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“ We boast of our Newton, and place him at the head of our “ philosophers ;—our Boulton and Watt want only justice, “and all Europe will place them at the head of our artists."

The originality of the invention, and its great importance to the public, were at once established by the plaintiffs; and, indeed, were admitted by the defendants. The very multi

, tude of the infringers bore testimony to the value of the discovery; their occasional construction of tolerable engines on the new principle, proved the sufficiency of the specification ; and their audacity was in proportion to the despair they felt of being able to rival, by honest means, the success of the inventor. The whole weight of the evidence was justly held to be in favour of the plaintiffs, on whose side were called men of the highest order of intelligence and of the greatest celebrity in physical science, as well as in the various departments of the arts :such as De Luc, Herschel, Ramsden, Robison, Cumming, Southern, and others, most of whom, as has already been mentioned, had also given evidence in the previous case against Bull.

Among the host of opponents who, having in the first place themselves infringed the patent, were disinterestedly desirous, for the benefit of the public, that its validity should be overthrown, one of the most forward, pertinacious, and loud, was Joseph Bramah. This person, very well known for his ingenuity in mechanical improvements in locks, his hydraulic press, and other useful contrivances, attended as a witness on behalf of the defendants in 1796; but having on that occasion been cut short, by the Judge, in an endeavour to lay before the Court what he calls “a few remarks,"—they extend to ninety-one printed pages !),—he at last delivered them to the public in the form of a letter to the Chief Justice, remonstrating against the verdict which had been unhesitatingly found for the plaintiffs. In the outset of this epistle, Bramah states that he was, at the trial, “ much inca

pacitated by those alkalescent and morbific exhalations, “ ever a consequence of large and close assemblies;" and the abrupt judicial syncope of his intended evidence he attributes, (no doubt justly enough), to the attention of the Court

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having“ become flaccid through fatigue.” Proceeding in this strain, he begs leave "to recapitulate in a comprehen“sible form the matter of that evidence, compounded,” (he says), “ with the whole substance which had occurred to his “ understanding!”

The specification of the separate condenser generally, is, this sage informs us, a “very abstruse and ambiguous con“ cern;" and that of the steam-wheel, “ a complete jumble of

; “ incoherent, unconnected, absurd, and indigested ideas; so “ blended and coagulated with mystery, ambiguity, and impos“ sibility in practice, that it is a disgrace to the writer, and “ would undoubtedly ruin any mechanic who might attempt to analyse it."

The principle of working engines by the alternate expansion and contraction of steam, (the expansive principle added to the separate condensation), he introduces thus :—“And “ behold! what does he,” [Mr. Watt],

(by way of misleading), but propose what every man of chemical science must “ reject, viz., to work engines by the partial expansion and “ condensation of steam !”

Bramah offers it as “a condensation of his own ideas dif- . “ fused through his letters,” that “all kinds of condensers, “ and even eduction-pipes, on the principle of Watt's engines,

impede the working of the engine ;"—and “thinks that it “ must be obvious to every one, as it had ever been to him, that Mr. Watt had really invented nothing but what would do more mischief than good to the public.

The learned author of the pamphlet from which these quotations have been made, complains in it of having been called in Court, at the trial, “ a fool, blockhead, shoemaker, and “ water-closet-maker.” If for the third of those epithets there were any foundation in fact, it would, indeed, rather appear that Mr. Bramah had too rashly disregarded the warning of the well-known Latin proverb, addressed to "criticising cobblers.” But the first and second terms of reproach we should be the last to apply to the author of so amusing a curiosity of literature as the pamphlet in question ; furnishing as it does a specimen of the spirit and style in which the rights of the claim



ants under the patent were resisted, as well as of the amount of erudition by which that resistance was audaciously supported. It was certainly unfortunate for the reputation of Bramalı, -a self-taught inventor of great mechanical ingenuity,– that he should have been led, by whatever motive, into systematic and grudging opposition, (which was also, happily, unsuccessful), to the grand and prolific discoveries of Watt.

