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tion of which may be a cause of war)....." as that potver which is charg. “ed with the execution of the laws, of which treaties make a part.....as " that power, which is charged with the command and application of the public force."
With additional force, it might be said, that the executive is as much the executor as the interpreter of treaties ; that if by virtue of the first character, it is to judge of the obligations of treaties, it is, by virtue of the second, equally authorized to carry those obligations into effect. Should there occur, for example, a casus fæderis, claiming a military co-opera. tion of the United States, and a military force should happen to be under the command of the executive, it must have the same right, as executor of public treaties, to employ the public force, as it has in quality of in. terpreter of public treaties to decide, whether it ought to be employed.
The case of a treaty of peace would be an auxiliary to comments of this sort : it is a condition annexed to every treaty, that an infraction even of an important article, on one side, extinguishes the obligations on the other : and the immediate consequence of a dissolution of a treaty of
peace is a restoration of a state of war. If the executive is « to de. “cide on the obligation of the nation with regard to foreign nations ". " to pronounce the existing condition [in the sense annexed by the writ
er) of the nation with regard to them; and to admonish the citizens “ of their obligations and duties, as founded upon that condition of
things ”.....“ to judge what are the reciprocal rights and obligations of " the United States, and of all and each of the powers at war;".....add, that if the executive, moreover, possesses all powers relating to war, not strictly within the power to declare war, which any pupil of political casuistry could distinguish from a mere relapse into a war that had been declared : with this store of materials, and the example given of the use to be made of them, would it be difficult to fabricate a power in the ex® ecutive to plunge the nation into war, whenever a treaty of peace might happen to be infringed ?
But if any difficulty should arise, there is another mode chalked out, by which the end might clearly be brought about, even without the violation of the treaty of peace ; especially if the other party should hap. pen to change its government at the crisis. The executive could suspend the treaty of peace by refusing to receive an ambassador from the new government; and the state of war emerges of course.
This is a sample of the use to which the extraordinary publication we are reviewing might be turned. Some of the inferences could not be repelled at all. And the least regular of them must go smoothly down with those who had swallowed the gross sophistry which wrapped up the original dose.
Every just view that can be taken of this subject, admonishes the public of the necessity of a rigid adherence to the simple, the received, and the fundamental doctrine of the constitution, that the power to declare war, including the power of judging of the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature ; that the executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war; that the right of convening and informing congress,
whenever such a question seems to call for a decision, is all the right which the constitution has deemed requisite or proper; and that for such,
more than for any other contingency, this right was specially given to the executive.
In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found, than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Beside the objection to such a mixture of heterogeneous powers, the trust and the temptation would be too great
for any one man ; not such as nature may offer as the prodigy of many centuries, but such as may be expected in the ordinary successions of magistracy. War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created ; and it is the executive will, which is to direct it. In war, the public treasures are to be unlocked ; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. In 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 ar to encircle. The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venial love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.
Hence it has 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 própensity 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 constịtution proceeded in its regulation of the power of treaties, includ. ing treaties of peace, are so aptly furnished by the work already quoted more than once, that I shall borrow another comment from that source.
“ However proper or safe it may be in a government where the exec“utive magistrate is an hereditary monarch, to commit to him the entire “ power of making treaties, it would be utterly unsafe and improper to “ entrust that power to an elective magistrate of four years' duration. “ It has been remarked upon another occasion, and the remark is unquestionably just, that an hereditary monarch, though often the oppres
of his people, has personally two much at stake in the government “ to be in any material danger of being corrupted by foreign powers: “ but that a man raised from the station of a private citizen to the rank “of chief magistrate, possessed of but a moderate or slender fortune, and “ looking forward to a period not very remote, when he may probably “ be obliged to return to the station from which he was taken, might « sometimes be under temptations to sacrifice his dutv to his intound,
“ which it would require superlative virtue to withstand. An avari. “ cious man might be tempted to betray the interests of the state to the " acquisition of wealth. An ambitious man might make his own ag“ grandizement, by the aid of a foreign power, the price of his treach
ery to his constituents. The history of human conduct does not war
rant that exalted opinion of human virtue, which would make it wise o in a nation to commit interests of so delicate and momentous a kind, “ as those which concern its intercourse with the rest of the world, to the “ sole disposal of a magistrate created and circumstanced as would be a “president of the United States. Federalist, p. 344.*
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 the commitment of the delicate and momentous 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 advancé towards the security afforded by the personal interests of an hereditary magistrate.
