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THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.
WITH PORTRAIT OF SECRETARY MCCULLOCH.
So long as the country struggles States involves the most important, under a vast National Debt, a depreci- delicate, unprecedented, and difficult ated Currency, and the Taxation which functions. The practical difficulties are these involve, the departinent of gov- hardly less than during the war; for ernment which has charge of its loans, then patriotism' silenced censure, and currency, and revenues, and whose du- nearly all men, conscious of the appalty it is to adjust all these to the in- ling difficulties of the financial situation, dustry, commerce, and genius of our shrank from administering, and almost people, must be of chief importance. feared to advise. But now every tyro We had been accustomed before the has become a financier, and trance-merebellion to style the Secretary of State, diums in every village offer for a small Premier. Questions of international charge to reconcile wounded lovers, or policy then chiefly engaged the atten- to answer all difficult questions of tion of statesmien and the sympathies finance. A politician who would not of the people. With the progress of the claim to be competent to make a shoe, war the country leaned alternately on not having learned the trade, will withthe Secretaries of War and of the Treas- out hesitation and without study conury. But with the return of peace, the struct a new national banking system, disbandment of our armies, the adjust- or 'destroy the old.
When so many ment of all foreign complications, and accomplished free lances in finance are the accession of all the disaffected and entering the field, men who have given rebellious portion of our people to such their lives to the careful study and a share of political power as may enable successful administration of monetary them to affect and embarrass the levy affairs naturally feel unwilling to risk of taxes, the payment of the debt, and the dangers of a competition in which the restoration of our currency to par, success provokes as severe criticism as the questions growing out of our finan- defeat. cial condition supersede all others, and The affairs of which the Secretary has make the Secretary of the Treasury, next charge employ the constant services of to the President, the most responsible 15,993 officers, clerks, and employés, of officer of the government. In England whom 3,520 are in the Bureaus at Washthe First Lord of the Treasury is Pre- ington, 5,151 are in the Custom-Houses mier. In France, Prussia, and the other and Sub-Treasuries, and 7,322 are in European Governments, the duties of the Internal Revenue service, includMinister of Finance, of Revenue, and of ing inspectors, collectors, assessors, etc., Commerce, which we concentrate upon throughout the United States. Of the our Head of the Treasury, are divided 41,000 officers of the government, about among various ministers, who in the two fifths act under the orders of the aggregate exercise a commanding in- Secretary of the Treasury. To give an fluence in their several cabinets. Yet outline of the organization of this vast nowhere have financial questions such force, through whose hands every dollar urgency, and even danger, as in the of the funds of the government has been United States. Whether compared, collected and disbursed, would be more therefore, with other officers of our own laborious than interesting. The inquirgovernment, or with any member of ing mind learns, with a misty sense of foreign administrations, the post of undefined acquisition, that the Treasury Secretary of the Treasury of the United Department is divided into eighteen Bureaus, viz.: the Secretary's, First Comp- with the certificates of deposit and the troller's, Second Comptroller's, Com- books. Thereupon the certificates of missioner of Customs, First, Second, deposit are cancelled to prevent their Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Audit- use again, and the cancelled certificates or's, Treasurer's, Register's, Solicitor's, and bonds are returned to the Register, Comptrollers of the Currency and of who issues the latter to the public Internal Revenue, Statistics, Court Sur- creditor. The legal-tender notes, comvey, and Light-Houses. Of these the monly called “greenbacks,” are enAuditors and Comptrollers are engaged graved and printed in New York by the in examining accounts of receipts and American and National Bank-Note Comexpenditures, the investigation and de- panies.* The notes are forwarded by excision by the Auditor being prelimi- press to the Secretary, delivered to the nary, and by the Comptroller final, Chief of the Currency Bureau, there Three Auditors and one Comptroller are counted, separated, trimmed, examined, occupied with military and naval ac- and delivered to the Treasurer, who credcounts, and the like force with the civil. its them in his accounts, and he becomes Every payment is authorized by the debited on the books of the Register. Secretary only after its propriety has They are paid to the public by the been certified by an Auditor and Comp- Treasurer. No money is received into troller.' Accounts of all receipts and or paid from the Treasury except on expenditures are kept by the Treasurer, the signature of a Comptroller, the the Comptroller, the Register, and the Register, and finally of the Secretary Secretary, but most fully by the Reg- himself. All moneys are received and ister. Collectors and Receivers account certificates of deposit are issued by the weekly, monthly, and quarterly, accord- receiver as deposited to the credit of ing to the amounts of their collections. the Treasurer, and paid by checks on They are brought to account in cases the depositaries. In conducting the of delay by the Comptroller and So- Treasury, there is no alternative but to licitor of the Treasury. The functions exempt the Secretary from responsibilof the other Bureaus are suggested by ity for the countless millions which go their titles. Each of these Bureaus is through his hands, or to pass every further divided into divisions, of which dollar under his eye. The latter course, the Secretary's comprises the following: the only one involving actual safety to “Of Warrants," • Appointments," either the Secretary or the people, inrency,” “ Redemption," " Loans," · Cap- volves a great deal of drudgery in the tured and Abandoned Property,” “Reve- mere reading and signing of papers, in nue-Tariff,” “Revenue-Marine,” “Remis- which a single erroneous signature sion of Forfeitures,”. “Fines and Pen- might cost the country thousands of alties," "Internal Revenue Law," " In- dollars, and the Secretary his honor and ternal Revenue Finance,” “Customs, position. By no amount of organiza“Administration, and Warehousing," tion, therefore, can the Secretary avoid "Steamboat-Inspection," "Shipping and the vast drudgery essential to the mereConsular Correspondence," " Supervis- ly HONEST performance of his duties. ing Architect," " Recording and Library Only after this labor has been performeil Documents and Files,” and “ Printing." can he give attention to the appoint
In effecting loans, the money loaned ment and removals of his 16,000 subis deposited to the credit of the Treas- ordinates, and to the myriad questions ury. Upon the certificates of deposit of law, expediency, method, and detail, the Register fills out the bonds, which which come up to him from every city since 1863 are printed in the Printing Division of the Secretary's Bureau, and * In the printing of notes by these Companies, sends them to the Loan Branch of the
whether for our own Government or for the vari
ous European and American nations which they Secretary's office, where they are re- have furnished with a paper currency, no instanos corded, countersigned, and compared of loss has ever occurred.