Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Trade, BOARD OF, is technically a Committee of the Privy Council appointed for certain purposes. Practically it is that department of the Government which deals with almost any point concerning national commerce. Originated by Cromwell, the institution had a chequered and spasmodic existence until 1786, when an Order in Council established it in much its present form. Since 1864 its President is a Cabinet Minister, and its principal officers are the secretaries and chief of the Statistical Department. At different times the departments have been modified, and as new exigencies arise fresh modifications are made. Besides the original department of Statistics and Commerce, it has a Railway Department (1840), which examines lans for new railways, inspects railways before they can be opened, inquires into the causes of accidents, and controls also tramways, gas, water, and electric-lighting companies; a Marine Department (1850), which surveys channels, etc., provides for examination of officers for Mercantile Marine, regulates shipping offices, pilotage, wage-disputes, etc.; a Harbour Department (1866), which deals with harbours, foreshores, lighthouses, navigable channels, etc., oyster- and mussel-fishing, piers, wrecks, quarantine, weights and measures; a Finance Department (1866); and the Fisheries Department. The Statistical Department issues monthly the Board of Trade Journal, which gives much valuable information as to consuls' reports, tariffs, markets, etc. The Labour Department, which has to collect information on such matters as the condition of employment, the details of labour disputes, etc is the most recent addition. The Patent Office and the Bankruptcy Department are also under the Board.