"One of the most beautiful, substantial and appropriate structures in the world is the Pat ent Office, as it is called, in this city. We do not like its designation, which belittles the building and deceives every man who reads of it. The Patent Office ! of course it is some public building, suitable for the deposit of models and the reoord of great and little inventions. Suppose we call it the Department of the Interior—that greatest of all departments in this great country, which is to be enlarged until its records shall embrace a history of the products, the genius, the skill, the soience, the learning, the overshadowing magnitude of the nation. The Department of the Interior, then, is enclosed in one of the most unique and substantial public edifices in this or any other country. We do not care to speak of its cost ; it doubtless cost enough, and too much, unless at some future day it shall be made to cost more by the extension of the space around it. j No private individual would ever risk his name and fame upon the construction and grounds of the Department of the Interior. It is constructed like a store on Broadway or Chestnut street, on just ground enough for its foundations. You come upon it suddenly, and look almost heavenward to see the finest building in America. It is cramped in between dwelling houses, stores, stables, groceries, and liquor shops, encouraged a little at a single point, just across the street, by the magnificent Post-office Department. Is it not possible even to rescue that noble structure from the Vandalism of its surroundings f Is it beyond the line of our economy to clear away the rubbish of two or three of its fronts, and to exhibit the Interior Department as it is to the admiring beholder ?" The above article appears as an editorial in the Washington Union of the 23d ult.—the recognized organ of the government. It is got up in a bungling manner, yet its origin sheds upon it a peculiar significance. Had it come from any other source, we should have simply regretted it ; but when we discover what seems to be a grave and serious attempt on the part of some one connected with the government, speaking through its organ, to divert one of the noblest institutions of the nation from its original purposes and legitimate design, we feel compelled to utter our protest against it. It is known to our readers that since the organization of the Department of the Interior, under the administration of General Taylor, the Patent Office has been ; subordinated to it ; and true to the spirit "give me an inch and I'll take an ell," a systematic scheme of encroachment has goae-on ever since, seemingly intended to rob ia-ventors of that noble building, to the ereeid'on. of which they have contributed between tlree and four hundred thousand dollars, and -appropriate it to such uses as were neves oon-templated by its founders. The Patent Office, the pride of every intelligent citizen, tira- storehouse and .monument of the ingeEuity and skill of our countrymen, is threatensd with, a species of annihilation, which, if suffered to be carried into execution, will wipe out its very existence in name, swallow up its independence, and convert it into an appendage ef the Department of the Interior, as a mere ten-ant-at-will, liable, upon the sud'em fancy of some Secretary, to be hustled out of the building, and thus the vast collection of models now generally m well preserved, may be stored away, perchance, in some shed or building wholly unfit for their preservation. Such a state of things is possible, it is even probable ; for when we see it seriously announced that "the very designation of Patent Office belittles the building, and deceives every man who reads it," we are prepared to hear the assertion, as applied to the arohives and models of the Patent Oflice, " joukroom is better than your company;" ani upon the ipse dixit of some capricious Secretary, whose Pjle ! Gf efice and power may be jostled by the too close proximity of a collection of models of "great 'and little inventions"—to j quote from the article in the Union—they may be ordered to be turned out to find shelter elsewhere, and thus preserve to himself an agreeable aristocracy of position. After all that has been thought of the magnificence of the Patent Office, and of its im- j portance to the country, and in the midst of all the great achievements of Art, Science and Industry, the Union lias come to this lame and impotent conclusion, that it " belittles" a stone building in Washington to call it a "Patent Office," even though its associations are connected with the Cotton Gin, the Steam Engine, the Electric Telegraph, the Reaper, the Planing Machine, and a thousand other useful improvements, without which we could not have made the signal progress which marks our history. Well, we do not know that we ought to be amazed at this extraordinary proposition. The treatment of men of genius since the world began, has been and still is in accordance with these belittling practices. They have been set upon at every turn of their his- tory by a set of men shavper than themselves; they have been laughed at by those who were scarcely fit to brush the dust from their models ; and, under what may prove to be a deceptive guise, they have been inveigled by the government out of contributions amounting to between three and Ibur hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of building an edifice as a depository for the sacred preservation of their models and documents, and now it is discovered that it will no longer do to call the building a " Patent Office"—that its distinctive character must be absorbed, because forsooth the title "belittles" it and "deceives every man who :reads it." We are curious to know by what system of reasoning thft designation of a building as the "Patent Office" can be termed a deception. Why doSiS not the same charge of deception eqnelly apply to the War, the Navy, or the Treasury Department? Simply, in our judgment, because the universal popularity of the Patent Office and the noble proportions of the structure (designed by the late Wm. P. Elliot, of Washington) diminish that magnitude which might otherwise attach to the Department of the Interior. The United States Government is the truste e of the patent fund ; a large part of that fund has been expended on the Patent Office, and the government is sacredly bound to preserve the building from perversion or improper encroachment. Let the Department of the Interior remain where it is, until a suitable building can be erected for its accomodation ; then remove it, and let the Patent Office go on in undisputed possession ; for, at the present rate of progress, the whole building will eventually be needed for the transaction of its business. We believe that the article copied from the Union will shock the generous sentiments of the American people. It is wrong in principle and degrading in its tendency. It will meet with no sympathy from the majority of our citizens ; while, so far as the great body of inventors is concerned, it will be frowned upon with indignation, as it should be.
This article was originally published with the title "The Patent-Office Structure"