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This is no more than proper courtesy, and should always be extended.

A motion or resolution may be withdrawn by the mover and seconder, at any time before an amendment or decision. This is the practice in the Legislature of this state, but in that of New York, and the Massachusetts Assembly, as well as in Parliament, when a motion is moved, seconded, and štated from the chair, it becomes the property of the House, and cannot be withdrawn without the consent of the members. Our own rule on this subject is certainly the best, for sometimes motions are made which subsequent explanations render unnecessary. If the permission to withdraw is not allowed, the mover is mortified by finding himself the author of a motion which will certainly be negatived.

A call for adjournment, or for any order in business, by members of the meeting from their seats, is not a motion, but a breach of order. No motion can be made without rising and addressing the chair.

In Congress, no motion to postpone to a day certain, to commit, or to postpone in

definitely, being decided in the negative, is again allowable on the same day, in the same stage of the proposition or bill.

When motions are made in Congress to refer a subject to a standing committee, and to a select committee, the question on reference to the standing committee is first in order.

Motions and resolutions must be read by the Secretary, as often as the reading is called for by any member.

A motion to take up a particular item of business, if negatived, cannot be renewed before the intervention of other business.

In Legislative bodies all business has its regular order, such as original resolutions, bills on first, second and third reading, &c. Frequently, however, bills that are much desired are taken up and disposed of before their regular order is reached. This can sometimes be done, by a bare majority assenting, but if any one member calls for the " orders of the day," the process is stopped unless a vote of two-thirds can be obtained in favor of a motion to suspend the rule.

When the call for the reading of a paper

is objected to, the call may be changed to the form of a motion, and regularly put to the meeting.

From the Journal of the U. S. House of Representatives, Jan. 11th, 1837.

A motion was made by Mr. Mann, of New York, that the House do proceed to the orders of the day; when Mr. Bell rose to a question of order, which he stated to be, that a motion to proceed to the orders of the day, having been once made and decided in the negative, could not be again made the same day, and at the same stage of proceeding.

The Speaker decided that the House having on motion once refused to proceed to the orders of the day, did not, after further debate, and at a different period of the day, preclude another motion from being made to proceed to the orders of the day. From this decision Mr. Bell took an appeal to the House, which he subsequently withdrew, and the decision therefore stood as the judgment of the House.

From the Journal of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, April 11th, 1841.

A motion was made by Mr. Johnston, of Armstrong, that the House proceed to the consideration of the amendments made by

the Senate to the bill No. 48, entitled " An Act to repeal certain acts in relation to the Philadelphia and Trenton Rail-Road Company."

Whereupon the Speaker submitted to the House for decision whether the motion could be entertained, inasmuch as the House had previously, on the same day, refused to consider said amendments, although other business had intervened.

And on the question "Is the motion in order?" it was decided in the affirmative, yeas 45, nays 35.


On questions of order no debate is allowable, excepting on an appeal from the deci sion of the President, or on a reference of a question by him to the meeting, when no member shall speak more than once, unless by consent of the meeting. All decisions on questions of order should be noticed in the minutes.

The President is required to decide all questions of order, unless he prefers to submit the matter to the meeting.*

* Should it be alleged, after a question has been put to vote, and the decision announced, that the question was not understood, the President may withdraw the decision, and put the question again.

In Parliament, it is a breach of order for the Speaker to refuse to put a question which is in order.


In our State Legislature and in Congress, a majority of the whole number of members is necessary to form a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day. In the British House of Commons, forty members are sufficient to do business. Societies should always state in their by-laws, the number necessary to constitute a quorum.

When, from counting the meeting, on a division, it appears that there is not a quorum present, there is no decision, but the matter in question continues in the same state in which it was before the division; and when afterwards resumed, it must be taken up at the precise point.

When the President, from any cause,"


The by-laws of Societies usually provide that no member shall leave the meeting without permission of the President, and in many cases fines are imposed for a violation of the rule. Provision on this subject is necessary, in order to prevent a meeting from being left without a quorum.

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