Imatges de pàgina


“ The saving in wages, however, would of course be an imperfect test of the reaper's merits, since in bad seasons and late districts it may often enable the farmer to save the

In reference to a subsequent trial, Mr. Pusey remarks :

“Mr. McCormick's, in this trial, worked—as it has since worked at Cirencester (Agricultural) College, and elsewhere— the admiration of practical farmers, and therefore received a council medal.

Notwithstanding so important a revolution in husbandry as this machine effected, and its manifest utility, still its introduction into use appears to have been surrounded with difficulties. The inventor was obliged to offer full guarantees for its satisfactory performance to the farmer in every instance of sale, thereby assuming the entire risk. (Vide terms of sale, marked 16.)

The perfecting of the invention, in its practical details, seems to have required patient study, critical observation, and persevering trials. In 1834 its main features were patented, defects were found to exist, and the result of one experiment for the remedy could only be ascertained during one harvest.

It was found that the cutting features could not be relied upon in all cases until turther improvements were made, as described and patented in January, 1845. From June 21st, 1834, (date of the first patent,) and for ten years after the invention in 1831, and until the improvements were made as secured by the patent of 1845, he appears to have derived little or no profit from his reaper, but spent much time, money, and labor in improving it so as to make it profitable to himself and available to the public. Upon its introduction to the heavy wheat of the prairies, other important improvements were found necessary in order to safely introduce it. They were accordingly made, and embraced in the third patent, granted October 23d, 1847.

From the statement before the board of extension, and submitted to your committee in 1848, it appears that

In 1841 be sold 2 machines.
In 1842

7 In 1843

29 In 1844

50 In 1845

50 In 1846

190 In 1847


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Making .. .778 machines in the whole. On the machines he received an average of $20 each for his patent right, making $15,560 on the sales of his machines, and on sales of territory about $7,083; making in the whole $22,643. His expenses he is unable to give in detail, but estimates his time and labor, advertisements, hire of agents, &c., at “several thousand” dollars. (Vide document U.)

This report might, perhaps, properly stop here, but for remonstrances received against the extension prayed for, on the ground that the inventor is supposed to have realized a large profit from the machine. How far these opinions may be correct does not appear to your committee. Profits made by the manufacture and sale of the machines, since

t the expiration of the patent of 1834, cannot have been derived from tha patent. Besides, in proportion to the number of machines sold, have advantages resulted to the public from this invention, and to a much greater extent than to the inventor; and it would seein that, having done something for himself, while doing much for the country, his claims to the extension of the first patent, under which he failed to realize adequate remuneration, in accordance with the provisions of the law, should not be less than if he had done nothing for either.

“2d. As to the case of Mr. McCormick, during the same winter, (of 1847–48,) and after Mr. Hussey had applied to me for the extension of his patent, Mr. McCormick made application in due form, and in season, for the extension of his patent, which was granted in June, 1834, and consequently expired in June, 1848. Due notice was given; and on the day appointed for a hearing, Mr. Hussey appeared, to contest the extension of McCormick’s patent. And on examination of the records of the Patent Office, and a comparison of the two patents, it appeared they both covered one or more features substantially identical in principle, but not the same precise combinations. And inasmuch as Mr. Hussey's patent bore date before McCormick's, the board decided that he was prima facie the inventor of the feature, or rather claim, which conflicted. Bui Mr. McCormick contended that he invented the part of the machine embraced in both patents, one or two years before Hussey obtained his patent, and was, in fact, the first and original inventor; and be prayed for a continuance of the hearing until he could take testimony upon that point to sustain his right.

“ His request was granted, and he was ordered to take testimony, with due notice to Mr. Hussey.

“He complied with the orders of the board; but on an examination of the testimony on the next day of hearing, it was found to have been informally taken, and therefore ruled out.

“Mr. McCormick subsequently made efforts to supply the defects, but never did satisfactorily to the board, and they declined extending his patent. Such is a brief history of the proceedings before the board of extension on McCormick's application.

"I will now give my views with regard to the merits of the invention itself. I do not hesitate to say that it is one of very great merit. In agriculture, it is in my view as important, as a labor-saving device, as the spinning-jenny and power-loom in manufactures. It is one of those

great and valuable inventions which commence a new era in the progress of improvement, and whose beneficial influence is felt in all coming time; and I do not hesitate to say, that the man whose genius produces a machine of so much value, should make a large fortune out of it. It is not possible for him to obtain, during the whole existence of the term of his patent, a tenth part of the value of the labor saved to the community by it in a single year. Therefore I was in favor of its extension.

