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A DARK SUBJECT
A Critical Examination
OF OBJECTIONS TO THE LEGITIMACY OF
THE MASONRY EXISTING AMONG
THE NEGROES OF AMERICA.
BY WILLIAM H. UPTON, A. M., LL. M.,
Grand Master of Masons in the State of Washington.
THE PACIFIC SEATTLE MASON, PUBLISHER.
The following paper
was originally prepared for the use of the members of the Grand Lodge of
Washington, Free and Accepted Masons. The opinion having been expressed that
the interest felt by members of the Fraternity throughout the country in the
subject, to which the paper relates will occasion a demand for the
"Proceedings" of that Grand Lodge which would cast an undue burden on the
Grand Lodge; and THE PACIFIC MASON, with its usual public spirit, having
offered to come to the relief of the Grand Lodge by publishing a separate
edition of the essay, a few copies are now issued in the present form.
The writer can add
nothing to the idea expressed in the introductory part of the paper: That it
was written solely with a view of supplying, in a convenient form, more
correct information upon the subject of "Negro Masonry" than is generally
accessible. If the paper assists the candid seeker after truth to form a more
correct conception of the history and rightful status of the Negro Mason, its
purpose will have been accomplished.
The writer will be
glad to be informed of any errors or inaccuracies that may have crept into the
W. H. U.
Walla Walla, June,
Of objections to
the Legitimacy of the Masonry Existing Among the Negroes of America.
LIST OF OBJECTIONS
Objections to the
initiation Of PRINCE HALL ................................................
Objections to the
inchoate Lodge, 17 7 51 8 7 ...........................................
African Lodge, No. 459
17751787a Digression ...............................................
MASSACHUSETTS, 17751787a Digression ............................
Objections to the
career of African Lodge, 1808-1847, ..................................
Lodges founded by PRINCE HALL ............................................
Objections to the
first negro Grand Lodge .....................................................
Objections to later
Negro Grand Lodges ........................................................
MASONRY IN THE
PIIILIPPIITEI,AN ALLEGORY ............................................
how to solve the
1. At the Annual
Communication of the Grand Lodge of Washington in 1891, a respectful petition
was received from two colored men who claimed to be Masons, praying the Grand
Lodge to "devise some way" whereby they might be "brought into communication
with" members of the Craft in this state.
( 1. At the Annual
Communication of the Grand Lodge of Washington in 1897 a respectful petition
was received from two colored men who claimed to be Masons, praying the Grand
Lodge to "devise some way" whereby they might be "brought into communication
with" members of the Craft in this state. The petition was referred to a
committee composed of Past Grand 'Masters THOMAS MILBURNE REED and JAMES EWEN
EDMISTON and the present writer, then a Grand Warden. The committee reported
the following year, and its report was adopted by an almost unanimous vote. In
their report the committee plainly expressed the personal belief of the
members thereof, that the negro Masons of the United States who can trace
their descent from the Grand Lodge of England are as fully entitled to the
name of Masons as any other brethren. But, as they knew that a different view
was entertained in many quarters; and were satisfied that the ends of justice
could be served without any change in our law; out of comity, and in the
interest of harmony, they recommended only the adoption of certain
resolutions, which left the status of the petitioners as it was under the
Landmarks and ancient usages of the Craft, except that the Grand Lodge
declared that the colored Masons might cultivate the royal art and regulate
their own affairs within this state without molestation from it. *
committee took the view that the matter before it concerned this Grand Lodge
alone, and was prepared to answer orally on the floor of the Grand Lodge any
questions that might be asked; and because it intended to propose no change in
our law, unless the declaration just mentioned amounts to a change, it did not
deem it necessary to discuss with three exceptions, and these but brielly
the objections that
*The following were
the resolutions adopted:
" Resolved, That,
in the opinion pf this Grand Lodge, Masonry is universal; and, without doubt,
neither race nor color are among the tests proper to be applied to determine
the fitness of a candidate for the degrees of Masonry.
" Resolved, That in
view of recognized laws of the Masonic Institution, and of facts of history
apparently well authenticated and worthy of full credence, this Grand Lodge
does not see its way clear to deny or question the right of its constituent
Lodges, or of the members thereof, to recognize as brother Masons, negroes who
have been initiated in Lodges which can trace their origin to African Lodge,
No. 459, organized under the warrant of our R. W. Brother THOMAS HOWARD, Earl
of EFFINGIIAM, Acting Grand Master, under the authority of H. R. H. HENRY
FREDERICK, Duke Of CUILBERLAND, etc., Grand Master of the Most Ancient and
Honourable Society of F. & A. Masons in England, bearing date September 29, A.
L. 5784, or to our R. W. Brother PRINCE HALL, Master of said Lodge; and, in
the opinion of this Grand Lodge, for the purpose of tracing such origin, the
African Grand Lodge, of Boston, organized in 1808 subsequently known as the
Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the first African Grand Lodge of
North America in and for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, organized in 1815,
and the Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania may justly be regarded as legitimate
Masonic Grand Lodges.
while this Grand Lodge recognizes no difference between brethren based upon
race or color, yet it is not unmindful of the fact that the white and colored
races in the United States have in many ways shown a preference to remain, in
purely social matters, separate and apart. In view of this inclination of the
two races Masonry being preeminently a social Institution this Grand Lodge
deems it to the best interest of Masonry to declare that if regular Masons of
African descent desire to establish, within the State of Washington, Lodges
confined wholly or chiefly to brethren of their race, and shall establish such
Lodges strictly in accordance with the Landmarks of Masonry, and in accordance
with Masonic Law as heretofore interpreted by Masonic tribunals of their own
race, and if such Lodges shall in due time see fit in like manner to erect a
Grand Lodge for the better administration of their affairs, this Grand Lodge,
having more regard for the good of Masonry than for any mere technicality,
will not regard the establishment of such Lodges or Grand Lodge as an invasion
of its jurisdiction, but as evincing a disposition to conform to its own ideas
as to the best interests of the Craft under peculiar circumstances; and will
ever extend to our colored brethren its sincere sympathy in every effort to
promote the welfare of the Craft or inculcate the pure principles of our Art.
"Resolved, That the
Grand Secretary be instructed to acknowledge receipt of the communication from
GIDEON S. BAILEY and CON A. RIDEOUT , and forward to them a copy of the
printed Proceedings of this annual communication of the Grand Lodge, as a
response to said communication."Proceediiigs, G. L. of Washington, 1898, p.
contented itself with remarking that they had been "fully met and completely
answered, over and over again." Subsequent events seem to me to demonstrate
that this course was a mistake; and I feel free to say so, as I prepared the
report of the committee. For, during the year, those same old, threadbare and
untenable objections have been brought forward in numerous Grand Lodges; with
the result, not only that this Grand Lodge has been condemned without a
hearing, but that the question itself has been prejudiced in many Grand Lodges
for another generation, by the mistaken notion that its merits were fully
examined in the year 18989 by committees of those jurisdictions. As a matter
of fact, no single committeeso far as indicated by its reporthas given it more
than a superficial examination, or shown any acquaintance with the later
literature of the subject, referred to by the Washington committee last year.
( 2. The comity and
consideration for the opinions of others shown by the Washington committee and
Grand Lodge were neither appreciated nor reciprocated. During the year, in a
number of Grand Lodges, the position of this Grand Lodge has been savagely
attacked, often in language disgraceful to Masonry. Men whose utterances fail
to disclose even a superficial acquaintance with either the history or the law
of the subject, have presumed to sit as judges in condemnation of this Grand
Lodge; and Grand Lodges have usurped a supervisory power over our actions
which, if acquiesced in, means not only the destruction of the sovereignty of
this Grand Lodge, but the end of that principle of self‑government among
Masons which has been claimed as a cornerstone of our Institution since the
dawn of its history.
( 3. Under these
circumstances, it seemed tome to be due to the brethren of this Grand Lodge
who, last year, confided in the judgment, knowledge and integrity of their
committee, and who, this year, may be called upon to again pass upon similar
questions; as well as to friends of this Grand Lodge elsewhere who may lack
time or opportunity to investigate the subject for themselves, that a plain
statement should be made of the reasons which exist for considering the negro
Masons of America within the pale of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of
Free and Accepted Masons. I had hoped that some other of the many hands in
this jurisdiction more capable than mine might prepare this statement; and
especially that it might be undertaken by that beloved brother who has ruled
over two generations of Masons and now dwells in lionor among the third, and
who has had no superior among Masons in the state of his nativity*, or
* Grand Secretary
Reed first saw both the light of nature and the light of Masonry in
Kentuckythe jurisdiction which was the first to denounce us, and the one which
employed the most indecent language. Brother Edmiston, another member of our
committee on Negro Masonry, and a Mason who, as chairman of the Committee on
Jurisprudence, has made a reputation as a Masonic jurist such as no other son
of Arkansas enjoys, is a native of that State; and in the Confederate army did
what he could to rivet the shackles of slavery on the negro. The Grand Lodge
of his native State sought to rival Kentucky in malignant abuse of this Grand
in the State whose
foundations he assisted to lay. But one circumstance after another seemed to
lay the task upon me. It is a task which I would gladly have escaped. I have
no taste for controversy; I feel no special interest in negro Masonry, and
originally discussed the subject only because detailed to that duty by my
Grand Master. Other deterrent circumstances, also, exist, too personal in
their nature to be of interest to the reader, but which constantly remind me
of the vanity of all things earthly; and, most of all, of the frivolity of
such petty prejudices and technicalities as have prompted the recent attacks
on this Grand Lodge, and of those attacks themselves: "He that sitteth in the
heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."
( 4. I am not
particularly intimidated by the knowledge, which has come to me during the
year, not merely by what has appeared in print but by abusive letters, that
the undertaking will subject me to scurrilous abuse and cowardly vituperation;
for since I have learned how thin the veneer of Masonry and of civilization is
upon some men who have held high places in Masonic councils; and that, as one
eminent brother has expressed it, men whom I had been wont to look up to as
leaders are "tifty years behind the times and a thousand years behind the
principles they profess," I have become indifferent to their abuse: as
LAURENCE DERMOTT expressed it, 'I do not find that the calumny of a few Modern
Masons has done me any real injury."
I shall write for
four classes of readers: First, the little band of Masonic scholars who, in
diverse climes, pursue their studies for the sake of truth alone the most of
these already know and declare that the Grand Lodge of Washington is right;
second, that large class of brethren who have neither time nor opportunities
for personal investigation, and are compelled to take their information at
second hand; third, a determined and implacable and well organized band of men
who have determined that, right or wrong, Mason or no Mason, come what may,
the negro shall not be recognized by American Grand Lodges; and, lastly, the
members of my own Grand Lodge, who may be called upon to act upon the matters
which I shall discuss, and who have a right to feel sure of their ground
before acting. I feel that the first and last of these classes know me well
enough to rely implicitly on the frankness and candor with which I shall
address them. I feel quite as certain that the discordant and malignant cries
of the third class will so drown my voice that for the present it will not
reach the ears of the second; and possessed of this conviction I am content to
address the few of today, the many of tomorrowto appeal to posterity and a
( 5. In casting
about for a plan on which to present my view of the subject, no better one has
occurred to me than to take up, one by one, every objection that has ever been
urged against the regularity of the Masonry found among the negroes, and set
forth, under each, the reasons why it failed to impress me as sound. This,
therefore, is the course I shall adopt in the following pages; and when I have
done this I shall have placed my reader, so far as my ability to express my
meaning clearly, and the unfavorable circumstances under which I write permit,
in a position to see why I reach the conclusion that no single one of the
objections is valid; and to judge for himself whether he agrees with me or
not. When I have done this, my task will have been completed;. unless I invite
such readers only as reach the same conclusions as I do, to consider briefly
what course ought to be adopted by the white Masons of America to restore the
ancient universality of Masonry. "The curious subject of Freemasonry," said
HALLA31,* eighty years ago, "has been treated of only by panegyrists or
caltimniators, both equally mendaciotis." What was true of Freemasonry even
fifty years after HALLAM spoke, is nearly as true today of "the curious
subject" of Negro Masonry. While I shall write of it avowedly as a partisan, I
shall endeavor not to deserve the reproach which the historian applied to our
ancient brethren. I shall avoid as much as possible the tone of controversy,
and shall cite authorities for statements of fact not found in the commoner
Masonic histories. I hope I may be pardoned for adding that I have sufficient
confidence in my own intellectual honesty to believe that Time, if she shall
point out any trifling errors of statement, and whether she confirms or
refutes my conclusions, will vindicate the candor with which I present the
subject and the correctness of my statements of historical facts.
Origin of* Negro
Masonry. The origin of Masonry among the negroes of the United States
was as follows:
On March 6,1775,
an army Lodge attached to one of the regiments stationed under General Gage,
in or Dear Boston, Mass., initiated PRINCE HALL and fourteen other colored men
of Boston into the mysteries of Freemasonry. From that beginning, with small
additions from foreign countries, sprang the Masonry among the negroes of
America. These fifteen brethren were probably authorized by the Lodge which
made them according to the custom of the day to assemble as a Lodge. At least
they did so, but it does not appear that they did any "work" until after they
were regularly warranted. They applied to the Grand Lodge of England for a
warrant, March 2, 1784. It was issued to them, as "African Lodge No. 459,"
with PRINCE HALL as Master, September
*Middle Ages, iii,
t This sketch of
the origin of negro Masonry is substantially that compiled by the present
writer in 1895 (Proceedings, G. L. of Washington, 1895, Cor. Rep., p. 206) and
adopted by the Washington committee on Negro Masonry (Proceedings, 1898, p.
52). It was originally compiled from data drawn from a great variety of
sources. Its general correctness has not been questioned by any Grand Lodge
committee during the heated controversy of the past year; but, nevertheless,
it is not here presented as authoritative, t,ut merely as a thread to string
our inquiry upon. The few points in it concerning which any question has ever
been raised will be discussed in subsequent sections. CLARKA trustworthy
authority states that PRINCE HALL wits initiated a short time before March 6,
but the others on that day. Negro Masonry in Equity, 13.
Were we ignorant of
the manner in which Lodge numbers were assigned, in view of subsequent events
we might suspect that grim humor had led a prophetic Grand Secretary to assign
to African Lodge the number which was borne by that "Spectator," in which
ADDISON bad said, "We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not
enough to make us love, one another."
29, 1884, but not
received until May 2, 1787. The Lodge was organized under the warrant four
days later. It remained upon the English registry occasionally contributing
to the Grand Charity Fund until, upon the amalgamation of the rival Grand
Lodges of the "Moderns " and the "Ancients " into the present United G. L. of
England, in 1813, it and the other English Lodges in the United States were
HALL, a man of exceptional ability, worked zealously in the cause of Masonry;
and, from 1792 until his death in 1807, exercised all the functions of a
Provincial Grand Master. ln 1707 he issued a license to thirteen black men who
bad been made Masons in England to "assemble and work" as a Lodge in
Philadelphia. Another Lodge was organized, by his authority, in Providence,
Rhode Island. In 1808 these three Lodges joined in forming the "African Grand
Lodge" of Boston subsequently styled the "Prince Hall Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts" and Masonry gradually spread over the land.
The second colored
Grand Lodge, called the "First Independent African Grand Lodge of North
America in and for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," was organized in 1815
and the third was the "Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania." These three Grand
Bodies fully recognized each other in 1847, by joining in forming a National
Grand Lodge, and practically all the negro Lodges in the United States are
descended from one or the other of these.
It is known to a
certainty that they have our secrets and practice our rites. * Many foreign
Grand Lodges recognize their organizations; and where this is not done, their
individual members are commonly received as visitors.
( 7. btatus
coneetled them. In the earliest days their Lodge was freely visited by white
Masons; f and down to the present time many white Masons, when influenced by
curiosity or higher motives, have not hesitated to thus recognize them. But
gradually, especially after some white Grand Lodges, t acting upon the slight
information that was then accessible ll had questioned their standing, and the
advantages of exclusive territorial jurisdiction had become apparent, their
origin was lost sight of; and the 'view that they were for what reason was
generally but vaguely understoodmore or less irregular, became prevalent, and
tinally crystallized among the rank and file of the Fraternity into almost an
axiom. The subject has, however, been examined occasionally; and,
* Proceedings, G.
L. of Washington, 1895, Cor. Rep., pp. ~08, 209. Letter of P. G Master L. V.
BiEncE; New Day New Duty, 16.
t PRINCE: HALL
incidentally mentions this; (see Appendix 11, post); and JAcoB NORTON,
speaking of the same period, says, in a letter dated Sept. 26, 1872, printed
in the London Freemason: "I have indubitable proof that African Lodge was then
repeatedly visited by white brethren."
The terms "white
Grand Lodge" and "white Lodge," where employed in this paper, are used merely
as convenient terms to distinguish our own organizations in the majoritg of
which no "color line " is noininally drawn from the negro bodies.
11 New York as
early as 1818 and 1829.
2. As persons whose
claim to Masonic consideration has been passed upon adversely, legislatively,
and upon an ex parte showing by the local Grand Lodge, and is therefore to be
considered no further.
3. As Masons, more
or less irregular, whose claims to legitimacy it would be inconvenient to
acknowledge; and who, therefore, had better be quietly ignored, under the best
excuse that may be at hand.
4. As persons whose
claims have never been passed upon by our Grand Lodge, and of whom, therefore,
every Mason of our jurisdiction must be his own judge.
5. As Masons, found
to have been made consistently with the Landmarks and general laws of the
institution at large; and, therefore, with certain claims upon us which we are
not at liberty to wholly ignore; but to whose organizations it is not
expedient (out of comity for certain other Bodies, and under certain "American
doctrines") for us to accord formal or, perhaps, any official recognition.
6. As Masons, whose
organizations ought to be accorded by us the same recognition as that accorded
to other American Grand Lodges and Lodges,
The literature of
the subject during the last year would indicate that the official Grand Lodge
classification of them which, in the North, has usually been somewhat more
rigorous than the personal views of leading members of the Grand Lodges in a
majority of jurisdictions of the United States places them in class 2; though
sometimes the language points to classes 1 or 3. The Washington committee last
year* found them in this State, in class 4; and although the committee plainly
stated that the personal opinion of its members placed them in class 5not in
class 6, as has been inferred, it recommended leaving them in class 4. And
that is where they stand in Washington today. Masonic sentiment outside of the
United States and possibly parts of Canada is practically unanimous in placing
them in classes 5 or 6.
Since the subject
was under consideration in 1869 and 1876, there has been a slight but
perceptible drift of opinion in favor of the correctness of some of the claims
put forward by the negro Masons.t Thus, even in Delaware the Grand Master now
"This is not a
question of the regularity and legitimacy of PRINCE HALL'S making, but of the
right which he exercised to erect Lodges of Negro Masons. * * * "
One of the most
virulent of the anti-negro writers, who in 1816 reported to his Grand Lodge
that the negro Lodges were "irregular and must be held to be clandestine," has
Dow reached the conclusion that ii
*Proceedings, G. L.
of Washington, 1898, p. 50.
fsee also the views
of Dr. JosEpu RoBBiNs, in Appendix 28, post.
"If one of these
colored Lodges were in existence in Washington today and should ask to give in
its adhesion to the Grand Lodge of Washington, and that Body should accept,
and issue a charter to it, that Lodge would thereby become, as to all the
world, a regular lodge. * * * "
Of course, such
would not be the case had the Lodge and its members been "clandestine."
( 8. Definitions.
This last remark illustrates the wisdom of having definite meanings for the
words we employ. The words "regular," "non-regular," "irregular" and
"clandestine," in particular, will frequently occur throughout this paper. It
is unfortunate that they are sometimes employed by Masons indifferent senses.
"Irregularities" may, of course, be either trifling or enormous. The phrase "a
regular Lodge," however, has a definite and certain meaning, given it by one
of the "Old Regulations" of 1721; wherein the only Grand Lodge in the world
declared that when members of its Lodges desired to form a new Lodge "they
must obtain the GRAND MASTER'S warrant to join in forming a NEw LODGE," until
which time the "REGULAR LODGES" were not to countenance them.* This subject
will be fully discussed in subsequent parts of this paper;f and hence we need
observe here, only that while there was but one Grand Lodge, a "regular" Lodge
was one that, having been formed by authority of the Grand Master or his
representative, was enrolled or entitled to be enrolled upon its Register. As
other Grand Lodges were formed, the definition was naturally extended to
include all Lodges which had been formed under the authority of any Grand
Lodge or Grand Master; or, having been formed otherwise, had been
"regularized" by being placed on the roll of a Grand Lodge. All other Lodges
were nonregular. On this point a brother who has made this subject his
peculiar field, and who, for accuracy of knowledge and of expression stands
second to no other Mason, of this or any other age, says:t
"What was meant by
the regularity" of Lodges in early days was that such Lodges as were under the
jurisdiction (sub regula) of the Grand Master were styled Regular. This did
not imply that all other Lodges were irregular; far from it. They were non
Regular, but not necessarily clandestine or unlawful. A similar distinction
holds in the Roman Catholic church between the secular (or parochial) clergy,
and the regular (or monastic) clergy. This does not stigmatize the former as
irregular. Some of our historians have failed to grasp the distinction, and
have thought Regular Lodges alone could be lawful at any period of our
In later times
inexact writers, in and out of Grand Lodges, have used the term "regular" as
though it applied only to Lodges upon the roll of recognized Grand Lodges. But
this indicates a total misconception of the meaning of the term. The word
"regular" has no relation to the legitimacy of a Lodge, but relates solely to
the question of its right to enrollment. The Grand Lodge of Washington has
never formally "recognized" any of the German Grand Lodges; but unquestionably
Regulations, A. D. 1721, viii.
22,23,51 et seq.,
*W. J. CHETWODE
CRAWLEY, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, ix, 125. See also Appendix 16, post.
all their Lodges as
"regular," if they be Masonic Lodges at all. By a similar latitude, Grand
Lodges have been wont to vote that such and such a Lodge is "irregular" or
"clandestine." This only means that they will so regard it, and is similar to
the action of Grand Lodges which vote a Master Mason the "rank" of Past Grand
Master. All the world knows that he is not u past Grand Master. There is
nothing in the world to prevent the Grand Lodge of Kentucky from voting that
our Lodge, Olympia, No. 1, is an "irregular" or a "clandestine Lodge." But
such a vote does not affect the actual standing of the Lodge, but only its
subjective standing with relation to that particular Grand Lodge and such
other bodies as elect to adopt that vote to govern their own concerns. From
the practice last mentioned, it results that a Lodge may be "regular" in one
jurisdiction and with reference to the general law of the Institution, and yet
be under a judgment of irregularity in another. The word "clandestine" is also
used somewhat recklessly at times by reckless writers, when looking around for
some word that is strong enough to express their detestation; but nearly all
writers admit that, properly, it is a much stronger word than "irregular."
Perhaps the clearest idea of the correct use of the word may be obtained by
applying this test: Anything that can or could be "healed" or cured, in any
way o r by any body, is not "clandestine, " but is, at most, "irregular." A
great lawyer* speaking of what acts might be held to amount to "fraud," said:
"The court very
wisely hath never laid down any general rule, beyond which it will not go;
lest other means for avoiding the equity of the court should be found out."
Perhaps a similar
respect for the ingenuity of depravity ought to deter us from making any
definite list of acts that may be clandestine.
( 9. List of
objections. It may be a convenience to the reader if I now give a list of the
objections which will be considered in this paper. To make the list serve the
purpose of a table of contents, I add, after each objection, the numbers of
the sections in which it is answered. This will enable the reader to skip
those parts of the paper which relate to objections which he already knows to
be puerile. (I claim that this is one of the most unselfish suggestions ever
made by any writer; for it will justify many well-informed Masons in closing
the book as soon as they have run their eye over the list.
Objection to the
initiation OF PRINCE HALL and his companions.
1. That there is Do
evidence that they were ever made Masons..~, 10.
2. But if made,
they were made in an army Lodge.~ 11.
3. That in 1773 a
Provincial Grand Lodge at Boston had forbidden army Lodges to initiate
eivilians.~,~ 12, 13.
4. That negroes are
ineligible to be made Masons.~,~ J476.
Objection to the
5. That until 1787
the first negro Lodge had no warrant or charter. a ch ill a vs to I]te 7e ,r m
in a, .d
African Lodge, No. 459.
6. That it never
had a warrant; but the pretended warrant was a forgery.(( 78, 19.
7. That England
ipso facto lost the right to warrant Lodges in the United States when the
independence of this Nation was recognized( 20.
8. That the
warranting of African Lodge was an invasion of the jurisdiction of a
Massachusetts Grand Lodge.(( 2,7, 3336.
9. That it is not
known that African Lodge was ever formally "constituted."( 37.
10. That the
*organization of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 179'~) invalidated the
further existence of African Lodge.( 3843.
Objections to the
career of African Lodge, 18081847.
11. That the Lodge
became dormant, some time after 1807.~ 44.
12. That it was
dropped from the English register at the end of 1813. 45.
13. That it
surrendered its warrant to England in 1824.,~ 46.
14. That it
declared itself independent, in 1827.( 47.
15. That it
surrendered its warrant to the National Grand Lodge in 1847.~ 48.
Lodges founded by PRINCE HALL.
16. That African
Lodge was not a Grand Lodge, and PRINCE HALL not a Grand Master; and
consequently they could not establish other Lodges.~( 49,58.
17. That the Lodges
established by them were in invasion of the jurisdictions of existing Grand
thefirst negro Grand Lodge.
18. That its
erection was an infringement of the "American Doctrine" of the exclusive
territorial jurisdiction of Grand Lodges.~ 6Z64.
19. That it became
dormant .zl, 65.
20. That in 1847 it
surrendered its independence sovereignty by becoming a constituent of the
National Grand Lodge.~ 66.
21. That the negro
Masons abandoned the requirement that candidates be "free born."( 67.
Objection to later
negro Lodges and Grand Lodges.
22. That their
existence is an invasion of jurisdiction.~ 6,~7Z.
23. That however
legitimate negro Masonry may be, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has, it is
said, decided against it, and all the world is bound by that decision.~( 7783.
24. That the
language of our installation charges precludes recognition.( 84.
25. That there are
rival Grand Lodges among the negro Masons, and they are "not ready" for
recognition until they have settled their internal differences.( 85.
recognition would injuriously affect the "high degree" bodies.~, 86.
recognition would involve a recognition of the "social equality" of the
recognition by one Grand Lodge m ' ight occasion inconvenieiiee to others
which did not recognize.( 8,1~.
29. That for other
Grand Lodges to recognize a particular negro Grand Lodge, before it had been
recognized by the white Grand Lodge of the State in which it is situated,
would be an infringement of that spirit of comity which pervades the relations
between the white Grand Lodges.~~ "~9.
Objections to the
initiation 0/'PRINCE HALL and his companions~.
10. Doubts as ' to
their making. The first objection to the regularity of PRINCE HALL and his
associates which I shall consider is one of the conclusions" of the
Massachusetts committee of 1876,* that there is "'No evidence that they were
made Masons in any Masonic Lodge." Wi suggestion of such a doubt, never heard
of until a century after thto which it alludes, is an illustration of the
methods of those who, having predetermined that right or wrong the claims of
the negro Masons shall be rejected; it is to the credit of American Masons
that few of them have laid any stress upon it. Like most of the "conclusions"
of that committee, there is nothing at all in the body of the report to base
it upon. Of course, the sufficient answer to this objection is that the Grand
Master of England was satisfied on that point before he granted his warrant
for African Lodge. That answer is not only a conclusive one when the matter is
approached as a question of Masonic jurisprudence, but it was en
*Proceedings, G. L.
of Mass., Sept. 1876, p. 59. This report, which appears to be about all of the
literature of the subject which most of the southern committees have ever
read, will bespoken of again in ~~, 82, post. As these so-called "conclusions"
Many of which are not conclusions at all, and do not follow from anything
stated in the report proper, but are mere assertions and opinion sha;e been
copied into nearly every committee report during the year and accepted as
gospel, I give them here; and have inserted in brackets after each the
sections of this paper wherein its subject is incidentally disposed of.
"1. No evidence
that they were made Masons in any Masonic Lodge, [,' 10.] "2. If made, they
were irregularly made. [~ 1116.] "3. They never had any American authority for
constituting a Lodge. [P,, 19.1 "4. Their charter from England was granted at
a time when all American Masonic authority agrees that the Grand Lodge of
England had no power to make Lodges in the United States after the
acknowledgment of our independence, November 30, 1782, and the treaty of peace
made November 3, 1783. [~ ~?0.] "5. The Grand Lodge of England dropped African
Lodge from their list in 1813. [~ 45.] Said Lodge does not appear to have
worked since PRINCE HALL'S death, in 1807, except this: that in 1827 parties
calling themselves African Lodge, No. 459, repudiated the Grand Lodge of
England. [~44.1 "6. The Grand Lodge of England did not delegate to African
Lodge any power to constitute other Lodges, or to work elsewhere than in
authority exists for any of the organizations since 1807, whether pseudo
Lodges or Grand Lodges JR 4960]; and no evidence of the Masonry of any of
their members has come to our knowledge. [~ 6 last note.] "S. Neither English
nor any other Masonic authority exists, nor has at anytime existed, for these
colored Lodges located out of Boston to make Masons or practice Freemasonry,
[~?, 50, 64, 6871.] Each of them began its existence in defiance of the
of the, st.f 15
to my mind when I approached the subject as a private inquirer. Yet for the
benefit of the more sceptical, I add the following; Brother CLARK informs us*
"The records of the
initiation of these fifteen colored men is in possession of the Prince Hall
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts." . Grand Master WILLIAM SEWALL GARDNER, in his
address to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, said (italics mine):
"I have no doubt
that, on the 6th of March, 1775, the day after WARREN delivered his celebrated
oration in the Old South Church, where he was menaced by British troops,
PRINCE HALL and thirteen others received the three degrees in a travelling
Lodge attached to one of the British regiments in the army of General GAGE, by
whom Boston was then garrisoned; that PRINCE HALL and his associates met as a
Lodge thereafter in Boston, without any warrant or authority until May, 1787."
A committee reported to the Grand Lodge of Ohio in 1876 as follows:
deem it sufficient to say that they are satisfied beyond all question that
Colored Freemasonry had a legitimate beginning in this country, as much so as
any other Freemasonry; in fact, it came from the same source."
The absurdity is
apparent of supposing that no denial of their Masonry would have been made at
the time; no attempt to prevent their obtaining a warrant, when the fact of
their initiation was common talk in Boston, and when the public press had
stated that they had sent to England for' a warrant, and were disappointed at
its nonarrival. 11 How many Lodges, formed in 1784, can now show where their
members were initiated? But, after all, the true answer to this objection is
that sufficient evidence must have existed in 1784 to satisfy the Grand Master
of England; and it is immaterial whether that evidence still exists or not.
~ll. Objection that
they tvere tnade in a military Lodge. It is objected that the making of PRINCE
HALL and his associates was irregular because they were made in a military
Lodge, and military Lodges it is alleged were forbidden by the law of the
Grand Lodge of England to initiate civilians. If this last allegation were
true instead of being absolutely without any foundation whatever it would be
completely answered by the fact that these brethren were "regularized," in
1784, in the only way then known to Masonry by receiving the warrant of the
Grand Master of England and being enrolled as Lodge No. 459 on the register of
the premier Grand Lodge of the world.
*The Negro Mason in
Equity by M.'.W.*.SAMUEL W. CLARK (n. p. [Cincinnati]: 1886),14. This
admirable work so completely demolishes the principal arguments against the
negro Masons that the present report would be superfluous were Bro. CLARK's
book in the hands of the brethren generally. JACOB iNORToN and others examined
these records. See ~~ 44, note; 80, note, post.
tproceedings, G. L.
of Mass., 1870, p. 34. Grand Master GARDNER Was the arellenemy of the negro
Masons, and this address is incomparably the ablest document of all that have
appeared against them.
'.Composed, as has
been said, "of the leading Masons of Ohio": Lucius V. BIERCE, ENOCH T.
