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it could be strong only if it was independent of party ties and entrusted to a single man. We read in the thirtyseventh letter of The Federalist, written by Madison :
The genius of republican liberty seems to demand on one side not only that all power should be derived from the people, but that those entrusted with it should be kept in dependence on the people by a short duration of their appointments; and that even during this short period the trust should be placed not in a few, but in a number of hands. Stability, on the contrary, requires that the hands in which power is lodged should continue for a length of time the
A frequent change of men will result from a frequent return of elections, and a frequent change of measures from a frequent change of men, whilst energy in government requires not only a certain duration of power, but the execution of it by a single hand.
Hamilton, Jay, Governor Morris, John Adams, and other leading men of the time were so much in favour of a strong executive that they advocated that American Presidents, like British Judges, should be appointed for life and should be removable only by impeachment.
The doctrine that a Government, to be efficient, requires not many heads but a single head, that a one-man Government, a strong Government, is valuable at all times, and especially in time of national danger, was more fully developed by Hamilton in the seventieth letter of The Federalist. He wrote:
Energy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice ; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy. Every man the least conversant in Roman history knows how often that republic was obliged to take refuge in the absolute power of a single man under the formidable title of Dictator. .
There can be no need, however, to multiply arguments or examples on this head. A feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution ; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.
The ingredients which constitute energy in the Executive are, first, unity ; secondly, duration ; thirdly, an adequate provision for its support; fourthly, competent powers.
Those politicians and statesmen who have been the most celebrated for the soundness of their principles and for the justice of their views have declared in favour of a single Executive and a numerous legislature. They have, with great propriety, considered energy as the most necessary qualification of the former, and have regarded this as most applicable to power in a single hand; while they have, with equal propriety, considered the latter as best adapted to deliberation and wisdom, and best calculated to conciliate the confidence of the people and to secure their privileges and interests.
That unity is conducive to energy will not be disputed. Decision, activity, secrecy, and despatch will generally characterise the proceedings of one man in a much more eminent degree than the proceedings of any great number; and in proportion as the number is increased these qualities will be diminished.
Great Britain is ruled by a Cabinet, by a number of men who are nominally equal, and the Prime Minister is their President, he is primus inter pares. The British Cabinet Ministers take resolutions collectively and they act, at least in theory, with unanimity. As they act unanimously, there is no individual, but only collective, responsibility for Cabinet decisions. Until recently twenty-two Cabinet Ministers were collectively responsible for every important decision, even if the decision required high expert knowledge which few, if any, of them possessed, or if it concerned only a single Department-such as the Army or Navy-with which twenty Ministers out of twenty-two in the Cabinet were quite unacquainted. An anonymous author wrote some years ago of the British Cabinet that it had many heads but no head, many minds but no mind. Government by a crowd is a danger in war time. Hamilton clearly foresaw the weakness and danger of governing by means of a committee of politicians, especially in time of war. His opinion is so interesting, so weighty, and so valuable, and it applies with such force to Cabinet Government as practised in Great Britain up to the present crisis, that it is worth while to give it in extenso. He stated in the seventieth letter of The Federalist, with regard to government by Cabinet, by means of an executive council :
The experience of other nations will afford little instruction on this head. As far, however, as it teaches anything, it teaches us not to be enamoured of plurality in the Executive.
Wherever two or more persons are engaged in any common enterprise or pursuit there is always danger of difference of opinion. If it be a public trust or office, in which they are clothed with equal dignity and authority, there is peculiar danger of personal emulation and even animosity. From either, and especially from all these causes, the most bitter dissensions are apt to spring. Whenever these happen, they lessen the respectability, weaken the authority, and distract the plans and operations of those whom they divide. If they should unfortunately assail the supreme executive magistracy of a country, consisting of a plurality of persons, they might impede or frustrate the most important measures of the government in the most critical emergencies of the State. And, what is still worse, they might split the community into the most violent and irreconcilable factions, adhering differently to the different individuals who composed the magistracy.
Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike. But if they have been consulted and have appeared to disapprove, opposition
then becomes, in their estimation, an indispensable duty of self-love...
Upon the principles of a free government, inconveniences from the source just mentioned must necessarily be submitted to in the formation of the legislature; but it is unnecessary, and therefore unwise, to introduce them into the constituent of the Executive. It is here, too, that they may be most pernicious. In the legislature promptitude of decision is oftener an evil than a benefit. .
But no favourable circumstances palliate or atone for the disadvantages of dissension in the executive department. Here they are pure and unmixed. There is no point at which they cease to operate. They serve to embarrass and weaken the execution of the plan or measure to which they relate, from the first step to the final conclusion of it. They constantly counteract those qualities in the Executive which are the most necessary ingredients in its composition, vigour and expedition, and this without any counterbalancing good. In the conduct of war, in which the energy of the Executive is the bulwark of the national security, everything would be to be apprehended from its plurality. .
It must be confessed that these observations apply with principal weight to the first case supposed—that is, to a plurality of magistrates of equal dignity and authority, a scheme, the advocates for which are not likely to form a numerous sect; but they apply, though not with equal, yet with considerable, weight, to the project of a council, whose concurrence is made constitutionally necessary to the operations of the ostensible Executive.
An artful cabal in that council would be able to distract and to enervate the whole system of administration. If no such cabal should exist the mere diversity of views and opinions would alone be sufficient to tincture the exercise of the executive authority with a spirit of habitual feebleness and dilatoriness.
But one of the weightiest objections to a plurality in the Executive, and which lies as much against the last as the first plan, is that it tends to conceal faults and destroy responsibility. Responsibility is of two kinds—to.censure, and to punishment. The first is the more important of the two, especially in an elective office. Man, in a public trust, will much oftener act in such a manner as to render him unworthy of being any longer trusted, than in such a manner as to make him obnoxious to legal punishment. But the multiplication of the Executive adds to the difficulty of detection in either case. It often becomes impossible, amidst mutual accusations, to determine on whom the blame or the punishment of a pernicious measure, or a series of pernicious measures, ought really to fall. It is shifted from one to another with so much dexterity, and under such plausible appearances, that the public opinion is left in suspense about the real author. The circumstances which may have led to any national miscarriage or misfortune are sometimes so complicated that, where there are a number of actors, who may have had different degrees and kinds of agency, though we may clearly see upon the whole that there has been mismanagement, yet it may be impracticable to pronounce to whose account the evil which may have been incurred is truly chargeable.
‘I was overruled by my council. The council were so divided in their opinions that it was impossible to obtain any better resolution on the point.' These and similar pretexts are constantly at hand, whether true or false. And who is there that will either take the trouble or incur the odium of a strict scrutiny into the secret springs of the transaction ?
War is a one-man business. To the founders of the American Republic it seemed so essential and so selfevident that only a single hand could direct the Army and Navy efficiently and with decision, activity, secrecy and despatch' that they thought that the paragraph of the Constitution which made the President Commander-inChief of both Services was unchallengeable and required neither explanation nor defence. That paragraph is curtly dismissed by Hamilton in the seventy-fourth letter of The Federalist, as follows:
The President of the United States is to be Commanderin-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and of