Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/658

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
514
The Fœderalist.

former supposition, his fortitude would be stimulated by his immediate interest in the power of his office; in the latter, by the probability of the sanction of his constituents; who, though they would naturally incline to the Legislative body in a doubtful case, would hardly suffer their partiality to delude them in a very plain case. I speak now with an eye to a Magistrate possessing only a common share of firmness. There are men who, under any circumstances, will have the courage to do their duty at every hazard.

But the Convention have pursued a mean in this business, which will both facilitate the exercise of the power vested in this respect in the Executive magistrate, and make its efficacy to depend on the sense of a considerable part of the Legislative body. Instead of an absolute negative, it is proposed to give the Executive the qualified negative already described. This is a power which would be much more readily exercised than the other. A man who might be afraid to defeat a law by his single veto, might not scruple to return it for reconsideration; subject to being finally rejected only in the event of more than one third of each House concurring in the sufficiency of his objections. He would be encouraged by the reflection, that if his opposition should prevail, it would embark in it a very respectable proportion of the Legislative body, whose influence would be united with his in supporting the propriety of his conduct in the public opinion. A direct and categorical negative has something in the appearance of it more harsh, and more apt to irritate, than the mere suggestion of argumentative objections to be approved or disapproved by those to whom they are addressed. In proportion as it would be less apt to offend, it would be more apt to be exercised; and for this very reason, it may in practice be found more effectual. It is to be hoped that it will not often happen that improper views