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Senate, United States

The following article on the origin, personnel, organization, and history of the United States Senate was written by ex-Senator W. A. Peffer.

Being Englishmen, the founders of the colonies from which grew the United States knew little of any form of government other than that of Great Britain, so their descendants, when they came to form a government of their own and to organize its powers, were naturally inclined to adopt the English system in so far at least as it would not interfere with the free exercise of popular rights. Accordingly, the builders of the Constitution, when they had agreed that the legislative department of the proposed government should consist of a Senate and House of Representatives, and when their discussions turned upon the materials of which the Senate should be composed, frequently alluded to the House of Lords and the character and qualifications of its members as models fit to be studied.

While there was diversity of opinion among the delegates concerning the number of Senators, the manner of choosing them, their duties, etc., there was a general agreement that it would be well to [115] provide for one legislative body whose members would probably be selected with more care than would likely be exercised by the people at large in popular elections, and who, therefore, would presumably be less susceptible to influences of sudden movements among the voters. Mr. Madison said: “The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom than the popular branch.”

The then existing government of the United States was administered by the Continental Congress, a body composed of able, patriotic, brave men, but they had not authority to levy taxes or collect revenues or coin money. They were not empowered to regulate commerce, either domestic or foreign. In the Articles of Confederation, each State retained its “sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right,” which was not by the confederation “expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.” It was conceded on all hands that a stronger government was necessary for the safety of the republic —a government with full powers for national purposes, having original and exclusive jurisdiction over all matters appertaining to the people of the United States as a nation, and the convention called for May 14, 1787, at Philadelphia, was held for the purpose of preparing a form for such a government.

In enumerating the powers deemed necessary for the successful operation of the new government machinery, the several States were required to surrender some important prerogatives of sovereignty, and in order to make sure that they would not be overreached by the federal power and that the small States would not be crowded to the wall by the larger ones, it was provided that not only should there be two Houses of Congress, but that “no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.” And to make it reasonably certain that every State would always be represented in the Senate, it was further provided that each State should have two Senators, one in each of two of the three classes into which the Senate was to be divided, and that each Senator should have one vote.

The Senators first chosen answered well to the ideals outlined by delegates in the convention which created the office of Senator. One-half of them had been members of the convention that framed the Constitution, and seventeen of the twenty-two had taken part in the work of the Continental Congress. Eleven of them were lawyers, and among the other half the record shows one merchant, one man of business, one physician, and one farmer.

It is provided in the Constitution that the Senators, “immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of their first election, shall be divided as equally as may be in three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every second year.” In pursuance of this provision the members of the Senate, at its first session, divided themselves by lot into three classes, according to the following order:

Ordered, that the secretary put into the ballot-box three papers of equal size, one of which shall be numbered 1, one of which shall be numbered 2, and one of which shall be numbered 3. The Senator from each of said States whose name comes first in alphabetical order shall thereupon in the presence of the Senate, draw one of said papers from the box in behalf of his State. The Senators from the States drawing the paper numbered 1 shall thereupon first be assigned to their respective classes. The Senators from the States drawing paper number 2 shall next be assigned to their respective classes. The Senators from the States drawing paper number 3 shall next be assigned to their respective classes.

That classification has been strictly followed from that time to the present. Every Senator chosen since from any of the States then and there represented has gone into the class of his first predecessor in line, and when a new State has been admitted its first Senators were assigned to their classes by lot, just as was done in the first instance, and their successors have followed in the same classes. This classification of its members makes the Senate a permanent and continuing body. Two-thirds of its members are always in [116] office. There is never less than a quorum of its members ready for duty. The House of Representatives is chosen anew every two years. No member of that body ever holds over. When the House adjourns sine die at 12 M., March 4, of the odd-numbered years, the term of that House is ended, and until the new Congress meets there is no House of Representatives. When the members chosen at the last election meet in special or regular session, they must organize by choosing a speaker, clerk, and sergeant-at-arms before they can do any business, even to the extent of receiving a message from the President. It must adopt new rules or readopt old ones. In law and in fact it is wholly a new body fresh from the people, though some of its members may have been there before.

Not so with the Senate. Its officers hold continuously until they are relieved by the choice of others. The Senate is always organized. The rules of the body never change, or they go out of force only in accord with methods provided in the rules themselves. On the incoming of a new administration, March 4, at 12 M., the Senate is then regularly in session, for that is the closing hour of a term of Congress—two years. The new Vice-President appears at the side of his retiring predecessor and receives the oath of office from him. This done, the old Vice-President formally declares the Senate adjourned sine die and hands the gavel over to his successor, who says, “The Senate will be in order,” and at once proceeds to business, without the least confusion or interruption. He enters immediately upon the discharge of his duties. The officers of the Senate are present in their places, the reporters at their tables, the seargeant-at-arms and his corps of assistants—all on duty, and the standing and select committees of the body are ready to receive and consider any matter that may be referred to them. The Senate is already organized. In law and in fact it is now the same body that counted its first quorum on the 6th of April, 1789.

The effect of this continuity of the Senate has been to give character and weight to its proceedings, to inspire confidence at home and insure respect abroad. Such a body, clothed as this is with the power to ratify treaties, renders complications with foreign governments less probable and our obligations more likely to be observed.

The installation of the new Senators is a very simple proceeding. As their names are called in alphabetical order by the secretary of the Senate they go forward to the Vice-President's desk, escorted usually by their State colleagues, and take the oath of office.

If, for any reason, the Vice-Presidentelect should not appear at the beginning of the session, the duties of his office are performed by the president pro tempore; and in case of the latter's absence another Senator previously agreed upon would take the oath and discharge the duties of the chair until the Vice-President appear or the Senate determine otherwise.

If a vacancy happen in a Senator's term by death, resignation, or otherwise, during a recess of the legislature of his State, the executive thereof may make a temporary appointment to hold until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancy. The person so appointed or elected does not hold beyond the end of that senatorial term. In case the legislature fail to choose a Senator at the proper time the governor is not authorized to appoint. The vacancy continues until the next meeting of the legislature. The word “meeting” in this case is construed to include the whole session.

“ ‘No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.’ No Senator shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the United States which shall have been created, or of which the emoluments shall have been increased, during such term. No person holding any office under the United States shall be a member of the Senate during his continuance in such office. No person shall be a Senator who, having as a federal or State officer, taken an oath to support the Constitution, afterwards engaged in rebellion against the United States, unless Congress remove such disability.”

