11. A Poor Man’S Tale Of A Patent

by Charles Dickens

At the Patent Office in Lincoln’s Inn, they made ‘a draft of the Queen’s bill,’ of my invention, and a ‘docket of the bill.’ I paid five pound, ten, and six, for this. They ‘engrossed two copies of the bill; one for the Signet Office, and one for the Privy-Seal Office.’ I paid one pound, seven, and six, for this. Stamp duty over and above, three pound. The Engrossing Clerk of the same office engrossed the Queen’s bill for signature. I paid him one pound, one. Stamp-duty, again, one pound, ten. I was next to take the Queen’s bill to the Attorney-General again, and get it signed again. I took it, and paid five pound more. I fetched it away, and took it to the Home Secretary again. He sent it to the Queen again. She signed it again. I paid seven pound, thirteen, and six, more, for this. I had been over a month at Thomas Joy’s. I was quite wore out, patience and pocket.

Thomas Joy delivered all this, as it went on, to William Butcher. William Butcher delivered it again to three Birmingham Parlours, from which it got to all the other Parlours, and was took, as I have been told since, right through all the shops in the North of England. Note. William Butcher delivered, at his Parlour, in a speech, that it was a Patent way of making Chartists.

But I hadn’t nigh done yet. The Queen’s bill was to be took to the Signet Office in Somerset House, Strand — where the stamp shop is. The Clerk of the Signet made ‘a Signet bill for the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal.’ I paid him four pound, seven. The Clerk of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal made ‘a Privy-Seal bill for the Lord Chancellor.’ I paid him, four pound, two. The Privy-Seal bill was handed over to the Clerk of the Patents, who engrossed the aforesaid. I paid him five pound, seventeen, and eight; at the same time, I paid Stamp-duty for the Patent, in one lump, thirty pound. I next paid for ‘boxes for the Patent,’ nine and sixpence. Note. Thomas Joy would have made the same at a profit for eighteen-pence. I next paid ‘fees to the Deputy, the Lord Chancellor’s Purse-bearer,’ two pound, two. I next paid ‘fees to the Clerk of the Hanapar,’ seven pound, thirteen. I next paid ‘fees to the Deputy Clerk of the Hanaper,’ ten shillings. I next paid, to the Lord Chancellor again, one pound, eleven, and six. Last of all, I paid ‘fees to the Deputy Sealer, and Deputy Chaff-wax,’ ten shillings and sixpence. I had lodged at Thomas Joy’s over six weeks, and the unopposed Patent for my invention, for England only, had cost me ninety-six pound, seven, and eightpence. If I had taken it out for the United Kingdom, it would have cost me more than three hundred pound.

Now, teaching had not come up but very limited when I was young. So much the worse for me you’ll say. I say the same. William Butcher is twenty year younger than me. He knows a hundred year more. If William Butcher had wanted to Patent an invention, he might have been sharper than myself when hustled backwards and forwards among all those offices, though I doubt if so patient. Note. William being sometimes cranky, and consider porters, messengers, and clerks.

Thereby I say nothing of my being tired of my life, while I was Patenting my invention. But I put this: Is it reasonable to make a man feel as if, in inventing an ingenious improvement meant to do good, he had done something wrong? How else can a man feel, when he is met by such difficulties at every turn? All inventors taking out a Patent MUST feel so. And look at the expense. How hard on me, and how hard on the country if there’s any merit in me (and my invention is took up now, I am thankful to say, and doing well), to put me to all that expense before I can move a finger! Make the addition yourself, and it’ll come to ninety-six pound, seven, and eightpence. No more, and no less.

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