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A Lost Chapter in the History of the Steamboat
In the spring of 1828, my law office was in the Athenum building, so called, afterwards destroyed by fire. My business was scant, for I had but recently been admitted to the bar. I was ruminating, no doubt, upon my prospects, when the door was opened, and a handsome, elderly man, of distinguished presence, entered and asked me, in rich unctuous tones, and with a strong Irish accent, if my name was Latrobe, and if I recollected him. His face was familiar, and so was his voice; but I could not place him. Seeing that I hesitated, he said, and it would be strange if you did, for you were but a bit of a child when you last saw me in your fathers house. I am John Devereux Delacy, and he 4 rolled out his sounding name as though he was proud of it. I recollected him then. Fourteen or fifteen years back it had been his fancy to pet me as a child. It was this that had impressed him on my memory. Ah, you know me now, he said: you remember when I used to be so much with Fulton and Roosevelt and Chancellor Livingston and Dr. Mitchell, at the Navy Yard house. This was the name given to my fathers residence in Washington, not far from the Navy Yard. After recalling well remembered incidents and indulging in general remarks for a while, Mr. Delacy took a survey of my scantily furnished office, and said, not overwhelmed with business, my young friend: so much the better for me: you will have the more time to attend to something I want you to undertake. If you succeed, it will be the making of both our fortunes. I want suit brought against every steamboat owner in the United States; and you must begin with old Billy McDonald, here in Baltimore. See this; and, suiting the action to the word, my visitor drew from his breast pocket the original parchment letters patent, now before me, signed by James Madison, President, James Monroe, Secretary of State, and Richard Rush, Attorney General, granting to Nicholas J. Roosevelt the exclusive right to his new and useful improvement in propelling boats by steam. Dated December 1st, 5 1814. The patent had still some months to run. The specification contained the following description of the improvement: ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 63140
Author: Latrobe, John H. B. (John Hazlehurst Boneval)
Release Date: Sep 7, 2020
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