7. When the committee is announced, the gentleman first named will go to the Secretary's table, and obtain a copy of the names of his colleagues, and request them to accompany him to an adjoining room, or some contiguous place. During the absence of the committee, it is usual to call upon some well known speaker to address the meeting. When the committee have agreed upon a report, they should immediately return, and the chairman should place himself near the President, and in view of the person speaking, who will most probably bring his remarks to a close, as soon as he finds the committee returned and prepared to report. The moment he ceases, the chairman of the committee will address the presiding officer of the meeting, and say: "Mr. Chairman - the committee appointed to prepare resolutions, have instructed me to report the following," and then hand the resolutions to the Chair, or proceed to read them himself. The Chairman will receive the resolutions and say, "the committee appointed to prepare resolutions report the following - they will be read," and then direct the Secretary to read them. After being read, he will continue, "the resolutions are before the meeting - will the meeting consider them separately or altogether?" Most probably members will say "separately," whereupon the Chairman will say "the resolutions will be considered separately - the first resolution is before the meeting." Some gentleman will then rise to speak, or to move that it be adopted. In the former case, the Chairman will say, "Mr. - ," naming him - in the latter case, he will say, "it is moved and seconded that the resolution be adopted - is the meeting ready for the question?" If no one rises, after pausing a moment or two, he will put the question in the following manner: "As many as are in favor of the adoption of the resolution will please say 'aye' - those of the contrary opinion will say 'no.' " Should the ayes appear to preponderate, he will say, "the ayes appear to have it," and if no one calls for a division, he will continue, "the ayes have it - the resolution is agreed to."
8. Should a division be called for any time previous to the result being declared by the Chairman, he will say - "a division is called for - gentleman in the affirmative will please rise." He should then direct the Secretary to count the number standing, and when this is done, and the number reported to him, he will say "forty-four gentlemen are up," supposing that to be the number, and then request those up to be seated, afterwards pursuing a similar course with those in the negative. If the Chairman is in serious doubt himself, as to the preponderance of voices, he may announce to the meeting that "it is impossible for the Chair to decide," and then request the members to divide, as above.
9. But in most of our Town and Ward meetings it is now the usual custom to have the resolutions prepared beforehand, and this is decidedly the better plan. In this case, and when the appointment of a committee is not desired, the gentleman who may be charged with the duty of offering them, will rise and submit them immediately after the Chairman announces that " the meeting is organized, and ready to proceed to business."
10. The resolutions, of course, constitute the real business of a meeting, although very many political meetings are called on the eve of every important election, not so much to do business, as to hear the remarks of distinguished speakers. And in many instances, the meeting is no sooner organized than great clamor and confusion ensue, by calling for this or that individual to address the meeting. In most cases, however, it is better to have the resolutions presented before the speaking commences, for if they be kept back until late, they are often passed in a very hurried manner, without being properly digested. In meetings not of a political character, the resolutions, which are usually introduced with some remarks by the gentleman who presents them, often elicit much interesting discussion, so as to be kept before the meeting during the whole session.*
11. When a resolution before the meeting contains a blank, that should be filled before the question is taken on the resolution. To fill up a blank is precisely the same as to make an amendment, excepting that when several suggestions are made as to number and time, it is usual to take the question, first on the highest number, the largest sum and the longest time.*
* At political meetings it is usual for the Chairman to announce the speakers, particularly strangers, as they present themselves to the audience.
12. When resolutions are prefaced by a preamble, the question is not taken on the preamble, until the resolutions are disposed of. Should all the resolutions be negatived, the preamble falls to the ground, and is not acted upon at all.
13. In the progress of a meeting, when a speaker has concluded, and a resolution is pending, it is usual for the Chairman to say, "the question is upon the resolution - is the meeting ready for the question?" This will either bring up another speaker, or a call for the "question." In the latter case, the Chairman, unless interrupted by some one rising to speak, will proceed to take the sense of the meeting on the resolution. In public meetings of citizens it is not usual to force a question until all have spoken who desire to speak. To call for the "question," while any one is speaking, is usually considered an act of great rudeness, but this course is sometimes adopted, by a wearied audience, to get rid of an uninteresting speaker.
* This is the Legislative as well as Congressional rule on this subject. In Parliament, the question is taken first on the smallest number, and longest time.
14. Sometimes the resolutions submitted by a gentleman, or a committee, are not satisfactory, and require modification and a careful revision. If the matter cannot be reached by amendment, it is entirely in order to refer them to a committee, or to re-commit with instructions. A resolution, however, may be withdrawn by the mover previous to amendment. After amendment, it belongs to the meeting.
15. As soon as the resolution is adopted, and so announced, the Chairman, if no other business immediately offers, should say, -"There is no business before the meeting." This opens an opportunity to those present, to introduce fresh propositions for the consideration of the meeting.
16. In other than political meetings it is not customary to allow a speaker to occupy the floor, unless he rises to speak on a resolution already offered, or prefaces his remarks by stating that he intends to offer one. Much greater latitude in this matter is usually allowed in a Town meeting than would be tolerated in a well regulated Society. It not unfrequently happens that gentlemen are really desirous of reaching a certain point, but are much at a loss as to the proper mode. In such cases a desultory debate, if permitted, will often elicit an idea that will serve as a starting point, and relieve the meeting from its embarrassment.
17. When the announcement of "no business," by the Chairman, elicits no further resolutions or motions, it is usual to provide for the publication of the proceedings and then to adjourn.
18. A motion to adjourn, or a motion to adjourn sine die, must be decided without debate. A motion to adjourn to a certain time, is debatable, and may be amended as regards the time named.*
* The form of a resolution to adjourn to a day certain, is as follows : - "Resolved, that when this meeting adjourns, it will adjourn to meet again, on - ," naming the time and place. When this is considered and agreed to, it is usually followed by the simple motion to adjourn, which, having oeen put and carried, the Chairman will declare that "the meeting stands adjourned until - ," naming the time.