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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.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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1567. CONGRESS, Power over papers.
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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1567. CONGRESS, Power over papers.

—At a meeting of the cabinet the subject [of
discussion] was the resolution of the House
of Representatives of March 27, to appoint
a committee to inquire into the causes of the
failure of the late expedition under Major
General St. Clair, with power to call for such
persons, papers and records as may be necessary
to assist their inquiries. The President
[Washington] said he had called us to
consult, merely because it was the first example,
and he wished that so far as it should
become a precedent, it should be rightly conducted.
He neither acknowledged nor denied,
nor even doubted the propriety of what the
House were doing, for he had not thought
upon it, nor was acquainted with subjects of
this kind. He could readily conceive there
might be papers of so secret a nature as that
they ought not to be given up. [The cabinet
was not then ready to give their opinions,
but another meeting was held two days later
when] we had all considered and were of
one mind: 1. That the House was an inquest,
and, therefore, might institute inquiries. 2.
That it might call for papers generally. 3.
That the Executive ought to communicate such
papers as the public good would permit, and
ought to refuse those, the disclosure of which
would injure the public. Consequently,
[they] were to exercise discretion. 4. That
neither the Committee nor the House had a
right to call on the head of a Department, who


Page 180
and whose papers were under the President
alone; but that the Committee should instruct
their Chairman to move the House to address
the President. * * * Hamilton agreed with
us in all these points except as to the power
of the House to call on the heads of Departments.
He observed, that as to his Department,
the act constituting it had made it subject
to Congress in some points, but he
thought himself not so far subject, as to be
obliged to produce all papers they might call
for. They might demand secrets of a very
mischievous nature. * * * I observed here a
difference between the British Parliament and
our Congress, that the former was a legislature,
an inquest, and a council for the King.
The latter was, by the Constitution, a legislature
and an inquest but not a council. [It
was] finally agreed, to speak [separately] to
the members of the Committee, and bring
them by persuasion into the right channel.
It was agreed in this case, that there was not
a paper which might not be properly produced,
that copies only should be sent, with an assurance,
that if they should desire it, a clerk
should attend with the originals to be verified
by themselves.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 112. Ford ed., i, 189.
(April. 1792)