“There were, however, other reasons which induced me to favor its extension. One was the fact that the machine was one which could be used ouly a few weeks in each year. Therefore, for want of an opportunity to test it, its perfection must be a work of time and tediousness. It is not like the steam-engine and other machines in common use, upon which improvements may be at any time tested. Therefore the invention and perfection of a reaping-machine must be a work of slow progress. And such was the case with McCormick's machine. He was many years experimenting upon it before he succeeded in making a machine that would operate, as the testimony before the board (although informal) clearly proved. In the next place, it is a machine which was difficult to introduce into public use. It was imperfect in its operation

2d Session.

No. 120.


[To accompany bill H. R. No. 783.]

FEBRUARY 23, 1855.

Mr. FAULKNER, from the Committee on Military Affairs, made the fol

lowing REPORT .

The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of the heirs of the late Colonel John Hardin, have, according to order, had the same under consideration, and submit the following report :

The history of a man so noted as was Col. John Hardin is so well known to the people of this country, to which he extended so much of his devotion as to sacrifice his life in its service, as to preclude the necessity of the committee going into any minute detail of his career and

Previous to the expedition in which he was killed, he was an ensign in a militia company in the memorable expedition, in the year 1774, of Governor Dunmore, of Virginia, against the Indians ; he was afterwards one of a company commanded by Captain Zack Morgan, during an engagement of which with the Indians he was wounded in the groin by a ball, which was never extracted to the day of his death. Still suffering from the effect of that wound, he was with Governor Dunmore on his march to the Indian towns.

He next joined the regular army, with the command of a second lieutenant; he was then attached to Morgan's rifle corps, and was principally on the lines until he resigned a first lieutenant's commission, in 1779, occupying always, during his last service, a high place in the regard of General Daniel Morgan. After performing many gallant deeds in these and other positions, which deeds illustrate the pages of American history, he left the army, and went to Kentucky during the next year, 1780, located some land warrants, and afterwards returned to his old home in Virginia, and removed his family to Kentucky in 1786. He was afterwards quartermaster in the Wabash expedition, under General Clark. In 1789 the numerous depredations committed by the Indians in that locality induced him to cross the Ohio, with a strong band of militia, which had a warm engagement with a band of Shawnee Indians, who were defeated; which caused the suppression of depredations in that vicinity after that time. In fact, he was in every Indian expedition which was formed after his arrival in Kentucky, except that of General St. Clair, which he was prevented from joining on account of his having accidentally wounded himself.

has promised me to be your steady friend, and that your yearly supply from government shall not be less than two hundred dollars during your natural life.” The original of this letter, as well as others written by Colonel Hardin, were exhibited in the committee room by the Hon. Richard H. Stanton, of Kentucky, and copies thereof are filed with the papers.

The high character of Colonel John Hardin as a man of honor, whose werd was his bond, precludes the suspicion that he would have thus written to his wife, if General Wilkinson had not made him such a promise, and satisfies the committee that the promise was made, and that the government was obligated to pay his wife the amount stipulated during her nåtural life.

Indeed, the previous legislation of Congress would seem to indicate a disposition upon the part of the government to recognise such an obligation as that made known in the letter of Colonel Hardin, although they may not then have been apprised of the precise extent of that obligation, (as the letter referred to was not known to his children until within the last twelve years ;) for, on the 27th of February, 1793, an act of Congress was approved, giving to his widow and orphan children the sum of four hundred and fifty dollars per annum for seven years. This action of Congress less than a year after the confirmation of his death, when the facts of the case must have been fresh in the public mind, proves conclusively that the government at that time fully appreciated the duty it owed to the widow and children of Colonel Hardin. Again, in the year 1800, when the provision made for them under the previous act had ceased-in fact, but one month after the annuity provided for had been stopped under the limitations of the act-Congress again acknowledged the obligation due by the government to the heirs of Colonel Hardin, by passing a law giving to each of his sons and daughters the sum of one hundred dollars per annum until they shall bave respectively attained the age of twenty-one years; the last payment under this açt having been made on the 23d of March, 1812, up to which time the widow and children had received, in the aggregate, the sum of five thousand five hundred and twenty dollars and ninetyfour cents.

The committee is not of the opinion that the obligation of the government to the widow and children of Colonel Hardin was exhausted by the provisions of the two acts mentioned. General Wilkinson promised Colonel Hardin, that, in the event of his fall, his widow should receive not less than two hundred dollars per annum during her natural life. Has this been done? Clearly not; for the sum of two hundred dollars from the date of his death to the end of her life, would have amounted to seven thousand four hundred dollars, whilst the amount paid to the widow and children, in all, only amounts to the sum of five thousand five hundred and twenty dollars and ninety-four cents. The government at the time of the passage of those acts was poor; it could not fully satisfy all of its obligations; it showed its high degree of estimation for the services of Colonel Hardin by doing what it did for the widow and children, but it has never fully cancelled the obligation which was clearly due by it to them.

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