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the Department of State be divided, in respect of compensation, into four grades:
1 clerk of first grade.
(See, annexed, Hon. Cave Johnson's report, No. 161, January 27, 1837, No. 7.)
A communication was made to Congress on the 19th February, 1838, by Mr. Forsyth, and signed by the other heads of Departments, in which, referring to the several representations made by them all, on former occasions, on the subject of compensation to clerks, they say that they cheerfully unite in expressing the opinion that a general law, increasing the rate of compensation, and graduating that compensation according to the services required, is indispensable, as an act of justice to the persons employed. (See letter annexed, No. 8.)
A joint communication was made to Congress on 11th May, 1838, by the heads of Departments, in which they say that the bill reported by the Committee of Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, on 27th January, 1837, contains, in their opinion, a proper general classification and arrangement of the clerks in the respective Departments therein named. (See Hon. Cave Johnson's report, referred to above, and annexed as No. 7.)
In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives, calling on the heads of Departments to report what number of clerks have been employed by them in replying to the various calls for information which had been made by the House of Representatives at the then session, and if any extra clerks had been employed under such calls, how many, and at what expense, Mr. Forsyth stated, on the 4th December, 1838, that, during said session, twenty-two resolutions of the House of Representatives, calling for information on various subjects, were addressed or referred to the Department of State ; that these resolutions, in the aggregate, were in the Department one hundred and twenty days before answers to them could be prepared, without disregarding the current business; and that, on some of them, all the clerks in the Department were employed in selecting and copying the required papers, but that the greater part of the duty was performed by a portion of them. He further stated, that so much of the said work as could not be executed in the Department was done by sixteen persons, at an expense of about $1,100.
For further information, I submit for the inspection of the Secretary of State a printed paper, containing the arrangement and names of the gentlemen employed, the distribution of their duties, and the rules for the performance of their duties, drawn up in 1836. (See printed paper annexed, No. 9.)
At present, the following persons are employed in the Department of State:
Chief Clerk D. F. Webster - - - - - - - $2,000
Keeper of the archives. Mr. Dickens
- - - - - - $1,400
Translator and librarian. Mr. Greenhow . . . . . . . $1,600
Disbursing agent. Mr. Stubbs .
im . i And as superientendent of the building he receives $250
FRANCIS MARKOE, JR. Hon. DANIEL WEBSTER, Secretary of State.
No. 1. Mr. Clay to the Hon. Louis McLane, chairman of the Committee of
Ways and Means, House of Representatives.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 14, 1826. Sir: I feel it to be my duty to submit to the consideration of the Committee of Ways and Means the propriety of making provision for an addition to the present number of clerks in the Department of State. Independent of the increase of business, proceeding from an augmentation of the population and wealth of the country, there has been a great recent addition to the labors of that Department, made chiefly within the present year, in the institution of diplomatic and other relations with the new American Powers, by which our foreign missions are duplicated. We have seven missions in Europe, and (including the republic of Peru, to which one is proposed) we have also seven on this continent. There is likewise a considerable increase, though not yet in the same proportion, of our consuls, in consequence of that description of public agent, which was not received during the prevalence of the Spanish colonial system, being now admitted by the independent American Powers. All the newly established States with which we have thus become connected conduct their correspondence with us in the Spanish and Portuguese languages, and hence the necessity of translations much more frequently than formerly. Some estimate of the extent of the duties attached, and which properly appertain to this Department, may be formed, by considering that it maintains a regular foreign correspondence with fourteen American ministers, who are abroad, of both grades, four agencies at the Barbary Powers, who unite in themselves the functions of ministers and consuls, two agents of public claims at Paris and London, one hundred and ten consuls, generally about fourteen foreign ministers resident in the United States, and a large, though fluctuating number of foreign consuls in the United States. Special missions, sometimes public and sometimes private, according to the exigencies of the public service, oceasionally sent to foreign countries, also serve to add to our labors.
On the extent, nature, and variety of the domestic business which is confided to the Department of State, it is not supposed to be necessary to dwell; but it is proper that I should state that portions of it are in great arrear. It is made the duty of the Secretary of State, by the act of 1789, to cause the bills, orders, resolutions, and votes of Congress, to be recorded in books provided for that purpose. There is scarcely a record in the office made in compliance with that law. From the commencement of Mr. Jefferson's administration, no manuscript records have been attempted to be made of the acts of Congress, except an inconsiderable essay which has been begun since the 4th of March last. Those which were made prior to that period were destroyed. Thus, if the requirement in the act of 1789 remains unrevoked, it is necessary to have recorded the acts of Congress, almost for the whole period of the present Government. It is probable that some of my predecessors supposed that a careful preservation of the printed acts was a substantial compliance with the law. My immediate predecessor thought otherwise ; but could not, with a proper attention to other official calls, advance further in the work than to collect some blank record books which were wanted for its execution.
