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Sec. XI. COMMITTEES.
Standing Committees, as of Privileges and Elections, &c., are usually appointed at the first meeting, to continue through the session. The person first named is generally permitted to act as chairman. But this is a matter of courtesy; every Committee having a right to elect their own chairman, who presides over them, puts questions, and reports their proceedings to the House, 4 inst, 11, 12. Scob. 9. 1 Grey, 122.
Ať these Committees the members are to speak standing, and not sitting: though there is reason to conjecture it was formerly otherwise. D’Ewes, 630. col. 1. 4, Parl. Hist. 440. 2 Hats. 77.
Their proceedings are not to be published, as they are of no force till confirmed by the House. Rushw. part 3. vol. 2. 74. 3 Grey, 401. Scob. 39. Nor can they receive a petition but through the House. 9 Grey, 412.
When a Committee is charged with an inquiry, if a member prove to be involved, they cannot proceed against him, but must make a special report to the House ; whereupon the member is heard in his place, or at the bar, or a special authority is given to the Committee to inquire concerning him. 9 Grey, 523.
So soon as the House sits, and a Committee is noti. fied of it, the chairman is in duty bound to rise instantly, and the members to attend the service of the House. 2 Nals. 319.
It appears that on joint Committees of the Lords and Commons, each Committee acted integrally in the following instances:7 Grey, 261. 278. 285. 338. 1 Chandler, 357. 462. In the following instances it does not appear whether they did or not : 6 Grey, 129. 7 Grey, 213, 229. 321. *
* RULE 33. The following Standing Committees, to consist of five members, each, shall be appointed at
Sec. XII. COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE,
The speech, messages, and other matters of great concernment, are usually referred to a committee of the whole house, 6 Grey, 311. where general principles are digested in the form of resolutions, which are debated and amended till they get into a shape which meets the approbation of a majority. These being reported and confirmed by the house, are then referred to one or more select committees, according as the subject divides itself into one or more bills. Scob. 36. 44. Propositions for any charge on the people are especially to be first made in a committee of the whole,
the commencement of each session, with leave to report by bill or otherwise :
A Committee on Foreign Relations,
A Committee of three members, whose duty it shall be to audit and control the contingent expenses of the Senate.
And a Committee, consisting of three members, whose duty it shall be to examine all bills, amendments, resolutions, or motions, before they go out of the possession of the Senate, and to make report that they are correctly engrossed; which report shall be entered on the journal.
3 Hats. 127. The sense of the whole is better taken in committee, because in all committees every one speaks as often as he pleases. Scob. 49. They generally acquiesce in the chairman named by the speaker; but, as well as all other committees, have a right to elect one, some member, by consent, putting the question. Scob. 36. 3 Grey, 301. The form of going from the house into committee, is for the speaker, on motion, to put the question that the house do now resolve itself into a committee of the whole to take under consideration such a matter, naming it. If determined in the affirmative, he leaves the chair, and takes a seat elsewhere, as any other member; and the person appointed chairman seats himself at the clerk's table. Scob. 36. Their quorum is the same as that of the house ; and if a defect happens, the chairman, on a motion and question, rises, the speaker resumes the chair, and the chairman can make no other report than to inform the house of the cause of their dissolution. If a message is announced during a committee, the speaker takes the chair, and receives it because the committee cannot. 2 Hats. 125, 126,
In a committee of the whole, the tellers on a division, differing as to numbers, great heats and confusion arose, and danger of a decision by the sword. The speaker took the chair, the mace was forcibly laid on the table; whereupon, the members retiring to their places, the speaker told the house he had taken the chair without an order, to bring the house into order.' Some excepted against it ; but it was generally approv, ed as the only expedient to suppress the disorder. And every member was required, standing up in his place, to engage that he would proceed no further in consequence of what had happened in the grand committee, which was done. 3 Grey, 128.
A committee of the whole being broken up in disorder, and the chair resumed by the speaker without an order, the house was adjourned. The next day the committee was considered as thereby dissolved, and the subject again before the house ; and it was decided in the house, without returning into committee. 3 Grey, 130.
No previous question can be put in a committee; nor can this committee adjourn as others may ; but if their business is unfinished, they rise, on a question, the house is resumed, and the chairman reports that the committee of the whole, have, according to order, had under their consideration such a matter, and have made progress therein ; but not having had time to go through the same, have directed him to ask leave to sit again. Whereupon a question is put on their having leave, and on the time the house will again resolve itself into a committee. Scob. 38. But if they have gone through the matter referred to them, a member moves that the committee may rise, and the chairman report their proceedings to the house ; which being resolved, the chairman rises, the speaker resumes the chair, the chairman informs him that the committee have gone through the business referred to them, and that he is ready to make report when the house shall think proper to receive it. If the house have time to receive it, there is usually a cry of now, now, whereupon he makes the report : but if it be late, the cry is
to-morrow, to-morrow,' or 'on Monday, &c.' or a motion is made to that effect, and a question put that it be received, to-morrow, &c. Scob. 38.
In other things the rules of proceeding are to be the same as in the house. Scob. 39,
Sec. XIII, EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES.
Common fame is a good ground for the house to proceed by inquiry, and even to accusation. Resolution House Commons, 1 Car. 1, 1625. Rush, L. Parl, 115. 1 Grey, 16–22. 92. 8 Grey, 21. 23. 27. 45.
Witnesses are not to be produced but where the house has previously instituted an inquiry, 2 Hats. 102. nor then are orders for their attendance given blank, 3 Grey, 51.
When any person is examined before a committee, or at the bar of the house, any member wishing to ask the person a question, must address it to the speaker or chairman, who repeats the question to the person, or
says to him, you hear the question, answer it.' But if the propriety of the question be objected to, the speaker directs the witness, counsel and parties, to withdraw; for no question can be moved or put, or debated while they are there. 2 Hats. 108. Sometimes the questions are previously settled in writing before the witness enters, ib. 106, 107. 8 Grey, 64. The questions asked must be entered in the journals. 3 Grey, 81. But the testimony given in answer before the house is never written down ; but before a committee it must be, for the information of the house who are not present to hear it. 7 Grey, 52. 334.
If either house have occasion for the presence of a person in custody of the other, they ask the other their leave that he may be brought up to them in custody. 3 Hats. 52.
A member, in his place, gives information to the house of what he knows of any matter under hearing at the bar. Jour. H. of C. Jan. 22, 1744-5.
Either house may request, but not command the attendance of a member of the other. They are to make the request by message to the other house, and to express clearly the purpose of attendance, that no improper subject of examination may be tendered to him. The house then gives leave to the member to attend, if he choose it; waiting first to know from the member himself whether he chooses to attend, till which they do not take the message into consideration. But when the peers are sitting as a court of criminal judicature, they may order attendance, unless where it be a case of impeachment by the Commons. There it is to be a request. 3 Hats. 17. 9 Grey, 306. 406. 10 Grey, 133.
Counsel are to be heard only on private, not on public bills, and on such points of law only as the House shall direct, 10 Grey, 61.
SEC. XIV. ARRANGEMENT OF BUSINESS.
The Speaker is not precisely bound to any rules as to what bills or other matter shall be first taken up; but is left to his own discretion, unless the House on a question decide to take up a particular subject. Hakew. 136.