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EXTRACT FROM THE RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESEN
TATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES.
The rules of parliamentary practice, comprised in Jefferson's Manual, shall govern the house in all cases to which they are applicable; and in which they are not inconsistent with the standing rules and orders of the house, and the joint rules of the Senate and House of Representatives. (Adopted Sept. 15th 1837,)
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
33. 6 Privileged questions.
The Constitution of the United States, establishing a legislature for the Union under certain forms, authorizes each branch of itto determine the rules of its own proceedings.' The Senate have accordingly formed some rules for its own government: but these going only to few cases, they have referred to the decision of their Presi. dent, without debate and without appeal, all ques. tions of order arising either under their own rules, or where they have provided none. This places under the discretion of the President a very extensive field of decision, and one which, irregularly exercised, would have a powerful effect on the proceedings and determinations of the House. The President must feel, weightily and seriously this confidence in his discretion; and the neces. sity of recurring, for its government, to some known system of rules, that he may neither leave himself free to indulge caprice or passion, nor open to the imputation of them. But to what system of rules is he to recur, as supplementary to those of the Senate? To this there can be but one answer. To the system of regulations adopted for the government of some one of the parliamentary bodies within these States, or of that which has served as a prototype to most of them. This Jast is the model which we have all studied, while we are little acquainted with the modifica. tions of it in our several states. It is deposited, too, in publications possessed by many, and open to all. Its rules are probably as wisely constructed for governing the debates of a considerative body, and obtaining its true sense, as any which can become known to us; and the acqniescence of the senate, hitherto, under the references to them, has given them the sanction of their approbation.
Considering, therefore, the law of proceedings in the senate as composed of the precepts of the constitution, the regulations of the senate, and where these are silent, of the rules of parliament, I have here endeavoured to collect and digest so much of these as is called for in ordinary prac. tice, collating the parliamentary with the senato. rial rules, both where they agree and where they vary. I have done this, as well to have them at hand for my own government as to deposite with the senate the standard by which I judge, and am willing to be judged. I could not doubt the ne. cessity of quoting the sources of my information ; among which Mr. Hatsel's most valuable book is pre-eminent; but as he has only treated some general heads, I have been obliged to recur to other authorities in support of a number of common rules of practice, to which his plan did not descend. Sometimes each authority cited supports the whole passage. Sometimes it rests on all taken together. Sometimes the authority goes only to a part of the text, the residue being infer. red from known rules and principles. For some of the most familiar forms no written authority is, or can be quoted: no writer having supposed it necessary to repeat what all were presumed to know. The statement of these must rest on their notoriety.