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candid man in this State, you say steamboats are an old invention; and you have purchased from Fitch's heirs all their right to his invention. But his heirs, however, had no right; for his patent had expired five years before you purchased, and his invention, if good for anything, is public property. But, now that you have purchased Fitch's invention, as you say, for a valuable consideration, but, as it is believed at Trenton, for a mere nominal sum, that you might possess a phantom to frighten me or to perform in your exhibitions to the public, why have you not built your boat like his, with paddles behind and chain communications? It must be that you had not so much confidence in his invention as in mine; and for the good reason that he failed, but I had succeeded. And now, sir, permit me to make a remark on your logic. You say Fitch is an inventor, that his invention merits protection; yet you do not use any one part of it. There is no part of his invention in your boat Sea Horse. Mr. Daniel D. Dodd is also an inventor, as you say, of one link in your great chain of argument; and yet Fulton, who investigated and combined just principles, constructed and gave to the world steamboats at the time the world had not one steamboat and the project was deemed visionary, this Fulton, according to your logic, is an impostor and no inventor. Why, sir, there is something so flimsy and totally ignorant of mechanical combination and inventor's rights in all these, your assertions, that it is an insult on common sense to state them to any man who has the least penetration.

Having said so much, I have sent to Albany a copy of that part of my patent which contains extracts from Charnock's tables. It is attested by the clerk of the court to be a true copy. I have also sent a true copy of Fitch's patent, to show how much unlike it is to my boats and the one you have copied from me; and I have sent the certificates of two experienced English engineers, who are now engaged in Talman & Ward's manufactory in the Bowery, who state that the links claimed by Mr. Dodd as his invention and an important improvement have been to all Bolton & Watt's engines for fourteen years. When I put these links in my patent, I did not patent them exclusively for all kinds of machinery; nor did I patent the steam-engine or Charnock's tables. I made use of all these parts to express my ideas of a whole combination new in mechanics, producing a new and desired effect, giving them

their powers and proportions indispensable to their present success in constructing steamboats; and these principles those powers and parts which I combined for steamboats, and which never before had been brought together in any steamboat I patented for that purpose and no other, as every artist who invents a new and useful machine must compose it of known parts of other machines. So in patent medicines,Lee's bilious pills: he did not invent their elements, but combined certain ingredients in certain proportions to make a useful medicine, in which the just proportions are absolutely necessary and part of the invention, as in mechanics the discovery of the proportion of the parts which produce the desired effect make part of the invention.

As you have been heard before the committee and a crowded house in pleading your own cause in your own way, carefully using only such arguments as you hoped would destroy me, I have thus sought the indulgence of a generous public to hear my statement of facts, none of which you can disprove. And now, sir, I leave your merits and mine to the honest and noble feelings of the penetrating gentlemen of this truly great and honorable State. They cannot be mistaken in your view. It is to seize on the property of mind—the fruit of ten years of my ardent studies and labor- and apply it to your own use, thereby destroying forever all confidence in contracts with this State and placing the property of inventors in a position so insecure as to destroy every mental exertion.


To the Editor of the American Citizen:

Sir, I arrived this afternoon at four o'clock in the steamboat from Albany. As the success of my experiment gives me great hopes that such boats may be rendered of great importance to my country, to prevent erroneous opinions and give some satisfaction to my friends of useful improvements, you will have the goodness to publish the following statement of facts:

I left New York on Monday at one o'clock, and arrived at Clermont, the seat of Chancellor Livingston, at one o'clock on Tuesday time, twenty-four hours; distance, one hundred and

ten miles. On Wednesday I departed from the Chancellor's at nine in the morning, and arrived at Albany at five in the afternoon distance, forty miles; time, eight hours. The sum is one hundred and fifty miles in thirty-two hours, equal to near five miles an hour.

On Thursday, at nine o'clock in the morning, I left Albany, and arrived at the Chancellor's at six in the evening. I started from thence at seven, and arrived at New York at four in the afternoon time, thirty hours; space run through, one hundred and fifty miles, equal to five miles an hour. Throughout my whole way, both going and returning, the wind was ahead. No advantage could be derived from my sails. The whole has therefore been performed by the power of the steam-engine. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

To Joel Barlow:



My steamboat voyage to Albany and back has turned out rather more favorably than I had calculated. The distance from New York to Albany is one hundred and fifty miles. ran it up in thirty-two hours, and down in thirty. I had a light breeze against me the whole way, both going and coming; and the voyage has been performed wholly by the power of the steam-engine. I overtook many sloops and schooners beating to windward, and parted with them as if they had been at anchor.

The power of propelling boats by steam is now fully proved. The morning I left New York, there were not perhaps thirty persons in the city who believed that the boat would ever move one mile an hour or be of the least utility; and, while we were putting off from the wharf, which was crowded with spectators, I heard a number of sarcastic remarks. This is the way in which ignorant men compliment what they call philosophers and projectors.

