11 AUGUST 1855, Page 14


ADMINISTRATITE Reform seems to be one of the blessings for mo- dern man which must be oetroyes by authority; its special vota- ries who vaunt a call to that mission failing to prove their

• 'ration in their acts. More than one department has been un er reconstruction, several offices have been vacant, and the time was peculiarly favourable to make new lights appreciated. But the Administrative Reformers hide their lights under a bushel of obscurities. They bring forward a Report suggesting itinerant examiners to test the capacities of candidates for the Civil Ser- vice,—a sort of swan-hopping expedition to separate the official cygnets from the geese. But the project fails to get the approval of their own members; though the very men who object to the parts agree to accept the whole, for the sake of unanimity ! After that example of administrative perfection in their own ease, their recommendation of individuals to particu- lar offices is nothing better than trifling. Their advertised pro- gramme led us to expect a thorough investigation of all the de- pai-tments, and a plan of reform based on the inquiry : they still seem to promise the survey, only we are to have the diagnosis after the prescription. They have given us nothing yet except re- prints from official reports of examinations that have preceded

em ; and they cannot- keep up with the very officials they threaten to reform.

The public inevitably looks from the soi-disant Administrative Reformers to the de facto, whose appointment of a Colonial Mini& ter is one of the examples held up by the critics. The question is, how far the official reformers will keep up to their own model. Thus far all works pretty well; but the strongest test has not yet been applied. Mr. Baines retires from the head of the Poor-law Board to be replaced by Mr. Bouverie : now with all consideration for Mr. Bouverie's real ability, the fact is that Mr. Baines's success in that particular department has been more marked than that of Mr. Boaverie as Vim-President of the Board of Trade or Chair- man of Committees in the House of Commons. The Vice- Presidency of Trade goes to Mr. Lowe—" new blood" unques- tionably, and likely to strengthen the Government. The Presi- dency of the Board of Health went begging, although, it is said, Sir Benjamin Hall offered to "double" the character with his new office. The post was offered to Mr. Hayter, who ought to know something about foul atmosphere from his House of Commons experiences : in serving his party with an ability that elevated the office of whipper-in to a position of managing statesmanship, he has undoubtedly cultivated a natural power for directing and controlling men that would be valuable in many departments; but he declined, and the office falls to the Honourable W. F. Cowper, a walking gentleman in the Liberal corps dramatique. The office of Under- Secretary for the Home Office should go to a man of not less than the Fitzroy stamp; and if the Administrative Reformers have no warrant to nominate a Postmaster-General—if Lord Palmerston claims the seat in the Cabinet for a political grandee—the respon- sibility of filling it is commensurate. It is possible to use the vacancy for a far worse appointment than the outsiders have sug- gested, and with one justified on no ground of polities or adminis- tration; it is also possible to use it for adding to the_effective strength of the Cabinet.