Report of Legislative Proceedings regarding the Apprehension of Absentees, 13 July 1848
Mr. BOTTS moved the previous question—in order, he remarked, that they might get to the public business.1
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Virginia being one of the gentlemen in custody of the Sergeant-at-arms, the Chair cannot recognize him. (Great laughter.)
1The issue was over an attempted call of the house--a procedure that allowed a legislative body to compel members to present themselves for a vote on a particular matter. On July 12, 1848, Representative William Sawyer, citing the length of time the House of Representatives had been in session--seven hours--without being able to get a quorum because members were absent without leave against the rules of the House, moved that the sergeant-at-arms retain the offending members in custody until the following morning, when they would be brought in to give their excuses and receive their penalties. The House approved this motion, with Abraham Lincoln voting yea. On the morning of July 13, the sergeant-at-arms, pursuant to the House order, reported that he had arrested, and had present with him, fifty-two members who had been absent without leave. Representative Charles Hudson moved that the vote of the previous evening be re-considered, but Speaker Robert C. Winthrop ruled that motion out of order, as the sergeant-at-arms had already executed the order. Hudson then moved to dispense with any further proceedings in the call, and the fines imposed on the absent members be remitted. After other representatives commented, Botts moved the previous question.
U.S. House Journal. 1848. 30th Cong., 1st sess., 1034-35; Cong. Globe, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., 926, 928 (1848).
2Lincoln’s motion received a second, but the House tabled Hudson’s motion, with Lincoln voting nay. Upon the motion of Representative Henry W. Hilliard, the House agreed to admit the members upon the payment of fees.
U.S. House Journal. 1848. 30th Cong., 1st sess., 1035-36; Cong. Globe, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., 929 (1848).
Printed Document, 1 page(s), Cong. Globe, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., 928 (1848).