HC Deb 07 June 1809 vol 14 cc922-3
The Chancellor of the Exchequer

then stated to the committee, that the next grant he had to propose, was, a remuneration to the reverend Dr. Cartwright, for his valuable invention of machinery for weaving of cotton and combing of weel. This he did, in consequence of a memorial that had been presented to him, signed by about 30 manufacturers, who had witnessed the benefit of the machine. This memorial stated, that that reverend gentleman had expended a large fortune in carrying the invention into practice; that in the year 1788, he had obtained a patent, but that in 1792, popular prejudice was so greatly against it, that his machinery was destined by the mob, and before he could get another mill erected, his patent expired, by which he lost the whole benefit arising from his labours, after having expended between 30,000l. and 40,000l. It was an invention which had been found most useful in the manufacture of sail-cloth for the service of the navy, and extremely beneficial in the weaving of cotton; and for which not only the manufacturers, but the country in general, must feel themselves ever indebted to Dr. Cartwright. As the ingenious inventor had evidently derived no advantage from the discovery, which, on the contrary, had tended to his ruin, he should propose to the Committee, That a sum, not exceeding 10,000l. be granted to his majesty, to be paid to Edmund Cartwright, clerk, doctor in divinity, in compensation for the great expence he has incurred in the discovery and application of various mechanical inventions to the process of Weaving, by which he has rendered essential services to the manufactures of this country; and that the said sum be issued and paid without any lee or other deduction whatsoever."

Mr. W. Smith

said, he thought such a grant should not pass without some observations of approval. He thought every case should stand upon its own footing and foundation. Although he had no personal acquaintance with Dr. Cartwright, he believed, from what he had heard of him, that, as far as ingenuity and integrity went, there was no individual more entitled to the bounty of the kingdom. He had witnessed, for many years, his perseverance for the good of the public, and lamented the undeserved return he had met with from that popular prejudice which had prevented him deriving any benefit from his invention. He was, therefore, glad to find that public favour was now about to be so rightly and justly bestowed in counteracting the effects of ignorance and prejudice. The vote proposed had his perfect concurrence.

This vote was then put and agreed to.