[ 46-49.]

An Occasional or Mass Meeting

46. An Occasional or Mass Meeting. (a) Organization. When a meeting is held which is not one of an organized society, shortly after the time appointed for the meeting, some member of the assembly steps forward and says: "The meeting will please come to order; I move that Mr. A. act as chairman of this meeting." Some one else says, "I second the motion." The first member then puts the question to vote, by saying, "It has been moved and seconded that Mr. A. act as chairman of this meeting; those in favor of the motion will say aye," and when the affirmative vote is taken, he says, "those opposed will say no." If the majority vote in the affirmative, he says, "The motion is carried; Mr. A. will take the chair." If the motion is lost, he announces that fact, and calls for the nomination of some one else for chairman, and proceeds with the new nomination as in the first case.* [Sometimes a member nominates a chairman and no vote is taken, the assembly signifying their approval by acclamation. The member who calls the meeting to order, instead of making the motion himself, may act as temporary chairman, and say: "The meeting will please come to order: will some one nominate a chairman?" He puts the question to vote on the nomination as described above. In large assemblies, the member who nominates, with one other member, frequently conducts the presiding officer to the chair, and the chairman makes a short speech, thanking the assembly for the honor conferred on him.]

When Mr. A. takes the chair, he says, "The first business in order is the election of a secretary." Some one then makes a motion as just described, or he says "I nominate Mr. B," when the chairman puts the question as before. Sometimes several names are called out, and the chairman, as he hears them, says, "Mr. B. is nominated; Mr. C. is nominated," etc; he then takes a vote on the first one he heard, putting the question thus: "As many as are in favor of Mr. B. acting as secretary of this meeting, will say aye;--those opposed will say no." If the motion is lost the question is put on Mr. C., and so on, till some one is elected. In large meetings the secretary takes his seat near the chairman: he should in all cases keep a record of the proceedings as described in 51.

(b) Adoption of Resolutions. These two officers are all that are usually necessary for a meeting; so, when the secretary is elected, the chairman asks, "What is the further pleasure of the meeting?" If the meeting is merely a public assembly called together to consider some special subject, it is customary at this stage of the proceedings for some one to offer a series of resolutions previously prepared, or else to move the appointment of a committee to prepare resolutions upon the subject. In the first case he rises and says, "Mr. Chairman;" the chairman responds, "Mr. C." Mr. C., having thus obtained the floor, then says, "I move the adoption of the following resolutions," which he then reads and hands to the chairman;* [The practice in legislative bodies, is to send to the clerk's desk all resolutions, bills, etc., the title of the bill and the name of the member introducing it, being endorsed on each. In such bodies, however, there are several clerks and only one chairman. In many assemblies there is but one clerk or secretary, and, as he has to keep the minutes, there is no reason for his being constantly interrupted to read every resolution offered. In such assemblies, without there is a rule or established custom to the contrary, it is allowable, and frequently much better, to hand all resolutions, reports, etc., directly to the chairman. If they were read by the member introducing them, and no one calls for another reading, the chairman can omit reading them when be thinks they are fully understood. In reference to the manner of reading and stating the question, when the resolution contains several paragraphs, see Rules of Order, 44.] some one else says, "I second the motion." The chairman sometimes directs the secretary to read the resolutions again, after which he says, "The question is on the adoption of the resolutions just read," and if no one rises immediately, he adds, "Are you ready for the question?" If no one then rises, he says, "As many as are in favor of the adoption of the resolutions just read, will say aye;" after the ayes have voted, he says, "As many as are of a contrary opinion will say no;" he then announces the result of the vote as follows: "The motion is carried--the resolutions are adopted," or, "The ayes have it--the resolutions are adopted."

(c) Committee to draft Resolutions. If it is preferred to appoint a committee to draft resolutions, a member, after he has addressed the Chair and been recognized, says, "I move that a committee be appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting on," etc., adding the subject for which the meeting was called. This motion being seconded, the Chairman states the question [ 67] and asks, "Are you ready for the question?" If no one rises, he puts the question, announces the result, and, if it is carried, he asks, "Of how many shall the committee consist?" If only one number is suggested, he announces that the committee will consist of that number; if several numbers are suggested, he states the different ones and then takes a vote on each, beginning with the largest, until one number is selected.

He then inquires, "How shall the committee be appointed?" This is usually decided without the formality of a vote. The committee may be "appointed" by the Chair--in which case the chairman names the committee and no vote is taken; or the committee may be "nominated" by the Chair, or the members of the assembly (no member naming more than one, except by unanimous consent), and then the assembly vote on their appointment. When the chairman nominates, after stating the names he puts one question on the entire committee, thus: "As many as are in favor of these gentlemen constituting the committee, will say aye." If nominations are made by members of the assembly, and more names mentioned than the number of the committee, a separate vote should be taken on each name. (In a mass meeting it is safer to have all committees appointed by the chairman.)