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MR. ONSLOW, the ablest among the Speakers of the House of Commons, used to say, “It was a maxim he had often heard when he was a young man, from old and experienced members, that nothing tended more to throw power into the hands of administration and those who acted with the majority of the House of Commons, than a neglect of, or departure from, the rules of proceeding; that these forms, as instituted by our ancestors, operated as a check, and control, on the actions of the majority; and that they were, in many instances, a shelter and protection to the minority, against the attempts of power.”.

So far the maxim is certainly true, and is founded in good sense, that as it is always in the power of the majority, by their numbers, to stop any improper measures proposed on the part of their opponents, 1 *


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the only weapons by which the minority can defend themselves against similar attempts from those in power, are the forms and rules of proceeding, which have been adopted as they were found necessary from time to time, and are become the law of the house; by a strict adherence to which, the weaker party can only be protected from those irregularities and abuses which these forms were intended to check, and which the wantonness of power is but too often apt to suggest to large and successful majorities.2 Hats. 171, 172

And whether these forms be in all cases the most rational or not, is really not of so great importance. It is much more material that there should be a rule to go by, than what that rule is; that there may be a uniformity of proceeding in business, not subject to the caprice of the Speaker, or captiousness of the members. It is very material that order, decency and regularity be preserved in a dignified public body. -2 Hats. 149.



ALL legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congreso uf the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. — Constitution of the United States, Article I., Sec. tion 1.

The Senatore and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States.- Const. U. S., Art. I. Sect. 6.

For the powers of Congress, see the following Articles and Sections of the Constitution of the United States :-Art. I., Sec. 4, 7, 8, 9 – Art. II., Sec. 1, 2.-Art III., Sec. 3.--Art IV., Sec. 1, 3, 5 –And ali the Amendments.



The privileges of the members of Parliament, from small and obscure beginnings, have been advancing for centuries, with a firm and never-yielding pace. Claims seem to have been brought forward from timo to time, and repeated till some example of their admission enabled them to build law on that example. We can only, therefore, state the point of progression at which they now are. It is now acknowledged, 1st, That they are at all times exempted from question elsewhere, for any thing said in their own house: that during the time of privilege, 2d, Neither a member himself, his wife,* or his servants, [familiares suij for any matter of their own, may bet arrested on mesnt process, in any civil suit: 3d, Nor be detained under execution, though levied before the time of privilege 4th, Nor impleaded, cited, or subpoenaed, in any court: 5th, Nor summoned as a witness or juror: 6th, No may their lands or goods be distrained: 7th, Nor their persons assaulted, or characters traduced. And the period of time, covered by privilege, before and after the session, with the practice of short prorogations under the connivance of the Crown, amounts in fact to a perpetual protection against the course of justice In one instance, indeed, it has been relaxed by 10 G. 3, c. 50, which permits judiciary proceedings to go on against them. That these privileges must be cortinually progressive, seems to result from their rejecting all definition of them; the doctrine being, thar " their dignity and independence are preserved by

* Order of the House of Commons, 1663, July 16
+ Elsynge, 217; 1 Hats. 21; 1 Grey's Deb. 133.

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ile privilege was understood in England to ex. as it does here, only to exemption from arrest ·, inorando, et redeundo, the House of Commons

elves decided that 66 a convenient time was to lerstood.”—1580—1 Hats. 99, 100. Nor is the " strict in point of time as to require the party

out immediately on his return, but allows him to settle his private affairs, and to prepare for bilrney; and does not even scan his road very , nor forfeit his protection for a little deviation that which is most direct; some necessity perconstraining him to it.—2 Stra. 986, 987. mis privilege from arrest, privileges of course stail process, the disobedience to which is puFely an attachment of the person; as a subpoena

niiendum, or testificandum, or a summons on *; and with reason, because a member has supe

os to perform in another place.

sentative is withdrawn from his seat by sumn ons,

whom he represents lose their voice in debate and ir his voluntary absence: when a Senator is with

his State loses half its voice in debate and vote, tary absence. The enormous disparity of evil


imobably be no difference of opinion as to the pri

uses of Congress; but in the following cases it .. 1795, the House of Representatives committed tubules of Randall and Whitney, for attempting to

of certain members, which they considered as a - of the privileges of the House : and the facis

ney was detained in confinement a fortnight, and er three weeks, and was reprimanded by the Speaker. In March, de Bouse of Representatives voted a challenge given to a mem. their House, to be a breach of the privileges of the House ; but oxy apologies and acknowledgments being made, no further

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