The Government’s Detectives
To Sir: The Washington public
has read with no small amount of interest the contributions of one
of your subscribers on the question of the work of the Secret Service
men at Buffalo. I know nothing whatever of Detective Gallagher,
except that he is from Chicago and said to be a protégé of Secretary
Gage. We of Washington do know of Detective George Foster and Detective
Sam Ireland. Foster is a politician from Upper Sandusky, Ohio. He
served in a menial position in the Ohio Legislature and came to
Washington to accept a position under the sergeant-at-arms of the
House in the Fifty-second Congress. The Upper Sandusky man had charge
of the negroes whose duty it was to clean the House side of the
building. He was what might be termed the boss janitor and gave
excellent satisfaction. With the advent of a Republican Congress,
Foster, being a Democrat, was compelled to look elsewhere for employment
and through the good offices of Senator Brice a place was made for
him in the Secret Service of the Treasury Department. George Foster
is a good fellow and is fully up to the Upper Sandusky standard
of intelligence and cleverness, but he never had any experience
as a detective beyond keeping an espionage on the scrubbers at the
Capitol and occasionally assisting the Town Marshal at Upper Sandusky.
Detective Sam Ireland is known to
Washington as a professional story teller [sic] and entertainer.
He has an immense fund of stories and is no slouch of an actor.
Perhaps the best joke in his répertoire is his story of his appointment
to a place in the Secret Service. Ireland is a Kentuckian and, like
Foster, was a Democrat in politics at the time of his appointment.
He has Mr. Carlisle to thank for his elevation to his place among
the sleuths of the Government service, and, notwithstanding Ireland’s
penchant for telling funny things, he was in his present position
for almost one entire month before he took his friends into his
confidence and permitted them to share the humor of the thing.
Chief Wilkie, the successor of Mr.
Hazen, who really made a creditable showing during his incumbency
of the position, was a Chicago newspaper man and, like Mr. Vanderlip,
who recently quit the Government service by request, is a protégé
of Secretary Gage. Wilkie is a great sleuth in his annual reports
and has “Foxey Quiller” beaten to a standstill. It may be that the
President’s life could not have been saved by more efficient espionage,
but it is quite certain that when he took his chances with the crowds
at the Buffalo Exposition he was not protected by the sort of detective
talent the Chief Executive of the United States should have on such
occasions. I have never been a great admirer of the system of civil
service reform as it is administered by our Government, but believe
the spoilsmen should be kept out of the Secret Service. It is a
too important branch of the Government service to be trifled with
in an Upper Sanduskyish manner. Is it not the duty of President
Roosevelt to see to it that the abuses in this department are corrected?
C. A. R.
D. C., Sept. 30.