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April 16th 1897
Daily News — Frederick, Maryland

COL. SCHELY SCALPED
HIS HEAD HAS FALLEN IN THE OFFICIAL BASKET

Somebody Wanted His Place, a Charge Was Trumped Up and Out of Office He Goes

President McKinley has removed from office Vol. Buchanan Schley, surveyor of the port of Baltimore. The action was a surprise to democrats and republicans alike.

In a conference held with Chairman William F. Stone of Baltimore city republican committee, last week on general political subjects the question of the contemplated removal of Colonel Schley was not broached by Senator Wellington, and he has frequently slated that all democratic federal officials would be allowed to serve out their full terms. Colonel Schley’s term would not have expired until June 19th, 1898. It is stated by local republicans that so far as known no charges of “neglect of duty” were preferred against Colonel Schley by local republicans, and it is authoritatively stated that the republican organization made none against him.

There are a number of special inspectors, or agents, in the Treasury Department service who annually make several inspections of the various customs houses of the country and recommend improvements or changes. It is said that these agents have complained of Surveyor Schley’s absence from his office. Secretary Gage, of the Treasury Department which has supervision of the customs houses, found, it is thought, these charges of the agents on file in the department, and, receiving others of the like tenor, recommended the removal of Colonel Schley.

The vacancy created by the removal of Colonel Schley will, under the law, be filled by Collector of the Port Shaw. It is said that the deputy surveyor, Col. Washington Bowie, will be offered the position, the salary of which is $4,500 per annum. Col. Bowie is thoroughly acquainted with the duties of the surveyor’s department, having been formerly its chief clerk. He may prefer, however, to remain in his present position, in the hope that he will be protected in office by the recent extension of the civil service law made by President Cleveland.

There are a number of Republican applicants for the position, prominent among them being B. F. Parlett, of Talbot county; Newton S. Cook, and A. E, Hagner, both of Washington County. Mr. Stone and the Baltimore city leaders will take no part in selecting the surveyor, believing that this is one of the prerogatives of the Maryland congregational delegation. Up to the present time there has been no conference of the delegation in reference to the filling of any federal office, although the Unites States district attorneyship is now, and the collectorship of internal revenue will be in about a month, at the disposal of the President.

“Were you aware there was a movement looking to your removal?” Colonel Schley was asked yesterday.

“Yes, I had heard some talk in a general way, but it gave me no concern, for I had fully and frequently stated to my friends that I would not neglect my business interests at home for the office in Baltimore.

“The business of the surveyor’s office is now and has been since my incumbency performed with the greatest diligence and efficiency. I may add it is not surpassed in that respect in the customs service of the country, all owing to the untiring zeal and ability of the deputy. Col. Washington Bowie, and his assistants, who are worthy of the highest praise. I was not always at the office; was there once or more a week, and always went when needed. During the Democratic administration all was satisfactory, but then you know there has been a change. My place was was wanted, and, well — my head has fallen into the official basket a few months in advance of my time.”

A special dispatch from Washington says: “It is now transpiring that since the introduction of the present administration into office a quiet little investigation has been in progress, intended to put a stop to the rather common custom of high officials not putting in as much time at their offices as the interests of the government demand. It is said there is quite a number of such cases, not only here in Washington, but in various other cities of the country. The first practical result of this investigation was the removal about a week since of one of the auditors of the treasury — a gentleman appointed from Florida — who for a long while had not made his presence in Washington, not even to get his pay, which was sent to him at his home by check.