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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from James Rumsey to Alexander Martin
Rumsey, James, 1743?-1792
November 16, 1784
Volume 17, Page 182

-------------------- page 182 --------------------

Richmond, November 16th, 1784.


I take the liberty of inclosing to your honor a petition wherein you may observe, that I propose to construct a certain species of boat, upon a model calkulated to sail or be propelled against the currant of rapid rivers which I should thank you to lay before your honorable house of Assembly without delay.

I am constrained to adopt this mode instead of my personal attendance, as I would wish to petition as many of the assemblies in the United States as possible during the present Season; not doubting but that your ardent zeal for the prosperity of the Citizens of your State will animate you to promote a matter which in its consequences may be of such general utility to mankind, and to the Inhabitants of the State of North Carolina in particular.

By a Copy of General Washington's voucher which will accompany this will appear the high opinion His Excellency entertains of this invention; And by the honorable Mr. Henry's, which will likewise accompany this will appear the attention the honorable Legislature of Virginia have paid to it. In full confidence therefore, that you honorable house will think this discovery an object worthy of attention, and proceed in the premises in a mode consistent with the honor and dignity of the Assembly of North Carolina.

I have the honor to be, &c.,

Note. This anticipated Fulton's steamboat by many years.—Ed.