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Reps., p. 82.

INDEFINITE postponement admits of neither de- Re. 52, Ho. bate nor amendment; it suppresses a question altogether, without coming to a direct vote thereon in a way which cannot be renewed during the session. This motion decided in the affirmative in Congress, is equivalent to the previous question decided in the negative according to the ancient rule in parliament.


Custom of

WHEN an assembly has more subjects before it Congress. than can be disposed of in one day; or when its members wish for more information, or want time for examination and reflection, a motion should be made to. postpone the business to a certain time, when different days are named, the question Rep. p. 102. should be first put on the longest period.

Re. Ho.


§ 1. THE motion to lie on the table takes pre- Re. 46, Ho. cedence of every other, except that of adjournment. When an assembly wishes to lay aside the consideration of any proposition for a short, but indefinite time, the motion to lie on the table should be made.

§ 2. If this motion be decided in the affirmative, the main question, with every thing pertaining thereto, is removed. All subjects lying on the

Re. 56, Ho. Reps. p. 83.

Re. 20, Sen. p. 128.

Re. 44, Sen., p. 135.

table may be renewed whenever it suits the convenience of the assembly.

§ 3. The motion to lie on the table is often resorted to by those unfavorable to a proposition, the operation of the rule being similar to the ancient application of the previous question, for, unless a majority afterwards consent to take up the subject, it is quashed.

§ 4. When it is proposed to lay any proposition, report, resolution, or paper on the table, the friends of the measure should have it limited to a specified time, or until certain questions have been decided; after which, a motion should be made that the assembly proceed to consider the subject on the table.


§ 1. WHEN a motion has been carried, either in the affirmative or negative, it is in order for any member who voted on the side which prevailed to move for a reconsideration, on the same or the succeeding day, or at the next meeting after the one at which the question proposed to be reconsidered was passed or rejected.

§ 2. But no motion to reconsider is in order after the subject upon which the vote was taken shall have been announced, by authority, and gone out of the possession of the assembly.

§ 3. In all cases a motion to reconsider should be decided by a majority of the votes present, and it takes precedence of all other questions, except

those to adjourn, and brings the whole subject up for debate the same as if it had not been acted on. Note, p. 83.

Re. 56, Ho. Reps., and

§ 4. Adroit politicians sometimes vote on the side of their opponents when a question is likely to be lost for the purpose of moving a reconsideration; but if it appears that a few members wish to retard the public business by this manoeuvre, it is proper to lay the motion to reconsider on the table, which effectually disposes of it, unless a majority desire to call it up again.


Re. 2, Ho.

§ 1. A DECISION of a presiding officer may be Reps. p. 67. made the subject of appeal by any two members, and the motion to appeal may then be debated and decided the same as any other question. The presiding officer may give the reasons for his decision, but neither he nor any member should speak more than once, without leave of the assembly.

§ 2. When an appeal is made from the decison of the chair, the question ought to be put in the following manner : SHALL THE DECISION OF THE CHAIR STAND AS THE DECISION OF THE ASSEMBLY?"


§ 3. The appeal and the vote thereon should be recorded by the secretary. * The question of appeal supersedes, for the time being, the further consideration of the subject before the assembly; but so soon as it is settled business should be resumed at the point at which it was interrupted.

* It is always in order to move that the appeal lie on the table.

Rls. 9 and 10, Sen. p. 126.

Re. 43,Ho. Reps. p. 79.

Re. 45, Ho. Reps. p. 79.


§ 1. NO MOTION should be put till it be seconded by some member.* Every motion should, if desired by the presiding officer, or any member, be reduced to writing, and read, before any action or debate thereon.

§ 2. Every motion properly made should either be stated by the presiding officer, or, being in writing, read aloud by the secretary.

§ 3. After a motion is stated, or read, it is in possession of the assembly, but may be withdrawn by the mover at any time before an amendment or decision.

§ 4. When a question is stated, the presiding officer should first give the floor to the mover, if he rises to speak. When a motion to consider any particular item of business is negatived, it cannot be renewed till some other subject has been disposed of.

§ 5. When business is brought before an assembly which is not desirable to consider, a motion for indefinite postponement may be made.

§ 6. When a subject is presented in a suitable form, a motion to proceed with its consideration, or to adopt, or reject it, may be made.

§ 7. When the general outline of a proposition is acceptable, and desirable to be passed, with some

* The presiding officer, if a member of the assembly, may second the question.

† After an amendment it can only be withdrawn by general consent, or by a unanimous vote.

erasures, additions, or other changes, a motion to amend may be made.


§ 1. EVERY assembly, to attain the highest degree of usefulness, should have the respect and confidence of the community. Important questions may be decided by one vote.

§ 2. It is to be presumed that the larger the number present, the more wisdom will be brought to bear on the subject under consideration; the less hasty and ill advised will be the proceedings, the more in accordance with the will of the majority and the welfare of the whole community, will be the action of the assembly. Hence, a majority of all the members should be necessary to form a quorum.+

Rep. p. 101.

§3. Business cannot be lawfully commenced Re. 126, Ho. without a quorum, nor can the proceedings go on, if at any time there be not a majority of members present.

§ 4. A less number, of a permanent assembly, than a quorum may send for the absent members, or adjourn from time to time, till a quorum be obtained.‡

* Any assembly may make a rule that a smaller number than a majority shall constitute a quorum.


No one should accept a public trust, unless there is a strong probability that he will be able to serve his constituents, by giving the business committed to his charge his personal attention and support.

See Quorum, Sec. 3, Jeff. Man., page 150, this book.

Re. 1, Ho.

Reps. p. 67.

Const. U.

s., Art. 1.

Sec. 5, p. 11,

this book.

Re. 65, Ho.

Rep. p. 85.
R. 8,

Re. 8, Sen. p. 26.

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