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"This principle—the conservative principle—in constitutional
Governments, is compromise; and in absolute Governments, ia


H O N . M. 0.




S E N A T E OF T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S ,

Wednesday and Thursday, October 11 and 19, 1893.




HON. M. 0. B U T L E R .
Wednesday, October 11,1893.
The Senate having tinder consideration the hill (H. R, 1) to repeal apart of
anact, approved July 14,1890, entitled "An act directing the purchase of silver
bullionand the issue of Treasury notes thereon, and for other purposes'

Mr. BUTLER said:
Mr. PRESIDENT: As one of those who is opposed and has been
opposed to the passage of House bill No. 1,1 can not permit the
observations of the Senator from Indiana to pass without a brief
Like the Senator from Tennessee, I acquit the Senator from
Indiana—if any such acquittance is necessary—of any illiberality
or ungenerous conduct or unfairness in the management of the
pending bill; and if the Senator will permit me to say it in his
presence, he is incapable of injustice or unfairness or ungenerosity, whether as to minorities or majorities. But when the
Senator states that the issue now confronting us is whether the
Government shall stop, whether the Senate of the United States
is capable of self-government, I submit to him he has gone one
step beyond the issue.
Are we to be told, sir—is this country to be impressed with
the conviction, that* because House bill No. 1 can not pass the
Senate there is revolution in this country, and that the Senate
can not govern itself? Is that the idea?
Was the present session of Congress convened for no other
purpose except to repeal what is known as the Sherman law?
Was it for that purpose in a disagreeable period of the year, at
great personal inconvenience to every Senator and Representative, we were summoned here, and for nothing else? I submit,
in common fairness to those who have been opposing this bill
and who are now opposing it, that that conclusion is neither legitimate, logical, or fair.
Sir, I have in my hand the Calendar of this body, crowded with
subjects for legislation, teeming with important measures demanding the attention of the Senate and of Congress; and yet,
because we have occupied a few weeks in debating the proposed
repeal of the Sherman law, we are told that we are filibusters,
obstructing legislation, stopping the Government, guilty of revolution.
For myself I say, here and now, the taunts and sneers and accusations brought against me personally by the press in certain
sections of the country have no terrors or concern for me. I am


under my oath to support the Constitution, discharging my duty
as I understand it, and not as it is dictated to me, or attempted
to he dictated to me by newspaper editors, by chambers of commerce, and boards of trade.
I deny it now, sir; it is not true, in my judgment and belief,
that there is a majority of the people of the United States in
favor of the unconditional repeal of the Sherman law; and if
our institutions permitted it, I would be quite willing to go to
the people of the country on it and submit it to their verdict and
decision. I believe an overwhelming majority of the people of
the United States would be with the so-called minority in the
Senate in regard to the unconditional repeal of the law of 1890.
If we have any evidence by which we are to be controlled or
will be controlled, the last verdict of the American people was
rendered in November last, and while a part of that verdict was
the speedy repeal of the Sherman law, there were other principles involved as well to which that verdict and judgment related; and for one I do not intend without a protest to hear the
proposition of the Senator from Indiana that a majority of the
people or the United States demand the unconditional repeal of
the Sherman law. Where is the evidence of it? The New York
press? Does that represent the majority? The chambers of commerce and boards of trade? Do they represent the majority of
the great millions of American people? I do not think so. So
I am not quite content to sit quietly and permit that alliegation
and statement to go uncontradicted.
This measure is not the pivot upon which the Government revolves; it is not the crucial test of republican institutions, for
the Senator from Indiana himself said that never before had the
moneyed interests of this country manifested so much interest*
It touches their pockets, and they have created, in my judgment, a false opinion in this country by undertaking to raise a
clamor against the Senators who are opposing the pending bill
as obstructionists, and filibustered,- and revolutionists. Mr.
President, it is not always that portion of an audience which
makes the most noise that necessarily represents a majority.
The experience of all of us convinces us of that fact. The moneyed interest to which my friend from Indiana referred is dormant, silent, unheard anywhere, whilst the liberties of the
country might be trembling in the balance. They do not get
their newspapers and their lobbies to flood the Senate and the
country with clamors and representations that we are in danger
except as the Senator from Indiana has stated; when their pockets
are touched we hear in thunder tones that we are on the eve of a
great and solemn crisis, that a revolution is impending, that the
Senate is a failure and must be blotted from our system of government.
The Calendar of this body is crowded with other matters of
legislation requiring our attention. The very first bill on the
Calendar is a bill to provide for the issue of circulating notes to
national banks, " reported by Mr. VOORHEES, Committee on
Finance, read twice." Then there is abill referring to the Court
of Claims the claim of William E. Woodbridge, etc. That is a
private matter, of course. The next is a bill to repeal Title
XXVI of the Revised Statutes of the United States known as

the Federal election law, reported by "Mr. HILL., Committee
on Judiciary." That is of no consequence; there is nothing at
all in that. Oh, no. Send your marshals and your supervisors
and your paid minions to destroy the rights of the people and it
is all right; not one word is said or heard about it.
That bill is pending before this body. -It involves a right much
dearer to the people than the question as to what shall be the
form of their currency. There is not one word heard, there is
no step taken to consider that bill: but as the Senator from Idaho
has stated, when we debate with deliberation and candor and
frankness House bill No. 1 (within reasonable limits, I insist),
we are told that it is the end of the constitutional government
and that liberty lies bleeding in the streets. I find here sixtytwo measures now pending before the Senate in the forms of reports of committees, besides seventeen subjects on the table for
Mr. President, I do not desire to see the day ever arrive in
this country when a minority shall control its destiny. I believe
in the doctrine of the majority exercising its powers and rights
under the Constitution of the Union, but I shall stand here now
and as long as I am honored with a seat on this floor, and contest
with my honorable friend from Indiana inch by inch and step by
step every infringement he or those who think with him may
attempt upon the legitimate constitutional right of the minority
in this body.
Sir, if we are at the end of our usefulness upon this measure I
invoke the powerful aid of the distinguished and able Senator
from Indiana in the passage of the bill reported by the Senator
from New York [Mr. HILL] from the Committee on the Judiciary
in favor of the repeal of the Federal-election laws. Mr. President, I submit, in all candor and frankness and honesty, this attempt to convince the Senate and the country that the Government is to be stopped, that the constitutional liberty is to be
destroyed, that republican institutions are to be no more because
forsooth this body can not vmder its rules pass one measure, pales
into insignificance as compared with other measures now pending before us.
But I suppose, sir, the ukase has been issued, the imperial edict
has been given to the world that this measure must pass and the
country's Government must stop until it does pass, and we are
called upon to obey. For one, I shall not obey as long as I have
the power under the Constitution to express my disobedience.
I shall not now enter into the merits of this matter. I beg pardon of my distinguished friend on my right [Mr. ALLEN] for
taking up so much of his time. The Senator from Tennessee
[Mr. HARRIS] has said, and I reiterate and reecho the sentiment,
that he and I and those who think with us are prepared in the
exercise of our constitutional duty here to meet our friends more
than halfway in regard to the pending measure.
If I had the right to do it, knowing as I do and as the country
knows the great and brilliant services to the country rendered
by my distinguished friend from Indiana, knowing as we all do
the capacity of his great big heart, and equally knowing as we
do his unswerving courage when he thinks he is right, I would
appeal to that distinguished Senator to throw himself into the