In our own day, this doctrine of Bramah appears in this country to have had one, and, so far as we know, but one follower. In a work on the steam-engine by Mr. Thomas Tredgold, printed in 1827, we find the following passage:“ The fortunate idea of condensing in a separate vessel, which “ in Watt's engine is the only essential part in saving of fuel

beyond what Smeaton bad accomplished, would undoubtedly in a short time have occurred to some other person ; and mines “ must have been drained at a more economical rate, long “ before that monopoly ceased.” This observation is accompanied by the further reflection, that “monopoly should never “ be renewed, except so that any other person may, at a fair " and at a fixed rate of licence, join in it." Without too critically inquiring how far that can be called a monopoly, in which any other person may join,-whether, had Watt not lived, the celestial afflatus of invention "would undoubtedly" have descended upon, e.g., Mr. Thomas Tredgold, or “ some “other person,”—or whether, if the objection is intelligible at all, it does not apply to all grants of patents, quite as much as to any renewals of them,-we need merely remark that in the case of Boulton and Watt's extension of patent, “ any other person was allowed to exercise the invention at a fair rate of licence; which was usually, with great moderation, fixed at only one-third of the savings of fuel which the improved engine in each instance effected. The only excep

. tions to that rule were in cases where the engine worked less than twelve hours a day, or where coals were cheaper than four shillings a ton.

It was in the vexation caused by the multifarious piracies, of which Bramah's was one, that Mr. Watt was tempted, “in “ the anguish of his mind,” almost to “curse bis inyen

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tions;"—to declare that “there is nothing more foolish than

inventing ;"—and that “ nine-tenths of mankind are knaves, “ and a large proportion of the remaining one-tenth, fools.” From an equally temporary cause alone, let us hope, also proceeded his evil opinion of some of the gentlemen belonging to a certain branch of the legal profession, whom he called “ the anthropophagi of London;" and of whom he said, that “ if all the counties in England would join in petitioning Par“ liament to make it high treason for any of the tribe to be “ found in the realm, it would be the wisest thing they ever “ did!”In the “Painted Chamber," then used as a sort of political lumber-room, into which those who had no very pressing Parliamentary business in hand were used to stray, and pick up fragments of news, Mr. Watt once introduced two gentlemen to each other, observing to them,—“ You, Mr. “W—, attend to the management of my legal affairs in “ the city, and you, Mr. D-, in the country. I am a poor

pigeon, gentlemen; and I only hope that in plucking me you will not quarrel over it !”

The verdict of the jury, on occasion of both of the trials, having gone with the stream of testimony which flowed so overwhelmingly in favour of the patentees, the judgment of the Court finally established the legal validity of the letters patent, and effectually vindicated the justice of all the claims that Boulton and Watt had made. That decision has always been viewed as one of great importance to the law of patents in this kingdom, and was, of course, productive of momentous consequences in a pecuniary point of view to the patentees; as, besides heavy damages and costs being recovered from the actual defendants, the remainder of the horde of delinquents were thereby, at last, awed into subjection, and compelled to disgorge a large portion of their illegal gains. In judgment on the vanquished, however, mercy was not forgotten by the victors; and the terms of settlement insisted on were, it is believed, generally satisfactory to all parties. Mr. Watt used, long afterwards, to call the specifications his old and welltried friends.

* To Mr. Boulton, 12 April, 1780.




With the year 1800 came the expiration of the privilege of the patent of 1769, as extended by the statute of 1775; and also the dissolution of the original copartnership of Messrs. Boulton and Watt, of five-and-twenty years' duration; a term which had been fixed with a prospective reference to the duration of the privilege, and which, having at its commencement found the partners active and strong, left them, at its close, far advanced on the toilsome journey of life, and disposed to resign the cares and fatigues of business to other and younger hands. Those two friendly associates, who might well be termed the fathers of the modern steam-engine, did not, therefore, in their own persons renew the contract which they had in earlier and more eventful times so strenuously, so successfully, and so happily fulfilled. But their respective shares in the concern were readily adopted, as the basis of a new contract, by their sons, Messrs. James Watt, jun., Matthew Robinson Boulton, and Gregory Watt; all distinguished by great talents, and already to a considerable extent initiated in the conduct of the business, by those valuable instructions which the experience of their fathers had so well enabled them to give; as well as by having held, from 1794, some individual interest in the property of the copartnership

The new partners then entered on a course of enterprising

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