« ZurückWeiter »
H. Or R. )
(Dec. 5, 1833.
be contended to be the signature of five, is, that the act gentleman from New Hampshire (Mr. HUBBARD) had of the majority is the act of all. The gentleman from said, that if he understood the language of the instrument, New York (Mr. BEANDSLEY) had maintained yesterday, it did say so. He would analyze ihat certificate, and what that any act of a public nature passed by a majority, was did it state? It stated that the poll-books of the several a legal act. The gentleman (Mr. H. observed) was as counties were presented; that the sheriffs were present; unfortunate in the extent as in the application of his prin- that they compared the votes, and found that T. P. Moore ciple. It was not necessary for the House to examine was duly elected; the vote of one county not being counthow far the acts of the majority of a public body were ed. The gentleman from New Hampshire seemed to binding and legal, but he asked if any gentleman in that consider this latter clause of the instrument as mere sur, assembly would hazard his reputation by advancing the plusage. No gentleman in that House, however, could position, that, where specific restrictions were made by an make more or less of the certificate of Mr. Moore than express statute, as in the present case of the law of Ken-this-that he had the majority of votes in all the counties tucky requiring the signatures or certifications of all the which the sheriffs had chosen to count: and, that they had sheriffs, that a majority could do that which was especial. not chosen to count the county of Lincoln. Now, sup. ly required of all? The sheriff's assembled to prepare the pose the certificate had stated in words, as it did in fact, returns of the votes were a unit, and could act only as that Mr. Moore was duly elected, having received a ma. such, and not by fractions. After some further remarks, jority of all the votes of the fifth congressional district of Mr. H. asked permission to cite a few cases by way of il. Keniucky, excepting such as they (the sheriffs) had not lustrating his argument.
thought proper to count. Would the members of that Suppose this House, said he, acting within its legitimate House, in such a case, solemnly say that a man so elected sphere, authorize the judges of the court to ascertain the was duly elected? Suppose, instead of omitting to count facts of any given question, the decision cannot be ren- one county, they had omitted to count two; that Jessamine dered by a majority of the judges. It would be other county had been omitted as well as Lincoln; surely no one wise if the court were authorized to inquire into the mat- would contend that a man thus elected was duly elected. ter, for then a majority might pronounce upon the facts; But let them go further; for the principle was the same. but in the case of the judges, the certificate of all would Let them say ibat T. P. Moore was duly elected by two be requisite.
counties, the other three counties not being counted; nay, Another case he should suppose by way of illustration they might, on the same ground, certify that he was was this: If that House should appoint a committee to elected, all the counties not having been counted except investigate and report upon any subject coming under its one. The substance of the argument of the gentleman consideration, then the report would be accepted, if sign- from New Hampshire was this—that being a judicial act, ed only by a majority of the members of that committee; if only a majority of the sheriffs signed, it was valid. But but if the House should have added a clause in iis in- it would be seen, if gentlemen looked further into the structions, that the report should be signed under the language of the certificate, that it was a qualified declar. hands of all the members of that committee, then no gen- ation; ihat after declaring Mr. Moore duly elected, it tleman in that House could contend that a majority report was superadded, that all ihe votes of the district were could be received. The distinction between the cases not counted; and yet the House were called on to say, was clear and obvious.
upon the face of ihis certificate, that Mr. Moore had a Mr. H. proceeded on the subject of the law of Ken- majority of the qualified votes of the district. It seemed tucky relative to congressional elections, and briefly re- to him ihat the House ought to take the plain common. capitulated the heads of his preceding argument.' He sense meaning of the language of the laws of Kentucky, observed that the sheriffs attended the meeting with their in comparison with that of the instrument, and they would poll-books, and when the certificate was made out, it was then find, that they had neither authenticity nor substance. predicated that each one scrutinized and compared the The law required that the instrument shall be perfectly votes, not only for his own district, but for all. This was signed. But the present one was not so signed; it was a principle which, if departed from, would leave all elec- not satisfactory evidence as to the results of the election. tions determinable by the sheriffs in districts where there so much as to the merits of the question, as presenting a were only five of these officers. No exception could be new case. He would make one observation as to precetaken to this position, unless the suggestion of the gen- dents. It seemed to be impressed on the minds of some tleman from New Hampshire (Mr. HUBBAND) was cor- gentleman, that they were called on to depart from for. rect, that sheriffs are judicial officers, appointed to judge mer rules and usages. But, in his opinion, no case had in all matters appertaining to elections.
