I am not only much obliged, but much flattered by your opinion of the result of Our Deliberations last Summer, because I had a small hand in the formation. It is a subject that formerly for me I have for some Years past turned my thoughts to; yet still I am sensible I am unequal to the magnitude of it. I therefore previous to the Election declined serving; but as I was Elected I would not refuse going. It is truly an Important Era to the United States; and they now seem sensible of it. The Constitution I think will be agreed to, and be adopted tho' it has some few opponents. Where is that work of man that pleases everybody! Pains and attention were not spared to form such a Constitution as woud preserve to the individual as large a share of natural right as coud be left consistent with the good of the whole — to balance the powers of the three Branches, so that no one shoud too greatly perponderate. We had before us all the Ancient and modern Constitutions on record, and none of them was more influential on Our Judgements than the British in Its Original purity. Let you and I compare the two for a moment — yet if I begin I shall tire you. I will be as concise as possible, indeed I am ill able to write at present, and much less to think. You have a King, House of Lords and House of Commons. We have a President, Senate and House of Representatives. Their powers in some general points are similar; but when we attentively compare the total of the two Governments, we shall find, I think, a material difference. In One, the People at large have little to say, and less to do; the other is much more of a popular Government — the whole is Elective. In the King of G. B. not only all Executive power is lodged, but he is himself also a very important and essential branch of the Legislature. Without him there can be no Parliament, and in him is the sole power of Dissolving it. No Law can be passed without His Consent. He can put a Negative upon any Bill tho' it may previously have met with the Unanimous approbation of the People. He can Alone form Treaties, which shall bind the Nation. He has the sole Right of declaring War or making Peace, so that the lives of thousands of His Subjects are at His will. He has the sole Power of Conferring honors and Titles. It is truly observed by one of Your Law Writers that "the House of Lords seems politically Constituted for the support of the rights of the Crown". He is the head of the Church. All your Dignities flow from him. He may by a Re Exeat Regnum prevent any person from leaving the Kingdom. He alone has the right of Erecting Courts of Judicature; the Court of King's Bench — I mean the Officers of it, are created by Letters Patent from Him. The Crown is Hereditary. A weak man, or a madman, may as Heir ascend to it. He is not Responsible — the King can do no wrong.
His person is sacred, even tho' the measure pursued in His Reign be arbitrary, for no Earthly Jurisdiction has power to try Him in a Criminal way.
The President of the United States is the Supreme Executive Officer. He has no separate legislative power whatever. He can't prevent a Bill from passing into a Law. In making Treaties two thirds of the Senate must concur. In the Appointment of Ambassadors, Judges of the Supreme Court, &ca., He must have the concurrence of the Senate. He is responsible to His Constitutents for the use of his power. He is Impeachable. His Election, the mode of which I had the honor of proposing in the Committee in my weak judgment precludes Corruption and tumult.1
et after all, My Dear Sir, I am free to acknowledge that His Powers are full great, and greater than I was disposed to make them. Nor, Entre Nous, do I believe they would have been so great had not many of the members cast their eyes towards General Washington as President; and shaped their Ideas of the Powers to be given to a President, by their opinions of his Virtue. So that the Man, who by his Patriotism and Virtue, Contributed largely to the Emancipation of his Country, may be the Innocent means of its being, when He is lay'd low, oppress'd.