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them only,-I would particularly commend a well considered and comprehensive review of the history of the National Civil Service from the days of Washington to those of McKinley,—a volume by Professor Carl Fish, of Wisconsin, entitled "The Civil Service and the Patronage,"—the outgrowth of studies of American History and Institutions begun in the Seminary of Harvard University. It is full of valuable facts and wise comments upon these facts and is especially full upon the growth of the Spoils System and of the beginnings of the reform thirty years ago. One of the author's concluding remarks is worth quoting at this time: “An element of strength, says Mr. Fish, “has been the publicity and candor which has characterized the reform movement from its initiation. The reformers have proceeded straightforwardly in the belief that, if the people saw what the system they proposed was, and how it worked, they would support it. By that truly democratic method they have taken the sting out of the gibes directed at the system as aristocratic, and have demonstrated that what the people can see and touch and find good they will have."

I trust that you have found the narrative to which your attention has now been directed exhilarating, but it can hardly be called entertaining. Our work is serious, although, if "sunbeams can be extracted from cucumbers,” we may expect from the gifted speaker who is to follow me, touches of sarcasm or satire which will provoke a smile. To make a break, I am prompted to read you a page from "Coniston," the extraordinary novel which stood first, last summer, in all the published lists of popular books from Boston to the far west. You may remember that the novelist of New Hampshire portrays the development of a party boss. Jethro Bass was not a bad man,-not bad certainly in a Miltonic sense. He was not dressed in a scarlet robe nor could horns and hoofs be detected on his person. He was fond of Cynthia his ward, he did not drink, and we have no record that he played at stakes; he was modest and he kept faith with his followers. But he ruled from No. 7, in the Pelican House of the capital, familiarly known as the "Throne Room," with a monarch's power. “In this historic cabinet there were five chairs, a marbletopped table, a pitcher of iced water, a bureau, a box of cigars, and a Bible, a chandelier with all the gas jets burning, and a bed, whereon sat such dignitaries as obtained an audience,-railroad presidents, Governors and ex-Governors and prospective Governors, the Speaker, the President of the Senate, Bijah Bexby, Peleg Hartington, mighty chiefs from the North Country, and lieutenants from other parts of the State. These sat on the bed by preference. Jethro sat in a chair by the window, and never took any part in the discussions that raged, but listened. Generally there was some one seated beside him who talked persistently in his ear; as at present, for instance, Mr. Chauncey Weed, Chairman of the Committee on Corporations of the House, who took the additional precaution of putting his hand to his mouth when he spoke."

Such is the portrait drawn by Churchill of the Engineer of the Machine. There may be those among us who have seen the like of him. I cannot say. But the effects of such rule by a strong man, the power behind the power of popular sovereignty, have been seen and felt by us all. The adoption of the merit system means the downfall of the boss, for when there are no rewards for unworthy service there will be no scramblers.

My brief survey is concluded. Let us see what it has included.

The recent progress of the Merit System shows its firm establishment in the national administration, its introduction in our island possessions, its extension in the Post Office Department, its approval in many states and municipalities, its advocacy by wise and enthusiastic leaders far and wide through the country. In view of such gains we have every reason for hope and courage, but the hydra of selfishness has many heads, and the suppression of one form of machinery in politics does not mean security for good government. We must continue watchful as well as hopeful,—that the great experiment of government by the people may not perish nor be enfeebled in our day.

Resolutions of the National Civil Service

Reform League in memory of the late Carl Schurz, President of the League from 1893 to 1900.


The patriotism of Carl Schurz was so deep and broad and energetic that it could not fail to find effective expression in the espousal and brilliant advocacy of many causes which appealed, in his time, to the sentiment of good citizenship. It is our duty and pleasure, however, to record here especially our recognition of, and gratitude for, his great and exceptional service to the cause of the reform of the civil service. Not only did he show, in high executive office, the possibilities and advantages of the merit system; but as a private citizen he was one of its most convinced and most convincing advocates, so that on the death of George William Curtis he was deemed the natural successor of that noble citizen as standard bearer of the Reform.

His immediate associates in the work of extending and fortifying the merit system desire not only to express their high estimate of the value of his work in this important field, but also their warm regard and admiration for his personality and character. While genial, tactful, and kindly, he was firm in principle and persistent in purpose. Unrelenting in his attack upon fraud and corruption; reluctant in the criticism of honest opponents; always he upheld, with indomitable courage and with singular and never-abating fire the noblest standards.

To him citizenship was a religion, and patriotism a never-dying passion,-a patriotism that would purify and sustain the nation for the benefit not only of its own people but for all the peoples of the earth. He will be greatly missed, but his example and his ideals will remain a national possession forever.



Sometime since I received a visit from a gentleman who requested permission to ask me a number of questions, more or less personal in character, the answers being intended for publication by some kind of "syndicate” or “trust" of newspapers, when they should suffer from a dearth of more readable matter. Among the questions was one, so far as I can remember, in the terms following:

You have been identified in the past with the agitation for civil service reform; how have your opinions changed on this subject since you have held an important public office? I replied, in substance:

My opinions on this subject have so far changed that I now believe with even greater assurance than previously the practical application to public business of the principles of civil service reform is indispensable to the continued existence of our form of government, and further believe that, without it, the orderly and efficient administration of the Navy Department, with such a navy as we have to-day, would be altogether impossible,

How far this answer met the views of my interlocutor and of his principals I do not know; but his question has suggested to my mind that there may be some curiosity on the part of some of my hearers this evening, as to what I may think, as a result of my official experience, should be the practical and immediate aims of the League, with a view to the improvement of the Federal civil service; if such curiosity exists, I will endeavor to gratify it.

In the first place, we should all try to strengthen the Federal Commission by securing more nearly adequate compensation for its members and one or two, at least, among their principal subordinates. The duties of the Civil Service Commission are exceedingly responsible and delicate; to discharge them properly it is not enough that the commissioners should be men of integrity and good intentions; they must be also men of sound judgment, tact, industry, resolution and reasonable experience. One of them, a man of exceptional merit, has just left the commission to become an Assistant Attorney General; possibly, for reasons of his own, he would have preferred his new post of duty, even if the compensation had been no greater; but it is obviously unfair to the service and to all the vital interests advanced by its efficiency to have the salary of a commissioner only seventy percentum of that received by a far from overpaid subordinate of the Department of Justice. This condition of things causes the commission to be looked on as essentially a stepping stone to something better, and when we remember that its duties are, in a large measure, quasi judicial in nature, it seems evident that this view of its character is open to rather serious objection.

In the next place, we should all try to open up, not to the average, but to the exceptionally meritorious, civil servant of the Government a fair prospect of promotion within the Government service. When the department clerkships were filled by the poor relatives or needy friends or dependents in one form or another of influential politicians, there was no great danger of their being tempted by offers of advancement in private employ, for, in a large proportion of such cases, they had been put in public employ just because no private employer would take, or at least keep, them. Such men and women were content to remain in the public service because they had nowhere else to go; but when we began to fill the service from those at the very head of a long list of eligibles, made out as the result of a fair competition, when his employment by the Government showed a man to be presumtively intelligent, industrious and sober, instead of presumptively a failure, then the service began very soon to suffer from the inroads of private employers. Now the young men who are certified stay with us long

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