Third Census of the United States, 1810


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United States in 1810
ConnecticutIndiana TerritoryMassachusettsNew YorkRhode Island
DelawareKentuckyMichigan TerritoryNorth CarolinaSouth Carolina
District of ColumbiaLouisisana TerritoryMississippi TerritoryOhioTennessee
GeorgiaMaineNew HampshireOrleans TerritoryVermont
Illinois TerritoryMarylandNew JerseyPennsylvaniaVirginia



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The third census was taken under the direction of the Secretary of State, and under the same general provisions of law which governed the two preceding, but by the terms of the act of March 26, 1810, the marshals and the secretaries of the territories were required to appoint one or more assistants in each county and city, who must be residents thereof, and to assign to each assistant a certain division of their districts; but such division could not consist of more than one county or city, but might be composed of one or more towns, townships, wards, hundreds, or parishes, plainly and distinctly bounded by water courses, mountains, public roads, or other monuments.

The enumeration, which the law now stipulated was to be made "by an actual inquiry at every dwelling house, or of the head of every family within each district, and not otherwise," was to commence on the first Monday in August and to close in nine calendar months thereafter. By act of April 12, 1810, however, the time was limited to five months, but as this did not prove sufficient for the completion of the work, by act of March 2, 1811, the time for assistants to make their return was extended to the first Monday in June, and that for the marshals and secretaries to the first Monday in July, 1811.

The schedule of inquiries relating to population called for exactly the same information as at the census of 1800, and the assistants received compensation for this work at the same rates prescribed for that census, including the allowance for the two copies to be set up at two of the most public places, except that the rate allowed for increased compensation in sparsely settled areas was not to exceed $1.25 for every 50 persons, instead of $1, as theretofore. There were 26 districts and territories to be enumerated at this census, Tennessee being divided into two districts, and the amount of compensation allowed to the marshals and secretaries was increased in several instances over the amount received at the preceding censuses; but the highest amount allowed in any case was $500, that paid to the marshal of the district of Virginia, as before, while the smallest compensation was $50, that of the marshal of the District cf Columbia, separately enumerated for the first time at this census.

In case there was no secretary in either of the territories, provision was made for the performance of the duties directed by the act by the governor of such territory, for which he was to receive the same compensation to which the secretary would have been entitled and was subject to the same penalties.

The marshals and secretaries, in filing the returns of their assistants with the clerks of the district and superior courts, were also required by the law of 1810 to file an attested copy of the return which they were directed to transmit to the Secretary of State.

The results of this census or enumeration of the population were printed in a long folio of 180 pages, without title-page, the summary of the population of the several districts and territories being preceded by the following caption: "Aggregate amount of each description of persons within the United States of America, and the territories thereof, agreeably to actual enumeration made according to law, in the year 1810." The various subdivisions of the population called for by the act were presented bv counties and towns in the northern sections of the country (except New York, which was by counties only), and also in Ohio, Kentucky, and Georgia. The returns for the southern districts were limited, as in preceding censuses, to counties, usually, while the population of the territories was generally returned by counties and townships.

As has been noted, no additional details concerning the population were ascertained at this census, but by a later provision of law an attempt was made, for the first time, to gather industrial statistics. This was undertaken in accordance with the terms of the act of Ma}' 1, 1810, which, after making (in section 1) certain changes in the form of the oath or affirmation required of marshals, secretaries, and assistants, provided in section 2 as follows:

That it shall be the duty of the several marshals, secretaries, and their assistants aforesaid, at the time for taking the census or enumeration aforesaid, to take, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, and according to such instructions as he shall give, an account of the several manufacturing establishments and manufactures within their several districts, territories, and divisions. The said assistants shall make return of the same to the marshals or secretaries of their respective districts or territories, and the said marshal and secretary shall transmit the said returns and abstracts thereof to the Secretary of the Treasury, at the same times at which they are by this act, and the several acts to which this act is an addition, required respectively to make their return of said enumeration to the Secretary of State; for the performance of which additional services they shall respectively receive such compensation as shall hereafter be provided by law.

No schedule was prescribed by the law, nor was the nature of the inquiries to be made indicated, but were wholly subject to the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury. For the further carrying out of this work, it was provided by a resolution passed March 19, 1812:

That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed to employ a person to digest and reduce to such form as shall be deemed most conducive to the interests of the United States, a statement of the number, nature, extent, situation, and value of the arts and manufactures of the United States, together with such other details, connected with these subjects, as can be made from the abstracts and other documents and returns, reported to him by the marshals and other persons employed to collect information in conformity to the second section of the act of the first of May, one thousand eight hundred and ten, and such other information as has been or may be obtained, which the subject will admit of; and that he report the same to Congress.

For making this digest of manufactures, the sum of $2,000 was authorized by the act of May 16, 1812, while the sum of $40,000 was allowed for the compensation of the marshals and assistants for taking the account of the manufactures, but without statutory provisions for its apportionment.

The statement of manufactures called for by this resolution relates to but four or five items, namely, the kind, quantity, and value of goods manufactured, the number of establishments, in some cases, and the number of machines of various kinds used in certain classes of manufactures, as shown by the printed report, which contains more or less incomplete returns covering these items for considerably more than 200 kinds of goods or things considered, and including several items relating to products other than those of manufactures, but principally agricultural. This report, a quarto volume of 233 was published May 30, 1813, under the following exceedingly comprehensive title:

A Statement of the Arts and Manufactures of the United States of America, exhibiting—

I. A collection of facts, evincing their benefactions to agriculture, commerce, navigation, and the fisheries, and their subserviency to the public defense, with an indication of certain existing modes of conducting them, peculiarly important to the United States.

