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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 1795, 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 wearisone minuteness ;-but in which we do not find a single bint to shew that the power of steam, as applicable to a boat, bad 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 coines 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 1795, 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 travelding 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, froin 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 wbenever 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. Notwiibstanding 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 be. neath 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 Nesþet, 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 occasion.
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 demonstrations. 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 inade 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. FOL. XIX. NO, XXXVIII.
for grandeur of design and boldness of execution, will bear a comparison with the most celebrated structures of the same kind in Britain.
• The first is the bridge over the Schuylkill at Philadelphia, which was begun in 1802, and was six years in building. It is 1300 in length, by forty-two feet in width. The space of each of the small arches is 150 feet, and of the middle arch 194 feet 10 inches. The top of the rock, on which the western pier is built, is forty-one feet nine inches below the commion high-water tides, and eight hundred thousand feet of timber, board measure, were employed in and about the cofferdam with which it was built. This bridge cost three hundred thousand dollars.
• The bridge at Trenton over the Delaware, thirty miles above Philadelphia, is of very ingenious architecture, and is a quarter of a mile in length by thirty-six feet in width; its upper surface is a perfect level, and of the same elevation as the adjacent ground; it was begun in 1804, and completed in less than two years.' ---Scotsman,* 6th Dec.
It happens that this very bridge over the Schuylkill is minutely described by Mr. Pope, in bis · Treatise on Bridge Architecture, published in New York in 1811; and he sets out by saying, It is composed of three arcs of wood, supported by two stone piers, with two abutments and wing-walls. From this account, (which the writer of the paragraph just quoted has evidently seen, and purposely misrepresented,) it appears that the whole length of the waterway is 494 feet 10 inches; and the two stone piers, each twenty-seven feet seven inches, making the whole length from one abutment to the other 550, instead of thirteen hundred feet; but the wing-walls are 750 feet, which, added to the bridge part, makes up the thirteen hundred. And this icooden bridge, which, with the purchase-money of the site, cost“ three hundred thousand dollars,'t • will bear comparison with the most celebrated structures in Britain'!with the Waterloo Bridge, for instance, which cost eleven hundred thousand pounds sterling! The writer should have made the Waterloo Bridge of wood, and his comparison would have been complete.
The Waterloo Bridge, however, the people of Edinburgh, and of America also, may be assured, is of stone. It has nine arches of 120 feet span each; it has eight piers of twenty feet each, making the distance from one abutment to the other 1240 feet; the wings at
This paper, which, from its inveterate scowl, appears to issue from the cave of Tree phonius, has the faculty of drawing to itself the worst qualities, the scum and feculence of the worst Jacobinical journals, which it doles out, from week to week, in a tone of dull unvarying malignity, at once wearisome and disgusting.
Every other disaffected journal has its moments of relaxation from spleen and ill-will, from persecuting all that is great, and ridiculing all that is high and holy; but this paper never remits its frantic warfare. Even Cobbett (its admired prototype) occasionally contrives to diversify the savage growl of the tiger with the mop and mowe of the ape ; but the Scotsman' never lays aside the sulky ferociousness of the bear.
Most of our readers, we presume, have now, for the first time, learned the existence of such a paper. In fact, its language, which is utterly abhorrent from British feelings, naturally confines it to a particular circle--and to this we leave it.
† About 68,0001. sterling.