University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

collapse sectionA. 
414. APPROPRIATIONS, Discretion over.—
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

414. APPROPRIATIONS, Discretion over.—

The question whether the Berceau
was to be delivered up under the treaty was of
Executive cognizance entirely, and without
appeal. So was the question as to the condition
in which she should be delivered. And
it is as much an invasion of its independence
for a coordinate branch to call for the reasons
of the decision, as it would be to call on the
Supreme Court for its reasons on any judiciary
decision. If an appropriation were asked,
the Legislature would have a right to ask
reasons. But in this case they had confided


Page 44
an appropriation (for naval contingencies) to
the discretion of the Executive. Under this
appropriation our predecessors bought the
vessel (for there was no order of Congress
authorizing them to buy) and began her repairs;
we completed them. I will not say
that a very gross abuse of discretion in a past
appropriation would not furnish ground to the
Legislature to take notice of it. In what form
is not now necessary to decide. But so far
from a gross abuse, the decision in this case
was correct, honorable and advantageous to
the nation. I cannot see to what legitimate objects
any resolution of the House on the subject
can lead; and if one is passed on ground
not legitimate, our duty will be to resist it.—
To William B. Giles. Ford ed., viii, 142.
(April. 1802)