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suspension of specie payments and a depreciation of paper money in England, and in which it was alleged the Bank of England was deeply interested. The direct purpose of the bill was to prohibit the purchase of gold coins at any price above their par value in paper. The immediate intention was to bring up the bills of the Bank of England from the state of depreciation in which their irredeemability had naturally involved them, and to restore them to their full nominal value. On this occasion there were no less than forty-five directors and proprietors of that institution in the House of Commons, and the votes of all of them were allowed, after much debate but without any division.

Of these three cases, the only ones the Speaker had been able to find, the second manifestly presented the nearest analogy to that now before the House. It was, like this, the case of a Corporation whose charter was immediately under consideration ; and the question there, as here, was how far the stockholders could vote upon that charter. It was clear, that if that precedent were to be followed, they could vote on the passage of the bill from one stage to another, and on its final passage, and on all other questions relating to it, except where the question was solely and exclusively one as to the amount of their own profits. The principle of the case, as repeatedly laid down in the debate on the point of order, was, — that where a bill was partly of a public nature and partly of benefit to themselves, (and it was admitted that that bill was of such a mixed character, the stockholders might vote on the principle; but that whenever the incidental point arose in which their own interests exclusively lay, they could not vote.

This is substantially the rule of this House, by which it is provided, that to exclude a member from voting, the interest must be a private interest, — or rather " a private right,” (a word certainly of greater caution, and which unquestionably justified a narrower construction than the English rule,) — immediately concerned and distinct from the public interest. And now the question was, whether the proposition offered by the gentleman from Westport involved directly and immediately such a distinct private interest of the Stockholders of the Boston and

Sandwich Glass Company, and presented such a question of unmixed private right, as to exclude them from voting on it under the rule as illustrated by these precedents.

This inquiry rendered necessary some examination of the proposition itself, and the answer to it would undoubtedly depend not a little on the different views which were entertained as to the character and consequences of that proposition. Did this proposition of unlimited liability present to the House solely and singly a consideration of profit or loss to the stockholders ? Was it a naked, unmixed matter of private interest or private right to the company? Had the public no concern in the question? If such were the case, the three gentlemen clearly could not vote upon it. But the Chair certainly did not regard it in that light. He looked upon the question of limited or unlimited liability, whether in reference to all corporations or to one, as a question in which the public was deeply interested. He had always believed that where there was an unlimited liability, an unlimited credit was sure to follow; that instead of looking to the capital only, the public were led to place their trust on some indefinite amount of individual wealth behind it; that unwarranted confidence was thus certain to be created, while, at the same time, those of the stockholders whose liability beyond their stock was worth any thing, were not less certain to withdraw from the concern; and that the security of the corpora. tion, of its creditors, and of the community generally, were thus at once and together put in jeopardy. The tendency of such measure to drive capital out of the State, furnished another mode of illustrating the interest of the public in such a proposition. But, without entering further into his personal opinions as to the amendment in question, it was enough for him to say, that it had been argued from first to last on the express ground of the public interest, the interest of the creditors and the interest of the community generally. No one had pretended that it was a mere matter of dollars and cents to the stockholders a simple question whether they should receive ten per centor five per cent. on their money. The very term liability was a relative term. Liability to what? Liability to whom? It was plain, and had been all along admitted, that, however there might be

a private interest at stake, it was not presented distinctly from the public interest which was concerned also, but was involved and mixed up with it. And the precedents expressly asserted that where a matter was “ of a mixed nature, partly public and partly private,” stockholders should be allowed to vote. Не might go on to observe that there could be no certain evidence in the case of an individual stockholder, whether he could have any private interest at all in the subject, as this must depend on the fact whether he had any property beyond that embarked in the concern, upon which this unlimited liability was to rest. If, in the case of the Loyalty Loan, the mere declaration of a purpose not to avail himself of the bonus, could exempt a subscriber from the operation of the rule, an absolute inability to receive either advantage or detriment from any particular provision, would certainly be no less effectual. But the views already taken he regarded as sufficient without so great a refinement; and he had only suggested it as an illustration of the extreme care which the precedents inculcated in the application of the rule in question.

