Jefferson's A Manual of Parliamentary Practice
by Wilbur Samuel Howell
Published without copyright by Princeton University Press
Pars. 1 and 2 are based upon a passage in CSmH 5986, p. 38-39, which reads
... But what is the law on the floor of Congress which is to
govern the proceedings of the two houses? As to the Senate it stands on the
following ground. The Constitution says 'each house may determine the rules of
it's proceedings. And the Senate have accordingly established certain rules for
conducting their business. One of these rules refers the decision of every
question of order to the President, with authority to call for the sense of the
Senate whenever there is a doubt in his mind. As far then as the rules as
established by the Senate provide, the President is to decide according to
those rules; and in all other cases according to his own discretion. The
President, in his discretion, thinks, and ought to think, that it will be more
satisfactory & expedient to the Senate, and safer for himself, instead of
leaving himself free to indulge caprice or passion, or open to the imputation
of it, to adopt known rules of decision: and accordingly, in all cases not
provided for by the Rules of the Senate, regulates his decisions by the law of
parliament. The constant acquiescence of the Senate has added to this practice
the weight of their authority. But it would be better that they should make the
adoption their own act, and allow an appeal to themselves from the decision of
the President, on it's being claimed by a member, or some given number of
SEC. I, PAR 1
Except for differences in the use of abbreviations, capitalization,
contractions, and punctuation, this paragraph appears verbatim in CSmH 5986, p.
42. In the margin of the manuscript is the section title, "Rules,
importance of," followed by Roman numeral I. The three words after
"power of the Majority" in the eleventh line are underscored for
emphasis. After the reference to "2. Hats. 171.172." are
"§. no. and whether" to indicate TJ's intention to add a section
number and to continue the discussion of rules. The next paragraph in the
manuscript, however, deals with the subject of privilege, which is treated in
Section III of the printed Manual.
These lines represent the first of the additions that TJ wanted Milligan to
include in the new second edition of the Manual. See p. 32; also p. 340.
The other additions are identified below in our notes to the pertinent
SEC III, PAR. 1
Milligan's second footnote concluded with "Grey's deb. 133," thus
omitting the reference to Vol. 1 in Smith's otherwise parallel directive. By
this omission Milligaifs text may be held accountable for a minor typographical
error, but even Smith's full reference did not support the rule to which his
text affixed it, nor does page 133 of any other volume of Grey's
Debates. Thus I have deleted this part of the footnote altogether, on
the ground that TJ's original intention cannot here be established or
productively guessed at. Perhaps his final manuscript supported this part of
his text by a valid reference to some other page of some other volume of Grey's
Debates, and perhaps Smith's printing office misprinted the valid
reference in putting it into type. These things we simply do not know. But we
do know that Smith's error has been reproduced time after time in subsequent
printings of his text of the Manual, even unto its latest official
appearance as a congressional document.
Milligan's text misspells "necessary" at one point,
and I have corrected the error.
This entire passage appears in CSmH 5986, p. 1, in the following words:
For any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in
any other place. Constn. U.S. S. P. Protestation of the Commons to Jac. I.
1621. 2. Rapin No. 54. pa. 211.212. but this is restrained to things done in
the house in a parliamentary course. 1. Rush. 663. for he is not to have
privilege contra morem parliamentarium, to exceed the bounds & limits of
his place & duty. Com. p. §113.
The final words of this passage are exactly the same as those in the
concluding part of the first sentence of par.  of the Pocket-Book. See the
note thereon. As for the abbreviation "Cow. P.," it is plainly
intended to stand for Commons Protest and to recall in short form TJ's
earlier reference in this passage to "S. P. Protest of the Commons to
James I. 1621." It was usual practice in eighteenth-century legal
scholarship for works to be cited first by the more complete title and later by
short title or abbreviation. In adopting the practice here, TJ did what Rapin,
that is, Rapin-Thoyras, also did. Rapin-Thoyras used a short form, The
Commons Protestation, when he printed that document in his History of
England, and later, when he made reference to it, he called it
"Protestation." In citing that same document in the
Pocket-Book, par. , TJ called it "Protestation of Comm. to Jac. I.
1621." For a more extended note on the meaning of "Com.
P." see my article, "The Abbreviation 'Com. P.' in Jefferson's
An Explanation," Parliamentary Journal 21 (January 1980), 17-22,
26-30. For an opposing explanation by Bernard J. Sussman, see ibid., p. 22-5.
SEC. V, PAR. 7.
Smith's table of Representatives lists sixteen states and gives the number
of Representatives for each in 1787 and 1793, so far as the state concerned had
representatives in those years. Milligan's similar table lists seventeen states
and adds two new columns for representatives, one for 1801 and the other for
1813. The new state in Milligan's table is Ohio. See above, p. 365.
SEC. XIII, PAR. 2.
These lines represent the second of the additions made by TJ to Milligan's
new edition. See above, p. 32; also note to Sec. I, par. 3.
The final sentence and its documentation represent the third of TJ's
additions to Milligan's new edition.
In reproducing Smith's text, Milligan put "may be tended to him."
I restore Smith's reading by substituting "tendered" for
SEC. XVI, PAR. 3.
Smith's text read "almightly God," and Milligan corrected the
SEC. XVII, PARS. 14, 30.
Par. 14 printed in Roman type the first sentence of Rule 16, and par. 30
printed its second sentence in italics. Both sentences were combined into a
single resolution when Rule XVI was adopted by the Senate on April 16, 1789,
and TJ treated it as a single resolution when he transcribed it in his
Pocket-Book, par. . It would be normal to expect that both sentences would
be printed as a single resolution in the Manual, and that both would be
italicized. But TJ evidently decided otherwise. Perhaps he wanted the second
sentence to proclaim its importance by being separated from the first, and the
first sentence to suggest its unimportance by being denied italics. That line
of reasoning would receive support from TJ's remark in the Preface of the
Manual that the Senate originally adopted a few rules for their own
guidance and then "referred to the decision of their President, without
debate and without appeal, all questions of order arising either under their
own rules, or where they have provided none." At any rate, we have
preserved Milligan's differentiation between the two sentences in regard to
type, although he elsewhere used italics in printing the Senate rules, except
(by inadvertence?) for the first twenty-seven words of Rule 13. See Sec. XXII.
