From a commercial and maritime point of view, Massachusetts at the beginning of the eighteenth century was the most prosperous, progressive and important of the American colonies. Boston, her largest seaport, had a trade with the other colonies and with foreign ports more important and lucrative than that enjoyed by any other American port. Her merchants and shipowners were bold, enterprising and farseeing; and to their energy and perseverance Boston's maritime supremacy was due. Many of them had followed the sea in early life, knew its dangers and hardships, and were ever ready and even anxious to aid in lessening its hazards by all means in their power. No one more fully appreciates the value of guides to navigation than the mariner and navigator who in the discharge of his duty has anxiously watched through the darkness of night and has waited for the dawn to reveal to him the entrance to his desired haven. Many of Boston's energetic citizens had that experience; in their enthusiastic efforts others joined, and as a result the first lighthouse on the American continent was erected at the entrance of Boston harbor. Forty-four years – nearly half a century – afterward, New York succeeded in having a lighthouse established as a guide to ships seeking her harbor. We cannot understand why she lagged so many years behind her then great rival, Boston, in this improvement; but so it was.
From "Boston Light and the Brewsters," by R.G.F. Candage, in The New England Magazine, October, 1895.