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government. The persons, therefore, to whose imme. diate management these different matters are committed, ought to be considered as the assistants or deputies of the chief magistrate; and, on this account, they ought to derive their offices from his appointment, at least from his nomination, and to be subject to his superintendence. This view of the thing will at once suggest to us the intimate connexion between the duration of the executive magistrate in office, and the stability of the system of administration. To undo what has been done by a pre. decessor, is very often considered by a successor, as the best proof be can give of his own capacity and desert; and, in addition to this propensity, where the alteration has been the result of public choice, the person substi. tuted is warranted in supposing, that the dismission of his predecessor has proceeded from a dislike to his measures, and that the less he resembles him, the more he will recommend himself to the favour of his constituents. These considerations, and the influence of personal con. fidences and attachments, would be likely to induce every new president to promote a change of men to fill the subordinate stations; and these causes together, could not fail to occasion a disgraceful and ruinous mu. tability in the administration of the government.
With a positive duration of considerable extent, I connect the circumstance of re-eligibility. The first is necessary, to give the officer bimself the inclination and the resolution to act his part well, and to the community time and leisure to observe the tendency of his measures, and thence to form an experimental estimate of their merits. The last is necessary to enable the people, when they see reason to approve of his conduct, to con. tinue bim in the station, in order to prolong the utility of bis talents and virtues, and to secure to the government the advantage of permanency in a wise system of admi. pistration.
Nothing appears more plausible at first sight, nor more ill founded upon close inspection, than a scheme which, in relation to the present point, bas had some respectable advocates....I mean that of continuing the chief magis. trate in office for a certain time, and then excluding him from it, either for a limited period or for ever after. This exclusion, whether temporary or perpetual, would have nearly the same effects, and these effects would be for the most part rather pernicious than salutary.
One ill effect of the exclusion would be a diminution of the inducements to good behaviour. There are few men who would not feel much less zeal in the discharge of a duty, when they were conscious that the advantage of the station, with which it was connected, must be relinquished at a determinate period, than when they were permitted to entertain a hope of obtaining by merit, ing a continuance of them. This position will not be disputed, so long as it is admitted, that the desire of reward is one of the strongest incentives of human con: dact; or that the best security for the fidelity of mankind, is to make interest coincide with duty. Even the love of fame, the ruling passion of the noblest minds, which would prompt a man to plan and undertake extensive and arduous enterprises for the public benefit, requiring considerable time to mature and perfect them, if he could flatter bimself with the prospect of being allowed to finish what he had begun, would, on the contrary, deter him from the undertaking, when he foresaw that lie must quit the scene before he could accomplish the work, and must commit that, together with his own reputation, to hands which might be unequal or unfriendly to the task. The most to be expected from the gener. ality of men, in such a situation, is the negative merit of not doing harm, instead of the positive merit of doing good.
Another ill effect of the exclusion, would be the temptation to sordid views, to peculation, and, in some instances, to usurpation. An avaricious man, who might hapjen to fill the office, looking forward to a time when he must at all events yield up the advantages he enjoyed, would feel a propensity, not easy to be resisted by such a man, to make the best use of his opportunities, while they lasted ; and might not scruple to have recourse to the most corrupt expedients to make the harvest as abun
dant as it was transitory; though the same person probably, with a different prospect before him, might con. tent himself with the regular emoluments of his station, and might even be unwilling to risk the consequences of an abuse of his opportunities. His avarice might be a guard upon his avarice. Add to this, that the same man might be vain or ambitious as well as avaricious And if he could expect to prolong his honours by bis good conduct, he might hesitate to sacrifice his appetite for them, to his appetite for gain. But with the prospect before him of approaching an inevitable annihilation, bis avarice would be likely to get the victory over his caution, lis vanity, or his ambition.
An ambitious man too, finding himself seated on the summit of his country's hovours, looking forward to the time at wbich he must descend from the exalted emi. nence for ever, and reflecting that no exertion of merit on his part could save him from the unwelcome reverse, would be much more violently tempted to embrace a favourable conjuncture for attempting the prolongation of his power, at every personal bazard, than if he had the probability of answering the same end by doing bis duty.
Would it promote the peace of the community, or the stability of the government, to have half a dozen men who had had credit enough to raise themselves to the seat of the supreme magistracy, wandering among the people like discontented ghosts, and sighing for a place which they were destined never more to possess ?
A third ill effect of the exclusion would be, the depriving the community of the advantage of the experience gained by the chief magistrate in the exercise of his office. That experience is the parent of wisdom, is an adage, the truth of which is recognized by the wisest as well as the simplest of mankind. What more desirable or more essential than this quality in the governors of nations ? Where more desirable or more essen. tial, than in the first magistrate of a nation ? Can it be wise to put this desirable and essential quality under the ban of the constitution ; and to declare that the motrate in oltre from it, eller
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These are some of the disadvantages which would flow from the principle of exclusion. They apply most forcibly to the scheme of a perpetual exclusion ; but when we consider, that even a partial one would always render the re-admission of the person a remote and precarious object, the observations which have been made will apply nearly as fully to one case as to the other.
What are the advantages promised to counterbalance the evils ? They are represented to be : 1st. Greater independence in the magistrate : 2d. Greater security to the people. Unless the exclusion be perpetual, there will be no pretence to infer the first advantage. But even in that case, may he have no object beyond bis present station to which he may sacrifice his independence ? May he have no connexions, no friends, for whom he may sacrifice it ? May he not be less willing, by a firm conduct, to make personal enemies, when he acts under the impression, that a time is fast approaching, on the arrival of which he not only may, but must be exposed to their resentments, upon an equal, perhaps upon an inferior footing? It is not an easy point to determine, whether his independence would be most promoted or impaired by such an arrangement.
As to the second supposed advantage, there is still greater reason to entertain doubts concerning it, especially if the exclusion were to be perpetual. In this case, as already intimated, a man of irregular ambition, of whom alone there could be reason in any case to entertain apprehensions, would, with infinite reluctance, yield to the necessity of taking his leave for ever of a post, in which his passion for power and pre-eminence had acquired the force of habit. And if he had been fortunate or adroit enough to conciliate the good will of the people, he might induce them to consider as a very odious and unjustifiable restraint upon themselves, a provision which was calculated to debar them of the right of giving a fresh proof of their attachment to a favourite. There may be conceived circumstances in which this disgust of the people, seconding the thwarted ambition of such a favourite, might occasion greater danger to