previous next
[p. 8] 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 of Lowell (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 in Delaware and Samuel Morey in New Hampshire, assisted by the wealth of Livingston. Morey, 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 ’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Sullivan (3)
Samuel Morey (2)
James Sullivan (1)
Lowell (1)
S. P. Hadley (1)
Sarah Fulton (1)
John Fitch (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1807 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: