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to which he could not submit, and, therefore, he had appealed from the decision.
Mr. CHAMBERS said the question was of some importance, as furnishing a rule for our direction in other cases; and, from the best reflection that he could give to it, he was disposed to sustain the decision of the CHAIR. We yesterday adopted an amendment to the report of the committee, and now the gentleman from Susquehanna proposes to strike out a great part of that amendment. Was not this, in effect, a reconsideration of the vote of the committee ? and to reverse the decision of the committee, in its material parts? This would be subversive of the rules of order.
Mr. CLARKE, of Indiana, said his opinion was, that the motion of the gentleman from Susquehanna was in order, and that the Chair was in error in rejecting it. The error consisted in a misapprehension of the state of the question. Without pretending to argue the matter critically, by refering to JEFFERSON's Manual, and drawing nice distinctions between the meaning of words and terms, he thought a common sense view of the matter must show its monstrosity. If this decision is to be sustained, two men get the floor and get their amendments before the committee, aud one hundred and thirty-one are entirely cut off from all opportunity of getting their views before the committee. If this decision stands it will leave a noble field for tacticians. One gentleman very expert in getting upon his legs, offers some absurd proposition, and a second gentleman, who may have an understanding with the first about the matter, introduces a proposition which he desires to have passed in the precise form in which he offers it. Then the question is to be taken between these two amendments and the committee will adopt the last in preference to the first. The game is then blocked, and you can go no further. No gentleman can have the opportunity of amending this amendment because, forsooth, the vote has been taken upon it. The gentleman from Chester, on his left, (Mr. BELL) offered an amendment to the report of the committee: JEFFERSON's Manual says the friends of that measure have the right to perfect it before it is agreed to. The gentleman from Chester on his right (Mr. DARLINGTON) moved to strike out that amendment and insert another amendment, and by all parliamentary rules, no amendment could be offered to this, and hence the body was brought to the necessity of deciding between these two amendments. This latter amendment then being adopted takes the place of the former, and who will say that it is not open to be perfected and amended until the vote is taken on agreeing to the amendment, as amended. Other gentlemen may have propositions to offer which will meet the views of the committee and suit the mem bers better than the amendment which has been adopted. Ifso, they have never had the opportunity to offer them, and if the decision of the Chair is sustained they never will have the opportunity. The authority which gentlemen refered to, he imagined, was applied to the wrong question, and here is where the whole mistake lies. It is very good authority, but they apply it to the amendment to the amendment instead of to the main question. The vote has not yet been taken on the main question, therefore it is open to be made as perfect as we can. The whole mistake of those gentlemen who had argued on this subject, was, that they did not apply their rule to the right question. The argument was a good one, when applied to the main
question and that was, doubtless, the question to which Mr. JEFFERSON intended it to apply. Was it possible we were going to have a rule forced upon us which will give to two gentlemen the privilege of preventing all the other members of the body from offering their views, or their propositions ? The argument of gentlemen was, that if the decision of the CHAIR was not sustained, we would be pestered with amendments forever. Well, if we are pestered with amendments gentlemen can listen to them until they get tired, and then move the previous question, which would close the door upon these amendments. But he had understood the President of the Convention as saying that the previous question would cut off this amendment. This was not the case in his view of the matter, because the vote had been taken on this and the previous question only cut off those amendments on which no vote had been taken. Gentlemen have said if we have any propositions which we desire to bring forward, we have the liberty to read them in our places. We can do this to be sure, but they must recollect after having read these propositions we are not at liberty to go into an explanation of them, much less can other gentlemen give their views upon them. A proposition may contain sound principles, yet at first sight they may not present themselves to the views of gentlemen. A little discussion might satisfy every one, that the proposition was the best that could be offered, but there would be no opportunity afforded to discuss it. This, then was no cure for the evil. There must be some time and some place where gentlemen can have the opportunity of offering amendments; and that time, in his opinion, was the present, because they could not be offered when the amendment to the amendment was pending, and they certainly cannot be offered after the final vote is taken This he conceived to be the proper time for amendment because the question was precisely in the same situation as it was after the gentleman from Chester (Mr. BELL) first submited his amendment, and it was now open for amendment in the same manner as that question was open for amendment. Gentlemen have told us, there is no way of reaching our object but by reconsidering the vote on the amendment. It is true those who voted for the amendment may move to reconsider it, but perhaps, they were of the same opinion now, as they were when they gave their votes ; and, if so, it could not be reconsidered. Their being of that opinion now, however, was no evidence that they might not be better pleased with some other proposition which some gentleman might desire to present if he had the opportunity to do so, and express his views on the subject. If the decision of the Chair was sustained, and he had any proposition hereafter which he had very much at heart, he would get some gentleman to aid him, and they would first offer some unimportant amendment, and then move the one he desired to have passed as an amendment to it, and if the House prefered the latter to the former of the amendments, gentlemen would be cut off from amending it, and it would be safe. This was a mode of carrying a proposition which he had never dreamed of before. As he had before said, the whole error in this matter was in applying the rule from JEFFERSON's Manual in the wrong place. After the vote was taken on the main question, then he admited the rule applied with full force; then we cannot strike any thing out of the amendment, but at present the question was certainly open to amendment either by striking out or inserting.
