session of the ecclesiastical preferments, sold them, promised those yet to fall in, and gave even conditional undertakings, gratias ad beneficia vacatura expectativas. By the sixteenth century the trade in church offices was in full vigor, and well established in its regulations both for enforcing and evading the law. Louis XII. was slow to imitate the practice, but the path once opened, his successor, Francis I., opened all his offices to sale, put them up publicly for open competition, and created new ones to supply the demand. His successors followed on the same course, and it was continued down to the very eve of the Revolution.

In spite of the legal distinction kept up in appearance as to the venal and the non-venal offices, in fact there soon ceased to be any difference. The one was an open violation of the law, and the other was a legal sanction of a custom that had the

same vice.

It was not, however, until 1583 that the hereditary right to office was established by Henry III. This was under restrictions, that were swept away by Henry VI., who, under the pressure of debts and of the exhaustion from the civil wars, adopted a law that secured the hereditary right by levying an annual tax, and the law was enforced by various amendments, down to the Revolution. There was, at the outset, a line of demarcation between ministerial and judicial offices, but even this became vague and uncertain, and was occasionally broken down altogether, in spite of efforts of varying vigor, to preserve the people from that last and worst of miseries, judicial corruption. When the Estates General met at Versailles, on the 5th May, 1789, for the last time, the old ideas had had their day. One of the first acts of the Assembly was in response to the public feeling on this subject. Decided in one day, this reform, after two centuries of agitation, was carried into effect, in spite of the discontent of the parties in interest and the difficulties in the way of such a wholesale reorganization. The principle then laid down, still makes the law in France, although there have been frequent modifications of it in letter.

Twenty-five years later, the monarchy, in 1816, sought to strengthen its finances by again making offices salable, but

under very different conditions from the system before the Revolution.

The revolution of 1789 was social rather than political. The suppression of manorial rights, and of the sale of judicial and municipal offices, enacted in 1789, was followed, a year later, by a uniform judicial system, and this by a regulation of the administrative officers, which has remained in force down almost to our own days. Compensation was provided for those who had bought their offices and were deprived of the right to sell them again. Power was given to each body, the advocates, the clerks, the attorneys, to create its own council of supervision, and the rules laid down for the probation, admission, and government of its members, together with the right to demand a sum of money in hand as security, and forfeited in case of violation of duty, were all enforced by the state. The caution-money thus collected was a useful help to the state, and various changes were made in the rates of interest and in the sums required, just as the necessities of the government were pressing, or the growing profits of the offices, thus taxed, justified it.

In return for the largely-increased burdens put on the offices of notaries, and others of that class, the government of the Restoration legalized the sale by the possessor, as a means of reimbursing from his successor the heavy charges to which he had been put. The sale is, of course, dependent on the government, and that approval is given only to competent persons, and that competency is determined by the “Chamber of Discipline” of the body to which the office belongs.

The learning of the French bar, of the courts, of the treatisewriters, of the Council of State, on the relations growing out of these sales, as well inter vivos as by will, is of infinite variety, and very broad and deep, serving to show how thoroughly imbued French official life is with this system of the sale of offices.

The law acknowledges the right of joint and several ownerships of office in partnership, and puts it on the decision in the Dig. 1. 71, pro socio (1. 17. c. 2), that two grammarians might unite and share the profits of their profession, et quod ex eo artificio qnæstus fecissent, commune eorum esset, but VOL. XLII.-NO. I.


the abuses and the irresponsibility of such joint-stock enterprises, have prevented them from being successful in practice, and courts and legislators have interposed to produce this result. In the case of money-brokers, where the cautionmoney is 250,000 francs, and the price of the office sometimes as high as two millions of francs, the practice is still admitted, although unwillingly and under hard rules. The hereditary transmission, not of the office itself, but of the right to name a successor, is acknowledged in the most absolute way by the modern French law, and that on the basis of the Roman maxim, “hereditas nihil aliud est quam successio in universum jus, quod defunctus habuit (Dig. de reg. jur. L. 50.) The rights of the creditors are carefully preserved against the proceeds of the sale of the office, and as carefully prevented from interfering with the personal right of the heirs of the decedent to nominate a successor, and that again is different in cases of intestacy and of testamentary provisions.

