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greve, and Mr. John Rennie. Friend Cadwallader' complains that many weeks passed before Mr. Fulton could prevail upon them to do any thing, and, finally, that when they met, without calling on him for any explanation, they reported against the marine boat as being impracticable. Now this we KNOW to be false. The commissioners never saw Fulton, never knew any thing of Fulton ;packet of sealed papers and drawings were sent to them as coming from a person of the name of Francis, and on these documents alone they delivered, as they were desired to do, and as all who know them personally or by reputation will readily admit they would do, a sound and honest opinion.
We now find that, in the first interview which Mr. Fulton had with Mr. Pitt and Lord Melville, the latter condemned the torpedo without a moment's consideration.' In his own mind we dare say he did condemn it, as every man of sense and honour would; but at the same time, out of deference to those who had been instrumental in bringing the proprietor into this country, he did not object to afford him the means of making a harmless experiment on the powers of his machine. He was accordingly allowed to operate on an old Danish brig in Walmer Roads; and, with the assistance of Sir Home Popham and two boats' crews, succeeded, after an unresisted attack of two days, in blowing up this poor old carcass.
It is not true, however, as stated by the author, that Mr. Pitt and Lord Melville entered into any engagement with him; and therefore 'Lord Grenville and his cabinet' could not be unwilling to fulfil the engagements which their predecessors had made.' Indeed, so far from any engagement' on the part of the British government, his biographer himself says, that' when it was proposed that he should, for a considerable reward, suppress his inventions, so that they might be buried, and that neither his own country nor the rest of the world could derive from them those advantages which he thought they would afford, he indignantly rejected the overture.'
The tone of humanity and justice adopted by this vagrant adventurer is quite intolerable. Having failed in selling his infernal machines, first to the French, next to the Dutch, and lastly to the English, he sets himself to prove, in a high stream of moral pathos, that 'blowing up ships of war (so as not to leave a man to relate the dreadful catastrophe) are humane experiments! We ought not to wonder, after this, perhaps, that the character of Mr. Fulton has survived in America as that of an honest, conscientious, and consistent man, especially as Mr. Cadwallader Colden has materially supported his claim to it by the gratuitous insertion of two documents; the first, addressed to Lord Melville in 1804, in which, speaking of the tyrannic principles of Buonaparte, who had set himself above all law,' Mr. Fulton adds,' he is therefore in that state which Lord
Somers compares to that of a wild beast, unrestrained by any rule, and he should be hunted down as the enemy of mankind. This however is the business of Frenchmen: with regard to the nations of Europe, they can only hold him in governable limits by fencing him round with bayonets.' The second, written in 1810, and addressed to the President of the United States, in which, after earnestly recommending the adoption of the torpedo system' by France, he thus proceeds then the Emperor of France (the wild beast' just mentioned) would have a noble opportunity to display a magnanimity of soul, a goodness of heart, which would add lustre to his great actions, and secure to him the admiration of the civilized world.'
It is not however the invention of the torpedo system that has enrolled the name of Fulton as the third in the list of transatlantic worthies, so much, perhaps, as the establishment of navigation by steam, for which,' says his biographer, we and all the world are indebted to him.' This is supposed to be proved by a letter from Lord Stanhope, dated in 1798, in answer to one respecting the moving of ships by the means of steam;' which however appears to be nothing new to his lordship, for he observes- it is a subject on which I have made important discoveries.' But the fact is, that neither Mr. Fulton nor Lord Stanhope has the slightest pretension to the discovery of a method for propelling boats by steam; several attempts, and successful ones too, having been made many years before either of them had thought of the subject. Fulton, though considered by those of his own profession, in this country, as a person of very slender abilities, yet possessed sufficient shrewdness to avail himself of the invention of another, and did not want the talent occasionally to improve it; and it is certain that if he had conceived any distinct idea of rendering practicable the navigation of boats by steam in 1793, he would not have omitted the mention of it in his treatise on Canal Navigation,' published in London in 1796, in which all sorts of boats and locks, and levels and inclined planes, and every aid that could be devised for water communication,' are detailed with wearisome minuteness;-but in which we do not find a single hint to shew that the power of steam, as applicable to a boat, had ever entered his imagination-though the preface, which is always the part of a book last written, certainly notices his having had some communication' with Lord Stanhope on the practicability of navigating vessels by steam.
There can be little doubt that this communication' was from and not to Lord Stanhope, as his lordship had for two or three years before the publication of Fulton's book been occupied in experiments with a steam-boat in the Greenland dock. But the idea, as we have said, did not originate with him, Patrick Miller,
Miller, Esq. of Dalswinton, had published a book at Edinburgh, in the year 1787, containing experiments made by him on triple-vessels, and the application of wheels to work them on canals, in which, after mentioning the trials he had made of working the wheels by cranks, he observes when the movement of the wheel comes to be aided by mechanical powers, so as to accelerate its revolutions, the before-mentioned rate of the vessel (three and four miles an hour) will be in proportion to the power used. I have also reason to believe that the power of the STEAM-ENGINE may be applied to work the wheels, so as to give them a quicker motion, and consequently to increase that of the ship. In the course of the summer I intend to make the experiment; and the result, if favourable, shall be communicated to the public.' That Lord Stanhope should have been ignorant of this work in 1793, is not very probable; and still less so that Mr. Livingstone should not have heard of it in 1803, when Mr. Fulton, in conjunction with that gentleman, is said to have made some experiments on the Seine; for Mr. Miller had transmitted a copy of his book to General Washington. Be this as it may, there are other proofs that Mr. Fulton has not the slightest claim to the invention of applying either steam or wheels to the propelling of boats. Mr. Miller, immediately after the publication of his book, set about the construction of a model of a boat with its engine, which model is at this moment in the possession of his son. He also constructed a double-boat with a wheel in the centre, (the plan to which we are now returning,) and this boat made a safe passage to Sweden and back in the year 1789.
Though Mr. Miller did not succeed to his entire satisfaction, yet another person of the name of Symington, who had been employed by Mr. Miller to superintend and conduct his experiments, was so convinced of the practicability of employing steam and wheels in canal navigation, that he submitted his ideas on the subject to the present Lord Dundas, who took him under his patronage, and enabled him, by advances of money, to carry his plan into execution. A boat, with a steam-engine, was accordingly built and navigated on the Forth and Clyde canal, and fully answered the expectations that had been formed of it; but the canal not being sufficiently wide to allow of its working freely, and the great undulation, occasioned by the water-wheels, injuring the banks, it was laid aside.
About this time Mr. Fulton, who happened to be travelling in Scotland, paid a visit to Symington, examined his boat, and saw it work. Mr. Fulton also learned from him the objection made to it, on account of the narrowness of the canal; on which he observed that this objection would not apply to the wide rivers of America. It was two years after this that the experiments were made by Mr. Livingstone and himself on the Seine; and many years
after the latter period that he ordered an engine to be constructed by Bolton and Watt, which should be applicable to a boat. This, when finished, was sent out to America, and was the first engine used with success for this purpose on the Hudson, in 1807. The description of the astonishment created by the appearance and progressive motion of this ignivomous 'monster' on the water, is interesting and amusing.
She had the most terrific appearance, from other vessels which were navigating the river, when she was making her passage. The first steam boats, as others yet do, used dry pine wood for fuel, which sends forth a column of ignited vapour many feet above the flue, and whenever the fire is stirred, a galaxy of sparks fly off, and in the night have a very brilliant and beautiful appearance. This uncommon light first attracted the attention of crews of other vessels. Notwithstanding the wind and tide were adverse to its approach, they saw with astonishment that it was rapidly coming towards them; and when it came so near as that the noise of the machinery and paddles were heard, the crews (if what was said in the newspapers of the time be true) in some instances shrunk beneath their decks from the terrific sight, and left their vessels to go on shore, while others prostrated themselves, and besought Providence to protect them from the approaches of the horrible monster, which was marching on the tides and lighting its path by the fires which it vomited,' -p. 172, 173.
We understand, however, that eleven years before this period, Mr. Livingstone had made some attempts on the Hudson to build a steam-boat, and with the assistance of a person of the name of Nesbet, who went from this country to America, endeavoured to construct an engine, which, however, was found incapable of driving the boat through the water. If we mistake-not, Mr. Brunel, then a very young man, was associated with the projectors on this occa
But the real truth, as we have said, is, that neither Mr. Fulton, nor Lord Stanhope, nor even Patrick Miller, has any claim either to the invention of applying a steam-engine to a boat, or the apparatus of wheels or other machinery to propel her through the water. We have now before us a very humble treatise, printed in London in the year 1737, the title of which is, 'Description and Draught of a new-invented MACHINE, for carrying vessels or ships, out of or into any harbour, port, or river, against wind and tide, or in a calm: for which his Majesty, George II., has granted letters-patent for the sole benefit of the author, for the space of fourteen years. By JONATHAN HULLS.' The 'draught' prefixed is a plate of a stout boat, with a chimney (as at present) smoking, a pair of wheels rigged out over each side of the stern, moved by means of ropes passing round their outer rims; and to the axis of these wheels are fixed six paddles to propel the boat. From the stern of the boat, a tow-line
passes to the foremast of a two-decker, which the boat thus tows through the water.
This little volume contains a number of theorems respecting the specific gravity of bodies, and the pressure of the air, together with their demonstratious. It describes the rude steam-engine as used at that time; and thus concludes: Lastly, the atmosphere, being of a great weight and striving to get in where there is a vacuum, I shall endeavour to shew how this vacuum is made, and in what manner this force is applied to drive the machine. In some convenient part of the tow-boat there is placed a vessel about two-thirds full of water, with the top close shut; this vessel being kept boiling, rarefies the water into a steam; this steam being conveyed through a large pipe into a cylindrical vessel, and there condensed, makes a vacuum, which causes the weight of the atmosphere to press on this vessel, and so presses down a piston that is fitted into this cylindrical vessel in the same manner as in Mr. Newcomen's engine,* with which he raises water by fire.' And he thus concludes the scheme I now offer is practicable, and if encouraged will be useful.' After this there can no longer be any question to whom the invention of the steam-boat is due-JONATHAN HULLS is the person.
That Mr. Fulton made considerable improvements in the application of the steam-engine to the navigation of boats, is beyond all question: but while we cheerfully admit his merits in this respect, we conceive him entitled to none whatever for his various schemes for iron bridges, canals, and aqueducts, which were all previously in use in England, and to which country the invention of them exclusively belongs. The first iron bridge was erected at Colebrooke Dale, in the year 1779; and between that time and the year 1796, the date of Mr. Fulton's publication, many others had been erected in England; so that, in this department, his friends have as little to boast of in the way of invention as in that of steam-boats.
It is quite natural that the Americans should uphold the reputation of their own countrymen. We cannot blame them for it; and some allowance may reasonably be made for excess of panegyric in speaking of artists of native growth: but what excuse can be found for those who wantonly plunge into obloquy and falsehood, in order to disparage every thing English, and to extol every thing foreign-at the expense of their country? We have selected the following instance of audacious misrepresentation, from a hundred others, from a periodical paper published at Edinburgh.
After a glowing rhapsody on the superior taste and enterprize of the Americans, it thus proceeds.
There are, in the State of Pennsylvania, two stone bridges, which,
Newcomen had brought his atmospheric steam-engine' to perfection about twentyfive years before.
VOL. XIX. NO. XXXVIII