If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send 150. lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, & talk by the hour? That 150. lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected. But to return again to our subject.
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
This is the 5th and final post taken from one long paragraph in Jefferson’s autobiography, where he interrupted his orderly progression to describe how the Confederation Congress members conducted themselves in debate.
Jefferson was a lawyer, but unlike most, he was never a debater, never openly contentious. How did he describe his fellow lawyers?
– They question everything.
– They yield nothing.
– They talk by the hour.
– It is unrealistic to think a group of lawyers could cooperate with one another enough to accomplish anything.
Jefferson’s last sentence acknowledged he had gotten off-task. Today, he might say, “But I digress …”