ever previously presented itself to the House in which a Mr. H. said he should not stop to inquire, if the term member was refused the oath, inasmuch as he proffered judicial proceedings was applicable to the meeting of the at the table an instrument which was not properly signed. sheriffs, but this he would say, that the law of Kentucky to take a contrary course would be subversive of all the gave no authority to those officers, who were to sign the laws of election, and the rights of the elector. Suppose certificate of election, to reject votes. Their duty was to a citizen of the District of Columbia should present him. count the poll-books; if they contained illegal votes, the self with a paper, which he called a certificate, at their remedy was provided by law. He wished to present a doors, would they administer the oath to him, and permit question to the House, which he considered the best ques- him to take his seat? The question then, was, whether tion, as to this part of the subject. Had the requisitions the credentials of 'T. P. Moore were properly authentiof the law of Kentucky been complied with? What were cated? In all the cases which had heretofore come before these requisitions? They required that all the sheriff's the House, this subject had not been touched should sign. It was specially provided by the law of if one hundred cases could be produced, he thought the Kentucky that such should be the case, to avoid abuses. good sense of the House would not decide that any paper Was this requisition complied with by the signature of which might be presented, would entitle a member to three out of five, and that without any intimation of the take his seat. What were the precedents? There were reason why the other two did not sign. He had said all members then in that blouse, who were in Congress when he had to say of the authenticity of the instrument. Was the cases cited as precedents were under consideration. a majority of that House prepared to say that three meant He would appeal to those gentlemen, if in any of those five; or that a certificate signed by tliree was the same as cases, upon the credentials being presented, an objection a certificate signed by five. But what did this certificate had been made to the member's taking his seat. Nu, say? Did it say that Mr. Moore was duly elected! The their credential had all been passed. Tlie objections had
Dec. 5, 1833.)
(H. of R.
arisen subsequently, on the reports of committees as to majority of votes. In what a dilemma would the House then the facts of the respective cases. To show the bearing be placed? Two individuals would have a majority. This of the cases cited on the present, a case must be pro- was not the only difficulty. Mr. Letcher had produced duced in which the credentials of a member were refused. his certificate, in which it is certified that the majority of But he would beg, leave to call their attention to one qualified voters in the whole five counties had given their other subject, which would utterly destroy the analogy votes in his favor. It had been argued, and correctly betwixt the present case and those which had been al- argued, that he who had such a majority was the member luded to. In every one of those cases the member pre- entitled to the seat. If they decided otherwise, it would senting his certificate, had offered a certificate duly sign- place the House in the dilemma which he had just stated, ed. In the case of the contested election in New York, It had been argued, that it did not appear on the face it was expressly stated in the report of the committee, of the certificate, that any poll had taken place in the that ihe certificate had been duly signed; that there was county of Lincoln. It was not so. It was evident, from but one Silas Wright in the district, and that therefore the certificate itself, that a poll had taken place. He all the votes given to Silas Wright belong to the Silas would read the language of that document.' (Here the Wright mentioned in the returns of the district. The honorable member read the certificate of Mr. Moore.] present case was altogether different. The credentials He would call the attention of the House to the conclu. of Mr. Moore were objected to; were met on the very ding statement-that the vote of Lincoln county had not threshold of that llouse; and were declared, as he be- been counted. It was plain, from the caption, that it was lieved them to be, a mere nullity, a piece of blank paper, intended that all the sheriffs should sign; but when the signifying nothing. The House, then, was brought back time arrived for their signing, it was found that two of to the point, to answer ay or no, to these two ques. the five would not sign, because the sheriff of Lincoln tions: Was the paper presented at the table of the House, bad chosen, for some reason, to withhold the poll-book by Mr. T. P. Moore, properly authenticated, according containing the returns for that county. They were not to the laws of Kentucky? And also, Did it contain, on its left in the dark on this point. It was clearly shown that face, a majority of all the votes in the fifth congressional there were books there, and that the votes they contained district of the State of Kentucky' The member who were not taken; otherwise it would have been so stated. voted ay, must say this—that the law of Kentucky, which If the officer had neglected to take the votes, the fact says that the certificate of a member returned shall be would have been expressed on the certificate. They were signed by five members, is complete with the signatures expressly told therein, that the votes were taken, but not of three, and that the law which says that a member shall counted. He would not go into the question, why the be returned according to the majority of votes in five sheriff of Lincoln county had acted as he had done! The counties, is answered, by the return of a member clected House must come to the conclusion that the certificate was upon the majority of votes in three.
