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The question is to be put first on the affirmative, and then on the negative side.

After the Speaker has put the affirmative part of the question, any member who has not spoken before to the question may rise and speak before the negative be pu because it is no full question till the negative part be put. Scob., 23; 2 Hats., 73.

But in small matters, and which are, of course, such as receiving petitions, reports, withdrawing motions, reading papers, &c., the Speaker most commonly supposes the consent of the House where no objection is expressed, and does not give them the trouble of putting the question formally. Scob., 22; 2 Hats., 87, 2, 87; 5 Grey, 129; 9 Grey, 301.


To prevent bills from being passed by surprise, the House, by a standing order, directs that they shall not be put on their passage before a fixed hour, naming one at which the House is commonly full. Hakew., 153.

A bill reported and passed to the third reading cannot on that day be read the third time and passed; becanse this would be to pass on two readings in the same day.

At the third reading the clork reads the bill and delivers it to the Speaker, who states the title, that it is the third time of reading the bill, and that the question will be whether it shall pass ? Formerly the Speaker, or those who prepared a bill, prepared also a breviate or summary statement of its contents, which the Speaker read when he declared the state of the bill, at the several readings. Sometimes, however, he read the bill itself, especially on its pas ge. Hakew., 136, 137, 153; Coke, 22, 115. Latterly, instead of this, he, at the third reading, states the whole contents of the bill, verbatim, only, instead of reading the formal parts, “ Be it enacted,” &c.; he states that “preamble recites so and so—the first section enacts that, &c.; the second section enacts,” &c.

A bill on the third reading is not to be committed for the matter or body thereof; but to receive some particular clause or proviso, it has been sometimes suffered, but as a thing very unusual. Hakew., 126. Thus, 27 El., 1584, a bill was committed on the third reading, having been formally committed on the second, but is declared not usual. D'Ewes, 337, col. 2; 414, col. 2.

When an essential provision has been omitted, rather than erase the bill and render it suspicious, they add a clause on a separate paper, engrossed and called a rider, which is read and put to the question three times. Elsynge's Memorials, 59; 6 Grey, 335; 1 Blackst., 183. For examples of riders, see 3 Hats., 121, 122, 124, 126. Every one is at liberty to bring in a rider without asking leave. 10 Grey, 52.

It is laid down as a general rule, tbat amendments proposed at the second reading shall be twice read, and those proposed at the third reading thrice read; as also all amendments from the other house. Town., col. 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.

It is with great and almost invincible reluctance that amendments are admitted at this reading, wbich occasions erasures or interlineations. Sometimes a proviso has been cut off from a bill; sometimes erased. 9 Grey, 513.

This is the proper stage for filling up blanks ; for if filled up before, and now altered by erasure, it would be peculiarly unsafe.

At this reading the bill is debated afresh, and for the most part is more spoken to at this time than on any of the former readings. Hakew., 153.

The debate on the question whether it should be read a third time has discovered to its friends and opponents the arguments on which each side relies, and which of these appear to have influence with the House; they have had time to meet them with new arguments, and to put their old ones into new shapes. The former vote has tried the strength of the first opinion, and furnished grounds to estimate the issue ; and the question now offered for its passage is the last occasion which is ever to be offered for carrying or rejecting it.

When the debate is ended, the Speaker, holding the bill in his hand, puts the question for its passage, by saying, “Gentlemen, all you who are of opinion that this bill shall pass, say ay;" and after the answer of the ayes, “All those of the contrary opinion, say no." Hakew., 154.

After the bill is passed, there can be no further alteration of it in any point. Hakew., 159.


The affirmative and negative of the question having been both put and answered, the Speaker declares whether the yeas or nays have it by the sound, if he be himself satisfied, and it stands as the judgment of the House. But if he be not himself satisfied which voice is the greater, or if before any other member comes into the House, or before any new motion made (for it is too late after that), any member shall rise and declare himself dissatisfied with the Speaker's decision, then the Speaker to divide the House. Scob., 24 ; 2 Hats., 140.

When the House of Commons is divided, the one party goes forth, and the other remains in the House. This has made it important which go forth and which remain; because the latter gain all the indolent, the indifferent, and inattentive. Their general rule, therefore, is, that those who give their vote for the preservation of the orders of the House, shall stay in; and those who are for introducing any new matter or alteration, or proceeding contrary to the established course, are to go out. But this rule is subject to many exceptions and modifications. 2 Hats., 134; 1 Rush., p. 3, fol. 92 ; Scob., 43, 52; Co., 12, 116; D'Ewes, 505, col. 1, Mem. in Hakew., 25, 29, as will appear by the following statement of who go forth : Petition that it be received *


Read ......



Lie on the table
Rejected after refusal to lie on the table

Referred to a committee for further proceeding
Bill, that it be brought in

Read first or second time
Engrossed or read third time..
Proceedings on overy other stage.


* Noes. 9 Grey, 365.

To Committee of the Whole.

Noes. To a select committee a

Ayes. Report of bill to lie on tablo

Noes. Be now read........

Ayes. Be taken into consideration three months hence.

30, J. P. 251. Amendments be read a second time.....

Noes. Clause offered on report of bill be read second time

Ayes. For receiving a clause...

334. With amendments be engrossed..

395. That a bill be now read a third time

Noes. 398. Receive a rider....

260. . Pass...

Ayes. 259. Be printed Committees. That A take the chair.

To agree to the whole or any part of report..

That the House do now resolve into committee.. Speaker. That he now leave the chair, after order to go into com- Noes. 291.

mittee.. Tbat he issue warrant for a new writ.... Member. That none be absent without leave..

J Witness. That he be further examined..

Ayes. 344. Previous question

Blauks. That they be filled with the largest sum
Amendments. That words stand part of..
Lords. That their amendment be read a second time.

Messenger be received.

Orders of day to be now read, if before 2 o'clock
If after 2 o'clock...

Adjournment. Till the next sitting day, if before 4 o'clock.

Ayes. If after 4 o'clock..

Noes. Over a sitting day, (unless a previous resolution)

Ayes. Over the 30th of January.

Noes. For sitting on Sunday, or any other day not being a sitting day... Ayes.

The one party being gone forth, the Speaker names two tellers from the affirmative and two from the negative side, who first count those sitting in the House and report the number to the Speaker. Then they place themselves within the door, two on each side, and count those wbo went forth as they come in, and report the number to the Speaker. Mem. in Hakew.,

26. A mistake in the report of the tellers may be rectified after the report made. 2 Hats., 145, note.

[But in both houses of Congress all these intricacies are avoided. The ayes first rise, and are counted standing in their places by the President or Speaker. Then they sit, and the noes rise and are counted in like manner.]

In the House of Commons every member must give his vote the one way or the other (Scob., 24), as it is not permitted to any one to withdraw who is in the House when the question is put, nor is any one to be told in the division who was not in when the question was put. 2 Hats., 140.


This last position is always true when the vote is by yeas and pays, where the negative as well as affirmative of the question is stated by the president at the same time, and the vote of both sides begins and proceeds pari passu. It is true also when the question is put in the usual way, if the negative has also been put; but if it has not, the member entering, or any other member may speak, and even propose amendments, by which the debate may be opened again and the question be greatly deferred. And as some who have answered ay may have been changed by the new arguments, the affirmative must be put over again. If, then, the member entering may, by speaking a few words, occasion a repetition of a question, it would be useless to deny it on bis simple call for it.

While the House is telling, no member may speak or move out of his place, for if any mistake be suspected it must be told again. Mem. in Hakew., 26; 2 Hats., 143.

If any difficulty arises in point of order during the division, the Speaker is to decide peremptorily, subject to the future censure of the House if irregular. He sometimes permits old experienced members to assist him with their advice, which they do sitting in their seats, covered, to avoid the appearance of debate; but this can only be with the Speaker's leave, else the division might last several hours. 2 Hats., 143.

The voice of the majority decides; for the lex majoris partis is the law of all councils, elections, &c., where not otherwise expressly provided. Hakew., 93. But if the House be equally divided, “semper presumatur pro negante"; that is, the former law is not to be changed but by a majority. Towns., col. 134.