Mr, EARLE said the gentleman from Franklin (Mr CHAMBERS) had stated
that an attempt was here made to reconsider the question which had been decided on yesterday, by those who voted against it. Now he would endeavor to show that there had been nothing like an attempt to reconsider the question decided on yesterday. What was the question decided on yesterday? It was simply that the committee prefered the amendment of the gentleman from Chester, on the other side of the House, to the amendment of the gentleman from Chester on this side of the House. What was the essential distinction between the two? It was as to the residence of six or twelve months; and the Convention decided that they prefered the twelve to the six months. Now, did the gentleman from Susquehanna propose to strike out this principle of twelve months which the committee had adopted ? Not at all. He only proposed to carry out in the amendment a matter which the committee had not decided upon. Suppose the gentleman from Chester (Mr. DARLINGTON) had only desired to make a change in the amendment, from six to twelve months, but to do this he had moved to strike out the whole amendment and put it in different words, but to the same effect, excepting that part relating to the six months' residence: Would the adoption of such an amendment preclude all amendments thereafter? We have made but one amendment, yet the rule says we may make the proposition as perfect as we can by amendments. The proposition submited is not the same as the report of the committee, and it is not the same as that of either of the gentlemen who have submited their amendments, and before the question was taken on the report of the committee, he conceived we had the right to amend and make it as perfect as possible. It had been said by the President of the Convention that it was a fixed rule that what had been agreed upon by the body was to stand. This only applied, as he conceived, to the main question, because the rule said you might perfect a proposition, by amendmnents; and even says that the Chair shall not decide against an amendment which goes to change the proposition. He was of opinion, therefore, that the proposition of the gentleman from Susquehanna, was in order.
Mr. FLEMING said, if this question had been disposed of, as questions before flaxseed courts generally were, he should have had no difficulty in making up an opinion on the matter; because, in those courts you hear but one side of a question. If he had heard but one side of this question discussed, he should have had no difficulty in coming to a conclusion ; but having heard the matter discussed on both sides, and turned round in so many different ways, it was a difficult matter for him, in the confusion of the question, to tell what to do. He had merely risen to say, without knowing any thing from the rules, as to who was right and who was wrong, that he should sustain the appeal of the gentleman from Susquehanna, because he looked upon it as presenting to us the most liberal and enlarged construction of the rules. It goes to open the door to amendments, which he thought might be proper to be introduced here, and for this reason he should support it. He believed it was the best plan for those gentlemen who were entirely unlearned in matters of rules, to pursue a course which would give every gentleman the opportunity of presenting his views at large, which might otherwise be cut off by some rule which he was not aware of. It did not appear to him to be so much matter what any particular rule was, so that it was properly understood. The understanding of it was the material point. Then, for the purpose
of understanding this rule, hereafter, and of giving it the most liberal construction, he would go with the gentleman from Susquehanna, and against the decision of the Chair.
Mr. HASTINGS enquired, whether, if the amendment to the amendment should be rejected, we should not be back exactly where we started two days ago
The Chair answered in the affirmative.
Mr. HASTINGS then enquired, if the amendment was sustained, whether there would not then have to be another question taken upon it.
The CHAIR said this had, heretofore, been the course pursued.
Mr. HASTINGS said he should then vote to sustain the decision of the CHAIR.
Mr. READ: If this amendment which I have proposed, cannot be moved now, when will it be in order ?
The Chair said he had no feeling on this question, and should content himself by merely stating the question to the committee. The motion was not decided out of order, because it was proposed as an amendment to the amendment as adopted, but because it went to destroy a part of the amendment adopted by the committee. The gentleinan from Susquehanna had moved to strike out a part of the amendment adopted by the committee yesterday and insert the proposition which had been read by the Clerk. The Chair had decided this to be out of order, and from this decision an appeal had been taken. The question, then, would be, shall the decision of the Chair stand as the judgment of the House?