not properly signed, unless they were prepared to meet After some further remarks, which we regret to say the difficulty he had previously stated, of deciding that were inaudible at our desk, Mr. H. concluded by observ. three persons might be entitled to one seat, because they ing, that he did not wish to stand upon forms merely, but had something like a certificate, When a committee of that he thought there was an important principle involved in House should have determined which of the candidates the question. If they permitted, in this case, the major- had the majority of the votes of the qualified voters of the ity of the sheriffs of a district to declare that a certain district, that person should be allowed to take his scat, individual was elected, it would place the election of and no one till then; otherwise, it would be actually offerothers at the discretion of a similar majority. Were they ing a premium or reward to the man who could best prepared thus to decide? Was such the intention of the practise the arts of corruption and venality. laws of Kentucky? or rather, had she not expressly Mr. BEARDSLEY said, he conceived that gentlemen guarded against such an evil? He thought, for these rea- were mistaken in supposing that it had been argued, that sons, that the certificate of Mr. Moore was merely a piece the House had not the power of looking back to facts and of blank paper, and that it did not entitle hiin to take circumstances connected with the certificate which had his seat.
been offered by Mr. Moore, at the table of the House, Mr. JONES, of Georgia, apologized for troubling the "The argument which he had heard was, that the usual House on the present occasion, being so young a member; mode of proceeding was, not to go behind a certificate, but, although a young member, he was not altogether un. on a question as to its validity. The gentleman from Kenacquainted with the principles on which the question be- tucky (Mr. Moore) had presented his certificate, which, fore them must be decided. It appeared to him that gen- he said, was in accordance with the laws of Kentucky, tlemen had not taken into consideration the difference be- and on which he had claimed his seat.. Had they not all twixt a ministerial and a judicial officer. It appeared to done the same thing? They had all presented their cerhim that the sherifis in this case were purely ministerial tificates to the Clerk of the House, and had all come up officers. Leaving then the laws of Kentucky out of the to be sworn in virtue of such presentation. No objection question, and considering the sheriffs in their true char- lad been made to any but the certificate of the gentleman acter, as ministerial ufficers, did they return opinions or from Kentucky, and yet it would have been competent, facts? And, could they return even facts, out of their if the doctrine now advanced was the correct one, for any respective counties? He thought not, for the law of gentleman to have objected to any one of them.
But Kentucky expressly required the returns of all the sher-would it have been proper, in such case, to refer the subiffs. The question was not, if the certificate proffered ject to a committee, or for the House to decide the queswas the best evidence, but if it was evidence at law? tion at once, and on the face of the instrument itself, if whether, in fact, it was any evidence at ali? He thought it the member presenting it was entitled to a seat? was not evidence at law, inasmuch as it did not comply The simple question was, did the certificate comply with the requis tions of the election laws of Kentucky, with the requisitions of Kentucky? He agreed, that to be which required the signatures of five sheriffs, &c. Gen- valid, it must so comply, or it could not be received by the tlemen had said that a majority of sheriff's might sign a House, nor the gentleman bc permitted to take his seat, certificate. He dissented from this opinion. He would were they to give the laws a literal construction, or to cite an example in illustration: Suppose a case in which decide according to their spirit. Some gentlemen had there were three candidates; that one should produce a said that the power of signing the certificate could not be certificate signed by two sheriffs; another,a certificate sign- performed by a depuly, because the act expressed that it ed by four; whilst ihe third candidate claimed to have the should be done by the sheriff' himself. Since he had heard
H. OF R.]
Kentucky Election.--Committees of the House.
