Projects for Marine Propulsion, Studies the English canal system digging machine, Patent for inclined plane, Writes on canal navigation.

WHATEVER Fulton's reason was for giving up the profession of art, he seems
to have come to the Vow decision quickly, and that too while he was in
Devonshire. Apparently one of the first things that he put his hand to was a
design for a " mill for sawing marble or other stone," which was set to work
near Torbay, Devon. In 1794, when he was back in London again, he sent a
model of this mill to the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Commerce,
and Manufactures, who awarded him their silver medal for his ingenuity. The
model was in existence in the Society's Repository as late as I8I3, but it
has since been lost sight of so that we are unable to say in what the
improvement consisted.
     We turn now to Fulton's connection with systems of canal construction
and with the problem of moving vessels by means of steam-power both of them
destined to have far-reaching influence on his own career, and one of them
on the course of the world's history.  Fulton's thoughts were drawn to the
first of these questions by " perusing a paper descriptive of a canal
projected by the Earl of Stanhope in I793." 1 This canal was one intended to
join the Bristol and the English Channels, passing from Bude Haven through
the hilly district about Hatherleigh and touching Holsworthy, the lord of
the manor of which was Lord Stanhope himself. The difference of levels was
upwards of 500 feet, and water was scarce. 
     While staying at Torquay, Fulton wrote to his Lordship a letter, dated
September 30, 1793, enclosing a sketch of a scheme for doing away with the
necessity for locks and minimising the loss of water; it was to consist of a
preponderating cistern of water to draw the canal boat up an inclined plane
from one level to another. He also informed his Lordship that he had a
project for moving ships by steam.  We need not necessarily suppose that
Fulton had already made the acquaintance of Lord Stanhope, although it is
quite likely that they had met in West's studio. In any case it could hardly
be considered presumption on Fulton's part, because the great interest that
the Earl took in all that related to mechanical and physical science was
well known; in fact, he was an inventor of a high order himself: the
Stanhope levers in printing presses and the Stanhope lens in optics may be
quoted as examples of his genius. Just at the moment he was interesting
himself in navigation by steam.  He replied to Fulton's communication in a
courteous letter, dated Holsworthy, October 7, 1793, informing him that his
idea of the inclined plane was the same as described by Mr. Edmund Leech
about sixteen years earlier. Then, for the first time, Fulton " discovered
that the idea of a preponderating body of water was by no means new." His
Lordship, however, expressed a wish to receive the ideas on steam-boats,
saying: " it is a subject on which I have made important discoveries." The "
discoveries " referred to were really a revival of a proposal that had been
made by Genevois of Berne in 1759, and are embodied in two patents (Nos.
1732 and 1771) taken out by Lord Stanhope in 1790 for a double-ended vessel
which was to be driven by a propeller operating like the foot of an aquatic
bird; this was to work through a trunk in line with the keel and be operated
by a steamengine. Experiments with models had proved successful, and Lord
Stanhope had succeeded in 1792 in obtaining the assistance of the Navy Board
to further his schemes.  

A vessel of 200 tons burden was under construction in Deptford Dockyard
(Gent. Mag., 1792, i. 956), the cost of which was to be reimbursed by Lord
Stanhope should it prove unsuccessful. Fulton's reply  was as follows:

     MY LORD, I extremely regret not having received your Lordship's letter
in time to have the pleasure of an interview at Exeter as a Mechanical
conversation with your I ordship would have been infinately interesting to a
young man. To atone for such loss and conform with your Lordship's wish I
have made some slight drawings descriptive of my Ideas on the Subject of the
steamship which I submit with diffidence to your Lordship. In June '93 I
began the experiments on the steamship; my first design was to imitate the
spring in the tail of a Salmon: for this purpose I supposed a large bow to
be wound up by the steamengine and the collected force attached to the end
of a paddle as in No I to be let off which would urge the vessel forward.
This model I have had made of which No. I is the exact representation and I
found it to spring forward in proportion to the strength of the bow, about
20 yards, but by the return of the paddle the continuity of the motion would
be stoped. I then endeavoured to give it a circular motion which I effected
by applying two paddles on an axis, then the boat moved by jerks. There was
too great a space between the strokes; I then applied three paddles forming
an equilateral triangle to which I gave a circular motion by winding up the
bow. I then found it to move in a gradual and even motion loo yards with the
same bow which before drove it but 20 yards.  
	No. 2 is the figure of my present model in which there are two
equilateral triangles, one on each side of the boat acting on the same shaft
which crosses the Boat or Ship and turns with the triangles; this, my Lord,
is the line of experiment which led me to the triangular paddles which at
first sight will convey the Idea of a wheel of perpendicular oars which are
no longer in the water than they are doing execution. I have found by
repeated experiment that three or six answer better than any other number as
they do not counteract each other. By being hung a little above the water it
allows a short space from the delivery of one to the entrance of the other;
it likewise enters the water more on a perpendicular as the doted lines will
shew its situation when it enters and when it is covered the circular dots
exhibit its passage through the water. Your Lordship will please to observe
in the small wheel with a number of paddles A. B. C. and D. strike almost
flat in the water and rise in the same situation whilst E. is the only one
that pulls, the others act against it which renders the purchase fruitless;
while E. is urging the Ship forwards B. A. is pressing her into the water,
and C. D. is pulling her out: but remove all the paddles except E. and she
moves on in a direct line. The perpendicular triangular Paddles are supposed
to be placed in a cast Iron wheel which should over hang above the water it
will answer as a fly and brace to the perpendicular oars. This Boat I have
repeatedly let go and ever found her to move in a steady direction in
proportion to the original purchase. With regard to the formation of ships
moved by steam I have been of opinion that they should be long, narrow and
flat at bottom, with a broad keel, as a flat Vessel will not occupy so much
space in the water; it consequently has not so much resistance. A letter
containing your Lordship's opinion of this mode of gaining a purchase on the
water and directed for me at the post office, Exeter, will much oblige your
Lordship's most obedient and Very humble servant, 
	November 4th, 1793 

