|Turns his attention to steam navigation,
Sketch of the work of previous experimenters, Steamboat on the Seine,
British negotiations to withdraw Fulton from France.|
We have now reached the period when Fulton turned his attention in earnest to what was to be his lifes work the solution of the problem of navigation by steam on a commercial scale. In order to get a clear idea of what this problem was, it must be remembered that overseas commerce had greatly increased, and with it the burden of the ships employed, so that the difficulty of warping or rowing them out of harbour through calms or against the tide had also increased. Itwas not an uncommon thing to see hundreds of sail weatherbound in harbour for weeks at a stretch waiting for the wind to change. Merely as showing what a long-standing problem it was, we may mention the alleged attempts to propel boats by steam of Blasco de Garay in 1543 and Denis Papin in 1707. These could safely be dismissed on a priori grounds, even if research had not shown that these experimenters employed muscular power only, when we reflect that Newcomen did not introduce his atmospheric engine the first practical and satisfactory apparatus for employing the power of steam till about 1710. Yet Newcomen's engine was far from being suited to marine propulsion, for its weight for a given power was enormous; in fact it would hardly be too much to say that had any such engine been designed capable of developing power enough to propel a boat of a given size, the engine would have sunk the boat by its own weight. We are not, therefore, in much doubt as to the success of the scheme of Jonathan Hulls, who took out a patent (No. 556) in 1736 for a stern wheel tug-boat actuated by an atmospheric engine. The title of his pamphlets descriptive of his invention published in 1737 shows clearly the widest extent to which it was expected to apply the steam engine at this time; as a general substitute for sails and oars, it was hardly dreamt of. It was not until the simple pumping engine of Newcomen had been developed between 1775 and 1782 by the celebrated James Watt into the Cornish pumping engine, and lastly into the double-acting rotative engine suitable for all kinds of power purposes, that for the first time the horse-power obtainable from an engine and its boiler, per pound weight and per cubic feet occupied, was reduced within the limits of displacement of a boat that the engine could propel at a reasonable speed. For the first really important steps to realise practically this new possibility, we must turn our attention to the New World, where the extensive waterways but lack of highways early suggested that transport by water was easier than by land, if it could be made as certain. The impetus may have been due to the removal of trade restrictions by the War of Independence, 1775-1783; what the nature of these restrictions had been is shown by the fact that the art of constructing steam engines was totally unknown in America at that time. We ought perhaps to refer in the first place to the experiments of James Rumsey of Virginia, in hydraulic jet propulsion, a method which he was the first to bring to a practical issue although it had been proposed in 1730 by John Allen, M.D., and even earlier by others. All that was required was a steam pump to draw in the water at the bow and force it out at the stern, so that the mechanical arrangements were simple and well understood. In 1785 and again in 1787 and 1788 Rumsey exhibited his boat publicly on the Potomac, and succeeded in propelling her against the current at the rate of four miles per hour. In the latter year he proceeded to England, where he hoped to prosecute his invention. In this he succeeded, for, having induced a wealthy American merchant resident in London to finance him, he took out patents in 1788 (No. 1673) and again in 1790 (No. 1738). In February 1793 their vessel was tried on the Thames, attaining a speed of four knots. Unfortunately Rumsey died suddenly in the midst of his experiments. Fulton, who was in London at the time although it is improbable that he was present, knew about these trials, because in one of his notebooksl there is an entry entitled " Messrs. Parker and Rumsies experiment for moving boats." Fulton's opinion after consideration of the pros and cons is: "It therefore appears that the Engine was not loaded to its full power, that the water was lifted four times too high, and that the tube by which the water escaped was more than five times too small." This shows that Fulton did not realise where the cause of Rumsey's failure lay. If water, contained in the boat itself, is forced out through an orifice at the stern at twice the speed at which the boat moves, the efficiency may be as much as 75 per cent.; that is, looked at in another way, the efficiency would be greater than that of any other form of propulsion. The water has, however, to be taken in at the bow and come to rest relative to the boat; this means a loss of energy which greatly reduces efficiency, and this was Rumsey's case. Even when the water enters the boat and is not brought to rest relative to it, but is accelerated by a centrifugal pump as in Ruthven's system, a jet is less economical than other means of propulsion, as was proved in 1868 in the Admiralty experiments on H.M.S. Waterwich. A third system remains to be tried, whereby the velocity of the incoming water is converted by a Venturi tube into pressure before it enters the pump, and is finally discharged through a converging nozzle, again acquiring velocity. Jet propulsion has received a limited application in exceptional circumstances, e.g. in steam life-boats and floating fire stations. Almost if not quite as early in the field as Rumsey was John Fitch of Connecticut, who on September 27 1785 laid before the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia a description, drawing, and model of a machine for working a boat against the stream by means of an endless chain of float boards. Although his petitions to the Legislatures of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey for financial aid to enable him to make experiments were unsuccessful, yet the lastnamed State granted him, on March 8 1786, an exclusive privilege for fourteen years for making and using all such boats within the waters of that State. In 1786 on the strength of this privilege, Fitch formed a stock company known as "The Steamboat Company." He engaged a mechanic named Henry Voight, and together they constructed a model boat, but it was too small to prove anything. In a larger model, Fitch adapted the idea, borrowed no doubt from the action of Indians in a canoe, of a set of paddles on each side to be moved by cranks. A boat 34 feet long, 8 feet beam, and 3 feet 6 inches in depth was built at Philadelphia and equipped with a steam engine, which by sprocket gearing actuated six oars placed vertically in a frame on each side of the boat. This was tried successfully on the river Delaware on July 27 in that year. By this time funds were exhausted, and it was not till 1787 that the State of Delaware granted Fitch a some what similar privilege to that of their neighbours, on the strength of which a new agreement was drawn up and fresh capital was raised. A boat 45 feet long by 12 feet beam was built and fitted with horizontal double-acting condensing engine " similar to the late improved steam engines in Europe," 12 inch diam. by 3 feet stroke, which moved by cranks six paddles on each side. On the 22nd August 1787 twenty years almost to a day before Fulton's final success this vessel was publicly tried on the river Delaware at Philadelphia before members of the Convention met there to frame the Federal Constitution. The speed attained was, however, too slow to satisfy the projectors. The following year saw them with another boat 60 feet long by 8 feet beam, in which the reciprocating oars were placed at the stern. In July she made a trip from Philadelphia to Burlington, a distance of about twenty miles, the longest trip ever made by steam up to that time; later a speed of over six miles per hour was recorded. Even this was not considered satisfactory, and Fitch continued experimenting with different condensers, boilers, and cylinders during 1789 and the spring of 1790. The beam type of engine, with a cylinder 18 inches diam. driving paddle boards at the stern, was finally decided on. At last, in the words of Fitch's autobiographical MS.: "On the 16th April (i.e. 1790) got our work compleated, and tried our Boat again and although the wind blew very fresh at the north east we reigned Lord High Admiral of the Delaware and no boat in the River could hold its way with us, but all fell astern, although several sail boats which were very light, and heavy sails that brought their gunwales well down to the water came out to try us." The United Stares Gazette, May 