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BUREAU OF STATISTICS
The value of the systematic and careful collection of information concerning the status of our commerce was recognized early in our history; and, in response to resolutions of Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury made frequent reports on the subject, which were subsequently collected and published in two volumes of the American State Papers.
By act of Congress approved February 10, 1820, the regular collection and publication of statistics of our foreign commerce was undertaken. This information was gathered through the collectors of customs, and a Division of Commerce and Navigation was organized in the Treasury Department which collated and published the information thus obtained. Joint resolution of Congress of June 15, 1944, authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to direct the collecting, arranging, and classifying of statistical information showing each year the condition of agriculture and domestic trade, and to report upon these subjects annually.
By act approved July 28, 1866, the Bureau of Statistics with a Director, was established in the Treasury Department. The former Division of Commerce and Navigation was consolidated with the Bureau of Statistics, and the act prescribed a large range of subjects upon which to compile statisties. The act of Congress approved July 20, 1868, abolished the office of Director of the Bureau and provided that the Special Commissioner of Revenue should superintend the Bureau; and the act also provided for a Deputy Special Commissioner to have charge of the Bureau of Statistics. The office of Special Commissioner of the Revenue expired July 1, 1870, and the title of Chief of Bureau of Statistics was given to the officer in charge and afterwards authorized by the Revised Statutes.
The work of the Bureau of Statistics was enlarged by act of Congress approved March 3, 1875, and statistics relating to the internal commerce of the country have been published since that year under special appropriations.
The old law of 1820 omitted statistics relating to commerce, other than that borne in vessels, but the act of March 3, 1893, amending section 1 of the act of July 16, 1892, remedied this by providing for statistics of exports of commodities by railways and land carriages. In 1902, by law approved April 29 of that year, the work of the Bureau was extended to include statistics of commerce with Alaska, Porto Rico, Hawaii, Philippine Islands, Guam, and other noncontiguous territory.
By the law approved February 14, 1903 (An act to establish the Department of Commerce and Labor), the Bureau of Statistics was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Department of Commerce and Labor, from and after July 1, 1903.
The law of February 14, 1903, provides for the transfer of the Bureau of Foreign Commerce of the State Department, to the Department of Commerce and Labor, for consolidation with the Bureau of Statistics, transferred from the Treasury Department, the two to constitute one bureau to be called the Bureau of Statistics.
In accordance with section 11 of the act of February 14, 1903 (see p. 30), the Bureau of Trade Relations has been organized in the State Department for the formulation and transmission of correspondence between the Department of Commerce and Labor and consular officers.
The Bureau of Foreign ('ommerce was, until the 1st of July, 1897, the Bureau of Statistics of the Department of State. Owing to the confusion arising from the fact that there was also a Bureau of Statistics in the Treasury Department and a Division of Statistics in the Department of Agriculture, Congress authorized the change of the name to Bureau of Foreign Commerce, on July 1, 1897, this name more clearly indicating the functions of the Bureau.
The Bureau of Statistics (State Department) had its origin in an act of Congress approved August 16, 1872, which made it the duty of the Secretary of State “to lay before Congress, annually, at the commencement of its session, in a compendious form, all such changes and modifications in the commercial systems of other nations, whether by treaties, duties on imports and exports, or other regulations, as shall
have come to the knowledge of the Department.” In a communication to the President of the Senate, February 4, 1857 (Ex. Doc. No. 35, Thirty-fourth Congress, third session), Secretary of State Marcy called attention to a previous statement (in 1855) in which he said that “but three attempts had been made to comply with the requisitions of the act of 1812; the first by Mr. Secretary Webster in 1812, the second by Mr. Secretary Upshur in 1813, and the third, and last, by Mr. Secretary Calhoun, in 1844.” Mr. Webster, in 1842, recommended to Congress that the work“ be intrusted to one person, under the direction of the Department, who should arrange and condense information on commercial subjects from time to time, as it should be received, and should have charge of the correspondence on these subjects with agents of the Government abroad.” No action was taken by Congress until fourteen years later. By an act approved August 18, 1856 (11 Stat., 62), the act of 1812 was amended so as to make it obligatory upon the Secretary of State, in addition to changes and modifications in the commercial systems of other nations, to include in his annual report to Congress “all other commercial information communicated to the State Department by consular and diplomatic agents of this Government abroad, or contained in the official publications of other Governments, which he shall deem sufficiently important.” It was further declared to be the duty of consuls and commercial agents to procure such information in such manner and at such times as the Department of State might prescribe, and the Secretary of State was “authorized and required to appoint one clerk who shall have charge of statistics in said department and shall be called 'Superintendent of Statistics.?”
"Thus," says Secretary Marcy, in his letter of February 4, 1857, “the ‘Statistical Office of the Department of State,' which had been organized two years before for the preparation of a general Report on the Commercial Relations of the United States with Foreign Nations, in answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives, was by that law placed on a permanent basis."
The Bureau of Statistics was substituted for the “Statistical Office,” July 1, 1874, under authority conferred by the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation act of June 20, 1874, in an item providing a salary of $2,400 each for six chiefs of bureau, including one of Statistics.
Until October 1, 1880, the duties of the Bureau of Statistics were restricted to the preparation of annual and occasional reports from consular officers, but on that date the publication of the monthly Consular Reports was begun, in pursuance of a recommendation of Secretary of State Evarts, in response to which Congress, at the previous session, had made provision “ for printing and distributing more frequently the publications by the Department of State of the