1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Civil Service

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CIVIL SERVICE, the generic name given to the aggregate of all the public servants, or paid civil administrators and clerks, of a state. It is the machinery by which the executive, through the various administrations, carries on the central government of the country.

British Empire.—The appointments to the civil service until the year 1855 were made by nomination, with an examination not sufficient to form an intellectual or even a physical test. It was only after much consideration and almost years of discussion that the nomination system was abandoned. Various commissions reported on the civil service, and orders in council were issued. Finally in 1855 a qualifying examination of a stringent character was instituted, and in 1870 the principle of open competition was adopted as a general rule. On the report of the Playfair Commission (1876), an order in council was issued dividing the civil service into an upper and lower division. The order in council directed that a lower division should be constituted, and men and boy clerks holding permanent positions replaced the temporary assistants and writers. The “temporary” assistant was not found to be advantageous to the service. In December 1886 a new class of assistant clerks was formed to replace the men copyists. In 1887 the Ridley Commission reported on the civil service establishment. In 1890 two orders in council were issued based on the reports of the Ridley Commission, which sat from 1886 to 1890. The first order constituted what is now known as the second division of the civil service. The second order in council concerned the officers of the 1st class; and provision was made for the possible promotion of the second division clerks to the first division after eight years’ service.

The whole system is under the administration of the civil service commissioners, and power is given to them, with the approval of the treasury, to prescribe the subjects of examination, limits of age, &c. The age is fixed for compulsory retirement at sixty-five. In exceptional cases a prolongation of five years is within the powers of the civil service commissioners. The examination for 1st class clerkships is held concurrently with that of the civil service of India and Eastern cadetships in the colonial service. Candidates can compete for all three or for two. In addition to the intellectual test the candidate must fulfil the conditions of age (22 to 24), must present recommendations as to character, and pass a medical examination. This examination approximates closely to the university type of education. Indeed, there is little chance of success except for candidates who have had a successful university career, and frequently, in addition, special preparation by a private teacher. The subjects include the language and literature of England, France, Germany, Italy, ancient Greece and Rome, Sanskrit and Arabic, mathematics (pure and applied), natural science (chemistry, physics, zoology, &c.), history (English, Greek, Roman and general modern), political economy and economic history, mental and moral philosophy, Roman and English law and political science. The candidate is obliged to reach a certain standard of knowledge in each subject before any marks at all are allowed him. This rule was made to prevent success by mere cramming, and to ensure competent knowledge on the basis of real study.

The maximum scale of the salaries of clerks of Class I. is as follows:—3rd class, £200 a year, increasing by £20 a year to £500; 2nd class, £600, increasing by £25 a year to £800; 1st class, £850, increasing by £50 a year to £1000. Their pensions are fixed by the Superannuation Act 1859, 22 Vict. c. 26:—

“To any person who shall have served ten years and upwards, and under eleven years, an annual allowance of ten-sixtieths of the annual salary and emoluments of his office:

“For eleven years and under twelve years, an annual allowance of eleven-sixtieths of such salary and emoluments:

“And in like manner a further addition to the annual allowance of one-sixtieth in respect of each additional year of such service, until the completion of a period of service of forty years, when the annual allowance of forty-sixtieths may be granted; and no additions shall be made in respect of any service beyond forty years.”

The “ordinary annual holidays allowed to officers” (1st class) “shall not exceed thirty-six week-days during each of their first ten years of service and forty-eight week-days thereafter.” Order in Council, 15th August 1890.

“Within that maximum heads of departments have now, as they have hitherto had, an absolute discretion in fixing the annual leave.”

Sick leave can be granted on full salary for not more than six months, on half-salary for another six months.

