HC Deb 05 April 1842 vol 61 cc1295-7
Lord Ingestre,

in rising to bring forward the motion, of which he had given notice, for a copy of the letters patent for England, granted on the 4th July, 1838, to Joseph Needham Taylor, and also for reprinting the minute or paper presented by Mr. Bentham to the Navy Board, on the subject of the Breakwater at Plymouth, ordered by the House to be printed Feb. 18th, 1812, said, that it would not be necessary to trouble the House at any great length. The bill to which the motion referred, viz., a bill for the Formation of a Floating Breakwater, on the principle for which Captain Taylor had obtained a patent, had been referred to a committee up stairs. He understood, that the grounds on which that patent had been obtained, were fallacious, and the widow and residuary legatee of Sir Samuel Bentham asserted, that the principle had been announced by that gentleman to the Navy Board in the year 1811. With regard to the latter part of the motion, he should not press it, as he understood that a sufficient number of copies of that minute were al ready in existence. He should, therefore, merely move for a copy Of letters patent for England, on the subject of the Breakwater in Plymouth Sound, granted to Joseph Needham Taylor, dated 4th July, 1838, with the grounds on which the patent was granted.

Captain Pechell

did not know what was the noble Lord's object in bringing for ward this motion. If it was to show, that Captain Taylor was not the original in ventor of the plan, or that the plan itself was not a good one, it became him to make some farther statement to the House, in order that those who advocated the formation of these floating breakwaters might know what his objections were. He found that in 1811, Sir Samuel Bentham, feeling annoyed at not being employed in the con struction of the Stone Breakwater at Ply mouth, suggested the plan of a floating breakwater on the same principle as Captain Taylor's. The recommendation was made to the Board of Admiralty of the day, and consequently was not attended to. He thought that, instead of crying down and putting aside the plan of Captain Taylor, the noble Lord, as a brother officer of Captain Taylor should have promoted it. Sir Samuel Bentham did originate a plan that would have cost a million less than the Plymouth Breakwater, but Captain Taylor's was by no means a copy of it. He hoped, that the noble Lord would not press the motion.

Lord Ingestre

had no object whatever but to elicit the truth. From what he understood, Sir Samuel Bentham being, in 1811, civil engineer to the Admiralty, was asked to give his opinion on the project of erecting a breakwater in Plymouth Sound. Sir Samuel Bentham furnished two plans; one of them was a plan of a floating breakwater, being similar to that proposed by Captain Taylor. Now, the representatives of Sir Samuel Bentham were of opinion that Captain Taylor had obtained his patent on false grounds, not having been the original suggestor of the floating breakwater. The object of the present motion was to enable the House, before a bill that was now before a committee, passed, to form an opinion as to which was the original inventor of the breakwater. He meant no disrespect to the service in withholding his titles from Captain Taylor, for he (Lord Ingestre) believed the usual form was merely to mention Christian names and surnames. He repeated, that in moving for a copy of the patent, his object was only to obtain those details which would show the facts connected with the case in dispute between the parties.

Mr. Labouchere

thought, that this was a subject which the House could not entertain, for they had no jurisdiction over patents. If the parties spoken of by the noble Lord thought that they were the representatives of the original inventor, their remedy was, not to appeal to that House, but to proceed by action in a court of law. It was evident, therefore, that if the noble Lord carried his motion, he still could not advance his object, for the opinion of that House could not decide any disputed right between the parties.

Lord Ingestre

did not want the House to judge between the parties. He only wanted the House to know who was the real inventor of the breakwater, before it was called upon to assent to a bill to carry Captain Taylor's plan into effect.

Sir Charles Douglas,

in supporting the motion, said, that a company had been formed upon the patent which Captain Taylor had obtained, and there was now a Bill of Incorporation before a committee up stairs. Now, as the House would have to adopt or reject the bill, he thought they should have before them every important fact connected with the case, and those facts his noble Friend's motion would produce.

Motion agreed to.

House in committee on the