15 1790 contains the following notice: Burlington May 11th I790. The friends of science and the liberal arts will be gratified on hearing that we were favoured, on Sunday last, with a visit from Preserved in the Philadelphia Library. the ingenious Mr. Fitch accompanied by several gentlemen of taste and knowledge in mechanics in a steamboat constructed on an improved plan. From these gentlemen we learn that they came from Philadelphia in 3 hours and a quarter, with a head wind with the tide in their favour. On their return by accurate observation, they proceeded down the river at the rate of upwards of seven miles an hour." The boat was now considered quite successful, and on June 16th, she was tested in front of Water Street, Philadelphia, in presence of the Governor and Council of Pennsylvania and a crowd of spectators. A speed of eight miles per hour was attested to. This vessel was the first steamboat employed commercially, for during the summer she ran, as advertisements in the newspapers l of the time testify, a passenger and freight service on the Delaware between Philadelphia and Bordentown. In this service the boat must have run between two and three thousand miles, but apparently the Company were losing money all the time, since after the vessel was laid up in the autumn she was not again used. It is not unreasonable to surmise that the weight of the propelling machinery left too little displacement for freight and passengers to enable her to pay expenses. The subsequent history of John Fitch is very sad. He was sent over to France by his friends in 1791, and on November 29th of that year obtained a patent for fifteen years for Mecanisme propre a faire mouvoir des bateaux par le moyen d'une machine a feu." The disturbed state of the country consequent on the Revolution prevented Fitch from doing anything. He returned to the United States, and after a few more attempts to further the introduction of steam navigation, he died in 1798, at Bardstown, Kentucky, a disappointed and broken man. The large amount of space which we have devoted to Fitch is only in proportion to the regard in which he ought to be held, and to the bearing which his work had on Fulton's subsequent monopoly. The advances he made were very great, but he was unable to build a boat large enough or an engine quite light enough for the work, nor was transportation so important a question then as it quickly became. Fitch realised exactly what was the crux of the problem, as is shown by the following statement and extract from a letter of his: " If he could bring his steam engine to work in a boat he would be under no difficulty in applying its force." " It may also be boldly asserted that it would be much easier to carry a first-rate man of war by steam at an equal rate than a small boat; for in such a case we should not be so cramped for room, nor should we so sensibly feel a few pounds weight of machinery." We do not intend to enlarge upon the experiments of William Henry, Nathan Read, Samuel Morey, Nicholas J. Roosevelt, and other New England inventors, because their efforts did not advance the problem beyond the stage reached by Fitch. It must not be supposed that during this time nothing was being done in the mother country. On the contrary matters were in an advanced stage: we refer to the wellknown experiments of Patrick Miller, the Edinburgh banker, who for some years had been experimenting with double-hulled boats propelled by paddle wheels turned by muscular power. It was suggested to him in 1788 by his son's tutor that he should apply a steam engine instead of men. He promptly commissioned one from William Symington, who had patented an engine, really an infringement of Watt's, the previous year. The trial, which took place on Dalswinton Loch on Miller's estate in Dumfriesshire, was quite successful, the speed attained being five miles per hour. The machinery, relying as it did on ratchets for obtaining rotary motion, was not much in advance of Hulls's, and was unsuitable for everyday work even in smooth water. The engine has been preserved, and may be seen in the Science Museum, South Kensington. Miller at once decided on a trial on a larger scale; accordingly one of his double boats was brought from Leith to Grangemouth, taken along the Forth and Clyde Canal, and supplied with an engine of similar design to the last, built at Carron Ironworks. The trial, which took place on the Canal, was even more successful than the previous one, for a speed of seven miles per hour was reached. Miller perhaps did not realise that his resultsg could be applied outside the somewhat narrow limits of inland navigation; but, even so, surprise has often been expressed that he did not prosecute his experiments further; there is, however, some evidence to show that he tried, unsuccessfully, to induce the British Admiralty to take up the subject; and when it is reflected that on his public spirited efforts to make improvements in agriculture and other arts he had expended a very large sum stated by his family to have been z30,000 without pecuniary return, his inaction, far from being surprising, is only natural. Glancing back upon this long series of partial successes and disappointments, it is not to be wondered at that in Fulton's own words " The repeated failure (i.e. to move boats or vessels to advantage by the power of steam engines) of men of science, among whom were the ingenious Earl of Stanhope, gave an impression to the public mind both in Europe and America, that it was impracticable to make a useful steam boat, and under this belief those who attempted it were considered as visionaries or madmen." Still it is not difficult to imagine that it was the force of circumstances which drove Fulton to think upon the problem, because during the summer he had spent at Brest he must have realised that something a great deal superior to muscular power was required to propel his bomb-carrying boats ere they could be a success. Besides, there would be much talk about Napoleon's projected descent upon England, and the assemblage for that purpose of troops and transports at Boulogne. But, while the English fleet swept the Channel and blockaded the French ports, there was little chance for such an expedition to slip across, even if the French had got what Napoleon said was all they needed, " Let us be masters of the Channel for six hours and we are masters of the world." Rather may it have occurred to Fulton that a dead calm was the desideratum were only the steamboat in existence. The menace of invasion was removed for the time being by the negotiations which led to the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802. It is doubtful whether Fulton would have done anything in steam navigation, however, had it not been for the arrival in France of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to France. The first thing he heard on his arrival in Paris in November 1801 was the news of the cession of Louisiana and the Floridas by Spain to France. Their new neighbour was viewed with great alarm by the States, and it is a matter of history that they succeeded in coming to terms on April 30, 1803, by the payment of eighty million francs, Napoleon thus astutely putting Louisiana in the hands of a power unfriendly to England and at the same time supplying himself with the funds he needed so badly for carrying on his schemes of conquest. Now, Livingston was deeply interested in the subject of steamboats; indeed, he had an idea or two of his own, and, as a result of his experiments, had gone so far as to procure an Act to be passed in March 1798 vesting in himself the " exclusive right and privilege of navigating all kinds of boats which might be propelled by the force of steam or fire on all the waters within the territory or jurisdiction of the State of New York for the term of twenty years from the passing of the Act; upon condition that he should within a twelvemonth build such a boat, the mean of whose progress should not be less than four miles per hour." He mentioned what he was doing in a letter to James Watt, dated November 4, 1798 in which he says: "Having lately turned my attention to the application of this power [i.e. the steam engine] to the propelling of boats which I have reason to think (from some experiments I have made with a small 12-inch cylinder making three feet strokes in a boat of 36 Tuns) I have effected on principles that [are] entirely new . . . I propose to carry the business of propelling boats upon our extensive rivers by means of steam to a considerable length Tho' steam engines are perfectly made here, yet the small number of workmen that understand the business renders it a slow and expensive operation. I beg to know, Sir, upon what terms an engine 24 Inches cylinder making four feet strokes The furnace only for a wooden boiler (as the boiler can be made here) can be