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which moreover relieve Brown from appointing power, by and with the corthe fearful responsibility of fastening sent of the Senate, the bill could only upon the public service a worthless primarily deal with those subordinate person, and Jones from temptations to officers who are appointed by the heads which he may not be subjected in re- of departments. But it contains a promaining a loafer and good-for-nothing vision which enables the Senate to be in private life. If the Jenckes bill fails guided in its confirmation or rejection to pass, how is the state to be protect- of persons nominated to that body by ed? Is Brown to be held responsible the Executive by an examination test for the delinquencies of his protégé, and to which these persons may, in the for the money which Jones draws from judgment of the Senate, be subjected, the people, without giving in return for together with the candidates for subit adequate, efficient, faithful work ? ordinate offices.
Surely somebody ought to be held The bill goes probably as far as it responsible. In the present chaos and can go under the present Constitutional demoralization nobody is responsible; limitations, and as a first instalment of nay, Jones pleads that he has to feather reformatory measures. Mr. Senator his nest, because he may be turned out Patterson, of New Hampshire, is to when Black turns out Brown; and thus introduce a similar bill for the reform the hard-working people are the only of the foreign service. sufferers in this palladium of Liberty, The adoption of these two bills as they are in the strongholds of despot- would effect, however, only a partial ism.
reform. The statistics of all these cases are self- To consolidate it, a reorganization of evident. In an isolated evil, the public some of the public departments is mig withhold their verdict until the indispensable. The Treasury Departfacts are proven and authenticated. But ment, for instance, controls the customs, here we have to deal with a wide-spread the revenue offices, the statistical buevil, which defrauds the country in the reau, apart from the multitudinous collection of taxes on a scale so gigantic branches of the Treasury proper, inthat the commissioners of revenue, col- cluding the currency and printing lectors, assessors, and Treasury officers bureau. In giving to one
man the -at least those of them who are honest control of such an immense caravansary -bow their heads in shame and de- of offices, and of the corresponding spair. We have to deal with an evil patronage, a bureaucratic despotism is that is manifest here and there and built up in the midst of free institueverywhere. To present particular in- tions, which, whenever a President is stances of it, would be to claim the hostile to the popular will, may easily space of several annual volumes of this be used as a formidable weapon against magazine, without exhausting the doc- the People. It must be borne in mind umentary evidence. All that can be that, when the Treasury Department attempted by the publicist on the first was established, it could not have been wrestling with this myriad-armed evil, anticipated that, after a few generais to reveal not only the fact of its ex- tions, the population would increase istence, which every American knows, from a few millions to forty millions, but-and what is more painful-to dis- and that the dominion of the Repubclose, also, the fact that no remedy has lic would spread from the Atlantic to been so far proposed for its diminution, the Pacific. The men appointed as if not eradication, excepting that con- secretaries of the Treasury are selecttained in the Jenckes Civil Service ed by the President, to be sure, by and bill.
with the advice and consent of the It will be seen at a glance that the Senate; but while their politics are bill does not go far enough. The Con- well known and primarily determine stitution vesting in the President the their selection, they are generally taken on trust, so far as their qualifications the Indian Bureau with the War Deare concerned, and the control over the partment; and pensions being generally financial resources of the country, and, paid only in the military and naval in a great measure, over its commercial service, the Pension office might be in and industrial interests, is given, as it all propriety annexed partly to the were, at random, and rather recklessly. Navy, partly to the War Department.
