Imatges de pÓgina

scale little commensurate with their importance, and are miserably inferior to the museums of industrial inventions in France and America.

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The new Patent Bill, while it provides for the extension of new patents from fourteen to twenty-one years, strangely omits to make provisions for the extension of existing patents for a further period of seven years. This would be clearly necessary when they are brought under the same conditions as to license and payment as those under the new bill. It would be a singular injustice that good and effective patents now in existence should have a term of life one-third shorter than the more fortunate ones taken out after the present year. On the whole, it will be seen that the bill before Parliament is founded on good conceptions of public interest, and requires only certain modifications to render it a valuable measure. It adopts the right principle that patents should not be considered in relation to any indefeasible right which the inventor possesses; for the State has no immediate interest in the individual patentee, but it has an interest in the public, and it is only when these interests are common that the State ought to give privileges to the former.

I have made no allusion to the views of those who think that patents should not be given at all, but that the State should recompense inventors by honours and pecuniary rewards. The experience of State rewards for inventions is melancholy in the extreme. It is true that there are a few instances in which such a man as Crompton, the inventor of the spinning mule, got 5,000l. as a wholly insufficient recompense when some five or six millions of spindles were enriching the country; but there are other records of large over-payments for the most trivial and useless inventions. Take, for instance, another reward of 5,000l., given to Mr. Steven, in 1739, on the recommendation of a Royal Commission, consisting of an archbishop, ten bishops, the Lord Chancellor, three Secretaries of State, five peers, and ten men of science. The reward was for a remedy to cure gravel, and the remedy proved to consist of three items-a powder, a pill, and a decoction. The powder was made of pounded egg-shells and snailshells; the pill of egg-shells, soap, and honey; the decoction of soap and 'swines cresses.' The Government is an unfit tribunal to assess public rewards, which never could be so efficient as the results of commercial success. As to paying in honours, the time is past when that would be accepted as a discharge for public work in relation to industry or science. The State has unwisely limited these honours to combatant and more lately to civil services, while the victors of peaceful struggles in science and industry have lost their appreciation of them. At one time the sovereign was the fountain of honour to all, and three letters of the alphabet, with a few inches or a yard or two of riband, was taken as payment in full for much

service rendered to the State. But by the exclusive policy of the Government, in denying honours to scientific and industrial achievements, the fountain of honour which used to spring from the throne has become dried up, and both discoverers and inventors have learned to prefer the democratic letters F.R.S.' to the more royal letters K.C.B.'



No. 1.


THERE have been various theories and much discussion among students of Shakspeare as to the Third Murderer in Macbeth. It has even been maintained that Macbeth himself was the man, and that only upon this assumption can the difficulties attending the character be solved. Anyone curious to follow out that suggestion will find it discussed in Notes and Queries for September 11 and November 13, 1869.

A theory on this subject has struck me, which has not, so far as I am aware, been hitherto advanced.

The stage directions in Macbeth concerning one particular character (who, curiously enough, is not mentioned in the dramatis persona of any edition which I bear in mind) are minute, and I believe that, where such directions are so particularly given by Shakspeare, they are for a purpose, because he is generally careless about those matters, and leaves them, as it were, for the actors to carry out.


This character is described simply as an Attendant,' and what I wish to contend is that this Attendant' is the Third Murderer.

My reasons are as follows:-Macbeth utters what little he does say to this attendant in a tone of marked contempt-strangely suggestive, to my mind, of his being some wretched creature who was entirely in Macbeth's power-not an ordinary servant, but one whom he might use as a tool, and who had no courage to disobey or withstand him.

Supposing this to have been the case, such a servant (from whatever causes), 'in such a state of moral bondage to his master, would be just the man employed upon the work of watching without the palace gate' for the two murderers whose services he had, by Macbeth's orders, secured.

He need not have known the precise object of their interview with Macbeth, and I think it was probable, from the action of the scene, that he was not told of it until after Macbeth's conversation (act iii. sc. 1) with the two murderers, at the conclusion of which, I infer, he was commanded to watch them.

