FULTON, Robert (1765-1815). Autograph letter signed (''Robt Fulton''), to General Turiau, 24 February 1810. 1 page, 4to.
FULTON, Robert (1765-1815). Autograph letter signed ("Robt Fulton"), to General Turiau, 24 February 1810. 1 page, 4to.
FULTON SENDS HIS LATEST TORPEDO RESEARCH TO NAPOLEON
"I have the honor to send you six of my pamphlets on Torpedo War which if you think proper you will have the goodness to send to intelligent and influential persons in Paris particularly to the Count Champagny who perhaps will think proper to communicate the object of the Torpedoes and the prospect of their success to the Emperor; you will have the goodness to mention to the minister what you have seen, also the present attention of our government to the subject, and your opinion of it, with my best wishes for the success of France against the British marine, and my willingness should it be desired, to send to Paris one of each of the real machines as prepared for action; which will serve as models for constructing others, also drawings and details on the mode of using them which will secure success." Since 1797 Fulton put his new weapon--the "submersible boat"--at the disposal of the French in their war against Britain. The Nautilus went into action against British blockaders off Le Havre in September 1800 with little success. Annoyed at the unwillingness of the French government to pay him royalties, he turned his attentions back to the civilian steamboat in America. But with the resumption of world war in 1803, he returned to torpedo technology and tried to interest either the Americans, the French, or indeed the British in his new technology. Fulton's weapons were crude by today's standard: a submersible would tow a torpedo (or mine) to an enemy ship in the hopes of attaching the bomb to its hull. The ability to fire weapons underwater and strike a distant target remained decades away in the future.