CARS014, FERDINAND WILMER, Louis H. PIKE and CHARLEs A. WOODWARD.Proceedings
G. L. of Ohio, 1876, p. 17.
,I See ~ 15, post;
and Appendix 7.
But let us probe
this objection a little deeper. Who could make a law prohibiting the military
Lodge from making PRINCE HALL a Mason? Obviously, the Grand Lodge to which it
belonged. Recognizing this, some of our critics * have cited OLIVIMR'S
"Dictionary of Symbolic Masonry " for the statement that a law of the
("Modern") Grand Lodge of England forbade the initiation of civilians by
military Lodges. It is almost cruel to give the answer to this rare instance
in which those who have assumed that the Masons of Washington were
ignoramuses, have deigned to cite any authority for their assertions, In the
first place, OLIVER'S inexactness is so well known that he is never cited, by
scholars, as authority on a disputed point; in the second place, at this point
OLIVER was speaking of a period long subsequent to 1775; and, finally, it's
absolutely certain that neither of the English Grand Lodges had any law on
that subject at that time. I have before me the 1764 and 1807 editions of the
"Ahiman Rezon " of the " Ancient" f Grand Lodge, the former of which was in
force when PRINCE HALL was initiated the next edition having appeared in 1778
and in neither of these is there the slightest trace of any law on that
subject. And I am authorized by the highest authority in England on such a
point, Bro. WILLIAM JAmiEs HUGHAN, to quote him as saying that no such law
appears "in any edition of the Constitutions" of the "Modern" Grand Lodge
"until the year 1815."f Should it be shown that PRINCE HALL'S initiation
occurred in a Scotch or Irish Lodge, an even more stunning response to this
objection would exist.
( 12. Same. The
Vote of 1773. 11 But so eager has been the desire to oniit nothing that might
becloud the mind of too inquiring brethren, that we have been gravely reminded
that in 1773 the St. Andrew's Provincial Grand Lodge at Boston "passed a vote"
that I I no traveling Lodge had the right in this jurisdiction to make Masons
of any citizens." ** It was I will not say uncandid, but unfortunate and
misleading that Grand Master GARDNER attributed this to " the Massachusetts
Grand Lodge "; ff and Bro. WOODBURY to "the" Provincial Grand Lodge "of
Massachusetts. " tt Many have been misled thereby into supposing that this
* Special report of
Committee on For. Cor.; Proceedings, G. L. of Arkansas, 1898; et seq. (By the
last two words I mean, See also the reports of numerous other committees who
have lazily followed the Arkansas assertion, and copied it into their reports,
t The reader
unfamiliar with the terms " Ancient " G. L. and " Modern " G. L. will find
them explained in ?24, post.
I Bro. HUGHAN wrote
the same thing to Bro. W. R. SINGLETON of the D. C., but Bro. SINGLETON could
not read his letter! See Proceedings, G. L. of D. C., 1898, Cor. Rep., s. v.
"Kentucky." 11 See p 13, post.
** The language of
this " vote " is not quite identical in all our authorities. My quotation is
from the Woodbury Report. Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., Sept. 1876, p. 67.
was passed by the
Grand Lodge oj' Massachusetts, and there lies before the writer at this moment
a letter from a most respected New England Grand Master, in which it is
suggested that he and the Grand Master of Washington are precluded by "this
action by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, with which the Grand Lodges of
Washington and are in affiliation "!
It may be advisable
for the younger reader who desires to more cleitily understand the condition
of Masonry in Massachusetts at the time this vote was passed, to turn, at this
point, and read what is said of the "Ancients" and "Moderns" in sections 22 to
26, and of Masonry in Massachusetts in sections 27 to 32. To appreciate the
absurdity of citing this vote of 1773, the well read Mason needs to be
reminded of but few points: First, that the body that passed it was not a
Grand Lodge at all, but was a Provincial Grand Lodge* existing by the will and
pleasure of the Proviricial Grand Master appointed by the Grand Master Mason
of Scotland; and had no jurisdiction whatever except over the four Scotch
Lodges in Massachusetts, St. Andrew's and Massachusetts Lodges in Boston,
independent body organized in 1777, it did not assume the name of "The
Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Ancient Masons' until 1782. The present "Grand
Lodge of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," created by the union of the last
nained body of "Ancient" Masons with the rival St. John's (Provincial) Grand
Lodge of "Modern" Masons. was not formed until 1792. The matter is more fully
discussed in ~,~ 2732, post.
*The Address of
Gr.iiid Master GARDNER, which contains the ablest attack on the negro idasons
we have seen, also contains an able and scholarly discussion of the Provincial
Grand Lodge system, from which the following correct statement of the subject
Grand Alaster was appointed by commission of the Grand Master, wherein the
extent of his powers were set forth, and by virtue of which he convened his
Grand Body. In the language of early days, this commission was styled a
Deputation, and this word conveys the true idea of the Provincial's position.
It was aDeputy Grand Lodge, with its various Deputy Grand Officers, convened
by the power and authority of the Provincial Grand Master as the Deputy of the
Grand Master. It possessed no sovereign powers. * * * * "The allegiance of the
Lodges and of the Craft was to the Grand Lodge of England for Scotland, etc.,
as the case might be], and to the Provincial Grand Lodge and Grand Alitster,
through the parent Body, There was no direct allegiance to the Provincial from
the Craft. * W. * "Thus it will be seen that the Provincial Grand Master was
appointed for the coiiven ience of the administration of the affairs of the
Grand Lodge of England in distant parts in the same manner that our District
Deputies are appointed at the present time. * * ~ "The Provincial Grand Lodge
was the creation of the Provincial Grand Master, and was wholly under his
direction and control. * ~ * In this Grand Lodge there was no inherent power,
save what it derived from the Provincial Grand IVIaster, by virtue of his
delegated authority, thus making it the very reverse of a Sovereign Grand
Lodge. * * "Such a Grand Lodge never possessed any vitality which would
survive the life of the commission appointing the Provincial Grand Master.
"The death of the
Provincial would also lead to tire same result. The commission to him from the
Grand Master would lose all its force upon his decease.
authorities]: "If these authorities support the position taken, and if the
conclusions arrived at are correct, it follows beyond all controversy that
when Provincial Grand Master Joseph WARREN expired on Bunker Hill, June
17,1775, the Provincial Grand Lodge, of which lie was the essence and life,
expired also, and with it all the offices of which it was composed.
"Proceedings (,. L. of Massachusetts, 1870, pp. 1823.
at Gloucester, and
St. Peter's at Newburyport;* that it was an "Ancient" body and had or claimed
no jurisdiction over "Modern" Masons or their Lodges; and that a Provincial
Grand Master, or the Grand Lodge of his province, had no jurisdiction over
military Lodges temporarily in the province. The latter, whether "Ancient" or
"Modern," English, Scotch or Irish, owed Do allegiance save to the Grand
Lodge, whose warrant they held; and could laugh to scorn any assertion on the
part of a petty Provincial body to legislate concerning them. If the
authors of the vote of 1773 had any idea of usurping jurisdiction over the
English and Irish army Lodges, they forgot their own history, and disregarded
the words of their own Grand Master; for when, in 1762, the English Lodges in,
Boston objected to the establishment of the first Scotch Lodge in that city,
St. Andrew's Lodge, as an infringement on the jurisdiction of JERF,Nty
GRIDLEY, the English Provincial Grand Master, the Grand Master Mason of
Scotland wrote t (italics mine):
,I do not doubt nor
dispute his [GRIDLEY's] authority as Grand Master qf all the Lodges in North
America, who acknowlege the authority and hold of the Grand Lodge of England,
as he certainly has a warrant and commission from the Grand Master of England
to that effect. The Grand Master and Grand Lodge of Scotland have also granted
a warrant and commission to our Rt. Worshipful Brother, Col. JOHN YOUNG, Es
q., constituting and appointing him Provincial Grand Master of all the Lodges
in North America who acknowledge the authority and hold of the Grand Lodge of
Scotland. These commissions when rightly understood can never clash or
interfere with each other."
The Grand Master
Mason of Scotland was right: He himself had no jurisdiction over the English
and Irish army Lodges in America, and the petty Provincial Grand Lodge, whose
very existence was dependent upon the pleasure of his Provincial Deputy, had
( 13. Same.I had
written section 12 before it occurred to me that it could possibly be
necessary to verify the correctness of the statements of the Massachusetts
writers, that there was such a vote as they speak of..
* For the last
three Lodges, see Proceedings G. L. of Massachusetts, 1869,2).172; and
Drumiiioiid, in Gould's History, iv, 343. For St. Andrew's Lodge, see ~,28,
f This was
undoubtedly the general rule. The idea that a Grand Lodge ruled over territory
instead of over the Lodges upon its own roU o)dy and their members could
legislate for other Lodges or Masons, and even for profaiies flrst found
adherents in any numbers, at a much later day. Indeed, if the "vote of 1773"
was intended to suggest such a dogma, it probably is entitled to the
distinction of being the first assertion of it, and may become as famous in
history as the "crime of 1813." Some reasons for thinking that it remember we
are now speaking of the legislative power of Grand Lodges, not of the judicial
functions of a Lodge is a false doctrine, and contrary to a fundamental
principle of Masonry will be found in the introduction to the Masonic Code of
Washington (Ed. 1897.)
"The letter is or
purports to bequoted by DRUMMOND, Gould's History, iv, 300. Throughout this
paper, in citing GOULD'S "History of Freemasonry," the reference is to the
American (pirated) edition for the unavoidable reason that very few American
readers have access to the English edition. In justice to GOULD, it should be
remembered that he is not responsible for anything in the American edition
after page 294 of volume
Having now examined
the official proceedings,* I find therei never was any vote which purported to
forbid the initiation ot' civilians by army Lodges. But I will let section 12
stand, as a monument to the trouble to which a man can be put by writers who
will not or do not quote correctly.
Past Grand Master
GARDNER'S language was:
"October 1, 1773,
the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, after mature deliberation, decided that neither
the Lodge at Castle William, nor any other traveling Lodge, 'has any right to
make Masons of any citizen.,
"It is somewhat
singular that the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, October 1, 1773,
passed a vote that 'no travelling Lodge had the right in this jurisdiction to
make Masons of any citizens.' * * *'7
But the original
record, under the date above mentioned, reads as follows (the brackets are
'The Petition of
RICHARD CARPENTER & Others, under the 2d of June was this Evening Read, and
The Substance therein debated, [The Grand l,odge being fully of Opinion that
the Lodge at Castle William nor no other Travelling Lodges, has any Right to
Make Masons of any Citizen,] The same was put whether the Prayer of the said
CARPENTER (V Others should be Granted, Passed in the Negative." What the
nature of the petition was does not appear.
A child can see
that Brothers GARDNER and WOODBURY unintentionally, I do doubt quoted what was
not in the record; that the matter which I have placed in brackets was not
voted on; that that part of the record is but the opinion of the Grand
Secretary, Brother HOSKINS, as to what influenced the minds of the members of
the Grand Lodge. Had Brothers GARDNER and WOODBURY been writing up the
Proceedings of their Grand Lodge in 1870 and 1876, respectively, they might
have inserted the opinion that the Grand Lodge was "fully of Opinion"
corresponding to theirs; but the Grand Lodge did not say so in their cases.**
HOSKINS may have made a fine speech, taking the view expressed within the
brackets, and may not have made a single convert to his view and yet believed
he had convinced all present. However this may be, if the Prov. G. L. was of
this "Opinion," it did not say so. If it thought travelling Lodges did not
have "any Right" to initiate civilians, either because it knew that it had no
jurisdiction over them, or for some other reason, it did n ' ot venture to
"decide" or "pass a vote" that they should not do so; and that is the end of
i?zeligible. We have now disposed of every objection that has been made to the
mere initiation Of PRINCE HALL and his associates, unless it be the objection
that negroes are ineligible to be made Masons. During the last year there has
been great anxiety manifested to waive this objection, and to insist that no
question of race or color is
Masonry, St. John's Grand Lodge 17331792, Massachusetts Grand Lodge 17691792.
Boston. Published by the Grand I,odge of Massachusetts, 1895.
Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1870, p. 34. l proceedings, G. L. of Mass., Sept.
1876, p. 67. 11 Proceedings in Masonry, iit sitpra, p. 250. **See ?,~ 81, 82,
Southern committees have pointed triumphantly to the fact that they borrowed
their arguments from Northern Masons thereby claiming to clear their skirts
of the charge of "race prejudice." The writer has no earthly interest in
showing that race prejudice is, and always has been, the real foizs et origo
of the opposition to our negro brethren; but such, beyond all question, is the
fact. But for that, African Lodge No. 459 would have been as eagerly urged to
come into the Grand Lodge formed in Massachusetts in 1792 as was St. Andrew's
Lodge. But for that, no Grand Lodge would have declared non intercourse with
WASHINGTON during the last year not even those whose laws declare that a
candidate for Masonry must be a "WHITE man;" or the one which recognized the
Gran Dieta of Mexico at a time when, with no Bible on its altar, it was
initiating women into Masonry, and which itself authorizes the three degrees
to be conferred for a fee of ten dollars. It is insulting to our intelligence
to appeal to the North as the friend of the negro. It was the North that
mobbed GARRISON and murdered Lov.Ejoy. He spoke truth who so coarsely said, "'I'he
South said to the negro, 'Be a slave and God bless you:' the North said, 'Be
free, and God damn you.' " Even in California, less than forty years ago, to
call a man an "Abolitionist" was the deadliest of insults. No, we are all
"tarred with the same brush;" tainted with prejudice, not so much against the
negro race as against the race that has been one of slaves; and the Grand
Master of Washington could produce scores of letters, written by Masons of
national reputation, which, starting out with the clailu that "this is not a
question of color, but of jurisdiction," wind up with a wail that "the
presence of vast hordes of negroes makes this a practical (luestioil in the
South;" and that "if negroes be recognized, Masonry in the South will be
destroyed." The answer to this is very simple: It is not true that Masonry
compels me to recognize every Mason as my social equal; or to tale him into my
family or my Lodge. "For though all MASONS are as BRETHREN upon the same
level, yet MASONRY takes no Honour from a Man that he had before; nay rather
it adds to his Honour, especially if he has deserv'd well of the Brotherhood,
who must give Honour to whom it is due, and avoid ILL MANNERS."* If the law of
Freemasonry excludes negroes, you do well to object to their presence. If it
does not, and you are unwilling to submit to its laws, Freemasonry can do
without you is better off without you though you represent a dozen Grand
Lodges and carry half a million so-called "Masons" with you. Masonry does not
exist "to vindicate the social supremacy of the Caucasian race,." and the man
who is particularly fearful of losing his social standing is usually the man
whose social standing rests on a very unsubstantial foundation.
( 15. Same. But
this objection, though now largely abandoned from sheer shame at its unmasonic
character, has been earnestly urged. Thus,
theory carries us back to the Caucasion race. * * * Masonry was originally
what it is niainly today, a Social Institution; *
* * into which it
is not credible that anyone of the negro, or of any other of the inferior
races, could have been admitted. * * * Under no circumstances whatever ought
the legality of i3egro Masons to be acknowledged."*
In view of the
protests to which reference has been made, it may be 'well to give a few out
of the many illustrations, that are at hand, of the fact that race prejudice
has been and is a potent factor in the matter.
LEwis HAYDFN in a
letter in The ]'act .fie A_ppealt says:
article appeared in
the Colun?bi(t Seiitinel, published in Boston, in 1787 (before our charter was
received), wherein sport was made by the White Masons over the supposed loss
of our charter. As further evidence of the spirit of caste, contemporaneous
with our existence, the historian Belknap, in 1795, gleaned the following
statement from a White Masonic brother: 'The truth is, they are as/tamed of
being on an equality with blacks. Even the fraternal kiss of France, given to
merit without distinction of color, doth not influence Massachusetts Masons to
give an eiiibrace less emphatical to their black brethren. * * *' "
In 1847, the Grand
Lodge of Ohio adopted the following,t repealed in 1869, 1 believe:
in the opinion of this Grand Lodge, it would be inexpedient and tend to mar
the harmony of the fraternity to admit any of the persons of color, socalled,
into the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons within the jurisdiction of
this Grand Lodge." In 1851, the Grand Lodge of Illinois,
all subordinate lodges under this jurisdiction be instructed to admit no negro
or mulatto as a visitor or otherwise, under any circumstances whatever." i~
Iowa and New York also bear witness:
"Eighteen years ago
[i. e., in 1852] the Grand Lodge of Iowa adopted a report on foreign
correspondence, which embodied and endorsed the action of the Grand Lodge of
New York, declaiInW that the 'exclusion of persons of the negro race is in
accordance with Masonic law and the ancient charges and regulations,' and also
declaring it 'not proper to initiate them in our lodges;' also, at the same
time, it was declared 'inexpedient, as a general rule, to initiate persons of
the Indian race, or constitute lodges among them.' "**
']'he Grand Lodge
of Delaware pa ssed in 1867, and expunged in 1869, the following:tt
lodges under, this jurisdiction are positively prohibited from initiating,
passing, raising or admitting to membership, or the right of visitation, any
negro, mulatto, or colored person of the United States. This prohibition shall
be an obligation, and so taught in the third degree." ( 16. Same.The Grand
Master of Florida, speaking of the proposal of
*R. W. DANIEL
SAYRE, Gr. See.; Proceedings, G. L, of Alabama, 1876. tquoted in the Voice of
Masonry, May, 1876, p. 392.
t New DayNew Duty
(Cincinnati: 1875), pp. 11, 18, l~ Voice of Masonry, May, 1876, p. 393. 1
believe Illinois reverted to the ancient landmarks in 1871.
~ Address of JOHN
LONG, G. M.; l'i~oceedi)igs, G. L. of Iowa, 1870. Iowa rescinded this law in
1870.New DayNetv Diity, 25.
tt New DayNew Duty,
Grand Master ASA H.
BATTIN Of Ohio to recognize the colored Grand Lodge of Ohio, said, in part:
"Does our brother
for a moment stop to consider the vast horde of utterly ignorant negroes,
liberated in the South, who aspire to reach after and Jay hold of every
privilege the white man enjoys? * * * I am fully of opinion that if our good
brother, as many of the brethren of his jurisdiction have done, would sojourn
a while with us, he would certainly be of the opinion that the fullness of
time had not yet come; and that while this measure might possibly work good
with him, it would work destruction to others of the Great Fraternity of
Masons. * * * 1 will say in conclusion * * * that, with our distinguished
brother, ALBERT PIKE. * * * 'When I have to recognize the negro, as he now is,
as a Mason, I shall letve Masonry.' * * *11 *
The constitution of
the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, still in force, provides that
"A candidate for
initiation must be of the age of twentyone years and a freeborn white man."t
The Committee on
Foreign Correspondence of South Carolina, in a special report on Negro
,,,rhe Ahl man
Rezon of South Carolina, compiled by that eminent author, erudite scholar and
unsurpassed Masonic jurist, ALBERT G. MACKEY, t and adopted by the Grand
Lodge, specifically declares that a candidate must be of free while
parents."Il Let Texas be our last witness:
"As the result of
that [a committee report in 1876] and of cognate reports, the following
standing resolution was adopted, and which (sic] is now prominent in our laws:
" 'This Grand Lodge
does not recognize as legal or Masonic any body of negroes working under their
charters in the United States, without respeel to the body granting such
charters, and they [sic] regard all such negro Lodges as clandestine, illegal
and unmasonic; and, moreover, they rsic] regard as highly censurable the
course of any Grand Lodge in the United States which shall recognize such
bodies of negroes as Masonic Lodges.' Art. 36, Masonic Laws of Texas."**
No, brethren, "Let
us be honest." If there is any man in Americablack or whitewho is wholly free
from race prejudice, he may thank God that he is exceptionally favored. The
writer cannot claim to be free from race feeling; but, it seems to him that if
there are two places where it ought to be held in check they are in the Church
and in the Masonic
*Proceedings, G. L.
of Florida, 1876.
!,"All that that I
have said is, that the Masonry of this country, like that of every other
country, recognizes no distinction of race or color in the qualifications of a
candidate."ALI~ERT G. MACICF.Y, in Voice of Masonry, June, 1876, p. 424.
11 Proceedings, G.
L. of S. C., 1898, p. 50.
L. of Texas, 1898, p. 69, 1 may add that since the foregoing was in type I
have been informed by two TexoLsmade Nlasons that in that Stateand, they
think, in other Southern Stateswhite Masons are required to enter into an
obligation Dot to recognize negro Masons. My informants are unable to remember
whether this applies to alt Degro Masons or only to those made in the "iiegro
Lodges." That such an extraordinary and extreme departure from the basic
principles of Masonry can have been made seems incrediblealtbougb, as we have
seen in the text, it once occurred in Delaware; and further comment will be
reserved for a later page. Sce?,87,post.
Lodge. Not that men
need worship or lodge together that is a different thing. Masonry gives every
Mason in the universe an absolute veto on any other man's entering his Lodge
as a visitor or as a candidate; but it does seem that when we are called upon
to pass upon the question whether a certain man is a Mason we ought to be able
to put race prejudice beneath our feet. Whether we can do so or not, the fact
remains that the color of PRINCE HALL'S skin did not vitiate his initiation;
for by the practice of the tenets of Masonry, as PRESTON taught as far back as
"We are taught to
regard the whole human species as one family,. the high and low, the rich and
poor; who, as children of the same Parent, and inhabitants of the saiue
planet, are to aid, support and protect each other." f
Objection to the
inchoate Lodge, 177.57787.
((17. The Lodge
before the wa?,?ant."I would inform you," wrote PRINCE HALL, apparently to the
Grand Secretary of England, in March, 1784, "thitt this l,odge hath been
founded almost eight years. We have had no opportunity to apply for a warrant
before now. * * * "t Brethren who have taken it for granted that Masonic
usages in the eighteenth century were the same as those at the end of the
nineteenth may be surprised, both at the idea of a l,odge without a warrant
(or char ter) and at the openness with which PRINCE HALL mentions his connec
tion with such a Lodge. The latter fact was doubtless due in part to the fact,
of which we shall produce ample evidence in another part of this paper, 11
that such Lodges were so common at that time as to cause no
remark, and to
reflect no discredit but sometimes quite the opposite on those who
established or belonged to them. The reader familiar with the usages of that
time will have little doubt that PRINCE HALL and his associates assembled, as
so many other Lodges then did, by authority of the Lodge which initiated
them.** But whether they had such authority or not, and whether it was
sufficient or not, is of no moment at this point; for these brethren conferred
no degrees until they received their warrant in 1787, and that war ' rant made
thorn as regular as any Lodge in the world. This last point I do not ask the
reader to take for granted, but we will proceed to consider it.
African Lodge, No. 4.5.9.
18. That the
warrant was forged. No one believes in this objection today. We now know
that, like most of the objections that have been made to the genuineness of
the Masonry of the colored men, it was origi
* Illustrations of
Masonry (14 Ed., London: 1829), 42.
tsee the ringing
words of the Grand Master oflreland, upon this point, in Appendix 18, post.
'Negro Mason in
Equity, >7; Proceedings G. L. of Mass., Sept. 1876, pp. 67, 68. HALL had been
one ofthe firstto volunteer in the defense of his country in 1775, slid during
the war had had little opportunity to think much about warrants.
11 See R 5157,
references last cited, and Appendix 1, post.
nally put forward
not as a reason but as an excuse for denying them their rights. But as it
makes an affirmative assertion of something which there was never the
slightest foundation for believing to be true, it must have been put forth,
originally, with a deliberate intent to deceive; and therefore it illustrates
the methods of some who have written on this subject, as well as the credulity
and ignorance of those who have been content to accept and repeat their
assertions, without investigation. And this last mentioned habit, and the
willingness of men to write about subjects of which they have not studied even
the rudiments, explains why scholars and men who have any real knowledge of
negro Masonry, or of the facts, principles and usages upon which the question
of its legitimacy really depends, have nothing but contemptuous pity for the
utterances of certain committees, Grand Officers and editors, during the past
year. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread;" but men who in all the other
affairs of life demand the use of modern critical and scientific methods in
investigating historical questions, cannot, simply because they are
Freemasons, disregard the knowledge which they have labored to obtain, at the
instance of nied too inert to ascertain the facts, or too deticient in the
apparatus of criticism to appreciate the effect of the facts when they are
presented by another. Nor can the man who views Masonry from the standpoint of
the student, ever admit that questions of history, of la~v or of inoials are
to be determined by counting noses. GALILEO Will Still whisper, "It moves,
nevertheless." But "let us return to our sheep," lest some one be offended.
The objection that
the warrant of African Lodge was a forgery was at one time urged as
confidently as any of those which have been so passionately presented and
implicitly relied upon during the past year. It is now in no greater contempt
than they will be in a few years. Therefore, let us treat every objection,
great or small, with equal seriousness.
,~ 19. Same.It is
now indisputable that a warrant in the usual form, attested by the Grand
Secretary, and bearing date 29th September, 1784, was issued by authority of
the Grand Master of Englandof the premier Grand Lodgeto PRINCE HALL, BOSTON
SMITH, THOMAS SANDERSON and others, constituting them "into a regular Lodge"
under the title of "African Lodge."*
The Grand Secretary
receipted for the fees for the warrant, '~)8th Febru,,try, 1787. Its arrival
in Boston was mentioned in the "Massachusetts Centinal" of May 2, 178s. The
Lodge was placed on the roll of the Grantl l,odge as No. 459, ranking from the
year 1784, and appeared on every list of its Lodges until the Grand Lodge
itself was absorbed in the United Grand Lodge at the Pnd of 1813.f At the
re‑numbering of the Lodges in 1792 it became No. 370. f
* GOULD'S HiSt. of
Freemasonry, iv, 268.; Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1810, p. 34; Id.,
September, 1876, p. 65. The warrant has been often printed, e. g, in each of
the Massachusetts pamphlets here cited; and in New DayNew Duty, 17; and
CLARK's Negro T~lason in Equity, 28. See Appendices 4 to 9, post.
f R. P. GOULD'S,
"The FourOld Lodges and Their Descendants (London: 1879),72,78; W. J. HUGHAN,
Voice of Masonry, Nov., 1876.
The warrant was
seen by a committee of six members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts who
reported, in 1869,
have examined the charter and believe it is authentic."*
( 20. The
independence of* the United States had been recognized.The objection that the
Grand Lodge of England ceased to have jurisdiction to warrant Lodges in
America when the treaty of peace was signed in 1783, will have greater weight
in my mind when I learn that national independence operates to erect a Chinese
Wall wivich Masonry cannot cross. I shall not waste time over this puerile
objection. The Mason seeks the Master's Word that he may travel in foreign
countries and work there; and no Mason, in ancient or modern times, ever did a
Mason's work ex cept in a Lodge. There is no Lodge on the continents of
Europe, Asia or Africa that is not a monument of the right of a British Grand
Lodge to erect Lodges in foreign, independent, Nations. The declaration of
July 4, 1776,not th * e treaty of 1783made Massachusetts what China is today,
an independent State; and it.left England, in Massachusetts, the same right
that Massachusetts today exercises in China, to erect Lodges tijere;unless
some totally different reason than the fact that the politi
cal independence of
Massachusetts had been recognized, existed. I am not ignoring the fact that it
is claimed that another reason did exist, but will next consider that.
( 21. Invasion of
Massachusetts juris(lictio?z. This brings its to a cruei:tl point; for one of
the two objections that has been chiefly relied upon by those who have written
adversely during the last year has been that the warrant to African l,odge No.
459 was invalid because, in granting it, the Grand Master of England "innaded
the territorial jurisdiction" of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and
consequently, it is asserted, African Lodge was clandestine or irregular ab
initio. Recognizing the fact that this objection is a stumbling block to many
honest minds, I shall waive the fact that, to my mind, to call a Lodge
warranted by the Grand Master of England "irregular" is to employ a
contradiction of terins;i and to call such a Lodge "clandestine," is the
height of absurdity; and shall undertake to show: 1. That in 17,1~4 and 1787
the (loctiine of exclqtsive territorial jurisdiction did not ez7ist; 2. That,
had the doctrine existed, there was, at that time, no Grand Lodge which had or
claimed ex(lusive jurisdiction over Massa(it?,tsetts or even over Boston; 3.
7'hat the Body referred to by our critics u~as not one that the (T'rand Master
ii7ho warranted 4frican Lodge, or African Lodge itself, was I)ound to, or
lawf~tlly could recognize as a Grand Lodge ot' Masons, and, 4, that no
invasion of,j?trisdiction, real or pretended, occurred.
But to make these
matters entirely clear to any but the quite well informed of my readers, I
must ask leave to indulge in two long digres
*Proceedings, G. L.
of Mass., 1869, p. 135.
t The original
definition of an irregular Lodge was "one foriiied without the (~rand Master's
warrant." See ~, 8, ante, and references there cited.
sions:* one for the
purpose of showing the condition of British Freemasonry at the time referred
to; the other for the purpose of showing the state of Masonic government in
Massachusetts at the same period.
17 7,,5178 7, a Digression.
Grand Lodge.Origin of' warrants and charters.
The Reformation of
religion, by putting an end to the erection of great ecclesiastical buildings
in England, seems to have dealt a heavy blow to the Fraternity of Free and
Accepted Masons. The lael, of employment seriously affected both the
importance and the number of the operative members; and for a tinie the
fortunes of the Fraternity were at so low an ebb that it was almost lost sight
of, so that until very recently our histor ians were wont to confound our
Fraternity with the guild masons men who, as the researches of Brother SPETij
and others have rendered fairly certain, were the very a * ntipodes of our
brethren. t The building neces sitated by the great fire of London in 1666,
said to have been inflicted upon the English on account of their cruelties to
"the poor and innocent
people of the
Island of Schellingh,"t afforded relief to two generations; but early in the
eighteenth century destruction seemed to stare the Fra ternity in the face. At
this juncture, a few brethren determined upon a radical step, viz.: to cut
looseso I am inclined to interpret our only Iiistorian of this periodllfrom
the intimate relations they had main tained, from 1620 at least,** with the
guild masonsthe Masons'Company of London,and "cement under a Grand Master as
the center of Union and Harmony."tf They formed, in 1717, the first Grand
Lodge of Masons, and elected the first Grand Master, in the sense in which
that title is now used. Until that time, indeed until 172inay, quite generally
until many years laterftthe right to form a Lodge depended on no superior
author ity, but was regarded as inherent in the Masonic character. I am aware
that at some unknown date in or before the preceding century, some now
forgotten body, at some place equally unknown Jill attempted to place
* Covering 0,0 22
to 32 inclusive.
t G. W. SPETH, What
is Freemasonry? (London, n. d., [ 1893 ]); Ars Quatuor Coronatorurn, x, 10;
CONDI[CR, The Hole Crafte and Fellowship of Masons, p"sim; Proceedings, G. L.
of Washington, 1895, p. 184.
t Londens PuynHoop
oft Godts Bechvaerdige Strqft, etc. (Rotterdam: 1666.) ANDERSON, New Book of
Crafte, pp. 7, 145.
tt ANDERSON, at
It+ See 0 5158,
anticipate a criticism by writers of a class which has been very much in
evidence during the past year in discussing Negro Masonry and volunteering to
instruct the benighted brethren of Washington by the recital of oft exploded
old wives' tales,brethren who have read nothing written concerning Masonry
within thirty years except Grand Lodge Proceedings, and to whom the writings
of that brilliant school of writers, founded by Wool)PORD and HUGHAN and
adorned by a score of names hardly less honored than these, who have
revolutionized our ideas of Masonry, are a terra incognita;by stating that the
New' Articles were 7&ot "made and agreed upon by a General Assembly" held in
1663 by the Earl Of$T. ALBANS. See HUGHAN, Old Charges, (1895 edition,)
122,121. Local readers will find these New Articles in The Masonic (,ode of
Washingtoyi, p. 190.
restriction on this right by adopting the "New Articles" or "Additional
Orders;" but these Orders either fell stillborn or soon became obsolete, and
the fact that there was Masonic "work," either operative or speculative to be
done was sufficient warrant for the proper number of Masons to form themselves
into a Lodge.* But, in 179,1, the young Grand Lodge approved a set of General
Regulations, No. viii of which, while it did not venture to deny this ancient
right, sought to discourage it by declaring that the regular Lodges that is
the Lodges on the roll of the Grand Lodges were not to "countenance" or own
as "fair brethren and duly formed, nor approve of their Acts and Deeds," any
"set or number of Masons" already members, as the context shows, of Lodges on
the Grand Lodge rollwho should "take upon themselves to form a Lodge without
the Grand Master's Warrant," that is, authority.t This new rule was intended
by the Grand Lodge to apply to the members of its own Lodges ouly,for the idea
that a Grand Lodge can legislate for anyone but its own constituents is an
innovation of comparatively recent date and, if I mistake not, of American
origin. There were other Lodges in England, and we shall presently see that
the acceptance of this new dogma was very slow, and may be led to doubt
whether it has even yet become quite universal. 11
( 23. Rise of the
"Ancient Mason,,~."When the first Grand Lodge was formed in 1717, there were
Masons in London who took no part in the new movement, some of whom began to
observe its course with disfavor. But the revival and "great run" which the
Institution experienced, especially about the year 1722, due partly to the
bedetits of the Grand Lodge system, but perhaps more to the fact that a peer
had accepted the Grandmastership, redounded to the benefit of these
independent Masons as well as to that of the "regular" Lodges. "Old Brethren
who had neglected the Craft" not only "visited the Lodges," as ANDERSON tells
US, but began to form Lodges of their own, "without the Grand Master's
Warrant" but in accordance with immemorial usage. It used to be assumed that
they were rebels** from the Grand Lodge, and even in so recent a work as his
great History,ff Brother GOULD commonly styles the
* W. J. CHETWORDE
CRAWLEY, Caemet)taria Hibernica, 1, Iiitroduction, 15; Lost Archives, 5; The
Grand Lodge of Munster, 6. See also ~? 5158, post, and Appendix 16; but this
fact is now universally admitted.
t See ~ 8, ante.
