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American Parliamentary Law, shows how the examination is conducted:
“When an inquiry is instituted and an examination of witnesses undertaken by the House in its inquisitorial capacity, it is customary for the member on whose motion or suggestion the inquiry has been engaged in, or for some of the members voting with him for the inquiry, to take the lead in the examination of the witnesses, or,
in other words, to examine the witnesses in chief.” 1
Plainly, according to this usage, Mr. Schurz, and not Mr. Hamlin, should take the lead and examine the witnesses in chief.
The other parliamentary authority to which I refer is Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. In his valedictory speech, March 3, 1841, this gentleman, who brought thought and study to the discharge of his public duties, took occasion to explain the principles governing the formation of committees, and all must admit that he did it with a clearness and philosophy not surpassed in parliamentary history. According to him, those having the affirmative of a proposition should have the direction of the committee. Speaking generally, he says:
“The party upon which it naturally devolves to propose a question ought to have the power, it would seem, to present its proposition in the shape for which it is willing to be responsible; and as the different parties hold the affirmative according to the nature of the question, so ought the constitution of the committees to be varied.”
Then, in language precisely applicable to the present case, the Speaker says:
1 Lex Parl. Amer., p. 383.
"In committees of investigation it is equally clear that the opposition, who hold the affirmative, should have the majority and the power.”
This instructive statement is in admirable harmony with the rule, as declared in early times, that those “ against the thing” cannot go on the committee, — and that a measure, like a child, is not put to a nurse that cares not for it. The old Parliamentarians were less philosophical than the American Speaker, but each meant the same thing. The prime object is opportunity and fair play for those bringing forward a proposition, or holding the affirmative. A committee organized to sustain the negative is the very committee described as a nurse that cares not for the child, and therefore is a committee not tolerated by Parliamentary Law.
Thus from all quarters — beginning with the distant in time, embracing Jefferson, the father of American Parliamentary Law, Cushing, its most authoritative American expounder, and not forgetting an American Speaker proceeds concurring testimony to the parliamentary rule requiring an inquiry to be placed in the hands of its friends; especially is it necessary that the chairman, who directs the inquiry and examines the witnesses, should be known as one of its friends.
Therefore I must be pardoned, if I renew my Protest against the competency of the present Committee. I protest against it as constituted in flagrant violation of Parliamentary Law; and I protest especially agaiust the acting Chairman, who undertakes to direct this inquiry and to examine witnesses, as not coming within the conditions established by rule, by usage, and by reason.
i Congressional Globe, 26th Cong. 21 Sess., p. 231. Cushing, Lex Parl. Amer., App. XIV., p. 1009.
The record shows that he did not move the inquiry, nor did he coöperate with the mover, or take any part in sustaining him, while in open speech he showed himself
against the thing." I object to the acting Chairman as to a judge or juror disqualified to sit in a court.
I make this second Protest with infinite reluctance. But the Committee leave me no alternative. In their invitation, in the nature of a summons, and now in their subpæna, they compel me to declare my objection to their competency. Seeing it as clearly as I do, and feeling it as strongly as I do, I cannot avoid expressing it. If I do so twice, it is because the Committee have laid me twice under this obligation. Beyond that sentiment of duty which is with me a rule of life, I am encouraged to this effort by the hope that, even if the present Committee cannot be corrected in conformity with Parliamentary Law, its incompetency is so clearly exposed that it will be powerless hereafter as a precedent. If obliged to witness the present dishonor of a time-honored rule, I would at least save this safeguard for the future.
In thus declaring my profound sense of the wrong that has been attempted, I do all in my power to maintain Parliamentary Law inviolate. I regret that I cannot do more.
With this explanation, and yielding to the command of the Committee, I offer myself for examination on matters proper for inquiry; but I do it under protest.
SENATE CHAMBER, 27th March, 1872.
Mr. Carpenter moved that the two Protests be returned to Mr. Sumner, as disrespectful to the Committee. On a subsequent day the motion was withdrawn.
BOOKS ON THE FREE LIST.
REMARKS IN THE SENATE ON MOVING AN AMENDMENT TO A
Tariff Bill, March 27, 1872.
On the question of concurrence in an amendment made in Committee of the Whole relative to the free list, Mr. Sumner said :
MOVE to amend that amendment by adding after
the provision as to books, as arranged alphabetically in the free list,
Books in the ancient and foreign languages.
I have letters very often from learned professors in different parts of the country, complaining of the cost of books that they are constrained to purchase in order to carry on their studies and to enable them to teach. This is the case with Greek professors, professors in all the languages, ancient and modern. It is also the case with men of science, who desire works in the Continental languages; they complain bitterly of the expense to which they are put.
Now, if I can have the attention of the Senate one moment, I will endeavor to show that these works cannot come in competition with any books here at home. Certainly they cannot with regard to any considerable interest. I think, if these could be put on the free list, an essential service would be done; the revenue would
lose very little, and no considerable interest in our country would suffer. I hope, therefore, there can be no question but that the Senate will allow this to be adopted.
Mr. Morrill [of Vermont]. I trust this amendment will not be adopted. It is evidently an old acquaintance of the Senate. I think the Senator from Massachusetts has always moved it whenever he has had an opportunity.
To the argument advanced by Mr. Morrill in support of this objec. tion, - namely, "that the school-books of America should be American in character, and printed and published by American publishers," – Mr. Sumner replied :
Mr. PRESIDENT,— The argument of my friend is against English books, and not books in ancient or foreign languages. At any rate, the chief point of his argument was addressed to works in the English language. He called our attention, for instance, to Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible,” an English work; and he knows well, that, as it is a recent work, it is not on our free list, and the amendment which I move does not touch it. My amendment concerns books in the ancient languages, and in foreign languages, that is, in the languages of modern Europe; and the single point of the Senator is school-books. Now I ask whether we should not do all we can to make the school-books as cheap as possible? Will the Senator put a protective duty on school-books ? — make the child
with “shining morning face" as he goes to school pay a duty ? I would have the school-books as cheap as possible. But then how few are the school-books that would come in under this provision ?
My amendment reaches the large amount of works concerning science and literature and jurisprudence in ancient and in foreign languages; and why should these be subjected to a duty ? Why should those scholars,