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or of political parties, but a government for the people. Then the popular mind also readily appreciated the practical benefit conferred upon every branch of the public service in which the merit system, the essential feature of Civil Service Reform, has been introduced and faithfully enforced. And every day the popular demand grows more general and more energetic for its extension over wider fields. The merit system has stood the test of practical experience so triumphantly that the vociferous objections and revilings of it, in which the spoils politicians used to delight, have sunk to a mournful mutter. That awful spectre of an overbearing, officeholding aristocracy consisting of Department clerks, revenue collectors and custom-house weighers has ceased to haunt our nights. The dire prediction that only college-bred men could, under the competitive examination system, become Government scribes, has withered in the frost of statistical showings. And the harrowing fable that candidates for letter-carriers' places are examined on the exact distance between the moon and the planet Mars has gone to sleep forever. All these and similar fictions are drowned by the declarations of one Department chief after another that they cannot understand how without the merit system the business of their offices could ever have been carried on; by the contentment of public servants working under Civil Service Rules, that at last they have escaped the debas. ing dependence on political favor and may be proudly conscious of standing on their merits; by the popular call for further extension of the system, such as the emphatic demand of the merchants that the consular service be put under Civil Service Rules; by the grateful satisfaction of the inhabitants of our large cities as the Reform gradually takes root in the different branches of municipal administration; by the sentiment rapidly spreading among all classes of our people that our political contests must cease to be scrambles for spoils and plunder.
Thus Civil Service Reform has no longer to struggle for its right of existence. So much is triumphantly es
tablished. The problem remains how to secure, by further conquest, what we have won; for the results the Reform movement has achieved will not be entirely safe until its success is complete-until the spoils system is totally abolished, and the new order of things has sup planted it in the ordinary ways of thinking and the political habits of the people.
We all know that, as we owe to our legislative bodies the enactment of the existing Civil Service Laws, so it is in the legislative bodies that the most dangerous attempts are made to circumvent or subvert them. At the same time, whatever the Executive power may do in the way of extending the Reform, the aid of legislation is required to give it endurance and security. Now I must confess that of all those who are charged with public duties, the legislator, especially the member of Congress, seems to me by far the most interested in the total abolition of the patronage system. He should desire that abolition all the more ardently, as the growth of our Government and the swelling magnitude and complexity of the problems before the legislator demand the devotion of all his mental and moral faculties with constantly increasing severity for his real duties, and more and more sternly forbid any dissipation of them in unworthy employments. Permit me to discuss this branch of my subject somewhat elaborately. I shall not argue the constitutional aspect of the interference of members of Congress with the appointing power, but unfold the possibilities developed by existing custom; and in doing so, I speak to some extent from the personal experience gathered during six years' service in Congress and four years in an executive position which kept me in constant official and personal contact with Senators and Representatives.
Let us picture to ourselves a candidate for Congress in a large district and follow him in his career-a man of good character, fine abilities, and with an honorable ambition to serve his country. It is the year of a Presidential election, with a new deal of patronage in prospect. First, he has to get the nomination from his
party convention. He enjoys the good will and respect of his neighbors, but he finds that this is not enough. The primaries which elect delegates to the Congressional district convention are in many cases controlled by the most adroit and pushing politicians, who want office and are especially keen when a change of administration is impending. Our candidate finds that to beat his rivals for the nomination he will need the aid of some of those alert politicians, and, in turn, they let him know what places he is to procure for them if elected. The candidate being once started, and, of course, anxious to succeed, tries to persuade himself that such things are always done, and that there is really no harm in opening a prospective reward to persons willing to render the country the valuable service of making him a member of Congress. Still he recoils from the thought of making a downright bargain for his nomination. Morally he cannot afford to purchase his nomination with a promise of office. Neither can he afford, he thinks, to lose his nomination by bluntly refusing the promise. He begins to compromise with his conscience and honor, and calls up his diplomatic adroitness, answering the demand for office in ambiguous phrase: he will take the matter into favorable consideration"; he will "do the fair thing"; he smiles, he winks, he nods, having not yet learned by experience that all these things are taken by the place-hunter as positive promise, no matter what his own mental reservations may be. And thus he is, without knowing it, soon deeply mortgaged, having, perhaps, in this vague way promised the same office to several people; and such promises are sure to be presented for redemption.
