Federal public officers is in suspense. Mr. Quincy Adams, on his entry into office, discharged the majority of the individuals who had been appointed by his predecessor: and I am not aware that General Jackson allowed a single removeable functionary employed in the Federal service to retain his place beyond the first year which succeeded his election. It is sometimes made a subject of complaint, that in the constitutional monarchies of Europe the fate of the humbler servants of an Administration depends upon that of the ministers. But in elective governments this evil is far greater. In a constitutional monarchy successive ministries are rapidly formed; but as the principal representative of the executive power does not change, the spirit of innovation is kept within bounds; the changes which take place are in the details rather than in the principles of the administrative system: but to substitute one system for another, as is done in America every four years by law, is to cause a sort of revolution. As to the misfortunes which may fall upon individuals in consequence of this state of things, it must be allowed that the uncertain situation of the public officers is less fraught with evil consequences in America than elsewhere. It is so easy to acquire an independent position in the United States, that the public officer who loses his place may be deprived of the comforts of life, but not of the means of subsistence.
I remarked at the beginning of this chapter that