The Speaker said that the case to which he had alluded as having recently occurred in Congress, was that of the New Jersey members, who were declared by Mr. J. Q. Adams, while in the Chair of the House of Representatives, to be entitled to vote on a question relating to their own case. The Speaker said he had no record of that decision, and referred to it only from memory. It was a case, to say the least, as to which he should have felt quite as much doubt as about that now under consideration. He had been led to think of it, by one in some degree analogous, which seemed likely to present itself within a few weeks past, in reference to the two members from Mendon, whose seats had now been vacated, but who, it was well remembered, voted in every instance on their own case, down to the final yeas and nays on the question of declaring their election void. And even on that question they were not prevented from voting by the Chair or by the House. Now, some of the Parliamentary authorities expressly referred to election cases as coming under the usage on the subject of interested members. One of the oldest precedents on record on this subject, he be.

lieved, was an election case. He was glad, however, that, in the Mendon case, no point of order was pressed, and that he was relieved from the necessity of choosing between the authority of President Adams, fortified by his own deliberate private judgment, and the precedents of the Parliament from which the rule had been borrowed. True, there was this marked distinction between the New Jersey members and the Mendon members, — that the former were provided with certificates of unquestionable validity, while those of the latter were believed to be without some of the requisite sanctions and signatures. But not even this would have reconciled him to depriving those gentlemen of their votes in one case, while the House permitted them to retain their seats at all.

It might be asked of the Speaker, in what cases the rule was to be applied, so as not to be altogether inoperative. The case of a pension had already been suggested. If a member of the House were a petitioner for a pension, bounty, remuneration, or indemnification of any kind, the rule would clearly exclude him from voting on the question. A large number of resolves had already passed the House and others were still in the orders of the day, granting gratuities to persons who had arrested criminals, detected counterfeiters, or rendered other service to the community. If any of these persons had been members of the House, their votes must have been disallowed. Then there was a class of cases liable at any time to arise out of the conduct and character of members, when charges might be made against them upon which the House might find it necessary to proceed, or when by some gross violation of order and decorum in the House, or of morality and honor out of it, they might subject themselves to reprimand or expulsion. And questions might also, perhaps, occur in relation to corporations, on which the votes of the stockholders would be excluded under the precedent of the London Flour Company, before cited. But these questions the Speaker believed could be very few, and the multiplication of them he thought would be attended with danger to the great fundamental right of the people to representation on the principles of equality. If members duly elected and qualified were to be deprived of their votes, as had been demanded, now and fora private interest at stake, it was not presented distinctly from the public interest which was concerned also, but was involved and mixed up with it. And the precedents expressly asserted that where a matter was “ of a mixed nature, partly public and partly private," stockholders should be allowed to vote. He might go on to observe that there could be no certain evidence in the case of an individual stockholder, whether he could have any private interest at all in the subject, as this must depend on the fact whether he had any property beyond that embarked in the concern, upon which this unlimited liability was to rest. If, in the case of the Loyalty Loan, the mere declaration of a purpose not to avail himself of the bonus, could exempt a subscriber from the operation of the rule, an absolute inability to receive either advantage or detriment from any particular provision, would certainly be no less effectual. But the views already taken he regarded as sufficient without so great a refinement; and he had only suggested it as an illustration of the extreme care which the precedents inculcated in the application of the rule in question.

The Speaker said that the case to which he had alluded as having recently occurred in Congress, was that of the New Jersey members, who were declared by Mr. J. Q. Adams, while in the Chair of the House of Representatives, to be entitled to vote on a question relating to their own case. The Speaker said he had no record of that decision, and referred to it only from memory. It was a case, to say the least, as to which he should have felt quite as much doubt as about that now under consideration. He had been led to think of it, by one in some degree analogous, which seemed likely to present itself within a few weeks past, in reference to the two members from Mendon, whose seats had now been vacated, but who, it was well remembered, voted in every instance on their own case, down to the final yeas and nays on the question of declaring their election void. And even on that question they were not prevented from voting by the Chair or by the House. Now, some of the Parliamentary authorities expressly referred to election cases as coming under the usage on the subject of interested members. One of the oldest precedents on record on this subject, he be

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