[Hinds' Precedents, Volume 2]
[Chapter 43 - Delegates]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]



   1. Statutes creating the office. Section 1290.\1\
   2. Privileges on the floor. Sections 1291-1296.\2\
   3. Service on committees. Sections 1297-1301.
   4. Appointed teller, etc. Sections 1302-1303.
   5. Resignation of. Section 1304.
   6. Punishment of. Section 1305.\3\
   7. Resident Commissioner of Porto Rico. Section 1306.


  1290. Each Territory sends to the House a Delegate having the right 
of debating but not of voting.
  The statutes specify the qualifications of the electors of Delegates.
  A Delegate is elected by a plurality of votes, and the governor is 
required to declare the election, in accordance with which a 
certificate is issued.
  Section 1862 of the Revised Statutes says:

  Every Territory shall have the right to send a Delegate to the House 
of Representatives of the United States, to serve during each Congress, 
who shall be elected by the voters in the Territory qualified to elect 
members of the legislative assembly thereof. The person having the 
greatest number of votes shall be declared by the governor duly 
elected, and a certificate shall be given accordingly. Every such 
Delegate shall have a seat in the House of Representatives, with the 
right of debating, but not of voting.\4\

  The words ``right of debating, but not of voting,'' were taken from 
the act of March 3, 1817,\5\ but that act in turn had taken them 
verbatim from the ``ordinance for the government of the Territory of 
the United States northwest of the river Ohio'' passed by the 
Continental Congress July 13, 1787.\6\
  \1\ Office of Delegate created by Continental Congress. Section 421 
of Volume I.
  Early theory and practice in regard to. Section 400 of Volume I.
  Status of, elaborately discussed, especially as to qualifications. 
Section 473 of Volume I. Other discussion of qualifications. Sections 
421, 423, 431 of Volume I. Qualifications of Delegate from Hawaii. 
Section 526 of Volume I.
  House investigates the election of a Delegate as in case of a Member. 
Section 772 of Volume I.
  \2\ Duty of Speaker as to recognition of, after the Territory has 
been admitted as a State. Section 408 of Volume I.
  \3\ As to the expulsion of a Delegate. Section 469 of Volume I.
  \4\ The House in 1882 passed a bill (H. R. 4162) to define the 
qualifications of Territorial Delegates, but the Senate did not act on 
the bill. (First session Forty-seventh Congress, Record, p. 3256.)
  \5\ 3 Stat. L., p. 363, second session Fourteenth Congress.
  \6\ 1 Stat. L., p. 52.
                                                            Sec. 1291
  1291. Delegates from the Territories have the right to make 
motions.--On February 22, 1849,\1\ Mr. Henry H. Sibley, of Wisconsin 
Territory, moved that the rules be suspended for the purpose of 
enabling him to move that the Committee of the Whole House on the state 
of the Union be discharged from the further consideration of the bill 
from the Senate (No. 152) entitled ``An act to establish the 
Territorial government of Minnesota.''
  This motion being decided in the affirmative, two-thirds voting in 
favor thereof, Mr. Sibley made the motion to discharge the committee, 
etc., and the House proceeded to consider the bill.
  The question being upon agreeing to amendments, Mr. Sibley moved the 
previous question.
  Mr. Nathaniel Boyden, of North Carolina, raised the point of order 
that a Delegate from a Territory, not having the right to vote, clearly 
had not the right to move the previous question.
  The Speaker \2\ stated that--

  By the act of March 3, 1817, it is provided--
  ``That in every Territory of the United States in which a temporary 
government has been or hereafter shall be established, and which, by 
virtue of the ordinance of Congress of the 13th of July, 1787, or of 
any subsequent act of Congress passed or to be passed, now hath or 
hereafter shall have the right to send a Delegate to Congress, such 
Delegate shall be elected every second year, for the same term of two 
years for which Members of the House of Representatives of the United 
States are elected; and in that House each of the said Delegates shall 
have a seat with the right of debating, but not of voting.\3\
  It is clear that the gentleman from Wisconsin has no right to vote. 
The Chair has had some doubt whether the gentleman has the right to 
make a motion. It has, however, been the uniform practice of the House 
to allow Delegates to make motions. The gentleman from Wisconsin 
himself made the motion to suspend the rules for the purpose of 
bringing the question before the House. That is a motion quite as 
important as the previous question, as it sets aside all the rules of 
the House relating to the order of business. Gentlemen from the 
Territories are habitually called for petitions and resolutions, under 
an express rule of the House, and always have been allowed to move the 
reference of them.\4\ The Chair believes, upon the whole, that 
delegates from the Territories could not subserve the purposes for 
which they are sent here unless they have the right to make motions; 
and as the law does not expressly deny them that right, the Chair is 
disposed to accord to them the largest liberty.

  From this decision Mr. Boyden appealed. The House sustained the 
  1292. A Delegate may make any motion which a Member may make, except 
the motion to reconsider.--On August 20, 1850,\5\ Mr. Samuel R. 
Thurston, of Oregon Territory, by unanimous consent, presented the 
memorial of the legislative assembly of Oregon, praying for a donation 
of land to settlers, etc. Mr. Thurston moved that the said memorial be 
referred to the Committee on Territories. Mr. Jacob Thompson, of 
Mississippi, made the point of order that, under a decision of the 
Committee of the Whole,\6\ in affirmance of a decision of its Chairman, 
it was not competent for a Delegate from a Territory to make a motion, 
and, consequently,
  \1\ Journal, second session Thirtieth Congress, p. 503; Cong. Globe, 
p. 581.
  \2\ Robert C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, Speaker.
  \3\ This law of 1817 is now section 1862, Revised Statutes, ed. 1878.
  \4\ Petitions and resolutions are no longer introduced in this way.
  \5\ Journal, first session Thirty-first Congress, p. 1280.
  \6\ The decision in Committee of the Whole was made by Chairman 
Armistead Burt, of South Carolina. (See Cong. Globe, first session 
Thirty-first Congress, p. 1607.)
Sec. 1293
that the motion submitted by the Delegate from Oregon [Mr. Thurston] 
could not be entertained by the House.
  The Speaker \1\ stated that, if the point of order made by the 
gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. Thompson] was an original question, for 
the first time presented for consideration, he should be strongly 
inclined to hold, under the provisions of the Constitution and the law 
of 1817, that the Delegate could not make a motion. But the long-
continued practice of the House, commencing with the first organization 
of Territorial governments, in connection with the express provisions 
of the rules--one of which provided that the Territories shall be 
called for resolutions on each alternate Monday during the session--
had, in his judgment, settled this question. Unless a Delegate could 
offer a resolution it would be a useless provision to call his 
Territory for resolutions; and the Chair was unable to discriminate 
between motions relating to Territorial business and any others, except 
a motion to reconsider, which, being dependent upon the right to vote, 
could not be exercised by a Delegate. The Chair therefore overruled the 
point of order.
  Mr. Armistead Burt having appealed from the decision of the Chair, 
the ruling was sustained by a vote of 111 yeas to 62 nays.
  1293. A Delegate may not object to the consideration of a measure.--
On June 6, 1866,\2\ Mr. Henry J. Raymond, of New York, from the 
Committee on Appropriations, reported Senate Joint Resolution No. 69, 
making appropriation to negotiate treaties with certain Indian tribes.
  Mr. Walter A. Burleigh, Delegate from the Territory of Dakota, 
insisted that the bill, making an appropriation, must have its first 
consideration in the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the 
  The Speaker \3\ said:

  The Chair is of the opinion that a Delegate is not entitled to make 
such an objection as will prevent the joint resolution from being now 
considered. * * * The gentleman is sent here as a Delegate to discuss 
the merits of all questions in regard to the Territory of Dakota or 
elsewhere, but he is not entitled to a vote.

