But two copies of these are now known to be in existence, one of which is in possession of the writer, kindly presented by Judge S. P. Hadley
(whose father was for years the agent at Chelmsford
), and who was himself an employee of the canal.
It has been said that ‘the genius of James Sullivan
did not foresee the railway locomotive.’
Probably the idea of a railway was as foreign to the thought of John Sullivan
as it was to that of his father, but he was alive to the need of more rapid transit, and of power other than that of horses and oxen.
During the sixteen years that he had charge of the canal, he made many experiments, looking to the introduction of steam as a motive power thereon.
The limit of speed had been fixed at one and one-half miles per hour for rafts, two and one-half for ‘luggage boats,’ while three miles was the limit at which the ‘passage boats’ might proceed.
Of these latter there were but two, and for a time only one was needed, so little did people journey a century ago. All boats were limited by the ‘Rules,’ to within a certain size, this made requisite by the locks, while the rafts of logs bound for the ship-yards of Medford
, were towed in ‘bands’ and passed the locks singly.
Steam navigation had become an assured fact on the Hudson river
in 1807, one year before Mr. Sullivan
took charge of the canal, but years before the canal went into operation a steamboat
was successfully operated upon the Connecticut river
, and its owner and inventor was interviewed by Fulton
, who, it seems, only made successful application of the inventions of John Fitch
and Samuel Morey
in New Hampshire
, assisted by the wealth of Livingston
, to his dying day, complained bitterly of their treatment of him, saying that ‘the cusses had stolen his invention.’
Not despairing, however, he invented a new form of engine, for which he secured a patent.
This was acquired by Sullivan
, after his experience with ‘a heavy engine from Philadelphia
,’ which he wrote ‘had a damaging effect upon the ’