The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, June 08, 1899, Page 5, Image 5

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"Che Conservative. fi
Hinith , "look the whole world in the
faco" coiiBcioiiH of no obligation greater
than his powers of service. Ho should
P08S088 full freedom in nil matters not
legitimately connected with the conduct
of his ofllce.
Principle , and not subserviency to
some person possessing nominating or
appointing power , should control his
political action and ho should bo as free
to oppose as to support the policies of the
chiefs of administration in all matters
not directly ail'octing his conduct as an
employee. Such action should of course
bo characterixod by decorum and suit
able regard for ollloial and personal dig
I'ValuroK ' of llu ; SjiollH
How is it with the spoils system ?
Does not continued allegiance to the
patron who has secured appointment
constitute the solo title of the appointee
to permanence in office ? The latter
would , purhaps , prefer to retain his of
fice on account of the honesty , industry ,
and intelligence displayed by him in the
performance of his duties but ho is not
permitted to do so. The patron upon
whoso recommendation ho was selected
may die , ho may oven bo removed from
public life by the better judgment of
his constituents , though it is the busi
ness of those whom , under the spoils
system , ho has foisted upon the public
pay-roll to prevent such an intelligent
expression of the will of the voters.
A new administration may , in spite of
the same obstacles , bo selected. If it
bo of his own party the employee maybe
bo safe though experience has shown
that this is doubtful and that ho will
bo wise to cultivate friends among the
faction newly become dominant. If it
is of another party his doom is sealed
unless , indeed , ho can maintain personal
relations that are superior to partisan
ship , or can stifle his convictions , sub
ordinate his desire to enjoy a good
opinion of himself , and masquerade as
ti friend of the party newly successful.
Even for the slender chances thus
secured how numerous have been the
self-stultifications , inexcusable indeed ,
but brought about by timorous fears and
appalling possibilities to loved and help
less dependents that lead us to pass
them with but mild condemnation.
Those who have committed these sins ,
led thereto by circumstances which to
their weakness scorned inexorable , have
been robbed of their self respect. The
country has been robbed of manliness
in a group of its citi/ens , the state has
been weakened , the social edifice de
prived of part of its foundation.
The spoils system destroys also the in
dependence of the legislative branch of
government and enables the executive
to control the law-making power by
granting or withholding at will favors
to individual legislators in the distribxi-
tioii of patronage. The legislator , who ,
belonging to the party in power under
the spoils system , ventures to act upon
liis own judgment irrespective of the
wishes of the executive not infrequently
finds himself deprived of all influence
in the distribution of ollices and the in
fluence of place-hunters used to build
up rivals for his political power and to
prevent his continuance in the legisla
tive body. UnlesM ho is a man of extra
ordinary popularity ho has the alterna
tive of a complete surrender of princi
ple or retirement from public service ;
ho either gives place to a more pliable
successor or becomes a traitor to his
convictions and a faithless servant of
the people.
Government JCiuployvoH ItliiHcmuih'il.
"Thou shall not steal" the political
power of individuals. The integrity of
each voter is essential to that of democ
racy itself and can bo subverted by any
means which gives undue influence to
other individuals as effectively as by
measures which exclude qualified elec
tors from the privileges and duties that
are the attributes of the franchise.
One way to accomplish this result is to
introduce the use of money in elections
and this is in part , at least , n result of
the spoils system. Under no other sys
tem would an employee of tha public
feel compelled to act in accordance with
such a notification as that which I am
about to read. It was actually sent by
an agent of a national campaign com
mittee to an employee of the Federal
government. It read :
"Our books show that you have paid
no heed to either of the requests of the
committee for funds. The time for
action is short. I need not say to you
that an important canvass , like the one
now being made , requires a great out
lay of money and wo look to you as one
of the Federal beneficiaries to help bear
the burden. Two per cent of your
salary is $ . At the close of the
campaign wo shall place a list of those
who have not paid in the hands of the
head of the department you are in. "
One need not comment on the brutal
ity of such a system towards those who
hold public ofllce. This system of levy
ing blackmail upon employees of the
Federal government for campaign pur
poses was so recently in existence , that
its more superficial evils are familiar to
all. Possibly wo have not all considered
its more remote , though not less inevit
able results. Campaign funds obtained
in this way were , so far us the Federal
service was concerned , available to but
one party at a time. Would the leaders
of the other party stand idly by and see
the victory of principles they regarded
as essential to the public welfare
turned to defeat by the superior finan
cial resources of their opponents ?
To fight fire with fire is a natural if
not always an ethical impulse. Not
being able to place public resources un
der forced contributions , what sources
are available ? Are not , ask the loaders
of the party out of power , our princi
ples just , is not our anticipated victory
to eventuate in legislation ? Some must
profit pecuniarily by that legislation ;
lot them contribute. From this con
clusion , so easily justified by the /eal-
ous and enthusiastic partisan , how short
the stop to the sale of legislation. Who
will say that it has not boon frequently
taken. And so both parties have ple
thoric campaign funds. A now rivalry
ensues. Each party fools that it must
have the loudest , if not the most har
monious music , at the head of its pro
cessions , which must contain the most
brilliant torches and the most splendid
uniforms. Each candidate desires that
the largest halls , and those most fre
quently , shall resound in his honor with
the ringing phrases of the most eloquent
and highest paid speakers , and that the
plaudits of the largest multitudes shall
bo made to testify to his tremendous
JIlHnosilion of C Fundis.
Every one knows how largo a portion
of every campaign fund is never applied
to the objects for which it was raised.
The demands of ward workers rise pro
portionately with the total expenditures.
Every one must have a share in the
feafct. Vote purchasing begins , if it has
not begun before , and the wages of the
purchasers rise with the price of the
purchased. The party that hopes to
come into power meets the emergency
by soiling more prospective legislation ;
that in power is impelled to raise the
per centago it demands of the salaries of
the incumbents of public offices , and
when the limit in that direction is
reached , to multiply the offices and
holders and increase their compensation
in order that greater sums may thus bo
diverted from the public treasury to the
party coffers. If the assessments of
candidates for office has not yet begun ,
it begins now. Prospective judges , leg
islators , civil officers of all kinds are
made to pay , first twenty-five , then fifty ,
then one hundred per cent , and finally ,
twice or thrice their prospective salaries
as the price of nomination. If office-
gaining is made so costly , office-holding
must become correspondingly remuner
ative. The history of nearly every
largo municipality and of nearly every
state , affords most ample evidence of
the way in which this has been accom
If , however , we exclude the use of
money , wo find many other elements of
political corruption resulting from the
partisan abuse of the power of appoint
ment to office. Whenever this power is
delegated to party leaders with tacit or
express permission to exercise it as a
means of strengthening party organiza
tions , subordinating capacity and fitness
for the public service to the require
ments of partisan expediency , a force is
put in operation that tends progressively