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It is true that they form a class by them- | who are thrust into their service while their selres, excluded from the actual business of education is going on and which in many cases the world, and seeming to be connected with never is and never can be completed. The prothe business of the State, earning, a miser. || posed law elevates the meritorious and rejects able pittance by reluctant labor, their energies the unworthy. If this be "class legislation," paralyzed and their hopes extinguished by | make the most of it. the uncertain tenore of their employment; The most disingenuous of the attacks upon bot that they should ever become one of the this measure is that it creates a life tenure of dangerous classes is a new if not a patentable | office in these subordinates. The present bill discovery. Among them are some noble, faith is so drawn as to remove any possible pretext ful, earnest, bard-working, men and women, for that charge. It merely holds on to the worthy of respect and deserving of honor. || faithful officer as long as he performs his duties Woald tbat they were all such, and that here. | efficiently; when he falls below the standard after they may be, is one of the objects of this | it puts him out. The interest of the Governmeasure. I have not met with one of this ment only is regarded, not that of the servant. better class who has not said to me, make | It may be cruel in many cases to the old and your tests by examination and probation as meritorious officer, but it is the hard condi. rigid as you please; we will gladly submit to tion upon which he is allowed to serve at all.
It is also argued against the provision for our offices shall thenceforth become permanent promotions for merit by the gentleman from and respectable. They know and feel and the Illinois that it might be used unfairly, as he whole people are beginning to perceive that intimates some advancements were made by the aristocratic element in our system is the boards during war time. Again we meet the patronage which bestows its gifts upon favor- same false logic that was used with regard to ites, which removes faithful public servants the commissioners. Because individual cases from caprice, and which places the worthy of favoritism or incorrect judgment may occur beneath the worthless.
in the administration of a system framed for That merit shall have the places it deserves | just ends, therefore no such system should be is the trae republican doctrine, and the meas- established at all, but everything should go by are which is devised to bring forward and || favor, and the consideration of merit be en. adrance merit and merit alone in the public || tirely excluded. Because merit might not in service, is the keen edge of the ax to the root a few cases get the desert to which it is entiof these alien, corrupt aristocratical practices. tled under this system, therefore merit should Its benefits will be at once felt in the better not have the chance to win desert at all in spirit and higher tone which will be developed the pablic service. This is the sum of that in each officer. Hitherto the position of all so-called argument. these subordinate officers has not been merely Nor is it a valid objection to the measure a service, but a servitude. The mode of that it does not include the higher officers. obtaining office and the servility necessary to By the Constitution these are left to the excluretain it, have brought into action the worst sive jurisdiction of the President and Senate. qualities of those thus serving. But when the It is a most insidious opposition to a measure officer obtains his place by his qualifications that it does not go far enough. It is a part of for it, bolds it during efficiency, and can be the false logic I have already commented upon sdranced by merit, he becomes independent that would argue that we should not attempt of the courtiers or politician's arts, and his best to do any good, because we do not undertake qualities are developed instead of his worst. at one effort all that may be supposed attain. Sot the least beneficial effect of this measure able. But the limit in this case is not of my in this era of emancipations, will be the abolish. || seeking; it is found in the Constitution itself. ment of the servitude of office, which has been The most that can be done in that higher a blight upon the service and a curse to the sphere is to give the higher powers the use of Repablic.
the means which we create. The bill proposes I admit that if the measure should be strictly to do this. For the results we are not at all enforced the Government servants would be- || responsible, for they are now, and must concome a class with distinctive qualities. In that tinue to be, beyond our jurisdiction or control. class would be found only the qualified, the bonest, the faithful, the capable, the energetic, the patriotic, the competent, while the oppo- It is objected to this peasure by the gen. sites of all these would be turned back at tleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. WOODWARD] the doors of the examination halls. It brings that the examples drawn from other Governinto the pablic service only the skilled laborer ments, "despotic or monarchical,'' “never can bose education bas been in a great measure or ought to become a rule for a free republic.' completed before be receives his pay from the “It is one of the great vices of the bill," says people's money; while under the present sys. || he, "that it is not built upon the American ten the people pay the greater portion of those II ideas of government, but upon thuse of the
WHY THE EXPERIENCE OF OTHER COUNTRIES SHOULD
BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF.
