Imágenes de páginas

against the packing-house companies and against the Standard Oil Company. Its inquiries, however, are not directed primarily to violations of law, but more especially to questionable practices which are not illegal, but may require legislation to control them. The bureau was established primarily to insure publicity regarding industrial combinations, and its work has given striking evidence of the effectiveness of publicity alone in correcting abuses. In the case of railway discriminations in oil rates, for example, as soon as the officers of a railroad learned that an agent of the bureau had discovered a discrimination it was usually abandoned.

and city governments, and is using its best endeavors toward enlarging the registration areas by urging the necessary legislation and more careful registration where existing laws have not been well enforced. The bureau is now engaged upon a report on marriage and divorce, based upon the divorce records of the courts. A census of religious bodies is being taken by mail. A decennial census of the express business is to be taken in co-operation with the Interstate Commerce Commission, and a census of fisheries in co-operation with the Bureau of Fisheries, thus avoiding duplication of statistical work in these directions. At the suggestion of the Forestry Service, the Bureau of the Census will hereafter compile the annual statistics of the cut of lumber. Arrangements have been made with the statistical bureau of the Department of Agriculture by which reports of the two bureaus on cotton production are The Bureau of Statistics, which was for- brought into harmony with each other, and merly under the Treasury Department, is made public so far as possible on the same now one of the several statistical bureaus in dates and in such a manner as to reduce to the Department of Commerce and Labor. It a minimum any disturbing effect upon the publishes voluminous monthly and annual markets. The Census Bureau issues cottonreports on the external and internal com- ginning reports semi-monthly. Provision merce of the country, including valuable has been made for publishing the names of monographs on special topics. It issues also heads of families returned at the First Cenan annual Statistical Abstract of the United sus, in 1790, as urged by genealogical and States, summarizing the available statistics patriotic societies. on a variety of subjects, and has begun the publication of a Statistical Abstract of the World.

The desirability of requiring a federal license for corporations engaged in interstate commerce was repeatedly urged by Commissioner Garfield in his annual reports.


The permanent Census Office, established in 1902 and attached to the Department of Commerce and Labor a year later, has no difficulty in keeping busy during the interval between the decennial counts of population. The results of the manufacturing census of 1905, the first of the new quinquennial series, have been published in the form of bulletins devoted to the separate States, and in part also in bulletins or monographs describing specific industries throughout the country.


The use of labor-saving devices is carried so far in census work that not only are adding, multiplying, and dividing done on calculating machines, but electrical tabulating machines are used to sort and total facts represented by holes punched in millions of cards

at the decennial census, one for each person in the United States. Census Bureau experts have recently invented a new type of tabulating machine which, it is estimated, will reduce the expense of the next count of population by $750,000; and they are at work on other mechanical devices which they expect to revolutionize census methods.

Exhaustive reports have lately been published on telephones and telegraphs, mortality, benevolent institutions, the blind and It is the province of the Bureau of Manuthe deaf, paupers in almshouses, and the in- factures to foster the manufacturing indussane and feeble-minded, and a volume on tries of the United States, and markets for wealth, debt, and taxation is now in press. the same at home and abroad, mainly by The Bureau of the Census publishes annual gathering and publishing information constatistics of cities of thirty thousand popu- cerning such industries and markets. Conlation and over, which constitute a valuable sular reports of commercial interest are transsource of information on municipal adminis- mitted from the State Department to the tration and finance. It also publishes annual Department of Commerce and Labor and statistics of births and deaths in the areas in issued by the Bureau of Manufactures in which registration is provided for by State its Daily Consular and Trade Reports, to

[ocr errors]

gether with occasional reports from the four the United States useful information on sub

special agents of the department who are wholly engaged in collecting information abroad for the benefit of American manufacturers. In addition to their current reports, these special agents prepare final reports on the various countries to which they are sent, and these final reports are transmitted to Congress and published in pamphlet form. When information is received which is believed to be of special importance to particular industries, as, for example, by pointing out particular ports for the sale of their products, it is sent directly to those concerned, instead of being published for general distribution both at home and abroad. This plan is much appreciated by the manufacturers. Samples of all kinds of cotton goods sold in China have been obtained and distributed to commercial bodies and textile schools, and similar samples are being collected in other countries.

jects connected with labor, in the most general and comprehensive sense of that word, and especially upon its relation to capital, the hours of labor, the earnings of laboring men and women, and the means of promoting their material, social, intellectual, and moral prosperity." An important part of its work is to investigate the causes and outcome of controversies between employers and employees. Whenever a serious controversy arises between a railroad and its employees the chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Commissioner of Labor, at the request of either party to the controversy, are required by law to use their best efforts to settle the difficulty by mediation and conciliation, or if such efforts are unsuccessful, by arbitration. Action has been taken under this provision three times during the past few months.


