Message from the President of the United States, transmitting a report

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lo the

8e7iate and House of Representatives: transmit herewith, for the consideration of the Congress, a report by the Committee on Department Methods on the Documentary Historical Publications of the United States Government, together with draft of a proposed bill providing for the creation of a permanent Commission on National Historical Publications. I

Theodore Roosevelt.

The White House, February

11, 1909. 3




Historical Publications of the

United States Government.

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL. Washington, January 11, 1909. To the President: As directed by you, the Committee on Department Methods appointed the following gentlemen as an Assistant Committee on the Documentary Historical Publications of the United States Government: Mr. Charles Francis Adams, president of the Massachusetts Historical Society; Prof. Charles M. Andrews, of the Johns Hopkins Universit}^; Prof. William A. Dunning, of Columbia University; Mr. Worthington C. P^ord, Chief of the Division of Manuscripts in the Library of Congress; Prof. Albert Bushnell Hart, of Harvard University; Mr. J. Franklin Jameson, director of the Department of Historical Research in the Carnegie Institution; Prof. Andrew C. McLaughlin, of the Universitj' of Chicago; Rear-Admiral Alfred T. Mahan, U. S. Navy, retired, and Prof. Frederick J. Turner, of the University of Wisconsin. Mr. Ford was, at your suggestion, designated as chairman. The Committee on Department Methods submits herewith a report by this Assistant Committee, and also a draft of a proposed bill which provides for the creation of a permanent Commission on National Historical Publications. are in accord with the recommendations contained in the report. Yours, very respectfully,


Lawrence O. Murray, GiFFORD PiNCHOT,

Coimnittee on Depa7'tment Methods.




review of the coin^e hitherto pursued by the Goverument in the matter indicating tl^ cost, criticising the want of method, and sliowing the present moment to be an ojjportune time for reform general survey of the field of United States history, showing what has been done to cover it by Government documentary publications, and especially what gaps exist in the record, needing to be filled by Governof historical publications,





action: Constitutional and political history b. Financial and commercial history c. Economic and social history d. Diplomatic historv e. ]Military history ." f. Naval history Recapitulation of the recommendations made in the course of this survey, most of them being smnmed u]> in the recouunendation of a series of National State Pai)ers, conceived as a continuation, modernized, of the old American State Papers General considerations as to tlie proper policy to be imrsued by the Government in respect to historical publications a.



5. 6.



statement of the system pursued by other governments Suggestions for a permanent Commission on National Historical Publications, and as to its mode of operation Dra/t of a bill to create a permanent Commission on National Historical Publications


13 23 27 31 33 35

38 38 40

43 45





The undersio'iied committee was called into existence b}' the Committee on Department Methods in consequence of an instruction from the President fiom which, in your letter requesting us to serve, you quote the following paragraph as indicating the objects of our appointment: With a view to the adoption of a more systematic and effective method of dealing with the problem of documentary historical publications of the United States Government, so as to secure a maximum of economy and efficiency, you are instructed to consider the desiral)ility of reviewing, with the aid of a subcommittee of experts, the whole field of documentary publications which consist wholly or mainly of material for the history of the United States, and framing a preliminary plan which will represent the delil)erate judgment of historical experts and serve to guide subsequent governmental work of this kind into the best channels. In accordance with this instruction and the terms used bj' you in aDDointing the t-ulx-onnnittee, we beg leave to submit the following report, dealing with {a) the course hitherto pursued ]>v the Government in the printing of volumes of documentary historical material; {h) the ground covered by such volumes already published and the extent to which they serve the interests of workers in our national history; (c) the gaps to be noted in our historical record which might be filled hy Government publications, and {d) the possibilitv- of putting into operation a system whereby such issues might be steadilv kept to a high standard of quality and to a scientific plan, orderly and rational. We wish to make it plain at the outset that our object is not to propose vast and disproportionate expenditures for a subject which deeply interests us, but rather to make suggestions which are in the interest of genuine economy. We assume that the ])ublication of documentary historical materials is a regidar function of all civilized governments, and that the Government and people of the United States are willing to spend reasonable sums of money in such publication; but we be-

way to better results lies through more carefulness in planning and executing rather than through more lavish expenditure. Our report ranges over many fields and discusses manj" desirable undertakings; but nothing could be further from our thoughts than to propose vast schemes for instant execution. Instant execution would be bad execution. We have endeavored to look forward into the future and to frame large plans, which can be executed in parts and developed by time and experience, after the analogy of a grou]) of farseeing architects who shoidd frame large plans for the improvement and future development of a great modern city, but without expecting that all things shoidd be done or even resolved upon at once. lieve that the





THE COURSE HITHERTO PURSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT. other enlightened oovernmonts, that of the Tnited States historical materials, as among the surest means of maintaining an intelligent national i^atriotism. As early as 1790 provision was made for the reprinting of the Journals The ten years ))eginning with ISIT saw of the Continental Congress. the pul)lication of the Journal of the Fed(M-al Convention of 1787. of the collection of State Papers known as Wait's, of the Secret flournals of the Continental Congress, and of reprints of its ordinar}' journal and of the Journals of the Senate and House of Kepresentatives. In proportion to the. resources of the Government and the country, the period from 1S21» to l.S(il may fairly he declared to have been the most active in historical publication. Beside spending $130,000 in the purchase of the manuscripts of the earlier statesmen. Congress provided in greater or less measure, directly or indirectly, for the issue of Sparks's Diplomatic Correspondence of the Amei'ican Revolution, the I)i{)Iomatic C'oiTespondence of lf88-17si». Force's American Archives, the ]Madison Papers, the Works of Jetferson and Hamilton, the Letters and Other Writings of Madison, and, greatest undertaking of all, the ;>S folio volumes of the American State Papers, the last a series of which any nation may be proud, presenting in methodical arrangement all the chief administrative papers of our Hrst fort}' years under the Constitution. All this constituted a creditable achievement for a young nation not yet rich. But it is distinctly miscellaneous. It gives no evidence, except in the case of the great series of the American State Pai)ers. of a general plan de\ ised l^eforehand and based on careful thought as to what was most needed toward the developnuMit of Amei'ican histoi'y. And in the second place the relations of the (lovernnient to these publications, both in respect to supervision and in respect to tinance. were most various, evincing no settled theory as to how government historical publication should be conducted. For the period since the civil war we can set over against the various prodiu'ts of tlu^ antebellum pm-iod the most extensive and costly historical enterprise ever carried through by any government, the Ofticial Records of the War of the Rebellion, published in l^S vohunes at a cost computed at §2, 858.000. It is a monument of which the nation may l)e proud, though doubtless it is needlessly voluminous in certain parts. But as to consistency and continuity of |)lan, we have oidy to remark that during the preparation of the work eight changes of system were, by Congressional or departmental authority, etfect(>d in the




felt the oblitration to y^ublish

procedure of editing.




mention as illustrating the evils

attendant ui)on a lack of preliminary scientilic planning, that lieside the well-known I2S volumes a sei'ies of not fewer than 70 volumes, composed on an earlier and faulty j^lan, was put into type and piinted to the <'xtent of 30 copies. These \ olunuvs ha\e ne\er had any use, except to serve as printer's copy for the moi"e satisfactory compilation. Moreover, the proc(»ssof putting them into tyi)e and printing 30 cojiies of each was continued for eight years after the pu])lication of the tirst volume of the series which superseded them. A stronger illustration of the !ieed of Ix^tter suj^ervision over the (lovernment's histoi*ical publications, in the interest of (iiiality aufl economy, could hardly be ima«rined.





and the Naval Records of the War the Government has since 1890 expended nearly three million dollars (12,875,183) in printing documentar}' texts, calendars of manuscripts, and other historical volumes, an average of $159,737 per annum. In some cases full value has been received, but in others the historical worth of the result was unimportant and the volumes brought credit neither to the Government nor to the compilers. The truth of these criticisms of the present S3^stem, or want of sj'^stem, may be seen by a glance at the following table. It exhibits the titles and, so far as it can readil}' be traced, the cost of practically all the Government's historical pul)lications since 1890." Including" this gioantic series,

which accompanies


Records of the War of the Rebellion b Records of the War, Naval Messages and Papers of the Presidents ( 10 volumes Records of the Virginia ('ompany Journals of the Continental Congress (12 volumes) Revolutionarj' Diplomatic Correspondence (6 volumes) Documentary History of the Constitution (3 volumes) State Pafiers on the Purchase of Louisiana Jefferson's "Morals of Jesus" Journals of the Confederate Congress ( 7 volumes) Treaties and Conventions Treaties Now in Force Official Official




Digest of International Digest of International

881 821 205, 314 257, 899 ,



24, 000 56, 431

591 282 21, 258 22, 549 11,452 2, 964 18, 623



Law (Wharton) (3 volnraes) Law (Moore) (8 volumes)

56, 181

CALENDAKS. Calendars of the Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Franklin, Jones, and Vernon- Wager papers




Annual Reports

of the

American Historical Association, 1894

to date (21


80, 354

International Arbitrations (Moore) (6 volumes) Celebration of Flstablishment of Government Historical Register, United Stall's Army Legislative Historv of General Staff Alphabetical List of Battles Daughters of the American Revolution History of the Capitol istory of the Currency History of Education, Contributions to History of the Library of Congress History of Public Bui Idings

368 273 11, 993 5, 303 624 1 445 1 24, 338 2, 720 57, 016 6, 457 3, 484 53,







875, 183

The amount

of historical material thus presented is ample, and the expenditure has been more than liberal. Rut the list as a whole shows plainl}' the absence of a general plan. It is not only miscellaneous, but in some respects casual. It needs no demonstration that, with the same amount of expenditure, or less if need be, our Government could, by having a methodical plan representing expert opinion, make its efforts " Most of the data are derived from the report of the Printing Investigation mittee of 1906. Publication of the series began in 1881. i>






expenditiire.s more effective, avoid wiiste and duplication, iind bringout a product more useful and satisfactor}- to historians and the read \n^ public. The time is ripe for pursuing- such a course. All the series mentioned at)ove have now been brought to a conclusion except the Naval Records, the fJournalsof the Continental Congress, and, of course, the reports of the American Historical Association, which are annual.'^ The printing of the Naval Records and the Journals of the Continental Congress is costing at)Out $1<),0U0 per annum. These two excellent series should of course be continued. I5ut this is all that the (iovernment is doing at i)resent. Its historical publication is at a tit point for making a fresh start. The ground is not encumbered, as at times it has been, b}' existing enterprises hard to reconcile or combine into any consistent sciieme. The (Tovernment has j)ractically a free hand, and should use this opportune moment to think out a rational plan for the



This plan our committee has been invited to supply. As an indispensable first step, it has uiade a careful review of the whole tield of documentary publications for the history of the Tniti'd States. First, it di\'ided our whole national history into conAcnient sections, embracing all y^eriods and all the chief aspc^cts of the record constitutional, political, linancial, economic, social, diplomatic, military, and naval history. These were assigned respectively to the members most expert in their consideration. Each then prepared a careful survey of the special tield assigned to him, reporting- upon (rf) the materials for that period or aspect of American history- already in print, whether issued by the Federal Government or otherwise; (/>) the volumes or series of documentary material which might best be undertaken by Federal authority with a view to lilling gaps and making nioi-e complete the body of available material; {<;) t:he proi)able magnitude of each such undertaking; {//) the I'elative importance^ of the ent«>r|)rises thus designated as desirable, or the ordei- in which they might best be taken up. The preliminary reports thus prepared by the individual members of the committee were sent out in copies to all the other meml>ers for consideration and comment. A second general meeting was then held for their discussion. The results, so far as they lelate to the existing sbitus of documentation in the various fields of AnuM-ican history and the possibilities of its improvement, are stated in the next section. The sul)se(iuent sections pi-esent (t/) a sunnnary of the chief recommendations made in the course of the survey; (A) certain general considei-ations which seem to the conunittee worthy of remark (c) a description of the organization and method of procedure observed by the governments of other countries in dealing with their historical works; and {(/) suggestions, followed l)y a draft of a bill, for a permanent Conunission on National Historical Publications.



