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clerk sends them word, and they enter immediately upon their duties.
It is not always necessary to offer a resolution to appoint a joint committee, as it frequently occurs that the senate notifies the house, through their secretary, that they have adopted such a resolution, and the house merely concurs in it. The following is the message of the senate through their secretary, which is announced to the chair from the bar of the house: "Mr. Speaker-I am directed to inform the house of representatives that a quorum of the senate is assembled, and that the senate is ready to proceed to business. The senate have passed the resolution for the appointment of a joint committee to wait on the President of the United States, and inform him that a quorum of the two houses is assembled and that congress is ready to receive any communications he may be pleased to make, and have appointed Mr. R. and Mr. W. of the committee on its part."
The house proceeds to the consideration of the resolution from the senate, and being read, it was agreed to, and Mr. of and Mr. of
were appointed of the said committee on the part of the house of representatives. Ordered, that the clerk inform the senate. The clerk notifies the senate of the concurrence of the house in their joint resolution.
Nothing further being usually required to be done on the first day of meeting, some gentleman rises and says, "Mr. Speaker,-I move that, till otherwise ordered, the daily hour to which the house shall be adjourned, shall be 12 o'clock meridian." On motion, the house adjourns, and the
speaker says: “This house stands adjourned till
to-morrow at 12 o'clock."
The speaker on the succeeding day takes the chair at 12 o'clock, and ascertaining that there is a quorum present, he says: "There is a quorum of members present; the clerk will read the journal of yesterday." The clerk rises and reads the proceedings of the previous day. The speaker, with the view to accuracy, must examine and correct the journal before it is read in the house. It is the practice to correct the journals on their reading, if any errors are discovered..
The journals being read and corrected of any errors which may have occurred, if any new member is present who has not taken the requisite oath, some gentleman then rises and informs the speaker, That Mr. from the state of has arriv ed, and is prepared to enter upon his duties. The speaker invites the gentleman to step near the chair, where he administers the oath taken by the other members. Sometimes the new member informs the speaker, before the house opens, and the chair announces, after the journals are read, that Mr. from the of, is present, and he qualifies him before he enters upon any other business. The swearing or affirming of a member of course precedes any thing, after reading the journals. Otherwise a member and his constituents might go unheard, on some important bills. It is the practice to swear a member, at any time during the day, as he may come into the house; no business can constitutionally prevent him from taking his oath.
A delegate takes the same oath as a member
has the franking privilege, the same pay and mileage, but is not allowed to vote. He may, however, address the house at pleasure. It is not now the custom to put a delegate on committees, but it was formerly, and I think a good one, particularly when so large a share of the business is approved or reported against by committees.
On the second day of the session, the joint committees appointed to wait on the president of the United States, report to their respective houses, through their chairman, "That they informed the president that the two houses of congress had assembled, and were ready to receive any communications he might be pleased to make, and that the president informed them that he would make a communication in writing to each house, to-day, at 12 o'clock, meridian."
General Washington and Mr. Adams used to communicate with congress in person at the opening of the session, which by the way I think was a good practice, as it tended to keep up a friendly personal intercourse between the President and Congress. Mr. Jefferson sent the first annual message to congress, with an accompanying letter, which is here presented.*
* Page 156, Senate Journal.
Jan. 8. 1801. The following letter and message were received from the president of the United States, by Mr. Lewis, his secretary.
December 8th, 1800.
The circumstances under which we find ourselves at this place, rendering inconvenient the mode heretofore practised of making, by personal address, the first communication between the legislative and executive branches of government, I have adopted that by message; as used on all subsequent
The new members being sworn, and the committee that waited on the president having reported, the private secretary of the president enters the house, and bearing a copy of the message to be delivered, and notifying the serjeant-at-arms or door-keeper, that he has a communication with him. The officer standing at the bar of the house, announces, "A message from the president of the United States;" which being done, the private secretary says: "Mr. Speaker, I am charged with a message in writing from the President of the United States to the house of representatives." He then proceeds to the chair and hands it to the speaker-when he rises and says: "I present to the house a message in writing from the President of the United States," and asks if it is the pleasure of the house that it should be read; which being agreed to, the clerk reads it to the house. He usually reads a printed copy, as the message is printed confidentially before it is transmitted to either house, so that it may be sent by express over the country with the greatest dispatch. Members, one day before its delivery to
occasions through the session. In doing this, I have had particular regard to the convenience of the legislature, to the economy of their time, to their relief from the embarrassment of immediate answers on subjects not yet fully before them, and to the benefits resulting to the public affairs. Trusting that a procedure founded on these motives will meet their approbation, I beg leave, through you, Sir, to communicate the enclosed message, with the documents accompanying it to the honourable the senate, and pray you to accept for you and them, the homage of my high respect and consideration. TH. JEFFERSON.
The hon. the President of the Senate.
the house, engage a large number for distribution, which are all folded and ready for franking in the folding room, when the reading of the message has been finished by the clerk in the house. The members are not permitted to see the message till it is read in the houses of congress. The anxiety about the message throughout the country is very great. Friends and opponents both wish to see it, and therefore when read, some one of the members moves that thousand copies of the message, with the accompanying documents, be printed for the use of the members. Usually ten thousand are printed. They are scattered into every corner of the United States by the members, which, by the way, is well calculated to give the people of the nation a pretty fair account of the views of the ruling party.
The speaker, after the reading of the message, presents the report of the secretary of the treasury on the state of the treasury," which is ordered to be printed, say ten thousand copies: it goes out with the president's message. Being a great newspaper-reading people, a resolution is adopted by every congress, directing the clerk to furnish the members of the house, during the session, with such newspapers as they may direct; the expense not to exceed three daily newspapers. This enables a member to subscribe for all the papers that he may desire during the session. Many gentlemen prudently send them to their constituents, after they have read them, and thus perform the double service of enlightening themselves and their constituents.
The first week is generally consumed in preli