Lot 284: American inventor, engineer, and entrepreneur (1765–1815) best known for designing the first commercially successful steamboat. His other endeavors included a commission from Napoleon that resulted in the first practical submarine, the Nautilus. ALS signed "Robt. Fulton," one page both sides, 7.25 x 9, April 15, 1800. Letter to his mother, Mrs. Mary Smith, in full: "On the 3d of July 99 I wrote you by Mr. Griffiths and sent him 36 Guineas for you. Mr. Griffiths sailed from France for Phila. where I desired him to put the mony [sic] into the hands of a Member of Congress or Member of assembly from your part of the country who could forward it to Mr. Hogg for you. If you have not heard of the mony I advise you to write to Mr. Ross [US Senator James Ross] who I believe is a member for Washington and desire him to inquire in Phila. for Mr. Griffiths who is a native of Baltimore and resided some years in France desiring Mr. Ross to receive the mony for you. I am in excellent health still detained in this country on business which is very important to me—but time and distance has not robed [sic] me of one sentiment of affection for you and all my relations, please to remember me particularly to each of them." A short postscript reads, "Although I am in Paris, you can direct your letters to the Fultons in London as usual." Reverse of second integral page bears an address panel in Fulton's hand to his mother in Pennsylvania. In very good condition, with intersecting mailing folds (one vertical fold passing through a single letter of the last name), scattered light toning, and dampstaining to edges lightly affecting a few words of text.Five days before writing this letter, Fulton had contacted the French government to inform them that the Nautilus, the first practical submarine, was nearing completion and that he hoped those in authority—including Napoleon—would give him the proper financial 'encouragement' needed to finish the job. Fulton was confident that the vessel could be used by the French in their ongoing war against the British. A one-of-a-kind letter with a subtle and covert reference to the Nautilus.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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