The work of collating and arranging the tariffs of foreign countries for the information of exporters was transferred last year from the Bureau of Statistics to the Bureau of Manufactures, which also publishes the annual volume entitled Commercial Relations of the United States," formerly issued by the State Department. The Bureau of Manufactures was organized only about two years ago, and its clerical force is not yet adequate for the amount of work it has to do.


The Bureau of Labor was originally organized at the beginning of 1885, under the Department of the Interior. In 1888 it was made an independent department (though under a commissioner and not a secretary), but on the establishment of the Department of Commerce and Labor it naturally became a bureau in the new department. Its inclusion in this department was strongly opposed by some of the labor interests, which were ambitious to have a Secretary of Labor with a seat in the President's cabinet, but other labor organizations expressed themselves as satisfied with immediate representation in the cabinet through the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. The Hon. Carroll D. Wright was Commissioner of Labor from the first organization of the bureau until two years ago, when he was succeeded by Prof. Charles P. Neill.

The purpose of the Bureau of Labor is "to acquire and diffuse among the people of

Secretary Straus is one of the trustees of the fund established by President Roosevelt with the Nobel prize for furthering industrial peace.

The publications of the Bureau of Labor consist of annual statistical reports on various subjects within the scope of its powers of investigation, a series of additional special reports, including reports on the condition of labor in Hawaii, and a bi-monthly bulletin containing articles sometimes of a descriptive rather than strictly statistical character, digests of State labor reports and of foreign labor and statistical documents, current labor legislation, and court decisions on labor.

The most important piece of work to be undertaken by the Bureau of Labor in the immediate future is an investigation of the conditions surrounding women and children in industry, provided for by Congress at the recent session, and intended to show what protective legislation is needed. This will be more than a statistical inquiry, for it is to include the social, moral, educational, and physical condition of woman and child workers.


The establishment last year of a Division of Naturalization in the bureau charged with the enforcement of the immigration and Chinese-exclusion laws was deemed an event of sufficient importance to enlarge the name. of the bureau. The creation of the new division was recommended by a special commission on naturalization, and much is hoped from it in the way of greater care in

admitting foreigners to citizenship. The complete descriptive records kept of all immigrants admitted will make it difficult to obtain or use certificates of naturalization fraudulently.

The number of immigrants arriving at ports of the United States now exceeds a million a year. This influx of foreigners makes plenty of work for the immigration officers. Intending immigrants who fail to pass the inspectors are taken before a board of special inquiry. If this board decides to exclude the applicant, he has the right of appeal to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, unless he is excluded by reason of a contagious or loathsome disease, in which case the board's decision is final. When an appeal is taken the local Commissioner of Immigration, after looking the applicant over and talking with him, sends the case to Washington with his recommendations; the Commissioner-General then prepares his opinion for the approval of the Secretary. These appeals to the Secretary often number thirty or thirty-five a day. Secretary Straus says they provide him with good evening reading.

Some 12,000 intending immigrants are excluded yearly, the principal grounds of exclusion being pauperism, disease, and violation of the contract-labor laws. Notwithstanding the vigilance of the inspectors, it is often found that aliens have gained admission to the country unlawfully, and the year's work of the bureau includes the apprehension and expulsion of several hundred of these.

For better preventing violations of law, Commissioner-General Sargent has recommended either that more severe penalties should be imposed upon offending steamship companies or that provision should be made for the inspection of immigrants by medical officers at the foreign ports of embarkation; and the new immigration law of 1907 provides that immigration officers and surgeons may be detailed for service in foreign countries.

