« ForrigeFortsett »
that gentlemen here did not understand the vote, and asked if the yeas and nays could not be taken. But did he call for the yeas and nays then? or ask to have a record made? No, Sir; but in the discussion as to what might be done, the Chair suggested that the gentleman might call for the yeas and nays; and in accordance with that suggestion, the yeas and nays were demanded. These, I believe, are the true facts of the case.
Now, if the gentleman from Plymouth had arisen in his seat before the Chair had made the second, affirmed statement, and had questioned the vote, then, as the gentleman from Taunton (Mr. Morton) says, it would have been the duty of the Chair to have tried the vote again, if demanded, by yeas and nays; but he did neither. The question stands, therefore, as I have stated. As I said before, I am sorry to differ from the Chair as to the congressional practice, but I understand the practice to be this: that any member has a right to demand the yeas and nays at any time before the result is announced by the Chair. I am certainly desirous of acting liberally in this matter, but I am equally desirous of observing the law; for the dignity, decorum, and character of all bodies, depend entirely upon so doing. If I supposed that, by allowing this matter to pass by we should be acting in compliance with parliamentary usage, I would, with pleasure, vote to sustain the decision of the Chair; but under the present aspect of the case, I do not believe we should be acting in accordance with that law, and I shall therefore be compelled to give my vote against him.
Mr. HALE, of Bridgewater. I do not propose to discuss this question, after so much has been said. As to precedent, I merely wish to observe that in all the experience I have had, here or elsewhere, in legislative bodies, I have never known an instance where the demand for the yeas and nays was made and sustained upon a question after the decision of the Chair. I have known them to be called for, but it was always ruled by the Chair to be too late.
I do not understand that, in the present case, the purpose of calling the yeas and nays was to verify the vote, because the gentleman distinctly stated that the object he had in view was to accommodate some gentlemen in his neighborhood, who did not understand the question, and wished to have the vote taken again.
Mr. WATERS, of Millbury. I call for the previous question.
The PRESIDENT. By leave of the Convention, the Chair desires to say to the gentleman from Bridgewater, that there are many precedents in the House of Representatives at Washington. Mr. HALE. I merely referred to my own experience and observation, and I believe that it is the opinion of every ex-member of congress in this body, that the yeas and nays would not be in order after an announcement of a vote by the Chair had been made.
The question being upon sustaining the decision of the Chair, the yeas and nays were taken, with the following result-yeas, 167; nays, 62.
QUESTION OF ORDER. - HALE.
Baker, Hillel Ball, George S. Bancroft, Alpheus Bates, Moses, Jr. Bennett, William, Jr. Bennett, Zephaniah Bird, Francis W. Booth, William S. Boutwell, George S. Boutwell, Sewell Breed, Hiram N. Brown, Adolphus F. Brown, Hammond Brown, Hiram C. Brownell, Frederick Brownell, Joseph Bryant, Patrick Bullock, Rufus Bumpus, Cephas C. Burlingame, Anson Butler, Benjamin F. Cady, Henry Caruthers, William Case, Isaac Chapin, Chester W. Childs, Josiah Churchill, J. McKean Clarke, Alpheus B. Cleverly, William Cole, Sumner Cooledge, Henry F. Crittenden, Simeon Cross, Joseph W. Dana, Richard H., Jr. Davis, Charles G. Davis, Robert T. Dean, Silas Deming, Elijah S. Denton, Augustus Duncan, Samuel Dunham, Bradish Durgin, John M. Eames, Philip Earle, John M. Easland, Peter Easton, James, 2d Eaton, Calvin D. Edwards, Elisha Edwards, Samuel Ely, Joseph M. Fay, Sullivan Fellows, James K. Fisk, Lyman Foster, Aaron Foster, Abram Fowle, Samuel Freeman, James M. French, Charles A. French, Rodney French, Samuel Frothingham, R., Jr. Gale, Luther Gates, Elbridge Gilbert, Washington Giles, Charles G. Giles, Joel Green, Jabez Greene, William B. Griswold, Josiah W. Griswold, Whiting Hapgood, Lyman W. Harmon, Phineas Haskins, William Hawkes, Stephen E. Heath, Ezra, 2d Hewes, James Hobart, Henry Hood, George Howard, Martin