breach. Tt would be no derogation of his high dignity, it would
ba no detraction from his eminent services. It would add new
laurels to his long and brilliant and distinguished career.
I believe, and I state it solemnly and sincerely, that he more
than any other one man on this continent to-day can by throwing himself into the breach settle this controversy honorably,
fairly, and legally, and make such a settlement as will leave no
sting in it, make such a settlement as will carry the party to
which he and I belong forward in the great mission which the
American people have bestowed upon it. That, sir. is my judgment. My distinguished friend (and I know he will permit me
to call him my friend) will pardon me if I have transcended the
limits of propriety in making this appeal. But, sir, the people
whom I have the honor in part to represent on this floor feel as
profoundly as the people feel in the city of New York or in the
city of Boston or the city of Philadelphia or any other financial
center, and in justice to their rights and what is due to them, as
I understand it, I shall never consent, if I can prevent it, to the
unconditional repeal of the Sherman law.
Thursday, October 19,1893.
Mr. BUTLER. Mr. President, in what I am about to say in
regard to the pending motion, I trust I shall not be betrayed into
misrepresenting the position of the Senator from Texas [Mr.
MILLS] or that of the Senator from NEW York [MR. HILL]. If I am
not mistaken in their position, I feel bound to say that the propositions which they have submitted for the consideration of the Senate, as I understand them, appear to me to be little less than
monstrous, and I must express my surprise that Senators of
their experience, ability, and patriotism should, in a body like
the United States Senate, or in the United States Senate, deliberately propose to violate not only every tradition of this body,
but every law which has been adopted for its government from
its foundation to the present time.
I want to say here and now, sir, in connection with the propositions of those two Senators that if they should ba adopted by
the Senate, it would reduce this body to a plane with a town
meeting trying to elect a town constable; if their propositions
should be adopted by the Senate, we shall have bedlam in this
body, if not anarchy, instead of orderly procedure and dignified
• In order that I may not be misunderstood, 1 will state what I
understand to be their position; and I am sorry the Senator
from Texas is not in his seat. I understand the position of those
Senators to be that at any moment, at any hour, on any day the
majority in this body may change its rules without regard to the
mode provided in the rules for the government of the body; that
by the exercise of brute force a majority of this body to-day can,
of its own motion, without regard to the rules, introduce an
amendment to the rules and pass it in utter disregard of this
code of rules which I hold in my hand. The effect of that would
be. as I understand, that a majority to-day may modify or change
the rules to suit itself; and if that majority fades by this hour

to-morrow, that majority may reverse and revoke that rule and
make another. That I understand to be the proposition of the
two Senators, the one from Texas and the other from New York.
I repeat, Mr. President, to my mind it is little less than monstrous, and fills me with surprise and amazement.
I hold in my hand the code of the standing rules of the Senate, 4u in number, followed by the rules of procedure and practice in the Senate when sitting on the trial of impeachments;
followed by rules for the regulation of the Senate wing of the
United States Capitol. They are followed by the standing orders of the Senate, not embraced in the rules, and such parts of
acts as affect the business of the Senate, and so on.
The fortieth rule provides as follows:

No motion to suspend, modify, or amend any rule, or any part thereof,
shall be in order, except on one day's notice in writing, specifying precisely
the rule or part proposed to be suspended, modified, or amended, and the purpose thereof. Any rule may be suspended without notice by the unanimous
consent of the Senate, except as otherwise provided in clause 1, Rule XII.

Sir, I had always supposed, until this new dispensation of the
Senators from New York and of Texas, that this body was as
much governed and controlled by that code of rules as any court
on this continent is governed by the code of rules which it makes
for its own government. I had supposed that this code of rules
was as binding upon me as the Constitution of the United States
and the laws made in pursuance thereof are binding upon every
citizen of this country; but we are told by the Senator irom New
York and the Senator from Texas that we are not bound by these
rules; that a majority of this body, in th3 exercise of its sweet
will or caprice, may trample on or amend the rules of this body
to suit that caprice or sweet will. If that be so, why perform
the farce, the absurd farce, of keeping these rules on our desks
for our guidance? Why not make a bonfire of them, and relieve
this Chamber of the impediments which they make to our proceedings? Why not turn over to these two distinguished leaders
of this new dispensation, as the leaders of their so-called majority,
the transaction of all the business of this Senate, if their doctrine be the correct one?
The Senator from Texas told us yesterday evening that the
Senate had the inherent right and power to amend the rules.
Who has denied that, sir? I b ave heard no denial of such a proposition. Of course, this, like every other parliamentary body,
has control over its rules,and it has exercised that control over
and over again in amendments suggested and adopted in an
orderly, decent, and lawful way, as prescribed by the fortieth
rule of this code of rules—one day's notice, a reference to the
Committee on Rules, a report from th-at committee, debate on
the report, and the adoption or rejection of it. That is the manner and the method, I had always supposed, in a deliberative
parliamentary body to amend the rules of its conduct and action.
Now, we are told, because certain Senators find themselves in
a majority in this body, overanxious to have one bill passed,
that we shall throw to the winds and scatter from our sight the
rules which have been sanctified by time and approved by th©
greatest constitutional lawyers this country has ever produced,


and that that majority shall run roughshod over the minority and
pass their measure in utter disregard of the rights of that minority. That I understand to be the proposition of those two Senators. If I have misrepresented them, I shall be delighted if
they will correct me.
Some change has come over the spirit of the dream of my distinguished friend from Texas. I do nob know that my friend
from New York ever had a dream. [Laughter.] The Senator
from Texas has made a record on this subject. He has been in
the public prints in regard to the rights of minorities and majorities; he appears in the public records of this Congress frequently on that subject; and, whilst consistency has been said
to be a jewel, and I think correctly so said, I should not hold
that honorable Senator down to the utterances of a lifetime in
order that he might comply with that quality of consistency,
because all men change their minds, especially great men like
the Senator from Texas and the Senator from New York; they
are allowed to change their minds; but, Mr. President, when
that change does take place, some better reason should be assigned for it, I respectfully submit, th^in that now assigned by
those two Senators.
I find in the North American Review of December, 1889, about
four years ago, an article prepared for that periodical by the
honorable Senator from Texas. After paying his respects to
the Republican party in the first paragraph, he says:
The rules of the House are intended, primarily, to facilitate the dispatch
of business; but they are also intended, like other laws, to protect the weak
against the strong. In thefirstparagraph of his parliamentary manual, Mr.
Jefferson quotes with approval the language of Speaker Onslow, whom he
characterizes as 4,the ablest among the Speakers of the House of Commons."
Mr. Onslow said that the rules of proceeding, " as instituted by our ancestors, operated as a check and control on the actions of the majority," and
that they were " in many instances a shelter and protection to the minority
against the attempts of power."

He then gives what Mr* Jefferson said, which has, I believe,
been quoted here this morning. Then the writer goes on and
Before these checks against irregularities and abuses are removed, it
should be shown that the nature of power has changed, and that it is not
now actuated by a spirit of wantonness. When that high standard of moral
perfection is reached by Republican Congressmen, their Democratic opponents will throw no hindrance in the way of their progress.

May I be permitted, Mr. President, to paraphrase that sentence, to say that when the high standard of moral perfection is
reached by the so-called majority of this body on this bill, their
opponents will throw no hindrance in the way of their progress?
The same argument now made against the rules of the House could be
made with equal force against the Constitution of the United States and the
constitutions of all the States that compose the Union. All of these rules
are but rules for the government of political societies; and in all of them
there are obstructions thrown across the path the majority may wish to go.
The founders of our Government had been taught in the school of experience
that the multitude clothed with unlimited power was as dangerous as the
single despot; that arbitrary power was the same whether it resided in one
or many.

And in the very teeth of that assertion, so true, so wisely and
profoundly true, the Senator from Texas proposes, aided by the
Senator from New York, to come into this body and vest arbi643


trary power with the majority of this body to change the rules
at their own caprice and will!

Therefore, to prevent those who were chosen to he lawmakers from becoming lawbreakers, they prescribed in all the constitutions boundaries
beyond which they should not go. All these were useless precautions if majorities were not sometimes maddened by the lust of power and forgetful of
the rights of the weaker party. In all these constitutions we see where the
people, jealous for the preservation of their natural rights, have prohibited
the government from interfering with the freedom of religion, freedom of
speech, and freedom of the press, etc.

Further on the Senator says:
The demand for the removal of the limitations in the rules means that the
party in power are fatally bent on mischief; tnat they have some desperate
enterprise on foot that their prophetic souls tell them is beyond the boundary
of rightful jurisdiction, and that in carrying it out they will meet with stubborn opposition.

"The party in power are fatally bent on mischief; they have
some desperate enterprise on foot that their prophetic souls tell
them is beyond the boundary of rightful jurisdiction."
Has the majority in this body some desperate enterprise on
foot that they want to pass through this body which excuses
that Senator for violating the sound doctrine he has there laid
down, without notice, so far as I have been able to determine,
to riss in his seat and introduce an amendment to the rules, invoke the Presiding Officer of this body to violate his oath, and
pass it nolens volens because he has the brute power to do it?
That seems to be about the situation, Mr. President.
But that is not all the Senator says in this excellent article.
He proceeds:

The excesses which they will attempt will be such as1 are dictated by a conviction of party necessity. The measures for which the way must be cleared
are such as will, in their judgment, secure party ascendency. If it can be
done, the rules will be so framed that all opposition will be silenced when they
are ready to vacate a Democratic seat and give it to a Republican contest*
ant, regardless of the vote of the constituency. And there will be no41 scandalous scenes " when they are trying to pass bills to create returning boards
to give certificates of election to defeated Republican candidates for electors
and members of Congress. It is to prepare the way for the advent of this
higher civilization that the rules have been indicted and arraigned before
the bar of public opinion.

Then he gives a history of some of the proceedings of that
body in unseating several members of Congress, two from my
own State;
While these resolutions unseating the Democratic Representatives were
"before the House, the minority indulged in parliamentary tactics to defeat
them, and the country can decide whether the scandal attached to the majority, who were engaged in an effort to rob the constituencies of three districts of the right of representation, or the minority, who were engaged in
defending them.
Democrats ought not to be too severely criticised by their opponents for
employing filibustering tactics, for the lesson was learned from the Republicans.

Then the distinguished writer gives a history of the KansasNebraska bill asrainst which the Republicans filibustered, and of
the consideration and passage of the civil-rights bill. He says:
In 1887 there was another notable struggle by the minority to prevent the
theft of the Presidency. An act of Congress was passed to change the ex. is ting rule for counting the electoral vote. A commission was created to lift
the contest out of the murky atmosphere of politics, and into a higher and
purer atmosphere of patriotism. But it was found that politics, and not


patriotism, controlled the decisions of the commission, and that it was organized to avoid the obstructions that would otherwise have embarrassed
the way to the Executive chair.







The Republicans again have a majority in the House, but not large enough
to insure the success of their schemes. They have ascain extraordinary measures to be carried through, and the rules must again be subjected to their manipulations. They have gotten up seventeen contests for Democratic seats.

Then he says:
There was a thorough revision of the rules of the Souse in 1879. The committee charged with the duty of overhauling the rules reported numerous
amendments, all of which had the unanimous agreement of the whole. The
gag. of course, was left out, as it had been ta'.ten out by the Democratic
House in the previous Congress, and not being in accord with the canons of
Democratic faith, it was never restored in any of the Houses when they were
in the majority.

The gag was left out in the revision of the rules in the other
Housa on that occasion, but the Senator proposes in this body to
apply the gag by not permitting the minority to open their
mouths when he and his friends desire to change the rules in
order to pass this or any other measure.
Then he concludes this most excellent article, sound in every
respect, according to my judgment, as follows:
The measure they propose—

That is the Republican House of Representatives—

is bold and revolutionary, and it remains to be seen whether they will succeed in passing it, and. if it is passed, what the popular verdict will be when
it comes to be enforced.

That is a part of the record made by the honorable Senator on
this question. Thao was in 1889. On a more recent occasion in
the House of Representatives, on February 10, 1890, the honorable Senator delivered a very spirited, able, sound argument
against the very measure which he is now proposing that the
Senate shall adopt. Among other things, he said:
Mr. MrLiiS. Mr. Speaker, the code of rules which the majority of the committee have reported to the House for its adoption is a new departure in
parliamentary law. It is a proposition to reverse the legislative engine and
to run back on the track upon which we have been running forward for a
whole century. It is a code based upon a newly discovered idea, that in this
country minorities have no rights, and that majorities are all powerful,
that they speak by inspiration, that their utterances are infallible and their
actions impeccable. It is the resurrection of the old, exploded idea of centuries ago that the king is the divinely appointed agent of the Almighty, and
of course "the king can do no wrong."

Then, after quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he

How are these rights to be secured? Certainly not by subjecting them all
to the caprice and whim of a majority. Oh, no; our fathers never meant
to do anything of that sort. "Why, sir, they knew that power when vested
either in a million of people or in one man, without any limit upon Its exercise, is a tyrant. Hence our Government is a government of checks and balances. It is a government of limitations, delegations, and prohibitions.

Then, further on, the distinguished Senator said:
Yes, Mr. Speaker, maiorities within their limits as defined by the Constitution are supreme. That ought to be satisfactory. But there are some
powers that our fathers thought it dangerous for majorities to have, and
they said that majorities should not have them. They put majorities under
the ban of suspicion. They surrounded them with limitations. They directed the vigilant and watchful eye of the citizen on all their movements^

Again, he said:
Here, sir, is one place where the minority is superior to the majority. A
majority can create a navy, hut it can not create a military commission to
trv any citizen in time of peace. A majority can close our ports, hut it can
not close our mouths. Free speech is one of the rights which is safely secured within the bolts and bars of the Constitution; it is far beyond the
reach of the strong arm of the majority.







They said in many things majorities should be supreme, and in many others that minorities should be supreme.

Then, again, the Senator said:
But, Mr. Speaker, it is not only in our national Constitution we see these
limitations thrown around majorities. It is so in every State constitution
in the Union. What is it for? It is to protect the minority; that is what it ia
for. It is a check to the madness of the majority or its caprice, or its wantonness. to use the word employed by Mr. Jefferson. It is to take away from
it that power which all history shows it has so grossly abused.

Further on the distinguished Senator said:
The rules prescribed under the power conferred by the Constitution of the
United States are for the protection of the minority, and they have done it
from the foundation of the Government. That is one of the objects of making rules. It is not alone to facilitate business. Of course rules are intended
to secure the orderly procedure of the business of this body, but at the same
time they are intended to cause the House to halt, to pause, to reflect, and
in some instance, where it may become necessary, to go back and inquire
of the sober second thought of the people again. It is on the sober second
thought of the people our Government rests. The people themselves may
become mad. They may become wanton with power, and the very security
of our free institutions rests on the fact that the sober second thought, in
the language of one of our .illustrious forefathers, will bring them back to a
sense of their duty to their fellow-citizens and thomselves, and thus preserve
the blessings of free government for themselves and their posterity.
Mr. Speaker, what we have done on this side of the House was simply to
call the attention of the people of the United States to the fact that the majority in this House had broken the bounds assigned to it by the Constitution of the United States, and that it was ravening like a wolf In the fold at
night, that it was coming into the House In defiance of the constitutional
mandate to make rules for the government of its procedure—rules for the
protection of the minority as well as rules for the expression of the will of
the majority in the prosecution of the business before the House.

So, I might continue to read, all in the line of the sentiments
thus so forcibly and eloquently -expressed. In three years from
that time, to-day, in this body, the Senator from Texas and the
Senator from New York propose to override the limitations and
restrictions which the Constitution places upon the majorities,
and to railroad through this body a motion to change the rules,
as they say, to enable the Senate to transact business. It will
never be done with my consent. I recognize the rights of majorities to express their verdict in a constitutional manner; no
man more readily does than myself.
The Senator from New York propounded a question to the
Senator from Idaho [Mr. DUBOIS] awhile ago, and asked him
when we could get to a vote with 2Q. Senators obstructing and
opposing it. I will tell the Senator when we can get to a vote;
I will tell that Senator now when we can get to a vote. If this
majority, from which he proposes to take the bridle of restraint,
will do as the founders of this Government did when it was organized and formed, formed for future generations, compromise

