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where the evil is suffered, object to its being extended further. The case, then, is just this. It is necessary to give the bill this extent, and it is unnecessary to extend it further. We, who feel the need of it, are willing to take it, without extending it further, for no other object than to carry out an abstract principle.
The fact that the infringement of American patents is confined to the contiguous British provinces, seems to present an anomaly. But that anomaly may be easily explained. All those manufactures which find a provision of this kind necessary, are manufactures of wood or lumber, and timber. Wood, lumber, and timber, are not produced in any foreign country so abundantly as to tempt such infringements, except the British provinces contiguous to the United States. They are not produced so plentifully that their production in foreign countries can be made so as to undersell the patentee in our own markets. Take, for instance, the article of lasts, a large quantity of which are manufactured by patented machines. The lumber can be obtained even more cheaply in Canada and Nova Scotia than here, directly across rivers, which are traversed by ferries at all hours of the day and night; and it will be seen at once, that trade in the article, if allowed, would become indiscriminate, unless there is such a remedy as this bill contemplates. But there are no last-makers in England, or France, or Russia, sending their lasts here, manufactured by our machines, or otherwise.
On the contrary, so cheap are the products of our machines for working in wood, compared with those in Europe, that without any patent whatever, we do sell a vast amount of articles of this kind, especially of clocks, all over the continent of Europe, although we have no bounty there, and must pay a duty upon them when introduced there. It is seen, then, I hope, that this bill is right in itself ; that it is necessary; that nothing less will be adequate; and that more than this bill proposes is unnecessary, and that a constitutional obligation upon Congress requires that it should be passed.
I will say one word in reply to the suggestion of the Senator from Virginia, (Mr. HUNTER) and shall postpone any further remarks until after the engrossing of the bill.
It seems to me necessary now to say, in reply to so much of the argument of the senator as supposes that there is a remedy for this difficulty by going into Canada, and taking out a patent there,
that the cases of injury which have brought this bill before the Senate, arise in respect to patents which have been already renewed and extended-very meritorious patents, about which there has been no contention. I speak particularly of a patent for turning irregular forms of wood, for which it is impossible to get a patent in England, and to which, therefore, the argument of the Senator from Virginia will not apply.
In regard to the question raised by that honorable senator, that we are establishing a new principle, I submit, for his consideration, that there is really no such embarrassment in this case. We have laws which enable us to protect the rights of inventors, by arresting the fraudulent manufacturer of the patented articles. That is the remedy under our present system. We must reach the person of the infringer, and we must be able to reach his machine, and for that purpose he must be a resident of the United States. Therefore, without seizing on the production of the patented article, we can, in such cases, punish infringement, prevent piracy, and protect the rights of inventors. But where a person, resident in this country, is in the possession of a patent, and another person, wishing to evade that patent, goes into the adjacent province of Canada, and there erects his machine, he is beyond our reach, and is subject to no law that we can enact. We cannot visit him with the punishments authorized by our laws; we cannot reach him, and seize his machine, and break it up, as we could do if he were a resident of the United States. There is no remedy, then, but to prevent the importation of articles manufactured abroad for the purpose of defeating the constitutional policy of the United States, which is the protection of manufacturers in their property.
WAR STEAMERS FOR HARBOR DEFENCE.
JUNE 15, 18 5 2.
INTRODUCTORY NOTE-On the motion of Mr. SEWARD, the Senate resumed, as in Committee of the Whole, the consideration of the joint resolution authorizing the completion of a war steamer for harbor defence; which requires the Secretary of the Navy to have completed, without unnecessary delay, the war steamer contracted for with Robert L Stevens, in pursuance of the act of Congress of April 14th, 1842.
Mr. PRESIDENT, I hope this resolution may pass. The contract with Mr. Stevens was made, not upon an assurance and a certainty that such a steamer as this could be built, but by way of experiment to ascertain whether it was possible; and to secure such a result, if it was possible. It was wisely made, if the character of Mr. Stevens for intelligence, sagacity, and science, gave a guaranty that he would ascertain this important result. No one can question that the character of Mr. Stevens afforded that guaranty. A more accomplished, scientific, mechanical engineer does not exist in this or any other country. The country is filled already with trophies of the success of his experiments.