And one volume

of the History of the Library of Congrt«s.












portion!-; of our colonial histoiy it may be said with truth the business of state governments and historical societies to siippl}' the documents bv means of which the history of individual colonies, and local history in general, may be written. The United States Government has, therefore, usually left to such agencies the printing- of material relating to colonial history before ITT-i. But there are two phases of colonial history that transcend the fields of purely local activity and come within the purview of the National Government. These phases are, first, the relation of the colonies as a whole to the British Government, and, second, the movement toward union among the colonies themselves. During the colonial period the only central authority to which all the colonies were subject was the British Government. As the highest governmental power it corresponded in a sense to the Federal Government of to-day, and anticipated some of its forms, so that the history of its colonial organization and action is in many particulars the early history of our federal organization and action. Whatever material, therefore, serves to elucidate the relations between the colonies as a whole, and the Britisli Government, or between that Government and its ofhcial agents in America, is legitiniately a matter of concern to the United States Government, and the publication of such material, which lies beyond the scope of state, historical society, or private individual, should be made a national undertaking. Formal and continuous records of the colonial activity of the British Government, comparable to the journals of Congress, exist in the shape of two great bodies of unprinted material the Register of the Privy Council, 1G13-1T83, and the Jouinal of the Board of Trade and Foreign Plantations, 1660-1603, 1675-1782. But the British Government itself, aided by that of Canada and Iw the American Historical Association, has already begun the printing, in a series of 5 volumes entitled "Acts of the Privy Council (Colonial)," of those portions of the former record relating to America; while of the latter, the Journal of the Board of Trade, a complete transcript has been obtained b}^ the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, to which its issue in print ma}'" therefore appropriateh^ be left. For similar reasons, the National Government may leave at one side three other series which have a continental scope and significance and are important to the proper development of our colonial history, but are in a fair way to be executed by other means. prominent scholar is understood to be preparing as a private enterprise a collection of all the British statutes relating to America; the American Antiquarian Society is dealing similarly with the series of royal proclamations, and the Carnegie Institution with the American proceedings and debates in Parliament. Coimnissions and instructions to governors. But the operation of the Imperial Government may be traced with almost an equal degree of continuity in another series of documents, only less important than the two records named first above, and this is the commissions, instructions, "additional instructions," warrants, and inferior commissions

Of most









issued by royal authority to royal <>()vernor.s of colonies. Although these doc'ument.s relate respectively to individual colonies, yet since they were issued, one after another, by the same power, and drawn up successively by the Board of Trade or other official autht)rity for the guidance and use of the royal governors in the colonies, they have a high iuii)ortance for the general constitutional history of the colonies, enabling us to trace the developiuent of go\ernuiental policy and pi'acIn a few instances the conunissions have been tice on American soil. obtained and pl-intt'd by the States and 1)V private societies and individuals, but the undertaking as a whole is too large for private enterprise and should be promoted by the National Government. Scarcely any of the instructions, etc., have been printed, though it is probable The that a complete set of all these documents could be obtained. work should be very carefully edited, not only that every possible document should be obtained, but that repetitions should be avoided. Many of the documents are but coi)ies of similar docuiuents previously Such variations, however, issued, containing only a few variations. require to be carefully noted, since in these changes lies the progressive development of the policy of the home (iovernment. The constitutional history of some colCliartevH and constltntlonK. onies rests upon charters or letters patent from the Crown, or upon complete collection of these is a similar fundamental documents. desideratum. If we do not place it in the same rank as the pi'eceding item (conunissions, etc.), it is for two reasons. The first is that the conunissions and instructions, l)eing more frequent and less formal and rigid, cast a more abundant light on Mie proces-;es of constitution! development, and that, though from popular reasonings one might infer the contrary, British" colonial govermnent was chieiij' and typically government under under royal commissions and instructions and not government under colonial charters. In the second place, we have to take account of an existing, though confessedly very imperfect, collection, Poore's Charters and Constitutions, and of the fact that a new edition has already been prepared and The qualities of this is all in type at the (Jovernment Printing Office. new edition are a matter of warm dispute. It is ]iossil)le that, owing to disagrc'cments respecting paA'uient for the work of editing (disagreements referred last winter to a committee of the House of RepresentaWithout tives and not yet reported upon), it may never ))e published. expj"essing any opiinon (»n its merits (though we may point to the dispute itself as an evidence of the need of an expert conunitteeof advico on historical pul)lications undertaken by Congress), we may say that no pait of the original Poore was so defective as this colonial portion; that the completest scholarship would ix^ requisite in order to determine, on legal and historical grounds, all the documents which belonged in such a series; and that certainly, in order to tell the story of development which it is designed to tell, it ought to include the whole series of letters patent for continental American and West Indian colonies and not simply those hitherto end)raced in such collections. If the edition of Poore, now under discussion, is not pui)lished, the committee would not reconnnend that th(» Govermnent again unite in oiu» collection the charters of the colonial [)eriod and the state constitutions of later times. The two tasks rc^iuire ditierent (|ualifications in the editor, and their association t(Muls to produce an exaggerated impression of the extent to which the constitutions were derived from the charters.






Correspondence of the British Secretaries of State. We have in the English archives, in letter books and letters received, on the one hand the correspondence of the Secretary of State witii colonial oovernors and other civil officials in America, and on the other hand his correspondence and that of the Admiralty and the Secretary at AVar with commanders in chief of the army in America, and with admiials of the tieets in American waters. Both series are very extensive, especiall}' after 1705. Probably not a tenth part of either has been printed. Both are continental or national in their bearings, not local or confined to one colony or State, Carefully composed selections from them would be invaluable for colonial history and for that of the War of Independence, through which they should of course be continued without break. Plans

will elucidate the texts, 2.


greatly needed.


In one material particular the entire period since 1774 differs from the preceding, namely, that the Federal Government itself possesses most of the original niaterials necessary for elucidating its own histor3\ It will have been perceived that we are l)v no means disposed to recommend that it confine its historical publications to materials which are in its own possession. That would be an unscientific course, substituting, for such standards as make for rational completeness, criteria dependent on the accidents of deposit or ownership. But in those fields in which we must expect the main work of the Government to consist in printing what it has, our task of surve3'and recommendation has been greatly aided by the existence of a systematic inventory in the new edition of Van Tyne and Leland's Guide to the Archives of the Government of the Cnited States in Washington, of which we have mad(> large use. In projjortion to the amount of extant material, the constitutional and political history of the whole period 1774-1829 has been more completely covered by documentar}' publication than any other. Many portions of the field have been so amply supplied that new governmental enterprises could not be reconunended. Particularly is this true of the first of the chronological divisions into which the period naturally falls, embracing the years 1774-1789. The new edition of the Journals of the Continental Congress, now being published by the Library of Congress, and the proposed volumes of letters from its members describing its doings, to be published by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leave only one important desideratum with respect to the constitutional and political action of the Federal Government in 1774-1787, namely, that the flournals should be accompanied by a body of selections from the papers of the Continental Congress. These papers, petitions, letters, etc., have been





printed to bat a minor extent. They are of j^reat importance as exhibiting more fully than the Journals can do the grounds of the actions of C'ongross and for the light which they cast on all phases of the struggle for independence and new national organization. Professor Farrand's monumental Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 should certainly be printed by the Government if not soon published otherwise. If that most useful work were once issued, w^e should think that, since we already have Klliot's Debates and the writings of the chief statesmen concerned in the Convention, it would be superriuous for the Federal Oovernment to project any further documentary publications vin illustration of the formation and adoption of the Constitution. The constitutional and political history of the States during these years is, with the exception noted in the next paragraph, best left to them for documentation. New Hampshire, Khode Island, Pennsylvania, I)elaware, Virginia, North Carolina, and (leorgia have alread}^ provided for this nearly or (juite as well as the mattu'ials in their possession ptn-mit. State const/tiitlons. There exists a very active demand for a new edition of that portion of Poore's Charters and Constitutions w hich includes the State constitutions and the fundamental documents for provisional government immediately preceding them, from 1774 on. Everj'onc would be disposed to name this as one of the foremost desiderata. In a preceding paragraph allusion has been made to the existing attempt to meet this want, and the recommendation has been made that, in case the edition mentioned should not he accepted and {U-inted by Congress, the charters of the colonial era and the State constitutions of the later period should be treated as separate collections. Since 1S7(), the point at which Poore brought his work to a t-onclusion, at least twenty-three new constitutions have gone into etiect, many constitutional amendments have been adopted, and acts of Congress organizing or fundamentally affecting civil government in several Territories have been passed. Moreover, Poore's publication was marked by material omissions, such as that of the Iowa cotistitution of 1857. new edition is imperatively recpiired; the lapse of thirty years and the improvement in standards of editing have made tlic oi-iginal comyjilation quite out of date.





TO 1829.

For the period beginning in 1785) more remains to be done, though here also materials have been published with nuich amplitude. For the doings of the executive and legislative departments of the Government, we have the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, in maiiy ways unsatisfactory, t)ut not likely soon tO'be repiinted. the ,Journals of the Senate and House of Hc^presentatives, the Kxecutive .Journals of the Senate, the Annals of Congress and its contiiuiation the Register of Debates, and the mass of papers, partly of legislative and partly of executive origin, embraced in the great folio series of the American State Papers. We also havi' editions of the VV^ritings of Washington, .John Adams, .I-etferson, Madison, Monroe, Franklin, Hamilton. Jay, Gallatin, King, Calhoun, Clay, and Webster, and are promised those of R. H. Lee and the correspondence of Marshall. Among writings of statesmen, the great desiileratum is an edition of the correspondence





John Adams (little was printed in his Works) and of John Quincy Adams. Great abundance has l)een preserved by the family in both cases; it is earnestly to be hoped that we may some time have ample The correspondence of John Adams, Marshall, James A. publication. Bayard, and the Federal Pinckneys would be of oroat value in enablingof

us to understand the major portion of the Federalist party, as distinguished from the Hamiltonian wing, now so much better known. The first three volumes of the Executive Journals of the Senate, covering the period 17Sl)-18i^9. were published many years ago (1829) The in a comparatively small edition, and are not easy to procure. historical importance of these journals, exhibiting the action of the In view Senate on all appointments and on all treaties, is very great. of this and of the larj^e editions of public documents coiumonly issued, it is very unfortunate that the next 13 volumes, extending to 18H9 and publisiied in IS8T, w^ere printed in only 100 copies, and that volumes 17 to 29, covering the years 1869-1891 and published in 1901, were The result is that full sets of the pi-inted in an edition of only 250. Executive Joinnals of the Senate can not now be completed for less But it is probably too soon to suggest an immediate reisthan ^2oO. sue, unless the electrotype plates from Volume IV on are still in existence.

I)J>nt"x. The records of the debates in the earlier Congresses, as comi)rised in the Annals of Congress, leave nmch to he desired. It is not probable that we could nmch improve on the Register of Debates for the ensuing period, 1825-1837. Gales & Seaton, the publishers of the Register, finding that venture successful, proceeded in 183-1 to begin the tilling of the gap from 1789 by the preparation and issue of the Annals of Congress, which was completed to 182-1: in 42 volumes. From October, 1800, when their newspaper, the National Intelligencer, Avas founded, the}' seem to have reliecl entirely on the excellent reports which had appeared in its columns. During those 3^ears that newspaper had acquired such a reputation as a standard reporter of Congressional proceedings that, until the contrary is shown, we ma}'^ assume that nothing better can be done than to leave the Annals in its ])resent position of accepted authority for the debates of 1800-1824. For the debates of the House from its beginning in 1789 to March 8, 1790, the Annals merely copies Thomas Lloyd's Congressional Register (New York. 1789-1790,4 volumes), whose shorthand reports are ample and can not Ix? ])ettered. The same is true for the House debate on Jay's treaty in March and A])ril, 1796, when the compilers could copv from the tu'o volumes (Philadelphia, 1796) in which that debate was fully reported. But for othei' parts of the period from March, 1790, to May, 1800, it is nmch less true. For those years, with the exception named, Joseph (lales compiled his record from the liles of New York and Philadelphia newspapei's. Whether further use of newspapers of the time would add much is not yet known. Meanwhile it is impossible to recommend anything else, so far as House debates are concei'iied. than that we should rest content with what is given us in the Annals. It is impossible to accept with equal contiMitment our situation with respect to the earlier years' discussions in the Senate. From April, 1789, to February 20, 1794, and, indeed, with a single Ijiief exception, till December ^M, 1795, the Senate sat with closed doors. The news8.

