« ForrigeFortsett »
war the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed. It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered, and it is the executive brow they are to encircle. The strongest passions, and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honourable or venial love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.
Hence it bas grown into an axiom that the executive is the department of power most distinguished by its propensity to war: hence it is the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence.
As the best praise then that can be pronounced on an executive magistrate, is, that he is the friend of peace; a praise that rises in its value, as there may be a known capacity to shine in war: so it must be one of the most sacred duties of a free people, to mark the first omen in the society, of principles that may stimulate the hopes of other magistrates of another propensity, to intrude into questions on which its gratification depends. If a free people be a wise people also, they will not forget that the danger of surprise can never be so great, as when the advocates for the prerogative of war can sheathe it in a symbol of peace.
The constitution has manifested a similar prudence in refusing to the executive the sole power of making peace. The trust in this instance also, would be too great for the wisdom, and the temptations too strong for the virtue, of a single citizen. The principal reasons on which the constitution proceeded in its regulation of the power of treaties, including treaties of peace, are so aptly fur. nished by the work already quoted more than once, that I shall borrow another comment from that source.
6 However proper or safe it may be in a government “ where the executive magistrate is an hereditary mon4 arch, to commit to bim the entire power of making trea“ ties, it would be utterly unsafe and improper to entrust “ that power to an elective magistrate of four years du“ ration. It has been remarked upon another occasion, $6 and the remark is unquestionably just, that an heredi“ tary monarch, though often the oppressor of his people, 6 las personally too much at stake in the government to 66 be in any material danger of being corrupted by foreign 66 powers; but that a man raised from the station of a 6 private citizen to the rank of chief magistrate, posses6 sed of but a moderate or slender fortune, and tookios “ forward to a period not very remote, when he may pro“bably be obliged to return to the station froni wbich he • was taken, might sometimes be under temptations to " sacrifice his duty to his interest, which it would re
quire superlative virtue to withstand. An avaricious or man might be tempted to betray the interests of the 6 state to the acquisition of wealth. An ambitious man • might make his own aggrandizement, by the aid of a
foreign power, the price of bis treachery to his con“ stituents. The history of human conduct does not warcó rant that exalted opinion of human virtue, which “ would make it wise in a nation to commit interests of 6 so delicate and momentous a kind, as those which con“ cern its intercourse with the rest of the world, to the • sole disposal of a magistrate created and circumstanc
ed as would be a president of the United States." p. 467.* * I shall conclude this paper and this branch of the subject, with two reflections, which naturally arise from this view of the constitution.
The first is, that as the personal interest of an hereditary monarch in the government, is the only security against the temptation incident to a commitment of the delicate and momeptous interests of the nation, which concern its intercourse with the rest of the world, to the disposal of a single magistrate, it is a plain consequence, that every addition that may be made to the sole agency and influence of the executive, in the intercourse of the nation with foreign nations, is an increase of the dangerous temptation to which an elective and temporary magistrate is exposed ; and an argument and adrance towards the security afforded by the personal interests of an hereditary magistrate.
, is anive and ted adrance of an
• Federalist, No. 75, written by Mr. Hamilton.
'Secondly, As the constitution has not permitted the executive singly to conclude or judge that peace ought to be made, it might be inferred from that circumstance alone, that it never meant to give it authority, singly, to judge and conclude that war ought not to be made. The trust would be precisely similar and equivalent in the two cases. The right to say that war ought not to go on, would be no greater than the right to say that war ought not to begin. Every danger of error or corruption, incident to such a prerogative in one case, is incident to it in the other. If the constitution therefore has deemed it unsafe or improper in the one case, it must be deemed equally so in the other case.