the differences between the majority and the minority of this
body, then a vote can be had.
Mr. HILL. Will the Senator allow me?
Mr. BUTLER. Certainly.
Mr. HILL. Possibly tho majority might be a little obstinate;
sometimes majorities are, as well as minorities; and they might
not desire compromise. What then?
Mr. BUTLER. Then, Mr. President, it is the highest evidence to my mind that the bill ought not to pass, if that is the
case, particularly when the Senator has announced that he proposes, if he can get assistance in this body, to remove the restraint from that majority and pass the bill over the rules, Constitution, laws, rights, and everjr other consideration which has
controlled the deliberations of this body. I say if that majority is
actuated by such motives and from such a consideration as that,
the bill ought not to pass until, as was suggested by the Senator
from Texas in his speech in the other House, we have had the
opportunity of appealing to the judgment and verdict of the
American people upon the subject. That is my position.
Mr. HILL. Will the Senator allow me?
Mr. BUTLER. Certainly.
Mr. HILL. The question of the amendment of the rules is
one thing; the question which the Senator was going to answer,
as I understood him, was the question I had propounded to the
Senator from Idaho [Mr. DUBOIS]; which was, if the majority
of this Senate desire to pass the pending bill, which they think
is a wise bill, demanded by the best interests of the country, I
asked the Senator to point out how the majority is to pass the
bill under the existing rules, provided the minority do not want
them to pass it? I should like to hear a frank, plain, explicit
answer to that question, and not a general reference to the Constitution, rules, and matters of that kind.
Mr. BUTLER. I will give the Senator from New York a direct answer, and thought I had done so. When the majority
finds itself in that condition- in this body, with a strong, determined, sincere, anxious minority, the way to pass a bill is to
make some concession to that minority. If that is not done, the
bill ought not to pass.
Mr. HILL. Then, I understand, if the Senator will indulge
me a little further, that it is not the majority which passes bills
in this body, and the bills passed do not reflect the sentiments of
the majority, but they reflect the sentiments of the minority?
Mr. BUTLER. Oh, no.
Mr. HILL. And therefore the plain doctrine, enunciated by
the Senator now for the first time, is that the majority can not
pass bills they want to pass, but that they must always compromise with the minority. I do not believe in any such doctrine.
Mr. BUTLER. Oh, no, Mr. President, the Senator from New
York has made a side issue, and he beg3 the question when he
says that the majority here never pass a bill through this body
without the consent of the*minority.
Mr. HILL. If the Senxtor will indulge me a moment, I shall
not interrupt him further, I think. I understood him to say—
I am not so far off, I think, that I did not correctly understand
him—that if the majority desired to pass a bill under those cir-

cumstances and refused to compromise, then he said that the
bill ought not to pass.
Mr. BUTLER. And I repeat it, Mr. President.
Mr. HILL. And there I take issue with the Senator.
Mr. BUTLER. I repeat it, and I have no apologies to make
for it; and I repeat to the Senator what I said the other day, that
seven-tenths, I think nine-tenths, of the measures which become laws in this country are the results of compromise. Does
the Senator pretend to say that because the rights of the minority are recognized in a measure, it does not express the judgment
of the majority? Is that the position I understand the Senator
from New York to take?
Mr. HILL. Does the Senator want an answer?
Mr. BUTLER. Yes.
Mr. HILL. I should not interrupt the Senator otherwise.
Mr. BUTLER. I have not the slightest objection to interruption, for I want to state my position, and I wish to hear the
Mr. HILL. My position is—and I submit that it is the correct
position under our form of government—that the minority have
the right to express their views, have a right to endeavor to impress their views upon the majority, but if the majority in their
ignorance, in their wisdom, in their obstinacy, or in their foolishness desire to reject the views of the minority, they have a
ri^ht to do it. I say that I can not find anything in the Constitution of the United States which says that a minority of the
United States Senate can pass a bill. [Applause in the galleries.]
Mr.'BUTLER. Nor I, Mr. President.
Mr. HILL. If there is such a provision let it be pointed out.
Mr. BUTLER. I have made no such statement. I haye not
stated that a minority could p-iss a bill; I have stated, what I
repeat, that a minority is clothed by the Constitution and the
rules made in pursuance of it, with the right to prevent the
passage of obnoxious measures; and when the* majority has expressed itself in a constitutional way in accordance with the
rules, then, 1 submit, it has the power and the right to pass measures; and not till then.
Mr. PALMER. May I ask the Senator from South Carolina
a question?
Mr. BUTLER. Yes, sir.
Mr. PALMER. Let me ask the Senator does he believe the
majority have a right to vote on a measure?
Mr. BUTLER. It depends on how the majority behave themselves whether they have a right to do it or not. [Laughter.]
Mr. PALMER. When it does?
Mr. BUTLER. Then I think they have a right to vote.
Mr. PALMER. Do I understand the Senator that the major^
ity must accede to the demands of the minority before they can
Mr, BUTLER. Yes, they can vote. We have been voting
here all the time.
Mr. PALMER. On the main question?
Mr. BUTLER. We have been voting here for the last two
months on some question.


Mr. PALMER. Oh, yes; but on the main question. Can I,
as a Senator from Illinois, be allowed to vote for repeal?
Mr. BUTLER. The Senator must answer that question for
himself. I do not control the Senator's vote. I say to the Senator that he has a right to vote whenever we reach a vote under the rules. "
Mr. PALMER. Whenever I get an opportunity?
Mr. BUTLER. Certainly.
Mr. PALMER. When can I have the opportunity?
Mr. BUTLER. When debate is exhausted.
Mr. PALMER. I may not be*with the majority, but does the
Senator mean to say that I can have a right to vote only when
the minority conclude to concede it to me?
Mr. BUTLER. Whenever the debate is concluded and the
minority think they have had ample time to debate th 3 question, I
take it for granted the Senator from Illinois will have the right
to vote. I have no control over his vote. I only control my
Mr. PALMER. Until the minority conclude thnt I may vote,
I can not.
Mr. BUTLER. Precisely; you can not vote, because the rule
gives the right of debate.
Mr. PALMER. That is the Senator's interpretation of the
rule, that until the minority conclude that the majority may
vote, they can not vote?
Mr. BUTLER. When debate under the rule is exhausted, of
course you have a right to vote.
Mr. PALMER. I understand the Senator to say that the interpretation of the rule of the Senate is, that until the minority
consent the majority can'not vote?
Mr._BUTLER. Now let me ask the Senator a question. Does
he not admit that the rule as now existing in our code of rules
gives the minority unlimited power of debate?
Mr. PALMER." No.
Mr. BUTLER. * If the Senator denies that the rules under
which we are acting do not give the minority unlimited power
of debate, then, of course, the controversy between the Senator
and myself is ended.
Mr. PALMER. May I be allowed to make a statement? I
believe that in all discussion before this body the minority have
the right in good faith to exercise the right of free debate, but
when minorities maintain the right to debate for the sake of exhausting time I deny that right.
Mr. BUTLER. Nobody has done that.
Mr. PALMER. It has been claimed here
Mr. BUTLER. Nobody has done that.
Mr. PALMER. There has been what may be called obstructive debate. ,
Mr. BUTLER. That is a matter of opinion. Who is to determine whether I am obstructing now or not?
Mr. PALMER. May I answer the question?
Mr. BUTLER. Certainly.
Mr. PALMER. First, the Senator himself; secondly, the
majority of this body. [Applause in tho galleries.]
Mr. BUTLER. I did not hear the Senator's answer.

Mr. PALMER. I said, first, the Senator himself, under his
Mr. HARRIS. Mr. President, I rise to a question of order.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Senator from Tennessee will
state his point of order.
Mr. HARRIS. It is in gross violation of the rules of the body
for the galleries to make any expression of approval or disapproval of what is occurring on this floor.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. Does the Senator from Tennessee
enter a motion to have the galleries cleared?
Mr. HARRIS. I will demand it, if the offense is again repeated; but not now.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Chair takes this occasion to
state to the occupants of the galleries that if the offense again
occurs, upon the motion of the Senator from Tennessee, the galj
leries will be cleared. The Chair has more than once called the
attention of the occupants of the galleries to the fact that any
manifestation of approval or disapproval is a violation of the
Mr. HARRIS. I desire to add that it does not require a motion, but it is one of the duties of the Chair, independent of a
motion, to warn the galleries, and to order them cleared without motion if the offense is repeated.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. Upon the suggestion of the Senator from Tennessee, the Chair announces that upon a repetition
of this offense the Chair will order the galleries to be cleared.
Mr'. BUTLER. Mr. President, I am perfectly well aware that
under the rules of this body, which the S nator from New York
and the Senator from Texas are so ready to trample on,to>cast
aside and discard, and convert this Senate into a town meeting—
I am perfectly well aware that it is one of the provisions of that
code of rules that no applause shall be allowed in the galleries;
and if I have been the means, while nobody applauds me, if the
friends of the Senator from New York have gathered here for
the purpose of expressing their approbation of his methods I
should be very glad, Mr. President, to invit3 that Senator out
upon some street corner, where he and I can have it out before
the masses.
Mr. M ANDERSON. Mr. President, I rise to a point of order.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Senator from Nebraska will
state his point of order.
Mr. MANDERSON. I ask for the enforcement of the rule.
The Senator who is called to order must sit down, and he can
not proceed without leave of the Senate.
Mr. BUTLER. Does the Senator call me to order?
Mr. BUTLER. Very well.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Senator from South Carolina
will be seated.
Mr. MANDERSON. I ask that the words as spoken be read
by the Reporter.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The words will be read.
The Reporter read as follows:
Mr. BUTLER. Mr. President, I am perfectly well aware that under the
rules of this body, which the Senator from New York and the Senator from

Texas are so ready to trample on, to cast aside and discard, and convert this
Senate into a town meeting—I am perfectly well aware that it is one of the
provisions of that code of rules that no applause shall he allowed in the galleries: and if I have been the means, while nobody applauds me, if the
friends of the Senator from New York have gathered here for the purpose of
expressing their approbation of his methods, I should be very glad, Mr.
President, to invite that Senator out upon some street corner, where he and
I can have it out before the masses.