Doc. 714, 60-2


— 18




no roport of its debates. The Aiiiuil.s have onl3' With verv slight exceptions, our matter derived from the flournals. oiih' kr.owlodjre of del)ates in the Setiate durino- these years is derived from the record of them kept durin"' two sessions (April 2-i, 1789', to March ;>, 1791) bv Senator William Machw, of Pennsylvania, whose Sketches of Del)ate (Harrisbiirg, 188i>; New York,ls9(i) oiveusonly a It is unfortunate that we have nothi?ig partial and partisan view. Attempts should better, and for the next few years nothino- at all. be made to glean and publish all other existing' diaries or records. puper.s contiiitHMl

IStafi' Irla/x. —But in the field of the judiciary it is j)ossibIe to suggest a pul)lication (not contin(>d, it is true, to the yeai's 1783-1829) which would be of great use not only to historical scholars but to lawyers and pul)lic men a collection of the State Trials analogous to the English series known by that name. All who have used the latter know how unportant and interesting it is to Kltiglish constitutional and '"political history. The term ''state trials'' not having an exact legal But signiiicance, a series so entitled might be given various extents. in it shoidd certainly include (1) all trials of impeachments (seven mimber) before the United States Senate. ('J) all im})ortant cases in the United States courts in which men were tried for otlenses against the Governmentor against publicpeaceand order (e. g\, the sedition trials, Burr, Vallandigham, Surratt), and (3) all treason trials in the courts of the States. Of the trials included in these three classes very few are in the most generally accessible body of judicial reports, those of the Supreme Court of the L'liited States; and indeed it is usually the rei)ortsof the trials in the courts of first instance that arc most interesting to the student of history. Most of the state trials exist only in si'parate books or pamphlets so hard to procure that very few historical scholais can hope to possess, or even to have near them, so complete a collection as is above suggested. Probably, however, we ought to adopt a broader construction of the phrase "state trials," and to include ihe most iui])ortant inipi-acinnent trials in the States; prosecutions related to international politics, like those of Smith and Ogdeii in the Miranda ati'air. or McLeod in that of the C'lroliin'; cases involving tln^ fundamental relations of state and nation, like that of Gen. ]\lichael Bright in isoi) or (iarlaiurs case in 18(i7; cases of civilians tried by military tribunals, like Milligan's case; and the various fugitive-slave cases Ainiaiad^ Prigg, Sims, Burns, etc. After including all that is important of ,sucii material the bulk of the proposed collection would probably not be greater than 2.") octavo volum(>s. The advice of representatives of the Federal judiciary and of the bar should be iinoked in sh:ii)ing and executing such a series.





TO 1861.

Printed rnaft'rin1s.~^\:\\^ material now availal)le in jirint for this portion of our constitutional and political history is extensive and various. First in importance among printed sources are the I'eports of debates f\\\ Congress, which from 18:i."» to 1837 are to be found in (iales tSc Seaton's Kegister of Debates, and from 1833 to 1873 in the 108 volumes These two series, though r.ot very conof the Congressional Glol)e. venieiitl}'

and there

arranged, are widely distributed is no piesent need <»f reprints.

in tolerably









The same thing may ])e said of the in]i)ortaiit judicial records; the decisions of the 8u[)reme Court are availalde in the original reports, in two private reprints, and many of them in the condensed series of Curtis and Miller. The othcial (Opinions of the Attorneys-General of The reports the L'uited States are likewise sutKciently available. of the circuit and district courts during this period are also ,to be found in the private publication known as Federal Cases, which is still in print.

The executive records of the period are on a difi'crent footing. Richardson's Messages and Papers of the Presidents, indeed, though But the connnunications of not satisfactory-, will answer for a time. the heads of departments and their suliordinates (and likewise the reports of the committees of the two Houses) ;ire to be found oidy in that reservoir of unorganized matter, the Congressional documents, which make up some thousands of volumes, crudeh' arranged, and with some duplications and no annual indexes. This series is arranged in eight subdivisions for each session of Congress, nameh": Senate Jour-' nals; Senate (Committee) ilei)orts; Senate Documents (or Senate Executive Documents); Senate Miscellaneous; House Journals; House Reports: House Documents; House Miscellaneous. B, P. Poore"s Descriptive Catalogue of the Government Publications of the United States is a crude index to this whole series down to 1881, and the (iovernuKMit has also })rinted a list of these publications, from the Fifteenth to the Fifty-second Congress, inclusive, under the title Tables of and Annotated Index to the Congressional Series of United States Public Documents'' (Washington, 11)02). In these documents of Congress is buried an immense mass of important material on all fields of American history, such as committee reports on all the great questions that have attracted the attention of ^^^ongress; memorials and proceedings of commissions on stat(> ))oundaries; petitions; reports on public works; economic material, such as the reports on commerceand navigation, beginning in 1821; on commercial relations, beginning in 1855; the census publications of 18^0 to ls()0; reports on agriculture, beginning in 1841; reports of the Commissioner of Pensions; of the Patent Othce, beginning in ISoT; of the Commissioner of Indian AHairs, lieginning in 1825; and, of course, the reports of the heads of the great executive departments. No material casts more light on the actual workings of the Federal Government and the growth of an administrative system; but few libraries have unbroken sets covering the whole period from 1829 to 1801, and it is now very difficult to make up anytliing like a coniplete series. Some mateiMais of the same nature as those i\fani(scrl/>t natterldh. printed in the Congressional documents, particularly rejiorts of committees, still remain in manuscript. Among such materials listed in the Van Tyne and Leland Guide to the Archives, the more important are correspondence and rulings on public lands and land grants; military and naval reports and correspondence; controversies with the States and correspondence thereon. But the niost important documents still remaining unprinted are of two classes— the pa|)t-rs of Presidents and other public men, especially those now in the Library The latter of C'ongress, and diplomatic corresj)ondence and records. are dealt with in a sul)se((uent section of this report. The Government possesses papers of AndreAV Jackson, Martin Van Buren, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, Jeli'erson Davis, Daniel Web*•'







Thomiis Corwin, and Salmon P. Cliase. In general those collecno such fullness and im])ortance as those of the older genAmerican statesmen: and the most important dociunent of all, the Polk l>iar3', is not in the possession of the Government. From the last edition of the Van T\me and Leland Guide to the Archives it appears that there are enormous tiles of correspondence and orders in the Navy and War Departments, some of which must certainlv have historical signiticance. and very little of which has ever Similar series of letters can be found in the Treasury ])een ])rinted. /Department (especially a tile of letters from the Secretary to the Presi^ dent).(^n the Indian Office, and in the Land Office. The documents relating to the intercourse between the Federal Government and the In territorial officials have been veiy little used as yet by historians. ster,

tions have eration of

Holds it is evident that the archives of the Government abound unprinted material, examination of which will be necessary for the future historian. One of the most obvious undertakings for Wr!t!n(/s of statesmen. this po'iod is to make public, as has l)een done so largely for the preceding period, the letters and otiier writings of the group of statesmen The need of whose activity falls chioHy between 1821> and l:s()l. doing this in the case of John Quincy Adams has already been menThe Library of Congress possesses ample materials for doingtioned. A collection of his correspondence would it in the case of Jackson. be of the highest importance and interest and is strongly to be recommended for early publication. Van Buren could next be und(>rtaken. though with moans loss complete. The Webster, Corwin. Polk. Pierce. Davis, and Chase pa])ers, now in the Library of Congress, are not so But strong in letters of the men themselves as in letters to them. many more of the former could usually be obtained from other sources Furthermore, many of these collections are for such publications. rich in letters to statesmen of a kind which constitutes one of the most important types of historical sources, namely, the contidcntial and personal statements of men on the inside of ])uf)lio life; and selections of the letters written to the statesman in (|uestion should always be As to extent, f I'om included in any publication of his correspondence. two to tive octavo volumes would appai'ontly be necessary for the writings and correspondence of each of the statesmen above nameda somewhat greater number in the cases of Jackson and Van Buien. Reprints from the Co)u/ressf'ofia/ (locnnunts. Of material already printed which ought to appear in more accessible form, the CongresLeaving out of account sional documents furnish a g eat reservoir. as already available the Messages and Papers of the Presidents and the annual reports of the heads of the offices as too bulky for reprint, in view of the fact that a good many coi)ics of them are disseminated /^ii-ou'_:h the country, what is most needed is a reprint of the most valuable of the occasional ])ul)lications. Of such documents many are of great signiticance, such as geneial rej)orts and coi'respondonce on intjornai improvements (leaving out of consideration the numerous bulky reports on particular ])ul)lic works), on the various phases of Indian affairs, on contested state boundaries, and on the administration In any such work search should also be made of the i)ul>lic lands. among the reports and correspondence which remain in manusciint. but which may now be of im|)ortanco.

many in





But such a series can not be satisfactorih'' considered in the field of constitutional and political histor}' alone. Materials on the other phases of American history embraced in this report lie in similar abundance in these Congressional documents, and call for similar treatment. The most convenient method would be to make up a great series on the general plan of the American State Papers. That notable colle(;tion, which did so much credit to its makers and has been so immensely useful to historical writers, covers the period from 1TJS9 to 1829 in 38 folio volumes, arranged in series, as follows: Foreign Relations, 1789-1828 (6 volumes); Indian Atfairs, 1789-1827 (2 volumes); Finance, 1789-1828 (5 volumes); Commerce and Navigation, 1789-1823 (2 volumes); Militarv Ati'airs, 1789-1838 (7 volumes); Naval Affairs, 1794-1886 (4 volumes); Post-Office Department, 1790-1833 (1 volume); Public Lands, 1789-1837 (8 volumes); Claims, 1790-1823 (2 volumes); Miscellaneous, 1789-1823 (2 volumes). In recommending strongly the inception of a great series of National State Papers which should continue to 1861 and eventually to later dates the good work done for the eai-lier period by the American State Papers, we should expect that nearly all the categories of the earlier series should be retained, and that the most important of the Congressional and Executive documents of the years 1829 to 1861 relating to Foreign Kelations, Military Atfairs, Naval Affaii's, Indians, Finance, Commerce and Navigation, and Public Lands should be collected into series bearing those designations. Several of these subdivisions can be appropriately considered at greater length in later sections of this report. (TTiit while describing at this point in its entire scope the project which we recommend, a project much exceeding the bounds of a mere!}' constitutional and political histor3\ we wish further to emphasize the fact that it ought also to be so shaped as greatly to exceed the categories deemed appropriate eighty years ago. Time has enlai-ged the scope of the Federal Govermnent and its interests, and the scheme of series should be widened to correspond. The growth of our industrial organization and of our system of transportation, and the creation of the Department of Conniierco and Labor and that of Agriculture, are illustrations of what is meant. The great series reconunended should have, in order to meet the historical needs of the present tinie, besides the older categories, its septi(ms devoted to Geographical Papers, to Agriculture and other extractive industries, to Manufactures, to Labor and Industrial Organization, to Population and Social Organization, and, to return to constitutional history, a series embracing the governmental papers on State Boundaries and Federal Relations with the States and Territories. Jn such series should be embraced not alone the Congressional documents but a comprehensive body of selections from the departmental correspondence at Vv'ashington, with special reference to the letters exchanged with the President, the heads of other departments, and the chairmen of the chief committees of Congress. The inmiense value of such material is n])parent to any intelligent reader of Van Tyne and Leland's account of the Treasury Department (pp. 59 et seq.), the Interior Department (pp. 201 et seq.), and the Department of Justice It is indispensable to a clear understanding of the (pp. 138 et seq.). actual working of our Government. It would on the one hand throw light on the obscure jdaces in the origin of many policies and manv laws, and it would on the other hand make accessible the means

— 22




of undcrstuiuling the real relations of executive and legi.>5lature in our s^-stcni.

