Impartial Examiner IV

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Impartial Examiner IV

11 June 1788


In monarchy, where the established maxim is, that the king should be respected as a great and transcendent personage, who knows no equal?who in his royal political capacity can commit no wrong?to whom no evil can be ascribed?in whom exists the height of perfection?who is supreme above all, and accountable to no earthly being, it is consistent with such a maxim, that the prince should form a constituent branch of the legislature, and that his power of rejecting whatever has been passed by the other branches should be distinct, and co-extensive with that of either of those branches in rejecting what has been proposed and consented to by the other. It is necessary that the fundamental laws of the realm should ascribe to the king those high and eminent attributes?that he should possess in himself the sovereignty of the nation; and that the regal dignity should distinguish him, as superior to all his subjects, and in his political character endowed with certain inherent qualities, which cannot be supposed to reside in any other individual within the kingdom: otherwise, that constitutional independence, which the laws meant peculiarly to establish in his person, would not be preserved. To this end the king of England is invested with the sole executive authority, and a branch of legislative jurisdiction so far as to pass his negative on all proceedings of the other two branches, or to confirm them by his assent.

This secures to him the intended superiority in the constitution, and gives him the ascendant in government; else his sovereignty would become a shadow?whilst that doctrine, whereby he is declared to be the head, the beginning and end of the great body politic, would prove to be nothing more than mere sound. This two-fold jurisdiction established in the British monarch being founded on maxims extremely different from those, which prevail in the American States, the writer hereof is inclined to hope that he will not be thought singular, if he conceives an impropriety in assimilating the component parts of the American government to those of the British: and as the reasons, which to the founders of the British constitution were motives superior to all others to induce them thus to give the executive a controul over the legislative, are so far from existing in this country, that every principle of that kind is generally, if not universally, exploded; so it should appear that the same public spirit, which pervades the nation, would proclaim the doctrine of prerogative and other peculiar properties of the royal character, as incompatible with the view of these states when they are settling the form of a republican government. Is it not therefore sufficient that every branch in the proposed system be distinct and independent of each other?that no one branch might receive any accession of power (by taking part of another) which would tend to overturn the balance and thereby endanger the very being of the constitution? Whilst the king of England enjoys all the regalia, which are annexed to his crown?whilst he exercises a transcendent dominion over his subjects, the existence whereof is coeval with the first rudiments of their constitution?let the free citizens of America, consulting their true national happiness, wish for no innovation, but what is regulated according to the scale of equal liberty, or which may not destroy that liberty by too great a share of power being lodged in any particular hands;?let this collateral jurisdiction, which constitutes the royal negative, be held by kings alone, since with kings it first originated:?Let this remain in its native soil, as most congenial to it; there it will cumber less, and be more productive,?here it will be an exotick, and may poison the stock, in which it may be engrafted.