At the time of the Austrian annexation in 1908, the only remaining token of Ottoman suzerainty was that the foreign consuls received their exequatur from Turkey, instead of Austria; otherwise the government of the country was conducted in the name of the Austrian emperor, through the imperial minister of finance at Vienna, who controlled the civil service for the occupied territory.
With Grant's successors, Hayes and Garfield, his relations were not cordial; an opponent of civil service reform, he came into conflict with President Hayes over the removal of Chester A.
He was one of the founders of the Free Art League, of the International Copyright League, and of the Authors' Club; was chairman of the New York Tenement House Commission in 18 9 4; and was a prominent member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, of the Council of the National Civil Service Reform League, and of the executive committee of the Citizens' Union of New York City.
In 1849 he was in the civil service of the revolutionary government, and after the final catastrophe returned to his native place, living as best he could on his small savings till 1850, when Lajos Tisza, the father of Kalman Tisza, the future prime minister, invited him to his castle at Geszt to teach his son Domokos the art of poetry.
It provided for municipal elections in January; for the election of a mayor for four years; for his recall at the end of two years if a majority of the registered voters so vote in the state election in November in the second year of his term; for the summary removal for cause by the mayor of any department head or other of his appointees; for a city council of one chamber of nine members, elected at large each for three years; for nomination by petition; for a permanent finance commission appointed by the governor; for the confirmation of the mayor's appointments by the state civil service commission; for the mayor's preparation of the annual budget (in which items may be reduced but not increased by the council), and for his absolute veto of appropriations except for school use.
Among the measures and events distinguishing his term as president were the following: The meeting of the Pan-American Congress at Washington; the passage of the McKinley Tariff Bill and of the Sherman Silver Bill of 1890; the suppressing of the Louisiana Lottery; the enlargement of the navy; further advance in civil service reform; the convocation by the United States of an international monetary conference; the establishment of commercial reciprocity with many countries of America and Europe; the peaceful settlement of a controversy with Chile; the negotiation of a Hawaiian Annexation Treaty, which, however, before its ratification, his successor withdrew from the Senate; the settlement of difficulties with Germany concerning the Samoan Islands, and the adjustment by arbitration with Great Britain of the Bering Sea fur-seal question.
He is credited with having brought about a reduction of the quantity of silver in the smaller coins; he was the author of the Tariff Act of 1857 and of the bonded-warehouse system, and was one of the first to advocate civil service reform.
As early as 1870 President Grant recommended measures of civil service reform, and succeeded in obtaining an act authorizing him to appoint a Civil Service commission.
Financial necessities compelled retrenchment, so that a certain number of offices were suppressed altogether, much to the disgust of the office-holding class, which was numerous and wealthy, and had almost come to look on the civil service as its hereditary possession.
He published The Political and Financial Opinions of Peter Cooper, with an Autobiography of his Early Life (1877), and Ideas for a Science of Good Government, in Addresses, Letters and Articles on a Strictly National Currency, Tariff and Civil Service (1883).