Front Page Titles (by Subject) NOTES FOR A CONSTITUTION 1 J. MSS. - The Works, vol. 8 (Correspondence 1793-1798)
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NOTES FOR A CONSTITUTION 1 J. MSS. - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 8 (Correspondence 1793-1798) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 8
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NOTES FOR A CONSTITUTION1J. MSS.
Every male citizen of the commonwealth liable to taxes or to militia duty in any county shall have a right to vote for representatives for that county to the legislature. The legislature shall provide that returns be made to themselves periodically of the qualified voters in every county, by their name and qualification.2The legislature shall consist of notless than 150 nor more that 300 representatives, and from the whole number of qualified voters in the commonwealth such an Unit of representation shall from time to time be taken as will keep the number of representatives within the limits of 150 and 300 allowing to every county. Every county shall send a representative for every Unit & fraction exceeding of more than half an Unit as actually votes at the election so as not to exceed the number of representatives last allowed to it by the legislature it contains.
Every elector may vote for as many representatives as were allowed apportioned by the legislature to his county at the last establishment of the Unit. But to many representatives no person actually receiving fewer votes than the Unit shall be deemed elected, except that where more than half and less than the whole unit vote. But so many only shall be deemed elected as there are Units actually voting on that particular election, adding one for any fraction of votes exceeding the half Unit. Nor shall more be deemed elected than the number last apportioned. If a county has not a half unit of votes, the legislature shall incorporate its votes with those of some adjoining county.
Older electors presenting themselves shall be received to vote before younger one, & the legislature shall provide for the secure and convenient claim and exercise of this privilege of age.
The legislature shall consist of the representatives to be chosen as before provided. Their acts shall not be affected by any excess or defect of numbers taking place between two periodical settlements of the Unit.
The legislature shall form one house only for the verification of their credentials, or for what relates to their privileges. For all other business they shall be separated by lot into two chambers, which shall be called [a & w] on the first day of their session in every week; which separation shall be effected by presenting to the representatives from each county separately a number of lots equal to their own number, if it be an even one or to the next even number above, if their number be odd, one half of which lots shall be distinctively marked for the one chamber & the other half for the other, & each number shall be, for that week, of the chamber whose lot he draws. Members not present at the first drawing for the week shall draw on their first attendance after.
Each chamber shall appoint a speaker for the session & the two speakers it shall be weekly decided by lot between the two speakers, of which chamber each shall be for the ensuing week; and the chamber to which he is allotted shall have one the less in the lots presented to his colleagues for that week. Printing presses shall be free except as to false facts published maliciously either to injure the reputation of another, whether followed by pecuniary damage or not, or to expose him to the punishment of the law.
The legislature shall have power to establish by law the disqualification of representatives or other officers.
TO JAMES MADISONJ. MSS.
Monticello, Feb. 5, 95.
* * * We have had about 4. weeks of winter weather, rather hard for our climate—many little snows which did not lay 24. hours & one 9.I. deep which remained several days. We have had but few thawing days during the time.—It is generally feared here that your collegue F. Walker will be in great danger of losing his election. His competitor is indefatigable attending courts &c., and wherever he is, there is a general drunkenness observed, tho’ we do not know that it proceeds from his purse.—Wilson Nicholas is attacked also in his election. The ground on which the attack is made is that he is a speculator. The explanations which this has produced, prove it a serious crime in the eyes of the people. But as far as I hear he is only investing the profits of a first & only speculation.—Almost every carriage-owner has been taken in for a double tax: information through the newspapers not being actual, tho’ legal, in a country where they are little read. This circumstance has made almost every man, so taken in, a personal enemy to the tax. I escaped the penalty only by sending an express over the country to search out the officer the day before the forfeiture would have been incurred.—We presume you will return to Orange after the close of the session & hope the pleasure of seeing mrs. Madison & yourself here. I have past my winter almost alone, mr & mrs Randolph being at Varina. Present my best respects to mrs Madison, & accept them affectionately yourself.
[1 ]These rough notes are without date, but the paper is watermarked 1794.
[2 ]On the margin is written the following: