Related Information

What George Washington Said about Rumsey's Boats:

George Washington Letter
Certificate to James Rumsey

from George Washington, September 6, 1784

After witnessing a demonstration of Rumsey’s steamboat on September 6, 1784, George Washington provided him with a certificate stating:

“I have seen the model of Mr. Rumsey’s Boats constructed to work against stream; have examined the power upon which it acts; have been an eye witness to an actual experiment in running water of some rapidity, & do give it as my opinion (altho’ I had little faith before) that he has discovered the art of propelling Boats, by mechanism & small manual assistance, against rapid currents; that the discovery is of vast importance – may be of the greatest usefulness in our inland navigation - &, if it succeeds, of which I have no doubt, that the value of it is greatly enhanced by the simplicity of the works, which when seen & explained to, might be executed by the most common Mechanics.”

The New York State Library has the George Washington Papers, 1741-1799, on microfilm (124 reels), MB/FM,973.41,Zw3w21p. A search on: james rumsey 1784 on Memory.loc.gov will help locate the certificate.