“AN OUTRAGE.”

“AN OUTRAGE.”

In this, as in every other political campaign for the past thirty years, there is much talk about “civil service reform.” Each party professes its anxiety to secure the ” reform,” and charges the other with a determination to defeat the same; and in spite of professions, whatever party be in power in any place, the offices are treated simply as party perquisites. As a non partisan journal The Chronicle has no claims to make or any charges to prefer in behalf of or against any party in this regard, but when it is sought—as is now the case in this city—to levy assessments for political purposes upon the Firemen, we have a right, and it is our duty, in the interests of the underwriters, to protest against the outrage. For an outrage it is. These men areemployed and paid for the specific and only purpose of extinguishing fires. As Firemen they have nothing to do with politics. Their tenure of office should be absolutely independent ol their political opinions or votes. They earn their money, every dollar of it, and it is their money to do as they will with it. For their officers to put before them on pay day a subscription list and compel them to contribute for any party or other purpose is no better than, nor half so good as, highway robbery. To be sure, the pretence is that there is no compulsion; but everybody knows that this Is simply a pretence. The recusant Firemen—should one be found bold enough to decline—feels certain that his bead is marked for the sawdust; he knows that some pretext will be found for bis discharge. The Fire Department cannot do its work thoroughly and well if it is to be used as or managed by a political machine. The propertyowners of this city, the underwriters, all whose security in home or business is involved in the faithful discharge of duty by Firemen, should unite in a vigorous and determined opposition to the infamy. If a Fireman chooses of his own volition, without suggestion or prompting from any superior, to drop his contribution into his own party’s treasury, well and good; he has as much right lo do that as to spend his money in any other way. But to assess him and hold him to payment under the unseen but nevertheless dreadfully real axe of the official guillotine, is a cowardly wrong which no partisan exigency can justify, excuse or palliate.—Chronicle (Ins.)

That it is an outrage for any political party to levy assessments for political purposes upon the employes of the city—whether it be the Mayor, Policemen, Firemen, or any other—is a fact that every honest man will admit. But that the Fire Commissioners of this city have authorized any assessment to be made upon the Firemen we do not believe. In fact, we are assured that the statement is untrue. One of the commissioners is an active Republican, and the other two are equally active Democrats. All of them are earnest and zealous in their endeavors to make the Department as efficient as possible, and are aware that the surest way to destroy its efficiency is to make it a political machine. It is composed of men of both parties, and if any man has been dismissed or ostracised simply on account ol his political opinions, we have never learned the fact. If a Fireman does his duty, the two Democratic Commissioners will not remove him, simply because he is a Republican. Indeed, they are prohibited by law from doing so, as no member of the uniformed force can be removed except after trial and conviction upon charges duly preferred.

White we are confident that no assessment has been levied upon the Firemen, we are also confident that both the Republican and Democratic Commissioners are aware that the Firemen have been solicited to contribute towards the campaign expenses of the party to which they belong. Both parties have had their solicitors in the field, every other Department of the Municipal and Federal Government has been visited by them, and we presume the Firemen have not been neglected. Indeed, he has been a fortunate citizen who has escaped the importunities of these solicitors for the campaign funds. All good American citizens are active partisans, and expect to contribute money to secure the success of the party to which they belong. Elections are expensive luxuries, especially in a presidential year, and he would be but a sorry patriot who had not political opinions that he hoped to see triumphant at the polls, or who would refuse to contribute to secure the success of his party. THE JOURNAL has no place in politics, and its columns have never betrayed the political sentiments of its Editor, yet he is a strong partisan and esteems highly the blessed privilege conferred upon him by his citizenship to contribute to the election expenses of his party. We are for Hanfield and Garcock evety time, and will spend our money to see them elected. We presume every other American citizen to be an equally zealous partisan, and certainly hope every Fireman values his citizenship enough to vote as his conscience dictates. Further, we hope he is sufficiently earnest to contribute his mite to secure the success of his party, be he Democrat or Republican.

But there is a vast difference between voluntary contributions for party purposes and enforced assessments for a particular party. These we protest against with all the energy we possess. An assessment that compels a man, through fear of losing his place, to contribute to the funds of a party to which he is opposed, is a crime that should meet with the severest punishment. The idea is at war with Republican principles, is degrading to the individual, and should destroy the party that encourages it. There is no objection to either party soliciting subscriptions to the campaign fund, but when men are threatened with removal from their positions unless they contribute as their superior officers direct, the solicitation becomes blackmailing, and those who sanction it should become inmates of the State Prison. So far as the Firemen of this city are concerned, we are confident that no such threat has been made, and that they are free to contribute to whichever party they please, and to vote as their consciences dictate.

—The annual parade of the Lowell, Mass., Fire Department took place on Wednesday last. The parade wound up with a banquet. The Lowell Firemen never do things by halves.

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