A Collection of Precedents, Consisting of Proceedings and Decisions on Questions of Order and Appeals, in the House of Representatives; and Disagreeing Votes of the Two Houses on Bills, &c. from the Commencement of the First Session of the First Congress, to the end of the Third Session of the Eleventh Congress, Inclusive; Prepared in Pursuance of a Resolution of the House of Representatives of the Twenty-sixth of April, 1810
Washington: Printed by R.C. Weightman, 1811. 8vo. 317, , pp. Foxing.
Contemporary straight grain red morocco
Along with Jefferson's Manual of Parlimentary Practice, the most influential work on early American parliamentary procedure.
Lambert, a Congressional clerk, was authorized by the House of Representatives on February 16, 1811 to compile the present collection of precedents for the use of the House, with 500 copies ordered to be printed (see Annals of Congress, 3rd session, page 973). The first part of the work transcribes the Congressional Journal entries for every instance that an appeal was made on the basis of parliamentary order between 1789 and 1811. The second part of the work similarly reviews competing House and Senate bills in the same time period. The work was done principally for sitting members of the House and therefore not widely circulated.
Lambert's Precedents would remain the authority on parliamentary order of the first twelve Congresses until the publication of Hind's Precedents in 1907. The Introduction of that work aptly describes the importance of such compilations: "In the House of Representatives, as in other legislative bodies, the memories of the older Members, as they might be corroborated by the journals, have been the favorite and most readily accessible repository of the precedents; but as the generations of statesmen come and go much is lost, and many useful precedents cease to be available except as from time to time the voluminous pages of the journals may be searched hastily under the stress of some pressing question. It is manifestly desirable, on a floor where high interests and great passions strive daily, that the rules of action should be known definitely, not only by the older members, but by all. Not only will the Speaker be enabled to make his decisions with more confidence and less fear that he may be swayed by the interests of the moment, but the Members, understanding the rules of his action, will sustain with commendation what they might have criticised with asperity. Thus, good order and dignity will be preserved to the body."
Lambert served as the clerk of the House of Representatives and was the clerk who engrossed the Bill of Rights. An amateur astronomer, mathematician and cartographer, he corresponded regularly with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison largely on matters relating to the determination of latitude and longitude.
Sabin 38739; Shaw & Shoemaker 24137.