A Secretary of the Treasury is supposed With a minister of finance and a to be what is called a practical man of minister of commerce and agriculture business, and a man conversant with and industry, occupied only with the financial law and science, and with statesmanlike and comprehensive survey political economy. But it is all guess- of their respective spheres, and uninwork. Nobody knows what his real cumbered with the daily business of opportunities were for grappling with bureaucratic routine, these supreme this vast field of knowledge, theo- functionaries might coöperate in the retically as well as practically, and Civil Service Department proposed in probably he does not know himself the Jenckes bill, and promote the effiuntil opportunities arise which either ciency of the service at the same time make him conscious of his defective that they control the respective official knowledge, or bring out his capacities. administrations of the Departments. While his animus is that of a presiden. Working secretaries answered very well tial aspirant, his occupation is that of when the country was small; but in its a bureaucrat, and his position is that present dimensions, the great Departof a sultan. Even supposing that he ments should be presided over by the possesses the greatest intellectual and best qualified men of the country, whose moral qualifications for his office-com- time is not absorbed by reading thouprehensiveness of mind, quickness of sands of letters daily, and listening to perception, wealth of experience, stores the clamors of swarms of office-seekers, of financial and politico-economical but whose whole attention is devoted knowledge, and, above all, clearness of to the general survey of all the business head and unswerving integrity-even of all the branches of all the Departsuppose him to be a paragon of perfec- ments, both administrative and execution, the question yet arises, whether it tive. would be safe to confide to one mortal The daily routine of bureaucratic life man such a boundless trust, and to rest is hardly reconcilable with the bigher in him such a mammoth patronage. attributes of financial and commercial
The better way probably would be to statesmanship. The mind of the secrehave a Minister of Finance who has tary is at present crushed by a load of nothing to do with the bureaucratic hard work. He has no time to think and routine of the Department, and to to take the measure of the whole sphere whom the Secretary of the Treasury and scope of his own acts and occupawould be held responsible, together tion. Like an admiral, a minister of with the other officers of the Treasury finance, or of commerce, should be proper, including the Revenue bureau; able to see over the horizon above him, while the Customs, together with Agri- and over all the spheres around him. culture, Statistics, Census, and Land The present secretaries do too much and Patent Offices, might be placed drudgery, and perform too little mental under the control of a Minister of Com. work. They seem to be overworked ; merce and Agriculture and Industry. but the greatest stagnation of mind is
The Interior Department at present often induced by the most incessant controls the Agriculture, the Land, the hard work, and the reports issued by Patent, the Census, the Indian, and the the respective departments show how Pension bureaus, beside the Interior it is possible to be prolix without being Department proper.
suggestive. No country issues as exIt is very properly proposed to unite haustive official reports as this country;
but it is almost impossible to peruse modic turn. Bureaus have been piled any of them without missing the com- upon bureaus in chaotic masses, until pact and pregnant utterance of master the Treasury and Interior have grown minds — without being overwhelmed up to be unwieldy laboratories, in with titanic statistics barren of prac- which ill-directed forces are pell-mell tical illustration and of suggestive, thrown together, all working for the elabfertile ideas. One and the same bureau- oration and administration of the financratic mechanism pervades them all, cial, fiscal, commercial, territorial, and and very naturally so, because there is industrial resources of the country, but not one presiding mind in any of the in a manner so disjointed that agriculdepartments which is not tainted with ture is divorced from land, commerce the miasma of drudgery, or which has from industry, while Indians, and penthought or leisure to rise to a states- sions for soldiers and sailors, are under manlike and philosophical exposition the same administration with invenof the interests to which the reports tions, penitentiaries and insane asylums. refer.