IThat the word
"warrant" here means "authority," see A)s Q. C., viii, 193 et seq.; and
CaermntariaI:Iibeiitica,1,7. Local brethren will find an account of how the
authority was given, in Masonic Code of Washington, ~ 111, note.
11 See ?~ 23, 24,
51 et seq. Towards the end of 1722 the Grand Lodge appears to have had 20
Lodges on its register. ANDERSON, Constitutions, 1723. Dr. CRAWLEY, than whom
no higher authority on this subject exists, estimates that prior to the
organization of the Grand Lodge of the "Ancients" in 17512, the number of
English brethren who were without "the Grand Master's warrant" for their
Lodges, exceeded the number in the "regular Lodges."SPETH's An English View of
Freemasonry in America (Tacoma: 1898), 14.
**GOULD, The Athol
Lodges (London: 1879), v.
ttthe last volume
of Which first appeared in 1887.
But the later researches of SADLER* and CRAWLEYT have demonstrated that, for
the most part, the brethren of these Lodges had never been connected with the
"regular"t Lodges; and, also, that from a very early date their relations with
the Masons of Dublin were very intimate; and Irish names were very numerous on
their rolls. 11 These independent Lodges, most of them new, but a few dating
from preGrand Lodge times, existed in other parts of England, also, and were
commonly called "St. John's Lodges."** In Ireland they were sometimes styled
"hedge" or "bush" Lodges. They are alluded to in the records of the Grand
Lodge in 1723, 1724, 1735, 1739, 1740, 1749, 1752 and later.fi To detect the
members of these Lodges when they presented themselves as visitors, the Grand
Lodge, at a date which may not be quite certain, and which is unimportant to
our purpose, but which is commonly said to have been 1731),tt " adopted some
new measures," which were immediately denounced as and, although adhered to
until 1813, at the union of the latter year were admitted to have been a
departure from the Landmarks; namely, it reversed the Names of two columns
with all that that implies, This circumstance led many to renounce their
allegiance to the Grand Master Jill and increased the number of nonregular
( 24. Same. "A
9~(ient" Grand Lodge."On July 17, 1751, a "('~eneral Assembly" of members of
five or six of these nonregular Lodges existing, as PRINCE HALL',, Lodge did
from 1776 to 1784 or 1787, "without the Grand Master's warrant"formed an
organization to which the des(,ent of' more tltait three
fourths of' the "recogni,~ed"
Grand Lodges in the ITnited States can be traced. From the first, their
recordstyled this body a Grand Lodge,*** although they had no Grand
* Masonic Facts and
Fictions (London: 1887),an epoelimarking book.
'Let it be
understood that a "regular" Lodge. meant one tliatliad been "regularized""' by
liavingtlie warrant oftlie Grand Master forits existence;thatis, one that was
sub regitl.a, subject tothe laws of, the Grand Lodge.GOULI), History, iii,
136, note 2. ~ee~.Sa?Lte.
It is perhtps safe
to say that an Irish Mason, especially one who belonged, socially, to the
lower or lowermiddle class, on going to England, ~. D. 17301800, was almost
certain to join an independent or "Ancient" l,odge and not a L'regular" or
"Modern" one. Of cotirse there were exceptions.
**While the Grand
Lodge always discouraged fraternizing with them, the less intolerant
particular Lodges were often content if a visitor liailed "from a l,odge of
the holy Saint Jol)n of Jerusalem," instead of from "a regularly constituted
Lodge." Evidence of this can be found in the minutessometimes in the
byla,%~sof numerous eighteenth century l,odges. Seepost,~57adfin.
Book of Constitutions, 1738, New Regulations passim. GOULI), His tory, iii,
History, iii, 149.
111 PRESTON, quoted
by Gou i,D, Ibid.
***JouN LANE, Ars
Q. C., v, 166 et seq. For this fact, and cei'tttiitly as to the exact date of
the organization, we are indebted to "Morgan's Register," the "Large folio
bound in White Vellum" mentioned by DFRMOTT (C~OULD, History iii, 187), long
lost, which was discovered by SADLER and identified by LANE in 18&iapparently
after GOULD'S account of the Ancients was written. GOI'LD (History, iii, 147,
191), on evidence whict) the researches of ]3rotliers SADLER and CRAWLEY have
rendered less conclusive, thought that even the ol~le~t of the Lodges which
composed this Grand Body did not antedate 1747.
w of: el 8,
a GRAND LODGE OF
"to supplv the deficiency of a Grand Master," they organized a "GRAND
COMMITTEE," presided over by a President. Its minutes are extant and full from
Feb. 5th., 1752, when its "Grand Secretary," JOHN MORGAN, resigned, and the
talented LAURENCE DERMOTT was elected his successora meeting at which were
"present the Officers of Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, f) and 10, being the
representatives of all the Ancient* Masons in and adjacent to London."i On
Dec. 5, 17,,)3, by electing a Grand Master, this Committee transmuted itself
into an undoubted Grand Lodgefthe faiiious Grand Lodge of the Antient, or
Atholl Masons, or' Free and Accepted Masons according to the Old Institutions.
Space would fail us to properly eulogize the extraordinary genius of its Grand
Secretary LAURENCE DERMOTT, the journeyman painter, to whom the marvelous
influence of this body was due. "As a polemic," says MACKEY, 11 "he was
sarcastic, bitter, uncompromising, and not altogether sincere or veracious.**
But in intellectual attainments he was inferior to none of his adversaries,
and in philosophical appreciation of the character of the Masonic Institution,
lie.was in advance of the spirit of his age." Of him "it may be said, without
erring on the side of panegyric," says GoULD,ff "that he was the most
remarkable Mason that every lived. * * * Yet although a very unscrupulous
writer, he was a matchless administrator. In the * * * latter [capacity] he
displayecl qtitlit,ies which we find united in no other member of the Craft,
who came either before or after him.,, His Ahiiiian Rezon, first published in
17i)6,tt became the gospel froiu which there was no appeal, among "Ancient"
Masons throughout the world, on all questions of Masonic law; and I know of no
book, in which the original matter was so small, that has exerted so vast an
influence. 1111 Its author made open war upon the senior Grand Lodge;
*This is, I
believe, the earliest use of this word to distinguish these brethren from the
adherents of the premier Grand Lodge of the world, founded in 1717, to N~hom
DERMOTT succeo~ded in attaching the name of "Moderns." f Transactions [i. e.,
minutes] of the Grand Committee; printed by GOULD, Ilistory, iii, 186.
1 And presents, it
seems to me, tl)e inost correct illustration of wh t a Gr nd Lo( g
I e properly is,
N,iz., a grand committee of all the Lodges, with a Grand Master at its head
strangely in contrast with the deflnitions ofan autocratic, irresponsible and
almost oniiii potent body, which brethren have been led to frame by dreaming
over the word "sover eignty" and drawing analogies from the powers of civil
11 Encyclopedia of
Freemasonry, sub voce.
that controversies over the two most importatitsubjects in the worldbarring
the sex,Masonry and religion, seem to annihilate both candor and courtes~.
Sufficient illustrations of this as to Masonry have appeared in the
discussions of negro Masorir~ during the past year. In religion, we remember
the response of an eminent divine to the pamphlet which JA,QFS I wrote against
his doctrines: "When God wants to create a fool, He turns a king into a
theologian." # History, iii, 187.
editions in 1764,1778,1787 and, after Iiisdeatl), 1800,1801,1807aiid 1SI3. The
18Y7 edition contains the first list of its Lodges published by the "Anciel)t"
1111 The bulk of
the book was copied from SPRATT'S (Irish) Book of Constitutions (Dublin: 1761)
which was mainly copied from ANDE:RSON'S Constitutions, 1738 edition; but
DERmoTT's departures from his originals were the features which have left the
deepest impressions upon Masonry, especially in some parts of America.
I I 30
and with ridicule,
vituperation, sarcasm; bombast, fiction, invention truths, halftruths and
notruths, attacked its pretentions; disputed it authority; and, finally,
fastened upon it the stigma of "Modern," and won for his own Grand Lodge the
title of "Antient" andnot without a modicum of justicethe credit of being a
bulwark set up in the providence of God to defend and maintain the "old
institutions" of the Craft which the "Modern" Grand Lodge had attacked or
neglected. More than this: so savage was his attack, so bold his assumption,
so bitter his arraignment, so infamous the stigma which he succeeded in
attaching to the word "Modern," that all Englishspeaking Masons, except those
belonging to his one rival, hastened to declare that they were "Antient
Masons" and practiced the "Antient system."* Scotland recognized the "Ancient"
Grand Lodge of England in 1772; and in the same year the Grand l,odge of
Ireland "Ordered * * * that hereafter no English Mason shall be considered
worthy of our Charity, without producing a Certificate from the Grand Lodge of
England, "meaning DERMOTT'.S Body.i
( 25. The "tu;o
Societies. "One ettect of this wasand this is the point to which this long
digression has been leading up, and one which the reader must comprehend if he
would appreciate the true standing of African Lodge No. 459 with relation to
the other Masonic bodies in Massachusettsthat Masonry, which from time
immemorial had been one universal Fraternity, became divided into two
distinct, independent and hostile Societies, the governing bodies of which
each denied the legitimacy of the other, and, so far as they could control
their constituents,t held that its members were not to be considered Masons,
but were spurious and clantiestine. GOULD well says:
the description given by Burton of the split in the Associate Synod, will
exactly describe the breach between, and reunion of, the Masons of England:
separation, these bodies, which had been pursuing their course in different
lines, reunited their forces. But, in the meantime, according to a common
ecclesiastical habit, each body Counted itself the
* n aynusing
illustration of this occurred in 1765 when, on the same day that it was
inaugurated by the "Modern" Grand Lodge, a l,odge at Joppa, Md., adopted a
bylaw:"That Done who hath been Admitted in any Modern Lodge shall be Admitted
as a Mern ber of this Lodge, without taking the respective Obligations
Peculiar to Ancient Masoiis," SCIIULTZ, Freemasonry in Maryland, 39; quoted by
GOULD, History, iv, 217.
t The letters are
printed in the Ahiman Rezon (Ed. 1807), xlvi.
instances might be cited where individual brethren and eveii Lodges let their
appreciation of the obligations of the Masonic Institution lead them to ignore
the stern edicts of their Grand Lodge, andmore or less openlyto extend the
hand of fellowship to brethren from the opposite camp; just as, during our
war, Union and Confederate soldiers laid aside their arms at the entrance to
Mt. Vernon and stood side by side at the grave of WASHINGTON. In the same way,
for more than a century there have always been white Masons whose
interpretation of their Masonic obligations has led them to recognize and
fraternize With PRINCF HALL orhis Masonic descendants, upon occasion,
notwithstanding official disapproval of their acts. See ante, ~ 6, references
in the last note; and Appendix 14, post.
I a GRAND LODGE OF
Synod, and denied
the existence of the other, save as a mob of iaipeni tent Schism aties. ' "*
Said DERMOTT t in
1778, speaking of what he styles the two " fraternities of Ancient and Modern
Freemasons " (italics mine):
"And though a
similarity Of Dames, yet they differ exceedingly in makings, ceremonies,
knowledge, Masonic language and installations; so much that they always have
been, and still continue to be, two di.'?tinet societies, totally inde_pendent
of each other."
A writer who has
made the " AncieDtS " his especial study concludes that t
" Between the two
Societies implicated, there was very little in common, except the wearing of
aprons an t e cult vation an practice of charity." As late as 1813, the Grand
Lodge of Ireland resolved
" That they do not
feel it possible to make any order for the admission of Modern Masons into
( 26. Same.The
relatiodor lack of relationbetween the "Antients?' and " Modern , s " was
quite as distinct as that between the two bodies which, respectively, claim
jurisdiction over the white Masons and the black Masons of Kentucky. It was
almost identical with that, in Scottish Rite circles, between the socalled "
Northern Jurisdiction " and the socalled " Cerneau Jurisdiction " of the
United States. Or, to draw an illustration from recent political history, the
relation between the Antient and Modern Masons of circa 17601813 resembled
that between the " Gold Democrats " and the " Free Silver Democrats," 18968 :
Each claimed to be the " only original, Simonpure," the genuine continuation
of the party of the fathers; each denounced the other as totally spurious, and
with no right to the name it claimed; each denounced deserters from its own
camp in unsparing terms, but welcomed with open arms acces sions from that of
the other,coming either individually or in bodies, with very little inquiry
into their antecedents; killed the fatted calf in their honor, and assigned
them front seats in their tabernacle. But either of these Grand Lodges would
Do more have sought to make laws for the govp,rnment of Lodges of the other,
and would no more have thought of regarding an American State as "completely
occupied" by the existence in it of a Grand l,odge of the rival faction, than
a convention of "Gold" Democrats " would have soughtto make rules for a "Free
Silver" primary, or than "Gold Democrats" would have hesitated to organize a
State Central Committee in a State which the " Free Silver Democrats " had
already " occupied" by a similar organization. When we reinember that we must
judge the validity of the warrant granted to African Lodge in 1784 by Masonic
law and usage as it was in 1784, and when we reinember
* History of
Scotland, ii, p. 344; GOULD, History, iii, 190. The reunion of English Masons
occurred at the end ofIS13. See~45,post.
t Ahimaii Rezon
(Ed. 1807), xxx.
t HENRY SADLER;
Masonic Facts and Fictions, 193.
11 W. J. CRETWODE
CRAWLEY, Caementarin Hibernica, Masonic Manuals, 21. To the effect that the
Grand Lodge of Ireland never recognized the " Modern " Grand Lodge, after the
rise of the " Antients ", see CRAWLEY, in Ars Q. C., viii, 81.
that that warrant
was Zranted by the Grand Master of the " Modern " Masons, and that the Grand
Lodge whose jurisdiction he is charged with having " invaded " was an "
Ancient " body, the relevancy of this long digression will be apparent.
Massachitselts, 77751787,a digression.
( 27. The " Modern
" Maso?is.The tirst Lodge in Boston was opened by HENRY PRICF in 1733. Whether
or not he was a Provincial Grand Master will probably be debated as long as
there are Masons in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and is a question
immaterial to our present purpose. His Lodge appears on the engraved list of
1734 as No. 126 on the roll of the then only Grand Lodge in London, afterwards
known as that of the " Moderns "; and the Provincial Grand Lodge which he is
said to have opened was certainly regular from 1736, when ROBERT TOMLINSON was
appointed Provincial Grand Master for New England. To.NiLINSON was succeeded
byVHomAs OXNARD, in 1743, whose appointment was for " North America." PRicE
a(,ted as Prov. G. M. on the death of OXNARD in 1754 ; and JEREmy GRIDLEY Was
appointed the following year. OD GRIDLEY's death in 1767, PRicp again assumed
the office. being installed by the former Deputy of GRIDLEY. These two
assumptions of office by PpicE were unwarranted by law, as was the election of
JoiiN ROWE, as GRIDLEY'S successor, by the Provincial Grand Lodge ; for that
body died with the Provincial, * and the office was not an elective one. The
election was, however, only intended as a nomination ; a committee was
appointed to write to England for a patent for RowE, and his appointment was
received in 1768. Ile remained in office through the Revolutionary war and
until his death, early in 1787. t No successor was ever appointed. His
Provincial Grand Lodgewhich had long been known as "St. John's Grand Lodge,"
to distinguish it from the " St. Andrew's (Provincial) Grand Lodge," and the
"Massachusetts Grand Lo(ige," which we shall consider in the next
section,never declared itself an independent or " sovereign " Grand Lodge;
and, on the other hand, seems never to have doubted its right to continue to
meet. Meetings were held in Feb. and Aug., 1787, RicHARD GRIDLEY presiding as
1). G. M.; and in July, 1790; Nov., 1791; and March, 1',92, with JonN CUTLER,
a Past (Prov.) S. G. W., presiding. At the last meeting he was styled D. G. M.
At the date of this meeting a union was effected between this body and the "
Massachusetts " Grand Lodge of " Ancient Masons, and the present Grand Lodge
of Massachusetts was formed ;a body which embraced in its jurisdiction all the
Lodges in the State, except African Lodge, " Modern," which never joined it,
and St. Andrew's Lodge, the oldest of the " Ancient " Lodges, which remained
out until 1809. The Provincial Grand Masters named in this section had
warranted a large number of Lodges. " No less than forty Lodges," wrote
1: See note under?,
12, ante. t It is inexact to speak of his Prov. G. L. as " dorrnant " from
1775 to 1787: The only essential feature in a Prov. G. L. is a Prov. G. M. He
inay be inftctive, but so long as Ile is in esse there is no technical "
PRICE, in 1755, "
sprung from my first Lodge in Boston." Some of these inay have been grand
children rather than children of the " First Lodge "; but GOULD * prints a
list of fortytwo Lodges, dating from 1734 to li72, erected by PRICE or his
successors and scattered from Nova Scotia to Dutch Guiana. Nine of these were
in Massachusetts; and three of them, besides the original " First Lodge,"
found their way on to the roll of the mother Grand Lodge in England,and, with
African Lodge, were dropped from it in 181314.f
( 28. The
"Ancients" in Massachusetts.We now come to the history of the "Grand Lodge"
whose alleged "exclusive jurisdiction" the creation of African Lodge is said
to have violated.
"Prior to 1756, the
schism which originated in England had spread to this Province. Some persons
who had applied to the regular Lodges in Boston, and had been rejected,
obtained their degrees in the Lodges of Ancient Masons attached to the Royal
Regiments stationed here, or were made Masons after the ancient system in some
irregular way, and attempted afterwards to visit the Boston ["Modern"] Lod es,
but were denied admission. They, as well as others who ha,l not been rejected,
but who were Ancient Mason*s, t and had also been driven away from the doors
of the Lodges, feeling themselves aggrieved at the course pursued by the [St.
John's Provincial] Grand Lodge towards them, petitioned the Grand Lodge of
Scotland for a charter to hold a Lodge under its auspices in Boston." 11
But before sending
for a charter in 1754or receiving it in 1760they had formed a Lodge. Says
"It seerias that
some brethren in 1752 commenced meeting at the 'Green Dragon' tavern and
opened a Lodge 'under ancient usage' [that is, without a warrant or charter or
any other authority.] The next year they commenced doing work. * * * Some of
the petitioners [for the charter] were made in the voluntary Lodge
selforganized in 1752. * *
* During the
interval [of about six years] between the time of sending the petition and its
[the charter's] receipt by the Lodge, it had continued to meet; except that
from September, 1759, to the fourth of April, 1760, it either did not meet or
else the record has been lost. It did work up to April, 1758." A writer of
equal reputation expresses the matter thus:ft
"St. Andrew's Lodge
was originated in 1762  by nine clandestine made Masons. In 1756 when it
was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, it numbered twentyone members,
exclusive of one of the original nine, who left Boston in the interval. Its
charter did not arrive until 1760, at which time the Lodge had been increased
by eighteen additional members; so that in all, thirtyone candidates were
initiated tt be
*History, iv, 252.
tGoULD, Four Old
l~odges, 75; History, iv, 258. See ~ 45, post.
I As to this term,
see ~ 24, ante.
li Grand Master W.
S. GARDNER; Proceedings, G. L. of Massachusetts, 1869, p. 159. (The italics
GOULD'S History, iv, 334.
tt Dr. JOSEPH
ROBBINS, Cor. Rep., Proceedings, G. L. of Illinois, 1871, p. lxxx. See also
Appendix 28, post.
tj The force of Dr.
ROBBINS' argument is not weakened by admitting, as claimed by Bro. DRUMMOND,
that a few of these were received by affiliation, not by initiation.
fore the Lodge
received its charter, and thirteen before the charter was edmakidg a fair
quantum of irregular work to be legalized in one b~i.gtnIh. No one, we
presume, doubts the authority of the Grand Lodge of Scotland to legalize it,
nor can similar authority be denied to the Grand Lodge of England in the case
of African Lodge. These facts sufficiently indicate the usage in the early
days of the history of Masonry in Massachusetts, and show that African Lodge
had a title to legitimacy as colorable as that of Lodges whose status is never
questioned." But we must not anticipate.
( 29. Same.St.
Andrew's Grand Lodge.This nonregular, oras we should in this day style
itirregular * Lodge was regularized in 1760, as we have seen, by receiving a
charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland; but the "Modern" Lodges of Boston
still refused to recognize it.t Resenting this, these brethren took advantage
of the presence of three Military Lodges, "one Scottish, one English, and one
Irish, but all working under the 'Ancient.' system," t to get them to join, in
1768, in petitioning the Grand Lodge of Scotland for a Provincial Grand Master
Dr.afterwards GeneralJOSEPH WARREN, Master of St. Andrew's, Lodge, was
appointed, and was installed in December, 1769. His Grand Lodge was commonly
called the "St. Andrew's Grand Lodge." Thearnly Lodges moved away, 17691772.
"They were never in fact more than a merely nominal part of it; St. Andrew's
Lodge was really the (;rand Lodge."Ii Grand Master WARREN was killed in the
battle of Bunker Hill in 1775no successor was ever appointed,and with him
expired his Provincial Grand Lodge, and the authority of all its officers. **
( 30. T7te
"Massachusetts" Grand Lodge of "Ancient Masons."The brethren who had been
associated with General WARREN'S Provincial Grand Lodge celebrated the feast
of St. John, in December, 1776, withoutso far as 1 am awarerealizing that
their f uiietions had expired. But when JOSEIIH WEBB, who had been WARREN's
deputy, received a petition for a Lodge at Stockbridge, he realized the
situation; and, call
*Brethren who are
fond of strong language would say "clandestine, "forgetting that nothing that
can be healed is clandestine.
t St. Andrew's
Lodge admitted "Moderns"evidently for the purpose of strengthening its
position, according to the policy pointed out in ~, 26; and the "Modern"
Lodges occa~ sionally admitted to their dinners on St. John's day members of
that Lodge made in "Modern" Lodgesand once, probably by an accident or in an
"era of good feeling," one solitary "Ancient Mason." But the only occasions
when they consented to associate with them generally were in permitting them
to attend the funeral of Prov. C~. M. GRIDLEY in 1767, and for a period in and
t DRUMMOND; Gould's
History, iv, 341.
Td., iv, 342.
** So held his
associates, in 1785, declaring "the grant to have beeti made to the Grand
Master by said Charter appointed, and to him alone, without any provision for
a successor," (GOULD'S History, iv, 304;) and, "Now the principal being dead,
the commission was of consequence vacated." (Id.,iv.302. See also ~31, post.)
See Grand Master GARDNER'S opinion, to the same effect, in the note under?, 12
GOULD expresses the
same opinion (History, iv, 221); and, in fact, I know of no writer of any note
who reaches a different conclusion, except Past Grand Master DRUMMOND. He does
so (GOULD'S HiS(O)'Y, iv, 343) b~, confusing the law applicable to Grand
Masters with the law governing Proviticials,who were themselves only deputies.
ing a special
meeting of his associates, in February, 177j', laid the petition before them.
"This proposition arouged the brethren to a realizing sense of their status
and condition as a Grand Lodge. They were doubtful of its power, as then
organized, to grant the Charter prayed for."* They ordered "all the Masters
and Wardens" of the Ancient Lodges to be summonded to meet the following
month. At that time there were four.Ancient Lodges in Massachusetts but one of
them, Mtssachusetts Lodge, could not be congregated on account of the war..
There were, as we have seen, a number of "Modern" Lodges; but these were of
course not invited. On the evening appointed, the situation was probably
carefully discussed; and the meeting adjourned till the next evening, when
eleven brethren were presentbut eight of the eleven were from one Lodge. We
"March 8, 1777, the
following brethren assembled, representing St. Andrew's Lodge of Boston,
Tyrian Lodge of Gloucester, and St. Peter's Lodge of Newburyport; R. .W.
'.JOSEPH WEBB D. G. M. of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston. PAUL REVERE: S. G. W.:
*of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston. THOMAS CRAFTS, J. G. W., of St. Andrew's
Lodge, Boston. JOHN LOWELL, G. Treas., of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston.
NAT. PIERCE, G.
See. pro tem, of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston. THOMAS URANN, S. G. D., of St.
Andrew's Lodge. Boston.
EDWARD PROCTOR, J.
G. D., of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston. MosFs DESHON, P. M., of Tyrian l,odge,
i of Tyrian Lodge,
G. St'ds, S. W. of
St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston.
Wm. GREENOUGH, M.,
of St. Peter's Lodge, Newburyport.
The brethren then
proceeded to unanimously elect a Grand Master, Grand Wardens, and other Grand
Officers. JOSEPH WEBB was chosen Grand Master."
Tested by modern
ideaswhich brethren are very quick to apply to the negro organ i zatiod s,
this was sufficiently irregular. Says Dr. ROBBINST:
"We think we speak
advisedly when we say that there is no evidence in existence to show that a
single one of the eleven brethren named by him as being present, March 8,
1777, was the representative of a Lodge or authorized by any Lodge to
participate in the business in which they then engaged, that of organizing a
Grand Lodge. It cannot be shown even that the two iiiembers of Tyrian Lodge,
Gloucester, nor he of St. Peter's Lodge, Newburyport, were authorized
representatives of the bodies to which they belonged. Eight of the eleven
persons present were iiiemhers of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston."
Another brother, as
well known in England as in America for his caustic criticisms of anything
that appeared to him to be sham or insincere, thus expressed it; 11
*W. S. GARDNER;
Address, Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1870, p. 25. See the views of the same
writer, quoted in a note under ?, 12 ante.
t From GARDNER,
Address; Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1870, p. 26.
t Proceedings, G.
L. of Illinois, 1871, Cor. Rep., 70.
11 JACOB NORTON,
Revolution and Assumption; reprinted as an appendix to Address to the Colored
Masonic Fraternity of the U. S., (Cleveland: 1871.)
"Now, remember, the
Masters and Wardens were called; but how many Masters and Wardens can we find
in the above list of names, who formed the said Grand Lodge? * * * The S. W.
of St. Andrew's Lodge attended by virtue of his defunct commission of Grand
Steward. St. Andrew's Lodge did not authorize him to represent her, because
she did not join the said Grand Lodge until 1809.* Moses Deshon was neither
Master nor Warden; hence the only legal representative then present was a
Master of St. Peter's Lodge, Newburyport. He represented a Lodge, the rest
represented only their individual selves. And this solitary Master of a l,odge,
associated with ten unauthorized brethren, assembled in an upper chamber of a
tavern, and there and then elected each other into various kinds of
Worshipfuls, and declared themselves the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts;f while
hundreds of Masons, and a number of Lodges then existing in the State, were
neither represented nor consulted. * * * The rest of the brotherhood in the
State retained their inherent right, either to remain tributary to their
parent Grand Lodge, to organize a new one, or to join the one just organized."
But, as a Grand
Lodge of "Ancient" Masons, which it professed to be, its organization was
still more irregular; for DERMOTT himself informs us that the law of the
"Ancients" required five Lodges, to organize a, Grand Lodge. t
~ 31. Safne.These
criticisms were presented originally, and are reproduced now, not for the
purpose of questioning the legitimacy of this body, which flourished from 1777
to 1792, but to refute the pretension that its origin was more regular than
that of other bodiesfor example, the (white) Grand Lodge of New Hampshire and
the first African Grand Lodge; and to show the absurdity of the idea that its
existence in Massachusetts made the continuation of the jurisdiction which the
Grand Lodge of England had exercised there ever since 1737 "an invasion of
jurisdiction'land that, too, when the Massachusetts and the English Grand
Lodges belonged to "distinct societies, totally independent of each other." 11
It was a legitimate
body; but its legitimacy was not due to the regularity of its origin,for of
that it could boast little enough; but, like that
'~ Other writers,
including Dr. ROBBiNs, agree with Bro. NORTON; but I have the impression that
St. Andrew's Lodge or a faction of that Lodge did affiliate with this new body
from 1777 to 1782although still retaining her allegiance to the Grand Lodge of
Scotland. The fact is, there were two factions in St. Andrew's Lodge, plainly
traceable back to a point many months prior to the declaration of independence
of 1782presently to be mentioned,one of which contended for no connection
except with the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the other sympathizing with this
new movement. Many judicious thinkers have believed this breach dates from at
least this period, and that the eight members of St. Andrew's who assisted in
foriiiing this new body were unauthorized members of thisthe minorityfaction.
t Here ]3ro. NORTON
is unjust: This body never assumed that name; it never asserted jurisdiction
over African Lodge or any other "Modern" Lodge; and, in 1782, it expressly
disclaimed jurisdiction over any Lodges except those constituted by itsell
t "To form what
Masons mean by a Grand Lodge, there should have been the Masters and Wardens
of five regular Lodges; that is to say, five Masters and ten Wardens, making
the number of installed Officers fifteen. This is so well known to every man
conversant with the ancient laws, usages, customs and ceremonies of Master
Masons, that it is needless to say more."Ahiman Rezon (Ed. 1807).
11 See quotations
from DERMOTT, in ~ 25, ante; also ~ 26.
GRAND LODGE OF
of many other Grand
Bodies which I I originated in assumption,"* was achieved by the Masonic
character of its work; and, being established, retroacted to heal all
questions of origin. These questions, however, still continued to disturb the
brethren, especially the members of St. Andrew's Lodge; t and in 1782 a
committee was appointed "to draught resolutions explanatory of the powers and
authority of this Grand l,odge, respecting the extent and meaning of its
jurisdiction, and of the exercise of any other Masonic authorities within its
jurisdiction." This committee, in a report which was "accepted" Dec. 6, 1782,
and some parts of which I beg leave to italicize, first reviewing their
history, pointing out t
Commission from the Grand Lodge of Scotland granted to our Late Grand Master
Joseph Warren Esq'r. having died with him and of Course his Deputy whose
Appointment was derived from his Nomination being no longer in existence, they
saw themselves without a Read, & without a Single Grand Officer.
