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the opinion of each house should be left to its own independency, not to be influ-
enced by the proceedings of the other ; and the quoting them might beget reflec-
tions leading to a misunderstanding between the two houses. 8 Grey, 22.

Neither house can exercise any authority over a member or officer of the other,

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bat Hhould complain to the honse of which he is, and leave the panishment to
them. Where the complaint is of words disrespectfully spoken by a member oi
another hoase, it is difficult to obtain punishment, because of the rules supposed
necessary to be observed (as to the immediate noting down of words) for the se-
curity of members. Therefore it is the duty of the House, and more particularly
of the Speaker, to interfere immediately, and not to permit expressions to go un-
noticed which may give a ground of complaint to the other house, and introduce
proceedings and mutual accusations between the two houses, which can hardly be
terminated without difficulty and disorder. 3 Hats., 51.

No member may be present when a bill or any business concerning himself is
debating; nor is any member to speak to the merits of it till he withdraws. 2
Hats.j 219. The rule is, that if a charge against a member arise out of a report ot
a committee, or examination of witnesses in the House, as the member knows from
that to what points he is to direct his exculpation, he may be heard to those points
before any question is moved or stated against him. He is then to be heard, and
withdraw before any question is moved. But if the question itself is the charge, as
for breach of order or matter arising in the debate, then the charge must be stated
(that is, the question must be moved), himself heard, and then to withdraw. 2
HaU., 121, 122.

Where the private interests ot a member are concerned in a bill or question, he
is to withdraw. And where such an interest has appeared, his voice has been dis-
allowed, even after a division. In a case so contrary not only to the laws of de-
cency, but to the fundamental principle of the social compact, which denies to any
man to be a judge in his own cause, it is for the honor of the House that this rule,
of immemorial observance, should be strictly adhered to. 2 HaU., 119, 121 ; 6
Grey J 368.

No member is to come into the House with his head covered, nor to remove from
one place to another with his hat on, nor is to put on his hat in coming in or re-
moving until he be set down in his place. Scoh.j 6.

A question of order may be adjourned to give time to look into precedents. 2
Hats., 118.

In Parliament all decisions of the Speaker may be controlled by the House. 3
Grey, 319.


Of right, the doors of the House ought not to be shut, but to be kept by porters,
or sergeants-at-arms, assigned for that purpose. Mod. Ten, Pari., 23.

The only case where a member has a right to insist on anything, is where he calls
for the execution of a subsisting order of the House. Here, there having been
already a resolution, any person has a right to insist that the Speaker, or any other
whose duty it is, shall carry it into execution ; and no debate or delay can be had
on it. Thus any member has a right to have the House or gallery cleared of
strangers, an order existing for that purpose ; or to have the House told where
there is not a quorum present. 2 Hats., 87, 129. How far an order of the House
is binding, see Hdkew., 392.

But where an order is made that any particular matter be taken up on a par-
ticular day, there a question is to be put, when it is called for, whether the House

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will now proceed to that matter ? Where orders of the day are on important or
interesting matter, they ought not to be proceeded on till an hoar at which the
House is usually full.

Orders of the day may be discharged at any time* and a new one made for a dif-
ferent day. 3 Qrey, 48, 313.

When a session is drawing to a close, and the important bills are all brought in,
the House, in order to prevent interruption by further unimportant bills, some-
times come to a resolution that no new bill be brought in, except it be sent from
the other house. 3 Grey, 156.

All orders of the House determine with the session ; and one .taken under such
an order may, after the session is ended, be discharged on a habeas corpus. Baym.,
120; JacoVs L.D, byJRvffhead; Parliament, 1 Lev,, 165 (Pritchard's case).

[Where the Constitution authorizes each house to determine the rules of its
proceedings, it must mean in those cases (legislative, executive, or judiciary) sub-
mitted to them by the Constitution, or in something relating to those, and neces-
sary toward their execution. But orders and resolutions are sometimes entered in
the journals, having no relation to these, such as acceptances of invitations to
attend orations, to take part in processions, &g. These must be understood to be
merely conventional among those who aire willing to participate in the ceremony,
and are therefore, perhaps, improperly placed among the records of the House.]


