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47. Solemn declaration and protest of the commonwealth of Va., on
BOOK IV.-CONTINUE D.
PART IV.-JEFFERSON'S MANUAL.
A MANUAL OF PARLIAMENTARY PRACTICE.
The Constitution of the United States, establishing a Legislature for the Union under certain forms, authorizes each branch of it “ to determine the rules of its own proceedings." The Senate have accordingly formed some rules for its own government: but those going only to few cases, they have 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. This places under the discretion of the President a very extensive field of decision, and one which, ir regularly exercised, would have a powerful effect on the proceedings and determinations of the House. The President must feel, weightily and seriously, this confidence in his discretion : and the necessity of recurring, for its government, to some known system of rules, that he may neither leave himself free to indulge caprice or passion, nor open to the imputation of them. But to what system of rules is he to recur, as supplementary to those of the Senate? To this there can be but one answer: to the systems of regulations adopted by the government of some one of the parliamentary bodies within these States, or of that which has served as a prototype to most of them. This last is the model which we have studied; while we are little acquainted with the modifications of it in our several States. It is deposited, too, in publications possessed by many, and open to all. Its rules are probably as wisely constructed for governing the debates of a considerative body, and obtaining its true sense, as any which can become known to us; and the acquiescence of the Senate hitherto under the references to them, has given them the sanction of their approbation.
Considering, therefore, the law of proceedings in the Senate as composed of the precepts of the Constitution, the regulations of the Senate,