     This letter is interesting not only as showing the date  June 1793  at
which Fulton began his consideration of the problem of moving vessels by
mechanical means, but also because of the insight it gives into the careful
and methodical methods of experimenting which were characteristic of him.
From their elementary character, it seems obvious that Fulton did not know
anything about the work on this subject that had been done previously. To us
at the present day this is an advantage, for it affords an interesting and
unique insight into the progress of an invention from its birth in the brain
of the inventor right up to the time of its maturity. We can easily imagine
that Lord Stanhope was disappointed, if indeed he had expected any
assistance no wonder that he still adhered to his duck-foot propeller! The
experiments with his vessel, which he named the " Ambi-Navigator Kent,"
fitted with an engine of 12 H.P. supplied by Messrs. Boulton &; Watt of
Birmingham, were prosecuted in Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, in 1795, but no
greater speed than three miles per hour was attained.
     We can conjecture that Lord Stanhope told Fulton that the problem of
moving vessels mechanically had got far beyond the stage shown by the
latter's sketches. At any rate Fulton dropped the subject for the time being
to devote himself to the study of canal engineering.
     The most likely reason why he decided to do so was because canal
construction in England was then in its heyday. The opposition and distrust
that were encountered when Brindley was constructing the Duke of
Bridgewater's Canal in 1767, the Grand Trunk Canal in 1772, and other later
canals, had given place, owing to the financial results achieved, to the
wildest speculation. The premium on shares in existing canals was as much as
1000 per cent., and, in consequence, numberless worthless schemes were
launched upon a gullible public. " In the course of the four years ending in
1794, not fewer than eightyone Canal and Navigation Acts were obtained; of
these, forty-five were passed in the two latter years, authorising the
expenditure of not less than 5,300,000 pounds.
  In passing, it is interesting to note how closely history repeated itself
half a century later in the case of railways.  It is somewhat strange that,
in his letters home, Fulton did not mention a word about his canal projects.
One letter written just at this time2 to his brother-in-law shows Fulton
rather in the light of a keen student of foreign affairs and a strong friend
of republican institutions. This portion of the letter is as follows:
     "Since I Last heared from you I have been much troubled by the Repeated
Accounts in the London papers of the Inroads of the Indians on the
Frontiers. I Sincerely hope this has not Been in your Nighbourhood So as to
Interrupt the Progress of improvement in the Rising town of Washington. As
to Europe it is all in alarm, the united efforts of England, Prusia, Spain,
Holland, Germany, Rushia and all the Allied Powers have not been Able as Yet
to Mount Another King on the Back of the French Nation. It is almost
incredebl with what Vigor the French meet their enemies while Live the
Republzc zs the Constant Song; and Lzberty or death their Motto. Thus
determined to Establish Republickism they have at this moment five hundred
thousand Men under Arms Ready for the ensuing Campaign.  
	"The Allies Seeing so much unshaken firmness Ready to meet them
begin to dispair of King making. And think it time to Look to their own
Safety, As the discontended enumrate fast in all the Belligerent States, the
People Contemplate the Nature of a Republic, And the more they think the
more they admire it. When a Revolution once takes place in the mind it will
Soon make its t Smiles, appearence externely, And I Can assure you there Are
numbers who do not hesitate to Say that Monarchial Governments are going out
of Fashion. Things being thus situated it is the Report of the day that the
King of Prussia, has withdrawn from the alliance. The Empres of Rushia, has
Certainly found work at home with the turks And thus the french Are eased of
two powerful adversaries how things will terminate god only knows, But as
far as Man Can penetrate into events it is believe(d) the French will prove
Sucesful and establish a Republic the Natural Consequence will be Republicks
throughout Europe, In time, It has Been much Agited here Whether the
Americans would join the French But I Believe every Cool friend to America
Could wish them to Remain nuter. The americens have not troubelsome
neighbours they are without foriegn Possessions, and do not want the
alliance of any Nation for this Reason they have nothing to do with foriegn
Politics, And the Art of Peace Should be the Study of every young american
which I most sincerely hope they will mantain."
     Fulton advocated canals of small size partly because of cheapness in
construction, but also to facilitate speed of transport with light loads. To
overcome differences of levels, especially where water was scarce, he
proposed to do away with locks and substitute either inclined planes along
which the boats might be drawn on rails or else vertical lifts or hoists.
The inclined plane was not new; indeed it is supposed to have been in
use'for canals in China a thousand years ago; in its simplest form it is to
be seen at many of the locks on the upper Thames. Nor was the idea new to
England, for William Reynolds, of Ketley Ironworks, had in 1792 constructed
several inclined planes on the Shropshire Canal.  For his improvements
Fulton took out his one and dnly English patent (No. 1988); it is dated May
8, 1794, and was sealed on the 3rd of June following. In it he CANAL
describes himself as " late of the City of Exeter, but now of the City of
London, Gentleman." The title of the invention is " A machine or Engine for
conveying Boats and Vessels and their Cargoes to and from the different
levels in and upon Canals, without the Assistance of Locks or the other
Means now known and used for that purpose." The Specification runs to six
printed pages, and is accompanied by a coloured drawing (reproduced
herewith). An inclined plane of any angle between 20 degrees and 90 degrees
was to be used; it was to have rails on which were to run "cisterns" each
capable of carrying one wheeled boat, which was to be drawn on to it by
inclines as seen in Figs. 4 and 5, 12 and 13. One cistern was to balance the
other (see Figs. 1 and 2) the direction of motion to be determined by
letting water by suitable means, if necessary, into the topmost cistern. If
the lift were perpendicular a tunnel or level with a vertical shaft would be
necessary as in Fig. 3. The plan of this is shown in Fig. S and of the
cisterns in Fig. 10. For checking the speed of descent of the cistern, a
friction brake (see Fig. 11) was to be used. It is difficult even for a
trained mind to see in this specification anything more than a crude idea,
ill digested; better methods, worked out in a more practical manner, were
already in use.  The preparation of the specification and drawing must have
occupied him some considerable time. The expenses of obtaining a patent in
those days amounted to z100 or more, and, as we shall see subsequently,
Fulton disposed of a sixteenth share, probably to assist in meeting this
outlay.  For the next five or six years, problems of canal construction
occupied Fulton's attention almost exclusively. He himself says I passed
three years at various ca tals in England, to obtain practical knowledge on
the manner of constructing them, and to make myself familiar with their
advantages, and was well acquainted with some of the best engineers." It was
natural that, in prosecuting these inquiries, Fulton should direct his steps
to the scene of Brindley's first triumphs; accordingly it is not surprising
to find him shortly after in Manchester, whence he wrote the following
letter to Messrs. Boulton and Watt: 

				MANCHESTER, November 4th, 1794.

