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the question might appear to be very plain, but he was surprised the gentleman from Susquehanna say, that in relation to any expressed in opposition to his, that it was senseless.
Mr. READ spoke, he said, of the distinction that had been tal not of any gentleman's opinion.
Mr. SERGEANT ,continued : He would not say that of an opinion. He would not characterize the opinion of any gentle that way, because it might deter persons from uttering their o at least, it might have that effect when it came from a ge of so much weight and experience as the gentleman from hanna. He differed, entirely, from that gentleman, on this quest we were here for free debate, and he should give his opinion with respect. The decision of the Chair was this—that what a i decided was decided, and could not be touched again. What then committee decided? Why, that the amendment of the gentlem Chester, on his right, (Mr. DARLINGTON) should stand in the place of the other gentleman from Chester, (Mr. BELL,) and as a subst the report of the committee. What was proposed now? To a amendment of the gentleman, (Mr. DARLINGTON) and to say th had been adopted should be varied. Such a proposition was not i All the authorities were uniform on the subject : none were con it: no deliberative body could get along in any
way. that the decision would cut off amendments ; but, did not the r question cut off all amendments in esse and in posse?—And co one complain, that after a question was decided, it could not be ca and determined, again and again.
Mr. READ did not expect, he said, in this matter, to encounter midable opposition of the President of the Convention, and he wa he did not explain himself, at first, in such a manner as not to be derstood. There was no rule against him, and, on the contrary, clearly in his favor. The question was on the amendment of the man from Chester, (Mr. BELL) as modified by the committee, ai modified amendment was still an open question. The rule wa “ when it is proposed to amend by inserting a paragraph, or part the friends of the paragraph may make it as perfect as they can by ments, before the question is put for inserting it”. The rule api this case with all its force, for the question was on amending the re the committee by inserting the proposition of the gentleman from (Mr. Bell). The friends of that proposition had a right to mak perfect as possible, prior to its insertion in the report of the com The rule was distinctly and directly in his favor. We had nothin with the amendment of the other gentleman from Chester, (Mr. DA TON). The question was on inserting the prior amendment as m by the committee, and the rule gave him the privilege of makin perfect by amendment as possible. Gentlemen say, that in this w may go on ad infinitum. Very well—there is but one way to amendments, if offered in time-namely, by the previous question. tlemen may call the previous question now, and that would cut amendment and that of the gentleman from Chester (Mr. BELL). was the only way to cut off amendments ; but to be cut off from portunity to offer amendments by the decision of the CHAIR, was
to which he could not submit, and, therefore, he had appealed from the decision.
Mr. CHAMBERS said the question was of some importance, as furnishing a rule for our direction in other cases; and, from the best reflection that he could give to it, he was disposed to sustain the decision of the CHAIR. We yesterday adopted an amendment to the report of the committee, and now the gentleman from Susquehanna proposes to strike out a great part of that amendment. Was not this, in effect, a reconsideration of the vote of the committee ? and to reverse the decision of the committee, in its material parts? This would be subversive of the rules of order.
Mr. CLARKE, of Indiana, said his opinion was, that the motion of the gentleman from Susquehanna was in order, and that the CHAIR was in error in rejecting it. The error consisted in a misapprehension of the state of the question. Without pretending to argue the matter critically, by refering to JEFFERSON's Manual, and drawing nice distinctions between the meaning of words and terms, he thought a common sense view of the matter must show its monstrosity. If this decision is to be sustained, two men get the floor and get their amendments before the committee, aud one hundred and thirty-one are entirely cut off from all opportunity of getting their views before the committee. If this decision stands it will leave a noble field for tacticians. One gentleman very expert in getting upon his legs, offers some absurd proposition, and a second gentleman, who may have an understanding with the first about the matter, introduces a proposition which he desires to have passed in the precise form in which he offers it. Then the question is to be taken between these two amendments and the committee will adopt the last in preference to the first. The game is then blocked, and you can go no further. No gentleman can have the opportunity of amending this amendment because, forsooth, the vote has been taken upon it. The gentleman from Chester, on his left, (Mr. BELL) offered an amendment to the report of the committee : JEFFERSON's Manual says the friends of that measure have the right to perfect it before it is agreed to. The gentleman from Chester on his right (Mr. DARLINGTON) moved to strike out that amendment and insert another amendment, and by all parliamentary rules, no amendment could be offered to this, and hence the body was brought to the necessity of deciding between these two amendments. This latter amendment then being adopted takes the place of the former, and who will say that it is not open to be perfected and amended until the vote is taken on agreeing to the amendment, as amended. Other gentlemen may have propositions to offer which will meet the views of the committee and suit the mem bers better than the amendment which has been adopted. If so, they have never had the opportunity to offer them, and if the decision of the CHAIR is sustained they
never will have the opportunity. The authority which gentlemen refered to, he imagined, was applied to the wrong question, and here is where the whole mistake lies. It is very good authority, but they apply it to the amendment to the amendment instead of to the main question. The vote has not yet been taken on the main question, therefore it is open to be made as perfect as we can. The whole mistake of those gentlemen who had argued on this subject, was, that they did not apply their rule to the
question and that was, doubtless, the question to which Mr. JEFF tended it to apply. Was it possible we were going to have a ru upon us which will give to two gentlemen the privilege of prev the other members of the body from offering their views, or the sitions ? The argument of gentlemen was, that if the decision of t was not sustained, we would be pestered with amendments foreve if we are pestered with amendments gentlemen can listen to th they get tired, and then move the previous question, which wo the door upon these amendments. But he had understood the of the Convention as saying that the previous question would cu amendment. This was not the case in his view of the matter the vote had been taken on this and the previous question only cut amendments on which no vote had been taken. Gentlemen hay we have any propositions which we desire to bring forward, we liberty to read them in our places. We can do this to be sure, must recollect after having read these propositions we are not to
go into an explanation of them, much less can other gentle their views upon them. A proposition may contain sound princi at first sight they may not present themselves to the views of ge A little discussion might satisfy every one, that the proposition best that could be offered, but there would be no opportunity at discuss it. This, then was no cure for the evil. There must time and some place where gentlemen can have the opportunity ing amendments ; and that time, in his opinion, was the present they could not be offered when the amendment to the amendr pending, and they certainly cannot be offered after the final vote This he conceived to be the proper time for amendment because tion was precisely in the same situation as it was after the gentler Chester (Mr. BELL) first submited his amendment, and it was n for amendment in the same manner as that question was open fo ment. Gentlemen have told us, there is no way of reaching our o by reconsidering the vote on the amendment. It is true those w for the amendment may move to reconsider it, but perhaps, they the same opinion now, as they were when they gave their votes ; a it could not be reconsidered. Their being of that opinion now, ! was no evidence that they might not be better pleased with so proposition which some gentleman might desire to present if he opportunity to do so, and express his views on the subject. If sion of the CHAIR was sustained, and he had any proposition which he had very much at heart, he would get some gentlema him, and they would first offer some unimportant amendment, a move the one he desired to have passed as an amendment to it, a House prefered the latter to the former of the amendments, ge would be cut off from amending it, and it would be safe. Thi mode of carrying a proposition which he had never dreamed of As he had before said, the whole error in this matter was in appl rule from JEFFERSON's Manual in the wrong place. After the vote w on the main question, then he admited the rule applied with full for we cannot strike any thing out of the amendment, but at present t tion was certainly open to amendment either by striking out or in
Mr. EARLE said the gentleman from Franklin (Mr CHAMBERS) h