A petition prays something. A remonstrance has no prayer. 1 Grey, 58.

Petitions must be subscribed by the petitioners (Sooh.,&7 ; L, PaW.,c.22; 9 Grey,
362), unless they are attending (1 Grey, 401); or unable to sign, and averred by a
member (3 Grey, 418). But a petition not subscribed^ but which the member pre-
senting it affirmed to be all in the handwriting of the petitioner, and his name
written in the beginning, was on the question (Mar. 14, 1800) received by the Sen-
ate. The averment of a member, or of somebody without doors, that they know
the handwriting of the petitioners, is necessary, if it be questioned. 6 Ghrey^ 36.
It must be presented by a member, not by the petitioners, and must be opened by
him, holding it in his hand. 10 Grey, 57.

Regularly a motion for receiving it must be made and seconded, and a question
put whether it shall be received; but a cry from the House of " received," or even
its silence, dispenses with the formality of this question. It is then to be read at
the table and disposed of.


When a motion has been made, it is not to be put to thp question or debated
nntil it is seconded. Scob,, 21.

It is then, and not till then, in possession of the House, and cannot be with-
drawn but by leave of the House. It is to be put into writing, if the House or
Speaker require it, and must be read to the House by the Speaker as often as any
member desires it for his information. 2 Hats., 82.

It might be asked whether a motion for adjournment or for the orders of the day
can be made by one member while another is speaking. It cannot- When two

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members offer to speak, he who rose first is to be heard, and it is a breach of order
in another to interrapt him, unless by calling him to order if he departs from it.
And the question of order being decided, he is still to be heard through. A call
for adjournment, or for the order of the day, or for the question, by gentlemen
from their seats, is not a motion. No motion can be made without rising and
addressing the Chair. Such calls are themselves breaches of order, which, though
the member who has risen may respect, as an Expression of impatience of the
House against further debat<e, yet if he chooses, he has a right to go on.


When the House commands, it is by an " order." But fact, principles, and their
own opinions and purposes, are expressed in the form of resolutions.


When a member desires to bring in a bill on any subject, he states to the House
in general terms the causes for doing it, and concludes by moving for leave to
bring in a bill entitled, &c. Leave being given on the question, a committee is ap-
pointed to prepare and bring in the bill. The mover and seconder are always
appointed of this committee, and one or more in addition. Hahew., 132; Scoh., 40.

It is to be presented fairly written, without any erasure or interlineation, or the
Speaker may refuse it. Scoh^j 41 ; 1 Grey^ 82, 84.


When a bill is first presented, the clerk reads it at the table, and hands it to the
Speaker, who, rising, states to the House the title of the bill ; that this is the first
time of reading it ; and the question will be, whether it shall be read a second
time? then sitting down to give an opening for objecbions. If none be made, he
rises again, and puts the question, whether it shall be read a second time?
Hakew.f 137, 141. A bill cannot be amended the first reading, 6 Grefff 286 ; nor
is it usual for it to be opposed then, but it may be done, and rejected. UEweSy
335, coZ. 1 ; 3 Hats,, 198.


The second reading must regularly be on another day. Hakew., 143. It is done
by the clerk at the table, who then hands it to the Speaker^ The Speaker, rising,
states to the House the title of the bill ; that this is the second time of reading it ;
and that the question will be, whether it shall be committed or engrossed and
read a third time ? But if the bill came from the other house, as it always comes
engrossed, he states tliat the question will be, whether it shall be read a third
time ? and before he has so report'Cd the state of the bill, no one is to speak to it.
Hakew., 143, 146.


If on motion and question it be decided that the bill shall be committed, it may
then be moved to be referred to Committee of the Whole House, or to a special
committee. If the latter, the Speaker proceeds to name the committee. Any

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member also may name a sin|;le person, and the clerk is to write him down as of
the committee. But the House have a controlling power over the names and
number, if a question be moved against any one ; and may in any case put in and
put out whom they please.

Those who take exceptions to some particulars in the bill are to be of the com-
mittee, but none who speak directly against the body of the bill ; for he that would
totally destroy will not amend it (Hakew.j 146; Town,yCol. 208; jyEtoes^Gdi, col.
2; Scoh.j 47); or, as it is said, (5 Grey, 145), the child is not to be put to a nurse
that cares not for it (6 Grey, 373). It is, therefore, a constant rule *^ that no man
is to be employed in any matter who has declared himself against it." And when
any member who is against the bill hears himself named of its committee, he ought
to ask to be excused. Thus (March 7, 1606) Mr. Hadley was, on the question being
put, excused from being of a committee, declaring himself to be against the mat-
ter itself. Sooh, 46.

The clerk may deliver the bill to any member of the committee (Town., col.
138) ; but it is usual to. deliver it to him who is first named.

In some cases the House has ordered a committee to withdraw immediately into
the committee-chamber and act on and bring back the bill, sitting in the House.
Scab., 48. A committee meet when and where they please, if the House has not
ordered time and place for them (6 Grey, 370) ; but they can only act when to-
gether, and not by separate consultation and consent — nothing being the report of
the committee but what has been agreed to in committee actually assembled.

A majority of the committee constitutes a quorum for business. Elsyng^s
method of pamng bills, 11.

Any member of the House may be present at any select committee, but cannot
vote, and must give place to all of the committee and sit below them. Elsynge,
12; /Sooft., 49.

The conimittee have full power over the bill or other paper committed to them,
except that they cannot change the title or subject. 8 Grey, 228.

The paper before a committee, whether select or of the whole, may be a bill,
resolutions, draught of address, <&c., and it may either originate with them or
be referred to them. In every case the whole paper is read first by the clerk, and
then by the chairman, by paragraphs, (Scob., 49), pausing at the end of each para-
graph, and putting questions for amending, if proposed. In the case of resolu-
tions on distinct subjects originating with themselves, a question is put on each
separately, as amended or unamended, and no final question on the whole (3 Hate.,
276) ; but if they relate to the same subject, a question is put on the whole. If it
be a bill, draught of an address, or other paper originating with them, they pro-
ceed by paragraphs, putting questions for amending either by insertion or striking
out, if proposed, but no question on agreeing to the paragraphs separately. This
is reserved to the close, when a question is put on the whole for agreeing to it as
amended or unamended ; but if it be a paper referred to them, they proceed to put
questions of amendment, if proposed, but no final question on the whole, because
all parts of the paper, having been adopted by the House, stand, of course, unless
altered or struck out by a vote. Even if they are opposed to the whole paper and
think it cannot be made good by amendments they cannot reject it, but must re-
port it back to the House without amendments, and there make their opposition.

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The Dataral order in considering and amending any paper is to begin at the
beginning, and proceed through it by paragraphs ; and this order is so strictly
adhered to in Parliament that when a latter part has been amended yon cannot
recar back and make any alteration in a former part. 2 HaU.^ 90. In numerous
assemblies this restraint is doubtless important.

To this natural order of beginning at the beginning there is a single exception
found in parliamentary usage. When a bill is taken up in committee or on its
second reading they postpone the preamble till the other parts of the bill are gone
through. The reason is that on consideration of the body of the bill such altera-
tions may therein be made as may also occasion the alteration of the preamble.
5oo6., 50; 7 Grey.^^l,

On this head the following case occurred in the Senate March 6, 1800 : A resolu-
tion which had no preamble having been already amended by the House so that a
few words only of the original remained in it, a motion was made to prefix a pre-
amble, which, having an aspect very different from the resolution, the mover inti-
mated that he should afterward propose a correspondent amendment in the body
of the resolution. It was objected that a preamble could not be taken up till the
body of the resolution is done with ; but the preamble was received, because we
are, in fact, through the body of the resolution. We have amended that as far as
amendments have been offered, and, indeed, till little of the original is left. It is
the proper time, therefore, to consider a preamble, and whether the one offered
be consistent with the resolution is for the House to determine. The mover, in-
deed, has intimated that he shall offier a subsequent proposition for the body of the
resolution ; that the House is not in possession of it ; it remains in his breast, and
may be withheld. The rules of the House can only operate on what is before
them. [The practice of the Senate, too, allows recurrences backward and forward
for the purposes of amendment, not permitting amendments in a subsequent to
preclude those in a prior part, or e converso.']