Aldrich, P. Emory Andrews, Robert Aspinwall, William Ayres, Samuel Bartlett, Russel
Howland, Abraham H. Hoyt, Henry K. Hunt, Charles E. Huntington, George H. Hyde, Benjamin D. Ide, Abijah M., Jr. Jacobs, John Kendall, Isaac Kingman, Joseph Knight, Hiram Knowlton, Charles L. Knowlton, William H. Knox, Albert Langdon, Wilber C. Lawton, Job G., Jr. Little, Otis Loomis, E. Justin Marvin, Abijah P. Mason, Charles Merritt, Simeon Monroe, James L. Morton, Elbridge G. Morton, Marcus Morton, Marcus, Jr. Morton, William S. Nash, Hiram Nayson, Jonathan Nichols, William Nute, Andrew T. Osgood, Charles Packer, E. Wing Paine, Benjamin Parker, Adolphus G. Parris, Jonathan Partridge, John Penniman, John Perkins, Daniel A. Phelps, Charles Phinney, Silvanus B. Pierce, Henry Pomroy, Jeremiah Rawson, Silas Richards, Luther Richardson, Samuel H. Ring, Elkanah, Jr. Royce, James C. Sanderson, Amasa Sanderson, Chester Sherril, John Sikes, Chester Simmons, Perez Simonds, John W. Sprague, Melzar Spooner, Samuel W. Stevens, Granville Stevens, William Strong, Alfred L. Sumner, Increase Swain, Alanson Thompson, Charles Tilton, Horatio W. Turner, David P. Tyler, William Wallace, Frederick, T. Wallis, Freeland Walker, Amasa Ward, Andrew H. Warner, Samuel, Jr. Waters, Asa H. Weston, Gershom B. White, George Whitney, James S. Williams, J. B. Wilson, Henry Winslow, Levi M. Wood, Charles C. Wood, Otis Wood, William H. Wright, Ezekiel
Bartlett, Sidney Bradbury, Ebenezer Brewster, Osymn Brinley, Francis Briggs, George N.
Bradford, William J. A. Hathaway, Elnathan P.
Braman, Milton P.
Hayward, George Hazewell, C. C. Hersey, Henry Hewes, William H. Heywood, Levi Hinsdale, William Hobart, Aaron Hobbs, Edwin Holder, Nathaniel Hooper, Foster Hopkinson, Thomas Huntington, Charles P. Hurlbut, Moses C. Jackson, Samuel James, William Jenks, Samuel H. Johnson, John F. Kellogg, Martin R. Keyes, Edward L. Kimball, Joseph Knight, Jefferson Knight, Joseph Kuhn, George H. Ladd, Gardner P. Ladd, John S. Lawrence, Luther Leland, Alden Lincoln, Abishai Littlefield, Tristram Lowell, John A.
Marble, William P.
ELECTIONS BY PLURALITY, &c.—BIRD — TRAIN — ALVORD — GARDNER.
Absent, and not voting, 189.
So the decision of the Chair was sustained.
Elections by Plurality.
The question recurred on the motion to reconsider the vote on the subject of elections by plurality, upon which the yeas and nays had been ordered.
Mr. FRENCH, of New Bedford, moved to reconsider the vote by which the yeas and nays were ordered.
The motion was agreed to, and the question being taken, the demand for the yeas and nays was not sustained.
The question then being taken on the motion to reconsider the vote on the subject of elections by plurality, it was upon a division-ayes, 138; noes, 49-decided in the affirmative.
So the motion to reconsider, was agreed to. The question being on the final passage of the resolves on the subject of elections by plurality, they were read, as follows:
1. Resolved, That it is expedient to provide in the Constitution, that a majority of all the votes given, shall be necessary to the election of a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, Auditor, and Attorney-General of the Commonwealth: provided, that if at any election of either of the above named officers, no person shall have a majority of the votes given, the House of Representatives shall, by a majority of viva voce votes, elect two out of three persons who had the highest, if so many shall have been voted for, and return the persons so elected to the Senate, from which the Senate shall, by viva voce vote, elect one who shall be Governor.
2. Resolved, That in all elections of Senators and Councillors, the person having the highest number of votes, shall be elected.
3. Resolved, That it is expedient so to amend the Constitution; as to provide that a majority of the votes shall be necessary for the election of Representatives to the General Court, until otherwise provided by law.
4. Resolved, That in the election of all city and town officers, the same rule shall govern as in case of Representatives to the General Court.
