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OUR COUNTRY'S GREAT HEREAFTER.
The Settled Issues—Burning Questions of the Future—After the Problems, the Premiership of the Nations Is Ours—The Competency of the President to Guide Ds on the Way.
A ■ AHERE have been evidences for a considerable number of years that the Republican party has taken up the reformation of Civil Service Reform. as one of the paramount issues before the country. A respectful reference, at least, to this, found its way into nearly all the platforms bearing the Republican stamp. It was regularly included to a great extent in the perfunctory paragraphs "relegated," as the Free Traders said, when they nominated Horace Greeley for the Presidency, "to Congress." This relegation was as clever a style of open indifference, and notice that while officially advertised, the doctrine that patronage was out of politics was not yet proclaimed as fundamental law, as could have been contrived. The author of "relegating" a convention's despair to Congress was one of the most obstinate free traders the country has produced; and he has been for a time in the habit of being driven into the Democratic party, as far as a gold Democrat could go under the inspiration and urgency of forcible organization.
It has been the binding band of the Republican party, that there is real and ever present danger the Democratic party will get into power, without the slightest regard for the policy it might adopt, the force of it being in the passion for the spoils to go to the victors. The most effective cry the Democracy has had has been, that the country needed a new set of books— rather of book-keepers; and the Grand Army of Administration to be subordinated to the party, and, therefore, to be enlarged by the extension of the functions of all Departments of the Government.
The Republican party has been unfortunate in the Southern States. It is not the fault of the party, but a fatality. If the color question could be removed, the South would be as solidly Republican as it is solidly Democratic. The South contains, in the everlasting hills and sunlit fields of North America, the elementary material for manufactures. Texas comes in with oil. Coal and iron ore are found, side by side, in extraordinary quantity and of excellent r
quality, in the State of Alabama—the State whose name is always first called on the roll of the States in the. National conventions. That form of premiership is, however, an alphabetic happening. There are also respects in which Alabama has other distinctions than those of alphabetical, mineral and agricultural resources, and beauty of name. What they are is signified to the country by the records of the venerable men, her United States Senators. Mr. Morgan is one of the foremost Americans in Americanism.
West Virginia has the coal to furnish the supply for all the lands once the seat of the Roman Empire, whose imperialists destroyed the forests all around the Mediterranean Sea; and it will be left to us at no remote day to carry on, out of our stupendous abundance, the coal trade that has been an English monopoly since London sought to rule all the seas. The English mines are too deep, and the Atlantic ocean too narrow for the British islands to continue to compete with us successfully. With ships of steel, with steam for donkey engines only, with freight that is not harmed by voyages, coal obtained from mines that deliver it on cars by the attraction of gravitation, we do not need to husband our fuel that is taken from the ground, out of merciful foresight reaching to many millenniums, for it can be only a few centuries before our inventors will burn water with electricity, or find our fuel exclusively in some of the elements of the atmosphere, or some equivalent miracle, and still there will be a coal and steel trade.
The States that were more or less interested in the Southern Confederacy, which was as great an economical as it was a political and military misapprehension, have a larger interest in the protection of American industry, "Protection and Reciprocity," as understood and announced by James G. Blaine and William McKinley, than New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The advocates of the policy of protecting our markets for our skilled laborers, they then to win markets abroad by the superiority of their products, now when Henry Clay's American policy is vindicated, have to encounter the consolidated opposition of the Southern South on account of the location of the bulk of the colored population. This should not be an inherent and perpetual obstruction when neither section is responsible for the slave immigration and black population, or willing to permit the dominance in any State of the black race. The absence of real danger of such an event prevents the question from passing from one of inner heat to outward conflagration.
The National element of the country, so far as embodied in the Republican party, was beguiled by the glittering and ponderous essays of experimental undertakings into the XVth Constitutional Amendment. Statesmanship instead of theory—the sunshine instead of the moonlight wisdom—would have counseled strict adherence to the XlVth Amendment, with its restricted apportionment. instead of forcing a complication of "manhood suffrage" unrestrained,
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that has made nullification easy. There is that which makes and mends, and breaks and bends Constitutions, for the most serious and sacred papers have not inherent force of execution, nor is there immortality in their veneration.
If we had the Southern strength that belongs to the National cause of protective reciprocal Republicanism, we could take hold of other matters of a momentous nature that await opportunism, with immediate confidence in security. The stability of the Republican administration of Republican Government, needs the application of this stalwart common sense. The law that has not perpetual public opinion to sustain and demand enforcement, whether repealed or not, fades out, and the law lapses though still in the statute book.
The sentiment for Civil Service reform has been strong, healthy and steadily increasing, but repeatedly embarrassed by Presidents who saw in the enforcements of the rules and regulations of the reformation, as outlined by its advocates, the beginning of a Dynasty for their officeholders, and there was temptation in the increase of life office appointments. There has been no President unready to try the system by giving the start of it to his own appointees. Presidential co-operation can be counted upon for the perpetuation of preferences of our successive Chief Magistrates; and, naturally, the members of Congress have been called to the assistance of the power, to "pick out" the "good men;" when, as President Roosevelt says, not literally, of course—there is a class of good men more hateful than any sinners! Congressional partnership in Civil Service reform "limited," is very real in the Senate, which had the substance of solid things in the capacity of confirming or rejecting the officials of the Great Hereafter. The policy of the courtesy of the Senate rests upon this.
