This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one here.
I propose now to recount some incidents that followed the conditions which I have attempted to describe in a previous paper.
At this point, I cannot keep out of mind the story of the preacher who divided his discourse into three heads. He declared it to be his intention, under his first head, to speak of some things that he knew all about, and of which his congregation knew nothing; under his second head, he proposed to deal with matters that both he and his hearers fully understood; and under the third head, he promised to discuss topics concerning which neither he nor they had any knowledge. I shall not adopt this division in its entirety. Though I do not see how I can avoid speaking of some things that are within my knowledge, and not thoroughly within yours, and while I shall be quite satisfied to traverse ground equally familiar to both you and me, I must utterly repudiate our preachers third head, and shall studiously avoid the mention of topics of which all of us are ignorant. There is another matter in relation to which I desire to have an understanding with you. In the recital of events with which I have had to do, I would be glad to speak always in an impersonal way, but I will not agree to be constantly casting about for turns of expression for that purpose. If, therefore, in speaking of things done by me, and things done to me, I use the pronouns “I” and “me,” I hope I may indulge in that easier form of statement without being accused of egotism.
Immediately after the change of administration in 1885, the pressure began for the ousting of Republican office-holders, and the substitution of Democrats in their places. While I claim to have earned a position which entitles me to resent the accusation that I either openly or covertly favor swift official decapitation for partisan purposes, I have no sympathy with the intolerant people who, without the least appreciation of the meaning of party work and service, superciliously affect to despise all those who apply for office as they would those guilty of a flagrant misdemeanor. It will indeed be a happy day when the ascendency of party principles, and the attainment of wholesome administration, will be universally regarded as sufficient rewards of individual and legitimate party service. Much has already been accomplished in the direction of closing the door of partisanship as an entrance to public employment; and though this branch of effort might well be still further extended, it certainly should be supplemented by earnest and persuasive attempts to correct among our people long-cherished notions concerning the ends that should be sought through political activity, and by efforts to uproot pernicious and office-rewarding political methods. I am not sure that any satisfactory progress can be made toward these results, until our good men with unanimity cease regarding politics as necessarily debasing, and by active participation shall displace the selfish and unworthy who, when uninterrupted, control party operations. In the meantime, why should we indiscriminately hate those who seek office? They may not have entirely emancipated themselves from the belief that the offices should pass with party victory; but even if this is charged against them, it can surely be said that in all other respects they are in many instances as honest, as capable, and as intelligent as any of us. There may be reasons and considerations which properly defeat their aspirations, but their applications are not always disgraceful. I have an idea that sometimes the greatest difference between them and those who needlessly abuse them and gloat over their discomfiture consists in the fact that the office-seekers desire office, and their critics, being more profitably employed, do not. I feel constrained to say this much by way of defending, or at least excusing, many belonging to a numerous contingent of citizens, who, after the 4th of March, 1885, made large drafts upon my time, vitality, and patience, and I feel bound to say that in view of their frequent disappointments, and the difficulty they found in appreciating the validity of the reasons given for refusing their applications, they accepted the situation with as much good nature and contentment as could possibly have been anticipated. It must be remembered that they and their party associates had been banished from Federal office-holding for twenty-four years.