Page images
PDF
EPUB

SEC. XVII.-ORDER IN DEBATE.

When the speaker is seated in his chair, every member is to sit in his place. Scob. 6. Grey, 403. When

any member means to speak, he is to stand up in his place, uncovered, and to address himself, not to the house, or any particular member, but to the speaker, who calls him by his name, that the house may take notice who it is that speaks. Scob. 6. D'Ewes, 487. Col. 1. 2 Hats. 77. 4 Grey, 66. 8 Grey, 108. But members who are indisposed may be indulged to speak sitting. 2 Hats. 75, 77. 1 Grey, 195.

[In Senate, every member, when he speaks, shall address the chair standing in his place, and when he has finished shall sit down. Rule 3.]

When a member stands up to speak, no question is to be put, but he is to be heard, unless the house overrule him. 4 Grey, 390. 5 Grey, 6, 143.

If two or more rise to speak nearly together, the speaker determines who was first up, and calls him by name, whereupon he proceeds, unless he voluntarily sits down and gives way to the other. But sometimes the house does not acquiesce in the speaker's decision, in which case the question is put, “which member was first up?” 2 Hats. 76. Scob. 7. D'Ewes, 434. col. 1, 2.

[In the Senate of the United States, the President's decision is without appeal. Their rule is in these words: when two members rise at the same time, the President shall name the person to speak; but in all cases the member who shall first rise and address the chair, shall speak first. Rule 5.]

No man may speak more than once to the same bill on the same day; or even on another day, if the debate be adjourned. But if it be read more than once in the same day, he may speak once at every reading. Co. 12, 115. Hakew. 148. Scob. 58. 2 Hats. 75. Even a change of opinion does not give a right to be heard a second time. Smyth Comw. L. 2, c. 3. Arcan. Parl. 17.

[The corresponding rule of Senate is in these words : no member shall speak more than twice, in any one debate, on the same day, without leave of the Senate. Rule 4.]

But he may be permitted to speak again to clear a matter of fact. 3 Grey, 357, 416. Or merely to explain himself, 2 Hats. 73, in some material part of his speech, ib. 75, or to the manner or words of the question, keeping himself to that only and not travelling into the merits of it; Memorials in Hakew. 29 ; or to the orders of the house, if they be transgressed, keeping within that line, and not falling into the matter itself. Mem. Hakew. 30, 31.

But if the speaker rises to speak, the member standing up ought to sit down, that he may be first heard. Town. col. 205. Hale parl. 133. Mem. in Hakew. 30, 31. Nevertheless, though the speaker may of right speak to matters of order, and be first heard, he is restrained from speaking on any other subject, except where the house have occasion for facts within his knowledge; then he may, with their leave, state the matter of fact. 3 Grey, 38.

No one is to speak impertinently or beside the question, superfluously or tediously. Scob. 31, 33. 2 Hats. 166, 168. Hale parl. 133.

No person is to use indecent language against the proceedings of the house, no prior determination of which is to be reflected on by any member, unless he means to conclude with a motion to rescind it. 2 Hats. 169, 170. Rushw. p. 3, v. 1, fol. 42. But while a proposition under consideration is still in fieri, though it has even been reported by a committee, reflections on it are no reflections on the house. 9 Grey, 508.

No person, in speaking, is to mention a member then present, by his name; but to describe him by his seat in the house, or who spoke last, or on the other side of the question, &c. Mem. in Hakew. 3. Smyth's Comw. L. 2, c. 3, nor to digress from the matter to fall upon the person ; Scob. 31. Hale parl. 133. 2 Hats. 166, by speaking, reviling, nipping, or un

mannerly words against a particular member. Smyth Comw. L. 2, c. 3. The consequences of a measure may be reprobated in strong terms; but to arraign the motives of those who propose to advocate it, is a personality, and against order. Qui digreditur a materia ad personam, Mr. Speaker ought to suppress. Ord. Com. 1604, Apr. 19.

[When a member shall be called to order by the President, or a Senator, he shall sit down; and every question of order shall be decided by the President, without debate, subject to an appeal to the Senate; and the President may call for the sense of the Senate on any question of order. Rule 6.]

