Saturday, October 25, 2008

Of the Officers of a Subordinate Lodge - Chapter V. Of Rules of Order.

A Treatise on the Constitutional Laws, Usages And Landmarks of Freemasonry
by Dr.Albert Gallatin Mackey, 1856

The safety of the minority, the preservation of harmony and the dispatch of business, all require that there should be, in every well-regulated society, some rules and forms for the government of their proceedings and, as has been justly observed by an able writer on parliamentary law, "whether these forms be in all cases the most rational or not, is really not of so great importance, for it is much more material that there should be a rule to go by, than what that rule is." [Hats. quoted in Jefferson, p. 14]

By common consent, the rules established for the government of Parliament in England and of Congress in the United States and which are known collectively under the name of "Parliamentary Law," have been adopted for the regulation of all deliberative bodies, whether of a public or private nature. But lodges of Freemasons differ so much in their organization and character from other societies, that this law will, in very few cases, be found applicable, and, indeed, in many positively inapplicable to them. The rules, therefore, for the government of Masonic lodges are in general to be deduced from the usages of the Order, from traditional or written authority and where both of them are silent, from analogy to the character of the institution. To each of these sources, therefore, I shall apply, in the course of the present chapter and in some few instances, where the parliamentary law coincides with our own, reference will be made to the authority of the best writers on that science.

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