University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
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.;

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
collapse sectionS. 
7820. SENATE (United States), Rules of.—[further continued].
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

7820. SENATE (United States), Rules of.—[further continued].

In the old Congress [of
the confederation] the mode of managing the
business of the House was not only unparliamentary,
but the forms were so awkward
and inconvenient that it was impossible sometimes
to get at the true sense of the majority.
The House of Representatives of the United
States are now pretty much in the same situation.
In the Senate it is in our power to
get into a better way. Our ground is this:
The Senate have established a few rules for
their government, and have subjected the decisions
on these and on all other points of
without debate, and without appeal, to
the judgment of their President. He, for his
own sake, as well as theirs, must prefer recurring
to some system of rules ready
formed; and there can be no question that the
parliamentary rules are the best known to
us for managing the debates, and obtaining
the sense of a deliberative body. I have,
therefore, made them my rule of decision,
rejecting those of the old Congress altogether,
and it gives entire satisfaction to the Senate;
insomuch that we shall not only have a good
system there, but probably, by the example
of its effects, produce a conformity in the
other branch. But in the course of this business
I find perplexities, * * * and so little
has the parliamentary branch of the law been
attended to, that I not only find no person
here [Philadelphia], but not even a book to
aid me. * * * You will see by the enclosed
paper what they are. I know with
what pain you write; therefore, I have left
a margin in which you can write a simple
negative or affirmative opposite every position.
This is what I earnestly solicit from
you, and I would not give you the trouble if
I had any other resource. But you are, in
fact, the only spark of parliamentary science
now remaining to us. I am the more anxious,
because I have been forming a Manual of
Parliamentary Law, which I mean to deposit
with the Senate as the standard by which I
judge, and am willing to be judged.—
To George Wythe. Washington ed. ix, 5. Ford ed., vii, 426.
(Pa., Feb. 1800)

See Parliamentary Law.