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vast amount of statistical information-such as the number of acres of land under cultivation, the number of bushels of grain of every kind produced in the year; the number of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, &c., raised; the number of manufacturing establishments, and the amount of their productions; the number of churches, schools, colleges, &c.; the number of deaf, blind, idiotic, and insane persons; together with much other matter, quite too voluminous for insertion here.

6. All this is done by order of Congress, and of course paid for from the United States Treasury.

Elsewhere in this book (see index) we give a tabular statement of the population of each State and Territory, at each time the census has been taken by the United States. It shows the increase at each decade from 1790, the first time it was taken, to 1870-the last at this date. This table also shows. the increase in the number of States, from the original 13 to the present 38, besides the Territories, which alone are larger than the original 13 States, and nearly as numerous.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Was established by an act of Congress, May, 1862. It is not, like the other Departments of the Executive Branch of the government, superintended by a Secretary with a seat in the President's Cabinet. Its Head is called The Commissoner of Agriculture, and he is appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, like other civil officers. The creation of this office is a recognition of the extreme importance of this industry to the prosperity and welfare of the nation. Our country is eminently an agricultural one; and the interests confided to this department are those of a class of the people more numerous than any other, and on the

success of whose labors depends the well being of all. In proportion as this industry attains a high state of development, and is generally prosperous, do the professional, mercantile, and manufacturing classes increase in wealth. It is the foundation on which they build.

The great fertility of our country, and the breadth of area adapted to all the most useful products of the world, and the need of instruction, suggestion, and aid in properly adapting agricultural products to the soil and climate, by the large number of settlers in regions with whose peculiarities they are but partially familiar, give a special interest and value to this new Department.

Its duty is to watch over this large field and make such suggestions to Congress in regard to legislation as shall seem called for; to disseminate such practical information among the people as it may be able to acquire by intelligent observation in this and other countries; and the testing and dissemination of rare and untried plants of other countries that promise to increase our agricultural resources.

For experiments in the latter case, a propagating garden and grounds are provided, and the most skillful and intelligent officers, bringing all the lights of science to their assistance, devote themselves to the study of these plants, as to the soil and climate best adapted to them, the proper modes of cultivation, and to acclimating them to our country. This branch of the department sends, to suitable sections of the country, such plants and seeds as it has reason to believe it will be profitable to introduce and cultivate. This usage, continued for many years, will, no doubt, contribute very greatly to the variety of useful products which add to our comfort and wealth.

The department keeps skillful chemists and naturalists constantly employed to gather information of various kinds, that may be useful to agriculturists. The character of soils, the influences of climate, the best system of farming, the diseases of domestic animals, and plants and their cure, the best

mode of preserving crops from the ravages of insects, and many others are the subjects of careful investigation, and the information thus gained is freely communicated to the country at large.

There is a statistical division, in which facts are gathered from the whole country and published monthly. This serves many useful purposes. It also collects data, for purposes of comparison and instruction, from foreign countries. Whatever facts it may be most useful for farmers to know, whatever crops it may be most profitable for them to produce, and whatever improvements in the modes of agriculture and in agricultural implements are discovered to be possible are communicated to all without cost.

Agricultural education receives much attention from the department, and all the facts and influences that can aid in making farmers thoroughly intelligent in their own pursuit, are gathered and employed with effect. Agriculture cannot but improve immeasureably under this fostering care, and this Department is likely to become one of the most important and useful in the government. It is yet in its infancy, but has already accomplished much good.

The commissioner reports annually to Congress. He has power to appoint such officers as Congress considers necessary. In 1868 a fine building for this department was completed at a cost of $140,000. In contains a chemical laboratory with all the necessary apparatus and materials, and a museum, or collection of specimens, of value in the study of agriculture, store-rooms for seeds to be sent throughout the country, &c. The beauty of the building and grounds adds a very attractive feature to the National Capital, and the Institution itself is a favorable comment on the wise and provident care bestowed by the government on the leading interest of the people.

Any person may obtain the Annual Report of the Department, free by mail, by writing for it to the Commissioner of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. Any one desiring any kind of seed raised in the United States may obtain a small quantity in the same way without cost.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AND POST MASTER GENERAL.

This department of the government, whose head, the Post Master General, is a member of the Cabinet, exists by virtue of Section 8, Article 1st of the Constitution, where are these words: "Congress shall have the power to establish post offices and post roads."

From small beginnings, in early colonial times, and continued through the Revolutionary War, it has grown to be one of the largest and most important departments of the government. The security, speed, and cheapness of intercourse between all parts of the country and with foreign lands, is of the utmost importance to business and commerce; it encourges social intercourse and intimate relations among the people, and is of no small consequence in developing their intelligence and promoting their improvement.

By successive laws of Congress it has been perfected to its present state of excellence. The duties connected with it are performed by many thousands of persons in every part of the country. They are of average intelligence and education, and must be trained to their work almost without personal instruction or supervision, yet so complete is the organization, and so pervading the influence of the central power, the regulations so simple, clear, and precise, that mistakes are extremely rare, considering the great number of transactions, and instances of misconduct in office are probably less frequent than in any other branch of the public service, though employing persons well trained and under close surveillance.

The Post Master General is appointed by the President and the Senate for four years. His office is in the General Post Office at Washington. He has three assistants, appointed in

the same manner as himself. He has a seal of his office, an impression from which must be affixed to the commission of every postmaster in the United States; and also to all copies of papers and documents that may be wanted from his office. This only can give them official value of the same importance as the original papers. He must give bonds as security for faithfulness in office, and take the usual official oath.

He has the entire direction and management of the Department, and the appointment of all local postmasters (in law considered as his deputies), whose salary is less than $1,000 per annum. All others are appointed by the President and

Senate.

That its business may be more conveniently arranged and prepared for his final action, it is distributed among several bureaus, or minor departments as follows:

THE APPOINTMENT OFFICE

Includes the divisions of appointments; bonds given by postmasters, agents, and clerks; salaries and allowances, where they are not provided for by law; free delivery in cities; and the agency of blanks used in the extensive business and reports of the department. This office is in charge of the First Assistant Post Master General.

THE CONTRACT OFFICE.

This includes the divisions of contracts for carrying the mails, by persons or companies; the inspection of the entire process of carrying the mails, to secure their safe, regular, and prompt delivery; mail equipment, or the supply of all the material and conveniences for transportation of the mail, furnished by the department; special agents, and mail depredations, which has the care of all violations of law and the conduct and accounts of all agents employed for the suppression and prevention of abuses; and the Topographical, which has charge of maps and diagrams of mail routes, and geographical information, required for the various branches of the service. It is in charge of the Second Assistant Post Master Generai.

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