Add to all this the absence of all tests The multiplicity and bulk of the of qualification in the chief and subpresent reports are so colossal, that ordinate officers, the irresponsibility they are but little read by the masses pervading all these bureaus from the of the people. In this country, where subterranean caverns to the loopholes time is money more than anywhere near the roof, and no emotion should else, and where leisure is exceptional, prevail but that of unalloyed though official reports should be concise, tell- negative admiration that, in the midst ing, pithy, compact, comprehensive. of such a saturnalia of chaos and irreInstead of having, as at present, a sponsibility, there are not more frauds hundred different reports from the perpetrated, and not more blunders various bureaus and offices of the great committed. That, however, among the departments, the presiding ministers mass of the men thus employed, there should digest and unite and condense should have been so few to expose the them all, and present them to the coun- anomalies of the public service, is a try in a readable, suggestive shape. less encouraging symptom. It seems The Agricultural report is at present almost as if Americans, born to shift for worked up in the Interior Department; themselves, in the full exercise of the Commercial report, in the State their independence, become unbinged Department; again, there is the Land from the moment they don the livery Office report, &c., &c.,-Land, Agri- and settle down in the drudgery of culture, Commerce and Navigation, office, not only like automatons, akin Census, Statistics, Customs, and In- to those which haunt the Bank of Engdustry presided over by one mind, land and Doctors' Commons, but with might be merged into one and the all the despair of disappointed freesame report, and thus exhibit to the
An exploration through the country a complete picture of its great caverns and labyrinths of the Interior resources; while the minister of Fi- and Treasury Departments resembles, in nance would do the same as regards some respects, that through asylums for revenue, currency, and finance. Hun- the aged and the infirm. Not that dreds of thousands of dollars would excessive brightness and buoyancy thus be saved to the country. The could be expected in public offices, gain would not only be pecuniary, but but the aspect of excessive desolation also intellectual and encouraging to the is only accountable by the fact that development of our resources and intellect is too much excluded and all civilization.
is reduced to the level of a mechanical The growth of the country has been workshop, without even imparting to so spasmodic that the organization of the inmates the healthy glow of men its public service has also taken a spas- engaged in arduous manual labor.
Another cause is the crowding together and efficiency in all its brarches. Conof many bureaus in one and the same gress could never undertake such a cobuilding; the want of ventilation; the lossal task. It could only be carried miasma engendered in the Treasury out by a distinct department devoted building by the printing workstead to the organization of the public servand the smoke of the burnt notes. ice, and to that alone. The task of Hence the livid appearance of many of unravelling the accumulated blunders the poor clerks. Hence, also, the ap- and mismanagements of several generapearance of debility and somnolescence. tions is not an easy one. It requires the At the same time the absence of all cooperation of the best minds of the prospect of promotion crushes ambi- country, but could only be well done tion and begets discouragement, while by a few well-chosen men devoting the dependence of clerks, in some in themselves exclusively to this work. A stances, upon questionable and ill-quali- great number of men, such as are confied chiefs of bureau, culminates fre- gregated in Congress, could only make quently in a climax of boundless disgust. the confusion worse confounded, by
These details are somewhat painful, each one urging pet schemes mixed up but they show that the total absence of with political considerations--fatal to a presiding minds causes as much neg- work which is purely one of adminislect in the exercise of the most common trative science and organization. Milduties of humanity, as in that of a lions on millions are at present wasted statesmanlike organization. The de- upon many useless bureaus, and the partment needs depletion of the build reports they publish. ings, consolidation of bureaus, and re- Apart from the demoralization difduction of forces, with presiding minis- fused by the present system of appointters relieved from drudgery, and with ing political mercenaries, without rechiefs and subordinates of bureaus ap- gard to capacity and integrity, it entails pointed upon the principle of proba- upon the people fearful losses in the tion, examination and promotion, and shape of frauds and uncollected reveremoval only for cause, as indicated in nues, and an extravagant expenditure the Jenckes bill.
in subsidizing the protégés of legislaBy reducing the number of bureaus, tive and executive officers. and the forces, a great saving will be This consideration cannot fail to have effected; and a still greater one, by in- weight even with those who regard the creasing the pay of competent officers, infusion of culture in the public service and removing all those who are useless as incompatible with the rude impulses and worthless. Deputy-ships in the of a rough-and-tumble democracy. But Postal service should be altogether those who hold this last-mentioned abolished; and the postmaster who opinion are doing great injustice to absents himself from his post without great numbers of our young men, who leave of absence in urgent emergencies, are deterred from entering the public should forfeit it. The principle which service, because, under the present cirprevails in the Prussian service, of re- cumstances, a political price seems to quiring bonds, varying according to be set upon ignorance, while rascality the respective salaries, from all officers, is far from being regarded as a disqualihigh or low, might be also advantage- fication. ously introduced, so that, in cases of The contemplated reform would, moredelinquency, the people would be, at all over, react upon the
very fountain-heads events, protected against loss.