SEC. XXII, PAR. 1.
As printed in Roman type in Smith's text, Rule 13 made up the whole of
Section XXII, and it read as follows:
Every bill shall receive three readings, previous to its being passed; and
the President shall give notice at each whether it be the 1st. 2nd. or 3d.
which readings shall be on three different days, unless the Senate unanimously
direct otherwise. Rule 13.
The first forty-one words of Rule 13, as printed by Milligan, constitute
only the first part of his version of Section XXII, but he followed Smith
verbatim in that part, except for his use of italics and his manner of printing
ordinal numbers. After finishing Smith's version, however, Milligan added the
... or, unless by a joint vote of both Houses, or the expiration of their
term, the session is to be closed within three days. Rule 13.
Where this addition came from is a matter of doubt and conjecture. It was
not a part of the original rule as passed by the Senate on April 16, 1789. It
did not figure in the Pocket-Book, par. , when TJ entered Rule 13 therein.
It was not mentioned on either of the two occasions when TJ's preliminary
drafts of the final manuscript of the Manual recorded the text of what
he there called Rule XIII. (See CSmH 5986, p. 21, 22.) And the Senate Journals
contain no reference to this particular addition whenever it gives the original
text of the rule concerned. (See JS, II, 346, 541; IV, 66.) What might have
happened is that TJ himself made this addition after the first edition of the
Manual appeared in 1801, remembering it as a necessary restriction which
he had applied to Rule 13 in practice. In that form he may have passed the
addition on to Milligan in 1812, along with the other additions from Hatsell's
fourth volume, not being aware that the Senate, on March 26, 1806, had changed
the number of Rule 13 to 12, and had added to the original wording a lengthy
resolution having nothing whatever to do with three readings of bills on three
different days. (See JS, IV, 66.) Despite my uncertainties on this matter,
however, I feel obliged to prefer Milligan's text to Smith's at this point,
since it obviously represents what TJ wanted, and since the addition itself
does no violence to TJ's other known versions of the rule here discussed. But I
have italicized the entire text of the rule, as Milligan's usual practice would
SEC. XXVI, PAR. 10.
These lines represent the fifth of the additions that TJ wanted Milligan to
include in his second edition of the Manual.
SEC. XXXII, PAR. 1.
Toties quoties is a legal expression meaning "as often as it
SEC. XXXIV, PAR. 3.
Sir Thomas Littleton, as quoted in Grey's Debates, II, 113, intimated
in Commons in 1672 that Sir Henry Vane was the first to make the call for the
previous question into an accepted parliamentary form. Hatsell, after having
authoritatively established May 25, 1604, as the date when that form was first
used, denied the correctness of Littleton's attributing it to Sir Henry Vane.
Precedents of Proceedings (1785, II, 80; 1818, II, 111). What TJ
apparently did was to accept the date of the call as given by Hatsell, and the
name of its first user as claimed by Littleton, without becoming aware of the
anachronism hidden in those two pronouncements. Sir Henry Vane, father or son,
could not have been in Commons in 1604, the elder having been planning to
matriculate in Brasenose College in June of that year, and the younger not yet
born. For an analysis of TJ's error in this matter, see Robert W. Smith,
"Jefferson's Manual Corrected," Parliamentary Journal,
21 (January 1980), 30-4. Smith's analysis seems designed to make TJ's error
consist in his having mistakenly connected Sir Henry Vane's alleged action with
the 1604 date, and in his having written 1604 instead of 1640, when both Vanes
could have been in parliament. But TJ accepted the 1604 date on Hatsell's
authority, as he explicitly showed. His mistake was in saying, against the
explicit warning brought to his attention by Hatsell, that Sir
Henry Vane was the first to use that particular parliamentary maneuver. The
error is regrettable, to be sure, but it is difficult to regard it as anything
more than an uncharacteristic lapse of attention on the part of the notably
SEC. XXXV, PAR. 11.
Three lines in this paragraph, identified as having come from "4
Hats. 319," represent the sixth of the additions made by TJ to this
edition of the Manual.
SEC. XXXVI, PAR. 1.
In the fifth line, Milligan's text read "Ut" when it should have
The second page of the two-page fragment mentioned above, Editor's
Introduction to A Manual, n. 15, contains a rough draft of this passage.
The following clauses, paragraphs, or separate references in the present
text are additions that TJ provided for inclusion in Milligan's edition:
... by one House disagreed to by the other ... 4 Hats. 4, 223 ... 4
Hats. 4, 5, 7... 4 Hats. 3, 43.
... which are asked after two conferences, 4 Hats. 37, 40.
The conferees may argue in support of what is done in their House, but not
against it, nor assent to any new thing there propounded, till their House be
informed and agree to it. 4 Hats. 31, 33.... 4 Hats. 48.
The Commons affirm that it is usual to have two free conferences or more,
before either House proceeds to adhere: because, before that time, the Houses
have not had full opportunity of making replies to one another's arguments; and
to adhere so suddenly and unexpectedly, excludes all possibility of offering
expedients. 4 Hats. 330.
4 Hats. 20, 46.
During the time of a conference the House can do no business. As soon as the
names of the managers are called over, and they are gone to the conference, the
Speaker leaves the chair, without any question, and resumes it on the return of
the managers. It is the same while the managers of an impeachment are at the
House of Lords. 4 Hats. 47, 209, 288.
SEC. XLIX, PAR. 3.
Rule 25 did not appear in Smith's or Milligan's text of the Manual,
but it must have been omitted in each case by inadvertence; or TJ himself, also
by inadvertence, may perhaps have omitted it when he was preparing his final
manuscript in the summer of 1800. Nevertheless, the reasons why it is being
restored to its proper position in this edition seem compelling. In the first
place, the presence of Rule 25 is made imperative by the necessity of having a
rule with this number to fit into the sequence of numbered rules in the
Manual. Secondly, there can be no doubt that TJ's own intention was to
have Rule 25 appear in the Manual at this point. He indicated as much in
the Pocket-Book, par. , where his list of Senate Rules contains Rule XXV,
worded there exactly as it is worded here, and positioned there, as here,
between Rule XXIV and Rule XXVI. He also indicated that intention in his
manuscript titled "Rough Notes," where, on page 14 (or perhaps more
correctly 13), he listed some of the topics that were to appear in the
Manual, and after one of them, called "Exve business," he
placed the numeral xxv, which in that context could only designate Rule 25.
