Thus, I have endeavoured to give a clear and satis factory account of my new invented machine, for carrying vessels out of and into any port, harbour, or river, against wind and tide, or in a calm ; and I doubt not, but whoever shall give himself the trouble to pe ruse this essay, will be so candid as to excuse or over look any imperfections in the diction or manner of writing, considering the hand it comes from ; if what I have imagined, may only appear as plain to others as it has done to me, viz. that the scheme I now offer is practicable, and, if encouraged, will be useful. J. H." The contrivance for converting the reciprocating motion of the piston into a rotatory motion, which does great credit to the ingenuity of Mr. Hulls, will be better understood from the enlarged drawing given in Fig. 3.
Although the invention of this steam-boat was thus distinctly laid before the public, yet it does not seem to have been put in practice till the year 1782, when the Marquis de Jouffroy constructed a steam-boat to ply on the Saone at Lyons. It was 140 feet long 15 feet wide, and drew 3k feet of water. He seems to have made several experiments with it, and it is said to have been in use fifteen months.* In 1785, Mr. James Rumsey, of Virginia, and Mr. John Fitch of Philadelphia, made experiments on the propulsion of boats by steam, but though their la bours were patronized by General Washington, and though they received patents from some of the States, yet no satisfactory results were obtained.
In the year 1785, Mr. Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, conceived the idea of propelling vessels by paddle wheels driven by men or horses. A twin vessel for this purpose was put on the stocks at Leith on the 7th January 1786, and launched on the 14th October 1787. He published an account of his plans in Febru ary 1787, and in that publication he stated that he " had 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 to increase that of the ship, and that in the course of the summer of 1787 he intended to make the experiment." The sug gestion of applying the steam-engine seems to have been make to Mr. Miller by Mr. Taylor, then living as tutor in his family, and this gentleman also recom mended his school-fellow, Mr. William Symington of the \Vanlockhead mines, who had recently contrived a method of applying the force of steam to wheel car riages, as a proper person to construct the steam engine. In the spring of 1788, Mr. Symington began the steam-engine for Mr. Miller, and in October it was placed in a pleasure-boat in the lake of Dais winton, and on the 14th October 1788, this boat was moved by steam in the presence of several spectators.t After several trials, however, it was found that the engine and wheel, which were. of the same description as Ilull's, required the aid of manual labour with a windlass. Another experiment was made with a larger engine (constructed at the Carron works,) on board a Gabard, but the machinery does not seem to have answered Mr. Miller's expectations, and all far ther trials were discontinued.
In 1794 the Earl of Stanhope constructed a steam vessel with paddles below her quarters, but the result of the experiment was not satisfactory.
Lord Dundas, while governor of the Forth and Clyde navigation, employed Mr. Symington to construct a steam-vessel for that canal. An engine with a cylinder of 22 inches was accordingly made, and put on board a boat called the Charlotte Dundas. In March 1802, an experiment was made in presence of Lord Dundas, and his son-in-law, the present Mr. Spiers of Elderslie, and other gentlemen. This steam-boat towed two loaded sloops, the Active and Euphemia, of 70 tons burden each, from Lock No. 20 to Port Dundas, a distance of19!„ miles, in six hours, against a head wind. Some of the canal proprietors, however, were of opinion that the agitation of the water would destroy the banks of the canal, and the boat was laid up in a creek near Bainsford Bridge, where it lay as a wreck for many years.
Hitherto we may safely say that steam navigation had no real existence. Various individuals had pro posed it as a national benefit, while others, supported by capital and influence, had entirely failed in all their attempts to reduce their plans to practice. In this state of things Mr. Henry Bell, a house carpenter in Glasgow, who had retired from his profession to the baths of Ilelcnsburgh on the Clyde about 1808, after making several experiments on the propulsion of boats by steam, and overcome some of the obstacles which at first beset his progress, employed Messrs. Wood and Co. of Port Glasgow to construct a boat for him on a particular plan. Thie boat had a 40 feet keel, and was 101 feet on the beam, having a paddle wheel on each side. Mr. Bell made the steam-engine him self, and having completed his steam-boat in 1811, he gave it the name of the Comet, by which that year was distinguished. In January 1812 this boat began to ply on the Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock, and though the engine was only a three horse power, yet the boat went against a head wind at the rate of five miles an hour, and by merely increasing the power of the engine, her rate was increased to seven miles an hour. It appears from a letter addressed to Mr. Cleland by Mr. James Cooke, steam-engine maker, " that there was very little difference in the principle or construction of the impelling machinery of steam boats in general use at present (April 4, 1825,) from that applied by Mr. Henry Bell in his steam-boat Comet, erected by him in 18 il or 1812. * ** The best possible proof," he continues, " that I can adduce in support of this observation, is the Glasgow steam-boat, built by Mr. Bell's direction in 1812 or 1813. The engine and impelling machinery were made and put into the vessel by me in 1813 or 1814. The vessel was, I believe, lengthened a little since, to give accommo dation; the engine and machinery are still the same, and there arc not many boats on the river at this day, that exceed her far in point of speed in still water. I do not recollect now what kind of speed the Comet went at, but if it was slow, I am inclined to think the cause of that was the want of a proper proportion be twixt the size of the vessel, and the power of the en gine and impelling machinery, and not owing to any defect in the principle or construction of the ma chinery, those being nearly the same then as at this day." But though Mr. II. Bell was undoubtedly the first person who introduced steam navigation into Great Britain, we must in justice to our American brethren admit, that this did not take place till four years after steam navigation had been introduced into America. In the month of October 1807, Mr.Robert Fulton of New York launched a steam-boat, which soon after plied with perfect success between New York and Albany, a distance of 160 miles. It is no doubt true that Mr. Fulton, when in England, derived great information from Mr. Symington, and after wards received plans from Mr. henry Bell, but this can never diminish his merit, or deprive him of the high honour of being the first individual who saw the vast importance of steam navigation to his country, and who collected all the information which he could procure, and, aided by his own original powers, at last triumphed over every difficulty, by constructing the first steam vessel that sailed upon the deep. Fulton was honoured and rewarded by a grateful country ; but Henry Bell, a subject of Great Britain, the land ever famed for its science and its arts, and still the mistress of the ocean—has been allowed to spend his old age unhonoured and unrewarded.* The history of steam navigation in America and in England has been so fully detailed in our article SHIPBUILDING, that it is unnecessary to pursue it any farther at present. The steam-boat has crossed the Atlantic, and has forced its way even to our territories in the East, where its utility has been recognised in the enterprises both of peace and of war.