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Mr. Walcott to Mr. Maitland.
Government Emigration Board,
8, Park St., Westminster, S.W., SIR,
26th January 1858. I Am directed by the Emigration Commissioners to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st instant, inquiring whether there be any objection on the part of the Commissioners to a general extension of the limit of age to 30, in the case of candidates who having entered the public service while under 25 have since served continuously.
· Referring to your previous letter of the 19th instant, in which you mention that in several of the public departments there are rules extending the ordinary limits of age, in the case of extra clerks nominated to fill vacancies on the establishment, and that such extension is usually for a definite term, as 5, 10, or (in one department) 15 years, the Commissioners direct me to state that as regards this department they think that the period of 10 years would be a reasonable extension of the limit of age.
The Commissioners would propose, therefore, that in such cases an extra clerk serving continuously should not be ineligible, on the score of age for an appointment on the establishment up to the age of 35 years, provided that he had been admitted as an extra clerk before the
age of 25.
Mr. Maitland to Mr. Walcott.
Civil Service Commission,
28th January 1858. In reply to your letter of the 26th instant, communicating the opinion of the Emigration Commissioners as to the extent to which the limits of age should be enlarged in favour of extra clerks,
I am directed by the Civil Service Commissioners to signify their acquiescence in the proposed alteration, it being assumed that continuous service from first admission as extra clerk will be required, in order to give a claim to the benefit of the extension.
I have, &c.
Mr. Hammond to Mr. Maitland.
Foreign Office, 2nd December 1857. I Am directed by the Earl of Clarendon to request that you will acquaint the Civil Service Commissioners that his Lordship proposes, in filling up any vacancy which may hereafter occur among the clerks on the establishment of the Foreign Office, to name three candidates for examination by the Commissioners, and to appoint to the vacant clerkship that one of the three whom the Commissioners may certify to him as having acquitted himself the most to their satisfaction, within the limits prescribed by his Lordship for the examination of clerks, and who may possess the other qualifications specified in my letter of the 25th of June 1855.
Lord Clarendon does not think it necessary to require candidates for clerkships in the Foreign Office to exhibit a proficiency in any other matters than those stated in my above-mentioned letter, namely, that they should be able to write a good bold hand, forming each letter distinctly; to write quickly and correctly either English or French from dictation ; to understand French well ; and to be able to make an
accurate and good translation of any French paper ; and also to make a correct and clear précis or abstract of any set of papers placed in their hands. But, as it may happen that two may prove themselves equally competent in these respects, Lord Clarendon thinks that in such a case a preference might be given to that one of the two who may be able to make the best translation from German into English, and to read the German written character. • Lord Clarendon, however, directs me to observe, that as regards translations either in the case of candidates for clerkships, or of candidates for attachéships, and also as regards the power of conversation in the case of the latter, the test to which he would wish candidates to be subjected should be translations from authors of recent date, and conversation on the ordinary topics treated of in society, rather than translations from poetical or technical works, or conversations on philosophical and abstruse subjects.
Lord Clarendon directs me further to say, that in carrying out this scheme for competitive examination in the case of candidates for clerkships in the Foreign Office, he trusts that the Civil Service Commissioners will have the goodness to bear in mind the essential conditions specified in my letter above referred to in regard to the character and physical constitution of candidates.
I am, &c.
Mr. Maitland to Mr. Hammond.
Civil Service Commission, SIR,
24th December 1857. I Am directed by the Civil Service Commissioners to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 2nd instant, in which, after acquainting me for their information with the plan intended by the Earl of Clarendon to be hereafter adopted in filling up vacancies which may occur among
the clerks in the establishment of the Foreign Office, and stating his Lordship's wishes as to the subjects of examination, you proceed to communicate his Lordship's views as to the authors from whom passages for translation should be selected, and the topics which should be excluded from vivâ voce examinations,
And in reply, I am, in the first place, to request that you will assure his Lordship of the readiness of the Civil Service Commissioners to give, so far as may be in their power, satisfactory effect to his intentions. At the same time, the Commissioners are led by the experience which they have acquired to doubt whether a scheme of examination so limited in extent as that now proposed will satisfactorily test the relative merits of competing candidates. They have the less hesitation in expressing this opinion, owing to the circumstance that in the majority of the public departments lists of subjects considerably more extended have been framed. The Commissioners, therefore, submit the question to Lord Clarendon's consideration, and under the impression that his Lordship may be desirous of seeing the course adopted by other departments, they direct me to transmit the printed paper which is enclosed.
Before quitting this portion of your letter, I am to observe that, if strictly construed, it would render the introduction of the German language an extremely rare occurrence. It is presumed, that where two or more candidates, whose handwriting and orthography are satisfactory, have severally displayed sufficient ability in the composition of a précis and sufficient acquaintance with the French language, the case in which German is to be introduced will arise, although the competitors may not have obtained exactly the same number of marks, and may not, therefore, in strictness“ be equally competent." If your meaning on this point has been misapprehended, the Commissioners will be glad to be informed.
With regard to the authors from whose works passages for translation should be selected, the Commissioners are able to assure Lord Clarendon that their practice has been to a very great extent in accordance with his views as expressed in your letter. No case, it is believed, has yet occurred in which a candidate examined in French for the Foreign Office, or the services connected with it, has not had for translation into English at least one passage of average difficulty selected from some modern prose author, and in no case has a candidate been rejected for incompetence to translate, if his version of the passage so selected was even moderately good and accurate. It must at the same time be admitted that the works of Montesquieu, Racine, Molière, and other authors of older date, have occasionally been resorted to. The Commissioners think that they will be able to act according to the spirit of your letter without absolutely refusing to candidates the opportunity of showing a somewhat more extended acquaintance with the French language than that which at the present day is possessed by the great majority of educated persons.