(See p. 340). Moreover, he also indicated the same thing in CSmH 5986, p. 15,
1. 10, where his notes specified the presence of Rule XXV between Rule XXIV and
What may have happened was that, when TJ was preparing his final manuscript
for the printer, he planned to have his Manual extend to fifty-four
sections, with the last section to deal with executive business and to contain
Rule 25 as pertinent to that very topic. But when he later changed that plan,
and canceled out the final section, as he did in CSmH 5986, he may have
neglected to remind himself that Rule 25 should not therefore be overlooked but
should be relocated in Sec. XLIX, where it also would belong. Or, as another
possibility, he may have included Rule 25 in his final manuscript, only to have
Smith's printer skip over it in setting type. But in any case there can be no
doubt that TJ's intention was to have Rule 25 included in his own final version
of the Manual.
SEC. LII, PAR. 3.
The footnote attached to the final sentence is not in Milligan's or Smith's
text, but it is added here on the authority of TJ, who wrote it at the foot of
the page in his own personal copy of the first edition of the Manual.
See above, p. 420. It should not be counted here, however, as an addition
proposed by TJ for inclusion in Milligan's second edition.
SEC. LIII, PAR. 6.
The parenthetical note and added reference to Hatsell, IV, 153, 186, are not
in Smith's text, and thus they are to be counted as TJ's thirteenth and
fourteenth additions to Milligan's present work.
Milligan's text erred by doubling the n in printing "impanelled."
Smith and Milligan both erred in saying that Lord Berkeley was arraigned
"for the murder of L. 2," and the mistake is plainly theirs, not
TJ's. In the Pocket-Book, par. , TJ noted that Lord Berkeley was arraigned
"for the murder of E. 2," that is, Edward II. For details, see the
Pocket-Book, par.  and note 4.
"But 4 Hats. 73, says that he was a Commoner, and that there was
no waiver of privilege." These words, which are not in Smith's text,
constitute the fifteenth of TJ's contributions to Milligan's second edition.
The Manuscript Problem
The manuscript used by Samuel Harrison Smith in printing the first edition
of the Manual cannot now be located, although it may exist in some
forgotten repository of documents belonging to his descendants That particular
manuscript, characterized by Smith's wife as having been written in TJ's
"own neat, plain, but elegant hand writing," was delivered to the
Smith home by TJ himself in early December 1800, and, according to Mrs Smith's
somewhat reverent later testimony, "It is still preserved by Mr Smith and
valued as a precious relique "1 I would have welcomed the opportunity to
examine this important document and to compare it with the first edition, so as
to be sure that the new text is as close as it can be to TJ's original
intentions But that opportunity has not yet become available to modern
We do know, however, that Smith's printed version of the Manual
contains a few imperfections Only the first of these would seem beyond question
to have originated in Smith's failure to conform to TJ's final manuscript The
second is demonstrably the result of TJ's wish to add to Smith's text an item
that came from his later recollection of something relevant to a point under
discussion And the third appears to have been caused by a lapse either in the
printer's office when the final manuscript was being set into type, or in TJ's
procedures when he was readying the final manuscript for the printer 2 A list
of these imperfections would possibly be increased if we could compare Smith's
version with the copy text that he used, but as things stand at present, the
printed edition cannot be faulted beyond the three blemishes just mentioned
The first imperfection was pointed out by TJ himself In his personal copy of
the first edition of the Manual, TJ noticed that the last three lines of
Section XXII did not conform in style to his original intention, and in the
margin to their right he wrote, "these words should have been in Italics
"3 This correction, trifling as it may seem, corrects a practice that did
not conform to similar passages in the printed text No doubt at TJ's direct
suggestion, Milligan's text printed these three lines in italics, as of course
we do 4
The second imperfection in Smith's text consists in his omission of a
sentence that TJ, perhaps only for the moment, regarded as important That
sentence appeared in TJ's handwriting as a footnote to the final sentence of
the third paragraph of Section LII in his own copy of the Manual The
footnote, reads "The treaty of the Pardo between Spain & G B in 1739
being disapproved by parliament, was not ratified In consequence whereof the
war it was intended to prevent took place Observns of France on Memorial of
England pa 107 " This
[two pages missing]
however; and indeed the difficulties involved in adapting the Pocket-Book
for such a use would have been formidable. To begin with, an index that would
have made the Pocket-Book a ready guide to the solution of problems in
parliamentary procedure would have been almost impossible to construct and to
use — shortcomings that TJ's experience with his "pillar" had
doubtless made obvious to him. Moreover, the Pocket-Book in its original state,
compiled over many years from TJ's wide reading in parliamentary law, was
heavily weighted toward the doings and constitutional problems of the British
House of Commons, with only an occasional glance at American practices, whereas
the Manual would have that emphasis reversed. Reasons like these could
well have led TJ to dismiss his Pocket-Book as a possible basis for a Senate
He sought instead to compose an original document that would serve the
purpose efficiently. Under the persuasions of George Wythe and his own
sense of practicality, he decided that the completed manuscript would best be
printed. TJ worked upon that document in the summer of 1800, as he promised he
would. Its preliminary drafts are now fortunately available in large part
to students of TJ's parliamentary writings. These provide clues to TJ's
procedures in arriving at the final text that Smith put into type.
One draft, a nineteen-page document, devotes its entire first page to the
following heading: "Parliamentary <Manual> rough notes,
preserved, lest the fair digest should be lost." The second word in
the heading is obliterated, except for one or two scattered marks, and the word
supplied in angle brackets is purely conjectural. In our judgment, the title of
the document as a whole should be Rough Notes, more or less by the elimination
of other possibilities, whereas Fair Digest should designate another document,
still unidentified, which may in all likelihood be the final manuscript
delivered by TJ to Smith.