Mr. MANDERSON. Mr. President, I have simply this to say.
I realize, in the heat of discussion, that much is said which should
not be said. This debate for the last few days has been characterized by a degree of personalities unbecoming to the Senators
who have used the personalities and not befitting this Chamber.
I think all that is necessary is that, in a cool moment, the Senator from South Carolina shall hear a repetition of the words used
by him, and he will see, upon a moment's reflection, that they
are hardly fit for this presence.
Mr. BUTLER. Mr. President, I must confess
Mr. HARRIS. Mr. President, I move that the Senator from
South Carolina be allowed to proceed in order.
Mr. MANDERSON. I second the motion.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The question is on the motion of
the Senator from Tennessee.
The motion was agreed to.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Senator from South Carolina
will proceed in order.
Mr. BUTLER. This is like a thunderclap. I do not know
exactly how to proceed if I am to be hauled up on a short turn,
as I was a while ago by the Senator from Nebraska. I was as
unconscious as a man ever was in his life of violating any rule
of order of the Senate. What I said to the Senator from New
York was said playfully. I take it for granted that he so understood it.
Mr. HILL. I certainly understood that the Senator was speaking as he sometimes does, in a Pickwickian, sense.
Mr. BUTLER. That is a better expression. But it seems to
have struck everybody around me, and the Senator from Nebraska rises with the utmost solemnity and dignity and coolness and hauls me over the coals. Of course, I am very much
obliged to that Senator when he thinks I am going wrong that
he should exercise the position of a sort of censor morem over
me; but I must confess I was taken entirely by surprise to have
it supposed that I had ever violated any rules of the Senate. It
has never been my habit, it is not now, to make personal allusions unless some Senator sees fit to attack me. Nothing was
further from my purpose than to say anything that was unkind
or unpleasant to the Senator from New York.
As he expresses it, it was said in a Pickwickian sense. The
Senate seems to be getting into a very serioua mood after having
been in a very hilarious one in the gallery; and I simply wanted,
to keep up that feeling, if possible. As my friend from Arkansas
[Mr. BERRY] suggests to me, I meant to speak on the corner, not
to fight. I had no idea of inviting the Senator from New York
out on the corner for the purpose of doing anything else except
indulging in a little legitimate stump-speaking; that was all;
and as the galleries were applauding, I thought I would give them,
a wider range, where they could hear the Senator better.

But, Mr. President, I think this is one of the results of the
proposition of the Senator from New York himself and of the
Senator from Texas.
Mr. HILL. What proposition?
Mr. BUTLER. This performance here in the Senate. I
think it is one of the natural and necessary results of the proposition of the Senator from Texas and the Senator from New _
York that the majority shall change the rules of this body without regard to the mode or method by which they shall be
changed. It seems to me that way. Clothe the majority with
power, unrestrained, unlimited, unbridled power, and you will
have a town meeting or a mass meeting here at any time you
Mr. PUGH. Or a despotism.
Mr. BUTLER. Or a despotism, because the history of mankind proves that power is always aggressive and never satisfied,
except it is accumulating more and more.
Now, I should like to ask the Senator from New York a question, and I should like to ask the venerable Senator from Illinois
a question—one at a time. How do they propose to get around
the difficulty which they say is confronting us to-day? I should
like to have an answer from the Senator from New York first.
Mr. HILL. Let us first ascertain what the difficulty is.
Mr. BUTLER. The difficulty, I understand, complained of
by the Senator from New York is because we can not get a vote.
That I understand is the complaint made by the Senator from
New York and the Senator from Illinois. Now, I should like
the Senator to tell me how he proposes to get around that difficulty and get to a vote.
Mr. HILL. In the first place, to answer the Senator from
South Carolina, we must ascertain what the difficulty is.
Mr. BUTLER. Well, I leave that to the Senator.
Mr. HILL. _ The difficulty, I understand, is that by reason of
the imperfection, the weakness, the omission, and, as I think,
the unconstitutionality of existing rules, with the minority acting- as now, and as they assert they propose to act, it is utterly
impossible for the majority to carry out the constitutional provision which requires them to legislate, and that, therefore, these
rules are just as defective, just as unconstitutional in practical
substance and effect as though they had in their very terms provided that the rules should never be changed without the consent of the minority.
That is the difficulty that confronts us, and I am free to say
unless the minority retreat from their position, unless the minority consent that we may vote, if they continue in the attitude
they have now assumed and threaten to continue, we can not
pass the pending bill or any other bill that the people demand.
That is the difficulty. Now the remedy. I argued the other
day, sir, that it was always the right under the Constitution for
the Senate (and when I speak of the Senate I speak of the majority of the Senate, of course) to make rules. The right is conferred by the terms of the Constitution. In that same Constitution, which gives the majority the right to make rules, is conferred the right and the responsibility of legislation. We have
the power to make the rules; we are required to legislate.

In order to carry out those two purposes I go further and say,
the power to make the rules implies the power to change them;
and whenever the majority of this body discover that it is utterly
impossible for them to legislate without a change of the rules,
they have the constitutional right to so change the rules as to
enable them to legislate. The difficulty? There is no difficulty,
sir, in carrying out this constitutional provision.
Mr. BUTLER. If the Senator will allow me right there, because he and I are together up to that point
Mr. HILL. I am very glad to hear it.
Mr. BUTLER. Nobody has denie l, I have not, the right of
the Senate to change its rules. Nobody has denied that. It has
been done over anci over again in this body and the other. The
point I would like the Sen itor
Mr. HILL. I understand the Senator thinks the majority
have a 1 ight to change the rules without the consent of the
Mr. BUTLER. That is what I am coming to.
Mr. HILL. That is the point. The Senator is very near
right to that point.
Mr. BUTLER. I admit the right of the majority to change
the rules. Nobody denies the right.
Mr. HILL. It seems to me that is the remedy for the whole
Mr. BUTLER. Nobody denies the right of the Senate to
change its rules; but the point where the Senator and I part
company is as to the manner of changing those rules. I understood the Senator to s^y that the majority could get up and by
a simple resolution at any moment change the rules. Do I understand that to be his position?
Mr. HILL. The precis3 hour, form, and manner of offering
the resolution will be determined when the majority conclude to
amend the rules. The Senator need not be impatient.
Mr. BUTLER. Oh, Mr. President, that is not the question.
The Senator has not answered the question. I fisked him if in
proceeding to amend those rules he would be guided by the provisions of the code of rules under which we are governed? That
is the point I should like him to answer.
Mr. HILL. I insist upon it that any restriction in those rules
whereby the majority are deprived of the power of making an
amendment is not binding upon the Senate, because otherwise
the rules might bind the Senate so that it would be impossible
to change them._ In other words, my position is simply this: that
whether the rules say directly that the majority shall control
the amendment of the rules or whether by other provisions they
permit the minority to prevent an amendment, it amounts to the
same thing and has the same effect.
Mr. BUTLER. Then I understand the position of the Senator
is about this: that the rules bind the minority but do not bind
cr control the majority. Is that the position?
Mr. HILL. That is not the position.
Mr. BUTLER. I should be glad to have the matter explained,
Mr. HILL. As I stated yesterday, and I repeat it for the information of the Senator, upon all ordinary methods of pro643

cedure they are binding- upon both. In reference to the power
of amendment, we can not tie ourselves up so that the majority
have not the power to amend the rules.
Mr. BUTLER. But, if the Senator will pardon me, we have
tied ourselves up by a code of rules to which the Senator subscribed when he took the oath as a Senator of the United States.
Now, I understand the Senator to say that he is not bound by
that code of rules except in so far as it may meet his approbation.
Mr. HILL. If we have, as the Senator says, tied ourselves up
so that we can not change them, then I propose to untie the rules
so that we may be permitted to change them.
Mr. BUTLER. How, Mr. President?
Mr. HILL. By simply presenting at the proper time and hour
and place and occasion, to be determined by the majority, an
amendment to our rules, and then proceeding as regulated by
the majority to vote upon it. There is no practical difficulty if
the majority of the Senate desire to change the rules. That is
Mr. BUTLER. Then I understand the Senator, in proceeding
to change those rules, would disregard Rule XL?
Mr. HILL. What is Rule XL?
Mr. BUTLER. Rule XL reads:
No motion to suspend, modify, or amend any rule, or any part thereof,
shall be in order, except on one day's notice in writing, specifying precisely
the rule or part proposed to be suspended, modified, or amended, and the
purpose thereof. Any rule may be suspended without notice by the unanimous consent of the Senate, except as otherwise provided in clause 1, Rule

Do I understand the Senator from New York to say that in
proceeding to amend the rules he would ignore the provision of
Rule XL?
Mr. HILL. That rule is very easily complied with; and I
should prefer, and have already given notice of, an amendment
under the strict terms of that rule.
Mr. BUTLER. Then I understand the Senator to say that he
would not consent to amend the rules except as provided in the
code of rules itself.
Mr. HILL. I have not said that. I said I have thus far proceeded under the strict letter of the rules. What position the
majority should take upon this question, if a majority desire to
change the rulas, will depend in my judgment very much upon
the attitude of the minority.
Mr. BUTLER. Then I understand the Senator to say that he
will not be bound by the code of rules in proceedings to amend
them; but, as I understand him, he would amend the rules according to the will of the majority at any hour of the day, as
many hours as we sit here, at any day of the week, in any week
of the year, by the will of the majority.
Mr. HILL. I have said that the power to amend the rules is
a constitutional right, and it overrides any particular rule here
which in any manner restricts or limits it. But the majority
have a right to proceed under the rules, if they see fit or desire
to do so, and unquestionably the majority would proceed, as we
have proceeded thus far, strictly under the very rule mentioned
by the Senator.


Mr. BUTLER. I am not asking* what the majority would do;
I am asking what the Senator from New York would do?
Mr. HILL. I hope, sir, that I am one of the majority. I assume only to speak for myself. I hope that before this debate is
through a majority will be found by my side ready to insist upon
the constitutional right to amend the rules, whereby we can carry
out the provision of the Constitution which vests in the majority,
and not in the minority, the power of legislation.
Mr. BUTLER. To that proceeding there would be no objection—not the slightest.
Mr. HILL. Then we agree.
Mr. BUTLER. I have finally got the Senator down to the
point, which was rather difficult to do I confess. If he will proceed in that way, if he will proceed in the manner provided in
the rules themselves, he will find that the minority will meet
him on those rules, frankly, freely, honestly. Nobody here, I
repeat, has denied the right of the majority of this body to
change its rules. A man who would deny it would fly in the face
of history. They have been changed and modified over and over
again, and perhaps will be as long as this is a deliberative body.
The other House of Congress are amending their rules from
time to time, but they do it in an orderly, constitutional, regular,
lawful way, and no parliamentary body that I have heard under
a popular government has ever clothed a naked, unbridled majority with the right to amend its rules or transact any other
Mr. HILL. In order that we may understand each other
further, and possibly better, does the Senator claim the right of
unlimited debate on every amendment of the rules?
Mr. BUTLER. I claim no right except that which is given
me by the Constitution and rules themselves,
Mr. HILL. That statement is pretty general.
Mr. BUTLER. If the rules give me the right to unlimited
debate, and my conscience and my judgment and my duty to my
constituents justify me in conducting that unlimited debate, I
shall proceed to exercise that right.
Mr. HILL. Can not the Senator answer it in any other way?
He prefers not to answer in any other way. I was simply going
to suggest how can the majority amend the rules, although given
power under the Constitution to amend the rules, if the minority
are to enjoy the right of unlimited debate upon the very question involved?
• Mr. BUTLER. Mr. President, we would rely upon the persuasive powers and eloquence of the Senator from New York.
Mr. HILL. I fear that would not be sufficient to induce the
minority to amend the rules.
Mr. BUTLER. We would rely upon that to convince us.
Mr. STEWART. We expect to convince him before we get
Mr. BUTLER. I am not so sure about that. The Senator
from Nevada says we expect to convince the Senator from New
York before we get through.
Mr. STEWART. He has taken our side of the question in
half of his speeches.

Mr. BUTLER. I am very glad to hear that. I thinlc we are
making progress with the Senator from New York.
Mr. STEWART. Certainly, he is on the fence.
Mr. BUTLER. I think he is a little over on our side, and
when the persuasive eloquence of my friend from Nevada shall
have a little further sway, 1 think the Senator from New York
will drop entirely on our side of the fence.
Mr. STEWART. I think so, too.
Mr. BUTLER. I think perhaps if the New York election was
over he would come over to our side. I do not know about that,
but I am inclined to think that would have some influence and I
am not saying that reproachfully at all.
Mr. HILL. I can not hear the Senator.
Mr. BUTLER. I will not repeat it; it is a little badinage.
Now, Mr. President, returning to the Senator from Texas
[Mr. MILLS], who, I am sorry to say, is not here, he treated us
yesterday evening to a most graphic
Mr. HOAR. Before the Senator proceeds to that new point,
I should like to ask him a practical question to get at his views,
if there be no objection.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. Does the Senator from South Carolinia yield to the Senator from Massachusetts?
Mr. BUTLER. Of course, Mr. President.
Mr. HOAR. The rule at present provides that for the morning hour, which is two hours, only certain topics shall be taken
up, except by unanimous consent; which very easily may, if anybody chooses to debate them, always fill up the morning hour.
Now, suppose an outgoing political majority just before the
4th of March should extend that rule to the entire day, and
should leave behind them a certain calendar, as they would have
the right to do, by having a rule that the Senate is always the
same body; and they provide that only the subject prescribed in
that calendar should be taken up in the entire day except by
unanimous consent. They give place on the 4th of March, under
the new elections of the third of this body, to a majority of another political faith. Under such a rule, constitutionally adopted,
that majority can never proceed to take up or consider the great
measures which the people expected to be accomplished when
they changed the political power in the country.
Now then, they set themselves to amend that rule, and under
the rule two Senators may divide the twenty-four hours between
them. One of them may move for an adjournment and have
the Presiding Officer count the Senate on it, and then alternate
a motion for a recess, and spend twelve hours in that way. The
other may take his place and spend the other twelve hours.
That method of proceeding baing in perfect accord with the
rules of this body would prevent forever, at the will of two men
alone, the body from changing by reason of the new majority
which has come in.
Now, does the Senator hold that there is no power in this body
to prevent that thing? You can not prevent it by changing the
rules according to the rules, because you can never get a vote to
do it, and therefore no political change of opinion and of power
can take place in the Senate until every State has changed its


Senator. I ask the Senator if his logic does not bring him to
that position, and if he accepts that position.
Mr. BUTLER. No, Mr. President., I think not. Of course
the Senator from Massachusetts or any other Senator can propound what appears to me (and I say it without any disrespect
to him) a very absurd proposition.
Mr. HOAR. It is not.
Mr. BUTLER. That is the way it strikes me. Of course we
can always suppose an extreme case, and the one proposed by the
Senator is an extreme case. The general rule of law is, I believe, that all public officials are going to discharge their duty
according to law. The presumption is in favor of this body
changing its rules in accordance with the principles of common
sense and common justice, and in the discharge of the public
business. The Senator might get up and ask me a great many
very extreme questions which would have no relevancy.
Will the Senator allow me to ask him a question? Does the
Senator from Massachusetts hold that this body can change its
rules except in accordance with the code of rules itself?
Mr. HOAR. I do.
Mr. BUTLER. You do?
Mr. HOAR. I do.
Mr. BUTLER. In what manner?
Mr, HOAR. I will state it if the Senator wants me to do it.
Before stating it, however? I should like to add only one sentence to what I have just said. Although I have put an extreme
case it is no more extreme than that which confronts this body
at the present moment, when a Senator who half a minute ago
was in his seat said to a majority of the Senate, " You know you
can, not pass this bill," not meaning—no human being who heard
him understood him to mean—that he knew the minority would
persuade and change the majority. We all understood him to
mean that we know there is no constitutional way in which the
majority, desiring to pass the bill, could do it.
No w, then, I answer the Senator's question. I will answer it with
great pleasure. I say that if there were a motion made to change
these rules, which tie up and prevent the American people from
changing the political policies of this country at the will of the
minority, and that motion were presented to the Presiding Officer after the debate, or after motions to adjourn and take a recess, or the call of a quorum, or whatever motion, usually called
filibustering, had gone so far in the opinion of the constitutional
Presiding Officer of this body, who is chosen by the American
people and not by the Senate, and has his duty prescribed for
him by the Constitution fundamentally in the beginning—I say
when it had reached the point which implied to his mind that
the further discussion was intended to prevent action, it would
be in his power and would be his duty to say to the Senate,
11 Shall I put this question without further debate or dilatory
motion?" and thereupon to direct the yeas and nays to be called,
permitting nothing to interfere, and if a majority of the Senate
Bay "aye" it would be his duty to put that question.
We have power to prescribe rules, it is true, but there is a
rule beside that we prescribe, and that was prescribed by us, by

our masters, the American people, when they enacted their Constitution. That is a rule above, below, around, within every
rule that the Senate has adopted; and the great officer who sits
in that chair would, in my judgment, be bound, as the Speaker
did in the oth^r House, to obey its supreme behest.
Mr. B JTLER. In other words, Mr. President, that is a reaffirmation of the higher-law doctrine, as I understand it.
Mr. HOAR. Constitutional. It is a higher law thus to some
people than the law they practice on.
Mr. BUTLER. The Senator from Massachusetts had better
keep his temper, because I have been very amiable while he has
interrupted me, and there is no need for him to riy
Mr. HOAR. If my friend will permit me, having preserved,
if I give up my own temper I shall not take his in" exchange
for it.
Mr. BUTLER. Let the Senator preserve his own temper
now, and we will proceed amiably about this matter.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Senate will be in order.
Mr. BUTLER. I say in my judgment the statement made by
the Senator from Massachusetts is a reaffirmation of the higherlaw doctrine. That is my judgment Of course, I take it, the
Senator, with his views, will give me the right to have my own
opinions without subjecting myself to his animadversions."
The Senator from Massachusetts says that in a certain contingency which he has stated it would be the duty of the Presiding
Officer of this body, upon a motion, to cut o-T debate, and that he
alone shall be the judge as to when the minority have sufficiently
discussed the question ponding.
Mr. HOAR. I desire to apologize to the Senator from South
Carolina for the fact that I shall bo obliged to absent myself
from the Senate for a little while and that I can not remain and
hear what undoubtedly will be a very eloquent answer.
Mr. BUTLER. I am very sorry that the Senator is going
away. Of course he is entirely excusable, as he has explained to
me; and the entente cordiale has been entirely restored between
As I understand the proposition of the Senator from Massachusetts, it is that when a majority of this body determines that
a rule ought to be changed, some member of the majority may
make a motion that debate shall be concluded, and thereupon it
is the duty of the Presiding Officer to declare the debate ended.
Now, Mr. President, where would that place a minority? A
majority of one of the great parties of this country is in control
of the Senate. The Presiding Officer of this body is in political
accord with that majority, and the minority are turned over to
the tender mercies of the majority and that partisan Presiding
Officer. Is that the position in which the Senator from Massachusetts and those who think with him, would place the minority?
I scarcely think so, Mr. President.
In the Government of Great Britain that has never been done.
They adopted cloture in the HOLISO of Commons after a long and
bitter contest by the minority; but the Speaker of the House of
Commons is a nonpartisan. He is put there to protect the minority in their right of debate, and he will decline to close a de643

bate when in his opinion the majority are acting in a wanton
Mr. PALMER. Will the Senator from South Carolina allow
me to ask him a question to ascertain a fact? Does there reside
a power anywhere in this body under the rules to declare when
debate has closed, and the Senate shall proceed to vote?
Mr. BUTLER. I do not think there does; and as much respect as I have for the patriotism of my party friend w;ho presides over this Chamber to-day, as fair and impartial and as
patriotic as I believe him to be JI would resist any effort to make
him the depository of the power to say when debate shall terminate in this body. I would resist it with my party in the majority, because I believe it would be subversive of the very
foundation principles upon which this Government is built and
It is a very different thing in the British House of Commons,
where the Speaker of the House is a nonpartisan. He is put
there to protect the minority, the idea being that the majority
is able to take care of itself, which is true. But what earthly
chance would a minority have with the majority of one party
and the Presiding Officer of the same party to carry through
party measures?
Mr. LINDSAY. I ask the Senator from South Carolina, with
his permission, whether he thinks the method of selecting the
presiding officer of the British House of Commons is superior
to the method by which the Presiding Officer of this body is selected?
Mr. BUTLER. I am not discussing that point. It has not
the slighest reference to what I am saying. That would open a
door of discussion which I do not propose to go into with the
Senator from Kentucky. I am stating a fact, and when he denies the fact, I will then talk to him about it. The speaker of
the British House of Commons is a nonpartisan. It is so understood; and it is understood that he is put there for the purpose
of protecting the minority. What protection would a minority
have in this body with a presiding officer and the majority of
one party? Sir, I would never consent to it.
Mr. ALDRICH. Will the Senator from South Carolina allow
me to ask him a question?
Mr. BUTLER. Yes, sir; two, if necessary.
Mr. ALDRICH. Pending a proposition to amend the rules of
this body, who is to decide when the conclusion of the debate is
to be reached?
Mr. BUTLER. The Senate decides for itself.
Mr. ALDRICH. Who are the Senate?
Mr. BUTLER. It is this body, sitting around here. The Senator is a part of it, and he has a right to his opinion as well as I
have to mine as to how long he should talk.
Mr. ALDRICH. But how am I to express my opinion if the
minority of the Senate, or those who differ with me, conclude
to continue discussion indefinitely?
Mr. BUTLER. The Senator from Rhode island is not afflicted
with such an amount of modesty that he can not get in whenever
he chooses. He is not overwhelmed with modesty.

Mr. ALDRICH. I beg- pardon; it is not a question of modesty.
Mr. BUTLER. It is, because the Senator can get the floor at
almost any time he chooses.
Mr. ALDRICH. I can get the floor for the purpose of talking,
T>ut not for the purpose of voting, I am sorry to say.
Mr. BUTLER. Then somebody else wants to talk. [Laughter.] After the Senator has uttered his eloquent phrases and
electrified this body and the galleries with his powers of eloquence he ought to give some other Senator an opportunity to
express himself in a feeble way, I should think.
Mr. ALDRICH. Does the Senator think that is a fair answer
to my question?
Mr. BUTLER. I think I have answered it. The Senator
asked me who is to judge when a motion is under discussion to
amend the rules, when the debate shall end; I say the Senate
MrALDRICH. And that, if the Senator will pardon me, is
just what I say, and I say the Senate itself is a majority of the
Mr. BUTLER. Well, then, let the majority determine it, but
do not let the Presiding Officer do it. That is the point I make.
I know very little about the rules of either body, I am very frank
to say; but I understand that under their present system in the
other House the Committee on §ules determine when debate
shall end and when a vote shall be taken. Is not that the case?
Mr. ALDRICH. No; the Committee on Rules bring in a proposition. The House itself must adopt it.
Mr. BUTLER. The Committee on Rules does practically determine it. If the majority sustain the Committee on Rules,
then the vote is taken?
Mr. ALDRICH. Yes; that is the case.
Mr. BUTLER. That is the rule, I understand. Now, there is
some sense and some reason in that procedure; but the idea of
depositing that power in any one man appears to me to be monstrous, particularly in view of the conditions which I have stated
might arise.
Mr. A L D R I C H . I have not undertaken to be the representative here of the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. HOAR] in his
absence, but I did not understand him to take the position that
the Presiding Officer could determine the question, but that the
Presiding Officer should submit the question to the Senate and
let a majority of the Senate decide whether debate had proceeded a sufficient length of time.
Mr. BUTLER. I understood the Senator from Massachusetts
to state the Presiding Officer should put the question and not
recognize anybody for a dilatory motion.
Mr. ALDRICH. Oh, no; I think the Senator is mistaken
about that.
Mr. BUTLER. It was entirely upon that hypothesis I made
my statement.
Mr. ALDRICH. I understood the Senator from Massachusetts
to say that the Presiding Officer should submit to the Senate the
question whether debate had proceeded at sufficient length, and
upon a decision of the majority of the Senate that debate Bhould