  1294. On March 2 1901,\4\ Mr. John H. Stephens, of Texas, asked 
unanimous consent for the present consideration of the joint resolution 
(H. J. Res. 213) setting aside certain lands within the Mescalero 
Indian Reservation, in New Mexico, for the use of the Indians thereon, 
and providing for the sale of the residue of the lands therein for the 
benefit of said tribe of Indians.
  Mr. Stephens having stated that the Delegate from New Mexico was 
opposed to the bill, Mr. Eugene F. Loud, of California, said that he 
would object, as the Delegate was not in a position to oppose.
  1295. A Delegate may call a Member to order in debate.--On January 
14, 1811,\5\ Mr. Josiah Quincy, of Massachusetts had the floor, and was 
debating the bill to enable the people of the Territory of Orleans to 
form a constitution and State government and for the admission of such 
State into the Union.
  \1\ Howell Cobb, of Georgia, Speaker.
  \2\ Cong. Globe, first session Thirty-ninth Congress, p. 3007.
  \3\ Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana, Speaker.
  \4\ Second session Fifty-sixth Congress, Record, pp. 3463, 3464.
  \5\ Third session Eleventh Congress, Anna] , p. 526.
                                                            Sec. 1296
  For words spoken, Mr. George Poindexter, Delegate from Mississippi 
Territory, called Mr. Quincy to order.
  Mr. Joseph Lewis, Jr., of Virginia, asked for a decision as to 
whether or not ``a Delegate, holding a seat in this House by courtesy 
alone,\1\ without a right to vote, has a right to call any Member of 
the House to order.''
  The Speaker \2\ decided that the Delegate might call the Member to 
  1296. The House declined to allow a Delegate to introduce an 
interpreter on the floor.--On February 27, 1854,\3\ a proposition was 
made to authorize Hon. Jose M. Gallegos, Delegate from New Mexico, to 
introduce an interpreter on the floor. Although it was shown that Mr. 
Gallegos could not understand a word of English, the House did not 
favor the proposition, and it failed to be agreed to.
  1297. Delegates are appointed as additional members of certain 
committees, where they possess the same powers and privileges as in the 
House, and may make any motion except to reconsider.
  Different views of the House as to the propriety of permitting a 
Delegate to serve on a committee.
  Form and history of section 1 of Rule XII.
  Rule XII, section 1, provides:

  The Speaker shall appoint from among the Delegates one additional 
Member on each of the following committees, viz: Coinage, Weights, and 
Measures; Agriculture; Military Affairs; Post-Office and Post-Roads; 
Public Lands; Indian Affairs; Private Land Claims; Mines and Mining, 
and two on Territories; and they shall possess in their respective 
committees the same powers and privileges as in the House, and may make 
any motion except to reconsider.

  This rule is in the form of the revision of 1880,\4\ except that the 
Committee on Private Land Claims was added on December 21, 1887,\5\ and 
the number of Delegates on the Committee on Territories was increased 
to two on February 1, 1892.\6\ The form of 1880 was taken from the old 
rule No. 162, which dated from December 12, 1871,\7\ when a rule was 
adopted giving Delegates places on the Committee on Territories and 
District of Columbia.\8\ The rule was regarded as an innovation, and 
the propriety of permitting a Delegate to have a place on a committee 
was questioned.\9\ On December 6, 1872,\10\ Mr. Jerome B. Chaffee, of 
Colorado, proposed that Delegates be named on the Committees of Indian 
Affairs, Mines and Mining, Public Lands, and Private Land Claims; but 
it was not until March 29, 1876,\11\ that the enlargement was actually 
  \1\ At this time the office of delegate had not been definitely 
established by the law of 1817. See Section 1291.
  \2\ Joseph B. Varnum, of Massachusetts, Speaker.
  \3\ First session Thirty-third Congress, Journal p. 429; Globe, p. 
  \4\ Second session Forty-sixth Congress, Record, p. 205.
  \5\ First session Fiftieth Congress, Record, p. 146.
  \6\ First session Fifty-second Congress, Record, p. 735.
  \7\ Second session Forty-second Congress, Journal, pp. 16, 67; Globe, 
pp. 11, 117.
  \8\ At this time the District of Columbia had a Delegate in Congress. 
Third session Forty-second Congress, Journal, p. 6; second session, 
Globe, p. 11.
  \9\ In earlier days, however, without any rule, a Delegate had been 
made chairman of an important select committee. See section 1299 of 
this chapter.
  \10\ Third session Forty-second Congress, Journal, p. 43; Globe, p. 
  \11\ First session Forty-fourth Congress, Record, p. 2035.
Sec. 1298
  1298. Delegates have sometimes been appointed on committees other 
than those mentioned in Rule XII.--On December 23, 1891,\1\ at the time 
of the appointment of the committees of the House, Mr. Speaker Crisp 
named Mr. John T. Caine, of Utah, a Delegate, on the committees on 
Pacific Railroads and Irrigation of Arid Lands, although those were not 
among the committees specified by Rule XII as committees on which 
Delegates shall be appointed by the Speaker. On February 8, 1892,\2\ 
the Speaker assigned committee places to Delegates in accordance with 
Rule XII, Mr. Caine being appointed to Coinage, Weights, and Measures, 
the Post-Office and Post-Roads, and Private Land Claims. He continued 
to hold these places with the two to which he was appointed December 
  1299. A Delegate has been appointed chairman of a select committee.--
On December 21, 1811,\4\ Mr. George Poindexter, Delegate from 
Mississippi Territory, moved that the letter of Cowles Mead, speaker of 
the house of representatives of the Mississippi Territory, with the 
presentment of the grand jury of Baldwin County, in said Territory, 
against Harry Toulmin, judge of the superior court of Washington 
district, be referred to a select committee to consider and report 
thereon to the House.
  The motion being agreed to, Mr. Poindexter was appointed chairman of 
the committee, and in due time made the report from the committee to 
the House.
  1300. In the earlier practice Delegates appear to have voted in 
committees; but such is not the later rule.--On February 23, 1884,\5\ a 
proposition was made to allow Delegates the right to vote in committees 
of which they were members. It was referred to the Committee on Rules, 
with no result.
  1301. On September 3, 1841,\6\ in a report on the qualifications of 
David Levy, Delegate from Florida, the Committee on Elections 
incidentally say in their report:

