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.
Any member of the main body may be present at the meeting of the committee, but cannot vote.
The committee having given their report to the meeting, or the question having been considered by the assembly itself, may lack yet a few essential points necessary to make the same what it should be when passed. To add these is what is termed amending the question.
Mr. Cushing recommends where a question contains two or more parts that are so distinct from each other as to form separate propositions, some of which the assembly may favor, and the others not, that the motion be divided, and submitted in parts to the assembly, for their approval or rejection. This is thought a more expeditious manner of disposing of the same than to add several amendments to the question, the result in the end being the same.
* "Though the majority on a committee should he favorable to a measure, the minority may he of those who are opposed to it in some particulars. But those totally opposed to it should never be appointed: and if any one of that view be named, he should rise and state the fact, when the main body will excuse him from serving." - Chairman's Assistant.
This division may be made by motion; the mover designating in his motion the manner in which he would have the division made.
It is, of course, for the presiding officer and the assembly to consider whether the question is of such a complicated nature as to require such division. As a rule, no division should be made, unless the parts are so separate and distinct that either alone would form a separate and distinct proposition.
The member of an assembly who introduces a long and complicated question, containing several points, yet one so dependent on the other as not to be separable, may prepare his questions with blanks for the assembly to fill up.
The proposition before the meeting, in such case, may contain an outline of all that is required, while the members of the assembly will very readily fill the blanks with the time, amount, cost, or whatever they may wish to particularize.
Much time may frequently be saved in a deliberative assembly by the member who introduces a motion, carefully considering the question himself before presenting it, as well as learning the wishes of the members by private consultation. As this is not always practicable, however, many questions must first be made ready for being voted upon by being amended in the public assembly itself.
For the purpose of effecting such changes in a question as the members may desire, the question may be altered:
1st. By an amendment.
2d. By an amendment to an amendment.
As there must be a line drawn somewhere, parliamentary law prevents there being any more amendments to amendments than the foregoing; but still more changes may be made in the proposition before the meeting, by alterations in the amendments.
To illustrate : John Smith, member of the assembly, says:
"I move that a committee of five be appointed by this meeting to collect funds for the poor of this town."
The motion being seconded, and the question stated by the chairman, William Jones says :
"I move an amendment; that this committee to collect funds consist of seven persons, to be appointed by the chair.
The amendment being seconded, and stated as before, James Brown says:
"I move an amendment to the amendment; that the chairman of this meeting appoint seven persons a committee to collect funds, to be used wholly in the interests of the poor of the west division of this city."
The question being again before the house as in the former case, Walter Harper says:
The chairman here remarks that the last amendment is out of order, as there can be but one amendment to an amendment.
He further says:
"The amendment to the amendment is first in order. It is moved " (here he stales the amendment to the amendment, or calls upon the mover to do so, puts the question and declares the result).
If the motion is lost, he says :
"The next question in order is the amendment to the question, (here he stales the amendment, and puts the same as before ). Should this be lost, he says :
"The question is now on the original motion." (He here states the question, puts the motion as before, and announces the result.)
An amendment to an amendment, even though greatly at variance with the amendment, will still be in order, it being left to the discretion of the assembly to determine whether they will change from their previous action.
A member who may have spoken to the main question, may speak to the amendment, after the same is moved.
If it is desired to add to a sentence a new paragraph, it is important that the paragraph be very carefully considered, being made as perfect as possible, as it cannot be changed after being adopted in that form. Or, should it be resolved to strike out a paragraph, the same care should be taken to have the sentence as complete as may be, after the words are stricken out.*
When a long and complicated question is before the house, if there be a standing committee, the easiest method of disposing of the question is to refer the same to such committee. If, however, the time of the convention will admit, and there be no other business appointed or occupying the present attention of the assembly, it will be in order for the members to immediately proceed to the disposal of the question, by the following process: