From Tench Coxe1
T. D: R: O June 30th 1794
The contract with Saml. Hughes for Iron cannon will require an advance of eight thousand Dollars, which he wishes to receive at the Baltimore branch of the bank of the U:S:2 I find there is a greater sum there. The bond to be Signed by the surety will be prepared for transmission to Mr. Gale, with a request to him to Judge of the perfect competency of the surety or sureties before he shall pay the money.3 I have promised Mr. Hughes information when your order shall go forward.4
From some information I received at this Office, there appears reason to apprehend, that material injury to the Piers & harbour for shipping will be produced by the new Works constructing by Major L’Enfant,5 in the vicinity of Fort Mifflin. As the trade may suffer, I think it my duty to suggest the propriety of an inspection under the direction of the Secretary at war6 in order to ascertain whether his plans, or those which he may have authorized Major L’Enfant to adopt, can be so pursued or so modified as to save to the merchants the interesting & necessary accommodation of a harbour & defence against the Ice for their shipping.
I have the honor to be with great respect Sir yr. mo Obt. Ser
T: C: Commissr. of the Revn.
The Secy. of the Treasy.
LC, RG 75, Letters of Tench Coxe, Commissioner of the Revenue, Relating to the Procurement of Military, Naval, and Indian Supplies, National Archives.
3. George Gale was supervisor of the revenue for the District of Maryland. See Coxe to Gale, July 1, 1794 (LC, RG 75, Letters of Tench Coxe, Commissioner of the Revenue, Relating to the Procurement of Military, Naval, and Indian Supplies, National Archives).
4. On July 1, 1794, Coxe wrote to Hughes “I learn today from the Secretary of the Treasury that a bill will go to Mr Gale by the post, for the purpose of making the payment stipulated with you” (LC, RG 75, Letters of Tench Coxe, Commissioner of the Revenue, Relating to the Procurement of Military, Naval, and Indian Supplies, National Archives).
5. On April 3, 1794, Pierre Charles L’Enfant was appointed “a temporary engineer for the purposes of fortifying the ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington, upon the river Delaware” (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Military Affairs, I, 82). L’Enfant’s appointment was pursuant to “An Act to provide for the Defence of certain Ports and Harbors in the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 345–46 [March 20, 1794]). His instructions are dated April 3, 1794, and are signed by Knox (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Military Affairs, I, 82).
6. On July 9, 1794, Coxe wrote to Knox: “After I had the honor to see you yesterday, I was spoken to, a second time, upon the subject of the fortifications at fort Mifflin. I do not mean the harbour, but the works themselves. It appears to be thought, by some of our state officers, that Mr. L,Enfant’s plan is injudicious. When this was first intimated to me, I prefered to mention it to Col. Hamilton, but being repeated, I take the liberty of noticing it to you. Knowing nothing of the state of facts, nor of the nature of fortifications, I have of course no opinion upon this subject. It appeared to me that it might be desireable to you to know anything of the kind, which has been thought or said. A principal objection to what is doing seemed to be that the works were injudiciously reduced in height, and would, in Consequence, be either more easy to storm, or to annoy from commanding situations in the vicinity” (copy, Tench Coxe Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia).