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and committing robbery on shore. These cases, however, congress have declared to be piracy by virtue of their authority to define and punish offences against the law of nations.
What is meant by the law of nations ? Ans. It is that system of rules by which nations are bound to regulate their intercourse with each other, founded on reason, usage, and agreement.
Remark. Since the power of regulating intercourse with foreign nations, and of maintaining a navy is vested exclusively in the government of the United States, it was absolutely necessary to vest in the same government the jurisdiction over offences committed on the high seas, or in violation of the law of nations.
What are letters of marque and reprisal ? Ans. They are a written permission from government to individuals who have been injured by subjects of foreign powers, to take the bodi's or goods of subjects of the same pow. ers until satisfaction shall be made.
Remark. The words marque and reprisal differ in their original signification ; reprisal signifying a retaking, and marque, a passing of the frontiers, for the purpose of retaking. They are now, however, applied, without re.
ference to their original meaning, to one general thing. The reasons of giving to the government of the United States, the exclusive power to grant such letters, to declare war, make rules concerning captures, raise and support armies, provide and maintain a navy, make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces, are too plain to require any explanation.
What is the longest time for which congress can appropriate money for raising and support. ing armies ? What is the object of this limit. ation? Ans. A standing army under the control of any government, is liable to be used as an engine of tyranny.
This limitation was made from a vigilant regard to our liberties. By means of it, the propriety of keeping up an army is brought into discussion every two years, and public attention to the subject ex. cited.
For what purposes may congress provide for calling forth the militia ?
Remark. Two main objects of the union being to ensure domestic tranquillity, and to provide for the common defence, it is manifest. ly proper that the means necessary for accom. plishing these objects should be placed at the
disposal of the government of the union. Aside from a standing army which is always expensive, and might prove dangerous to the liberties of the country, the only reliance in the emergencies enumerated, must be upon the militia. By law of congress, the president of the United States is authorized to call forth the militia on any of these emergencies, by transmitting his orders to the chief executive magistrate of the state, or to any militia offi. cer he may think proper. Provision is also made for punishing a neglect or refusal to obey the order. During the war of 1812, the government of Massachusetts and Connecticut were of opinion that it did not belong to the president of the United States to determine when the emergency existed, but to the gov. ernors of the states. The supreme court of the United States have, however, decided that it belongs to the president.
What other authority over the militia is granted to congress? What was the reason of investing congress with this power ? Ans. To enable them to render the militia the more efficient for the purposes in question. To whom was reserved the authority of appointing the militia officers, and of training the mi,
litia according to the discipline prescribed by congress? Why was this authority reserved to the states ? Ans. It was that congress might not have so great power over the mili. tia, that they could make them an engine of tyranny. At least the object of the framers of the constitution in making this restriction, was to allay any fears of this kind.
Over what places have congress power to exercise exclusive legislation ?
Remark. It is very evident that in places so important to the safe and uncontrolled ac. tion of the general government, its authority should be exclusive, that it may not meet with interference from any other authority even for a moment.
What district has been ceded to congress as the seat of the government of the United States ? Ans. The District termed the Dis. trict of Columbia. By cession of what states ? Ans. Maryland and Virginia. When was it ceded to the United States ? Ans. In 1790. When did it become the seat of government of the United States ? Ans. afterwards, or in 1800. In what place did congress hold their sessions under the confed. eration ? Ans. In Philadelphia. What was
the seat of government under the constitution previous to 1800 ? Ans. The first congress met at New York, in 1789; afterwards until 1800, the seat of government was Philadelphia.
Remark. The last paragraph of the 8th section of this article, which gives congress power to make all laws which shall be neces. sary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department thereof, has given occasion to much dispute, commencing with the earliest operations of the government and continuing to the present time. The dispute has turned principally on the meaning of the word “necessary.' side, it has been contended that it means, ab. solutely, indispensably necessary.
It is said that a law, to be necessary for carrying into execution any power, must be one without which it could not in any way possibly be carried into execution. On the other side, it is said that necessary here does not mean abso. lutely, indispensably necessary, but that it refers to any means properly calculated to carry the power into execution. The word proper,