This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A census if reliable would be very desirable, but it is the reverse with one which is found worthless. It is extremely likely that after the immense amount of money spent by the United States on this affair, it is of little more value than a row of pins. Every one knows that the progress of Philadelphia during the decade was almost magical. Even during the panicy times, when distress ruled everywhere, Philadelphia industries went on, and so nearly work for all was there, that notwithstanding a population of nearly a million, at no time did its pauper-roll exceed one thousand. But in spite of evidences everywhere of the enormous growth of this city, the industrial returns were made to appear lower than they were ten years before by these veracious census figures. So absurd was this conclusion that a number of public spirited men determined on a new census, and the whole matter was placed in the hands of Lorin Blodgett, whose eminent abilities for the task and strict conscientiousness in the performance of duty cannot be questioned. His returns have just been published.
Instead of 8,300 industrial establishments of certain classes named by the census, he finds there are 11,000. The census gives 173,000 as the number of persons employed in the industrial establishments of Philadelphia; Mr. Blodgett finds there are 235,000. In iron factories there are 11,000 more hands employed than the census gives, and 20,000 more in the manufacture of textile fabrics. The census gives $9,000,000 as the amount of capital employed in printing and publishing, while the fact proves to be that there are $23,000,000. That Mr. Blodgett has not exaggerated the figures seems apparent from what we know. In the class of nursery florists and seedsmen, in three collective wards of the city, in which some twenty-three firms are enumerated, we know of one who employs one-third the number, and whose products are one-third of that given for the whole. There seems to be no reason for not believing that the same errors exist in the whole make-up of the U. S. census as has been shown to exist in Philadelphia; and that we must look on the whole job as valueless for any practical purpose.
It may be noted that this valuable work of Mr. Blodgett was undertaken with some sort of an understanding that he should be reimbursed for his expenses, yet, under some misunderstanding probably, the city councils failed to appropriate a small sum asked for the publication of these returns, and we believe the whole cost of this extremely useful book has been borne by Mr. Blodgett himself.