     GENTLEMEN, I shall esteem it a favour to be informed of the Expences of
a Steam Engine with a Rotative movement of the purchase of 3 or 4 horses
which is designed to be placed in a Boat. You will will [stc] be so good as
to mention what sized boat it would occupy, as I wish to have it in as
little Space as Possible and what you concive will be the Expence when
finished compleat in the Boat. Whether you have one ready of the dimentions
specified or how soon one might be finished. With the Weight of Coals which
it will Consume in 12 hours and what Quantity of purchase you allow to Each
horse as I am anxious to apply some Engines of the above dimentions as soon
as Possible. Your Emediate Answer will much oblige Your most obedient and
very humble Servant, ROBT. FULTON.

     There is an amount of unconscious assurance about this letter that is
refreshing. The writer wants a business firm to quote for an engine of
special design to fit a boat which he also wants designed for him; he wants
to know also what to expect from the engine when he has got it, and what it
would cost to install and operate it ! This was too large an order, and the
firm did not send any reply at least there is no record of one. They were
too busy with the remunerative work of stationary engine building under
their patent monopoly to trouble with speculative business.  It is
interesting to note, however, that this letter gives the first indication
that Fulton had realised the importance of keeping down the space and
displacement needed by a steam engine when used in a boat for propulsion.
What the occasion of writing was we do not know, but experiments had been
made about this time by a certain John Smith with a paddle-wheel boat worked
by an atmospheric beam engine on the Bridgewater Canal between Runcorn and
Manchester.l A speed of two miles per hour only was attained. A man like
Fulton, with a grasp of general principles, would easily see the defects of
such an engine for the purpose, and the idea of employing Watt's patent
engine might easily occur to him.  Although the letter is dated from an inn,
Fulton was at the time living in a boarding-house at 8 Brazennose Street,
Manchester. One of his fellow-boarders there was Robert Owen, just then
managing some cotton mills in Manchester, but afterwards owner of the cotton
mills at New Lanark, Scotland, where he carried out among his workpeople his
celebrated schemes of social reform. The young men were nearly of the same
age, and not dissimilar in tastes; no wonder, then, that they should be
mutually attracted. Just as on previous occasions in Philadelphia and
London, Fulton's personal gifts had stood him in good stead, so now, in the
same way, he made the acquaintance of many cultured people; "while . . .
forming one of a circle of inquiring friends who very frequently met, he was
considered a valuable addition. The late Dr. John Dalton was one of this
circle, and Coleridge came occasionally from his college during vacations to
join us." s Dalton was just about Fulton's own age, and was then carrying
out the chemical experiments which led to his enunciation of the Atomic
Theory. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was seven years Fulton's junior.  Fulton had
now almost exhausted his resources. In his extremity he confided to Owen,l
that, in prosecuting an invention which had occurred to him, for more
expeditiously and cheaply digging or raising earth in forming canals . . .
he had expended all his funds, and he knew not, except by disposing of part
of the interest in his patent, how to obtain more, for all his means and
credit were exhausted. He said there was a canal to be constructed near
Gloucester, and if I [i.e. Robert Owen] could supply him with funds to go
there and see the Commissioners appointed to carry it into execution, he
might perhaps succeed in obtaining a contract for digging a portion of it,
and might then bring his new patent into notice and profitable action, and
he would give me half of the interest in the invention." Although Owen
considered the success of this venture to be "very problematical," he
eventually supplied Fulton with funds with which to go to Gloucester.
     The canal was the Gloucester and Berkeley Ship Canal, 160 miles long,
the Act for which was obtained in 1793; work was commenced in 1794, but,
owing to long delays due to insufficient capital, the canal was not opened
for traffic till 1827.  Owen gives no details of the digging machine; indeed
it would appear that it had only just taken shape in the fertile brain of
Fulton himself. However, as he communicated particulars of it, together with
a sketchy to Lord Stanhope about a year later, when his plan was more
mature, we are not in doubt as to his ideas.  Owen's first written
communication from Fulton, dated November 20, 1794, was "filled with curious
calculations respecting his new digging machine." Owen, either convinced of
success or his fears of failure overcome, now agreed to finance Fulton and
entered into articles of agreement of partnership with him. Owen recites
this agreement in full; but, as it occupies 2.5 octavo pages, we will spare
our readers by giving only the salient facts. It opens thus: 
	" Minutes of agreement made this seventeenth day of December 1794,
between Robert Fulton of the City of London, Engineer of the one part and
Robert Owen of Manchester in the county of Lancaster, cotton manufacturer of
the other part.  
	"Whereas the said Robert Fulton hath lately invented and obtained
His Majesty's Royal Letters Patent for the exclusive exercise for a term of
fourteen years of a certain machine for transferring boats and their cargoes
to and from higher levels and lower levels in and upon canal navigations,
independent of locks, of which machine thirty parts or shares (the whole
into thirty-two parts being divided) are now vested in the said Robert
Fulton. And also hath invented and shortly intends to make application for
letters patent for a certain other machine for removing earth out of canals
to the banks thereof, in cases of deep digging, without the use of
wheelbarrows, the sole and whole property of which is now vested in the said
Robert Fulton. And whereas the said Robert Fulton and Robert Owen have
agreed to become co-partners in the said machines and in the exercise
thereof at the time and upon the teems hereinafter mentioned.... " 
	The terms, succinctly stated, were, that Owen was to advance
immediately z60 towards the digging machine to get it into operation. When
either the inclined plane or the digging machine business reached a certain
specified success the two were to become copartners equally interested in
both inventions. Owen was to advance.z400 to the said copartnership to be
repaid out of the first profits. Fulton agreed " from the date hereof and
after the commencement of the said copartnership to the end of the same to
apply his whole time and exertions in the said business." 
       Fulton now appears to have left Manchester a sociable person such as
he would never lack an invitation for the Christmas season for we find that
the first letter Owen received from him was dated December 26, 1794. In it
he intimated his intention of going to Gloucester about the first of January
1795, gave additional calculations, suggested new improvements in his
digging machine, and ended by saying, " I will send you a sketch and
description after digesting the subject," and "Please to write to me
immediately and let me know how the improvement in the model succeeds." 
	The next paper among Owen's MSS. was an account of a debt owing to a
Mr. Thomas Lenning by Fulton, which he requested Owen to pay for him. Then
followed a long letter from Fulton "with new calculations and diagrams of
more improvements on his former invention," and concluding "When the rhino
is gone, I will write to you." The last touch is delightful, and no one can
fail to appreciate it. This letter was succeeded by seven more in rapid
succession, dated from Gloucester, from the Lath January to the 26th of
February 1795, " with new calculations, various sketches of new machines and
improvements, and asking for more money." The latter, we may be sure, was
	The next incident in the intercourse between these two men is
perhaps best given in Owen's own words: 
	"He had had a previous unsettled contract with a Mr. McNiven, a
canal contractor, to whom he had requested me to send a letter from him to
Mr. McNiven, with proposals for a settlement, but WIr. McNiven would not
agree to the conditions Mr. Fulton had proposed. I had therefore to write to
Mr. Fulton to advise him to come from Gloucester, whence his letters were
dated, to Manchester to settle this business, as Mr. McNiven had threatened
to adopt strong measures to enforce a settlement. It seems that he then came
to Manchester and made new proposals to me, to continue the partnership, or
to make my advances to him a debt, which he would repay me with five per
cent. interest, and it appears that I preferred and accepted the latter
condition. The following is the Memorandum of proposals made by Mr. Fulton,
dated 17th March 1795

