New York: W.A. Mercein, 1819. , 4-96 pp [as issued]. Foxed. Bound in contemporary tree calf, rebacked in brown morocco with gilt-lettered red morocco spine label and gilt spine rules. Good+, with contemporary signature of Christian Benson, probably the steamboat pilot who "was employed in 1822 on the Robert Fulton, one of the first successful steamboats then running between New York and Providence" [Bent, History of Whiteside County, Illinois, page 53].
Colden, biographer of Robert Fulton, supported New York State's grant of a monopoly to Fulton to navigate the State's waters by boats propelled by fire or steam. Fulton's rivals, particularly John Sullivan and William Alexander Duer, litigated for years the constitutionality of the grant, but failed to overturn Chief Justice James Kent's conclusion that a State's issuance of a monopoly is an essential attribute of sovereignty and, in this case, was wisely granted: otherwise, steamboat navigation, contributing significantly to the public good, could not possibly have been developed and improved.
This is the second edition, which adds a Massachusetts Act granting Sullivan the use of the Connecticut River for his patent steam tow-boats. Colden reviews the objections and rebuts them, provides a history of steam transportation, explains the long dispute with Fulton's rivals, and lauds Fulton and his accomplishments.
Howes C563. 160 Eberstadt 506. Cohen 14726. Sabin 14282. Mendelson, New Light on Fletcher v. Peck, 58 Yale Law Journal 567 . Item #25278