When the committee is through the whole, a member moves that the committee
may rise, and the chairman report the paper to the House, with or without amend-
ments, as the case may be. 2 Hais., 289, 292 ; Scdb., 53 ; 2 Hats., 290 ; 8 Scdb., 50.

When a vote is once passed in a committee, it cannot be altered but by the
House, their votes being binding on themselves. 1607, June 4.

The committee may not erase, interline, or blot the bill itself; but must, in a
paper by itself, set down the amendments, stating the words which are to be
inserted or omitted {Scoh.y 50), and where, by references to the page, line, and
word of the bill. Scob,, 50.


The chairman of the committee, standing in his place, informs the House that
the committee, to whom was referred such a bill, have, according to order, had
the same under consideration, and have directed him to report the same without
any amendment, or with sundry amendments (as the case may be), which he is
ready to do when the House pleases to receive it. And he or any other may move
that it be now received ; but the cry of " now, now," from the House, generally
dispenses with the formality of a motion and question. He then reads the amende

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mentSy with the coherence in the bill, and opens the alterations and the reasons
of the committee for such amendments, until he has gone through the whole. He
then delivers it at the clerk's table, where the amendments reported are read by
the clerk without the coherence ; whereupon the papers lie upon the table till the
Honse, at its convenience, shall take up the report. Scob,, 52 ; Haketc, 148.

The report being made, the committee is dissolved, and can act no more without
a new power. Scoh,, 5L Bat it may be revived by a vote, and the same matter
recommitted to them. 4 Grey, 361.


After a bill has been committed and reported, it ought not in an ordinary coarse
to be recommitted ; but in cases of importance, and for special reasons^ it is some-
times recommitted, and usually to the same committee. Hakew., 151. If a report
be recommitted before agreed to in the Honse, what has passed in committee is of
no validity; the whole qnestion is again before the committee, and a new resolution
must be again moved, as if nothing had passed. 3 Hats., 131 — note.

In Senate, Jannary, 1800, the salvage bill was recommitted three times after the

A particular clanse of a bill may be committed without the whole bill (3 Hats.,
131) ; or so maoh of a paper to one and so much to another committee.


When the report of a paper originating with a committee is taken up by the
House, they proceed exactly as in committee. Here, as in committee, when the
paragraphs have, on distinct questions, been agreed to seriatim (5 Grey, 366 ; 6 Grey,
368; 8 Grey, 47, 104, 360; 1 TorhucWs Deb., 125; 3 Hats., 348), no question needs be
put on the whole report. 5 Grey, 381.

On taking up a bill reported with amendments, the amendments only are read
by the clerk. The Speaker then reads the 6rst*, and puts it to the question, and
so on till the whole are adopted or rejected, before any other amendment be ad-
mitted, except it be an amendment to an amendment. Elsyng^s Mem., 53. When
through the amendments of the committee, the Speaker pauses, and gives time for
amendments to be proposed in the House to the body of the bill, as he does also if
it has been reported without amendments, patting no questions bat on amend-
ments proposed ; and when through the whole, he puts the question whether the
bill shall be read the third time ?


1. In a committee every member may speak as often as he pleases. 2. The votes
of a committee maybe rejected or altered when reported to the House. 3. A com-
mittee, even of the whole, cannot refer any matter to another committee. 4. In a
committee no previous question can be taken. The only means to avoid an im-
proper discussion is to move that the committee rise ; and if it be apprehended
that the same discussion will be attempted on returning into committee, the House
can discharge them and proceed itself on the business, keeping down the improper
discussion by the previous question. 5. A committee cannot punish a breach of
order in the House or in the gallery. 9 Grey, 113. It can only rise and report it
to the House, who may proceed to punish.

