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Rule 130, Ho. Reps. page 102, contrary.
tions to inquire, &c.' In like manner, if an amendment be moved to an amendment, it is admitted. But it would not be admitted in another degree, to wit: to amend an amendment to an amendment of a main question. This would lead to too much embarrassment. The line must be drawn somewhere, and usage has drawn it after the amendment to the amendment. The same result must be sought by deciding against the amendment to the amendment, and then moving it again as it was wished to be amended. In this form it becomes only an amendment to an amendment.
In filling a blank with a sum, the motion must be first put on the smallest sum and longest time. [5 Grey, 179. 2 Hats. 81, 83. 3 Hats. 132, 133. ] And this is considered to be, not in the form of an amendment to the question, but as alternative or successive originals. In all cases of time or number, we must consider whether the larger comprehends the lesser, as in a question to what day a postponement shall be, the number of a Committee, amount of a fine, term of an imprisonment, the terminus in quem, * any other case. Then the question must begin a maximo.t whether the lesser concludes the greater, as in questions on the limitation of the rate of interest, on what day the session shall be closed by adjournment, on what day the next shall commence, or the teminus a quot in any other case, where the question must begin a minimo.8 The object being not to begin at that extreme, which, and more, being within every man's wish, no one could negative it, and yet, if he should vote in the affirmative, every question for more would be precluded; but at that extreme which would unite few, and then to advance or recede till you get to a number which will unite a bare majority. [3 Grey, 376, 384, 385. ] • The fair question in this case is not that to which and more all will agree, but whether there shall be addition to the question. [1 Grey, üvo.]
Another exception to the rule of priority is when a motion has been made to strike out, or agree to a paragraph. Motions to amend it are to be put to the question before a vote is taken on striking out, or agreeing to the whole paragraph.
But there are several questions, which being incidental to every one, will take place of every one, privileged or not, to wit: a question of order arising out of any other question, must be decided before that question. [2 Hats. 88. ]
A matter of privilege arising out of any question, or from a quarrel between two members, or any other cause, supersedes the consideration of the original question, and must be first disposed of. [2 Hats. 88. ]
Reading papers relative to the question before the House. This question must be put before the principal one. [ 2 Hats. 88. ]
Leave asked to withdraw a motion. The rule of parliament being that a motion made and seconded is in possession of the House, and cannot be withdrawn without leave, the very terms of the rule imply that leave may be given, and consequently may be asked and put to the question.
Re. 119, Ho. Reps. page 100, contrary.
Rule 46, Ho. Reps. different.
* Term of irredeemability of a loan.
When an act shall commence.
THE PREVIOUS QUESTION.
Rule 46, When any question is before the House, any member may move a Ho. Reps. previous question, .Whether that question (called the main question) contrary.
shall now be put ?' If it pass in the affirmative, then the main question is to be put immediately, and no man may speak any thing further to it, either to add or alter. [Memor. in Hakew. 28. 4 Grey, 27.]
This kind of question is understood by Mr. Hatsell to have been introduced in 1604. [2 Hats. 80.] Sir Henry Vane introduced it. [2 Grey, 113, 114. 3 Grey, 384.] When the question was put in this form, .Shall the main question be put ?' A determination in the negative suppressed the main question during the session; but since the words now put are used, they exclude it for the present only. Formerly, indeed, only till the present debate was over, [4 Grey, 43,] but now for that day and no longer. [2 Grey, 113, 114.)
Before the question, whether the main question shall now be put ?' any person might formerly have spoken to the main question, because otherwise he would be precluded from speaking to it at all. [Mem. in Hakew. 28.]
The proper occasion for the previous question, is when a subject is brought forward of a delicate nature as to high personages, &c., or the discussion of which may call forth observations which might be of injurious consequences. Then the previous question is proposed: and, in the modern usage, the discussion of the main question is suspended, and the debate confined to the previous question. The use of it has been extended abusively to other cases: but in these it is an embarrassing procedure: its uses would be as well answered by other more simple parliamentary forms, and therefore it should not be favored,
but restricted within as narrow limits as possible. Rule 50, Whether a main question may be amended, after the previous quesHo. Reps. tion on it has been moved and seconded ? 2 Hats. 88, says, if the pre
vious question has been moved and seconded, and also proposed from the chair (by which he means stated by the Speaker for debate), it has been doubted whether an amendment can be admitted to the main question ? He thinks it may, after the previous question moved and seconded, but not after it has been proposed from the chair. In this case he thinks the friends to the amendment must vote that the main question be not now put; and then move their amended question, which, being made new by the amendment, is no longer the same which has been just suppressed, and therefore may be proposed as a new one. But this proceeding certainly endangers the main question, by dividing its friends, some of whom may choose it unamended, rather than lose it altogether: while others of them may vote, as Hatsell advises, that the main question be not now put, with a view to move it again in an amended form. The enemies to the main question, by this manoeuvre of the previous question, get the enemies to the amendment added to them on the first vote, and throw the friends of the main question under the embarrassment of rallying again as they can. To support his opinion, too, he makes the deciding circumstance, whether an
amendment may or may not be made, to be that the previous question Re, 46 & has been proposed from the chair. But as the rule is, that the house is 150, House
Reps. pp. in possession of a question as soon as it is moved and seconded, it can- 79 & 81. not be more than possessed of it by its being also proposed from the chair. It may be said, indeed, that the object of the previous question, being to get rid of a question, which it is not expedient should be discussed, this object may be defeated by moving to amend, and, in the discussion of that motion, involving the subject of the main question. But so may the object of the previdus question be defeated by moving the amended question, as Mr. Hatsell proposes, after the decision against putting the original question. He acknowledges, too, that the practice has been to admit a previous amendment, and only cites a few late instances to the contrary. On the whole, I should think it best to decide it ab inconvenienti,* to put it in the power of one side of the House to defeat a proposition by hastily moving the previous question, and thus forcing the main question to be put unamended; or to put in the power of the other side to force on, incidentally at least, a discussion which would be better avoided ? Perhaps the last is the least inconvenience; inasmuch as the Speaker, by confining the discussion rigorously to the amendment only, may prevent their going into the main question, and inasmuch also as so great a proportion of the cases in which the previous question is called for, are fair and proper subjects of public discussion, and ought not to be obstructed by a formality introduced for questions of a peculiar character.
On an amendment being moved, a member who has spoken vò the Rule 37, main question may speak again to the amendment. [Scob. 23. ]
Ho. Reps. If an amendment bé proposed inconsistent with one already agreed page 77. to, it is a fit ground for its rejection by the House; but not within the competence of the Speaker to suppress as if it were against order. For were he permitted to draw questions of consistence within the vortex of order, he might usurp a negative on important modifications, and suppress, instead of subserving, the legislative will. Amendments may be made so as totally to alter the nature of the
Rule 55, proposition; and it is a way of getting rid of a proposition, by making Ho. Repa.
82, it bear a sense different from what was intended by the movers, so that
contrary. they vote against it themselves. [2 Hats. 79, 4, 82, 84.] A new bill. may be ingrafted by way of amendment on the words •Be it enacted,' &c. [1 Grey, 190, 192.]
If it be proposed to amend by leaving out certain words, it may be
* Which is most inconvenient.
moved as an amendment to this amendment to leave out a part of the words of the amendment, which is equivalent to leaving them in the bill. [2 Hats. 80, 9. ] The Parliamentary question is always whether the words shall stand as a part of the bill ?
When it is proposed to amend by inserting a paragraph, or part of Ho.. Reps. | one, the friends of the paragraph may make it as perfect as they can
by amendments, before the question is put for inserting it. If it be received, it cannot be amended afterwards, in the same stage; because the House, has on a vote, agreed to it in that form. In like manner if it is proposed to amend by striking out a paragraph, the friends of the paragraph are first to make it as perfect as they can by amendments, before the question is put for striking it out. If on the question it be retained, it cannot be amended afterwards: because a vote against striking out is equivalent to a vote agreeing to it in that form.
When it is moved to amend, by striking out certain words, and inserting others, the manner of stating the question is, first to read the whole passage to be amended as it stands at present, then the words proposed to be struck out, next those to be inserted, and lastly the whole passage as it will be when amended. And the question, if desired, is then to be divided, and put first on striking out. If carried, it is next on inserting the words proposed. If that be lost, it may be moved to insert others. [2 Hats. 80, 7. ]
A motion is made to amend by striking out certain words, and inserting others in their place, which is negatived. Then it is moved to strike out the same words, and to insert others of a tenor entirely different from those first proposed. It is negatived. Then it is moved to strike out the same words and insert nothing, which is agreed to. All this is admissible; because to strike out and insert A, is one proposition. To strike out and insert B, is a different proposition. And to strike out and insert nothing, is still different. And the rejection of one proposition does not preclude the offering a different one. Nor would it change the case were the first motion divided by putting the question first on striking out, and that negatived. For as putting the whole motion to the question at once, would not have precluded, the putting the half of it cannot do it. *
But if it had been carried affirmatively to strike out the words and to insert A, it could not afterwards be permitted to strike out A, and insert B. The mover of B should have notified, while the insertion of A was under debate, that he would move to insert B. In which case those who preferred it would join in rejecting A.
After A is inserted, however, it may be moved to strike out a portion of the original paragraph, comprehending A, provided the coherence to be struck out be so substantial as to make this effectively a different proposition. For then it is resolved into the common case of striking out a paragraph after amending it. Nor does any thing forbid a new insertion instead of A and its coherence. †
* In the case of a division of the question, and a decision against striking out, I advance doubtingly the opinion here expressed. I find no authority either way; and I know it may be viewed under a different aspect. It may be thought, that having decided separately not to strike out the passage, the same question for striking out cannot be put over again, though with a view to a different insertion. Still I think it more reasonable and convenient to consider the striking out, and insertion, as forming one proposition; but should readily yield to any evidence that the contrary is the prac tice in parliament.
† In Senate, January 25, 1798, a motion to postpone until the second Tuesday in Feb ruary some amendments proposed to the Constitution. The words “ until the second
A bill passed by the one House with blanks. These may be filled up
Ho Reps. by the other by way of amendments, returned to the first as such and
p. 102, & passed. [3 Hats. 83. ]
Rule 13, The number prefixed to the section of a bill, being merely a marginal Sen. page indication, and no part of the text of the bill, the Clerk regulates that, the House or Committee is only to amend the text.
DIVISION OF THE QUESTION.,
Rule 53, Ho. Reps.
For who is | Page 32.
If a question contain more parts than one, it may be divided into two or more questions. [Mem. in Hakew. 29. ] But not as the right of an individual member, but with the consent of the House. to decide whether a question is complicated or not? where it is complicated ? into how many propositions it may be divided? The fact is, that the only mode of separating a complicated question is, by moving amendments to it; and these must be decided by the House on a question, unless the House orders it to be divided, as on the question Dec. 2, 1640, making void the election of the Knights for Worcester, on a motion, it was resolved to make two questions of it, to wit: one on each knight. [2 Hats. 85, 86.] So wherever there are several names in a question, they may be divided and put one by one. [9 Grey, 444. ] So 1729, April 17, on an objection that a question was complicated, it was separated by amendment. [2 Hats. 79, 5. ]
1798, May 30, the Alien Bill in Quasi-Committee. To a section and
Tuesday in February' were struck out by way of amendment. Then it was moved to add ' until the first day of June.? Objected that it was not in order, as the question should be first put on the longest time; therefore after a shorter time decided against, a longer cannot be put to question. It was answered that this rule takes place only in filling blanks for time. But when a specific time stands part of a motion, that may be struck out as well as any other part of the motion; and when struck out, a motion may be received to insert any other. In fact, it is not till they are struck out, and a blank for the time thereby produced, that the rule can begin to operate, by receiving all the propositions for different times, and putting the questions successively on the longest. Otherwise it would be in the power of the mover, by inserting originally a short time, to preclude the possibility of a longer. For till the short time is struck out, you cannot insert a longer; and if, after it is struck out, you cannot do it, then it cannot be done at all. Suppose the first motion had been to amend by striking out the second Tuesday of February,' and inserting instead thereof the first of June. It would have been regular then to divide the question, by proposing first the question to strike out, and then that to insert. Now this is precisely the effect of the present proceeding; only instead of one motion and two questions, there are two motions and two questions to effect it; the motion being divided as well as the question.
When the matter contained in two bills might be better put into one, the manner is to reject the one, and incorporate its matter into another bill by way of amendment. So if the matter of one bill would be better distributed into two, any part may be struck out by way of amendment, and put into a new bill. If a section is to be transposed, a question must be put on striking it out where it stands, and another for inserting it in the place desired.