[Dec. 9, 1833.
this argument advanced, he had had the curiosity to look Mr. BURGES proposed an amendment to the resolution at some of the returns made to the Governor of Kentucky, respecting the taking of evidence, to which Mr. Polk had and he believed that the majority of the returns of mem. no objection. bers in that Stale was signed by deputies.
Mr. HARDIN explained that Mr. BURGES's amendmen: Mr. HARDIN explained, disclaiming, as the reporter was unnecessary. understood, having advanced the argument stated by the The resolutions were then agreed to, and are as fol. gentleman from New York.
lows: Mr. BEARDSLEY resumed. He had then misappre. Resolved, That the Committee of Elections, when aphended the gentleman, and should waive further argument pointed, inquire and report to the House who is the memon this point. Mr. B. then went into an examination of her elected from the fifth congressional district of the the language of the certificate. If it were taken literally, State of Kentucky; and, until the committee shall report and read by fragments, it would appear to be the certifi- as herein required, cate of five sheriffs; but if read further, it was otherwise. Resolved, That neither Thomas P. Moore nor Robert He inferred from its language that only three had conve- P. Letcher shall be qualified as the member from said ned and signed. The sheriff's had inet and adjourned from district. day to day; the certificate stated that they had faithfully Resolved, further, that the Committee of Elections sball added and compared the votes that were presented; and be required to receive as evidence all the affidavits and that, after this faithful comparison and addition, they bad depositions which may have been heretofore, or which found Thomas P. Moore duly elected. It was said that may hereafter be taken by either of the parties, on due if they took the residue of the certificate, it would show notice having been given to the adverse party or his agent, that they had not examined all the votes returned. He and report the same to the House. did not think any evidence was deducible from that instru.
COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE. ment that there had been any return for the county of
On motion of Mr. STEWART, the House then Lincoln; and the law did not provide that the sheriffs should not proceed in their duty as canvassing officers, resumed the consideration of those rules and orders becalise ceriain votes had not been returned.
which had been excepted out of the resolution by which Mr. HARDIN read an amended resolution, to the effect all the other rules and orders of the last Congress were that until the Committee of Elections had decided on the adopted yesterday. question, and reported to the House, neither Mr. Moore
Mr. HUBBARD again moved bis amendment to the nor Mr. Letcher should take the seat, and that testimony 55th rule, whiclı
fixes the number and size of the Standing and depositions should be taken by the committee.
Committees of the House, so as to make those formerly Mr.JIUBBARD then withdrew his amendment.
containing only seven members now to contain nine, and Mr. POLK proposed a modification of Mr. HARDIS's those consisting of three, now to consist of five mem
bers. resolution, to which Mr. H. assented. Mr. ARCHER asked a division of the question.
Mr. WHITTLESEY, of Ohio, opposed this amendment Mr. POLK explained the object of the latter proposi- at considerable length, going into a history of the early tion, which was agreed upon by both the gentlemen who committees of the House, from the foundation of the Gov. were the partics.
ernment, and arguing from all past experience, that inMr. HARDIN also stated that it met the concurrence of creasing the size of the committees would fatally impede both Mr. Letcher and Mr. Moore.
the business of the House. He cited instances to show Mr. ARCHER opposed it as a compromise of the dig. the great difficulty of getting a quorum of even the inost nity and rights of the House.
