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Le Vade-Mecum parlementaire, ou The Parliamentary Pocket-Book


Par M. S*** (François Soulès)
uncertainty Thomas Jefferson
François Soulès

Related resources

has other edition
Statuts, ordre et réglements du parlement d'Angleterre: Ouvrage nécessaire pour l'intelligence des papiers publics, l'histoire de ce Royaume & tout ce ce qui a rapport à ce Gouvernement. Par M. Soulés has paratext

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Bilingual edition. Same work as Statuts, ordre etc. with alternative title and no publisher listed. "Londres et Paris, Chez les marchands des nouveautés". London is a false imprint, probably added to give it greater authority.

Systematic overview of the rules of the English parliament, with a mention of the relevant source (royal and parliamentary statutes) for every article. Published before the meeting of the Estates-General.

It is almost certainly based upon a manuscript that Thomas Jefferson (then American ambassador to France) handed to Soulés, based on his notes on parliamentary procedure drawn from English experience, to which he gave the title Parliamentary Pocket-Book, and which he employed not only as a member of a legislature but also as a source-book for his own Manual of Parliamentary Practice (in MS form only). The extraordinary pains that Jefferson took to prepare himself for the responsibilities of a legislator are fully revealed in this manuscript. The disciplined industry and wide learning that went into its compilation show why he was so successful as a law-maker.

In a letter to Jefferson, dated 21 March 1789, Soulés asked for clarification on some points of detail:

"Sir In the parliamentary pocket-book I published, I find a note to that purport: a member of the Commons is a Knight, a citizen or burgess. He must be resident within the same county the day of the writ of summons and ought to have 40 shillings of free hold within the said county, beyond all charges &c.

A person who has just published a book intitled, les Comices de Rome &c. maintains that to be member for a county it is necessary to have five hundred pounds sterling a year, and 25₶ for a town or Borough; that to be elector for a county it is necessary to have 40 shillings a year. If he is in the right, I must certainly be in the wrong having followed the above note. Should be glad you would give me your opinion upon that subject.

I called the other Day in order to have the honor to visit your Excellency; but had not the good fortune to find you at home. I hope you and family are well and remain with the greatest esteem, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant.

F. Soulés"

See Founders Online: https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-14-02-0431