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British Trade prosperous, S. A.
For APRIL, 1815.
NATIONAL and PARLIAMENTARY
PROSPECTIVE AND RETROSPECTIVE,
BRITISH and FOREIGN.
If it were possible to ascertain the man who first constructed the mariner's compass, no exclusive privilege of making and vending that instrument could possibly be denied to the author of a thought so happy, so important to the intercourse of mankind, so beneficial to the remotest posterity. The first watch, the first telescope, the first mill, the first steam engine, might command without hazard of denial, the most ample privileges in the power of a grateful country to bestow. Society might well relinquish its right for a time, in favour of a disco
THE duty of Government is protection; to the people, generally, from the insults of neighbouring States; to indivi-very to which it was afterwards to be duals, occasionally, whose merit may jus- so greatly indebted. On this principle tify particular patronage. The first is is founded the doctrines of the law on so obviously incumbent on the chiefs of the subject of patents, and the general a people, that governments of every de- protection of patents has contributed scription, and of every rank, pique them- most essentially to that superiority of selves on fulfilling it: the latter is of a our country in certain arts, which is more delicate nature, since it involves, equally incontestible, and beneficial. -not the protection of a native against Other nations look to this for useful inforeigners, but of one native against ventions: they select those which exothers, of equal claims, and standing on perience has proved to be most valuable; the same level in the first instance. and those they adopt. But, they often forget, that it is this very experience, that renders these inventions so worthy of their selection; and that they have been perfected by familiarity, by habitude, by repeated and long continued action, which are no less necessary to the complete performance of an instrument or a machine, than the wheels, or constituent parts of the article.
It is, then, by some distinct and important benefit conferred on society, that society, for a while, consents to relinquish its pretensions to equality, and allows an individual to occupy a station of privilege, by which he is elevated above his compatriots. This is no trifling favour, and ought not to be granted but to distinguished merit. It ought also to be solid merit; not of a temporary, but of a lasting kind: not adapted to the services of the day, only; though they may justify honours, and rewards, but such as may contribute to the welfare of succeeding generations, and assist in operations of permanent advantage to the community. VOL. II. Lit, Pan, New Series. April 1815.
the mere possession of an instrument They cannot therefore expect that should enable them to use it, at once, in perfection. Its full performance has not been obtained by its inventors, without much additional labour and ingenuity; where then is the cause of wonder, that in the hands of strangers it should reA
quire the same causes to bring it to maturity? Nevertheless, there are some valuable discoveries, so simple in their nature, and depending merely on the fortunate application of an idea struck out at a moment, as if it were from the inspiration of some guardian angel, that whoever possesses the thought is master of the secret, and of all its beneficial consequences. These, it may be imagined, require special protection, the mere mention of them gives the hiut; and possession of the hint by a stranger, deprives the ingenuity first occupied in the invention, not only of its honourable distinction, but of its adequate recompence.
pences attending an English Patent, would bear some proportion to those. They have been wonderstruck, when a hundred pounds or more, have been mentioned, as the price of a privilege for fourteen years; aud certainly, this amount has been the means of excluding a great number of trifles-ingenious, perhaps, but still trifles-from the list of British Patents.
True it is, that what may be thought a trifle, has occasionally been the basis of a fortune among our ingenious men; and true it is also, that none can tell what run may attend the publication of an ingenious bagatelle. The humour of the public in point of encouragement, can never be ascertained à priori ;– it is a lottery, in which the venture precedes the prize, and those who from prudence decline the risk, decline at the same time the profit. On the other hand, some of the most important machines or inventions, demand so great sums to perfect them, are so expensive at first, and in their early operations, &c. that the limited time of fourteen years, is insufficient for the return of the capital employed, for the acquisition of a profit on the capital returned, and for the adequate remuneration of those innumerable anxieties which swarm around the projector of a novelty, when bis conceptions are about to be embodied into
Far be it from us to deny, that many of our most valuable implements in almost every branch of art, especially of the mechanic arts, are of foreign origin. The compass, the telescope, the watch, the mill, wrought by water, or by wind, with many other constructions, have been imported. The famous machine for throwing silk, was, as is well known, stolen from the Italians by Sir Thomas Lombe, and the consequences have been astonishing. Is it too much to say, that had not that model been before our eyes, we should never have thought of applying the services of machinery, on that prodigious scale on which they are now applied, to the purposes of the cotton works? Did not the hint originate there, how-experiment, and reduced to practice. ever the operative parts may have been varied? Nor is this the only branch now become a standing business, and furnishing employment to thousands, which we have adopted from abroad, have improved, have varied by novelty, and by reducing it to simplicity, have established its excellence and perfection.
The crown, though endowed with great power, yet possesses no power without limitation: and those who find an ordinary patent insufficient, may apply to the legislature, and obtain from King, Lords, and Commons united, that privilege, which neither alone is competent to grant. The privilege conferred by a patent, then becomes a law by statute, and time is no obstacle to the supremacy of this authority.
Into the law of Patents, or into the consideration of that disposition which takes out a patent for every new invention, it is not our present design to enter. We know that foreigners who have been lately in England, with design to obtain patents, have been astonished at their cost. They supposed, that hecause they paid not more than ten pounds or thereabouts, for a privilege of seven years, and less than twenty pounds, to renew that privilege for fourteen years, in France, for instance, that the ex
Not that parliament should be resorted to on every slight occasion, not that the powers of legislation should be diverted from the more enlarged interests of the nation, nor that the statesman should be sunk in the protector of individual interests. Such instances should be of rare occurrence, they should be attended with expence: they should be closely examined, they should be satisfactorily
established, and they should be of sufficient magnitude to justify a proceeding out of the common way, and not to be regarded as a matter of course.
As an instance of claim to such distinction, we present the following,REPORT
| checks and regulations already established, with the addition of prescribing an admixture of the ingredients in due proportions, will be found amply sufficient for cnsuring as much protection to the Revenue, as is now actually obtained in similar cases, or can reasonably be desired.
Without entering here into other FROM SELECT COMMITTEE ON LAWS REmatters of detail; Your Committee think it right to state one difficulty respecting LATING TO BLEACHING POWDER. Scotland; where Salt extracted from Sea The COMMITTEE appointed to inquire Water, of inferior quality to the English into the State of the Laws, in Great Bri- Salt, but produced at a much greater extain and Ireland, relative to the Manu- pense, is used, on account of its lower rate facture, and Use, of BLEACHING Pow- of Duty: Manufacturers being allowed DER and LIQUID; and to report the a Drawback of the whole Duties on both same, with their Observations thereupon, substances, would evidently prefer that to the House ;--and to whom the Petition capable of being produced at the least of Charles Tennant and Company, Ma- prime cost; and fraud might be expected kers of the Oxymuriatic Acid combined to arise, if two articles of Commerce, agreewith Lime, or the Oxymuriatic of Lime, ing nearly in appearance, but differing commonly called BLEACHING POWDER, in what may be termed their natural and near Glasgow, was referred;—HAVE, acquired properties, were brought into impursuant to the Order of the House, ex-mediate contact. To remedy this inconamined the Matters to them referred; venience it is proposed, that in Scotland no and agreed upon the following REPORT: other Duties than those of the country shall Rock Salt; a substance readily distinguishin any case be drawn back, except on able from all that has undergone artificial chrystalization, and incapable of being applied to domestic purposes.
Your Committee have further ascertain
YOUR Committee have proceeded to examine several Gentlemen, eminent for their attainments in general Science, as well as for their knowledge Chemistry; and also to examine many respectable Individuals, largely concerned in preparing materials for Bleaching, or in conducting branches of Manufacture to which these materials are applied; and having considered the whole subject referred to them: They deem it, in the first place, most essential to observe, that all considerations of sound policy coincide with the fundamental Laws of the United Kingdom, which are of themselves imperative, in calling on Parliament to establish the same Regulations for conducting this Trade or Manufacture on equal terms, as to Duties or Exemptions, through the whole of Great Britain and Ireland: And secondly, they
ed, that the refuse product, or residuum of this Manufacture abounds in a new substauce, formed during the operations; namely, Sulphate of Soda or Glauber Salt: But they have also learnt, that this Salt is not extracted from its various admixtures without considerable difficulty, and that it afterwards requires many solutions, for attaining the degree of purity essential to its Sale; so that, by limiting the extraction of this Article to the Manufacturer himself, and to such licensed Dealer as may purchase the Residuum, it is ascertained that the Excise will be enabled sufficiently to
conceive that the magnitude of this Manu-protect the Revenue against all Fraud and facture, and its absolute necessity for Evasion. But it is stated, that on various affording facilities to others of the greatest occasions Glauber's Salt cannot be eximportance to the National wealth and tracted with advantage, although Soda may prosperity, demand from the Legislature, be profitably obtained from its decompo a Remittance of all Duties imposed on sition in the refuse mass; and that in parthe raw materials used throughout its pro- ticular situations, no use whatever can be gress, and especially on common Salt and made of the Residuum. In either of these Sulphur. alternatives, as Soda is not charged with a Duty, the Revenue will be fully protected, if the Manufacturer is required, within some reasonable time, to reduce the refuse materials to such a state, as will effectuaily prevent their yielding the substance liable to taxation, by any subsequent process; which may easily be done, either by heate
And your Committee have great satisfaction in being able to state, that after directing much of their attention to this part of the subject, and hearing the statement of the Board of Excise, made through their Solicitor, they are fully persuaded that the