To this comprehensive project of National State Papers we recur in later sections, the diplomatic series beiny one especially worthy of early attention and capable of being so worked out as to sei-ye as a model for the others. feel sure that a reasonal)iy unifoi'ui plan would be of advantage to all the series, and therefore have sugg'e.sted a general title and organization. Its magnitude can not be estimated without further and detailed research. Perhaps indited the most convenient method would be to lix upon a certain number of volumes and then select material to till them. The American State Papers, coverin-.r about forty 3'ears. from ITS'J to \S'2S, is in 88 volumes. similar compilation for the next thirty-two years, with regard to the lirge stores of manuscript material, would be cramped in tSO volumes of the same size as its predecessor, or a hundred volumes of moie easily



manageable dimensions. But the execution of the present concern outlook.


this project would extend over many years: to plan deliberatel}' and with a sufficiently wide




this heading we consider the political and constitutional relating particularlv to the ci\ il war and rcN'OMstruetion. practically not going beyond i.SS5. As compared with the exti"aordinary coni})leten.ess with which the military records of the war have been gathered into serviceable forms, the neglect of the political and constitutional records is astoni-hing. McPherson's unofficial compilation. History of the Uel).'lli(>n. now antiijuated and out of print, is practically the only collection th;it can be dep;Mided upon for the dociunentary history of so importtmt a poli(y, for example, as that of enrancijjation and abolition, (ireat quantities of additional matter are scattered through the documentprinted by Congress, and a certain amount conx's incidentally within the scope of the Official Records of the \Var. The works of Lini oln. Chase, Seward, Sumner, and others contain nuich valuable nuUter, and doubtless thei'c is more in manuscript in some of the executive dei)artments. should reconuuend, first, a collection on Knvincipat'ion and aholltion. This should embrace legislati\e, executive, and judicial papers. The legislative should include the acts of ('ongress and of state legislatures, reports of conuuittees. and some bills. The executive should include the official ordei-s and recommendations of the President and the heads of departments, with selections from the interdepartmental correspondence. The judicial should include a chronological list of the federal cases, with the leading opinions in full and the remainder in sununary. With the series might properly be included the important portion of the "Slave Trade and Colonization Papers," from to 1872, preserved in the I)e])artment of the Interior and descril)ed by Van Tyne and Leland (p. 202). C(»)ji>«'af'xceed that touching emancipation and al)olition. For the latter, two oi' three volumes might suffice; for coidiscation at hiast tlouble that number would be necessary. C(nif('dei'((tt' (urhives. Oreat of Confederate archives are pi'esei'ved in the Treasury and Wai* Departments and th(> Lil)rary of









Congress. Of these the Journals of the Confederate Comg^ress, in 7 vohnnes, have been printed by the United States Government as a Senate doi'ument, and the Messas^es and Papers of the Confederate President, with most of the diplomatic correspondence, hav(? been published by J. D. Richardson, as a private enterprise, in 2 volumes. The distinctively militarv and naval papers have been exhaustively There exploited for the _i>-reat series of Official Records of tlie War. remains a ij;reat collection of matter in whieli is embedded the detailed history of the Confederate administration in its financial, postfil, and That the printing- of much of this matter is of the judicial aspects. In utmost importance to historical knowledge goes without saying. just what form or order and on just what scale the enterprise should be undertaken are questions that can not l)e answered without a more exact knowledge of the contents of the Confederate archives than is derivable from Van Tyne and Iceland. The official documentary materials relating specifRecotisitrnction. ically to the problems and processes of Reconstruction have for the most part been printed. They are in the reports of the military (commanders in the South or in those of the numerous investigationsnnstituted by the two Houses of Congress; but while the quantit\' of printed material is very great it is scattered and hard to use, and might well be segregated and reproduced in a series of volumes expressing a coherent system. Such a series might begin with the general and comprehensive documents e. g., the records of the Freedmen's Bureau, the report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction and that of the floint Committee' on the late Insurrectionary States, and the records of the tive militaiy districts created by the act of March 2, 18<)7. After such general* matter, the series should present. State by State, the various executive and Congressional documents in their proper order and relations, with additional material from manuscript. Whether as an appendix to such a series or in independent form, the complex n)ass of Congressional documents relating to the disputed Presidential election of 1876-77 should be reproduced. The printing of a couple of volumes of wisely Uriojfi''!al I\(per.<<. selected documents from the papers of Andrew Johnson, preserved in the Division of Manuscripts in the Library of Congress, would be as great a sei'vice to historical science, for the period of 1861-1875, as could be suggested under this head. Selections from the papers of Chase, Holt, Trumbull, and E. H. Washburne in the same collection

would have a similar value. B.


In the history of the finances and commerce of the United States the (jovernment has done little toward ]:)reparing adequate presentations beyond statistical material, of which it has published much, but usually in an indigested form, and as called for by a special condition or emergency. The printed "sources" of this history are the same as belong to other subjects of administration, e. g. those embraced in the American State Papers. The unprinted material consists of the correspondence of the Treasuiy Department with its ditferent agents throughout the country, and special reports on certain subjects, prepared for the information of the Dei)artment and not submitted to Congress, nor published unless specitically called for by either House .





The files of the Department are not complete, and of Congress. various causes material has been lost or destroyed. In the destruction of papers the want of system pursued has bfeen obvious. No one trained in history or connected with a collecting body like the Library' of Congress has been detailed to examine the papers desit>nated for destruction, Vvith a view to retaining wliat is possessed of a historical character, and the existing tiles of the dillerent departments are not as a rule subject to a custodian who has either the hi.-torjcal knowledge or the historical instinct. In the American State Papers are the messages of the Presidents, the •'Finance"" ofiicial reports and statements, reports of committees of Congress, and mcMiiorials and petitions addressed to Congress on financial and commercial subjc^cts u}) to the tii'st session of the TwenWhile imperfect as to the earlier Contieth Congress (May, IS^S). gresses, this compilation is the fullest and most comprehensive in intention yet undertaken by the Government, but it is not as comprehensive as the subjects merit, and the form and arrangement leave nuich to be desired. Many papers are included which need not be reprinted, for th(Mr interest is not permanent and the pul)lished lists It also includes many of the public documents make them accessible. state papers of the highest importance, whi'-h could be again issued in more convenient form and with such editing and annotation as their v»-lue in history demands. Of a like character are 2 volumes on "Commerce and Navigation"' and 1 volume on "Claims" in this series, both of which classes are carried out to lis23, under the same limitations as the "P'inance" volumes. Apart I'rom this publication, what theGoverjimcnt has already done in this particular line has been largely called out for a special pui-pose and in connection with a particular measure. have in mind only the more impoi'tant of these i)ublications; for a vast quantity of compilation has been performed by bureaus or individuals and printed by one House or the other of Congress, of little or no permanent value and involving a great waste of time and money. The unequal merit of this outi)ut makes it dillicult to decide how far the entire Held has adpijuately been covered. Laws are general in their description of ylJcpart III eutnl r('gulati<>nf<. functions and duties, and as a consequ«Mue there gnjws up in each department an amount of administrative I'ules and regulations which Mmli of these is essential to a proper interpretation of the results. regulations may be obsolete from the administrative standpoint, and so far as the Treasury is concerned it is doubtful if that Department even possesses a complete file of the circulars issued from its various divisions. A great deal of what is regarded as obsolete has distinct historical vahv. It repiesents the olHiial interpn^tation of a law. and this interpretation has not infrequently l)een modilied or set aside by a judicial interj)retation when matters in dispute have been brought These regulations j)rescril.e the rules and forms to a higher court. for keeping books and accounts, for making returns to the central bureau or Department, and emijody administrative features or inside machinery of the Dt'partment. They frequently contain references



which make

it necessary to suspend old, or need only instance the days of the embargo, a period of war with a foreign country, the operations of the vaiious national banks, and the (juestions involved in the civil war, to indicate how important these often temporary regulations may be.

to current political events intr<)(lu
new, methods.







do not know of any partial compilation of this material, and a publication would involve a selection according- to subject or according Tariff, internal taxation, navigation laws, to the periods of time. governmental currency, and public loans would be among the more important financial sul)jects. The framing of taritf laws, the enforcement of eml)argocs or trade restrictions, the interpretation of the various tariffs, and the operations of national banks and subticasury would lend themselves to a treatment by periods of time. Only an examination of the material could enable a judgment to l)e formed, which method would be the better, but it may be easily seenM:hat if a continuation of the American State Papers were contemplated there is abundance of valuable new material for the series on "Finance.'"' As to the debates of Cong'ress and the larger number of Congressional documents, a series of references to the more important discussions on linance. and a note to an important report or paper giving the Tlatcs of discussion and action taken in both Houses, would be sufficient. Private /-Y/yerv.- The material contained in private papers can hardly be neglected in compilations on economic sulijects, and especially when It is only these papers are in the possession of the Goveriunent. necessary to name the series of the Papers of the Pi'esidents in the Library of Congress to indicate the' importance of their contents ^^'ashing•ton, Jefferson, ^Madison, Monroe. Jackson, Polk. Pierce, and Johnson. To these should be added the Robert Morris, Hamilton, Gallatin, and Corwin papers. Not only do they often give the exchange of notes on financial and commercial propositions, but they are rich in correspondence on these sul)jects with leading authorities in the States. To arry out the plan consistently, reference should be had to published papers, biographies, and memorials of those who had an important part in framing important finam-ial measures, or who had gained reputation in ex-ecuting them. As instances of such material may be named the l»iogi aphies of Morris, Hamilton, Gallatin. A. J. Dallas, Van Buren. C'hase, and Fessenden; and the memoirs of McCulloch, Boutwell. and Sherman. This material is constantly growing in ])ulk and in im})ortance. A judicious selection from the different collections would be of advantage. The most important licport^ of tlie Seeretwriex of the Tretixnrii. compilation for financial history should be that of the reports of the In 1837-1851 a partial compilation of the Secretary of the Treasury. Not only is it very reports was made and printed in ti volumes. Nor is the pu))licaincomplete, but it is a mere compilation to 1849. tion in the American State Papers any moi'e satisfactory, though much fuller, and embodying all the then known comnuinications from the Secretary of the Treasury to Congress down to 1S28. In the new compilation, which might come down to 1865, or even to f STH (the one being the end of the war, the other being the resumpticni of specie payments), theic should l)e references to other documents and reports, illustrative notes, and a careful editing out of what was merely formal, temporarily, and nonessential. Such a compilation would not require more than 6 or 7 volumes, and would naturally form the great source of information on the finances. /"Other desirable compilations of State Papci's on special topics would include: («) The finances of the War of Independence.



The Holland


26 (e)






financo. 181i>-lS16, 1S46-1S4S, 1S(U-1m;5.

A compilation of the law.s, made hy U. G. Proctor, was published in 18t»S, but a new compilation should contain references to memorials and petitions, debates in Congress, and special reports on the subject. A lej^islative history of each tariff act wo«ld be valuable. (d) Tariti' legislation.



— national.

