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First and second sessions, Second Congress; second session, Third Congress; second session, Fifth Congress; second session, Sixth Congress; first and second sessions, Eighth Congress; first and second sessions, Tenth Congress; second session, Eleventh Congress; first and second sessions, Twelfth Congress; third session, Thirteenth Congress; second session, Fifteenth Congress, and second session, Sixteenth Congress.

For list of sessions of Congress, showing date of commencement, of adjournment, how convened, etc., see Appendix, post, pp. 615, 616.

(See Meeting of Congress.) SECRET SESSION.

Whenever confidential communications are received from the President of the United States, or whenever the Speaker or any Member shall inform the House that he has communica tions which he believes ought to be kept secret for the present, the House shall be cleared of all persons except the Members and officers thereof, and so continue during the reading of such communications, the debates and proceedings thereon, unless otherwise ordered by the House.Rule XXX.

Such parts of the Journal of a secret session as may, in the judgment of the House, require secrecy need not be published.Const., 1, 5, 5.

There shall be elected * * * a Clerk, Sergeant-atArms, Doorkeeper, Postmaster, and Chaplain, each of whom shall take an oath to keep the secrets of the House.Rule II.


Three of the Regents of said Institution shall be Members of the House of Representatives, to be appointed by the Speaker. The Members of the House so appointed shall serve for the term of two years, and on every alternate fourth Wednesday of December a like number shall be appointed in the same manner, to serve until the fourth Wednesday in December in the second year succeeding their appointment. Vacancies, occasioned by death, resignation, or otherwise, shall be filled as vacancies in committees are filled.-R. S., secs. 5580 and 5581.

The Board of Regents shall submit to Congress, at each session thereof, a report of the operations, expenditures, and condition of the Institution.-R. S., sec. 5593.


The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers.-Const., 1, 2, 6.

Upon the ascertainment of the fact that a quorum of Members-elect is present, and its announcement by the Clerk of the last House, it is usual for the House, on motion of some Member, immediately to “proceed, viva voce, to the election of a Speaker for the — Congress.”Journal, 1, 35, p. 8.

The right of a Member-elect to take the oath as a Member was held by the Clerk to present no higher question of privilege than the election of Speaker to fill a vacancy in that office, on the ground that one question of privilege could not be presented while another was pending.–Journal, 2, 44, p. 8. A better ground for the decision would have been that the Speaker is the only officer authorized by law to administer the oath.

At the first session of Congress after every general election of Representatives, the oath of office shall be administered by any Member of the House of Representatives to the Speaker; and by the Speaker to all the Members and Delegates present, and to the Clerk, previous to entering on any other business; and to the Members and Delegates who afterwards appear, previous to their taking their seats.—R. S., sec. 30.

According to the usage, the Member selected to administer the oath to the Speaker is that one who has been longest a Member of the House.—Journal, 1, 26, p. 79.

(See Meeting of Congress.)

Until the Forty-ninth Congress the Speaker was next in succession to the Presidency in the event of death, removal, or resignation of the President and Vice-President, and in default of a President of the Senate. By the act approved January 19, 1886, the succession devolves on the several members of the Cabinet in the order of seniority of their respective Departments; except the Secretary of Agriculture, the latter Department having been created since the passage of the act.

The President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, or a chairman of the Committee of the Whole, or of any committee of either House of Congress, is empowered to administer oaths to witnesses in any case under their examination.—R. S., sec, 101.

The Speaker has general control of the corridors, passages, and the disposal of unappropriated rooms of the House wing of the Capitol.-See Rule I, clause 3.

May prescribe regulations for the admission of reporters to the reporter's gallery and to the hall in the rear of the Speaker's chair.-See Rule XXXVI, clause 2.


He appoints the standing committees of the House unless otherwise specially ordered.Rule X, clause 1.

(According to the practice of long standing the Speaker is invariably named as chairman of the Committee on Rules.) He appoints the select committees.—Rule X, clause 2. He appoints from the Members of the House:

Three Visitors to the Military Academy at West Point.R. S., 1326..

Three Visitors to the Naval Academy at Annapolis.--20, Stat. L., p. 290.

Three Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.-R. S., sec. 5581.