The scale of salary for 2nd division clerks begins at £70 a year, increasing by £5 to £100; then £100 a year, increasing by £7, 10s. to £190; and then £190 a year, increasing by £10 to £250. The highest is £300 to £500. Advancement in the 2nd division to the higher ranks depends on merit, not seniority. The ordinary annual holiday of the 2nd division clerks is 14 working days for the first five years, and 21 working days afterwards. They can be allowed sick leave for six months on full pay and six months on half-pay. The subjects of their examination are: (1) handwriting and orthography, including copying MS.; (2) arithmetic; (3) English composition; (4) précis, including indexing and digest of returns; (5) book-keeping and shorthand writing; (6) geography and English history; (7) Latin; (8) French; (9) German; (10) elementary mathematics; (11) inorganic chemistry with elements of physics. Not more than four of the subjects (4) to (11) can be taken. The candidate must be between the ages of 17 and 20. A certain number of the places in the 2nd division were reserved for the candidates from the boy clerks appointed under the old system. The competition is severe, only about one out of every ten candidates being successful. Candidates are allowed a choice of departments subject to the exigencies of the services.

There is also a class of boy copyists who are almost entirely employed in London, a few in Dublin and Edinburgh, and, very seldom, in some provincial towns. The subjects of their examination are: Obligatory—handwriting and orthography, arithmetic and English composition. Optional—(any two of the following): (1) copying MS.; (2) geography; (3) English history; (4) translation from one of the following languages—Latin, French or German; (5) Euclid, bk. i. and ii., and algebra, up to and including simple equations; (6) rudiments of chemistry and physics. Candidates must be between the ages of 15 and 18. They have no claims to superannuation or compensation allowance. Boy copyists are not retained after the age of 20.

Candidates for the civil service of India take the same examination as for 1st class clerkships. Candidates successful in the examination must subsequently spend one year in England. They receive for that year £150 if they elect to live at one of the universities or colleges approved by the secretary of state for India. They are submitted to a final examination in the following subjects—Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, the principal vernacular language of the province to which they are assigned, the Indian Evidence Act (these three subjects are compulsory), either Hindu and Mahommedan Law, or Sanskrit, Arabic or Persian, Burmese (for Burma only). A candidate may not take Arabic or Sanskrit both in the first examination and in the final. They must also pass a thorough examination in riding. On reaching India their salary begins at 400 rupees a month. They may take, as leave, one-fourth of the time on active service in periods strictly limited by regulation. After 25 years’ service (of which 21 must be active service) they can retire on a pension of £1000 a year. The unit of administration is the district. At the head of the district is an executive officer called either collector-magistrate or deputy-commissioner. In most provinces he is responsible to the commissioner, who corresponds directly with the provincial government. The Indian civilian after four years’ probation in both branches of the service is called upon to elect whether he will enter the revenue or judicial department, and this choice as a rule is held to be final for his future work.

Candidates for the Indian Forest Service have to pass a competitive examination, one of the compulsory subjects being German or French. They have also to pass a severe medical examination, especially in their powers of vision and hearing. They must be between the ages of 18 and 22. Successful candidates are required to pass a three years’ course, with a final examination, seven terms of the course at an approved school of forestry, the rest of the time receiving practical instruction in continental European forests. On reaching India they start as assistant conservators at 380 rupees a month. The highest salary, that of inspector-general of forests, in the Indian Forest Service is 2650 rupees a month.

The Indian Police Service is entered by a competitive examination of very much the same kind as for the forest service, except that special subjects such as German and botany are not included. The candidates are limited in age to 19 and 21. They must pass a riding examination. A free passage out is given them. They are allotted as probationers, their wishes being consulted as far as possible as to their province. A probationer receives 300 rupees a month. A district superintendent can rise to 1200 rupees a month, while there are a few posts with a salary of 3000 rupees a month in the police service. The leave and pension in both these departments follow the general rules for Indian services.

The civil service also includes student interpreterships for China, Japan and Siam, and for the Ottoman dominions, Persia, Greece and Morocco. Both these classes of student interpreters are selected by open competition. Their object is to supply the consular service in the above-named countries with persons having a thorough knowledge of the language of the country in which they serve.

In the first case, China, Japan, &c., they learn their language in the country itself, receiving £200 as probationers. Then they become assistants in a consulate. The highest post is that of consul-general. In the case of student interpreters for the Ottoman dominions, Persia, Greece and Morocco, the successful candidates learn their languages at Oxford. Turkish is taught gratuitously, but they pay the usual fees for other languages. At Oxford they receive £200 a year for two years. On leaving Oxford they become assistants under the embassy at Constantinople, the legations at Teheran, Athens or Morocco, or at one of H.B.M. consulates. As assistants they receive £300 a year. The consuls, the highest post to which they can reach, receive in the Levant from £500 to £1600 a year. The civil services of Ceylon, Hong-Kong, the Straits Settlements, and the Malay Peninsula are supplied by the Eastern cadetships. The limits of age for the examination are 18 and 24. The cadets are required to learn the native language of the colony or dependency to which they are assigned. In the case of the Straits Settlements and Malay cadets they may have to learn Chinese or Tamil, as well as the native language. The salaries are: passed cadets, 3500 rupees per annum, gradually increasing until first-class officers receive from 12,000 to 18,000 rupees per annum. They are allowed three months’ vacation on full pay in two years, and leave of absence on half-pay after six years’ service, or before that if urgently needed. They can retire for ill-health after ten years with fifteen-sixtieths of their annual salary. Otherwise they can add one-sixtieth of their annual salary to their pension for every additional year’s service up to thirty-five years’ service.

In spite of the general rule of open competition, there are still a few departments where the system of nomination obtains, accompanied by a severe test of knowledge, either active or implied. Such are the foreign office, British Museum, and board of education.

The employment of women in the civil service has been principally developed in the post office. Women are employed in the post office as female clerks, counter clerks, telegraphists, returners, sorters and post-mistresses all over the United Kingdom. The board of agriculture, the customs and the India office employ women. The department of agriculture, the board of education generally, the local government board, all to a certain extent employ women, whilst in the home office there are an increasing number of women inspectors of workshops and factories.

In 1881 the postmaster-general took a decided step in favour of female employment, and with the consent of the treasury instituted female clerkships. Female clerks do not come in contact with the public. Their duties are purely clerical, and entirely in the accountant-general’s department at the savings bank. Their leave is one month per annum; their pension is on the ordinary civil service scale. The examination is competitive; the subjects are handwriting and spelling, arithmetic, English composition, geography, English history, French or German. Candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 20. Whether unmarried or widows they must resign on marriage. The class of girl clerks take the same subjects in a competitive examination. They must be between the ages of 16 and 18; they serve only in the Savings Bank department. If competent they can pass on later to female clerkships. The salaries of the female clerkships range from £200 to £500 in the higher grade, £55 to £190 in the 2nd class, whilst girl clerks are paid from £35 to £40, with the chance of advancement to higher posts.