  With the single exception of voting, the Delegate enjoys every other 
privilege and exercises every other right of a Representative. He can 
act as a member of a standing or special committee and vote on the 
business before said committees, and he may thus exercise an important 
influence on those initiatory proceedings by which business is prepared 
for the action of the House. He is also required to take an oath to 
support the Constitution of the United States.

  1302. An instance wherein a Delegate was appointed a teller.--On 
January 13, 1904,\7\ during consideration of the legislative 
appropriation bill in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the 
Union, Mr. J. S. Wilson, Delegate from Arizona, offered an amendment 
relating to the salaries of certain officials in that Territory.
  After debate the question was put on agreeing to the amendment, and 
tellers were ordered.
  \1\ First session Fifty-second Congress, Journal, p. 18.
  \2\ Record, p. 950.
  \3\ See Congressional Directory, second session Fifty-second Congress 
(first edition), p. 137.
  \4\ First session Twelfth Congress, Journal, pp. 87, 347 (Gales & 
Seaton ed.).
  \5\ First session Forty-eighth Congress, Journal, p. 653; Record, p. 
  \6\ First session Twenty-seventh Congress, House Report No. 10, p. 5.
  \7\ Second session Fifty-eighth Congress, Record, p. 736.
                                                            Sec. 1303
  Thereupon the Chairman\1\ appointed as tellers Mr. Henry H. Bingham, 
of Pennsylvania, the Member in charge of the bill, who had opposed the 
amendment, and Mr. Wilson, the Delegate, who had proposed it.
  1303. Impeachment proceedings have been moved by a Delegate.
  A Delegate was appointed chairman of a committee to inquire into the 
conduct of a judge, and was authorized by the House to cause testimony 
to be taken.
  On April 11, 1808,\2\ the Speaker presented to the House sundry 
resolutions of the legislative council and house of representatives of 
the Mississippi Territory, instructing George Poindexter, the Delegate 
in Congress from the said Territory, to impeach Peter B. Bruin, 
presiding judge of that Territory, on the charges of neglect of duty 
and drunkenness on the bench.
  Thereupon Mr. Poindexter offered this resolution:

  Resolved, That a committee be appointed to prepare and report 
articles of impeachment against Peter B. Bruin, one of the judges of 
the superior court of the Mississippi Territory; and that the said 
committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.

  Objection being made to proceeding to impeachment proceedings without 
further investigation, and especially to doing so on the instance not 
of a State but of a Territorial legislature, Mr. Poindexter, ``at the 
suggestion of experienced gentlemen,'' modified his resolution by 
striking out the words ``prepare and report'' and inserting in their 
place ``inquire into the expediency of preferring.''
  On April 18,\3\ the House considered the resolution and agreed to a 
substitute as follows:

  Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the conduct 
of Peter B. Bruin, judge, etc., and report whether, in their opinion, 
he hath so acted, in his official capacity, as to require the 
interposition of the constitutional power of this House; and that the 
said committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.

  Mr. Poindexter was appointed chairman of this committee, and on April 
21,\4\ the House by resolution authorized him to have depositions taken 
according to the terms of this resolution:

  Resolved, That George Poindexter, chairman of said committee, be 
authorized to cause to be taken before a magistrate or other proper 
officer such depositions in relation to the official conduct of the 
said judge as, in his judgment, may be material to the inquiry, having 
first notified the said Bruin of the time and place, or places, of 
taking such depositions, so that he may give his attendance; and that 
the depositions so taken be laid before Congress at their next session.

