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where general principles are digested in the form of resolutions, which are debated and amended till they get into a shape which meets the approbation of a majority. These being reported and confirmed by the House, are then referred to one or more select committees, according as the subject divides itself into one or more bills. Scob., 36, 44. Propositions for any charge on the people are especially to be first made in a Committee of the Whole. 3 Hats., 127. The sense of the whole is better taken in committee, because in all committees every one speaks as often as he pleases. Scob., 49. They generally acquiesce in the chairman named by the Speaker; but, as well as all other committees, have a right to elect one, some member, by consent, putting the question. Scob., 36; 3Grey, 301. The form of going from the House into committee, is for the Speaker, on motion, to put the question that the House do now resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to take into consideration such a matter, naming it. If determined in the affirmative, he leaves the chair and takes a seat elsewhere, as any other member; and the person appointed chairman seats himself at the Clerk's table. Scob., 36. Their quorum is the same as that of the House; and if a defect happens, the chairman, on a motion and question, rises, the Speaker resumes the chair and the chairman can make no other report than to inform the House of the cause of their dissolution. If a message is announced during a committee, the Speaker takes the chair and receives it, because the committee can not. 2 Hats., 125, 126.

In a Committee of the Whole, the tellers on a division differing as to numbers, great heats and confusion arose, and danger of a decision by the sword. The Speaker took the chair, the mace was forcibly laid on the table; whereupon the members retiring to their places, the Speaker told the House “he had taken the chair without an order, to bring the House into order.” Some excepted against it; but it was generally approved as the only expedient to suppress the disorder. And every member was required, standing up in his place, to engage that he would proceed no further in consequence of what had happened in the grand committee, which was done. 3 Grey, 128. • A Committee of the Whole being broken up in disorder, and the chair resumed by the Speaker without an order, the House was adjourned. The next day the committee was considered as thereby dissolved, and the subject again before the House ; and it was decided in the House, without returning into committee. 3 Grey, 130.

No previous question can be put in a committee ; nor can this committee adjourn as others may; but if their business is unfinished, they rise, on a question, the House is resumed, and the chairman reports that the Committee of the Whole have, according to order, had under their consideration such a matter, and have made progress therein ; but not having had time to go through the same, have directed him to ask leave to sit again. Whereupon a question is put on their having leave, and on the time the House will again resolve itself into a committee. Scob., 38. But if they have gone through the matter referred to them, a member moves that the committee may rise, and the chairman report their proceedings to the House; which being resolved, the chairman rises, the Speaker resumes the chair, the chairman informs him that the committee have gone through the business referred to them, and that he is ready to make report when the House shall think proper to receive it. If the House have time to receive it, there is usually a cry of “now, now," whereupon he makes the report; but if it be late, the cry is “to-morrow, to- oorrow," or “Monday,” &c., or a motion is made to that effect, and a question put that it be received to-morrow, &c. Scob , 38.

In other things the rules of proceeding are to be the same as in the House. Scob., 39.


Common fame is a good ground for the House to proceed by inquiry, and even to accusation. Resolution House of Commons, i Car. 1, 1625; Rush, L. Parl., 115; Grey, 16–22, 92 ; 8 Grey, 21, 23, 27, 45.

Witnesses are not to be produced but where the House has previously instituted an inquiry, 2 Hats , 102, nor then are orders for their attendance given blank. 3 Grey, 5!.

When any person is examined before a committee, or at the bar of the House, any member wishing to ask the person a question, must address it to the Speaker or chairman, who repeats the question to the person, or says to him, “ You hear the question-answer it.” But if the propriety of the question be objected to, the Speaker directs the witness, counsel, and parties to withdraw; for no question can be moved or put or debated while they are there. 2 Hats., 108. Sometimes the questions are previously settled in writing before the witness enters. Ib., 106, 107; 8 Grey, 64. The questions asked must be entered in the journals. 3 Grey, 81. But the testimony given in answer before the House is never written down; but before a committee, it must be, for the information of the House, who are not present to hear it. 7 Grey, 52, 334.

If either House have occasion for the presence of a person in custody of the other, they ask the other their leave that he may be brought up to them in custody. 3 Hats., 52.

A member, in his place, gives information to the House of what he knows of any matter under hearing at the bar. Four. H. of C., Fan. 22, 1744-5.

Either House may request, but not command, the attendance of a meniber of the other. They are to make the request by message of the other House, and to express clearly the purpose of attendance, that no improper subject of examination may be tendered to him. The House then gives leave to the member to attend, if he choose it; waiting first to know from the member himself whether he chooses to attend, till which they do not take the message into consideration. But when the peers are sitting as a court of criminal judicature, they may order attendance, unless where it be a case of impeachment by the Commons. There, it is to be a request. 3 Hats., 17; 9 Grey, 306, 406; 10 Grey, 133.

Counsel are to be heard only on private, not on public bills, and on such points of law only as the House shall direct. 10 Grey, 61.


The Speaker is not precisely bound to any rules as to what bills or other matter shall be first taken up; but it is left to his own discretion, unless the House on a question decide to take up a particular subject. Hakew., 136.

A settled order of business is, however, necessary for the government of the presiding person, and to restrain individual members from calling up favorite measures, or matters under their special patronage, out of their just turn. It is useful also for directing the discretion of the House, when they are moved to take up a particular matter, to the prejudice of others, having priority of right to their attention in the general order of business.

In Senate, the bills and other papers which are in possession of the House, and in a state to be acted on, are arranged every morning and brought on in the following order:

1. Bills ready for a second reading are read, that they may be referred to committees, and so be put under way. But if, on their being read, no motion is made for commitment, they are then laid on the table in the general file, to be taken up in their just turn.

2. After 12 o'clock, bills ready for it are put on their passage.

3. Reports in possession of the House, which offer grounds for a bill, are to be taken up, that the bill may be ordered in.

4. Bills or other matters before the House, and unfinished on the preceding day, whether taken up in turn or on special order, are entitled to be resumed and passed on through their present stage.

5. These matters being dispatched, for preparing and expediting business, the general file of bills and other papers is then taken up, and each article of it is brought on according to its seniority, reckoned by the date of its first introduction to the House. Reports on bills belong to the dates of their bills.

The arrangement of the business of the Senate is now as follows: * 1. Motions previously submitted. 2. Reports of committees previously made.

3. Bills from the House of Representatives, and those introduced on leave, which have been read the first time, are read the second time; and if not referred to a committee, are considered in Committee of the Whole, and proceeded with as in other cases.

4. After twelve o'clock, engrossed bills of the Senate, and bills of the House of Representatives, on third reading, are put on their passage.

5. If the above are finished before one o'clock, the general file of bills, consisting of those reported from committees on the second reading, and those reported from committees after having been referred, are taken up in the order in which they were reported to the Senate by the respective committees.

* This arrangement is changed by the VIlth, VIIlth, and IXth rules.

6. At one o'clock, if no business be pending, or if no motion be made to proceed to other business, the special orders are called, at the head of which stands the unfinished business of the preceding day.

In this way we do not waste our time in debating what shall be taken up. We do one thing at a time; follow up a subject while it is fresh, and till it is done with; clear the House of business gradatim as it is brought on, and prevent, to a certain degree, its immense accumulation toward the close of the session.

Arrangement, however, can only take hold of matters in possession of the House. New matter may be moved at any time when no question is before the House. Such are original motions and reports on bills. Such are bills from the other House, which are received at all times, and receive their first reading as soon as the question then before the House is disposed of; and bills brought in on leave, which are read first whenever presented. So messages from the other House respecting amendments to bills are taken up as soon as the House is clear of a question, unless they require to be printed, for better consideration. Orders of the day may be called for, even when another question is before the House.


Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings; punish its members for disorderly behavior; and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member. Const., I, 5.

In Parliament, “ instances make order,” per Speaker Onslow. 2 Hats., 141. But what is done only by one Parliament, cannot be called custom of Parliament, by Prynne. I Grey, 52.


The Clerk is to let no journals, records, accounts, or papers be taken from the table or out of his custody. 2 Hats., 193, 194.

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