House Speaker Leverett Saltonstall had to rap his gavel twice on Rep. Birmingham over remarks the Democratic House leader made about Lieutenant Governor William Youngman during House floor debate April 28 (Boston Globe, April 29, pp. 1, 24).
In a message to the legislature, Youngman had recommended revoking the state purchase of the inoperative Boston, Worcester, and New York Street Railway franchise for $563,000 to build the Boston-Worcester turnpike along the tracks.
Youngman asked the legislature to take steps to recover the $200,000 already paid and stop payment of the remaining $363,000.
Birmingham charged that the “case has been tried in the newspapers by the Lieutenant Governor.”
In response, Saltonstall rapped Birmingham to order, noting that the motive behind the message was prohibited from being debated.
Birmingham again referred to Youngman and again Saltonstall banged his gavel and asked the Democratic minority leader to abide by the ruling of the chair. Birmingham said he would abide by the chair’s ruling because he would have an opportunity later to discuss the message.
Birmingham urged the approval of Rep. Jewett’s motion to print Youngman’s message and postpone action on the message. Jewett said his motion was customary when the House received a message from the governor.
By a voice vote, the House postponed consideration until the following Tuesday. At the time Youngman submitted the message, he was acting governor since Gov. Ely was out of state at the national Governors’ Conference at the time. Ely reacted angrily, charging Youngman with a breach of faith.