Coinage, and bullion production and movement. ((/) Currency, treasury notes, o-reenbacks (legal tenders). At lea*5t one volume would l)e reijuired for each of these sul)jects, and this limit would l)e exceeded in three of the items. The exact number of volumes would depend upon the plan of editing. Foreign commevre. The materials for a histor}'' of the foreign commerce of the United States exist in large quantities and almost entirely in manuscript form. We know of no recentcompilation which gives the full text of commercial treaties and reciprocity agreements, with such correspondence as led to the framing of the contract and (./')

the legislation involved. It is true the intlucnre of treaties of commerce has been strongly felt only in comparatively recent yeai's, the formal and limited conunercial treaty of the past ati'ording safeguard to trade)' and merchandise in foreign countries. Hut the consular correspondence in the Department of State is a rich mine of material relating to commercial relations with other countries since 178U and is a mine as yet untouched. These relations were often diplomatic as well as commercial, and would thus fall more properly in the diplomtitic section. But in themselves they would give a full ])ictu]e of the treatment accorded to American commerce throughout the world, and trace from the colonial l)egiimings the growth of over-sea trade and

the upbuilding of an export trade that has always been essential to American economic development. Unfortunately the papers of the rSifterent custom-houses, which could supplen«;ent this consular corres))ondence have been for the most ])art destroyed. Tiie tratle of the great rivers and the general movement, inwaril and outward, demands something more than the mere figures, and the additional facts could only beot>tained from the origin;il papiM's. The perfunctoi'V compilations of trade returns, which prevailed before 18t)T. and which have been pi'inted in various places, are ?iot sullicient for historical purposes; and the destruction in large part of the original returns makes it impossible to complete the record. On commerce and commercijil relations may be suggested the following compilations: ConsukiT- reports from 1T81>— to be selected. Commercial treaties and reciprocal agreiMuents. Si)ecial reports l)y ex])erls on c(Mnmercial conditions. It is impossible tt) estimate the number of volumes needed, as the material is now in more than one departnnMit. Interridl voiinih'vc.c. Th(^ American State Papers, Finant-e, contains some statistical material for internal commerce, extendi. ig to 1828. The Treasury Departinent's series of liepoits on Internal Conunercc begins in 187(5; the reports of the Intersttite Commerce Commission

The Monthly Suuunary of Connnerce and Finance adds new and regroups it for historical use. More lecently the divisions of tile Department of C^)nlm(M•ce and Labor, especially the\arious branches which deal with navigation, steamboat inspection, lightin 1887.






houses, coast and oeodetic survey, the census, anrl statistics, make reports which show what could be done in constructing an historical The secondary series to serveas the preface to these hiter publications. authorities, using state as well as federal material, should be utilized JNewspapers would yield in presenting- the material for earl}' periods. supplementary data. Moreover, there are archives not yet exploited, such as the manuscript collections of the collector of the port of New Orleans, recently saved from destruction and now preserved in the Library of Congress, which furnish much original material for the history of the conimerce of the Mississippi Valley before the days of the '

railroad. j:\



economic and social history, outside of finance and comone of peculiar difficulty, due to its extent, to the comparatively recent recognition of tlu' importance of the economic and social field of



aspects of American history, to the recent date of establishment of various governmental l)ureaus dealing with the divisions of the field of this report, and conse



illustr.ating its

development that a com-

mittee which aims at looking well forward, intr) the future need not hesitate to set forth ideals which are not capable of immediate realization. Our statement of ideals will be followed by a view of what is most practicable and advisable for present work, shaped in accord with the proposal, made on a previous page, of a continuation of the American State Papers. Tlh' ideal. Hitherto the United States Government has confined itself to the publication of materials in its own possession. But in many fields of economic and social history the maintenance of this restriction would result in a most partial and misleading pi'esentation of the facts which historians seek. Prior to recent activity in collecting and publishing certain sorts of data, e. g. on la))or and on agriculture, federal material is lacking. In several such fields no really instructive bodies of data can be set before the reader without at least laying under contribution the materials, in manuscript and in print, oftentimes rare, possessed by the States. Furthermore, though some objections arise against going outside the bounds of official documents, (federal or state, there are some subjects whose adequate illustration requires resort to private matei-ials. believe that the United States (iovernment should soon orgtmize its historical work in such a shape as to employ trained investigators in collecting as well as selecting material. The French Government's Commission on the P^conomic History of the French Revolution (a most important body, whose worlc is described by P. Caron in the American Historical Review for April, 1908), includes such search among its functions.







Moainvhile in the United States a ijreat amount of such collectintj is done by the Department of Economic Research in tlie Carneo"ie Institution of Washino-ton, and by the American Bureau of Industrial Research, at Madison, VV is. The former will print many niaterials in its Contrii)utions to the Economic History of the rniled States. The latter has devoted itself with oreat success to the collection of beino-

orioinal material relating to industrial history, especialh' that of labor to the judicious selection of portions for pul)lication. Thus, it has ready a volume of documents, collected from all kinds of sources, showino- the typical features of the antebellum southern plantation and of industrial society on the frontier: another composed of the original reports, etc., of the earlv labor conspirac}' cases down to the iirst great lalior movement of ISIjG. and others exhibiting the organization and actions of labor unions, employers' associations, and workingmen's parties in that and subsequent eras. The work of these two bodies shows the practicability, under proper expert control, of such collection and organization of material as that which we have declared to be in some fields desirable. In the framing and conduct of any such ideal scheme an important question would be that of the reprinting of what is already in })rint. It is much more important to print that which has never been printed before. Yet the mass of the printed pul)lic documents of the United States is so unwieldy, and to many investigators so inaccessible, as to make it difficult to use them for purposes of industrial history. Though there is at least one good collection of the Congressional sei'ies in almost every State, there will always be a use for more manageable series in which the cream of the material valuable for history has been /set aside. If in one somewhat voluminous collection we could have .such a selection of dociunents as this, along with referent-es fo the complete series and skillfully compressed statistical matter, and the best of the additions that ci>uld be made from federal, state, and private manuscript, the gain to vital history would be very great. SiiggesflonK for t!ie prcxiiH: Hut without expecting the iunnediate realization of all these hopes, we are earnest in urging that in any large project of government historical publication, such as that continuation of the American State Pajiers which we have recommended, a lilieral and modern view l)e maintained toward those aspects of national development which found no recognized place in the old collection. Pi'ai-tical <'onsi(lerations may seem to re(|uire that such a continuation should be mostly madi^ up of federal olhcial documents rather than those of state or piivate origin, of manuscript or rare print rather than of the easily accessible, antl of papers bearing date subsefjuent to about 1829. liut it would be a harmful pedantry and an unwise economy which would hold rigidly to eithei' of these three criteria. Some documents anterior to 178!> will deserve inclusion, even though in is-j;» th«\v seemed unimportant; some that are alreadx accessible in ])rint will ne(>d to be inserted in ordei- to have them a; hand for comjjarison with fresh material; and if relative conqjleteness re(|uires the insertion of some papeis not actually possessed by the Federal Govermnent, th(\v should not be excluded. ]irocee(l to som(> desciiption of the various proposed series— old series contiimed

movements, and










The histoi\v of a new country plainly calls for such a GeiKjrapliy, 1'he seines would natu.rally include unpul)lis))cd or rare subdivision. reports of exploration or selections from them, topographical surve3'3 which might be used for historical purposes, and especially selections from surveys undertaken to prepare the way for internal improvements. Obviously purely technical details should be omitted. The earliest important exploring expedition overland, that of Lewis and dark, has been given so complete a documentary publication by a CJDrivate enterprise under the editorshii) of Dr. K. G. Thwaites that nothing remains for the Government to do in this connection, but there are other explorations for which material doubtless exists which should be examined with a view to publication. Possibh' some portions of the reports of explorations for the Pacific railroads might be republished for the light cast upon early conditions in tlie transVan Tyne and Leland (p. 260) note Mississip])i half of the country. certain letters on this subject which should be examined. ()ther material for the series could ]irobably be derived from the files of the Coast and Geodetic Survey in the Department of Conmierce and Labor, the Bureau of Soils and the Biological Survey in the Department of Agriculture, and the topographiral Bureau in the AVar Department. Laiia'K. There is no subject more fundamental in American history Donaldson's The Public Domain (U'ashthan that of the public lands. This might well take ington. 18S-t) needs revision arid continuation. the form of a continuation of the Public Land series of the Amei'ican State Papers, with fundamental documents, and analysis and condensation of statistics; maps showing the successive stages of survey and opening of lands to settlement; documents illustrating corruption, drawn from testimony in cases, etc.; leading opinions, departmental and judicial; data exhibiting in brief the processes of transfer to States, from States to corporations and individuals, and from railroads to European and American settlers; selected colonial and State laws which will show the origins of the federal system: and. since American democracy is largely to be explained in terms of land tenure, some materials illustrating the general conditions of landholding in other Van Tyne and Lelamrs (luide. areas than that of the feder;il domain. es])eciali3' pages 219-:^25, shows what a mass of material is to be considered and the need, visible in many fields, of expert departmental advice upon plans for its exploitation. Agriculture. The annual reports on agriculture began in 1841 ])rior to 1862 they were printed as part of the report of the Commissioner of Patents. The Department of Agriculture, from the time of its establishment, has printed much, and there are indexes to its [publications from 1841 do^^^l. But for the earlier period, and for the significant features of the history of American agriculture, the student must use state agricultural society and departmental reports, periodicals, and descriptions by travelers and others, such as the anonymous American Husbandry (London, 1775) and J. F. W. Jolmston's Notes on North America (1851). Particularly this dearth Inasexists prior to about 1840, but in many respects much later. much as agriculture has been the dominant industry of the greater part of the United States through most of its history, it is desirable that collections should be made from such sources as those just men-




tioned and that a series should he puhhshed, gatherin<2: together the most funthmiental accounts of American agricuUure and exhihiting the changes and migration of its principal crops hy such documents and hy compendious statistics. Man}' phases of American social and political history find their explanation in agricultural changes. The place of cotton cultivation in American economic and political life is a sufficient illustration; hut the statistics of wheat cultivation hy periods and regions would also throw much light on national hisThe development of agricultural machinery, the changes in tory-. methods of production in general, the relation of agriculture to transportation and ciu'rency problems, and similar topics should be inLike reasons call for the inclusion in such a series of analocluded. gous data of the earlier period respecting animal industry, the history of the forests and the timber industry, and of fisheries and mining. Manufactures. Probably the census is a sufficient historical publication from 1850. Despite the imperfection of previous censuses, it may be found that enough material exists in accessible print to illustrate sufficiently tlie development of mainif'actures from the end of the American State Papers, Finance, 1828 to 1850. Labor and industrial orgtnization. Here the case is like that of The reports oP the Commissioner of Labor begin in agriculture. 1886, and these and the Bulletins are a mine of material from that But for the earlier period there is need of documentan,' collecdate. There are some Congressional committee tion and publication. Jreports available, such as data in connection with tariff, panics, etc. The most striking illustration of what can be done by well-conducted collection of documents on the history of a given labor topic is E. Stewart, Early Organizations of Printers, Bureau of I^abor Bulletin 61. It collects documents from all sources, selects the niore imgsrtant, and furnislies brief introductions. The work of the American ureau of Industrial Research, mentioned in a previous jniragraph, shows the practicability of a series which shall rest upon unofficial sources and treat the period neglected by the Government. The development of business organizations, corporations, etc., stands on the same basis. Trans porP'tion and Post-Office. It would be Mell to continue to the end of the civil war ])eii()d the j^ublication in compact form of documents bearing on the Post-Ollice similar to those found in the volume of the American State Papers devoted to that subject. They cast much light on the economic growth and social development of the country, and would be valuable in many branches of historical work. But the inunonse develo])ment of transportation since 1829 makes it even more desirable to furnish documentary material resjiecting it, esj^eciallv in its earlier stages. Select (U^cuments illustrating plans and legislation for internal im])rov(MU(mt. the early develojiment of steand)oat na^'igation, of railroad l)uilding, chartering, state and fele of similar treatment, but can not at present be satisfactorily developed.