  1304. A Delegate resigns his seat in a communication addressed to the 
Speaker.--On February 21, 1831,\5\ Mr. John Biddle, Delegate from the 
Territory of Michigan, by a letter addressed to the Speaker, 
communicated his resignation of his seat in the House.
  The letter was read, ordered to lie on the table, and appears in full 
in the Journal.
  \1\ James A. Tawney, of Minnesota, chairman.
  \2\ First session Tenth Congress, Journal, p. 264 (Gales & Seaton 
ed.), Annals, p. 2068.
  \3\ Journal, p. 277.
  \4\ Journal, p. 286.
  \5\ Second session Twenty-first Congress, Journal, p. 338.
Sec. 1305
  1305. A Delegate who had used insulting language in debate and 
declined to retract it was, by order of the House, arrested, brought to 
the bar, and censured by the Speaker.
  A declaration by a Member in debate that another Member has knowingly 
stated that which is false is unparliamentary and censurable.
  On February 4, 1869,\1\ during consideration of the bill (H. R. 1738) 
making appropriations for the expenses of the Indian department, Mr. E. 
D. Holbrook, Delegate from Idaho, was called to order for the use of 
the following words:

  And after the gentleman having charge of this bill saw fit to silence 
Delegates here by raising points of order and making assertions which 
he knew at the time he made them to be unqualifiedly false.

  The words having been taken down on the demand of a Member, and the 
ruling of the Chair having been asked, the Speaker\2\ said:

  The Chair rules that these words are out of order, both as being 
unparliamentary and as being indecorous. Where a Member states that 
what another Member has said is not true that is not unparliamentary, 
because it is possible that the Member may have been mistaken. But when 
a gentleman states that a Member on this floor has declared that which 
he knew to be unqualifiedly false, that is the most insulting language 
that can be uttered in a parliamentary body.

  Mr. Holbrook having declined to retract, Mr. James A. Garfield, of 
Ohio, submitted the following resolution:

  Resolved, That E. D. Holbrook, Delegate from the Territory of Idaho, 
having uttered the following words in debate: ``and after the gentlemen 
having charge of this bill saw fit to silence Delegates here by raising 
points of order and making assertions which he knew at the time he made 
them to be unqualifiedly false,'' distinctly in the presence of the 
House, and having refused to retract the same, be, and he is hereby, 
immediately arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms to be brought to the bar 
of the House and severely censured by the Speaker.

  During these proceedings attention was called to a former ruling of 
the Speaker when Mr. John A. Logan, of Illinois, used similar language, 
but the Speaker replied that this case must be settled by itself.
  The resolution was agreed to under operation of the previous 
question, and Mr. Holbrook, being brought to the bar in custody of the 
Sergeant-at-Arms and censured, the Speaker saying:

  Mr. Holbrook, oftentimes in a deliberative body, in the discussion of 
exciting questions, language is used which, when attention is called to 
it, is promptly withdrawn. We are all fallible, and hence are liable to 
yield sometimes to the temptation to indulge in language not seemly or 
proper; but when the language employed is offensive in its character, 
and apparently, from the construction of the sentence, intended to be 
insulting, and when, an opportunity being given for its withdrawal, 
that opportunity is not taken advantage of, thus reiterating the insult 
to a fellow-member, uttered upon the floor of the House, it has always 
been deemed by deliberative assemblies censurable by the body with 
which both Members are connected. This instance is, in the opinion of 
the House, of that character, and the House has instructed its Speaker 
to censure you at its bar. I therefore, by order of the House, 
pronounce upon you its censure for the language which you have uttered 
in its hearing. You will resume your seat.

  1306. The rules give to the resident commissioner of Porto Rico the 
status of a Delegate in the House and assign to him an additional place 
on the Committee on Insular Affairs.
  \1\ Third session Fortieth Congress, Journal, pp. 275, 276; Globe, 
pp. 882, 883.
  \2\ Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana, Speaker.
                                                            Sec. 1306
  Form and history of section 2 of Rule XII.
  Section 2 of Rule XII provides that:

  The resident commissioner to the United States from Porto Rico shall 
possess the same powers and privileges as to committee service and in 
the House as are possessed by Delegates; and shall be competent to 
serve on the Committee on Insular Affairs as an additional member.

  This rule dates from February 2, 1904.\1\ In the preceding Congress 
the House had passed a bill to provide by law for a delegate from Porto 
Rico, but it failed of enactment.\2\
  \1\ First session Fifty-eighth Congress, Journal, p. 233.
  \2\ Second session Fifty-seventh Congress, Journal, p. 333.