delivered here on 12 months credit with 5 pr. Ct. interest from the time it is delivered. You will oblige me by an early answer to this part of my letter as I am now about to proceed in making them here if they cannot be furnished cheaper by you I need not observe that for the purpose I want it, the workmanship must be as light and compact as possible." He did not get any engines from Boulton & Watt, however; probably there was a difficulty in getting permission to export them. Nor did he succeed as he was anticipating; possibly his official duties prevented that close application which the problem demanded. Livingston's brother is said to have met Fulton at the Panorama, and to have introduced him to the Chancellor as being just the man he was on the look-out for. Livingston " communicated to Mr. Fulton the importance of steamboats to their common country; informed him of what had been attempted in America, and of his resolution to resume the pursuit on his return, and advised him to turn his attention to the subject. It was agreed between them to embark on the enterprise, and immediately to make such experiments as would enable them to determinehow far, in spite of former failures, the object was attainable; the principal direction of these experiments was left to Mr. Fulton, who united in a very considerable degree practical, to a theoretical, knowledge of mechanics. After trying a variety of experiments, on a small scale, on models of his own invention, it was understood that he had developed the true principles upon which steamboats should be built, and for the want of knowing which all previous experiments had failed. But as these gentlemen both knew that many things which were apparently perfect when tried on a small scale, failed when reduced to practice upon a large one, they determined to go to the expense of building an operating boat on the Seine. This was done in the year 1803 at their joint expense and under the direction of Mr. Fulton, and so fully evinced the justice of his principles that it was immediately determined to enrich their country by the valuable discovery as soon as they should meet there, and in the meantime to order an engine to be made in England." Now, Fulton had already experimented with both paddle and screw for propulsion just at this moment he was most in favour of the chain of paddle-boards so that he felt himself on pretty safe ground; but as to the provision of suitable enginepower he was not quite so sanguine. However, he recalled his old friend, Dr. Cartwright, who, at the time of his last letter had been busy with his alcohol engine, and wrote to him as follows: PARIS, 10th March 1802. MY GOOD FRIEND, Be so kind as to let me know how you have succeeded in your steam engine. To what state of perfection have you brought it ? What will one of a six horse power making a three or four foot stroke, cost ? How much will it weigh ? How much space will it require when rendered as compact as possible ? What weight and value of coals will it consume per hour ? and how soon can it be made ? I think you once mentioned to me your intention to use spirits of wine, and that you could obtain a power of at least 30 Ibs to the square inch. Have you succeeded in these great objects ? The object of these inquiries is to make part of an examination on the possibility of moving boats of about six or seven tons by steam engine, and your engine I conceive best calculated for such a work; particularly as the condenser may always have the advantage of cold water without adding much to the weight of the boat; and having the advantage of cold water may enable you to work with ardent spirits and produce the desired elasticity of steam with one half the heat, hence in calculating the weight of the apparatus, the weight of the condensing water will be trifling, it is therefore the weight of the engine and the fluid in the boiler which are to be calculated. For this object I believe the engine should be double with the steam acting on the top and bottom of the piston, or in two cylinders, the one ascending while the other descends. For the particular case where such a boat is wanted, I believe it is of more importance to have a light and compact engine, than to have too much regard to the economy of fuel, unless the additional weight of the fuel to go twenty miles would be more than the additional weight of the engine to economize the heat. To gain power in a small space, how would it answer to make the boiler sufficiently strong to heat the steam to two atmospheres or 30 pounds to the square inch ? then a cylinder of 6 inches would give a purchase of 3co Ibs; that is goo pounds' constant purchase which is about the sum of my demand as for example three pounds will draw a piece of timber 20 feet long which presents a butt end of one foot square, at the speed of 1 mile per hour 12 pounds 2 miles per hour 48 pounds 4 miles per hour 96 pounds 6 miles per hour 120 pounds 7 miles per hour Now supposing my boat to be 40 feet long and five feet wide boat, passengers, and engines weighing 6 tons it will present a front of about 6 feet resistance or 720 pounds purchase to run such a boat seven miles per hour. Suppose the boat to weigh 2 tons 30 Passengers with their baggage. 3 tons ------ total 5 tons One ton is left for the engine and machinery. From this calculation you will be able to judge what can be done by your invention; and if by your means I can perfect my plan I have got a good opportunity of rendering your engine productive to you, and it will give me pleasure to do so. You will be so good as [to] write to me as soon as possible, answering in a particular manner the questions stated with any observations you think proper and will be so good as to make on my proposed attempt. ROBT. FULTON. This letter is interesting if only as showing the data possessed by Fulton, derived from Beaufoy's experiments on floating solids of uniform section, upon which he based his calculations of the power necessary to drive a boat. Of course this meant that the boat was treated as if it were a parallelopiped of uniform section and not shipshape. More noteworthy still is that Fulton, although he did not understand the principle of the alcohol engine, yet suggests the use of steam of much higher pressure than was then usual. Cartwright, although he had really done nothing to reduce his ideas to practice, replied with a glowing account of his engine. Evidently Fulton saw through this, for his reply was as follows: PARIS, 28th March 1802. MY DEAR SIR, It is with great pleasure I have received your flattering account of your steam engine; and although attachment to you makes me believe everything you say, yet such belief is merely a work of faith, for I cannot see the reason why you have 13.5 pounds purchase to the square inch. Is this in consequence of the friction taken off by your circles [i.e. the metallic packing, Patent No. 2202 (1797), of which Cartwright was the original inventor]. How have you found that mode to answer ? Is it that by your mode of condensing the water becomes deprived of its air and that the steam may be heated four, five or more pounds per inch above the atmosphere ? If the engine can be made so light as you mention, and give only ten pounds to the square inch, it will answer my purpose; but it must be a double engine, making thirty double strokes, or sixty single strokes per minute of three feet each; that is to say three feet per second. As I can afford to give five feet by six for the engine, it will not be necessary to place the cylinder in the boiler. If it stands outside of the boiler, repairs can be made with more ease; but when we have decided on the engine, I will give a sketch of the mode in which I propose it should stand, to give movement to the machinery which is to drive the boat. If for my case, you propose to condense without injection, the condensing vessel may be a long cylinder or tube, with another tube through its centre, through which a current of water will pass with a velocity equal to the speed of the boat and thus carry off the caloric very quick. I do not see how the engine, water in the boiler and fly included can weigh so little as a ton and say a half. What will be the weight and diameter of the fly ? Another important consideration is it permitted to send such engines out of the country ? the design is to America. The smoke jack flyers will not answer for a quick movement. Reduced to 2 arms thus, it answers admirably for my plunging boat, where the velocity is not more than two miles per hour between two waters, and where oars cannot be used. I was so pleased with it in that experiment, that I last summer built a pinish (ie. pinnace) thirty six feet long and five feet wide extremely light and of the best workmanship. I placed in her quadruple cranks, from bow to stern thus, to each of which were six men, total twenty-four of