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Special Message

April 18, 1874

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

Herewith I transmit the report of the Civil Service Commission authorized by the act of Congress of March 3, 1871, and invite your special attention thereto.

If sustained by Congress, I have no doubt the rules can, after the experience gained, be so improved and enforced as to still more materially benefit the public service and relieve the Executive, members of Congress, and the heads of Departments from influences prejudicial to good administration.

The rules, as they have heretofore been enforced, have resulted beneficially, as is shown by the opinions of the members of the Cabinet and their subordinates in the Departments, and in that opinion I concur; but rules applicable to officers who are to be appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate are in great measure impracticable, except in so far as they may be sustained by the action of that body. This must necessarily remain so unless the direct sanction of the Senate is given to the rules.

I advise for the present only such appropriation as may be adequate to continue the work in its present form, and would leave to the future to determine whether the direct sanction of Congress should be given to rules that may, perhaps, be devised for regulating the method of selection of appointees, or a portion of them, who need to be confirmed by the Senate.

The same amount appropriated last year would be adequate for the coming year, but I think the public interest would be promoted by authority in the Executive for allowing a small compensation for special service performed beyond usual office hours, under the act of 1871, to persons already in the service of the Government.


Ulysses S. Grant, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/203858

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