JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph letter signed ("Th:Jefferson") to the Philadelphia publisher Matthew Carey (1760-1839), Monticello, 27 January 1812. 1 page, 4to, docketed by recipient at top right corner, one corner neatly mended, ink slightly pale. Housed in a custom-made protective case with the following manuscript leaves.
THE RETIRED PRESIDENT WAIVES THE COPYRIGHT ON HIS "MANUAL OF PARLIMENTARY PROCEDURE". Jefferson responds to a request from Carey concerning Jefferson's copyright and the possibility of a new edition of his Manual of Parliamentary Procedure. No copyright agreement is necessary, he explains, as the work is in the public domain: "The Parliamentary Manual, originally composed for my personal use, was printed on the supposition that it might be of use to others, and have some tendency to settle the rules of proceeding in Congress, where, in the lower house especially they had got into forms totally unfriendly to a fair extrication of the will of the majority. No right [copyright] over it was therefore wished to be retained by myself, nor given to others. Its reimpression consequently is open to every one, nor have I any thing to add to it but what is contained in the enclosed amendments which should be incorporated with the text of the original in their proper places. I believe that Mr. Milligan of Georgetown is now engaged in printing an 8vo edition. Almost the essence of its value is its being accommodated to pocket use. Accept the assurance of my esteem and respect...." In the end, Carey evidently dropped the idea of a new edition, perhaps because, as Jefferson indicates, the edition of Georgetown printer Milligan was already underway; it was published in early 1813. This letter is cited in Papers, Second Series, Jefferson's Parliamenary Writings, ed. W.S. Howell, p. 33 and notes.
JEFFERSON. Autograph manuscript, comprising five pages from the original manuscript of his Manual of Parliamentary Procedure, probably drafted in the Summer of 1800, as Jefferson prepared to have it printed for the use of Congress. Written in Jefferson's minute handwriting, sections numbered in Roman numerals. A working manuscript, with numerous cross-outs, many additions in margins, others interlinear, containing roughly 2,500 words.
5 pages on four sheets; 4 pages on 2 sheets 7 1/8 x 4½ in. (180 x 115mm.); 1 page on a small slip 2 5/8 x 3 5/8 in. (62 x 90mm). Perhaps originally attached with red wax wafers to a larger sheet, now neatly detached. Light age-toning, one or two corners nicked, otherwise in excellent condition. Each leaf double-patted between plexi-glass panels.
JEFFERSON'S "MANUAL OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE," COMPILED FOR THE U.S. SENATE IN 1801 AND STILL IN USE BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
A significant portion of the original manuscript of one of Jefferson's most significant and influential works, and one of only three books he published in his lifetime (others are Notes on Virginia and a legal account of the dispute over the batture of New Oreans). Jefferson's Manual of Parliamentary Procedure, still in daily use in the House of Representatives, was the fruit of many years legislative experience and careful notes taken in some 40 years study. It comprisees an extensive digest of English parliamentary legal practice, and incorporates procedures of the U.S. Senate under the U.S. Constitution. In 53 sections, the Manual specifies rules and procedures for elections, verifying the credentials of members, the call of the house, absence, the speaker, committees, petitions, motions, resolutions, 1st, 2nd and final reading of bills, amendments, privileged questions, messages, adjournment, treaties and, at the end, impeachment proceedings.
Jefferson was uniquely qualified to undertake such a demanding and meticulous a task. He had read law with George Wythe at William and Mary, then "between 1769 and 1779 Jefferson served successively in the Virginia House of Burgesses, the Continental Congress, and the Virginia House of Delegates. Such legislative experience must have enriched his understanding of parliamentary practice, and focused his reading...." He also was named to a special committee to codify rules and procedures for the proceedings of the Continental Congress. But, "his greatest challenge in parliamentary practice came in 1797 when as Vice-President, he presided over the Senate" (James Gilreath, Introduction to A Manual of Parliamentary Practice, (New York, 2007, p.viii-ix). The present manuscript, some portions written in a remarkable minute hand, represents a significant portion of the surviving draft, now in the Huntington Library (CSmH 5986), from which many leaves were excised by an early biographer and are now lost. (For a detailed consideration of the surviving draft, including the present portion, see Howell, pp.334-338). Jefferson is painstakingly careful to record the legal authorities he draws on; citations are noted in abbreviated forms. For example, in Section XVII, in a passage reading "No one is to disturb another in his speech by hissing, coughing, spitting," Jefferson's citations are "6 Grey, 332. Scob. 8. D'Ewes 332. Col. I, 640. Col 2."
Jefferson may have been slightly reticent about making his Manual available to Congress and the general public, so he sought expert advice. In February 1800 he sent a manuscript "Queries on Parliamentary Procedure" to the elderly George Wythe (1726-1806). Wythe had a deep familiarity with the law and many years experience in legislative functions, having served in the house of Burgesses and the Continental Congress. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, he was Jefferson's revered mentor and law teacher (Papers,, 32:283-286) . In spite of his advanced age, Wythe offered Jefferson a number of suggestions and observations (Papers, 32:281-182), and clearly saw the great utility of such a guide as Jefferson contemplated. "I am persuaded the manual of your parliamentary praxis will be more chaste than any extant," he enthusiastically wrote, "and, if you can be persuaded to let it go forth, that it will be canonized in all the legislatures in America." Edmund Pendelton (1721-1803), a long-time friend, an experienced legislator and judge, also read Jefferson's draft Manual and offered a thorough and detailed critique.
On 21 December, President Jefferson sent the corrected manuscript of his Manual to Washington printer Samuel Harrison Smith, with a polite request that he print 100 copies of "the little book," and assuring him that the book was not subject to any copy-right restrictions. "The sooner it is begun," he wrote, "the better" (Papers, ed. Barbara Oberg, 32:337).
SECTIONAL CONTENTS (numbered in Arabic--like the manuscript--and in Roman numerals as in the printed edition): 7. VII. Call of the House; 15. XV Order Respecting Papers; 16. XVI. Papers; 17. XVII. Order in Debate; 18. XVIII. Orders of the House; 19. XIX. Petitions; 20. XX. Motions; 21. XXI. Resolutions; 22-23. XXII-XVIII. Bills; 24. XXIV. 1st Reading; 25. XXV. 2nd Reading.
SELECT PASSAGES: "In parliament to speak irreverently, or seditiously, against the King is against order."
"No one is to disturb another in his speech by hissing, coughing or spitting...speaking or whispering to another...nor to stand up or interrupt him...nor to pass between the Speaker & the speaking member, nor to go across the house, or walk up and down it, or take books or papers from the table, or write there...."
"No one is to speak impertinently, or beside the question superfluously or tediously...No person is to use indecent language against the proceedings of the house...." Additionally, "No person, in speaking, is to mention a member then present, by his name; but to describe him by his seat in the house, or who spoke last, on the other side."
Provenance: RANDALL, Henry S., early biographer of Jefferson. Autograph letter signed to Charlie Andrew, New York, 19 January 1874. 2 pages, 8vo. Explaining to a young man ("my dear Master Charlie"), who had requested a Jefferson autograph, that "my autographs of Thomas 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 five leaves from Mr. Jefferson's original draft of his parliamentary rules...." -- Charles Andrew, gift of the preceding -- David Gage Joyce (sale, Henzel Galleries, Chicago, September 23-24, 1973) -- Ralph G. Newman, Chicago -- A private collector -- the present owner, an educational institution.