Parliamentary Law, or the Lex Parliamentaria, is that code originally framed for the government of the Parliament of Great Britain in the transaction of its business, and subsequently adopted, with necessary modifications, by the Congress of the United States. But what was found requisite for the regulation of public bodies, that order might be secured and the rights of all be respected, has been found equally necessary in private societies. Indeed, no association of men could meet together for the discussion of any subject, with the slightest probability of ever coming to a conclusion, unless its debates were regulated by certain and acknowledged rules.
The rules thus adopted for its government are called its parliamentary law, and they are selected from the parliamentary law of the national assembly, because that code has been instituted by the wisdom of past ages, and modified and perfected by the experience of subsequent ones, so that it is now universally acknowledged that there is no better system of government for deliberative societies than the code which has so long been in operation under the name of parliamentary law.
Not only, then, is a thorough knowledge of parliamentary law necessary for the presiding officer of a Masonic Body, if he would discharge the duties of the chair with credit to himself and comfort to the members, but he must be possessed of the additional information as to what parts of that law are applicable to Freemasonry, and what parts are not; as to where and when he must refer to it for the decision of a question, and where and when he must lay it aside, and rely for his government upon the organic law and the ancient usages of the Institution (see Doctor Mackey's revised Jurisprudence of Freemasonry).
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