Memorandum -- Mr. Robert Owen having advanced the sum of 93, 8s. in part
towards promoting the two projects of running boats independent of locks and
removing earth out of canals it is hereby agreed that the said Robert Owen
shall advance to the said Robert Fulton a further sum not exceeding z80, to
enable him the said Robert Fulton, to make a fair experiment on the earth
removing apparatus; that on finishing such machines, should the said Robert
Owen think proper to proceed in the partnership as per contract, he shall be
at full liberty so to do. But should a partnership be presented to the said
Robert Fulton previous to finishing the said machine, he shall be at liberty
to accept of the same on the proposal of the said Robert Owen. And in such
case, the said Robert Fulton to pay to the said Robert Owen five per cent
per annum, for the monies advanced until the said Robert Fulton shall be
enabled to refund the principal.  ROBERT FULTON.

     Fulton's next letter to Owen is dated November 2, 1795, and in it he
regrets his inability to pay any part of the debt. He does not mention the
digging machine, but it is reasonable to assume that he had expended the
further sum advanced by Owen in bringing it to as great perfection as the
apparatus admitted of. We hear no more about it till early in the following
year, when, in a letters to Earl Stanhope, he describes it fully and
illustrates it by a sketch (see next page).

     This letter contains, we may suppose, Fulton's final ideas on the
subject, and is such a good example of his lucid style that we give it in

					LONDON,Jan. 6th, 1796.