In the case of a candidate who was examined in the Russian language, Karamsin was selected as an author whose style is easier than that of more modern writers, but the observations just made apply, it is believed, to all other examinations in modern languages which have been held at this office.
With respect to the choice of topics for conversation, I am to state that the Commissioners entirely concur with Lord Clarendon in wishing that abstruse and philosophical subjects should be avoided. It has always been the rule that one of the Assistant Examiners permanently employed at this office should be present at vivâ roce examinations, although, in the case of some at least of those by whom such examinations have been conducted, the precaution might safely have been omitted ; and from the reports made to them, the Commissioners are led to believe that the examinations have been free from the objection which you mention. They will, however, take care that proper instructions are given on the subject.
I am in conclusion to state that the Commissioners trust they have not hitherto been neglectful of the important points adverted to in the last paragraph of your letter, and that they receive with satisfaction the expression of Lord Clarendon's wish that they should continue to act with proper diligence in the discharge of the duties with which they have been intrusted.
I am, &c.
Mr. Hammond to Mr. Maitland.
Foreign Office, 31st December 1857. I HAVE laid before the Earl of Clarendon your letter of the 24th of this month, and, in reply, I am to request that you will acquaint the Civil Service Commissioners that his Lordship adopts the interpretation placed by them on that part of my letter of the 2nd instant which relates to the introduction of the German language into the examination of candidates for clerkships in the Foreign Office, and is content that when two or more candidates, whose handwriting and ortho.
graphy are satisfactory, have severally displayed sufficient ability in the composition of a précis, and sufficient acquaintance with the French language, the case in which German is to be introduced will arise, although the competitors may not have obtained exactly the same number of marks, and may not therefore in strictness be equally competent.
I am, &c.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
25th September 1857. I HAVE to request that you will acquaint the Civil Service Commissioners, that from the representations addressed to me from various quarters on the subject of the examinations for clerkships in the Journal Office of the House of Commous, I am induced to think that the scheme I submitted to the Commissioners may be improved by dispensing with Greek as a requisite part of the examination, and I find that this has been done in other departments where the subject has received attentive consideration.
I beg at the same time to state that in giving up this part of the classical examination, I have no desire to lower the standard of knowledge which the candidates are expected to reach in the other parts of their examination ; the duties of the Journal Office can only be satisfactorily performed by men of a liberal education, good sense, and some aptitude for business, and the tests already applied by the Commissioners, are not as far as I can judge too severe. Latin I regard as essential.
Mr. Mann to Sir Denis Le Marchant, Bart.
Civil Service Commission, SIR,
26th September 1857. I Am directed by the Civil Service Commissioners to acknowlege the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, suggesting the omission of Greek from the scheme of examination prescribed for clerks in the Journal Office of the House of Commons, And I am to state that the Commissioners will
carry out your wishes in this respect ; attending at the same time to your desire that the standard of knowledge which the candidates are required to reach in the other parts of their examination should not be lowered.
I have, &c.
Inland Revenue, Somerset House, SIR,
26th October 1857. The Comptroller of Legacy Duties having reported to the Board that, book-keeping not being used in any branch of that office, a knowledge of it is not requisite for candidates for clerkships thereia ; the Board are of opinion that in any future cases of nominations to that office, an examination in this branch of knowledge would not be necessary, and may therefore be dispensed with.
The requirements for the Legacy Duty Office, therefore, will in future be as follows :- viz.,
I am, &c.
Mr. Maitland to Mr. Keogh. SIR,
28th October 1857. In reply to your letter of the 26th instant, stating that in consequence of a report from the Comptroller of Legacy Duties the Board of Inland Revenue are of opinion that book-keeping may be omitted from the list of subjects prescribed for the examination of candidates nominated to clerkships in the Legacy Duty Office,
I am directed by the Civil Service Commissioners to state, that retaining the view expressed in their Second Report with regard to the acquirement in question, they agree with the Board of Inland Revenue in regarding the report of the Comptroller of Legacy Duties as affording fully sufficient reason for its omission. The subjects of examination will, therefore, be those stated in your letter.
I have, &c.
Office of Commissioners in Lunacy,
19, Whitehall Place, S.W., SIR,
21st January 1858. I Am directed by the Commissioners in Lunacy to request that you will have the goodness to move the Civil Service Commissioners to give the necessary order for the examination of Mr. nominated to a clerkship in this Office.
Adverting to a communication addressed to this Board by the Civil Service Commissioners on the 15th June 1855, bringing under their notice the terms of the Order in Council of the 21st May in that year, and desiring to be informed, pursuant to that Order, of the standard of qualifications and limits of age prescribed in the department, I am instructed to state that the qualifications deemed necessary are—that the clerk should write clearly and copy correctly from manuscript ; that he should write correctly from dictation ; that he should know the first four rules of arithmetic, so as to be able to compute averages ; that he should have the power to make a précis or summary of cases or reports ; and that he should be able to write a letter from instructions.
With reference to age, I am to convey to you the desire of the Board, that with a view to the trustworthiness and discreetness required in an especial degree as to the many delicate matters necessarily disclosed in copying the letters and keeping the registers in Lunacy, the limits fixed for the entrance of clerks should include a range of from 25 to 35 years
I am, &c.