Under the auspices of the Political Club Mr. C. J. Bonaparte '71 delivered an address on "Personal Experience with Place Hunters" last night in the Fogg Lecture Room.
Under the "spoils" system, said Mr. Bonaparte, the Civil Service exists merely as a means of rewarding politicians. Many lucrative offices are in fact created with the sole purpose of remunerating important office-seekers, who seldom consider their usefulness to the government, but merely their own selfish interests. So generally recognized has this system become that the Civil Service was considered in Baltimore a method of charitable employment for paupers and criminals who were unable to obtain work elsewhere.
Mr. Bonaparte went on to show how it is that so many office-seekers persist in believing him a "spoils" man, although he has spent his life in active reforms. This is in a measure explained by the noticeable part which he took in the recent presidential campaign, and the fact that President Roosevelt employed him in investigating several abuses in the Civil Services. It was therefore naturally believed that he was an office-seeker, and his reform principles were consequently considered mere party abuse and ridiculed as the sounding catch-words of a public impostor.
In closing Mr. Bonaparte emphasized the degrading influence of the doctrine that public offices are "spoils" in any sense. To dispel this belief we need only exert our active will, for the real stumbling block is not ignorance, but the torpor of national conscience. Once we realize that submission to the "spoils" system is cowardly and a source of peril to the common wealth its overthrow will be easy to accomplish.
Mr. Bonaparte spoke yesterday afternoon in the Fogg Lecture Room under the auspices of the Law Practice Association on "Incidents of Trial Practice." He made several suggestions of value to young lawyers, illustrating his remarks with anecdotes from his own experience.