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Privilege, Questions Of

In all parliamentary or legislative bodies, there occur certain questions which relate to matters affecting the dignity of the assembly or the rights and privileges of some of its members, and these are hence called Questions of Privilege; such, for instance, are motions arising out of or having relation to a quarrel between two of the members, an assault upon any member, charges affecting the integrity of the assembly or any of its members, or any other matters of a similar character. Questions referring to any of these matters take precedence of all other business, and hence are always in order. These questions of privilege are not to be confounded with privileged questions; for, although all questions of privilege are privileged questions, all privileged questions are not questions of privilege. Strictly speaking, questions of privilege relate to the house or its members, and privileged questions relate to matters of business (see Doctor Mackey's revised Jurisprudence of Freemasonry).



The interval between the reception of one Degree and the succeeding one is called the probation of the candidate, because it is during this period that he is to prove his qualification for advancement. In England and in the United States the time of probation between the reception of Degrees is four weeks, to which is generally added the further safeguard of an open examination in the preceding Degree. In France and Germany the probation is extended to one year. The time is greatly extended in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The Statutes of the Southern Supreme Council require an interval of two years to be passed between the reception of the Fourteenth and the Thirty-second Degrees. An extraordinary rule prevailed in the Constitutions of 1762, by which the Rite of Perception was governed. According to this rule, a candidate was required to pass a probation, from the time of his application as an Entered Apprentice until his reception of the Twenty-fifth or ultimate Degree of the Rite, of no less than six years and nine months. But as all the separate times of probation depended on symbolic numbers, it is not to be presumed that this regulation was ever practically enforced.

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