Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 1.djvu/266

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demands of progressive civilization, had not only sprouted, but grown to a large tree, whose fruit was abundant if not always perfect. Like all fruit, the fruit of the census tree has been of various grades. The information was not always accurate, but it was rarely vicious, and taking the census of 1850 as the first great stage of growth, it must be understood as of varied quality. I have said the results were never vicious. This is true, because overstatements are rare under census-taking. If the returns were in any sense defective they were defective as to quantity stated. I believe that no census ever taken in this country has given the full amount of production, for instance. If more than the full amount was given the results might be damaging, but statements of less than the full amount, while disappointing, have little or no disastrous effect. The contributions of the census of 1850 must be considered as positive and valuable. They must be used, however, in a critical way and with a thorough understanding of the doctrine of errors in statistical work.

The censuses of 1860 and 1870 were taken after the methods adopted under the law providing for the census of 1850. The contributions, therefore, are practically identical with those under the census of 1850 and need not be particularly enumerated or described.

We now come to another epoch in our census-taking, for the enumeration of 1880 was of encyclopedic proportions. It was projected by General Walker, who had taken the census of 1870, at which time an ineffectual attempt was made to expand the scope of the Federal census. General Garfield at that time (1870) was the chairman of the committee of the House on the ninth census. January 18, 1870, he made a report from that committee. This report is exhaustive and instructive. It gives the history, briefly, of census-taking in the world, and closes with recommendations for the taking of the ninth census. It pointed out all the defects in the then existing census methods and asked Congress to legislate intelligently and fully for the future; and General Garfield presented a bill providing for the taking of the ninth census, etc. As I remem-