Usually men beyond middle age are selected for Senators. The oldest member of the body at any time in office, [117] Justin S. Morrill, of Vermont, was born April 14, 1810, and died Dec. 28, 1898, in his eighty-ninth year. He had been longer in the Senate, too, than any other man, having entered on March 4, 1867. Henry Clay entered the Senate at an earlier age than any other. He was appointed Nov. 19, 1806, to fill a vacancy. Mr. Clay was born April 12, 1777.

Among the curious facts connected with the personal history of some of the Senators may be mentioned these: Gen. James Shields represented three different States in the Senate—Illinois, from March 4, 1849, till March 3, 1855; Minnesota, from May 12, 1858, till March 3, 1859; Missouri, from Jan. 24, 1879, till March 3, 1879. Three men of the same family— James A. Bayard, his son of the same name, and his grandson, Thomas F. Bayard—represented Delaware, the first from January, 1805, till March, 1813; the second from April, 1867, till March, 1869, and the third from March, 1869, till March, 1885. Three other men of the same family name also represented Delaware in the Senate—Joshua Clayton, from Jan. 19, 1798, till his death the following July; Thomas Clayton, from Jan. 8, 1824, till March 3, 1827, and again from Jan. 9, 1837, till March 3, 1847; John M. Clayton, from March 4, 1845, till Feb. 23, 1849, and again from March 4, 1853, till his death, Nov. 9, 1856. Three men named Bell, two of them brothers, the third a son of one of them, represented New Hampshire in the Senate—Samuel Bell, from March 4, 1823, till March 4, 1835; his son, James Bell, from July 30, 1855, till May 26, 1859, and Charles Henry Bell from March 13, 1879, till June 17, 1879. At one time during the Cleveland administration both of the Senators from each of three different States resided in the same city, and three Senators occupying adjoining seats and representing two States were born in adjoining counties in one State. In 1892 two Senators, representing one State, had been private soldiers in one and the same volunteer regiment of the Union army.

Eleven Senators afterwards became Presidents of the United States—Monroe, Adams (J. Q.), Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison (William H.), Tyler, Pierce, Buchanan, Johnson, Garfield, and Harrison (Benjamin).

The first Senator that died during his term was William Grayson, of Virginia, whose death occurred March 1, 1790. The custom of taking public and official action on the decease of a Senator and of incurring expense on account thereof was of slow growth. During the first thirty-seven years of the Senate's history twenty-two of its members died and no expense was incurred by Congress in their behalf. The first record of the Senate's official action of any character in such cases appears in the Journal of Jan. 24, 1799, as follows: “Resolved, that a committee be appointed to take order for superintending the funeral of the said Henry Tazewell, Esq., and that the Senate will attend the same, and that notice of the event be given to the House of Representatives, and that this committee consist of Messrs. Mason, Brown, and Marshall.”

The first time any part of a deceased Senator's funeral expenses was paid out of public funds was on the occasion of the death of John Gaillard, of South Carolina, who died Feb. 26, 1826. Two other Senators died that year—Nicholas Van Dyke, of Delaware, May 19, and Joseph McIlvaine, of New Jersey, Aug. 19. The average public expense incurred on account of these three deaths was $292.47. Within the next twenty-two years—from 1826 to 1847, inclusive—twenty-seven Senators died, and the remains of eleven of them were interred at the government's expense. The average expenditure in those cases was $618.80. From 1848 to 1867, inclusive, twenty-eight Senators died, and eighteen of them were buried by the Senate at an average expenditure of $1,365.13. The record from 1869 to 18941 shows thirty deaths in the Senate, and all but five of these were the occasion of more or less outlay of public money, the aggregate amounting to $68,849.96, an average of $2,754. In all, up to 1894, there were fifty-four interments from and by the Senate, and the last thirteen cost more, by $4,139.82, than all of the other [118] forty-one. The total amount of public moneys expended on account of senatorial funerals, up to 1894, is $100,234.18, ranging from $4.50 in one case to $21,322.55 in another. The average is $1,856.37.

These funeral occasions are now accompanied by a great deal of ceremonial display. The casket is placed in the open space in front of the reporter's tables, and the services are attended by the President and cabinet, the House of Representatives, the justices of the Supreme Court in their black robes, and, in full court dress, the resident ambassadors and ministers of foreign countries. Each of these bodies, as they approach the outer door of the chamber, is announced by the doorkeeper, and the Senators rise to receive them. When the services are concluded a committee previously appointed, usually consisting of five Senators and an equal number of members of the House, accompany the remains of the deceased to his home and witness the interment there.

At first it was only in cases of death at the capital during a session of Congress that the Senate felt called upon to make a national matter of the funeral and draw on the contingent fund to defray the expenses. Latterly a custom has grown to send a committee to attend the ceremonies of interment when a Senator dies at home while Congress is in session.

In connection with the decease of Senators a memorial service is held in the Senate chamber a month or so after the time of the death, when addresses are delivered in memory of the dead Senator. These addresses are usually very carefully prepared. They are printed in the Congressional record, the same as remarks submitted in the same place on other subjects, and they are also printed in book form, 8,000 copies in each case (under existing law), 2,000 for the use of the Senate, 4,000 for the use of the House of Representatives, 1,950 for the use of Senators and Congressmen from the State of the deceased, and fifty copies in extra binding for the use of his family. The printing and binding of these memorial addresses cost about $3,000. The exact figures as given in the report of the public printer for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896, are $9,195.88 for the materials and work done in printing and binding 8,000 copies of the memorial addresses in each case of the deaths of three Senators. The average is $3,065.29.

A similar custom prevails in the House of Representatives. The expense for printing and binding memorial addresses in memory of fifty-four deceased Senators and Congressmen from 1885 to 1895, both inclusive, was $233,520.44.

As to compensation of Senators and Representatives, it is to be “ascertained by law.” That is the language of the Constitution, and it means that Congress shall fix its own compensation.

No distinction has ever been made between members of the two Houses in respect to the amount of their pay. Their compensation has always been equal. By the act of Sept. 22, 1789, it was fixed at $6 for every day's attendance, and an equal sum for every 20 miles' travel going to and returning from the “seat of Congress.” This rule was to remain in force until March 4, 1795, when it was to be changed to $7 per day and mileage to correspond. March 10, 1796, the law of 1789 was re-enacted and it remained in force until the act of March 19, 1816, increased the pay to $1,500 a year, subject to deduction for absence not occasioned by sickness or other unavoidable reason.