Having employed much time, money, and zeal in accomplishing this work, it gives me, as it will you, great pleasure to see it answer my expectations. It will give a cheap and quick conveyance to the merchandise on the Mississippi, Missouri, and other great rivers, which are now laying open their treasures to the enterprise of our countrymen; and, although the prospect of personal emolument has been some inducement to me, yet I feel infinitely more pleasure in reflecting on the

immense advantage my country will derive from the invention, etc.


Reminiscences of H. Freeland, in a letter to J. F. Reigart, 1856.

It was in the early autumn of the year 1807 that a knot of villagers was gathered on a high bluff just opposite Poughkeepsie, on the west bank of the Hudson, attracted by the appearance of a strange, dark looking craft, which was slowly making its way up the river. Some imagined it to be a sea monster, while others did not hesitate to express their belief that it was a sign of the approaching judgment. What seemed strange in the vessel was the substitution of lofty and straight black smoke-pipes rising from the deck, instead of the gracefully tapered masts that commonly stood on the vessels navigating the stream, and, in place of the spars and rigging, the curious play of the working-beam and pistons and the slow turning and splashing of the huge and naked paddle-wheels met the astonished gaze. The dense clouds of smoke, as they rose wave upon wave, added still more to the wonderment of the rustics.

This strange looking craft was the Clermont on her trial trip to Albany, and of the little knot of villagers mentioned above, the writer, then a boy in his eighth year, with his parents, formed a part; and I well remember the scene, one so well fitted to impress a lasting picture upon the mind of a child accustomed to watch the vessels that passed up and down the river.

The forms of four persons were distinctly visible on the deck as she passed the bluff,- one of whom, doubtless, was Robert Fulton, who had on board with him all the cherished hopes of years, the most precious cargo the wonderful boat could carry.

On her return trip the curiosity she excited was scarcely less intense; the whole country talked of nothing but the sea monster belching forth fire and smoke. The fishermen became terrified and rowed homewards, and they saw nothing but destruction devastating their fishing grounds, while the wreaths of black vapor and the rushing noise of the paddle-wheels, foaming with the stirred up waters, produced great excitement among the boatmen, until it was more intelligent than before; for the character of that curious boat, and the nature of the enterprise which she was pioneering, had been ascertained. From that time, Robert Fulton, Esq., became known and respected as the author and builder of the first steam packet, from which we plainly see the rapid improvement in commerce and civilization. Who can doubt that Fulton's first packet boat has been the model steamer? Except in finer finish and greater size,

there is no difference between it and the splendid steamships now crossing the Atlantic. Who can doubt that Fulton saw the meeting of all nations upon his boats, gathering together in unity and harmony, that the freedom of the seas would be the happiness of the earth"? Who can doubt that Fulton saw the world circumnavigated by steam, and that his invention was carrying the messages of freedom to every land, that no man could tell all its benefits, or describe all its wonders? What a wonderful achievement! What a splendid triumph!

The truth undoubtedly is that Fulton was not "the inventor of the steamboat,” and that the reputation acquired by his successful introduction of steam navigation is largely accidental, and is principally due to the possession, in company with Livingston, of a monopoly which drove from this most promising field those original and skilful engineers, Evans and the Stevenses. No one of the essential devices successfully used by Fulton in the Clermont, his first North River steamboat, was new; and no one of them differed, to any great extent, from devices successfully adopted by earlier experimenters. Fulton's success was a commercial success purely. John Stevens had, in 1804, built a successful screw steamvessel; and his paddle-steamer of 1807, the Phoenix, was very possibly a better piece of engineering than the Clermont. John Fitch had, still earlier, used both screw and paddle. In England, Miller and Symington and Lord Dundas had antedated even Fulton's earliest experiments on the Seine. Indeed, it seems not at all unlikely that Papin, a century earlier (in 1707), had he been given a monopoly of steam navigation on the Weser or the Fulda, and had he been joyfully hailed by the Hanoverians as a public benefactor, as was Fulton in the United States, instead of being proscribed and assaulted by the mob who destroyed his earlier Clermont, might have been equally successful; or it may be that the French inventor, Jouffroy, who experimented on the rivers of France twentyfive years before Fulton, might, with similar encouragement, have gained an equal success.

Yet, although Fulton was not in any true sense "the inventor of the steamboat,” his services in the work of introducing that miracle of our modern time cannot be overestimated; and, aside from his claim as the first to grasp success among the many who were then bravely struggling to place steam navigation on a permanent and safe basis, he is undeniably entitled to all the praise that has ever been accorded him on such different ground..

It is to Robert Fulton that we owe the fact that to-day the rivers of our own country, and those of the world as well, are traversed by steamers of all sizes and all kinds, and by boats suited to every kind

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