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The conference in many ways expressed its deep interest in the work of the Census Bureau, and bore earnest testimony to the practical value of that work in the field in which its members are most interested. These investigations of the Census Bureau promise to give great impetus to the extension of publicity in municipal affairs and, by sympathetic influence therewith, to promote and extend the movement for whatever may be determined to be a proper publicity of corporate management, with which this Department is so deeply concerned.
The transfer of the compilation of the immigration statistics to the Census Bureau has long been advocated by statisticians, and will bring immigration statistics into proper harmony with the population statistics of the Federal Census. It will enable the Department to present them with the fuller detail and analysis which have become imperative, in view of the rapid increase in immigration and its changing character. The transfer was made with the hearty approval of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, and the compilation of these statistics by the Bureau of the Census will begin on January 1 next.
I desire here to call attention to the recommendation made by the Commissioner-General of Immigration and the Director of the Census that provision at once be made by law for securing the proper statistics of foreign-born emigrants from this country. No satisfactory statistical statement of immigration and its permanent effect upon population of the country can be compiled unless the statistics of immigration are accompanied by the corresponding statistics of foreignborn emigration.
It is my intention, from time to time, as opportunity presents itself, to transfer other important branches of statistical work to the Bureau of the Census. As an illustration of how widely useful such a recognized center of statistical work can become, and how it may be possible and desirable for all of the departments of the Government to utilize its services in their own statistical compilations, I may refer to the recent request of the Civil Service Commission, which I have approved, that the Bureau of the Census shall compile the statistics of the classified service of the United States, collected under the order of the President dated March 31, 1903.
Heretofore there has been no bureau of the Government to which such distinctive and exclusive functions could be assigned, and the quality and the value of our governmental statistics have suffered correspondingly in comparison with those of other nations. But with this conception of the true function and the proper development of a permanent Census Bureau it will necessarily become, in a comparatively short time and under proper direction and management, the great statistical laboratory of the United States Government, worthy to take rank with the best statistical offices maintained by European governments.
The success of this general plan for the development of a Federal laboratory of statistics depends upon its organization upon a strictly nonpartisan basis, such as will command universal confidence. So organized and carried on, the Bureau of the Census will very quickly come to be recognized as belonging strictly in the category of the scientific bureaus of the Government, and as one of the most useful and important of them.
COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY.
The Coast and Geodetic Survey is charged with the duty of surveying the coasts under the jurisdiction of the United States for the purposes of commerce and defense. Its work has recently been greatly augmented by the extension of the operations to Porto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Philippine Islands. Much has already been accomplished in these fields without material increase in the facilities of the Bureau.
The greater draft of the vessels at the present day, the growth of the merchant marine, the enlargement of the Navy, and the requirements of the fleets in maneuvers off our coasts necessitate a thorough revision in many localities where the charts are based upon surveys of earlier days, when light draft and comparatively small vessels were in
The demand for surveys from these causes is increasing. The development of Alaska with its thousands of miles of but partially known waters taxes to the limit of its capacity the force available for such work. The fixing of the boundary between this Territory and British America will probably result in a demand for the service of many of the experts of this Bureau in the work of surveying and marking the boundary as defined by treaty, in accordance with the decision of the Alaskan Boundary Tribunal.
On the acquisition of the Philippine Islands and the extension of the work of the Survey to include them, by act of Congress, surveys were immediately begun, and a large amount of valuable work has been accomplished. The Philippine Commission has cordially cooperated with the Bureau. Many geographical positions have been determined, and surveys have been made of the principal harbors and anchorages. A rapid extension of the triangulation of the islands is urgently needed, not only for the purpose of hydrographic surveys and as a basis for the cadastral surveys now under contemplation by the Commission, but also as a basis for the scientific surveys necessary to develop the physical resources of the islands.
BUREAU OF STATISTICS.
The work of the Bureau of Statistics now embraces statistical inquiry regarding the commerce of the world. Beginning in 1866, its work was directed merely to the compilation of statements of the foreign commerce of the United States. These statements showed our imports, with the countries from which they came, and our exports, with the countries to which distributed. In the earlier history of the Bureau its publications consisted of a brief monthly statement of imports and exports, classified by principal articles, and an annual volume entitled “Commerce and Navigation,” that showed the countries from which the imports of the year were received and to which the exports of the year were sent, together with the nationality of the vessels in which they were transported. With the development of commerce the monthly statement was gradually enlarged, and at the present time shows in each issue not only the countries from which the principal imports are brought and to which the principal exports are sent, but also the total imports from and exports to each country of the world, month by month, and for the accumulated months of the current year, compared with the corresponding months of the two years immediately preceding.
The annual volume of Commerce and Navigation has been enlarged so as to show not only the detailed movements of the year, stated by articles and countries, but in a second volume the yearly imports and exports of every article passing to' or from each country during a period of ten years.