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In Parliament, after the bill has been read a second time, if on the motion and
question it be not committed, or if no proposition for commitment be made, the
Speaker reads it by paragraphs, pansing between each, but patting no question
but on amendments proposed ; and, when through the whole, he puts the question
whether it shall be read a third time, if it come from the other house ; or, if origi-
nating with themselves, whether it shall be engrossed and read a third time. The
Speaker reads sitting, but rises to put questions. The clerk stands while he reads.

The bill being now as perfect as its friends can make it, this is the proper stage
for those fundamentally opposed to make their first attack. All attempts at ear-
lier periods are with disjointed efforts, because many who do not expect to be in
favor of the bill ultimately are willing to let it go on to its perfect state, to take
time to examine it themselves and to hear what can be daid for it, knowing that
after all they will have snflScient opportunities of giving it their veto. Its last two
stages, therefore, are reserved for this ; that is to say, on the question whether it
shall be engrossed and read a third time, and, lastly, whether it shall pass. The
first of these is usually the most interesting contest, because then the whole sub-
ject is new and engaging, and the minds of the members having not yet been de-
Mared by any trying vote, the issue is the more doubtfol. In this stage, therefore,
is the main trial of strength between its friends and opponents, and it behooves
every one to make up his mind decisively for this question, or he loses the main
battle, and accident and management may and often do prevent a sncceesf nl rally-
ing on the next and la^t question, whether it shall pass.

When the bill is engrossed the title is to be indorsed on the back, and not within
the bill. Hdk€w,, 250.


Where papers are laid before the House or referred to a committee, every mem-
ber has a right to have them once read at the table before he can be compelled to
vote on them ; but it is a great though common error to suppose that he has a
right, toiies quoHes, to have acts, journals, accounts, or papers on the table, read
independently of the will of the House. The delay and interruption which this
might be made to produce evince the impossibility of the existence of such a right.
There is, indeed, so manifest a propriety of permitting every member to have as
much information as possible on every question on which he is to vote, that when
he desires the reading, if it be seen that it is really for information and not for
delay, the Speaker directs it to be read without putting a question, if no one ob-
jects ; but if objected to, a question must be put. 2 Hats., 117, 118.

It is equally an error to suppose that any member has a right, without a ques-
tion put, to lay a book or paper on the table, or have it read, on suggesting that it
contains matter infringing on the privileges of the House. lb.

For the same reason, a member has not a right to read a paper in his place, if it
be objected to, without leave of the House. But this rigor is never exercised but
where there is an intentional or gross abuse of the time and patience of the House.

A member has not a right even to read his own speech, committed to writing

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withoat leave. This also is to prevent an abase of time, and therefore is not refused
bnt where that is intended. 2 Grey, 227.

A report of a committee of the Senate on a bill from the House of Representa-
tives being under consideration, on motion that the report of the committee of the
House of Representatives on the same bill be read in the Senate, it passed in the
negative. (Feb. 28, 1793.)

Formerly, when papers were referred to a committee they used to be first read ;
but of late only the titles, unless a member insists they shall be read, and then
nobody can oppose it. (2 Hats., 117 >


It is no possession of a ^ill unless it be delivered to the clerk to be read, or the
Speaker reads the title. Lex Parh, 274; Elsynge Menu, 85; Ord, Home of Com-
monSf 64.

It is a general rule that the question first moved and seconded shall be first put.
Scoh., 28, 22 ; 2 Hats., 81. But this rule gives way to what may be called privileged
questions ; and the privileged questions are of difi^erent grades amoug themselves.

A motion to adjourn simply takes place of all others, for otherwise the House

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. HouseConstitution of the United States ... with the amendments thereto, to which ... → online text (page 6 of 34)