of education, and from the moment that The first duty of the new civil serv- the civil service becomes a career, the ice department proposed in the Jenckes presidents of our universities, colleges, bill should be to elaborate measures for and schools would awaken to the necesthe reorganization of the whole service, sity of giving greater prominence to with a view to secure greater economy
those studies which fit for the civil service, and which, at present, are not of the demagogue strikes most remorsepractically pursued from a professional lessly the poorest and most helpless of point of view.
employees, because they are in numeriWe have chiefly referred to those cal preponderance, and so they tell as great departments of Washington voters, though they are treated as if which need most the axe of the reform- they were unworthy to be men. er. It is hardly necessary to speak of No doubt, there will still be imperthe New York Custom-house. It is a fections and blemishes in our public most awful concern, with a dark history, service in ages hence, after our present and a perfect hotbed of sinecures. A system has been purged of some of its good and honest man appointed to it, most hideous and revolting features. after the withdrawal of Hiram Barney, We dare also say, that all which is bad was soon found in the East River, with in our system looks still worse than it stones round his neck—a fit emblem of is, because every thing in this country the burden that had fastened upon his comes to the surface in all its unsophistidistracted soul. It is a place full of cated nakedness, and is not glossed over, tragedy and full of farce. It is proba- as in older and more subtle and hypobly the only custom-house in the world critical civilizations, by all sort and which also serves the purpose of a po- manner of artifices. But nothing can litical penitentiary and partisan laza- explain away that which is intrinsically retto. No one man should be entrusted and irretrievably bad, and all good citiwith the control of such an unfathoma- zens should cry, “Shame!” upon each ble abyss of corruption. Half a dozen and every politician who, for selfish custom-houses, the directors respective purposes of his own, opposes and baffles ly under the control of a minister of the reformatory measures now pending finance or commerce in Washington, before Congress. Heaven knows that would probably do infinitely less barm they are wide of the mark. They only than the present one-man-power con- touch a few springs of a vast and comcern, and that one man perpetually plex machinery of evil, but we are vibrating like a tormented spirit be- thankful that something is done in the tween the White House, the Treasury, right direction. To withhold assent Foreign Missions, and incidentally the from these bills bec:use they do not Custom-house-a profitable customer, remedy all the evils, would be as wise at any rate, for railroads and hotels. as to decline medical assistance for one
Custom-houses, surveyorships, and disease, because there are other diseases naval port offices all over the country, in the body for which it does not also are all more or less “rotten boroughs.” afford remedy. On certain occasions whole gangs of We have not yet spoken of the State men are ejected, and new recruits en- Department. It presents a sense of listed. Such are the contrivances by unity which is due to its peculiar funcwhich demagoguery saps morality and tions, and transacts its vast business drags politics into the mire of venali- with a smallness of forces which is ty. What is needed on certain occa- creditable to it, and shows how much sions, are a great number of votes, so more is to be achieved by a small force as to turn the scale upon the partisan harmoniously employed, than by large adversary; and lo! all of a sudden, forces scattered over unwieldy and hundreds of men, many of whom are chaotic organizations. hard-working, and have large families In respect to the consular service, how to support, are thrown destitute upon ever, the Department indulges in the the streets like so many leprous dogs, erroneous belief that it is self-supporting. to make place for new and more serv- The fact is, that the fee raised upon the iceable recruits, who, on some future certificates of exporters is a tax upon occasion, are to be ejected in the same commerce which the consumer has to brutal manner. As usual, the cruelty pay. If the fee were one hundred dol