Thomas Jefferson Papers

Archibald Stuart to Thomas Jefferson, 19 May 1819

From Archibald Stuart

Staunton 19th May 1819—

Dear Sir

Mr Robert Kenney a young man of this County put into my hands the inclosed model of a Steam Boat To be used in shallow water with a request that I would show it to you—While in Albemarle I forgot to comply with his request & now repair the Omission by inclosing it—On my return Mr Kenney wated on me to know your Opinion & to inform me that he had made an experiment, by working the wheels by hand which had succeeded beyond his most sanguine expectations—He has ascertained that the poles need not be made of Iron, Wooden ones shod with Iron & straped a short distance from the points will be sufficiently heavy—I suggested to him a doubt that the Weight of the Machinery would require such a depth of Water as to render the invention useless; he says he has been advised that an Engine of one Ton Weight will produce Steam equal to the Power of one horse which would be entirely sufficient for his purpose & that a boat properly Constructed would float that weight in very Shallow Water—

We have this morning heard of the failure of three Banks in the City of Washington.1 I fear our pecuniary embarrassments have not reached their height

adieu I am yrs most affectionately

Archd Stuart

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “The hon Thos Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 24 May 1819 and so recorded in SJL.

1Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • banks; and Panic of1819 search
  • banks; distressed situation of search
  • banks; in Washington, D.C. search
  • boats; steamboats search
  • iron; mentioned search
  • Kenney, Robert search
  • machines; steam engine search
  • steamboats; models of search
  • steam engines search
  • Stuart, Archibald; and R. Kenney’s steamboat model search
  • Stuart, Archibald; letters from search
  • United States; Panic of1819 search
  • Washington, D.C.; banks in search