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when it is ONE:"* That it is far more safe there should be a singlo object for the jealousy and watchfulnoss of tho pooplo; in a word, that all multiplication of the executivo, is rather dangorous than friendly to liberty.
A littlo consideration will satisfy us, that the species of security sought for in the multiplication of the executive, is unattainable. Numbers must be so great as to render combination difficult; or they are rather a source of danger than of security. The united credit and influence of several individuals, must be more formidable to liberty, than the credit and influence of either of them separately. When power, therefore, is placed in the hands of so small a number of men, as to admit of their interests and views being easily combined in a common enterprise, by an artful leader, it becomes more liable to abuse, and more dangerous when abused, than if it be lodged in the bands of one man; who, from the very circumstance of his being alone, will be more narrowly watched and more readily suspected, and who cannot unite so great a mass of influence as when he is associated with others. The decemvirs of Rome, whose name denotes their number,+ were more to be dreaded in their usurpation than any one of them would have beeu. No person would think of proposing an executive much more numerous than that body; from six, to a dozen, have been suggested for the number of the council. The extreme of these numbers, is not too great for an easy combination; and from such a combination America would have more to fear, than from the ambition of any single individual. A council to a magistrate, who is himself responsible for what he does, are generally nothing better than a clog upon his good intentions; are often the instruments and accomplices of his bad, and are almost always a cloak to his faults.
I forbear to dwell upon the subject of expense; though it be evident that if the council should be numerous enough to an. swer the principal end, aimed at by the institution, the salaries of the members, who must be drawn from their homes to reside
at the seat of government, would form an item in the catalogue of public expenditures, too serious to be incurred for an object of equivocal utility.
I will only add, that prior to the appearance of the constitution, I rarely met with an intelligent man from any of the states, who did not admit as the result of experience, that the unity of the executive of this state was one of the best of the distinguishing features of our constitution.
NEW YORK, MARCH 21, 1788.
THE SAME VIEW CONTINUED, IN REGARD TO THE DURATION OF
Duration in office, has been mentioned as the second requi. site to the energy of the executive authority. This has relation to two objects: To the personal firmness of the chief magistrate, in the employment of his constitutional powers; and to the stability of the system of, administration, which may have been adopted under his auspices. With regard to the first, it must be evident, that the longer the duration in office, the greater will be the probability of obtaining so important an advantage. It is a general principle of human nature, that a man will be interested in whatever he possesses, in proportion to the firmness or precariousness of the tenure by which he holds it; will be less attached to what he holds by a momentary or uncertain title, than to what he enjoys by a title durable or certain; and, of course, will be willing to risk more for tho sake of the one, than of the other. This remark is not less applicable to a political privilege, or honour, or trust, than to any article of ordinary property. The inference from it is, that a man acting in the capacity of chief magistrate, under a consciousness that, in a very short time, he must lay down his office, will be apt to feel himself too little interested in it, to
hazard any material censure or perplexity, from the independent exertion of his powers, or from encountoring the wi-humours, however transient, which may happen to prevail, either in a considerable part of the society itself, or even in a predominant faction in the legislative body. If the case should only be, that he might lay it down, unless continued by a new choice; and if he should be desirous of being continued, his wishes, conspiring with his fears, would tend still more powerfully to corrupt bis integrity, or debase his fortitude. In either case, feebleness and irresolution must be the characteristics of the station.
There are some, who would be inclined to regard the servile pliancy of the executive, to a prevailing current, either in the community, or in the legislature, as its best recommendation. But such men entertain very crude notions, as well of the purposes for which government was instituted, as of the true means by which the public happiness may be promoted. The republican principle demands, that the deliberate sense of the community should govern the conduct of those to wbom they intrust the management of their affairs; but it does not require an unqualified complaisance to every sudden breeze of passion, or to ovory transient impulso which tho people may receivo . from the arts of men, who flatter their prejudices to betray their interests. It is a just observation, that the people commonly intend the PUBLIC GOOD. This often applies to their very errors. But their good sense would despise the adulator who should pretend, that they always reason right about the means of promoting it. They know, from experience, that they sometimes err; and the wonder is, that they so seldom err as they do, beset, as they continually are, by the wiles of parasites and sycophants; by the snares of the ambitious, the avaricious, the desperate; by the artifices of men who possess their confidence inore than they deserve it; and of those who seek to possess, rather than to deserve it. When occasions present themselves, in which the interests of the people are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom they have appointed, to be the guardians of those interests; to withstand
the temporary delusion, in order to give them time and oppor. tunity for more cool and sedate reflection. Instances might be cited, in which a conduct of this kind has saved the people from very fatal consequences of their own mistakes, and has procured lasting monuments of their gratitude to the men who had courage and magnanimity enough to servo them at the peril of their displeasure.
But however inclined we might be, to insist upon an unbounded complaisance in the executive to the inclinations of the people, wo can, with no propriety, contend for a liko complaisance to the humours of tho logislature. The lattor may sometimes stand in opposition to the former; and at other times the people may be entirely neutral. In either supposition, it is certainly desirable, that the executive should be in a situation to dare to act his own opinion with vigour and decision.
The same rule which teaches the propriety of a partition between the various branches of power, teaches, likewise, that this partition ought to be so contrived as to render the one independent of the other. To what purpose separate the executive or the judiciary from the legislative, if both the executive and the judiciary are so constituted as to be at the absolute devotion of the legislative? Such a separation must be morely nominal, and incapable of producing the ends for which it was established. It is one thing to be subordinate to the laws, another to bo dependent on the legislative body. The first comports with, the last violates, tho fundamental principlos of good government; and whatever may be the forms of tbe constitution, unites all power in the same hands. The tendency of the legislative authority to absorb every other, has been fully displayed and illustrated by examples in some preceding numbers. In governments purely republican, this tendency is almost irresistible. The representatives of the people, in a popular assembly, seem sometimes to fancy, that they are the people themselves, and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other