5. Resolved, That in the election of all county and district officers, the person having the highest number of votes shall be elected.
6. Resolved, That in all elections where the person having the highest number of votes may be elected, and there is a failure of election because two persons have an equal number of votes, subsequent trials may be had at such times as may be prescribed by the legislature.
Mr. BIRD, of Walpole. I regret, exceedingly, that I have been the cause of so much uneasiness for the last hour, but as the matter has been finally settled, I desire to submit a few amendments. I move to amend the first resolve by inserting after the word "Commonwealth," in the fourth line, the words "until otherwise provided by law." If this amendment is adopted, I propose to submit the following as a new resolve, to be inserted after the third resolve:
Resolved, That any law providing that the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney-General, and Representatives to the General Court, or either of them, shall be elected by plurality instead of majority, shall not take effect until one year after its passage.
I also propose to add the following in place of the fourth resolve:
Resolved, That in the election of city and town officers, such rules shall govern as the legislature may prescribe.
It will be seen that the effect of the first amendment which I propose, will be to give to the legislature the power to prescribe that the plurality shall elect the six State officers, instead of the majority. The first resolve now provides that a majority of the votes given shall be necessary to the election of these six State officers. If this amendment is adopted, the legislature will have the power to provide for their election by plurality, but the fourth resolve provides that any such change by the legislature, shall not go into operation until one year after its passage. That is, if the legislature pass a plurality law, an opportunity shall be given to the people to revise the proceedings of that legislature by the election of another body, who shall meet and act upon the matter. If they please to repeal the proceedings of the preceding legislature, they can do so, but if not, the law stands ratified. One great object of this change was to provide something which should look, and be, in reality, more uniform, and which would give something more of symmetry to the system than it at present possesses. As a friend of the majority rule, I feel that I can now retain that rule as applied to the election of the six State officers named in the resolution, until a majority of the people of the Commonwealth, through their representatives, express the desire that it shall be changed; but at the same time, provision is made that such a change shall not take effect until one year afterwards. The object of this is merely to prevent an accidental majority from passing this law, and also to prevent the trickery of politicians, who may desire to subserve their own particular and selfish ends. There is a slight change, also, in the third resolve, to which I have proposed an amendment. As the resolve now stands, representatives are to be chosen by majority until otherwise provided by law. The only change this amendment will make is, that this provision
will not go into operation until a year after its passage.
The next proposition is to strike out the fourth resolve. I can see no reason why the election of town officers should be the same as the election of State officers, and I have therefore proposed to substitute a provision that the election of those officers shall take place in such manner as the legislature shall provide. I take it there can be no objection to such a provision, for it is evident that if the people desire to have a different law, they may, through their representatives, obtain one. So far as my acquaintance extends, however, there is no practical difficulty in the election of town officers at the present time, and I think none need be anticipated.
It is unnecessary to argue these points to any great extent, for they are plain, intelligible, and will be easily understood. We of the majority would prefer to retain that rule in the Constitution, without leaving it to the power of the legislature to change it; but, for one, I am entirely willing to submit this matter to the people. If they are desirous of making this change, let them have it; and we shall have an opportunity of changing it, if necessary, at the succeeding legislature. At any rate, by adopting such a provision, we shall be preventing any hasty action on the part of legislative bodies.
I trust that those who have acted with me in this matter, and who are in favor of the majority principle, will look at these propositions carefully before they vote against them. I am aware that it is said we are yielding too much to plurality, but it strikes me that this is not the case, strictly speaking. We yield to the will of the people and to that alone, and if they demand the plurality let them have it. No one will deny that the tendency is towards the adoption of the plurality rule in all elections, and let us have an opportunity to try it first in the election of county and district officers. If we find that it works well in this instance, if we find that the interests of the community will be promoted by the change, we can make the change, and apply the rule to the election of other and more important officers. But if, on the contrary, we do not like its operation, we can come back to our present system and retain this.
Mr. TRAIN, of Framingham. I move to amend the amendment to the first resolve, by striking out, in the second line, the words "majority of votes given;" also to strike out the amendment of the gentleman from Walpole, (Mr. Bird,) and add after the word "Commonwealth," the words "and the person having the highest number of votes shall be duly declared to be elected."
The PRESIDENT. It is not competent, at this stage of business, to submit such an amendment, as it is in the nature of a substitute to the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Walpole, (Mr. Bird).
Mr. ALVORD, for Montague, called for the previous question.