United States.—Civil service reform, like other great administrative reforms, began in America in the latter half of the 19th century. Personal and partisan government, with all the entailed evils of the patronage system, culminated in Great Britain during the reign of George III., and was one of the efficient causes of the American revolution. Trevelyan characterizes the use of patronage to influence legislation, and the giving of colonial positions as sinecures to the privileged classes and personal favourites of the administration, by saying, “It was a system which, as its one achievement of the first order, brought about the American War, and made England sick, once and for all, of the very name of personal government.” It was natural that the founders of the new government in America, after breaking away from the mother-country, should strive to avoid the evils which had in a measure brought about the revolution. Their intention that the administrative officers of the government should hold office during good behaviour is manifest, and was given thorough and practical effect by every administration during the first forty years of the life of the government. The constitution fixed no term of office in the executive branch of the government except those of president and vice-president; and Madison, the expounder of the constitution, held that the wanton removal of a meritorious officer was an impeachable offence. Not until nine years after the passage of the Four Years’ Tenure of Office Act in 1820 was there any material departure from this traditional policy of the government. This act (suggested by an appointing officer who wished to use the power it gave in order to secure his own nomination for the presidency, and passed without debate and apparently without any adequate conception of its full effect) opened the doors of the service to all the evils of the “spoils system.” The foremost statesmen of the time were not slow to perceive the baleful possibilities of this legislation, Jefferson,[1] Webster, Clay, Calhoun, Benton and many others being recorded as condemning and deploring it in the strongest terms. The transition to the “spoils system” was not, however, immediate, and for the next nine years the practice of reappointing all meritorious officers was practically universal; but in 1829 this practice ceased, and the act of 1820 lent the sanction of law to the system of The “spoils system.” proscriptions which followed, which was a practical application of the theory that “to the victor belong the spoils of the enemy.” In 1836 the provisions of this law, which had at first been confined mainly to officers connected with the collection of revenue, were extended to include also all postmasters receiving a compensation of $1000 per annum or more. It rapidly became the practice to regard all these four years’ tenure offices as agencies not so much for the transaction of the public business as for the advancement of political ends. The revenue service from being used for political purposes merely came to be used for corrupt purposes as well, with the result that in one administration frauds were practised upon the government to the extent of $75,000,000. The corrupting influences permeated the whole body politic. Political retainers were selected for appointment not on account of their ability to do certain work but because they were followers of certain politicians; these “public servants” acknowledged no obligation except to those politicians, and their public duties, if not entirely disregarded, were negligently and inefficiently performed. Thus grew a saturnalia of spoils and corruption which culminated in the assassination of a president.

Acute conditions, not theories, give rise to reforms. In the congressional election of November 1882, following the assassination of President Garfield as an incident in the operation of the spoils system, the voice of the people commanding reform was unmistakable. Congress assembled in December 1882, and during the same month a bill looking to the improvement of the civil service, which had been pending in the Senate for nearly two years, was finally taken up and considered by that body. In the debate upon this bill its advocates declared that it would “vastly improve the whole civil service of the country,” which they characterized as being at that time “inefficient, expensive and extravagant, and in many instances corrupt.”[2] Law of
This bill passed the Senate on the 27th of December 1882, and the House on the 4th of January 1883, and was signed by the president on the 16th of January 1883, coming into full operation on the 16th of July 1883. It is now the national civil service law. The fundamental principles of this law are:—(1) selection by competitive examination for all appointments to the “classified service,” with a period of probationary service before absolute appointment; (2) apportionment among the states and territories, according to population, of all appointments in the departmental service at Washington; (3) freedom of all the employees of the government from any necessity to contribute to political campaign funds or to render political services. For putting these principles into effect the Civil Service Commission was created, and penalties were imposed for the solicitation or collection from government employees of contributions for political purposes, and for the use of official positions in coercing political action. The commission, in addition to its regular duties of aiding in the preparation of civil service rules, of regulating and holding examinations, and certifying the results thereof for use in making appointments, and of keeping records of all changes in the service, was given authority to investigate and report upon any violations of the act or rules. The “classified” service to which the act applies has grown, by the action of successive presidents in progressively including various branches of the service within it, from 13,924 positions in 1883 to some 80,000 (in round numbers) in 1900, constituting about 40% of the entire civil service of the government and including practically all positions above the grade of mere labourer or workman to which appointment is not made directly by the president with the consent of the Senate.[3] A very large class to which the act is expressly applicable, and which has been partly brought within its provisions by executive action, is that of fourth-class postmasters, of whom there are between 70,000 and 80,000 (about 15,000 classified in 1909).

In order to provide registers of eligibles for the various grades of positions in the classified service, the United States Civil Service Commission holds annually throughout the country about 300 different kinds of examinations. In the work of preparing these examinations and of marking the papers of competitors in them the commission is authorized by law to avail itself, in addition to its own corps of trained men, of the services of the scientific and other experts in the various executive departments. In the work of holding the examinations it is aided by about 1300 local boards of examiners, which are its local representatives throughout the country and are located at the principal post offices, custom houses and other government offices, being composed of three or more Federal employees in those offices. About 50,000 persons annually compete in these examinations, and about 10,000 of those who are successful receive appointments through regular certification. Persons thus appointed, however, must serve six months “on probation” before their appointment can be made absolute. At the end of this probation, if his service has not been satisfactory, the appointee is simply dropped; and the fact that less than 1% of those appointed prove thus deficient on trial is high testimony to the practical nature of the examinations held by the commission, and to their aptness for securing persons qualified for all classes of positions.

The effects of the Civil Service Act within the scope of its actual operation have amply justified the hopes and promises of its advocates. After its passage, absentee holders of lucrative appointments were required to report for duty or to sever their connexion with the service. Improved methods were adopted in the departments, and superfluous and useless work was no longer devised in order to provide a show of employment and a locus standi for the parasites upon the public service. Individual clerks were required, and by reason of the new conditions were enabled, to do more and better work; and this, coupled with the increase in efficiency in the service on account of new blood coming in through the examinations, made possible an actual decrease in the force required in many offices, notwithstanding the natural growth in the amount of work to be done.[4] Experience proves that the desire to create new and unnecessary positions was in direct proportion to the power to control them, for where the act has taken away this power of control the desire had disappeared naturally. There is no longer any desire on the part of heads of departments to increase the number or salaries of classified positions which would fall by law within the civil service rules and be subject to competitive examinations. Thus the promises of improvement and economy in the service have been fulfilled.

The chief drawback to the full success of the act within its intended scope of operation has been the withholding of certain positions in the service from the application of the vital principle of competition. The Civil Service Act contemplated no exceptions, within the limits to which it was made applicable, to the general principle of competition upon merit for entrance to the service. In framing the first civil service rules, however, in 1883, the president, yielding to the pressure of the heads of some of the departments, and against the urgent protest of the Civil Service Commission, excepted from the requirement of examination large numbers of positions in the higher grades of the service, chiefly fiduciary and administrative positions such as cashiers, chief clerks and chiefs of division. These positions being thus continued under the absolute control of the appointing officer, the effect of their exception from examination was to retain just that much of the old or “spoils” system within the nominal jurisdiction of the new or “merit” system. Even more: under the old system, while appointments from the outside had been made regardless of fitness, still those appointments had been made in the lower grades, the higher positions being filled by promotion within the service, usually of the most competent, but under the new system with its exceptions, while appointments to the lower grades were filled on the basis of merit, the pressure for spoils at each change of administration forced inexperienced, political or personal favourites in at the top. This blocked promotions and demoralized the service. Thus, while the general effect of the act was to limit very greatly the number of vicious appointments, at the same time the effect of these exceptions was to confine them to the upper grades, where the demoralizing effect of each upon the service would be a maximum. By constant efforts the Civil Service Commission succeeded in having position after position withdrawn from this excepted class, until by the action of the president, on the 6th of May 1896, it was finally reduced almost to a minimum. By subsequent presidential action, however, on the 29th of May 1899, the excepted class was again greatly extended.[5]

A further obstacle to the complete success of the merit system, and one which prevents the carrying forward of the reform to the extent to which it has been carried in Great Britain, is inherent in the Civil Service Act itself. All postmasters who receive compensation of $1000 or more per annum, and all collectors of customs and collectors of internal revenue, are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, and are therefore, by express provision of the act, not “required to be classified.” The universal practice of treating these offices as political agencies instead of as administrative business offices is therefore not limited by the act. Such officers are active in political work throughout the country, and their official position adds greatly to their power to affect the political prospects of the leaders in their districts. Accordingly the Senate, from being, as originally intended, merely a confirming body as to these officers, has become in a large measure, actually if not formally, a nominating body, and holds with tenacity to the power thus acquired by the individual senators. Thorough civil service reform requires that these positions also, and all those of fourth-class postmasters (partly classified by order of 1st Dec. 1908), be made subject to the merit system, for in them is the real remaining stronghold of the spoils system. Even though all their subordinates be appointed through examination, it will be impossible to carry the reform to ultimate and complete success so long as the officers in charge are appointed mainly for political reasons and are changed with every change of administration.

