Imágenes de páginas

tions on French politics to Lord Stan- In making his experiments, Mr. Fulhope, who appears to bave been bis in- ton not only remained a whole hour under timate friend; but though designed for water with three of his companions, but

had the boat parallel to the horizon at any the public, they attracted little of the given distance. He proved that the compublic attention, as his biographer does pass points as correctly under water as on not even know whether they were ever the surface, and that while under water, in fact published or not. In 1797, he the boat made way at the rate of half a took lodgings at an hotel in Paris, with league an hour, by means contrived for

that Mr. Joel Barlow, with whom he formed

purpose. so strong a friendship, that when Mr. If we may judge of the future from B. soon after removed to his own hotel, the past, it would seem necessary for he invited Mr. F. to reside with him, and the success of these projects, to obtain for some years Mr. Fulton was a mem- the consent of those who are to be “ deber of the family of Mr. Barlow. He composed,” which has not yet been projected a panorama, which proved done. Mr. Fulton was therefore never successful and beneficial, and made able to demolish an English ship, alsome experiments upon the explosion of though he watched long and anxiously gunpowder under water. The French such as approached the French coast, Directory gave him hopes of patroni- for that purpose. The rulers of France zing these attempts, but at length with. being at length discouraged, and Mr. drew their support.

He offered the Fulton thinking that the all-important project to the Dutch government, but object was to blow up ships, and so it was declined. It was then offered to that were effected, it was no great matBonaparte, who had become first con- ter to what power they might happen sul, and be appointed a commission to belong, turned his eyes

for patronwith funds and powers to give the re- age to the English government or they quired assistance. While in France, turned their eyes to him. Mr. Colden and probably about this period, he form- seems very properly aware that this

intimate acquaintance with conduct of his friend might make an Chancellor Livingston, and at that pe- unpleasant impression on the minds of riod those gentlemen laboured conjoint- those who were not, like his biograły in their attempts to introduce steam pher, acquainted with the elevation and navigation, which was afterwards. at. pbilanthropy of his views, and seeks to tended with such brilliant success. In justify him by the following defence : 1801, he made several experiments

It must be recollected, that Mr. Fulton's with a plunging boat, designed for sub- enthusiastic notions of the advantages of marine warfare, with a degree of suc. an universal free trade and the liberty of cess which seems to have been satis- the seas, had led to the inventions which factory to himself. The following very

he was then endeavouring to employ, and flaltering account of it was given by st. which, as he supposed, would annihilate

naval armaments, the great support in his Austin, a member of the tribunal.

estimation of what he called the war sysThe diving boat, in the construction tem of Europe. He was persuaded, that of which he is now employed, will be ca. if this system could be broken up, all naRacious enough to contain eight men, and tions would direct their energies to eduprovision enough for twenty days, and will cation, the sciences, and a free exchange be of sufficient strength and power to en- of their natural advantages. He was conable him to plunge one hundred feet un- vinced, that if, on the contrary, the Euroder water, if necessary. He has contrived peans continued to cherish this war sysa reservoir of air, which will enable eight tem, and to support and augment their men to remain under water eight hours. great naval armaments, his own country When the boat is above water, it has two would be driven to the necessity of prosails, and looks just like a common boat; tecting herself by similar establishments, when she is to dive, the mast and sails are which, as he thought, would be inimical" struck.

to ker republican institutions, and de.'

ed an

structive of her happiness. Without re- and three, Mr. Fulton went from Paris to ference, therefore, to the merits of the Amsterdam for this purpose. But the then existing contest, the grounds of agent with whom he was to confer did not which were constantly changing; without arrive ; and after being in Amsterdam feeling a partiality or enmity to either of three months, he returned to Paris. the belligerents; he was desirous of en.