It was wise, then, to obtain this measure of defence through this agency. And now I ask, whether anything has occurred to shake the confidence of the public in the success of the experiment? Nothing has occurred; the character of Mr. Stevens remains as unquestioned as before ; and he has prosecuted the experiment with diligence, with the most lavish expenditure of his own private means; and yet, at the same time, with caution marking every step-going across to England more than once for the purpose of obtaining materials there, which could not be obtained here.
This would seem, then, to be a question foreclosed, if the action of Congress ever forecloses debate. Congress went into this matter for the purpose of experiment. They went into it wisely. Having no substantial cause to recede, they are bound in good faith to him, and bound by considerations of the original wisdom of the proceeding, to prosecute it to an end. The question whether he submitted his plans to the department, is a question that has passed. No material inconvenience or injury has resulted from it. If he did not at that time submit his plans, they are now before the department. But we are told that Mr. Stevens cannot succeed in producing such a vessel as was contemplated. Sir, I remember that all the scientific men in England—and there are as scientific men there as anywhere—maintained that it was impossible to navigate the ocean between the two continents with steam.
That this was settled as a principle of science; established, it was supposed, by the savans of Europe, the very day when the Sirius and Great Britain arrived simultaneously from England in the harbor of New York. There is no way of knowing what cannot be done in science, but by trying.
Sir, I remember to have met a gentleman who told me that, in the year 1804, 1805, or 1806, when he was visiting Paris, at a dinner party at the American minister's, there was a young man exceedingly loquacious and offensive, because he engrossed too much of the conversation; and he confined his remarks to a single topic, and that was the subject of navigation by steam
alone. And he said to incredulous ears all around him, that if he could only get the sum of $10,000, he would, in two years from that date, have a steamboat upon the Hudson river, which would navigate from the commercial to the political capital of the state of New York, at the rate of four miles an hour. He was voted an enthusiast. That young man was Robert Fulton. The government did not furnish the means, but he obtained them from liberal patrons, and completed his experiments, and we have the vast result.
I remember also, sir, that when there was a project to establish communication by the use of the electric fluid, but a few years ago, it was maintained that that was impossible. Congress appropriated the money to be applied, in the hands of a scientific man, in whom the nation had confidence, that, if a desirable result could be obtained, he would produce it—and they gave it not grudgingly—to make the experiment between this city and Baltimore. In spite of incredulity here and elsewhere, the experinient was successfully carried through.
It would have been just as wise to have arrested Fulton in his first experiments, or to have given over the steam navigation on the Atlantic without an experiment, or to have arrested the progress of Morse in producing his invention, as it would be for you,
, in regard to Mr. Stevens's invention, to stop at the point where you are.
Mr. President, on the general question it seems to me there can be no doubt. I remember, a few years ago, when the British government demanded of the American government the surrender of a subject of the crown of Great Britain, who was arrested on a charge of crime in the state of New York, and intimations were made by the public newspapers and elsewhere, that, unless the demand was complied with within a given time, the port of New York would be bombarded by a British fleet; and British vessels were said to be on their way and hovering on our coast
I remember the consternation and panic which were produced, not only in that great commercial capital, but throughout the United States, and that men were willing, without inquiring into the justice and merits of the question, or waiting to deliberate or debate upon it, to save the commercial capital of the country by surrendering to the demand of that foreign power at once—to humble the nation at the feet of the mistress of the
That is precisely the condition in which we are to-day, and in which we shall be until we adopt some policy of defence for our great commercial towns; and I know no policy that can be adopted so wisely as to furnish to judicious, qualified, and scientific engineers, the funds necessary to produce, if possible, a floating defence, to be used in aid and in co-operation with the stationary defences of American ports. I hope, then, that the resolution may pass.
for that purpose.