Page images

Mr. Justice Bayley and Mr. was, that such was the defence Justice Abbot were of the same on which the payment of those opinion.

bills was to be resisted. It would

appear to the satisfaction of the Court of Exchequer.- The King jury, that the bills were drawn v. Ridge.-This was a proceeding and signed by Lord Moira, and by extent against John Ridge, accepted by Mr. Ridge; and inEsq. calling upon him to pay the deed he thought the jury would amount, with the interest there require some very strong and on, of three bills for 1000l. each, positive evidence, before they drawn by the Earl of Moira, and could believe that a man of Mr. accepted by him, and made paya- Austen's experience would be so ble at Messrs. Biddulph and Co's. dishonest, and even so rash, as

Mr. Dauncey stated the case to take more than the legal into the jury. This, he said, was terest, where he must necessarily a case, the statement and proof be exposed to detection, and to of which would occupy a very the loss of his money. short portion of their time. The John Green, a clerk to Mr. simple facts were these :-Mr. Ridge, proved that the signatures Austen, a partner in the banking- to the three bills were those of house of Austen and Maunde, in Lord Moira and Mr. Ridge. The Henrietta-street, Covent-garden, bills were then put in, and read : who had been a receiver-general they were dated Portsmouth, 12th of land and income tax for the of April, 1813, and made payable county of Oxford, had become twelve months after date. Here insolvent, and was considerably the case for the Crown closed. indebted to the Crown. The Mr. Clarke, on the part of the Crown, wishing rather to come defendant, addressed the Jury, upon any property of Mr. Austen and observed, that his learned than upon that of his sureties, friend (Mr. Dauncey) had antiissued an extent, under which an cipated the truth, when he alluded inquisition having been taken, it to the defence intended to be set was ascertained that he had the up on the present case. That three bills in question in his pos- defence was, that these bills had session, and the present proceed- been obtained by usury. He ing was instituted to compel the would show, from incontrovertidefendant to pay their amount, as ble evidence, that treble the legal they were accepted by him. He rate of discount had been taken understood that the ground on in the first negotiation of them, which the payment of those bills and if the jury were satisfied of was intended to be resisted was, that fact, the learned judge would that they had come into Mr. Aus- tell them, that whether this illeten's possession by usury. Why gal discount had been taken by this defence had been set up, or Mr. Austen or by Mr. Maunde, how Lord Moira could have been the effect was the same, and the concerned in an usurious trans amount of them could not be reaction, it was not for him (Mr. covered in law. He should also Dauncey) to say; but certain it observe, that the present process



was not really instituted to be. Mr. Dauncey, he said, that Mr. nefit the Crown, but in point of Ridge was the military agent of fact to serve Mr. Austen. Nothing Lord Moira, and in that capacity had been more remote from the he had been accustomed to accept intention of Lord Moira than to his bills, and that he used also to resist the payment of his debts; accept them before he became his and in truth his lordship had military agent. He (Major James) made such arrangements for the was in the habit of raising money disposal of his estates as to secure for Lord Moira since the year that object : nor would any re 1801 or 1802. Of late years his sistance have been made to the Lordship's credit had sunk conpresent claim, but for the hasty siderably in the money market, manner in which the demand for and bills with only his own sigpayment had been pressed. nature were not easily negotiated.

He then called Major James, He admitted, that even with the who proved that he was the con acceptance of Mr. Ridge, the bills fidential agent of Lord Moira, in question were not worth near and had been in the habit of their nominal value at the time raising money for his lordship for he negotiated them with Mr. several years. In the month of Maunde. April, 1813, in consequence of Here the defence closed.

