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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.;

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2763. ETIQUETTE, Rules of.—
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2763. ETIQUETTE, Rules of.—

I. In order
to bring the members of society together in
the first instance, the custom of the country has
established that residents shall pay the first visit
to strangers, and, among strangers, first comers
to later comers, foreign and domestic; the character
of stranger ceasing after the first visits.
To this rule there is a single exception. Foreign
ministers, from the necessity of making
themselves known, pay the first visit to the
ministers of the nation, which is returned. II.
When brought together in society, all are perfectly
equal, whether foreign or domestic, titled
or untitled, in or out of office. All other observances
are but exemplifications of these two
principles. I. 1st. The families of foreign ministers,
arriving at the seat of government, receive
the first visit from those of the national
ministers, as from all other residents. 2d.
Members of the Legislature and of the Judiciary,
independent of their offices, have a right
as strangers to receive the first visit. II. 1st.
No title being admitted here, those of foreigners
give no precedence. 2d. Differences of grade
among diplomatic members, give no precedence.
3d. At public ceremonies, to which the Government
invites the presence of foreign ministers
and their families, a convenient seat or station
will be provided for them, with any other
strangers invited and the families of the national
ministers, each taking place as they arrive,
and without any precedence. 4th. To


Page 312
maintain the principle of equality, or of pêle
and prevent the growth of precedence out
of courtesy, the members of the Executive will
practice at their own houses, and recommend an
adherence to the ancient usage of the country,
of gentlemen in mass giving precedence to the
ladies in mass, in passing from one apartment
* * * into another. [177]
Jefferson Papers. Washington ed. ix, 454. Ford ed., viii, 276.


Jefferson indorsed this paper as follows: “This
rough paper contains what was agreed upon.” That
is by the cabinet.—Editor.