Now the stage direction in act iii. sc. 1 is: 'Exeunt all but

Macbeth and an Attendant.' With a confidential servant, this is just what might happen without exciting notice.

The words are :

Macb. Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men
Our pleasure?

Attend. They are, my lord, without the palace gate.
Macb. Bring them before us.

The tone of contempt is obvious, and also the fact that this attendant had been taken, to a certain extent, into his master's confidence, with a sort of careless assurance of his secrecy. We learn that he has been just now on the watch for the two men, and presume that he had conducted them to Macbeth the day before.

The next direction is: Re-enter Attendant with Two Murderers ;' when Macbeth says to him, in the same tone and manner,

Now go to the door and stay there till we call.

The attendant then retires, and is not recalled by Macbeth; but the action which I am about to suggest, and which the text fully warrants, would, if carried out, afford the opportunity for Macbeth to communicate to him the undertaking of the two murderers, and give him instructions to follow and observe them. If the attendant left the chamber by one door (Now go to the door and stay there till we call ') and the murderers by another, and if Macbeth used the former egress, the suggestion would be that at this moment, while he kept the murderers waiting, and in expectation of seeing him again (I'll call upon you straight-abide within '), he went after the attendant and gave him his instructions.

By this device Macbeth gains the object which he has been seeking. He secures to himself a check upon the two murderers in the person of this attendant, who is made an accomplice, and whose lips are sealed. A very slight and legitimate change in the accepted stagebusiness would make all this stratagem clear to the audience, and it fits in with my theory that the attendant was a trusty, and not a common, servant. Had he been otherwise, the most momentous and secret transaction of the play would never have been committed to him.

Coming now to the murder of Banquo (act iii. sc. 3), we find that the words prove that one man is a stranger to the other two, at any rate so far as his privity to the enterprise is concerned. But the manner in which the Second Murderer satisfies the First that the newcomer need not be mistrusted strengthens my theory. For either the Second Murderer did not recognise the stranger at all, owing to the darkness of the night, and so distrusted him until he had delivered his credentials in shape of his intimate acquaintance with the whole place and scheme, or else perhaps they did recognise him as the attendant whom they had seen before; in which case also they would have been

chary of confiding in him, as they had received from Macbeth no instructions to trust him in this matter. Indeed the instant reply of the Second Murderer, in order to allay the fears and misgivings expressed by the First, would favour the assumption that the stranger was a man they already knew, and who, up to a certain point at all events, was aware of their project. His further knowledge of the matter would be less surprising to them than if shown by anybody else, and he would thus be more easily taken into comradeship. Except upon the theory that they had seen or known something of him previously, they would hardly be likely so soon to accept his mere word.

Enter Three Murderers.

But who bid thee join us?

1st Mur. 3rd Mur.


2nd Mur. He needs not our mistrust; since he delivers Our offices, and what we have to do,

To the direction just.

1st Mur.
Then stand with us.
3rd Mur. Hark! I hear horses.
Ban. (within.) Give us a light there, hoa!
2nd Mur.
Then 'tis he; the rest
That are within the note of expectation,
Already are i' the court.

1st Mur.
His horses go about.
3rd Mur. Almost a mile; but he does usually,
So all men do, from hence to the palace gate
Make it their walk.

A light! A light!

2nd Mur.
3rd Mur.

'Tis he!

The exact familiarity which the Third Murderer shows with the surroundings of the palace and the readiness with which his information is accepted by the others, suggest that he must have been somebody quite conversant with the palace usages and approaches. This familiar knowledge may very well have been another reason in Macbeth's mind for connecting his attendant with the deed, if only by an after-thought, lest it might fail through the ignorance of the strangers as to the spot where they should post themselves, and other necessary precautions.

My theory would account for this familiar acquaintance with the locality on the part of the Third Murderer without recourse to any such violent improbability as that the Third Murderer was Macbeth


It may now be considered what a difference in the usual arrangement of the banquet scene this supposition would make. We have no knowledge that it may not have been originally acted upon in the manner which I will briefly describe.

Think of the effect of the First Murderer being brought to the banquet-room by the attendant, and the latter standing by during the

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