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in the first instance. 10 Grey, 146. But it is not respectful to the other. In the ordinary parliamentary course, there are two free conferences at least before an adherence. 10 Grey, 147.
Either House may recede from its amendment and agree to the bill; or recede from their disagreement to the amendment, and agree to the same absolutely, or with an amendment. For here the disagreement and receding destroy one another, and the subject stands as before the disagreement. Elsynge, 23, 27. 9 Grey, 476.
But the House cannot recede from, or insist on its own amendment, with an amendment: for the same reason that it cannot send to the other House an amendment to its own act after it has passed the act. They may modify an amendment from the other House by ingrafting an amendment on it, because they have never assented to it; but they cannot amend their own amendment, because they have, on the question, passed it in that form. 9 Grey, 363. 10 Grey, 240. In Senate, March 29, 1798. Nor where one House has adhered to their amendment, and the other agrees with an amendment, can the first House depart from the form which they have fixed by an adherence.
In the case of a money bill, the lords proposed amendments, become, by delay, confessedly necessary. The commons however refused them, as infringing on their privilege as to money bills; but they offered themselves to add to the bill a proviso to the same effect, which had no coherence with the lords' amendments; and urged that it was an expedient warranted by precedent, and not unparliamentary in a case become impracticable, and irremediable in any other way. 3 Hats. 256, 266, 270, 271. But the lords refused, and the bill was lost. i Chand. 288. A like case, 1 Chand. 311. So the commons resolve that it is unparliamentary to strike out at a conference any thing in a bill which hath been agreed and passed by both Houses. 6 Grey, 274. i Chand. 312.
A motion to amend an amendment from the other House, takes precedence of a motion to agree or disagree.
A bill originating in one House is passed by the other with an amendment.
The originating House agrees to their amendment with an amendment. The other may agree to their amendment with an amendment; that being only in the 2d and not the 3d degree. For, as to the amending House, the first amendment with which they passed the bill, is a part of its text; it is the only text they have agreed to. The amendment to that text by the originating House, therefore, is only in the 1st degree, and the amendment to that again by the amending House is only in the 2d, to wit, an amendment to an amendment, and so admissible. Just so, when, on a bill from the originating House, the other, at its 2d reading, makes an amendment; on the 3d reading this amendment is become the text of the bill, and if an amendment to it be moved, an amendment to that amendment may also be moved, as being only in the 2d degree.
It is on the occasion of amendments between the Houses that conferences are usually asked: but they may be asked in all cases of difference of opinion between the two Houses on matters depending between them. The request of a conference, however, must always be by the House which is possessed of the papers. 3 Hats. 31. 1 Grey, 425.
Conferences may be either simple or free. At a conference simply, written reasons are prepared by the House asking it, and they are read and delivered without debate to the managers of the other House at the conference; but are not then to be answered. 4 Grey, 144. The other House then, if satisfied, vote the reasons satisfactory, or say nothing: if not satisfied, they resolve them not satisfactory, and ask a conference on the subject of the last conference, where they read
and deliver in like manner written answers to those reasons. 3 Grey, 183. They are meant chiefly to record the justification of each house to the nation at large, and to posterity, and in proof that the miscarriage of a necessary measure is not imputable to them. 3 Grey, 255. At free conferences, the managers discuss, viva voce and freely, and interchange propositions for such modifications as may be made in a parliamentary way, and may bring the sense of the two Houses together. And each party reports in writing to their respective Houses, the substance of what is said on both sides, and it is entered in their journals. 9 Grey, 220. 3 Hats. 280. This report cannot be amended or altered, as that of a committee may be. Journ. Senate, May 24, 1796.
