Political Tactics

By Michael James; Cyprian Blamires et al. | Go to book overview

When a member has caused a motion, a bill, an amendment to be inscribed in the register, he should not be allowed to withdraw or abandon it, without leave from the assembly. A simple prohibition alone is not sufficient in this respect: it ought to be an inflexible law. If the author of the act in question be not present on the day fixed, to support it--unless there be lawful reason for absence, he ought to incur the censure of the assembly, and his name should be inscribed in a separate book, having for its title, List of the deserters of motions, &c.

This rigorous law is requisite--1. In order to prevent thoughtless motions, and the confusion which would be produced by the false appearance of a great mass of business which would vanish at the moment in which it was touched.

2. To prevent the destruction of public confidence by accustoming the people to see that the motions which are announced are dropped by neglect.

3. To prevent the abuse which might be made of this instrument by announcing motions which there is no intention to support, either for the purpose of spreading alarm, or to affect the public funds; or for the purpose of preventing other parties from registering their motions or their bills, by an apparent monopoly of business; and because the evil which an individual could effect in this respect would be susceptible of the most alarming extension by means of combination among the members of a party.


CHAPTER X.
OF THE DRAWING UP OF LAWS.

WE proceed to consider the motions as compositions destined to become laws, and be presented to the examination of the assembly. In this respect it is desirable that they should possess that form which will allow them to be discussed in detail, and amended.

____________________
prepared? This certainly ought not to be the rule,--but the rather, that before the day of assembly, the motions intended to be made ought to be published.

There exist, in some assemblies of this kind, regulations which prohibit their convocation without a public declaration of the object of the meeting. This regulation ought to be universal; and there ought to be added to it, as a necessary condition, that the principal motion in its totality should be annexed to the act of convocation; that there should be a sufficient interval to allow of the publication of rival propositions, and that no motion should be presented to such assemblies, which had not been previously made known to the public. Will it be said, these are fetters and stumbling-stones for freedom. This would be a mistake: they are parapets upon the edge of precipices. Everything which renders reflection and order necessary in the proceedings of a free people is the assured safeguard of their rights.

-117-

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