Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

297. Again, if an office should be created by law while the Senate is in session, and the President should neglect to make any nomination to it, he could not, without special authority, appoint to such office after the adjournment of the Senate, because the vacancy does not happen during the recess.

His Communications to Congress.

298. The President must, from time to time, give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

299. In obedience to this injunction of the Constitution, the President, annually, at the opening of each session of Congress, addresses a written message to them containing information respecting the foreign and domestic affairs of the country, together with such recommendation of measures as he may deem necessary and proper. He also sends them special messages on other occasions whenever he deems it necessary. President Washington and President Adams were in the habit of meeting both Houses in person, at the opening of each session of Congress, and delivering a speech to them; but upon the accession of Mr. Jefferson to the Presidency the practice was discontinued and written messages substituted.

His Power to Convene Congress, déc. f

300. The President may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper.

301. The propriety of this power speaks for itself. Unexpected exigencies constantly occur in the affairs of nations which demand immediate action, and when this action should require the co-operation of Congress, the public interest might suffer serious detriment if that co-operation could not be obtained in advance of the regular session.

302. Of nearly equal necessity as the power to convene Congress on extraordinary occasions, is the power to adjourn them in cases of disagreement. When they cannot agree as to the time of adjournment, the interposition of the President at once puts an end to the controversy, and thus prevents distraction in the public councils.

Receives Ambassadors. 303. The President receives ambassadors and other public ministers; that is, they present their credentials to him, and receive his official recognition of

their character. Until this be done they cannot enter upon the performance of their duties. The President is the representative of his country in all diplomatic negotiations, and naturally is intrusted with the power to appoint and receive the agents through whom such negotiations are carried on. It will be observed, however, that he appoints with the concurrence of the Senate (sec. 288, &c.), but receives without their participation. The reason of this difference is, probably, to be found in the fact, that it would be attended with too much inconvenience to summon the Senate together whenever a foreign minister should be sent hither, in order that he might be received and enter upon the discharge of his duties. 804. The President may, in his discretion, refuse to receive a foreign ministér; but if his refusal should be for inadequate cause, and unaccompanied with proper explanations, it might bring on hostilities. He may refuse to receive him upon the ground of his former bad character, or former offensive conduct, or because the special subject of the embassy is not proper or not convenient for discussion; or because the state from which he is sent may be divided and distracted by civil wars, so as to render it inexpedient to acknowledge the supremacy of either party.

305. The President may also, when the language or conduct of a foreign minister is inadmissible, suspend his functions by a refusal to treat with him, or make application to his sovereign for his recall, or dismiss him and require him to depart within a reasonable time. It is said, too, that where the safety of the state absolutely requires it, force may be applied to confine or send him away. 306. This, however, is all that can be done. A foreign minister may insult the government to which he is deputed, or violate its laws, and he cannot be made amenable either to its civil or criminal jurisdiction. By the law of nations, from which the privileges of foreign ministers derive their origin and support, he is exempted from all allegiance, and from all responsibility to the laws of the country to which he is sent; and this immunity extends to the attendants attached to his person. 307. To give effect to this principle of the law of nations, Congress, by an Act passed in 1790, declared that all writs and process issued out of any court of the United States, or of a particular state, or by any judge or justice, whereby any ambassador or other public minister of any foreign prince or state, or any servant of any such ambassador or minister, might be arrested, or his goods and chattels be seized, should be deemed utterly void. 308. Public ministers are divided into four classes: First, ambassadors and papal legates or nuncios; second, envoys, ministers, or others accredited to sovereigns; third, ministers resident accredited to sovereigns; fourth, chargés d'affaires accredited to the minister of foreign affairs. Ambassadors are considered as peculiarly representing the sovereign or state by whom they are delegated, and entitled to the same honors to which their constituent would be entitled, were he personally present. The right of sending ambassadors is exclusively confined to crowned heads, the great republics, and other states entitled to royal honors. So far, however, as the nature of their respective functions is concerned, there is no essential difference between public ministers of the first and second class. The United States have always appointed ministers of the second class.

309. Though the President is expressly empowered to appoint consuls, he is not expressly empowered to receive them. He has, however, always exercised the power, it being deemed an incident of his authority; and foreign consuls have never been allowed to act as such without his exequatur, or written declaration authorizing them to perform the duties of their office.

310. A consul is a commercial agent, and not a public minister in the sense of the law of nations. He is not, therefore, entitled to the immunities which that law confers upon such ministers. Both in civil

« AnteriorContinuar »