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In the 1st class, where the previous question is first moved, the effect is peculiar. For it not only prevents the after motion to postpone or commit from being put to question before it, but also from being put after it. For if the previous question be decided affirmatively, to wit, that the main question shall now be put, it would of course be against the decision to postpone or commit. And if it be decided negatively, to wit, that the main question shall not now be put, this puts the House out of possession of the main question, and consequently, there is nothing before them to postpone or commit. So that neither voting for nor against the previous question, will enable the advocates for postponing or committing to get at their object. Whether it may be amended, shall be examined hereafter.
2d Class-If postponement be decided affirmatively, the proposition is removed from before the House, and conseqently, there is no ground for the previous question, commitment or amend
ment. But if decided negatively, that it shall not be postponed, the main question may then be suppressed by the previous question, or may be committed or amended.
The 3d class is subject to the same observations as the 2d.
The 4th class-Amendment of the main question first moved, and afterwards the previous question, the question of amendment shall be first put.
Amendment and postponement competing, postponement is first put, as the equivalent proposition to adjourn the main question would be in Parliament. The reason is, that the question for amendment is not suppressed by postponing or adjourning the main question, but remains before the House whenever the main question is resumed and it might be that the occasion for other urgent business might go by, and be lost by length of debate on the amendment, if the House had it not in their power to postpone the whole subject.
Amendment and commitment. The question for committing, though last moved, shall be first put because in truth it facilitates and befriends the motion to amend. Scobell is express-" On a motion to amend a bill, any one may, notwithstanding, move to commit it, and the question for commitment shall be first put."—Scob. 46.
We have hitherto considered the case of two or more of the privileged questions contending for privilege between themselves, when both
were moved on the original or main question; but now let us suppose one of them to be moved, not on the original primary question, but on the secondary one, e. g.
Suppose a motion to postpone, commit, or amend the main question, and that it be moved to suppress that motion by putting the previous question on it. This is not allowed: because it would embarrass questions too much to allow them to be piled on one another several stories high; and the same result may be had in a more simple way, by deciding against the postponement, commitment, or amendment.-2 Hats. 81, 2, 3, 4.
Suppose a motion for the previous question, or commitment or amendment of the main question, and that it be then moved to postpone the motion for the previous question, or for commitment or amendment of the main question; 1. It would be absurd to postpone the previous question, commitment, or amendment, alone, and thus separate the appendage from its principal: yet it must be postponed separately from its original, if at all; because the 8th Rule of the Senate says, that when a main question is before the House, no motion shall be received but to commit, amend, or pre-question the original question; which is the Parliamentary doctrine: therefore, the motion to postpone the secondary motion for the previous question, or for committing or amending, cannot be received: 2. This is a piling of questions one on another, which
to avoid embarrassment, is not allowed: 3. The same result may be had more simply, by voting against the previous question, commitment, or amendment.
Suppose a commitment moved, of a motion for the previous question, or to postpone, or amend.
The 1st, 2d, and 3d reasons before stated, all hold good against this.
Suppose an amendment moved to a motion for the previous question? Answer: The previous question cannot be amended. Parliamentary usage as well as the 9th Rule of the Senate, has fixed its form to be, "Shall the main question be now put?" i. e. at this instant. And as the present instant is but one, it can admit of no modification. To change it to to-morrow, or any other moment, is without example, and without utility. But suppose a motion to amend a motion for postponement, as to one day instead of another, or to a special instead of indefinite time. The useful character of amendment gives it a privilege of attaching itself to a secondary and privileged motion. That is, we may amend a postponement of a main question. So we may amend a commitment of a main question, as by aiding, for example, "with instruction to inquire," &c. In like manner, if an amendment be moved to an amendment, it is admitted. But it would not be admitted in another degree; to wit, to amend an amendment to an amendment of a main question. This
I would lead to too much embarrassment. The line must be drawn somewhere; and usage has drawn it after the amendment to the amendment. The same result must be sought by deciding against the amendment to the amendment, and then moving it again as it was wished to be amended. In this form it becomes only an amendment to an amendment.
When motions are made for reference of the same subject to a select committee, and to a standing committee, the question on reference to the standing committee shall be first put.-Rule 35.
In filling a blank with a sum, the largest sum shall be first put to the question, by the 13th Rule of the Senate, contrary to the rule of Parliament, which privileges the smallest sum and longest time.-5 Grey, 179-2 Hats. 8. 83-3 Hats. 132, 133.-And this is considered to be not in the form of an amendment to the question; but as alternative, or successive originals. In all cases of time or number, we must consider whether the larger comprehends the lesser, as in a question to what day a postponement shall be, the number of a committee, amount of a fine, term of an imprisonment, term of irredeemability of a loan, or the terminus in quem in any other case. Then the question must begin a maximo. Or whether the lesser includes the greater, as in question on the limitation of the rate of interest, on what day the session shall be closed by adjournment, on what day the next shall commence, when an