close, then he should put the question without further dilatory
Mr. B U T L E R . The RECORD will speak for itself. I understood the Senator from Massachusetts to make that statement.
Now, Mr. President, the Senator from Texas [Mr* MILLS] yesterday stated, and it has been stated by the Senator from Illinois
[Mr. PALMER] to-day, and I believe by the Senator from New
York [Mr. HILL], that the Senate is paralyzed; that the Government is paralyzed. The Senator from Texas stated that the Senate could not pass an appropriation bill. Why could not the
Senate pass an appropriation bill? Has the Senator made an attempt to get one through this body? Has any Senator attempted
it? Has any other measure than the one which is pending been
suggested for the consideration of this body, except the motion
to amend the Journal made by the Senator from Colorado, which
we are now discussing?
How, then, is the Government paralyzed; because the majority
can not have its way? Oh; no, Mr. President, this Government
is not paralyzed.
I will not include the Senator from New York, because he has
modified his proposition; but, if the proposition of the Senator
from Texas should prevail, I tell him the Constitution of this
Union will be paralyzed.
This Government did have a partial stroke of paralysis about
thirty years ago, but in the course of four years it accumulated
to itself more power than any government on the face of the
earth, and it has more power to-day. If it had not had that gigantic power, such valiant warriors as the Senator from Texas
and myself, perhaps, would not have been compelled to lay down
our swords, but we did. It was the power the Government had
accumulated around itself in four years, more gigantic and portentous than any ever held by any government upon the face of
the earth, and it is the strongest Government to-day on earth.
How, then, can said that the Government is paralyzed
because one little measure can not get through the Senate as
rapidly and as hurriedly as its impatient advocates demand of
the minority? All this talk about the paralysis of the Government is to me, Mr. President—and I say it without disrespect—
absurd and ridiculous. This particular measure may be paralyzed for the nonce, and it ought to be. H we proceed in accordance with what has been suggestad here to-day, there will be a
paralysis of the Constitution of this Union from which it will
never recover.
But the Government is going on all the same. It is collecting
its revenues; it is meeting its obligations; it is supporting its military and naval establishments; it is sustaining all the executive
departments of the Government; and Congress yet lives, notwithstanding bill No. 1 from the House of Representatives is
still on our table. I think we ought to hold our hands up to
high Heaven and implore the great Giver of all good that we
may survive notwithstanding House bill No. 1 has not yet passed.
The Senator from Texas said that he would grasp the hand of
the Senator from Ohio on this measure. In his next breath he
said that he was in favor of bimetallism or silver, but he rushes

into the arms of the arch enemy of silver, and I do not say that
disrespectfully or intending to be personal. He rushes into the
arms of the arch enemy of silver, and oh, Mr. President, what a
scene that would present to the American people, a scene fit for
the gods and men to behold! The Senator from Texas and the
Senator from Ohio embracing e.ich other in a warm, cordial,
voluptuous embrace! I would feel like exclaiming as the disconsolate Hamlet did when the ghost of his murdered father
presented itself to him:
Angels and ministers of grace defend us I

What a picture it would make for the artist—the Senator
froih Texas and the Senator from Ohio embracing each other
over the silver question! If that would not be an instance
where extremes meet I do not know where we couldfindan illustration.
And if we live long enough we shall behold another scene perhaps that would furnish a spectacle never before presented to
the American people or to any people. When the election laws
are reached, if the Government gets over its paralysis, and when
a tariff bill for revenue only is reached, if it survives that paralysis, how the Senator from Texas will rush into'the arms of the
Senator from Ohio and embrace him again and again, and shake
hands across the financial chasm!
Then he taunts those of us who vote with the venerable and
distinguished Senator from Kansas with following the Populists;
that " the Senator from Kansas, Mr. PEFFER," is the exponent
of all the isms, of wild ideas; that he is a wild-eyed man, leading
us astray; and the Senator from Texas says, de gustibus non eat
disputanduml That is true, Mr. President. He says, " politics
makes strange bedfellows.'* There is no doubt about that. But
the strangest of all the political bedfellows this country has ever
known will be the Senator from Ohio and the Senator from Texas.
I say to the Senator from Texas that so long as the Senator
from Kansas stands for the great toiling millions of this country against the money power I am his friend, and will stand by
him. If I had to choose a file leader in the great political contest confronting us I would take the man for my leader who
stands to his guns for the rights of the masses of this country
against about ten or twelve men in the city of New York who
can bring ruin nnd distress and destruction upon the country in
one night. So, sir, I am not abashed at the taunt.
But, Mr. President, the age of wonders and surprises will not
end with seeing me in the arms of the Senator from Kansas, and
the Senator from Texas in the arms of the Senator from Ohio.
We shall, I hope, live to see a long, fond, cordial, gushing: embrace between the Senator from New York and the President
of the United States. [Laughter.] That would be a picture for
the artist. How long and lingering and loving it would be I A
bucket of boiling hot water, Mr. President, could not separate
So the age of surprises has not passed, and I do not believe it
will pass as long as this Congress is in session. We are going to
have a great many such surprises. It would not surprise me to


see my venerable friend from Nevada rush up to the White
House and embrace the President. ^ [Laughter.] So at last, whilst
we have heard very direful predictions and prognostics about
what is going to become of the country, that it is paralyzed, the
Senate is paralyzed, the Government is paralyzed, I think as
long as these love scenes continue there is no danger of a revolution or of the Government stopping. I regard them as very
hopeful signs of the future.
If the Senator from Texas will come as near getting over the
fence on this rule question as the Senator from New York has
done, I shall sleep much more profoundly and soundly than I
have done since last Monday. I have no doubt he will, upon
what he calls that sober second thought of the people. 1 have
no doubt that he will not persist in a line which would destroy,
as I believe it would destroy, the usefulness of this body, which
would destroy its great underlying conservative principle, which
has so long and so successfully and so ably sustained the burden
imposed upon it by the Constitution and laws. Mr. President,
we had
# • * rather bear those evils we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.

If, after the excitement of this debate has subsided, a majority
of this body shall deem it wise to modify its rules in a reasonable
and conservative way, I do not know that I shall object; but the
idea of attempting it now, with the heat of division and opposition burning in the minds of us all, would bring disaster, and, in
my judgment, mortification and ultimately humiliation upon
this Government. I would, therefore, counsel to be patient those
who are manifesting so much impatience, demanding of me, as
the Senator from Illinois [Mr. PALMER] has done over and over
again, that I, one of eighty-five members of this body, shall say
when a vote shall be taken, as though a man so insignificant as I
should undertake to determine when a vote shall be taken.
I know that my venerable friend, I trust he will pardon me for
calling him " my venerable friend," is the last man in the
United States who would take one single step toward disturbing
that underlying conservative principle which has preserved our
institutions so long. I know he is impatient for this debate to
end, but not more so than I; and I think I have suggested a
method by which it can be ended with entire regard for the
rights, the feelings, the interests of every Senator upon this
floor; and it can be done, Mr. President, without leaving a sting,
as I said the other night, to be carried away from this Chamber
to rankle in the bosom of any Senator.
It can be done with entire regard for the best interests of all
the people, those who reside in the financial centers as well as
those who inhabit the plains of the West and the broad fields of
the South, where all can have recognition and protection according to their deserts, and according to the opinions of their
representatives. It is with that, sir, and with nothing less than
that shall I be satisfied: to nothing less will I consent.
There are millions and millions of p:ople in this country, and
I am one of them, who sincerely believe that the currency is too
much contracted, or, if not too much contracted, is so distribm

uted as to bring hardship, ruin, loss, and unhappiness upon millions of the American-people; and it is always wise statesmanship, Mr. President, it is to-day, and has always been since popular government was born upon the earth, to make reasonable
concessions to a large body of people who sincerely believe in a
particular line of policy.
Such concessions can be made without sacrifice of principle or
without injury to anybody; and when some of our friends can
relieve themselves of the conviction that they are politically infallible and concede'that there are some other people who have
political convictions and ideas as well as themselves—whenever
we reach that point, my word for it, this question will be settled, and settled fairly and honorably.