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er's table; a special order, for a particular day, only operates upon "the orders of the day." The business on the speaker's table is to be disposed of before the house proceeds to the orders of the day.
Having gone through the reports of committees and resolutions, it may be necessary here to take up a bill as reported by a committee to the house. The gentleman reporting a bill, says, standing in his place, "Mr. Speaker, I am directed by the committee of commerce to report a bill." As soon as the bill is carried to the chair, by one of the pages of the house, the speaker says, "The first reading of a bill." The clerk, standing in front of the speaker's desk, reads the title, which is considered the first reading of the bill. If no objections are made, the speaker, rising from his chair, puts the question, "Gentlemen, as many as are in favour of the second reading of the bill will say Aye. Contrary opinion, will say No. The ayes have it." He then takes his seat, and announces, "The second reading of a bill." The clerk again rises and reads the title; but if the reading of the bill should be called for, it will be read throughout; this is very seldom the case, as it is immediately printed, and laid on the tables of members, when they can examine it at their leisure. If the bill should, however, be of such a character as requires the immediate rejection of it by the house, the question of consideration can be called on it, which if decided against, it would be considered as rejected. Instances of this kind occasionally occur. During the session of 1829-30, Dec. 17, (page 62,) Mr. Overton moved the fol
lowing resolution :-"That the committee on public lands be instructed to inquire into the expediency of ceding to the respective states, such public lands as may be unfit for cultivation, either from sterility or inundation, and that shall have been offered one year for sale." This resolution being read, Mr. Condict demanded that the question "Will the house now consider the same?" be put, and, being put, it was decided in the negative. If, however, as is customary, the bill shall pass through a second reading, the speaker is directed to say, "The bill is now ready for commitment or engrossment," but he usually casts his eye towards the member who reported the bill, who rises and moves, if it be a bill of a public nature, that it be committed to the committee of the whole, on the state of the Union, and if accompanied by a report, that the bill and report be printed. If, however, the bill is of a private character, he moves that it be committed to the committee of the whole house, that it be made the order of the day for to-morrow, and that the bill and report (if there be a report) be printed. The speaker states the question, sitting, as follows :— "It has been moved that the bill just read be committed to the committee of the whole on the state of the Union, and that the bill and report be printed." He then rises and puts it as follows:— "Gentlemen, as many of you as are in favour of the motion, will please say Aye. The contrary opinion will please to say No." Very few either vote for or against it, it being usually a matter of course to carry. The speaker, therefore, on the presumption that silence gives consent, says
"The ayes have it. It is agreed to." The other proposition is put, merely adding that it be made the order of the day for to-morrow, (which is a nominal date,) and that it be printed.
In referring to committees of the whole, on the state of the Union, no day is named, and this grows out of the fact, that with the exception of general appropriations, which have a preference, every bill referred to that committee may be taken up in committee of the whole on the state of the Union, when the house has resolved itself into that committee. Bills committed to committee of the whole house, take precedence according to their order on the general file of bills, which is accurately kept by the clerk of the house.
Having progressed so far as to have the bills referred, which, when printed and examined by the clerk, are placed on the members' tables, by persons employed for that purpose, and the file of bills being in order for consideration, the speaker, having disposed of the business on his table, on motion of a chairman of one of the standing committees, moves "that the house resolve itself into a committee of the whole on the state of the Union." The speaker repeats the motion, and, rising, says, “Gentlemen, as many as are in favour of the motion, that the house do resolve itself into a committee of the whole on the state of the Union, will say Aye. The contrary opinion will please to say No." If the ayes have it, he will say so, and announce that the motion is agreed to. Whereupon the speaker will invite some senior member of the house, if it be in the early part of
the session, to give the juniors an opportunity of seeing how the business is transacted. " Mr. will please take the chair." The speaker rises and retires, and as the chairman ascends the steps, and the speaker descends, they bow respectfully to each other. The chairman, being seated in the speaker's chair, should say: “The house is now resolved into committee of the whole on the state of the Union." This is, however, usually omitted. As the chairman of the committee of ways and means made the motion for the house to go into committee, he rises and says " Mr. Chairman,' when the chairman of the committee says, "The member from .." This is done, so that the gentleman from should know, and the committee, too, that he has the right to the floor. He then says " Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee proceed to the consideration of the general appropriation bill, No.-," whereupon the chairman puts the question, rising for that purpose, and saying, "Gentlemen, as many as are in favour of the committee proceeding to the consideration of bill, will please to say Aye. The contrary opinion will say No. The ayes have it." Or he may put the question in a short way. After stating it, he may say "Will the committee proceed to consider the bill?" which being agreed to, he, in a clear voice, says, "The clerk will read the bill by sections." The first section being read, the chairman then says:— "The first section is before the committee." Amendments are then to be offered. The committee proceeds through all the sections, when, if any member desire it, he may, before the commit
tee rises, propose amendments to any or all of the sections that have been read and amended. The 118th rule of the house says, that the bill shall be first read throughout by the clerk; this is usually done when the bill is short; then again be read and debated by clauses. The letter of this rule is not adhered to, as some bills, say "Post-Office Routes," would take half a day to get through the mere reading; they are therefore considered by sections, at the first reading of the clerk. After the sections have all been debated upon-in committee, the question is put on the preamble to the bill, if it should have one. Preambles, of late, are however not very common. The bill in question being amended, or if no amendments should be offered, after it had been read, the clerk, pausing slightly at the end of each section, the chairman will say, "No amendments being made, the bill will be laid aside to be reported," when, as is the practice, the chairman of the committee of ways and means moves some other bill, and in this way the committee and chairman progress, till they have acted upon as many bills as is desired by the chairman. He then rises and says: “Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee rise, and report the bills, with their amendments, to the house." This motion usually carries, when the speaker resumes his seat, and the chairman, descending to the floor of the house, says: “ Mr. Speaker, I have been directed by the committee of the whole upon the state of the Union, to report, that they, having had under consideration the state of the Union, and particularly bills (reading the titles,) have instructed me to report