Political Head of this Country having destroyed All coi3neetion &
Correspondence between the Subjects of these States & the Country from
whichthe Grand Lodge originally derived its Commissioned Authority, * * * the
Brethren did 4ssume an Elective Supremacy, * * *
,,That in the
History of our Craft we find, that i??. England there are T,wo Grand Lodges
independent of each other, In Scotland the Satnell and in Ireland their Grand
Lodge and Grand Master are Independent of either England or Scotland. 'Tis
clear that the Authority of some of these Grand Lodges originated in
Assumption, or otherwise they would Acknowledge the Head from wlience they
recommended the adoption of five resolutions, of which the following are
relevant to our inquiry (italics mine):
"2d. Resolved, That
this Grand Lodge be forever hereaj'ter known & Called by the Name of the
MASSACIIUSETTs GRAND LODGE OF Ancient MAsoxs, and, that it is free and
Independent in its Government & Official Authority of any other Grand l,odge,
or Grand Master in the Universe.
3d ' Resolved, That
the Sovereign Power & Authority of the said Grand Lodge, be Continuedt to
Extend throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. and to Any of the United
States, where none shall be erected over such Lodges only as this Grand Lodge
shall there Constitute.
5th. Re6olved, That
no Person or Persons ought or can (Consistently with the Rules of Ancient
Masonry and the Good Order of the Craft) use or Exercise the Powers or
Perogatives of An Ancient Grand Master, or Grand Lodge, towit, to give Power
to Erect Lodges of Ancient Masonry [etc.] * * * within any part of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Right full and Appropriated Limits to which
the Authority of this Grand Lodge forever hereafter Extends."
* See quotations
later on in this section.
t DRUMMOND, GOULD's
History, iv, 303. See also a note under the preceding section.
I I quote from
Proceedings in Masonry, 302,the versions given by DRUMMOND and GARDNBR being
11 That is, the
Grand Lodge and Kilwinniiig Mother Lodge. And yet this very report is quoted
by Brothers GARDNER and DRIUMMONDTO say nothing of the committees, of what the
historian GOULD, with a painful irreverence, calls "the slieepwalking school"
of writers, who have written on negro Masonry during the past year and have
blindly followed Bro, WOODBURY as a bellwetheras the very source and origin of
the doctrine that two Grand Lodges "cannot" exist in the same State! I
DRUMMOND makes this read "construed."
( 32. Sa?nc.Upon
these resolutions, one of the most scholarly American * writers has justlv
"Read by the light
of contemporaneous history, the words section 3 show that it claimed
authority, even in Massachusetts, " over such Lodges only as this Grand l,odge
has consti. tuted or shall constitute." t There were at that time Lodges,
Grand and subordinate, in Massachusetts, which it never undertook to rule and
which it never constituted. It did not throughout that declaration do more
than claim that it had the prerogative to charter Lodges anywhere and
everywhere within the limits of the commonwealth. It did not in that
declaration deny the right of the St. John's Grand Lodge to act with equal
independence within the same limits. It claimed simply its independence of any
and every Grand l,odge in the world, including the other Grand Lodge already
established in Massachusetts. It even recognized the principle that two
sovereign and independent Grand Lodges might exist within the same territory.
* * * 11
Another point to be
observed, is the clear absence of any claim of jurisdiction over " Modern "
Masons or their Lodges.
The declaration of
independence in resolution 2d was unsatisfactory to St. Andrew's Lodge. It
withdrew from the Grand Lodge, and never returned to it, but continued its
allegiance to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, until seventeen years after the
dissolution of " the Massachusetts Grand Lodge," in 1792. In the latter year,
five years after African Lodge No. 459 received its warrant, and eight years
after that warrant had been granted, a new Grand Lodgethe present Grand Lodge
of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was formed, by the union of the St.
John's Grand Lodge of Modern Masons and the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of
Ancient Masons; and the last named body "VOTED THAT THis GRAND LODGE BE
DISSOLVED." The only two Lodges in Massachusetts which possessed charters
emanating directly from the mother country took no part in organizing this new
body St. Andrew's, the oldest of the "Ancient" Lodges, and African No. 459,
the only Lodge that ever existed in Massachusetts which possessed the warrant
of the Grand Master of the " Moderns," the mother Grand Lodge of the world.
The former resisted the jurisdiction of the new Grand Lodge until 1809; the
latter never came under it. From the former you and I are descended; from the
latter, our negro brother. Let me bring these long digressions to an end by a
thought well expressed by another. When the chief aim of New England brethren
was to show their Masonry more ancient than that of Pennsylvania, they wrote
of naught but the St. John's Grand Lodge, originating with HENRY PRICE in
1733. But when it became necessary to exclude African Lodge by showing " a
single Grand Lodge " with " exclusive territorial jurisdiction, " it became
convenient to put HENRY PRICE and his "forty Lodges" out of sight; and claim
for the present Grand Lodge, formed when PRINCE HALL had been a Mason
seventeen years, identity with a body of
* DR. JOSEPH
ROBBINS, Proceedings, G. L. of Illinois, 1871; Cor. Rep., 77. DR. ROBBINS
copied GAltDNRR'S version of the resolution.
+ This is
unquestionably the correct interpretation of resolution 3d. Others, by a
differetit punctuation, and by obscuring" the light of conto~mporaneous
history" have sought to read into it another meaning.
chusetts by his St.
John's Provincial Grand Lodge and a large number of Lodges.*
3. The "Ancients"
were represented by the St. Andrew'sthen called "Massach u setts "Grand Lodge,
which had "originated in revolution and assumption" in 1777, but existed as an
"independent Grand Lodge of 'Ancient' Masons." f
4. St. Andrew's
Lodge of Ancient Masons was maintaining a separate existence, a constituent of
the Grand Lodge of Scotland.t
"Massachusetts" Grand Lodgewhich must not be confounded with the Grand Lodge
oj' Massachtisetts, which was not organized until 1792 11claimed jurisdiction
over "Ancient" Masonry only,** and expressly disclaimed jurisdiction over any
Lodges except those of her own constitution.ft
This must lead to
the acceptance of some of the propositions which were laid down in ~ 21, viz.:
"That there was at
that time no Grand Lodge that had or claimed exclusive jurisdiction over all
Masonry 'Modern' and 'Ancient'in Massa; chusetts."
,,That the Body
whose 'exclusive jurisdiction' is charged to have been invadedthe
'Massachusetts' Grand Lod e of 17771792, being an 'Ancient' body, was not one
that the Grand ;Iaster of the 'Moderns,' or African Lodge No. 459a 'Modern'
Lodgewere bound to or could recognize as a Grand Lodge of Masons; or as
anything but 'a mob of impenitent schismaties;'" tt and, consequently: "That
no invasion of jurisdiction occurred."
Of course the
formation of African Lodge was no invasion of the jurisdiction of St. John's
Grand Lodge,l have not yet found a writer so stu
* See ~ 27, ante.
RowE was Prov. G. M. when the warrant was granted in 1784 and his death
occurred but a few months before it was received in Boston. His Prov. Grand
Lodge we have seen, continued a de facto existence until 1792. But had it not
done so, the total extinction of the Prov. Grand Lodge would not have affected
the validity of th "Modern" Lodges in Massachusetts, for they were all
entitled to enrollment on the register of the Grand Lodge of England, and four
of thembesides African Lodgewere there enrolled.
t I am not sure
whether I have made it sufficiently clear that the "Massachusetts" and "St.
Andrew's" Bodies belonged distinctly to the "Ancient" faction. Such, however,
was tl)e unquestioned fact, and so they themselves always claimed. See i~
2832, ante; GOULD'History, iv, 215, 305, 306, 312; and Proceedings in Masonry,
454. At the latter reference will be found the original petition of 1768,
praying for the appointment of their first Prov. G. M. The petitioners,
"taking into consideration the present state of Ancient Masonry," give reasons
for wanting a G. L. "of Ancient Masons,~' the first of which is that it "would
render Ancient Masonry more respectable in this place, where there is a
Provincial Grand Lodge of Modern Masons." St. Andrew's Lodge was F3barply
rebuked by Lodges 169 and 58, in 1772, for admitting "Modern" Masons as
visitors, "directly in Opposition to tile express rules and articles of
antient Masonry.Proceedings iit Masonry, 457.
1 See 32, ante.
11 See 32, ante.
** See Resolutions
2d and 5th, in ~ 31, ante.
tt This disclaimer
will be disputed; but see Resolution 3d at the last reference, and Dr. ROBBINS
comments thereon, in ~32. But the matter does not affect our present argument,
and will be considered further in ~~ 3436, post.
11 See ~, 25, ante.
pid or so bold as
to claim that it was. To the brethren of that body, it was the act of their
own honored Grand Master erecting a new Lodge, just asthrough his deputieshe
had erected all of theirs.
( 34. Same.What was
said in the last section, to my mind, entirely disposes of the idea that the
warranting of African Lodge was an "invasion" of anything. "But," the reader
asks, "is it not true, as we have been so often and so emphatically told, that
the mere fact that a Grand Lodge is erected in a State, ipso facto gives it
the exclusive right to erect Lodges in that State?" Stay, gentle reader; let
me ask a question or two: Do you propose to ignore the difference between the
"Ancients" and "Moderns," and claim that the existence of a Grand lodge of the
one faith excluded the propogation of the other creed? And, if so, is not
almost the only purpose of this paper to answer the very question you have now
asked? And are you going to beg the question, at this point? Remember, our
purpose in starting out was to calmly survey the whole field, and from that
survey determine for ourselves, first, whether African Lodge had a right to
exist, and, if. so, whether other negr2 Lodges hav; the same right. If the
reader has answered the question by accepting as axiomatic the stupid saw
quoted above, it will not profit him to read further. He will find the subject
treated in his method by writers of the grade of those who wrote the Kentucky
report and the reports copied from that;writers who assume premises that have
no foundation in fact and draw conclusions that are insequent to the premises.
And now, having
dropped all readers but the sincere seeker after truth, let us resume.
Although, as has been said, the objection of invasion has been fully answered,
let us, for the sake of argument, ignore the difference between "Ancients" and
"Moderns," and assume that, instead of disclaiming, the "Massachusetts" Grand
Lodge had claimed exclusive territorial jurisdiction, in 1782;and face the
objection in that form.
This last claim is
the one that has actually been made. Writers who, for some unknown reason,*
have felt an interest in showing that this notyettiniversallyestablished
doctrine is of considerable antiquity, have thought they found a rudimentary
assertion of it, if not in the vote of 1773,t in the resolutions adopted by
St. Andrew's Grand Lodge in 1782.t Assuming that to be so, does that establish
the right? Surely, none but the most prejudiced will deny that to merely claim
a new and hitherto unheardof right is not to establish that right. The
important point is to have that claim acknowledged, willingly or unwillingly,
by those against whom it is asserted,who in this case were not only the negro
Masons, but the Grand Lodges of England and Scotland. We shall presently see
the real origin of exclusive territorial jurisdiction. l~ It will suffice for
* Was it for the
purpose of showing that PRiNcE HALL was an invader in 1787, or JosEPH CERNICAU
in 1807? t See?, 13, ante.
t Quoted in 0, 31,
ante. GOULD thought we could "possibly discern the first germ" of exclusive
jurisdiction in the restrictions put upon Americaiimade army Lodges during the
Revolutionary war.History, iv, 224.
11 See ~ 39, post,
the present to say
that England has never ceased to claim the right to erect Lodges in any
country at least until there was a Grand Lodge there which she recognized or,
to maintain her existing Lodges, even then; and that no Grand Lodge in Europe
recognized any Grand l,odge in Massachusetts until long after African Lodge
Same.‑Exclusive territorial jurisdiction.‑The surest way to learn what the
Masonic law of that period on that subject was is to learn what the practice
of Masons then was. I shall cite no continental usages, as those of the
British Isles will have more weight; and I shall mention only Lodges which
were placed on the rolls of the English Grand Lodges, omitting the numerous
Lodges formed by Provincial Grand Masters, but never enrolled.
In FRANCE a Grand
Master was elected in 1738,* and the Grand Lodge was recognized by the Grand
Lodge of England, "Moderns," in 1768.t Yet the latter warranted Lodges in
France in 1767 (three Lodges), 1772 and 1785;t the "Ancient" Grand Lodge of
England in 1763 and 1773;11 and the Grand Lodge of Ireland in the latter
In Swtl)EN, the
Grand Lodge was formed in 1759; but the senior English Grand l,odge appointed
a Provincial Grand Master there in 1765, warranted three Lodges in 1769, and
carried them on her roll until the Union, when‑with African Lodge No. 459‑they
were dropped.ff The "Ancients" of London warranted a Lodge in Sweden in 1773.
In GERMANY 1111 the
National Grand Lodge of Saxony at Dresden had been regularly formed by three
Lodges in 1741; and in the same year the Lodge which afterwards developed into
the Grand Lodge "Sun" at Bay reuth began acting as a Mother Lodge. The Grand
National Mother Lodge of Three Globes had erected its first dependent Lodge a
year ear lier,‑an act which, according to our theorists, ought to have given
her "ex clusive territoria ' I jurisdiction" over all Germany, for all time to
In 174,,‑) the
Mother Lodge of the Eclectic Union, at Frankfort ‑ on‑t he Main exercised the
power of erecting Lodges, whence she derived her name. In 1765 the Royal York
of Friendship, at Berlin, began acting as a Mother Lodge, and was formally
erected into a Grand Lodge in 1798.
In 1770 ZINNENDORFF,
at Berlin, had erected the National Grand Lodge of all German Freemasons, and
three years later the "Modern" Grand Lodge of England recognized it as being
all that its name implied. Be sides this, between 1740 and 1780 scores, if not
hundreds, of Lodges ex isted in Germany erected by other authorities. Yet,
instead of assuming
t Id, 401.
Ilbid.; and Four
Old Lodges, passim.
11 GOULD, The Athol
** Ars Q. C., viii,
tt GOULD, History,
iv, 2 et seq.
11 GOULD, Athol
il,'~l All that
will here be said of the German Grand Lodges will be found in GOULD, History,
GRAND LODGE OF
that any or all of
these things "excluded" her from German territory, the elder of the English
Grand Lodges appointed a Provincial Grand Master at Frankfort‑on‑the‑Main in
1766; and, although the German Mother Lodge asserted its position as an
independent Grand Lodge in 1782, reappointed a Provincial in 178i)‑his
commission being signed by the same Lord EFFINGHAM who granted the warrant of
African Lodge; in the latter year he had ten Lodges under him‑KLOSS says
twent~y‑nine,‑aud England maintained his authority until the union of 1813,
and, indeed, until 1823. In 1786 England appointed a Provincial Grand Master
for Haniburg and Lower Saxony; and in 1799 continued his Provincial Grand
Lodge, which ultimately developed into the present Grand Lodge of Hamburg;‑a
body which finds in its own history a precedent for those "invasions of
jurisdiction" which have been so much deprecated. After governidg bodies
existed in Germany, the Grand Lodge of England constituted Lodges there in the
years 11'42, 1743, 1755, 1762, 1767, 1770, 1786, 1787 (two Lodges), 1789, 1790
(9 Lodges, if I count correctly), 171)1, 180t (2), 1802 (3), 1804 and 180,~,.
‑ In HOLLAND there was a Loge du Grand Maitre in 1734. It changed its name to
the Union Mother Lodge in 1741), and was constituted a Grand Lodge in 1756.1
Yet the Grand Lodge of Scotland chartered a Lodge at Amsterdam in 1755,t and
the "Ancient" Grand Lodge of England in 1762; 11 while the "ModerD" Grand
Lodge of England erected Lodges in Holland in 1735, 1749, 1753 (2), 175,),
1756, 1757, 1762 (3), 1765, 1767 (2) and 1768.** Why she ceased doing so we
shall see while learning a later lesson.tt The Grand Master of Ireland
warranted a Lodge, No. 148, at Norwich, England, in 1747; and another, No.
247, in the Middle Temple, London, in 1754. Both were still on the Irish
register in 1809.tt Kilwinning Mother Lodge, in 1779, chartered a Lodge in
Dublin which was in existence in 1806. 1111 In fact, so different has been the
law and practice of Masons from what our doetrinaires would have us
believe‑and so far is it from a fact that the circumstance that a Lodge is
created in invasion of another jurisdiction make it a clandestine Lodge‑that
the dean of the guild of Masonic scholars has said, (italics mine): ***
*GOULD, Four Old
t GOULD, Uistory,
iv, S. Id, iv, 9.
**So it would
appearby the original rolls of the English Grand Lodge, printed by GOULD; Four
Old Lodges. But a very careful writer in Ars Q. C., it, 96, says, in 1757,
1762 (3), 1765, 1767 (2),1768 and 1769.
tt See ~ 39, post.
I W. J. CUFTWODE
CRAWLEY, Ars Q. C., viii, 80.
1111 D. MURRAY LyoN,
Mother Kilwinning; quoted in the New England Freemason, Sept., 1875.
*~*W M. JAMES
HUGHAN, Ars Q. C., viii, 84. See GOULD to a somewhat similar effect, in Ars Q.
C., v, 102; and see Appendix 14, post. The lst. Battalion, 9th. Foot, in which
"A curious paper
might some day be written on Friendly Invasions by Masonic Lodges, for what
with those of a military character belonging to Ireland and Scotland, and
others started by French Prisoners of War in England from about 1760 to far on
in this century, we have had brethr n at work, hailing from other
jurisdictions, which possibly, in soi‑ne measure, had affected the raode of
conferring the ceremonies, as at Bristol and elsewhere."
36. Same.‑A voice from South Carolina.‑The foregoing examples of the practice
of the five leading Grand Bodies in the British Islands ought to forever
silence the silly claim that, at the time African Lodge was established, there
was any law that forbade a Grand Lodge to plant a Lodge in a State where
another Grand Lodge existed. Butbeforeleav ing the subject, I wish to cite an
illustration which no one seems to have mentioned, and which I fancy it will
take our critics some time to explain away. I do not refer to the fact that
the Grand Orient of Fra4ce granted authority for a Lodge at Portsmouth or
Sagesse, Virginia, in 178,5;* although that act further illustrates the usage
of the day; and, as France was at that time America's closest ally, it tends
to show that the granting of a charter to foreign petitioners was regarded as
a fraternal' act; Dot a hostile one, as has been gratuitously intimated of the
grant to PRINCE HALL. But in answer to the objection that the warrant of
African Lodge was invalid because it invaded "ex(tlusive jurisdiction," where
the "Ancients" and "Moderns" had rival Grand Lodges, I shall now point out the
fact that, two years later, the "Ancient" Grand Lodge of England chartered a
Lodge, which has always been recognized as entirely regular, in a State where
a single Grand Lodge and that an igide_pendent Grand Lodge, had existed for
many years. DRumMONDf names 1783 as the true date of the origin of the first
independent Grand Lodge of South Carolina, "Modern," though MACKEY claimed it
was sovereign from 1777; and DE SAUSSURE, from a year earlier. Well, on May
26, 1786‑twenty months after the date Of PRINCE HALL'S warrant‑tlte "Ancient"
Grand Lodge oj* England issued a charter for Lo(Ige No. 236 at Charleston, S.
C.t This Lodge was organized within the jurisdiction of the then existing
Grand Lodge of South Carolina, and in 1787 assisted in forming a rival Grand
Lodge in that State. It may be incidentally remarked that the Provincial Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania chartered three Lodges in South Carolina after there was
a sovereign Grand Lodge there, in 1783, 1785, and 1786; and the present Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania re‑chartered one of these in 178,. l~
But I will not
multiply evidences. In addition to the conclusions reached in ~ 33, it seems
to me the truth of the other proposition laid
Lodge No. 183,
"Ancients," being wrecked off the coast of France in 1805, remained in that
country, as prisoners of war, until 1814. During all this period the Lodge
worked in France, initiating both soldiers and civilians.
iv, 259. The Lodge was, apparantly, never organized.
t GOULD'S History
Lodges, 44; DRUMMOND, Gould's History, iv, 399.
de~w viz: and TTh
h Joe Sid ‑fo GRAND
LODGE OF WASHINGTON.
own in ~ 21 has
been established beyond the peradventure of a doubt, viz: that at the time the
warrant of African Lodge No. 459 was granted and received, the doctrine of
exclusive territorial jurisdiction did not exist. Thus, in several different
ways, each one of which is conclusive, the objection which has been so much
relied upon, and which we began considering so far back as ~ 21, has been
shown to have not the slightest foundation either in fact or in law.
37. Was African Lodge "constituted." ‑ It is desired to keep this paper as
free from any display of feeling as possible, as those who have written
against the colored Masons have exhibited feeling enough for both sides. But
it is difficult to avoid saying that when the distinguished Grand Secretary of
the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia,* having seen the fallacy of
nearly all the other arguments against them, proposes io.brand thirty thousand
Masons as spurious because, one hundred and twelve years after the event, he
knows of no evidence that African Lodge was formally "constituted," he affords
a typical illustration of the extremes to which a partisan determination not
to be convinced, and not to let the raasses of the brethren see the truth,
leads men to go to seek for excuses for refusing the hand of fellowship.
Stronger language than this
* M. W. Bro.
WILLIAM R. SINGLETON; Proceedings, G. L. of D. C., 1898, Cor. Report, s. v.
Kentucky. Few Masonic writers in America are able to reason more correctly or
express themselves more clearly, when they wish to, than Bro. SINGLETON; and
therefore he may justly be held responsible for the misleading character of
his report, which may be analyzed as follows: He says that, hearing of the
action of tl)e G. L. of Washington, he "corresponded with our distinguished
brother, William James Hughan * * * * requesting, if possible, that he send us
a copy of one of the army lodge charters, our object being to show that such
charters could not authorize any army lodge * * to make Masons of citizens of
any country where regular lodges under any constitutions already existed." (It
is needless.to say that Bro. SINGLETON did not find any charter that would
help him towards showing that.) He does not give HUGHAN'S answer to that
letter; but proceeds to copy, from a modern edition of what he calls the
"Constitution of the Grand Lodge of England," provisions relative to army
Lodges; leaving the reader to infer that they existed in 1775,which was not
the case. He then tells us that he sent Bro. RUGHAN the Arkansas report
containing the assertions as to army Lodges and Dr. OLIVER which we refuted in
P 11, ante. He quotes a part of Bro. HUGITAN'S answer; in which I give, within
brackets, after the word "Courts," the words for which Bro. SINGLETON
substituted asterisks and the words "of Courts;" viz (asterisks, Bro.
SINGLETON'S): "No such regulation, as referred to by Dr. Oliver in his
Dictionary of Symbolic Masons re Military Lodges, appears in any * * * * * of
Courts [edition of Book of Consts.3 of Grand Lodge of England until the year
1815. Dr. Oliver gives no date, and he was simply quoting laws in operation
when his work was published. Yours fraternally,
"WM. J. HUGHAN."
Thus balked in his
attempts to prove two things that never existed, Bro. SINGLETON remarks: "It
seems that sentiment controls our distinguished brother, and he evidently
inclines to be in favor of the regularity of the Prince Hall organization,
which we greatly regret."
He then quotes from
GOULD (History, Eng. ed., vi, 419; Am. ed., iv, 224) something that GOULD says
of a restriction placed by American Masonic authorities upon the ten American
army Lodges in the American army during the Revolutionary war; ‑ but gives it
in a way to indicate that GOULD had mentioned it as a restriction placed by
English authority on English Lodges before the war; and then, referring to the
initiation of PRINCE HALL, triumphantly asks, "Did the army lodge, in 1775,
comply with the above * * * ?" He then proceeds to make the point about
"constituting," which I discuss above, in the text.
i I 46
would be justified
by this, the newest of objections, and one that can only be classed as sham
and frivolous. For, mark you, it is not claimed that there is the slightest
reason for doubting that the Lodge was constituted; unless, indeed, a reason
is suggested by the question, "Who was there to install" the officers? The
answer is: Any one of the white Masoi3s of Boston who visited this Lodge as
late as 1792* may have been deputed for that purpose, if any deputation was
question, Bro. SINGLETON adds,
"We must bear in
mind that this was the invariable custom from the earliest date of our modern
Masonry, since 1717,"
It will no doubt
shock the brother to learn that all well‑informed Masons, except himself,
agree that among the "Moderns" the installation ceremony either never existed
or else fell into complete desuetude before 1750,f and remained so until 1810.
But the brother quotes from the Book of Constitutions, 1723, that‑
"A NEW LODGE, for
avoiding many irregularities, should be solemnly constituted," etc.
"This has always
been considered as mandatory and never omitted, and no Lodge has ever been
permitted to do any Masonic work until the constitution of the same by
authority of a Grand Master."
I am always lost in
admiration for the learning of a man whose knowledge is so wide and so minute
that he can say, "No Lodge has ever;" or, as another of these marvels of
erudition t has said with ' in the year, in all the effulgence of italics, in
every case that has ever existed in the York Rite;" and perhaps Bro. SINGLETON
and I will not be so far apart if we agree as to what "constitution" "by
authority of a Grand Master" means.
But what will he
say to the suggestion that, among the "Moderns," no ceremony of constitution
was requisite between 1757 and, at least, 1810? The propositions I lay down
are as follows:
1. That among the
"Modern" Masons into which division African Lodge belodged, ‑ from about 1722
to a date not later than 1757 a Lodge was "constituted" by a ceremony,
performed either by the Grand Master in person, his Deputy or some person to
whom a warrant to constitute the Lodge bad been issued by authority of the
Grand Master. This was very similar to our practice of "constituting" a Lodge
under charter, except that the Lodge was given no charter or written warrant.
It sometimes, however, obtained possession of and retained the warrant which
had been issued to constitute it.
2. That at a date
not earlier than 1753 or later than 17,,‑)7 the "Mod‑
* See Appendix 11,
f W. J. CHFTWODIE:
CRAWLEY, Caementaria Ribernica, 1, Ceremony of Installation, 22; HENRY
SADDLER, Notes on the Ceremony of Installation (London: 1889), 3, 49; Masonic
Facts and Fictions, sub anno 1810. The former seems to be GOULD'S opinion.
SceAr$Q.C. v, 104 et seq., and Appendix 27, post. "The chair of a lodge, at
that time , certainly in England and Scotland, was filled and vacated
without a cereraony of any kind."‑GOULD, Royal Arch Degree, reprinted from the
Freemason, quoted Caementaria Hibernica, 1.
IJ. H. DRITMMOND;
Proceedings, G. L. ofmaine, 1899, Cor. Rep., p. 308.
~~ The practice in
Ireland and among the "Ancients" was very difrerent.
L GRAND LODGE OF
erns" adopted a new
form of warrant, upon the face of which the Grand Master professed to "hereby
constitute" the brethren named "into a regular Lodge;" and this was theform of
warrant granted to PRINCE HALL.*
3. That after 1757,
the "Modern" Grand Lodge of England, upon issuing a warrant for, say, a Lodge
at a distance, never deputized or appointed anyone to perform any ceremony of
"constituting" the new Lodge.
4. That the mere
delivery of such a warrant constituted the Lodge, without any ceremony
whatever. In other words, that from 1757 till 1810 or 1814, the Grand Master
of England created a permanent Lodge by mere force of his written warrant,
just as an American Grand Master now creates a temporary Lodge by his written
"dispensation"; and no ceremony of "constituting" was necessary.
that‑because a form of "constituting" continued to be printed in the Book of
Constitutions, and because old brethren had been accustomed to see a ceremony
‑ it was common, nay, usual, to have a ceremony. I merely say it was not
universal or obligatory.
I shall make no
quotations in support of the first three propositions; as their correctness
is, I believe, conceded by well‑informed Masons.t As to the fourth proposition
I am not able at this time to produce conclusive evidence. It seems to follow
from the third. I find Lodges, the minutes of whose first meetings are
preserved, in which there is no mention of either constituting or
consecrating;t and othersll in which the Lodge was consecrated some years
after beginning an authorized existence, but appears never to have been
constituted by any ceremony.** A brotherff who has few rivals in his chosen
field ‑ the study of old Lodges and their records ‑ speaking of a period that
ended some time between Dec. 20, 1753, and Jan. 14, 1757 ‑ tells us:tt
"After this period
we find another change in the form and contents of the Warrants issued by the
premier (or 'Moderns') Grand Lodge. * * * At any rate, each Warrant, from that
period, when signed was an actual Constitution of a Lodge, including the
appointment of its first Master and Wardens.
used at the initial opening of the Lodge (now termed its 'Consecration'‑not a
very appropriate word) may be supposed to have given the finishing touch to
its 'Constitution,' but the phraseology used since 1757 clearly shows that the
Lodge was virtually constituted when the Warrant was signed." (Italics mine.)
* See Appendix 5,
t W. J. CHETWODE
CRAWLEY, Caementaria Hibernica, I, Lost.Archives, 7,9; JOHN LANE, Ars Q. C.,
Lodge, No. 804, and Lodge of Fidelity, No. 289, both at Leeds, in the last
decade of the last century.
Lodge, No. 294, at Beverley, consecrated 1793; Rural Lodge of Philaiithrophy,
now No. 291, at Highbridge, consecrated 1795.
Installation, Constitution and Consecration three distinct ceremonies, and
says that the latter is often omitted;‑as it is in America.‑Illustrations of
Masonry (14th. Ed.), 73 et seq.
ft JOHN LANE,
author of "Masonic Records, 1717‑1894," etc.
It Ara q. C. viii,
Discussing the same
subject, and referring to an Irish warrant granted in 1732, W. H. RYLANDS
"Thus by this
Charter the Grand Lodge of Ireland constituted the Lodge and elected the first
officers, no ceremony of consecration being apparently required."
As I am sending
this sheet to the printer, I receive letters from Brothers HUGHAW and GOULD
which appear to confirm, in a measure at least, the view I have expressed.f
My response to this
objection, then, is: First, that no ceremony of constitution was necessary;
second, that it is very probable that a ceremony did occur; and third, that
there is not the slightest reason for doubting that, if it was necessary, it
did occur; or for drawing on one's imagination for a doubt, one hundred and
twelve years after the event.
38. Effect of organization of Grand Lodge of Mass., 1792.‑l'But," it is asked,
"assuming that African Lodge was regular down to 1792, did not the union of
the rival Grand Lodges of the 'Moderns' and 'Antients' into a single Grand
Lodge of Massachusetts, in that year,t render it irregular?" Is it not true,
as so dogmatically asserted by Grand Master GARDNER, 11 and so often echoed
since, that whenever three Lodges have formed a Grand in any State it "has
sole, absolute and exclusive jurisdiction in that State," so that "No other
Grand Lodge whatever can lawfully interfere with this jurisdiction, and can
neither establish Lodges in such State, nor continue any authority over Bodies
which it might properly have exercised prior to the organization of such Grand
Lodge therein?" Did it not render African Lodge irregular when, in 1797, the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts put in its constitution that:‑
"The Grand Lodge
will not hold communication with, or admit as visitors, any Masons, residing
in this State, who hold authority under, and acknowledge the supremacy of, any
foreign Grand Lodge"?
"Are not these
things so?" On the contrary, most assuredly, not one of them is so. As for the
declaration of 1797, which was an attempt to coerce St. Andrew's Lodge into
joining the Grand Lodge,** it simply announced what the Grand Lodge would not
do; and did not profess to deny the Masonry of St. Andrew's or African Lodges.
Grand Master GARDNER admits that his doctrine is merely an "American
doctrine"; but I shall show in a subsequent section ft that it has been
condemned by the ablest Masonic authorities; and the reader has seen in
preceding sections that the very opposite was the usage of Masons all through
the century which we are considering. tt But it may be of service if I now
* Ars Q. C. viii,
t See Appendices 26
and 27, post.
~ See ? 32, ante.
Illn an address
whicli was simply an argument against the negro Masons; Proceedings, G. L. of
Mass., 1870, p. 24.
