We see that the Chaffee patent is again before Congress, on a petition presented by Mr. Pugh, of Ohio, for its further extension. This may be regarded as the inauguratory operation of the lobby for the session, and the precursor of a host of other jobs of a more or less profitable kind. The presentation of the Chaffee petition is a proof that the Congressional engineers are already at work. and they count upon making a brilliant and profitable campaign of it. The amount of corruption that will be brought to bear on Congress during the present session will, we believe, be greater than has ever before been known. The results of the Matteson and Gilbert investigation, instead of checking the evil, have given it a greater impulse and extension. The re-admission to the floor of the House of the parties expelled for participation in that disgraceful affair has satisfied the lobby men that they have nothing to apprehend from the tone and temper of the present Congress. The profligate bargain by which the spoils connected with the public printing have been portioned out amongst some half dozen political partisans, with the concurrence and assistance of members, is pretty conclusive evidence of the way in which the public interests will be sacrificed. Never before was the lobby so strong, and never were its opportunities for plunder so numerous. These patent extensions are in themselves an inexhaustible mine of wealth to the lobby speculators, Besides the Chaffee interest, there are some three or four others, such as the McCormiok reaper, the Colt's pistol and Hay-ward india rubber extensions, which are sufficient to make the fortunes of all concerned in them. In addition to these, there are land jobs and other fat pickings, from which trading politicians, starving journalists and idle lawyers can all glean something. Uncle Sam's estate may be compared to an Irish patrimony—it is entailed for the benefit of the hungry and needy. Under such circumstances, it is of course useless to remonstrate against the injustice of patent monopolies and the perpetuation of the numerous other jobs that are certain to be carried through this session. Corruption is in the ascendant, and the lobby all-powerful. When the country is tired of seeing its most precious interests bartered away by an organized band of blood-suckers who are fattening upon its entrails, it may perhaps think of applying a remedy. In the meanwhile we must be resigned to play the part of Cassandra to an unwilling auditory, and to groan over abuses that we cannot prevent. [We copy .the above from the New York Herald, and we rejoice that this independent journal has opened its batteries in good season and with vigor against the system of lobbying at Washington, which has become a dis" grace to our country. The patent extension cases are very important, not only to the parties interested, but to the whole country, and we have been surprised to notice the stupid apathy of the leading journals upon this subject. The Herald is the only daily journal in New York (we had almost said in the United States) that has fully appreciated these cases, and it has dealt them a powerful blow in times past. We hope it will keep on until not one of these schemes shall stand unexposed to public view.
This article was originally published with the title "Patent Jobs—Commencement of Lobby Operations" in Scientific American 13, 19, 147 (January 1858)