On close inspection, the Rough Notes turn out to be made up of two separate
documents, related only in that both deal with parliamentary procedure under
the topics that were to be more systematically organized in the Manual.
The longest of these two documents consists of thirteen pages, the first page
of which, as we indicated above, is devoted solely to the half-obliterated
heading. Ten of the remaining thirteen pages are closely written, each
containing forty-five lines on the average, with each line 7 ½ centimeters
in length. Six pages lead directly into the next following pages, but five do
not, perhaps because the pages that followed them were dispersed before the
present manuscript was made available for purchase. One page (p. 12) contains
only four written lines.
One of the subjects treated on fourth page of these thirteen pages deserves
special mention. It concerns the deliberations of the Senate in acting upon
President Adams's appointment of his son John Quincy to be a commissioner with
full power to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce with the king of Sweden.
We need not elaborate here upon what the Senate did on that occasion, the
episode having been already covered. But its inclusion here shows that,
even though it was destined to be omitted from the Manual, it was still
of interest to TJ at this point in the preparation of that work. His final
decision to delete it from the published Manual was doubtless dictated
by political considerations.
The thirteenth page of the first document in Rough Notes seems incorrectly
to have been numbered 14. It is an important page in that it shows a tentative
table of contents for the future Manual. The page contains a list of
thirty-eight headings, several of which resemble the section titles of the
Manual. Each of these headings is preceded by an Arabic numeral, and
some headings are followed by one or more numerals of the same kind.
Twenty-three of the headings are followed by one or more Roman numerals, the
highest of which is XXIX. Each one of these Roman numerals designates a Senate
rule, and they were all to appear in the Manual in Arabic notation. For
example, the heading labeled "admission within the house" is followed
by XXIX, which in the Manual translates into Rule 29; the heading
labeled "doors closed" is followed by XXVIII, which refers to Rule 28
in the Manual; the heading labeled "Exve" is followed by XXV,
and in the present edition of the Manual that heading is explained by
Rule 25; the heading labeled "Journals" is followed by four Roman
numerals — I, XXIV, XXVI, XXVII — and these respectively call
attention to Rule 1, Rule 24, Rule 26, and Rule 27; the headings labeled
"order in debate" and "right to speak" are designated II
and III for the first, and IV and V for the second, these pairs of Roman
numerals being respectively represented in the Manual as Rules 2 and 3,
Rules 4 and 5. It is plain from these citations that the misnumbered page 14 of
the longest of the two documents making up "Rough Notes" represents
TJ in the act of visualizing the organization of the Manual in terms of
major topics and the involvement of many of those topics with the relevant rule
or rules of the Senate.
As for the other six pages, one is a seemingly complete page, one is half a
page long, and four are made up of only a few written lines, as if they were
separate notes intended for later expansion. The paragraphs on these six pages
are written in lines measuring 13 centimeters in length, and thus these pages
do not seem to belong to the same era of editorial activity as the earlier
pages of the Rough Notes do. Moreover, the four pages of separate notes suggest
that TJ, in compiling what was to be the Manual, jotted down paragraphs
on separate sheets as they attracted his attention, and those sheets were later
mingled indiscriminately, perhaps by dealers, with more complete sheets so as
to create an assembled manuscript full of gaps, repetitions, and irregularities
for future scholars to cope with.
The only competitor to Rough Notes among TJ's significant early drafts of
what became his Manual is a manuscript of fifty-three pages in The
Huntington Library, catalogued as CSmH 5986. Its first page is headed "A
Manual of the Rules of proceeding in the Senate of the U.S." A second
heading at the top of page 20 reads: "Rules of practice in the Senate of
the U.S." Although there is no heading on page 42, a paragraph begins
there with "Sec. 1" as a label in the margin, and what may be taken
as the ensuing third part of the document goes on from there to end with page
48. The next five pages (49-53) are miscellaneous, two being devoted to
treatment of bills in committee, one to conferences between the Houses of
Parliament, and the last two to tables of topics. In sum, the entire manuscript
is made up of four separate documents, one of which belongs to the first
heading (pages 1-19), one to the second heading (pages 20-41), one to an
unacknowledged third heading (pages 42-48), and the last one (pages 49-53) to
disconnected items bearing upon parliamentary procedures and topics of
The page numbers affixed here to indicate the points of separation between
each of these four documents are of course borrowed from the photocopy of the
Huntington manuscript, and those numbers were devised by the cataloguers at the
Huntington to make reference to the manuscript an easy matter. But it must be
remembered that the numbers suggest a continuity that does not in fact exist
from first to last among the pages of each of the four documents. Gaps in
content, as indicated when the top lines of one page do not cohere with the
bottom lines of its predecessor, occur frequently within each document, and
each gap indicates that pages are missing, perhaps one page on some occasions,
perhaps several on others. In the first document, for example, there are eight
distinct gaps; and in each of the other documents, other gaps, the precise
number being difficult to discover. But even if the gaps were accurately
counted, it would be impossible to estimate the number of missing pages that
each gap may originally have contained.
According to an officer of The Huntington Library, CSmH 5986 was purchased
by Henry E. Huntington on December 6, 1921, at a sale conducted in New York by
the American Art Association. The catalogue of that sale listed this
document as one of "a notable collection of rare manuscripts, books, and
broadsides from a private collection, sold by order of Ashley T. Cole,
Attorney, New York City." The catalogue also indicated that this document
"ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT NOTES ENTIRELY IN THE HANDWRITING OF JEFFERSON,
48, [sic] pp. 12 mo, closely written in his minute handwriting, with caption
MANUAL OF THE RULES OF PROCEEDING IN THE SENATE OF THE U. S.7 " And it
added: "THIS UNIQUE AND IMPORTANT MANUSCRIPT contains Jefferson's original
draft of his celebrated 'Manual.' "
On page 48 of CSmH 5986 is found a table of contents for the emerging
Manual. The middle column of this table lists the section titles that
the Manual was to have, and in the left-hand column opposite the
sequence of titles were Roman numerals running from I to LIV. This ordering of
sections is plainly to be understood as TJ's outline for the final draft of the
Roman numerals that range from I to LV are distributed along the left-hand
or the right-hand margins of thirty-eight of the first forty-eight pages of
CSmH 5986. These numerals, in TJ's handwriting, correspond to the sections and
titles of the table of contents just described.
