Independence Hall Home Search Contents Indexes Help
Eagle

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8



Document 7

Cato, no. 2

10 Dec. 1787Storing 5.10.4

It is denied, and that boldly by my opponent, that the President would be cloathed with the robes of Royalty--Well may he deny, what has never been asserted--If Cato said that he would be possessed of Royalty, he afterwards informed the Public how he would be understood. He pointed out regal qualities with which the President would be invested, and so far he would be cloathed with Royalty. But in order to give some colour to his assertions, Maecenas has quoted Montesquieu, and shewn the shallowness of his reasoning. Truth is ever apparent, it requires no borrowed garb, no authorities to support her intrinsick grandeur; but falsehood ever resorts to what she thinks will protect, and which in the end, like an ungrateful friend, will desert her when she has most need of assistance. The proper definition of Royalty is "the administration of certain powers appertaining to the most exalted station," and whoever possesses any of these, is possessed in a greater or less degree of Royalty. But my oppugner says "that no title of nobility shall be granted by the Congress, and no person holding any office under Congress shall accept any title from any foreign King, State, or Empire." As he has given me permission, I will refer, and beg him to do so likewise, to the 9th Sect. of the 1st Art. of the resolves of the convention: where he will find there is still an opening for dignities and titles with the consent of Congress, which he has artfully skipped over, and forgotten to mention. When a writer of this sort steps forth, giving one half of the Text he comments upon, and suppressing the other if it be not for his purpose; are we not to conclude that his intent is more to puzzle with opposition, than to convince with fair reasoning? Are we not to imagine that his desire is more to thwart public measures, than to be actuated by generous motives to the public weal? With regard to what Cato advanced in a former paper, what was the end he had in view? Was it not proving the dangers attending the re-election of a President? Has Maecenas by his false conclusions, and badly applied arguments, weakened his reasons tending to that point? No. As waves following waves are nevertheless broken, and turned aside by the opposing rock; so have all Maecenas's arguments been foiled by truths, and his every effort rendered feeble, and ineffectual. His writing is half filled up with quotations, which prove nothing even in his own favor: And his conclusion takes away even what ground he might have gained: for it shews that he did not know what he intended to confute. And he finishes with saying, "that from what he has said, the President will have no powers, but which are essentially necessary for the executory department." Is it not distressing that I must inform this new warrior in the lists of opposition, that Cato never opposed any of the President's powers; for he saw that an officer without power, would be corpus sine capite. His only endeavours were to set forth those powers, in such a light: as to persuade his countrymen of the necessity of restricting the President in the enjoyment of his office. It was to that point his whole attention was bent, and there he hopes now to come off victorious. So that notwithstanding his opponents thoughtful motto, and asserting style; his solecisms and his sophistical reasoning, he has wandered from his mark, and Parturient montes, nascetur--ridiculus mus.


The Founders' Constitution
Volume 3, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8, Document 7
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_9_8s7.html
The University of Chicago Press

Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Easy to print version.


Home | Search | Contents | Indexes | Help

© 1987 by The University of Chicago
All rights reserved. Published 2000
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/