Mr. GARDNER, of Boston. I trust that the gentleman for Montague does not intend to force us to a vote, by making such a demand.
Mr. ALVORD. I will withdraw my motion, if the Convention will agree to take the vote upon this question at a quarter before eight o'clock.
Mr. GARDNER. I really hope that the gentleman will not force the main question at this
ELECTIONS BY PLURALITY.— WILSON — LORD — GRAY.
time. Here is a new proposition made to us, under the color of an amendment, at the very last stage of this question, a question of grave importance, and of great consequence to every portion of the State, and to every individual in it. We have spent some three or four hours in the discussion of preliminary questions, and now the amendment of the gentleman from Walpole is introduced. Hardly has it been stated to the Convention, when the gentleman for Montague rises and moves the previous question, before one word can be said by any member of the House except the gentleman who introduced these important propositions. I believe that if the previous question is ordered now, it will result in the loss of much valuable time to this Convention. There are gentlemen here, who desire to express their views upon this subject, and I hope that no attempt to gag them, or shut them off in this manner, will be sustained. Gentlemen have met here to discuss the propriety of making provisions which may probably be a part of the organic law of the Commonwealth for the next twenty years; they are sent into this assembly for the sacred, solemn purpose, of providing an organic law for this State, and I submit whether they ought to be debarred from the privilege of considering and debating such questions as may come before them? I do not believe that the majority of this Convention will sanction such a step, and, unless the gentleman withdraws his motion, I shall be compelled to call for the yeas and nays.
The question being taken on ordering the yeas and nays, it was, upon a division-ayes, 44; noes, 94-one-fifth voting in favor, decided in the affirmative.
So the yeas and nays were ordered.
Mr. WILSON, of Natick. I would suggest to my friend for Montague, that it would be better to withdraw his motion, so that we can move to lay the subject upon the table for the present. We have agreed not to adjourn until eight o'clock, and I think we can dispose of the subject this evening.
Mr. LORD, of Salem. I understand that the President of the Convention has ruled, that after the yeas and nays have been ordered upon the previous question, the motion cannot be withdrawn but by universal consent.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair has made no such decision within his recollection.
Mr. LORD. I am aware it was not the deci
sion of the present occupant of the Chair.
Mr. GRAY, of Boston. I believe that such a decision was made by the President pro tempore, the other day.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair is of the opinion, that the ordering of the yeas and nays would not preclude the withdrawal of such a motion.
Mr. LORD. I supposed that such was the case, although it was differently ruled by the gentleman who occupied the Chair of the Convention the other day. Now, Sir, I do not want the motion for the previous question withdrawn, for the purpose of laying the orders upon the table, for the purpose of rescinding a vote, for the purpose of having an evening session, to crowd through this resolution which nobody knows anything about. But I think we had better adjourn until to-morrow morning, and, in the meantime, have the amendments printed, so that we may know what they are. We are acting upon a
fundamental law, with which, perhaps, a few gentlemen may be fully acquainted; but it is quite important that the Convention should be, also, fully acquainted with it. It is important, too, that a proposition of the character of this, should not be forced through in a single night, because I do not think it would be right to adopt a principle in our Constitution, contrary to the recorded judgment of this Convention. It is for this reason that I am opposed to going on with the consideration of this subject at the present time. We do not, all of us, know what is the amendment which has been proposed, and some gentlemen have not even heard it read. If we adjourn, there are two desirable objects which would be attained. In the first place, the Secretary will have the amendments printed, so that we can know where we stand upon this matter, and be ready to vote upon it in the morning. In the next place, if we call the yeas and nays now upon ordering the previous question, they cannot be taken before eight o'clock, when the time will have arrived when this Convention must adjourn. Now, Sir, in order to accomplish both of these desirable results, and get rid of the previous question, I move that the Convention do now adjourn.
The question was taken, and, upon a division -ayes, 56; noes, 103-the motion was not agreed to.
Mr. LORD demanded the yeas and nays. A division being called for on the motion, there were-ayes, 38; noes, 109-one-fifth voting in the affirmative.
So the yeas and nays were ordered.
The question recurred on the motion of the gentleman from Salem, to adjourn, and being taken by yeas and nays, it was decided in the negative-yeas, 56; nays, 144-as follows:
Adams, Benjamin P.
Adams, Shubael P.
Stevenson, J. Thomas
Bates, Moses, Jr.