the best seamen of the fleet. The multiplication from the crank to the flyers was at first fourteen to one; the flyers, four feet diameter, angle, thirty degrees. We could not make more than four miles per hour. I reduced the multiplication to seven to one. We went about four miles but with less fatigue to the men. I changed the diameter of the flyers from four down to two feet and the angle from forty down gradually five degrees at a time to fifteen degrees. Still our speed was never more than about four miles per hour. When the boat gains a certain velocity, the water running quick past the flyers they lose their purchase; and multiplying them to a velocity so as to overtake the boat, or strike the water sufficiently quick, causes a friction which consumes much of the power. However, I have found an excellent mode of taking my purchase on the water in all possible velocities, and where the whole power will be applied to advantage. The question now is only to find the best steam engine to put it in movement; and I sincerely hope it will be yours. For political reasons, I have never yet confided to but one person the combination of my plunging boat and committed the whole to drawing and explanation, in case of any accident happening to me; however it will be satisfactory to you to know that the experiments have been very successful. I was very fortunate in surmounting some great difficulties; and navigating under water is now easy to be performed and without risk. The incredulity evinced by Fulton in this letter may well be pardoned, and Cartwright, having before him an inquiry for an engine of definite horse-power which was not to occupy more than a certain space, must have been driven to confess that he was unable to supply what was wanted, and Fulton was therefore thrown once more on his own resources. Just about this time Mrs. Barlow was ordered to the famous medicinal springs of Plombieres for the benefit of her health. Fulton was her escort. They left Paris on April 26 1802, and remained at the spa the whole of the summer. From the letters which passed between Barlow and his wife we are able to glean interesting glimpses of Fulton's doings there. On the 15th Floreal (May 5th) he says: "Toot: the little rascal Cala has not yet sent off the boat; he says he has had to get made a barreler, and to get the boat painted several times." Again on the 17th Floreal (May 7) he writes: "Toot: I believe little Cala has sent the model but am not sure. I have run and scolded and arranged with the diligence and given him the address, and he has promised time after time; but he is a shuffler." With this model, which was 3 feet long by 8 inch beam provided with " strong clock springs," Fulton made a series of experiments; these are fully detailed in a note book which has been preserved entitled on the first page: "EXPERIMENTS AND CALCULATIONS ON PROPELING BOATS WITH STEAM ENGINES. PLOMBIERS THE 5TH OF JUNE 1802. ROBT. FULTON. Below this is a sketch of a steamboat with endless chain of float boards running over two wheels and entitled: "THE STEAM BOAT FROM NEW YORK TO ALBANY IN 12 HOURS. The way in which the tests were carried out is also given: "The model being arranged, a small rivulet was stopped so as to form a stagnant pond 66 feet long, 9 or 10 feet wide and from 3 to 2 feet deep at the upper end; thus prepared and with a good watch which beat the seconds, the experiments commenced." They were directed to finding whether " paddles, skulls, endless chains, or water wheels " were the best " mode of taking the purchase" on the water. It will at once strike the naval architect when reading of the abovementioned experiments that we have here the first crude idea of the model tanks now so extensively used at Haslar, Dumbarton, and elsewhere for predicting, from the behaviour of scale models under varying conditions, the performances of the actual vessels to be constructed from them. From the experiments and the sketch already mentioned it is quite clear that Fulton at this moment was in favour of the endless chain of float boards for propulsion. The calculations that follow all relate definitely to a steamboat service between New York and Albany. Fulton expected to be able to realise a speed of 16 miles per hour, but he also saw clearly that it could not be done unless he had sufficient displacement. To return now to the correspondence; on the 30 Floreal (May 20) Barlow wrote to his wife: "Toot is calling for funds. Besides the [$]3,000 which I must pay for him to-morrow and [$]3,000 more at the end of the month, he wants [$]3,000 more still to build another new boat at Brest. I see no end to it; he is plunging deeper all the time, and if he don't succeed I don't know what will become of him. I will do all I can for him, but the best way I can serve him is to keep a sheet anchor for him at home that he might be sure to ride out a gale there if he can't keep the sea nor get into port. St. Aubin says it's a grand damage that he is not here now; Roderer is so enthusiased with his small canals that he would certainly be employed to make one. French froth! !" The new submarine was never built, although it has been asserted repeatedly that it was. On the 1st Prairial (May 21) Barlow mentions having seen in the Morning Chronicle a report of the speech made in the House of Lords by the Earl Stanhope relative to submarine navigation, in the course of which he stated that it had been brought to such perfection by a person in France as to render the destruction of ships absolutely sure. This statement created considerable stir, and a certain amount of uneasiness that led British Ministers eventually to enter into negotiations with the object of withdrawing Fulton from France, the result of which will be seen later. Fulton was also devoting some time to artistic pursuits, for in a succeeding letter there is a mention of his painting the portrait of Charlotte Villette; later Barlow expresses pleasure that he is getting on so well with the drawings for the Columbiad. This was an epic poem based upon and amplified from an earlier work of his the Vision of Columbus that Barlow had written describing the rise and progress of the United States. We shall hear more of this, for it was not published till 1807. On the 25th Prairial (June 14) Barlow wrote to Fulton: "DEAR TOOT To-day I went to the National Depot of Machines with Parker to show it him and there I met Montgolfier and there I saw a strange thing; it was no less than your very steamboat in all its parts and principles in a very elegant model. It contains your wheel-oars precisely as you have placed them, except that it has four wheels on each side to guide round the endless chain instead of two. "The two upper wheels seem to be only to support the chain; perhaps it 15 an improvement." Barlow proceeds to give details of the company who were going to exploit the invention on the river Rhone. He says further that Montgolfier disbelieves in the whole thing, and adds: " I shall say nothing to Livingston about the model." This steamboat was patented April 7, 1802, by Desblanc et Cie. of Trevoux. There cannot be much doubt that this news upset Fulton somewhat, but not for long, as his active mind soon reverted to his earlier idea of paddle wheels. On his return to Paris in October he inspected the model and effectually disposed of Desblanc, in some notes which have been preserved, because the latter gives neither the proportions of the boat nor the size of the engines to obtain any given speed, and therefore "cannot be said to have made any clear and distinct discovery or useful invention." As a matter of fact Desblanc never did achieve any success. The reader will be interested to learn that the model is still in existence, and is preserved in the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, the Institution which Barlow calls the " National Depot of Machines." Barlow now seems to have paid a flying visit to England the countries were still at peace and incidentally he called upon William Chapman 1 to inquire about engines. The interview is referred to on 12 Messidor (July 15t) in a letter from Dover as follows: "He says that a 26-inch cylinder in what he calls a double engine gives the force of 50 horses; he says to move a boat of 6 feet wide one foot deep in water and 80 feet long 8 miles an hour, will not require a cylinder more hall 14 inches." On the 14th Messidor (July 3) Barlow dined with Livingston and says: "TOOT . . . There I met Count Rumford and he and I were friends in a moment. He told me a great many things new and good, and all the particulars about the Royal Institution. I complimented him liberally and handsomely. He talked a great deal about the plunging boat of Fulton's. He and Sir Charles [i.e. Blagden, Secretary of the Royal Society of London] agreed that its effects could not be doubted but that it would never be