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protection of the machine. Of what use is protection of the machine, if the result be not protected? Of what value is the machine to the patentee, or the public, except for the results it produces ?

We need not tell this Court, that patents in England were originally for new results, "new manufactures "— without regard to the manner in which they were produced. No specification of means or machinery was required. The fact that a man produced a useful result

, was all that was required; and for the result only the patent was granted. This patent protected him against any person who should produce the same result by any means whatsoever.

What was the object of the specification afterwards required ? Not, certainly, to enable others to deprive the patentee of his result by improving upon his means or substituting others; but simply to enable others to understand how he arrived at that result, that the public might have the full benefit of it after the expiration of his exclusive right. The first expedient resorted to for the purpose of enabling the public to avail itself of the invention after the patent had expired, was to require the patentee to instruct a certain number of apprentices in his art and mystery, who might go out and teach it to others. This was made a condition on which the exclusive use was guaranteed by a patent. This gave place to the written specification, which was an improved mode of arriving at the same end.

There is a contract between the inventor and the public. The inventor says, I have accomplished an object never before accomplished, I have produced a result—"a new manufacture " -never before produced, of vast public utility. The govern. ment says to him, if you will make known the means by which you attain that end, so that the public will have the benefit of it after your patent expires, we will secure to you all the benefits of your result for fourteen years. The bargain is struck. The inventor reveals his secret; the government gives him a solemn contract of protection; and then, nine times out of ten, suffers him to be plundered, if not ruined, by the uses made of the very secret he discloses ! Morse comes to the government with his ribbon of paper,

, imprinted with letters Roman, Greek, Hebrew or Morsaic

, and says, I have produced this new and astounding result instantaneously, standing a thousand miles distant from the printing apparatus, and I ask a patent for it. A patent under the old English law would have given him the exclusive benefit of his result for the patent term; but the government says to him, " You must inform the public how you do this wonderful thing, and then we will give you a patent securing to you the exclusive use of it for fourteen years.” Morse says, “ If I inform the public how I do it, you will let others, who perchance get their notions from my description, come in by some improvements, real or pretended, and take from me all the benefits of my invention.” The government assures him that the only object and legal effect of his description will be to enable the public to use his art after his patent expires. How far that assurance has been verified is shown by the open use of his invention on thousands of miles of line, in bold defiance of his patented rights.

It takes a long time to change the current of the public mind when it becomes concentrated in one deep channel, however devious from the line of right. You might as well attempt to make the Mississippi run straight by throwing pebbles into its curves, as to think by one or a hundred arguments to overcome unjust prejudices and opinions impressed on the public mind by the precedents of ages. In no portion of human affairs is this fact so conspicuous as in the profession of law, wherein most judges believe it their duty to think just as their predecessors did, and it is the pride of the lawyer that he is able to array a consecutive file of precedents extending back to blackletter age, since which a trifling error then originating, has, by the natural effect of adding precedent, accumulated like the rolling snow-ball, until it has become an enormous wrong.

We need not enter into a history of the English patent laws, which are the ancestors of our own. It is sufficient to say,

that the granting of patents for new inventions and for monopolies in trade and manufactures were in ancient times a royal prerogative in England, and there was no recognized distinction between patents for old things and for new. The royal prerogative was so enormously abused as to create a general abhorrence of patents of every sort, and the judges of England sought every pretext for declaring them void. At length they were all swept away, with a few exceptions, by an act of Parliament, and the prerogative of the king was limited to grants of exclusive privileges for limited terms to those only who devised or introduced some new manufacture, useful to trade, and beneficial to the public.

But the current of the judicial mind in England had long been running against all patents, and could not be suddenly changed. It still set against patents for new inventions, as it had done against the old monopolies; and when the specification was in. troduced, it was immediately perverted from its true object, and used as a means of destroying a right, the protection of which was the sole object of the inventor in making it public. Even now, though a great change has been wrought in the judicial mind of England and America, the odium of the old monopolies in some degree attaches to patents, and something included in the specification which ought to have been omitted, or something omitted which ought to have been included, though that instrument enables everybody distinctly to understand the invention, and how to use it, is seized upon as a pretext for annulling the grant altogether.

These are hard cases. The man's invention is his own; the government buys it of him for a price, and on a condition. He complies with the condition as well as he knows how, and under the instructions of officers of the government itself, appointed to advise and correct him if there be anything wrong in his papers.

But some error is discovered by an astute lawyer in the specification, an error never thought of by him, nor suspected in the Patent Office, and his patent is declared void. The protection of the government is withdrawn from his invention, but his property is not restored. It is gone for ever, not from any fault of his, but because two public authorities, one in the Patent Office, the other in the courts, differ in opinion upon some point of his specification.