Knowlton, William H.
Cushman, Henry W.
Fitch, Ezekiel W.
Gooch, Daniel W.
Hewes, William H.
Hobart, Aaron Hobbs, Edwin Holder, Nathaniel Hooper, Foster Hopkinson, Thomas
Hunt, Charles E.
Hurlbut, Moses C.
ELECTIONS BY PLURALITY, &c.- STEVENSON-HALE-BUTLER-SCHOULER.
Lowell, John A.
Huntington, Charles P. Tilton, Abraham
Hyde, Benjamin D.
Vinton, George A.
So the Convention refused to adjourn.
The PRESIDENT. The question is upon ordering the main question, and upon that the yeas and nays have been ordered.
Mr. STEVENSON, of Boston. I hope that the Convention will not, at this late stage of the proceedings, order the main question to be put; and my reason is this: Here is a proposition for a radical change in the Constitution, submitted, which has never before been suggested in the Commonwealth; a proposition entirely new, and which has had none of the consideration of the members of this Convention upon this floor, whatever may have been its consideration elsewhere; and, consequently, no opportunity has been allowed to see what will be the effect produced by its adoption, and how it will operate. And yet, it is proposed here, that we shall vote, yea or nay, upon it, without having any such opportunity afforded.
Now, I ask, for what reason can the previous question be ordered, under such circumstances? It must be for the purpose of saving time; but I ask if it will save any time?
Mr. HALE, of Bridgewater. I rise to a question of order. Is there not a vote of the Convention, to adjourn at eight o'clock ?
The PRESIDENT. The Chair has no knowledge of any vote to that effect.
Mr. HALE. I am confirmed in that opinion, from the fact that the Chair proposed, a few moments ago, that the subject be laid upon the table, so that the Convention might be able to adjourn at 8 o'clock, to meet again this evening.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair will read the Secretary's record, respecting the vote to which the gentleman refers. It is as follows:
"Mr. Griswold moved that the session be extended to eight o'clock this evening, and it was carried."
The Chair accordingly rules, that it is competent for the Convention to sit as long as it may feel disposed. The gentleman from Boston can proceed with his remarks.
Mr. STEVENSON. I was observing, when interrupted, that this is a question of saving time. But I submit, that but one vote can be taken upon these amendments which have been proposed, and a motion may be made to reconsider to-morrow, and the discussion would then probably occupy a much longer time than it would this evening. So that, in fact, there is little or no time to be gained by it. There is another objection, which I have, and that is, that I hold in my hand an amendment, which I desire to propose, and which I believe will receive the approval of many members of the Convention, and as yet no opportunity has been allowed me to propose it.
Now, I appeal to gentlemen, as a matter of justice-is it right, in a body like this, to allow the previous question to be sustained before members have had time or opportunity to reflect upon the matter under consideration? Is it right, that the moment a gentleman has submitted an important proposition, and given us his views in regard to it, another member should at once rise and demand the previous question, thus cutting off all debate and amendments? Is it the way in
which we have conducted our business heretofore, or the way in which a body of the dignified character and importance of this, should conduct its labors at any time? Is there any reason why a member of this body should not have an opportunity to ask the mover of a proposition, what is its effect-what is its purpose? If we adopt the previous question now, nobody can propose any amendments. And I do not believe it is intended to recommend to the people of Massachusetts to adopt amendments to the Constitution of the State, which we ourselves have never considered.
I am perfectly aware that it is not in order to state objections to the proposition of the gentleman from Walpole, (Mr: Bird,) but it is in order to state, that, as I heard it read, I saw objections which would, I believe, if laid before this Convention, move the minds of gentlemen to no small degree.
In regard to the other point, whether you shall settle the question to-night or to-morrow morning, that is a matter which must be left with the Convention, who have a right to sit here as long as they choose. But I submit, whether it is proper for such a body as this to ask the people of Massachusetts to alter the fundamental law in a manner which they themselves have not considered. As one of the minority of this Convention, I appeal to the majority, in good faith, whether it is right to drive members to vote upon a proposition of this character; and whether it is not due to every individual here, that before he records his vote upon any subject, he should be allowed to express his views in regard to it.
I hope the previous question will not be sustained. No good motive for it has been or can be shown, but on the contrary there are many palpable objections to such a course being taken at this time.
Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell. I do not wish to say but a single word upon this matter. And first, the gentleman from Boston says there is no good reason why we should sustain the previous question.
Question of Order.
Mr. SCHOULER, of Boston. I rise to a point of order. I desire to know, if the Chair has de-. cided that this Convention did not vote to adjourn at eight o'clock ?
The PRESIDENT. The Chair has read the vote which was passed. The Convention voted it would hold an evening session until eight o'clock.
Mr. SCHOULER. I want the decision of the Chair itself upon this point.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair will again read the vote, from the journal.
The entry made by the Secretary was accordingly read.
The PRESIDENT. In accordance with this resolve, the Chair does not consider it imperative upon him to adjourn the Convention at eight o'clock.
Mr. SCHOULER. Then I appeal from the decision of the Chair.
Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell. I rise to a point of order.
The PRESIDENT. The delegate from Boston has appealed from the decision of the Chair.
Mr. BUTLER. Still, I rise to a point of order; and that is, that no gentleman has a right to make inquiries while another is speaking, in order
to get a decision of the Chair upon which to base an appeal. I wish farther to know whether the decision of the Chair can take away my right to the floor?
Mr. DANA, for Manchester. I would inquire if the question before the House is upon the previous question or upon the appeal?
The PRESIDENT. The question was upon ordering the main question, pending which the gentleman from Boston (Mr. Schouler) appealed from the decision of the Chair, that it is not imperative for the Chair to adjourn the Convention at eight o'clock.
Mr. SCHOULER, of Boston. I will state the grounds of my appeal. By a vote of the Convention, we decided not to adjourn until seven o'clock. I had the floor, and was about to address the Convention, when the gentleman for Erving (Mr. Griswold) asked me to allow him to make a motion. I complied with his request, and he then moved to extend that rule to eight o'clock. That was the motion made, I care not what it says upon the journal. And I will leave it to the gentleman himself whether in making that motion he intended to raise a quibble, or whether he honestly expected to extend the time to eight o'clock when the Convention should adjourn?
Mr. ALVORD, for Montague. I rise to a point of order. Some little time ago, I understood the gentleman from Bridgewater, (Mr. Hale,) to make an inquiry of the Chair concerning the hour of adjournment. The Chair in reply read the resolution which had been passed, and stated distinctly that in his opinion the Convention could remain in session as long as it saw fit. No appeal was taken from that decision, and I submit as other business has intervened before the gentleman from Boston rose to a point of order—whether it is not too late for an appeal?
Mr. SCHOULER. I ask the gentleman for Erving to answer my question.
Mr. GRISWOLD, for Erving. As the gentleman has made a personal appeal to me, I am perfectly willing to state what I did and what was my object. My design in making that motion to extend the session, was to give notice to the Convention that there would be an evening session, so that we might close up the business as early as possible, and have it ready for the Committee. That is the reason I made the motion. I had no particular idea one way or the other in regard to the hour of adjournment; but if any existed, it was that the Convention might sit beyond that hour if it chose to do so.
Mr. ALVORD, for Montague. I rise to a point of order. I submit that the appeal is too late.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair understands the question to be this: The person now occupying the Chair was placed in it at a quarter past eight o'clock, when the question was raised by the gentleman from Bridgewater, (Mr. Hale,) in regard to the hour of adjournment. The Chair read the vote of the Convention, and still believes that under that vote he has no right to adjourn this body, but the Convention must say for itself when it will adjourn.
Mr. SCHOULER. I would inquire of the Chair if I am in order? I was called to order by the gentleman for Montague.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair would say that he does not desire to press this matter, or to assume any arbitrary power, but merely desires
to act in accordance with what he believes to be right.
Mr. SCHOULER. I know the good nature of the Chair, and his desire to decide properly in this matter, and I am the last man to take an appeal from any decision that the Chair may make, but I do not think that he understands the motion of the gentleman for Erving, (Mr. Griswold,) as I understood it. A motion, however, was made about seven o'clock this evening, by the gentleman now occupying the chair, to lay the orders upon the table, in order that the time of adjournment might be extended until eight o'clock, which is conclusive proof to my mind that the Chair understood the order precisely as I understood it.
Now, Sir, passing from that subject, we are here very near the close of our session. There is no desire on the part of any one to extend the session, and after having thus far gone through with our labors without any serious trouble, I trust that we shall not make the last day's proceedings a scene of excitement or uproar, but allow every subject which is to come before us to be acted upon in perfect harmony. I think that if we adjourn now and have the amendments printed, we can come in to-morrow and vote upon them understandingly, and if necessary, I am willing to vote to meet at eight o'clock.
Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell. I rise to a point of order. The gentleman is not discussing the appeal, but some other subject.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair rules that the gentleman must confine his remarks to the question of appeal.
Mr. SCHOULER. If the Chair still rules that this Convention ought not, in accordance with its vote, to adjourn at eight o'clock, I hold my appeal to be good.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair will state the question as he understands it, and the gentleman may then make such explanation as may be necessary. The Chair understands the matter to be this: The gentleman for Erving, (Mr. Griswold,) moved that the Orders of the Day lie upon the table. The motion was agreed to, and the gentleman then moved that the session be extended until eight o'clock. That motion was also agreed to, and under that vote the Chair holds that it is not his duty to adjourn this Convention until he is authorized by a specific vote to do so. The delegate from Boston, (Mr. Schouler,) appeals from the decision of the Chair, and the question therefore is, shall the decision of the Chair be sustained?
Mr. LORD, of Salem. I desire to make an inquiry of the Chair. During almost the whole of the session we have had a rule to adjourn at one o'clock, except on Saturdays, when the session was extended by a vote of the Convention until two o'clock. I would ask whether the same form of motion was not used in the present case, as is used in extending the session on that day? if so, I contend that the same rule ought to be applied here.
Mr. ELY, of Westfield. I would inquire if there has been any rule by which the afternoon session has been adjourned at a particular hour?
Mr. LORD. Will the Chair be kind enough to answer my inquiry, whether the vote by which the Convention adjourned at two o'clock in the afternoon, is not precisely in the same form as the order which has been read?
Mr. BATES, of Plymouth. I rise to a point of order; the gentleman is not discussing the question of appeal.
The PRESIDENT. The Chair must rule that the questions propounded by the gentleman from Salem, (Mr. Lord,) are not proper to be answered by the Chair. If the gentleman requests it, the Secretary will be directed to read the vote to which he refers.
Mr. JENKS, of Boston. I would like to say a word upon a question of order. It seems to me that the vote taken by the Convention was this: that the afternoon session shall be extended to eight o'clock. Now what did that vote mean? Did it mean to imply that the session should close at eight o'clock, this evening, or that we should remain in session until eight to-morrow morning? I want to know whether a man who is sentenced to be hung at eight, and is not hung until nine o'clock, is hung lawfully? [Laughter.]
Mr. EARLE, of Worcester. I would inquire of the Chair, whether he has decided the appeal from the decision of the Chair to be in order?
The PRESIDENT. The Chair has decided that the appeal taken from the decision of the Chair by the gentleman from Boston, (Mr. Schouler,) is in order, and the question before the Convention is, shall the decision of the Chair stand as the judgment of this Convention?
Mr. EARLE. I would inquire whether, when a question has been settled and other business has intervened, it is competent to take an appeal from the decision of the Chair?
The PRESIDENT. The Chair is not able to decide that question.
Mr. DAVIS, of Plymouth. I rise to a point of order. I submit that this is not an appeal from the decision of the Chair; but if anything, it is an appeal from the record of the Convention, and there would be just as much propriety in appealing from a resolution which has been passed, as from this vote, for such in fact it is, after it has once been recorded upon the journal.
I think that it is not a matter upon which the Chair is competent to decide, for I consider it to be entirely beyond his jurisdiction, it being an appeal from the record of the Convention, and not from the decision of the Chair. I submit, therefore, that it is not in order.
Mr. LORD, of Salem. In order to avoid this difficulty which has arisen, and prevent the calling of the yeas and nays which have been ordered, and in order also to be good natured all around, believing still, however, that the outside limit should be eight o'clock, I move that this Convention do now adjourn.
Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell. I rise to a question of order. My legislative experience has been confined to the last winter, and then it was decided over and over again, that after a motion to adjourn had been made and decided in the negative, another motion was not in order until some subsequent business had been acted upon. I found fault with this decision, not that there may not be business intervening, but the question with me was, what constitutes such business? Does the President decide that the motion to adjourn is in order, under the present circumstances?
The PRESIDENT. The question before the Convention is on the appeal taken from the decision of the Chair by the gentleman from Boston, (Mr. Schouler,) and the gentleman from Salem (Mr. Lord) moves that the Convention do