For the period 1775-1783 we have Existing jyrinted collection fi. evolution and S])arks's Diplomatic Correspondence of the American evolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence, a fairly satisuMiarton's factory collection. For the next period v,e have the Diplomatic * * * 1783-1789, seventy-five 3"ears old and Correspondence of far from complete, though it contains nearly all that the Government The American State Papers, Foreign i elations, cover the possesses. period from 1789 to 1828 after a fashion, but are nearh^ confinetl to correspondence sent to the Senate from which the Senate had removed carefvd estimate, based on many days of the injunction of secrecy. painstaking inspection by a member of this committee, is to the efl'ect that while aljovit oiie-half of the existing manuscript diplomatic correspondence of these forty years consists of material that ought now to i)e in print, only about one-fourth is actually to be found in the volumes of the series named. Between 1828 and 1860 there is no single series of volumes containing the diplomatic correspondence or other materials on our diplomatic history. The documejits are found in the series of Congressional documents under differing titles. Few libraries have them all, and they are so scattered as to be hard to use. Moreover, they embrace isolaj^ed, selected papers, such as it suited the President or the Secretary of State to send to Congress. From 1861 we have the annual issue, in general one volume each year, of papers relating to the Foreign .elations of the United Stittes. iJie period from 1775 to 17S3. have for this ])oriod documentary colh'ctions that are fairly satisfactory, but at some future time the situation might be improved. In one important particular the character of this period would justify an enlargement of the scope of diplomatic publication which could hardl}^ be defended for the period subsequent to 1783. After that date it would not be prudent to recommend the inclusion of large masses of material from foreign arcliives. However desirable it ma}^ be to exhibit the ''other side" of diplomatic controversies and actions, it would be felt that, in the main, it is for foreign governments to publish their own archive mat'-riul. The exceptions should be limited to a small number of significant documents necessary for the elucidation of American jnatcrials. But this limitation hardly applies to the period ending [>vith the treaties of 1783, the period in which the United States was struggling for independence through a war involving several other .



countries and through negotiations which can not be followed save the archives of all these lands, yet which were of vital importance to the establishment of tliis nation. Such conditions will some time be held to justify a monumental edition of the diplomatic ])apers of the Revolution, an edition which would include the thousands of ilocuments that are to be foimd in the Earo])ean arcliives. The archives of Spain, though of intense interest, are almost untouched. From the French archives we have not obtained much save what Doniol has permitted us to have in his Histoire de la Participation de la France a TEtablissement des Etats-Unis d'Amerique (Paris, 1886-1900). Stevens's Index in the Library of Congress would indicate the amount and the situs of all the material— Englisli, French, Spanish, or Dutch. part of it is alreatiy ])ossessed by the Government in the form of transcripts, tiie extens'ive collec-

by using






tion of so-callod Peace Transcripts at the Library of Congress. Tii -Vinerican material is, of course, in Washington, either ^imonc tli: Papers of the Continental Congress at the Library of Cony-ress'or in that section of those })apers which was retained "at tiie JDe])artnient of State, in accordance with the executive order for the transfer because of its rein tion to our diploniacv. '

The jienod from 1783 to 1789.—T\\q volumes printed seventy-five years ago, as mentioned above, were fairly well prepared and printed, except lor an inconvenient arrangemeiit. Though they are not procurable with ease, a new edition is not now in imperative need. Some time we should have a more thorough presentation of the American correspondence of the period wliich would also give at least the dispatches of the foreign ministers in this country to their home governments. There exists, in private hands in Anierica, the Gardoqui correspondence, wliicli wou.ld be of verv great interest and

The American Historical Review contains the correspondence of the Comte de Moustier witli the Comte de Montmorin 1787service.



from 1789 to 1828. —In most fields we liave recomthat the American State Papers be simply continued from 1829, with such modifications of plan as later developments have made appropriate, but without much efi'ort to go back beyond that date. But in diplomatic matters it is impossible to be content with what has been done in the earlier papers. Whereas the selection of material for the other series of that great work was effected by its editors, using their ov/n judgment, generally sound, as to what'was historically most im.portant in the great masses which lay before them, the material in the ''Foreign Relations" series represents in the main no principle of selection but the accident of communication to the Senate and tlie officials' judgment as to what it was expedient to make \n\h\k at the time. The papers thus printed are by no rneans in all instances the most im])ortant: fTcquently delicate"^ and significant sid)jects are omitted from the special line' of dispatches or instructions: often the most valuablo and illuminating portions of particular documents are omitted and the less useful ])ortions are printed. It appears, then, that we sliould have in print the diplomatic correspondence for this period (1789-1828), and the oidy proper method is to disregard the folio edition of the American State Papers, to reprint wliat ai:>pears there and to add other material: this additional material mny make the whole, as has been intimated, twice as in (piantity as i( now is. If the estiniate approaches accuracy, it sliould be jiossible, with judicious editing, to print the diplomatic correspondence and other closely related material throwing light upon our diplomatic history to 1828 in 12 or 13 volumes like those of tiie American State Papers. Unimportant documents could l)e calendared and very unimportant ones only listed. j)eno(l


The juriodfroiri 1828 to 1861.~M {.< when we enter tlie perioti after the ending of the American State Papej-s, however, that we encounter the need that is most evident and impeiative. From 182S to the outbreak of the civil war. a time of great activity in foreign affairs, the dip-

lomat iccorrespondence was j)iinled

in the regular Congressional series publications, generally among the orSenate executive documents. Tl'.ere were .some four hundred such publications, relating to






diplomatic affairs, in the period from 1829 to 1861, besides the diplomatic materials which the President, after 1833, frequently appended to his annual message; but the manuscript materials are still more ample. Now that the United States has become more deeply interested than ever before in its own diplomacy and the progressive development of its foreign relations, it would be of very great service to all students of liistory, to the workers in the Department of State and the diplomatic and consular service, and to other persons interested in practical political aft'airs to have the diplomatic correspondence of this and the preceding period properly arranged and published in a new series, ''National State Papers, Foreign Relations, 1789-1861." One might hope that discreet editing would bring all the important material for the later period within the compass of 20 such folio volumes as those of the American State Papers. We believe that, of all the subdivisions of the proposed National State Papers, this is the one that could best be taken up first. E.


In the portion of its work relating to materials for military history the committee has been greatly aided by a detailed memorandum kindly supplied by Maj. Gen. F. C. Ainsworth, Adjutant-General of the United States Army. Lea^^ng out of account all records relating to the personnel of the regular and volunteer armies, and taking up first of all the material relating to militaiy operations, we consider only military archives of such general historical interest or value that, if they have not been heretofore satisfactorily printed, they should be made accessible to historians and investigators generally by publication. The records to which special interest attaches are those of (a) the Revolutionary war, (b) the war of 1812, (c) the war with Mexico, (d) the civil war, (e) the war with Spain, and, in a somewhat lesser degree, (/) the several Indian wars, and (g) the Philippine insurrection. Aiany of the official reports and much of the correspondence j;elating to military operations during those periods have been printed at some time in the Annual Reports of the War Department, in the series of Congressional documents, or in other government publications. The publications in which historical data relative to military operations during the later wars are to be found can be pointed out readily; but for the earlier wars the finding of such publications is a more difficult task, because of the incompleteness and the imperfect cataloguing of those publications. Practically all reports and correspondence on file in the War Department having general historical interest or value relative to the Philippine insurrection of 1899-1902 have been printed in the Annual Reports of the War Department for those years, mth supplementary matter in other Congressional documents easily found in the catalogues of public documents and accessible in many libraries. The same is true of the war with Spain in 1898, while all such material, Union or Confederate, relative to the civil war has been printed in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Ai-mies, disseminated to the extent of 11,000 copies. Nothing more could be recommended in respect to sinj of these. S.

Doc. 714, 60-2






^yar with Mexico. The reports of the Secretary of War for 1847 contain reports and some correspondence more is to be found in other Conti;ressional documents, especially Senate documents and House executive documents of the first session of the Thirtieth Congress. But these government pubUcations containing the military records of the Mexican war are so disconnected and some of them so diilicult to find that it is believed they should be reprinted, together with any heretofore unprinted historical militaiy archives of that war that may be found. The Military Secretary (now the Adjutant-General) of the Army, in his Annual Keport for 1906, reported that the collection of military records of this war, now in the possession of tlie War Department, was as complete as it could be made; that it would make about 6 volumes of 1,000 pages each, of the same general style of the Official Records of the Civil War, costing about $11,000 each for printing and binding; and that the series could be made ready in a very short time a^tersuch ])ublication was authorized by Congress. It was his belief, and it is that of this comnnttee, that the first action with a view to the publishing of the War Department archives should be directed to the ])rinting of the Mexican war records. The war of 181 S and Indian wars. The published military archives of the war of 1812 are more incomplete than those of the more recent wars, but some iniHtary correspondence and reports relative to it are printed in the American State Papers, Mlitary Affairs, in Brannan's Official Letters, in the Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, and in The War, Niles's Register, and other periodical publications of the Historical data A\dth regard to military operations during the time. Indian wars prior to 1838 are to be found in the American State Papers, Militaiy Affairs, and (to 1827) Indian Affairs, while material relative to many later ladian wars is to be found in the Annual Reports of the Secretary of War. All these publications are incomWhile the Government possesses a great plete and fragmentary. mass of manuscript material relating to these wars, so much of what is necessary to complete the records remains in the hands of States, historical societies, or private individuals that the first work must properly be one of collection or copying of outhang records. The mass of what is now in hand would make fewer volumes than in the case of the Mexican war, but printing should be postponed until the Government's materials are more complete. Revolutionary war. The same is even more true of the War for Independence, the military record of which is now only partially covered by Force's American Archives and many state publications. Acts of Congress approved July 27, 1892, and August 18, 1894, provided that all military records of the Revolution and the war of 1812 then in any other of the executive deitartments should be transferred to the War Department and there properly indexed and arranged Fourteen years luive passed since the second of these enactfor use. ments. Under existmg conditions at the War Department, their effect has been to make these materials entirely inaccessible to historians, as may be seen by a perusal of the regulations of 1897, printed in Van Tyne and Lcland (pp. 110-113) and still in force. Those regulations provide for proper su])ply of information to persons seeking pensions or admissions to "patriotic-hereditary societies," but close the archives of the War Department absolutely to American liistorical investigators. Meanwhile, such records of the ;





Revolutionary war as are possessed by the Department have been indexed and arranged for use, but the collection is so incomplete that no one could advise its publication as a whole. Certain series, such as the general orders of General Washington, could be published complete at present. But for anything analogous to what has been done for the civil war and is proposed for the Mexican war, a publication embracing reports and correspondence in as complete extent as possible, further copying and collection is desirable before printWe speak only of materials respecting military operations; in ing. the publication of muster rolls and the like this committee as such has of course no interest. In military history, as in diplomatic histoiy, impartial historical writing demands that one should not confine himself to the witness borne by one combatant only. The true historian will wish to hear the other side and as completely as possible. Without use of the archives of Great Britain, France, Mexico, and Spain our government historical publications will have an ex parte character, much to be That the deficiency should be supplied by those countries regretted. is not to be expected, since to Great Britain, France, and Spain in f)articular these wars have been but episodes relatively brief in the ong centuries of their history. If it is not to be expected that publication of foreign papers on these wars should be undertaken in full extent by the United States Government, at least the editors of our military-historical volumes should have the opportunity to study tlie relevant materials in foreign archives and to incorporate in their of the most significant papers thence derived. It is not to be forgotten, however, that the military archives of the United States contain much else than simply the records of its military operations. The army was so largely the advance guard of American civilization in its westward march across the Continent that the archives contain a great wealth of material for the understanding of pioneer conditions and the early history of all parts of the United States but the Atlantic seaboard. Surveys, explorations, earlj^ routes to transportation, relations with the Indians, the founding of forts and military posts out of which cities have grown, all receive so copious illustration from these archives that it would be a narrow-minded policy to confine publication from them to papers of purely military interest. They have a large part in all work upon

volumes some


our social history. F.


