The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Schenectady Reflector (Schenectady, NY), Dec. 1, 1848

Full Text
Robert Fulton's Memoranda

A writer in the National Intelligencer announced,a few days since, his discovery of a manuscript volume which had belonged to Robert Fulton, and had been used by him as a sort of notebook, in which he was want to record facts and ideas pertaining to the subject of steam navigation. some of these memoranda the writer of the notice has quoted, and they are of sufficient interest to justify repetition. he says:

Under the head of 1812, I find a statement giving the expenses of the North River steamboat, (what one I know not) which amounted to $610 per month, the boat making 76 trips. As to wages, i gather that the captain received $50 per month; pilot, $35; engineer, $35; seamen and firemen, $20 each; cook, $16; servants, $14; and chambermaid, $8.

Another record readeth as follows:

"Gentlemen of influence in Cincinnati, Ohio - Jacob Burnet, Esq., Martin Baum, Esq., Jesse Hunt, General Findley, General Gano, Mr. Stanley."

The following I find under the head of 'Notes on Steamboats.'

"The Comet, constructed at Pittsburgh in the spring of 1813, for Mr. Smith, is 52 feet long and 8 feet beam, cylinder 6 1/4 inches diameter, 18 inches stroke, vibrating motion, no condenser or air pump. The water wheel in the stern, 6 feet diameter, 8 paddles 2 feet 6 inches long, and 14 inches wide. The boiler 14 feet long, 2 feet 6 inches wide, with a flue high, steam from 50 to 60 pounds to the inch square, 20 to 30 double stroke a minute. This is Evan's idea of steam power by high steam. It was the Marquis of Worcester's 120 years ago, and Mr. Watts, 30 years ago, tried and abandoned it."

Another curious memorandum, which is without a caption, is as follows:

"10,000 acres of pine land on Egg Harbor river, the property of Ebenezer Tucker, of Tuckerton, Burlington county, known by the name of Judge Tucker. Should this land produce only ten cords to an acre, it will be 1,000 to 100 acres or 100,000 cords. The steamboats from New York will use 1,500 cords a year, or for New York to Albany, 3,000 cords; thence 20 yeas would consume the wood of 6,000 acres, in which time the first cut would grow up, and thus this 10,000 acres would perpetually supply the steamboats."

The longest record in this account-book (like all others) is in Fulton's own handwriting, and entitled "Livingston and Fulton vs. Lake Champlain boat." It occupies four closely written pages, is dated October 12, 1810, and signed by Robert R. Livingston. it is an interesting document, but as the volume in question is about to be presented to the New York Historical Society, I will leave it with that honorable body to give it to the public in some of their interesting publications.

Media Type:
Item Type:
While not exactly a Great Lakes article, it is not without interest. Then, of course, the Fulton and Livingston estates held a monopoly of steam navigation in the waters of New York state and licensed that right to the owners of the ONTARIO, SOPHIA, WALK-IN-THE-WATER and SUPERIOR.
Date of Original:
Dec. 1, 1848
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Schenectady Reflector (Schenectady, NY), Dec. 1, 1848