Authority | Freedom | Unity

Laboulaye said, in one of his lectures, that Jefferson, who had become so completely imbued with French ideas as even to admire the unicameral system of legislation, one day visited Washington at Mount Vernon, and, in the course of the conversation that ensued, the comparative excellence of the two systems came up for consideration. After much had been said on both sides, finally, at the tea-table, Washington turning sharply to Jefferson, said, “You sir, have just demonstrated the superior excellence of the bicameral system, by your own hand.” “I? How is that?” said Jefferson. “You have poured your tea from your cup out into the saucer to cool. We want the bicameral system to cool things. A measure originates in one house, and in heat is passed. The other house will serve as a wonderful cooler; and by the time it is debated and modified by various amendments there, it is much more likely to become an equitable law!…

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