The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Marcus A. Hanna, November 12th, 1896

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16 East 64th St., New York, Nov. 12, 1896.

Yesterday I learned from Mr. Isaac N. Seligman, to my utter dismay, that he had spoken to you of the desirability of my being in Mr. McKinley's Cabinet. I hasten to say to you—although I hope it is hardly necessary to do so—that this was not only without my knowledge, but that, had I had the least suspicion of Mr. Seligman's intention to do so, I should have put in a peremptory veto. The fact is, I not only do not entertain any such desire, but, on the contrary, were my opinion asked about it, I would distinctly advise against anything of the kind. I think it would be a public misfortune if any prominent sound-money Democrat or Independent, by accepting any place liable to be looked upon as a reward for services rendered, gave the public the slightest reason for thinking that the motives impelling those classes of citizens to support Mr. McKinley for the Presidency had been other than personally disinterested and purely patriotic. Moreover, I think that to compose a Cabinet of heterogeneous elements is as a matter of policy very questionable. Experience speaks rather against it. What might properly be done in case of an entire realignment of political parties, I will not say. But such is not our present situation.

I trust you will permit me to speak to you confidentially about the manner in which, in my humble opinion, Mr. McKinley might show his appreciation of the services rendered by his allies in the late election. It strikes me that he might do so by giving friendly consideration to their views when shaping the policy of his Administration, and, secondly, by retaining in office, or by reappointing, a number of especially efficient and meritorious officers now in the National service, as Mr. Cleveland did in the case of the postmaster of New York City. This would be in the line of the principles of civil service reform which have always found in Mr. McKinley a faithful and efficient defender in Congress. I am sure such action would be very highly appreciated by the enlightened opinion of the country and greatly strengthen him in public confidence.

Pardon this intrusion and believe me,

Very sincerely yours.