It is agreeable to remember that when Theodore Roosevelt was Commissioner of the Civil Service and William McKinley a member of the House of Representatives, they were in agreement in the matter of reform of the Civil Service, the Commissioner publicly speaking officially of the co-operation of the Representatives in Congress. There was proof in this mutual consideration of the sincerity of both men, and it was as certainly as reciprocity in McKinley's mind when he was elected to a second term and stricken by an assassin. Neither McKinley nor Roosevelt had the appointing or confirming power, when they stood side by side for the Civil Service law, and took their places together solely for conscience and duty's sake. The business of betterment began seriously with Harrison's appointment of Roosevelt as Commissioner. Where he sat was the head of the table, and McKinley in Congress gave his support to the man and the law. Mr. Cleveland's good will for the movement appeared in his continuance of Roosevelt, who retired when he had accomplished all permitted by the circumstances, and he hastened on to other fields. He was as sagacious in quitting a task at the right time as in helping a cause. He did not hammer cold iron, but struck when it was hot, and even was able to give Mr. Cleveland assurances of his relentless seriousness and perseverance in the straight path, without concern as to personal comfort, and they acted with the concert of mutual respect and tolerance for differences.
The opposition President Roosevelt has to encounter in progressive development of the Civil Service movement is from the Privileged Persons of the confirming Senate, as also of the Appointing House. The President must see to drawing the line in the classification, as it were, or he allows the movement to which he has given so much care and labor, to permit the burlesque of an established, above the law, higher class, largely composed of incompetents, the favorites of patrons going up head, passing the candidates who, according to specifications of examination, are successful on their merits. It would be a poor excuse for a law or policy, if so flagrant a pretense as this were permitted. President Roosevelt would not be himself if he consented to surrender his prerogative, and countenanced a class representation of dictatorship of patronage. In no other form could degradation of the Civil Service be more offensive. It would be something more than open sale and the only thing that could be worse.
It may be well to consider as a fixed fact that President Roosevelt will not concede to Congressmen of any grade the perquisite of making him an object of blandishment or victim of flattery, and if there is to be a conflict of jurisdiction, that will have to happen; and at last we may have for a time a change of issues. The strength of the Republican party will appear in the ability to be in earnest about Reciprocity and Protection, hand in hand, and the elevation of the Civil Service, according to the law and the testimonials of the records of what has been done.
A tenderness has been for some time noticed in the Republican ranks that are of an official nature, directly or indirectly, through patronage, as to risking the grasp upon the highest places of managers of the conventional and electoral delegates from the far South States. They are well understood to be important in nominations for the Presidency. It would be the plan of operations against a Presidential candidate before the people, if there was a Congressional Cabal raised against him—if he had disarmed himself in the South—by refusing to make unfit appointments in the classified Civil Service way of saying it, to prevent a continuance of that kind of Executive Administration, by arranging a solid South against him in the National Convention. Several times have been noticed a line of cleavage slightly opened and threatening an abyss between two groups of States—one the solid Republican, and the other the solid Democratic commonwealths, as votes are cast and counted. Repeatedly the reproach has been put upon Presidents, desiring nomination for elections of continuance, that the bulk of their reliable support in the conventions was reliably against them in the Electoral College, that the majority of Republicans could be beaten by machinery. The custom has been for the votes of the Republican States to win—for the actual will of the party to prevail—but formidable Presidential scaffolding has been erected according to the architecture of dreamers, and the designs of intrigue, the foundations of which were the delegations in Republican Conventions from States certainly Democratic. Experiments enough have been tried to show ambition resting upon this structure is of such stuff as dreams are made.
President Roosevelt has been well instructed by his own investigations as to the "'solid" facts in Southern politics, and is aware of the special dangers to be taken into the most constant consideration. If the Democratic party perceives an opening in the Republican ranks that promises a division of the Old Guard, they will hasten to promote it; and there will be a variety of continuous opinion on both sides as to the correct issue to run on for the Presidency. Take up the South, and that which will have weight in that section, and apply measurements. The Southern white people are, of course, against anything they regard as having a flavor of social equality between the black and white races; but they are less liable than the people of the North to misunderstand the colored element in the South. It is not in the South that there will be offered antagonism to the good appointments, in the mind of the President so momentous. There will not be a discrimination by President Roosevelt in favor of illiteracy and incompetency in the selection of Federal officers. We are secure on that skirmish line, at least. The color line will not be drawn in favor of color, neither will that line be drawn against white men, on account of color, "or previous condition" of rebellion or servitude.
The Civil Service policy of President Roosevelt is something grounded in his manhood—a part of his life, the auspicious beginning of his career, his hope and pride. He will be with it indomitably, as he ought to be, and must be. He can not compromise it in honor, and so it is impossible. His carrying out of the purposes of his predecessor does not mean that he is to sacrifice his sense of personal integrity with the people and responsibility of interpreting them as he understands the conditions of the country, but precisely the contrary*
In this matter President McKinley was his friend and well-wisher, and gave the Civil Service details less attention than can be expected now, because he had an overwhelming load of responsibility to carry. As War President he could not give his strength to peace measures, other than as they affected the financial and industrial interests. It was enough to have won a war without a defeat, and to see the triumph of his principle of protection in unparalleled, popular prosperity. Not once in a century does a man witness such triumphs as he in his undemonstrative way enjoyed. His last public utterance—his last words, save those that have given his death bed sanctity and are known to man