important committees to attend in the committee rooms; Mr. POLK would yield to no gentleman in regard to the and predicted that that evil would be greatly aggravated honor, the dignity, alid the rights of the House, and his by the adoption of Mr. HUBBARD's amendment. fellow-citizens in general. He explained that the honor
Mr. HUBBARD defended his amendment-adverted to able member who spoke last, had not comprehended what the increased size of the House; the desirableness of havfell from him, (Mr. P.) He bad not contended that his ing committees large enough to embrace different local object was to exclude inquiry, nor that a single fact tend- interests; and compared the proportion of the size of the ing to elucidate the matter should be withheld; and he Senate's committees to the size of that body, with the for: would ask, Supposing Mr. Moore were allowed to take mer size of the committees of the House in proportion to
its numbers. his seat, what right of that House would be affected? or what right of the representation would be affected? There
The amendment was carried, and the rule as amended is testimony already taken, which had been the work of
was adopted. months to collect, and would be a labor of equal time to
An order was passed for the appointment of Standing go orer again. All he would call upon the House to do,
Committees. would be to proceed precisely after the manner they had of the whole House on the state of the Union.
The President's message was referred to a Committee always hitherto done; and denied that there was so great a principle involved in the matter as some gentlemen had
And the House adjourned over until Mond:y. apprehended. Mr. DAVIS, of Massachusetts, expressed his surprise
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9. that the question should then appear under another shape The following Standing Committees were announced to than at first, since, from what had fallen from the honor- have been appointed by the Speaker, in consequence of able member from Tennessee, he inferred that it was re- the order made by the House on Thursday last. duced to a matter of compact and agreement. He was Of Elections.- Messrs. Claiborne, Griffin, Hawkins of unwilling to give instructions to a committee on a subject N. Č., Banks, Vanderpoel, Jones of Ga., Peyton, Hamer, of which he was himself uninformed, and after some fur. Hannepan. ther remarks, the honorable meniber concluded by ex- of Ways and Means.-Messrs. Pulk, Wilde, Cambre. pressing his dissent from the second resolution, and bis leng, Gorham, McKim, Binney, Loyull, McKinley, Hubintention to vote against ils adoption.
bard. Mr. POLK cited a precedent for giving instructions to Of Claims.- Jessrs. Whittlesey of Ohio, Barber, MCa committee. The case was that of Michigan. He denied Intire, Grennell, King, Gholson, Cramer, Forester, that the House would be sanctioning a bargain by adopt. Bynum. ing his (Mr. P.'s) resolution.
On Commerce.--Messrs. Sutherland, Davis of Mass.,
Dec 9, 1833.]
[H. OF R. llarper of N. H., Foot, McKay, Lawrence, Pinckney, “ In all cases, the Speaker shall vote; and if the House Heaih, Selden.
shall be equally divided, the question shall be lost.” On Public Linds. - Messrs. Clay, Duncan, Boon, Ma- Mr. Patron said, that in pursuance of the intimation lie son, Clayton, Slade of Vt., Leavitt, Ashley, Inge. gave a few days agn, he had offered the resolution which
On Post Office und Post Roads.- Messrs. Connor, Kava- bad just been read; that from the first moment when, nagh, Pearce of R. I., Thomas of Lou., Briggs, Murphy, several years ago, lie was apprized of the existence of Lane, Lytle, Laporte.
the old rule, by which the Speaker was precluded from On District of Columbia.--Messrs. Chinn, W. R. Shep- voting except in the few cases in which there was a divisard, McKennan, Stoddert, Allen of Va., Dennis, Iliester, ion of the House, he regarded it as inconsistent with the Fillmore, Taylor.
spirit of our institutions, and injurious to the rights of the On the Judiciary.--Messrs. Bell of Tenn., Ellsworth, gentleman who might happen to be chosen Speaker, 10 Foster, Gordon, Beardsley, Thomas of Mu., Hardin, the district le represented, and the State from which lie Parks, Pierce of N. H.
came. Experience, subsequent reflection, the concurring On Revolutionary Claims.—Messrs. Muhlenberg, Crane, opinions of almost all with whom he had conversed on Bates, Standefer, Bouldin, Marshall, Young, Baylies, the subject, and the concurring example of almost every Turrill.
legislative assembly in the United States, liad confirmed On Public Expenditures. -— Messrs. Davenport, Lyon, his original impressions, and had imboldened him to prePage, Clark of Penn., Tweedy, Gillet, Hall of Vt., sent the resolution just read. It is neither the purpose or McLene, Kinnard.
effect of the resolution, said Mr. P., to change at all the On Private Land Claims. -Messrs. Johnson of Tenn., effect of the Speaker's vote upon the decision of any Mardis, Carr, Galbraith, Mann of N. Y., Cage, Felder, question. It will give him no new power, but, on the Casey, Bull.
contrary, hold him to the just responsibility which every 01 Manufactures.--Messrs. Adams of Mass., Hunting- member of this House, and every public man, ought to ton of Con., Denny, Davis of s. C., Corwin, Dickerson, encounter. It will, on the other hand, take from him no Martindale, McComas, Osgood.
power heretofore enjoyed, but, on the contrary, restore On Agricullure.—Messrs. Bockee, Taylor of Va., Hath- him to the enjoyment of valuable privileges of which he a way, Barnitz, Bean, Dunlap, Clowney, Turner, Davis of Ky. has been deprived. On Indian Affairs.-Messrs. Lewis, Gilmer, McCarty,
I have endeavored, said Mr.P., to ascertain the authoriEverett of vt., Graham, Allen of Ohio, Dickinson of ty on which the former rule was founded, and the reasons Tenn., Howell, Love.
for it. I have been able to find nothing in the way of On Military Affairs.—Messrs. Johnson of Ky., Vance, authority, but the usage of the House of Commons, which Speight, Waril, Blair of S.C., Thomson, Burd, Coffee, seems to have been founded on considerations wholly inBunch.
applicable here. In the House of Commons, the Speaker On Naval Affairs.- Messrs. White of N.-Y., Milligan, does not vote, except the House be equally divided, and Watmough, Patton, Lansing, Reed, Grayson, Parker, then he is called on to give the casting voie. There are Smith.
several reasons which exist there, in favor of their rule, On Foreign Relations.—Messrs. Arcler, Everett of none of which have any force in this country. There, the Mass., Wayne, McDuffie, Hall of N. C., Coulter, Jarvis, Speaker is nominated and approved by the King. Here, Pierson, Carmichael.
we have no King to nomitate, and he need not necessarily On Territories.-Messrs. Williams, Allan of Ky., Potts, be approved by the Executive. In the House of Com. Johnson of N. Y., Anthony, Wilson, Joncs of Ohio, mons, the yeas and nays are never taken: when the House Ewing, Gamble.
divides, one party goes forth beyond the bar of the House, On Rerolutionary Pensions.-Messrs. Wardwell, Bar- the other side remain within, and are counted; and then ringer, Tompkins, Moore of Va., Lea, Deming, W. K. those who have gone forth come in, two-and-two, between Fuller, Fowler, Bell of Ohio.
the tellers, and are thus counted. Here, the yeas and 0.: Invalid Pensions.—Messrs. Burges, Evans, Beale, nays are taken, upon the demand of a very small proSchley, Adams of N. Y., Schenck, Chilton, Chaney, portion of the House; and this right was considered so Mitchiell of Obio.
important as to be specially provided for in the constiOn Roads and Canals.-Messrs. Mercer, Blair of Ten., tution. Vinton, Stewart, Rencher, Johnson of Md., Lucas, Pope, and always ought to be, a high-minded, manly, and inde
If our Speaker should always be, as he generally is, Slade of ill.
