Second class. If postponement be decided affirmatively, the prop. osition is removed from before the House, and consequently there is no ground for the previous question, commitment or amendment; but if decided negatively (that it shall not be postponed), the main question may then be suppressed by the previous question, or may be committed, or amended.

The third class is subject to the same observations as the second. The fourth class. Amendment of the main question first moved, and afterwards the previous question, the question of amendment shall be first put.

Amendment and postponement competing, postponement is first put, as the equivalent proposition to adjourn the main question would be in Parliament. The reason is that the question for amendment is not suppressed by postponing or adjourning the main question, but remains before the House whenever the main question is resumed; and it might be that the occasion for other urgent business might go by, and be lost by length of debate on the amendment, if the House had it not in their power to postpone the whole subject.

Amendment and commitment. The question for committing, though last moved, shall be first put; because, in truth, it facilitates and befriends the motion to amend. Scobell is express: "On motion to amend a bill, any one may notwithstanding move to commit i1, and the question for commitment shall be first put." Scob., 45.

We have hitherto considered the case of two or more of the privi leged questions contending for privilege between themselves, when both are moved on the original or main question; but now let us suppose one of them to be moved, not on the original primary question, but on the secondary one, e. g.:

Suppose a motion to postpone, commit, or amend the main question, and that it be moved to suppress that motion by putting a previous question on it. This is not allowed: because it would embarrass questions too much to allow them to be piled on one another several stories high; and the same result may be had in a more simple way-by deciding against the postponement, commitment, or amendment. 2 Hats., 81, 2, 3, 4.

Suppose a motion for the previous question, or commitment or amendment of the main question, and that it be then moved to post

pone the motion for the previous question, or for commitment or amendment of the main question. 1. It would be absurd to postpone the previous question, commitment, or amendment, alone, and thus separate the appendage from its principal; yet it must be postponed separately from its original, if at all; because the eighth rule of Senate says that when a main question is before the House no motion. shall be received but to commit, amend, or pre-question the original question, which is the parliamentary doctrine also. Therefore the motion to postpone the secondary motion for the previous question, or for committing or amending, cannot be received. 2. This is a piling

of questions one on another; which, to avoid embarrassment, is not allowed. 3. The same result may be had more simply by voting against the previous question, commitment, or amendment.

Suppose a commitment moved of a motion for the previous question, or to postpone or amend. The first, second, and third reasons, before stated, all hold good against this.

Suppose an amendment moved to a motion for the previous question. Answer: The previous question cannot be amended. Parliamentary usage, as well as the ninth rule of the Senate, has fixed its form to be, "Shall the main question be now put?"-i. e., at this instant; and as the present instant is but one, it can admit of no modification. To change it to to-morrow, or any other moment, is without example and without utility. But suppose a motion to amend a motion for postponement, as to one day instead of another, or to a special instead of an indefinite time. The useful character of amendment gives it a privilege of attaching itself to a secondary and privileged motion: that is, we may amend a postponement of a main question. So, we may amend a commitment of a main question, as by adding, for example, "with instructions 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.

to an amendment.

[In the Senate.]

In this form it becomes only an amendment

Rule XXVI-Clause 1.

1. When motions are made for reference of a subject to a select committee, or to a standing committee, the question of reference to a stand ing committee shall be put first; and a motion simply to refer shall not be open to amendment, except to add instructions.

[In filling a blank with a sum, the largest sum shall be first put to the question, by the thirteenth rule of the Senate,*] contrary to the rule of Parliament, which privileges the smallest sum and longest time. 5 Grey, 179; 2 Hats., 8, 85; 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, term of irredeemability of a loan, or the terminus in quem in any other case; then the question must begin a maximo. Or whether the lesser includes 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, when an act shall commence, or the terminus a quo in any other case where the question must begin a minimo; 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." I Grey, 365.

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

* This rule was dropped in the last revision.

of order arising out of any other question must be decided before that question. 2 Hats, 88.

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1. A question of order may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, except when the Senate is dividing, and, unless submitted to the Senate, shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate, subject to an appeal to the Senate; when an appeal is taken, any subsequent question of order, which may arise before the decision of such appeal, shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate; and every appeal therefrom shall be decided at once, and without debate; and any appeal may be laid on the table without prejudice to the pending proposition, and thereupon shall be held as affirming the decision of the Presiding Officer. 2. The Presiding Officer may submit any question of order for the decision of the Senate.

A matter of privilege arising out of any question, or from a quarrel between two members, or any other cause, supercedes 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 the 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.


When any question is before the House, any member may move a previous question, "Whether that question (called the main question) shall now be put?" If it pass in the affirmative, then the main question is to be put immediately, and no man may speak anything further to it, either to add or alter. Memor. in Hakew., 28; 4 Grey, 27.

The previous question being moved and seconded, the question from the Chair shall be, "Shall the main question be now put?" and if the nays prevail, the main question shall not then be put.

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 has been 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.

Whether a main question may be amended after the previous question on it has been moved and seconded? 2 Hats., 88, says, if the previous 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 pro posed 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 of the

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