instructions from Lord A Gentleman at the table then Moira, who was then preparing rose and said, My Lord, I wish to go out to his government in to address a few words to your India, he went to the banking- Lordship." house of Austen and Maunde, to The Judge (Baron Richards). know whether they could cash - Who are you, Sir ? some bills for his lordship. Mr. My Lord, I am the Solicitor Maunde, who was the only per- of the Earl of Moira.” son he saw, said he would try. Baron Richards.-Then, Sir, if In a day or two after he went to you are the Earl Moira's solicitor, Austen and Maunde with four you should know your duty better. bills (out of six, of 1,0001. each) Sit down. drawn by Lord Moira, and ac Mr. Dauncey addressed the cepted by Mr. Ridge. Those four Jury in reply to the evidence, and bills had been handed to him by Mr. contended that no case of usury Ridge. Heagainsaw Mr. Maunde, had been made out in the deand from him he received 3,4001. fence; on the contrary, from for the four, instead of 3,8001. what had appeared, it was evident which he should have received, if that Major James had sold the only the legal discount had been bills to Mr. Maunde. That more deducted. The three bills (the than their value was given for subject of the action) were then them was certain, from the fact handed to him, and he proved of their being unpaid at the prethem to be three of the four sent time, though more than two which he had given to Mr. years had elapsed since they beMaunde.

came due.

Major James had On his cross examination by proved beyond a doubt that the

credit of Earl Moira had for a claim would not have been reconsiderable time previously to sisted, if payment had not been the issuing of those bills been hastily pressed. Surely it could very much depreciated in the not be thought a hasty pressing money market; and if ever there for payment, if the amount of was a time when his bills would bills payable 12 months after date be of less than their nominal was called for two years after value, it must have been when they became due ? his lordship was about to leave Baron Richards summed up this country for India. What the evidence, and told the Jury were the facts ? That a few days that the simple question which (tive) before Lord Moira sailed they had to decide was, whither from England he drew those bills, those bills had heen obtained by in order to raise money. Mr. usury, or whether the transaction Ridge, who accepted them, had between Major James, on behalf not at that time his usual credit of Lord Moira, was a bona fide in the money market. Would it sale of them. If they believed then be believed that any man of the former, they must find a vercommon experience would have dict for the defendant; if the taken those bilis at their nominal latter, they must find for the value? or could it be, credited Crown, that any man at all acquainted The Jury retired, and after with the nature of such transac half an hour's deliberation retions would have risked his credit turned verdict for the Crown. and his money is taking more than the legal discount, when lie Court of Chancery, Thursday, might have done what was so July 25.-Ex-purte Heathcott in Ujual on such occasious-pur- the Matter of Laty--Mr. Bell chased tlie bills at what he thought stated, that this was an applicathey were worth? The jury should tion to the Court, praying that remark, that Major James was his lordship would not put the not asked whether he considered great seal to a patent which Mr. himself as selliuz tle bills ? His Lacy, of Nottingham, had sought learned friend (Mr. Clarke) bad to obtain for making lace by a stated, that this proceeding was machine, to be worked by a instituted to beneit Mr. Austen, steam-engine. The ground of and not the Crown. He (Mr. objection to the patent was, that Dauncey) denied that to be the Nir. Lacy wanted to keep his spe

The Crown wiglit lave citication secret for the space of recovered its debt by proceeding 15 inonths, which was contrary ag iinst lir. Austen's Sureties; to the policy of the law, and a but it thought that would not be great injustice to the King's sub. the fairest mode of acting wbile jccts in general. Mr. Austen had any property of On the part of Mr. Lacy, Sir his WI.

The jury would attach Samuel Romilly and Mr. Hart what weight they thought fit to urged, that no injustice would be the declaration of liis le:urned done to the public by granting frien! (Mr. Clarke)--that this the petent, and the state would