[No member shall speak to another or otherwise interrupt the business of the Senate, or read any printed paper while the journals or public papers are reading, or when any member is speaking in any debate. Rule 2.]

No one is to disturb another in his speech by hissing, coughing, spitting, 6 Grey, 332. Scob. 8. D’Ewes, 332. col. 1. 640. col. 2, speaking or whispering to another, Scob. 6. D’Ewes, 487. col. 1, nor to stand up or interrupt him ; Town. col. 205. Mem. in Hakew. 31, nor to pass between the speaker and the speaking member, nor to go across the house, Scob. 6. or to walk up and down it, or to take books or papers from the table, or write there. 2 Hats. 171.

Nevertheless, if a member finds that it is not the inclination of the house to hear him, and that by conversation or any other noise they endeavour to drown his voice, it is his most prudent way to submit to the pleasure of the house, and sit down; for it scarcely ever happens that they are guilty of this piece of ill manners without sufficient reason, or inattentive to a member who says any thing worth their hearing. 2 Hats. 77, 78.

If repeated calls do not produce order, the speaker may call by his name any member obstinately persisting in irregularity, whereupon the house may require the member to withdraw. He is then to be heard in exculpation, and to withdraw. Then the speaker states the offence committed ; and

the house considers the degree of punishment they will inflict. 2 Hats. 167, 7, 8, 172.

For instances of assaults and affrays in the House of Commons, and the proceedings thereon, see 1 Pet. Misc. 82. 3 Grey, 128. 4 Grey, 328. 5 Grey, 382. 6 Grey, 254. 10 Grey, 8. Whenever warm words, or an assault have passed between members, the house, for the protection of their members, requires them to declare in their places not to prosecute any quarrel, 3 Grey, 128, 293. 5 Grey, 289; or orders them to attend the speaker, who is to accommodate their differences and report to the house ; 3 Grey, 419, and they are put under restraint if they refuse, or until they do. 9 Grey, 234, 312.

Disorderly words are not to be noticed till the member has finished his speech. 5 Grey, 356. 6 Grey, 60. Then the person objecting to them, and desiring them to be taken down by the clerk at the table, must repeat them. The speaker then may direct the clerk to take them down in his minutes. But if he thinks them not disorderly, he delays the direction. If the call becomes pretty general, he orders the clerk to take them down, as stated by the objecting member. They are then part of his minutes, and when read to the offending member, he may deny they were his words, and the house must then decide by a question whether they are his words or not. Then the member may justify them, or explain the sense in which he used them, or apologise. If the house is satisfied, no farther proceeding is necessary. But if two members still insist to take the sense of the house, the member must withdraw, before that question is stated, and then the sense of the house is to be taken. 2 Hats. 199. 4 Grey, 170. 6 Grey, 59. When any member has spoken, or other business intervened, after offensive words spoken, they cannot be taken notice of for censure. And this is for the common security of all, and to prevent mistakes which must happen if words are not taken down immediately. Formerly they might be taken dow at any time the same day. 2 Hats. 196. Mem. in Hakew. 71. 3 Grey, 48.

3 Grey, 48. 9 Grey, 514.

Disorderly words spoken in a committee must be written down as in the house ; but the committee can only report them to the house for animadversion. 6 Grey, 46.

[The rule of the Senate says, If the member be called to order by a Senator, for words spoken, the exceptionable words shall immediately be taken down in writing, that the President may be better enabled to judge of the matter. Rule 7.]

In parliament to speak irreverently or seditiously against the king is against order. Smith's Comw. L. 2. c 3. 2 Hats. 170.

It is a breach of order in debate to notice what has been said on the same subject in the other house, or the particular votes or majorities on it there: because the opinion of each house should be left to its own independency not to be influenced by the proceedings of the other; and the quoting them might beget reflections 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, but should complain to the house of which he is, and leave the punishment to them. Where the complaint is of words disrespectfully spoken by a member of another house, 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 security 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 unnoticed, 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. 219. The rule is, that if a charge against a member arise out of a report of a committee, or examination of witnesses in the house, as the

« PreviousContinue »