If there be any diversity of opinion as to the utility of a manuscript record of the acts of Congress, considering how extensively they are diffused, and therefore how great the chance of their preservation is, through the medium of the press, there will, it is believed, be none as to the propriety of such a record of patents granted to authors and inventors, which have no such actual means of diffusion and preservation. But all the patents which have been issued to promote the progress of science and the useful arts remain to be recorded, with the exception of some few which have been recently recorded. The business of the Patent Office had increased to an extent so far beyond the capacity of the superintendent and his assistant to execute it, that I felt it necessary, during the last summer, to sanction the temporary employment of two additional clerks, for the necessary transaction of its business, until the pleasure of Congress should be known.
Should the Department of State continue unchanged in its present organization, I beg leave respectfully to submit that, to ensure the prompt, full, and faithful despatch of the public business, it is necessary that authority should be given to employ, in addition to the clerks now authorized by law, one translator of foreign languages and three other clerks, two of them for the Department of State, and one for the Patent Office. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
H. CLAY Louis McLANE, Esq.,
Chairman Commitlee of Ways and Means, H. R.
Mr. Van Buren to the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,
House of Representatives.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 29, 1830. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23d instant, with a copy of the resolution of the Committee on Foreign Relations, requesting that information should be given to this Department, by its chairman, that the committee was ready to receive any communication which this Department might think proper to make to it on that part of the President's message which relates to the reorganization of “ the Department of State.”
Conformably with the suggestion of the committee, I beg leave to refer it to the extracts enclosed, from messages of Presidents Madison and Adams to the two Houses of Congress, recominending the establishment of another Executive Department of Government, to be charged with duties overburdening other Departments, or which were not annexed to any Department by express provision of law; which serve to show the necessity that existed, in the opinion of those experienced statesmen, for the establishment of another Executive Department for the despatch of public business. For the convenience of the committee, I have had these extracts made, and now submit them with that view.
I transmit, likewise, for the same purpose, copies of several communications, made by my immediate predecessor in this office to committees of the House of Representatives, which will tend to show the increase of business which, from time to time, had devolved upon the Department, and to illustrate the fact, that to a very great proportion of this business it was utterly and physically impossible for the Secretary himself to devote the attention which was due to it, from the growing accumulation and pressure of other concerns, of higher public interest, constantly demanding and occupying his almost exclusive attention.
I have caused an abstract to be prepared of the legislative acts concerning the organization of this Department, and of its duties as defined by law, or otherwise appertaining to it, which, with the extracts and copies above mentioned, and the observations by which it is accompanied, will serve to place the whole subject of its reference under the view of the committee, with the elucidation required.
I beg leave also to enclose, for the consideration of the committee, the project of a law authorizing the appointment of an assistant Secretary of State, under the idea that this plan would be more acceptable than one for the establishment, at the present time, of a separate Executive Department, and with the hope that the duties of this may be conveniently and satisfactorily discharged by the means of this addition to the existing establishment. I am, with great respect, sir, your obedient servant,
M. VAN BUREN. WILLIAM S. ARCHER, Esq.,
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
List of accompanying papers.
L. 1816.Couny deesident with a Nin
Extract from President Madison's message to Congress, dated 3d December, 1816, commencing with the words “ The extent,” &c., and ending with the words “any department.”
Extract from President Adams's message to Congress, dated 6th December, 1825, commencing with “ Nine years have elapsed,” &c., and ending with “ my own experience.”
Mr. Clay's report to the Committee of Ways and Means, House of Representatives, dated 14th January, 1826.
Mr. Clay's report to the Committee of Ways and Means, House of Representatives, dated 16th February, 1826.
Mr. Clay's report to the Committee on Retrenchment, House of Representatives, dated - 29, 1828 ; extract-from the commencement of the letter to the words “wants may require."
Abstract of the legislative acts concerning the organization of the Department of State, and of its duties as defined by law, or otherwise devolving upon it.
Project of a law concerning the reorganization of the Department, &c.
Extract of a letter from Mr. McLane to the Hon. J. K. Polk, chairman
of the Committee of Ways and Means, February 3, 1834. I deem it my duty also to state that an equally important and necessary improvement would be in the augmentation of the salary of the chief clerk of the Department. In the contemplation of the law establishing the Department, and in the practice of the office, the chief clerk is in fact, though not in name, an assistant or under Secretary; and, in the absence of the head of the Department, always charged with the care and preservation of the archives, and most generally with all the official duties. The duties of the Department of State, moreover, are, for the most part, strictly confidential; and, in those which relate to our foreign affairs, of a very delicate nature, requiring not only great fidelity, but talent and education of a high order, general information, and an accurate knowledge of public affairs, both foreign and domestic, not necessarily required in other inferior officers of the Executive Government. For such qualifications I conceive the salary at present allowed to the chief clerk is altogether insufficient. I beg