Having thus established his main sections, their titles, and their order TJ
would have been in a position to prepare his final manuscript. But he must soon
have realized that certain corrections in his outline would have to be made.
For one thing, he saw that he must cancel Section LIV from his table of
contents, since it had originally been designed to deal with executive
business, and what he wanted to say on that subject could be covered in Section
XLIX. For another thing, he saw that he must ignore Roman numeral LV as it
appeared in the margins of pages 37, 38, and 43, inasmuch as it referred in
those places to paragraphs either dealing with executive business (Sec. XLIX),
or with treaties (Sec. LII). And for yet another thing, he discovered that some
of his Roman numerals, as distributed in the margins of his manuscript drafts,
were incorrect in identifying sections to which paragraphs belonged — on
page 23, a paragraph should have been assigned to Sec. XLIV, not XLV, another
to Sec. XLV, not to XLVI, and another to Sec. XLVI, not XLVII. But in the main
TJ's directives in CSmH 5986 were dependable, and in all likelihood he followed
them during the summer of 1800 in transcribing his final manuscript for
delivery to Samuel Harrison Smith that December. In other words, that final
manuscript may be judged to have been largely, but not completely, constructed
from CSmH 5986, and if a reconstruction of the final manuscript were ever
possible, it would turn out to be very close to the Manual of 1801.
The history of CSmH 5986 before it was sold to Henry S. Huntington cannot be
traced in full detail, nor can all of its missing pages be confidently located
in any modern collection of Jefferson manuscripts. But we do know with
certainty that CSmH 5986 was in the hands of Henry Randall between 1851 and
1858, when he was writing the first comprehensive and still very useful
biography of Thomas Jefferson. In that biography, Randall described what he
called "The first draft of the Parliamentary Manual," and there can
be no doubt that he was speaking of CSmH 5986. He said that his draft was
"filled with interlineations and erasures, with 'riders' attached, and
amended passages pasted over the original — stitched and folded so as to
be carried within the more comprehensive Pocket Book"; and these words
exactly describe the manuscript that we have just analyzed. He printed a
facsimile page of it, and a glance at that page establishes its resemblance to
the general run of pages in the Huntington manuscript. But what beyond question
identifies Randall's "first draft" with CSmH 5986 is that the latter
contains exactly the same table of contents which Randall described as being in
the draft before him. Randall said of his document that "it corresponds
very closely with the familiar published copy, except that it contains one more
section (with a pen run through it, however), and the present order of
arrangement is not observed except in the index." Randall's
"index" is of course page 48 of CSmH 5986. What we call the table of
contents contains fifty-four items designated by Roman numerals, and the last
item is crossed out by a single line. Each Roman numeral and each title in
Randall's "index" are identical with the elements of our table of
contents, and the preceding pages of our manuscript could be described as
Randall describes the draft he was looking at.
Of what happened to Randall's manuscript after 1858, we know only a few
details, but they are interesting in themselves and also illustrate some of the
difficulties confronting historical editors. As I said in the Introduction to
the Parliamentary Pocket-Book, Randall and Thomas Jefferson Randolph came upon
a large accumulation of TJ's "old books in manuscript" at Edgehill in
1851, among them not only the Parliamentary Pocket-Book and a draft of the
Parliamentary Manual, but also other items, including in all probability
the manuscript that TJ called Rough Notes. Randolph, TJ's legatee, turned over
the manuscript of the Pocket-Book to his sister Ellen, who later gave it to her
son Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, on its way to the archives of the Massachusetts
Historical Society. From a letter which Randall sent to James Parton on
June 1, 1868, we know that Randolph gave Randall the other parliamentary
manuscripts, with the stipulation that he keep some of them. Randall fell
into the habit of sending leaves from these manuscripts to friends interested
in having samples of TJ's handwriting. For example, the letter just now
mentioned indicated that Randall was sending to Parton some
"characteristic" leaves of his remaining store of TJ's manuscripts,
including "one from his draft of his Parliamentary law." For another
example, Randall's letter of January 19, 1874, to Master Charlie Andrews reads
in part: "My autographs of Mr Jefferson, as you would suppose, have been
pretty well reduced, and there are none both written and signed,
now within my reach. I enclose you a very curious and characteristic autograph,
it being two leaves from Mr Jefferson's original draft of his parliamentary
Beyond question, therefore, Randall freely distributed pages of TJ's
parliamentary manuscripts to those seeking specimens of TJ's handwriting, and
by 1874 his store of such materials was severely reduced, perhaps even to the
point where there remained in his possession only those pages which seemed to
him to satisfy the restriction placed by the Jefferson family upon his disposal
of TJ's papers. Perhaps he gave that residue to his children when he died in
1876, and perhaps it contained not only the attenuated remainder of Rough Notes
but also a considerable number of leaves left over from what he had called the
"first draft" of TJ's Manual. From that point on, what
happened to those particular manuscripts is obscure, but it is clearly evident
that what remained of the Rough Notes is now in The Library of Congress, and
Randall's "first draft" is the nucleus of CSmH 5986. As for the
leaves now obviously missing from those documents, we are for the most part at
a loss. But the present whereabouts of some of them can be established, and one
fragment proves on its face that it was at one time in the hands of Henry
Four handwritten pages of the "Manual of Parliamentary Practice"
from the collection of David Gage Joyce were offered for sale at the Hanzel
Galleries in Chicago on September 23-24, 1973, and they were purchased by Ralph
G. Newman for Barron U. Kidd of Texas. Thanks to the kindness and courtesy of
Mr. Kidd and Mr. Newman, these pages were made available in photostat to the
Jefferson Papers office in Princeton. There can be little doubt that these
pages once belonged to Randall's "first draft of the Parliamentary
Manual." Like that draft, these pages contain cancellations of lines,
interlineations, and marginal additions to certain paragraphs; titles
identifying the subjects being treated to their right or left; and Roman
numerals in the margins indicating to which section the adjacent paragraphs
will belong in the Manual. We are at present unable to specify how these
pages found their way from Randall to David Gray Joyce. But Randall's habit of
distributing leaves of TJ's parliamentary writings hither and yon make it
likely that he gave away to some interested friend the pages later purchased
for Mr. Kidd.
