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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the forty-fifth Congress, 1877-'78
(1877-1878)

Austria-Hungary,   pp. 8-17 PDF (5.9 MB)


Page 13

[ 7           i             TXiii ii ii, i
   Ptr7
JNGARY.
13
N
iNo. 308.]                            UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
                  Trieste, November 10, 1877. (Received December 20.)
   SIR: Referring to the circular of the Department of State, "Sep-
arate," August, 1877, on the subject of augmenting trade between the
United States and foreign nations, I- have the honor to state that, al-
though the topichas for several years frequently engaged my attention,
I have never felt less able to report upon it satisfactorily, at least to
my-
self, than now. It is no small gratification to me, who have for forty
years earnestly advocated the cause of protection to American industry,
to find this policy at last triumphantly vindicated in an official announce-
ment by the Department of State, that the United States "1 are in a
con-
dition to supply cheaply and easily many          *   *    *   manufactured
articles suitable to the wants of the different countries"; and to find
in
English newspapers atthe same time such singular confirmation of the
fact as the following short citations from the report of a speech by Sir
Stafford Northcote, present:
  The most marvelous aspect of the economical problem is, that free-trade
principles,
  the sounodness of which has been indubitably demonstrated by practical
experience in
  this country [England] for thirty years, should still be obstinately resisted
by nearly
  all other civilized communities to their own probable detriment, with a
degree of per-
  verseness utterly incomprehensible in a nation transcendently distinguished
for indus-
  trial and commercial enterprise. The people of tho United States still
appear to cherish
  Ior the most part the suicidal illusion that they are enriched in proportion
as they
  place fiscal obstructions in the way of foreign manufactures entering their
ports, pro-
  vided it is in their power to match them by the products of national labor
even at a
  higher cost.       American calicoes are reported to meet with increasing
accept-
  ancein Manchester. The saws and cutlery of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
are some-'
r
ments, and the principle applies with equal force when the improvement proposed
is
in the patent law itself. If the supr+nI ey to Which our countyy is entitled
in the man-
ufacture of-certain kinds of machinery' has lbeen destroyed or impaired by
one unad-
vised word in a statutetit is important that the fact should be generally
known. That
this word might produce such an effect will hardly be thought extraordinary
when we
consider that it consigns the international contest to the custody of indIviduals
in no
position to prosecute it with vigor and according to sound commercial principlesi
and
debars all others from voice or interest in it.
  To recapitulate, it has been attempted to show-
  1st. That certain manufactures, which can be conducted more skillfully
and cheaper
in the United States than elsewhere, are being driven to foreign lands, to
the disad-
vantage of manufacturers and consumers.
  2d.- That the industries of our country have suffered in consequence, and
are likely
to suffer in future to an extent beyond calculation.
  3d. That this national misfortune is to be attributed to a single word
in the patent
law; a word which prohibits our people from exerting their natural energy
and enter-
prise, and enables any citizen or any foreigner to interpose an arbitrary
veto on a
branch of our foreign trade; a word which is unnecessary to accomplish the
end at
which the law aims or could justly aim; a word which establishes a dog-in-the-
manger-system, preventing the prosperity of others in order to give a privilege
to
those-who are not able to enjoy it or who use it to a very limited extent.
  4th. That the word ",make"1 ought to be stricken out of section
4884 of the United
States Revised Statutes, and that patents ought to be granted for an exclusive
right
to use and vend for use in the United States and the Territories thereof.
  5th. That-this change would not impair the right of patentees to tax the
inhabitAnts
  of the United States who-use their inventions, but would remove a restriction
on for-
  eign trade which prevents our citizens from prosecuting industries within
the country
  which might be maintained there to the advantage of the whole world.
                                                 PHILIP SIDNEY POST,
                                                               Consul-General.
                                     0No. 5.
                         Mr. Thayer to Mr. Seward.


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