brought into use, because no civilized nation would consent to use it: that men, governments and nations would fight and that it was better for morals and general happiness of all people that the fighting should be done on land. Here Livingston interposed with dignity and energy, and observed that the greater part of modern wars were commercial wars, and that these were occasioned by navies, and that the system ought to be overturned; that as to the humanity of the use of the plunging boat, he was so convinced of it that he had written to the American Government recommending those experiments to be made which should prove its efficacy, and then to adopt it as a general mode of defense for our harbours and coasts. Volney joined in enforcing with his usual strength of expression these ideas. Schimmelpennick sat by and said not a word." On the 21st Messidor (July 10) Barlow mentions having studied Fulton's " memoir of experiments and calculations pretty well." Barlow's next reference to the steamboat is under date 29th Messidor (July 18). "Toot, I had a great talk with Livingston. He says he is perfectly satisfied with your experiments and calculations, but is always suspicious that the engine beating up and down will break the boat to pieces. He seems to be for trying the horizontal cylinder or for returning to his mercurial engine. I see his mind is not settled, and he promises now to write you.... He thinks the scale you talk of going on is much too large, and especially that part which respects the money. You converted him as to the preference of the wheels above all other modes, but he says they cannot be patented in America because a man (I forget his name) has proposed the same thing there. . . . Parker is highly gratified witb your experiments; he wishes, however, something further to remove his doubts about keeping the proportions and as to the loss of power in different velocities. He wishes to have another barrelier made four times as strong as this or thereabouts to see whether the proportional velocity would be the same when moving by the paddles as when moving by the fixture on shore...." The last reference by Barlow is on the 7th Thermidor (July 26). "My project would be that you should pass directly over to England, silent and steady, make Chapman construct an engine of 12 inches while you are building a boat of a proportionate size. Make the experiments on that scale all quiet and quick. If it answers, put the machinery on board a vessel and go directly to New York (ordering another engine as large as you please to follow you) then secure your patent and begin your operation first small and then large. I think I will find you the funds without any noise for the first operation in England, and if it promises well you may get as many funds and friends in America as you want." It is fairly clear from these last two letters that there was considerable hesitation on the part of all except Barlow as to whether to back up Fulton with sufficient capital to make the necessary experiments on the large scale. Livingston was alarmed by the boldness of Fulton's proposals and doubted the necessity for so large a size of boat as he suggested, whereas displacement had been the very thing lacking in nearly all previous experiments. The letters to Plombieres ceased on 27th Fructidor (September 14th), immediately after which Mrs. Barlow and her escort returned to Paris. The circle at 50 rue de Vaugirard was once more complete, and remained unbroken for the next twelve months with the exception of a short absence of Barlow in England, when he was instrumental in mediating between Benjamin West and Fulton- the former had been much offended by some proposition made by the latter, the nature of which has not transpired Considerable light is thrown on the conclusions to which Fulton had arrived as to the proper form of propeller for marine propulsion at this time by the following letter l addressed to the American Consul-General at Paris in reply to an inquiry for information and advice about a proposal of a client: PARIS, the 20th September 1802. TO MR. FULNER SKIPWITH, SIR, The expense of a patent in France is 300 livres (i.e. z12) for three years, 800 ditto for ten years, and 1500 ditto for fifteen years; there can be no difficulty in obtaining a patent for the mode of propelling a boat which you have shown me; but if the author of the model wishes to be assured of the merits of his invention before he goes to the expense of a patent, I advise him to make a model of a boat, in which he can place a clock spring which will give about eight revolutions; he can then combine the movements so as to try oars, paddles, and the leaves which he proposes; if he finds that the leaves drive the boat a greater distance in the same time than either oars or paddles they consequently are a better application of power. About eight years ago the Earl of Stanhope tried an experiment on similar leaves in Greenland Dock, London, but without success. I have also tried experiments on similar leaves, wheel-oars, paddles, and flyers similar to those of a smoke jack, and found oars to be the best. The velocity with which a boat moves is in proportion as the sum of the surfaces of the oars, paddles, leaves or other machine is to the bow of the boat presented to the water, and in proportion to the power with which such machinery is put in motion; hence if the sum of the surfaces of the oars is equal to the sum of the surfaces of the leaves, and they pass through similar curves in the same time, the effect must be the same; but oars have their advantage, they return through air to make a second stroke, and hence create very little resistance; whereas the leaves return through water and add considerably to the resistance, which resistance is increased as the velocity of the boat is augmented; no kind of machinery can create power; all that can be done is to apply the manual or other power to the best advantage. If the author of the model is fond of mechanics he will be much amused, and not lose his time, by trying the experiments in the manner I propose, and this perhaps is the most prudent measure before a patent is taken. I am, Sir, with much respect, Yours, ROBT FULTON. We might remark that the " leaves " referred to are expanding and contracting surfaces like the foot of an aquatic bird; "wheel-oars" mean paddle wheels as we know them; " paddles " mean a chain of float boards passing over two wheels, or the paddles used by Fitch; "flyers" mean screw propellers. In this letter Fulton is very generously giving away a good deal of the information gained by his experiments. Fulton's presence in Paris and his own confidence seems to have quickly reassured his friends and critics, for we find him almost immediately thereafter entering into partnership with Livingston. The deed of partnership that was executed by them has been preserved and opens thus: "Memorandum of an Agreement entered into this tenth day of October in the Year One Thousand Eight hundred and two between Robert R. Livingston, Esq. of the State of New York and Robert Fulton of the State of Pennsylvania. "Whereas the said Livingston and Fulton have for several years past separately tried various mechanical Combinations for the purpose of propelling boats and vessels by the power of Steam Engines, and conceiving that their experiments have demonstrated the possibility of success they hereby agree to make an attempt to carry their invention into useful operation, and for that purpose enter into partnership on the following conditions." These conditions are too long to be given in extenso, but the following is a brief summary: First. A boat 120 feet long, 8 feet wide and 15 inches draught is to be constructed to carry sixty passengers, and to run between New York and Albany at the rate of eight miles per hour in still water. Second. A United States patent is to be taken out by Fulton, and the property in it is to be divided into IOO shares, fifty of which are to be held by each. All the profits are to be shared equally. Third. Fulton is to go to England to construct an experimental boat, the estimated cost of which, z500, is to be advanced by Livingston. If unsuccessful, Fulton agrees to repay half that sum within two years. If successful, Fulton is to take out the U.S. patent and superintend the work of establishing the steamboat. Fourth. When the work is complete, either party may dispose of any number, not exceeding forty, of their shares, but these shareholders are to have no voice in the management. All extensions are to be made out of revenue, and the surplus profits are to be divided twice a year. Fifth. The duration of the partnership is to be coterminous with the duration of the patent fourteen years or whatever extension may be granted, after which each share to have a voice in the disposal of the property. Sixth. In the case of the