We trust the day is passed when pretexts were sought to get rid of these contracts between government and citizen. Morse comes and exhibits the result of his invention—the printing of telegraphic characters at any distances. All he asks is, that protection which the law would give him if no specification of means had ever been required. It is just that, and nothing more, which he has attempted to secure through his specification. It is just that, and nothing less, which his government has promised him. It is protection for his art—his embodied art, and our adversaries admit that "without doubt” such an art can be patented, the statute says so expressly."




The time is probably not far distant when the popular will, no less than the enlightened good sense of the statesmen of the country, will settle practically how far the government of the Union may be permitted “to provide for the general welfare,” by the encouragement of science. Custom in such matters, whence no further usurpations can possibly arise, becomes almost as authoritative as a constitutional sanction; and unless we greatly misapprehend the character of the American people, few will be disposed to blame herein a leaning to the liberal side. The temptation to aid the national genius in the acquisition of those unfading laurels, awarded by universal consent to the successful discoverer of what is truly great and widely useful in these fields, might tempt the most rigid constructionist to relax here his rules, and admit

* From De Bow's Review,

, if possible, an exception to his political creed. The fame of one illustrious philosopher, one of the founders of American independence, is already blended with the history of human thought as well as political enfranchisement; and whether the spirit in which he pursued knowledge, or the magnitude of his additions to the common stock, are considered, it must be admitted that his example still modifies all legitimate inquiry into the august secrets of nature. The era of Franklin was but the dawn of modern science. The laws, the modifications, and the analogies of light, heat, chemical affinities, and electricity, in its Protæan forms, were then just emerging to human ken. The stone tables, on which, as on the leaves of a book, the earth's history are imprinted, were at that time united by unbroken seals. Observation had not yet accumulated a mass of records, nor been sufficiently extended to trace the varying intensities of the great powers of nature over the surface of the earth, and thus create a true philosophic geography. It is worthy of mention, that one of the most important features of our planet was pointed out by the great Franklin, and that he traced that portion of the ocean stream which rushes past our shores, and bestows on Western Europe its genial and temperate climate, its fertilizing showers, and abundant harvests. Since that period there have been travellers like Humboldt and Von Buch, who have measured moun. tains and gauged streams, watched the fires of the volcano, and explored the causes of those powers that sweep the surface or shake the depths of the earth. Every year the number of observers is increased; the circle of stations at which these investigations are prosecuted is continually widening; while commerce, allured by the promises of greater and more certain gains, bids fair soon to be pressed into the zealous service of science. Physical geography, the most attractive of the departments of the study of Nature, embracing the view and discussion of her phenomena on the widest field that man can grasp, by the aid of all the senses, and presenting subjects at once uniting the enjoyments of the imagination and the reason, and gratifying the passion for knowledge and the desire of profit, is now for the first time possible. The various meters, the delicate instruments of modern research, the product and realization in art of scientific progress, are now in the hands of every traveller. He reads off their scales the temperature of the air, the earth, and the ocean, the heights of mountains, the quantity of moisture contained in the air, and many similar relations are by their means accurately ascertained and measured, at every point whither man can penetrate. Governments have rivalled each other in fitting out expeditions for research and exploration; and if the cultivation of the sciences under the direct patronage of our own, notwithstanding such precedents, be questioned, as on another long vexed subject, we may suppose that the popular voice will incline to advance this cause, whenever it can be done in an incidental way.

The valuable volume of "Sailing Directions, by Lieutenant Maury," is but among the first fruits of what we may reasonably expect from the patriotic and liberal character of the officers of the navy and army. The younger officers are now, as a class, admirably qualified, by their tastes and education, to second any system of scientific observation that may be adopted by the national authority. The Coast Survey and the Naval Observatory were the first steps made in this direction by the government, and they have already well repaid all that has been laid out in their maintenance and prosecution. The equipment and materiel of the Washington Observatory may be inferior to the imperial endowments of Pultowa or Greenwich, but the genius and untiring industry of its superintendent have already given it a world-wide celebrity. When the exacting and ceaseless duties of his station are considered, it is astonishing how he should have accomplished so much for the geography of commerce and navigation, as may be inferred from the articles in the "Sailing Directions," or when he found time for the arrangement and tabulation of the observations contained in thousands of logbooks, the results of which gigantic labor we find in the same volume. We propose to look at what has been thus accomplished by Lieutenant Maury for commercial geography, under three heads : first, the establishment of a regular system of observation, to be carried out by the various national and commercial marines of the world ; second, the contributions already made to science by the materials collected under the direction, and arranged by the author; and third, the practical rules and directions which are therein laid down for the guidance of the navigator, with the results already obtained by following them.

These undertakings have received the sanction of the most distinguished physicists of the age, among them the illustrious Humboldt, who, in writing to a friend, (Dr. Flúgal, U. S. Consul at Leipzic,) says,

“I beg you to express to Lieut. Maury, the author of the beautiful charts of the winds and currents, prepared with so much care and profound learning, my hearty gratitude and esteem. It is a great undertaking, equally important to the practical navigator, and for the advance of meteorology in general. It has been viewed in this light in Germany, by all

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