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Washington, D. C., December 7, 1912.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a digest of the laws applicable to the Department of Agriculture, which has been compiled under my direction by Mr. Otis H. Gates, of this office.

I recommend the publication of this compilation for the use of the officers and employees of the department.


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The first edition of this work, published in 1908, supplied a need for a convenient compend of the law affecting the Department of Agriculture. Until its publication the laws applicable to this department had not been brought together. To ascertain the law on any subject affecting the department necessitated a search through the Revised Statutes, the Supplements thereto, and the Statutes at Large. The former edition of this work embraced all legislation in effect on July 1, 1907, or to and including the Fifty-ninth Congress. That edition is now obsolete in many respects by reason of subsequent enactments by Congress, including new legislation or provisions repealing or superseding earlier provisions.

The present compilation collects and presents all laws affecting the Department of Agriculture, permanent or not clearly temporary in their nature, in force on August 27, 1912, including the enactments of the second session of the Sixty-second Congress. The work represents the results of a careful and painstaking examination of the Revised Statutes, the Supplements thereto, and the Statutes at Large. Provisions in various acts and riders in agricultural and other appropriation acts have been extracted and preserved. The work embraces not only provisions of law relating specifically to the Department of Agriculture and its various branches, officers, etc., but also all provisions relating to the public service in general and incidentally affecting, or applicable to, the Department of Agriculture. It was deemed convenient to classify the subject matter on this general basis, notwithstanding the fact that many sections of the work relating to the public service in general, and affecting the Department of Agriculture incidentally, treat of the same subject matter as sections of the work relating specifically to the department. The provisions of law are arranged according to subject matter under appropriate general headings. The classification of the subject matter, owing to its heterogeneous character, is necessarily arbitrary in many instances. Provisions related in subject matter have been placed in juxtaposition without regard to time or order of enactment. Acts and parts of acts deemed inapplicable to the Department of Agriculture, or which have expired or have been repealed, or for which substitutes in express terms are provided, are omitted,

and matter directed by amendatory acts to be added, inserted, or substituted is incorporated and accompanied by explanatory notes.

The purpose of the present work is to present the text of the law as it now exists. No change in the language has been made without express and statutory authority. In cases where doubt exists whether acts or portions of acts and sections of the Revised Statutes are superseded by subsequent provisions both the earlier and later provisions are set forth with explanatory notes. In some instances it was deemed necessary to include portions of the context not in themselves applicable to the department, but necessary to complete the sense or indicate the intent or purpose of the portions directly pertinent. In many acts and portions of acts and many sections of the Revised Statutes incorporated in the work, parts thereof are omitted as inapplicable to the Department of Agriculture, and such omissions are indicated by the insertion of asterisks. Where entire acts are incorporated they are set forth, as far as consistent with the logical arrangement of the work, as entities; but where they treat of more than one subject they are divided and the different sections or provisions are set forth in parts of the work where they respectively fall. Separate provisions relating to similar matters are correlated by reciprocal notes. Many incidental matters which may aid in construction are explained by notes.

Acts or portions of acts are preceded by citation of the date of the act, the chapter, and the page of the Statutes at Large on which the act begins. Where entire acts or the first portion of acts are set forth, the legal title of the act is given. At the close of each section of the work taken from the Statutes at Large is a note in small type citing the date of the act, and the chapter, section, and particular page of the Statutes at Large on which it occurs. Sections of the work taken from the Revised Statutes are preceded by the citation of the corresponding section of the same. Sections, paragraphs, or provisions of the Statutes at Large and sections or portions of sections of the Revised Statutes are preceded by headings indicating their import.

The insertion of the copious explanatory notes and the very complete index, it is believed, will add to the convenience and value of the work.

It was deemed advisable to insert, in the appropriate parts of the work, the text of the agricultural appropriation act for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1913, though its provisions are in general temporary in nature.

A list of the citations to the annual agricultural appropriation acts of the Department of Agriculture has been appended.

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