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.
Having seen that the executive has 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 bę a cause of war or not, in the article of guaranty between the United States and France, and in so doing has 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 phraseology, as well as of the doctrines, espoused by this writer. The source from which the former is evidently borrowed, may enlighten our conjectures with regard to the source of
* No. 75, written by Mr. Hamilton.
the latter. It is a just observation also that words have often a gradual influence on ideas, and, when used in an improper sense, may cover fallacies which would not otherwise escape detection.
1 allude particularly to his application of the term government to the executive authority alone. The proclamation is “a manifestation of the " sense of the government." Why did not the government wait,” &c. “ The policy on the part of the government of removing all doubt as to - its own disposition."* It was of great importance, that our citizens “ should understand as early as possible the opinion entertained by the “government," &c. “ If in addition to the rest, the early manifestation " of the views of the government had any effect in fixing the public “ opinion," &c. The reader will probably be struck with the reflection, that if the proclamation 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 government, 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 style adopted by the writer, as showing 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. "ernment” 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 prerogative eclipses, and the machinery of influence directs, every other part of the government. In the former and proper sense, the term has hitherto been used in offi. cial proceedings, in public discussions, and in private discourse. It is as short and as easy, and less liable to misapprehension, 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, 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 “ proclamation," in its ordi. nary 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 the subject acknowledged to be within the legislative province.
When the writer therefore undertook to engraft his new prerogative of the proclamation, by ascribing to it so unusual, and unimplied a meaning, it was evidently incumbent on him to show, that the text of the instrument could not be satisfied by any other construction than his own.
* The writer ought not in the same paper, No. VII, to have said, “ Had the pres*! ident announced his own disposition he would have been chargeable with egotsó ism, if not presumption."
66 The gov.
Has he done this ? No. What has he done? He has called the proelamation a proclamation of neutrality; 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 questiun was ever to be asked, whether the term “neutrality” 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 trality" 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 continued in force ; the danger that in. discreet citizens might be tempted or surprised by the crisis, into unlawful proceedings, tending to involve the United States in a war, which the competent authority might decide them to be at liberty to avoid, and which, if they should be judged not at liberty to avoid, the other party to the eventual contract, might be willing not to impose on them; these surely might have been sufficient grounds for the measure pursued by the executive: and being legal and rational grounds, it would be wrong, if there be no necessity, to look beyond them.
If there be any thing in the proclamation of which the writer could have made a handle, it is the part which declares, the disposition, the duty, and the interest of the United States, in relation to the war existing in Europe. As the legislature is the only competent and constitutional
organ of the will of the nation ; that is, of its disposition, its duty, and its interest, in relation to a commencement of war, in like manner as the president and senate jointly, not the president alone, are in relation to peace, after war has been commenced....I will not dissemble my wish that a language less exposed to criticism had been preferred ; but taking the expressions, in the Anse of the writer himself, as analogous to the language which might be proper, on the reception of a public minister, or any similar occasion, it is evident that his construction can derive no succor even from this source.
If the proclamation, then, does not require the construction which this writer has taken the liberty of putting on it; I leave it to be decided, whether the following considerations do not forbid us to suppose, that the president could have intended, by that act, to embrace and prejudge the legislative question, whether there was, or was not, under the circumstances of the case, a cause of war in the article of guaranty.
It has been shown that such an intention would have usurped the prerogative not vested in the executive, and even confessedly vested in another department.
In exercising the constitutional power of deciding a question of war, the legislature ought to be as free to decide, according to its own sense of the public good, on one side as on the other side. Had the proclamation prejudged the question on either side, and proclaimed its decision to the world; the legislature, instead of being as free as it ought, might