Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/284

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

by yeas and nays, unless it be asked and estimated for by some one of the Heads of Departments, and submitted to Congress by the President."

It seems too clear for argument that this clause of the Constitution would be completely without effect if the Executive should yield to the request of either House or of both Houses combined, "to cause a Department to ask for and transmit" an estimate for any purpose whatever. The design of the framers of the Constitution in inserting this new clause (not to be found in the Constitution under which the Confederate States were formerly united) is well known. It was determined that on the Executive Department of the Government should rest the responsibility of unwise and extravagant expenditures, while the Legislative Department not only retained the control over the grant of the appropriation, but was vested with power to compel the expenditure of money for purposes not recommended by the Executive, provided a vote of the two Houses, equal to that which is necessary for overruling an Executive veto, could be obtained.

If I should yield my consent to the request of the House now under consideration, the plain effect would be to concur in the establishment of a precedent by which the House might require the expenditure of a sum not asked for by the Head of a Department nor submitted by the President, by a vote of a bare majority instead of the vote of two-thirds by yeas and nays.

While thus unable to comply with the request of the House, so far as to cause the Department of State to ask for and transmit the estimate desired, a statement is submitted herewith for your information of the annual cost of each diplomatic mission sent abroad. It is also proper to add that the number of commissioners already authorized by law, and the amount of appropriations asked for by the Department of State, are sufficient for all the purposes suggested in the resolution without any further legislation on the subject.

Jefferson Davis.

October 1st, 1862. Richmond, Va.

Richmond, Va., Oct. 1, 1862.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration several communica-