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dicious, weak, or wicked appointment, is shared so much between him and the senate, that his part of it will be too small. Who can censure him, without censuring the senate, and the legislatures who appoint them? all their friends will be interested to vindicate the president, in order to screen them from censure; besides, if an impeachment is brought before them against an officer, are they not interested to acquit him, lest some part of the odium of his guilt should fall upon them, who advised to his appointment.
"2. It turns the minds and attention of the people to the senate, a branch of the legislature, in executive matters; it interests another branch of the legislature in the management of the executive; it divides the people between the executive and the senate : whereas all the people ought to be united to watch the executive, to oppose its encroachments, and resist its ambition.-Senators and representatives, and their constituents-in short the aristocratical and democratical divisions of society ought to be united, on all occasions to oppose the executive or the monarchial branch when it attempts to overleap its limits. But how can this union be effected, when the aristocratical branch has pledged its reputation to the executive by consenting to an appointment.
"3. It has a natural tendency, to excite ambition in the senate. An active, ardent spirit, in that house, who is rich, and able, has a great reputation and influence, will be solicited by candidates for office; not to introduce the idea of bribery, because, though it certainly would force itself in, in other countries, and will probably here, when we grow populous and rich, yet it is not yet, I hope, to be dreaded. But ambition must come in, already. A senator of great influence, will be naturally ambitious and desirous of increasing his influence. Will he not be under a temptation to use his influence with the president as well as his brother senators, to appoint persons to office in the several states who will exert themselves in elections to get out his enemies or opposers both in senate and house of representatives, and to get in his friends, perhaps his instruments? Suppose a senator, to aim at the treasury office, for himself, his brother, father, or son. Suppose him to aim at the president's chair, or vice-president, at the
next election-or at the office of war, foreign or domestic affairs, will he not naturally be tempted to make use of his whole patronage, his whole influence, in advising to appointments, both with president and senators, to get such persons nominated, as will exert themselves in elections of president, vice-president, senators, and house of representatives, to increase his interest and promote his views. In this point of view, I am very apprehensive that this defect in our constitution, will have an unhappy tendency to introduce corruption of the grossest kinds, both of ambition and avarice, into all our elections. And this will be the worst of poisons to our constitution; it will not only destroy the present form. of government, but render it almost impossible to substitute in its place any free government, even a better limited monarchy, or any other than a despotism or a simple monarchy.
"4. To avoid the evil under the last head, it will be in danger of dividing the continent into two or three nations, a case that presents no prospect but of perpetual war.
"5. This negative on appointments, is in danger of involving the senate in reproach, obloquy, censure, and suspicion, without doing any good. Will the senate use their negative or not-if not; why should they have it-many will censure them for not using it-many will ridicule them, call them servile, &c., if they do use it. The very first instance of it, will expose the senators to the resentment not only of the disappointed candidate and all his friends, but of the president and all his friends; and those will be most of the officers of government, through the nation.
"6. We shall very soon have parties formed—a court and country party—and these parties will have names given them, one party in the house of representatives will support the president and his measures and ministers-the other will oppose them—a similar party will be in the senate-these parties will struggle with all their art, perhaps with intrigue, perhaps with corruption at every election to increase their own friends and diminish their opposers. Suppose such parties formed in senate, and then consider what factions, divisions, we shall have there, upon every nomination.
"7. The senate have not time. You are of opinion "that the concurrence of the senate in the appointment to office, will strengthen the hands of the executive, and secure the confidence of the people, much better than a select council, and will be less expensive," but in every one of these ideas, I have the misfortune to differ from you. It will weaken the hands of the executive, by lessening the obligation, gratitude, and attachment of the candidate to the president, by dividing his attachment between the executive and legislature which are natural enemies.
