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hold a seat in the House of Commons, notwithstanding their offi-' cial character. The consequence is, that the ministers of the crown assume an open public responsibility; and if the representation of the people in the House of Commons were, as it is under the national government, founded upon a uniform rule by which the people might obtain their full share of the government, it would be impossible for the ministry to exercise a controlling influence, or escape (as in America they may) a direct palpable responsibility. There can be no danger that a free people will not be sufliciently watchful over their rulers, and their acts, and opinions, when they are known and avowed; or that they will not find representatives in Congress ready to oppose improper measures or sound the alarm upon arbitrary encroachments. The real danger is when the influence of the rulers is at work in secret, and assumes no definite shape; when it guides with a silent and irresistible sway, and yet covers itself under the forms of popular opinion or independent legislation; when it does nothing, and yet accomplishes everything.
§ 872. Such is the reasoning by which many enlightened statesmen have not only been led to doubt, but even to deny the value of this constitutional disqualification. And even the most strenuous advocates of it are compelled so far to admit its force as to concede that the measures of the cxccutive government, so far as they fall within the immediate department of a particular officer, might be more directly and fully explained on the floor of the house. Still, however, the reasoning from the British practice has not been deemed satisfactory by the public; and the guard interposed by the Constitution has been received with general approbation, and has been thought to have worked well during our experience under the national government. Indeed, the strongly marked parties in the British Parliament, and their consequent dissensions, have been ascribed to the non-existence of any such restraints; and the progress of the influence of the crown, and the supposed corruptions of legislation, have been by
1 1 Black. Comm. 175, 176, Christian's Note, 39. 2 Rawle on the Const. ch. 19, p. 187.
8 Mr. Rawlo's remarks in his treatise on Constitutional Law (ch. 19) are as full on this point as can probably be found. See also The Federalist, No. 65 ; 1 Tucker's Black. Comm. App. 198, 214, 215 ; 2 Elliot's Debates, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282 ; 1 Wil. son's Law Lect. 446 to 449.
some writers traced back to the same original blemish. Whether these inferences are borne out by historical facts is a matter upon which different judgments may arrive at different conclusions ; and a work like the present is not the proper place to discuss them.
11 Wilson's Law Lect. 446 to 449.
MODE OF PASSING LAWS.
§ 873. The seventh section of the first article treats of two important subjects, the right of originating revenue bills, and the nature and extent of the President's negative upon the passing of laws.
$ 874. The first clause declares, “ All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.” This provision, so far as it regards the right to originate what are technically called “money bills,” is, beyond all question, borrowed from the British House of Commons, of which it is the ancient and indisputable privilege and right that all grants of subsidies and parliamentary aids shall begin in their house, and are first bestowed by them, although their grants are not effectual to all intents and purposes until they have the asscnt of the other two branches of the legislature. The general reason given for this privilege of the Ilouse of Commons is, that tho supplies aro raiscd upon the body of the people, and therefore it is proper that they alone should have the right of taxing themselves. And Mr. Justico Blackstono has very correctly remarked, that this reason would be unanswerable if the Commons taxed none but themselves. But it is notorious that a very large share of property is in possession of the Lords; that this property is equally taxed, as the property of the Commons; and therefore the Commons not being the sole persons taxed, this cannot be the reason of their having the sole right of raising and modelling the supply. The true reason seems to be this. The Lords, being a permanent hereditary body, created at pleasure by the king, are supposed more liable to be influenced by the crown, and when once influenced, more likely to continue so than the Commons, who are a temporary elective body, freely nominated by the people. It would, therefore, be extremely dangerous to give the Lords any power of framing new taxes for the subject. It is sufficient that they have a power of reject
1 1 Black. Comm. 169.
ing, if they think the Commons too lavish or improvident in their grants ? (a).
