North America - Volume 2 By Anthony Trollope 




















































































































































 -   Congress had desired to declare its ascendency over
military matters, but the army and the Executive generally had
demurred to - Page 60
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Congress Had Desired To Declare Its Ascendency Over Military Matters, But The Army And The Executive Generally Had Demurred To

This, - not with an absolute denial of the rights of Congress, but with those civil and almost silent generalities with

Which a really existing power so well knows how to treat a nominal power. The ascendant wife seldom tells her husband in so many words that his opinion in the house is to go for nothing; she merely resolves that such shall be the case, and acts accordingly. An observer could not but perceive that in those days Congress was taking upon itself the part, not exactly of an obedient husband, but of a husband vainly attempting to assert his supremacy. "I have got to learn," said one gentleman after another, rising indignantly on the floor, "that the military authority of our generals is above that of this House." And then one gentleman relieved the difficulty of the position by branching off into an eloquent discourse against slavery, and by causing a chapter to be read out of the Book of Joshua.

On that occasion the gentleman's diversion seemed to have the effect of relieving the House altogether from the embarrassment of the original question; but it was becoming manifest, day by day, that Congress was losing its ground, and that the army was becoming indifferent to its thunders: that the army was doing so, and also that ministers were doing so. In the States, the President and his ministers are not in fact subject to any parliamentary responsibility.

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