Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/795

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Nor if we could have a more frequent census would it, perhaps, be desirable. We should not have time to become acquainted with the facts ascertained by one census, and to see their bearing upon our life and present occupations, before another census would be at our door with its claims upon our attention, because possibly necessitating some important change in our plans or pursuits.

With the growth of the country, the census constantly becomes a greater and more complicated matter. It was a comparatively simple affair at first. It was little more than the enumeration of the population of the country, for the purpose of apportioning direct taxes in the several States, and also the representatives in the national Congress. For the latter purpose the respective numbers of whites and blacks were given, three fifths of the latter being counted, during the existence of slavery, in determining the quota of representation for each State.

A noticeable fact in regard to the census of the United States is, that it is the result of a constitutional ordinance, the very first article of the Constitution providing for a general enumeration of the population within three years from the convening of the first session of Congress, and again during every subsequent decade. The first census was consequently taken in 1790. It gave the names of heads of families, the number of free white males above and below sixteen years of age, the number of females, and the number of slaves. Subsequent censuses have extended the classification so as to give the number of persons of any specified age, from one year upward to a hundred, and in recent years various other particulars. In 1810 the marshals were directed for the first time to make returns of the manufactures and manufacturing establishments of the country. So, from time to time, the census reports have embraced new facts in regard to the people and the products of their industry.

The ninth census, that of 1870, was much more full in this respect than any that preceded it. It gave not only the numbers of the people of all ages and the sexes, but their occupations and the products of their industries, as they had never been given before. Perhaps no country had ever had its material and social condition, its resources and productions, so fully presented to view as were ours by this census. With the experience gained in its compilation, and the satisfaction which its fullness had given, the census of 1880 was undertaken with the design to make it still more full and complete. Among other subjects to which special attention has been given in taking the tenth census is that of our forests. Hitherto the forests have been looked upon chiefly as the source of lumber-supply, and the census has taken account of them only so far as to report the statistics of the lumber trade, and some of the industries connected with it or derivable from it. But the importance of the forests at once appears when we consider that the census of 1870 reported the annual value of sawed