The purpose of the act to protect the individual employees in the service from the rapacity of the “political barons” has been measurably, if not completely, successful. The power given the Civil Service Commission, to investigate and report upon violations of the law, has been used to bring to light such abuses as the levying of political contributions, and to set the machinery of the law in motion against them. While comparatively few actual prosecutions have been brought about, and although the penalties imposed by the act for this offence have been but seldom inflicted, still the publicity given to all such cases by the commission’s investigations has had a wholesome deterrent effect. Before the passage of the act, positions were as a general rule held upon a well-understood lease-tenure, the political contributions for them being as securely and as certainly collected as any rent. Now, however, it can be said that these forced contributions have almost entirely disappeared. The efforts which are still made to collect political funds from government employees in evasion of the law are limited in the main to persuasion to make “voluntary” contributions, and it has been possible so to limit and obstruct these efforts that their practical effect upon the character of the service is now very small.

The same evils that the Federal Civil Service Act was designed to remedy exist to a large degree in many of the state governments, and are especially aggravated in the administration of the local governments of some of the larger cities. The chief, if not the only,State examina-
test of fitness for office in many cases has been party loyalty, honesty and capacity being seldom more than secondary considerations. The result has been the fostering of dishonesty and extravagance, which have brought weakness and gross corruption into the administration of the local governments. In consequence of this there has been a constantly growing tendency, among the more intelligent class of citizens, to demand that honest business methods be applied to local public service, and that appointments be made on the basis of intelligence and capacity, rather than of party allegiance. The movement for the reform of the civil service of cities is going hand in hand with the movement for general municipal reform, those reformers regarding the merit system of appointments as not merely the necessary and only safe bulwark to preserve the results of their labours, but also as the most efficient means for bringing about other reforms. Hence civil service reform is given a leading position in all programmes for the reform of state and municipal governments. This has undoubtedly been due, in the first instance, at least, to the success which attended the application of the merit system to the Federal service, municipal and state legislation following in the wake of the national civil service law. In New York an act similar to the Federal Civil Service Act was passed on the 4th of May 1883, and in 1894 the principles of the merit system were introduced by an amendment into the state constitution, and made applicable to cities and villages as well. In Massachusetts an act was passed on the 3rd of June 1884 which in its general features was based upon the Federal act and the New York act. Similar laws were passed in Illinois and Wisconsin in 1895, and in New Jersey in 1908; the laws provide for the adoption of the merit system in state and municipal government. In New Orleans, La., and in Seattle, Wash., the merit system was introduced by an amendment to the city charter in 1896. The same result was accomplished by New Haven, Conn., in 1897, and by San Francisco, Cal., in 1899. In still other cities the principles of the merit system have been enacted into law, in some cases applying to the entire service and in others to only a part of it.

The application of the merit system to state and municipal governments has proved successful wherever it has been given a fair trial.[6] As experience has fostered public confidence in the system, and at the same time shown those features of the law which are most vulnerable, and the best means for fortifying them, numerous and important improvements upon the pioneer act applying to the Federal service have been introduced in the more recent legislation. This is particularly true of the acts now in force in New York (passed in 1899) and in Chicago. The power of the commission to enforce these acts is materially greater than the power possessed by the Federal commission. In making investigations they are not confined to taking the testimony of voluntary witnesses, but may administer oaths, and compel testimony and the production of books and papers where necessary; and in taking action they are not confined to the making of a report of the findings in their investigations, but may themselves, in many cases, take final judicial action. Further than this, the payment of salaries is made dependent upon the certificate of the commission that the appointments of the recipients were made in accordance with the civil service law and rules. Thus these commissions have absolute power to prevent irregular or illegal appointments by refractory appointing officers. Their powers being so much greater than those of the national commission, their action can be much more drastic in most cases, and they can go more directly to the heart of an existing abuse, and apply more quickly and effectually the needed remedy.