death of either partner within the period of partnership his heir or heirs holding twenty shares are jointly to have an equal voice with the primitive partner. Seventh. Livingston may withdraw at any time after the z500 has been expended on the first experiment, on giving notice in writing to Fulton. The document is signed by Livingston and Fulton, and witnessed by Robert L. Livingston. The winter appears to have been spent in further ex periments, for a MS. is still preserved dated 'Paris the I9 Nevose Anno II, January the 9th 1803C" entitled "Experiments on the model of a boat to be moved by a steam engine," in which six experiments are carefully detailed. On January 24th Fulton forwarded a plan that he had prepared with the following description to the Demonstrators of the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, where the document is still preserved. (Translation.) PARIS, 4 Pluviose, An XI. Robert Fulton to the Citizens Molar, Bardell, and Montgolfier, Friends of the Arts. I send you herewith sketch designs of a machine that 1 am about to construct witha which I propose soon to make experiments on the towing of boats upon rivers by the help of fire engines. My first aim in busying myself with this was to put it in practice upon the long rivers of America where there are no roads suitable for haulage or they are scarcely practicable, and where in consequence the expense of navigation by the aid of steam will be put in comparison with the labour of men and not with that of horses as in France. You will easily see that such a discovery, if it succeeds, would be of infinitely greater importance to America than to France where there exist everywhere roads suitable for haulage and companies who concern themselves with the transport of merchandise at such moderate charges that I doubt very much if a steam boat however perfect it might be, can gain anything over horses for merchandise. But for passengers it is possible to gain something on the score of speed. In these plans you will find nothing new since they are only water wheels, a means which has often been tried but always abandoned because it was believed that they give a disadvantageous purchase on the water. But after the experiments which I have already made I am convinced that the fault has not been in the wheel but in the ignorance of proportions, speeds, powers, and probably mechanical combinations. I have proved by exact experiments that water wheels are much to be preferred to the chain of floats: consequently although the wheels are not a new application yet if I combine them in such a way that a large proportion of the power of the engine acts to propel the boat in the same way as if the purchase was upon the ground the combination will be better than anything that has been done up to the present and it is in fact a new discovery. For the transport of merchandise I propose to use an engine boat intended for towing one or several freight boats each of which shall be so close to the preceding that the water does not flow between to create resistance. I have already done this in my patent for small canals and it is indispensable for the freight boats moved by fire engines For example: Suppose the boat A with the engine presents to the water a face of 20 [square] feet but inclined at an angle of 50 degrees it will be necessary for it to have an engine of 420 lb. power making 3 feet per second in order to move it one league per hour in still water. If the boats B. and C. have similar faces to A. each will require a like power of 420 pounds that is to say 1260 pounds for the three, whilst if they are tied together in the way that I have indicated the force of 420 Will suffice for all. This great economy in power is too important to be neglected in such an enterprise. Citizens: When my experiments are ready, I shall have the pleasure of inviting you to see them and if they succeed I reserve to myself the right of making a present of my labours to the Republic or to reap from them the advantage which the law allows. Actually, I place these notes in your hands in order that if a similar project comes before you before my experiments are finished it may not have the preference over mine. Health and Respect, ROBERT FULTON. NO. 50 RUE VAUGIRARD. We must conclude from this letter that Fulton had decided that he might as well reap what benefit, if any, there was to be had in France, as the result of his experiments, and also that he would build the trial boat there. He had been forestalled once by Desblanc, and he did not want the same thing to happen again, and therefore thought it best to secure himself from further anticipation. He freely admits that there is nothing new in his plans everything depends on the proper proportions of the hull combined with we]l-known mechanisms. His attitude throughout is totally different from that which he displayed with respect to his submarine. Fulton with Livingston's financial aid now set to work in earnest to construct the steamboat. Apparently the design submitted to the Conservatoire was only adhered to in its general arrangement; anything in fact that came to hand was used. The engine is stated by Fulton to have been borrowed from M. Perrier and to have been of about eight horse-power. The boiler and the other parts of the machinery seem to have been constructed by M. Etienne Calla, rue du Faubourg St. Denis No. 9. The paddle wheels were 12 feet diameter. The boiler originally designed by Fulton was remarkable; in fact it was of the " flash " type, in which water is injected into a red-hot chamber in just sufficient quantities to make the steam as required a system that in these days has been made a success by the labours of M. Serpollet. Fulton's boiler is thus described by a French engineers who had a copy of the original drawing, scale 1:3 from Calla: (Translation.) The steam chamber placed in the middle of the fire-box (foyer) is a copper cylinder 4 inches diameter by the same in height. The piston cylinder is in brass 2 inches diameter by about 24 inches long and is screwed into the steam chamber. A little above this junction it is crossed by two inclined tubes whose internal diameter is about 1/8 inch. Water from the reservoir falls through one of these tubes into the steam chamber which communicates with the air by the other tube. This double communication being controlled by cocks which the piston rod of the motive cylinder opens and shuts at the proper intervals, steam is formed in the red-hot chamber and exerts its pressure on the underside of the piston. When at the top of its stroke it opens the cocks to the steam chamber and atmosphere while the piston descends under the action of a counterweight. Fulton intended to employ steam at 32 atmospheres! but after some experiments with M. Calla the steam chambers so deteriorated under the action of the fuel that the apparatus was abandoned; and no wonder, for the idea was far in advance of the constructive resources of the time. Apparently a simple externally-fired boiler was eventually used. It would appear that the boat was ready early in the spring, and that Livingston already anticipated its success, for he wrote to his friends in the States, and by their interest an Act was passed on April 5, I8032 by which the rights and privileges of the lapsed Act of I798 were extended to himself and Fulton jointly for twenty years from the date of the new Act on condition of proof being produced within two years; this time of proof was extended by a subsequent Act till April I807. One night when the boat was lying moored in the Seine ready for her trial trip an untoward accident happened. A violent storm arose, with the consequence that the boat, never intended to resist the weight of heavy machinery in such circumstances, proved unequal to the strain; the engine went through the bottom and the whole sank in the bed of the river. This misfortune was announced to Fulton while still in bed; he rushed at once to the spot, and laboured all day in the river without rest or food, getting up the machinery. Never at any time strong in the lungs, this imprudence left behind it a weakness which he felt to the end of his life. Nothing daunted by the mishap, he set to work to build a boat of somewhat larger size and heavier proportions. His OWI1 statement is that it was 70 French feet long, 8 French feet wide, 3 French feet deep (i.e. 74.6 feet by 8.2 feet by 3.2 feet). The engine was uninjured and was again used, and the boat was ready towards the end of July, as is shown by a playful letter of invitation, dated July 24, 1803 which he sent to his friend Skipwith. To understand it, it should be premised that the latter's first child had not long been born. PARIS, the 5th thhermidor Anna 11. MY DEAR FRIEND, You have experienced all the anxiety of a fond father on a child's coming into the world. So have I. The little cherub, now