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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
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 oper. ations, 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 having business to transact with the Patent Office, that the most certain, speedy and economical method they can pursue is to secure the services of a competent attorney, whose fee will be regulated by his professional standing ; in some cases, gentlemen distinguished by a peculiar aptitude for the knotty questions which involve both legal and scientific training, receive very large sums for their services, but it must be borne in mind that it requires a long, patient, and peculiar discipline to prepare one either for an attorney or examiner of patents, of the latter of whom Judge Huntington is reported to have said that the duties were the most arduous of any performed by a public servant, and that a person qualified to discharge them • was fitted to be a judge of the supreme court.
The library of the Patent Office contains a collection of volumes of the highest scientific value; under judicious arrangement, a collection already rich and ample is forming, of every work of interest to the inventors, and that new, increasing, important class of professional men, --the attorneys in patent cases. Upon its shelves may be found a complete set of the reports of the British Patent Commissioners, of which there are only six copies in the United States. The reports of French patents are also complete, and those of various other countries are being obtained as rapidly as possible. A system of exchanges has been established, which employs three agents abroad; and, in addition to various and arduous duties, the librarian annually despatches several hundred copies of the reports.
Besides these four principal branches of this executive department, the organic act of 1849 transferred to it from the Treasury department the supervision of the accounts of the United States marshals, and attorneys, and the
clerks of the United States courts, the management of the lead and other mines of the United States, and the affairs of the Penitentiary of the United States in the District of Columbia; and from the State department the duty of taking and returning the censuses of the United States, and of supervising and directing the acts of the Commissioner of Public Buildings. The Hospital for the Insane of the army and navy, and of the District of Columbia, is also under the management of this department; in addition to which the Secretary of the Interior is charged with the construction of the three wagon roads leading to the Pacific coast.
Under the act of February 5, 1858, “providing for keeping and distributing all public documents,” all the books, documents, &c., printed or purchased by the government, the Annals of Congress, American State Papers, American Archives, Jefferson's and Adams' Works, are transferred to this department from the State department, library of Congress, and elsewhere; also the journal and documents of the thirty-fifth Congress. These valuable works are distributed to those who are by law entitled to receive them, and to such “colleges, public libraries, atheneums, literary and scientific institutions, boards of trade, or public associations,” as shall be designated by the members of Congress.
Census Bureau.—This important bureau is by law placed under control of the Interior department, and will probably become a permanent branch under the designation of Bureau of Statistics. At present it is temporary in its organization, its force being disbanded when the work of each decade is concluded. The following table,
showing the expense incurred in taking the census at different periods, will give some idea of the magnitude of the duties confided to this unobtrusive bureau :
The Agricultural Bureau, established for the purpose of diffusing information and distributing new varieties of plants and seeds, is much hampered in its operations by its relations with the department. Really needing to become a branch of the government distinct from all others and entirely beyond the fluctuations of political affairs, it is now confined within the limits the Secretary of the Interior may choose to indicate. Capable of becoming of immense-national benefit, and already attracting the attention of other nations, it is a pity its operations and organization should be so restricted.
The National Conservatories, under the direction of this bureau, are situated on the west side of Pennsylvania avenue,
immediately west of the Capitol, where the soil, unfortunately, is not the most advantageous, being cold and wet. A recent agricultural report of the Patent Office, containing a vast amount of very valuable information concerning the garden and green-houses, with their contents, states that a system of underground tile-drain