The First Federal Congress Project
Documentary History of the First Federal Congress

Notes of William Paterson addendum

 15 July 1789 
The President to exercise the powers expressly given or necessarily implied— Every particular executive power is not enumerated—
The executive commensurate with the legislature & judicial powers.
Must take Care, that the Laws of the U.S. are duly executed—
The power of Suspension is not in the Constitution
States-General in France in 14[Text omitted. -Ed.]1 cited by Mr. Lee—
Atrocious Assumptions of Power in the Legislature—
The words omitted on Purpose as to the executive.As to the Legislature 2 objects. 1. positive. 2. restrictive upon the states.
The executive & judicial are co-extensive with the legislature— The executive to carry into effect all the Laws, & c. of the Government—
The Enumeration does not go to all the powers of the executive— an enumeration of particular. powers does not exclude others— Then the sweeping words— to see all the laws carried into effect.
No Implication. it is express—
The Maxim, he that creates can destroy, does not apply; an inherent right—
The President appoints— The Advice of the Senate does not make the Appointment—
The Senate not a Council to the President—
The President's Power is not to be extended by Implication.— This false in Principle—
1. If not in the president by Implication it is not in the Senate.
2. It wants no Implication— it passes by the Grant; it is like a Tree growing upon Land granted.
Dangerous to the Constitution—
The Officers should be attentive to the President
No Complaint against the Powers of the executive in England— The Legislature powers sufficiently extensive— tto goes to all points— A President, without a standing force, 4 years in Existence, a qualified Negative on the Laws—
Do you wish to embarrass the President— that he should decide upon a doubtful Question—
House of Commons. The Legislature is supreme. Blackstone.
[Paterson Papers, NjR. The lines between speeches may indicate a change of speaker or that Paterson stopped taking notes.]

Notes of William Paterson addendum
15-16 July 1789

Suppose the President should desire him to do an improper Thing—
Jure divino2
 16 July 1789 
Must exclude the Clause in Question— The President is a State-Being, subject to local & state prejudices—
The King of England has a national Interest— has no Preference or attachment There a powerful nobility to counteract him—
This constituition nothing like that of England. it feeble Representation of the people in the senate— No intermediate powers here to stop the progress of the President
4 Years with an Army is enough— Caesar had but 5 years. The Senate is not amenable— The senate had a voice in the appointment and therefore the officer is under their Protection. The General who arrests an officer has prejudged the Cause. Lord George Germain 3
The Inconvenience arises from the Nature of the Thing—
Triennial & septennial parliaments the work of the executive. who had corrupted the Parliaments
The paper-Money of New York—
All legislature powers herein granted— The Expr. with respect to the executive— a relative Expression—
Things not described will not pass— no executive powers pass but what are mentioned—
Tenancy at Will. President & Senate Tenants in Common and a Body-politick—
Coparceners, Joint-Tenants, and Tenants in Common—
The Legislature ought not to be limited; but the Executive ought—
The Heads of the Departments ought to have some will of their own— they are to give their Opinions— Why so, if under the Subjection of the Executive— They are the officers of the nation, & not of the President—
If the Thing is in the Constitution why insert it in the Law; if it is not in the Constitution then give it, if necessary.
There will be every Attempt at Consolidation— the Senate will be weakened— because they are representatives of the State— throw more power into the President— 4
If in the Constitution then unnecessary— it makes against the President unless the same Expressions are inserted in every Bill— Let us stand upon constitutional Ground— if not, you take nothing from the President—
It being a supreme Legislature it was necessary to fix its Bounds. The Executive admits of more general Expression to describe it than the Legislature.The appointment of officers is a Property of the executive— The Senate can give him information respecting proper Characters for office— their approbbation necessary, he being a local man— not so as to removeability—
Responsibility of Character at Large—
The Legislature must pay the Troops— they cannot be kept up without their Consent. This a Check upon the Executive.
If lodged in the Senate, we should consider ourselves as watchmen over the executive, and responsible for them— Can we exercise this Duty?
Thinks the removeability belongs to the Executive— The Senate ought not to participate—
The Gentleman from Jersey has reviled all the Legislatures—
Establish a Tyranny—
The ap. of an assumption of power will hurt the Senate.
[Transcript, Bancroft Papers, NN. The line between speeches may indicate a change of speaker or that Paterson stopped taking notes.]

