Obrázky stránek

on the lakes. Even in 1813, the energy of this department had led the first Napoleon to issue the following instructions to his Minister of Marine :

You will receive a decree by which I order the building, at Toulon, at Rochefort, and at Cherbourg, of a frigate of American construction. I am certain that the English have had built a considerable number of frigates on that model. They go better, and they adopt them; we must not be behindhand. Those which you will have built at Toulon, at Rochefort, and at Cherbourg, will manouvre in the roads, and give us to understand what to think of the model.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

We have been compelled to adopt the illogical designation above given for this portion of the chapter, by reason of the fact that the Department of the Interior has no title to its present quarters in the building belonging to and mostly paid for by the earnings of the Patent Office. At first a single room was demanded for the Secretary of the Interior, and from that the department has continued to annex room after room of the noble building devoted to the protection of the inventive genius of the country, until the bureau for whose especial accommodation the edifice was erected finds itself " cabined and confined" in a corner of the house built with the proceeds of its own industry. The lawful fees charged for issuing patents having largely accumulated, were directed by Congress to be invested, with an additional appropriation, in the Patent Office building. From this commencement, the stately marble palace on the corner of Seventh and F streets has gradually been reared into its present magnificent proportions, the principal architectural credit being due to Mr. Edward Clark. The building is in the Doric style of architecture, 4064 feet by 275, and 74 feet 11 inches in height, divided into three stories of rooms, including the modelroom, which occupies the whole upper floor, making in reality four saloons, in beauty unequaled by any apartment in the world, the total length of the connected chambers being upwards of 1,300 feet.

In the court-yard are two fountains, which cool the air in the sultry days of summer.

The north front is the only one which has not a portico, and as it would only involve an expense of $75,000 to finish it in the same style with the other fronts, it is to be hoped that Congress will not withhold that sum, especially as the cost of the building would still be within the original estimate.

The Department of the Interior proper, consists of the Secretary, chief clerk, three disbursing clerks, and twelve other regular clerks; and to its supervision and management are committed the following branches of the public service :

Public Lands.-The chief of this bureau is called the Commissioner of the General Land Office. The land kureau is charged with the survey, management, and sale of the public domain, and the issuing of titles therefor, whether derived from confirmations of grants made by former governments, by sales, donations, grants for schools, military bounties, or public improvements; and likewise the revision of Virginia military bounty-land claims, and the issuing of script in lieu thereof. The land office also audits its own accounts. Its principal officers are a recorder, chief clerk, who also acts as Commissioner ad interim, principal clerk of surveys, a draughtsman, assistant draughtsman, and about one hundred and fifty clerks of various grades.

Pensions.—The Commissioner is charged with the examination and adjudication of all claims arising under the various laws passed by Congress granting bounty land or pensions for military or naval services in the revolutionary and subsequent wars in which the United States have been engaged. The Commissioner has one chief clerk, and a permanent corps consisting of seventy other clerks. About a million of dollars are annually disbursed by this bureau.

Indian Affairs.—This office has charge of all matters relating to the Aborigines, and is conducted by a Commissioner, chief clerk, and a clerical force from fifteen to thirty in number. The average annual expenditure on Indian account, including the interest on stocks held in trust for the several tribes, and on sums which, by treaty provision, it was stipulated should be invested, but which have remained in the treasury of the United States, is over $3,000,000 The amount of stock held in trust for Indian tribes by the Department of the Interior is $3,449,241 82, and the net annual interest thereon is $202,002 89. The present liabilities of the United States to Indian tribes, funding at five per cent. the perpetual annuities secured to some of them by treaty and also the annuities payable during the pleasure of Congress, amount to $21,472,423 88. This amount is made up of the following items, viz. : Principal, at five per cent., of permanent annuities,

guaranteed by treaty, including amounts which it is stipulated by treaty shall be invested, but which are retained in the Treasury, and on which the United States pay interest.

$7,013,087 80 Temporary annuities guaranteed by treaty, all of

which will cease in a limited period.... 13,295,936 08 Principal, at five per cent., of temporary annuities,

payable during the pleasure of the President or of Congress .


$21,472,423 88

The Patent Office not only supports itself, but gradually accumulates a fund which will compensate for the construction of its magnificent building, without taxing the people. Its funds are derived from services rendered. It is intrusted with the special duty of granting letters patent, securing a proper compensation to him who discovers or invents that which benefits his fellow-men. This is not in the nature of a monopoly, as has been sometimes suggested, for the government requires only the estimated cost of investigation and registry. The bureau of Patents, as the organ of the United States, virtually says to the

ingenuity, and intelligence of the world: “If you can devise a simpler mode of performing any sort of labor, you shall receive a recompense in proportion to the benefit you confer upon those who ought to pay you.” The table below will show the receipts and expenditures of this branch of the government from 1837 (the earliest period at which we have been able to obtain reliable statistics) to 1860:

[ocr errors]

The whole number of patents issued by the office, from July, 1836, to Dec. 31st, 1860, was 31,004, than which fact we know of no more startling commentary upon the extraordinary development of the mechanical

« PředchozíPokračovat »