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ing 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 pr ent it is ter orary 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
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
age has been adopted, but, owing to the marshy character of the soil, only partial success has been attained. Referring to the green-houses, it is authoritatively reported that the plan pursued in constructing and warming the green-houses, though successful in its present application, is not commended for all purposes. Decomposing vegetable matter, covered with a portion of nitrogenous materials, might be adapted to general use, were the process of decomposition susceptible of being controlled at will; but so variable is its progress, and so dependent upon external influences, in a ratio inverse to the requirements within, that the vicissitudes of temperature proceeding from it are such as none but hardy plants can endure. The volatile emanations are likewise in excess in this process, insomuch that even those plants which become accustomed to and prove capable of sustaining an atmosphere so highly stimulating may suffer when suddenly withdrawn from its influence and exposed to the open air. The partial exclusion of light and warmth of the sun, practiced in connection with this plan, also proves detrimental to tender plants.
A catalogue of the plants, prepared by Mr. W. R. Smith, an accomplished botanist, may be found in the Guide to the Curiosities of the Patent Office. We will only add a few remarks about the tea-plant, of which there were procured 32,000 plants for distribution, of which, so rare was it in 1664, that the Dutch East India Company presented two pounds and two ounces of it to Charles II., King of England, which country consumes annually about thirty millions of pounds, while the people of the United States submit to a voluntary tea tax of about eight millions of dollars. The tea-plant is an evergreen, bearing a re
semblance to the camelia, and in a wild state growing to the height of ten feet, and, when cultivated, dwarfed to three or four, by pinching off the leading shoots, to force it to throw out numerous little shoots from which obtain leaves. The crop upon an acre of ground generally averages as follows:-30 year, 10 pounds; 4th year, . 30 pounds; 5th year, 80 pounds; 6th year, 120 pounds; 7th year, 150 pounds; 8th year, 200 pounds; 9th year, 250 pounds; 10th year, 300 pounds. For further interesting information respecting this and other valuable plants the reader is referred to the Patent Office Report on Agriculture for 1859. The public is greatly indebted to the Hon. J. A. Pearce, who has been the congressional fosterer of this useful and beautiful garden, and also to Capt. Wilkes and other gallant naval officers who have contributed to its riches.
The progress of a country is so vitally dependent upon its postal facilities, and so well illustrated by the description of the mail facilities afforded to the people at various periods of its history that we regret the limits allowed by the necessity of a hurried appearance before the public prevent our furnishing an essay upon the history of the Post Office Department. As it is, we are compelled to say, in brief, that as early as the year 1692 the English colonies in America were so impressed with the importance of postal facilities that the colony of Virginia attempted to introduce a system of mail arrangements; a proposition was at that date introduced into the Assembly of Virginia to confer upon Mr. Neal the