Old World." He says, further, that our Con- || tions upon ancient traditions in opening a stitution " starts all the people even in the race career for the children of the people, and not of life, and recognizes no distinctions except merely for “privileged classes " and "aristo. such as they create themselves." This is pre- cratic ranks," or the younger sons of a cisely what this bill proposes to secure to every | landed nobility." citizen, according to the spirit of the Constitu- We should remember that our present systion as the gentleman interprets it. Across tem of appointments to office is of monarchthe avenues to public employment are now ical origin and is copied from that of the parent placed bars which are taken down only for nation. Our fathers adopted the best systein political and personal friends of the person who | which they knew of. They did not invent any. holds the appointing power, or for those who | The offices which they created were to be held bave exerted influence for the party to which at the pleasure of the President. The comthat person belongs, or to those who may work | missions for all inferior offices within the for that party if admitted within the magic cir. scope of this bill still read that the office is to ele of office. This measure proposes to throw ! be held during the pleasure of the superior down all these bars. Every one is to have a from whom the appointment is received. This, fair chance. Every young man in the country in 1787, was the best known mode, and the is to have the opportunity, if he chooses, of fathers of the Republic adopted it as the best. competing for the privilege of entering the || It was not till some years later that the French public service, and to be entitled to the right republic discovered a better. But, like rany io enter it if he proves that he has prepared || good things evolved in that Revolution, it was himself for it better than his competitors. Its lost sight of among its companion evils, and principle is that the people have a right to the has but recently become apparent to the civilservice of the best men, and that the best men ized world. And when its value bas once been have the best right to serve the people. If discovered we look further and find that it has this be not the true idea of the Republic my | existed as an immemorial usage in the most studies have been in vain. And even if the ancient of civilizations, and that it is the secret selection should be confined to the party in of the long continuance of the goverument of power the honest application of this measure the greatest of the oriental nations. Like would secure the services of the best material many other arts and inventions, it was known from each party as it came in power, instead to them before our civilizations were born. of admitting some of the worst of each, as under We are constantly borrowing ideas in juristhe present system.
prudence and in legislation from other coun. But the idea that we should not take a hint iries. All our jurisprudence is based upon that from the improvements in the machinery of of the country from which our first colonists administration made in other countries be- il emigrated, England, monarchical England. cause their Governments are “despotic and Our Government itself, with an executive chief, monarchical" is as ridiculous as it is prepos- our representative legislature and independent terous. The same rule would require us to judiciary, are all copied from the same model. reject the steam engine, the railway, and the We have made what we think are many improvelocomotive because they came from Greatments upon that system, but if we should reject Britain, and the art of printing because it other improvements made in the parent councame from Germany, and all inventions and try because first made there we might as well discoveries in the arts and sciences which may reject the parent system itself. Únderlying originate among the subjects of the emperor all our constitutions, all our legislation, coloof the Frei.ch or the autocrat of all the Rus. nial, State, and national, is the great common sias. These free trade men upon all articles law of England; a system of jurisprudence of manual manufacture would be prohibition. whose merciful maxims, wisely administered, ists
upon ideas and inventions. They forget || bave done more for the improvement of the that the science of government is progressive, human race in civil government than any atterand that all improvements in it are the com- ances save those upon the Mount the common property of the human race, to whom mon law of England, which is to-day the rule of governments of some sort are a necessity. The action for more millions of the human race than great family of civilized nations are continually any other system of jurisprudence which ever borrowing from and giving to each other, and emanated froin man's experience; whose vigorgaining by the exchange. It never could have ous root and giant growth have sent its offshoots entered into the mind of any but a Pennsylva- over the land and under the sea wherever colnia Democrat, who has been educated in the onies of the parent nation have been planted, belief which he still clings to, that the admin- on every continent and in every clime; which istration of Andrew Jackson was the perfec- have again taken root and flourished with a vigor tion of civil government, that we should not equal to the parent stock; whose fair flower hus. seek and receive lessons from the experience been the perfect freedom of thought and speech of other civilized nations, especially when that to all whom it shelters, and whose ripe fruit is experience is in the line of our own innova. the perfect equality of all men before the law.
