main question, by this maneuver to 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 this opinion, too, he makes the deciding circumstance, whether an amendment may or may not be made, to be, that the previous question has been proposed from the Chair. But, as the rule is that the House is in possession of a question as soon as it is moved and seconded, it cannot 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 previous 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 previous amendments, and only cites a few late instances to the contrary. On the whole, I should think it best to decide it ab inconvenienti, to wit: Which is most inconvenient, 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 it 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 to the main question may speak again to the amendment. Scob., 23. If an amendment be proposed inconsistent with one already agreed 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 consister.ce 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 proposition; and it is a way of getting rid of a proposition, by making it bear a sense different from what it was intended by the movers, so that 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 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 part of the bill.

When it is proposed to amend by inserting a paragraph, or part of 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 afterward, 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 afterward, 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.*

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If the question in debate contains several propositions, any Senator may have the same divided, except a motion to strike out and insert, which shall not be divided; but the rejection of a motion to strike out and insert one proposition shall not prevent a motion to strike out and insert a different proposition; nor shall it prevent a motion simply to strike out; nor shall the rejection of a motion to strike out prevent a motion to strike out and insert. But pending a motion to strike out and insert, the part to be stricken out and the part to be inserted shall each be regarded for the purpose of amendment as a question; and motions to amend the part to be stricken out shall have precedence.

But if it had been carried affirmatively to strike out the words and to insert A, it could not afterward 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

* 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 practice in Parliament.

different proposition; for ther it is resolved into the common case of striking out a paragraph after amending it. Nor does anything forbid a new insertion, instead of A and its coherence.

In Senate, January 25, 1798, a motion to postpone until the second Tuesday in February some amendments proposed to the Constitution; the words "until the second 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 until 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 made to amend by striking out "the second Tuesday in 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.

A bill passed by the one House with blanks. These may be filled up by the other by way of amenaments, returned to the first as such, and passed. 3 Hats., 83.

The number prefixed to the section of a bill, being merely a marginal indication, and no part of the text of the bill, the Clerk regulates that-the House or committee is only to amend the text.


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. For who is 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, December 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.

The soundness of these observations will be evident from the embarrassments produced by the XVIII rule of the Senate, which says, "if the question in debate contains several points, any member may have the same divided."

1798, May 30, the alien bill in quasi-committee. To a section and proviso in the original, had been added two new provisos by way of amendment. On a motion to strike out the section as amended, the question was desired to be divided. To do this it must be put first on striking out either the former proviso, or some distinct member of the section. But when nothing remains but the last member of the section and the provisos, they cannot be divided so as to put the last member to question by itself, for the provisos might thus be left standing alone as exceptions to a rule when the rule is taken away; 9504--11

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