Two Directors of the Columbia Hospital for Women.—17, Stat. L., p. 360.

Two Directors of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.—R. S., sec. 4863.

Two consulting trustees of the Reform School of the District of Columbia.-R. S., Supplement of, 1890, p. 101.

In the event of vacancies by death, resignation, or removal for cause, he appoints the official stenographers of the House, including the stenographers to committees. (See Rule XXXVI.)

He also appoints the engineer of the House and the employés in the engineer's department.

He may appoint a Speaker pro tempore for one day; but in case of the Speaker's illness he may, with the approval of the House, make such appointment for ten days.-Rule 1, clause 7. (The Senate and the President should be notified of such appointment if for a period beyond one day.)

He appoints the chairman of the Committee of the Whole.Rule XXIII, clause 1.


He calls the House to order, examines and approves Journal of the House.—Rule I, clause 1.

He preserves order, and may cause galleries to be cleared.Rule I, clause 2.

He is required to sign all acts, addresses, joint resolutions, and warrants issued by order of the House.

He decides all questions of order arising in the House, subject to appeal.—Rule I, clause 4.

He rises to put a question, but may state it sitting.-Rule I, clause 5.

He is not required to vote except where his vote would be decisive, or when the vote is by ballot.-Rule I, clause 6. [A proposition being defeated by a tie vote as well as by a majority of one, it follows that the Speaker is under this rule never required to vote, except in case of a ballot.]

When any Member desires to speak or deliver any matter to the House, he shall rise and respectfully address himself to “Mr. Speaker," and, on being recognized, may address the House, etc.Rule XIV, clause 1.

When two or more Members rise at once, the Speaker shall name the Member who is first to speak.-Rule XIV, clause 2.

If any Member, in speaking, or otherwise, transgress the rules of the House, the Speaker shall, or any Member may, call him to order.-Rule XIV, clause 4.

While the Speaker is putting a question or addressing the House no Member shall walk out of or across the Hall, nor, when a Member is speaking, pass between him and the Chair.Rule XIV, clause 7.

After the second roll call “the Speaker shall not entertain a request to record a vote.”Rule XV, clause 1. But in accordance with the long usage of the House, when a Member states that he was in his seat listening, and failed to hear his name, the request to record his vote is entertained.

Every motion made to the House and entertained by the Speaker shall be reduced to writing on the demand of any Member, and shall be entered on the Journal, etc.—Rule XVI, clause 1. A motion not entertained by the Speaker is not entered on the Journal, and has no parliamentary status.

Pending a motion to suspend the rules the Speaker may entertain one motion that the House adjourn; but after the result thereon is announced he shall not entertain any other dilatory motion till the vote is taken on suspension.-Rule XVI, clause 8.

Pending the consideration of a report from the Committee on Rules the Speaker may entertain one motion that the House adjourn; but after the result is announced he shall not entertain any other dilatory motion until the said report shall have been fully disposed of.-Rule XI, clause 57.

When a motion has been made the Speaker shall state it, or (if it be in writing) cause it to be read aloud by the Clerk before being debated.-Rule XVI, clause 2.

A call of the House shall not be in order after the previous question is ordered, unless it shall appear upon an actual count by the Speaker that a quorum is not present.—Rule XVII, clause 2.

The previous question having been ordered, a vote by yeas and nays disclosed no quorum voting. The point being made that, under paragraph 2 of Rule XVII, a call of the House is not in order after the previous question is ordered unless it shall appear by actual count by the Speaker that a quorum is not present, Speaker Crisp overruled the point of order, holding as follows: The Chair adopts the count made on the call immediately preceding this motion, and the judgment of the Chair is that that is evidence of the very best possible character of the number present.—Journal, 1, 52, pp. 159, 162.

Bills or petitions which in the judgment of the Speaker are of an obscene or insulting character are not entered and referred, but are returned to the Member introducing them. (See Rule XXII, clauses 1 and 2.)

Bills, memorials, and resolutions of a public character are introduced by delivering them to the Speaker and are by him appropriately referred to committees. (See Rule XXII, clause 3.)

Estimates of appropriations, and all other communications from the Executive Departments, intended for the considera


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