It woald be as unwise to reject any improve- floor that out of every dollar appropriated meots apon that law as to attempt to reject the for the benefit of the Indians but twenty las itself. And as of the law, so of improve cents was ever received by them. We have ments in administration which are akin to it. || just appropriated $4,500,000 for their benefit. Nothing can be more foolish than for any man and on his estimate eighty per cent. of this to believe that all wisdom dwells in one man's sum must be a dead loss. We have also just head, or in the practice and policy of any one appropriated $8,000,000 for the collection of dation. We render to other nations far more our internal revenue, about five per cent. on atriking results of experience in civil govern- the total receipts; while in other countries ment than they run give to us, for in them bis- with a well ordered revenue service it costs tory but repeats itself in the main; and while | less than two and a half per cent. for collecwe absorb yearly some hundreds of thousands tion. In the customs the cost of collection! of their citizens, we should be unwise to reject is about equally extravagant. Much of the the practices by which they make their admin. loss is due to positive dishonesty; nearly, istration more perfect and their Governments | if not quite, an equal amount to incapacity. more secure.
We do need an accession of intelligence as well THE ECONOMY OF THE YEASURE.
as integrity to this branch of the civil service. In its economical aspect I also ask for this discussions some members do not seem to think
although from what has been said in former measure the approval of the House and of the
so. I have seen custom-house clerks who knew country. The gentleman from Pennsylvania no more of the foreign weights and measnres [Mr. WOODWARD] has figured up the annual in the invoices placed before them, and of the expense of the commission, including all sala- coinage in which the articles were valued, than ries and incidental expenses, at about sixty they did of Sanscrit; and appraisers who had thousand dollars, and I think they would not
no more idea of the manner in which the goods erceed that sun. He omits to estimate the they were called upon to value were manufaccredit to which it would be entitled from the tored, or of the cost of manufacture, than of the receipt of fees; nor does he reflect that the sum | physical constitution of the moon; and gaugers of the salaries of the appointment clerks now who could not read the instruments put into employed in every Department and in the prin. their hands; and collectors and inspectors to cipal post offices and custom-houses exceeds whom the common chemistry of distillation all the
salaries and expenses of the commission. was as much unknown as any of the lost arte. This mote in his eye prevents his seeing the |A former member of this House told me of handred millions that we lose for want of some one who said he could tell the strength and system like this. On the day when this meas.
quality of whisky better by the taste and the ure was defeated by a majority of two votes in bead” than he could by any of “these new. this House in the Thirty-Ninth Congress a fangled instruments.” It would require numer: fraud was detected in the Treasury, perpetrated ous relays of such officers to obtain correct by a clerk who had procured his appointment | returns from a single distillery. There is as under an alias, which could not have been done much abstracted and withheld from the revenue if the proposed commission had been in exist- under the noses of incapables as through con. ence, to an amount which would have paid the || nivance with the dishonest. The Government expenses of the commission for a year. While | is plundered as well as defrauded ; and so the bill was under debate during the session of
great is the extent of the thievery that the the Congress just closed the amount discovered amount of it would buy up the national debt to have been lost in the drawback frauds in a before it is due. Is it not a measure of econsingle custom-house, and which never could omy to furnish means to the executive departhave been committed under the proposed sys- ment to presenta check to these gigantic frauds? tem, would have paid the expenses of the com It may not be thoroughly successful; no legis. mission for at least ten years. I speak only | lative measure can be ; no millennium can be of particular instances of discovered embezzle- brought about by act of Congress. Yet the ments. We all know that the amount which service can be improved by it. This measure annually disappears from our revenues would || simply proposes to fill a void in the present pay the expenses of the commission for a
system, caused by the great growth of the ibousand years. We hire the reapers that the country and its business. The garments which harvest may be gathered; but parsimony like | clothed it in its youth are now altogether too that which begrudges the expense of this inquest || small for it. We must provide for its present would let the grain rot on the ground before it and future gigantic proportions. We cannot would pay the bire of the laborer.
