The Keith Papers

Part I: Channel and North Sea, 1803-1807; 1. Operations; 13. Secretary of Admiralty to Keith

The Document

13. Secretary of Admiralty to Keith

Admiralty Office,
June 19 1803.

My Lord, My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having been informed that a plan has been concerted by Mr. Fulton, an American resident at Paris, under the influence of the First Consul of the French Republic for destroying the maritime forces of this country, I am commanded by their Lordships to send you herewith the substance of the information they have received relative thereto, that you may be apprised thereof in order to take such measures as may appear to you necessary for frustrating any attempt on the part of the enemy connected therewith. I have &c.


Enclosure. Mr. Fulton an American resident in Paris has constructed a vessel in which he has gone down to the bottom of the water and has remained thereunder for the space of seven hours at one time. That he has navigated the said vessel under water at the rate of 2 ½ miles per hour; that the said submarine vessel is uncommonly manageable and that the whole plan to be effected by means thereof may easily be executed and without much risk; that the ships and vessels in the port of London are liable to be destroyed with ease, and that the channel of the River Thames may be ruined, and that it has been proved that only 25 lbs. of gunpowder was sufficient to have dashed a vessel in pieces off Brest, though externally applied.

* Keith replied on June 21 that it will be indespensably necessary that I should be furnished with some description of the submarine vessel, by means of which effects, so incomprehensible to me, are to be produced,’ but no further letter was sent.

See Also

Books on the Napoleonic Wars | Subject Index: Napoleonic Wars | Napoleonic Homepage

How to cite this article

LLoyd, C . (eds.) (1955) The Keith Papers, vol III, 1803-1815. Navy Records Society, pp. 21 -22

Web Page: Rickard, J (24 July 2006), Keith to Secretary of Admiralty,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy