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and discharge the duties conferred by law upon the Joint Committee of Congress upon the Library.–Stats. at L., vol. 22, p. 592.

There shall be a superintendent, assistant, and two addi. tional laborers in the Botanical Garden and greenhouses, who shall be under the direction of the Joint Committee on the Library.-R. S., sec. 1827.

The Joint Committee on the Library, whenever in their judgment it is expedient, are authorized to accept any works of the fine arts on behalf of Congress which may be offered, and to assign the same such place in the Capitol as they may deem suitable, and shall have the supervision of all works of art that may be placed in the Capitol.-R. S., sec. 1831.

No work of art or manufacture not the property of the United States shall be exhibited in the Capitol, nor shall any room in the Capitol be used for private studios or works of art, without permission from the Joint Committee on the Library, given in writing. And it shall be the duty of the Architect of the Cap. itol Extension to carry these provisions into effect.Stat at L., vol. 18, p. 376; Ibid., vol. 20, p. 391.

(See Committees.)


There shall be retained in the library of the Clerk's office 6 for the use of the Members and officers of the House, and not to be withdrawn therefrom, two copies of all the books and printed documents deposited there.”Rule III, clause 3.

The library of the House is kept on the gallery floor, north side. A branch of this library is also kept within the hall of the House.

The library of the House consists chiefly of volumes of the Statutes of the United States, United States Supreme Court Reports, Reports of Committees of Congress; the Journals of the two Houses, the Annals of Congress, Congressional Debates, the Congressional Globe, and the Congressional Record.


By a resolution of the House of April 14, 1789 (Journal, First Congress, p. 14), it was directed that a proper symbol of office should be provided for the Sergeant-at-Arms, of such form and device as the Speaker should direct; and by Rule IV, clause 2, it is directed that the symbol of his office (the mace) shall be borne by the Sergeant-at-Arms when in the execution of his office.

The mace of the House is a representation of the Roman fasces surmounted by a globe and an eagle, both of silver. The mace during the sessions of the House is kept in an upright position on a pedestal at the right of the Speaker's chair, and is not taken down during a recess. It is taken down, however, when the House resolves into Committee of the Whole, and is replaced in position when the Speaker resumes the chair. It is also taken from its pedestal and borne by the Sergeant-at-Arms while enforcing order on the floor under direction of the Speaker.


(See Committees.)

MEETING OF CONGRESS. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.-Const., 1, 4; 2, 4.

The President may, on extraordinary occasion, convene both Houses, or either of them.-Ibid., 2, 3, 14.


On the day fixed for the first meeting of a Congress, the Members-elect assemble in the Hall of the House of Representatives, and at the hour of 12 o'clock m. are called to order by the Clerk of the last House, standing at his desk. Having requested the Members-elect to respond to their names as called he proceeds to call the roll by States in alphabetical order. In making up said roll he is directed to place thereon the names of those persons and of such persons only, whose credentials show that they were regularly elected in accordance with the laws of their States, respectively, or the laws of the United States.R. S., sec. 31. Having ascertained whether or not a quorum is present, he announces the fact to the House. If a quorum shall have answered, it is then usual for him to state that the next order of business is the election of a Speaker, and for some Member to move that the House do now proceed to the election of Speaker." The question on this motion having been put by the Clerk, and decided affirmatively, he then designates four Members, who shall act as tellers of the vote about to be taken, usually making his selection from members of different parties. The tellers having taken their seats at the Clerk's desk, and nominations having been made and recorded, the Clerk then proceeds to call the roll of Members alphabetically, each Member, as his name is called, pronouncing audibly the name of the person voted for, which is recorded by the tellers and also by the Clerk (through one of his assistants) in a column under that of the Member voted for. After the roll call is completed, and every Member present (and desiring it) has voted, the lists of voters for each candidate are read over by the Clerk, when one of the tellers rises and announces to the House what number of votes each candidate has received. If no person shall have received a majority of all the votes given, the House then proceeds (if no other order be taken) to a second vote, and so on until an election is effected. But if any person shall have received a majority of all the votes given, and a quorum has voted, the Clerk declares such person “duly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives for the — Congress.” The Clerk then designates two Members (usually of different politics, and from the number of those voted for as Speaker) “to conduct the Speakerelect to the chair;" and also one Member (usually that one who has been longest in continuous service a Member of the House) “to administer to him the oath required by the Constitution and laws of the United States." In case of vacancy in the office of Clerk, or of his absence or inability, the duties imposed on him by law or custom relative to the preparation of the roll or the organization of the House shall devolve on the Sergeant-at-Arms; and in case of vacancies in both of said offices, or of their absence or inability to act, the said duties shall be performed by the Doorkeeper. Having been conducted · to the chair, it is usual for the Speaker to deliver to the House a brief address, which being concluded, the oath is administered to him, and he then takes his seat as the presiding officer of the House. (See Oath.) He then directs the Clerk to call the roll of Members by States, requesting each Member, as his name is called, to approach the Chair, when he administers to them the oath to support the Constitution of the United States. The organization of the House is then completed by the election of the officers named in Rule II, after which the Delegates from the Territories are then called and sworn.

At this stage it is usual for the House to adopt an order " that a message be sent to the Senate to inform that body that a quorum of the House of Representatives has assembled, and that - - one of the Representatives from the State of — , has been chosen Speaker, and — a citizen of the State of - , has been chosen Clerk, and that the House is now ready to proceed to business."

And then, or upon the receipt of a message from the Senate informing the House of the presence of a quorum in that body, it is usual for the House to adopt the following order: “That a committee of three Members be appointed on the part of the House, to join such committee as may be appointed on the part of the Senate, to wait on the President of the United States and inform him that a quorum of the two Houses has assembled, and that Congress is ready to receive any communication he may be pleased to make.

It was for a long time the custom to adopt a resolution providing “that the rules and orders of the last House of Representatives be adopted for the government of this House until otherwise ordered.” The adoption of the following rule during the Thirty-sixth Congress, viz, “ These rules shall be the rules of the House of Representatives of the present and succeeding Congresses, unless otherwise ordered,” was for the purpose of rendering such a resolution unnecessary.

An order providing for the hour of the daily meeting of the House is among the earliest thereafter adopted.

The foregoing are the proceedings which usually take place upon the assembling of a new House of Representatives, and which generally occur on the first day of the meeting of Con. gress.

There have been occasions, however, where the proceedings were very different, and where the organization of the House was much longer delayed.

In the Twenty-sixth Congress, where the Clerk, upon the call of the roll by States for the ascertainment of the presence of a quorum, proposed to omit the call of either of the claimants for each of several contested seats, on the fifth day of the session a chairman was appointed to serve until the organization of the House by the election of a Speaker;" and such election did not take place until eleven days thereafter.-Journal, 1, 26, pp. 6, 79.

In the Thirty-first Congress, by reason of a failure of a majority to vote for any candidate, there was no election of Speaker for nearly a month after the meeting.Journal, 1, 31, pp. 3 to 164; and in the Thirty-fourth Congress, for the same cause, an election for Speaker did not take place for two months after the meeting.-Journal, 1, 34, pp. 3 to 446. Also in the Thirty-sixth Congress, for the same cause, the election of a Speaker was delayed for two months.—Journal, 1, 36, pp. 8 to 162.

During the three last-named periods, while the House was without a Speaker, the Clerk presided over its deliberations; not, bowever, exercising the functions of Speaker to the extent of deciding questions of order; but, as in the case of other questions, putting them to the House for its decision. To relieve future Houses of some of the difficulties which grew out of the very limited power of the Clerk as a presiding officer, the House of the Thirty-sixth Congress adopted the One hundred and forty-sixth and One hundred and forty-seventh rules (now Rule III, clause 1).

In the Thirty-first and Thirty-fourth Congresses a Speaker was finally elected by a plurality vote; such mode of election, however, was previously authorized by a resolution of the House, and subsequently confirmed by a resolution declaring him “duly elected.”—Journals, 1, 31, pp. 156, 163, 164; 1, 31, pp. 429, 430, 444.

At a second or subsequent session of Congress the Members are called to order by the Speaker, when he causes the Clerk to call the roll of Members by States, for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not a quorum is present. As soon as a quorum has answered, it is usual for the House to pass an order that

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