fair opportunity for debate, but insist that it shall close at a definite and not too distant day and hour — has become a part of our parliamentary law. But the right of a minority to seek to improve what it deems a vicious and mistaken measure — to soften, if it may, objectionable features which it is unable wholly to remove — is still sacred; and it has accordingly been established, after much experience of the evils of the opposite rule, that even a vote of the House
, enforcing the Previous Question
on a reluctant, struggling minority, does not cut off amendments which may have already been proposed, but only arrests debate and brings the House
to vote successively on all the propositions legitimately before it, including, it may be, the engrossment of the bill.
But Mr. Stephens
, when the hour for closing the debate in Committee had arrived, moved that the enacting clause of the bill be stricken out
, which was carried by a preconcerted and uncounteracted rally of the unflinching friends of the measure.
Of course, all pending amendments were thus disposed of — the bill being reported as dead.
Having thus got the bill out of Committee and before the House
, Messrs. Stephens
& Co. voted not to agree to the report of the Committee of the Whole
thus bringing the House
to an immediate vote on the engrossment of the bill.
now moved an amendment in the nature of a substitute (being, in effect, the Senate's bill), and thereupon called the Previous Question
, which was seconded: Yeas 116; Nays 90; when his amendment was adopted — Yeas 115; Nays 95; the bill ordered to be engrossed — Yeas 112; Nays 99; the Previous Question
again ordered and sustained; and the bill finally passed: Yeas 113; Nays 100.
Thus the opponents of the measure in the House
were precluded from proposing any amendments or modifications whatever, when it is morally certain that, had they been permitted to do so, some such amendment as Gov. Chase
's or Mr. English
's would have been carried.
The Free States contributed 44 votes — all cast by Democrats — to the support of this measure.
From the Slave States
, 12 Whigs and 57 Democrats sustained it. Against it were 91 members from Free States, of whom 44 were chosen as Whigs, three as “Free soil” proper, and 44 as Democrats.
So that precisely as many Democrats from Free States voted for as against the final passage of the Nebraska
members from Slave States opposed it, of whom but two3
had been regarded as Democrats; and of these Col. Benton
was not so regarded thereafter.
Of the Whigs
who so voted, but two4
were returned to the next House.
The bill had thus passed the House
in form as an original measure of that body, although it was in essence the amended Senate bill.
to the Senate as such, an attempt