Gary c Tesser

A procedure in the US Constitutional Convention

18 posts in this topic

Apparently I have  stumbled (if I were a college graduate, I would say "researched") upon early historian Jonathan Elliot's narrative of the proceedings of the US Constitutional Convention of 1787 (  http://teachingamericanhistory.org/ratification/elliot/vol5/0601_1787/  ).  In the recounting (not counting again, college graduates!) of the events of Friday, June 1st 1787, the following appears (quoted material in italics, if I can get it to work):

Mr. WILSON moved that the executive consist of a single person. Mr. C. PINCKNEY seconded the motion, so as to read “that a national executive, to consist of a single person, be instituted.”...

Mr. Wilson’s motion for a single magistrate was postponed by common consent, the committee seeming unprepared for any decision on it, and the first part of the clause agreed to, viz., “that a national executive be instituted.” 84

Is this a description of current parliamentary procedure, as codified in RONR, or somewhat different, please?

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38 minutes ago, Gary c Tesser said:

Is this a description of current parliamentary procedure, as codified in RONR, or somewhat different, please?

Fascinating stuff, but technically a committee of the whole cannot postpone anything.

If this were an ordinary committee considering a resolution referred to it, then I don't see a problem with postponing an amendment, which is actually in the nature not of a subsidiary motion to Amend, but rather a main motion to include the amendment in the committee's recommendations.

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3 hours ago, Gary c Tesser said:

Is this a description of current parliamentary procedure, as codified in RONR, or somewhat different, please?

"Different"?

Remember, the Constitutional Convention drafted their own special rules of order.

And, because of the time line, they could not have possibly based any of their rules on neither U.S. Congressional models (viz., Senate and House of Representatives).

I would opine that Hatsell's precedents are the closest model they could have tapped into -- English common law, and more specifically, English common parliamentary law.

 

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On 10/20/2016 at 3:13 PM, Shmuel Gerber said:

Fascinating stuff, but technically a committee of the whole cannot postpone anything.

I hope that people realize I was talking about under the current rules, as later explained by Dan Honemann in the obvious follow-up topic to this one, helpfully titled "motion":

http://robertsrules.forumflash.com/index.php?/topic/28917-motion/&do=findComment&comment=166765

 

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Thanks for the reference; I had lost it.

But my concern was not about the committee postponing:  it seemed like something that had simply changed over 90 or so years (or had simply been changed by the House of Representatives when it adopted its rules of order, from where General Robert got it; or it's something that he changed himself in adapting the House's rules for ordinary societies).

What threw me was what looked [ delete:  like] as if the committee disposed of a motion ("Mr. Wilson’s motion for a single magistrate was postponed ..."), but then up and adopted one part of it ("... and the first part of the clause agreed to, viz., “that a national executive be instituted.")  I'm asking, would that fly today (and if so or if not, why)?

Edited by Gary c Tesser
correct grammar: strike "like," insert "as if"

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55 minutes ago, Gary c Tesser said:

What threw me was what looked like the committee disposed of a motion ...

... I'm asking, would that fly today (and if so or if not, why)?

Guesses.

Perhaps the grand Philadelphia convention was not in a true Robertian "committee of the whole" but in a quasi-committee of the whole, where the body can indeed adopt, and can postpone, anything?

Perhaps the common parliamentary law of 1787 did not differentiate so strictly between the 3 forms of C.O.T.W.?

Perhaps the motion was adopted by a "majority of the membership" so that there was no question about its legitimacy?

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9 hours ago, Gary c Tesser said:

What threw me was what looked like the committee disposed of a motion ("Mr. Wilson’s motion for a single magistrate was postponed ..."), but then up and adopted one part of it ("... and the first part of the clause agreed to, viz., “that a national executive be instituted.")  I'm asking, would that fly today (and if so or if not, why)?

Well, no, the committee certainly did not postpone a motion and then up and adopt a part of the motion it had postponed.

The committee had under consideration the seventh of the fifteen resolutions which had been referred to it. This resolution began with the words "Resolved, that a national executive be instituted ..." A motion to amend by inserting ",to consist of a single person," after " national executive" and before "be instituted" was postponed, the committee agreeing, at least for the time being, to have the resolution begin with the words "Resolved, that a national executive be instituted ..."

But the answer to your question is no, this does not at all comport with current parliamentary procedure, as codified in RONR. The resolution doesn't begin with "Resolved, That ..."

Got That?  :)

So anyway, how did you like "animadverted"?  I was impressed.

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann
For no good reason.

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7 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

But the answer to your question is no, this does not at all comport with current parliamentary procedure, as codified in RONR. The resolution doesn't begin with "Resolved, That ..."

Got That?  :)

Must have been a scrivener's error.

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12 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

...  This resolution began with the words "Resolved, that a national executive be instituted ..." 

[Inserting a break for clarity in my own mind. -- GcT]

A motion to amend by inserting ",to consist of a single person," after " national executive" and before "be instituted" was postponed, ..." .

So this motion to amend the resolution was somehow not the subsidiary motion (RONR, 11th Ed., p. 181, l. 28-30)?  Or, is it that they must have been allowed to postpone subsidiary motions, in those days, maybe?

Edited by Gary c Tesser
moved "somehow" from the end of the sentence. Stop me before I kill again

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12 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

... This resolution began with the words "Resolved, that  ..."

