It is interesting to remember that the want of a proper medium for the distribution of the rare seeds and plants which must necessarily come into the possession of a government like the United States, was the main reason for the creation of the United States Department of Agriculture. Mr. Henry L. Ellsworth, Commissioner of Patents, came into possession of large quantities, and mainly through his exertions the present department came into existence in 1862. The seed distribution idea has been abused, but it is essentially a leading element in the usefulness of the department.