plump as a partridge, advances to the perfection of her nature and each day presents some new charm. I wish mine may do the same. Some weeks hence, when you will be sitting in one corner of the room and Mrs. Skipwith in the other, learning the little creature to walk, the first unsteady step will scarcely balance the tottering frame; but you will have the pleasing perspective of seeing it grow to a steady walk and then to dancing. I wish mine may do the same. My boy, who is all bones and corners just like his daddy, and whose birth has given me much uneasiness, or rather anxiety, is just learning to walk and I hope in time he will be an active runner. I therefore have the honour to invite you and the ladies to see his first movements on Monday next from 6 till 9 in the evening between the Barribre des Bons Hommes and the steam engine. May our children, my friend, be an honour to their country and a comfort to the grey hairs of their doting parents. Yours, R. FULTON. As the 24th was a Sunday, this private trial must have been on July 2sth or August Ist probably the former, because Fulton's doings appear to have been reported before that date to Napoleon, who learnt everything that was going on among the intellectuals of Paris. On July 21St he wrote to M. Champagny, Councillor of State in the department of Marine, a letter showing keen insight into the real meaning of the invention. (Translatzon.) I have just read the project of Citizen Fulton which you have sent to me much too late in that it may change the face of the world. However that may be, I desire you immediately to confide its examination to a commission of members chosen by you from among the different classes of the Institute. It is there that learned Europe would seek for judges to solve the question under consideration. As soon as the report is made it will be sent to you and you will forward it to me. Try and let the whole matter be determined within a week as I am impatient. Whether in consequence of this or not, the project was certainly referred to the Institut National des Sciences et des Arts, for in their order book is an entry dated 20 Thermidor (8th Aug.) of an invitation from Robert Fulton " to see the experiment of a boat ascending the stream by means of a steam engine" to which he adds reflections relative to the project. Citizens Bossut, Bougainville, and Carnot are ordered to be present and make a report. Strangely enough, beyond the entry there is no trace either of the letter of invitation, of the memoir, or of the report. Equally curious to relate, search among the National Archives reveals no trace of the report either. It has been suggested that as the Minister of the Interior was absent from 21St June to 8th August the matter may have been dealt with outside the office, but the more reasonable explanation is that Fulton left Paris very soon after, and that the matter was dropped for that reason. We are therefore forced to rely, for an account of this public trial, upon one of the newspapers of the day. It runs as follows: ( Translation.) On the 21St Thermidor (9th Aug. 1803) a trial was made of a new invention, of which the complete and brilliant success should have important consequences for the commerce and internal navigation of France. During the past two or three months there has been seen at the end of the quay Chaillot a boat of curious appearance, equipped with two large wheels mounted on an axle like a cart, while behind these wheels was a kind of large stove with a pipe, as if there was some kind of a small fire engine intended to operate the wheels of the boat. Several weeks ago some evil-minded persons threw the structure down. The builder, having repaired the damage, received the day before yesterday a most flattering reward for his labours and talent. At six o'clock in the evening, assisted by three persons only, he put his boat in motion with two other boats in tow behind it, and for an hour and a half he afforded the curious spectacle of a boat moved by wheels like a cart, these wheels being provided with paddles or flat plates and being moved by a fire engine. In following it along the quay the speed against the current of the Seine appeared to us about that of a rapid pedestrian, that is about 2400 toises (ie. 2.9 miles) per hour; while in going down stream it was more rapid: it ascended and descended four times from Les BonsHommes as far as the engine of Chaillot; it was manceuvred with facility, turned to the right and left, came to anchor, started again, and passed by the swimming school. One of the boats took to the quay a number of savants and representatives of the Institute, among whom were Citizens Bossut, Carnot, Prony, Perrier, Volney, &c. Doubtless they will make a report which will give to this discovery all the dslAt which it deserves; for this mechanism applied to our rivers, the Seine, the Loire, and the Rhone, would be fraught with the most advantageous consequences to our internal navigation. The tows of barges which now require four months to come from Nantes to Paris would arrive promptly in from 10 to 15 days. The author of this brilliant invention is M. Fulton, an American and a celebrated mechanician. The Pompe de Chaillot the steam pumping plant that had supplied Paris with water since about I780 stood close to what is now the Pont de l'Alma. How few of the thousands who to-day travel, whether for business or for pleasure, by the comfortable steamers that ply on the Seine ever know or think of the little steamboat that preceded them more than a century ago. It was not, however, with any view of submitting his work for approval to the National Institute or to the French Government that Fulton had taken up this steamboat project. He was too disgusted with the way in which he had been treated already ofEcially, nor did he want to encounter possible opposition from Desblanc. He and Livingston, although destined to be drawn aside from it for awhile, had in view a definite scheme, and that was simply to apply the knowledge thus acquired in a place w here they were certain of reaping a substantial reward. All along Fulton had never claimed any invention in the constituent parts of the steamboat, and he probably realised that a patent merely for arrangement and proportion of parts would be of little value, whereas a monopoly by legislative act was quite different. This latter was what awaited him in America on the Hudson River. Before the public trial had taken place he wrote, enclosing a sketch of his requirements, to Boulton, Watt and Co., the most famous firm of engine builders in the world at that time, in the following terms: PARIS, the 6th August 1803 MESSRS. BOLTON AND WATT, BIRMINGRAM GENTLEMEN, If there is not a law which prohibits the exportation of Steam engines to the United States of America or if you can get a permit to export parts of an engine, will you be so good as to make me a Cylinder of a 24 horse-power double effect, the piston making a 4 foot stroke; Also the piston and piston rod. The Valves and movements for opening and shutting them. The air pump, piston and rod. The condenser with its communication to the cylinder and air pump. The bottom of the cylinder cast in form as on the drawing and the disposition of the parts as near as possible as they stand in the drawing. The other parts can be made at New York, and as it will save the expense of transport and they require a particular arrangement which must be done while I am present, I prefer having them done there. Therefore if it is permitted to export the above parts, you will confer on me a great obligation by favouring me with them and placing me the next on your list. When finished please to pack them in such a manner as not to receive injury, and send them to the nearest port, which, I suppose, is Liverpool, to be shiped to New York to the address of Brockhurst Livingston Esqre. the Amount of the expenses will be placed to your order in the hands of George Wm. Erving, American Consul, Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, No. 10 London. The situation for which the engine is designed and the Machinery which is to be combined with it will not admit of placing the Condensor under the cylinder as usual, but I hope the communicating tube to the condenser will not render the condensation less perfect or Injure the working of the engine. Should you find a difficulty in getting a permit to export the parts above mentioned, I hope to be able to obtain it through our Minister, Mr. Monroe. And as there is some difficulty in passing letters to and from Paris and Birmingham, which may loose much time You will be so good as to furnish me the above parts as soon as possible without waiting to hear further from me. Please to write as soon as possible under cover to Mr. Erving as before mentioned. In which I beg you to Answer the following questions: What must be the size