return to the simpler and cheaper practices of Nor is this loss alone in the failure to collect | earlier days. This Government cannot be set the revenues; it is almost as flagrant in the back into the condition in which it was in the expenditures. The chairman of the Military | days of President John Quincy Adams. You Committee in the last House declared on this II might as well undertake to remand it to the
colonial condition. All our legislation should Fifth. To make report of all, rules and regulation be based upon the possible requirements of
established by them, and of a summary of their pro
ceedings, including an abstract of their examination fifty States and a hundred million people. for the different branches of the service, annually. t We shall reach that stature before the heads Congress at the opening of each session. of our young men shall grow white; and if the SEC. 3. And be i further enacted, That all appoint Government shall have honest and capable shall be made from those who have passed the re
ments to the civil service provided for in this ac men in its service and no others, the present quired examinations and probations in the following burdens of taxation upon the people would
order and manner: diminish so rapidly that their previous exist
First. The applicants who stand highest in order oj
merit on the list of those who have passed the exam ence would be as soon forgotien as was the ination and probation for any particular branch and debt of the war of independence funded by srade of the civil service shall have the preference ir Hamilton. Those with whom we deal finan.
appointment to that branch and grade, and so an it
the order of precedence, in examinations and merit cially must not only be impressed with the ex. during probation to the minimum degree of meris tent of our resources, but also must be made to
fixed by the board for such grade. have faith in the honesty of the administration | grade of the civil service above the lowest in any
Second. Whenever any vacancy shall occur in any of our revenues. The credit of this Governo brancb, the senior in the next lower grade may be ment would stand higher than any other upon
appointed to fill the same, or a new examination for the money exchanges of the world, and the
that particular vacancy may be ordered, under the
direction of the Department, of those in the next Government itself would receive what is its lower grade, and the person found best qualified shall just due-the respect, the reverence, and the
be entitled to the appointment to fill such vacancy : love of all mankind.
Provided, That no person now in office shall
be promoted or transferred from a lower
to a bigher grade I shall take the earliest occasion to present unless he shall have passed at least one examination the following bill, and ask its reference to the
under this act.
Third. The right of seniority shall be determined appropriate committee:
by the rank of merit assigned by the board upon the A bill to regulate the civil service of the United examinations, having regard also to seniority in serStates.
vice; but it shall at all times
be in the power of the
heads of Departments to order new examinations, Be it enacted, &c., That hereafter all appointments which shall be conducted by the board, upon due of civil officers in the several Departments of the
notice, and according to fixed rules, and which sball service of the United States, except postmasters and determine seniority with regard to the persons ordered such officers as are by law required to be appointed to be examined, or in the particular branch and grade by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall be made from those persons who
of the service to wbich such examinations shall apply.
Fourth. Said board shall have power to establish shall have been found best qualified for the perform
rules for such special examinations, and also rules ance of the duties of the offices to which such ap
by which any persons exhibiting particular meritin pointments are to be made in open and competitive any branch of the civil service may be advanced one examinations, and after terms of probation, to be conducted and regulated as herein prescribed.
or more points in their respective grades; and one SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That there shall
fourth of the promotions may be made on account of
merit, irrespective of seniority in service, such merit be appointed by the President, by and with the ad- to be ascertained by special examinations, or by vice and consent of the Senate, a board of four com- advancement for meritorious services and special missioners, who shall bold their offices for the term
fitness for the particular branch of service, according of five years, to be called the civil service examina- to rules to be established as aforesaid. tion board, among whose duties shall be the follow
SEC. 4. And be it further enarted, That said board ing:
shall also have power to prescribe a fee, not exceedFirst. To prescribe the qualifications requisite for ing five dollars, to be paid by each applicant for ex. an appointment into each branch and grade of the amination, and also a fee, not exceeding ton dollars, civil service of the United States, having regard to to be paid by each person who shall receive a certhe fitness of each candidate in respect to age, health, tificate of recommendation for appointment or for character, knowledge, and ability for the branch of promotion, or of seniority, which fees shall be first service into which he seeks to enter.
