This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
A report by a select committee being accepted, the committee is dissolved, though anything further arising on the question, the matter may be recommitted to the same committee. When accepting a report, it is common for a member to move that the report be accepted and the committee discharged.
When it becomes necessary for the assembly to form itself into a committee of the whole, such action is taken on motion of some member of the meeting. The motion being carried, the presiding officer appoints a chairman of the committee, and himself takes a seat with the other members of the assembly, the chairman of the committee taking his seat with the clerk at the secretary's desk.
The chairman appointed by the presiding officer is usually accepted by the meeting, though the meeting possesses the power to select another chairman, should the members see fit to enforce the privilege, some one member of the meeting putting the question on the selection of another candidate.
The same number is necessary in the committee of the whole to form a quorum as in the main body, and should the number be less than a quorum, the committee is compelled to rise, when the chairman informs the presiding officer that the committee is unable to transact business for want of a quorum.
While the committee of the whole is in session the president usually remains in the room, so that, should any disturbance arise in the committee, he may take the chair, dissolve the committee, and restore the body to order. Should such action be taken, the motion must be put as before, that the committee may sit again.
The secretary makes no record in his journal of the proceedings of the committee, but only the report of such committee to the main body.
If unable to finish the business before time for adjournment, the committee may rise; the presiding officer will resume the chair; the chairman of the committee will report progress and ask leave to sit again, which leave is usually granted upon motion.
Should the subject be concluded, on motion the committee will rise, the president will resume his seat, and the committee will report its proceedings and conclusions to the main body, upon the motion of some member, as with other reports.
With the exception that members may speak as often as they can obtain the floor in committee of the whole, the same rules apply to the committee of the whole as govern the main body.
The assistant clerk usually acts as secretary of the committee of the whole, and the presiding officer of the main body may participate in the proceedings of the committee of the whole, along with the other members of the assembly.
In the case of any communication referred to a committee, it is usual to proceed to have it read by the clerk, section by section, or paragraph by paragraph, he noting such suggestions as the members may see fit to make, and adding such amendments as may be thought best.
Should the paper originate in the committee, erasures and interlineations may be made on such paper, in such number as may be thought best, though a clean copy of the same should be made when completed. Should the paper originate outside of the committee, amendments and changes should be made on a separate sheet of paper. When the amendments are complete, the committee should rise, and report to the general assembly.
An assemblage of citizens, meeting in deliberative assembly is, in the highest sense of the term, a representation of a free and independent people, standing, for the time, upon a plane of exact equality. Every member of the meeting will assume the position he is fitted to fill, and will win the esteem and respect of his associates there, in proportion to his worth, perhaps more nearly than anywhere else.
If well informed in parliamentary usage, the fact is very clearly seen. If possessed of a high degree of intellectual culture - if gifted with fluency of speech and readiness in debate - the fact is clearly shown on such an occasion as this. Wealth and poverty stand side by side. Eminence in position and lowliness of condition are lost sight of for the time, and the real worth of the speaker, and active participator in the public meeting, is revealed in the proceedings of the assembly.
Upon calling the meeting to order, every member should, if possible, become seated, with head uncovered. The member wishing to speak will arise and address the presiding officer, when the president, upon hearing such address, will call the member by name, or indicate him by position, that the body may give attention to his remarks.
It is customary for a member to stand while speaking, if able to do so, and the rules of decorum forbid any unseemly conduct upon the part of other members, calculated to disturb the speaker, such as general conversation, laughing, hissing, or passing about the room between the speaker and the presiding officer.