Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/599

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

quisitors for the Nation as the Representatives of the Nation themselves? It is not disputed that the power of originating the inquiry, or, in other words, of preferring the impeachment, ought to be lodged in the hands of one branch of the Legislative body: will not the reasons which indicate the propriety of this arrangement, strongly plead for an admission of the other branch of that body to a share of the inquiry? The model, from which the idea of this institution has been borrowed, pointed out that course to the Convention. In Great Britain, it is the province of the House of Commons to prefer the impeachment; and of the House of Lords to decide upon it. Several of the State Constitutions have followed the example. As well the latter, as the former, seem to have regarded the practice of impeachments, as a bridle in the hands of the Legislative body upon the Executive servants of the Government. Is not this the true light in which it ought to be regarded?

Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent? What other body would be likely to feel confidence enough in its own situation, to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality between an individual accused, and the Representatives of the People, his accusers?

Could the Supreme Court have been relied upon as answering this description? It is much to be doubted, whether the members of that tribunal would at all times be endowed with so eminent a portion of fortitude, as would be called for in the execution of so difficult a task; and it is still more to be doubted, whether they would possess the degree of credit and authority, which might, on certain occasions, be indispensable towards reconciling the People to a decision that should happen to clash with an accusation brought by their immediate Representatives. A deficiency in the first, would be fatal to