A Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States

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by Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson's Manual
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author Thomas Jefferson
Published Washington City: Samuel Harrison Smith
Date 1801
Language English
Volumes volume set

As Vice President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson served as President of the Senate from 1797 to 1801. During that time, he worked on a manual of parliamentary procedure, based on notes formed while he was a student at the College of William & Mary. He also wrote to his old professor, George Wythe, for advice. Wythe, in his mid-70s, at first declined, but later sent his notes. Jefferson's manual was published in 1801.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Parliamentary Manual. 12mo.'" and given by Thomas Jefferson to his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. Later appears on Randolph's 1832 estate inventory as "Jefferson's Manual' ($1.00 value)." Both George Wythe's Library[1] on LibraryThing and the Brown Bibliography[2] include the 1801 edition of A Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States.

Letters between Jefferson and Wythe also discuss the publication. Jefferson first requests Wythe's aid in a letter dated February 28, 1800. He follows up this request in an April 7, 1800 letter to which Wythe responds on April 10 citing a faulty memory for his inability to help. He then writes Jefferson on April 23, 1800, "Whenever that εγχειριδιον περι την σνμβουλην νομοθετικην [Manual of Legislative Counsel], which thou art preparing shall be published, as I anxiously hope it will be, reserve two or three copies for me."[3]

As yet, the Wolf Law Library has been unable to find a copy of Jefferson's 1801 Manual.

See also


  1. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on August 8, 2023.
  2. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433
  3. Wythe to Thomas Jefferson, 23 April 1800, Library of Congress, The Thomas Jefferson Papers.

External Links