Printed documents respecting our naval history are chiefly to be found in Force's American Archives, The American State Papers, Naval Affairs, the British Naval Chronicle (1798-1818), Brannan's Official Letters (1823), Goldsborough's Naval Chronicle (1824), Niles's Register, the Canadian Archive Reports, Cruikshank's Documentary History of the Campaigns upon the Niagara Frontier, the annual and occasional reports of the Secretary of the Navy, Reports and Dispatches (1849), and the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies now in course of publication by the Government. But other very important documents must often be sought in places widely scattered. The court of inquiry asked by Commander Elliott, in 1815, upon his conduct on Lake Erie, is printed in one unofficial





work; Perry's voluminous specifications against him, in 1S18, in another neither by the Government; both are necessary to the historian. The British minister, Mr. Foster, wrote to Monroe reams upon the questions then pending between the United States and Great Britain; but a document ])rinted in the Hfe of the Marq^uis of Wellesley, liis Instructions to Foster, sets forth the British position on the continental system with a succinctness, logic, and force nowhere

be found. Further publication should for the present be confined to the military activities of the Navy, to the post])onement of civil and administrative papers. In view of the extensive publication of naval records concerning the civil war, now proceeding, we see no reason for recommendation, unless it be that the "Letters from Foreign Consuls" (United States consuls abroad) mentioned in Van Tyne and Leland (pp. 190, item 26), should be printed. They touch on tliblockade and kindred matters, and the blockade was one of the mosi important military measures of that war. The letters referred to else to


represent in a degree its external aspect. From the brief duration and limited action of the war of 1898 with vSpain and from the voluminous publication already made we infer that the greater part of the documents are already in print, though at some time a fuller publication of telegrams may be desired, since the part which the cable played in this war was exceptionally great. Turning to the earlier naval conflicts, it is profitable to remark that there are in every war conspicuous features which sliould in part determine the course and nature of research. Thus, in the war of 1812, we have, first, the prevalence of battles between single ships, owing to the vast inferiority of American naval strength; second, owing to the same cause, the completeness of the blockade of the American coasts, producing an exhaustion of means in the midst of plenty, a financial catastrophe, which compelled peace without obtaining the formal concession of any one of the points for which the nation went to war; third, the fact that naval preponderance on the Great Lakes, whether established by victories, as on Erie and Chann)lain, or held in uncertain balance by a cautious policy of shii)buil(Iing, as on Ontario, protected the northern border of the L^nited States and rentkned fruitless the British land operations in that region. Now, whenever it is possible to recognize beforehand such determining features, a clue is placed in the hands of the searcher of archives as to what is comparatively important to print. Revolutionary war. The United States Navy, despite the bnlhant action of Paul Jones and one or two others, exercised no eflVct upon the outcome of the war, except upon Lake Champlain, in 1776. The ^Imerican control of that lake in that year postponed the British invasion to 1777, entailing thus the decisive consequences of Saratoga and its sequel in the French alliance. The documentary history of the operations on Lake Chani]ilain, therefore, deserves fuller treatment, in which, besides the jiapers already printed in the American Archives and elsewhere, attention should be directed to additional papers possessed by the ITnited States Government, state governments, the British Public Record Office, and the Archives of War and Marine, in Paris. In several other parts of the conflict land and naval operations were so closely interwoven that the papers relating to them should be fused into one whole. The actions oi privateers •





and in the mass they influenced tbe result, but our Government has few of the necessarj^ materials for their history, and it is doubtful if the matter can be illustrated bj^ any general

v,er3 often brilliant,

documentary publication.

As the Barbary pirates were the immediate origiTriyolitan war. nating cause of the United States Navy, the hostilities against them derive thence an interest to our naval history quite bej^ond their petty scale or militar}^ value. To illustrate the subject properly, it should be considered as a whole, from the depredations on American shipping, immediately after our protection by the British navy Documents ceased, down to the conclusion of the peace of 1816. should be selected to illustrate the depredations, the tribute paid by us to the several Barbaiy powers, our dependence on Portugal for protection, the dismay felt when Portugal made peace wath the pirates, the legislation authorizing a naval force, the actual hostilities, including Decatur's action with the Algerine naval vessels in References, at least, might well be inserted to the already 1815. printed debates of Congress touching the institution of a navy; they are a part of naval history-, broadly considered. Closely allied with these topics is the general question of Mediterranean commerce, and that of the gunboat system of Jefferson. It is probable that the ''Captains' letters," "Commanders' letters," etc., still mostly unprihted, would give much incidental light upon IMediterranean trade and piratical depredations, from which the Mediterraneanllittoral suffered much more than the United States shipping. It does' not appear that the gunboat system has ever been illustrated by adequate and systematic publication. Yet, though utterly inconsequent in itself, the system has historical importance, because, under Jefferson's influence, it stunted the rising navy, and so at the least aided to bring on the war of 1812. War of 1812. The documents printed in the American State Papers, Naval Affairs, are incomplete and unsatisfactory from the The series of "Letters received" and historical point of view. ^'Letters sent" in the Navy Department should be carefidly gone over for the years 1810-1816, inclusive, attention being specifically directed upon (1) the single-ship actions, which have obtained in popular recognition an esteem which we can not properly disregard; (2) upon reports of officers commanding naval stations, as to tlie blockade, and operations of the enemy's vessels on the coast, including especially all transactions in the Chesapeake; (3) upon the general history of preparations and of action upon the Great Lakes. When army and navy are both engaged, as in the Chesapeake and on the Lakes, military correspondence will sometimes contain an essential part of a common programme, or one side of a dispute. Pertinent documents in Niles's Register and similar publications, the originals of which are not in the files of the Department, should be either included in the publication or adequately referred to. The log books of United States vessels, where preserved, may furnish data or importance, although log books of that day, British and American, are commonly scanty in information. Court-martial records are far more valuable. The proceedings of the court held on the survivors of the ChesapeaJce have not been printed. The same is true of the courts on the officers of the Guerriere, Macedonian, and Java, and those of the British squadrons defeated on lakes Erie and





Chamjilain. All these are very full and necessary to any historian discussing the actions. The instructions issued by the British Government to its officers, both military and naval, seaboard and lake, are as essential to an understanding of operations as are those of our

own Government.

v:ith Mexico. In the way of fighting, the Navy in its proper sphere had little to do in this war, for there was no Mexican navy. But the transactions on the west coast, having to do \vith the acquisition of the territory ceded by Mexico, are of national importance. In naval material the principle that it is not enough to consult the materials possessed by one side is emphasized by the almost invariable naval practice of holding a court-martial in any case of serious disaster. The result of this procedure is the accumulation of a mass of sworn testimony by expert eyewitnesses. Few questions are asked of victors; they tell their story much as they v^ll; the vanquished must furnish explanations, and at large. The beaten side thus furnishes the better field for the historian.


SUMMARY OF CHIEF RECOMMENDATIONS. The enterprises which in the course of the preceding survey have been recommended with most emphasis, and wliich we regard as having the leading claims for early undertaking, are the following: Commissions and Instructions to the Governors of the American Colonies.

State Trials.

Papers of Andrew Jackson. National State Papers, continuing the old series of the American State Papers, Foreign Pelations, Finance, etc., and adding new series for Agriculture, Manufactures, Labor and Industrial Organization, Internal Commerce, etc. Official Records of the


with Mexico.


the detailed survey which has preceded, it is obvious that we far from having all the documents that we need for satisfactory dealing with the great problems of American liistorj'. The gaps in its published records are many and important. The sum total of the desiderata we have indicated is a formidable one, involving voluminous publication, great editorial labors, and much expense. But we can not too strongly insist that in bringing together the materials for a rational and scientific programme we are not advocaTo attempt the whole ting Ithe immediate execution of all its parts. at once, to attempt any part of it without deliberate consideration, in which should bo invoked the judgment both of experts within the departments and qualified historical scholars ffom without, wouldbe have endeavored to point out what needs to to invite disaster. be done. It is no part of our purpoSe to enlist the Government in extravagant schemes our desire is rather to pave the way to a procedure whereby, M'ithout greater expenditure upon documentary historical publications than at present, a product may be secured which will meet more fullv the needs of the Government, of historians, and of It should be the public, and be a source of crecHt to the nation. possible, with due regard to all these interests, to select, from among are


We :






enterprises that we have signahzed as desirable, those most loudly for immediate execution. Such qualitative or comparative judgments we have in many instances attempted to suggest, and in the last preceding section have emphasized the The final determination as to projects we deem most important. what should come first we deem it expedient to leave to a permanent commission, which we earnestly hope to see established.





large part,




of the ho]ied-for ]5roduct could be, as


have said, grouped under the general title "National State Papers," an extensive collection embracing several series. According to our conception of such a collection, its various series and volumes should Editors chosen for their special competence follow a uniform plan. in the fields respectively covered should go over all the material, printed and unprinted, domestic and foreign, possessetl by the Federal Government or not. They should then include or exclude documents deliberately, and in obedience to principles carefully thought out in the case of each of these classes of material ])rinciples which have been suggested on previous pages of this report. They might list with proper references many documents whose full texts they deemed it inexpedient to print. Thaj should supply brief introductions to their volumes, and such headnotes or footnotes to the individual documents as might seem requisite for their identification, but no ^eTaborate explanatory annotations. Their volumes should be supplied with tables of contents, indexes, and typographical arrangements ensuring convenience in using the books. The noble series of the American State Papers is evidence that seventy-five years ago the American Government appreciated abundantl}^ the usefulness of historical material to the life of a young nation. The opening years of the twentieth centur}^ should see a revival of this solicitude on the part of a nation much more mature and vastly more rich, but none the less in need of the teachings of history. We believe that in view of the intimate * connection between archives and historical publications it is not stepping out of our province to request the earnest attention of the Committee on

Department Methods to the serious situation of the Government in respect to the storage of its records and papers. Vast quantities of material, some of it valuable historically, much of it worth great sums of money to the Government, are annually "colonized out" by departments into outside buildings, unsuitable and unsafe, and which it is practically impossible to consult them. This evil has been often commented on by careful heads of departments. We strongly recommend, as the only remedy, that a National Archive House be built and that the earlier records and papers of the administrative departments be segregated and stored in it, under modern and scientific arrangements, as soon as is possible. We further recommend that Congress be requested so to modify its laws respect-, in

ing the destruction of departmental papers as to insure that papers no longer useful for administrative purposes be not destroyed without giving some expert person, such as the Chief of the Division of Manuscripts in the Library of Congress or the head of the future archive establishment, the opportunity to preserve such as still possess historical value. But since no suitable and adequate system of management for the documentary historical publications of the Government can be main-





tained without havino; a constant means of invoking tlio aid and counsel of those best cjuahlied to judge, we make it our chief^-ecommendation that, the present temporary committee having done what it could to point out needs and suggest general views and plans, Congress be requested to provided for a permanent advisory Commission on National Historical Publications. ask leave to make certain recommendations as to its organization and procedure, based on the experience and practice of countries older than ours in liistorical