II. A collection of additional facts, tending to show the practical foundation, actual progress, condition, and establishment of the American arts and manufactures, and their connection with the wealth and strength of the United States. Together with—

One series of tables of the several branches of American manufactures, exhibiting them by States, Territories, and districts, so far as they were returned in the reports of the marshals and of the secretaries of the territories, and their respective assistants, in the autumn of the year 1810; together with similar returns of certain doubtful goods, productions of the soil, and agricultural stock, so far as they have been reported; and another—

Series of tables of the several branches of American manufactures, exhibiting them in every county of the Union, so far as they were returned in the reports of the marshals, and of the secretaries of the territories and their respective assistants, in the autumn of the year 1810; which tables were prepared in execution of an instruction of Albert Gallatin, esquire, Secretary of the Treasury, given by him in obedience to a resolution of Congress of the 19th day of March, 1812.

Concerning the tables, Mr. Tench Coxe, who was charged by the Secretary of the Treasury with the duty of making the digest, says (p. xxvii):

In the tables which form the third and fourth parts of this statement is contained the result of this first attempt of an extensive and populous country, or perhaps of any country, to ascertain in detail the facts which constitute and display the actual condition of its manufactures. The duty of collecting the information by the marshals and secretaries was additional and secondary to the periodical enumeration of the people, and required a longer time than was allowed for such an enumeration, enjoined as a basis of distribution of constitutional power. The period of the two measures was not sufficient for the correspondence between the superior and subordinate officers, which would have produced more perfect details and greater uniformity and perspicuity. It may, however, be affirmed that the tables contain a great number and variety of clear indications of the state of the manufacturing branch of the national industry, and a mass of positive evidence upon the subject, in relation to the eastern, northern, middle, southern, Atlantic, and western sections or grand divisions of the country, with respect to the forms or modes of the manufactures which have grown up, the raw materials upon which they operate, a very considerable portion of the value to which they have arisen, very useful data for the comparative value of internal conwnerce or manufactures and external commerce or navigation, and foreign trade, and much elucidation of the operations of manufacturing industry upon the commercial and the landed interests, and upon the public safety.

Concerning the work of the marshals and assistants in this connection, Mr. Coxe further says (p. xxv):

Though many of the officers and assistants have performed this new and difficult service with much zeal and intelligence, yet various causes have concurred to occasion numerous and very considerable imperfections and omissions in returns from cities, towns, villages, townships, hundreds, counties, and, as to valuable articles and branches, from States, to be observable. In these first sets of tables it has not been thought best to supply those defects by detailed and diversified estimates, which must be erroneous and might be sanguine.

In submitting a summary of the manufactures by States, Territories, and districts, several footnotes are used, to the general effect that, in the opinion of the marshals of the several States referred to, the values and amounts were much more than as reported, and this summary is followed by "an estimate of the value of the manufactures of the United States of America, excluding the doubtful articles, digested by States, districts, and territories, formed by a consideration of all the reported details and by a valuation of the manufactures which are entirety omitted or imperfectly returned, for the year 1810," giving an estimated total for the whole country of $172,762,676. The total of "the goods made in the United States which are of a doubtful nature in relation to their character as manufactures or agricultural, so far as they have been returned by the marshals and the secretaries of the territories, for the year 1810," was $25,850,795; or, in all, $198,613,471.

A further estimate is given, under date of May 1, 1813, by Mr. Coxe (p. liii), covering the year 1813, as follows:

In the course of the numerous and diversified operations, occasioned by the deliberate execution of this digest and statement, constant and close attention has been applied to those facts, which have occurred throughout the Union, since the autumn of the year 1810, from which a judgment of the condition of the manufactures of the United States, in the current year 1813, might be safely formed. It has resulted in a thorough conviction that, after allowing for the interruptions to the importations of certain raw materials, the several branches of manufactures and the States, territories, and districts have advanced, upon a medium, at the full rate of 20 per centum, which would give an aggregate for this year of 207,315,211 dollars. In this increase the State of New York is considered to have most largely partaken, especially by her joint stock companies, and in consequence of the migrations thither from the Eastern States. But as it is best to make ample allowances for some manifest repetitions of articles which are inextricably involved in the subordinate returns, a sincere and well-reflected final opinion is respectfully offered, that the whole people of the United States, taken in 1813 at 8,000,000 of persons, will actually make within this year manufactured goods (exclusively of the doubtful) to the full value of 200,000,000 of dollars, or 45,000,000 of pounds, of sterling money.

It is apparent, therefore, that the published details of manufactures by States and counties have little value as representing the aggregate amount of manufactures at this period for any section, but they do afford, as stated by Mr. Coxe, "a great number and variety of clear indications of the state of the manufacturing branch of the national industry" at that time.

The total population returned at the census of 1810 was 7,239,881, and the total cost was $178,444.67, of which, approximately, $40,000 was expended on account of the return relating to manufactures,1


1Garfield's Report on the Ninth Census (House Reports, Forty-first Congress, second session, Vol. I, No. 3), pp. 36-37.



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