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Page 325 of The westward movement. The colonies and the republic west of the Alleghanies, 1763-1798; with full cartographical illustrations from contemporary sources.

FITCH AND RUMSEY. 325 Though there is some discrepancy in evidence as to the date, it would seem that his final success was achieved in the spring of 1788, when he moved a vessel called the " Perseverance," of sixty tons burthen, for eight miles on the Schuylkill. Brissot, who saw the exjieriment, says that the power was exerted by " three large oars of considerable force, which were to give sixty strokes a minute." In July, he used stern paddles in a trial on the Delaware, and went twenty miles. Notwithstanding this, Fitch did not escape ridicule from the incredulous, and Brissot expresses some indignation " to see Americans discouraging him by their sarcasms." The now active rivalry of Rumsey added personal bitterness to the controversy between them, as shown in a pamphlet which was printed. Rumsey, being as impecunious as his antagonist, had sought in the same way to get the assistance of the legislatures of some of the States. He claimed in his memorials that his boat could make twenty-five to forty miles a day against a strong current, using for the power a current of water taken in at the bow and ejected at the stern. When Rumsey memorialized the Virginia Assembly in 1785, the project was thought chimerical, and gained no attention till Washington, to whom he had disclosed his method, gave him a certificate. It was not till the early winter of 1787 that he made a public trial of a boat, eighty feet long, on the Potomac, making three miles an hour on December 3, and four miles on December 11. While Fitch was, by his experiments, creating some enthusiasm in Philadelphia in 1788, Rumsey was making promises in England, and foretelling the possibility of crossing the ocean in fifteen days. He died of apoplexy four years later (December 23, 1792), a disappointed man. Some abortive attempts had been made in Scotland by Miller in 1788, and by Symington in 1800, to solve the problem, but the first real success did not come till 1807, when Fulton ran the " Clermont " on the Hudson, and when, two years later (November, 1809), the " Accommodation " steamed from Montreal to Quebec in thirty-six hours of actual progress, having anchored on three nights. ,

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