PROMINENT in the President's cabinet is the Secretary of the Navy. The business of the naval department is distributed among the following eight bureaus: The Bureau of Yards and Docks, presided over by an officer selected from the navy, not below the grade of commander; the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting, presided over by a similar naval officer; a Bureau of Navigation, presided over by a similar officer; a Bureau of Ordnance, and Bureau of Construction and Repair, presided over by similar officers, the latter being also a skillful navy constructor; the Bureau of Steam-engineering, presided over by one of the chief engineers of the navy, who is also a skillful engineer; the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing, presided over by a paymaster of the navy, of not less than ten years' standing; the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, presided over by one of the surgeons of the navy. The chiefs of these bureaus are appointed by the President, hold their offices for four years, and receive only the salary pertaining to each of their official grades in the navy.

Duties Of The Secretary Of The Navy

The duties of the Secretary of the Navy are as follows: To execute such orders as he shall receive from the President relative to procuring naval stores and materials, and the construction, armament, equipment and employment of vessels of war, and other matters connected with the naval establishment; to have custody and charge of all the books, records and property in and belonging to the Navy Department; to cause the collection of all flags, standards and colors taken by the navy from the enemies of the United States.

The annual reports of the secretary to Congress shall present: A statement of the appropriations of the preceding fiscal year, how much money was expended, and in what manner, and the probable demand of the balances of appropriations remaining unused in each department of the navy; a statement of all offers for contracts for supplies and services made during the year, and accepted, by classes; a statement showing how much money was expended during the preceding fiscal year for wages of mechanics and laborers employed in building, repairing or equipping vessels, or in handling stores, and how much money was spent in purchasing stores and materials, with the cost and value of articles received, used, and remaining on hand, at the navy-yards; a statement of all sales of vessels and materials of the navy, by whom bought, the amounts realized from such sales, etc. The respective bureaus of the department furnish to the secretary all estimates for the specific, general and contingent expenses of the department and bureaus.

The Hydrographic Office

Attached to the Bureau of Navigation in the Navy Department is a hydrographic office, for improving the means for navigating safely the vessels of the navy and merchant marine by providing, under the authority of the Secretary of the Navy, accurate and cheap nautical charts, sailing directions, navigators and manuals of instruction for the use of all such vessels. The Secretary of the Navy is authorized to provide such charts, maps, etc., to be prepared and printed and distributed to navigators at the cost of printing and paper. The moneys thus received from the sale of maps, charts, etc., is to be applied to the purchase and preparation of more of the same articles.

Nautical Observations

The Naval Observatory at Washington is in charge of a naval officer, who receives only the pay of an officer of his grade for shore duty. The "Nautical Almanac," containing the result of naval and astronomical observations, is supervised annually by a naval officer or professor of mathematics in the navy, appointed by the secretary for that purpose.

The meridian of the Naval Observatory, at Washington, is established as the American meridian for all astronomical purposes, and the meridian of Greenwich, England, for all nautical purposes.

Nautical Observations 490