We cannot resist the impression that gaging one of the nations at war, to give him an opportunity of trying the efficacy

some light is thrown upon Mr. Fulton's of bis inventions. "If they were proved to conduct by the evidence adduced for answer his expectations, he was indiffer- another purpose, by Mr. Colden, from ent as to the temporary advantages it might Lord Stanhope, his early friend and cor. give either over the other. He believed respondent. that the result would be the permanent happiness of all, and that in the general Lord Stanhope in the House of Lords, soon

In a speech on American affairs, made by good, his own country would largely par. after these experiments were made, he is ticipate. He considered himself as intro. ducing a new military science, which he reported in an English newspaper, to have wished to prove, and in which he had a said, “it was not, perhaps, sufficiently desire to perfect himself for the benefit of known that, at that very moment, exerhis country, and of mankind. His senti- tions were making in America to carry inments on this subject were not novel, nor to effect a plan, for the disclosure of which without the sanction of the nations which an individual had, a few years before, dethey most immediately concerned. Nei manded of the British government fifteen ther France nor England has hesitated to thousand doļlars

, but had been refused. He

alluded to a plan, he said, for the invisible encourage their citizens, with a view to their improvement in military science, to

destruction of shipping, and particularly sérve in the armies and navies of foreign scheme was then in America, and it was

of men of war. That the inventor of this states at war, when they have been neutral.

ascertained that it would not, on an avec

rage, cost twenty pounds to destroy any “Whatever” says Mr. C.“ may


ship whatever.” the just force of this reasoning, it sway- While he was labouring for bis new ed the mind of Mr. Fulton to honest employers, some of his torpedoes were conviction.” It is doubtful whether it thrown from British boats upon French will produce a similar effect on any vessels, but they exploded without ef. other mind.

fect--a circumstance which Mr. Fulton From the following passage we infer, attributed to a slight, and easily rectithat the negotiations between Mr. Ful fied mistake. To evince the correctton and the English ministry were clandestire, and were carried on at a time he did blow up with complete success

ness of this opinion, in October 1805, when he resided in France, and was a brig provided for the purpose. Still, ostensibly attached to her interests :

however, the British ministry were inIt has been mentioned, that the Earl of credulous, and “ Mr. Fulton, wearied Stanhope had taken great pains to inform with incessant applications, disappointhimself as to Mr. Fulion's proceedings in France.

ments, and neglect, at length embarked This nobleman's mathematical and mechanical mind, perceived what con

for this country.” sequence might result from the applica

Mr. Colden here fairly statestion of Mr. Fulton's inventions. The in- It would be doing injustice to the mer formation he obtained was communicated mory of Mr. Fulton, as well as that of anto the British cabinet, and excited alarm. Other ingenious native American, not to It was determined by the British ministry, notice, before we leave this subject, that if possible to withdraw Mr. Fulton from Mr. Fulton did not pretend to have been France. Lord Sidmouth, who was then the first who discovered that gunpowder one of the ministers, contrived to have a might be exploded with effect under wacommunication with Mr. Fulton, wbile he ter; nor did he pretend to have been the was in Paris, and obtained his consent first who attempted to apply it as the to meet an agent of the British government means of hostility. He knew well what in Holland. In October, eighteen hundred had been done by Bushnell in our serolu


Vol. 1. NO, IV.

tionary war. He frequently spoke of the greater effect in proportion to the supe. genius of this American with great re. riority of their naval force. But no such spect, and expressed a conviction that motive can be ascribed to the French have been more successful if he had had republican government, and they rejectthe advantages which he himself derived ed imno such suspicion can lie against from the improvements of nearly forty Bonaparte, and after a full trial he reyears in mechanics and mechanical philo- linquished it—or against the Dutch sophy.

government, and they declined it-no We cannot but think, that it is a very such policy is to be attributed to our exaggerated estimate of the efficiency administration, and still we are told by of Mr. Fulton's contrivances which in- Mr. Colden, (page 207,)“ Mr. Fullon's duces Mr. Colden to suppose, that “ the plan for submarine warfare met with British ministry never truly intended to no countenance from the government. give Mr. Fulton a fair opportunity of He had not been able to inspire the trying the effects of his engines.” executive officers with any confidence

The object may have been to prevent in them [it].” We presume, also, that their being placed in the hands of an ene- Commodore Rodgers is not to be accumy; and if that was accomplished, it was sed of connivance in a similar design. the interest of England, as long as she was ambitious of maintaining the proud title of

Besides, Mr. Coldeu should have mistress of the seas, to make the world be: weighed the matter well before he made lieve, that Mr. Fulton's projects were cbi- a charge which necessarily implies that merical. Nothing could be more likely to all the experiments made by such men produce this effect, than abortive attempts as Mr. Cavendish, Sir Home Popham, to apply them. This would prevent other Major Congreve, and Mr. Rennie, (the paudito irom making similar experiments, commissioners appointed by the British and discourage the inventor.

