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we visit other lands. And it is not often
that their negligence is the unfortunate
cause of wreck or casualty. Human nature
is weak, and pilots, like the rest of us, are
liable to err, as in the case of the Spindrift,
for instance, when a sober, clever, and
favourite pilot for the first time in many
years made a simple mistake in his reckoning,
and ran the ship on shore. The very
exceptional circumstances of this occurrence
attracted public attention in a marked
degree, and this fact seems to us to speak
well for our pilots, for the public would
hear and know much more about them than
they do if such cases as that of the Spindrift
occurred more frequently.


To serve their beloved government
between the hours of nine and three every
day, excepting the Fourth of July,
Christmas-Day, and Washington's birthday, and
further excepting a month's run into the
country in the midsummer heats, is the
ambition of so many village politicians and
local hopefuls in America, that to attempt
to estimate their number would be painful,
and actually to arrive at it, impossible. I
hope that my English reader will some day
witness the inauguration of a president at
Washington; let me only hint to him that
accommodation must be secured long
beforehand, and warn him that he must not
be offended if, under the impression that he,
too, is an office-seeker, he sees all his
neighbours at table glaring at him; and that
with a hate which is doubtless inspired by
the thought that he may slip into the
office in their stead. From all the towns,
villages, and hamlets; from remote
Passamaquody, and the not less distant Rio
Grande; from high life and low life, the
pulpit, the bar, and the bar-roomcomes
this greedy, ravenous, clutching, leech-like
army of office-seekers. They all bring fat
bundles of recommendations, whether from
the local alderman or the methodist parson,
from a former schoolfellow, or the new
president, or of a member of congress long laid
on the shelf. They are all perfectly certain
that their claim is not only better than
anybody else's, but absolutely irresistible in
itself. They worry, in dense crowds, the
legislators and executive officers of the nation,
till the latter grow cadaverous of cheek,
uncertain of step, and timid of eye, sliding
round corners and down obscure alleys to
avoid them; and, finally, the main body of
them retreats, limp in pocket and wearied
in soul, discomfited from the scene of an
exceedingly persistent but hopelessly vain

Probably no question, near inauguration
time, has so perplexed the American
sociologist as, what do these people want
office for? They know very well that it is
not, in America, a permanent avocation;
their very seeking of it, the fact of their
aiming at a place already occupied, proves
that office is held by a slender thread, and
that they know it. You will see bright,
vigorous young men in search of it; and
you will see decrepit old men, on the edge
of the grave, mumbling obsequious
petitions to the secretary of state's private
secretary's messenger, for a moment's
interview with the penultimate personage;
which moment is to be used in a desperate
appeal for office. What is the alluring
prospect which tempts them? Probably this
strange rush for a temporary office in a
country where there is vastly more work to
be done than double its population could
do, is owing to a superstition which is
abroad, and has a very little foundation,
that office means idleness at so much a
year; and the prospect of a deliciously
indolent four years on a salary is irresistibly
seductive. And a singular feature
of the matter is, that there is no one of
this great multitude of office-seekers who
will not smile incredulously when you
mention the duration of his probable tenure
if he gets inas four years. That's all
very well, he'll tell you, in most people's
cases; but you see he is so well backed,
that no president will dare to turn him out.
And, probably, no case has ever happened,
when a clerk has been removed, that he
was not stupefied with amazement, did not
eagerly declare that it must be a mistake,
and did not feel a perfect confidence of
being at once reinstated. He would have
been perfectly content, you know (he tells
you), if they had let him stay one year
more, but to turn him out just now! The
blow invariably falls at the most unwelcome
hour, and when the recipient feels most

Although by no means a majority of the
government clerks at Washington are
removed at each new presidential
succession, the number of removals is
sufficiently large to make the demand for
place an uncomfortably importunate one
for the new powers. The constituents of
members of congress, and senators who
have aided in their election, members of
electioneering committees, stump speakers,
friends of men who have spent money,