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Contents of the April Number
Contents of the July Number.
II.—Heathen Views on the Golden Age, etc., compared with the
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Gontents of the October Number.
Art. I.—The History and Literature of Civil Service Reform. Among the various directions taken by the recent discussion of a reform in our own civil service, none lias been less diligently pursued than the history and literature of the subject. There are some suggestions that may be of yse in the practical work that is yet to be done, to öring the legislation of the country to a level with the legat attaiñed by the men who have thought on and thought ont this matter. The American Association for the advancement of Speial Science has taken it in hand; and Mr. Curtis prepared a paper, which was
1 read at the October meeting in New York. Mr. Henry Adams is the author of an article on the same subject in the October number of the North American Review. All who read the works of these gentlemen will be attracted to the consideration of Civil Service Reform, and many persons will be curious to know where the early history of this subject can be found, and what is the recorded experience of Roman, and mediæval and modern governments. A partial answer can be found in a book, little known abroad, and, of course, still less here,
Des Offices considérés au point de vue des Transactions Privées et des Intérêts de l'État (ouvrage couronné par la
VOL, XLII.-NO, I.
Faculté de Droit de Rennes et par l'Académie de Législation), par EUGÈNE DURAND, Docteur en Droit, Avocat à la Cour Impériale de Rennes. Paris : S. Durand, LibraireEditeur. 1863 (pp. 458). It is written mainly to justify the existence, in France, of offices that are bought and sold,—the places of advocates of the Court of Cassation, notaries, attorneys, clerks, and tipstaffs of the courts, brokers and auctioneers, – and, to do so, it begins in very early times. The whole business of appointment to public office, and the proper tenure, has been largely discussed of late. The passage of the Tenure-ofOffice Bill had its origin in this way, although it was used for a very different end. The opposition to its repeal was due mainly to the strong feeling that any means of staying the tide of removals from office for mere pårty or personal reasons, could not be rightly dispensed with.
The introduction of the “Civil Service Bill ” by Mr. Jenckes, his reports giving the history of the subject in this country, the debates in Congress, the large and liberal consideration given to the subject by the public press of the nation, the strong feeling in its favor, without regard to party lines,-all bear loud and convincing testimony to the fact that there is a wholesome anxiety for some broad and sweeping measure of reform in the old fashion of political appointments to office::The feeling is that our public offices must be restored to their old: condition of purity and efficiency, and that, while France-and: England, Germany and Italy even, may
be the woise:for'.thiesain various forms of government, they are much better for their almost perfect system of the administration of the public business. The determination to effect a reform here in that direction is pretty certain, sooner or later, to be carried into effect. A sketch of the history of the subject, as exhibited in the work of M. Durand, may not be without its particular use in showing how the same mischief grew up in Roman and French administration, and was cured only by a destructive revolution that swept away with it all, or nearly all, that was good and bad, in its fury. Our word, "office," had no fellow in the Greek language, and the thing itself was represented by "cPxo," or by "ouvanes" and "tegen." In Rome,
there was a gradual transition from magistratus to munera publica, honores, dignitates, and, finally, officium, whence our " office."
The origin of this word has been the subject of a good deal of curious learning and much effort to get at its real meaning. In the third century of the Christian era, Donatus taught that "officium dicitur quasi efficium ab efficiendo quod cuicui personæ efficere congruit.” St. Augustine put the same idea in another way: “Officium dicitur quasi efficium, propter sermonis decorem mutata una litera.” Loyseau, early in the seventeenth century, said that officium was composed of the preposition ob and the verb fucio, and meant "continual or ordinary employment at a certain work.”
Of the theory of appointment to office, there is no need for discussion. It has always been agreed, that every office is a delegation of public power, and the recipient is supposed to le not only pure, honest, just, laborious, zealous, but specially fitted for the duties cast upon him, either by special training, or by such advantages of education as will best fit him to learn and exercise the duties of his office. To recur to pure theoretical times, we should have to go back to the republic of Plato. The corruption of public morals, the avidity of men for public office, and political necessities, have made the practice very different.
In Rome, the republic maintained the purity of its offices and its officers. When, under the emperors, the right to appoint fell into the hands of a single man, the system of officehunting was as well established as it is here among ourselves.
The custom of giving presents, at first a free-will offering, soon became obligatory, and then passed into a means of supplying the public treasury, emptied by the wicked wasteful. ness of the times.
The same transition can be seen in the history of early French legislation. Up to the end of the fifteenth century present-giving was the rule, subject, however, to numerous laws forbidding and punishing the traffic of officers in offices. But when the treasury became exhausted, and the taxes weighed heavily, Louis XII. and Francis I. determined to sell the titles which were solicited at their hands. All public