of the boiler for such an engine, how much space for the water and how much for the steam ? What is the most improved method of making the Boiler, and economic mode of setting it ? How many pounds of coal will such an engine require per hour, and what is the expence at Birmingham ? Can you inform me what is the difference in heating with coals or wood, as in most cases wood must be used in America, and must not the furnace be made different when wood is to be used ? What will be the consequence of condensing with water a little salt As in the place where the engine is to work the water is brackish ? What will be the Interior and exterior diameter of the cylinder and its length and what will be the Velocity of the piston per second ? This information will enable me to combine the other parts of the machinery. When can the engine be finished and how much will be the expence ? Your favouring me with the execution of this order, and answering the above questions will very much oblige Your most obedient, ROBERT FULTON. RUE VAUGIRARD, NO. 50 a PARIS. Can the position of this Cylinder Condensor and air pump be adhered to as in the drawing without Injuring the working of the engine ? The drawing referred to is executed on a sheet of writing paper and served as the enclosure of the above letter. The MS. notes upon it are as follows: It is desired to have a cylinder of a 24 horse power with a Stroke of four feet as the particular use for which the engine is intended will not admit of the condensor standing under the cylinder. I hope there is no objection to placing it and the air pump as in this Sketch. The Square which is formed on the bottom of the cylinder, and which is to be its support to be preserved as near the dimentions he(re) delineated as possible. The distance from the Centre of the cylinder to the centre of the condensor 30 Inches and the distance from the centre of the condensor to the centre of the air pump 37 Inches also the 46 Inches from the bottom of the cylinder to the bottom of the condensor to be observed and not if not attended with any inconvenience or detriment to the working of the engine; this drawing is made by the scale of one inch to a foot. The air pump has a stroke of 2 feet; this quantity of movement and these proportions are fitted to the composition of the other parts of the machinery. I submit them to your better judgement: begging only that they may be preserved as near as possible without diminishing the power of the machine. August the 6th, 1803. ROBERT FULTON. The firm's London agent replied to this on August 22nd by a letter which has not been preserved, but its nature may be inferred from Fulton's next letter, which was written in triplicate on the Ist, 8th, and IIth, in case of any miscarriage a very frequent occurrence in those days. It runs as follows: PARIS, the 1st Settember 1803. MESSRS. BOLTON AND WATT. GENTLEMEN, I have received your letter of the 22 of August by Mr. Barlow. I had previously calculated that some additional time and expence would be necessary to make models for disposing of the condensor and Air pump as in my drawing; however, if you have models for an engine of a 24 horse power with a 4 foot stroke, I presume very little alteration will be necessary, the air pump will be as usual; and the condensor with its communication to the steam box will be the only variation; but what I am most anxious to know is whether there is any objection to the manner in which I have disposed of the condensor, if not that you will be so good as to execute my order as soon as possible, and forward it to New York as before desired without hearing further from me. This I mention as the communication between this country and England is daily growing more difficult and not to lose time on that account. At the same time I beg of you an answer to the questions in my former letter which you will much oblige me by sending as soon as possible by the circuitous but certain route which the post office in London has adopted for passing letters on to the continent. My address RUE VAUGIRARD, No. 50 FB ST GERMAINS a' PARIS. Mr. Barlow refered you to Mr. Thomas Willson Bucklersbury, London for the amount of the charges. I am with much respect your most obedient ROBERT FULTON. May I beg the favour of your sending a duplicate of your answer by a second post fearing the first may not arrive ? The letter is addressed to Boulton, Watt & Co., London Street, London. It came via Hamburg to the Foreign Office, which is evidently the circuitous route referred to. All three letters came safely to hand, but immediately on receipt of the first the firm replied as follows: SOHO, 4th October 1803. ROBERT FULTON, ESQ. PARIS. Your favour of the 1st Ult. is just come to hand from which we notice the receipt of our Agent's letter to Mr. Barlow of 22 August. We have since that time made application to the proper officer of Government for permission to export the Articles ordered in your former favour, but as no answer has been returned, we should be compromising ourselves by proceeding farther without authority. We must beg leave therefore to decline the order and shall deliver your drawing to any person you may please to appoint to receive it. We remain, Sir, Your obt. Servts, BOULTON, WATT & CO. P.S. We are not aware of any detrimental consequences that will accrue to the operation of the Engine, from the condenser being placed in the position you have drawn it. Fulton did not, however, take this refusal quietly, for on November 3rd he wrote from Amsterdam to his Excellency lames Monroe, American Minister at the Court of St. James, asking him to use his influence to get the permit. One extract reads " It will be well to ask the permission for yourself without mentioning my name as I have reason to believe The drawing was never claimed, however, and is still preserved in the Boulton and Watt MSS. These and succeeding letters from Boulton, Watt & Co. are taken from the firm's press copy letter books, the invention of the great Jan)es Watt himself, and at that time still an innovation in business circles. Government will not be much disposed to favour any wish of mine." Mr. Monroe did not reply, so that Fulton wrote again on November 1708 from Paris, strongly urging him to take action, but again without effect. Thus were Fulton's hopes, for the time being, dashed to the ground, and he was therefore probably more open to the negotiations which had led to his presence in Amsterdam. He had been there to meet an agent of the British Government sent at the instigation of Earl Stanhope by Lord Sidmouth, who was trying to withdraw Fulton from France and from any scheme inimical to Britain's naval supremacy. Fulton writes of this incident in his notebook "I agreed on certain conditions and Mr. Smith set off for London to give in my terms. I then met him in Amsterdam in December with the reply, which, not being satisfactory, he returned to London with other proposals and I went on to Paris." A portfolio of sketches of the Dutch people and their surroundings, executed in the happiest vein, remain to testify of his employment during this time. In March " Mr. Smith" arrived in Paris with a letter from Lord Hawkesbury, which was more satisfactory, and this induced Fulton to proceed to London and transfer his services to the British Government. It is this conduct which merits, in the opinion of many persons, the accusation of treachery. Had the countries been at war there might be something in the charge, but they were still at peace, nor did the rupture occur till May 12, 1849 when the British Ambassador, Lord Whitworth, demanded his passports. The fact of the matter is that, as the citizen of a friendly state, Fulton had offered warlike inventions to the French Government. More than a year had elapsed since those proposals had finally been declined, and although he had been reimbursed part of the expense that he had incurred in his experiments, he had never been in the pay of, nor was he under the slightest obligation to, the French Government. He was therefore at liberty to transfer his services whithersoever he pleased. In any case he would have had to have crossed over to England in order to get the engine he wanted, for in no other way did that seem feasible. It might be remarked, in passing, that, to a republican like Fulton, the form that the government in France was now assuming under Napoleon, who declared himself Emperor on May 18 following, was utterly repugnant to, and a sad falling away from the ideals that had inspired the leaders of the French Revolution. That this was Fulton's opinion is conclusively shown in several of his letters. Before leaving France he despatched his MSS. to the United States. The vessel was wrecked, and when the case containing them was recovered the contents were found to be much injured.
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