This act was repealed the 6th day of the following February (1817), and on Jan. 22, 1818, the compensation of each Senator and Representative was fixed at $8 for every day's attendance and $8 “for every 20 miles of estimated distance, by the most usual road from his place of residence to the seat of Congress, at the commencement and end of every such session and meeting.” This act was to cover the time from March 3, 1817, and it remained in force until Aug. 16, 1856, when the rate of compensation was changed from $8 a day to $6,000 for each Congress (two years), mileage remaining the same as before, for but only one session each year.

By act of July 28, 1866, a yearly salary of $5,000 was allowed with mileage at the rate of 20 cents per mile to and from each regular session, “estimated by the nearest route usually travelled.”

The act of March 3, 1873, fixed the [119] salary at $7,500 a year and actual individual travelling expenses to and from each session “by the most direct route of usual travel.” This act applied to the Congress that passed it, covering two years, and from that fact became known as the “salary-grab” law. It was repealed at the next session, Jan. 20, 1874, in so far as it applied to members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and their compensation was put at $5,000 a year with mileage at the rate of 20 cents per mile to and from each regular session.

Most of these acts were retroactive in their operation, that of Sept. 22, 1789, covering the time from the beginning of that Congress. The act of March 10, 1796, extended back six days. The act of March 19, 1816, covered the time from March 4, 1815. The act of Jan. 2, 1818, applied to fifty-three days of past time. The act of Aug. 16, 1856, applied to all the time from March 4, 1855. The act of July 28, 1866, reached back to March 4, 1865. The act of March 3, 1873, covered the whole term of that Congress, beginning March 4, 1871 —two years.

There has not been any general law allowing mileage for attendance upon special or extraordinary sessions. Where it has been authorized it was by special act applicable to the particular session.

There have been two rules regulating the compensation of Senators and Representatives, one before the war of the Rebellion, the other since. The earlier acts were all drawn on lines of actual service —so much a day for each day of attendance upon the sessions, excepting days of sickness or unavoidable absence. The act of 1856, in section 4, provided:

That in the event of the death of any Senator, Representative, or Delegate prior to the commencement of the first session of the Congress, he shall be entitled neither to mileage nor compensation; and in the event of death after the commencement of any session his representatives shall be entitled to receive so much of his compensation, computed at the rate of $3,000 per annum, as he may not have received, and any mileage that may have actually accrued and be due and unpaid.

Section 6 of the same act provided:

That It shall be the duty of the sergeantat-arms of the House and secretary of the Senate, respectively, to deduct from the monthly payments to members, as herein provided for, the amount of his compensation for each day that such member shall be absent from the House or Senate respectively, unless such Representative, Senator, or Delegate shall assign as the reason for such absence the sickness of himself or some member of his family.

The Vice-President, being in doubt when the compensation of Senators that had been chosen since the session commenced should begin, submitted the question to the Senate and it was referred to the judiciary committee, who, through Mr. Toombs, March 2, 1857, submitted a report, from which the following extracts are taken:

Though the mode of payment is by annual salary, the consideration therefor, in the contemplation of the act (of 1856), was performance of the duties of a member of Congress when in actual session, and the times of payment seem to have been fixed during or at the end of each session, with special reference to securing this consideration. . . . Testing the cases submitted to us by those principles, we find the rule of compensation in all cases of election after the first day of the first regular session to be that the compensation does not commence until after election, and from thence to the end of the term, at the rate of $3,000 per annum.

Minnesota was admitted as a State May 11, 1858, and her Senators, who had been elected Dec. 19, 1857, appeared and took their seats May 12, 1858. The question when their compensation should commence arose, and the judiciary committee reported that they should be paid from the date of the State's admission.

They were paid from the beginning of the session at which the State was admitted. But the question was not settled. Oregon was admitted Feb. 14, 1859; Kansas, Jan. 29, 1861; West Virginia, Dec. 31, 1862; Nevada, Oct. 31, 1864. During all this time the act of 1856 was in force. Then came the act of July 11, 1866, and Nebraska was admitted March 1, 1867. The reorganization of the reconstructed States and the admission of their Senators kept the matter alive until the new Northwestern States came in. The Senators from Tennessee were seated July 27, 1866, and paid from March 4, 1865, the beginning of the Congress then in being (the Thirty-fifth). A Senator from [120] Maryland was elected for the term beginning March 4, 1867, but he was not admitted and received no compensation. March 7, 1868, another person was elected to fill the vacancy and his salary was paid to him from March 4, 1867, the beginning of the term. Senators from Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, and other Southern States claimed and finally secured payment of salaries from the beginning of the terms for which they were elected without reference to the time of their election.

By a proviso in the legislative appropriation bill of July 31, 1894, it was enacted that in cases of the election or appointment of Senators after the beginning of a term their compensation should begin the day of their election or appointment. The legislatures of Montana and Wyoming failed to choose Senators at their sessions in 1893 for the terms beginning March 4 of that year, but did elect Senators for that term at their sessions in January, 1895. The credentials of these Senators were filed in the Senate—one of them Jan. 29, 1895, the other Feb. 2 following. They appeared and took the oath of office, one on Feb. 2, the other on the 6th of the same month. By a resolution of the Senate, April 24, 1896, the secretary of the Senate was directed to pay them from March 4, 1893, the beginning of the term, until July 31, 1894, the date of the proviso in the appropriation bill above mentioned, which had taken effect nearly six months before the Senators were elected.

Section 6 of the act of Aug. 16, 1856, requiring deductions of pay for absence of Senators and Representatives is preserved in the revised statutes, section 40, and is now the law.

Joint Resolution No. 68, approved July, 1862, provides:

When any member or delegate withdraws from his seat and does not return before the adjournment of Congress, he shall, in addition to the sum deducted for each day, forfeit a sum equal to the amount which would have been allowed by law for his travelling expenses in returning home: and such sum shall be deducted from his compensation, unless the withdrawal is with the leave of the Senate or House of Representatives respectively.

This provision, also, is preserved in the revised statutes as section 41. The Constitution provides that:

The Vice-President of the United States shall be president of the Senate, but shall have no vote unless they be equally divided. The Senate shall choose their other officers and also a president pro tempore in the absence of the Vice-President or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.

