Sunday, June 12, 2016

Etiquette and House Rules

"Those that deal with etiquette and decorum have not been officially recorded anywhere..." — The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created in 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union.





"How can I learn the rules of the House?" asked a newly elected Irish member of the late Mr. Parnell. "By breaking them," was the prompt reply of the Irish leader, who, as is well known, spoke from experience on the point. But few members would care to adopt that heroic method of obtaining the desired knowledge, and their task in mastering the rules is rendered all the more difficult by the curious fact that many of these regulations are unwritten. 

Some will be found in the standing orders, or permanent rules, passed from time to time by the House to regulate its own procedure, but those that deal with etiquette and decorum have not been officially recorded anywhere, save in a few quaint and obsolete regulations to be found in the old issues of the journals of the House, or in the minutes of proceedings during the session. 

For instance, a strange rule for the guidance of the Speaker is set down under the 15th of February, 1620: "The Speaker is not to move his hat until the third congee." Propriety of carriage in leaving the chamber is thus enforced: "Those who go out of the House in a confused manner before the Speaker to forfeit 10s." This rule is dated tne 12th of November, 1640. Again we find that on the 23d of March, 1693. it was ordered: "No member to take tobacco into the gallery, or to the table, sitting at committees." — A History of Parliamentary Elections and Electioneering in the Old Days, 1886

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia