When feverish haste had not yet infected society, a trip over the canal in the passenger-packet, the Governor Sullivan must have been an enjoyable experience. Protected by iron rules from the danger of collision, undaunted by squalls of wind, realizing that should the craft be capsized he had nothing to do but walk ashore, the traveller speeding along at the leisurely rate of four miles per hour had ample time for observation and reflection. Seated, in summer under a spacious awning, he traversed the valley of the Mystic skirting the picturesque shores of Mystic pond. Instead of a blurred landscape, vanishing, ghostlike, ere its features could be fairly distinguished, soft bits of characteristic New England scenery, clear cut as cameos, lingered caressingly on his vision—green meadows, fields riotous with blossomed clover, fragrant orchards and quaint old farmhouses, with a background of low hills wooded to their summits. Passing under bridges, over rivers, between high embankments and through deep cuttings, floated up-hill by a series of locks, he marvelled at this triumph of engineering, and if he were a director pictured the manufactures that were to spring up along this great thoroughfare, swelling its revenues for all time.People also sought pleasure there, as the last issue of the Register notes, and as Medford people recently gone from us have told with pleasant memories. But the investigating, progressive canal agent and manager of those early days had more rapid transit in view. Horses and oxen were too slow and over in England the power of steam had been utilized, while in Scotland it had been used with but little success on a canal. Up in the backwoods of New Hampshire a curious engine had been developed by an unlettered native genius, years before Fulton made his successful experiment on the Hudson. Canal manager Sullivan, with great visions of future inland navigation by canal and river, had a boat equipped with an engine of this pattern; and one day, a century ago, it came to Medford (as documents prove) and later, all the way to the New Hampshire capital. If the Medford boys went swimming at ‘Second beach’ in those days, we may be sure there was a grand rush to the tow-path beside the river to see the novel sight.
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