Upon the termination of the Spanish-American War, the necessity for the extension of the principles of the merit system to the new territories, the responsibility for whose government the results of this war had thrown upon the United States, was realized. By the acts providing for civil government in Porto Rico (April 12th, 1900) and Hawaii (April 30th, 1900), the provisions of the Civil Service Act and Rules were applied to those islands. Under this legislation the classification applies to all positions which are analogous to positions in the Federal service, those which correspond to positions in the municipal and state governments being considered as local in character, and not included in the classification.

On the 19th of September 1900 the United States Philippine Commission passed an act “for the establishment and maintenance of an efficient and honest civil service in the Philippine Islands.” This act, in its general features, is based upon the national civil service law, but includes also a number of the stronger points to be found in the state and municipal law mentioned above. Among these are the power given the civil service board to administer oaths, summon witnesses, and require the production of official records; and the power to stop payment of salaries to persons illegally appointed. Promotions are determined by competitive examinations, and are made throughout the service, as there are no excepted positions. A just right of preference in local appointments is given to natives. The president of the Philippine commission in introducing this bill said: “The purpose of the United States government . . . in these islands is to secure for the Filipino people as honest and as efficient a government as may be possible. . . . It is the hope of the commission to make it possible for one entering the lowest ranks to reach the highest, under a tenure based solely upon merit.” Judging by past experience it is believed that this law is well adapted to accomplish the purpose above stated.

For fuller information upon the details of the present workings of the merit system in the Federal service, recourse should be had to the publications of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, which are to be found in the public libraries in all the principal cities in the United States, or which may be had free of charge upon application to the commission. The Manual of Examinations, published semi-annually, gives full information as to the character of the examinations held by the commission, together with the schedule of dates and places for the holding of those examinations. The Annual Reports of the commission contain full statistics of the results of its work, together with comprehensive statements as to the difficulties encountered in enforcing the law, and the means used to overcome them. In the Fifteenth Report, pp. 443-485, will be found a very valuable historical compilation from original sources, upon the “practice of the presidents in appointments and removals in the executive civil service, from 1789 to 1883.” In the same report, pp. 511-517, is a somewhat comprehensive bibliography of “civil service” in periodical literature in the 19th century, brought down to the end of 1898. See also C. R. Fish, The Civil Service and the Patronage (New York, 1905).

In most European countries the civil service is recruited on much the same lines as in the United Kingdom and the United States, that is, either by examination or by nomination or by both. In some cases the examination is purely competitive, in other cases, as in France, holders of university degrees get special privileges, such as being put at the head of the list, or going up a certain number of places; or, as in Germany, many departmental posts are filled by nomination, combined with the results of general examinations, either at school or university. In the publications of the United States Department of Labour and Commerce for 1904–1905 will be found brief details of the systems adopted by the various foreign countries for appointing their civil service employees.

  1. See letter to Monroe, November 29th, 1820, Jefferson’s Writings, vii. 190. A quotation from this letter is given at p. 454 of the Fifteenth Report of the U.S. Civil Service Commission.
  2. See Senate Report No. 576, 47th Congress, 1st session; also U.S. Civil Service Commission’s Third Report, p. 16 et seq., Tenth Report, pp. 136, 137, and Fifteenth Report, pp. 483, 484.
  3. The progressive classification of the executive civil service, showing the growth of the merit system, is discussed, with statistics, in the U.S. Civil Service Commission’s Sixteenth Report, pp. 129-137. A revision of this discussion, with important additions, appears in the Seventeenth Report.
  4. For details justifying these statements, see U.S. Civil Service Commission’s Fourteenth Report, pp. 12-14.
  5. For the scope of these exceptions, see Civil Service Rule VI., at p. 57 of the U.S. Civil Service Commission’s Fifteenth and Sixteenth Reports. A statement of the number of positions actually affected by this action of the president appears in the Seventeenth Report.
  6. In the U.S. Civil Service Commission’s Fifteenth Report, pp. 489-502, the “growth of the civil service reform in states and cities” is historically treated, briefly, but with some thoroughness.