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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
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:
Applica- Caveats tions filed filed.
1837. 1838. 1839. 1840.. 1841 1842. 1843. 1844. 1845. 1846. 1817. 1848. 1849. 1850. 1851. 1852. 1853. 1854. 1855. 1856. 1857 1858. 1859.
819 1,045 1,246 1,272 1,531 1,628 1,955 2,193 2,258 2,639 2,673 3,324 4,435 4,960 4,771 5,364 6,225
291 315 380 452 448 533 607 595 602 700 996 901 868
906 1,024 1,010
435 520 425 473 495 517 531 502 502 619 572
995 869 1,020
958 1,902 2,024 2,502 2,910 3,710 4,538 4,819
$29,289 08 42,123 54 37,260 00 38,056 51 40,413 01 36,505 68 35,315 81 42,509 26 51,076 14 50,264 16 63,111 19 67,576 69 80,752 78 86,927 05 95,738 61 112,056 34 121,527 45 163,789 84 216.459 35 192,588 02 196,132 01 203,716 16 265,942 15 256,352 59
$33,506 98 37,402 10 34,543 51 39,020 67 52,666 87 31,241 48 30,776 96 36,344 73 39,395 65 46,158 71 41,878 35 58,905 84 77,716 44 80,100 95 86,916 93 95,916 91 132,869 83 167,146 32 179,540 33 199,931 02 211,582 09 193,193 74 210,278 41 252,820 80
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
and mathematical powers of the American mind during the last quarter of a century. In Great Britain the issue of patents for inventions from March 2d, 1617 (the date of the first Letters of Patent), to December 31st, 1860, has been as follows:
1617, March 2, to Oct. 1, 1852...... 14,359
3,200 1858 ..
3,000 1860 ...
To this bureau is committed the execution and performance of all acts and things touching and respecting the granting and issuing of patents for new and useful discoveries, inventions and improvements; the collection of statistics relating to agriculture; the collection and distribution of seeds, plants, and cuttings. It has a chief clerk—who is by law the acting Commissioner of Patents in the absence of the Commissioner-twelve principal, twelve assistant, and several second-assistant examiners of patents.
All books, maps, charts, and other publications heretofore deposited in the Department of State, according to the laws regulating copyrights, go to the Department of the Interior, which is charged with all the duties connected with matters pertaining to copyright, which duties have been assigned by the Secretary of the Interior to the Patent Office, as belonging most appropriately to this branch of the service.
The great national importance of its business requires that the Patent Office should cease to be a mere bureau of the Department of the Interior. In the language of the Hon. J. Thompson, when Secretary: “The increase of business in the Patent Office, and the magnitude of its operations, give additional force to the recommendations heretofore made for a re-organization of this bureau. The amount of work devolved upon the examiners is enormous, and it is difficult to believe that the reiterated appeals in their behalf would have been so entirely disregarded, had Congress realized the actual condition of the business of the office; and as the office is self-sustaining, it is only reasonable that this department should be empowered to graduate the force employed, by the work to be done, provided, always, that the expenditures shall be kept within the receipts."
The income of the office, for the three quarters ending September 30, 1860, was $197,648 40, and its expenditure, $189,672 23, showing a surplus of $7,976 17.
During this period, five thousand six hundred and thirty-eight applications for patents were received, and eight hundred and forty-one caveats filed. Three thousand six hundred and twelve applications were rejected, and three thousand eight hundred and ninety-six patents issued, including re-issues, additional improvements, and designs. In addition to this, there were forty-nine applications for extensions, and twenty-eight patents extended for a period of seven years from the expiration of their first term. It may not be out of place to suggest to persons hav