"Officers of government, instead of having a single eye and undivided attachment to the executive branch, as they ought to have, consistent with law and the constitution, will be constantly tempted to be factious with their factious patrons in the senate. The president's own officers in a thousand instances will oppose his just and constitutional exertions, and screen themselves under the wings of their patrons and party in the legislature. Nor will it secure the confidence of the people; the people will have more confidence in the executive, in executive matters, than in the senate. The people will be constantly jealous of factious schemes in the senators to unduly influence the executive, and of corrupt bargains between the senate and executive, to serve each others private views. The people will also be jealous that the influence of the senate will be employed to conceal, connive, and defend guilt in executive officers, instead of being a guard and watch upon them, and a terror to them—a council selected by the president himself at his pleasure, from among the senators, representatives, and nation at large, would be purely responsible-in that case, the senate as a body would not be compromised. The senate would be a terror to privy councillors--its honor would never be pledged to support any measure or instrument of the executive, beyond justice, law, and the constitution. Nor would a privy council be more expensive. The whole senate must now deliberate on every appointment, and, if they ever find time for it, you will find that a great deal of time will be required and consumed in this service. Then the president might have a constant executive council; now he has none.
"I said under the seventh head that the senate would not have time. You will find that the whole business of this government will be infinitely delayed, by this negative of the senate on treaties and appointments. Indian treaties and consular conventions have been already waiting for months, and the senate have not been able to find a moment of time to attend to them; and this evil must constantly increase, so that the senate must be constantly sitting, and must be paid as long as they sit.
"But I have tired your patience. Is there any truth or importance in these broken hints and crude surmises or not? To me they appear well founded and very important.”
To these remarks Mr. Sherman replied, that he esteemed "the provision made for appointments to office, to be a matter of very great importance, on which the liberties and safety of the people depended, nearly as much as on legislation. If that was vested in the president alone he might render himself despotic. It was a saying of one of the kings of England, ' that while the king could appoint the bishops and judges, he might have what religion and laws he pleased.' To give that observation its full effect, they must hold their offices during his pleasure; by such appointments without control, a power might be gradually established, that would be more formidable than a standing army.
"It appears to me that the senate is the most important branch in the government, for the aid and support of the executive, for securing the rights of the individual states, the government of the United States and the liberties of the people. The executive is not to execute its own will, but the will of the legislature declared by the laws, and the senate being a branch of the legislature, will be disposed to accomplish that end; and advise to such appointments as will be most likely to effect it; from their knowledge of the people in the several states, they can give the best information who are qualified for office. And they will, as you justly observe, in some degree lessen his responsibility, yet will he not have as much remaining as he can well support? and may not their advice enable him to make such judicious appointments as to renVOL. II.
der responsibility less necessary? no person can deserve censure when he acts honestly according to his best discretion.
"The senators being chosen by the legislatures of the states, and depending on them for re-election, will naturally be watchful to prevent any infringement of the rights of the states. And the government of the United States being federal, and instituted by a number of sovereign states for the better security of their rights, and advancement of their interests, they may be considered as so many pillars to support it, and by the exercise of the state governments, peace and good order may be preserved in the places most remote from the seat of the federal government as well as at the centre.
"I believe this will be a better balance to secure the government, than three independent negatives would be.
"I think you admit in your defense of the governments of the United States, that even one branch might serve in a diplomatic government like that of the union; but I think the constitution is much improved by the addition of another branch, and those of the executive and judiciary. This seems to be an improvement on federal government beyond what has been made by any other states. I can see nothing in the constitution that will tend to its dissolution except the article for making amendments.
"That the evils that you suggest may happen in consequence of the power vested in the senate to aid the executive, appear to me to be but barely possible. The senators, from the provision made for their appointment, will commonly be some of the most respectable citizens in the states for wisdom and probity, and superior to faction, intrigue, or low artifice, to obtain appointments for themselves or their friends, and any attempts of that kind would destroy their reputation with a free and enlightened people, and so frustrate the end they would have in view. Their being candidates for re-election, will probably be one of the most powerful motives (next to that of their virtue) to fidelity in office, and by that mean alone would they hope for success. 'He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely,' is the saying of a divinely inspired writer-they will naturally have the confidence of the people, as