** See ~&~ 31, 32,
tt See ~?,40‑42,
IlSee ~? 35, 36,
GRAND LODGE OF
the real origin of
4'exclusive territorial jurisdiction;" and return to this subject later on *
~,39. Origin of exclusive territorial jurisdiction. ‑ The doctrine by virtue
of which a Grand Lodge may possess exclusive jurisdiction within a certain
territory owes its origin, not to any assertion of a right ‑ still less to the
mere existence of a Grand Lodge, ‑ but to the waiver of a right, and the
granting of a privilege. The first instance in Masonic history where a Grand
Lodge ceased to have the right to erect Lodges "within the jurisdiction" of
another Grand Lodge was in 1770, and then the right was lost by but two Grand
Lodges, and in but two countries. We have seen that up to that year the
English Grand Lodges erected Lodges in Holland, in spite of the existence of a
Grand Lodge there.f In 1770 the Grand Master of the Netherlands wrote to
England "promising that on condition the Grand Lodge of England did not in
future constitute any new Lodges within his jurisdiction, the Grand Lodge of
Holland should observe the same restriction with respect to all parts of the
world where Lodges were established under the patronage of England." This was
agreed to, and is the first instance in history of any limitation of the
absolute right of every Grand Lodge to erect Lodges in any part of the world.
Note the language: there was no claim that England had transcended its right;
no doubt in the mind of the Dutch Grand Master of his right to erect Lodges in
English territory; no resentment, by England, of his claiming that right; no
claim was based on any assertion of right or attribute of sovereignty; but
each body waived a prior existing right "on condition," and acquired, by
purchase for a valuable consideration, through a treaty, a new and theretofore
unheard of privilege, namely "exclusive territorial jurisdiction" ‑ as against
that one Grand Lodge only.
illustration, that I recall, of the growth of the doctrine, is also a case,
not of assertion but of voluntary relinquishment. It is found in No. 3 of the
resolutions adopted by the St. Andrew's Grand Lodge in Massachusetts, already
printed,t in which that Body intimated its intention not to exercise its
"power and authority" in any part of the United States where there was another
Grand Lodge. 11 Next, we find the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in 1796,
"suggesting" to the Grand Lodge of New York, "the propriety" of similarly
curtailing its prerogative; and in response to this request the latter body
resolved not that it could not, but that it would not thereafter grant
charters to persons residing "within the jurisdiction of any other Grand
In 40, post.
t See ~, 35, ante.
In 31, ante.
Resolution 5th. has been thought to assert exclusive territorial jurisdiction;
but when properly understood it is seen to be, not a denial of the right of
erecting Lodges within the State, but a protest against the appointment of
another Provincial Grand .I[aster there‑of "Ancient" Masons,‑with "power to
erect Lodges. 'I Iii Consistently with this "long‑establislied policy," the
present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has, up to the present time, refrained
from following the impertinent examples of some younger Bodies who have
attempted to dictate whatthe Grand Lodge of Washington may say or think about
iv, 423; Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1870, p. 25.
Before this date
there had been declarations by certain Grand Lodges and Provincial Grand
Lodges that all Lodges in their States must acknowledge the authority of the
local Grand Lodge; but these, apparently without exception, were made either
in connection with some assertion that the Grand Lodge had achieved
independence, and so were aimed only against its mother; or, in a war with a
rival Grand Lodge in the same State; or, in an attempt to coerce some old
Lodge which refused to submit to the new Grand Body. But it was in the way
that I have pointed out that the idea gradually gained ascendancy ‑ very
rapidly in America, slowly abroad ‑ that Grand Lodges ought not to create
Lodges in States or countries where other Grand Lodges exist. Soon the fact
that the rule originated in a waiver of rights was lost sight of; and, at the
revival of American Masonry after its light had been well nigh quenched by the
Morgan excitement, a school of writers arose who found it easier to evolve
theories from their imaginations than to laboriously learn the his tory of
Masonry, ‑especially as that history was then well‑nigh inaccessible. Of their
writings, FREDERIC SPEED, P. G. M. of Mississippi, has well said:
"For the most part,
they were purely the efforts of the imagination of' those who wrote, and the
more is the pity; for the most of us who belong to the generation of Masons
who read as Gospel truth the teachings of the venerable array of frauds who
catered to the Masonic thirst for knowledge thirty years ago, have had to
painfully unlearn much that we learned with painstaking care."
But many would not
take the trouble to "unlearn"; and it is they who have presumed to lecture the
Grand Lodge of Washington during the past year; and it is their abuse which
the writer of this line has experienced in the past, and anticipates without
dread in the future. As old FRO]ISSART observed:
"The locks of the
Temple of Truth are neither to be picked by cuuning, nor forced by clamorous
violence. The noise of furious arguers is the shutting rather than opening of
the Temple doors."
~ 40. Effect of
organizing G. L. of Mass., continued.‑In pointing out, in the last section,
the true origin of "exclusive territorial jurisdiction," we digressed somewhat
from the question whether the formation of a sole Grand Lodge in Massachusetts
in 1792 affected the regularity of African Lodge, holding under the Grand
Lodge of England. Yet I hope that digression has helped the reader to see the
absurdity of the claim that the organization of a new Grand Body can possibly
attest the regularity of a previously existing Lodge which does not consent to
come under its jurisdiction;‑‑a claim, be it said to the credit of American
Masonry, that has been put forward only by a few theorists of the extremist
type, and has been generally rejected by conservative Americans, as it has
been b3, all foreign writers. Let us now read a few opinions, out of many:
Says ROBIERT FRFKE GOIJLD,* the historian of Masonry:‑ "Under the Grand Lodge
of England, and the same will probably hold
‑The Family of
Grand l,odges; reprinted from "The Freemason," 1896. The italics are mine.
9 1; b4 ‑4
i 4 i i GRAND LODGE
good with respect
to the sister jurisdictions of Ireland and Scotland, there are no hard and
fast rules for the recognition of new Masonic powers, but the stream of
precedent tends to show, that sooner or later, the 'regularity, of every
newly‑erected governing body of Symbolical Masonry which controls a majority
of the tributary Lodges within the jurisdiction, is destined to be
acknowledged by the three earliest of Grand Lodges.
"Not, however, that
this step would carry with it the stamp of 'irregularity' as relating to the
continued existence of any minority of Lodges, large or small, which might
decline to affiliate with the new organization. The status of these would
remain unimpaired by the act of the majority, and no pressure would be applied
I)y either of the aforesaid Grand Lodges. (I speak with certainty in the case
of England, and from reasonable conviction with regard to the other two) to
induce a subordinate to detach itself from the minority.
"The usage in
America is as follows:
directly a local
Grand Lodge is
regularly inaugurated (though the question of lawful constitution remains a
very open one) all the Lodges which stand out and decline to join in the
movement become 'irregular.' * * * *
go so far as to maintain that if three out of ninety‑nine Lodges assemble and
erect a Grand Lodge, the remaining ninety‑six become irregular. This, of
course is a monstrous doctrine * * *"
In 1883, the Grand
Master of Quebec, in discussing the action of England in refusing to abandon
the Lodges which she had established in that province before the Grand Lodge
of Quebec was formed, correctly stated the English law‑the law which
determined the standing of African Lodge after the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts was formed:‑
"The Grand Lodge of
England claims that a private Lodge chartered by her in unoccupied territory
has the right, during its pleasure, and forever if it will, to continue its
allegiance to the Grand Lodge of England, and to be supported by her in this
pretension, after the said territory has been constitutionally occupied by a
regularly formed Grand Lodge."*
The Quebec Lodges
referred to still exist, *under the Grand l,odge of England, and their
regularity is not (I?testione(I by any (fr(zn(I I.odge in the world.
the (loyen of Masonic scholars, WILLIAM JAMES HUGHAN said, in a letter read
before the Masonic Congress at Chicago in 1893:j
"No Grand Lodge
should be considered absolutely sovereign, with exclusive jurisdiction in its
own domain. until it has induced all the Lodges existing prior to its
formation to join its ranks, without resorting to coercion. Much as I deplore,
for example, the difficulties which have arisen through the three Lodges
refusing to join the Grand Lodge of Quebec, but preferring to remain under
England, I consider as a matter of law, usage and justice, based upon the
experience of over a century and a half, they have the right so to do."
Wherein does the
case of these Lodges differ from that of African Lodge in 1792,‑except in that
they were int‑ite(l to join the local Grand Lodge, while she was not?
~ 41, Same.‑The
distinguished authority last quoted, after speaking of the fact that there
were in New Zealand, besides a number of Scotch and Irish Lodges, some sixty
English Lodges which insisted on retaining
* Quoted in
Proceedings G. L. of Washington, 1886, p. 473.
t Proceedings of
the Masonic Congress, p. 22.
with the Grand Lodge from which they received their charters, at another time
"Now is it fair or
just to declare all these irregula?,, simplv because they 'of their own free
will and accord' decline to join the nev~ly‑formed Grand Lodge of New Zealand,
on the latter being recognized? I support your 'emphatic protest' against such
an un‑Masonic action." * * *
‑rn the same year
that the Washington committee reported that African Lodge, No. 459, was not
rendered irregular by the formation of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the
Grand Lodge of New Zealand was recognized by England and admitted that these
Lodges might lawfully continue to exist within her territory;f and every Grand
Lodge in the world admits their regularity. Yet their case and that of African
Lodge in 1792 differs in no respect whatever, ‑except chat in that year the
doctrine of "exclusive territorial jurisdiction" was only beginning to be
above the grade of mere theorists, have joined in the same statement of the
law. Thus Past Grand Master THOMAS MILBURN, REED, one of the ablest and best
informed of these, said, many years ago:t
,,It is not within
the power of any Grand Lodge to force allegiance to its authority from a
subordinate not of its creation, nor to sever the relations of such
subordinate from its parent Grand Body. This can only be done by voluntary
consent. The sooner Grand Lodges understand this question the better. It is a
fallacious idea to suppose that a newly organized Grand Lodge can do what
older established bodies would not attempt to do ‑ extend the mantle of its
authority over Lodges of another jurisdiction and compel their obedience."
,~' 42. Same.‑In
1887 a committee of which JonN W. SimoNs was chairman reported to the Grand
Lodge of New York in part as follows:ll
*HUGHAN to TJI'TON,
Sept. 2,1897; Proceedings, G. 1,. ofwashiiigtoii, 1898, p. 301.
extremes to which reckless and unscrupulous writers will go in attempts to
deceive an(I mislead their readers, when they hope to escape detection, is
illustrated by the fact that Past Grand Master J. R. DRU.111VIOND States THE
VERY OPPOSITE 01" THIS to have been the case ‑ that England abandoned the
position she had always held. His statement will be found on an early page of
his correspondence report in the Proceeding of the G. L. of Maine for IM. To
show its falsity, I quote the following from the "Articles of Recognition"
signed by the principal officers of the Grand Lodges of England and New
Zealand as printed in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of England for
September, 1898, p. 116: "1. That the Grand Lodge of New Zealand shall in
future be the recognized Grand Lodge oftl)e Colony.
"9. The Most
Worshipful the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England will consider any
District in which fewer than three Lodges may continue under their allegiance
to the Grand Lodge of England to be ipsoy(teto dissolved, but (subject
tliereto) the Lodges under the English Constitution, both private and the
District Grand Lodges, will continue as at present, and remain unaffected by
"10. All Brethren
who shall continue Members of Lodges under the English Constitution shall be
fully recognized by the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. * * *" After this, I trust
readers will understand why I place no reliance upon anything that that "Masotiie
Worthy" says; and am indifferent to his abuse.
Proceedings, G. 1,.
of Washington, 1880, p. 601.
Proceedings, G. L.
of N. Y., 1887, Special Cor. Rep., p. 79.
y because ly‑formed
Ls recog illy coti
'he world ,odge in loctrine ~reamed
ined in ,S MIL
nee to c rela nly
be d this
in at ittus rE oil
held. ceedI the EngI for
~011‑ lice ges oil‑
GRAND LODGE OF
"Up to this point
we are all agreed, and the argument is reduced to the question, whether there
is any known Masonic law, under the operation of which just and regular Lodges
hailing from a recognized and unquestionable authority, and at the time of
their formation in possession of vacant territory, can be forced to give up
their existence or change their allegiance except by the exercise of their own
free will‑ and accord. To say that they ought to do so in the interests of
peace and good Masonic government is a non sequitur, which no one is disposed
to question; but when it is asserted they must do so we come to the very
marrow of the disagreement.
patient examination of the various journals and acts of Grand Lodges, this
committee is free to say that it has found nothing of greater weight than
opinions which, however plausible, are not law."
of this committee, it was‑*
Resolved, That the
Grand Lodge of the State of New York, while earnestly upholding the rights of
the Grand Lodge of Quebec as a sovereign and independent Masonic government,
refuses to accept the doctrine that Lodges legally constituted by competent
and acknowledged authority can be compelled by any known law to transfer their
allegiance against their will." * * *
"Massachusetts" for "Quebec" in this resolution, and we have what ought to be
the answer of every Grand Lodge to the objection we are considering. It may
startle some of our theorists to learn that it is the answer of Massachusetts,
as late, at least, as 1870, the Constitutionsf of that Grand Lodge declared
"As every warranted
Lodge is a constituent part of the Grand Lodge, in which assembly all the
powers of the Fraternity reside, it is clear that no other authority can
destroy the power granted by a Warrant."
The brilliant and
judicious editor of Ars Quatuor Coronator?t7nt thus reviews the subject:
"To treat it as a
landmark constitutes the height of absurdity, because Freemasonry predates
Grand Lodges by centuries, and any rule of Grand Lodge sovereignty must have
had its origin in some regulation of a Grand Lodge , and have been absolutely
unknown before 1717.
The doetride in its
simplest form took birth between 1717 and 1720, as it is laid down by Grand
Master Payne in the "Old Regulations" that no new Lodge was to be accepted is
regular unless formed with the Grand Master's consent. But in this form it is
not very far reaching. Note in the first place, that although not distinctly
so stated, the regulation only contemplates new Lodges within the Bills of
Mortality, i. e,, within the confines of the cities of London and Westminster.
Lodges, tlterefbre, formed elsewhere, ?,(~ere con.~idered i‑egitl(.tr enough.
Next, such irregular Lodges are not termed clandestine, but simply irreg?tlar,
1! which practically meant that they could not be recognized by Grand Lodge or
their members admitted to the Quarterly Communications. F~zrtlier, that no (lis
qualification is imposed upon Lodges already existing, of which there were ])roi)abi
' y many,** nor is there any indication of in effort to force them to come
into the family. The whole proceeding is therefore simply the es‑
Proceedings, G. L.
of N. Y., 1887, p. 14,‑.
Part iv, Art. i,
see. 7; printed as an Appendix to Proceedings, G. L. ofmass., 1870.
,GEORGE W. SPETir,
An English Nriew of Freemasonry in America, S. (The italics are mine.) See 1,
** See 22‑24, a)ite.
tablishinent of a
sovereign jurisdiction for London and Westminster, but not of a sole
"To this doctrine
we gave a final touch, so far as we are concerned, in 1770, when, in
recognizing the newly formed Grand Lodge of the Netherlands, we agreed to
cease granting English warrants for Lodges in the Low Countries;* but, just as
in 1720 we made no attempt to coerce previously existing Lodges in London, so
in 1770 we took care that previously existing Lodges in Holland should not be
coerced into joining the Dutch Grand Lodge, but provided by treaty for their
unmolested existence, so long as they should desire.
doctrine, f if I understand it rightly, not only places it in the power of an
insignificant minority of the Lodges in a given district to form themselves
into a Grand Lodge and claim recognition, but enables them to compel a
possibly large majority of dissentient Lodges to fall into line, or to be
banned as irregular and clandestine. In this case it is not even the tyranny
of a majority, but may be that of a minority, sheltering itself behind a
so‑called landmark, which is only a regulation, and not a universally
acknowledged one at that.
Consider how badly
it m~ydpoesnsibly work. * * * *
"The doctrine is
utte rv n ef sible. To merely state it in all itshorrid nakedness is to
cond~iun it. The erection of a new Grand Lodge, no matter where or when or
how, canizot possibly invalidate the right of a Lodge or Lodges, predating it,
perhaps by a generation, to continue to be received, acknowledged and
recognized as regular in every way."
We have thus seen
that by Masonic usage, practically if not absolutely without an exception from
1717 to 1899,‑in opposition to which, absolutely nothing exists except the
dogmatic assertion of mere theorists who have held that America o2,tght to
assert a rule which has no basis in Masonic practice, in America or
elsewhere‑the status of African Lodge and St. Andrew's Lodge was absolutely
unaffected by the creation of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1792; and
that these Lodges had an indefeasable right to continue their allegiance to
their mother Grand Lodges until they voluntarily formed other connections, ‑
which the former did in 1808, and the later in 1809.
~ 43. Summary of
conclusions. ‑ It may be well to pause here to note that our review of the
first ten objections to the Masonry of the American negroes has established
beyond question the following points:
1. That PRINCE HALL
and his associates were regularly initiated in strict accordance with every
provision of law, in a regular Lodge of Masons lawfully at work.
2. That, whether or
not they possessed sufficient authority for assembling as of Lodge from 1775
to 1784 ‑ during which period there is no evidence that they made any Mason,‑iu
the latter year their inchoate Lodge was "regularized" by being placed on the
roll of the premier Grand Lodge of the world; and in 1787 a warrant was
delivered to them which, under the universally recognized law of the day,
would have cured all irregularities in their original making ‑ If there been
*See ~, 39, ante. t
That is, the bastard doctrine which has been as vigorously denounced by
well‑informed American Masons as by Masons in other lands, and which disgraces
America when it assumes its name.‑W. H. U.
I GRAND LODGE OF
3. That the
issuance of that warrant was strictly in accordance with law, and was not an
"invasion" of any "jurisdiction" or the infringement of any right whatsoever.
4. That the warrant
was received in 1787; and African Lodge, No. 459, was regularly constituted by
its authority, in strict conformity to every law known to Masonry.
That the status of
African Lodge was Dot affected by the organization ‑ in which it was not
permitted to participate ‑ of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in 1792; but
its continued existence, as a constituent of the Grand Lodge of England, was
strictly in accordance with Masonic law.
the career of'African Lo(ige, ‑1.80,'?‑1847.
objections. ‑ Alleged dormancy. ‑ I shall review the next five objections
briefly‑although, I trust, effectively, ‑ because, in my opinion, they are
wholly irrelevant to our inquiry. They relate wholly to a period subsequent to
1808, in which year a Negro Grand Lodge had been formed which at once
chartered Lodges in various parts of America. It is undisputed that African
Lodge survived to assist in forming that Grand Lodge; and, hence, the matter
would not be of the slightest interest to me were it shown that African Lodge
expired which, however, was not the case ‑ immediately thereafter. But, as
these objections have been offered, let us examine them. The first is, that at
some, very indefinite, time after the death of PRINCE HALL, in Dec., 1807, the
Lodge became dormant. Those who have asserted this for the purpose of
befogging the subject have been willing to have it understood that this
dormancy occurred immediately after the death of PRINCE HALL especially after
ample evidence had been produced that the Lodge was not dormant about the year
1820, the time to which the objection originally related. As a fact, the only
foundation for this claim of dormancy is found in a misinterpretation of a
sentence written by the officers of the Lodge to the United Grand Lodge of
England, in 1824, asking for authority to confer the Royal Arch and other
"High degrees."* That sentence read s, ‑ ',It is with regret we communicate to
you that, from the Decease of our Well Beloved Brethren who obtained the
Warrant, we have not been able for several years to transmit Monies and hold a
regular communication;" etc.
Of course, "from
the Decease," means, "on account of the decease;" but it has been distorted to
mean, "from the date of the decease."f And "hold a regular Communication" has
been distorted to mean, "hold a
*The letter Is
printed in Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1870, p. 49.
t That this was
their meaning, plainly appears from their language, when speaking of the same
subject, in their declaration of 1827. After referring, evidently, to their
duty to contribute to the Grand Charity fund, and expressing a doubt whether
they had performed it, they say, (italics mine): " But we can add that, in
consequence of the decease of the above named Brother, the institution was for
years unable to proceed ‑ for want of one to conduct its affairs ‑ agreeably
to what is required in every regular and well‑educated Lodge of Masons.
"‑Proceedings G. L. Of Mass., 1870, p. 42.
context clearly shows that it means, "keep up a regular communication with the
Grand Lodge," by remitting money, etc. It is well enough known that the
temporary dormancy of a Lodge would not kill the Lodge; for, under the English
law, "three hold the warrant;" and three members, with the warrant, could at
any time revive a (formant English Lodge. The "old Lodge at York" was dormant
from about 1740 to 1761, but was revived in the latter year by six members.
The famous American Union Lodge ‑ now on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Ohio ‑
was revived by two members in 1790, after being dormant from 1783. But CHARLES
GnisWOLD, P. G. M. of Minnesota, effectively disposed of this objection ‑ as,
indeed, he did of all others, ‑ and we may quote his language: *
Massacliuselts Register, an almanac, published in Boston for several years,
gave, for some time, the names of the various Masonic bodies, together with
their place of meeting, African Lodge among the rest. In 1806 we find the
following notice: 'The African Lodge in Boston meets regularly at the house of
Prince Hall, in Congress street, on the evening of the first Tuesday, in each
month.' From this time on up to and including 1813, the notice of the time of
meeting appears regularly, proving conclusively that up to that date, at
least, it had an active existence. A few years after, the said almanac ceased
to notice the meetings of any of the Masonic bodies. Again, that they were in
existence in 1824, appears from the letter which, as a Lodge, they addressed
to the Grand Lodge of England, in which they give an account of their
prosperity, and ask for authority to confer higher degrees. A copy of said
letter may be found in the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts foi‑
18,'0, page 49. There is a Mason now li l, ill who testities that he was
initiated in that Lodge in 1822. Another it died recently, was initiated there
in 1820. When, in 1869, Prince Hall Grand Lodge petitioned the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts for Masonic recognition,.t they placed before the committee to
whom their petition was referred, written records to prove a continuity of
regular meetings during all the years of their existence.
I am informed that
the committee refused to examine these records.t Had they taken the opposite
course, brethren might have been saved from making assertions which they may
find it somewhat difficult to prove. What, however, was not done by them, has
been done by others.
An old record book
of African Lodge, now in the possession of Thomas Dalton, a former member of
that Lodge, reveals, beyond question, the fact that the Lodge continued to
hold its meetings during each year of the disputed period, to‑wit: 1808‑1827.
This record book has been care fully and critically examined by Jacob Norton
and other eminent Masons, and pronounced reiliable.,, ii
* Proceedings, G.
L. of Minnesota, 1877, p. 60. Substantially the same matter will be found in
Voice of Masonry, for April, 1896. I have verified all Brother GRls"I‑OLD's
statements of fact.
t See ~ 80, post.
t, Bro. SAMUEL
EVANS, P. M., (white) of East Malden, Mass., intimates as much in ]]is
"Colored Masons' Petition," printed as an appendix to the Address to the
Colored Masonic Fraternity of the 1'. S. (Cleveland: 1871) by WILLIAM T. BOYD,
Committee on Correspondence oftlie (colored) G. L. of0hio.‑ff7~ TF. U.
description of the record book will be found in his "The Early History of
Masonry in Massachusetts," printed as an appendix to LFwis HAYDEN's letter "To
the R. W. J. G. FINDEL, [the well known Masonic historian of Germany] Honorary
Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, and General Representative
thereof to the Lodges upon the Continent of Europe" (Boston: 1871); also, in
Proceedings, G. L. of Ohio, 1876, p. 118.‑W. H. U.
GRAND LODGE OF
~, 45. Erasure from
the Grand Lodge roll in 1813.‑African Lodge, No. 459, continued on the roll of
the Grand Lodge of England ‑ the peer of any of her daughters, ‑ for many
years. The records of the Grand Lodge show her contributions to its charity
fund in 1789, 1792, 1793 and 1797.* In April, 1792, if when it renumbered its
Lodges, it advanced African Lodge to No. 370. In 1791 or 1792 we find the
Grand Secretary of England Writing to PRINCE HALL asking what had become of
certain of the white Lodges.f But, among the objections which, for reasons
stated in the preceding section, are really immaterial, it has been urged that
African Lodge was dropped from the English roll in 1813 or 1814. The
illegitimate idea has been carefully fostered that this was done for the
purpose of forfeiting the right of African Lodge to exist, or at least had
that effect. Brother GRISWOLD corrects some erroneous ideas, as follows: 11
"In making said
erasure, the Grand Lodge of England evidently recogiiizec! the fact that her
American children, African Lodge among the rest, were of age and well able to
take care of themselves. At that time, they all had their own Grand Lodges in
this country, and in their formation had virtually severed their connection
with the parent Grand Lodge. . The action of the Grand Lodge of England was
simply a recognition of this fact. Prince Hall Grand Lodge proper was formed
in 1808, five years before said erasure took place. When the attention of Bro.
John Hervey, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of England, was first called
to this matter, he gave it as his personal opinion. in a letter to Bro. C. W.
Moore, that said African Lodge, as a result of its erasure, had become
irregular; but when, upon further examination, he found that all the American
Lodges upon the English Grand Lodge register were erased at the same time, he
evidently saw his mistake, and, in a still later letter, recalled his first
opinion. In the Canadian Masonic ‑ATeu~s of January last, Bro. Jacob Norton
says: 'In conversation with Bro. Hervey about the two letters sent by him to
Bro. Moore, Bro. H. told me personally, that, upon retleetion, he really could
not distinguish the difference between the legality or illegality of the
Massachusetts Grand Lodge, or the Prince Hall Grand Lodge.'"
The facts of the
case are these: At the end of 1813, the two rival Grand Lodges of England, the
"Moderns" and the "Ancients"** effected a "happy union," and formed the
present United Grand Lodge of England. This necessitated a renumbering of the
Lodges. Our British brethren have always attached great importance to a high
position on the roll. Hence,
*Proceedings, G. L.
of Mass., 1870, p. 48. The English law left it tothe Lodges themselves to
determine what siims the "circumstances of the Lodge" justified them in
contributing to the Grand Charity.
t GOULD, Four Old
Lodges, 75. Among several other inaccuracies, both as to facts and law, in
letters written by Grand Secretary HERVEY to Grand Officers of Massachusetts,
in 1868 and 1870, was his statement that this occurred in 1793.‑Proceedings G.
L. of Mass., 1870, p. 48. Some recent writers would appear not to be aware
that Bro. HERVEY afterwards retracted some of these opinions, notably the one
that dropping African l,odge from the roll in 1813 affected its regularity.
'See Appendix 10,
11 Proceedings, G.
L. of Minn., 1877, p. 58; Voice of Masonry, April, 1876. To avoid the effect
of the fact that African Lodge was a recognized English Lodge at the time she
aided in foriiiing a Grand Lodge for the negro Masons, in 1808, writers have
not been above insinuating that the erasure occurred "about the beginning of
the present century." ** See ~l, 22, 24, ante.
great interest was
taken in the matter. Lots were drawn to see whether an "Ancient" Lodge or a
"Modern" should become No. 1. Then the remaining numbers were allotted,
alternately, one to a "Modern" Lodge, the next to an "Ancient." As another
step in the same attempt to secure high numbers, each of the expiring Grand
Lodges struck from its roll every Lodge that was not certainly known to be
ali,~e and desirous of remaining with the United Grand Lodge. This included
every English lodge in America which had ever been on the roll of either Grand
Lodge, and many in other countries ‑ some of which were alive and greatly
resented being dropped. * There was not the slightest idea or the slightest
pretence that the erasing of these Lodges affected the good standing of any of
them that happened to be alive and I take it that none but the most bigoted of
readers will question the statement of WILLIAM JAMES HUGHAN, ‑ that it did not
affect the standing of African Lodge.
Up to that time,
both English Grand Lodges had retained on their rolls
* For example, the
famous Loge I' Anglais No. 363‑‑afterwards Nos. 240 and 204,‑at Bordeaux, of
which Bro. G. W. SPETH gives a magnificent account in the current volume of
Ars Q. C.‑‑volurne xii,‑‑atid which we shall furtli~r mention in ~. 53 post.
This Lodge, although it had been engaged in defending English Freemasonry in a
gallant war with the Grand Orient of France, and had been cut off from
communication with the mother country by the Napoleonic wars, in 1818 learned,
for the first time, with "dismay and grief," that it had been erased from the
roll, with the others, in 1813‑14. This Lodge had maintained a regular
representative near the Grand Lodge of England, a member of that DILLON family
which produced a scion whose courtesy‑as W. J. CHETWODE CRAWLEY SO gracefully
expresses it‑"stood the test of the guillotine:" "The gallant Count Dillon,
one ofthe early victims oftlie Reign of Terror, was asked by a shrinking lady,
condemned in the same batch, to precede her in the terrible procession. The
count bowed with courtly grace, and saying 'Anything to oblige a lady,'
stepped on to the plittforrn ofthe guillotine in her p lace."‑Ars Q. C., xii,
tsee Appendix 15,
poet. Yet, as we have plenty of.brave men in this country‑of the class who
"rush in where angels fear to tread"‑who will not fear to reiterate that
African Lodge was killed by being removed from the roll in 1813, let me beg
some of them to tell us what was the standing of the following Lodges‑all of
which still exist and are among the leading Lodges of the world‑and what was
the standing of the men whom they initiated, during the years they were not on
the roll of any Grand Lodge‑not even an "African" Grand Lodge,‑towit: UNioN
LODGE, Frankfort‑on‑tlie‑Nrain, (Mother Lodge of Eclectic Union G. L.),
warranted by Eng., 1742; independent, 1782; rejoined Eng., 1789; erased ‑ with
African Lodge, 1813; rejoined, 1822; erased, 1823. Query, status 1782‑1789;
1813‑1822? G. L. FREDIE:RICK, Hanover, warranted by Eng., 1755; erased ‑ with
African Lodge, 1813; replaced, 1821; independent, 1828. Query, status
1813‑1821? ENGLisH LODGE, Bordeaux, independent, 1732; warranted by Eng.,
1766; joined G. 0. of France 1781, but remaining on Eng. roll; renounced G.
0., 1782; recognized as an Eng. Lodge 1792, 1802; erased, 1813; first knew of
it, 1818. Query, status 1732‑1766; 1813‑? ST. CHARLES, Brunswick, warranted by
Eng., 1770; joined Strict Observance, 1770, but remaining on Eng. roll;
returned to Eng. rule, 1802; erased, 1813; joined G. L. of Hamburg, 18M.
Query, status, 1770‑1802; 1813‑1835 ? BLACK BEAR,, lianover, warranted by
Eng., 1786; seceded to Three Globes; rejoined Eng.,'ISW; erased, 1813;
replaced, 1821; erased, 1827; joined G. L. ofhanover, 1828. Query, status
1813‑1821? THREE ARROWS, Nuremberg, warranted by Eng., 1790; erasetl, 1813;
joined G. L. of Frankfort, 18?3. Query, status 1813‑1823? APOLLO, Leipzig,
warranted by Eng., 1805; erased, 1813; joined G. L. of Saxony, 1815. Query,
I I ~i
1 4 GRAND LODGE OF
practically all the
American Lodges which had ever found a place there. GOULD gives a list of
twenty‑eight "Modern" Lodges in America, dating from 1733 to 1787, which, he
says, "were placed on the English Register, and without exception continued to
figure annually in the official lists until 1813."* Among these were African
Lodge and three other Massachusetts Lodges. HUGHAN f gives a list of
forty‑three "Modern" Lodges in America ‑ in and outside of the United States ‑
exclusive of military Lodges, and says that "all" of them were stricken from
the register at the union. He then adds a list of "Ancient" Lodges dropped,
adding "so that at the union some thirty 'Ancients' were struck off, or, in
other words, some seventy American Lodges connected either with the 'Moderns'
or 'Ancients' were removed from the roll, immediately before the union of
46. Alleged surrender of the warrant, 1824. ‑ Another of the objections which
I class as immaterial, is the statement which used to be made but is now, I
believe, entirely abandoned, that African Lodge returned its warrant to
England in 1824, and thereafter worked under "a mutilated copy." There never
was the slightest ground for the fiction that the warrant was returned to
England, except in a strained construction placed on the words "renewal of our
Charter" found in the letter, mentioned in
44, sent by African Lodge to the United Grand Lodge of England in 1824. The
writers stated that they were Royal Arch Masons, but that the warrant of 1784
allowed them "to confer but the three degrees" and finding it injurious to
have "no legal authority to confer the other four degrees," they solicited the
"renewal of our Charter" so as to authorize them to confer the additional
degrees, "as we are now getting in a flourishing condition." There is in the
letter no suggestion of sending the old warrant to England, and as a fact it
was not sent. It is still in the possession of the negro brethren and, as we
have seen,** has been seen and examined by their adversaries, Brother CHARLESW.
