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In the preparation of these monographs the Institute has kept steadily in mind the aim to produce documents that will be of direct value and assistance in the administration of public affairs. To executive officials they offer valuable tools of administration. Through them, such officers can, with a minimum of effort, inform themselves regarding the details, not only of their own services, but of others with whose facilities, activities and methods it is desirable that they should be familiar. Under present conditions services frequently engage in activities in ignorance of the fact that the work projected has already been done, or is in process of execution by other services. Many cases exist where one service could make effective use of the organization, plant or results of other services had they knowledge that such facilities were in existence. With the constant shifting of directing personnel that takes place in the administrative branch of the national government, the existence of means by which incoming officials may thus readily secure information regarding their own and other services is a matter of great importance.
To members of Congress the monograph should prove of no less value. At present these officials are called upon to legislate and appropriate money for services concerning whose needs and real problems they can secure but imperfect information. That the possession by each member of a set of monographs, such as is here projected, prepared according to a uniform plan, will be a great aid to intelligent legislation and appropriation of funds can hardly be questioned.
To the public, finally, these monographs will give that knowledge of the organization and operations of their government which must be had if an enlightened public opinion is to be brought to bear upon the conduct of governmental affairs.
These studies are wholly descriptive in character. No attempt is made in them to subject the conditions described to criticism, nor to indicate features in respect to which changes might with advantage be made. Upon administrators themselves falls responsibility for making or proposing changes which will result in the improvement of methods of administration. The primary aim of outside agencies should be to emphasize this responsibility and facilitate its fulfillment.
While the monographs thus make no direct recommendations for improvement, they cannot fail greatly to stimulate efforts in that direction. Prepared as they are according to a uniform plan, and setting forth as they do the activities, plant, organization, personnel and laws governing the several services of the government, they will automatically, as it were, reveal, for example, the extent to which work in the same field is being performed by different services, and thus furnish the information that is essential to a consideration of the great question of the better distribution and coördination of activities among the several departments, establishments and bureaus, and the elimination of duplications of plant, organization and work. Through them it will also be possible to subject any particular feature of the administrative work of the government to exhaustive study, to determine, for example, what facilities, in the way of laboratories and other plant and equipment, exist for the prosecution of any line of work and where those facilities are located; or what work is being done in any field of administration or research, such as the promotion, protection and regulation of the maritime interests of the country, the planning and execution of works of an engineering character, or the collection, compilation and publication of statistical data, or what differences of practice prevail in respect to organization, classification, appointment, and promotion of personnel.
To recapitulate, the monographs will serve the double purpose of furnishing an essential tool for efficient legislation, administration and popular control, and of laying the basis for critical and constructive work on the part of those upon whom responsibility for such work primarily rests.
Whenever possible the language of official statements or reports has been employed, and it has not been practicable in all cases to make specific indication of the language so quoted.
THE U. S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: ITS HISTORY, ACTIVITIES AND:
The United States Geological Survey, a bureau of the Department of the Interior, is engaged chiefly in surveying the geology, topography, and related features of the United States and in publishing the results of its surveys and investigations.
Early Explorations and Surveys of the Public Domain: 1804-1865. Previous to the establishment of the Geological Survey, the surveys conducted by the national government were chiefly exploratory in character, and were, therefore, confined almost wholly to the western country. Numerous surveys were made at an early date, most of them by the Army, partly for military use and partly to extend geographical knowledge. The most important was the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806, which ascended the Missouri to its sources and then descended the Columbia to the Pacific. The expeditions of Pike in 1805 and 1807 to the sources of the Mississippi and the Arkansas were also of prime importance. In 1820 an important expedition in Upper Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota was conducted by General Cass, then Superintendent of Indian Affairs; and in 1832 an expedition to one of the sources of the Mississippi was made by Schoolcraft, the famous student of Indian life, while traveling in behalf of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.