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Group including Archibald Lampman, seated with hat, and Duncan Campbell Scott, seated front left
Catéchisme politique; ou Élémens du droit public et constitutionnel du Canada, mis à la portée du peuple, by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, 1851
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An article in the Ottawa Times of March 2, 1872, records that Sir John A. Macdonald (1815-1891) "felt assured that the civil service of Canada would compare favourably with that of any country in the world; here there were, among its members, poets, men of science and men of literary tastes and habits, some of whom had even European fame, and if they had not more of public acknowledgment, it was rather because of a limited sphere of action than of capacity". Under the Civil Service Act of 1868, Cabinet ministers could make recommendations to the governor-in-council regarding individual appointments to the civil service. Canadian littérateurs such as Antoine Gérin-Lajoie (1824-1882), Benjamin Sulte (1841-1923), Archibald Lampman (1861-1899), Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947) and others owed their employment in the civil service to the influence of a member of Parliament. This patronage power would be the object of amendments to the Act in 1882 and 1908, but the Privy Council's day-to-day influence on the careers of government employees is documented in orders-in-council throughout the late nineteenth century.