When, from counting the House on a division, it appears that there is not a quorum, the matter continues exactly in the state in which it was before the division, and must be resumed at that point on any future day. 2 Hats., 126.

1606, May 1, on a question whether a member having said yea may afterward sit and change his opinion, a precedent was remembered by the Speaker, of Mr. Morris, attorney of the wards, in 39 Eliz., who in like case changed his opinion. Mem. in Hakew., 27.


After the bill has passed, and not before, the title may be amended, and is to be fixed by a question; and the bill is then sent to the other house.


In Parliament a question once carried cannot be questioned again at the same session, but must stand as the judgment of the House. Towns., col. 67; Mem. in Hakew., 33. And a bill once rejected, another of the same substance cannot be brought in again the same session. Hakew., 158; 6 Grey, 392. But this does not extend to prevent putting the same question in different stages of a bill, because every stage of a bill submits the whole and every part of it to the opinion of the House as open for amendment either by insertion or omission, though the same amendment has been accepted or rejected in a former stage. So in reports of committees, e. g., report of an address, the same question is before the House, and open for free discussion. Towns., col. 26; 2 Hats., 98, 100, 101. So orders of the House,

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or instructions to committees, may be discharged. So a bill begun in one house and sent to the other, and there rejected, may be renewed again in that other, passed, and sent back. Ib., 92 ; 3 Hats., 161. Or if, instead of being rejected, they read it once and lay it aside, or amend it and put it off a month, they may order in another to the same effect, with the same or a different title. Hakew, 97, 98.

Divers expedients are used to correct the effect of this rule ; as by passing an explanatory act, if anything has been omitted or ill-expressed (3 Hats., 278), or an act to enforce, and make more effectual an act, &c., or to rectify mistakes in an act, &c., or a committee on one bill may be instructed to receive a clause to rectify the mistakes of another. Thus, June 24, 1685, a clause was inserted in a bill for rectifying a mistake committed by a clerk in engrossing a bill of supply. 2 Hats., 194,6. Or the session may be closed for one, two, three, or more days, and a new one commenced. But then all matters depending must be finished, or they fall, and are to begin de novo. 2 Hats., 94, 98. Or a part of the subject may be taken up by another bill, or taken up in a different way. 6 Grey, 304, 316.

And in cases of the last magnitude, this rule has not been so strictly and verbally observed as to stop indispensable proceedings altogether. 2 Hats., 92, 98. Thus when the address on the preliminaries of peace in 1782 had been lost by a majority of one; on account of the importance of the question, and the smallness of the majority, the same question in substance, though with some words not in the first, and which might change the opinion of some members, was brought on again and carried, as the motives for it were thought to outweigh the objection of form. 2 Hats., 99, 100.

A second bill may be passed to continue an act of the same session, or to enlarge the time limited for its execution. 2 Hats., 95, 98. This is not in contradiction to the first act.


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A bill from the other house is sometimes ordered to lie on the table. 2 Hats., 97.

When bills, passed in one house and sent to the other, are grounded on special facts requiring proof, it is usual, either by message or at a conference, to ask the grounds and evidence; and this evidence, whether arising out of papers, or from the examination of witnesses, is immediately communicated. 3 Hats., 48.



When either house, e. g. the House of Commons, send a bill to the other, the other may pass it with amendments. The regular progression in this case is, that the commons disagree to the amendment; tbe lords insist on it; the commons insist on their disagreement; the lords adhere to their amendment; the commons adhere to their disagreement. The term of insisting may be repeated as often as they choose to keep the question open. But the first adherence by either renders it necessary for the other to recede or adhere also; when the matter is usually suffered to fall. 10 Grey, 148. Latterly, however, there are instances of their having gone to a second adherence. There must be an absolute conclusion of the subject somewhere, or otherwise transactions between the houses would become endless. 3 Hats., 268, 270. The term of insisting, we are told by Sir John Trevor, was then (1679) newly introduced into parliamentary usage by the lords. 7 Grey, 94. It

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