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The Prætorian Guard, under whose swords the liberties of our country are to fall, is, therefore, to be composed of office-holders, who owe their appointment to no influence, personal or political, but only to their own abilities, as tested by success in competitive examination, and by their probationary service thereafter, and who shall hold their offices by the secure tenure of good behavior.
It is difficult to see in what way the intelligence and independence of these officers is to render them fit instruments for the ambitious usurper who shall erect a despotism on the ruins of the Republic. Would Judge Tourgee kindly indicate, by way of warning, the insidious methods by which custom-house clerks, letter carriers and tide-waiters, who do not wear the badge and collar of any politician or any party, are to be enlisted and drilled for the destruction of their country's liberties ?
Another judge, whose pure judicial fame is the proud inheritance of his countrymen,- Judge Story,—said, half a century ago, that “if ever the people are to be corrupted, or their liberties are to be prostrated, officers appointed and dismissed at the mere pleasure of the Executive will furnish the most facile means, and be the earliest employed to accomplish such purposes.”
But, not content with this portentous threat of despotism masked under honesty of administration, Judge Tourgee points out the alarming tendency of civil service reform to produce in Governmental administration the terrible evils of “ formalism, routine, and blind adherence to established methods.” How fatal is this tendency, must be clear to every one who reflects upon the importance in all business enterprises, public and private, of variety and novelty in the method of transacting business, and of the undesirability of routine, system and order!
Judge Tourgee, of course, objects to the exclusion of civil placemen from active participation in partisan politics, and he argues that the Government has no right to deprive any citizen of potical activity or of any privilege which any other citizen may lawfully exercise. The answer to this is very simple.
No citizen is bound to take upon himself the duties of any public office, but, if he does assume those duties, the Government has precisely the same right, which any private employer of hired labor has, to compel the employé to abstain from that which is inconsistent with the performance of his duty to his
employer. The public employé, who is subject to political assessments, and who is required by his official superiors to perform partisan services, will owe a divided allegiance. He will have a political master, and he cannot be a faithful public servant. If he does not accede to the conditions, let him remain in private lise, but, having entered upon the public service, he cannot be permitted to serve his party, or his party leader, at the public expense.
Judge Tourgee, of course, objects to competitive examinations, and he says, very truly, that they are insufficient as a test of merit. Of course, the best and the only satisfactory test of the fitness of any applicant for the performance of the duties of any office, is to be found in the practical trial of the applicant in the actual discharge of its duties in practice. To make the test as satisfactory as possible, a period of probationary service, in the proposed reform, follows the successful examination and precedes the appointment.
But the efficacy of the competitive examination is in this,—that it excludes favoritism, that it offers to every citizen the opportunity of competing for public office, and that, by the examination, it tests the average education and intelligence, the natural and acquired ability, of the applicants, and that, to those who best demonstrate their theoretical fitness, it offers the practical test of an appointment on probation.
I believe that I have now answered all of Judge Tourgee's objections. The literature of Civil Service Reform, both in England and this country, conclusively shows that there is no novelty in the objections, and no originality in my answers to them. The same objections have been more ingeniously stated, and more forcibly answered, over and over again. But the temper of the public mind is now ripe for the discussion of this subject. It has been well said that “this reform is the duty of the hour."
The President of the United States has earnestly advocated it on the floor of Congress, and he has called to his Cabinet, as Postmaster-General, the faithful public official who has demonstrated, in the post-office of the city of New York, that the reform is as practicable as it is desirable; and, as his Attorney-General, the President of the Philadelphia Civil Service Reform Association, who has signalized his administration of the law department by the vigorous commencement of the prosecution of those who have disgraced the civil service of the Post-Office Department.
For the statesman who shall rise above partisan politics, and who shall accomplish this reform, there is reserved a place yet vacant in American history. When. in the Temple of Fame, the curtain rises which now hides his statue, whose shall be the image and superscription of the restorer of political purity ?
CHRISTOPHER STUART PATTERSON.
THE SCHOOLS OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF
THE FINE ARTS.
IN an examination of the system of the schools of the PennsylIvania Academy of the Fine Arts, it is necessary to bear in mind distinctly that they are supported in the interest of those who intend to become professional artists; that is, persons who expect to devote themselves to the production of pictures and statuary as a business or means of livelihood. Those who, like lithographers, china-painters and decorators, need nearly the same kind of education for their pursuits, are cordially welcomed, and amateurs are at liberty to make what use of the school they can, as far as its means and space permit.
