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required to be transmitted to the Secretary of the Interior, in addition to the 'copies required to be deposited with the clerks of county courts and with the secretaries of the States and Territories, but at the census of 1880 the original schedules were sent direct to the central office at Washington, and a copy of only a part of the information returned on the population schedule deposited with the clerks of the county courts. At the census of 1890, the original schedules were forwarded to Washington, as in 1880, and no copy of any kind was required to be filed in the offices of the county clerks, but municipalities were furnished at Washington, upon their request, with a copy of certain details on the population schedule for such municipalities, in the manner prescribed by the census act.
Under the provisions of the several census laws, therefore, there should be in the custody of the Department of the Interior a complete set of the returns made at the eleven decennial enumerations from 1790 to 1890, inclusive, but an examination of the census records on file in the Department of the Interior building shows that, in all probability, the provisions of law requiring the original returns of the first four enumerations to be transmitted to the Secretary of State were not fully complied with by the clerks of the district and superior courts, as in many
instances the returns for the entire State or district are missing. These omissions are best shown by the following table:
States and Territories.
Date of organ- Schedules
a State. specified.
Mar. 3, 1817
Mar. 1, 1809
1820 1820 1860 1790 1790 1800 1810 1810 1800 1810 1790 1800 1810 1820 1800 1810 1810 1820 1790 1800 1810 1820 1800 1810 1790 1800 1810 1790 1800 1860
127, 901 14, 255 34, 277 59,096 82, 548 162, 686 252, 433 12, 282
5,641 24, 520 73, 677 220,955
4,762 8, 765 8,850 40,352 20, 8-15 66,557 184, 139 211, 119 245, 562 277, 426
45, 365 230, 760
35, 691 105, 602 261, 727 747, 610 880, 200 11,594
Nov.29, 1802 (6)
a One of the original thirteen States.
The foregoing table shows that, for the various States and Territories specified, there are no returns on file for the census year or years indicated, but for which period the population as specified in the last column is reported, and that the missing returns for the several States and Territories relate to one or more of the first four enumerations, as the case may be, with the exception of Colorado and Washington, for which the missing returns are those of the census of 1860.
The schedules on file in the Department of the Interior, so far as they relate to the first ten enumerations, from 1790 to 1880, inclusive, are in bound form and are contained in 4,597 volumes, relating to the various subjects specified in the following table:
a 588 volumes of schedules for free inhabitants; 81 volumes of schedules for slave inhabitants. 6711 volumes of schedules for free inhabitants; 49 volumes of schedules for slave inhabitants. c For defective, dependent, and delinquent classes only.
dThere are also on file at the Department of the Interior 5 volumes of schedules used in the special census of Minnesota ordered by Congress in 1857.
A thorough examination of these bound volumes of schedules has not been made, so that it is impossible to state, especially for the earlier enumerations for which no printed forms of schedules were used, whether the schedules relating to any specified subject are complete for the entire country at each census period, or whether a careful examination would not reveal the absence of schedules for a portion . of a district or State, in addition to the States and Territories already specified, for which no returns whatever appear to be on file.
The general schedules relating to population and manufactures at the census of 1890 are still unbound, but it has been estimated that the population schedules alone, if bound in volumes of uniform thickness, would make about 30,000 volumes, owing to the form of the schedule (a) adopted for the eleventh census. All of the original schedules relating to mortality, crime, pauperism, and benevolence, and the special classes (deaf, dumb, blind, insane, etc.), and a portion of the transportation and insurance schedules were badly damaged by fire in March, 1896, and, by order from the Department of the Interior, were destroyed. The agricultural schedules, which it was determined not to bind for preservation in the Department of the Interior, were
a Family schedule, that is, a separate schedule for each family enumerated.
transferred to the custody of the Department of Agriculture, while the special veterans schedules were transferred, by direction of Congress, to the Pension Bureau, as already stated. The schedules relating to education, fisheries, mines and mining, and other special subjects, have been preserved, but it is doubtful if provision is made for binding any schedules other than those relating to population and manufactures.
PERMANENT CENSUS BUREAU.
The necessity for the establishment of a permanent statistical bureau to which the work of the decennial census could be intrusted, in connection with other duties, was recognized, indirectly at least, as early as 1845. At that time two elaborate reports were made by a select committee of the House of Representatives urging the importance of establishing a bureau of commerce and statistics in the Treasury Department, and although no mention is made of the census work in either of these reports, this same committee, in another report (a) relative to certain errors in the census of 1840, to which the attention of Congress had been directed by various memorials, stated that the defects of this census form a strong argument for the establishment of a bureau of statistics.
Nothing came of this effort, however, and the Bureau of Statistics in the Treasury Department was not provided for until 1865.
