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
     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
    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
     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

	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
     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
     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:

	           		ROBT. FULTON.

Below this is a sketch of a steamboat with endless chain of float boards
running over two wheels and entitled: 


     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
     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
     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
     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.
     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,

     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
     "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
     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.  

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.

    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,

     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: 

    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
						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.  

     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
     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

     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
    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
    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.

     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
     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. 

     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

		  		   PARIS, the 1st Settember 1803. 
    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
			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

     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, 
     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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