Statistics regarding the internal commerce of the United States form at the present time an important feature of the Monthly Summary of Commerce and Finance. These statements show in detail the commerce of the Great Lakes, the concentration at interior points of the principal articles forming the internal commerce of the country, and the movement from these points toward the seaboard; also, as far as practicable, our coastwise commerce in some of the more important articles.
Trade with the noncontiguous territory of the United States is also treated of in the Monthly Summary and annual volume; the articles brought into the United States from each of the noncontiguous territories under its control, and the shipments from the United States to those territories, are shown in detail by articles, quantities, and values, as are also the imports and exports of these territories in their trade with foreign countries.
Special statements regarding commercial conditions in leading countries, as well as the world's production of the principal articles entering into national and international commerce, are also published from time to time in the Monthly Summary. Besides supplying much useful information to those engaged in commerce with foreign countries, these statements are of interest to educational institutions, and especially to students of economics.
Reports from the United States consuls in all parts of the world regarding commercial conditions in the countries where they are stationed are also published daily and distributed by the Department to the press and to the commercial organizations of the country. This work, formerly conducted by the Bureau of Foreign Commerce of the State Department, was transferred to the Bureau of Statistics by the act creating the Department of Commerce and Labor. The daily reports are also published in a monthly volume for wider distribution. The annual volume, Commercial Relations, formerly published by the State Department, showing trade conditions in each country of the world as presented by the consuls in their annual reports, is now issued by the Bureau of Statistics.
By these various publications the Department presents to the public daily, monthly, and annual statements of the commerce of the United States and of foreign countries, bringing to the attention of those interested opportunities for trade extension in the various quarters of the world. That this work is appreciated is indicated by the growing demand for these publications and by the numerous and constantly increasing inquiries received regarding commercial matters.
The growing demand for information of this character has increased the work of the Bureau of Statistics to such an extent that its present force is entirely inadequate. A considerable increase in the working force of the Bureau has accordingly been recommended in the estimates for the next fiscal year.
The Steamboat-Inspection Service is charged with the duty of inspecting hulls, boilers, machinery, and appliances, and of examining into the qualifications of officers, engineers, and pilots of certain classes of vessels. On the satisfactory discharge of these duties depends in part the safety of life and property on the water, so far as the Government undertakes to promote it. They are best performed by the application of common sense to the details of the technical work performed by the local officers. They involve few broad questions or principles. At the same time, the service must be administered in accordance with acts of Congress and general regulations based thereon. The defects of our inspection system are inherent in the existing laws and methods, and are not the result of a negligent or inefficient performance of duties.
The Board of Supervising Inspectors held a special session during the summer, at which some changes in these general acts and regulations were considered. The proposed changes are now under examination by the Department. With other recommendations prompted by the defects of the present inspection system, the Department will incorporate such of these proposed changes as seem desirable in a bill to amend the laws now in force. This bill will be submitted to Congress for its consideration during the present regular session. As a rule the increased security of life and property at sea is due more to the skill of shipbuilders, improvements devised by inventive genius, and the intelligence of navigators than to Government regulation. At the same time Government regulation can assist these forces by requiring all builders, owners, and officers to come up to the standards voluntarily fixed by the most careful and scrupulous. To this end the Department will ask for such powers as will enable it to adjust its general regulations, in order that they may be adaptable to the progress made in shipbuilding and navigation, and capable of meeting the growing needs of the merchant marine.
BUREAU OF FISHERIES.
The work of this Bureau in the interests of the commercial fisheries and the food-fish supply is proceeding on well-established lines and is achieving results of pronounced economic value. The early researches of the Bureau having shown that artificial propagation was the most feasible and effective form of aid which the Federal Government could render to maintain the fishery resources of the country, fish culture soon became and bas remained the dominant feature of the Bureau's operations. Numerous other lines of work, however, for the immediate benefit of the fisheries are now regularly prosecuted; thus, new fishing grounds are explored, improved apparatus is brought to the notice of fishermen, the merits of unused or little-used water products are made known and ways of utilizing them are pointed out, the best methods of preparing and preserving the catch are shown, new markets are found, timely statistics of production and prices are gathered and published, instructions for all kinds of aquicultural operations are issued, the methods of foreign fishermen in every branch of the fishing industry are studied in the interests of our own people, and in scores of other ways individuals, corporations, communities, States, and entire sections are intelligently advised and aided.
In stocking public waters with food fishes the Bureau aims to make its operations commensurate with the magnitude of the fisheries and the vast area of the fishing grounds. It is necessary to deal, not with thousands or millions of young fish, but with hundreds of millions and even thousands of millions. When the results of the season's work at the individual hatcheries are combined, the aggregates are so large as to be almost beyond comprehension, far exceeding a billion food and game fishes during each of the past few years. From 80 to 90 per cent of these fishes would never have existed but for the Bureau's efforts, as they were hatched from eggs which had been taken from wild fish caught for market.
Species to which particular attention has been directed are the shad, the cod, the whitefish, the lake trout, the basses, the trouts, and the