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the age and has become its greatest scourge, is dishonoring it by forgeries the most barefaced, and staining it by murders the most foul, what shall be our social condition if, in a large portion of the city, destitution and spiritual neglect shall combine with cupidity to arm the hand of violence, and stimuiate it to still grosser outrage? What higher office can Trinity Church fulfil, what higher benefit can she confer on the classes which have the deepest stake in the security of property and life, than by devoting herself, as she is now doing, to make the lessons of religious and social duty familiar to those who, under the pressure of their physical wants, have the strongest temptation to forget them? In the upper districts the possessors of nearly the whole private wealth of the city have become domesticated. There is more than one congregation the individual possessions of which are believed to exceed in value, with the largest estimate ever put on it, the entire property Trinity Church holds for the support of her four congregations. Those whom Fortune has thus overburdened with her gifts should be willing to leave unimpaired the endowments of Trinity Church, that she may make suitable provision for the poor whom they have left to her care. And whatever may be the narrowness of spirit which presides over particular circles, no doubt is entertained of the generous and catholic feeling which pervades the great body of the opulent classes. No city has more cause to be thankful for the munificence with which some of her richest men have contributed to great objects of social improvement within her limits; and it is most gratifying to add that in more than one instance the wealth which exists in the largest masses has been poured out with the noblest profusion to build up literary and charitable institutions for the common benefit. To such a spirit of munificence no appeal to relieve the destitution which hangs upon the outskirts of the upper districts need be addressed in vain. If among those to whom Providence has committed the spiritual guidance of these favored classes there are any who seek to compel Trinity Church to scatter her endowments broadcast over the city, and thus disqualify herself for the great work of charity devolved on her in the district in which her lot has been cast ; if there are any who are engaged in inculcating an antiphonal beneficence the utterances of which are to be given only in response to those of Trinity, it is sug. gested, with the profoundest deference, whether a nobler field for the exercise of their influence does not lie directly before them-whether the great ends of their calling will not be better subserved by laboring to infuse into surrounding atmospheres, overcast with penury and want, some of the golden light which irradiates their own.

The State, nay, the whole country, has a deep interest in this question. The city of New York, embodying as she does, to a great extent, the commercial and financial power of the Union, must exert a sensible influence upon the moral and intellectual character of all with whom she is brought into association. The slightest agitations on her surface undulate in all directions to the great circumference of which she is the centre. On Trinity Church are devolved, in the order of events, the spiritual instruction and guidance of the district by which she is brought most directly into contact with all that lies beyond her limits. If this duty is not faithfully performed, no voice should be raised in palliation of the delinquency. On the other hand, if any of those who have withdrawn from this part of the city the wealth which Providence has, in such disproportion, bestowed on them shall seek to deprive the destitute whom they bave left behind of the sole resource for spiritual instruction and for the alleviation of temporal want—if they shall succeed, by misstating the condition and unjustly impeaching the motives of Trinity Church, in defeating her efforts to carry out the great system of labor with which she is occupied, they will incur the gravest and most odious of all responsibilities: that of consigning one of the most important districts in the emporium of the Union to an intellectual and spiritual death. I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,

John A. Dix.


(Vol. II., page 209.)

GENERAL DIX ON SOCIAL AND POLITICAL EVILS. The following is the address, on Social and Political Evils, delivered by General Dix before the New York Association for the Advancement of Science and Art, and referred to in the text:

the ear.

MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES, AND GENTLEMEN,-It would have been very gratifying to me if I could have come before you, at the beginning of the Centennial Year, to discourse of the wonderful progress our country has made in population, wealth, and the arts of civilization. But it would have been an ungracious encroachment on the province of the distinguished orator who has been chosen to perform this service at the close of the first century of our national existence, in the Hall where our Independence was proclaimed to the world. And yet I feel that it is an ungrateful task to speak of social and political evils before the sounds of rejoicing with which the new year was ushered in have become faint upon

But there cannot, perhaps, be a more appropriate season for looking our failures boldly in the face, and considering how we may convert them into future triumphs. It was thought by others that some profit might be gleaned from the discussion, connected as I have been from time to time with public affairs; and I have yielded to their opinion, though without much hope of justifying it, from the desultory nature of my subject, which, I have to say, will necessarily be discursive; and it can hardly be expected to rise to the level of an orderly arrangement, much less to the rank of a formal discourse; and I am apprehensive that the fairer portion of my audience will derive little gratification from a very plain treatment of a very unattractive theme. But if the State of New York should ever have the gallantry to confer on them the right to the ballot, they may possibly be benefited by some of my suggestions.