Notes of William Paterson addendum
 16 July 1789 

In the present constituition the powers of government are distributed into three branches, the legislature the executive and the judiciary— It has been asked, what do you mean by the executive Powers of Government under the federal Constitution— Is it like the executive of England. I answer, no. In England the King is supposed to possess all possible Perfection in the scale of political Existence. He can do no wrong; of course he cannot constitutionally be impeached, and tried— there is no responsibility. Our Constitution views the President as a man, liable to Error, and capable of malversation— He is amenable to Justice, he may be impeached; if found guilty, he will be removed from office— Hence his responsibility— Responsibility then is not that Chimera which some honorable gentleman suppose— Besides Responsibility to the Tribunal of Justice, there is a Responsibility to the Opinion, & Sentiments of his fellow-citizens— his honor is concerned, his reputation is at stake; all the fine and aggrandizing Passions are in motion & tremblingly alive— 4 years only in office— The same honorable gentleman has said, that the President should have a public Council, who should sign the advice they give, & who would be responsible— In answer— We are not to enquire, whether the Constitution is wisely framed or not; we have it— and it is our Rule to walk by— if open to discussion, I am at present opposed to a standing Council, because destitute of secrecy, dispatch, energy, and responsibility— The mingling of the executive and senate has been esteemed by some as a very exceptionable Part of the Constitution The more the three great governmental powers are kept separate the better— It is said, that the King of England is part of the Legislature & yet is the supreme executive. True— and this is right. 1. for the sake of preserving that balance in government which wise men think necessary— 2. for the preservation of the executive itself, otherwise he might be annihilated by the other two branches of the Legislature— his Executive depends upon his own will— It has been further said, that there is no Distribution of Powers in the Constitution as to Offices— this leads to the true Point before the Senate— Suppose the Constitution had said, that all the executive powers of government should be vested in a President and nothing more— would not the president have the right of appointing all the Officers— It is a right incidental to the executive, inseparably connected with it, that grows up naturally and unavoidably out of the Thing itself— it is necessarily involved in it— and what is necessarily implied is as strong as if expressly mentioned— Such is the principle of Constitution— It is so with respect to Deeds, and Grants— admitted by Dr. Johnston Johnson— but then it is said, that the Constitution must not be construed as a Grant— Why not as to the Principle just laid down— It is true, that the appointment of certain officers is sub modo— is qualified, and restrained— and therefore in those Instances there is a Departure from the general rule— How far— only as to the appointment itself— it is modified in that particular and no other— It is Implication in both cases— if the Senate has the Power of removal jointly with the President it arises from Implication— from the assumed Principle, that they who appoint must displace— and which Implication is the most natural—
It must be somewhere—
Impeachmt. Except where the constituition hath expressly laid down some Boundary or Exception—
Strife— if he can procure a Majority of the Senate, he is fixed forever—
Suppose Incapacity arising from a fit of Sickness—
Suspension— no Suspension in the Constitution A caballing Spirit.
1. Bl. 250.
com. subordn.
he is not only the chief, but the sole magistrate of the nation5
Transcript, Bancroft Papers, NN. The manuscript was in private hands in 1942. (William Paterson Case file, DLC)
    1. The reference is to the Estates General of 1484 at which certain members attempted to establish its right to control membership of the King's Council (J. Russell Major, Representative Institutions in Renaissance France, 1421-1559 [Madison, Wis., 1960], pp. 80-94).
    2. By divine right.
    3. George Germain (1716-85), Lord George Sackville, was removed from military command for alleged disobedience to his commander in 1759. The court martial he demanded found him guilty and unfit to serve in any military capacity. The sentence, with a short commentary, was ordered read to British troops in every quarter of the globe.
    4. At this point Paterson delivered the speech that follows this document.
    5. Blackstone 1:250 states that the executive is placed in a single hand for the sake of "unanimity, strength, and dispatch" and that all others act "by commission from, and in due subordination" to the sole magistrate.

Recommended citation: Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2002). XML version based on the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1988) Vol. 9, pp. 104-117; 134-135; 445-449; 465-467; 483-489. [Accessed (supply date here)]

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