     MY LORD, The enclosed is some thoughts on an engine to Ajust in Cutting
Canals; the Idea is to have a Cutter which will take up a furrow of Earth
about 4 inches Square Which in the first drawing it pushes into a Segment of
a Circle About one foot from the Ground, And a movement being taken from the
Axel of the Hind wheels, which puts the Flies in motion, they by tAge
Velocity whzch they acfzwtre are to Stroke the earth out of the Segment or
Stage on the Bank of the CanaZ. Each fly is Calculated to Strike off about
half a pound at a time, And the distance which the Earth will move through
will be in proportion to the force with which it is Struck. Possibly it may
be necessary as in the Second Figure to Raise the earth by endless scrapers,
to some heighth on the machine, that it may be struck to the proper distance
with the greater Ease, while Figure 3 shows that Such Machine may Cut into
the Corners and give the proper Slope.  This being the principle the
Question is whether it will answer any good purpose which I Conceive it will
on the following Considerations. First that as it takes a small Quantity at
a time it will work any place where you Could Plough; then if the force of
the flies are equal to strike of the earth the Quantity which one man and 4
horses would deliver per day would stand thus: Supposing a horse to Walk 15
miles per day every 81 lenial yds would be one Cube, 21 Cube yards per Mile
in I5 miles 310 yards:

	Expense 	4 horses		16
			man			4
		 wear of machine		2
						22 or 264 pence

	This is not one Penny per Cube Yard, Which in all Cases that I know
would be 3d.  
	But if Such a machine or Any other Can be made to Answer, it will
Give further advantages by expedition and Set one independent in a great
measure of Canal diggers. But in America where Manual Labour is of So much
Importance Something to Assist In Cutting would be a most material
improvement. Therefore as I am anxious for some such Machine your Lordship
will oblige me by an opinion on these thoughts. And as I am convinced a
Machine may be made which may be Very useful your Lordship be so good as to
throw some hints Into the Scale, and you will oblige Your Lordship's most
sincere ROBT. FULTON
     P.S. In America many of our Lines will be through forests, and full of huge Stumps,
hence the following will be a Capital mode of Drawing them out of the ground, and out of the
	A small Capstain built on a sledge which a horse may draw any place
on a pair of 6 or 8 Round blocks. Being fixed to two stumps and the horse
Set in motion the weakest stump must give Way And if the Machine is fixed to
a tree on or near the Canal bank the stump may be Drawn out of the Line of
	Thus every little helps. Please to direct to No. 3 Frith Street,
     	A brief consideration of the sketch and the calculations will show
that the digging machine was a crude and impracticable apparatus. The power
for cutting the earth was to be obtained through the axle of the machine
from the four horses employed in dragging it. The number of cuts works out
on Fulton's figures (assuming that a cubic yard weighs I ton) at 28 per
lineal yard traversed. At this rate the velocity of the flies would be so
great that they would deal a shattering blow instead of the slow motion
necessary with a shovel. Nevertheless this is the first attempt we have met
with to solve the problem of mechanical excavation, the solution of which in
our own time has made practicable such an engineering feat as the
construction of the Panama Canal.
   	Fulton must have realised that his machine was a failure, because he
neither proceeded to a patent (that might have been, of course, from lack of
funds), nor does he mention the machine in the book he was now occupied in
writing his Treatise on the Improvement of Canal Navigation. This was
Fulton's first appearance as an author. In order to " boom " his book, as we
should now term it, Fulton wrote a signed article on " Small Canals," which
was published in the Star newspaper July 30, 1795, in which he announced the
forthcoming publication. His idea was, of course, to bring his system of
Small Canals, wheeled boats, and inclined planes before the public; but the
book was not confined to this alone, as it includes designs for aqueducts
and bridges, engraved on copper from drawings made with his own hand. None
of these designs are from actual practice, as has been asserted and as might
be inferred from his styling himself on the title page " Civil Engineer."
Although the title was at that time assumed rather loosely civil engineering
not being a definite profession yet Fulton had no right to use it, for he
had not been in practice, nor had he assisted in carrying out any
engineering works.  
	The dedication of the book is dated March 1, 1796; it was published
by J. Taylor, from whom it is not unreasonable to suppose that Fulton
received enough to put him in funds again for the time being.
	The work was replied to by William Chapman l in the following year
in his Observations on the Various Systems of Canal Navigation, 1797,
4to, wherein he pointed out how old a device the inclined plane was, and
also how unsuitable the small canal was to a country like England, where
population was so dense.  

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