Political Tactics

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

Let us suppose that one of the opponents of the motion had proposed that it be adopted, upon the insertion of the word necessary before influence.

Here would be an example of the amendment insidious; since the insertion of this word would have rendered the motion contradictory, and even criminal; and the amendment having been admitted, the motion ought to be rejected.

Another example:--A motion having been made for the production of all letters written by the Lords of the Admiralty to an officer of marines,-- it was proposed to add as an amendment, the words 'which letters may contain orders, or relate to orders not executed, and still subsisting.' The amendment having been adopted, the whole motion was rejected without a division.1

This mode of procedure united both the inconveniences I have mentioned: insult and derision were its object--cunning and tergiversation were its means. It was entirely opposed to the maxim--suaviter in modo, fortiter in re.2


CHAPTER XIII. OF DILATORY MOTIONS, OR MOTIONS OF ADJOURNMENT.

A motion made, and its proposer heard, it is lawful for any member, from this moment to the conclusion of the debate, provided he does not interrupt any speech, to propose a dilatory motion; and this shall take precedence of the previous motion.

There are three kinds of dilatory motion:--
Indefinite adjournment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (sine die.)
Fixed adjournment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (in diem.)
Relative adjournment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (post quam.)

This latter motion consists in proposing to adjourn till after a future event: for example, till after the discussion of another motion, or of some bill already upon the order-book--or till after the presentation of a report,

____________________
1
In the House of Commons on 12 March 1728, a motion was proposed for the production of all letters written between the Lords of the Admiralty and Commodore Edward St. Lo (? 1682-1729) relating to British ships engaged in hostilities with the Spanish. See Commons Journals, xxi. 264. This example and the previous one were also cited by Romilly, in Règlemens observés dans la Chambre des Communes pour débattre les matières et pour voter, Paris, 1789, pp. 29-31 ( Tactique des assemblées législatives, i. 320-1).
2
i.e. 'gently in manner, forcibly in deed.' In a letter of December 1821 Bentham attributes this saying, albeit with the phrases reversed, to Philip Dormer Stanhope ( 1694-1773), 4th Earl of Chesterfield; see The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, vol. x, ed. S. Conway, Oxford, 1994 (CW), p. 461. Dumont also reverses the phrases.

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