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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 officos must, in practico, 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 respect, 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 and inviolable. The one would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body: The other has an absolute negative. The one would have 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 making treaties. The one would bave a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices : The other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no priviloges 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 can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin
money, can authorize or probibit the circulation of foreign coin The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction: The other is the supreme head and governor of the national church 1-What answer sbal} 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 bands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.
NEW YORK, MARCH 18, 1788.
THE SAME VIEW CONTINUED, IN RELATION TO THE UNITY OF TIIE
EXECUTIVE, AND WITII 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, admitting 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 tho laws, to the protection of property against those irregular and 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 commu
nity, 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 bead. 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 combination 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.
The 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 numerons 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 conducivo to energy, will not be disputed. Decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch, will generally charactorize the proceedings of one man, in a much more eminent degree than the proceedings of any greater number; 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 magistratos, of equal dignity and authority; or by vesting it ostensibly in one man, subject, in whole or in part, to the control and co-operation 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 sball find examples in the constitutions of several of the states. New-York and New Jersey, if I recollect right, are the only statos, which have intrusted tho exocutive authority wholly to single men.* Both these methods of destroying the unity of the executive have tbeir partizans; but the votaries of an executive council are the most numerous. 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 any thing, it teaches us not to be enamoured of plurality in the executive. We have seen that the Achæans, on an experiment of two prætors, were induced to abolish one. The Roman history records many instances of mischiefs to the republic from the dissentions between the consuls, and between the military tribunes, who were at times substituted to the consuls. But it gives us no specimens of any peculiar advantages derived to the state, from the plurality of those magistrates.' That the dissentions between them were not more frequont or more fatal, is matter of astonishment; until we advert to the singular position in which the republic was almost continually placed, and to the prudent policy pointed out by the circumstances of the state, and pursued by the consuls, of making a division of the government between them. The patricians, engaged in a perpetual struggle with the plebeians, for the pre
* New-York has no council except for the single purpose of appointing to offices; New-Jersey has a council, whom the governor may consult. But I think, from the terms of the constitution, their resolutions do rot bied him: