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Custom of Congress.
§ 5. No member should be permanently absent, from the services of the assembly, unless he have leave, or be sick, or unable to attend.
§ 1. WHEN a member offers any subject for the consideration of an assembly, his proposal is called a motion; when the motion is stated by the presiding officer for acceptance or rejection, it is called a question; when the question is adopted, it becomes the judgment and act of the assembly, and is called its resolution or law.
§ 2. Whenever deliberation on any subject appears to be closed, the presiding officer should rise and say, "Is the assembly* ready for the question?" And, after a momentary pause, unless interrupted, he proceeds to state the question, or calls on the secretary to read it, and then takes the vote thereon.
§ 3. Whenever it is reasonable to suppose that no objection will be made, the presiding officer may economize the time of the assembly, by dispensing with the formality of taking a vote, by saying, “If no objection be offered the report will be received." "The petition will be received."
* Society, meeting, or convention, as the case may be.
† It will often occur that the question can only be stated by the presiding officer. The presentation of petitions; the reports of committees; the call for the yeas and nays, &c., are examples of this kind. In these cases the question should be, "shall the petition, or the report be received?" "It is moved and seconded that the yeas and nays be taken," &c.
§ 4. In every instance of this kind, the consent of the assembly is taken for granted. If any one, immediately after a vote has been declared in this summary, but informal way, offers any objection, the presiding officer should say, "The question has been objected to." It cannot be put unless regularly moved and seconded.
§ 5. An intelligent and skilful officer will cause an assembly to dispatch, in a proper manner, more business in one day, than an indolent or uninformed one would accomplish in thrice the time.
Re. 4, He
Reps. p. 67.
Re. 40, Ho
Reps. p. 78.
§ 6. In stating a question, the affirmative should always be put first. No member should vote who was not in the room at the time the question was put, but every one present then should vote, unless Re. 42, Ho. he has a direct personal or pecuniary interest in the question, or unless he is excused.
Reps. p. 79.
THE YEAS AND NAYS.
§ 1. WHEN questions of great importance are before an assembly, the members should vote with the utmost care and deliberation. To secure wise legislation, and impress representatives with a due sense of responsibility to their constituents and to the Union, the framers of the CONSTITUTION Of the United States, inserted a clause requiring both t Houses of Congress to keep a record of the votes
Sec. 4, page
of the members thereof, whenever desired by onefifth of those present.*
§ 2. This precaution was necessary, for in all the Parliamentary rules of England, which were generally adopted in the United States, no provision of the kind exists. This is a feature too republican in character to suit monarchial legislation, and it is a reason why CONGRESSIONAL rules should be followed instead of PARLIAMENTARY.
§ 3. Whenever any member calls for the yeas and nays, the presiding officer says, "There is a call for the yeas and nays; those in favor of the call will rise." If one-fifth of the members† rise, Re. 4, Ho he says, "The yeas and nays are required. As many as are of the opinion that, [stating the question,] will [when their names are called,] answer yea; and as many as are of a contrary opinion, will answer nay." "The secretary will
Reps. p. 67.
call the roll.”
§ 4. After the names of all the members have been called, the secretary reads first the names of those in the affirmative, and then those in the negative, so that mistakes, if any, may be corrected. He then adds up the number on each side, and hands the result to the presiding officer.
*The calling of the yeas and nays in the House of Representatives of the United States, occupies usually, when done in the most expeditious way, about one hour, and costs, at a moderate estimate, the Government five hundred dollars, on an average, every time the yeas and nays are called. Hence, it was judged best to fix the number as high as one-fifth of the members present.
† Or whatever number may be prescribed by the by-laws. If less than the required number should rise, he says the motion is lost.
A SYNOPSIS OF ENGLISH LEGISLATION.
§ 1. PARLIAMENT is the Legislature of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It is composed of three branches, namely, the King or Queen, the House of Peers, and the House of Com
§ 2. The kingly office is hereditary, and forms the executive branch of the legislature. As head of the church, the king (or queen as the case may be) appoints all archbishops and bishops. All other titles of honor must also emanate from the
§ 3. The house of peerst is also hereditary, and is composed of the lords spiritual, consisting of two archbishops, twenty-four English bishops, and four Irish representative bishops, with the lords temporal, consisting of twenty-four dukes, twenty marquises, one hundred and fourteen earls, twenty viscounts, two hundred and eleven barons, sixteen representative peers of Scotland, and twenty-eight representative peers of Ireland, making a total of four hundred and thirty-three.
consists of two
§ 4. The House of Commons hundred and fifty-three representatives of counties, who are known as knights of shires, and are required to have an annual income of two thousand six hundred and sixty-six dollars. There are also four
* The corresponding office in the United States is the Presidential. The corresponding house in the United States is the Senate.
The corresponding branch in the United States is the House of Representatives.
hundred and five representatives from cities and boroughs, who are each required to have an annual income of at least thirteen hundred and thirtythree dollars. Those representing cities are known as citizens, and those from boroughs as burgesses. Total in the house of commons, six hundred and fifty-eight.
§ 5. The privilege of voting is subject to various and intricate laws, owing to the position of the citizen, but in every case a voter must have his name registered in the place in which he resides. No one is permitted to vote who has less than two hundred dollars worth of real estate, or who does not pay rent for property worth at least eleven hundred dollars.
§ 6. The king convokes parliament, and at the beginning of each session delivers to both houses an address,* stating the matters he wishes them to consider and act on, and until this is done neither house can proceed with any public business.
§ 7. On the assembling of a new parliament the Lord Chancellor states that his majesty will, so soon as the members are sworn, declare the causes for calling this parliament. The House of Commons then proceed to elect their speaker, and all the members take the oath of office.
§ 8. Before any business is undertaken prayers
*Corresponding to the message of the President of the United States. Who presides over the House of Peers. A Parliament continues for seven years, unless sooner dissolved by the crown, i. e. the members of the House of Commons are elected for the term of seven years. The peers, of course, hold their office for life.