea and Holmes, "Dr. John Lorimer and the National Sciences," 366-67.
105. Phillips, Notes, 52: Force, American Archives, 4th series, 1:1323; Edward Mott to

the Massachusetts Congress, Shoreham, May 11, 1775, ibid., 2:557-60; Malcolm Decker,
Benedict Arnold: Son of the Heavens (Tarrytown, N.Y.: William Abbat, 1932), 50-51,
53-56. Many of the citations in Force are also in William Bell Clark, Naval Documents
of the American Revolution (Washington, 1964-72), in the first 4 of the 6-volume series;
but for the sake of brevity they are not cited herein unless otherwise indicated.
106. Force, American Archives, 4th series (1839), 2: 557-60; Decker, Benedict Arnold,
107. Ibid.; Allen to the Albany Committee, Ticonderoga, May 11, 1775, Force, Ameri-
can Archives, 4th series (1839), 2:606.
108. Phillips, Notes, 52-53.
109. Ibid., 53-54. 's
110. Arnold to Massachusetts Committee of Safety, May 11, 14, 19, 1775, Force, Ameri-
can Archives, 4th series (1839), 2: 557, 584-85, 645-46; Jesse Root to Silas Deane, Hart-
ford, May 25, 1775, Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford: Published
for the Society, 1870), 2: 237.
111. Schuyler to John Hancock, president of Continental Congress, Ticonderoga, Octo-
ber, 14, 1775, Force, American Archives, 4th series (1840), 3: 1065-66; New York Pro-
vincial Congress to Hancock, New York, October 27, 1775, in their journal of same date,
ibid., 1306; Minutes of the New York Committee of Safety, September 7, 1775, ibid.,
882-83; Romans to New York Provincial Congress, October 12, 1775, ibid., 1284-85; Phil-
lips, Notes, 54-55, quoting Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution,
2 vols. (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1859-60), 1: 703. Phillips infers, without benefit
of documentation, that Washington recommended Romans for the job, and Lossing simi-
larly notes that Romans was then holding the same office (engineer) in the British army.
Thus far no record has appeared to substantiate either statement.
112. Phillips, Notes, 55; New York Committee of Safety to the Continental Congress
containing Romans' estimates and plans, New York, September 19, 1775, Force, American
Archives, 4th series (1840), 3: 732-37, 902.
113. Commissioners to New York Committee of Safety, Constitution Fort, September 25,
1775, Force, American Archives, 4th series (1840), 3: 795-96; also quoted in part in
Phillips,Notes, 55; John Berrien to unknown addressees, New York, September 21, 1775,
cited in Phillips, Notes, 112, n9. Most of the address of the original, preserved in the files
of the New York Historical Society, was torn away, the only legible parts remaining are
"Mist-," "H-," and "Constitutional Fort." This, together with the other citation in this
note, suggests that Berrien was writing to his three fellow commissioners, Samuel Bayard,
William Bedlow, and John Hanson, the wife of the latter of whom Berrien mentioned in
his postcript.
114. Minutes of New York Committee of Safety, September 29, 1775, Force, American
Archives, 4th series (1840), 3: 917; also quoted in part in Phillips, Notes, 56.
115. Minutes of New York Committee of Safety, September 30, 1775, 918-20; Romans'
Estimate to New York Committee of Safety, October 2, 1775, Force, American Archives,
4th series (1840), 3: 1358-59.
116. Journal of New York Provincial Congress, October 12, 1775, ibid., 1283; also
quoted in part in Phillips, Notes, 56
117. Remarks by Bernard Romans, Highlands, October 16, 1775, endorsed by Samuel
Bayard and William Bedlow, Force, American Archives, 4th series (1840), 3: 1293-94.
118. Romans to New York Provincial Congress, October 12, 1775, ibid., 1284-85; Peti-
tion and Memorial of Bernard Romans, Highlands, November 15, 1775, ibid., 1363-64.
119. Colonel Romans to Commissioners, Fort Constitution, November 8, 1775, ibid.,
1355-58; quoted in part in Phillips, Notes, 56-57.
120. Commissioners to Colonel Romans, Martelaer's Rock, November 10, 1775, Force,





American Archives, 4th series (1840), 3: 1359-62; quoted in part in Phillips, Notes, 57.
121. Romans to the Commissioners for Fortifications, Martelaer's Rock, November 16,
1775, Force, American Archives, 4th series (1840), 3: 1364-67; quoted in part in Phillips,
Notes, 57-60.
122. Berrien to New York Provincial Congress, New York, October 27, 1775, Force,
American Archives, 4th series (1840), 3: 1307; Journal of New York Provincial Con-
gress, ibid. (1843), 4: 390-91, 393-94, 425, 429.
123. Journal of the New York Provincial Congress, Force, American Archives, 4th
series (1843), 4: 420-22.
124. Ibid., 425, 429.
125. Ibid., 442.
126. Robert R. Livingston, Jr., Robert Treat Paine, and John Langdon to John Han-
cock, Albany, November 23, 1775, Clark (ed.), Naval Documents of the American Revo-
lution (1966), 2: 1108-9.
127. New York Committee of Safety to John Hancock, New York, January 3, 1776,
Force, American Archives, 4th series (1843), 4: 562, 1019-20.
128. Journal of Continental Congress, Philadelphia, January 13, 17, 1776, Force, Ameri-
can Archives, 4th series (1843), 4: 1634, 1641, 1645, 1672; Journal of New York Provin-
cial Congress, ibid. (1844), 5: 297-99, 405; Phillips, Notes, 62.
129. Phillips, Notes, 60.
130. Ibid., 61. For a definition of "matross" see ibid., 112, n10.
131. Ibid., 62; Journal of Continental Congress, February 13, 1776, Force, American
Archives, 4th series (1843), 4: 1670; New York Committee of Safety, March 18, 1776,
ibid. (1844), 5: 306, 406, 1368.
132. Phillips, Notes, 64-66, 112-13, nil; Force, American Archives, 4th series, (1844),
5: 1654.
133. Phillips, Notes, 65-66.
134. Ibid., 62-63; Force, American Archives, 4th series (1846), 6: 412-13, 580-81.
135. Phillips, Notes, 63-64.
136. Journal of Continental Congress, October 21, 1776, Force, American Archives, 5th
series (1851), 2: 1407.
137. Phillips, Notes, 64.
138. Journal of Pennsylvania Council of Safety, November 23, 1776, Force, American
Archives, 5th series (1853), 3: 194; Romans to Gates, Skenesborough, November 6, 1776,
ibid., 606; quoted in part in Phillips, Notes, 66.
139. All of Romans' known works except those cited elsewhere herein by the present
writer are listed and described in Phillips, Notes, 74-99.
140. Phillips, Notes, 67.
141. Ibid., 92-96.
142. Ibid., 67-68.
143. Ibid., 68-69.
144. DNB.

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