paid to the collector of internal revenue in the disSecond. To provide for the examinations and peri- trict where the applicant or officer resides or may be ods and conditions of probation of all persons eligible examined, to be accounted for and paid into the under this act who may present themselves for ad- Treasury of the United
States by such collector, and mission into the civil service.
the certificates of payment of fees to collectors shall Third. To establish rules governing the applica- be forwarded quarterly by the commissioners to the tions of such persons, the times and places of their Treasury Department. examinations, the subjects upon which such examin Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That said board ations shall be had, with other incidents thereof, and shall have power to prescribe, by general rules, what the mode of conducting the same and the manner misconduct or inefficiency shall be sufficient for the of keeping and preserving the records thereof, and removal or suspension of all officers who come within of perpetuating the evidence of such applications. the provisions of this act, and also to establish rules qualifications, examinations, probations, and their for the manner of preferring charges for such misconresult
as they shall think expedient. Such rules shall duct or inefficiency, and for the trial of the accused, be so framed as to keep the branches of the civil ser
and for determining his position pending such trial vice and the different grades of each branch, as also Each member of said board shall have the power of the records applicable to each branch, distinct and administering oaths in all proceedings authorized by separate. The said board shall divide the country this act, and testimony may be given orally by witinto territorial districts for the purpose of holding nesses in any hearing before said board or any memexaminations of applicants resident therein and ber thereof, or by deposition to be taken in the manothers, and shall designate some convenient and ner prescribed by law, or upon such notice and in accessible place in each district where examinations such manner as said board shall by general rule or shall be held.
special order direct. Fourth. To examine personally, or by persons by Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That any one of them specially designated, the applicants for ap- Baid commissioners may conduct or superintend any pointment into the civil service of the United States. examinations, and the board may call to their assist
abre in such examinations such men of learning and ants, to be accounted for and verified in like manner,
of this aet, other than those excepted of Departments, and in special cases, to be fixed by in the first section of this act, may be required by the rules or by resolutions of the board, they may dele- || head of the partment in which he serves to appear rate examinations to such persons, to be attended before said board, and if found not qualified for the and presided over by one member of said board, or place he occupies he shall be reported for dismissal, by some person specially designated to preside. and be dismissed in the manner hereinbefore pro
Sec. 7. And be it further enncted. That the said | vided, and the vacancy shall be filled in manner afore-
8pc. 12. And be it further enacted, That
all citizens 8rc.&. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States shall be eligible to examinashall have power at any time to revoke and cancel the tion and appointment under the provisions of this camission of any oficer appointed in pursuance of act, and the heads of the several Departments may, the provisions of this act: Provided however, That in their discretion, designate the offices in the sev said revocation and cancellation shall not take effect eral branches of the civil service the duties of which if aid officer demand a trial upon charges to be pre may be performed by females as well as males, and ferred sesinst him in the manner prescribed in this for all such offices females as well as males shall be act within thirty days from the time of being served eligible, and may make application therefor and with notice of such revocation and cancellation, un be examined, recommended, appointed, tried, suslew he shall be found guilty upon his trial of the pended, and dismissed, in manner aforesaid; and misconduct or ineficiency
alleged against him in such che names of those recommended by the examiners charpes. The discontinuance of an office shall dis shall be placed upon the lists for appointment and charge the person holding it from
the service. promotion in the order of their merit and seniority, Sec. 9. And be il further enacted, That the salary and without distinction, other than as aforesaid, of eneb of said commissioners shall be $5,000 a year, from those of male applicants or officers. and the said board may appoint a clerk at a salary Sec. 13. And be it further enacted, That the Presiof 12,300 a year and a messenger at a salary of $900 dent, and also the Senate, may require any person A fear; and these sums and the necessary traveling applying for or recommended for any office which expenses of the commissioners, clerk, and messenger requires confirmation by the Senate to appear before to be accounted for in detail and verified by affidavit, said board and be examined as to his qualifications, shall be paid from any money in the Treasury not either before or after being commissioned; and the otherwise appropriated. The necessary expenses of result of such examination shall be reported to the any person employed by said commissioners as assist President and to the Senate.