Scientific American/Tribute of Respect to the New Postmaster General

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Tribute of Respect to the New Postmaster General  (1859) 
Scientific American, v 14 (os) no 29, p 237, 26 March 1859.[1]

At a meeting of the employees of the United States Patent Office held on Saturday the 12th inst., preparatory to calling upon the Hon. Joseph Holt, and formally taking leave of him upon his vacation of the office of Commissioner of Patents, Samuel T. Shugert was called to the chair, and De Witt C. Lawrence was appointed secretary. Resolutions complimentary to Mr. Holt were passed unanimously, and on the motion of Dr. Antisel, Henry Baldwin, Esq., Senior Examiner in the Office, was deputed to address the Commissioner in their behalf, which he did in a chaste and sensible speech. Mr. Holt replied in the following strains of touching eloquence:

"The words which you have been so good as to address me with, on behalf of yourself and those around you, I have heard with mingled emotions of sorrow and gratitude; of sorrow because they annouce the termination of the intimate official intercourse which has existed between us, the kindly tone of which has already brought me unalloyed gratification; emotion of gratitude, because I welcome these words as the expression of that friendship and confidence on your part which I have so earnestly desired to gain, and the recollection of which I shall ever cherish with pleasure and with pride. Some eighteen months ago, in this room, I met, for the first time, the official body of the United States Patent Office. We met as utter strangers to each other. Since then we have counseled and toiled and endured together, and it is to me a source of the most intense satisfaction to be able to believe that, though we then met as strangers, we shall now separate as friends. On that occasion, sirs, I entered this building with trembling apprehension, persuaded, as I was, of my utter want of preparation for the arduous and perplexing responsibilities which lay before me. And if, from that hour until this, any success has marked the administration- and I say it with frankness, because it is a tribute justly due to yourselves--if any success had marked the administration of this Office, it is due, and due only, to the zeal, the fidelity, and the ability of those associated with me in the service, from whom I have ever received the most cordial support.* Whatever of good or evil fortune may hereafter betide me, be assured, gentlemen, that the period of our official connection here, however much of labor and of anxiety may have belonged to it, will be ever present to me as a garden of precious memories, whose perfume the years cannot waste. To the high personal enjoyment which I have in the retrospect of our relations there is added at this time a loftier one, growing out of that conviction which seems to prevail alike within and without, that the Patent Office was never in a more prosperous condition than at this moment. The inventive genius of this great and free people, tameless and dazzling in its play as the lightning that flashes from the storm-cloud, was never more active, never more triumphant. The brilliant memorials of its success which are pouring in upon you every day attest this, and are in themselves jewels fitting for the adornment of this magnificent national monument, which has been reared solely for their reception. In leaving, gentlemen, this truly elevated and intellectual field of labor, this shrine where the restless mind of the nation brings the noblest and grandest of its offerings to the cause of human progress, I beg to tender you my heartfelt thanks for that courtesy, kindness, and co-operation which you have ever extended to me, and to add my most fervent wishes for your prosperity and happiness in all the paths and relations of life, and especially for the continuence of each of you in that happiness which I rejoice to believe you all now possess, and which is above the reach of every spoiler - a happiness complete and abounding, which flows, and can only flow, from a sense of duty performed."


By the same mail which brought to us the proceedings of respect presented above, we also received the subjoined very gratifying testimonial from Mr. Holt:-

Washington, March 17, 1859.

Gentlemen:- It affords me much pleasure to bear testimony to the able and efficient manner in which you discharged your duties as Solicitors of Patents which I had the honor of holding the office of Commissioner. Your business was very large, and you sustained (and, I doubt not, justly deserved) the reputation of energy, marked ability, and uncompromising fidelity in performing your professional engagements.

Very respectfully, your obed. servt.,
J. HOLT.

To Messrs. Munn & Co.,

Solicitors of Patents, New York.