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Underwood, Walter S. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. IV, No. 6 (March 1907)

Fish, Carl Russel
An optimistic analogy,   pp. [unnumbered]-163



                          THE
    WISCONSIN LITERARY MAGAZINE
                      MARCH, 1907
       VOLUME IV                        NUMBER 6
         AN OPTIMISTIC ANALOGY.
                    CARL RussEL FISH.
  During the seventies the public service of the nation and
of many states and cities exhibited a condition of inefficiency
and corruption that caused many honest citizens to question
whether democracy was not a failure. Conditions were, to
be sure, no worse then than they had been in England in
the eighteenth century, but while there had been improve-
ment there, affairs in the United States were going from bad
to worse. New York city was dominated by Tweed, and
New York state was falling under his influence. Jay Gould,
a member of the same ring, by bribing the brother-in-law of
the president, and the second financial officer of the United
States, swayed for a time the policy of the government. A
private secretary of the president was saved from a just con-
viction for bribery only by the active exertion of the later.
A secretary of war allowed his wife to receive twenty thou-
sand dollars as the price of his retaining a man in office. The
president himself received gifts from officeholders, out of
all proportion to their legal salaries. The tragedy of Cus-
ter's death was probably due to the demoralization of the
Indian service. Custer's officers accepted petty bribes and
were expected to contribute of their scanty incomes to the
party treasury, and of their time to party service. From
top to bottom the civil list was permeated with bad men,
but what was infinitely worse many good men engaged in
questionable practices, and winked at the unquestioned
thievery of their associates.
  Some attributed this state of affairs to the president, and
there can be no doubt that Grant's liking for men who could
do things, combined with his inability to judge moral char-


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