Page images

majority vote, but they cannot be altered or suspended without a vote of two-thirds.

Societies may or may not renew their bylaws at each annual meeting. The general custom in regular bodies, is, however, to continue them in force without a formal vote.

Provision for altering or amending the constitution and by-laws, and for the temporary suspension of a by-law, should be incorporated in the rules of all Societies, Boards of Managers, &c.

ON PUNISHING DISORDERLY MEMBERS. The rules of our State Legislature make no provision for punishing disorderly members, but usage has fully established the right. Disorderly or quarrelsome conduct in the House, contempt of the authority of the House, or improper conduct in debate, are punishable offences in the Legislature, as well as in Congress and the British Parliament.

The usual punishments are, the exaction of an apology, a public reprimand, or expul


sion. In the latter case a vote of two-thirds is required.

Societies generally make provision for this matter in their by-laws.

From the Journal of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, April 9, 1840.

A motion was made by Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Park, that the House reconsider the vote on the 7th inst., on adopting a resolu tion to expel Thomas B. M'Elwee, a member from Bedford county, from his seat in the House. [Mr. M'E. had been expelled for spitting in the face of a member, on the floor of the House.]

When Mr. Watts, of Erie, objected to the reception of the motion, alleging that the subject matter was no longer in the power of the House. Whereupon the Speaker submitted to the House for its decision, the question whether the motion to reconsider the said vote is in order, and stated the following facts, viz:

"On the 7th inst., the House of Representatives adopted a resolution by the constitutional majority, [two-thirds] to expel from his seat in this House, Thomas B. M'Elwee, a member from Bedford county; whereupon, the Speaker then announced that Thomas

B. M'Elwee, a representative from Bedford county, was expelled from this House, and his seat declared vacated."

And on the question, "Is the motion to reconsider in order?" it was decided in the affirmative, yeas 46, nays 36.


In Parliament, the bills are engrossed on one or more long rolls of parchment, sewed together. When a bill is amended on third reading, if a new clause is added, it is done by tacking a separate piece of parchment on the bill, which is called a rider.

In the House of Commons, the members vote "aye" or "no." In the House of Peers, they answer "content," or "not content."

The king's answer to the bills presented to him for his approbation, is announced to the House by the clerk in Norman-French. If the king consents to a public bill, the clerk says Le roy le veut-(the king wills it so

to be ;) if to a private bill, Soit fait comme il est desire, (be it as it is desired.) If the king refuses his consent, it is in the gentle language of Le roy s'avisera, (the king will advise upon it.)

The title Speaker, is given to the presiding officer of the House of Commons, because he alone has the right to speak to, or address the king, in the name and in behalf of the House. His salary and perquisites amount to about £8000 per annum.

When the House of Commons divides, in order to take a vote, one party goes out, and the other remains in the room. This has made it important which go forth first and which remain, because the latter secure the votes of all the indolent, the indifferent, and the inattentive. Their general rule, therefore, is that those who give their vote for the preservation of the orders of the House, stay in. The one party being gone forth, the Speaker names two tellers from the affirmative, and two from the negative side, who first count those sitting in the House, and report the number to the Speaker. They then place themselves within the door, two on each

side, and count those who went forth, as they come in, and report the number to the Speaker.


The French Chamber of Deputies have a full system of rules, embracing ninety-four articles, which, in their leading features, are the same with the English and American. Some of the peculiarities are, that for preliminary investigations, the whole Chamber is divided, by lot, into nine committees, of which the chairmen in every case form a committee of nine members, (a committee of chairmen,) which appoints one of its number to make report to the Chamber.

Private petitions are either wholly rejected, or delivered to the ministers for consideration.

Motions must be put in writing, read, and a day fixed for discussion. All who wish to speak, give in their names to the clerk, and the speakers are heard in turn. The

« PreviousContinue »