This is a necessary introduction to any discussion of the subject, since the system pursued is not that best adapted to the teaching of drawing as an accomplishment, or to cultivating artistic taste among amateurs. The latter would be a perfectly legitimate addition to the work of the Academy; but its present resources do not permit it to enter upon so large a field,--one which, at some future time, it is to be hoped it may occupy.
The final paragraph of the circular of the Committee of Instruction--"The Academy does not undertake to furnish detailed irstruction, but rather facilities for study, supplemented by the oc.. casional criticism of the teachers; and the classes are intended especially for those who expect to be professional artists,”—is a clear disclaimer of the intention to provide instruction in the usual sense of the word. The schools are organized much as they would be by a club of artists who had associated themselves for the purpose of providing rooms, models and an instructor or critic, as is done by the Art Students' League in New York, the principal schools in Paris outside of the Government schools, such as Bonnat's, Carolus Duran's, etc., and, to a more limited extent, by the Sketch Club in Philadelphia. The influence of the students upon each other is largely counted upon as a means of instruction, and the actual work in the classes of old students who may fairly be ranked as artists, is of the utmost value to the younger ones.
In arranging the work of the schools, all the resources at the command of the authorities are expended upon those things which are outside of the limits of the private opportunities of the ordinary student. Study from large casts and dissection of the human body are impracticable to the student in a private way, and study from the nude living model entails an expense which closes it to nearly all. The Academy therefore uses its means to provide these three opportunities of study,—from its extensive collection of casts from the antique, from the nude, and dissection.
There is a simple arrangement of classes, which has grown up mainly through experience. Students wishing to enter the school, submit a drawing from the solid, such as a cast of a hand, foot, or head, and are admitted into the first antique class, in which the work is from casts of portions of the body, but which is really a kind of probationary class, in which they show what they can do, and where their work can be judged by the instructor.
At the student's pleasure, he makes application for admission to the second antique class, sending in a drawing made for the purpose in the first antique ; should that show satisfactory progress, he is advanced, and in this class draws from the whole figure. In thiese examinations, more weight is given to the grasp of the subject and appreciation of its character, than to finish or smoothness. The student spends more time in the second than in the first antique,-on an average, six months before entering the life class.
The present Professor of Painting has a strong feeling that a really able student should go early into the life class, and, if he deems best to do so, go back to the antique, from time to time, later, to compare his work with it, on the principle that work from nature is more useful than that from a copy of nature, however great. This is, in fact, the key-note of all the present instruction.
Admission to the life class is made much more difficult than to the antique, for several reasons. It is not well for the life classes to be too crowded, not more than thirty-five or forty being able to work conveniently from a single model, no matter what the size of the room may be, and it is not worth while to waste expensive models upon those who will evidently never make artists of any power; so that many who enter the second antique never go into the life class. Minors are not permitted to enter the life class without the written permission of parents or guardians.
Following the strongly expressed preference of the present professor, the students, almost without exception, paint in the life class, instead of drawing, as is usual in most schools.
Mr. Eakins teaches that the great masses of the body are the first thing that should be put upon the canvas, in preference to the outline, which is, to a certain extent, an accident, rather than an essential; and the students build up their figures from the inside, rather than fill them up after having lined in the outside. The practice of modelling leads the painter-student in this direction also, as in it the outline is not that which strikes the student most forcibly. It is not believed that the difficulties of painting are either lessened or more quickly surmounted by the substitution of the arbitrary colors, black and white, for the true color; and as a painted study is more like the model than a translation into black and white can be, the comparison with nature is more direct and close, and an error in drawing is more manifest. The materials for drawing on paper, except charcoal, which is dirty and too easily rubbed off, do not admit of the strength, breadth and rapidity of treatment, which are considered important; so that oil paint and clay are the real tools of the school.
Great stress is laid upon the weight and solidity of the figure ; it must stand upon its legs and show exactly what part of the general movement each portion of the body is bearing, and must look as if it is made from a real living body, and not from a pasteboard silhouette.
The accurate knowledge of the anatomy obtained through the anatomical lectures and the dissections, forms a strong basis for the intelligent rendering of these qualities. An accurate representation of the model in all its peculiarities is insisted upon. The character must be caught, and something more than a superficial resemblance be evident. Conventionalizing, or improving upon the model, is discouraged, as the object is study, and not picturemaking; and the use of a variety of models familiarizes the student with many different types,