The leaf that Randall printed in facsimile in his Jefferson is
now in The Library of Congress. It was acquired at an auction held on January
29, 1976, at Charles Hamilton Galleries in New York. Through what
intermediaries it got to that auction, we do not know. But we do know that it
was found at Edgehill by Randall and Thomas Jefferson Randolph in 1851. Thus we
may say that the Randall household has to assume responsibility in this case,
too, for having failed to foresee the problems that future scholars would find
in attempting to use dismembered manuscripts to measure the full extent of TJ's
accomplishments as a scholar in parliamentary law.
One final example will lend additional support to the hypothesis that the
key figure in the distribution of TJ's parliamentary manuscripts from a storage
room in Edgehill to their present diverse locations was Henry Randall. This
case concerns a fragment, not of the Manual, but of the Parliamentary
Pocket-Book — a small but important fragment. It may have been compiled by
TJ when he was thinking of the Pocket-Book as a possible parliamentary guide
for the Senate's future use after his term as Vice President had ended; this
fragment is now owned by Mr. Roger W. Barrett. What follows is Mr.
Barrett's account of the way in which this fragment came into his possession,
provided by Mr. Barrett's personal letter of April 1, 1947, to Julian Boyd.
a) Found, with other papers, by Col. Thomas J. Randolph in an old receptacle
after Jefferson's death.
b) Given by Col. Thomas J. Randolph to Henry S. Randall, author of the Life
c) Sold by Randall's Executor to Charles De F. Burns, a dealer in New York.
d) Sold by Burns to Charles F. Gunther in 1885.
e) Sold by Gunther to Oliver R. Barrett.
f) Given by Oliver R. Barrett to Roger W. Barrett about 16 years ago.
The manuscripts now available to scholars have been helpful in establishing
that TJ evolved his final but unavailable manuscript from a series of early
drafts, best represented not only by what he called "Rough Notes" and
by the various documents and miscellaneous leaves making up CSmH 5986, but also
by fragments that once belonged to one or the other of those two sources. Even
without the assistance of TJ's final manuscript, there seems to be a good case
for believing that the printed text of the first edition of the Manual
accurately represents, with insignificant exceptions, what TJ wanted that work
to say. Perhaps it would not be out of order to stress by way of concluding
this section that the compiling of the Manual from first to last
involved TJ in several exacting tasks:
that of wide reading in the source works available to him; that of accurate
transcription of passages from those sources; that of revising the order of
passages from one manuscript draft to another from an almost complete lack of
coherent sequence in his notes to final consecutiveness in the Manual;
that of making several versions of some passages, only to decide finally to
omit them; that of making use of passages derived from his own experience as
presiding officer of the Senate; and that of being attentive constantly to
clarity and unaffectedness of style. His obvious success in performing these
tasks with skill and grace gives me the opportunity to affirm with confidence
that, among his many other distinctions, TJ must also be considered the
foremost American scholar of his time in the field of parliamentary law.
The Basis of the Printed Text of 1812
Joseph Milligan, a Georgetown publisher, must be credited with producing in
1812 the only genuine second edition of the Manual. TJ was fully aware
of that enterprise from its very beginning and collaborated in it to the extent
of providing Milligan with material not included in Samuel Harrison Smith's
text of 1801. Thus Milligan's text represents not only what TJ had
originally intended the Manual to contain, but also what his later
readings and reflections upon parliamentary law had induced him to add.
Milligan's text is the basis for the present edition. The only changes made
pertain to correcting its few typographical errors and to supplying the sole
passage that both Smith and Milligan had omitted.
So far as we have been able to discover from a line-for-line, word-for-word
comparison of Milligan's text with that of Smith, and from a careful
examination of the passages that TJ wanted to add to what Smith had printed,
there are in Milligan's text only six typographical errors, some of which are
mistaken readings of Smith's text, and some, inadvertent duplications of
Smith's original errors. These are corrected in the notes to the sections
Milligan's text has been followed in regard to printing style, where no
issue is at stake beyond one printer's preference for a certain way of doing
things. Thus this edition has preserved Milligan's manner of capitalizing
certain words, of spelling out numbers, and of not abbreviating official titles
of public documents, or the United States or public institutions, or months of
Smith's text, except for three imperfections, is as accurate a version of
TJ's original intentions for the Manual as we can at present hope to
have. But Smith's printing establishment allowed four typographical errors
to appear in the first edition, and they should be mentioned in passing. At one
point Smith did not notice that his text incorrectly read "almightly
God"; at another he allowed "smalt" to stand for
"small"; at still another, he printed "pro hac vice" for
"pro hoc voce"; and at still another he allowed "pu" to
represent "put." Milligan's text silently corrects these errors,
and indeed they deserve attention only to place the account of Milligan's own
carelessness against a balancing account of his care in rectifying the mistakes
of his predecessor whenever he became conscious of the need to do so.
Milligan's text omits a passage that TJ plainly intended the Manual
to have. Smith also omitted it, and there is a possibility that TJ's final
manuscript did not include it, either. But it belongs to Section XLIX, and it
is now printed there.
