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acquainat the prerogati plenitude ; 17, have the mp of any
red into by Tints and perfection, it is true, is somews to
state for a limited time; a' prerogative which, in certain situations, may be employed to very important purposes.
The president is to have power, with the advice and consent of the senate, to make treaties, provided twothirds of the senators present concur. The king of Great Britain is the sole and absolute representative of
the nation, in all foreign transactions. He can of his - own accord make treaties of peace, commerce, alliance,
and of every other description. It has been insinuated, that his authority in this respect is not conclusive, and that his conventions with foreign powers are subject to the revision, and stand in need of the ratification of parliament. But I believe this doctrine was never heard of, till it was broached upon the present occasion. Every jurist* of that kingdom, and every other man acquainted with its constitution, knows, as an established fact, that the prerogative of making treaties exists in the crown in its utmost plenitude ; and that the compacts entered into by the royal authority, have the most complete legal validity and perfection, independent of any other sanction. The parliament, it is true, is sometimes seen employing itself in altering the existing laws to conform them to the stipulations in a new treaty; and this may have possibly given birth to the imagination, that its co-operation was necessary to the obligatory effi. cacy of the treaty. But this parliamentary interposition proceeds from a different cause; from the necessity of adjusting a most artificial and intricate system of reve. nue and commercial laws, to the changes made in them by the operation of the treaty; and of adapting new provisions and precautions to the new state of things, to keep the machine from running into disorder. In this respect, therefore, there is no comparison between the intended power of the president, and the actual power of the British sovereign. The one can perform alone what the other can only do with the concurrence of a branch of the legislature. It must be admitted, that, in this instance, the power of the federal executive would
respects, nower of the pres the one can pertence of a
• Vide Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. 1, page 257.
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 which 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 witbout 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.int of the senate, to appoint ambassadors and other public ministers, judges of the supreme court, and in general all officers of the United Statıs established by law, and whose appointments are not otherwise provi. ded 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 enti. tled to a casting vote in the appointment. If he really has the right of nominating, his authority is in this respect equal to that of the president, and exceeds it in the
Thre not otherw,
is emphatically constitution.
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. i licity which must necessarily attend the mole of ap.
pointment by the president and an entire branch of the national legislature, with the privacy in the mode of ap. pointment 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 authority of the president in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, 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 offi. cer 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 :n l 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 questioned, 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 trea. ties : 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 pri. vileges 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 monar. chy, 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 well. wishers 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 pro, tection 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 execu. tion 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.