The fact is, however, to be kept prominent, that offices were always declared to be only a delegated portion of public power, requiring for their exercise, on the part of the person appointed, whether it be by birthi or by gift, the choice and approval of the sovereign, or his representative. The chief officer of the state, be he emperor or king, president or consul, knows no other law on the subject than public interests; and if they require it, old offices may be abolished, or new ones created, with no limit other than that of caring for vested rights.

The dealings of the old and new officers in the sale or transmission of office, its price, the mode of securing it, the rights of wife, or children, or creditors, to any share in the purchasemoney, are all kept separate and apart. The courts may often have to deal with them, the government never does. These preliminaries once settled and adjusted, the nomination goes from the lower to the higher officers, by a regulated succession, and must be accompanied by proper approvals and indorsements, on its passage up, and on its way down again.

The right of removal, arbitrarily, without cause given, without redress, and withont compensation of any kind, has been carefully established; and, rarely as it is used, it is ac

knowledged by the judicial, as well as by the parliamentary legislation of the modern French system.

To justify the rigor of such a course, it is put on the score of the abolition, at the time of the Revolution, of the right to office, bought of the government under the “ Ancien Régime,” and on the fact that each purchaser is such only at the hands of his predecessor; and subject at all times, to the sovereign power of the state.

Of course there is a standing protest kept up against this hardship, and the risk of losing one's whole fortune, and the future of children, and grandchildren; but thus far in vain.

Even the right of compensation, is narrowed dowu to the closest limit, and the indemnity once given, is distributable only by legal process, so as to protect all interests that may be concerned,

The right to create new offices, is just as well established, as the right to abolish the old ; and it has often the same effect, as far as the diminished profit of the existing offices is concerned. The right of compensation is not admitted, although it has been granted in cases of great hardship, and under exceptional circumstances.

The right to add new duties, or to take away profitable employment, has always been maintained ; and although modifications of either kind are rare, there are instances which prove it, as well as the increase or diminution of the caution money, according to the greater or less profit belonging to an office, after it has been in any way changed in its duties.

There are in France, but three modes of appointments to office,-direct nomination, competitive examination, or the presentation of a name by the officer, for his successor.

The first method, it is said, opens the gates to intrigue, and bargain and sale, without control or discretion; it surrenders offices to politicians, who parcel them out among their followers, and use them as the price of their allegiance; we can learn little of its evils from French example. Competitive examination was tried in France for ten years, beginning in 1791, and ending, we are told, with a general feeling that it

had failed of its purpose, by reason of the weakness, inconvenience, and inadequacy of its results; and it has not been fairly tried again.

The right of presentation, Durand says, gives the holder of an office a property in it; which secures him a recompense for honorable labor, induces him to secure public esteem, and furnishes him with incentives to honesty and industry, in the exercise of his office. The better he does its duties, the greater the value of the reward in hand, and the larger the compensation in the future.

There are now in France, not less than 25,000 ministerial offices; they were formerly taxed according to their estimated value; but since 1771 there has been no standard by which it can be ascertained. The place of an advocate of the Court of Cassation, of a notary, of an exchange broker, in Paris, is worth anywhere from half a million to two millions of francs; an effort to compensate on such prices as these, would add enormously to the national debt, and as that is not likely to be done, in the face ofthe opposition that would be made by the parties in interest, the discussion of any scheme of reform of that kind, has little practical worth.

The sketch thus given, of the course of legislation in Rome and in France, in reference to offices of a certain class, may serve to show how much remains to be done, toward perfecting and purifying our own system generally. There is, of course, nothing in our method of doing public business, which is likely to be modified by the example of French private offices, or rather of offices which are here strictly matters of private business ; while in France, they are held by their occupants, under a limited right from the government. Here, however, we are doing what we can, as far as legislation on Mr. Jenckes's Civil Service Bill is in earnest, to settle the business of our own enormous army of public officers.

The original theory, which for forty years made our civil service unobtrusively good, was that public office was the reward of fitness, and that between the office and the officer there was no interposition other than for cause. The change since inaugurated, and the experience we have had of the system of rotation in office, for the second cycle of forty years

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