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THE W. SHARP more is such status in order to to service" in and narrower and wider than remuneraciviI service with 155 156 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO ~v.-".n.... THE EVOLUTION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE 157 Cambridge, John Stuart Mill, and Sir George Cornewall Lewis), and some who have no memorial, even in the Dictionary oj National Biography. The Northcote-Trevelyan report, despite the moderation of its wording, was in effect a scathing indictment of the civil service, and it is impossible within the scope of this article to do justice to the bitter controversy that it aroused. I am tempted, however, to quote from two of the writers, first because (unlike most of the others') their style is incisive and pungent, secondly because they had both had long experience of the civil service, and thirdly because they both opposed the Northcote-Trevelyan reforms, and their testimony is on that account the less suspect. Sir James Stephen writes : The majority of the members of the Colonial Department in my time, possessed only in a low degree, and some of them in a degree almost incredibly low, either the talents or the habits of men of business, or the industry, the zeal, or the knowledge required for the effective performance of their appropriate functions. . . • It would be superfluous to point out in detail the injurious results of such a composition of one of the highest departments of State. Among the less obvious consequences of it, were: the necessity it imposed on the heads of the office of undertaking, in their own persons, an amount of labour to which neither their mental nor their bodily powers were really adequate; the needless and very inconvenient increase of the numbers borne on the clerical list; the frequent transfer of many of their appropriate duties to ill-educated and ill-paid supernumeraries, and the not infrequent occurrence of mistakes and oversights so serious as occasionally to imperil interests of high national importance. The other writer from whom I would quote is a Mr Edward Romilly. All that I can find about him is that he was Chairman of the Board of Audit, put forward several schemes for minor reforms of the civil service, was appointed one of the original members of the Civil Service Commission in 1855) but resigned after six months, ostensibly on account of ill-health and the pressure of his other duties. Nowadays his attitude would be called reactionary ; but there is a clear-sightedness about him, and a complete absence of cant, which is distinctly refreshing. In a memorandum dated 1848, enclosed with his letter, he writes: The first great disadvantage under which the Civil Service labours is to be found in the first appointments. It is no doubt very natural that a father who has parliamentary influence, and half a dozen boys, should look to derkships in a public office as a very safe and natural provision for one or two of them. But if he has common prudence and common affection, he will take care not to select for this situation the genius of the family. He can shift for himself in one of the 158 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY liberal in addition to powers of he should be of body. The one who is destined for the service 1S of course the weakest of the brood. He has less chance of raising himself by his own exertions in the and accordingly picked out for Government office. . . . I have heen twelve years the member of a and during that period not one candidate has ever been and only one} was was, with induced to after a atm greater difficulty on part of the board to say that they would him if he did not•••. Each commissioner shrinks from the the prospects of an individual; and no one thinks of that invisible and immateria.l the Goad nature is the bane and is more productive mischief than any other good that can bless mankind.l Mr "One cannot be described as little IThe italics are Mr 2The italicl:l are mine. THE EVOLUTION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE 159 One further question remains. In 1851 there were forty-three clerks...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 155-164
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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