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of iniquity, and in rotation ruin their health, blast their character, and sink into premature and ignoble graves.
[$] But the real benefits of debating and other societies are not confined to the illiterate alone, for the rich harvest is enjoyed by all.
[S] To say nothing of the literati of the old world whose writings and whose deeds are as imperishable as the history of civilization, there have been multitudes of eminent men in the United States, who, but for the literary society, might have lived useless lives and, unhonored, died in obscurity.
[$] Clay commenced his career at a village society, and Franklin formed a debating club of two associates.
 As the sculptor turns the roughest marble into speaking beauty, and as the lapidary transforms the most insignificant pebble into the brilliant diamond, so does the literary society disclose the inherent beauties and powers of the mind, by bringing to the service of man and to the glory of God genius and talent that otherwise might have existed only to breed wickedness and misery.
 To forward the vital object of mental illumination and moral culture, a brief form has been given in this Manual for establishing societies for social and general improvement. This form is so simple and easy to be understood, that all who read intelligibly can comprehend it.
 An outline has also been added for conducting discussions and preparing lectures, and it is to be hoped that every intelligent citizen will take a deep and an abiding interest in promoting societies for the general diffusion of knowledge.
 It is believed that any person of common intelligence, by studying this book, may make himself not only competent to take part in any society, but also to preside over its deliberations, and determine questions of order with ease and accuracy.
[S] No one can reasonably bring forward the plea that it is not necessary for him to understand legislative rules, from the fact that he never intends to preside at any meeting, for those who are ignorant of these forms yield much power into the hands of those who know them.
[S] An adroit presiding officer often has it in his power to control the action of vast assemblies, who are ignorant of the right rules for conducting public business.
[S] Hence, to guard against official encroachment, as well as against the combination of a few well informed members, it becomes the duty of all to know the proper way of proceeding in deliberative assemblies.
DIRECTIONS FOR FORMING SOCIETIES.
[S] If you wish the advantages of a Literary Society, in your village or town, either for your own or other's benefit, call on your neighbours, propose the subject, state the objects of such a society, and obtain as many as you can to cooperate with you in this noble work. Get a few of the most influential citizens to call a meeting to organize a society-either state to the audience the importance of such an institution, or prevail on à clergyman, or some other influential individual, to do it. Secure a committee to draft a constitution, or have one already prepared. and Re. 126,
[S] Be not discouraged, if but few attend the meeting or co-operate with you. 66 The most efficient literary society of the world had its origin with two individuals, who by accident met at a hotel in London, and in conversation on the deplorable ignorance of the great mass of the people, one proposed to the other the formation of a society that would have a direct influence in the diffusion of useful knowledge, to which the other heartily assented.
 They made arrangements, and advertised a meeting for the purpose of organizing a society, but no one attended with them; one appointed the other president, and he in turn his associate secretary—they discussed and passed resolutions, which were published in the papers, with the statement that they were passed at a respectable meeting called for the purpose of forming a society for the diffusion of useful knowledge, and that another meeting would be held at such a time, which was attended by a large audience of the wealthy and influential, not only of London, but from many parts of the British empire; and since then the society has, with constantly increasing
energy, been scattering light, knowledge, and innumerable blessings over the civilized world."*
PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS. $1. Both Houses of Congress precede the business of each day with Prayer.† This righteous example was set by the founders of our Government, and is commended to all deliberative bodies and associations of whatever name or character; for ro undertaking can ever attain permanent usefulness without the approval and the blessing of the Most High.
$ 2. Every meeting should be opened precisely at 07. Meeting the time appointed. The presiding officer on taking
the CHAIR should at once call the meeting to order. I Const. 1. His first duty is to ascertain if a quorum be present. Sec. 5, p. 12. This he may do, by either counting, or requiring
the secretary to call over, the names of those assembled.
Re. 1,Ho. Reps. page
MANNER OF ORGANIZING.
§ 1. No business can be legally transacted without a quorum. Hence the president should not continue
* Wright's Casket.
† Each House elects its own chaplain at the beginning of every session. The chaplains usually belong to different denominations, and alternate with each other i. e., A officiates in the Senate and B in the House of Representatives on Monday ; but on Tuesday B conducts the religious exercises of the Senate, and A those of the House of Representatives.
| In case the members are engaged in conversation, &c., this is done by rapping on the desk or table, and saying the meeting will please come to order.
to occupy his seat unless that number be present. Reps. 9.186, When, any time after the meeting is opened, a p. 101 member suspects that à quorum is wanting, he may call for the body to be counted. A deficiency being found business should, at once, be suspended. .
§ 2. Should there not be a quorum it is usual to wait half an hour and then adjourn, provided a legal number, for transacting business, cannot be convened. The adjournment when there is less than a quorum must, of course, be to the next regular time for assembling; but a special meeting may be called whenever occasion requires.
§ 3. When the clerk* calls the roll each mem- Re. 12, 2005 ber should rise as his name is called and answer. 85, Absentees should be noted, and their names called Man. p. 151, a second time, when excuses may be heard.
§ 4. The members rise that they may be recognized; this rule, however, need not be enforced in small bodies, nor in large ones where the members are presumed to be well acquainted.
§ 5. The main object is to facilitate acquaintanceship at anniversaries, conferences, and conventions, where various sections of the Union are represented.
$ 6. No member of a legislative body should be 60.. absent himself from its meetings without leave.
Custom of Congress.
* Or secretary, as the case may be.
† When any member wishes to be absent for a few days he should rise and say, Mr. President I ask leave of absence for days from to-day. Or in case a member happens to be unexpectedly detained from the assembly, he may obtain leave of absence through the agency of any other member.