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WHEN this work was first contemplated, there were no foreshadowings of the task imposed in its completion. To the kind counsel, and earnest encouragement, of the Hon. John A. Stein, State Senator of La Fayette, Ind., at whose instance it was undertaken, a full measure of whatever merit it may possess, is gratefully awarded.

The analogy in the mode of procedure in the American Congress, and Assemblies, to that of an almost immemorial usage in the English Parliament, is strikingly apparent in the order of debate, the introduction, and different stages of bills, the powers of the respective Houses, and the presentation and reference of papers; indeed, with but few exceptions, American decisions and forms have been drawn. from "Lex Parliamentaria." “This law of Parliament is admitted to be part of the unwritten law of the land, and, as such, is only to be collected, according to the words of Sir Edward Coke, 'out of the rolls of Parliament and other records, and by precedents and continued experience."

While it cannot be expected that English authorities are universally applicable in this country, yet whatever bears their sanction deserves regard. The judicious mind will investigate their reason, nor lightly reject precepts, because merely of their antiquity. Rules which have withstood the

innovations of centuries, endorsed by the best authors, and by experienced officers of the House of Commons, merit equal consideration, to say the least, with rulings of more recent origin, frequently, immature decisions made in cases of exigency, or possibly influenced by partisan bias.

The authorities, though few, are too voluminous for the use of deliberative bodies. An abstract, accordingly, of the principles, and rules laid down by them, and the decisions based thereon, which shall combine the advantages of a manual and treatise, is attempted in the following pages, for the material of which, the English, and American writers, and the Congressional Debates, and Journals have been searched, and carefully compared. The citations embrace the questions of order decided, and the rulings made in the 40th Congress.

Our country is becoming one great field of debate, and an understanding of its rules an essential part of the education of its private citizens, as well as its public men. If, in any way, the author's labors shall assist in acquiring this knowledge, his wishes will have been attained. With this hope, and for the accomplishment of this purpose, he is pleased to inscribe this Digest of Parliamentary Law to the American People.

Indianapolis, January, 1869.




We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


SECTION 1. All the legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

SEC. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature.

No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, threefifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Repre

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