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CONTENTS.

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REPORT

OF THE

COMMISSIONER OF NAVIGATION.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,
BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,
Washington, D. C., October 30, 1890.

SIR: In pursuance of law I have the honor to submit for your consideration the seventh annual report of this Bureau.

Under the act establishing the Bureau the Commissioner of Navigation has the general superintendence of the merchant marine and the seamen of the United States. He is specially charged with the decision of all questions relating to the admeasurement and documenting of vessels, and on all questions of interpretation or execution of the laws for the collection of tonnage tax his decision is final. The Bureau prepares and publishes the annual list of vessels of the United States and compiles statistics of tonnage entered and cleared, built, sold abroad, or lost, which show the movement of trade and transportation at the dif ferent ports. Under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, and within the limitations of law, the Commissioner of Navigation is empowered to change the names of vessels. But perhaps his most important duty is to investigate the operations of the laws relative to navigation, and annually to report to the Secretary of the Treasury such particulars as may, in his judgment, admit of improvement or may require amendment.

A DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.

The Bureau of Navigation in this Department was the outcome of a moderate agitation for a department of commerce, which should hold the same useful relation to the trade and pursuits of the sea as the Department of Agriculture now holds towards the industries of the land. The Department of Agriculture had its beginning in a commissionership. It has had many years the start of the Bureau of Navigation, and has accomplished great good for the farming community and for the country-of course, at the cost of millions of dollars. To this cost, let it be borne in mind, the men of ships and the toilers of the sea have contributed their share and feel entitled to ask for reciprocation in the good time coming.

It is believed by many patriotic people that for sixty years past our Government has been wanting in eyes and ears and understanding of the needs of navigation and ocean commerce. There is a general reason assigned for this shortcoming. The competition of rivals in Europe and the "course of Empire" to the West destroyed political interest in the growth of our merchant marine. Pelagic development

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