Much discussion in the labor press and elsewhere has followed a recent decision of the department concerning the importation of foreign laborers by the State of South Carolina. This decision has been referred to as if it modified the contract labor laws, but in reality it was an opinion of the solicitor of the department to the effect that those laws did not apply to the case in question. The State of South Carolina, which has been suffering for some years from an insufficiency

of labor, created a State Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Immigration, similar to the corresponding departments in other Southern States, and, with the aid of a fund contributed by manufacturers, sent the commissioner of the department abroad to start a current of migration to South Carolina, if possible in ships sailing directly to Charleston. The commissioner advanced the passage money and agreed to find employment for the immigrants, but the latter were under no obligation to work for any particular employer. The Attorney-General has sustained the solicitor's opinion that there was no illegal contract involved, but he adds that under the more comprehensive terms of the immigration act of 1907 a repetition of the proceeding would be illegal. Fortunately, however, the new act renders such State action less necessary than before, by establishing within the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization a Division of Information to promote a beneficial distribution of immigrants by making known the advantages of different sections of the country. Notwithstanding the pressing need for labor in the South, more than seven-tenths of the immigrants admitted to the country now announce their intention of settling in thickly populated Northern States, and a distressingly large proportion of them stay in the cities where they are least needed. It is to remedy this anomalous condition that immigration officers have repeatedly asked for authority to present, at Ellis Island, for example, the attractions of distant sections and the demand for labor where it exceeds the supply.

The annual reports of the CommissionerGeneral are mines of useful information regarding the nationalities, occupations, etc., of the immigrants admitted each year.


The Commissioner of Navigation has general jurisdiction over the commercial marine and the merchant seamen of the United States. He has charge of the registration of vessels, and prepares an annual list of American merchant vessels showing the tonnage of each. His reports contain quantities of interesting statistical information relating to the shipping industries. He also supervises the collection of the tonnage tax. He has power to change the names of vessels when necessary. He inquires into the operation of the laws relative to navigation, and suggests desirable amendments.

Under the Bureau of Navigation are ship

ping commissioners at all the principal ports, who superintend the engagement and discharge of seamen and apprentices to the sea service, scrutinizing the terms of their contracts and seeing that the men and boys engaged through them actually go on board at the time required. They keep registers of the names and characters of seamen, and thus act as employment agencies for the merchant marine, with power to control the conditions of service in the interests of the seamen. Secretary Straus has ordered a general inspection of the shipping commissioners' offices along the Atlantic Coast; and the co-operation of foreign consuls at American ports will be sought in stamping out "shanghaiing" and the "crimping" of seamen by boarding-house keepers and others. As these offenses are committed chiefly in shipping seamen on foreign tramp vessels, the shipping commissioners alone can do little to prevent them.


The Steamboat-Inspection Service, established for the security of life on board passenger vessels and now responsible for the safety of freighters also, is under the direction of a Supervising Inspector-General and ten supervising inspectors, who meet as a board at Washington once a year for consultation and the making of necessary regulations. Under each supervising inspector are local inspectors who examine the hulls, boilers, and equipment of all steamboats and all considerable sailing vessels, including foreign ships not sufficiently inspected at home, and issue certificates of approval. Generally speaking, the certificate states the number of passengers the vessel has accommodations for and can carry with safety, and this number must not be exceeded; but this provision of the law, unfortunately, does not apply to ferry-boats, so that the inspectors are powerless to prevent overcrowding where it is most common. Besides inspecting the vessels themselves, the inspectors examine all new life-preservers. Of those submitted for inspection and test last year, less than 1 per cent. were rejected, showing that manufacturers are now, as a rule, complying with the requirements of law. Boiler plates for marine boilers are also tested at the mills by assistant inspectors of the Steamboat Inspection Service; thus explosions are guarded against. The boards of local inspectors license and classify the officers, engineers, and pilots of the vessels subject to inspection, in

vestigate the causes of accidents, and often revoke or suspend the licenses of careless offi


Supervising Inspector-General Uhler has expressed the opinion that the annual inspection required by law is not a sufficient guaranty that the equipment of a vessel is maintained in proper condition throughout the year,, and. has urged the necessity of intermediate inspections. Hereafter it is hoped to inspect each vessel about three times a year; indeed, Secretary Straus has ordered that this be done at least in the case of excursion and ferry-boats.


The lighthouses, light-vessels, beacons, buoys, fog signals, and similar aids to navigation along the coasts of the United States and its principal rivers are under the supervision of a Lighthouse Board consisting of two officers of the corps of engineers of the army, two officers of the navy of high rank, and two civilians of high scientific attainments, together with an officer of the navy and an engineer officer of the army as secretaries. The Secretary of Commerce and Labor is ex-officio president of the Lighthouse Board, but the board elects one of its own number as chairman to preside at its quarterly and special meetings in the absence of the president.

