HOW many of my young readers have ever stood on the seashore or on a wharf on bright a afternoon, watching the big steamers as they go by? 

Those who have, will remember what a thrill of pleasure it gave them to see one as it came in or went out from the harbor, moving along with such graceful power that they almost fancied it to be a thing of life. 

No doubt many of you have enjoyed the pleasure of a steamboat excursion on some one of our large lakes, or perhaps on the ocean; and did you ever stop to think, while treading the elegantly furnished cabin deck of a large steamer, who the man was that built the first steamboat? 

His name was Robert Fulton; and although he is called a great man now, he had to meet many difficulties and discouragements before his rude craft was finished. 

Day after day the people would come to the place where the boat was building, and talk in a sneering way about his "wild scheme," as they called it ; and during the whole time that the work was going on, the great inventor received not a single word of encouragement. 

But his perseverance finally overcame all obstacles, and on the 2nd of Sept., 1807, Fulton invited a few of his friends to take a trip to Albany with him on his new boat. 

A great crowd gathered on the shore to see the strange vessel start off, and though it did not move at the first signal, the difficulty was soon removed, and after a little delay, at the second signal, the boat left New York, and made a successful trip up the Hudson river to Albany, where it arrived on the next day. 

For many years, this first rude steamer, called the Clermont, sailed on the Hudson River.

Great improvements have been made in steamboats since the first one was built, and if the Clermont could have been kept to our day, it would probably be as great a curiosity now, as it was when first built.