The question was then taken, and the decision of the Chair affirmed yeas, 72; nays, 45—as follows:
Yus-Messrs. Agnew, Ayres, Barndollar, Barnitz, Bayne, Biddle, Brown of Lancaster, Brown, of Northampton, Carey, Chambers, Chandler, of Chester, Chauncey, Clapp, Clarke, of Beaver, Clark, of Dauphin, Cline, Coates, Cochran, Cope, Cox, Craig, Cram, Cunningham, Darlington, Denny, Dickerson, Donagan, Fry, Gamble, Gearhart, Harris, Hastings, Henderson, of Allegheny, Henderson, of Dauphin, Hiester, Hopkinson, Houpt, Jenks, Kennedy, Kerr, Konigmacher, Long, Lyons, Maclay, Mann, M'Call, M'Dowell, M'Sherry, Merrill, Merkel, Montgomery, Pennypacker, Pollock, Porter, of Northampton, Porter, of Lancaster, Purviance, Reigart, Russell, Saeger, Scott, Sellers, Seltzer, Scheetz, Sill, Snively, Sterigere, Stevens, Thoma s, Todd, White, Young, Sergeant, President—72.
NarsMessrs. Banks, Bedford, Bell, Bigelow, Bonham, Brown, of Philadelphia, Butler, Clarke, of Indiana, Crain, Crawford, Cammin, Darrah, Dickey, Dillinger, Donnell, Doran, Earle, Farrelly, Fleming, Foulkroad, Fuller, Gilmore, Grenell, Hamlin, Hayhurst, Helffenstein, High, Hyde, Krebs, Magee, Martin, M'Cahen, Miller, Myers, Nevin, Read, Ritter, Rogers, Shellito, Smith, Sn ayth, Stickel, Swetland, Taggart, Weava-45.
Mr. STERIGERE then submited the fullo, ving, to come in at the end of the proposition before the Chair : “And pro vided, that neither paupers, nor persons who have been convicted of any i ofamous crime, nor persons who have been found by inquest, non compos: mentis, or habitual drunkards, shall be permited to vote at any electio 6. The election laws shall be equal throughout the State, and no great er or other restrictions shall be imposed on the electors, in any city, county, or district, than are imposed on the electors of every other eity, county, or district",
Mr. MARTIN moved to amend the amendment by inserting, after the word “paupers”, the words " colored persons”.
The Chair said, this amendment would not now be in order.
Mr. Martin said, he was then precisely in the same situation which he was in on yesterday. It was too soon to amend now, and it would be too late after the amendment to the amendment was adopted.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM said he was opposed to the amendment of the gentleman from Montgomery, for the simple reason that it prevented the Legislature from passing laws in relation to elections, which were to operate on but one or two districts. He considered that it was necessary that the regulations of elections in the city and county of Philadelphia, should be different from what they were in the less populous districts, and it was proper that the Legislature should have the power of making such regulations as might be desired by the citizens of those districts.
Mr. STERIGERE then called for a division of the question, to end with the word “ election".
Mr. Brown said his colleague (Mr. Martin) had on yesterday evening offered his amendment either to be inserted in the body of the amendment, or to come in at the end, and if the committee was disposed to entertain any amendment he thought that of his colleague should take precedence of all others.
The CHAIR said the motion of the gentleman's colleague was, to insert in the very first line, the word "white".
Mr. Brown: There, or at the end of the amendment.
Mr. Martin said this was what he had said at the time he submited his amendment.
The CHAIR said he had not so understood the gentleman, or he would have entertained the motion at the end of the amendment.
Mr. DARLINGTON thought the gentleman from Montgomery had introduced his amendmert at the wrong place. The object could better be attained, he thought, by having a general Constitutional provision on the subject, and allow the Legislature to determine in relation to the persons to be excluded. He also objected to that part of it which provides that no law in relation to elections, shall be different in one place from another. He thought, that in the city and county of Philadelphia there had been frequently applications for the passage of laws, different from those which governed other election districts. It was known to every one from that city that there they have two inspectors, which is not the case in other districts, and the law allowing them to have these additional inspectors, were passed on their own application. It might also be necessary for the Legislature, hereafter to provide for them other and different laws from the other districts, on their own application, and if this amendment is adopted, it will prevent the passage of such laws. He thought, therefore, it ought not to be adopted.
Mr. McCahen said, as at present advised, he should vote against the amendment of the gentleman from Montgomery. Perhaps on future deliberation he might change his rnind, as he was not now prepared to say what course he should take in future with regard to this matter. At present a person who was suffering the penalties of a conviction for crime in your penitentiaries or jails cannot participate in the election ; but was that man to be excluded from the exercise of this inestimable right after he has