A History of Nova Scotia Page

Footnotes To
Book #3, The Road To Being Canada" (1815-1867)
Chapter 27, Steamships

FN1 Ch27 Fulton was one of a number of inventors of the age: among other things, he invented a mill for sawing and polishing marble, cast iron bridges, a machine for spinning flax, a dredging machine, and torpedoes; as for steamboats, it would appear he relied very much on the earlier work of another American, John Fitch (1743-98). It should be noted, however, that the very first workable steamboat was the Charlotte Dundas launched at Grangemouth in 1802 by the Scottish engineer and inventor [another Scottish mines mechanic, for example, George (1781-1848)], William Symington (1763-1831); there were powerful interests working against Symington's ideas, and, so, his steamboat just did not catch on. Though "an ungainly craft looking precisely like a backwoods sawmill mounted on a scow and set on fire" the power of propelling boats by steam at this time to be seen as one that "will give a cheap and quick conveyance to merchants on the Mississippi, Missouri and other great rivers which are now laying open their treasures to the enterprise of our countrymen." [From H. W. Dickinson's biography of Fulton, as quoted by Paul Johnson in his work, The Birth of the Modern (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 195.]

FN2 Ch27 Llewellyn Woodward, The Age of Reform: 1815-1870 (1938)(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2nd ed., 1962), fn @ p. 42.

FN3 Ch27 "The most impressive invention of all was the big, fast clipper, an American peacetime development of the two-masted Yankee schooner designed in Baltimore for privateering during the War of 1812. China-trade tea clippers of 1,000 tons or more and immigrant clippers twice their size began to appear around 1820. These superb creations, the modern frontier of a technology which had been evolving for 6,000 years, are the only sailing ships know to have logged more than 400 sea miles in a day, then the fastest travel on Earth." (Johnson, p. 194.)

FN4 Ch27 Johnson, pp. 194-5. The timber out of which Englishmen had built their victorious ships, by 1815, was no longer available; the noble woods and forests of England had been "savagely reduced by the needs of the Napoleonic wars." The Masters of the Seas had to turn to Canadian and American yards for their supplies of wood and wooden ships. Johnson wrote that "Canadian and United States timber prices were the lowest on record and the East Coast shipbuilding industry expanded at such a rate that by 1840, when 90 percent of the world's shipping was still made of wood, American and Canadian yards were producing half of it." (Johnson, p. 194.)

FN5 Ch27 The Great Western was sold to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company in 1847 and employed in transatlantic mail service. She was chartered by the British government and employed as a troop carrier during the Crimean War (1854–1856); she was scrapped in 1856.

FN6 Ch27 Report of Sir John Harvey, October 18th, 1848, as found in "Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1947," p. 38.


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