§ 875. This seems a very just account of the matter with reference to the spirit of the British constitution, though a different explanation has been deduced from a historical review of the power. It has been asserted to have arisen from the instructions from time to time given by the constituents of the Commons (whether county, city, or borough) as to the rates and assessments which they were respectively willing to bear and assent to, and from the aggregate it was easy for the Commons to ascertain the whole amount which the commonalty of the whole kingdom were willing to grant to the king. Be this as it may, so jealous are the Commons of this valuable privilege, that herein they will not suffer the other house to exert any power but that of rejecting. They will not permit the least alteration or amendment to be made by the Lords to the modę of taxing the people by a money bill; and under this appellation are included all bills by which money is directed to be raised upon the subject for any purpose, or in any shape whatsoever, either for the exigencies of the government, and collected from the kingdom in general, as the land tax, or for private benefit, and collected in any particular district, as turnpikes, parish rates, and the like. It is obvious that this power might be capable of great abuse, if other bills were tacked to such money bills; and accordingly it was found that money bills were sometimes tacked to favorite measures of the Commons, with a view to insure their passage by the Lords. This extraordinary use, or rather perversion of the power would, if suffered to grow into a common practice, have completely destroyed the equilibrium of the British constitution, and subjected both the Lords and the king to the power of the Commons. Resistance was made from time to time to this unconstitutional encroachment; and at length the Lords, with a view to give permanent effect to their own rights, havo mado it a standing order to reject upon sight all bills that
11 Blaok. Comm. 169; De Lolme on Constitution, ch. 4, 8, pp. 66, 84, 85, and note.
2 Wilson's Law Lect. 161, 162, 163, citing Millar on Constitution, 398. But see 1 Wilson's Law Lect. 444, 445.
8 1 Black. Comm. 170, and Christian's Note (26).
(a) At the present time it is not coneded that the House of Lords may even
reject a money bill. See May, Constitu. tional History, ch. 7.
are tacked to money bills. Thus, the privilege is maintained on one side and guarded against undue abuse on the other.
§ 876. It will be at once perceived that the same reasons do not exist in the same extent for the same exclusive right in our House of Representatives in regard to money bills, as exist for such right in the British House of Commons. It may be fit that it should possess the exclusive right to originate money bills, since it may be presumed to possess more ample means of local information, and it more directly represents the opinions, feelings, and wislıcs of tho peoplo; and, being directly dependent upon thein for support, it will be more watchful and cautious in the imposition of taxes than a body which emanates exclusively from the States in their sovereign political capacity. But, as the senators are in a just sense equally representatives of the people, and do not hold their offices by a permanent or hereditary title, but periodically return to the common mass of citizens ; 8 and above all, as direct taxes are and must be apportioned among the States according to their federal population, and as all the States have a distinct local interest, both as to the amount and nature of all taxes of every sort which are to be levicd, there secms a peculiar fitness in giving to the Senate a power to alter and amend, as well as to concur with or reject all money bills. The due influence of all the States is thus prcscrvcd, for otherwise it might happen, from the overwhelming representation of some of the large States, that taxes might be levied which would bear with peculiar severity upon the interests, either agricultural, commercial, or manufacturing, of others, being the minor States, and thus the equilibrium intended by the Constitution, as well of power as of interest and influence, might be practically subverted.
§ 877. There would also be no small inconvenience in excluding the Senate from the exercise of this power of amendment and alteration, since if any the slightest modification were required in such a bill to make it either palatable or just, the Senate would be compelled to reject it, although an amendment of a single line might make it entirely acceptable to both houses. Such a prac
1 De Lolme on the Constitution, ch. 17, pp. 381, 382.
3 2 Wilson's Law Lect. 163, 164 ; Rawle on Constitution, ch. 6; 4 Elliot's Debates, 141.
31 Tucker's Black. Comm. App. 216 ; 2 Wilson's Law Lect. 163, 164; Rawlo on Constitution, ch. B; 4 Elliot's Debates, 141. 1 2 Elliot's Dobates, 283, 284.
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