The first duty of the Senate, on its organization, April 6, 1789, was the choosing of a President pro tempore for the sole purpose of opening and counting the (electoral) votes for President of the United States.

John Langdon, of New Hampshire, was chosen by ballot. After the votes had been counted and the members of the House of Representatives had retired, the Senate proceeded by ballot to the choice of president pro tempore and John Langdon was duly elected. He held his office only until the Vice-President appeared. In the beginning and until recently a president pro tempore was chosen every time the Vice-President was absent. It is now the rule that the office is held at the pleasure of the Senate; until the Vice-President resumes the chair or his term as a Senator expires, the president pro tempore continues in office unless the Senate otherwise determine.

During a vacancy in the office of Vice-President, and while the Vice-President exercises the office of President of the United States,2 the president pro tempore of the Senate receives the salary of a Vice-President, but he has no vote other than that of a Senator.

Of the twenty-four Vice-Presidents, one (Calhoun) resigned; four (Gerry, King, Wilson and Hendricks) died in office; and five (Tyler, Fillmore, Johnson, Arthur, and Roosevelt) exercised the office of President of the United States during vacancies in that office occasioned by death.

All of the twenty-four Vice-Presidents except two (Morton and Stevenson), are dead. Their average age was seventy years.

Sixty-three Senators have served as presidents pro tempore. They belonged to twenty-two different States, Virginia [121] leading with six; Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont each had three; Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island each had two; Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, and New York each had one. The present incumbent (Mr. Frye) is from Maine.

The other important officers of the Senate are the secretary and sergeant-atarms. The secretary, in addition to his responsibility for the official conduct of a large number of clerks, readers, reporters, copyists, and other subordinates about his office, has charge of everything connected with the records, journals, reports, bills, and other documents, papers, and proceedings of the Senate, legislative and executive. The secretary is also a disbursing officer and gives bond for a proper discharge of his duties as such. He receives and pays out more than a million dollars annually. This includes salaries and mileage of Senators, of officers, clerks, and other employes about the Senate. Here are the items summarized in that officer's report for the fiscal year ending June 30. 1896.

Amounts expended:

Salaries and mileage (of Senators$467,175.22
Salary of Vice-President6,000.00
Salaries of officers, clerks, etc.422,852.42
One month's extra pay to officers and employes40,035.61
Salaries Capitol police19,392.53
Contingent expenses165,920.55

The sergeant-at-arms, with his corps of assistants, has charge of the Senate wing of the Capitol building. He takes care of the Senate chamber and all the property in it, and of the various rooms, halls, and other apartments and annexes. He purchases all their furniture and other equipments. He attends to all the details of great occasions in and about the hall of the Senate—inaugurations and the like, and he or one of his assistants accompanies every Senate committee that travels by order of the Senate. He arranges for their transportation and entertainment, and pays all the bills. He executes all orders of the Senate relating to any matter of an executive character. He is to the Senate what a marshal or a sheriff is to a court. He is the Senate's executive officer.

The principal offices of the Senate are honorable as well as responsible. They require a high order of talent combined with good executive ability. Two members of the Senate each afterwards became its secretary. In several instances men who had been members of the House of Representatives have been elected to offices in the Senate.

The number of persons employed in one capacity or another in and about the Senate is over 300. An investigation recently discovered 353, among whom were 121 clerks, fifty-seven messengers, fifty-two skilled laborers, twenty-three pages, and eighteen folders.

Salaries of Senate officers and employes range as follows: Laborers and pages, $720 to $1,000 a year; messengers and clerks to Senators, $1,440; clerks to committees, $1,800 to $3,000; secretary's chief clerk and the financial clerk, each $3,000; secretary of the Senate. $5,000; sergeant-at-arms, $4,500. The official reporting of the proceedings and debates is done by contract at $25,000 a year.

At the beginning committees of the Senate were appointed only for special duties —as to wait upon the President, to prepare a rule for a particular proceeding, to consider a certain matter and report a bill, etc. The committee first appointed by the Senate consisted of five members to confer with a like committee on the part of the House of Representatives and report rules to govern in cases of conference between the two Houses. They were also to “take under consideration the manner of electing chaplains.” There was some feeling on the chaplaincy question, but the choice of men of different religious denominations—one for the House, the other for the Senate—disposed of the matter satisfactorily.

Gradually, as the lines of legislative procedure became marked, and as the business of Congress grew in magnitude and variety, it was found necessary as well as convenient to appoint standing committees to hold during the pleasure [122] of the Senate for the consideration of classified subjects. There are now forty-nine standing committees of the Senate, of which one has fifteen members; six consist of thirteen members each; twelve have each eleven members; eleven have nine members; four have seven; four have five; and five have three. The others have even numbers and are subject to changes. There are also ten select committees.

The largest committees are those on appropriations, commerce, judiciary, pensions, claims, coast defences, District of Columbia, finance, foreign relations, immigration, Indian affairs, inter-State commerce, military affairs, naval affairs, postoffices and post roads, public buildings and grounds, public lands, railroads, and Territories.

On March 4, 1789, the day named in the Constitution for the assembling of Congress, only eight Senators appeared, and they adjourned from day to day and from time to time until April 6 next following, when a quorum was present and eleven States were represented. North Carolina and Rhode Island had not yet ratified the Constitution. A roll-call disclosed the presence of the following-named Senators: From New Hampshire, John Langdon and Paine Wingate; from Massachusetts, Caleb Strong and Tristram Dalton; from Connecticut, Oliver Elsworth and William S. Johnson; from New York, Rufus King and Philip Schuyler; from New Jersey, William Paterson and Jonathan Elmer; from Pennsylvania, William Maclay and Robert Morris; from Delaware, Richard Bassett and George Read; from Maryland, Charles Carroll and John Henry; from Virginia, Richard Henry Lee and William Grayson; from South Carolina, Ralph Izard and Pierce Butler; from Georgia, William Few and James Gunn. One-half of them had been members of the convention which framed the Constitution and seventeen of them had taken part in the work of the Continental Congress. Eleven were lawyers, and among the others the record shows one merchant, one man of business, one physician, and one farmer.

