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Transcript of Laws of 1787, Chapter 57

[Laws of 1787] Chap[ter] 57

AN ACT for granting and securing to John Fitch, the sole right and advantage of making and employing for a limited time, the steam boat by him lately invented.

Passed the 19th of March, 1787

Preamble.

WHEREAS John Fitch of Bucks county in the State of Pennsylvania, hath represented to the legislature of this State, that he hath constructed an easy and expeditious method of impelling boats through the water by the force of steam, praying that an act may pass, granting to him, his executors, administrators and assigns, the sole and exclusive right of making, employing and navigating, all boats impelled by the force of steam or fire, within the jurisdiction of this State, for a limited time. Wherefore, in order to promote and encourage so useful an improvement and discovery, and as a reward for his ingenuity, application and diligence,

Sole right of navigation by steamboat given to John Fitch of Pennsylvania.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That the said John Fitch, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, shall be, and they are hereby vested with the sole and exclusive right and privilege of constructing, making, using, employing, and navigating, all and every species or kind of boats or water craft, which may be urged or impelled through the water by the force of fire or steam, in all creeks, rivers, bays and waters whatsoever, within the territory and jurisdiction of this State, for and during the full end and term of fourteen years, from and after the present session of the legislature.

Penalty for unauthorized navigation by steamboat.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons whomsoever, without being properly authorized, by him the said John Fitch, his heirs, executors or administrators, shall make, use, employ or navigate any boat or water craft, which shall or may be urged, impelled, forced or driven through the water, by the force, power or agency of fire or steam as aforesaid, within the territory or jurisdiction of this State, every person or persons so offending, against the tenor, true intent and meaning of this act, for each and every such offence, shall forfeit and pay unto the said John Fitch, his heirs, executors or administrators, or to such other person or persons as he the said John Fitch his heirs or assigns, shall authorize and empower for that purpose, the sum of one hundred pounds, to be recovered by action of debt in any court of record, within this State, wherein the same may be cognizable, with costs of suit; and shall also forfeit to him the said John Fitch, his heirs or assigns, all such boats or water craft, together with the steam engine, and all the appurtenances thereof, to be recovered in manner aforesaid, with costs of suit. Provided always,

Act to affect only boats propelled by steam.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That neither this act, nor any clause, manner or thing therein contained, shall be taken, deemed or construed to prohibit or prevent any person or persons from making, using, employing or navigating, within this State, any kind of boats or water craft, heretofore invented, or hereafter to be invented, on any other principles construction or model, which may be urged, impelled, or driven along through the water, by any other power, force, agency or means, except fire or steam.