Front Page Titles (by Subject) a bill for giving the members of the assembly an adequate allowance 1 - The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779)
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a bill for giving the members of the assembly an adequate allowance 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
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a bill for giving the members of the assembly an adequate allowance1
v. s. a.
[Dec. 12, 1778.]
Whereas it is just that members of General assembly, delegated by the people to transact for them the legislative business, should, while attending that business, have their reasonable sustenance defrayed, dedicating to the public service their time and labors freely & without account: and it is also expedient that the public councils should not be deprived of the aid of good & able men, who might be deterred from entering into them by the insufficiency of their private fortunes to be the extraordinary expences they must necessarily incur:
And it being inconsistent with the principles of civil liberty, & contrary to the natural rights of the other members of the society, that any body of men therein should have authority to enlarge their own powers, prerogatives, or emoluments without restraint the sd General assembly cannot at their own will increase the allowance which their members are to draw from the public treasury for their expences while in assembly; but to enable them so to do an application to the body of the people has become necessary:
And such application having been accordingly made to the freeholders of the several counties, & they having thereupon consented that the sd allowance shall be enlarged, and authorised & instructed their members to enlarge the same for themselves & the members of all future assemblies, to pounds of nett tobacco by the day for attendance on assembly, & to lbs of like tobacco for every mile they must necessarily travel going to or from the same, together with their ferriages, to be paid in money out of the public treasury at such rate as shall be estimated by the court of appeals at their session next before the meeting of every session of assembly, governing themselves in the said estimate by the worth of the sd tobacco, & the competence of the same to defray the necessary expences of travelling & attendance:
Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly by express authority & instruction from the body of the people that the allowance to the several members of the present & of all future assemblies shall be of pounds of tobacco by the day for attendance on the sd assemblies, lbs of the like tobacco for every mile they must necessarily travel going to or from the same, together with their ferriages; to be paid to them in money out of the public treasury at such rate as shall be estimated by the court of appeals at their session next before the meeting of each respective session of assembly, governing themselves in the said estimate by the worth of the sd tobacco & the competence of the same to defray the necessary expences of travelling & attendance.
to george wythe
Forest, March 1, 1779.
—Since I left you I have reflected on the bill regulating the practising of attornies, & of our omitting to continue the practitioners at the County & General Courts separate. I think the bar of the General Court a proper & an excellent nursery for future judges if it be so regulated as that science may be encouraged & may live there. But this can never be if an inundation of insects is permitted to come from the county courts & consume the harvest. These people traversing the counties seeing the clients frequently at their own courts, or, perhaps at their own houses must of necessity pick up all the business. The convenience of frequently seeing their counsel without going from home cannot be withstood by the country people. Men of science then (if there were to be any) would only be employed as auxiliary counsel in difficult cases. But can they live by that? Certainly not. The present members of that kind therefore must turn marauders in the county courts; & in future none will have leisure to acquire science. I should therefore be for excluding the county court attorneys, or rather for taking the general court lawyers from the incessant drudgery of the county courts & confining them to their studies that they may qualify themselves as well to support their clients as to become worthy successors to the bench. I hope to see the time when the election of Judges of the Supreme Courts shall be restrained to the bars of the General Court & High Court of Chancery, for when I speak of the former above, I mean to include the latter. I should even in our present bills have no objections to inserting such a restriction to take place seven or fourteen years hene. Adieu.
[1 ]Dec. 8th, Jefferson, Nelson, G. Mason, T. Mason, Nicholas, and Page were ordered to prepare this bill, and G. Mason introduced it Dec. 12th. It was read for the second time on Dec. 14th, and ordered engrossed and printed on Dec. 18th. It was not adopted. This is printed from the draft in Jefferson’s handwriting.