Political Tactics

By Michael James; Cyprian Blamires et al. | Go to book overview
6. The motion may be avoided, 6. The previous question is not
by moving the previous question. admissible.
Some of these distinctions appear useful; others are altogether arbitrary:--
1. It is highly proper that bills and motions composed of a series of articles, should undergo two different discussions--first as a whole,+ and afterwards article by article.+ This subject has already been considered in Chapter XI. §3, "'Of three Debates.'"
2. It is highly proper, that upon important subjects there should be two forms of debate: the strict debate, in which each member may speak, but speak only once--and the free debate, in which he has the liberty of replying.
3. With regard to the change of the president, the inconveniences of allowing the president of the assembly to take part in its discussions have been elsewhere pointed out: he is a judge, and as a judge ought not to be exposed to the danger of being infected with party spirit.

CHAPTER XVI. OF FORMULAS.

FORMULAS are models of what ought to be said upon each occasion by the individual to whom it is prescribed that he should express himself in a certain manner. It can scarcely be determined beforehand, how many formulas an assembly may require: they will be many or few,+ according to the number of the members, and according to the nature of its powers.

It is proper, for example, that the president always take the votes in the same manner, employing the same expressions--that the members make use of the same terms in presenting their motions, in requiring the exercise of any of their rights,--&c. &c.

Everything unnecessary in such formulas is pernicious. Clearness and brevity:--such are the essential qualities: to attempt to ornament them at the expense of precision, is to disfigure them.

Formulas not only save words: they have a superior utility--they prevent variations which may have a concealed object--and, above all, they prevent disputes.

In England, the royal sanction is always expressed by the same words: Le Roi le veut; and if he reject a bill, the formula of refusal is equally determined: Le Roi s'atisera.1

Judicial formulas have too often merited the reproach which has been

____________________
1
See Hatsell ii. 247; Lords Journals, xv. 733.

-155-

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