A conference may be asked, before the House asking it has come to a resolution of disagreement, insisting or adhering. 3 Hats. 269, 341. In which case the papers are not left with the other conferees, but are brought back to be the foundation of the vote to be given. And this is the most reasonable and respectful proceeding. For, as was urged by the lords on a particular occasion, “it is held vain, and below the wisdom of parliament, to reason or argue against fixed resolutions, and upon terms of impossibility to persuade.” 3 Hats. 226. So the commons say, “an adherence is never delivered at a free conference, which implies debate.” 10 Grey, 137. And on another occasion the lords made it an objection that the commons had asked a free conference after they had made resolutions of adhering. It was then affirmed, however, on the part of the commons, that nothing was more parliamentary than to proceed with free conferences after adhering, 3 Hats. 269, and we do in fact see instances of conference, or of free conference, asked after the resolution of disagreeing. 3 Hats. 251, 253, 260, 286, 291, 316, 349, of insisting, ib. 280, 296, 299, 319, 322, 355 ; of adhering, 269, 270, 283, 300, and even of a second or final adherence. 3 Hats. 270. And in all cases of conference asked after a vote of disagreement, &c. the conferees of the House asking it, are to leave the
papers with the conferees of the other: and in one case where they refused to receive them, they were left on the table in the conference chamber. ib. 271, 317, 323, 354. 10 Grey, 146.
After a free conference, the usage is to proceed with free conferences, and not to return again to a conference. 3 Hats. 270. 9 Grey, 229.
After a conference denied, a free conference may be asked. 1 Grey, 45.
When a conference is asked, the subject of it must be expressed, or the conference not agreed to; Ord. H. Com. 89. 1 Grey, 425. 7 Grey, 31. They are sometimes asked to inquire concerning an offence or default of a member of the other House. 6 Grey, 181. i Chand. 304. Or the failure of the other House to present to the King a bill passed by both Houses, 8 Grey 302. Or on information received, and relating to the safety of the nation, 10 Grey, 171. Or when the methods of parliament are thought by the one House to have been departed from by the other, a conference is asked to come to a right understanding thereon. 10 Grey, 148. So when an unparliamentary message has been sent, instead of answering it, they ask a conference. 3 Grey, 155. Formerly an address or articles of impeachment, or a bill with amendments, or a vote of the House, or concurrence in a vote, or a message from the King, were sometimes communicated by way of conference. 6 Grey, 128, 300, 387. 7 Grey, 80. 8 Grey, 210, 255. 1 Torbuck's Deb. 278. 10 Grey, 293. i Chandler, 49, 287. But this is not the modern practice. 8 Grey, 255.
A conference has been asked after the first reading of a bill. i Grey, 194. This is a singular instance.
SEC. XLVII.- MESSAGES.
Messages between the houses are to be sent only while both houses are sitting. 3 Hats. 15. They are received during a debate without adjourning the debate. 3 Hats. 22.
[In Senate the messengers are introduced in any state of business, except, 1. While a question is putting. 2. While the yeas and nays are calling. 3. While the ballots are counting. Rule 46. The first case is short: the second and third are cases where any interruption might occasion errors difficult to be corrected. So arranged June 15, 1798.]
In the House of Representatives, as in parliament, if the house be in committee when a messenger attends, the speaker takes the chair to receive the message, and then quits it to return into committee, without any question or interruption. 4 Grey, 226.
Messengers are not saluted by the members, but by the speaker for the house. 2 Grey, 253, 274.
If messengers commit an error in delivering their message, they may be admitted, or called in to correct their message. 4 Grey, 41. Accordingly, March 13, 1800, the Senate having made two amendments to a bill from the House of Representatives, their secretary, by mistake, delivered one only; which being inadmissable by itself, that house disagreed, and notified the Senate of their disagreement. This produced a discovery of the mistake. The secretary was sent to the other house to correct his mistake, the correction was received, and the two amendments acted on de novo.
As soon as the messenger, who has brought bills from the other house, has retired, the speaker holds the bills in his hand, and acquaints the house “ that the other house have by their messenger sent certain bills," and then reads their titles, and delivers them to the clerk, to be safely kept, till they shall be called for to be read. Hakew. 178.
It is not the usage for one House to inform the other by what numbers a bill has past. 10 Grey, 150. Yet they have sometimes recommended a bill, as of great importance, to the consideration of the house to which it is sent. 3 Hats. 25. Nor when they have rejected a bill from the other house, do they give notice of it; but it passes sub silentio, to prevent unbecoming altercations. 1 Blackst. 183.