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When but one person is proposed, and no objection made, it has not been usual in Parliament to put any question to the house ; but without a question the members proposing him conduct him to the chair. But if there be objection, or another proposed, a question is put by the clerk. 2 Hats., 168. As are also questions of adjournment. 6 Gray, 406. Where the House debated and exchanged messages and answers with the King for a week, without a Speaker, till they were prorogued. They have done it de die in diem for fourteen days.—1 Chand., 331, 335.

Where the Speaker has been ill, other Speakers pro tempore have been appointed. Instances of this are 1 H., 4, Sir John Cheyney, and for Sir Wm. Sturton, and in 15 A., 6, Sir John Tyrrell, in 1656, January 27; 1658, March 9; 1659, January 13.

Sir Job Charlton ill, Seymour chosen 1673, February 18. Seymour being ill, Sir Robert Sawyer

Not merely pro tempore. 1 Chand., chosen, 1678, April 15.

169, 276, 277. Sawyer being ill, Seymour chosen.

Thorpe in execution, a new Speaker chosen. 31 6. VI, 3 Grey, 11; and Marcb 14, 1694, Sir John Trevor chosen. There have been no later instances. 2 Hats., 161; 4 Inst.; 8 L. Parl., 263.

A Speaker may be removed at the will of the House, and a Speaker pro tempore appointed. 2 Grey, 186 ;

Grey, 134.

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A joint address of both houses of Parliament is read by the Speaker of the House of Lords. It may be attended by both houses in a body, or by a committee from each house, or by the two Speakers only. An address of the House of Commons only may be presented by the whole House, or by the Speaker, 9 Grey, 473; 1 Chandler, 298, 301; or by such particular members as are of the privy council. 2 Hats., 278.


Standing committees, as of privileges and elections, &c., are usually appointed at the first meeting, to continue through the session. The person first named is generally permitted to act as chairman. But this is a matter of courtesy; every committee having a right to elect their own chairman, who presides over them, puts questions, and reports their proceedings to the House. 4 Inst., 11, 12; Scob., 9; 1 Grey, 122.

At these committees the members are to speak standing, and not sitting; though there is reason to conjecture it was formerly otherwise. D'Ewes, 630, col. 1; 4 Parl. Hist., 440; 2 Hats., 77.

Their proceedings are not to be published, as they are of no force till confirmed by the House. Rushw., part 3, vol. 2, 74; 3 Grey, 401; Scob., 39. Nor can they receive a petition but through the House. 9 Grey, 412.

When a committee is charged with an inquiry, if a member prove to be involved, they cannot proceed against him, but must make a special report to the House; whereupon the member is heard in his place, or at the bar, or a special authority is given to the committee to inquire concerning him. 9 Grey, 523.

So soon as the House sits, and a committee is notified of it, the chairman is in daty bound to rise instantly, and the members to attend the services of the House. 2 Nals., 319.

It appears that on joint committees of the Lords and Commons, each committee acted integrally in the following instances : 7 Grey, 261, 278, 285, 338; 1 Chandler, 357, 462. In the following instances it does not appear whether they did or not: 6 Grey, 129; 7 Grey, 213, 229, 321.


The speech, messages, and other matters of great concernment, are usually referred to a committee of the whole house, 6 Grey, 311, where general principles are digested in the form of resolutions, which are debated and amended till they get into a shape which meets the approbation of a majority. These being reported and confirmed by the House, are then referred to one or more select committees, according as the subject divides itself into one or more bills. Scob., 36, 44. Propositions for any charge on the people are especially to be first made in a committee of the whole. 3 Hats., 127. The sense of the whole is better taken in committee, because in all committees every one-speaks as often as he pleases. Scob., 49. They generally acquiesce in the chairman named by the Speaker; but, as well as all other committees, have a right to elect one, some member, by consent, putting the question. Scob., 36; 3 Grey, 301. The form of going from the House into committee is for the Speaker, on motion, to put the question that the House do now resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take under consideration such a matter, naming it. If determined in the affirmative, he leaves the chair and takes a seat elsewhere, as any other member; and the person appointed chairman seats himself at the clerk's table. Scob., 36. Their quorum is the same as that of the House, and if a defect happens, the chairman, on a motion and question, rises, the Speaker resumes the chair, and the chairman can make no other report than to inform the House of the cause of their dissolution. If a message is announced during a committee, the Speaker takes the chair, and receives it, because the committee cannot. 2 Hats., 125, 126.

In a committee of the whole, the tellers on a division differing as to numbers, great heats and confusion arose, and danger of a decision by the sword. The Speaker took the chair, the mace was forcibly laid on the table; whereupon, the members retiring to their places, the Speaker told the House “he had taken the chair without an order, to bring the House into order.” Some excepted against it; but it was generally approved, as the only expedient to suppress the disorder. And every member was required, standing up in his place, to engage that he would proceed no further, in consequence of what had happened in the grand committee, which was done. 3 Grey, 128.

A committee of the whole being broken up in disorder, and the chair resumed by the Speaker without an order, the House was adjourned. The next day the committee was considered as thereby dissolved, and the subject again before the House; and it was decided in the House, without returning into committee. 3 Grey, 130.

No previous question can be put in a committee, nor can this committee adjourn as others may; but if their business is unfinished, they rise, on a question, the House is resumed, and the chairman reports that the committee of the whole have, according to order, had under their consideration such a matter, and have made progress therein; but not having had time to go through the same, have directed him to ask leave to sit again. Whereupon a question is put upon their having leave, and on the time the House will again resolve itself into a committee. Scob., 38. But if they have gone through the matter referred to them, a member moves that the committee may rise, and the chairman report their proceedings to the House; which being resolved, the chairman rises, the Speaker resumes the chair, the chairman informs him that the committee have gone through the business referred to them, and that he is ready to make report when the House shall think proper to receive it. If the House have time to receive it, there is usually a cry of “now, now," whereupon he makes the report; but if it be late, the cry is “tomorrow, to-morrow," or Monday,” &c., or a motion is made to that effect, and a question put that it be received to-morrow, &c. Scob., 38.

In other things the rules of proceedings are to be the same as in the House. Scob., 39.

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Common fame is a good ground for the House to proceed by inquiry, and even to accusation. Resolution House of Commons, 1 Car., 1, 1624; Rush, L. Parl., 115; 1 Grey, 16–22, 92; 8 Grey, 21, 23, 27, 45.

Witnesses are not to be produced but where the House bas previously instituted an inquiry (2 Hats., 102), nor then are orders for their attendance given blank. 3 Grey, 51.

When any person is examined before a committee, or at the bar of the House, any member wishing to ask the person a question must address it to the Speaker or chairman, who repeats the question to the person, or says to him, “You hear the question-answer it.” But if the propriety of the question be objected to, the Speaker directs the witness, counsel, and parties to withdraw, for no question can be moved or put or debated while they are there. 2 Hats., 108. Sometimes the questions are previously settled in writing before the witness enters. Ib., 106, 107; 8 Grey, 64. The questions asked must be entered in the journals. 3 Grey, 81. But the testimony given in answer before the House is never written down; but before a committee it must be, for the informativn of the House, who are not present to hear it. 7 Grey, 52, 334.

If either house have occasion for the presence of a person in custody of the other, they ask the other their leave that he may be brought up to them in custody. 3. Hats., 52.

A member, in his place, gives information to the House of what he knows of any matter under hearing at the bar. Jour. H. of C., Jan. 22, 1744-45.

Either house may request, but not command, the attendance of a member of the other. They are to make the request by message to the other house, and to express clearly the purpose of attendance, that no improper subject of examination may be tendered to him. The House then gives leave to the member to attend, if he choose it; waiting first to know from the member himself whether he chooses to attend, till which they do not take the message into consideration. But when the peers are sitting as a court of criminal judicature, they may order attendance, unless where it be a case of impeachment by the Commons. There it is to be a request. 3 Hats., 17; 9 Grey, 306, 406; 10 Grey, 133.

Counsel are to be heard only on private, not on public bills, and on such points of law only as the House shall direct. 10 Grey, 61.


The Speaker is not precisely bound to any rules as to what bills or other matter shall be first taken up; but is left to bis own discretion, unless the House on the question decide to take up a particular subject. Hakew., 136.

A settled order of business is, however, necessary for the government of the presiding person, and to restrain individual members from calling up favorite measures, or matters under their special patronage, out of their just turn. It is useful also for directing the discretion of the House, when they are moved to take up a particular matter, to the prejudice of others having priority of right to their attention in the general order of business.


In Parliament "instances make order," per Speaker Onslow. 2 Hats., 141. But what is done only by one Parliament cannot be called custom of Parliament; by Pryone. 1 Grey, 52.


The clerk is to let no journals, records, accounts, or papers be taken from the table or out of his custody. 2 Hats., 193, 194.

Mr. Prynne having at a committee of the whole amended a mistake in a bill without order or knowledge of the committee, was reprimanded. 1 Chand., 77.

A bill being missing, the House resolved that a protestation should be made and subscribed by the members“ before Almighty God and this honorable House, that neither myself nor any other to my knowledge have taken away, or do at this present conceal a bill entitled,” &c. 5 Grey, 202.

After a bill is engrossed it is put into the Speaker's bands, and he is not to let any one have it to look into. Town., col. 209.


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, 143.

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

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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.

No man may speak more than once on 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’s Comw., L.2, c. 3; Arcan Parl., 17.

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 traveling 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 rise 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, superfluous 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; Rushaw., 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 bis 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 speak. ing reviling, nipping, or unmannerly words against a particular member. Smyth's 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.

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. 1), speaking or whispering to another (Scob., 6; D'Ewes, 487, col. 1), nor stand up to 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 endeavor to drown his


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