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IN treating of the subject of compensation
of the officers and clerks of the Department of State and of the subdivision of the executive force, it will be sufficient, for the purpose of illustrating the development of the present system, to take up the subject at different periods rather than year by year.
The compensation was fixed in the beginning, by Act of September 11, 1789, as has been previously shown,* at $3,500 per annum for the Secretary of State, $800 for the Chief Clerk, and for the clerks not more than $500 each. The number of clerks was left to the Secretary, being limited only by the amount set apart for
* Ante, p. 61.
the Department. A few years later the rates of compensation for the clerks were left with the Secretary. The Act of April 21, 1806, required that the names and salaries of the clerks be reported to Congress annually, and April 20, 1818, Congress increased the salaries. The Act of February 20, 1819, raised the Secretary's salary to $6,000 per annum.
In 1829 the annual report of Henry Clay, Secretary of State, showed the organization of the Department to be a Chief Clerk at $2,000, three clerks at $1,600, five at $1,400, three at $1,000, two at $800; in the Patent Office, a superintendent at $1,500, one clerk at $1,000, and one at $800. One of the clerks at $1,000 in the Department proper received, in addition to his regular salary, $250 a year as a translator, the payment being made out of the contingent fund. The sum of $1,216, also, was paid for extra clerical assistance. The year following this report Congress fixed the compensation of the officers and clerks at substantially the same rates as were reported by Mr. Clay.
The appropriation for the payment of the clerical force increased gradually year by year, and in 1840 was $20,300. In 1852 it reached $33,700, which included, however, the salaries of the Secretary and the messengers. There were during this period additional appropriations almost annually of $2,000 for extra clerical assistance. In 1854 the appropriation rose to $38,700, and the next year to $52,092. In 1857 it was $56,400. It has continued to increase, and for the past ten years has averaged more than $100,000 per annum.
A classification of the clerks in all the Executive Departments, except the Department of State, was made by Act of March 3, 1853, and two years later the law was extended so as to include the Department of State. The permanent force was prescribed to be: Three clerks of class I, two of class II, eight of class III, eight of class IV, one Chief Clerk, and one clerk of class IV to act as disbursing officer and give bonds. The last named was to act as superintendent of the building and receive an additional salary, bringing his compensation up to $2,000 per annum. This Act required the examination of clerks by a board before their appointment. It also provided for an Assistant Secretary of State at $3,000 per annum, and raised the Secretary's salary to $8,000, the present rate.
A Second Assistant Secretary was allowed by Act of July 25, 1866, at $3,500, the Assistant Secretary's salary being also increased ; and the Act of June 30, 1875, added the office of Third Assistant Secretary, at the same compensation. The Assistant Secretary's salary was increased subsequently to $4,500.
The office of Examiner of Claims was created by Act of August 12, 1848, which prescribed that a clerk at $2,000 per annum be assigned to the duty of examining claims in the Department of State of our citizens against foreign
governments and of foreign citizens against this Government. The office became a regular one at $3,500 per annum by Act of July 25, 1866. When the Department of Justice was organized by the law of June 22, 1870, this officer was transferred to its jurisdiction, his duties, however, remaining a part of the functions of the Department of State; and in 1891 the title was changed to “Solicitor of the Department of State.” The salary of the Chief Clerk was increased from $800 to $2,000, and by Act of March 3, 1855, placed at $2,200. It was raised afterwards to $2,400, then to $2,500, and, finally, to the present rate of $2,750.
In the progress of the business of the Department, as the clerks have demonstrated especial fitness for particular branches of its business, they have been assigned to them, and this was the origin of the present system of divisions or bureaus.
Taking up the bureaus separately, the first that received legal sanction were the Diplomatic