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“The Lord of hosts looked for judgment, but behold oppression;
THE STRAND PUBLISHING COMPANY, 172, STRAND, W.C.
BITTER BITTER CRY OF OUTCAST
As the wronged and persecuted inventor of a new process which I believe to be very useful to mankind, I have a right to cry out against the fiendish injustice displayed towards inventors, which is now, and which always has been, a characteristic of human conduct. God punishes mankind for this injustice, with retribution which makes the ears of all who hear to tingle. God has not abdicated the government of this world. He is still, as He has always been, the One who pleads the cause of the oppressed, and who executes vengeance on the unjust. And if what I now write should only lead men to make an effort to be kind. to inventors, the Almighty, who is very merciful, and who bestows a liberal reward on even feeble and faulty efforts to do what is right, would almost certainly abate some of the punishments with which those who
oppress inventors are at the present time afflicted. I shall further on describe the invention for which I have been persecuted. But first, as I am only one of a large number of persecuted inventors, I shall dwell briefly on the cruelty of mankind in general to that deserving class of human benefactors. Poets have dwelt on such a lamentable fact.
“ See nations slowly wise and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust."
“While Butler, needy wretch, was still alive,
No generous patron would a dinner give;
He ask'd for bread and he received a stone." There is not the shadow of a doubt that God punishes the nation of England with just severity for its heartless and insane cruelty to its inventors. How many of the sources of poverty which now impoverish England would disappear, as if by enchantment, if inventors were only allowed to reap in peace the rewards of their mental industry! The history of the present day teems with facts which ought to make Englishmen blush. The injustice done to Waghorn is so recent that I need not describe it. And similar facts are so numerous that the difficulty of the task before me consists in making a selection which will not render its perusal monotonous.
That exceedingly useful series of books entitled “The Year Book of Facts,” by the well known author, John Timbs, F.S.A., contains in the volume for 1864 an obituary notice of two ill-used inventors. “Henry Archer died in 1864. He was the inventor of the machine for perforating postage label stamps; for this invention Mr. Archer is understood to have received from the Government £ 4,000. The circumstances of the arrangement are detailed in a pamphlet published by Mr. Archer some years since, in which he considered himself an ill-used man.'
There is not the slightest doubt that Mr. Archer was perfectly justified in considering himself an ill-used man. For the smallest just value of his invention was almost certainly £ 100,000, and if Government had been generous enough to give him the largest just value of his invention, he would have received about £200,000. Instead of giving him that sum the Government gave him only £ 4,000. If a purchaser were to go into a grocer's shop and to ask for a quantity of sugar, haggling with the grocer, and offering to pay only a fortieth part of the real price for it, he would act exactly in the same way that the Government acted to poor Archer. No wonder that he published a pamphlet declaring that he was an ill-used man. Now God judges for these things. There are ten thousand miseries from which ventors alone seem capable of delivering mankind. And the Almighty is perfectly justified in compelling men to reap what they sow, by permitting them to continue to suffer from the evils, from which inventors would gladly deliver their fellow-creatures, if these fellow-creatures did not torture, torment, and crucify them by cruel and tantalizing patent laws, and many other modes of bad treatment.
In Archer's case, however, the Government gave at least some reward, however inadequate. For giving some reward it deserves some praise. It behaved in so doing a thousand times better than did those cruel and unprincipled men, who are responsible for the miseries inflicted on poor Samuel Baldwyn Rogers, as briefly described in Timbs's splendid “Year Book of Facts” for 1864, page 282
Samuel Baldwyn Rogers, formerly of Nant-y-Glo, died in 1864. His age exceeded ninety years, and although, by an improvement relating to the manufacture of iron, he largely contributed to the wealth of others, yet he died in the deepest poverty himself. He expressed an earnest wish that he might not be buried in a pauper's grave, and his brother Freemasons have responded to that wish. He was formerly employed at large iron-works in South Wales, and committed the indiscretion of publishing. An Elementary Treatise on Iron_Metallurgy. He was dismissed from his situation. The improvement which he introduced was that of iron bottoms for puddling furnaces, and it is one of great practical importance. It was never patented, nor did he, I believe, ever receive for it any substantial reward. It is true that iron bottoms for certain furnaces had been previously suggested, but to Rogers is unquestionably due the merit of having first rendered their application practicable for puddling furnaces. When he proposed them he was laughed at by some iron-masters of experience, yet they are now universally adopted. When the distressed condition of the poor old man became known—a condition not resulting from misconduct on his part—several persons connected with the iron trade assisted him with money, but assistance came too late. This sad story-another instance of the unhappy fate of inventors who, in enriching others, have impoverished themselves—appeared in the Times a few days after Mr. Rogers's death."
Now it is a very striking fact that since the year of Rogers's death the iron trade of South Wales has been steadily declining. Iron furnaces have been blown out; ironstone pits have ceased to be worked, and terrible depression has settled down on the South Wales iron trade. This may or may not be retribution ; God only knows that. But that God shall punish such inhuman cruelty with chastisements which will make the ears of men to tingle is as certain as that the earth revolved round its axis yesterday.
It positively seems as if men were becoming more cruel and heartless in some respects than they used to be. And if this is so, it must be due to the very godless and defec