It is certainly a marvel that the framers of the Constitution of the United States should have succeeded in framing and agreeing upon a form of government so free from imperfections, and that, after the lapse of more than three-quarters of a century, and with a population essentially modified in material as well as ethical characteristics, so little cause should be found for changes in its structure. But there is a defect of administration which it will be difficult to remedy without an amendment by the concurrent action of Congress and three-fourths of the States. The defect is functional, and yet it seems only susceptible of cure by an organic change. I allude to the immense number of appointments made by the Executive Department. T:

tronage, as it is called, is usually regarded as a source


of influence; but it is very questionable whether it is or not, in one respect, an element of discontent. For every candidate for an important office who is successful there are many who are disappointed; and I doubt very much whether a President ever derived a personal or a political advantage from the exercise of the appointing power. The enormous increase in the number of appointments, inseparable from our growth in population and wealth, and from an application of the authority of the Government to the administration of its vastly augmented resources, has made expectations and hopes in regard to the distribution of office an active agency in our general elections. It is deeply to be regretted that it is so. When vital principles or important measures of policy are involved, the intrusion of a selfish interest to influence, or possibly determine, the result in a close contest, cannot be otherwise than demoralizing, and it might, under peculiar circumstances, be very injurious in its consequences. The theory of our political organization is, that public offices are to be created and bestowed in the interest of the public service. In practice we know very well that they have been conferred to reward political partisans for their activity at the polls, and for aiding to achieve party successes. I think it may be said as truly that this patronage, as it has been not improperly called, has sometimes been used to promote the renomination of the Chief Magistrate of the Union for a second term of office. I allude to a period somewhat remote from our own time; and there was reason for believing that in one instance, many years ago, cabinet officers were selected before the President entered on his first term, with a view to his re-election for a second. It is quite obvious that with such a supposed personal interest in the distribution of offices there should be danger of losing sight of the theory of our system—that the men best fitted by their talents and integrity for public trusts shall be chosen to execute them. This is a danger to be regarded with deep regret, though not, perhaps, with wonder. Chief Magistrates are but men: they have their weaknesses, like the rest of us; and it is not often, perhaps, that the head of a government sees or, if he sees, has the courage and sagacity to act on his knowledge, that the surest mode of gaining the approbation of his countrymen is to carry into his administration a determination to spurn away all the suggestions of self-interest


and all the biasses of party and personal associations, and in his official acts to be guided solely by the best good of his country.

I know but one mode of remedying the evil referred to-or at least of mitigating it, for the remedy is not perfect—and that is to confer on the Chief Magistrate a constrained disinterestedness, by making him ineligible to office for a second term. It will not, it is true, deprive him of the power of rewarding his political friends and supporters; but it will divest him of one of the most seductive motives to selfish action, by rendering its object unattainable, and inspiring him with the higher ambition of giving his countrymen a pure and beneficent administration, and securing for himself an enviable place in the history of his country.

DEFECTIVE DISTRIBUTION OF OFFICES. There are some kindred evils, the fruits of the multiplication of offices, which are generally regarded in the nature of benefices rather than public trusts, and, as might have been expected, the different States are now claiming their distributive share. Not satisfied with the great number of local appointments-judges, district attorneys, marshals, collectors of internal revenue, postmasters, and, in some cases, collectors of the customs, naval officers, surveyors, and hosts of inspectors and clerks—they have procured, through their members of Congress, the passage of an act providing that after the first day of this Centennial Year the appointments in the Treasury Department at Washington shall be distributed among the States and Territories, accord. ing to their population. As a fair division of the spoils the arrangement is unexceptionable. But under such a system it is not merely necessary that a deputy-comptroller, a deputy-auditor, or a clerk should fulfil Jefferson's requirement of being honest, capable, and faithful to the Constitution, but he must also have a geographical qualification. He must be a Marylander, a Jerseyman, or a Californian, as the case may be. There would certainly be an equity in this rule if public offices were to be considered chiefly as beneficial employments for the incumbents, and not as trusts to be executed for the good of the country; but it is a departure from the theory of the Government, demoralizing in its tendency, and may be injurious in practice, by rendering it impossible in an emergency for the Government to command the services of a person of special

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