On Revisal and Unfinished Business.-- Messrs. Dickson, pendent representative of the people, to deprive liim of Ilarrison, McVean, Shinn, Beaty.
the right to record his opinions among the yeas and nays, On Accounts.- Messrs. Mann of Pa., Lee of N. J., Mitch-is to deprive him of a high and valuable privilege--that of ell of N. Y., Crockett, Miller.
exhibiting to the House, to his constituents, to his State, On Expenditures in Department of State.- Messrs. A.H. and the whole Union, his undisguised opinions, expressed Shepperd, Day, Beaumont, Boulle, Patterson.
in an open and manly way; moreover, it deprives bis disOn Expenditures in Department of the Treasury.--trict of the full benefit of his representation of them, by Messrs. Allen of Vt., J. C. Fuller, Harper of Pa., Spang- taking away the advantage of the moral influence which ler, Clark of N. Y.
the opinions of such a man has upon measures of public on Expenditures in Department of War.--Messrs. policy; and, in fine, to every practical purpose, except Whittlesey of N. Y., Deberry, Chambers, Webster of the mere numerical force of his vote, takes away from his Ohio, Halsey.
State one of its representatives. On Expenditures in Department of Navy.--Messi's. Hall
If, however, in the vicissitude of human affairs, and the of Me., 'Iluntington of N. Y., Ramsay, Sloane, Van revolutions of human opinion, it should so happen, that a Houten.
man of a different character should be chosen to the high On Expenditures in Department of Post Office. -Messrs. and responsible station of Speaker of this House, it will Hawes, Fulton, Burns, Wagener, Lay of N. Y.
be equally necessary and proper that the rule I propose On Expenditures on Public Buildings. -Messrs. Whal- should be adopted. Suppose that one of that description lon, Darlington, Brown, Henderson, Hard.
of politicians should happen to be chosen, who pay the Mr. PATTON moved the following resolution:
most literal obedience to the apostolic invocation, to be “That the following shall be established as the 9th rule "all things to all men,” who always trim their sails so as of the House:
to catch the popular breeze, whose employment generally VOL. X.--156
11. of R.]
Rules of the House.
(Dec. 9, 1833.
is to watch the political weathercock, to see which way stitutions, if indeed it be not an infringement on the just the wind is, and then commence puffing and blowing with limits to the power of the House. all their might in the same direction. It may be that such What right has the House to deprive one of its mema politician may reach the Speaker's Chair, as such have bers of his vote in any case? If the Speaker may be thus frequently reached other high places. Do you not per- deprivedl, any other member, and any number of memceive, Mr. Speaker, that our old rule plays up to the bers, may be so deprived of their votes; and thus a right strong hand of such a one-- that it enables him to play made sacred by the constitution is taken away by the rote out the play, and gives him a mask, by law, which he may of a majority of this House. The former rule takes away wear always, and which renders it as impossible to know this right. Those who framed that rule seemed to hare who he is, politically speaking, as if you had to look at been aware of this difficulty, and have endeavored to obdoim through a pair of 's glorification spectacles?" viate it by giving the Speaker a vote whenever his vote
I feel, said Mr. P., all due and becoming reverence for would be efficient in affecting the result, as if that was ancient usages, and would not lightly change any rule the only value of a vote, and the only purpose for which which had long received the sanction of a representative the constitution requires the yeas and nays to be taken. assembly-especially one so much entitled to the respect I do not so understand it. It is a very valuable and valued of erery freeman as the House of Communs. Many of its privilege of every member to have his vote taken, wheusages, however, result from the fact that the House of iher he be in a minority or a majority, that in future times Commons is a part of the government of a limited mon- bis opinions may not be misconstrucd, nor his motives archy. Sume of these usages have been properly aban- misconstrued a valuable right to his constituents, that doned here, as inconsistent with our republican Govern- they may be enabled to overlook liis conduct, and if ap. ment. I have already referred to one of the former de- prored, give him the best reward of an honorable and enscription, which required that the Speakers should be ap- lightened representative-evidence of their approbation. proved by the Executive. Another curious one is to be Are there any reasons founded in experience or authority, found in ihe “ Lex Parliamenturia,” (which I have been which justify the old rule? I do not think there is a plauexamining in consequence of the frequent reference to it sible one. The only reason which I can find stated, is to Jiere as authority.) . It seems that, after the Speaker is be found in a paragraph in the “ Lex Parliamentaria," in chosen in the House of Commons, he rises in his