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confusedly as I entered, his was the most cheerful. Sunning had his dog, a little blue Skye, on the bed beside him. He held out his left hand to me, for his right arm was crashed and powerless, and smiled. We had been friends, more so than I have had any occasion to mention in the course of this narrative, and I think he was glad to see me. He wished me to have the dog, he said, and I was to take him away with me, please, because he would not lie still much longer, “and he hasn't had his walk to-day.” ... His eyes kept wandering from one member of the group to another, but always rested longest on his father, whose broad shoulders were turned towards me, and whose elbow I touched at last, feeling sure that the boy wanted to speak to him. Bracknell wheeled round hastily, and dropped on his knees beside the bed.
"“ Yes, my boy,” he said ; "what is it?”
«« Father," whispered Sunning, “you won't have Sheila shot, will you? I don't want Sheila to be shot.”
· His eyes grew very large and piteous, and there was a quiver about the corners of his mouth. No doubt he had had some experience of his father's passionate nature, and feared that in a fit of unreasoning fury he might take vengeance on the irresponsible cause of his son's death. But Bracknell said grufily, “ No, my boy ; nobody shall harm her. I'll swear that."
•Sunning gave a little sigh of relief, looked curiously at his father for a moment, and then turned his head towards Lord Staines, who was sitting on the other side of the bed, in a kind of nerveless stupor.
"“Never mind, gran," he said ; " it does not hurt. And then you're so awfully old, gran-you'll come soon.
• After a time he beckoned to me, and put the dog in my arms. “Good-bye, Bluey," he whispered. The dog licked his face, and he patted its rough head, and then for the first time two great tears welled up into his eyes and flowed over. I bent over him and kissed him, and then I picked up the dog and went away. I had no right to intrude upon the scene which I knew was at hand; and besides, to tell the truth, I could not bear it any longer.'
Surely we have here a worthy successor to Thackeray and Sterne. The scene where Colonel Newcome says Adsum is certainly a more ambitious piece of description, and perhaps higher as a work of art ; but neither it nor the classical death of Le Fevre is more fully penetrated with the spirit of true pathos than the piece we have quoted, nor as free from any approach to artificiality of sentiment. Indeed, for the combination of high literary qualities which Mr. Norris possesses--a pure, refined, and scholarly style, unaffected pathos, gentle cynicism, quiet strokes of humour, and stimulating aperçus of society
we must go back to the most eminent of his predecessors. We do not find in any of his contemporaries the same characteristics united in the same degree.
ART. VII.-1. Reports of Committees of Inquiry into Public
Offices. 1848-1860. 2. Report on Civil Service Organization. 1853. . 3. Orders in Council of 4th June, 1870, and 19th August, 1871,
Establishing the System of Open Competition. 4. First and Second Reports of Civil Service Inquiry Commission.
1874 and 1875. 5. Order in Council of 12th February, 1876, constituting a
Lower Division of the Civil Service. 6. First and Second Reports of the Royal Commission appointed
to inquire into the Civil Establishments of the different Offices of State at home and abroad. 1887 and 1888. F any proof of the importance which necessarily attaches to
the proper organization of the Civil Service were required, it would be found in the list of documents which we have placed at the head of this Article. The enormous increase of the functions of government; the ever-widening range of operations over which it exercises control; the multiplication of the statutory provisions under which it acts upon our complex social economy; all these have made it a matter of everdeepening importance, that the details of this delicate and complicated machinery should be in the hands of an able, a trustworthy, and an energetic body of men.
But other causes, of a different kind, have also contributed to increase the interest felt in the constitution of the Civil Service. Democratic institutions are rapidly changing the whole tone of Parliament and the character of the men who, by obtaining commanding influence there, must be expected to occupy the great political offices of State. These are no longer confined as they formerly were, more or less exclusively, to a narrow class in which the traditions of government were strong, whose training in public life was begun in their earliest years, and was, indeed, an inheritance. The new type of statesman is represented, more and more every day, by those who have acquired influence amongst large masses of the people, and are little affected by traditions which embody the principles of a ruling caste. Their influence must be obtained by other means, and their experiences have generally lain in other spheres. The qualities which they bring with them when they enter upon high office may have their own value; but they are little fitted to teach them to appreciate the delicate machinery with which they have to deal. They are slow to perceive how narrow, after all, are the limits of their power; they overlook dangers which may arise from unwary generalship; they naturally hope for much from the free and
energetic energetic popular influences of which they believe themselves to be the exponents, and are impatient of restraint. Lastly, without any conscious bias, they may be unduly inclined to introduce into public administration the tactics of the caucus and of the electioneering manager. Some, indeed, of these features of modern political life are rather tendencies looming in the near future, than things actually realized. Even when they operate in their full strength, we are not disposed to lament them unduly, or to deny that they may supplant many opposite tendencies to narrowness, timidity, and routine. But unquestionably they impose a new responsibility on the permanent servants of the State. When presiding, in the autumn of last year, at the annual dinner of the Civil Service, Mr. Goschen did well to remind his audience, that they were receiving a new master, whose aims and moods it was their duty to learn, and to whose legitimate desires they must accommodate themselves without friction. We believe that the democracy will find that it has no good reason to complain ; that the traditions of the English Civil Service are as pure, its personnel as capable, and its sense of duty as strong as are those of any other service in the world. But it is evident that the task of adjusting itself to new relations will require tact, discrimination, and a high sense of duty. For the purpose, then, of providing for the smooth and at the same time the free exercise of all the complicated functions of state administration, working over so vast a sphere as ours, we require a Civil Service not only able, energetic, and trustworthy, but also tactful, foreseeing, and independent.
