Senate. Tuesday, March 11th, 1862.
In the Senate yesterday the open session was principally taken up in discussing a bill introduced by Mr. Johnson
, chairman of the committee on Indian affairs, entitled "an act to provide for the organization of the Arkansas and Red River superintendency of Indian affairs.
This bill relates to the relations and general control of the Indian
tribes of the West
, and provides for the appointment of agents to be stationed at various points on the frontier, and also the appointment of a general superintendent
.--The principal discussion of the bill was upon a clause reading ‘"That the following Indian Agents shall be continued or appointed by the President
, who shall hold their office during four years good behavior."’ The objection was, that if the appointments were made for four years it would establish a precedent that would finally become the rule.
If the duration of the term of service is limited to any number of years, in a short time there will be a definite term of service for all civil appointments.
The result of this is that every few years the President
may turn out a large class of office holders, there by opening the door to the utterly corrupting influence of office seeking which has so long characterized the old Government, and which was, without doubt, the ultimate cause of its ruin.
The question of duration of office is one of some moment on account of the principle involved in it. The discussion in the Senate was very interesting, and was participated in by several members.
Upon being put to a test the words were very properly stricken out, and the term of service left unlimited.
By this act the fact is established, that we do not intend to follow the footsteps of the Federal Government
in its corruptive and political chicanery, nor give encouragement to that large clouds of people — those restless, anxious, ambitious men who continually seek for Government positions with large salaries and little labor.--The rule should be that men are made for the office rather than office made for men. Upon ascertaining the sentiments of the members it was found that a large majority was against the limitation. --The bill, which was a very long one, was not gone through with, and the Senate went into Executive session upon it. The day's work is very satisfactory, however, for a principle has been established that will be of incalculable benefit to our Government in the future.