place, which it is said the Speaker ought not to vote, because and disableth bimself from the high and responsible duties “he ought to be indifferent between the parties." of Speaker, and begs the Commons to make choice of This reason supposes what is hardly supposable, consistanother, which, however, in spite of his modesty, they ently with a proper self-respect in the House, that a declive, and insist upon his services. He is then carried Speaker may be chosen so corrupt as wilfully and frauduup to the King, in the House of Lords, where he again lently to give advantage to one side over another-and, most humbly entreats bis majesty to command the House moreover, that is to be done because lie voles, when he of Commons to choose another Speaker, which, however, would not bc thus guilty if he was not required to voteis never done, as the King has taken care to have man and indeed, as most of our votes are taken, it is in the nato his liking chosen. Now, sir, these usages have all been ture of things that the Speaker, however much risposed abandoned, rery properly; and I am sure our Speakers, he might be, cannot give any advantage, by not being generally, would be unwilling that the custom of disabling impartial. themselves, and begging the House to choose another, But we have, on the other hand, examples furnished should be retained here, notwithstanding its venerable by legislative bodies acting under the same influences and foundation and long existence in England; as peradven- impulses as this, and which furnish, therefore, much ture, it might sometimes happen the House would take stronger authority than may be derived from the usages them at their word. There is, however, another ancient of the House of Commons. One very strong case is precustom of the House of Commons, which has come down sented by the proceedings of the Senate of the United to us, and which I would be very sorry to have changed. States. There, the Vice President, who is not a member 1 mean the really harmless but apparently indecorous of the body, does not vote but when the Senate is equally practice of wearing our hats, and for which, if I am cor- divided, and that right is given him by express provision rectly informed as to its origin, there is as much occasion of the constitution. But when the Vice President vacates for bere as there. In the liouse of Commons the mem- the Chair, and a President pro tempore is chosen, he being bers always wear their bats in their seats. Even the a member of the Senate, as the Speaker is of this House, Speaker, formerly, and perhaps still, wears his hat, ex- votes in all cases, as I propose our Speaker shall role. cept when he rises to put a question. The reason of this Now we all know that a very great portion of the sessions practice is a very good one, though seemingly somewhat of the Senate have been presided over by Presidents piro quaint. It was, that the House of Commons was the rep- tempore—as I believe, until the time of the last Vice Presiresentation of the people; its important, and originally its dent, those officers did not generally act in the Senate. chief business, to determine upon the grants of money las experience shown any evil to have arisen from this which should be made to the king, and it was deemed rule in the Senate-any instances of partiality, or the eximproper for the King to come into the presence of the ercise of any improper influence? I believe, none. BeHouse of Commons while sitting. The practice of wear-sides this, we have iwenty-four State Legislatures, and of ing their hats was prompted, therefore, by the jealous these I understand the rule I propose exists in all the folspirit of English freedom, as a perpetual manifestation lowing States: Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, that they legislated free from all executive control; and New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Maine, Maryland, that their grants were what they purported to be, the free Virginia, and I know not how many more. I have beard and voluntary gift of the Commons to the King. Regard- of no State in which a different rule than the one I proing then this usage as merely "the outward and visible pose exists, except Georgia. The rule is rariously modisign of the inward and spiritual” freedom of this body tied, to be sure, in those States named; for instance, in from all executive control or interference, let us preserve Kentucky and Tennessee the Speaker is required to vote it. And whenever, if ever, our executive magistrates first; in Virginia, and perhaps Pennsylvania, he rotes last; sball attempt to employ any improper influence on this in the former, the idlea seems to be, that the vote of the body, let us be found with our liats on. But the change House may influence his vote unduly; in the latter, the I propose in the usage of the House of Commons is op- apprehension secms to be, that he may perbaps influence posed by no such reason. The old rule is, I repeat, in my the House improperly by his vote. These apprehensions estimation, utterly inconsistent with the genius of our in.lI imagine to be alike fanciful and unfounded. I would