be benefited in a peculiar way. viso in the letters-patent, which Mr. Lacy had invented a machine were granted for the term of 14 for making French lace of the years, that gentleman was allowed most beautiful texture; and if to keep his specification secret for the benefit of his invention were 15 months from the date thereof; secured to him, by enabling him and, with a view to secure the to lodge the specification under benefits of his invention to this certain restrictions, this country country, the act directed, that inwould be enabled to rival the stead of causing the particular French in the sale of that article description of the invention to be in the continental markets. At enrolled according to the said present, the French by having proviso, he should deliver to the the materials and labour at a , Lord Chancellor, within 15 much cheaper rate, could afford months from the date of the to undersell us considerably in letters-patent, a particular dethat very important branch of scription or specification of the their manufactures; but if this nature of his invention, and in patent were granted, the saving what manner the same was to be with respect to labour would be performed, by writing under his more than equal to the difference hand and seal ; which specificain price of the materials. This tion, together with an affidavit was the principal object for wish- made before a Master in Chaning to keep the specification se cery, that it fully, completely, cret; for there was reason to ap- and accurately defined and deprehend, that if the particular de- scribed the whole and every part scription of the invention should of such invention and discovery, be enrolled within the usual pe- and the method of using and emriod, copies thereof would be ob- ploying the same for the uses tained by foreign agents, and and purposes therein set forth, transmitted to foreign countries, should be enclosed in a cover the inhabitants of which would under the seal of the Lord Chanhave the benefit of making use cellor, and lodged in the office of of the invention before his Ma one of the Masters in Chancery, jesty's subjects could by law make to be nominated successively, use of the same; which would from time to time, as occasion not only prevent the patentee might require. The second clause froin deriving the full advantage of the act declared, that the said which he has reason to expect, packet should not be removed but might also tend to diminish from the custody of the Master in the benefit which the lace-manu- Chancery on any account or prefactures of this country might tence whatever, except by order otherwise derive therefroin. This of the Lord Chancellor, who was the ground upon which the should have power to call for and legislature had thought proper to have the saine whenever there grant an act of parliament (53d should be occasion to have reGeo. 3. cap. 179.) to Mr. Lee, course thereto, either on account for securing his invention of pre-, of application being made for paring hemp and flax. By a pro. patents for other discoveries of VOL. LVIII.



inventions, which there might be granted, and this indulgence was reason to apprehend, might be of extended only in two or three of a nature similar to the said in them. Where the letters-patent vention, or account of any

were for an invention to be used trial at law respecting the same, in England, Scotland, and Ireor in any other case in which it land, the usual period for enrolmight be judged by the Lord ling the specification was

six Chancellor necessary or proper months : but where they were to inspect the same ; in all which confined to England only, three cases the seal of the said packet or four months was the given might be broken by the Lord time. Mr. Lee's case was a very Chancellor : and after such use peculiar one : it was for securing should have been made of the to the state, in a time of war, the said specification as occasion benefit of a most important disshould require, the same should covery. If Mr. Lacy could make be again sealed up, and deposited out that the state was to be bewith a master in Chancery, as nefited by his invention in any before directed. And by the fifth peculiar way, as in the case of clause it was enacted, that the preparing hemp and flax, it might said packet, so to be deposited, be doubtful whether he might should be kept and remain sealed not have a secret specification. and unopened (except as afore. His lordship was of opinion, howsaid) until the expiration of the ever, that the legislature would term of seven years from the pause a long time before they passing of the act, at which time passed such an act in future; the specification should be enrol- and he thought he might venture led in the manner directed by the to say, that if Mr. Lacy were to proviso contained in the letters- apply for such an act he would patent, there to be and remain not procure it. The gentleman public for the benefit of all his had said, that if this specification Majesty's subjects. These were were not kept secret the French the particular privileges which might copy it; but his lordship the legislature had given to Mr. could not establish a new prinLee, for the purpose of securing ciple merely to prevent the French the benefits of his invention to from smuggling, neither could this country; and as Mr. Lacy he put the great seal to a patent had made an affidavit that he in- without seeing the specification, tended to apply for a similar act for it might turn out not to be of parliament, the learned Coun- worth a farthing, and then public sel hoped that his Lordship would genius would be discouraged not withhold the great seal from merely for the benefit of the pathe patent.

tentee. Many cases of this nature The Lord Chancellor said, that had occurred. The patent could he could not put the great seal to not pass without the responsia patent which gave the party bility of the great seal; and if fifteen months to make out his his Lordship could bring himself specification. In the present reign to pass it, he might be called about 20,000 patents had been upon to give an account in par


« PreviousContinue »