Following the practice of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, the Senate sat with closed doors.3 By agreement the Senators arranged themselves in a semi-circle in front of the presiding officer, beginning on the right with New Hampshire and ending on the left with Georgia. The President-elect of the United States not yet having appeared and taken the oath of office, the Senate devoted a good deal of time to the preparation of rules for the proper transaction of business. The manner of communication between the two Houses was referred to a select committee on April 16, and a week later the committee reported that they had conferred with a like committee on the part of the House of Representatives, and they had agreed to report the following rule:

When a bill or other message shall be sent from the Senate to the House of Representatives it shall be carried by the secretary, who shall make one obeisance to the chair on entering the door of the House of Representatives, and another on delivering it at the table into the hands of the speaker. After he shall have delivered it, he shall make an obeisance to the speaker and repeat it as he retires from the House.

When a bill shall be sent up by the House of Representatives to the Senate it shall be carried by two members, who, at the bar of the Senate, shall make their obeisance to the president, and thence, advancing to the chair, make a second obei sance, and deliver it into the hands of the president. After having delivered the bill they shall make their obeisance to the president, and repeat it as they retire from the bar.

This report was agreed to and then reconsidered. The subject was again committed and recommitted and on May 2 it was “agreed that until a permanent mode of communication shall be adopted between the Senate and House of Representatives, the Senate will receive messages by the clerk of the House, if the House shall think proper to send him— and papers sent from the House shall be delivered to the secretary at the bar of the Senate, and by him conveyed to the president.” [123]

The committee's report was never adopted. The early practice was continued. When the clerk of the House appears inside the door of the Senate chamber with a message, the fact is announced by the doorkeeper thus: “Message from the House of Representatives,” when business is temporarily suspended, and the president recognizing “Mr. Clerk,” that officer, bowing and addressing the chair, says: “I am directed to inform the Senate that the House has passed——,” a certain bill or resolution, or whatever may be the nature of the information to be communicated. Having thus spoken, he delivers the paper, or papers, to the doorkeeper and politely retires. The document is then delivered to the secretary or his chief clerk, and business is resumed.

The same simple proceeding is had when the President's private secretary appears with a message from the executive. On being announced and recognized by the chair, he says: “I am directed by the President of the United States to deliver a message in writing,” or “to announce his approval” of a certain bill, or whatever may have been the President's action on a particular matter.

The Senate communicates with the President through its secretary or by a special committee of its members.

The next subject involving questions of official etiquette which the Senate at the beginning had to determine was: “What style or title it will be proper to annex to the offices of President and Vice-President,” and a committee was appointed to consider the matter. The subject was discussed frequently from April 23 until May 14, and many different titles were suggested, as “his Highness,” “his Excellency,” etc. The committee finally reported in favor of “his Highness, the President of the United States of America and Protector of the Rights of the Same.” But the House of Representatives favored the simple language of the Constitution, “The President of the United States,” and that has been the form of address ever since.

At first, executive communications were delivered to the Senate by cabinet officers, and when the President wished to communicate in person with the Senate, he informed that body when he would appear, as he did on several occasions, and conferred with the Senate in respect to treaties and appointments. This practice did not long continue, however. The President's private secretary soon came to be the bearer of his messages, and he has performed that service ever since, though the rule providing for the reception of the President, when he calls on the Senate officially, is still preserved and is now in force.

The first message of President Washington was delivered by himself orally in an address before both Houses, and each House, following the custom of the British Parliament, prepared and delivered an “answer” to the address.

The first code of rules adopted for the government of the Senate was severely disciplinarian. One of them required that “inviolable secrecy shall be observed with respect to all matters transacted in the Senate while the doors are shut, or as often as the same is enjoined from the chair.” The last one provided that:

These rules shall be engrossed on parchment and hung up in some conspicuous part of the Senate chamber. And every Senator who shall neglect attendance during a session, absent himself without leave, or withdraw for more than a quarter of an hour without permission after a quorum is formed, shall be guilty of disorderly behavior, and his name, together with the nature of the transgression, shall be written on a slip of paper and annexed to the bottom of the rules, there to remain until the Senate, on his application or otherwise, shall take order on the same.

Attention, order, and manly bearing, with resulting ease and dignity in speech, were so highly prized by these our first Senators, that seven of their rules of procedure related to personal deportment of members of the body during session hours.

Looking back from this distance, it seems strange that such rigid rules were deemed necessary among gentlemen so punctilious as they. Congress met in Philadelphia the next year and a newspaper writer of that city thus described the Senate's decorum:

Among the Senators is observed constantly during the debates the most delightful silence, the most beautiful order, gravity, and personal dignity of manner. They all appear every morning, full powdered and dressed in the richest material. The very [124] atmosphere of the chamber seems to inspire wisdom, mildness, and condescension. Should any of the Senators so far forget for a moment as to be the cause of a protracted whisper while another was addressing the Vice-President, three gentle raps with his silver pencil-case by Mr. Adams immediately restored everything to repose and the most respectful attention.

These rules were amended and modified from time to time as occasion and experience suggested, and in 1806 a new code was adopted, retaining such of the old as had proven to be suitable for the work of the Senate. The revision included forty rules, the exact number now in force. The most important change from the old code was the omission of the “previous question.” Under the operation of that rule a majority of a quorum could at any time stop a debate. The rule was not popular. Only four times in sixteen years had it been invoked, and in one of the instances it was ruled out of order because the matter pending was a preamble and not a substantive proposition.

There have been several attempts to restore the rule, in substance at least, notably in 1841 by Henry Clay, in 1850 by Stephen A. Douglas, in 1870 by Hannibal Hamlin and Henry Wilson; and the subject has been brought to the attention of the Senate occasionally since, when some measure was vigorously urged and persistently opposed, as in the case of the bill to repeal the purchasing clause of the silver law, at the extraordinary session in 1893.

The effect of dropping the previous question has been to broaden the scope of debate and this sometimes provokes unfavorable criticism outside the chamber as well as inside; but it is questionable whether it ever will be, or ought to be, restored.

Without the spur of the previous question the Senate has become more patient and conservative than it was in the beginning. It is nowhere recorded in the proceedings of the Senate, since the century began, that any member of the body was denied the privilege of speaking to any important matter pending. A vote on the main question can be reached only by unanimous consent, and that is never given on any great question until every Senator who desires to speak upon it has had an opportunity to be heard. If he does not conclude to-day he may proceed to-morrow and continue the next day.