 The resolution doesn't begin with "Resolved, That ..."

Got That?  :).

LOL.  Will I never run out of things I'm afraid might turn up on my RP test?

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1 hour ago, Gary c Tesser said:

So this motion to amend the resolution was somehow not the subsidiary motion (RONR, 11th Ed., p. 181, l. 28-30)?  Or, is it that they must have been allowed to postpone subsidiary motions, in those days, maybe?

I'll refer you back to the first response posted in this thread by your neighborhood buddy.

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On 10/26/2016 at 6:36 AM, Daniel H. Honemann said:

... So anyway, how did you like "animadverted"?  I was impressed.

Oh yeh. They talked so cool in those days.  I'm so tempted for forty years or so to use words like that, with superficial insouciance, but I don't for fear I won't get away with the (justified) appearance of pretentiousness.  Reminds me of this joke I read about in the fourth grade.  A little kid comes home for lunch and says to his mom, I learned a new word today, can you surmise what it is?

I mentally flipped a coin to look "animadverted" up, and I'm glad I decided to, because I had only remembered the word as just another word for "said," not remembering that it means "said disparagingly."  But this time, I noticed in the derivation that the first part of the word, "anim-", refers to "animus" (not "animal" or the like), which I hadn't before; which should make it easier to remember.

Which is fine.  After all, Dan, be mindful, we're young yet.

Edited by Gary c Tesser
indefatigable interminable tinkering: inserting "I" between "but" and "don't", as I think it reads better

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On 10/26/2016 at 6:36 AM, Daniel H. Honemann said:

... The committee had under consideration the seventh of the fifteen resolutions which had been referred to it.....

I didn't see that.  Is it in the link (for Friday, June 1st1787), or did you do some research on your own, or just retrieved it from your voluminous memory of classes in pre-Constitutional law from back in your days at Northwestern U. School of Medicine, or what?

On 10/26/2016 at 6:36 AM, Daniel H. Honemann said:

... So anyway, how did you like "animadverted"?  I was impressed.

Also remarkable is how "notoriety" apparently meant only "widely known" (and, for that matter, how "parsons" was used for "persons").  Fascinating (as Shmuel Gerber said about something else, maybe, mirabile dictu, parliamentary procedure) :  I can never get enuff of this stough

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1 hour ago, Gary c Tesser said:

I didn't see that.  Is it in the link (for Friday, June 1st1787), or did you do some research on your own, or just retrieved it from your voluminous memory of classes in pre-Constitutional law from back in your days at Northwestern U. School of Medicine, or what?

It's in the link. Just take it back two or three days.

I knew all about it while it was happening, of course, but you can't really expect me to remember every little detail.

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Readers should know that the text of James Madison's notes on the Philadelphia convention is in the public domain.

You are free to google for it, with the date of June 1, 1787, and read Madison's notes.

***

(excerpt)

>> "Mr. Rutledge animadverted [i.e., "animadvert" = (verb) to take cognizance of or notice of]

>> on the shyness of the gentlemen on this and other subjects."

***

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9 hours ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

Re. ... the text of James Madison's notes ...(excerpt)

>> "Mr. Rutledge animadverted [...] on the shyness of the gentlemen on this and other subjects."

[Readers should note how adroitly I truncate Mr. Goldsworthy's first word, "Readers," to suit my notorious purpose]

Pt. 1.  Compare (or "contrast," I'm no college graduate!) Madison's, as offered by KG, to Jonathan Elliot's:

"Mr. RUTLEDGE animadverted on the shyness of gentlemen on this and other subjects."

Great Steaming Cobnuts:  I have heard the cliche' "great minds think alike," but I hadn't realized how true is evidently was 200 years ago.

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9 hours ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

...  >> "Mr. Rutledge animadverted [i.e., "animadvert" = (verb) to take cognizance of or notice of]  ...

Kim, my dictionary (lazily, I have only consulted one; it's Six on a Saturday morning, and I can't even bother to open another computer window, Ctrl + N, and go to onelook.com, the pile of dictionaries; woe, woe, I'm an old fan, and tired, I'm probably almost as old as Dan was in 1787, just thinking about it makes me tireder) says "animadvert" is not a neutral taking cognizance or notice of something, but doing so disparagingly:  do you think "animadvert" had just a neutral meaning 200 years ago, as you assert, even though the dictionary says that the word derives from "animus," in its invidious sense?

OK, you California commie, I'm going to the OED.  Gimme a few minutes.  Note that this post will now probably be time-stamped some time in December or 2023, and whose fault will that be!

[Tuesday, 17th March 2053]

OK, dammit, you win.

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39 minutes ago, Guest Nancy N. said:

[Readers should note how adroitly I truncate Mr. Goldsworthy's first word, "Readers," to suit my notorious purpose]

Pt. 1.  Compare (or "contrast," I'm no college graduate!) Madison's, as offered by KG, to Jonathan Elliot's:

"Mr. RUTLEDGE animadverted on the shyness of gentlemen on this and other subjects."

Great Steaming Cobnuts:  I have heard the cliche' "great minds think alike," but I hadn't realized how true is evidently was 200 years ago.

But, of course, Jonathan Elliot didn't claim he was the author of these notes by my old friend Jim. He just reprinted them in the fifth volume of his collection of such stuff.

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