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.
THE people of every community, in order to introduce laws, regulations, and organizations by which they shall be governed and benefited, find it necessary to meet from time to time in public assemblages. Thus, before a school can be established, it is necessary to have a meeting of the citizens, to take the preliminary steps towards obtaining the school. Before a church organization can be had, a meeting of persons favorable to such proceeding must first take place, to secure sufficient concert of action to accomplish the object. To obtain unity of sentiment, and harmony of action, in the carrying forward of any important enterprise, the people must be called together, and the minds of a sufficient number directed into the desired channel to effect the contemplated purpose.
In educating public sentiment, calling the people together, and introducing the resolutions that shall embody the sense of the meeting, much written business is required that may properly be considered here.
To illustrate: William Jones, who lives in the town of Monroe, being a zealous politician, is desirous of having a republican meeting in his town, just before election. He, therefore, consults with John Belden, Arthur Bennett, George Moody, and others, who have a certain influence, as to time and place. Arrangements are also made with two or three persons, accustomed to public speaking, to address the meeting.
Notice is then given, by written placards or printed posters, as follows :
" Republican Meeting.
All Citizens of Monroe, who favor the principles of the REPUBLICAN PARTY, are requested to meet on Thursday Evening, Oct. 1st, at the TOWN HALL, at Seven O'Clock, to take such action as may be deemed best to promote the Success of the Party in the COMING ELECTION. The Meeting will be addressed by the Hon. WILLIAM SPENCER, THOMAS HOPKINS, Esq., and Others."
The projectors assemble at the Hall early, and decide, from an examination of the audience, who will make a suitable presiding officer, and secretary, or these persons may be selected previous to the meeting, with the understanding that they will be present.
Half or three-quarters of an hour is usually given from the time when the meeting is appointed, for general conversation, while the audience is assembling. At half-past seven, Wm. Jones steps forward, and says :
"The meeting will please come to order."
As soon as the audience becomes still, Mr. Jones continues:
"I move that Samuel Lockwood act as President of this meeting."
Mr. Arthur Belden says :
"I second the motion."
Then, Mr. Jones puts the question thus :
"It has been moved and seconded, that Mr. Samuel Lockwood act as President of this meeting. All in favor of the motion will manifest the same by saying, ' Aye.' "
As soon as the affirmative vote has been expressed, he will say:
"" Those who are opposed will say, ' No.' "
If the "Ayes " predominate, he will say :
"The ' Ayes' have it. Mr. Lockwood will take the chair."
If, however, the ' Noes' are in the majority, he will say:
"The ' Noes ' have it; the motion is lost."
Thereupon, he will nominate another person, or put the question upon the nomination of some one else.*
As soon as the chairman is chosen, he will take his place.
Mr. Arthur Bennett then says:
"I move that Mr. Hiram Cooper act as Secretary of this meeting."
This motion being seconded, the Chairman puts the question, and declares the result.
* If considerable political excitement exists in the community, the opposite party will sometimes gather in large force, which is termed " packing " the meeting; will vote their own officers into place, and conduct the meeting according to their own wishes. When, however, a meeting is called in the interest of a certain political party, it is considered disreputable for another party to seek, through overwhelming force, to control the meeting in their own interest.
The meeting is now organized. The Chairman will direct the Secretary to read the call, or, if a copy of the call is not to be obtained, he will ask one of the projectors to state the object of the meeting.
That speech being concluded, the President will say:
"You have heard the call, and understand its object; what is the further pleasure of the meeting?"
Mr. Jones, thereupon, says:
"I move that a Committee of three be appointed by the chair to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting."
This is seconded.
The Chairman then says :
"Gentlemen, you have heard the motion; are you ready for the question?"
If any one desires to speak against the motion, or has any remark to make, he arises, and says:
The Chairman turns towards the speaker, and listens to him, and each in succession. When they are all done, or in case no one responds to the call, he puts the question in the previous form, and declares the result.
The resolution being adopted, the Chairman says:
"I will appoint as such Committee - "William Jones, Albert Hawkins, and Henry Peabody."
Where a motion is made moving the appointment of a committee, it is parliamentary usage to appoint, as the first person selected on such committee, the mover of the resolution.
The Committee withdraws to prepare the resolutions, or to examine those previously prepared for the purpose.
Upon the retirement of the Committee, the audience will call for the leading speakers of the evening to address the meeting. When the speeches are concluded, the Chairman of the Committee comes forward, and says :