And from this courtesy among Senators it sometimes happens that a small matter is the occasion of long, able, and powerful debate on questions in no way related to the pending proposition. No harm has come from this. On the contrary, it has been instructive and helpful. Every great discussion in the Senate has served to enlarge the horizon of liberty and to strengthen the foundations of the republic. As an example take this: In January, 1830, Mr. Foote, a Senator from Connecticut, offered a resolution instructing the committee on public lands to inquire and report certain facts relating to the public domain.

Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri, speaking to the resolution, criticised the Eastern people, because, as he believed, they were disposed to prevent emigration to the Western States and Territories, and would be aided in their efforts by stopping sales of the public lands there. This brought Daniel Webster to the defence of New England, and in his answer to Mr. Benton he alleged that the author of the ordinance of 1787, which opened a vast region of the West to settlement and dedicated the Northwest Territory to freedom, was an Eastern man. Discussing the wisdom of that measure, he referred to the prevailing customs in the South. and made comparisons distasteful to Senators from the slave-holding States. Robert Y. Hayne, of South Carolina, defended his people and arraigned those of the East in a long and able speech.

Mr. Hayne's speech was delivered on Jan. 21. On the 26th, Mr. Webster replied in an argument which has become historic.

Inspired by this battle of giants, Mr. Calhoun, who was then Vice-President, resigned that position that he might enter the Senate as a member, and in July next following he delivered a speech discussing not anything then before the body, but the argument delivered by Mr. Webster six months before.

Following this, at the next session of Congress, came the famous free-trade report of the committee on ways and [125] means, followed by the nullification proceedings of 1832 and the compromise tariff act of 1833, and eighteen years afterwards by the compromise measures of 1850, and in 1852 by the adoption of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of 1798-99, as the creed of the Democratic party, supplemented by the slave-holders' rebellion in 1861—all bearing close and direct relation to what was said in the Senate in the discussion following the introduction of Mr. Foote's modest resolution proposing to inquire whether it would not be wise to temporarily limit the sale of public lands.

Speeches of Senators on important subjects are, in most cases, prepared carefully in advance, reduced to writing and read by the author from manuscript. It is very seldom that a Senator proceeds in a great effort without copious notes, if his speech is not in writing or print before him.

In order to maintain the relative power of parties in the Senate and in order that no Senator need “lose his vote,” a custom prevails by which members of opposing parties form themselves into “pairs,” and if one of a “pair” is absent when a vote is taken, the other does not vote.

All confidential communications from the President of the United States are considered in secret executive sessions, and all treaties laid before the Senate, and all remarks, votes, and proceedings thereon are kept secret, under the thirty-sixth rule. The fourth clause of this rule provides that “any Senator or officer of the Senate who shall disclose the secret or confidential business or proceedings of the Senate shall be liable, if a Senator, to expulsion from the body; and if an officer, to dismissal from the service of the Senate, and to punishment for contempt.”

The injunction of secrecy may be removed, in any given case, by a resolution of the Senate. This is not often done, however, but newspaper reporters have become so expert in their profession that they publish fairly accurate statements of what was said and done in executive sessions of the Senate.

In all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, Senators are privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the Senate, and in going to and returning from the same, and for “any speech or debate” in the Senate they “shall not be questioned in any other place.”

From the beginning it has been the custom to allow newspapers to be paid for out of the “contingent fund,” which is a fund to be applied to special uses under the exclusive control of the Senate—as stationery, select committee expenses, etc. At first the number of papers which Senators allowed themselves was limited to three each. Stationery was used without limit until 1868, when the amount allowed to each Senator was fixed at $125 a session for newspapers and stationery. It was subsequently changed to $125 a year, and that is the rule now. If more than that amount is drawn the difference is paid in cash by the Senator; if less is drawn he receives the difference in money.

Senators are privileged to send through the mails, free of charge, any public document printed by order of Congress and official letters to any officer of the government.

Each Senator is entitled to one copy of every government publication, and he may have it bound in half-morocco or material no more expensive.

No person is admitted to the floor of the Senate chamber while the body is in session or during the fifteen minutes immediately preceding the hour of meeting, except the following: The President of the United States and his private secretary, the President and Vice-President-elect, exPresidents and ex-Vice-Presidents, judges of the Supreme Court, ex-Senators and Senators-elect, the officers and employes of the Senate in the discharge of their official duties, ex-secretaries and ex-sergeants-at-arms of the Senate, members of the House of Representatives, and members-elect, ex-speakers of the House of Representatives, the sergeant-at-arms and his chief deputy, and the clerk of the House and his deputy, heads of the executive departments, ambassadors and ministers of the United States, governors of States and Territories, the general commanding the army, the senior admiral of the navy on the active list, members of national legislatures of foreign countries, judges of the court of claims, commissioners of the District of Columbia, the librarian of Congress and the assistant [126] librarian in charge of the law library, the architect of the Capitol, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, clerks to Senate committees and clerks to Senators, when in actual discharge of their official duties.

The Senate meets, usually, at twelve o'clock noon. After prayer by the chapplain and the reading of the journal of the last preceding day's proceedings, the first thing in order is the presentation of petitions and memorials; then follow in their order reports of standing and select committees, introduction of bills and joint resolutions, and concurrent and other resolutions.

The first two hours of the session is known as “the morning hour,” during which all preliminary proceedings are had, such as debates on Senate resolutions, first and second readings of bills, motions for reference, consideration of matters coming over from a previous day, etc. At two o'clock the presiding officer lays before the Senate the “unfinished business,” if there be any, and if not, the calendar is in order.

In addition to the usual prerogatives of parliamentary bodies, the Senate enjoys certain privileges and exercises certain functions and powers which are conferred upon it by the Constitution of the United States. It may originate legislation on any subject over which Congress has jurisdiction, except revenue.

It may concur in, amend or reject any bill or resolution sent to it by the House of Representatives; it may adjourn for any length of time not exceeding three days, without the consent of the other House, but must not adjourn to any place other than that “in which the two Houses shall be sitting.” The Senate is the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, and it chooses its own officers and makes its own rules. Though a legislative body, it is charged with executive functions in respect to treaties and appointments to office. The President has power to make treaties and appoint officers, but that power has coupled with it— “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.” The President “shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint” ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not otherwise provided for in the Constitution, and which shall be established by law. A simple majority of a quorum may advise and consent to an appointment, but twothirds of the Senators present are required to ratify a treaty.

