7 December 2015
FULTON, Robert (1765-1815). Autograph letter signed (“Robt. Fulton”), to Edward Livingston (1779-1843), New York, 16 April 1814. 1 ½ pages, 4to., mat burn along edges.
FULTON SCRAMBLES TO COLLECT HIS STEAMBOAT REVENUES in this 1814 letter to Livingston. “Mr Hoffman informs me you have not sent to him for a statement of the accounts. He is going to Red Hook and will call on you. If other means are not provided it will be absolutely necessary to apply the total profits of the steamboats for this season to pay the various demands against our general concerns or until money can be collected from the several companies. In this way I must apply my portion of the profits. My partner’s portion must of course have a like application while necessary and as no other means have been devised by you to meet the debts—” here Fulton strikes through more legalistic language (“I have by the rights vested in me desired the captains”)—in favor of a gentler tone: “I hope you will make no objection to the captains paying all monies into the hands of Mr Hoffman. By the power vested for me I have desired them to do so for the present.” Livingston was the son-in-law of Fulton’s deceased partner, Robert R. Livingston, who died in 1813. The partner he alludes to is likely Nicholas I. Roosevelt, with whom Fulton had embarked on far-ranging enterprise of establishing steamboat routes up and down the Mississippi. Tragically, Fulton himself would be dead just ten months later from pneumonia. A fine letter showing Fulton’s hands-on concern for his thriving and diverse concerns.
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