It is perhaps a matter of some regret that, to the ordinary public, any scheme of re-organization for the Civil Service, any inquiry into its conditions and rules, should so often wear the appearance, on the one hand, of a concession to the discontent of a class, or, on the other, of an investigation into abuses, which popular rumour readily accepts and inevitably exaggerates. We prefer now to deal with the question on an altogether different basis. If there is serious ground for discontent amongst the Civil Service, we should be glad to see it removed ; but we fancy that the official class would occupy a singular position amongst the professions if many of its members did not continue to find some ground for discontent. If there are real abuses, if sinecures still linger on, for which no good defence can be made, by all means let them disappear. But we gravely doubt whether there is any ground for discontent amongst civil servants, or any ground for distrust on the part
of the public, so serious as to demand investigation on a very
large large scale. Supervision, if really on the alert, and administration, if really vigorous, ought to be sufficient to deal with both. We wish to deal with the question on broader grounds, and with a more important object in view. Personal interests are apt to assume undue importance, and we wish to keep them in the background. Is the Civil Service, as a whole, after repeated attempts at reform, organized in such a way as to give us confidence that it can meet the new and delicate work that is accumulating upon it? Can it, as a body, be expected to maintain the fundamental principles of administration, and yet adapt itself readily to the times, to maintain confidence in its independence, and yet avoid offending the disposition of its new master? To enable it to do so, what elements in its present constitution must we be careful to preserve, and what modifications does it behove us to introduce? These are the questions to which we wish now to direct attention.
It would involve an inquiry of much interest, but considerable difficulty, were we to endeavour to trace with any completeness the history of the Civil Service. The subject, however important, has not been attractive to historians, who have preferred to follow the more dramatic aspects of political affairs; and the influence of the permanent servants of the Crown in moulding our institutions has not been sufficiently recognized to occupy much space in any contemporary record of events. We can only conjecture it by watching certain indications of under-currents, which give us some idea of the course which matters were taking. For a great part of our history the operations of Government were on a very
The careful supervision of local government ; the elaborate inspectorial functions of the central executive; the administration of laws relating to trade ; the working of the great machine of colonial government; the conduct of intricate schemes of registration; the vast and complicated system for the regular collection of the revenue and the audit of public accounts; the administration of the Education Acts; all these, as we are only too apt to forget, either did not exist at all, or only existed in embryo, a few generations ago. Even the collection of the revenue, regulated by no strict and uniform method, seems very largely to have been in the hands of private contractors. The operations of the Mint were not seldom entrusted to private bands. The spending departments, whose operations were on whai we should consider a limited scale, audited their own accounts, so far as details were concerned. Difficulties of communication, and the distance of the provinces from the centre, prevented anything like effective central control. Much of the
administration was in the hands of the Court, and was transacted by men more or less in the position of Court officials. Even when intricate affairs rendered necessary the employment of experienced and trained men of business for the performance of detailed duties, the subordinates of these men were apparently employed by the men themselves, responsible only to them, and remunerated from funds placed at their disposal for the purpose. The superior officials were, as it happened, either men of sufficient astuteness to cover their political bias, and make themselves acceptable to successive administrations; or they bound up their interests with those of their political chiefs, made the most of their offices while they held them, and fell with the fall of these chiefs. Even Samuel Pepys, as Secretary of the Admiralty, acute and wary as he was, did not manage to keep himself free from the political vortex. Erasmus Lewis, the trusted official who supplied Harley's lack of industry, fell with the fall of his patron, absolutely beyond recall. At times the official, after having for years carried out the schemes of others, emerged from departmental obscurity into the position of ministerial responsibility, for which a parliamentary position was not always deemed an essential qualification. The nominal official might, in other cases, be a political or literary henchman, to whom office was a sinecure, while he arranged with a substitute to perform the duties of his post.
As the operations of Government increased, the band of those employed to carry out the details grew in number ; but their selection, their remuneration, and the terms of their tenure, remained unfixed and arbitrary. The result was confusion; the absence of any defined professional status or tradition ; and, as an almost certain consequence, wide-spread corruption. Patronage was openly abused; political partizanship was almost the only recommendation to employment; civil servants were despised; and they took the revenge which lay most ready to their hands.
But numerous as were the abuses, we believe that the very necessity of the case was working a change before the reconstruction which began some forty or fifty years ago. Patronage was still the only method of selection, and political partizanship the only means of securing a post. But already the principle of permanency was established, and a pension fund was granted. The legal rights and status of the servants of the State were recognised; administrative traditions were established; and Ministers found themselves surrounded by a band
a of men, not always energetic or inventive, but self-respecting, capable, and experienced. Even when our Civil Service was