Under the operation of the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, taking effect Sept. 25, 1804. the Senate is charged with the duty of choosing the Vice-President in case none of the persons voted for for that office has received a majority of the votes cast; and, when sitting for this purpose, twothirds of the whole number of Senators must be present, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. The only instance of the Senate's performing this function was in the case of Richard M. Johnson in 1837.

The Senate has power to compel the attendance of absent members, to inflict punishment for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds may expel a member for any cause deemed sufficient.

The power of the Senate to punish persons not members of the body, for contempt, defamation, libel, etc., has never been clearly and fully defined. None of the eases acted upon has settled any important questions in that direction. Though in some respects fashioned after the model of the Upper House of the British Parliament, the Senate has no judicial power, except in cases of impeachment. Its powers of punishment and expulsion are applicable only to its own members, and were granted for its own protection. The Duane case is in point. William Duane, of Philadelphia, on Feb. 19, 1800, published in the General Advertiser, or Aurora, a newspaper of that city, a copy of a bill “prescribing the mode of deciding disputed elections of President and Vice-President of the United States,” together with editorial comments thereon. reflecting on the action of the Senate and of certain Senators, naming them, in respect to the alleged passage of the bill, which matter was declared by the Senate to be “false, defamatory, scandalous, and malicious, tending to defame the Senate,” and Mr. Duane was summoned to appear [127] at the bar of the Senate, on a day named, “at which time he will have opportunity to make any proper defence for his conduct,” etc. He did appear and asked for the assistance of counsel. The request was granted, but on terms that he regarded as in restraint of his constitutional rights, and he refused to further appear or answer.

On March 27 following, the Senate held that Duane was in contempt and the sergeant-at-arms was directed to take him into custody and hold him subject to further order of the Senate. But Congress being about to adjourn, and the Senate not claiming power to hold a prisoner beyond the session, the President of the United States was requested by a resolution of the Senate, May 14, 1800, to instruct the proper officer to institute an action against Duane for the defamatory publication. An action was begun, he submitted his case to the court, and was sentenced to thirty days imprisonment and to pay the costs of prosecution.

In several instances happening since Duane's case was disposed of, newspaper reporters have been deprived of the privileges of the floor or gallery, as the case may be, because of publishing matter disrespectful to the Senate or its members.

As to the power of the Senate to compel witnesses to appear and testify, whatever may be its extent, it is not unlimited. The existence of this power was taken for granted until 1857, when the question was raised by the refusal of a witness to testify before a committee of the House of Representatives, with the result that, while the witness was in custody of the sergeant-at-arms, Jan. 21, 1857, the committee before whom he was subpoenaed to testify reported to the House a bill, which became a law three days afterwards, providing for trial and punishment of contumacious witnesses before committees of either House of Congress. The law was changed somewhat by act of Jan. 24, 1862. The present statutory provisions relating to this subject are found in sections 101 to 104, inclusive, and section 859, of the revised statutes of 1878. By section 102, refusal to testify is declared to be a misdemeanor, and section 104 provides that: “Whenever a witness summoned as mentioned in section 102 fails to testify, and the facts are reported to either House, the president of the Senate or the speaker of the House, as the case may be, shall certify the fact under the seal of the Senate or the House to the district attorney for the District of Columbia, whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for their action.”

It was under these provisions that the witnesses in the Sugar Trust scandal investigation in 1894 were indicted and tried.

There have been but few cases of disorder among Senators in the Senate chamber of a character requiring official action. Senators rarely violate a rule of order wilfully, and they are usually prompt to make proper explanations and apologies for any breaches of privilege happening among them in debate.

A resolution to expel Benjamin Tappan, a Senator from Ohio, was submitted May 10,]844. That Senator, in violation of the rule of secrecy, had delivered to a newspaper reporter for publication a copy of the Texas annexation treaty. The resolution was afterwards modified so as to declare that Mr. Tappan “has been guilty of a flagrant violation of the rules of the Senate and disregard of its authority.” After the resolution was adopted, it was further resolved, “That in consideration of the acknowledgments and apology tendered by the said Benjamin Tappan for his said offence, no further censure be inflicted on him.”

In the case of Senators Benton, of Missouri, and Foote, of Mississippi, a special committee was appointed to report. On several occasions prior to April 17, 1850, these two Senators “had some sharp personal altercations in the Senate. On that date, while Mr. Foote was speaking in reply to Mr. Benton, the latter started from his seat and moved towards Mr. Foote. Mr. Foote left his seat and took a stand in front of the secretary's table, at the same time drawing and cocking a revolver. Mr. Benton was led back to his seat by Senators in the midst of great confusion, and Mr. Foote was induced to surrender the pistol.”

The committee reported that the whole scene was most discreditable to the Senate, but recommended no action, expressing the hope that their condemnation [128] of the affair would be “a sufficient rebuke and a warning not unheeded in future.”

The attack on Charles Sumner occurred in the Senate chamber after the body had adjourned, and the offending party was not a member of the Senate.

The Senate has exercised its power of explusion five times. William Blount, a Senator from Tennessee, was expelled July 8, 1797, for complicity in a scheme to transfer New Orleans and adjacent territory from Spain to Great Britain. John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, was expelled Dec. 4, 1861, for participation in the Rebellion. Trusten Polk and Waldo P. Johnson, Senators from Missouri, were expelled Jan. 10, 1862, for aiding and abetting the Rebellion. Jesse D. Bright, of Indiana, was expelled on Feb. 5, 1862, for disloyalty in writing a letter to Jefferson Davis introducing a man who wanted “to dispose of what he regards a great improvement in fire-arms.”

In connection with these expulsions for disloyalty it may be stated that the Senators from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia voluntarily retired between the months of November, 1860, and July, 1861. A. O. P. Nicholson, of Tennessee, retired March 3, 1861.

Of the Senators in office May 1, 1898, twenty-one served in the Confederate army.

The Senate has the “sole power to try all impeachments.” The President, Vice-President, and all civil officers of the United States are impeachable for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” and on conviction for any of these offences they shall be removed from office; but no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present. There is no appeal from the judgment, and the President, though authorized by the Constitution “to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States,” is specially prohibited from interfering in cases of impeachment. They are excepted.

“Judgment, in case of impeachment, shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States; but the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according to law.”