We have already recorded that, when Milligan asked TJ's permission to print
the Manual in a second edition, TJ not only gave his consent but also
supplied a printed document containing additions to be made in the new
text. For the most part these additions came from TJ's having read and
reflected upon Hatsell's fourth volume, which had not been available to him in
1800; but they also came in part from his wish that the Manual of 1812
update obsolete or incomplete statements in the edition of 1801. These
additions, which in the aggregate amounted to seventy-four lines of type, or
three new pages, are identified by notes affixed to the sections wherein they
TJ's Manual has been printed many times since it came out as a
book, and all of its printings that I have been able to examine seem
ultimately to have been reproductions of its first edition. Perhaps, in the
interest of completeness, future printings should depend upon Milligan rather
So far as references to the sources of the Manual are concerned,
Milligan's text diners in two ways from Smith's. In the first place, Milligan
failed to register in full one of Smith's references to Grey's Debates,
and thus he made a minor mistake; but the true mistake was that the reference
itself is unjustifiable. Secondly, Milligan's text contains all of TJ's
citations of Hatsell's fourth volume added by TJ after Smith's edition was
In recording TJ's references to his sources, both Milligan and Smith used
names of authors, or abbreviation of names, or short titles of works, or
abbreviation of titles, even as TJ himself had done throughout his Pocket-Book
and the preliminary drafts and the final draft of his Manual. A list of
those abbreviations, alphabetically arranged, with identification of the works
for which they stand, will be found in the front matter. For the most part,
these constitute the sources from which the printed Manual emerged.
In addition to them, however, there are five other sources to be recorded
here, if we would have a complete inventory of the works that lie behind the
Manual. Although unacknowledged, one of them was the Pocket-Book, many
of whose paragraphs bequeathed to the Manual their doctrine and
wording. Another source was the Journal of the Senate, and still
another, a pamphlet entitled Rules for Conducting Business in the
Senate. From these TJ assembled the twenty-nine numbered rules that are
distributed throughout the Manual in their proper context, except that
one of them, the twenty-fifth, was inadvertently omitted by TJ or the publisher
somewhere in the process of preparing the final manuscript or of getting it
printed in 1801 and 1812. The wording of the first nineteen rules suggests
that TJ transcribed them from the Journal, and he probably drew the
others from the pamphlet. Still another source, this one fully
acknowledged, was the Constitution of the United States. In the first nine
sections of Article 1, that document laid down the guidelines which were to
direct the parliamentary conduct of the legislative branch of the government,
and TJ made frequent and effective use of them, even going so far as to have
the printers call them to the readers' attention by visual means. "The
rules and practices peculiar to the Senate," declares a note at the
end of the Preface in Smith's and Milligan's texts of the Manual,
"are printed in Italic. Those of Parliament are in the Roman
The same visual means were used to get readers to recognize that, in
addition to the Constitution, the Manual had another important American
source, this one acknowledged only indirectly — the procedural happenings
during the conduct of legislative business in the Senate and to some extent in
the House of Representatives. Thus it is that, wherever an italicized text does
not identify itself as a Senate rule or as a direct offshoot of the
Constitution, the passages concerned are TJ's own summary or digest of Senate
happenings or practices.
One particular case will serve to illustrate the way TJ drew on his own
observations as presiding officer of the Senate. In early 1800, Senate
Federalists attempted to pass a bill giving a newly created committee of
thirteen the power not only to validate each vote cast that autumn in the
electoral college but also to decide by their own count who the next President
of the United States would be. A distinguished historian of those events calls
the Federalist bill "a bold attempt to alter by law rather than by
amendment the constitutional system of counting the presidential electoral
vote." In view of what had happened in the vote of the electoral
college in 1796, TJ would have had reason to see that the Federalist bill was
designed to prevent his own party from gaining the Presidency in 1800.
Republican opposition naturally mounted.
William Duane, editor of a Republican paper, the Aurora, published on
February 19, 1800, a spirited attack upon the means used to bring the
Federalist bill to the floor of the Senate; and at the same time Duane printed
a copy of the bill, although it was still in its second reading and hence not
yet ready in regular course for public comment. The Federalist senators
successfully moved to require Duane to appear before their chamber to present
what justification he could for his attack. But when, after some intermediate
maneuvering, he finally did not show up on March 26, the day stipulated for his
appearance, he was voted next day to be in contempt of the Senate and was
ordered to be taken into custody by the sergeant-at-arms. Duane evaded
arrest, and the charge that he had defamed the Senate was never decided.
Section III of the Manual contains TJ's report upon the debate over
"the legality" of the order to have Duane taken into custody. That
debate began on February 26, 1800, one week after the Aurora published
its attack, and the question as to what to do about Duane occupied the Senate
from then until the end of that session on May 14. In all probability TJ wrote
his report during the summer of 1800, when he was putting into shape the final
manuscript of the Manual. As it appeared in Smith's first edition, and
later in Milligan's second, the report contains the arguments used in the
debate upon Duane's alleged defamation of the Senate, there being some ten in
favor of Duane's arrest, and some sixteen against. TJ's partisan sympathies
would of course have lain with the opposition, but his report did not reveal
this. It did reflect the high quality of the arguments on each side —
arguments stressing historical, philosophical, and legal considerations.
TJ's report takes a place in the Manual as a record of senatorial
deliberation at its best. He succeeded at times in making his treatise on
parliamentary practice something more than a handbook of useful directions. To
TJ's mind, a code of conduct for the Senate should not limit itself to the pots
and pans of politics. Moreover, the report is one of many examples of TJ's use
of his own observations as an important supplement to the parliamentary
doctrines that he drew from years of reading standard British authorities.
1. See above, p 24 5
2. See below, Editor's Notes, Sec XLIX
3. TJ's copy of the first edition is now owned by Dr Alfred J Liebman, who
kindly supplied Julian Boyd with a photocopy for use in the present edition
4. See below, Manual, Sec XXII, and note
5. TJ's reference at the end of that note is to Gerard de Rayneval's
Observations on the Justificative Memorial of the Court of London (Pans
and Philadelphia, 1781) Sowerby, No 3140 (III, 271), notes that the translation
of this work is by Peter Stephen du Ponceau
[Part of endnote 5 and endnotes 6-12 from missing pages]
13. See above, p. 21, 32.
14. See ibid., p. 19.
15. The pages of our photocopy are numbered 1-19, and we cite the document
by those numbers. The original manuscript is in the Library of Congress among
the Thomas Jefferson Papers, vol. 233, p. 41793-41805. For other information,
see Index, p. 76, col. 1, item 1. In addition to this nineteen-page
document, the Library of Congress separately holds a two-page manuscript
catalogued as "Notes on parliamentary procedures in the U.S. Senate in
various matters, including the Alien Bill," and this fragment seems
undoubtedly to have once belonged with what we are calling Rough Notes. What
could have happened was that, when Henry Randall possessed the manuscripts of
TJ's parliamentary writings, he detached this fragment and gave it to someone
who later sold it. See below, Manual, Sec. XXXVI, par. 3, for a note on
TJ's later use of this fragment. It may be inspected in the Library of Congress
among the Thomas Jefferson Papers, vol. 82, p. 14221. For more information, see
Index, p. 76, col. 1, item 61. For comments about Randall's dispersal of
TJ's parliamentary manuscripts, see below, nn. 25-30.
16. See above, p. 13-14.
17. I have not worked out the precise meaning attached by TJ to these Arabic
numerals, but they seem to be intended as a bridge between an indicated topic
and a manuscript page or numbered item where that topic would be discussed.
18. See below, Sec. XLIX, and note.
19. These four pages resemble in their complete discontinuty the five pages
attached to CSMH 5986. See below.
20. The catalogue entry for CSmH 5986 reads: "Apparently two
fragmentary drafts of Jefferson's 'Manual of Parliamentary Practise [sic]. . .
.' Several disconnected leaves are included, and many strips have been pasted
on." But it seems more likely that CSmH 5986 consists of four fragmentary
documents, the last of which is made up of completely rather than partially
disconnected leaves. That the first three of these documents are originally
from separate preliminary drafts of the Manual is strongly suggested by
the presence in this particular manuscript of three separate entries on pages
32, 37, and 38 concerning President Adams's appointment of his son John Quincy
to be a trade commissioner to the king of Sweden. These entries are so much
alike in wording and content as to raise the question whether they would all be
likely to appear close together in the same document. The same question is
raised not only by two separate entries on pp. 37 and 38 concerning the
executive function of the Senate in approving or disapproving appointments by
the President, but also by yet two more entries on pp. 39 and 40 concerning the
ruling that a question interrupted by a motion to adjourn is removed from
consideration and can be reinstated only by being introduced again. It is at
least a plausible supposition that these various duplicate wordings of the same
passages belonged originally to separate preliminary drafts of the
Manual and were later dispersed, only to be carelessly reassembled by
the dealer who subsequently sold them to Henry E. Huntington. For other details
concerning TJ's discussion of the John Quincy Adams case, see above, p. 13-15.
21. The editor gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance of Martha
Briggs, Assistant Curator, American History, The Huntington Library, in
researching the data in this paragraph. Ms. Briggs provided the detils
concerning Henry Huntington's acquisition of this manuscript. Most helpfully of
all, she sent me a photocopy of the catalogue in which the American Art
Association offered this manuscript for sale.
22. See below, note to Sec. XLIX.
23. Randall, Life, II, 356-7; also I, 16. 24 See above, p. 41-2.
25. For the text of this letter, see Flower, p. 236-9. Its final paragraph
reads: "I must again express my regret that I cannot send you a fine
autograph letter of Mr. Jefferson on some interesting topic — but I am
stripped down to those his family expected me to keep."
26. H. S. Randall to Charlie Andrew, 19 Jan. 1874 (Ralph G. Newman, Chicago:
27. See that work, 11, insert at p. 256-7.
28. The leaf immediately following the one represented in facsimile was
acquired by The Library of Congress at the same auction.
29. See above, p. 341, and n. 12.
30. Quoted here with the kind permission of Mr. Roger W. Barrett.
31. For details, see p. 32, 34.
32. See notes to Secs. III, XIII, XXXVI, LIII.
33. See above, p. 339-40.
34. For these four errors, see Manual, 1801, Sec. XVI, par. 3; Sec.
XXVI, par. 12; Sec. XXXIII, par. 5; Sec. XXXIV, par. 3.
35. See above, p. 340; also Manual, Sec. XLIX, and note.
36. See above, TJ's Parliamentary Studies, p. 32.
37. For examples of updated passages, see Secs. V and XXII. In the first
section is a new list of Representatives; in the second, the new addition to
Senate Rule 13.
38. For these additions, see below, notes to Secs. I, XIII, XXII, XXVI,
XXXV, XLVI, XLIX, LII, LIII.
39. See p. 434-44.
40. For details concerning this whole matter, see note to Sec. III.
41. For details, see the notes to the following paragraphs of the
Pocket-Book: , -, -, -, -,
-, , -, , -.
42. The latter was published in 1797, probably in Philadelphia.
43. See above, p. 340, 349 n. 35.
44. See above, Parliamentary Pocket-Book, note to par. .
45. Smith's edition has "Italics," Milligan's, "Italic."
In compliance with the dictum here enunciated, Milligan's text italicizes all
of the numbered Senate rules, except for the first sentences of Rule 13 and
Rule 16. There seems to be no reason why Rule 13 should be treated as an
exception to the dictum, and thus we here print it in italics. But a special
consideration causes us to leave in Roman the first sentence of Rule 16. See
notes to Secs. XVII and XXII.
46. Smith, Freedom's Fetters, p. 288-9.
47. JS, III, 59-61.
48. Smith, Freedom's Fetters, p. 300-6.
49. For other conspicuous examples of TJ's anchoring of senatorial
procedures to passages in the Manual, see Sec. XVIII (par. 9), Sec. XXV
(par. 2) Sec. XXVI (pars. 12 and 14), Sec. XXVIII (par. 2), Sec. XXX (pars.
3-8), Sec. XXXI (par. 2), Sec. XXXII (par. 5), Sec. XXXIII (pars. 14-33), Sec.
XXXV (par. 10), Sec. XXXVI (pars. 3-5), Sec. XL (pars. 2 and 5), Sec. XLI
(pars. 5, 6, 9, and 15-17), Sec. XLIII (pars. 2 and 3), Sec. XLVII (pars. 2 and
8), Sec. LI (pars. 3 and 5), and Sec. LII (pars. 1-2, 4-11).