Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/426

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
282
The Fœderalist.

is usually stated to the public: but is it a just form? Is it a fair comparison? Does the British Constitution restrain the Parliamentary discretion to one year? Does the American impose on the Congress appropriations for two years? On the contrary, it cannot be unknown to the authors of the fallacy themselves, that the British Constitution fixes no limit whatever to the discretion of the Legislature, and that the American ties down the Legislature to two years, as the longest admissible term.

Had the argument from the British example been truly stated, it would have stood thus: The term for which supplies may be appropriated to the army establishment, though unlimited by the British Constitution, has nevertheless, in practice, been limited by Parliamentary discretion to a single year. Now, if in Great Britain, where the House of Commons is elected for seven years; where so great a proportion of the members are elected by so small a proportion of the people; where the electors are so corrupted by the Representatives, and the Representatives so corrupted by the Crown, the Representative body can possess a power to make appropriations to the army for an indefinite term, without desiring, or without daring, to extend the term beyond a single year, ought not suspicion herself to blush, in pretending that the Representatives of the United States, elected freely by the whole body of the People, every second year, cannot be safely intrusted with the discretion over such appropriations, expressly limited to the short period of two years?

A bad cause seldom fails to betray itself. Of this truth, the management of the opposition to the Fœderal Government is an unvaried exemplification. But among all the blunders which have been committed, none is more striking than the attempt to enlist on that side the prudent jealousy entertained by the People, of