In June, the British ministry appointed ministry) were intended to be decepa commission to examine Mr. Fulton's tive, and that their report was meanly projects. The commissioners were Sir fraudulent and false. Joseph Banks, Mr. Cavendish, Sir Home Mr. Colden has so far suffered his Popham, Major Congreve, and Mr. John imagination to predominate over his Rennie. Many weeks passed before Mr; better judgment upon this subject, that Fulton could prevail on them to do any thing, and finally, when they met, they he seems really to have supposed (see reported against the submarine boat as be- page 206] that during the late war it ing impracticable. In a letter to the mi- was a main object with the British nistry, Mr. Fulton complains that this navy to ascertain the part of the coast report was made without his having been where Mr. Fulton might reside, and to called upon for any explanations, and although the gentlemen who made it had avoid it as the peculiarly fulminating before them no account of what had been point of this terrific submerged thunder. done Indeed, in the first interview which Mr. Fulton arrived in New York in Mr. Fulton had with Mr. Pitt and Lord December, 1806, and immediately reMelville, the latter condemned the Nauti- newed tbe pursuit of the objects upon lus without a moment's consideration.

which he had recently been engaged in If these engines were, in truth, as terri. Europe, that is, submarine war and steam ble as the biographer imagines, it would navigation. He was encouraged by the not be strange that the British ministry American government, and in the sumshould choose to preserve their navy by mer of 1807 made several experiments, almost any means, from entire demoli- and one of them upon a large hulk brig, tion ; and they might oppose the intro: (an unresisting subject) was completely duction of a mode of warfare, which, successful. The narrowness of our thrugh in the first instance it was exert: limits—the necessary length of this ar. ed against their enemies, would inlal- ticle--and the notoriety of these allibly re-act against themselves with tempts, which were made in the vicinity of this city, render it unnecessary for paramount importance, he is entitled to us to detail them with minuteness. In praise enough to fully satisfy the amMarch, 1810, Congress passed an act bition and affection of his friends. The making an appropriation for trying the increased facility of intercourse in many use of torpedoes and submarine explo- parts of the world, and especially on sions. Commissioners were appointed this continent, is such as twenty years to observe the success of the experi- ago it would have required a bold imaments of which the sloop of war Argus, gination to conceive. Can any man commanded by Captain Lawrence, was doubt that Mr. Fulton has been mainly to be the subject. These commission- instrumental in accelerating, if he did ers differed considerably in their reports not exclusively produce this state of of the result to the government. Chan- things ? The whole progress of the arts cellor Livingston, with whom, as we shows that the first discovery of a prinbefore mentioned, Mr. Fulton had form- ciple is usually very remote from the ed a very intimate acquaintance and perfection of the practice. This is connexion in France, which subsisted strongly exemplified by some facts during their joint lives, was rather fa- stated by Mr. Fulton himself.—In 1320 vourably impressed. General Lewis gunpowder was discovered ; 150 years ("s whose long military services and ex. after that period iron balls were first perience,” Mr. Colden thinks,“ render used ; muskets were unknown until his judgment on this subject, deserving 200 years from the same time; and in of the highest consideration,") was ve- these the cumbrous match lock did not ry sanguine of their ultimate success ; give place to the fire-lock till the'beand such, also, was the opinion of the ginning of the 17th century, that is, biographer, then one of the cominis. 280 years after the first knowledge of sioners

gunpowder. Commodore Rodgers also made a report, “In the year sixteen hundred and sixty. which contained a journal of the daily pro: three, the Marquis of Worcester discovera ceedings of Mr. Fulton and the committee, ed the expansive power of steam. Thirtyand very minute descriptions of the ma. three years afterwards,Captain Savary took chines and experiments. His opinion was out a patent for a steam-engine, to pump entirely against Mr. Fulton's system, and the mines of Cornwall. In seventeen hun. he concludes, that every part of it would dred and five, Mr. Newcomen thought of be found totally impracticable.

a piston to the cylinder ; but he worked A great portion of the work is occu- at it nine years before it was sufficiently pied by a statement of Mr. Fulton's improved to give a fair prospect of utility:

