'That when the house, or any committee of the whole house, shall 'be sitting, and daylight be shut in, the serjeant-at-arms attending 'this house do take care that candles be brought in, without any par❝ticular order for that purpose.'

"If a question be complicated, the house may order it to be divided, so that each part may be determined separately. A right has been claimed, in both houses, for an individual member to insist upon the division of a complicated question; but it has not been recognized, nor can it be reasonable to allow it, because, 1st, the house might not think the question complicated; and, 2ndly, the member objecting to its complexity, may move its separation by amendments."-pp. 216–222.

"When all preliminary debates and objections to a question are disposed of, the question must next be put, which is done in the following manner. The speaker, if necessary, takes a written or printed copy of the question, and states or reads it to the house, at length, beginning with The question is, that.' This form of putting the question is always observed, and precedes (or is supposed to precede) every vote of the house, however insignificant, except in cases where a vote is a formal direction, in virtue of previous orders; as where private bills having been read a second time, are referred to the Committee of Selection.


as many as

"In the Lords, when the question has been put, the speaker says, "As many as are of that opinion say 'content' " and " as many as are of a contrary opinion say not content;"" and the respective parties exclaim 'content' or 'not content,' according to their opinions. In the Commons, the speaker takes the sense of the house by desiring that "as many as are of that opinion say 'aye,' and " are of the contrary opinion say "no." On account of these forms, the two parties are distinguished in the Lords as 'contents' and 'not contents,' and in the Commons as the 'ayes' and 'noes.' When each party have exclaimed according to their opinion, the speaker endeavours to judge, from the loudness and general character of the opposing exclamations, which party have the majority. As his judgment is not final, he expresses his opinion thus: "I think the (contents' or) 'ayes' have it," or, "I think the (not contents' or) 'noes' have it." If the house acquiesce in this decision, the question is said to be resolved in the affirmative' or 'negative,' according to the supposed majority on either side; but if the party thus declared to be the minority dispute the fact, they say "no; the contents' (or not contents') the 'ayes' (or 'noes') have it:" and the actual numbers must be counted, by means of what is called a division.


"The question is stated distinctly by the speaker; but in case it should not be heard, it will be stated again."-pp. 223, 224.

All this is fully supported by the authorities quoted in the


The chapter on amendments to questions, and on amendments to proposed amendments, is equally clear. The amendments

may be made, 1. By leaving out certain words; 2. By leaving out certain words in order to insert or add others; and 3. By inserting or adding certain words; and of amendments no notice is required, nor is the member, who has given notice, entitled thereby to any precedence.

"Several amendments may be moved to the same question, but subject to these restrictions: 1. No amendment can be made in the first part of a question, after the latter part has been amended, or has been proposed to be amended, if a question has been put upon such proposed amendment. But if an amendment to insert or add words to a question be withdrawn, by leave of the house, the fact of that amendment having been proposed will not preclude the proposal of another amendment, affecting an earlier part of the question, so long as it does not extend farther back than the last words upon which the house have already expressed an opinion: for the withdrawal of the first amendment leaves the question in precisely the same condition as if no amendment had been proposed. Each separate amendment must be put in the order in which, if agreed to, it would stand in the amended question; but should a member, being in possession of the house, move an amendment, another member may propose to amend an earlier part of the question, and his amendment, though proposed the last, will be put first to the vote. 2. When the house have agreed that certain words shall stand part of a question, it is irregular to propose any amendment to those words, as the decision of the house has already been pronounced in their favour. But this rule would not exclude an addition to the words, if proposed at the proper time. 3. In the same manner, when the house have agreed to add or insert words in a question, their decision may not be disturbed by any amendment of those words.

"But when a member desires to move an amendment to a part of the question proposed to be omitted by another amendment, or to alter words proposed to be inserted, it is sometimes arranged that only the first part of the original amendment shall be formally proposed, in the first instance, so as not to preclude the consideration of the second amendment. The convenience of the house may also be consulted, in some cases, by the withdrawal of an amendment, and the substitution of another, the same in substance as the first, but omitting certain words to which objections are entertained. Another proceeding may also be resorted to, by which an amendment is intercepted, as it were, before it is offered to the house, in its original form, by moving to amend the first proposed amendment. This can be done when the original amendment proposed is, to leave out or to insert or add certain words: or when certain words have been left out of a question, and it is then proposed to insert or add other words instead thereof. In such cases an amendment may be proposed to the proposed amendment, and the questions put by the speaker thereupon deal with the first amendment as if it were a distinct question, and with the second as if it were an ordinary amendment.


"It must be observed, that no motion to amend a proposed amendment can be entertained, until the amendment has, for the time, assumed the place of the original question, and become, as it were, a substantive question itself; otherwise there would be three points under consideration at once, viz. the question, the proposed amendment, and the amendment of that amendment. But when the question for adopting the words of an amendment is put forward distinctly, and apart from the original question, no confusion arises from moving amendments to it, before its ultimate adoption is proposed."pp. 228-231.

The proceeding is no doubt complicated, yet, as here explained, it is perfectly intelligible. The rules with reference to petitions are also given in a way to be of considerable use to those who promote petitions, to be sent up stairs to a sub-committee, to be by them classified, and to be reckoned of value according to the number of the signatures and the vigilance of the getters up, rather than according to their intrinsic importance. It is a common notion that the number of petitions has fallen off since the rules of the House of Commons have prevented any discussion on their presentation; but such is not the case. The numbers presented during the last two sessions will show how widely a knowledge of the technical rules of the House requires to be extended. During the session of 1849, there were seventy reports presented to the House by the committee on public petitions, giving an analysis of (in round numbers) 9700 petitions; in the session of 1850, their reports amounted to seventy-five, and fill two large volumes, the number of petitions having increased to 16,100, owing_principally to the interest taken in the questions of admitting Jews to seats in the House, and to the closing of the post offices on Sundays.

