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not as mutual obstructions. How is this to be done? Certainly not by admitting the doctrine of this amendment, which would utterly destroy one of the powers ; would give the House an absolute control over the appointment of ministers, and reduce the President and senate to the mere power of making a nomination, which the House might refuse to agree to according to its good pleasure. This is the plain and necessary consequence of admitting the principle contended for in support of this amendment, that the House, when called on to appropriate for an officer, legally appointed, may in the first place inquire, whether the appointment is necessary.

Some other way of reconciling these powers must therefore be found out; and what is it? We contend, Mr. Chairman, that it is thus. An office must first be authorized by law: for nobody pretends that the President and senate can create offices. When the office is thus authorized, the President and senatę exercise their power of appointment, and fill the office. The House of Representatives then exercises its constitutional power over appropriations, by providing an adequate compensation for the officer. In the exercise of this power they cannot inquire, whether the office was necessary or not; for that has already been determined by the law which authorized it. Neither can they inquire whether the office was properly filled ; for that would be to invade the powers of the President and senate, to whom, by the constitution, the right of choosing the officer is exclusively referred. Into what then may they inquire? They may inquire what is a proper and adequate compensation for such an officer: they may fix the amount of his salary; and in fixing it they must be guided by a proper discretion, by a sense of duty, by the nature of the office, the circumstances of the country, and the public service. Thus the constitution would be reconciled, and each department would act within its proper sphere. The President and senate could make no appointment till

the office should be authorized by law, consequently, there would be no danger of abuse. When they had made the appointment, they could not fix the amount of salary, or order the money to be paid out of the treasury; another guard against the danger of abuse. When the appointment should be duly made, the House, on the other hand, would be bound to provide an adequate salary, and could not, by refusing it, defeat the law and the appointment, because they might think the one unnecessary, or the other unwise; and this principle would be a guard against any abuse of the powers of the House; would prevent it from invading the province of the other departments, and subverting the principles of the constitution.

Had gentlemen confined themselves within these limits, had they carried their inquiries no further than to the adequacy of this or that salary, this debate would never have existed. We should have met them on the ground of sufficiency of salaries, without any reference to constitutional points, or contention about constitutional powers. But this was not their conduct. They expressly declared, not that the salaries were too high and ought to be reduced, but that the appointments themselves were unnecessary, and ought to be abridged; and thus they drove us into the constitutional question, and compelled us to defend the executive powers, against their attacks in this House.

But, say gentlemen, is the House always bound to appropriate? If the President should appoint an hundred ministers plenipotentiary, must the House without inquiry give money to support them all? What guard would there then be, they exclaim, against an enormous and abusive extension of the diplomatic establishment ?

To this I answer, Mr. Chairman, in the first place, that we have a security in the responsibility of the President. He is elected by the people; and elected every four years. All these appointments, though sanctioned by the senate, must originate with him;


and therefore he is particularly and almost solely responsible. His character is at stake. He is a single actor, on a most conspicuous theatre; and all eyes are upon him. He is watched with all the jealousy, which, in this country, particularly, is entertained of executive power. He is watched by the gentlemen themselves who support this amendment, and who are sufficiently prone to find fault with him and abuse him, even when he acts properly. This he well knows, and consequently will take care to do nothing which may strengthen their hands, by giving them grounds for

Should he act improperly, make foolish or unnecessary appointments, he must disgust his friends and supporters, forfeit the public esteem, and lose his election. He may be even turned out by impeachment, before the time for a new election arrives. These I apprehend are sufficient securities against wanton misconduct.

I answer, in the next place, that if the President should think fit to abuse his powers, it is his own concern, and no business of this House; unless, indeed, we choose to impeach him. We are sent here by the people to exercise our own powers, and not to watch over the President; who equally with us derives his powers from the people, and is amenable to them and not to this House, for the exercise of those powers. We may, indeed, as individuals, censure his conduct, as we may that of any member on this floor, and endeavor to prevent the people from re-electing him; but as a body, we have nothing to do with him, or his conduct, but to impeach him. If he proposes measures to us which we do not approve, we may reject them, in the same manner as he may reject bills which we send up to him; but we have no more right to prevent him, either directly or indirectly, from making such appointments as he pleases, than he has to prevent us from passing such votes or resolutions as we please. The interference in one case is equally unconstitutional as in the other. It has indeed become fashionable, with some gentlemen on this floor, to consider this House as “ the people," and to speak and act as if the people had delegated to us, their general superintending power over the other departments; but this doctrine is unknown to the constitution, to the utter subversion of which it directly leads. It directly leads to that concentration of powers in one popular body, which it was the main object of the constitution to prevent, and which it was and is the main object of those gentlemen to introduce: that concentration to which this amendment is considered and intended, by its supporters, as an introductory step.

I answer, in the last place, Mr. Chairman, that if the President should appoint an hundred ministers plenipotentiary, or commit any other such wanton and foolish abuse of his power, it would be an extreme case which would speak for itself, and dictate the line of conduct which this House and the country ought to pursue. But we never can legislate on extreme cases. They must be left to suggest and provide their own remedies, when they occur. Suppose two thirds of both Houses, under the influence of some unaccountable madness, should pass a law in spite of the President, for building fifty ships of the line, to be given to France in order to augment her navy, or for any other violent purpose, how ought the President and the country to act? I do not know: these would be extreme cases, and they would carry their own evidence, and the indication of their own remedies, with them. We may as well suppose extreme cases of one kind as of another; and however our own self-love may induce us to think, that there is less danger from us than from the President and senate, and that power,

however dangerous in their hands, is perfectly safe as soon as it comes into ours, the constitution and the framers of it judged otherwise, and they judged rightly. It is infinitely more dangerous in our hands, when uncontrolled; because we have less personal responsibility, and are far more liable to the influence of passion. When, therefore, these extreme cases occur, we will act accordingly; and should they obviously require the breach of a law, the necessity will be universally felt and acknowledged, and we must break it. All that I contend for is, that the present is not an extreme case; and that these appointments being authorized by law, a law must be broken before we can defeat the appointments, according to the avowed object of this amendment. I contend that when we undertake to defeat thèse appointments, we must consider them as authorized by law, as much as the appointment of a judge, or a secretary of the treasury; and must inquire whether the motives are sufficiently urgent, the case sufficiently extreme, to induce the necessity of breaking a law. This is denied by gentlemen who support the amendment. They contend that these appointments of foreign ministers are not to be considered, as completely authorized by law; and consequently that the House may withhold the appropriation, without breaking any law. This is the very point in dispute; and to this point I shall direct such remaining observations, as seem necessary to be made on the constitutional question.

The question then is, Mr. Chairman, from what source is the office of minister plenipotentiary, or any other foreign minister, derived? The officer, we well know, must be appointed by the President and senate; but the office and the officer are distinct things; and before an officer can be appointed, an office must exist; unless gentlemen are disposed to admit, as I certainly am not, that the President and senate can create offices. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Gallatin,) well aware that if the office of foreign minister could be considered as legally existing, previous to the appointment by the President and senate, and independently of it, the conclusion which we contend for would irresistibly follow, has denied this position; he has denied that the office of foreign minister becomes a


VOL. 11.

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