SYSTEM PURSUED BY OTHER GOVERNMENTS. In seeking for the ideal mode of governmental procedure in liistorical publication we can derive much instuction from the experience of European governments. It can be conceded without shame that they have preceded us in tliis pathway, and though nmch ^f their historical work Mes in the medieval field, wliich has methods peculiar to itself, much of it lies in the field of modern history and furnishes close analogies to the tasks lying before us. They do not spend more for historical work than we. Some years ago, when a systematic attempt was made to obtain figures for the comparison,

they were spending considerably less. Great Britain was then spending about $75,000 per annum for the preparation and printing of documentary historical volumes; Russia about 850,000; France about S30,000; Germany and Prussia, for preparation alone, not prints, about S'23,000, while the United States, then at the height of its expendituie for the Oflicial Records of the War, was spending in such ways more than $250,00*0. But the uniform impression of historical scholars is that the European governments get a better and larger product for their mone}'. In part, this result is due to the lower rates prevailing in Europe for the compensation of learned workers, but in the main the superiority is due to a more scientiiic organization. What makes the experience of European governments the more instructive is that at the beginning their course was marked by the same absence of plan which has marked that of the Ignited States Government to the present date. Volumes of historical material were i)rinted sim])ly because some official or some ])rivate individual succeeded in persuading the legislature of the time to provide for /^em. Their genesis and succession were casual, their execution good or bad, as the consciences of editors might determine. In general terms, it may be saiil that those nations which have emerged from this unsatisfactory regime and developed an adequate mode of dealing with the jiroblem have tlone so by intrusting the planning of historical series and the supervision of their execution to permanent special commissions of historical exi)erts, ciualified to judge what materials, hitherto unpublished or imperfectjy published, would be most useful to the advancement of historical science. The government which first adoj^ted this })lan was that of Great Britain, which, l)y various commissions (LSOO-18.37), kept in existence for many years a body of oliicials and scholars charged with the execution of such enterprises of docunuMUnry |)ublication as they -deemed most importiUit. After bringing out a large numl)ei' of folio volumes these commissions ceased to exist, and the later Biitish series, the l^olls Series, Calendars of State Pa])ers, and other calendars, have ])een ])roduced under another system. For fifty years these publica-





tions have been nominally under the charge of the master of the rolls, whose ancient title connects him with the records, but who is really an equity judge. Practically the whole matter has usually lain in the sole control of the deputy keeper of the public records, who has doubtless had the advice and aid of the assistant keepers. The system is not one to be recommended, providing, as it does, no regular means for bringing to bear upon the problems the opinions of historical Its present effect is the confinescholars outside the archive staff. ment of publication to calendars, lists, and indexes, a restriction possible in a countr}^ where distances from the original manuscripts in the Public Record Office are short, but inapplicable to the case of the United States. Better models of organization and procedure are It may be mentioned, to be found on the Continent than in England. however, that for one particular portion of its publications Great Britain has an Historical Manuscri]:)ts Commission of thirteen, several of whom are historians; and that the Canadian government in 1907 instituted a similar but smaller commission, which is to plan and supervise the historical publications of the Dominion quite after the manner usual on the Continent. In 1834 Guizot, then Minister of Public Instruction in France, instituted what has since been called the Committee of Historical Works, consisting at first of from nine to eleven members, charged to direct the preparation and publication, for the Government, of volumes of uhpublished materials for the history of France. More than 250 volumes have been issued by the committee;, the quality of the whole would have been better if more pains and thought had been expended at the beginning in framing a comj^rehensive and In 1874 an additional commission. Commission well-reasoned plan. on Scientific and Literary Missions, was established under the same ministry, with the object of searching for data-^historicai, philoIn our country this to be found in foreign lands. logical, etc. function is mainly performed by the Department of Historical Research in the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Another special commission, whose operations more closeh^ resemble what would be appropriate to the circumstances of the United States Government, the Commission for the Publication of Documents on the Economic History of the French Revolution, has been fully described by one of its chief members, M. Pierre Caron, in an instructive article in the American Historical Review for April, 1908.° It was established in 1903 and, on account of temporary circumstances, was given a separate existence from the Committee of Historical Works. The Commission consisted at first of 28 members, and now consists of 45, but its work is mostly done b}^ an executive com-


mittee of 7, all of whom are noted historical scholars. It has formed subsidiary committees in each department of France, and has furnished them from time to time with instructions which are models It has shown great activity, and has published rapidly, of the kind. perhaps too rapidly, a large series of octavo volumes, about 10 volumes^ per annum. TiTthe same year (1834) in which Guizot's original committee was appointed, the new Kingdom of Belgium established a Royal Commission of History, which, with somewhat widened functions, sub-


French cooperative

historical enterprise."





to the present day, and has performed notable services in Perhaps, however, the most famous of such commispublication. sions is that which in 1858, at the instance of Ranke, Sybel, and Waitz, Kinn: Maximilian II, of Bavaria, established in connection with the sists

Bavarian Academy.** To this commission we owe more than a hundred volumes of the best-edited historical material that Germany has produced. Commissions of this form have come more and more into favor in the German states, and have increased rapidly in recent years. A particularly successful one was established in Baden in 1883. Wiirttemberg founded one in 1891, the ]:)rovince of Styria in 1892, the Kingdom of Saxony in 1896, tlie Prussian provinces of WestWith these, phalia, Nassau, Hesse, and Saxony in 1896-1898. with the commissions more recently established by the Tlmringian states, Alsace and Lorraine, and with the very active Commission for the Modern History of Austria, founded in 1901, one may fairl}^ say that such commissions have become the accepted mode in the country in which the editing of historical documents has received its most scholarly development. Hungary also has a historical commission of the same nature. Russia has both the Commission for Printing Letters Patent and Treaties, founded in 1811, and the Archiieographical Commission, of broader scope, founded in 1834. Italy has had. since 1883, in the Italian Historical Institute, an organization designed both to supervise the collection entitled "Sources for the History of Italy" and to act as a clearing house for the provincial historical societies and commissions. But perhaps the best model of such national commissions is furnished b}" that which the Queen of the Netherlands instituted^i 1902, consisting of ten eminent historical scholars and entitled\PQ]n7 Warned by mission of Advice for National Historical Publications. the experience of some commissions previously established in other countries, this Dutch commission proceeded, before engaging in any scheme of publication or definitely resolving upon them, first to make a general survey of the different periods and parts of Dutcli history, with an eye to the question, What serious gaps existed in the documentation that could be filled by the publication of materials liitherto unprinted? They brought out a careful and detailed report entitled "Survey of the Gaps in Dutch History to be filled by Documentary Publications."'' They decided which of the various projects should be taken up first. Continuing in office as a permanent committee of advice, they framed singularly judicious regulations for the execution of such works regulations from which much could profitably ])e borrowed for American use and they have produced several excellent volumes in their projected series. In the composition of such commissions as those which have been described above as the usual machinery of governmental historical work in Europe the European jjovernments have often taken advantage of the existence of national historical institutions, associations, or

« Its history


related in Die Histori.'iche ('onimis.sion bei der k6nip;lich bayerischen

Akademie der Wissensohaften (Munich,


<>Overzicht van de door lirunneniMiblicatie aan te vullen Leemten der Nederhind.sche Geschicdkennis (IIa<;ue, 190}): noe p. 4.33.

Amerifan Historical Review,

Vol. XI,





academies, especially in those countries in which national academies have a large share in the general control of intellectual interests. Thus the directing committee of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, the chief series for German medieval history, consists of nine members, appointed by the royal academies of Berlin, Vienna, and Munich. The Royal Historical Commission of Belgium is chosen on nominaOf tions by the Belgian Academy from among its own members. the Munich Historical Commission, three members must by statute be members of the Bavarian Academy, and in practice several others The commissions of the most recent model usually consist of are. an archive official or two, specially competent in history, of historical professors in the universities, and of men prominent in the work of the chief historical organizations of the respective countries.

In the

United States, which has no national academj- of the historical and ^"^^p^llological sciences, the obvious analogue for such purposes is the American Historical Association, incorporated by act of Congress in terms inclusive of precisely such services. It is also necessary to bear in mind the peculiarities of our archive system. National archives have a natural liistory of their own. Their regular course of development is to proceed from a state of things wherein each government office keeps its own papers to one wherein all papers not recent and not needed in current administrative work are concentrated in one great historical repository. Great Britain, with its all-engrossing Public Jlecord Office, and Belgium and the Netherlands, so far as national, as distinct from old provincial, repositories are concerned, stand at one end of the scale of development. The archives of Berlin are less concentrated, those of Paris and Vienna, with their comlunation of national archives and archives of ministries, represent a still lower stage of the normal progression, wliile those of St. Petersburg are almost as much scattered as the Now, British were before the Public T^ecord Office was created. readers of Van Tyne and Leland's Guide to the Archives of the Government in Washington do not need to be told that the archives of the United States stand at the foot of the scale in respect to concentraThere is indeed only one instance (that of the Department of tion. War) in which archives embracing the papers of a whole department have been concentrated into one archive. Each bureau, sometimes each subdivision of a bureau, preserves its own records; there are more than a hundred such repositories. While it is certain that the mere exigencies of space in departmental buildings will before many years lead to the creation of a central depository of some sort, it is essential at present, in devising plans for proper supervision of the Government's liistorical output, to have regard to the fact of separate departmental control over most portions of the manuscript material. It is also needful to bear in mind the utility, when so many of the ]:»roposed publications lie within the domain of a single executive department, of invoking in all such cases the expert aid of the department's own officials. \





recommend that Congress be requested to ])ass Composition. legislation in accordance with which the President shall appoint from anions: the members of the American Historical Association eight or





nine |)orsons of the highest standing for scholarship and judgment in tlie Jiehl of United States histor}', to serve as a Commission on National Historical Publications; and we suggest that the executive council of the American Historical Association be requested, when vacancies occur, to propose nominations for the action of the President. We recommend that Congress be requested to make annual appropriations for the vvork of compilation and printing sufficient to ensure )h^ issue of at least 10 octavo volumes per annum of the ])ublications which such Commission may recommend, or, upon an estimate, $100,000 per annum for compilation and prmting. Meetings.— het it be provided that the Commission hold two stated meetings each year in Washington, and other meetmgs when calledby the chairman with the approval of three other members; That the members of the Commission receive such comjiensation as Congress may think fit, and that a suitable appropriation be annually made to defray the expenses incurred in attending their meetings and the clerical expenses necessarily involved in their work; Tliat the Commission arrange its members into committees of three upon materials possessed respectiv3ly by the executive departments and the Library of Congress; and that in each dej^artment and the Library of Congress a committee of three be appointed by the head of the department or the Librarian of Congress to act, under the conditions set forth herein, with the respective committees of three formed by the proposed Commission. Operations. Proposals for volumes or series of documentary historical materials to be published by the Government should come before the Commission in one of two ways (a) on the initiative of the Commission, or (6) on the initiative of one of the departments. Let it be |)rovided that the following procedure obtain in these two

K'^ses respective*! 3': (fl) In the former case no proposal sliall be considered at any meeting unless a full explanation by its ])roposer, stating reasons, giving a j)lan, estimating the magnitude of the jn'oposed undertaking, and suggesting an editor, shall have been transmitted to the chairman or secretary of the Commission two months l)efore the meeting and prom])tly distributed in dui)licate to all the members. If approved by a majority of the Commission, the i)roposal, if it relates to materials possessed by one dei)artmeht or the Library of Congress, shall be referred to the committee on that department, which shall call into consultation the committee of three ap])ointed as above in that dej^artment, or the Library of Congress. If, howevei', the pro|)osed volume or series would be composed of materials possessed by several departments, the Commission may proceed to its ])rei)aiation after such consultations with those departments as


may seem


from the committee of three formeil as above in any department pro]iosals for such volumes or series of documentar}' liistorical materials sliall be made to the chairman of the Commission, he shall request details of a sort mentioned above, sliall send them in duplicate to the members of the committee on that department, and after one month shall call for their opinion, in writing, if there be question of one volume, or if a series of volumes is })roposcd shall refer tli(> matter to a meeting of the whole Commission. (b) If





No new publication of documentary liistorical materials shall be hereafter undertaken by any department or the Library of Congress unless the proposal has received the approval of a majority of the editorial committee of that department or of tlie Library of C'ongress and of a majority of the appropriate committee of the Commission. The Commission shall make general regulations as to the form of publication and the details of editing and execution, which rules shall be laid before the President for his approval before going into effect, and shall report annually to the President, in October. By some such plan as this we believe the Government can secure a steady output of creditable liistorical work, based on competent "^d farseeing deliberation, and answering the needs of the present and the future; and we do not beHeve that such a product can be obtained without supervision of substantially the character and extent that we have indicated. In case it be deemed expedient to appeal to Congress for legislation enabling procedure like that described above to be carried out, we submit herewith a/lraft of a bill wliich embodies our views of what is essential in the constitution of such a permanent commission: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President be authorized to appoint, with the advice and consent of the iSenate, from among the members of the American Historical Association, nine persons of the highest standing for scholarship and judgment in the field of United States history, to serve as a Commission on National Historical Publicatrons, and to have authority to defray, out of such appropriations as may be made to said Commission, the cost of preparing and printing such volumes of material for American history as it may deem most useful.

Respectfully submitted.



FoRD, Chairman,

Charles Francis Adams, Charles M. Andrews, William A. Dunning, Albert Bushnell Hart,


C. JMcLxVUGhlin,

Alfred T. Mahan, Frederick J. Turner, J. Franklin Jameson, Secretary, Assistant Committee on the Documentary Historical Publications of the United States Government.

The Committee on Department Methods.









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