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exceed that of any state executive. But this arises na. turally from the exclusive possession by the union of that part of the sovereign power wbich relates to treaties. If the confederacy were to be dissolved, it would become a question, whether the executives of the several states were not solely invested with that delicate and important prerogative.
The president is also to be authorized to receive ambassadors, and other public ministers. This, though it has been a rich theme of declamation, is more a matter of dignity than of authority. It is a circumstance which will be without consequence in the administration of the government; and it was far more convenient that it should be arranged in this manner, than that there should be a necessity of convening the legislature, or one of its branches, upon every arrival of a foreign minister ; though it were merely to take the place of a departed predecessor.
The president is to nominate, and with the advice and cons.’nt of the senate, to appoint ambassadors and other public ministers, judges of the supreme court, and in general all officers of the United Stats established by law, and whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by the constitution. The king of Great Britain is emphatically and truly styled, the fountain of honour. He not only appoints to all offices, but can create offices. He can confer titles of nobility at pleasure ; and has the disposal of an immense number of church preferments. There is evidently a great inferiority in the power of the president in this particular, to that of the British king; nor is it equal to that of the governor of New York, if we are to interpret the meaning of the constitution of the state by the practice which has obtained under it. The power of appointment is with us lodged in a council, composed of the governor and four members of the senate, chosen by the assembly. The governor claims, and has frequently exercised the right of nomination, and is entitled to a casting vote in the appointment. If he really bas the right of nominating, his authority is in this respect equal to that of the president, and exceeds it in the
article of the casting vote. In the national government, if the senate should be divided, no appointment could be made : in the government of New York, if the council should be divided, the governor can turn the scale and confirm his own nomination.* If we compare the pub. licity which must necessarily attend the more of appointment by the president and an entire branch of the national legislature, with the privacy in the mode of appointment hy the governor of New York, closetted in a secret apartment with at most four, and frequently with only two persons; and if we at the same time consider how much more easy it must be to influence the small number of which a council of appointment consists, than the considerable number of which the national senate would consist, we cannot hesitate to pronounce, that the power of the chief magistrate of this state, in the disposition of offices, must, in practice, be greatly superior to that of the chief magistrate of the union.
Hence it appears, that, except as to the concurrent au. thority of the president in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine wbether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the governor of New York. An I it appears yet more une. quivocally, that there is no pretence for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast, in this res. pect, still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer groupe.
The president of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years. The king of Great Britain is a perpetual and hereditary prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace : the person of the other is sacred nl inviolable. The one would have a qualified negative upon the
Candour however demands an acknowledgment, that I do not think the claim of the governor to a right of nomination well founded. Yet it is always justifiable to reason from the practice of a government, till its propriety has been constitutionally questinued. And independent of this claim, when we take into view the other considerations, and pursue them through all their consequences, we shall be inclined to draw much the same conclusion.
acts of the legislative body: the other has an absolute negative. The one would bave a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation : the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of declaring war, and of raising and regulating fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties : the other is the sole possessor of the power of mak. ing treaties.
The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices : the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever : the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners ; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies. The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation : the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity tan establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin. The one bas no particle of spiritual jurisdiction : the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church !.... What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us, that things so unlike resemble each other ?.... The same that ought to be given to those who tell us, that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.
BY ALEXANDER HAMILTON. The same view continued, in relation to the unity of the
executive, and with an examination of the project of an executive council.
THERE is an idea, which is not without its advocates, that a vigorous executive is inconsistent with the
genius of republican government. The enlightened wellwishers to this species of government must at least hope, that the supposition is destitute of foundation ; since they can never admit its truth, without, at the same time, ad. mitting the condemnation of their own principles. Energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks: it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property against those irregularand high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy. Every man, the least conversant in Roman story, knows how often that republic was obliged to take refuge in the absolute power of a single man, under the formidable title of dictator, as well against the intrigues of ambitious individuals, who aspired to the tyranny, and the seditions of whole classes of the community, whose conduct threatened the existence of all government, as against the invasions of external enemies, who menaced the conquest and destruction of Rome.
There can be no need, however, to multiply arguments or examples on this head. A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution : and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.
Taking it for granted, therefore, that all men of sense will agree in the necessity of an energetic executive, it will only remain to inquire, what are the ingredients which constitute this energy? How far can they be combined with those other ingredients, which constitute safety in the republican sense ? And how far does this combi. nation characterize the plan which has been reported by the convention?
The ingredients which constitute energy in the executive, are, unity; duration; an adequate provision for its support; competent powers.
T'he ingredients which constitute safety in the republican sense, are, a due dependence on the people; a due responsibility.
Those politicians and statesmen who have been the most celebrated for the soundness of their principles, and for the justness of their views, have declared in favour of a single executive, and a numerous legislature. They have, with great propriety, considered energy as the most necessary qualification of the former, and have regarded this as most applicable to power in a single hand; while they have, with equal propriety, considered the latter as best adapted to deliberation and wisdom, and best calculated to conciliate the confidence of the people, and to secure their privileges and interests.
That unity is conducive to energy, will not be disputed. Decision, activity, secrecy, and despatch, will generally characterize the proceedings of one man, in a much more ewinent degree than the proceedings of any greater namber; and in proportion as the number is increased, these qualities will be diminished.
This unity may be destroyed in two ways; either by vesting the power in two or more magistrates, of equal dignity and authority; or by vesting it ostensibly in one man, subject, in whole or in part, to the control and cooperation of others, in the capacity of counsellors to him. Of the first, the two consuls of Rome may serve as an example: of the last, we shall find examples in the constitutions of several of the states. New York and New Jersey, if I recollect right, are the only states which leave intrusted the executive authority wholly to single wen. * Both these methods of destroying the unity of the executive have their partizans; but the votaries of an executive council are the most numcrous. They are both liable, if not to equal, to similar objections, and may in most lights be examined in conjunction.
The experience of other nations will afford little instruction on this head. As far, however, as it teaches
* New York has no council except for the single purpose of appointing to offices: New Jersey has a coincil, whom the governor may consult. But I think, from the terms of the constitution, their resolucions do not bind him.