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Through flames and smoke that dauntless heart
Responded firmly still,
“ With God's good help I will !”
They scorch his hands and brow,
Ah ! he is conquered now !
He crushes down his pain,
He guides the ship again.
Brave heart, thy task is o'er ;
The steamer touches shore.
In praise to God, that He
And from the engulfing sea.
The captain saw him reel-
He sank beside the wheel.
Blackened with smoke and fire.
A nobler funeral pyre !
THE DUTIES OF A CHAIRMAN. It will be generally admitted by those who have had any experience in the conducting of public meetings that it is the exception, and not the rule, to meet with a thoroughly competent chairman. How many, even intelligent men, if they happen to be asked or called upon to preside at a club, committee, council, benevolent, social, religious, or political meeting, candidly confess that they are not acquainted with “the duties of a chairman,” and beg to be excused. Such being the case, it may not be considered out of place, in a work dealing with the essentials for public speaking, that we should also consider a few things which are needful to secure the proper government of a public meeting. We live in times when the importance of meetings of all kinds is almost universally recognized. By means of discussion we are enabled in a rational, peaceful, and manly method, to bring to maturity schemes for promoting the welfare and glory of our country-settle conflicting differences-maintain and defend our civil and religious rights, and in this way help forward the cause of enlightenment, patriotism, morality, and religion.
Now, it must be self-evident that if we are to secure such inestimable advantages, we should be willing to do everything we can to be properly prepared when the time arrives. By all means learn to speak well, and to accompany proper utterances with becoming action, but what will these do unless we can also avail ourselves of the best methods to command the attention of an audience. We can only expect to do so by laying down and carrying out such rules as may be found to work well in the government of public meetings. Of course we can only give here, as in the other cases, mere hints, or a sketch of those things which are of first importance.
Let us notice THE DUTIES OF A CHAIRMAN. As so much depends upon who is appointed, and how the appointment is made, it is needful to bear in mind the following points.
1. The person selected should be one held in respect, and not, as is too often the case, because of his rank, wealth, or local position, independently of his qualifications for the post.
2. When such a person is selected, at the time for the opening of the business (or previously, as may be needful sometimes), someone should be ready to propose and second the nomination, and if another, or others, are so proposed, it is desirable to let the meeting settle for itself which is preferred. If elected, let every man who loves order and wishes well to his country, accept the post, and do his duty to the best of his ability, whatever the demand may be.
3. Speeches of any kind, whether of disclaimers, or protests of unfitness, or the superior claims of others, &c., however brief, should not be allowed until a proper chairman has been elected, seated, and a meeting properly opened.
4. As a rule the chairman's speech is expected to be short, hence the adage, “Blessed is the chairman who maketh a short
speech, for he shall be invited again.” Apart from this however, as the presiding officer whose duty it is to see everything done decently and in order, he will have to hear and know everything which goes on, so that he may clearly realise what is to be done, and at times suggest the best step to be taken to do it.
5. In taking the chair, where different views are expected to be advocated, it is inferred that for the time being the chairman resigns all thought of promoting his own views, but sees that justice and equity are conceded to all alike. If not ready to do this, then it should be stated at once from the chair, and the meeting asked to elect another.
6. ln opening the proceedings it is the duty of the chairman distinctly, yet briefly, to state the object for which the meeting is called ; if by requisition, bill, or other document, he should read it in a clear voice, and then point out what, in his judg. ment, is the best course to be pursued, and ask for a quiet, patient hearing for each speaker,
7. The chairman's decision as to points of order are not debateable, unless he entertain doubts on the subject and invite discussion.
8. If there is an appeal against his decision as to a point of order, he should put the question thus to the meeting : “Shall the decision of the chair be sustained ?"
9. When two or more persons rise to speak at the same time, the chairman alone should decide who is entitled to speak.
10. When a person is speaking no one should be allowed to interrupt, except to call to order, or to ask leave to explain. A person who is allowed “ to explain,” has only the right to explain an actual misunderstanding of language, and not to go into the merits of the case in discussion.
11. Should a motion or resolution be submitted to the meet. ing, and no one rise to second it, he should ask, “Does anyone second the motion ?”
12. If no one seconds the motion, there is an end to it, but if seconded, it should be read again distinctly, and it is then in order for discussion, opposition, or amendment. If there is no objection, after giving a reasonable opportunity, it should be put to the meeting, and the votes taken by show of hands for and against, and the result stated clearly to the meeting.
13. If there is a call for the question to be divided, the majority of the meeting must decide. But it ought never to be entertained, unless when it is so divided, it shall leave distinct and entire propositions.
14. An objection to the resolution, to be in order, must take the following forms—it must be an AMENDMENT, or in some way to Negative the motion, care being taken to note that a direct negative is no amendment; or to POSTPONE, or to ADJOURN the meeting, or the PREVIOUS QUESTION. It is important that, whichever of these courses be adopted, the speaker should address himself to it, and not waste the time of the meeting.
15. The chairman should see that every resolution submitted is in harmony with the purpose for which the meeting has been called. Every motion must take the affirmative form, i.e., that something is or SHALL BE.
16. An AMENDMENT, as it is called, should be an improvement on the resolution.
17. A motion to amend an amendment should not be entertained.
18. As an amendment to “strike out and insert,” the paragraph to be amended ought first to be read as it stands, then the words proposed to be struck out, and those proposed to be inserted, and finally, the whole paragraph as amended.
19. TO POSTPONE its consideration. This is often proposed with the view of resisting a motion without moving an amendment,
20, The PREVIOUS QUESTION is really the question whether the motion shall, or shall not be put to the vote. It is moved and seconded to close the debate, and to save throwing upon the Chairman the unpleasantness of closing the debate, or elude the further discussion of a resolution. If carried, of course the motion is dropped.
21. A motion to ADJOURN can be made at any time, and repeated over and over again, provided the time to which it is proposed to adjourn be altered, provided it is not made : (a), when a person has possession of the floor ; (b), when a vote is being taken ; (c), when the previous question is ordered to be taken.
22. A motion to adjourn simply cannot be amended, but a motion to adjourn to a given time is open to debate.
23. A motion having been moved and seconded, cannot be withdrawn, save with the consent of the meeting.
24. The right of reply belongs to the mover of a resolution but not to the mover of an amendment. But no new subject must be introduced in the second speech.
25. In taking the votes for and against, the votes on the amendment must be taken first for the amendment, and then against the amendment. If a majority is for it, the original motion as amended is put as a substantive motion. If a majority be against the amendment, then the voting must be taken on the original motion for and against. This may be also outvoted, as sometimes people may choose to let things remain as they are.
26. When the business is concluded the Chairman should so declare it, but wait for a moment to see if any other business is to be introduced. It is almost a general practice for some person to move a vote of thanks to the Chairman, and that being seconded, is put to the meeting by the mover. When carried, the Chairman should return thanks, courteously and briefly.
27. The Chairman should alone call to ORDER. The meet. ing should at all times aid this by enforcing attention to “THE CHAIR.”