Mr. De Bow, who superintended the preparation of the report of the seventh census, in the introduction to the Compendium of that census (6) makes a strong plea for the establishment of a regular statistical office, as a matter of economy and essential to the proper execution of the census, and in this connection used the following significant language:
Unless there is machinery in advance at the seat of Government no census can ever be properly taken and published. There is a peculiar education required for these labors which neither comes from zeal or genius, but is the result only of experience. They are the most irksome and trying imaginable, requiring inexhaustible patience and endurance, and battling almost every effort after accuracy. Long familiarity can alone secure system, economy, and certainty of result. This office machinery exists in all European countries where statistics are the most reliable, but there has been none of it in the United States. Each census has taken care of itself. Every ten years some one at Washington will enter the hall of a department, appoint fifty or a hundred persons under him, who, perhaps, have never compiled a table before, and are incapable of combining a column of figures correctly. Hundreds of thousands of pages of returns are placed in the hands of such persons to be digested. If any are qualified it is no merit of the
a House Reports, Twenty-eighth Congress, first session, Vol. III, No. 579. $ Compendium of the Seventh Census, p. 18.
system. In 1840 returns were given out by the job to whoever would take them. In 1850 such was the pressure of work that almost any one could at times have had a desk. Contrast this with the English system and reflect that one individual, as heretofore remarked, presided over the census of 1801, 1811, 1821, and 1831. In Washington, as soon as an office acquires familiarity with statistics, and is educated to accuracy and activity, it is disbanded, and even the best qualified employee is suffered to depart. The Government may rely upon paying heavily for the experience which is being acquired.
No suggestion beyond this or provision was made, however, for a permanent census office at that time, but beginning with 1860 recommendations for the establishment of a national bureau of statistics were embodied in the annual reports of the Secretary of the Interior up to and including the year 1865. Secretary J. F. Thompson, in his last annual report dated November 30, 1860, suggested the propriety and importance of establishing a bureau of statistics, but beyond referring to the fact that once in each period of ten years the country is supplied with certain information regarding our agricultural, manufacturing, and mining interests, made no direct reference to the census. The report of Secretary Caleb B. Smith, the following year, under date of November 30, 1861, contained a recommendation for the establishment of a bureau of agriculture and statistics, upon which “would naturally devolve the charge of the census, for which timely preparations would be made, and its administration conducted with improved accuracy and ease.” Secretary Smith renewed this recommendation in his annual report of November 29, 1862, and again in 1863 the need at the seat of Government of a bureau of national statistics was urged upon Congress, in the annual report of Secretary J. P. Usher, dated December 5, 1863, in which the statement was made that “such a bureau could be established now with but little outlay, and if made to include the duty of enumerating the population of the United States, for which purpose a bureau is now required to be temporarily organized every ten years, at considerable expense and labor, would effect a positive saving to the Treasury, while the work would be better performed, as the office would then be permanent, and the experience gained in the operations of one decade not wholly lost before the next was entered upon, as is now the case.” The matter was again referred to by Secretary Usher in his annual report dated December 5, 1864, in which the importance of the organization of a permanent bureau of statistics, charged among other duties with that of compiling the census returns and superintending the publication thereof, was emphasized, while the report of Secretary James Harlan, under date of December 4, 1865, suggested the expediency of providing means to enable the making of annual reports on population, manufacturing, and other material interests.
Similar suggestions may have been made since for the establishment of a central bureau of statistics at Washington, but no direct action toward providing for a permanent census office was taken by Congress until February 16, 1891, when the Senate adopted a resolution directing the Secretary of the Interior “to consider the expediency of the establishment of a permanent census bureau, and to embody the results of his consideration with a draft of a bill, should he consider it expedient, for the establishment of such census bureau, in a special report to be made to the Senate at the opening of the Fifty-second Congress.” This resolution was referred by the Secretary of the Interior to the Superintendent of Census, Hon. Robert P. Porter, for his consideration, and his report was transmitted by the honorable Secretary of the Interior to the Senate December 7, 1891.(a) In this report Mr. Porter gave his own opinions, as well as those of others, and recommended the establishment of a permanent census bureau. The report, which was exceedingly valuable and exhaustive, was accompanied by a draft of a bill to establish a permanent census office and to provide for the taking of the twelfth and subsequent censuses, and contained a vast amount of evidence on the subject from statisticians, churchmen, representatives of commercial organizations, commissioners of agriculture, officers of boards of health, officers of institutions for the insane, deaf, dumb, and other defective classes, officers of State bureaus of labor, heads of great labor organizations, and others interested in having a permanent census organization. The National Board of Trade, at its twenty-first annual meeting, held in New Orleans in December, 1890, adopted resolutions appointing a committee to make a report contemplating permanence of statistical and enumerating officials, and a proper separation of the times in which enumeration of population is required by the Constitution and the collection of general statistical information. Many of the boards of trade and chambers of commerce memorialized Congress for the establishment of a permanent census office or adopted resolutions indorsing such movement.
In February, 1893, the Select Committee of the House of Representatives on the Eleventh Census, to whom had been referred a resolution instructing the committee to inquire into the expediency of establishing a permanent census bureau, submitted a report (6) containing the evidence of various parties who had appeared before it, and recommending the passage of a bill, which accompanied the report, similar in most respects to that drawn by Mr. Porter and submitted by the Secretary of the Interior in his report to the Senate.
No final action was taken by Congress with respect to either of these two bills, and nothing more was done toward providing for a perma
a Senate Ex. Doc. No. 1, Fifty-second Congress, first session.