The coasts and rivers under the charge of the Lighthouse Board are divided into sixteen districts, and an officer of the army or navy is assigned to each district as lighthouse inspector. The construction of lighthouses is superintended by officers of the engineer corps of the army detailed for that purpose from time to time. All the officers assigned to the Lighthouse Establishment serve without additional salary.

Some idea of the magnitude of the Lighthouse Service may be formed from the fact that the light-keepers and the officers and crews of light-vessels and tenders number about 3000 persons, and the laborers in the service over 3000 more. The coast line of the United States and its insular possessions under the control of the Lighthouse Board measures 17,540 nautical miles.

An act passed last year requires any private agency erecting lights or other aids to navigation in the navigable waters of the United States to obtain permission from the Lighthouse Board; and the board has also issued regulations for the lighting of bridges. across navigable rivers.


A survey of the coast of the United States was authorized by Congress just 100 years ago, in an act establishing the first scientific bureau of the Government. The organization of the Survey was delayed, however, by the necessity of obtaining instruments from abroad and by the War of 1812, until after the conclusion of that war; and for many years the Coast Survey was treated as a shuttle-cock and transferred back and forth between the Treasury, War, and Navy departments, but it found a resting-place under the Treasury Department from 1836 until the organization of the Department of Commerce and Labor, in 1903.

The work of the Coast and Geodetic Survey is of much practical value to navigation, for it includes the charting of the coasts of the United States and its possessions, including rivers to the head of ship navigation, and deep-sea soundings, tidal and astronomical observations, and the preparation of magnetic tables and tide tables. It includes also a great deal of work chiefly of scientific interest, such as trigonometric surveys by the method of triangulation, computations for determining the figure of the earth, the establishment of standard levels, etc. The Survey co-operates to a considerable extent with foreign governments. Special magnetic observations have been made in connection with the German Antarctic expedition, and copies of the magnetograms for certain days have been forwarded to Norway for use in the study of the relation of magnetism to the northern lights. Tide tables have also been furnished to foreign governments as distant as New Zealand. The surveying of international boundary lines is another part of the work of this bureau. In re-marking the boundary between the United States and Canada west of the Rocky Mountains the Superintendent of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Director of the Geological Survey are the commissioners on the part of the United States; in the demarcation of the Alaska boundary the former officer acts alone for the United States, under the direction of the Secretary of State.


The Bureau of Standards is, in a sense, an off-shoot of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The custody of the standards furnished by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures and the execution of the laws made

by Congress under its constitutional power to fix the standard of weights and measures was for many years assigned to the Superintendent of that Survey, but in 1901 an independent Bureau of Standards was created. Two substantial laboratory buildings have been erected on a beautiful site overlooking Washington, in a locality free from mechanical and electrical disturbances. The buildings and their surroundings suggest a university rather than a Government bureau, and indeed the Bureau of Standards is an important part of our national university, which is not quite such an institution as Washington planned, but is made up of the scientific bureaus of the Government. The use of the facilities of the Bureau of Standards and other scientific bureaus for research and study is granted by law to scientific investigators and to students of institutions of learning.

The Bureau of Standards has been organized by Prof. S. W. Stratton, who was called to the post of director from a professorship in the University of Chicago. His staff comprises physicists, chemists, laboratory assistants, computers, aids, laboratory apprentices, etc. The results of the purely scientific work of the bureau are published in bulletins and circulars. Annual conferences on the weights and measures of the United States are held under the auspices of the bureau. The most direct connection between the Bureau of Standards and the business world lies in the tests of instruments and materials made for manufacturers, who are thus enabled to offer for sale clinical thermometers, for example, officially guaranteed to be accurate within a very slight margin of error.


The formerly independent Fish Commission was transformed into a bureau of the Department of Commerce and Labor on its organization. This bureau studies the waters of the United States and the biological and physical problems they present, including the life history of fishes of economic value and of the animals and plants upon which they feed; it propagates useful food fishes and shellfish and distributes them to various parts of the country, and it investigates the methods and apparatus in use by fishermen. The Bureau of Fisheries is a peculiarly American institution, which has achieved a worldwide reputation for its originality and enterprise. It furnishes many millions of fish eggs and young fish to State fish commissions every year, and also exchanges eggs


« AnteriorContinuar »