Thomas Jefferson Papers

The President to the House of Representatives, 26 October 1791

The President to the House of Representatives

Oct. 26. 1791.

Gentlemen of the
House of representatives

I have recieved from the Governor of North Carolina a copy of an act of the General assembly of that state authorizing him to convey to the U.S. the right and jurisdiction of the sd. state over one acre of land in Occacock island and ten acres on the Cape island within the sd. state, for the purpose of erecting lighthouses thereon, together with the deed of the Governor in pursuance thereof, and the original conveyances made to the state by the individual proprietors, which original conveyances contain conditions that the light house on Occacock shall be built before the 1st. day of January 1801. and that on the Cape island before the 8th. day of Octob. 1800. And I have caused these several papers to be deposited in the office of the Secretary of state.

PrC (DLC), entirely in TJ’s hand. In lower left corner, TJ wrote “Oct. 26. 1791 Th. J.” Not recorded in SJL, but entry in SJPL reads: “[Oct.] 26. Message cession by N. Cara. for lighthouses at Ocacoke and Cape isld.”

Washington used this text in a message he submitted to Congress on 27 Oct. 1791 that also dealt with the first U.S. census and a report by Attorney General Randolph “respecting certain persons who are said to have fled from justice out of the State of Pennsylvania into that of Virginia” (Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, 1931–1944, 39 vols. description ends , xxxi, 406–7). In a letter of 27 Oct. 1791, Tobias Lear transmitted to TJ authenticated copies of acts of the North Carolina legislature pertaining to the building of lighthouses as well as the use of state jails by federal officials, an act of the Pennsylvania legislature ratifying the first amendment, and an act of the New Hampshire legislature relating to lighthouses (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; not endorsed and not recorded in SJL; Dupl in same, SDC).

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