General E. A. MERRITT.
MY DEAR GENERAL: I congratulate you on your confirmation. It is a great gratification to me, very honorable to you, and will prove, I believe, of signal service to the country. My desire is that the office be conducted on strictly business principles, and according to the rules for the civil service which were recommended by the Civil Service Commission in the Administration of General Grant. I want you to be perfectly independent of mere influence from any quarter. Neither my recommendation, nor that of Secretary Sherman, nor of any member of Congress or other influential person must be specially regarded. Let appointments and removals be made on business principles and according to rules. There must be, I assume, a few places filled by those you personally know to be trustworthy, but restrict the area of patronage to the narrowest limits. Let no man be put out merely because he is a friend to Mr. Arthur, and no man put in merely because he is our friend. The good of the service should be the sole end in view. The best means yet presented, it seems to me, are the rules recommended by the Civil Service Commission. I shall issue no new order on the subject at present. I am glad you approve of the message, and I wish you to see that all that is expressed or implied in it is faithfully carried out.
Again congratulating you, and assuring you of my entire confidence, I remain, sincerely,
Rutherford B. Hayes, Executive Order Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/203776