"Without a prayer, a document will not be taken as a petition; and a paper, assuming the style of a remonstrance, will not be received.

"The petition should be written upon parchment or paper, for a printed or lithographed petition will not be received; and at least one signature should be upon the same sheet or skin upon which the petition is written. It must be in the English language, or accompanied with a translation which the member who presents it states to be correct; it must be free from interlineations or erasures; it must be signed; it must have original signatures or marks, and not copies from the original, nor signatures of agents on behalf of others, except in case of incapacity by sickness; and it must not have letters, affidavits, or other documents annexed. The signatures must be written upon the petition itself, and not pasted upon, or otherwise transferred to it. Petitions of corporations aggregate should be under their common seal. To these rules another may be added, that if the

chairman of a public meeting signs a petition on behalf of those assembled, it is only received as the petition of the individual, and is so entered on the Journals, because the signature of one party for others cannot be recognized.

"It may be a useful caution to state, that any forgery or fraud in the preparation of petitions, or in the signatures attached, or the being privy to, or cognizant of, such forgery or fraud, will be punished as a breach of privilege. By a resolution of the House of Commons, 2d June, 1774, it was declared,

That it is highly unwarrantable, and a breach of the privilege of 'this house, for any person to set the name of any other person to ' any petition to be presented to this house.'

And there have been frequent instances in which such irregularities have been discovered and punished by both houses."-pp. 384, 385.

We have purposely made our extracts from those portions of the work which possess an interest extended beyond the members of the legislature, and the parliamentary counsel and agents. To the latter it would be superfluous to recommend Mr. May's work; it is no more to be dispensed with in their libraries than Archbold's Common Law Practice, or Smith and Daniel's Treatises on Chancery Practice by the attorneys and solicitors. Its use, however, may be beneficially extended to all branches of the profession. There is not a professional person in any district of the United Kingdom who has not more or less to advise upon and to study proceedings on private bills; none, therefore, who do not require a manual, if not for actual practice, at least for reference, as good as from a seven years' personal use we have found Mr. May's work to be. It is ample in giving authorities for every position, and it is eminently free from conjectural statements. Promoters of private bills have ample opportunities for gaining advice and professional assistance, and avail themselves largely-may we add, most expensively-of both. The opponents of private bills are not usually so well provided in purse or in knowledge, and for their guidance we close our extracts with the regulations and practice as to petitioners being heard against an entire bill, or against its clauses.

"All the petitions against a bill which have been deposited within the time limited, stand referred to the committee; but no petitioners are entitled to be heard unless they have prayed to be heard by themselves, their counsel or agents, nor unless they have a locus standi, according to the rules and usage of parliament; nor unless their petition and the proceedings thereupon be otherwise in conformity with the rules and orders of the house.

"Some petitions pray to be heard against the preamble and clauses of the bill; some against certain clauses only; and others pray for the

insertion of protective clauses, or for compensation for damage which will arise under the bill. Unless the petitioners pray to be heard against the preamble, they will not be entitled to be heard, nor to cross-examine any of the witnesses of the promoters upon the general case, nor otherwise to appear in the proceedings of the committee until the preamble has been disposed of. Nor will a general prayer against the preamble entitle the petitioner to be heard against it, if his interest be merely affected by certain clauses of the bill. The proper time for urging objections to parties being heard against the preamble is when their counsel or agent first rises to put a question to a witness, or to address any observations to the committee. This is also the proper time for objecting that petitioners are not entitled to be heard on any other grounds.

"Petitioners are said to have no locus standi before a committee, when their property or interests are not directly and specially affected by the bill, or when, for other reasons, they are precluded from opposing it. The committee will determine, according to the circumstances of each case, whether petitioners have such an interest as to entitle them to be heard; and such circumstances will necessarily vary according to the special relations of the petitioners, and the nature and objects of the bill itself.

"It has been held generally, as a parliamentary rule, that competition does not confer a locus standi; but of late years this rule has been considerably relaxed, and numerous exceptions have in practice been admitted. The proprietors of an existing railway have no right to be heard upon their petition against another line, on the ground that the profits of their undertaking will be diminished. But if it be proposed to take the least portion of land belonging to the company, their locus standi immediately becomes unquestionable. The result of this rule has been, that most of the great parliamentary contests between railway companies have been conducted in the names of landowners. Each company have obtained the signatures of landowners to petitions against the rival scheme; have instructed counsel to appear upon them; and have defrayed all the costs of the nominal petitioners. A variation of the practice, however, has been introduced as regards competing schemes referred to the same committee; and in 1848 the rule was further relaxed in favour of the proprietors of canals or navigations. An existing water or gas company has been held to have no locus standi against a new company proposing to supply the same district, unless their property be taken or interfered with; but in recent cases this rule has not been enforced.

"Another important ground of objection to the locus standi of petitioners is, that they are shareholders or members of some corporate body by whom the bill is promoted, and that being legally bound by the acts of the majority, they are precluded from being heard as individual petitioners. This objection was argued at great length in the case of the Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway Bill, in 1847, when the committee decided that shareholders in the company were not entitled to be heard. Again, in the London, Brighton and

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