Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the patent and copyright business, and of the affairs of the territories. The long corridors of the Department are paved with tiles, and its offices are decorated and handsomely furnished. The library, with its original copy of the Declaration of Inde. pendence and other interesting relics, is much frequented by visitors. Congress appropriates annually $1,400,000 for the expenses of the State Department.

The Secretary of War, as every one knows, is charged with the care of the army. He has also other important duties—he has charge of the Signal Service, arranges the curriculum of the Military Academy, has charge of the public buildings and grounds in the District of Columbia, and of the national cemeteries; has direction of the construction of cribs or piers by owners of saw-mills on the Mississippi River; is required to keep in repair the Louisville and Portland Canal, must remove sunken vessels obstructing navigation, has control of the National Park on Mackinac Island in Michigan, and directs the expenditure of the appropriations for curbing and improving the Mississippi River.

He also submits an annual report to Congress of examinations and surveys of rivers and harbors made by the Engineer Corps, with a full statement of facts showing how such improvements will benefit the commerce of the country.

He has as assistants: a Chief Clerk, with duties like those of the Chief Clerk of the State Department; an Adjutant-General, who is really his secretary, and promulgates the orders and writes the letters and reports of the Department; an Inspector-General, who inspects and reports upon the personnel and material of the army; a Quartermaster-General, who provides quarters and transportation for the army, and has charge of the national cemeteries; a Commissary-General, who provides food for men and animals; a Surgeon-General, who has charge of the medical department; a Paymaster-General, who pays the army; a Chief of Engineers, who has a variety of duties to perform-the care of forts and other defences, of military bridges, harbors and river improvements, military and geographical explorations and surveys, the survey of the lakes, and of any other engineering work that may be assigned him by the President or by Congress; a Chief of Ordnance, who has charge of the artillery, smallarms, and munitions of war of the army; a JudgeAdvocate-General, who records proceedings of courtsmartial, and furnishes reports and opinions on all questions of law that may be submitted to him ; and a Chief Signal Officer, who instructs officers and men in signal duties, and has the reports from the numerous stations consolidated and published. Each of these officers is at the head of a Bureau, with a small army of clerks and employés, each with his prescribed duties to perform. There are in all about seventy-five clerks besides the heads of bureaus.

This force would require to be much larger if our army were kept upon a war footing like those of European countries. It is, however, against the spirit and letter of the Constitution to maintain a large standing army in time of peace, and our entire military force at present comprises but forty regi. ments—ten of cavalry, five of artillery, and twentyfive of infantry-in all 2,143 officers and 23,335 enlisted men. About sixty millions annually are disbursed by the War Department.

The Navy Department, which we shall find on the east front, has “the general superintendence of the construction, manning, armament, equipment, and employment of vessels of war.” It has also its Chief Clerk, and the following heads of bureaus whose titles sufficiently indicate their duties : Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, of Navigation, Ordnance, Provisions and Clothing, Medicine and Surgery, Construction and Repair, Equipment and Recruiting, Engineer-in-Chief, and Judge-AdvocateGeneral. The naval force at present consists of 1,948 officers, 7,500 enlisted men, and 750 apprentices. There is also a Marine Corps of 2,028 men. About fifteen million dollars yearly are required to meet the expenses of the Navy Department.

Having now finished our tour of the huge building —without, however, having stopped to notice, guidebook fashion, all its objects of beauty and interest, -we will go east along Pennsylvania Avenue to Fifteenth Street, and enter the immense freestone and granite building known as the Treasury--next to the Capitol the most conspicuous edifice in Washington, from the fact that it closes on the west the same vista—Pennsylvania Avenue--which the Capitol fills on the east.

The original building was designed by Robert Mills and was finished in 1841. The extensions, designed by Thomas U. Walter, who was at that time architect of the Capitol, were completed in 1869. Next to the State Department the Treasury is the most important department of government, since it directs the financial policy of the nation, and is charged with the collection and, in a large degree, with the disbursement of the national revenues.

The Secretary of the Treasury has also cognizance of the construction of public buildings; the coinage and printing of money; the collection of statistics; the administration of the coast and geodetic survey, life-saving, light-house, revenue-cutter, steamboat-inspection, and marine-hospital branches of the public service. His force of employés—some three thousand in number is larger than that of the other departments combined; the salary list amounts to some three million of dollars

per annum. If we stroll through the corridors of the mammoth building we may read over the doors the names of the various divisions by means of which its immense business is conducted in orderly and accurate fashion. They are—“ Warrants, Estimates, and Appropriations," Appointments," “Customs," “ Public

“ Moneys," " Loans and Currency," " Mercantile-Ma”

“ rine, and Internal Revenue," " Revenue-Marine," “Stationery, Printing, and Blanks,” “Captured Property," "Claims and Lands," “Mails and Files," and “Special Agents.” There are besides these the following “Offices," not all of which however are located in the building—“Supervising Architect," “Director of the Mint,” “Superintendent of Engraving and Printing," " Supervising Surgeon-General of

[graphic][ocr errors]

THE TREASURY BUILDING.

« ZurückWeiter »