No. V. HAVING seen that the executive bas no constitutional right to interfere in any question whether there be or be not a cause of war, and the extensive consequences flowing from the doctrines on which such a claim has been asserted; it remains to be inquired, whether the writer is better warranted in the fact which he assumes, namely, that the proclamation of the executive has undertaken to decide the question, whether there be a cause of war or not, in the article of guarantee between the United States and France, and in so doing bas exercised the right which is claimed for that department. · Before I proceed to the examination of this point, it may not be amiss to advert to the novelty of the phrase. ology, as well as of the doctrines, espoused by this writer. The source from which the former is evidently borrowed, may eniighten our conjectures with regard to the source of the latter. It is a just observation also that words have often a gradual influence on ideas, and wben used in an improper sense, may cover fallacies which would not otherwise escape detection.
I allude particularly to his application of the term government to the executive authority alone. The proclamation is a manifestation of the sense of the govern. 6 ment ;" 6 why did not the government wait,' &C....
hence on ation also the sourc
6 The policy on the part of the gorernment of removing « all doubt as to its own disposition."* " It was of great “ importance that our citizens should understand as ear“ly as possible the opinion entertained by the govern“ ment,' &c. “ If in addition to the rest, the early mani. “ festation of the views of the government had any ef. « fect in fixing the public opinion,” &c. The reader will probably be struck with the reflection, that if the procla. mation really possessed the character, and was to have
the effects, here ascribed to it, something more than the , authority of the government, in the writer's sense of go.
vernment, would have been a necessary sanction to the act; and if the term “ government” be removed, and that of “ President” substituted, in the sentences quoted, the justice of the reflection will be felt with peculiar force. But I remark only, on the singularity of the stile adopted by the writer, as shewing either that the phraseology of a foreign government is more familiar to him than the phraseology proper to our own, or that he wishes to propagate a familiarity of the former in preference to the latter, I do not know what degree of disapprobation others may think due to this innovation of language; but I consider it as far above a trivial criticism, to observe that it is by no means unworthy of attention, whether viewed with an eye to its probable cause, or its apparent tendency. “The government,” unquestionably means in the United States the whole government, not the executive part, either exclusively, or pre-eminently; as it may do in a monarchy, where the splendor of preroga. tive eclipses, and the machinery of influence directs, esery other part of the goveryment. In the former and proper sense, the term has hitherto been used in official proceedings, in public discussions, and in private discourse. It is as short and as easy, and less liable to misapprehepsion, to say, the executive or the president, as to say the government. In a word, the new dialect could not proceed either from necessity, conveniency,
* The writer ought not in the same paper, No. VII, to have said, “ Had the President announced his own disposition, he would have been chargeable with egotism, if not presumptior.
propriety, or perspicuity; and being in opposition to common usage, so marked a fondness for it justifies the notice here taken of it. It shall no longer detain me, however, from the more important subject of the present paper. .
I proceed therefore to observe that as a 6 proclamaation," in its ordinary use, is an address to citizens or subjects only; as it is always understood to relate to the law actually in operation, and to be an act purely and exclusively executive; there can be no implication in the name or the form of such an instrument, that it was meant principally for the information of foreign nations ; far less that it related to an eventual stipulation on a subject acknowledged to be within the legislative province.
When the writer therefore undertook to engraft bis new prerogative on the proclamation, by ascribing to it 50 unusual, and unimplied a meaning, it was evidently incumbent on him to shew, that the text of the instru. ment could not be satisfied by any other construction than his own. Has he done this ?. No. What has he done? He has called the proclamation, a proclamation of neu. trality; he has put his own arbitrary meaning on that phrase; and has then proceeded in his arguments and his inferences, with as much confidence, as if no question was ever to be asked, whether the term “ neutrali. 66 ty” be in the proclamation; or whether, if there, it could justify the use he makes of it.
It has appeared from observations already made, that if the term “ neutrality" was in the proclamation, it could not avail the writer in the present discussion; but the fact is, no such term is to be found in it, nor any other term, of a meaning equivalent to that, in which the term neutrality is used by him.
There is the less pretext, in the present case, for hunting after any latent or extraordinary object, because an obvious and legal one is at hand, to satisfy the occasion on which the proclamation issued. The existence of war among several nations with which the United States have an extensive intercourse; the duty of the executive to preserve peace by enforcing its laws, whilst those laws
" ty” be ver to be askemuch confidenis argume
neutrier in the presand in it, wo ich