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gallantly wore the blue. Those two, and the men under them, from the North and from the South, in civil life and in military life, as teachers, as administrators, as soldiers, are laboring mightily for us who live at home. Here and there black sheep are to be found among them; but, taken as a whole, they represent as high a standard of public service as this country has ever seen. They are doing a great work for civilization, a great work for the honor and the interest of this nation, and, above all, for the welfare of the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands."
On another occasion, as President, he thus speaks in words of commendation of the successful working of the civil service department of the government: "The civil service law has been on the statute books for twenty-two years. Every President, and a vast majority of heads of departments who have been in office during that period, have favored a gradual extension of the merit system. The more thoroughly its principles have been understood, the greater has been the favor with which the law has been regarded by administrative officers. Any attempt to carry on the great executive departments of the government without this law would inevitably result in chaos, The Civil Service Commissioners are doing excellent work; and their compensation is inadequate, considering the service they perform.
"The statement that the examinations are not practical in character is based on a misapprehension of the practice of the Commission. The departments are invariably consulted as to the requirements desired and as to the character of questions that shall be asked. General invitations are frequently sent out to all heads of departments asking whether any changes in the scope or character of examinations are
required. In other words, the departments prescribe the requirements and the qualifications desired, and the Civil Service Commission coöperates with them in securing persons with these qualifications and insuring open and impartial competition. In a large number of examinations (as, for example, those for trades positions) there are no educational requirements whatever, and a person who can neither read nor write may pass with a high average. Vacancies in the service are filled with reasonable expedition and the machinery of the Commission, which reaches every part of the country, is the best agency that has yet been devised for finding people, with the most suitable qualifications, for the various offices to be filled. Written competitive examinations do not make an ideal method for filling positions, but they do represent an immeasurable advance upon the "spoils" method, under which outside politicians really made the appointments nominally made by the executive officers, the appointees being chosen by the politicians in question, in the great majority of cases, for reasons totally unconnected with the needs of the service or of the public."
Col. E. W. Halford, for twenty-five years the able editor of the Indianapolis Journal, who had more to do than any other one man in making Benjamin Harrison President, and who was the private secretary to Benjamin Harrison, was largely responsible for the appointment of Theodore Roosevelt to the head of the Civil Service Commission, and thus gave him his first office under the Federal administration. Knowing this fact and having been a personal friend of Colonel Halford for over fifty years, I went over to his office on Fifth Avenue, New York, and asked him to tell me something about Mr. Roosevelt's relation to the Civil
Service Commission to put in this chapter. He cheerfully consented and gave me the following facts, saying that he had given some of them to the Christian Advocate and Leslie's Weekly for publication.
He said, "Mr. Roosevelt was in the forefront of civil service advocates, and knowing me wrote, urging that Harrison should take strong grounds for that reform, which the general did, both in his letter of acceptance and inaugural address. My diary shows that on the 19th of April, 1889, Mr. Lodge, then a member of the House, called at my room in the White House and suggested the appointment of Mr. Roosevelt, in the reorganization of the Civil Service Board. That afternoon, during one of the daily walks together after the office routine, I discussed with the President the suggestion Mr. Lodge had made. This was repeated as occasion arose, and on May 3rd the President directed me to wire Mr. Roosevelt to come to Washington. On the 6th of May he had an interview with the President, and on the 7th of May he was commissioned as Civil Service Commissioner. On the 13th of May Mr. Roosevelt wrote me a note which I have just re-read as follows:
"Please tender to the President my appreciation of the honor conferred upon me, which I shall do my best to deserve. I also wish to thank you, particularly, for what you have done. I think the President nominating Halford a brave as well as a wise act.'
"I had not kept in mind this last somewhat cryptic remark, and am now puzzled by it. Of the President's wisdom, of course, there can be no doubt; but just what Roosevelt had in mind as to the President's 'bravery' I cannot imagine, unless it was because of my birthplace, which, as I now recall, was objected to by a few professional British lion tail-twisters.
"On coming to Washington Mr. Roosevelt honored me with his friendship and confidence.
"On taking up his duties in Washington, before either he or I had definitely settled upon homes there, we sat together at the same hotel table, and a somewhat close relationship developed between us. He did not have calm seas and quiet sailing always; and many times we met together to talk things over in order that they might be smoothed out somewhat. Mr. Roosevelt had some of the qualities of a knighterrant; at least he did not run away from an opponent. Among my papers I find this card:
JULY 15—Can you dine with me at Welcker's at 7 P. M. to meet Batcheldor and Wharton (Assistant Secretaries, respectively, of the Treasury and State Departments). We'll drink to the health of the Tom Hendricks School of Civil Service Reform.
"He objected earnestly to a man who was incompetent, but his whole nature revolted against one who had a bad character. Here is an extract from a letter which he wrote me from Sagamore Hill under date of October 18, 1889, entering a positive objection to the appointment of one he knew to be a very bad man to an important office. This is the letter:
I have another small son, which accounts for my presence here. I heard there was some talk of nominating a man named as U. S. Marshal (in a Western
State or Territory).
If so, I beg that he will not be nominated until I can be heard. He is a thorough scamp, connected with cattle-thieves, ballot-box stuffers, and the like. He used always to claim to be a Democrat. I know him well, for I had him knocked out of his place as cattle inspector on account of his rascality.
"There is no uncertain sound in that note. The trumpet so often heard in later years was even then in good tune.
"There is a deep strain of humor in this letter which I got from him dated January 3rd, 1890:
I enclose a piece by Governor Thompson (his colleague on the Commission) in one of the recent Centuries. We always mean to stand up for the men who stand up for the reform. As for those who make public war on it, why, they must expect to have the public attacks publicly repelled. Your friend, the Quaker,
"He suggests in the letter that, like the Quakers, he is such a pacifist that nobody would expect him to fight.
"We had many conferences over the troubles he encountered as Commissioner, and I helped to keep things straight between him and the President, who was besieged with complaints from the antis in Republican ranks, who were neither few nor feeble folk, Mr. Roosevelt was an alert and aggressive knight, with lance always ready for a thrust against any opponent. The President was usually at poise, espe cially in the face of opposition. When Harrison was chairman of the Carnegie Hall Missionary Confer ence he introduced Governor Roosevelt as one who seemed at times 'somewhat impatient for righteousness'; and referred, jocularly, to the days when he (Harrison) had been, in a degree, responsible for him.
"A very prominent Republican Congressman was in my room one day after he had made a bitter attack in the House upon Civil Service reform, repeating many of the cheap current charges and criticisms upon the work of the Commission, and particularly singling out Mr. Roosevelt for sarcastic comment