Amos B. Little, of New Hampshire, former clerk in the patent office, committee suicide to-day, in the National Hotel dining room, during a temporary fit of insanity.
In 1861, Little testified to the loyalty of Hugh McCormick of the Patent Office and who was alleged to be disloyal to the Union. Having known McCormick for 10 years, Little testified never hearing Little speak against the Union, claiming McCormick was a firm and consistent friend and supporter of the Union.
On the other hand, Horatio Taft, a former examiner, testified that "McCormick is generally regarded in the department as being in sympathy with the south in this insurrectionary movement."
Additionally, O. S. X. Peck, acquainted with McCormick, said at the time of the attack on the Massachusetts troops, in Baltimore, Peck held some conversation with McCormick concerning the same, but he would not be drawn out, but said that he (McCormick) was opposed to the use of force to preserve the Union."
After receiving another deposition in support of McCormick's loyalty, Secretary of the Interior Caleb Smith held that he was "satisfied of Mr. McCormick's loyalty."
Congress, however, disagreed, saying the evidence of these depositions is almost purely negative, and at any rate fails to meet the direct charge of the first witness, who swears he said "that he was opposed to the use of force to preserve the Union."
See REPORT ON THE LOYALTY OF CLERKS AND OTHER PERSONS EMPLOYED
BY GOVERNMENT, Report of the House of Representatives (37th Congress, 2nd Session)(HR Report No. 16)(1862) p, 37.
Amos Little's Biography Shows He overcame Adversity, but does not mention his suicide:
Amos B. Little, was born Feb. 16. 1821; was educated principally at Meridan Academy and Brown University; studied law, but an infirmity of deafness prevented the completion of his studies.JOSEPH W. PARMELEE, HISTORICAL SKETCH 0F NEWPORT, III THE GRANITE MONTHLY, 269, 280-81 (October 1879).
In 1845 he was appointed to a place in the Patent Office at Washington,by Hon. Edmund Burke, then commissioner.
He was in course of time (1853) promoted to the position of law clerk, and while holding that office, codified and published the Patent Laws of the United States.He was a vigorous political writer and correspondent of the N.H. Patriot, and other journals of that time.
He died in Washington, DC, on October 1, 1862.
It is well established that working in the Old Patent Office Building was stressful and harmful to the health of those that worked there. One author writes of the "daily privations they endured, including cold and dampness in winter as well as brutal heat in summer." A 1912 government report on the Patent Office, writes of its lack of natural light, dust, poor ventilation and out of date mechanics. Under these conditions, young buys used for filing were, "developing from time to time diseases of the throat, nose, and eyes..." Others had it worse:
There can be no system of ventilation in these rooms because of their crowded condition. Four clerks sit right against the windows in each room, and it is unfair to them to keep the windows open, yet the other clerks suffer for want of fresh air.
In order to make the conditions bearable it is necessary to discontinue all work at stated intervals of time, open the windows, and change the air.
REPORT OF THE INVESTIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE (1912)
How any of this may have played a role in Little's suicide, is unknown.