From Tench Coxe1
T: D: R: O: Decbr. 5 1794
In pursuance of the order of the Senate of the 18th day of February 17932 An enquiry into the expediency of erecting a Light House upon watch Hill in the state of Rhode Island was duly instituted.3 It appears that a Light house of the first class or of very considerable expence is not desired, nor necessary to Navigation in that quarter. That a light on Watch Hill would not be extensively useful to vessels in the Foreign trade; That however, from the frequent passing & repassing of coasting vessels, a light House of the smallest class or a lighted Beacon would be really useful. That watch hill point, being considerably elevated above the sound at High Water, a light House or Beacon of sufficient height could be erected at a moderate expence.4 That the Land around it, tho broken, is fertile, & that five families reside within half a mile; wherefore the expence of maintenance would be moderate.
I have the honor &c.
T: Coxe C R
The Secy. of the Treasury
LC, RG 26, Lighthouse Letters, Vol. 1, National Archives; copy, RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–1795, Reports from the Secretary of the Treasury, National Archives.
1. A copy of this letter was enclosed in H’s “Report on the Expediency of Erecting a Lighthouse on Watch Hill in Rhode Island,” January 23, 1795.
2. On February 18, 1793, the Senate received “The memorial of a number of the inhabitants of the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island … praying that a light-house may be erected, at the expense of the United States, on Watch Hill, in the State of Rhode Island.” The memorial was referred to H on the same day (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings of the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , III, 650). A copy of the memorial, dated January 29, 1793, may be found in RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–1795, Reports from the Secretary of the Treasury, National Archives.
3. Coxe to Jeremiah Olney, William Ellery, and Jedediah Huntington, May 22, 1794 (LC, RG 26, Lighthouse Letters, Vol. I, National Archives).
4. Coxe’s “Estimate of a lighted Beacon, or small Light-House for Watch Hill 50 feet high including the Lantern frame” may be found in RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–1795, Reports from the Secretary of the Treasury, National Archives.