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question, or he loses the main battle; and accident and management may, and often do, prevent a successful rallying on the next and last question, whether it shall pass ?

When the bill is engrossed, the title is to be endorsed on the back, and not within the bill. Hakew. 250.


Where papers are laid before the house, or referred to a committee, every member 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, toties quoties, 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 objects. 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 question put, to lay a book or paper on the the table, or have it read, on suggesting that it contains matter infringing on the privileges of the House. Ib.

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 rigour 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, without leave. This also is to prevent an abuse of time; and therefore is not refused, but where that is intended. 2 Grey, 227.

certain, to commit, or to amend; which several motions shall have prece dence in the order they stand arranged, and the motion for adjournment

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A report of a committee of the Senate on a bill from the House of Representatives being under consideration, on motion that the report of the committee on the House of Representatives on the same bill be read in 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 no body can op

2 Hats. 117.

pose it.


[*While a question is before the Senate, no motion shall be received, unless for an amendment, for the previous question, or for postponing the main question, or to commit it, or to adjourn. Rule 8.]

It is no possession of a bill unless it be delivered to the clerk to be read, or the speaker reads the title. Lex. Parl. 274. Elsynge, Mem. 85. Ord. House of Commons, 64.

It is a general rule that the question first moved and seconded shall be first put. Scob. 28, 22.

Scob. 28, 22. 2 Hats. 81. But this rule gives way to what may be called privileged questions ; and the privileged questions are of different grades among themselves.

A motion to adjourn simply takes place of all others; for otherwise the House might be kept sitting against its will, and indefinitely. Yet this motion cannot be received after an

* This rule has been modified so as to specify the questions entitled to preference.

The rule is now as follows: [When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received bet adjourn, to lie on the table, to postpone indefinitely, to postpone to a

shall always be in order, and be decided without debate.)



other question is actually put, and while the House is engaged in voting.

Orders of the day take place of all other questions, except for adjournment. That is to say, the question which is the subject of an order is made a privileged one, pro hac vice. The order is a repeal of the general rule as to this special

When any member moves therefore for the order of the day to be read, no further debate is permitted on the question which was before the House, for if the debate might proceed, it might continue through the day and defeat the order. This motion, to entitle it to precedence, must be for the orders generally, and not for any particular one ; and if it be carried on the question, “ Whether the House will now proceed to the orders of the day,” they must be read and proceeded on in the course in which they stand: 2 Hats. 83; for priority of order gives priority of right, which cannot be taken away but by another special order.

After these there are other privileged questions which will require considerable explanation.

It is proper that every parliamentary assembly should have certain forms of question, so adapted as to enable them fitly to dispose of every proposition which can be made to them. Such are, 1. The previous question. 2. To postpone indefinitely. 3. To adjourn a question to a definite day. 4. To lie on the table. 5. To commit. 6. To amend. The proper occasion for each of these questions should be understood.

1. When a proposition is moved, which it is useless or inexpedient now to express or discuss, the previous question has been introduced for suppressing for that time the motion and its discussion. 3 Hats. 188, 189.

2. But as the previous question gets rid of it only for that day, and the same proposition may recur the next day, if they wish to suppress it for the whole of that session, they postpone it indefinitely. 3 Hats. 183. This quashes the proposition for that session, as an indefinite adjournment is a dis

solution, or the continuance of a suit, sine die, is a discontinuance of it.

3. When a motion is made which it will be proper to act on, but information is wanted, or something more pressing claims the present time, the question or debate is adjourned to such day within the session as will answer the views of the House. 2 Hats. 81. And those who have spoken before may not speak again when the adjourned debate is resumed. 2 Hats. 73. Sometimes, however, this has been abusively used by adjourning it to a day beyond the session, to get rid of it altogether, as would be done by an indefinite postponement.

4. When the House has something else which claims its present attention, but would be willing to reserve in their power to take up a proposition whenever it shall suit them, they order it to lie on their table. It may then be called for at any

time. 5. If the proposition will want more amendment and diges* tion than the formalities of the House will conveniently admit, they refer it to a Committee.

6. But if the proposition be well digested, and may need but few and simple amendments, and especially if these be of leading consequence, they then proceed to consider and amend it themselves.

The Senate, in their practice, vary from this regular gradation of forms. Their practice, comparatively with that of Parliament, stands thus:

For the Parliamentary Postponement indefinite,


The Senate uses Postponement to a day beyond

the session.
Postponement to a day within

the session.
s Postponement indefinite.

Lying on the table.

Lying on the table,

In their 8th rule, therefore, which declares that while a

question is before the Senate, no motion shall be received unless it be for the Pr. Qu., or to postpone, commit, or amend the main question, the term postponement must be understood according to their broad use of it, and not in the Parliamentary sense. Their rule then establishes as privileged questions, the previous question, postponement, commitment, and amendment.

But it may be asked, have these questions any privilege among themselves? Or are they so equal that the common principle of the “first moved, first put,” takes place among them? This will need explanation. Their competitions may be as follow:

1. Previous Question and Postpone In the 1st, 2d, and 3d classes,

Commit S and the first member of the 4th

Amend ) class, the rule “first moved first 2. Postpone and Previous Question put,” takes place.


Amend 3. Commit and Previous Question


Amend 4. Amend and Previous Question


In the first class, where the P. Q. is first moved, the effect is peculiar. For it not only prevents the after motion to postpone or commit from being put to question before it, but also from being put after it. For, if the P. Q. be decided affirmatively, to wit, that the M. Q. shall now be put, it would of course be against the decision to postpone or commit. And if it be decided negatively, to wit, that the M. Q. shall not now be put, this puts the House out of possession of the M. Q. and consequently there is nothing before them to postpone or commit. So that neither voting for or against the P. Q. will enable the advocates for postponing or committing to get at

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