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LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, TRANSMITTING SUNDRY DOCUMENTS EXHIBITING CERTAIN PRELIMINARY EXPERIMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE CITY AND HARBOR OF NEW YORK, IN CONFORMITY WITH AN ACT OF CONGRESS, ENTITLED "AN ACT MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRYING THE PRACTICAL USE OF THE TORPEDO OR SUB-MARINE EXPLOSION."
Washington: A. and G. Way, 1811. - 55pp., including six in-text illustrations. Later paper boards, gilt spine label. Hinges cracked, corners slightly worn, spine label rubbed. Some foxing and toning. About very good. A rare government report, consisting of letters from inventor Robert Fulton and others on several experiments involving torpedos and underground mines. In 1810, Congress authorized Robert Fulton, best known for his work on canal navigation and steamboats, to pursue the development of torpedo and sub-marine weaponry as a means of national defense. Fulton proceeded to conduct several experiments in New York harbor to test the devices. This report contains letters from several witnesses to the experiments, including Oliver Wolcott and Cadwallader Colden, giving a wealth of firsthand observations on several of the experiments conducted in the fall of 1810, as well as letters from Fulton giving his spin on the results. The illustrations include drawings of torpedos and boats. The Navy Department concluded that "Mr. Fulton has not, in the opinion of a majority of the committee, proved that the government ought to rely upon his system as a means of national defence." Fulton argued, however, that he had made important improvements and that he was confident of success, if only he could have access to the rest of the appropriations that had been set aside for his experiments - an excuse that military contractors have re-used and perfected over the decades since. OCLC, Rink, and Shaw & Shoemaker together locate only a handful of copies. Rare and important in the development of submarine weaponry and military procurement processes. SHAW & SHOEMAKER 24168. RINK 2199. SABIN 26196. HOWES F417, "aa." OCLC 30133008, 33820186.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2017-02-28           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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