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Transcript of Laws of 1798, Chapter 55

[Laws of 1798] Chap[ter] 55

AN ACT repealing an act entitled “An act for granting and securing to John Fitch the sole right and advantage of making and employing the steam boat by him lately invented,” and for other purposes.

Passed the 27th of March, 1798

Preamble.

WHEREAS it hath been suggested to the people of this State represented in senate and assembly that Robert R. Livingston is possessor of a mode of applying the steam engine to propel a boat on new and advantageous principles, but that he is deterred from carrying the same into effect by the existence of a law entitled “An act for granting and securing to John Fitch the sole right and advantage of making and employing the steam boat by him lately invented” passed the nineteenth day of March one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven, as well as by the uncertainty and hazard of a very expensive experiment unless he could be assured of the exclusive advantage of the same if on trial it should be found to succeed. And whereas it is further suggested that the said John Fitch is either dead or hath withdrawn himself from this State without having made any attempt in the space of more than ten years for executing the plan for which he so obtained an exclusive privilege, whereby the same I justly forfeited: Therefore

Act recited repealed.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of New York represented in Senate and Assembly, That the act aforesaid be and is hereby repealed. And to the end that Robert R. Livingston may be induced to proceed in an experiment which if successful promises important advantages to this State.

Privileges granted to Livingston.

Be it further enacted, That privileges similar to those granted to the said John Fitch in an by the before mentioned act be and they hereby are extended to the said Robert for the term of twenty years from the passing of this act. Provided nevertheless that the said Robert shall within twelve months from the passing of this act give such proof as shall satisfy the governor, the lieutenant governor and the surveyor general of this State, or a majority of them of his having built a boat of at least twenty ton’s [sic] capacity, which is propelled by steam, and the mean of whose progress through the water with and against the ordinary current of Hudson’s river taken together shall not be less than four miles an hour, and shall at no time omit for the space of one year to have a boat of such construction plying between the cities of New York and Albany.