4. All Principal Motions [§ 6], Amendments and Instructions to Committees, should be in writing, if required by the presiding officer. Although a question is complicated, and capable of being made into several questions, no one member (without there is a special rule allowing it) can insist upon its being divided; his resource is to move that the question be divided, specifying in his motion how it is to be divided. Any one else can move as an amendment to this, to divide it differently.
This Division of a Question is really an amendment [§ 23], and subject to the same rules. Instead of moving a division of the question, the same result can be usually attained by moving some other form of an amendment. When the question is divided, each separate question must be a proper one for the assembly to act upon, even if none of the others were adopted. Thus, a motion to "commit with instructions," is indivisible, because if divided, and the motion to commit should fail, then the other motion to instruct the committee would be improper, as there would be no committee to instruct.* [The 46th Rule of the House of Representatives requires the division of a question on the demand of one member, provided "it comprehends propositions in substance so distinct that one being taken away, a substantive proposition shall remain for the decision of the House." But this does not allow a division so as to have a vote on separate items or names. The 121st Rule expressly provides that on the demand of one-fifth of the members a separate vote shall be taken on such items separately, and others collectively, as shall be specified in the call, in the case of a bill making appropriations for internal improvements. But this right to divide a question into items extends to no case but the one specified. The common parliamentary law allows of no division except when the assembly orders it, and in ordinary assemblies this rule will be found to give less trouble than the Congressional one.]
The motion to "strike out certain words and insert others," is indivisible, as it is strictly one proposition.
5. After a question has been stated by the presiding officer, it is in the possession of the assembly for debate; the mover cannot withdraw or modify it, if any one objects, except by obtaining leave from the assembly [§ 17], or by moving an amendment.