THE EXECUTIVE departments of the United States government are seven in number: the Department of State, the Department of War, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Interior, the Post-office Department. The Department of Justice is governed by the Attorney-General, the Post-office Department by the Postmaster-General, and the others by secretaries, respectively. Each head of a department is entitled to a salary of $8,000 a year, payable monthly.

The head of each department is authorized to prescribe regulations, not inconsistent with law, for its government, the conduct of its officers and clerks, the distribution and performance of its business, and the custody, use and preservation of the records, papers and property pertaining to it.

From the first day of October until the first day of April, in each year, all the bureaus and offices in the State, War, Treasury, Navy and Post-office Departments, and in the General Land Office (at Washington) are required to be open for the transaction of the public business at least eight hours in each day; and from the first day of April until the first day of October, in each year, at least ten hours in each day, except Sundays and days designated by law as public holidays.

The clerks in the departments are arranged in four classes, distinguished as the first, second, third and fourth classes. No clerk can be appointed in either of these classes, in any department, until he has been examined and found qualified by a board of three examiners, consisting of the chief of the bureau or office into which such clerk is to be appointed, and two other clerks to be selected by the head of the department. Women may, at the discretion of the head of any department, be appointed to any of the clerkships therein authorized by law, upon the same qualifications, requisites and conditions, and with the same compensations as are prescribed for men. Each head of a department may, from time to time, alter the distribution among the various bureaus and offices of his department of the clerks prescribed by law, as he may find it proper and necessary so to do.

Clerks and employes in the departments, whose compensation is not otherwise prescribed, receive the following salaries per year:

First Class Clerks.


Second do


Third do


Fourth Class Clks.


Women clerks




Asst. Messengers..






Temporary clerks, performing duties similar to those in either class, are entitled to a salary of the same rate as permanent clerks.

Each head of a department is authorized to employ as many clerks of all classes, and such other employes, at such rates of compensation, respectively, as Congress may, from year to year, appropriate money for paying them. No money can be paid to any clerk employed in either department at an annual salary, as compensation for extra services, unless expressly authorized bylaw. Further restrictions are also placed upon the employment of extra and temporary clerks and subordinate assistants in the departments, and the law prescribes the rates of their compensation, in case their employment becomes necessary.

The chief clerks in the several departments and bureaus and other offices connected therewith have supervision, under their immediate superior, over the duties of the other clerks therein, and see that they are faithfully performed. And it is also the business of the chief clerks to take care, from time to time, that the duties of the other clerks are dis-tributed among them with equality and uniformity, according to the nature of the case. The chief clerks also report monthly to their superior officers any existing defects that they may know of in the arrangement or dispatch of the public business; and each head of a department, chief of a bureau, or other superior officer must examine the facts as stated, and take proper measures to amend such existing defects.

The disbursing clerks authorized by law in any department are appointed by the heads of the departments from clerks of the fourth class. Each of these clerks is required to give a bond to the United States for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, according to law, in such amount as may be directed by the Secretary of the Treasury, and with sureties approved by the Solicitor of the Treasury, and renew, strengthen and increase the amount of such bond, from time to time, as the Secretary of the Treasury may direct.

President Lincoln and His Cabinet

President Lincoln and His Cabinet.

THE above pictorial illustration is from F. B. Carpenter's painting, made at the White House, in Washington, in 1864, representing the memorable meeting of Lincoln and his cabinet assembled to listen to the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Some of the sketches will be readily recognized. In the picture William H. Seward, Secretary of State, who sits in front of the table, is evidently considering certain features of the document. Edwin M. Stanton, head of the War Department, sitting at the extreme left, listens intently; so, also does Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the

Treasury, who stands with arms folded. Lincoln, as he sits with paper in hand, is all attention; so is Gideon Welles, head of the Navy, who, in long, white beard, sits opposite Seward. Caleb Smith, Secretary of the Interior, stands next to Welles; Montgomery Blair, Postmaster-General, stands beside Smith, and Edward Bates, Attorney-General sits at the extreme right.

Altogether the faces and the scene represented will go down into the future as one of the memorable events connected with the efforts made for the preservation of the American Union in the dark and troublous days of the rebellion.

Each disbursing clerk, except the one employed in the Treasury Department, may, when so directed by the head of his department, superintend the building which it occupies.

Each disbursing clerk, in addition to his salary as a clerk of the fourth class, is entitled to receive $200 more a year, or $2,000 in all.

In case of the death, resignation, absence or sickness of the head of any department, the first or sole assistant thereof, unless the President directs otherwise, performs the duties of such head until a successor is appointed or the sickness or absence ceases.

In case of the death, resignation, absence or sickness of the chief of any bureau, or any officer thereof whose appointment is not vested in the head of the department, the assistant or deputy of such chief or officer, or his chief clerk, may perform the duties of his superior, unless the President orders otherwise.

The President, in case of the vacancies created as above mentioned, may authorize and direct the head of any other department, or any other officer in either department (whose appointment is vested in the President) to perform the duties of the vacant office until a successor is appointed, or the sickness or absence of the incumbent ceases. But no vacancy of this kind, occasioned by death or resignation, may be temporarily filled for a longer time than ten days. And any officer performing the duties of another office, during such vacancy, is not entitled to any compensation beyond his own proper salary.

Officers or clerks of any department, when lawfully detailed to investigate frauds or attempts to defraud the government, or any official misconduct or irregularity, are authorized to administer oaths to witnesses; and any head of a department or bureau may, when any investigation in his department requires it, subpoena witnesses before the proper officer, to testify in the case, and resort to compulsion by the court to enforce the attendance of such witnesses. Heads of departments or bureaus are furnished the necessary legal assistance by the Attorney-Gen-eral; and evidence is to be furnished by the departments in suits pending in the court of claims.

Each department is allowed to expend $100 a year for newspapers, to be filed in that department. The head of each department makes an annual report to Congress, giving a detailed statement of the manner in which the contingent fund for his department has been expended, the names of every person to whom any of it has been paid, the nature of the service rendered, the kind of property furnished, and its price, etc.; he also reports to Congress, annually, the names of the clerks and other persons who have been employed in his department and its offices, the time and manner of their employment, the sums paid to each, whether they have been useful, need to be removed, etc.

The Secretaries of State, the Treasury, the Interior, War and Navy, the Postmaster-General, the Attorney-General and the Commissioner of Agriculture, are required to keep a complete inventory of all the property belonging to the United States in the buildings, rooms, offices and grounds occupied by them, respectively, and under their charge, as well as an account of the sale or other disposition of any of such property, except supplies of stationery and fuel in the public offices, and books, pamphlets and papers in the library of Congress.

The head of each department is required, as soon as practicable after the last day of September, in the year whenever a new Congress assembles, to cause to be filed in the office of the Secretary of the Interior, a full and complete list of all officers, agents, clerks and employes in his department, or in any of the offices or bureaus connected with it. Such list must include, also, all the statistics peculiar to his department required to enable the Secretary of the Interior to prepare the Biennial Register.