Well, he is nominated, and now the campaign begins. The district threatens to be close, and he looks for help. That help is freely offered. Some men take a sincere interest in the cause the candidate stands for, and give him their aid unselfishly. Others, who are effective local stump speakers, or whose influence can reach some particular class of people, or who can disarm certain opposition by personal work, or who are just the men to
get out the vote, or who can do great good by the wise expenditure of some money, and so on, are of opinion that they should not be expected to "hustle about" for nothing. He accepts their services, and this gives them "claims" upon him-claims to be satisfied, of course, with offices. Carried away by the heat of the struggle he not merely continues to open prospects by vague speech and to smile and wink and nod, but he makes positive pledges, perhaps not a few of them. The mortgages rise to a formidable amount.
The election comes and he triumphs. His bosom swells with the proud consciousness of honors won and of distinction to be achieved in the service of his country. Being a man of honorable purpose he thinks of going to work at once to prepare himself for his legislative duties, the importance of which he earnestly appreciates. To these duties he wishes wholly to devote himself. But no; he has not yet time for that. Other more pressing business intervenes. His mail is heavy with petitions and recommendations for office, bearing long strings of names in favor of men of whom he may never have heard-covering all the federal appointments in his district many times over. Estimable men whom he cannot afford to offend seek places for their friends and dependents. But by the men who have "claims" upon him he is most strongly reminded that first of all his time and labor belong to his "friends." There will be a change of administration and, of course, vacant places without limit. In the first place it is to be taken for granted that, according to custom, he will have all the postoffices in his district at his disposal. Then it is suggested that he should consider it a duty of honor to fill some consulships from his district, if not even a foreign mission. And indeed there are gentlemen among his constituents who, having done valiant battle for him, now think that foreign air would do good to them and their wives, and that their daughters should have first-class music lessons abroad. Then there are others who maintain that they have fairly earned Indian agencies, or revenue positions, or places
as chiefs of bureaus or at least of divisions in some Department at Washington. They and their friends all insist that the new member of Congress is in honor bound to procure them these things, that he certainly can do it if he will, that it will cost him only a word, and that if he fails to do it, his party in the district will suffer grievously, and he himself in particular.
About the time the new President goes into power our new Congressman, loaded with petitions and recommendations, rushes on to Washington to plunge into that fearful spoils-carnival called a change of administration. He travels in lively company, not a few of his constituents who hold, or believe they hold, his promises go with him to keep him to his work, each expecting him to make his case a special one. The poor man's first night in Washington is troubled with disquieting visions. Has he not seen among his traveling company Smith, to whom he during the campaign opened a prospect for the postmastership at Blankville, while he had positively promised that postmastership to Jones? And here they are both in bodily presence, each anxious to close the final mortgage each holds on the same piece of property.
Our new member of Congress has always considered himself a man of integrity and honor. He now instinctively feels that he is in a situation in which a gentleman ought not to be. Has he not do e a thing which a gentleman ought not to do? It is often the case that we become for the first time clearly conscious of the true nature of an offence when we have to confront its consequences. But our friend has hardly time for self-reproach. How can he get rid of the conflict of claims between Smith and Jones? Both are influential constituents whom it would be dangerous to offend. Smith is perhaps the better man for that postoffice, but Jones holds the clearer promise. Our friend concludes that the clearer promise must be kept; that he will explain his embarrassment to Smith, ask Smith to give way to Jones, and tell Smith that he shall have "something equally as good," as the current phrase is. Ah, poor man, he has to learn yet what a terrible scourge he has prepared for