The Senate is not called upon to determine generally who are “civil officers of the United States” ; it is sufficient, in each case as it is presented, to inquire whether the party impeached is included in that class. Articles impeaching William Blount were presented to the Senate for trial in 1797. Mr. Blount, being a member of the Senate, pleaded that he was not a “civil officer of the United States,” and on that ground he objected to the jurisdiction of the Senate. On argument, his plea was held good and the impeachment proceedings were dismissed, but on the evidence against him he was expelled from the Senate.

There have been seven cases of impeachment prosecuted before the Senate. (1) The above-mentioned William Blount, a Senator from Tennessee, for violating the neutrality laws of the United States, 1797. (2) John Pickering, district judge, New Hampshire, for having appeared on the bench in a state of intoxication, 1803. (3) Samuel Chase, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, for that “. . . disregarding the duties and dignity of his judicial character, did, at the circuit court for the District of Maryland, held at Baltimore in the month of May, 1803, pervert his official right and duty to address the grand jury . . . for the purpose of delivering to the said grand jury an intemperate and inflammatory harangue,” etc. (4) James Peck, district judge, Missouri, for “high misdemeanors in office,” 1826-31. (5) West W. Humphreys, district judge, Tennessee, for advocating the right of secession in a public speech, 1861. (6) Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” 1868. (7) William W. Belknap, Secretary of War, for “high misdemeanor in office,” 1876-77.

When the Senate tries a case of impeachment, each Senator takes an oath in the following form:

I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of —— —— , now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws. So help me God.


The Senate long ago prepared and adopted a code of rules to govern in the body when sitting on impeachment trials, and in the case of President Johnson, on advice of the chief-justice, the Senate's impeachment code of (twenty-five) rules was formally adopted by the body sitting for the trial of the particular case.

The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment. When charges of an impeachable character are preferred in the House against the President, Vice-President, or any civil officer of the United States, a special committee is usually appointed to investigate and report the probable facts, and the judiciary committee consider and report whether, on the facts stated, an impeachable offence has been committed and whether the person charged is probably guilty. If the report is affirmative, a committee of “managers” is appointed by ballot to prepare articles of impeachment and to conduct the prosecution before the Senate. The managers, on the part of the House, in the President's case, were John A. Bingham, of Ohio; George S. Boutwell, of Massachusetts; James F. Wilson, of Iowa; John A. Logan, of Illinois; Thomas Williams, of Pennsylvania; Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts; Thaddeus Stevens, of Pennsylvania.4

The preliminary proceedings in impeachment cases are formal and tedious. When all things are ready the members of the House, before proceeding to the Senate, resolve themselves into a “committee of the whole House” for the purpose of prosecuting the impeachment and attend in that manner, though none of them but the managers takes part in the proceedings.

When the President of the United States is on trial, the chief-justice presides.

The following is a copy of the opening entry on the journal of proceedings of the trial of the impeachment of President Johnson, March 30, 1868:

At half-past 12 o'clock, P. M., the chief-justice of the United States entered the Senate chamber, escorted by Mr. Pomeroy, chairman of the committee heretofore appointed for that purpose.

The chief-justice.— “ The sergeant-at-arms will open the court by proclamation.”

The sergeant-at-arms.— “ Hear ye! hear ye! hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silence while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against Andrew Johnson, President of the United States.”

The President's counsel, Messrs. Stanbery, Curtis, Evarts, and Groesbeck, entered the chamber and took the seats assigned to them.

At twelve o'clock and thirty-five minutes, P. M., the sergeant-at-arms announced the presence of the managers of the impeachment on the part of the House of Representatives, and they were conducted to the seats assigned to them.

Immediately afterwards the presence of the members of the House of Representatives was announced, and the members of the committee of the whole House, headed by Mr. E. B. Washburn, of Illinois, the chairman of that committee, and accompanied by the speaker and clerk of the House of Representatives, entered the Senate chamber and took the seats prepared for them.

The Senate is a school. The world's history is its text-book. The record of a single day's proceedings frequently shows a range of work as wide as Christendom. No man well made up can be there long, if he will but listen, without himself becoming wiser and better. His opportunities for usefulness multiply as the new days come to him; his intellectual horizon expands, his view broadens, and he grows stronger.

It is no disparagement to any one who ever was or is now a member of the United States Senate, to say that it is only the few that are really great. The work of the body has resulted from the combined labors of all its members; each is entitled to his full measure of credit. The least among them has had some part in making up the Senate's record. But in all these hundred years and more there have always been some strong men there, men of great intellectual stature, who were seen and heard above the rest, grand characters that stand out among their fellows like peaks in mountain ranges and that we see afar off as we see cliffs and promontories on the shore-line of the sea.

The House of Representatives, as the popular branch of the national legislature, [130] is commonly regarded as being nearer the people and more responsive to the popular will than the Senate is. Be that as it may, the rules of the Lower House are and have been many years framed to restrict rather than to enlarge the freedom of speech. In the Senate there is no limit to debate except unanimous consent. The youngest member's objection prevents a vote if he desires to amend or to be heard on the main question. In a speech of great force delivered a few years ago in the Senate by Mr. Hoar, alluding to this subject, he said:

The freedom of debate in the House of Representatives is gone. What, I sometimes think, is of more importance, the freedom of amendment, is gone also . . . . It is here only that the freedom of debate is secure. . . . . Victories in arms are common to all nations. . . . But the greatest victories of constitutional liberty since the world began are those whose battle-ground has been the American Senate and whose champions have been the Senators, who, for a hundred years, while they have resisted the popular passions of the hour, have led, represented, guided, obeyed, and made effective the deliberate will of a free people.

1 There have been a number of deaths in the Senate since 1894, but this writer has not inquired about the details of their obsequies. Presumably the precedents were followed in each case.

2 Whether a vacancy in the office of Vice-President is occasioned by that officer's exercising the office of President of the United States has not been determined.

3 This practice was continued until the beginning of the session that commenced December, 1794. As early as April 29. 1790, efforts were begun to open the doors when the Senate was in legislative session, but without success (except during the discussion of the Gallatin contested election case), until on Feb. 20, 1794, when a resolution passed to open the doors at the beginning of the next session.

4 The President's counsel were: Henry Stanbery, of Kentucky; B. R. Curtis, of Massachusetts: Thomas A. R. Nelson, of Tennessee; William M. Evarts, of New York; William S. Groesbeck, of Ohio; Jeremiah S. Black, of Pennsylvania.

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