Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis - Vol. 1

By Ben: Perley Poore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX.
HARRISON'S ONE MONTH OF POWER.

CIVIL SERVICE REFORM--DIFFERENCES OF OPINION--DIFFICULTY BE- TWEEN CLAY AND KING--WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENTS--VERBA- TIM REPORTS OF DEBATES--A POPULAR BRITISH MINISTER--OTHER FOREIGN DIPLOMATS--QUARRELSOME CAROLINIANS--DANIEL WEB- STER'S HOUSEKEEPING--ILLNESS OF PRESIDENT HARRISON--DEATH-- FUNERAL--THE LAST HONORS.

GOVERNMENT officials at Washington, nearly all of whom had received their positions as rewards for political services, and many of whom had displaced worthy men whose only fault was that they belonged to a different party, were somewhat encouraged by the declarations of President Harrison touching the position of office-holders. It was known from a speech of his at Baltimore, prior to his inauguration, that he intended to protect the right of individual opinion from official interference, and in a few days after he became President his celebrated civilservice circular was issued by Daniel Webster, as Secretary of State. It was addressed to the heads of the Executive Departments, and it commenced thus:

"SIR:--The President is of opinion that it is a great abuse to bring the patronage of the General Government into conflict with the freedom of elections; and that this abuse ought to be corrected wherever it may have been permitted to exist, and to be prevented for the future."

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