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county, then in the newspaper or papers nearest to the same, and shall specify the objects of such incorporation, the amount of capital stock requisite to carry their objects into effect; and in case of an application for any alteration in any charter already granted, it shall be the duty of the stockholders or directors of such incorporation, to state in such notice specifically, the alteration so to be applied for; and that due proof shall be made of such notice having been published, previous to leave being given to bring in any bill to comply with any such application.
II. And be it further enacted, That the like notice shall be published of any application to divide any county within this state, or to erect any new county out of parts of counties.
Supplemental to an act, entitled" An Act relative to Incorporations, and the division of Counties." Passed April 10, 1818.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of NewYork, represented in Senate and Assembly, That from and after the passing of this act, upon all applications intended to be made to the legislature of this state, for removing any court-house, or imposing a tax for the laying out, making or improving any road, in or through the several counties of this state, or for any local purposes where all or any part of the inhabitants of said counties are proposed to be taxed, it shall be the duty of such applicants to give the like notice, and make the same proof thereof, as is prescribed in the first section of the act, entitled "An act relatiye to incorporations, and the division of counties," passed March 26, 1813.
THE legislative power of this state is vested in a Senate and Assembly. Const. Art. 1. Sec. 1.
The senate consists of thirty two members, each chosen for four years, and must be freeholders. Const. Sec. 2. Art. 1.
The assembly consists of one hundred and twenty eight members who are annually elected. Const. Sec. 2. of Art. 1.
No minister of the Gospel can be a member of either branch of the legislature. Const. Art. 7. Sec. 4.
A MAJORITY of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business. Each house shall determine the rules of its own proceedings, and be the judge of the qualifications of its own members. Each house shall choose its own officers; and the senate shall choose a temporary president, when the lieutenant-governor shall not attend as president, or shall act as governor. Const. Art. 1. Sec. 3.
Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same, except such parts as may require secrecy. The doors of each house shall be kept open except when the public welfare shall require secrecy. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than two days. Const. Art. 1. Sec. 4.
Members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial, except such inferior officers as may by law be exempted, shall, before they enter on the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath
or affirmation. I do solemnly swear, (or affirm, as the case may be,) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of NewYork; and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of according to the best of my ability.
And no other oath, declaration, or test, shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust. Const. Art. 6.
The lieutenant-governor is president of the senate, but has only a casting vote therein. Const. Art. 3. Sec. 7. The clerk of the senate is not chosen annually. In the assembly a presiding officer is chosen by the members present, (being a quorum,) and from former usage is called "The Speaker." After the speaker has been placed in the chair, the house then proceed by ballot, resolution, or motion, at pleasure, to choose a clerk, sergeant at arms, and door-keepers: then the organization of the assembly is completed.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ADHERING TO RULES.
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 controul 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, 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 an 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 prserved in a dignified public body. 2 Hats. 149.
And in 1698 the Lords say "the reasonableness of what is desired is never considered by us, for we are bound to consider nothing but what is usual. Matters of form are essential to government, and 'tis of consequence to be in the right. All the reason for forms is custom, and the law of forms is practice; and reason is quite out of doors. Some particular customs may not be grounded on reason, and no good account can be given of them; and yet many nations are zealous for them; and Englishmen are as zealous as any others to pursue their old forms and methods." 4 Hats. 258.
And this subject has been still further and elegantly illustrated by the Onslow of the United States, the Honorable Henry Clay, Esq. for many years Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Union. In his address on taking the chair on the 1st of Dec. 1823, is the following brief outline :
"The principles which should regulate the execution of the duties of the incumbent of the chair are not difficult to comprehend, although their application to particular instances is often extremely delicate and perplexing. They enjoin promptitude and impartiality in deciding the various questions of order, as they arise, firmness and dignity in his deportment towards the house, patience, good temper, and courtesy, towards the individual members, and the best arrangement and distribution of the talent H2
of the house, in its numerous subdivisions, for the des patch of the public business, and the fair exhibition of every subject presented for consideration. They espe cially require of him, in those moments of agitation, from which no deliberative assembly is always entirely exempt, to remain cool and unshaken, amidst all the storms of debate, carefully guarding the preservation of the permanent laws and rules of the house, from being sacrificed to temporary passions, prejudices or interests.
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 time to time, and repeated, till some example of their admission enable 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, 1, That they are at all times exempted from question elsewhere for any thing said in their own house; that during the time of privilege, 2, Neither a member himself,* his wife, or his servants, (familiares, sui) for any matter of their own, may be arrested,† on mesne process, in any civil suit: 3, Nor be detained under execution, though levied before time of privilege: 4, Nor impleaded, cited, or subpoenaed in any court: 5, Nor summoned as a witness or juror: 6, Nor may their lands or goods be distrained: 7, 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 the 10. G. 3. c. 50, which permits judiciary proceedings to go on against them. That these privileges must be continually progressive,
*Ord. of the H. of Com. 1663, July 16.
t Elsynge 217. 1 Hats. 21. Grey's deb. 133.