Fifty-two years after Mr. Newcomen's dismerits, and those of bis chief friend and covery, Mr. Watt thought of another im. associate, Chancellor Livingston, in rela- provement, which was the separate con. tion to steam navigation. The infor. denser. Thus it was a hundred years. mation prevalent upon this subject—the from the time of the Marquis of Worceslegal discussions which have already ter, till Mr. Watt's discovery, gave the been had, and which may hereafter perfection; and rendered it so simple, faarise in relation to it,—and to speak miliar, and useful, as to be adapted to the honestly, a little distrust of our own many important purposes to which it is judgment, induce us to refrain from a now applied.” minute examination of the claims which Another striking illustration to the are advanced in favour of those gentle- same effect, and which may serve to exmen. It is but fair, bowever, to remark, emplify the nature as well as to manifest that even if it be admitted that Mr. the degree of Mr. Fulton's benefactions Fulton bas done no more than to re- to the public, is to be found in the graduce to successful practice previously dual improvements effected in his steam existing theories upon a subject of such boats since their establishment. We believe that the average påssage of the perhaps this invention is hereafter des. first boat between Albany and this city tined to display. fell little short of 36 hours, and in some The occasion and manner of Mr. of the present boats it does not exceed Fulton's death is thus related. 21 hours,

In January, eighteen hundred and fifteen, Mr. Fulton's attention was strongly Mr. John R. Livingston, who owned the attracted during several parts of his steam-boat which plyed between Newlife to the subject of improving internal York and New Jersey, but which was stopnavigation by means of canals, and in ped by the operation of the Jersey laws,

petitioned the legislature of that state for particular, he entered with his charac- their repeal. After hearing witnesses and feristic enthusiasm, into the magnificent counsel for several days, the laws were reproject which our Legislature is now scinded. It was upon this occasion that attempting to realize. In 1811 he was Mr. Fulton was examined as a witness, as appointed one of the commissioners we have before stated. The weather, while

he was at Trenton, where he was much upon the subject, but he did not sanc exposed in attending the hall of the legis. tion the Report which in the subsequent lature, was uncommonly cold. When he year was returned to the Legislature. was crossing the Hudson to return to his It is not claimed by the biographer house and family, the river was very full either that this scheme in particular, or hours on the water in a very severe day.

of ice, which occasioned his being several generally this branch of improvement, Mr. Pulton had not a constitution to enhas received any eminent benefit from

counter such exposure, and upon his re. the genius or industry of Mr. Fulton. turn he found himself much indisposed

In February, eighteen hundred and four. from the effects of it. He had at that teen, he addressed a letter to Gouverneur time great anxiety about the steam-frigate, Morris, Esq. President of the Board of and, after confining himself for a few days, Commissioners, in which he shows what when he was convalescent, he went to give would be the advantages of the proposed his superintendance to the artificers emcanal, and exhibits very interesting and ployed about her: he forgot his debilitated curious calculations of the comparative

state of health in the interest he took in expense of transportation upon land, upon long time, in a bad day, exposed to the

what was doing on the frigate, and was a rivers, and upon canals.

The same year Mr. Fulton, with the weather on her decks. He soon found the other commissioners, made another report effects of this imprudence

. His indispoto the legislature: this is the last service şition returned upon him with such viohe rendered this magnificent project.

lence as to confine him to his bed : His

disorder increased, and on the twenty: We presume that our readers will fourth day of February, eighteen hundred readily excuse our omission of any ac- and fifteen, terminated his valuable life. count of Mr. Fulton's well-known and

As soon as the legislature, which was very extensive experiments in relation death of Mr. Fulton, they expressed their

then in session at Albany, heard of the to the various modes which he devised participation in the general sentiment, by for submarine attack, and for transfer- resolving that the members of both houses - ring a large portion of naval warfare should wear mourning for some weeks. beneath the surface of the ocean. We It will appear, by the above slight are told by Mr. Colden that the steam sketch of the life of this valuable citifrigate, that imposing if not effective zen, that the three great subjects of his engine of war, owes its origin to these attention and efforts, were the improveexperiments, altbough it is not apparent- ment of the art of making canals, subly connected with them. The untime- marine warfare, and steam navigation. ly death of Mr. Fulton ;-the cessation in relation to the first, we are not aware of the war; and the imperfections in- that he has effected much ; in the seseparable from the infancy of all im- cond, he has displayed great talent and provements, may have prevented the wonderful industry, the effects and full developement of the powers which utility of which time is hereafter to de

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