Adams Papers

To John Adams from William Stephens Smith, 5 June 1800

Union Brigade June 5th. 1800


I have been honoured by the receipt of your letter enclosing a Copy of one from the Secretary of War, I am fully convinced he is in error—as it relates to myself I am content, but as it relates to the President I am not—The senate & House of Representatives of the United [States] of America, in Congress assembled pass an Act to provide an additional regiment of artillerists and Engineers. The President approves the act on the 27th. of april 1798—

But does not in his Executive Capacity carry that act into effect, Quere? does not The President, thus render null and Void an act, having received all the necessary constitutional forms, & can a War-minister be correct & honest in his Views, when he thus advises The President not to execute the Law which he himself ex officio approved of? does the Constitution give this ability to the President, or can the War-minister have any improper Views relative to The President to induce him to make use of fallacious reasoning on so delicate and interesting a Subject? Excuse Sir, the freedom of my questions, & be assured they spring more from a Zeal for my Country’s welfare, than from any personal object

I have the Honor to be, with the highest respect. Sir. / Your most Obedt. / Humble Servt.

W: S: Smith

MHi: Adams Papers.

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