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LAWMAKERS must themselves be governed by law, else they would in confusion worse confounded quickly come to grief. History has given us one striking example of what befalls lawless lawmakers and of the harm they may do. It is agreed that "the bad mode of deliberating" by the National Assembly was one of the chief causes leading to the catastrophes of the French Revolution. A hundred members might be seen trying to address the House at the same time. The authority of the President was wholly disregarded. Spectators applauded or hissed at pleasure. No rules were observed in the conduct of business. Sir Samuel Romilly, deeply sympathetic, had prepared a statement of the practice of the House of Commons, and Mirabeau had translated it into French. It was ignored. "Much of the violence which prevailed in the Assembly," says Sir Samuel, "would have been allayed, and many rash measures unquestionably prevented, if their proceedings had been conducted with order and regularity. If one single rule had been adopted, namely that every motion should be reduced to writing in the form of a proposition before it was put from the chair, instead of proceeding as was their constant course by first resolving the principle as they called it (décréter le principe) and leaving the drawing up what they had so resolved (or, as they called it, la rédaction) for a subsequent operation, it is astonishing how great an influence it would have had on their debates and on their measures. When I was afterwards present and witnessed their proceedings, I had often occasion to lament that the trouble I had taken had been of no avail." 1

The French disaster and episodes similar in character if not in the horror of their results, have in other assemblies of Continental Europe, as well as in the kaleidoscopic republics of Central 1 W. E. Hearn, The Government of England, 547.

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