MOORE, who is said tf to have been largely responsible for this unwarranted
objection was afterwards a member of the committee to which reported, in 1869,
that‑ "Your committee examined the charter and believe it is authentic."
~ 47. Declaration
of independence, 1827.‑The next objection is also immaterial because, like the
last, it concerns the history of but one Lodge. In June, 1827, the Master,
Wardens and Secretary of African
* History, iv, 258.
t Voice of Masonry, Nov. 1876. Ilbid. !I See ~ 44, ante.
** see ? 19, avte.
tt Negro Mason in
enough, Bro. MooRE's name is not appended to the report as printed in in
Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1869, p. 129 et seq.; but is appended to the same
report where printed as an appendix to the Woodbury report.‑Proceedings (T. L.
of ‑ilass., Sept., 1876, p. 86.
Lodge published in
a newspaper the declaration in question ‑ the importance of which appears to
me to have been greatly overestimated. After reciting the history of African
Lodge, and ‑ apparently with some degree of resentment ‑ its unsuccessful
attempt to communicate with the English Grand Lodge ‑ evidently referring to
the letter of 1824, mentioned in. the preceding section, ‑ the declaration
goes on to say:‑
"Taking all these
things into consideration, we have come to the conclusion that with what
knowledge we possess of Masonry, and as people of color by ourselves, we are,
and ought by rights to be, free and independent of other Lodges. We do,
therefore, with this belief, publicly declare ourselves free and independent
of any Lodge from this day, and that we will not be tributary, or be governed
by any Lodge but our own. We agree solemnly to abide by all proper rules and
regulations which govern the like Fraternity, discountenancing all imposition
to injure the Order, and to use all fair and honorable means to promote its
prosperity, resting in full hope that this will enable us to transmit it in
its purity to our posterity for their enjoyment."*
The impression I
receive from this is, that it indicates that, like the Bordeaux Lodge up to
1818,1 African Lodge did not know that it had been removed from the English
roll; that although, like that Lodge, it had acted as a Mother Lodge; and ‑
just as that Lodge had "aggregated" with the Grand Orient f‑had been connected
with African Grand Lodge; yet, like the Bordeaux Lodge, it regarded itself as
all the time a constittient of the Grand Lodge of England; and that this
declaration was intended to sever that relation. Some brethren have thought
that white Masons might take advantage of this more or less petuiently
expressed determination of the members of a single Lodge, "as people of color"
to "tlock‑ by themselves," to forever deny the hand of fellowship to all other
negro Lodges as well; but this suggestion seems to me to evince very little of
"the spirit of Masonry." Other phases of the declaration are sufficiedtly
noticed by Brother CLARK: l~‑
'‑We did no more
than the Massachusetts Grand Lodge did on the 6th day of December, 1782, when
it, in full Grand Lodge, adopted the following resolution, and made it part of
"That this Lodge be
hereafter known and called by the name of the 'Massachusetts Grand Lodge of
Ancient Masons,' and that it is free and independent, in its government and
official authority, of any other Grand Lodge or Grand Master in the Universe.'
declaration of independence destroy the legality, if it had tiny, of the
Massachusetts Grand Lodge? Was its existence brought to an end by this act? We
believe not. Then why should it destroy the legality of African Lodge, or
terminate its existence, We demand that you measure both of us by the same
rule, and we will abide the result; any other course is dishonest, unfair and
"But admit that, by
this declaration, African Lodge, No. 459, did terminate its life. What effect
would that have upon the status of negro Masons in America? None whatever. It
would only be the extinction of one subordinate Lodge ‑ a something that
frequently occurs in every
*The address is
printe(i in full in Pt,oceedings, G. L. of jl‑a5s., lsio, p. 41.
j‑ See 45 attte,
note. See 53, post; and list ofsimilar cases in long note under ~, 45, aiite,
1, Negro Mason in Equity, 42.
GRAND LODGE OF
jurisdiction without in the least affecting the Grand Body. "In 1827 negro
Masons were not dependent upon the existence of any one subordinate Lodge, for
long before then they had provided for the legal propagation of the principles
of Masonry and the regular succession of its organization by the establishment
of Grand Lodges in a legal and regular manner. Masonry among colored men in
America was well on its way in the dissemination of those sublime principles
underlying the institution of Freemasonry, and was successfully creating
therefrom a superstructure which sometime, sooner or later, will be tried by
the square of virtue and receive its just designation of good and true work."
surrender of warrant to National Grand Lodge, 1847.The last of these
objections to the continuing vitality of this single Lodge is an argument of
Grand Master GARDNER's based on a misreading doubtless unintentional ‑ of the
petition of LEWIS HAYDEN and others. Grand Master Gardner says *‑italics mine:
"In 1847 a National
Grand Lodge was formed; and, says the petition of Lewis Hayden and others to
this Grand Lodge, set out on page 132 of our printed Proceedings for 1869 :
the African Lodge of Boston, becoming a part of that Body surrendered its
Charter and received its present Charter dated December 11, 1847, under the
title of Prince Hall Grand Lodge'," etc.
for the Grand Master's argument, upon turning to the reference given by
himself, we find that the petition of LEWIS HAYDEN and others, instead of the
words which I have italicized in the above quotation, really said,‑
"The African Grand
Lodge of Boston, becoming a part of that body" etc. f
We therefore pass
this objection until we come to treat of negro Grand Lodges.1
Lodges.l~?tn(led by PRINCE HALL.
49. Prince Hall not
a Grand Master and African Lodge not a Grand Lodge. ‑ We now arrive at an
objection which seems a most serious one to the brother who knows Masonry only
as it is at the end of the nineteenth century, and supposes it to be safe to
judge eighteenth century acts by nineteenth century usages. It is stated by
friends and foes alike, and is unquestionably a fact, that in 17()7 PRINCE
HALL issued a "license" to thirteen black men, who had been made Masons in
England, to "assemble and work" as a Lodge in Philadelphia‑, that another
Lodge was organized by his authority at providence, R. I.; and that it was
these two Lodges and African Lodge No. 459 that organized the first negro
Grand Lodge. Two objections are raised to the creation of these Lodges: first,
that they were an invasion of the territory of the Grand Lodges of
Massachusetts and Rhode Island, respectively, and, second, that their erection
exceeded the authority vested in either PRINCE HALL or his Lodge. As I shall
have to consider the matter of "invasions" later, when considering the general
*Proceedings, G. L.
of Mass., 1870, p. 35.
t Proceedings, G.
L. of Mass., 1869, p. 132.
1 See ~,, 66, post.
of negro Masonry
throughout the land, * let us pass that objection until that time, and proceed
to examine the other one. I waive entirely the claim which negro writers have
been disposed to insist upon, that PRINCE HALL probably had express authority
from England to act as a Proviincial Grand Master among the negroes; t for I
am, as stated in the outset, t simply giving the reader the reasons which have
led me to the conviction that the colored Masons are entitled to recognition
as members of our Fraternity, and I have not rested my conclusions upon that
claim. This objection may be overthrown by showing either of two things which,
indeed, are but two aspects of one thing,‑viz: that African Lodge had all the
authority that was necessary to establish the Philadelphia and Providence
Lodges; or, that the brethren in Philadelphia and Providence needed no higher
authority than the "license" of PRINCE HALL, to justify them in working as a
Lodge. I shall show both of these things.
50. Same.‑Doctrine oj Mother Lodgeq.‑Amoug the old Lodges whic h organized the
Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736, were several which acknowledged themselves
daughters of the still older Lodge at Kilwinning. This famous Mother Lodge
withdrew from the Grand Lodge in 1744 and "resumed its independence, which in
the matter of granting Charters it had in reality never renounced, and for
well‑nigh seventy years continued to exist as an independent Grand Body", 11
chartering Lodges in every quarter of the globe. No doubt the example of this
famous Lodge had something to do with the fact that throughout the century
following the establishment of the grand lodge system it was no uncommon thing
to see a Lodge assume the functions of a Mother Lodge, by granting authority
to a body of Masons to assemble as a Lodge.
Instances are very
numerous, but I see no necessity of citing more of them than are incidentally
mentioned in other parts of this paper. In some cases, as when Union Lodge was
formed at Albany, N. Y., in 1759, **
* See g 68‑71,
t It is quite true
that, in the years involved, PRINCE HALL carried on an intimate correspondence
with the Grand Secretary of England, ‑ perhaps more intimate than that of any
other American ~Masoii; but, it seems to me that ‑although some strong
arguments based on other grounds have been put forth by M. W. Bro. W. T. Boyd
and others ‑ the theory that he was a Provincial G. M. arose chiefly from the
fact that the Grand Secretary addressed him as "Right Worshipful." The extent
of the Masonic knowledge of those who have bad the assurance to criticize the
Grand Lodge of Washington during the last year is illustrated by the fact that
they have made rare sport of the circumstance that, in one of its resolutions,
this Grand Lodge applied to PRINCE HALL the title which he always bore in his
life time: " To speak of * * * 'our R.*. W.'.Bro. Plrince Hall, Master of said
lodge'," says the Kentucky committee, boiling over with merriment, "must
provoke a smile from every well‑informed Mason. * * # It has never, been
Masonic usage to dub the Master of a symbolic lodge Right Worshipful."
Unfortunately for these wiseacres who, if we should let them alone, would end
by proving that PRINCE HALL must have been a Provincial G. M., ‑ Bro. GOULD,
of whom most of them have probably never heard, says:‑
"The letters 'R.
W.' were prefixed to the Master's title in all Lodges under the original G. L.
iv, 2P,8, note.
t, See ~ 5, ante.
i I GOULD, History,
** See ? 55, post.
~ion until ~irely
the t PRINCE ~ Provin. e outset, convicabers of t claim. ~hingsi Lodge delphia
I ProviALL, to ings.
Lodges several dge
tter of 11‑nigh dy
11, 11 D,MP]E ghout it was .other odge.
ire of .. In 59, **
correiat of 3leD is
$‑the etary those last it, in h he
proge to ,eslave
GRAND LODGE OF
or PRINCE HALL'S
inchoate Lodge of 1776, * the authority was doubtless intended to be
temporary, until a Grand Master's warrant could be secured; and the
authorizing body had no ambition to be regarded as a Mother Lodge. In other
instances, no further authority appears to have been contemplated, and the
authorizing body appears to have intended to assert a rank somewhat superior
to that of her daughters although usually retaining its own place upon the
roll of a Grand Lodge, and never developing into a Grand Lodge. The English
Lodge at Bordeaux + was an example of this, as, possibly was the Lodge at
Fredericksburg, Va.; t and it seems probable that African Lodge, No. 459,
after it become evident that the white Masons of the new nation intended to
ostracise their colored brethren, would have developed into such a body, had
not the death of PRINCE HALL rendered apparent the advisability of forming a
Grand Lodge. In a third class of cases, the Mother Lodge was finally
transformed into a Grand Lodge, and recognized as such throughout the world.
We have seen that this was the origin of several of the most magnificent Grand
Lodges in the world: ‑ the "Three Globes,'? at Berlin; of Saxony, at Dresden;
of the " Sun," at Bayreiith; Eclectic Union, at Frankfort; and Royal York, at
Berlin. 11 But was not this assumption of a power to establish Lodges, a
usurpation of power Unquestionably it was; and perhaps all such power is of
like origin, ** But, it would seem that, like the usurpation of sovereignty in
nations, its justification lies in its success. "It is a condition, not a
theory that confronts us." As we "cannot frame an indictment against a whole
people," so we cannot successfully impeach the Masonry of half the continent
of Europe. There must be something in the nature of a statute of limitations
which shuts off criticism of the acts of those who have successfully exercised
supreme authority in Masonry. Or, as a distinguished German brother expresses
"I believe that it
is unwise and unjust to dispute the legal standing of any Lodge oi, Grand
Lodge which practices Masonry according to our standard, and has been doing
good and honest work amongst the people of its own class for upwards of a
hundred years. It may be possible or even admissible to contest the legal
standing of a Lodge or Grand Lodge at the time of its establishment, but if
such Lodge or Grand Lodge has withstood this contention of legality and
afterwards does successfully withstand the much severer test of vitality for
over a hundred years, then in my opinion it has conclusively proved that it
owes its existence not to mere chance or caprice, but that it is destined to
fulfill a mission and to supply a Warrant. "
Tested by this
rule, the act Of PRINCE HALL which, for more than a century, has withstood,
not only the devouring tooth of Time, but every attack that the ingenuity of
five generations of his white brethren could
* See 17, ante, and
Appendix 1, post.
t See 53, post.
See 54, post.
See 35, ante, and
Appendix 12, post.
** See ~p, 24, 31,
tt CARL WHIRE, G.
M. of Hamburg; see Appendix 20, post.
devise; and has
resulted in diffusing the pure light of Masonry, through more than a thousand
Lodges, among three nations of men;* and in offering to eight millions of
souls practically their only opportunity to obtain a knowledge of the Word
which was in the beginning, t is beyond successful attack. But, without
appealing to any statute of limitations to justify the erection of the Lodges
at Philadelphia and Providence, it seems to me that any candid man who
considers the historical instances which are cited in this section must concur
in the conclusion of that Prince‑Mason and prince of negrophobists, General
ALBERT PIKE, that‑
"Prince Hall Lodge
* * * had a perfect right (as other Lodges in Europe did) to establish other
Lodges, making itself a mother Lodge. That's the way the Berlin lodges, Three
Globes, and Royal York, became Grand Lodges. "t
Same.‑Lodges without a warrant. ‑ Let us now investigate how far truth and
falsehood commingle in the idea that there can be no lawful Lodge without "the
Grand Master's warrant." It will be remembered that the first suggestion that
any authority from a Grand Master was requisite occurred in a regulation ‑ the
majority of whose companions have since been repealed, ‑approved in 1721 by a
Grand Lodge which at no time in its existence ever claimed jurisdiction over
any Masons except those of its own Lodges; and originally applied only to
Lodges in London and Westminster; ii that that regulation did not profess to
brand, as "clandestine," Masons made in non‑regular Lodges; that, even in its
origiual tdild form, the regulation was a "usurpation of the inherent right of
Masons, when in sufficient numbers, to meet and form a Lodge at their
pleasure;"** and that that "usurpation" or infringement of their inherent
right was steadily resisted, from the time of its inception, by large numbers
of Masons.‑tt We thus see that the importance of a warrant or charter arose
from the gradual acceptance of what was originally not a law of the Masonic
Institution, but a mere grand lodge regulation; and that while we, as members
of Grand Lodges whose dignity the regulation tends to enhance; as witnesses of
the wisdom and utility of the regulation itself; and as Masons mindful of the
installation charges, are bound, at the end of the nineteenth century, to
uphold that regulation‑in its true meaning‑in. so far as our obligation to the
higher la‑v of the Institution itself will pormit:f t yet in sitting in
judgment on the acts of brethren of a
The United States,
Canada and Liberia.
JO]LD, 1, 1.
See Appendix 12,
~l See the
quotation from G. W. SPETH in ~ 42, ante, and see also ~ 22 ante and Appendix
16 post. In 1724 it was agreed by the Grand Lodge, "That if any brethren shall
meet Irregularly and make Masons at any place within ten miles of London, the
persons present at th6 making (the New Brethren Excepted) sliall not be
admitted" into a regular Lodge, until after stibrnission.‑GO(jl,D, History,
~:* GE:ORGE W.
SPETH, An English View of Freemasonry in America, 8.
ft See ~, 23, ante.
1,1 In our,
doubtless, commendable, eflorts, through a century and a half, to strengthen
the Grand Lodge System, we seem to have almost forgotten, at times, that the
Grand Lodge is but a means to an end; and that the real Institution is that
Universal Fraternity GRAND LODGE OF WASHINGTON.
previous century we
are justified in assigning to the regulation, now so much respected, no
greater authority than it had achieved for itse~f at the _period to which our
inquiry relates. I shall now undertake to show, by citing a few typical
instances out of hundreds that occurred, that at the time the Lodges were
formed which received their authority from PRINcz HALL the new doctrine that
authority from a Grand Master or Grand Lodge was necessary to the formation of
a new Lodge, although rapidly winning its way, had not yet obtained general
acceptance in practice; but, on the contrary, the approval of any
well‑established body of Masons was treated as sufficient authority for
forming a new Lodge; or, as one of our safest guides has expressed it, that
"throughout the last century and well into this, lodges have been formed by
British Masons without the previous consent or authority of Grand Lodge or the
Grand Master, * * * neither have the founders of such lodges ever been
censured for their irregularity of conduct."* and that, as our own Masonic
descent is from such bodies, we are not in a position to cast a stone at a
negro Mason whose Masonic pedigree is similar,‑even if‑ there were any
sufficient reason for wisbing to do so.
Same.‑! Illustrations.‑] will not pause to speak of Lodges like those at
Kilwinning, f Kelso, Melroset and Gateshead~i which, formed before the Grand
Lodge system, existed independent of it for long periods. of time or, like the
Lodge at Alnwick,** never submitted to it; or those, like No. 54 at Great Earl
street, Seven Dials, f f and the Lodge of Felicity, now No. 58, tt which
worked but briefly and at an early day before being "regularized;" orthorpe
like the Lodgeat Hexham, of whom little more is known than that they existed
after 1717 and never submitted to the Grand Lodge; or Lodges, like those
already mentioned, Ilil which continued to flourish and be recognized after
being erased from the Grand Lodge roll; or Lodges like Port Royal Kilwinning
Cross Lodge and Cabin Point Royal Arch Lodge, whose origin no man knoweth, but
from which perhaps half the Grand Lodges of the United States are descended,
which has existed,
and could exist again, without Grand Lodges or Grand Masters. "It wad frac
monie a blunder free us, An' foolish notion," if we could realize oftener and
more distinctly that it is iititiation ii~ this immemorial Fleater?tity, and
not the conformity ofhis initiation to some latter‑day rule of convenience,
that mak" a man our brothel*. On this "hang all the law and the prophets." "He
that hath an ear, let him bear." * G. W. SpuTH, An English View of Freemasonry
in America, 3.
tsee ~50, ante.
t~ Lodge Kelso did
not affiliate with the Grand Lodge of Scotland until 1754; nor Lodge Melrose
St. John, till 1891.‑GOULD, Ars q. C~, vi., 70 li The Lodge of Industry, at
Gatesbead, which was regularized in 1735, seems to have worked at Swalwell
from 1717‑perhaps from 1690.
**The l~odge at
Alnwick, 1701‑1757, never joined any Grand Lodge.
ftthis Lodge joined
the Grand Lodge in 1728, but had been "working previously.,' 11 Petitioned
Grand Lodge, 1735‑Ars. Q. C., v., 106. 11 ~l See note u D der ~ 45, ante.
*** The cdnjectures
of DovE, GOULD, DuummoND and others as to the origin of these Virginia Lodges
are only conjectures. Not improbably their origin was like that of Freder‑5
will pass to
particular instances. My first relate to a time when the regulation requiring
" the Grand Master's warrant " was new and fresh in memory: my later ones to a
time when its existence was known the world over.
(1.) The first
whose disregard of the new regulation I note, was no less a person than the
celebrated DR. WILLIAM STUKELEY, thought by some ‑ but not by me ‑ to have
been the first person initiated in London after the revival of 1717. Says our
best authority: *
" In June, 1726,
Stukeley 'retired to Grantham,'at which place, he tells us,‑ 'I set up a Lodg
of freemasons, wh lasted all the time I lived there., This was until February,
1730, when he removed to Stamford.
"'rhe Lodge at
Grantham never appeared on the roll of the Grand Lodge, which it would have
done, I think, had the proceedings of that body [the G. L.] been viewed with
favour by the doctor [Stukeley.] Under the circumstances, therefore, it seems
to point out, firstly, that independent Lodges continued to organize
themselves for many years after the formation of a Grand Lodge (of which there
is ample corroboration); and secondly," etc.
(2.) April 17,
1728, in the Grand Lodge, a letter being read from brethren in Madrid stating
thai the Duke Of WHARTON‑who had been Grand, Master 1722‑3 but was not then an
officer of the Grand Lodge‑had assumed to act as a " Second Deputy " and had
formed them into a Lodge, and that they had made three Masons,‑
,I The Grand Lodge
drank prosperity to the Brethren of the Lodge at Madrid t and desired the
Grand Master to write them word of their being acknowledged and received as
Brethren." t (3.) GOULD 11 finds that the New World did not differ from the
" Brethren [in
Scotland] united to form Lodges in neighborhoods where there were fair chances
of their continuance, and such assemblies, though without any other
sanction**, were not styled irregular when the Grand Lodge of Scotland was
erected in 1736. * * *
" It is evident
that the brethren who left the Old World and brought to their new homes a
knowledge of the Craft, were as much within their rights in holding Lodges in
Philadelphiaff, Portsmouth (New Hampshire), and elsewhere in America, as those
who assembled in like manner in England and Scotland; and just as in the
latter countries the members of
Lodge‑illustration (8) in our text. The Grand Lodge of Washington was formed
by Lodges chartered by the G. L. of Oregon; the latter, in part by Lodges
chartered by the G. L. of California; the latter, in part by Lodges sprung
from the G. L. of the District of Columbia; the latter, in part by Lodges
chartered by the G. L, of Virginia; and these two Lodges, of unknown origin,
assisted in establishing that illustrious mother of Grand Lodges.
*R. F. GOULD,
Masonic Celebrities. No. 5.‑The Rev. William Stukeley, M. D.; A)‑s.
Q. C., vi, 143.
t Who will join me
in drinking, " Prosperity to the Brethren of the Lodge " formed by "Second
Deputy" PRINCE HALL! Do not all speak atonce.
I Minutes of the
Grand Lodge; quoted by SADLER, Jfasonic Facts attd FVctions, 3,3.
~l History, iv,
In a Kingdom where
there had been Mother Lodges from time immemorial, ivhose sanction" was sought
by some other Lodges.‑w. n. u.
tt All the early,
"Modern" Lodges in Philadelphia ‑ the Lodges to which BEN.JAMIN FRANKLIN
belonged, and of which he was Grand Master ‑ were of this class; ‑ they had no
" warrant" of any kind.‑W. H. t.
GRAND LODGE OF
such Lodges were
accepted as petitioners for written Constitutions without their legal status
as Masons being demurred to, so we shall find that the Boston authorities
raised no objection to the Masonic regularity of the Portsmouth brethren, but
granted their request for a warrant in 1736. We have already seen that in 1734
the Prov. G. M. of New England was requested to confirm* Dr. Franklin and
others in their privileges in Pennsylvania‑thus completing the parallel.
,In those early
days a piece of paper or parchment, containing a written or printed authority
for certain brethren and their successors to meet as a Lodge, was not held in
the superstitious reverence with which it afterwards became regarded. The old
customs wfre gradually being supplanted by the new, but the former evinced
great tenacity of existence in some instances, especially in the British
colonies, where they appear to have remained for the longest period of time
there [in Philadelphia, in these unchartered Lodges] must be hold to have been
as much and as legally a Grand Lodge as that of '‑All England at York.' "
53. More illustrations. ‑(4.) Our next illustration as strikingly resembles
the case of the negro Masons as if the one had been copied from the other. In
his brilliant and instructive account of the English Lodge at Bordeaux, f
after mentioning that its first meeting was held Sunday, April 27, 1732, under
the presidency of a Bro. MARTIN KFLLY whose identity has eluded research; that
by 1737 it was in a prosperous condition; and that it still exists, Bro. SPETH
goes on to say
,,The English Lodge
quickly assumed the right to found other Lodges, and thus acquired the
position of a Mother Lodge. In a similar way have arisen more than one
Continental Grand Lodge; for instance, the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes at
Berlin. The English Lodge at Bordeaux never seems however to have progressed
beyond the status of a Mother Lodge, but in this character it proved very
active. * * * None of the Lodges created by the Anglaise were ever reported to
England, neither does the Lodge seem to have acted on behalf of the Grand
Lodge of England : it was simply a Lodge, established so far as we know,
without the knowledge ol‑ concurrence of the Grand Lodge of England, by
Englishmen resident at Bordeaux, and which assumed the authority to create
similar Lodges. Its first creation was the Loge Fransaise of Bordeaux, on the
13th December, 1740. These two titles prove to my mind that the Loge
L'Anglaise did not intend to imply by its designation that it was under the
rule of England, but simply that it was comprised mainly of Englishmen.
whereas the Loge Franqaise was intended for Frenchmen. On the ist February,
1765, this latter Lodge affiliated with the Grand Lodge of France, then become
more active in the Provinces, and chaiilred its name to La Fran ~aise ~lue
Ecossaise. We shall hear a good deal about this Lodge. ‑,rhe other Lodges
which are known to have been created by L'Anglaise are two at Brest in 1746 :
one each at Limoges in 1751, at Pons in 1754, at Cayenne in 1755, at Cognac in
1760, and at P6rigueux and New Orleans in 1765. Two Lodges of which we shall
hear more are the Harr,aonie at Bordeaux, most likely a daughter of
l,'Anglaise, although this is not certain,‑from which sprung in 1746 the
Amiti6. The above list must be very incomplete, for the Lodge, in a letter of
the 2nd August, 1785, to the Grand Lodge of England claims to have constituted
fortytwo Lodges, and in another " more than fifty," which may be an exagger‑
* The Pennsylvania
view has always been that this request was not granted, but was practically
withdrawn. The Massachusetts view, that it was granted.‑W. H. 1'.
t Ars Q. C., xii,
certainly points to more than the ten or eleven mentioned above."
To the same
authority we are indebted for the information that this Lodge resisted the
authority of the Grand Lodge of France; that in 1766, "left almost isolated
and without moral support," by its daughter Lodges, many of whom deserted to
the enemy, it "appears to have for the first time bethought itself of its
English origin". and took a warrant from the Grand Lodge of England, " under
the No. 363, and with a note in our registers to the effect that the Lodge bad
existed since 1732 "; that later the members became divided into two factions,
one of which succeeded in getting the Lodge to vote in 1774 " that it would
cease all correspondence with the Grand Lodge of England", and, in 1777‑8 to
apply to come into either " affiliation " or " aggregation " with the Grand
Orient of France; that in 1781 it was "formally installed as a Lodge in
Correspondences with the Grand Orient; that in England it was renumbered, as
239 in 1780, 240 in 1781 and 204 in 1792 *‑which changes were unknown to the
Lodge in 1802 ; that in 1782 the other faction got control of the Lodge,
asserted its connection with England, broke with the Grand Orient, resumed
correspondence with the Grand Secretary at London and waged war against the
Grand Orient; that in 1802, like African Lodge tn 1824, it tried to obtain
authority from England to work "high degrees " f ; that, although‑like African
Lodge and so many others‑it had been dropped from the English register in
1813, waich it did not hear of till l8‑Z8, after the war in 1816, it‑again
like African Lodge‑undertook to resume correspondence with England; but, in
spite of an even pathetic letter, in which it recites the "painful but
honourable struggle which we sustained with the G. 0. of France "‑reminding us
of the equally "painful but honourable struggle " of the negro Masons‑" at a
period when resistance was counted a crime, and passive obedience a duty ", it
never succeeded in again obtaining English registration; that the Lodge has
never relinquished its last English number, " but its title is to‑day 'La Loge
Anglais No. 204'; " and many other interesting particulars. t
I must leave it to
the reader to observe the many striking coincidences between this history and
that of the negro Masons;‑reniarking only that, while the Lodge 1',4nglaise
had far less authority for its original existence than the Lodges which PRINCE
HALL founded in Philadelphia and Providence; in its development into a Mother
Lodge; its erasure from the roll; its long existence among a people of another
race; and its
* Its number had
been changed to 298 in 1770.‑GoULD, Four Old Lodges, 64.
t See ~ 46, antc.
~ Among these I
count the fact, which will amuse our Martiiiist friends, that in 1764 this
Lodge refused admittance to a " foreign ofricer " because he had visited " the
clandestine Lodge of MARTINEZ PASCALIS "in Bordeaux! This reminds us to ask
those who insist on judging 18th century Masonry by 19th century usages, Are
you going to brand as spurious all the Masonry that sprang from PAS6ALis and
ST. MARTIN? And, if they answer" Yes," Do you know where ALBERT PIKE got the
greater part of the contents of "Morals and Dogma" ? GRAND LODGE OF
long war with the
supreme Masonic authority of that race, as well as in many minor particulars,
the parallel between it and African Lodge and its offspring is well‑nigh
perfect. Yet what Mason in the world‑before French Masonry abandoned a believe
in God‑would deny the Masonry of the Loge 'l Anglaise, at any stage of its
~ 54. More
illustrations.‑(5) For our next example we are indebted to one of the older
historians of Masonry in the northern kingdom.*
In 1747 a petition
was presented to the Grand Lodge of Scotland stating that as "Alexander
Drummond, late Master of the Lodge Greenock Kilwinning, and Past Provincial
Grand Master of the West of Scotland, had taken up his residence at
Alexandretta in Turkey, and desired to propagate the art and science of
Masonry in those parts of the world, where he had already erected several
Lodges," it was prayed that he might have a "Provincial Commission." The
prayer was granted, "with full power to the said Alexander Drummond, and any
other whom he might nominate, to constitute Lodges," etc.
(6). We have
already seen ho ' w the "Ancient" Grand Lodge of Eng land was formed in
1751t‑exactly as the first Afrii2an Grand Lodge was formed in 1808, except
that the former was organized by an "assembly" (that is, mass meeting of
members) of five or six Lodges, none of which had warrants; while the latter
was organized by representatives of three Lodges, one of which had a regular
warrant and the other two de facto warrants. To illustrate how our ancient
brethren believed irregularities in these petty matters of form and
administration might be cured, I cite a note dated 5 Feb. 1752,t on the minute
book of the "Ancients," that at this "General Assembly of Ancient Masons" of
July 17, 1751, already mentioned, "an order was made" that "the Masters of
Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 were authorized to grant Dispensations & Warrants & to
act as Grand Master." Again, we learn from an entry made by DERMOTT in
Morgan's Register 11 under date 14 Sept., 1752, that "whereas several of the
Lodges have congregated and made Masons without any Warrant (not with a desire
of Acting wrong, but thro: the Necessity above men tioned), "‑namely, the fact
that, as yet, the "Ancients" had no Grand Master,‑to "Rectify" this, the Grand
Committee provided that the Grand Secretary should "write Warrants," which
were to be presented to the Grand Master for signature as soon as they should
"arrive at the Great happiness" of having such an officer. This is practically
what the Degro Masons also did.
(7.) As our next
illustration, I desire simply to refer to the account, already giveD,** of the
organization of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston; whose
* LAuRiE, History
of Free Masonry and The Grand Lodge of Scotland (Edinburg: 1859), 107.
t See g 24, aitte.
t Quoted in Ars Q.
C., v, 166 et seq.; and by GOULD, ffistory, iii, 190.
11 Quoted by JOHN
LANE, Ars Q. C., viii, 2b5; and by SADLER, illa8ottic Facts and Fictio?18, 70.
"Morgan's Register," mentioned by GOULD in a note (History, iii, 187), long
lost, was discovered by SADLER and announced to the world by LANE, in 1885.
**In ?. 28, ante.
proceedings," as GOULD Says,* "were indeed as irregular as it is possible to
conceive";‑and yet from the men whom she initiated during those "early
proceedings", you and I derive our Masonry.
(8.) In his History
of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, Brother JOHN DOVE says:f
"I'rom facts which
reached us through persons, there can be very little doubt that occasional
Lodges were hold and degrees conferred without Warrant, before and subsequent
to this date , at many places in Virginia, under the immemorial usage of
the Ancient Grand Lodge at York.
"We have also
evidence from the records of Falmouth Lodge, in Stafford County, that in the
absence of a Warrant from any Grand Lodge, the competent number of Master
Masons being met and agreed, acted under this immemorial usage, only asking
the sanction oft the nearest Lodge in writing; and which document operated as
their Warrant, as will be seen by the records of Fredericksburg lodge, No. 4,
in granting this privilege to the Masons in Falmouth. We are also justified in
inferring that the Military Traveling Lodges may have in many instances
imparted the Degrees of Masonry to persons of respectability residing at or
near their place of encampment, and on leaving gave them a Warrant to confer
these Degrees on others, in lieu of a certificate of enrolment.,' ,
At the formation of
the Grand Lodge of Virginia, this Fredericksburg Lodge was not able to claim a
chartered existence prior to July 21, 1758; 11 yet before that it had made
GEORGE WASHINGTON amason in 1752, and had empowered five brethren to form
Botetourt Lodge at Gloucester Court House. This Botetourt Lodge, which had no
other warrant until 1773, joined in forming the Grand Lodge of Virginia, from
which the Grand Lodge of Washington is descended.
~ 55. More
illustrations.‑(9.) We now come to an example of the practice, similar to that
mentioned ir our quotation from DOVE in the preceding section, of a Lodge's
issuing a copy of its charter, as sufficient authority for the formation of a
new Lodge. **
* History, iv, 218.
t The Virginia
Text‑Book (3d. Ed., Richmond: 1866), 344.
1 In a report to
the Grand Lodge last year (Proceedings, G. L. of 147ashington, 1898, p. 50),
the present writer included this paragraph, copying it from CLARiii'S Negro
Mason in Equity. The Arkansas committee, SAm H. DAVIDSON, Chairman, reported
to that Grand Lodge that this extract was "garbled." Others, including J. R.
DnummoND, have repeated that statement. Although I knew that Bro. CLARK was a
more accurate writer than either of the others named, this charge gave me much
uneasiness;‑for there are but few crimes, except slander, which T detest more
than literary dishonesty. It took me many months to find a copy of DOVE: but,
when found, it demonstrated that Bro. CLARK (colored) is not only more
accurate than the others, but raore‑just. DOVE gives the passage verbatim as
CLARK bad printed it, except that the latter's printer had dropped out the
three words which I have now italicized‑if, indeed, they were in the edition
from which CLARK COP' ied. His error made no change in the sense.
~~ The statement,
sometimes made, that Fredericksburg Lodge worked under a dispensation before
it was chartered, is pure conjecture. Dispensations preliminary to a warrant
or charter appear to have been unknown in those days;‑except "dispensations,"
like those mentioned in son2e of the sixteen illustrations given in the text,
issued by Master Masons who had no authority from Grand Lodge or Grand Master
to issue them.
Their existence as
a Lodge may fairly be dated from such authorization, for in many respects that
semi‑official origin was of a much more masonic character than in many
t GRAND LODGE OF
One of the oldest
Lodges in New York, now Mount Vernon No. 3, for six years had no other
authority for its organization or existence than a copy of the warrant
o~'another Lodge. At the end of six years, in 1765, it merely had that copy "
contirmed " by a Provincial Grand Master of another jqtrisdiction‑that of the
" Moderns ". * It was " reconfirmeti " by another "Modern " Provincial in
1773; f but the Lodge worked f rOlD 1759 to 1800 without any. other warrant.
In 171)8 DE WITT CI,INTON reported to the Grand Lodge. of New York "that he
had not been able to induce the members of Union Lodge at Albany [as it was
then called] to surrender their old Warrant or to come under or acknowledge
the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge" t * * *
The 2nd Battalion
of the Ist Foot, to which Lodge No. 74 on the Registry oflreland was attached
bad long been stationed at Albany, N. Y., but in 1759 was ordered away. 11 The
otlicial historian says: **‑
"In consequence of
the long domicile of the Regiment in Albany, the Lodge had accepted into its
membership by initiation or otherwise a large number of influential citizens,
with whom the ties of friendship and brotherly love had become very strong,
insomuch that, when orders were received for the regiment to remove in 1759,
the Military brethren caused an exact copy of their Warrant to be made, ,tnd
indorsed the same as follows : f+
"I We, the Master,
Warden and Brethren of a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, No. 74, Registry
of Ireland, held in the Second Battalion Royal, adorned with all the honors,
and assembled in due form, Do hereby declare, certify and attest, that
whereas, our body is very numerous by the addition of i‑nady new members,
merchants and inhabitants of the City of Albany, they having earnestly
requested and besought us to enable them to hold a Lodge during our absence
from them, and we knowing them to be men of undoubted reputations and men of
skill and ability in Masonry, and desirous to promote the welfare of the
Craft. We have, therefore, by unanimous consent and agreement, given them ~n
exact and true copy of our Warrant as above, and have properly installed Mr.
Richard Cartwright, Mr. Henry Bostwick and Mr. Wm. Furgusod, as Assistant
Master and Wardens of our body, allowing them to sit and act during our
absence, or until they, by our assistance, can procure a separate WARRANT for
themselves from the GRAND LODGF, OF IRELANT).
'~ 'GIVEN Under our
hands and seal of our Lodge in the CITY Of ALBANY, the eleventh day of April,
in the year Of MASONRY 5759, and in the year of our LORD GOD 1759.'" [Signed
by the Master, Wardens and Secretary.]
tbatcould be mentioned, oftheperiod. It would be absurd to claim for the
initial proceedings of the Craft in early days the sELnae regularity and
fidelity as to details that should be observed under more advantageous
circumstances, and as we now dernand."‑W. J. HTTGHAN, in London li~reemason,
Sept. 7,1889. Compare g 17 ante, and Appendix 1, post.
* CEEARLEs T.
MCCLENACHAN, History of Freemasonry in. New York, i, 153.
~' Idem, 159.
11 GOULD, Ars Q.
C., v,, 242; MCCLENAC19AN, History, i, 152.
tf Lodge No. 74, in
the Ist Foot, gave an exact copy of its Warrant to a body of Brethren at
Albany (N. Y.), in 1759, AND IT IS UNREASONABLE TO BELIEVE THAT IT WAS A
SOLITARY INSTANCE OF THE KIND.‑GoULD, History, iv, 217.
I I 72
In mv opinion it
was probably by a similar authority that PRINCE HALL and his associates were "
dispensated into a Lodge in 1776; but of this no conclusive evidence appears
~ 56. More
Illustrations. ‑(l 0.) The brother whose " Masonic Facts and Fictions" gave
the world its first correct conception of the "Ancient" Masons tells us, in
another valuable work, t that in 1759 the Masters and Wardens of eight or nine
army Lodges temporarily at Quebec assembled and chose an "acting Grand
Master;" and that he and his successors warranted Lodges among the merchants
of the city "without the warranted sanction of the, Grand Lodge of England"
until 1767. GOULD, it is true, tells ust that "about" the year 1762 a Prov. G.
M. of Canada was "appointed" from England; but the local historian 11 explains
this by telling us that the commissioner for Provincials issued prior to that
to JOHN COLLINS in 1767 failed to reach the appointees. Only one of these
Lodges found its way on to the Grand Lodge register before 1770; yet the
legitimacy of the origin of the others was recognized by permitting them to
rank from 1762.**
illustration closely analogous to the last is found in the action, already
fully narrated, tt of the brethren who "assumed" authority to erect a Grand
Lodge of Ancient Masons in Boston in 1777.
Under the date
1783, GOULD tells us tt the Lodge in the Prince of Wales' American Regiment
"claimed to work under an Irish warrant No. 535‑‑really granted to the 30th.
Foot (but from whom they had received a copy), and to have been 'installed' in
Lodge No. 512, 63rd. Foot, in South Carolina."
(13.) He informs
us, at the same reference, that by the joint act of two "Ancient" Lodges at
Halifax, St. Andrew's, No. 155, and St. John's No. 211, dispensations had been
granted for four other Lodges in Nova Scotia, apparently in 1781.
(14.) The same
authority tells us ~Ill that the first stationary Lodge in New Brunswick "was
established by dispensation of Nos. 155 and 211 (A.) in 1784, "‑‑evidently the
(15.) Our next
illustration evidently refers to the same two Lodges. I prefer to give it in
the language of an eminent Hebrew brother: ***
"In my reply to
Mackey on the colored question, I expressed my belief that a notion prevailed
in the last century that a Lodge had a right to grant a dispensation for the
formation of a new Lodge; that Prince Hall,
* See Appendix 1,
f HENRY SADLER,
Thomas Dunckerley (London: 1891), 51.
'History, iv, 270.
'I JOHN H. GRAHAM,
History of Freemasonry in Quebec (Montreal: 1892), 37.
**GOULD, ut supra.
tf Ante, R 2(J‑‑32.
*+I History, iv,
*** JACOB NORTON,
Additional Facts and Suggestions concerning the Ancients, quoted in The Negro
Mason in Equity, 25.
GRA~D LODGE OF
do doubt, received
such a dispensation from the Army Lodge, and therefore he thought it proper to
grant similar documents to the colored brethren in Philadelphia and in
Providence, R. 1. Now in Bro. Brennan's History of Freemasonry in British
America', I found two letters copied from the originals preserved in the
archives at Halifax. The first dated November 7, 1783 (St. Anu's, New
Brunswick). An army officer, whose regiment was disbanded, but who was still
in possession of an Irish Army charter, asked Bro. J. Peters, Secretary of a
Lodge at Halifax, whether he could not open a Lodge at St. Ann's under the
said army charter, to which he received the following reply:
" ' It seems to be
the opinion here that no objection can be made to your meeting and conversing
under your old warrant, but that it will not ~e right, as it was granted for
another province and to a re
nt which is now
disbanded, to proceed to making, etc., under it. greohave not yet a Provincial
Grand warrant here, but one is applied for, and by a late account from a
brother in England we have reason to expect it daily.
When it arrives you
will have regulations sent to you. Our worthy Bro.
George Pyke, Esq.,
at present Master of St. John's Lodge, is the Provin cial Grand Master elect.
In the meantime I am ordered to acquaint you that you may at any tzme have
from the Lodges here a dispensation which will answer all the ends of a warr '
(16.) We now reach
the decade in which the Philadelphia Masons considered PRINCE HALL'S authority
to meet, sufficient ; and for an analogous case, in the land where the idea
that "regularity" was important had been invented, we are again indebted to
the accomplished Secretary of Lodge Quatuor Coronati * (italics mine):
"It appears that a
dispensation and warrant [for the Lodge which became Combermere I.o(ige of
Union No. 5,M, afterward 295, at Macclesfield, England,] having been applied
for and delayed beyond the date when the brethren desired to meet, they
obtained permission of the neighboring Lodge, Beneficent No. 454, and met
under their sanction on the 7th of March, 1793. [This would appear to have
been about seven months before the constitution of the Lodge.] The proceeding
is a remarkable one and even in those lax days must have been irregular,, but
it demonstrates a least a laudable desire on the part of the brethren to act
in a regular manner,"
57. Same. ‑‑ Conclitsions. ‑ Other examples might be given. We might carry
them almost to the present day by noting cases like those in New York in 1827,
1850 and 1859, where, after rebellions brethren and Lodges had gone out from
the Grand Lodge and assumed and exercised power to erect numerous Lodge and
make hundreds of Masons, all these new Lodges and Masons were esteemed regular
enough to be taken into the original Grand Lodge without any "healing" or
curative process whatsoever. All our illustrations have been drawn from the
acts of English and American Masons, in what is styled the "York rite." They
could be indefinitely increased in number should we go into other
nations‑whose Masonry we recognize‑or into other "Itites." But I doubt not,
the reader is weary of examples. Yet one word of caution is necessary: When
the Washington committee cited a few of these illustrations, last year, a bold
attempt to befog the subject was made by certain writers and committees, by
brazenly asserting that these Lodges were not recognized by "regular" Masons
until they had been regularized by the Grand
* C.. W. SPETH, Ars
Q. C. vii, 2' .
jurisdiction;"‑‑some writers, bolder or more ignorant than the rest, even said
"by the local Grand Lodge"! The reader can see, from a perusal of the examples
themselves, that that is not true. And he must read between the lines, and
conjure up for himself the innumerable cases which must have occurred of
visiting, dimitting, joining by affiliation, joining in forming new Lodges,
and the like, between members of such Lodges as we have mentioned and Lodges
regularly registered, to realize how completely the veins of all existing
Masonry are permeated by blood from these technically non‑regular sources. The
printed histories of English Lodges are full of illustrations of the fact that
the stringedt "paper edicts" of the two Grand Lodges against receiving members
of Lodges which they had not recognized as regular‑men who could hail only
"from a Lodge of the Holy St. John of * Jerusalem "‑were constantly
disregarded. A last century writer whose work has become a Masonic classic I
gives a selection of laws, that Lodges might choose therefrom in framing their
by‑laws; and one of these reads as follows: "Article6. Visitors.
That every visiting
brother being a member of a regular lodge, shall pay oil every visit ‑Zs. 6d.
but if only of the lodge of St. John shall pay 2s."
58. Same.‑Have I not shown all that I claimed in sections 49 and 51? Is the
reader not satisfied that the grand lodge regulation which sought to make the
existence of a Grand Master's warrant the sole test of regularity, was slow in
winning acceptance by the Fraternity? Is he not satisfied that technical
non‑regularity was regarded, a century ago, as a far less serious thing than
our modern theorists would make it out to be now‑or than it is now; and was
measured by a far different standard? Is he not satisfied that the Masonic
pedigree of every mother's son of us, if all its ramifications could be
traced, would be found to lead back, by one line or another, to such
non‑regular bodies as I have mentioned? And, if so, judging matters by the
Masonic usage of that day, can we escape the conclusion that the Lodges were
within the pale of Masonry which were formed in Philadelphia and Providence by
brethren who acted with the knowledge and approval of a Mason whose standing
as a veteran of the Revolutionary War; whose character as a Christian
minister; whose zeal in diffusing Masonic light; hardly less than the fact
that he was known to be in correspondence with the Grand Secretary of England
and to be the only Mason in Massachusetts who held a warrant which emanated
directly from the mother Grand Lodge of the world, t proclaimed PRINCE HALL
easily the leader among all the black Masons in America, and a Mason whose
official standing could hardly be considered inferior to that of WEBB and
GRIDLBY at the times that they found themselves, upon the deaths Of WARREN and
RowE, respectively, heads of what remained of Provincial Grand Lodges that
had, in strict‑
* I think "of" is
an older form than "at"; and one JOIIN‑ST. JoHv the Almoner‑than two.
t A Candid
Disquisition ofthe Principles and Practices ofthe M. A. and R. Society of F.
and A. Ma4sons. By WELLINGS CALCOTR, P. M. (London: 1769), 206.
' W. S. GARDNE:R,
G. M.; Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1870, p. 33.
, j~ i
GRAND LODGE OF
orant I see, id he
rable liliars of i, to g,ted ~sto‑
id ,li st
ness, perished with
the Provincial Grand Masters? * It seems to me we can not honestly strike the
Lodges at Philadelphia and Providence from the roll of perfectly legitimate
Masonic Lodges. f
Objections to the
first Negro Gr(tnd Lodge.
of first negro Grand Lodge.‑The first negro Grand Lodge is ordinarily dated
from 1808. This is proper enough; but there are traces of an earlier
organization, in the life time of PRINCE HALL and possibly ante‑dating the
organization of' the white Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, March 5, 1792. These
traces are, by far, too slight to give us any clear idea of that organization;
or to tell us whether, like the white organization of 1777 in the same State,
and so many others, it originated "in assumption,"t or was a stage in the
natural development of a Mother Lodge,il or was based upon some authority
contained in some, now lost, letter from the (' rand Secretary of England;
but‑as the traces of prehistoric glaciers on our mountain tops, and the
foot‑prints of prehistoric birds in the saddstoiie rock point with absolute
certainty to the former existence of glaciers and birds,‑just as certainly do
these slight traces demonstrate that so7nething must have existed to make
them. I allude to such points as these: A writer** whose veracity, in his long
and useful career as a Mason and a Masonic controversialist, has never been
questioned tells us that‑
"In a certificate
given to 'Brother John Dodd' in February, 1792, the document is signed,
The same writer,
speaking of the "license" to PETER MANTORE and the other Philadelphia negro~s,
states (italics mine): tt
"Prince Hall says,
in a letter written to Peter Mantore, March 22nd, 1797: 'We hereby and herein
give you license to assemble and work as aforesaid.' He further advises them
'not to take any in at present until you chose your officers, and your Master
be installed in the Grand Lodge, which we are, willing to do when he thinks
convenient and he may receive a full Warrant instead of a permit.' "
In 1795, Rev. Dr.
BELKNAP, the historian, writing to Judge TUCKER, Professor in the University
of Virgina, after mentioning, "One of my inforniants, Prince Hall, a very
intelligent black man, aged fifty‑seven years," adds: tj
"Having once and
again mentioned this person, I must inform you that he is a Grand Master of a
lodge of Masons, composed wholly of blacks, and distinguished by the name of
African Lodge. It was begun in 1775, while this town was garrisoned by British
troops, some of whom
See 0 2~, 29, and
note under ~ 12, aiite, t See first note under ~?. 55, ante.
See ~O 24, 31,
See &~ 50, ante.
** Wm. T. Boyi),
Transactions, (iiegro) G. L. of Ohio, 1883, p. 102.
tt Td., 10,3.
(white) G. L. of Ohio, 1876, p. 113.
held a lodge and
initiated a number of negroes. * * * The lodge at present consists of thirty
persons, and care is taken that none but those of good moral character are
60. Same, 1808.‑But, whatever may have been the previous condition of affairs,
the death of PRINCE HALL, December 4, 1807, evidently brought home to his
associates‑just as the death of WARREW had brought home to the "Ancient"
Masons of Massachusetts thirty years before*‑a realization of the necessity of
organizing‑or re‑organizing‑a Grand Lodge. Fortunately‑or unfortunately, if
the existence of Masonry among the negroes be a misfortune,‑the foresight of
that remarkable man had rendered this possible; and, a few months after his
death, representatives of the negro Lodges in Philadelphia, Providence and
Boston assembled in the latter city and organized the "African Grand Lodge."
Notwithstanding the fact that the two younger Lodges were accorded equal
standing with the mother Lodge No. 459 in this convention, some writers appear
to regard this as the development of the mother Lodge into a Grand Lodge,
after the German practice.t I see no special objection to this view, if the
reader doubts whether the two younger Lodges should be regarded as fully
developed before being fully regularized by being placed on the roll of a
Grand Lodge.t There was really no settled practice at that time as to how a
Grand Lodge should be organized; and the method followed by the colored
brethren is the one that has since attained the greatest popularity,
especially in America. In view of the considerable number of American Grand
Lodges that have recognized the Gran Dieta of Mexico, the reader who attaches
an importance which I do not to quibbles about the manner of organizing a
Grand Body will find a wide field for investigation in the organization of
that hybrid, and in the foriuation of several of the bodies throygh which its
pedigree must be traced. Of bodies nearer home, it is well known that the
Grand Lodges of New Hampshire and Rhode Island were each erected by two
Lodges; and that of New Jersey by one, assisted by a few individual brethren.
African Grand Lodge chartered Lodges in various parts of the United States and
entered upon a career which can be described with substantial but not absolute
accuracy by paraphrasing the description by Grand Master GARDNER Of one of the
predecessors of its white sister, over which he presided:ll
* See ~30, ante.
t See 0 35, 50,
a7ite. GOULD suggests that, "The 'Grand Committee' of the 'Ancients,' which
subsequently developed into their 'Grand Lodge,' was, no doubt, originally
their senior private Lodge, whose growth, in this respect, is akin to that of
the Grand Chapter of the 'Moderns,' which commencing in 1765 as a private
Chapter, within a few years assumed the general direction of the R. A.
Masonry, and issued warrants of constitution." ‑Atholl Lodqes, x; quoted also,
as a note, in his History, iii, 191. As to this development of the Grand
Committee, see ~~ 24, ante.
I It should be
remembered that a great number of the Lodges which participated in the
formation of the white Grand Lodges in Massachusetts had never been
"regularized " by being placed on the rolls of the Grand Lodges of England or
Scotland. See N 27, 29‑32, ai,le.
Proceedings, G. L. of Mass., 1870, p. 32. The body spoken of was the one
organized in Mass. in 1777. See ~ 30, ante.
n GRAND LODGE OF
Thus by the record,
and by contemporaneous history, it is fixed beyond all question and doubt that
the African Grand Lodge, in 1808, by assumption of the powers, duties and
responsibilities of a Grand Lodge, became a free, independent, sovereign Grand
Lodge, with a jurisdiction absolute and entire throughout the United States
and a provisional jurisdiction in other States and countries. By this
revolution and assumption, from that day to this, the African Grand Lodge,
without interruption, has exercised all the plenary powers of a Grand Lodge.
It has held regular and special meetings, elected and installed its Grand
Masters and other Grand Officers, kept full and complete records of its
doings, granted warrants for new Lodges, erected and erased Lodges, compelled
and received the allegiance of its subordinates and their members. and has
been in correspondence with and recognized by other Grand Lodges of the world.
From 1808 to 1899 the full and just‑completed term of ninety‑two years, there
has never been any successful opposition to its claim of sovereignty. From
time to time it has gathered to itself every opposing element [except its
principal rival] possessing even a colorable title to legitimacy, which it
found within the borders of its jurisdiction.
61. Alleged i7~fringentent on G. L. of Massachusetts. ‑But was not the
erection of African Grand Lodge an invasion of the rights and jurisdiction of
the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts? Only in appearance, and when superficially
considered; not in fact. Massachusetts was a legitimate Grand Lodge. It was
also an independent‑which is what the word " sovereign " meant in those
days‑Grand Lodge; and, before 1808, it had claimed exclusive jurisdiction in
that State. But it had not made good that claim‑it had not acquired exclusive
jurisdiction. The Grand Lodges of England and Scotland were still maintaining
concurrent and adverse jurisdiction there. * African Lodge No. 459 and St.
Andrew's Lodge were still disputing her pretensions, and successfully
resisting them. It would be a very singular thing if the fact that the Grand
Lodge of Massachusetts was endeavoring to grow into a sole Grand Lodge with
exclusive jurisdiction would, in itself, operate to prevent her opponent from
also growing, and becoming the better able to maintain its contention. That
would be a very simple and easy way to win a battle, but it has no basis in
common‑sense or reason and we need consider it no farther. In the next place,
while we may concede that the idea of the possibility of such a thing as
exclusive territorial jurisdiction had made considerable headway by
1808‑though it had by no means won general acceptance,‑the two Grand Lodges in
Massachusetts in reality had separate and not conflicting jurisdictions. The
younger body, whatever it may have said on paper, practically exercised
jurisdiction only among black men; and the older body, whatever,it may have
said on paper, practically exercised jurisdiction only among white men. This
is the case with all those bodies in the United States which, for the sake of
brevity, I allude to as " white " Grand Lodges. The fact that, in later years,
a negro was occasionally initiated in one of their Lodges is but the rare
exception that proves the rule. No candid man, familiar with the facts, will,
after considering the probable result of a ballot on a negro candidate in any
Lodge with which he is familiar, assert that our white
* See ~ 42, aizte,
Lodges afford any
practical gateway for the e.*trance of the great bo y worthy and qualifled
colored men into our Fraternity. This is so e e where in America, and in 1899;
but, in Massachusetts, before 1808 th white Masons had given conclusive
evidence that they intended to e cise jurisdiction only over whites‑that they
did not want negro Masons for, while from 1792‑indeed, from 1782‑they had used
every persuasi and every threat that could be devised to induce the white Lo
St. Andrew's to unite with their organization, they never once invited the
black Lodge No. 459 to do so. By mutual consent, then, we must hold, the white
and black Grand Lodges of 1808, though in the same territory, were exercising
jurisdiction in different fields; and those jurisdictions did not conflict.
But there is still
another reason why there was no invasion. African Grand Lodge, although called
"of Boston," and although it held its comrnunications in that city, was not
organized as a Grand Lodge "of Massachusetts" or "of Boston." It was, like the
British Grand Lodges in their earlier history, simply a Grand Lodge in the
world. It, as they, had no territorial jurisdiction; but its jurisdiction
extended throughout the world over its own Lodges and none other. It asserted
no jurisdiction over the Lodges of the white Grand Lodge; and thus did not
invade its jurisdiction. *
~ 62. Two Grand
Lodges in one State.‑‑Bogus "American Doctrine."But let us assume that the
reader is not able to accept all the conclusions reached in the last section;
and assume that the erection of the first Negro Grand Lodge was a distinct
invasion of the rights and jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
You ask, "What was the effect of that fact?" I ask, The effect on whom‑‑on you
and me, or on the Negro Mason? The effect, as to you and me, may be that we
will not "recognize"‑‑ that is, enter into diplomatic relations with, the
invading Grand Body. That is a matter relating to the " recognition 11 of the
negro organizations ‑‑an entirely different question from the question of
their legitimacy,‑‑ and one which will be considered in its proper place. t At
preseDt we are considering ‑‑ not whom we ought to recognize ‑‑ but whietber
this assumed "invasion" would affect the legitimacy of the Masons made tinder
authority of the second Grand Lodge. It is entirely clear to me that it would
not. " But, " the young Mason asks, " is it not a f act, and is it not 'the
American doctrine,' that two Grand Lodges cannot exist in the same state?" It
is not a fact, and that is not "the Ai‑,aerican Doctrine." I say this with
full knowledge that in every coii n try in which two unfriendly Grand Lodges
have existed, the elder has usually, tnd both have often, stigmatized the
Lodges and members of the other as "irregiilar," "clandestine," "spurious,"
"bogus" and the like; and also with full knowledge that numerous American
Grand Lodges and Masonic
acceptance by the negroes of the doctrine of territorial jurisdiction, as
between their own organizatioi)s, may be said to date from the formation of
their National Grand Lodge in 1847.
t See ?,? 74‑89,
the w t
L GRAND LODGE OF
defiding the "American doetride," have employed the very words, "eadiiot
exist" or "cannot lawfully exist;" and if the reader will bear with me I will
presently show that these words have a far different meaning from that which
they might appear to convey. But let us first see what the facts of history
have been. In England, from 1725, when the " old Lodge at York " assumed the
title of Grand Lodge, to 1813 there were always two Grand Lodges, and for part
of that time there were three, and for a time four. In Scotland we have seen a
Grand Lodge and a contemporaneous Mother Lodge.* In early Irish history we
find two GrandLodges. In Prussia alone there are now and long have been three,
dwelling together most amicably; and in all Germany eight or nide.i In
Massachusetts we saw that prior to 1792 there were two, one of them
practically independent from 1787 and the other entirely so from 1777.t In
South Carolina there have been two. 11 In New York, not to mention minor
bodies which failed to achieve the recognition with which history crowns
successful independence, there were rival Grand Lodges from 1823 to 1827, from
1837 to 1850 and from 1849 to 1858.** These illustrations of the fact that
dual Grand Lodges do exist and have existed I deen) sufficient without calling
attention to those disclosed in the history of Louisiana, Cuba, Mexico, Peru,
France and other countries.ff What, then, is meant by the statement that two
Grand Lodges 'cannot " exist in the same State?
~, 63. Same.‑True
American Doctrine.‑The courts of England and Ai‑nerica have often explained
that, in interpreting laws,, "may" must sometimes be construed to mean "shall"
or "must"; "shall" to mean "may"; "or" to mean "and"; "and" to mean "or",
etc.; and that the circumstances attending the use of the words under
consideration must also be taken into account. It is by a method somewhat
analogous, that we learn that the "American doctrine" as to two Grand Lodges
in one State, when correctly understood, does not contradict history‑is not a
See 50, ante. See
35, ante, and Appendix 20, post.
See 33, ante, and
GOULD, History, iv,
In each case
ofree6neiliation in New York, all the Lodges and all the actg‑including the
initiations‑of the rival bodies were declared to have been regular. No
"healing" was deemed necessary.
tt I see no reason
to modify, in tlieleast particular, the view which I expressed two years ago:
" Hoodwink a brother and then let him lay his finger on a terrestrial globe,
and it is almost certain that lie will point to a country‑whetber it be
England or Australia, Germany or Canada, Massachusetts, South Carolina or New
York‑whosie Masonic history flatly contradicts the absurd cliliin that two
legitimate Grand Lodges can Dot exist in the same country at the same time. We
trust that by the time another question of the kind comes before our Grand
Lodges they will have learned that two rival bodies may exist side by side,
neither of them clandestine in any proper sense of the word, each irregular
from the point of view of the other and under its laws; but both entirely
regular as far as concerns the rest of the Masonic world."‑A,oceedings, G. L.
of Washington, 1897, Cor. Rep., P. 106.
I I so
lie; but is, when
expressed less technically, simply that experience has shown so clearly that
Americans accept it as an axiom, requiring no f urther proof and concerning
which no further experiment is justifiable, that in America two Grand Lodges
cannot exist in the same State successfully and without detriment to the
Craft; and that, therefore, to discourage a practice which is found to be so
injurious, if a second Grand Lodge be formed in any State‑no matter how
regular its sponsers may be, or how strictly they follow approved precedents
in organizing the new Grand l,odge,‑the existinggrand Lodges will not enter
into relations with it‑that is, accord it "recognition."* I am not driven to
the necessity of asking the reader to accept my assurance on this point, but
will cite an authority that ought to be convincing. Perhaps no writer
formulated the "American doctrine" earlier than ALBERT G. MACKEY, the
well‑known Masonic author; or defended it more strenuously. Hence the
following extract from an editorial article from his pen is authoritative upon
the question of the meaning of the doctrine. It will be noticed that in the
early part of the quotation he uses the usual formula. "two independent Grand
Lodges cannot lawfully exfst;" and that the remainder of the quotation shows
that he means that they "cannot" exist because they "have always faifed" to
work harmoniously and without friction. Speaking of the proposal to have the
white Grand Lodge of Ohio recognize the negro Grand Lodge in that State,
"Now, if there is
any one well recognized principle of Masonic law and usage in all English
speaking countries, it is that two independent Grand Lodges cannot lawfully
exist within the same jurisdiction. Attempts have been made in England, and in
this country in Massachusetts, South Carolina, New York and Louisiana, to
establish two independent Grand Lodges in the same jurisdiction. But these
attempts have always failedthe two Grand Lodges remained in antagonism to each
other‑neither ever recognized the other‑intercommunication between the members
of each was prohibited under severe penalties‑and the result, without
exception, was that one of the two was obliged to recede from its position,
and either to become extinct or unite with the other."
Thus we see that
the " American doctrine," when properly understood, does not relate to the
right of a second Grand Lodge to exist, but of its capacity to exist
successfully and without injury to the Fraternity; and that there is nothing
in that doctrine to make the organization of African Grand Lodge illegal, but
something that tends to make its formal recognitiou difficult. It may be
remarked, moreover, that this "American doctrine " had hardly acquired a
foothold in 1808; and that, originally and possibly down to 1869, it was not
understood to apply to the negro Grand Lodges‑they being regarded as
inoffensive "minor bodies," formingalmost a " distinct society," t and
precipitating none of theevils against which, as the above extract from MACKEY
shows, the "doctrine"
* The refusal of
the Grand Lodge League of Germany, a few years ago, to recognize SETTEGAST's
Grand Lodge Kaiser IIriedrich Zur Bundestreue was based upon a quite similar
idea, viz: that recognition ought to be refused because it was not politic to
form an additional Grand Lodge.
t Voice of Masonry,
Jan., 1876, p. 54.
1 Compare what is
said of the " two distinct societies " in ~l,, 25, 26, ante.
i GRAND LODGE OF
was designed to
guard; and, finally, that, not being a Landmark, it can be upheld only so long
as it does not interfere with rights conferred by the Landmarks.
Same.‑Not binding on ?iegroes.‑But let me assume that the reader cannot agree
with any of the opinions I have expressed in the last two sections ‑ for I
could not ask or hope that anv reader should agree with me in all respects,
nor is that necessary in order that he should agree with me on the main
questions. Suppose it be thought that MACKFY intended to go so far as to say
that, although dual Grand Lodge have existed in various parts of the world for
a century and three‑quarters, and even in many parts of America; yet that "
ancient usage " has worked so badly in America that, in America, it has become
a law, not only that it is totally inadvisable that two Grand Lodges should
exist in the same State, but that, as an actual fact, the breath of life
cannot be breathed into a second Grand l,odge in any State;‑that its existence
is absolutely impossible.* Well, who made this law? I will not press the
question too closely, lest we draw from the windy woods of Maine another of
those patronizing explanations of how new theories, unheard of by the fathers,
can suddenly become "absolutely binding" on bodies of Masons who never
assented to them and who had fondly thought they were free Masons. But this
much we may admit, that if such a law existed in 1808 it must have been made
by the white Maso7is; for, even if the negroes accepted such a law forty years
later, the wildest romancer will hardly claim that any of the three negro
Lodges in existence in 1808, or any member of any of those Lodges, had
directly or indirectly assented to any such doctrine as early as 1808. How,
then, could that law be binding on the negro Masons? Will folly be carried so
far as to claim that the white Masons could, first, exclude the negro brethren
from the white organizations, and then, having done this, proceed, in those
organizations, without the consent of the iiegroes, to create a law that would
both bind the negro Masons and render it impossible. for them to continue
their growth? Surely, the proposition is too monstrous to be considered. No;
the "American doetrii3e," whatever its true meaning may be, and in whatever
stage of development it may have been in 1808, was not morally, legally or
Masonie.ally binding on negro Masons. Entrusted, not for themselves alone, but
for posterity, with the holy mysteries of Freemasonry, it was not merely their
right, it was their solemn duty, to provide proper means for preserving the
royal art, and passing it uninipaired to the latest ages. Nobly did they
perform that duty; and what Mason will cast a stone at them for doing so?
Of course this view
is beset with many difriculties: For example, as late as 1858 two Grand Lodges
in New York State decided that two had existed there since 1849; and that all
the acts, all the initiations, all the charters, all the past rank and past
grand rank, of both were to be regarded as entirely regular.
t Is it necessary
to again remind the reader that I am here considering, from the standpoint of
the laws of the Masonic Institution itself, the abstract question whether the
negro Mason is or is not a member of the Universal Fraternity ‑entitled,
whether we are able to ‑ 6 82
ridiculed, denied the sympathy and support to which as members of a universal
brotherhood they felt themselves entitled, and smarting under a sense of
bitter wrong, is it strange that they yielded to that desire for human
fellowship to which all races of men are subject, and sought to create the
means for its gratification. They would have been something more or less than
human had they done otherwise. Citeaswe may and admit as we do the
complications which render it so difficult for them to escape from the triple
bounds with which they have bound themselves we cannot, who have in the outset
robbed lawful Masons of theirjust rights, lift from our consciences the burden
of responsibility for their subsequent mis‑steps. " *
65. Dormancy of .4frican Grand Lodge.‑The next objection urged is that African
Grand Lodge, organized at Boston in 1808, was probably dormant for some years,
early in its existence;‑about the time of the "Morgan excitement." To my mind
there are some circumstances that seem to point that way, or an absence of
accessible evidence of its continuous activity. But the point is imiuaterial,
for both before and after the date of its alleged dormancy it chartered more
than enough Lodges to continue the line of negro Lodges. There is, moreover,
no fixed rule as to the revival of a dormant Grand Lodge; as witness the
revivals of the Grand Lodge at York, and of some of the American Grand Lodges
after the Morgan excitement. The impression on my mind is, that, as in some
other and very distinguished cases in Masonic history, very little distinction
was made between the Grand Lodge, the Mother Lodge and the Lodge. t Past Grand
Master EMANUEL SULLAVOU gives the line of succession as follows: f Prince
Hall; Nero Prince, 1807‑9; George Middleton, 1809‑11; Peter l,ew, 1811‑17;
Samuel H. Moody, 1817‑26; John T. Hilton, 1825‑6; C. A. Derandamie, 1827‑9;
Walker Lewis, 1829‑31; Thomas Dalton, 1831; George Gaul, 1732; James H. Howe,
1834; John T. Hilton, 1836‑1847. Under HILTON, African Grand Lodge joined in
forming the National Grand Lodge, and changed its name to Prince Hall Grand
,~ 66. Surrender to
the National Grand Lodge.‑The next objection to African Grand Lodge is, that
by the‑all eged‑su rren der of its warrant to the National Grand Lodge in 1847
it lost its character as a Grand Lodge. This objection, like the last, is
wholly immaterial to our inquiry‑
concede them or
not, to such rights as that membership implies? The question whether we have
entered into engagements which prevent us from recognizing him or his
organizations ‑ one or both ‑ is a different question; and will be considered
in ~?~ 74‑89, post.
ROBBINS, Proceedings G. L. of Illinois, 1871, Cor. Rep., p. lxxxi.
t The reader will
remember the same confusion of the proceedings of Lodge and Grand Lodge in the
records of the Grand Lodge of All England, at York. (GOULD, History, iii,
153etseq.) A somewhat similar commingling of records occurred among the white
Masons of Boston: "For the first half century of their existence the history
of the [St. John's Prov.] Grand Lodge and of the First Lodge, go far as we
know it, seems to have been curiously intermingled. The Records of one Body
frequently report transactions of the other. The First Lodge was often called
the 'Mother Lodge.' "‑Proceedings in il~'asont‑y, Introduction (by SERENO D.
I Proceedings of
the One Hundredth Anniver8ary of the Granting of Warrant 459 to African Lodge
(Boston; 1885), 19.
(~RAND LODGE OF
and for the same
reason. The petition of LEwis HAYDEN and others to the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts, says: *
"The African Grand
Lodge of Boston, becoming a part of that body [the National Grand Lodge,)
surrendered its Charter and received its present Charter, dated December 11,
1847, under the title of Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons
for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," etc.
petitioners meant by "surrendered its Charter," is not clear. They i‑nay have
supposed African Grand Lodge possessed some kind of authority in writing; or
the expression may have been a careless one for "surrendered its
independence." It has misled some into supposing the old warrant of Lodge No.
451) was surrendered. t That this was not the case, sufficiently appears from
the quotation next following, as well as from the fact that the petitioners
exhibited the warrant of Lodge 459 to the committee'to whom their petition was
referred. f One of their own writers thus disposes of this objection. 11
this objection, it will be necessary for us to know something of the nature
of, the organization known as the 'National Grand Lodge.' In 1847 there were
only three colored Grand Lodges in America, viz : 'African Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts ' (Boston), the ' First Independent African Grand Lodge of North
America' (I'enn.). and the 'Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.' The members of
these oi‑ganizations, believing that the interests of Masonry among colored
men in America would be enhanced and better protected by placing its control
in the hands of a central power, met in convention in June, 1847, and
organized the 'National Grand Lodge of the United States of North
America,'which was to be 'the Supreme Masonic Power in the United States.'
" In other words,
this National Grand Lodge became a supreme power over all the territory of the
United States of America, just as England did in the early part of the last
century; and the Grand Lodges that received warrants from this National Grand
Lodge sustained the same relation to it as the Provincial Grand Lodges, acting
under the authority of Deputations, sustained to the mother Grand l,odge in
England. The objection made is, that, by the surrender of the warrant of
African Lodge to the National Grand l,odge in 1847, it lost its character as a
Lodge, and, consequently, ceased to exist. Now the fact is, no warrant of any,
subordinate Lodge was surrendered to the National Grand Lodge. rhe only action
taken in the matter of warrants was that the Grand Lodges forming the
convention should recognize the newly organized National Grand Lodge as the
Supreme Masonic Authority of the United States, and agree to take out warrants
as Grand Lodges subordinate thereto. The only error made was the surrender by
the Grand Lodges forming the National Grand Lodge of their sovereignty as
supreme Masonic authorities; the legal existence of the subordinate Lodges was
in no ways disturbed, no more so than the subordinate Lodges under the
Provincial Grand l,odges, which, in turn, were subordinate to the Grand Lodges
of England and Scotland. We believe the organization of the National Grand
Lodge to have been an error, but only as relating to government, and not as to
legal succession." Prince Hall Grand Lodge subsequently resumed its
Proceedings, G. L.
of Mass., 1869, p. 132.
See 48, ante.
See 19, 46, aitte,
11 SAMUEL W. CLAITK, The Negro Mason in Equity, 43.
67. "Free," instead of " free‑bor7t. "‑Perhaps here, as conveniently as
anywhere, may be considered the objection that made the greatest impression
upon my mind when I first began to consider ‑the claims of the negro Masons.
It struck me as a graver objection than any of the others, because they,
almost if not quite without exception, relate to mere matters of Masonic
government and administration;‑to regulations made and usages acquired since
1717, and therefore subject to change. But the fact that the negroes have
substituted " free " for "freeborn " in their description of the
qualifications of a candidate seemed to me very close to an innovation in
Masonry. On this subject the Washington committee said, last year: *
both by their early training and by what appears, from the manuscript
Constitutions, to have been the usage of the fathers for three centuries, are
very strongly predisposed to the idea that only the freeborn should be made
Masons. But it must be admitted that the earliest Masonic manuscript that has
escaped the devouring tooth of time, the Halliwell or Regius poem, not only
designates the qualification as 'fr.ee,'.not 'freeborn,'. but joins with its
only rival, in point of age, in assigning for the rule a reason which applies
to the former word only; namely, that if a slave should be made a Mason his
master might come to the Lodge and demand his surrender, and dire
consequence‑even manslaughter‑might ensue: for, as the Regius MS. aptly
observes, 'Gef yn the logge he were y‑take, 'Muche desese hyt mygth ther make,
'For alle the
masonus that ben there 'Wol stonde togedur hol y‑fere.'
"But not relying
alone upon claims to be drawn from these ancient documents, our colored
brethren are able to point to at least one notable champion of their practice.
For in 1838 the Grand Lodge of England struck the word 'freeborn' from its
list of qualifications of candidates and substituted the word 'free.'t
"In view of this
action on the part of a jurisdiction which we regard with peculiar reverence
and aftection, he would be a hardy man who would denounce this practice of the
negro Masons as placing them beyond the pale of Masonry.
"And, whatever may
be the true rule, even without the example of the Grand Lodge of England, we
think our colored friends might successfully rely upon the plea that where one
not possessed of the proper qualifications is initiated, he is nevertheless a
Mason. Where women or minors or maimed men have been initiated, this rule has
not been universally acknowledged; but we think it the better one and the one
supported by the weight of authority. But‑and we take no pleasure in
mentioning it‑id the too common case of the initiation of men who are lacking
in the internal‑the moral and in tellectu al‑q uali ties that tit a man to be
made a Mason, the rule has been unquestioned." t To this I will add only the
comment of Dr. ROBBINS:
* Proceedings, G.
L. of Washington, 1898, p. 56.
t I am informed
that the white Grand Lodges in Canada have made the same change; and,
apparently, those in Australasia have done so.
I This portion of
the Washington report is pronounced by the South Carolina committee‑I leave it
to the reader to determine how justly or frankly‑an " atterapt to juggle with
the words free and free‑born."‑Proceedings, G. L. of S. C., 1898, p. 50.
11 Proceedings, G.
L. of Illinois, 1898, Cor. Rep., p. 124. See Appendix 28 post.
. I GRAND LODGE OF
"The lapse of the
full period of the lifetime of a generation has substantially removed the only
fundamental difficulty; and what a third of a century ago was a burning
question, viz; Whether in substituting the word 'free'for 'free‑born'tifty
years ago, the Grand Lodge of England had violated a landmark, now excites
only the languid interest which ever attaches to an abstraction that can never
assume the concrete form."
Objection to later
negro Grand Lodges.
ofjurisdiction.‑But, assuming that negromasoury was lawfully introduced into
Massachusetts; and, being lawfully there, had a right to continue and to
propagate itself there, even through a Grand Lodge; and could not be rendered
illegitimate there by after‑made laws of the white Masons; was not the later
diff usion of negro Masonry throughout other States, whether through Lodges or
Grand Lodges,‑in many cases after both races had accepted the doctrine of
exclusive territorial jnrisdiction, ‑such an invasion of the jurisdiction of
Grand Lodges already existing there as to be worthy of condemnation; and so
wrongful as to render the invading bodies illegitimate? I will answer this
long question candidly; and, I hope, in such. a way as to convince the equally
candid reader that a part, at least, of his misgivings are ill‑founded.
But, first, let us
divide the question: To what part of the United States do you allude? For, in
Kentucky, South Carolina, etc.‑perhaps in onefifth part of the United
States‑the white Grand Lodges have, by a radical innovation upon the very body
of Masonry, declared in their written law that in their Lodges a candidate for
admission to our fraternity must be a WHITE mAN‑that no negro, no matter how
worthy and well‑qualified, shall be initiated under any circumstances; * and
one Grand LodgeFlorida, I believe‑has accepted from the State a charter of
incorporation which expressly limits her jurisdiction to Masonry among "Masons
of the white race."
Surely, it needs no
argument to show that these Grand l,odges have no standing to complain of the
establishment of Lodges in a field that they have voluntarily abandoned. The
situation in those States is not materially different from what would be the
case in Washington, should the Grand Lodge of Washington decree that her
Lodges should initiate none but natives of the State; or, that no Lodge should
hereafter exist East of the Cascade Mountains. The theory that a Grand Lodge
may obtain I I exclusive jurisdiction " in a State, is based upon the theory
that she will completely occupy that State. Her refusal to do so is not merely
to shot a par, of the State or people out of Masonry: it is an attempt to shut
, eternal Masonic
Institution out of a part of the State. As that Institution is greater than
all Grand Lodges,‑above all new regulations al " doctrines "‑she sweeps away
all such attempts, like chaff and
loe before .
tornado. It is the right of the Masonic Institution to receive into
4er fold all men
who possess the qualifications which she prescribed
e a 'belor~ ny
Grand Lodge existed, and who are able to pass the one test which she has
prescribed. It is within the bounds of possibility that a
* See k 14‑16,
Grand Lodge may
lawfully restrict her own jurisdiction to a particular class of men‑" white
men, or men less than five feet tall or men with blue eyes"; but she cannot,
under the pretence of a territorial jurisdiction, deprive the Fraternity‑
at‑Large of such worthy " black, tall or redeyed men " as happen to reside in
the State. Of a Grand Lodge which provides the Lodges which she declines to
provide for the initiation of such men, she can not complain that it invades
her jurisdiction;‑for it is not her jurisdiction : she has voluntarily waived
and abandoned it. * Thus, we see that in perhaps a tifth part of the United
States‑and that the part in which the bitlerest complaint against the negro
Mason is made‑the reader's objection has no application.
69. ~;ame.‑Let us see if other States must not be eliminated from this branch
of our inquiry. If the Jurisdiction which the reader has in mind, now
nominally opens its doors to white and black alike, did it always do so? Was
there a time when, as we have seen that some Grand Lodges formerly did, t it
excluded black men from initiation? If so, did the Masonry of the negro
organizations enter that State while, or before, that exclusion existed? If it
did, is it not manifest ‑for reasons similar to those mentioned in the
preceding section ‑that the effect of adopting those exclusion laws was both
to waive jurisdiction, so far as black men were concerned, in favor of such
negro Lodges as might be established in the State during the continuance of
those laws; and also to waive ob jections, however valid before the passage of
those laws, to the existence of negro Lodges which had been previously
established there? It seems so to me. And is not the consequence even more
far‑reaching: In view of the principles already discussed, that a Masonic
Lodge once lawfully existing may, in the absence of fault on its part,
continue to exist for ever;t and that it is not only the right but the duty of
Masons to provide for the perpetuity of the Institution, by encouraging the
legitimate growth of the Fraternity, and by establishing new ' Lodges as the
need for them arises ; 11 in view of these things, does it not necessarily
follow that, in those States which we are now considering, the subsequent
repeal of the laws which restricted initiation to white men did not impair the
right of the negro organizations, acquired in the manner I have stated, to con
tinue to exist, expand and flourish until the crack of doom? This con clusion
seems to me absolutely unavoidable. I have arrived at it soberly and
unavoidably, after the most careful consideration of the subject that my
reason is capable of. Hence I submit it to the candid consideration of the
reader,‑well aware that from the candid reader only will the subject receive
any consideration worthy of the name.
70. Same.‑If the conclusion reached in the preceding section be sound, it
eliminates from our inquiry more Jurisdictions than many of us
* See views of
ALBERT PIKE to the same effect, in Appendix 12, post.
t In P~ ,?, 14‑16,
t See ~~, 40‑42,
I See ~ 64, ante.
i I i
l~ I GRAND LODGE OF
are aware of; and
almost any reader will do well to inspect closely the ancient history of his
own Grand Lodge. But the subject is not exhausted yet. The question with which
we opened section 68 assumed that negro Masonry was lawfully introduced into
Massachusetts. But negro Masonry was not introduced into Massachusetts,
merely, in 1775, or 1784 or 1787, but into America; nay, into a whole race of
men. Deprecate as we may, and ought, the introduction of a race or color line
into Masonry, yet the fact remains that the mistake of granting a warrant to a
Lodge composed exclusively of negroes; or the mistake made in 1787 or 1792 of
not absorbing that Lodge into the white Grand Lodge, gave to the planting of
African Lodge No. 459, as subsequent events have proved, the effect of
introducing Masonry not into a State but into a Nation; not into a place but
into a race. In the inscrutible providence of The Great Architect of the
Universe it has pleased him to permit two races of his children to dwell side
by side; but separated by a wall more distinct than a State line,‑stroliger
than that which doth hedge about the jurisdiction of a Grand Lodge. It may be
that, but for the planting of African Lodge, that wall would forever have
hidden the light of Masonry from the eyes of the weaker race. It may be that
there are no accidents in the affairs of men; that the hand that bound the
bands of Orion, also guided our fathers; that the All Seeing Eye, " whom the
sun, moon and stars obey, and under Whose watchful care even the comets
perform their stupendous revolutions," foresaw all; and provided, in a way
that was not our way, that that wall should be penetrated by the light of
truth;‑" suffered all nations to walk in their own ways," yet "nevertheless
left not himself with6ut witness " in any; for "in every nation he that
feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him." Let us not, to
whom He has accorded greater light than to His less favored children, and who
I I have an altar whereof they have no right to eat," doubt that His hand has
guided our footsteps in all ages past; or be too confident that those who, for
more than a century, have knelt at Masonic altars are not Masons, Free and "
Accepted with Him." Let us, rather, with becoming reverence, pray that He lead
us into the way of truth.
71. Sa?ne.‑If the establishment of African Lodge No. 459 be regarded as the
introduction of Masonry into a Nation or a race instead of merely into one
State, then all questions of invasion of jurisdiction disappear for reasons
already mentioned, and negro Masonry has a right to continue* to exist and
expand until every worthy and qualified man in that nation, or of that race,
has seen the light by which Masons work. But if that view be not accepted,
then, in addition to what has been said in sections immediately preceding, I
must ask the reader to consider the applicability of principles already
discussed:‑that the negroes, having lawfully received the light of Masonry,
being debarred from the organizations controlled by the whites, had both the
right and the duty to provide ways and means to pass that light to their
posterity; that as the whites practically‑and in many instances,
expressly‑limited their oper‑
* See ?, 69, ante,
and references there cited.
atioiis to the
white race, and the negroes practically limited theirs to the black race,
there is no real conflict of jurisdiction between them; that most, if not all,
of the so‑called "laws" with which their presence is supposed to conflict, are
modern regulations built up by their enemies without their consent, after
their right to exist had accrued; that these laws are valid only so long as
they do not conflict with rights which are based upon the higher laws of the
Masonic Institution itself; and, finally, that the existence amongthe negroes
of Masonry of lawful origin; its successful existence, against every form of
opposition, for practically a century and a quarter; the beneficent effects of
its existence there; that it will unquestionably continue to exist until the
end of time; and that, as the intelligence, the morality, the ability and the
consequent influence of that race increase, the inconsistency of the position
of the white organizations will become more and more apparent to all thinking
minds;that all these things are facts; that it is useless to kick against the
pricks, but is the part of reasonable men to look upon the situation as it is,
and if the regulations which we made early in the century are either
inconsistent with the principles of Masonry, or unfitted for the situation as
we find it at the end of the century, to exercise the power which the first'
Grand Lodge was so careful to recognize when it said‑‑
" Every ANNUAL
GRAND‑LODGF has an inherent Power and Authority to make NEW REGULATIONS, or to
alter these, for the real Benefit of this ANCIENT FRATERNITY: Provided always
that T]EIE OLD LAND‑MARKS BF, CAREFULLY PRESERV'D." *
Surely if the
venerable Regulations approved in 1721 may be so readily amended, the
innovations which our immediate ancestors engrafted upon the Institution, and
which, however useful in their day, have ceased to bear any but evil fruit,
may now be lopped off and heaved over among the rubbish of the Temple.
72. A summary.‑I have now discussed and, as well as the small amount of
leisure at my command would permit, given the reader my reasons for rejecting
as unsound, every objection that I have ever known to be urged against the
legitimacy of the Masonry which exists among the Degroes of Auierica.f Some of
these objections are sufficiently puerile, but I have endeavored to omit none
of them. I have discussed more briefly the objections to the diffusion of
n6gro Masonry than the question of the genuinedess of its origin; for I know
the sturdy honesty of the American character well enough to know that when
once the great body of plain Master Masons become convinced that a little band
of black men who were genuine brothers were cast on the stern and rock‑bound
coast of New England; and learn that the question over which Grand Lodges are
debating is whether their feeble brothers shall perish or live, that great
body of honest men will be quick to see the hailing sign of distress; a;nd
will make short work of quibbles which cavilers present as argu‑
*Old Regulations of
1721, No. xxxix.
t Again I remind
the reader that whether negro Masonry is legitimate, and whether he and I are
at liberty to recognize it, are different questions; and that the latter will
be considered in ~ 74 et seq.
I GRAND LODGE OF
In ents in favor of
death. It is more than probable ‑‑ for human minds ae
‑‑that somc., of
nay reasons may appear less I , dfferently constituted conclusive to the
reader than they do to me. If they do, let me make ti~ reque h s st of the
reader, in exchange for the labor I have spent in attem ting to answer his
inquiries,‑‑ that he will carefully consider two things
first, whether the
particular objection which I have failed to ;~asswer t;,o his satisfaction is
one that is vital to the legitimacy of negro
onry, and, second,
whether he cannot frame a valid answer to that objection, where I may have
73. Masonry in the Philippines.‑There are said to have been, for several years
past, a large number of Masonic Lodges in the Philippine Islands. Their origin
is unknown tome; but, that we may the better judge how far race prejudice and
local pride may have influenced us in our previous conception of negro Masonry
in America, let us assign to Phil‑, ippine Masonry a wholly fictitious origin;
and then frame an Allegory, in which China shall represent England; Japan,
Ireland; Corea, Scotland; Pekin Masonry, " Modern " Masonry; Hongkong Masonry,
" Ancient " Masonry; the Philippines, America; Luzon, Massachusetts; Manila,
Boston; Iloilo, Philadelphia; Zebu, Providence; Filipinos and Spaniards, white
men; Frenchmen, negroes; ADAMS, HENRY PRICE; and LAFAYETTE, PRINCE HALL. We
may imagine that a Filipino Mason tells the story to one of the brethren in
introduced into Luzon, the island on which Manila is situated, in 1733, by one
ADAMS, who claimed to be a Provincial Grand Master from Pekin, China. Certain
it is that the Lodge which he founded in Manila in that year was recognized by
the G. L. of Pekin a few years later, although ADAM'S name does not appear on
the records of that G. L., as a Prov. G. M., until 1775. ADA3is and his
successors as Prov. G. Ms. organized numerous Lodges in various parts of the
Philippines, all of which are admittedly regular. In 1737 the G. L. at Pekin
appointed another Prov. G. M. at Manila; and it thereafter maintained such an
officer there, except at short intervals between appointments, until early in
1787, when, upon the death of the Provincial, no successor was appointed.
These Provincials held assemblies of the representatives of their Lodges, the
one at Manila being called St. John's (Provincial) Grand Lodge. These bodies
derived all their powers from the Prov. G. M., and perished with hint. The
last Prov. G. M. of this jurisdiction did not assemble his G. L. after 1775;
but it assembled in 1787 to bury him, and met occasionally thereafter, without
any express authority, until 1792; when it amalgamated with a rival body
presently to be mentioned.
Id 1751 six
irregular Lodges, out of a large number which existed in China, ‑irregular in
that they existed without the authority of any Grand Master or Grand
Lodge‑formed the G.L.of Hongkong. * Thebitterest animosity existed (down to
1813) between this body and the G. L. of
* See ~e, 24, ante.
denounced the other as spurious, and forbade its Lodges to recognize as Masons
members of those of the other. Neighboring Grand Lodges became involved in the
quarrel; and the Masonic world became divided into two hostile camps, "Pekin
Masons" and " Hongkong Masons." *
Certain persons in
Manila who had been made Masons there " in some irregular way"; and, being
refused recognition by ADAMS' Lodge, had opened an irregular Lodge in 1752
without any authority, applied, in 1754, to the G. L. of Corea for a charter.
t Corea, although at times fairly friendly with the Pekin G. L., was much more
intimate with that of Hongkong. It voted the charter in 1756, but it was not
received in Manila until 1760. However, the body for whom it was destined kept
on making Masons, from 1754 to 1758.t Organized under the charter, it took the
name " St. Andrew's Lodge." Although chartered by Corea, it always classed
itself as a Lodge of "Hongkong Masons." It made per sistent efforts to secure
recognition from the " Pekin Lodges " in Luzon; but, with temporary ex '
ceptions, always failed. Incensed at this, in 1768 it took advantage of the
presence of three military Lodges temporarily in Mdnila, one of Japanese, one
of Hongkong, and one of Corean origin, " but all practicing the Hongkong
system," 11 to get them to join it in a petition to Corea for the appointment
of a Provincial G. M.; and that officer was installed the following year. The
army Lodges moved away, and thus St. Andrew's Lodge, practicaliy, became a
Provincial G. L.;** and the Prov. G. M. erected numerous "Hongkong" Lodges.
Islands were all this time uiider the suzerainty of China. In 1775 a war for
independence was begun; and the independence of the Islands was acknowledged
in 1783. The Prov. G. M. of the St. Andrew's body had been killed in battle in
1775; and, according to the view taken at the time, his Prov. G. L. died with
him.ft To overcome this, eleven brethren who had been members of the Prov. G.
L. proceeded, in 1777, to organize a G. L., which, in 1782, declared itself to
be an independent Body and took the name "Luzon G. L. of Hongkong Masons." Its
organizors appear to have belonged to three of the "Hongkong" Lodges in
Luzon‑eight of them to St. Andrew's Lodge; but that they had been authorized
to represent their Lodges does not appear.tt Furthermore, while the law of "Pekin
Masons" permitted three Lodges to organize a G. L., that of "Hongkong Masons"
required five.1111 This body chartered numerous Lodges of "Hongkong Masons."
In 1782 it adopted certain resolutions, taking a name, classing itself in the
" Hongkong " faction, and declaring itself independent, as we have seen. It
* See 25, ante.
t See 28, ante.
11 See ~ 29, ante.
tt See P~ 29 and
note under ?, 12, ante.
,I See 30 ante.
!,III See 30, ante,
I I GRAND LODGE OF
authority over Lodges erected by it anywhere in the Philippine Islands; and
declared that no person could, consistent with the rules of "Hongkong"
Masonry, exercise the powers of a "Hongkong" Grand Master or Grand Lodge,
to‑wit, give power to erect Lodges of "Hongkong" Masons, etc., upon the island
of Luzon except itself.*
Some have supposed
these resoultions were aimed at its rival, the St. John's Prov. G. L. of "Pekin
Masons"; but the careful restrictions of their languge to " Hongkong " Masonry
precludes this idea; and shows that they were aimed at the " Hongkoug " Grand
Lodges in Corea, China and Japan; and that no jurisdiction over "Pekin Masonry
" was claimed.
St. Andrew's Lodge
resented this declaration of independence; withdrew from the new G. L.; and
retained its connection with the G. L. of Corea until 1809, in spite of many
threats and much coaxing. After about the year 1800, the G. L. of Luzon,
presently to be mentioned, "acquiesced in masonic commuication and visitatiou"
between its members and those of the recalcitrant St. Andrew's Lodge.
In the meantime,
besides the Lodges erected in the Philippines by Prov. G. Ms., a number had
l~een erected in various parts of the Islands by the G. Lodges of China and
All the Masons
heretofore mentioned were Filipinos, Spaniards or Chinese. But in 1775, just
before the war, a military Lodge in the Chinese army stationed in or near
Manila initiated one LA FAYETTE and fourteen other Frenchmen. Bro. AGuiNALDO
informs me that there is no prejudice in the Philippines against Frenchmen, As
to howthis maybe I cannot say; but LA FAYETTE was the first Frenchman ever
initiated in the Islands; I hear of no other Frenchmen initiated, outside the
French Lodges, for more than half a century; and only now and then one since,
although Frenchmen have been fairly numerous on the Islands.
LA FAYETTE served
in the army of independence during the war, carrying on his Masonic duties, as
well as he could, without a warrant. But the year after peace had been
declared he applied to the premier G. L. at Pekin for a warrant, It was
immediately granted, under the name of "French Lodge No, 459;" but, owing to
the fault of messengers, was not received until 1787; in which year the Lodge
was organized under it.
In 1792 the rival
Grand Lodges of " Pekin " and "Hongkong" Masons in Manila united, forming the
Grand Lodge of Luzon. It did not secure the affiliation of St. Andrew's Lodge,
until 1809, or invite that of French Lodge. After a few years it became
apparent that the Filipino Grand Lodges‑for others were formed on the various
islands‑did not intend to recognize the members of French Lodge No. 459 or, as
a rule, to initiate Frenchmen; and in 1797 Lk FAYETTE gave a license for
fifteen French Masons to open a Lodge in Iloilo; and he organized a Lodge at
Zebu soon after. ID 1808, after the death of LA FAYETTE, these three Lodges
organized the " French Grand Lodge of F. & A. Masons;" and from this source
Freemasonry spread among the French inhabitants of the Islands. The latter
form a considerable part‑about one‑ninth‑of the population.
*See ~ 31 ante,.
1. ' I I
considerable property; have given much attention to education and the duties
of citizenship; and have produced educators, authors, business and
professional men, and political leaders, of considerable ability. In the
earlier years, the regularity of French Lodge does not appear to have been
questioned; and the other "Pekin " Masons of Manila used to visit it;* and,
indeed, liberal minded Filipinos who know the real history of the French
Masons have often visited their Lodges, all through the century; but the
settled official policy of many of the Filipino Grand Lodges is to treat the
French Masons as irregular, if not clandestine.
"I suppose this is
due to race prejudice against the French, is it not
"Pray do not
suggest such a thing; we are all agreed that no such prejudice influences us,
or indeed exists." "I see; but what fault, then, do you find with the French
" Well, you see we
have evolved a doctrine‑what we call 'The Philip pine Doctrine of Masonic
Jurisprudence '‑something that we consider a decided improvement on anything ,
that was known to old fogies in Pekin and Hongkong,‑which effectually excludes
them. I wish you would read up on our doctrine."
" I will, with
pleasure; it must be a wonderful doctrine, that can justify you and me‑Pekin
Masons‑in denying the claims of other Masons, sprung from Pekin, who have
successfully cultivated Masonry for more than a century ! "
"Thank you. I hope
you will study it. It is a most beneficent doetrine;‑so productive of harmony,
don't you know. And then,‑ahemplease remember how inconvenient it would be for
Filipinos to have to associate with Frenchmen;‑not that there is any race
prejudice, understand;‑there is no prejudice, I assure ypu."
The question is:
are the French Masons in the Philippine Islandsdescended from the premier
Grand Lodge, through the warrant granted to LA FAYFTTE‑Members of the Ancient
and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, or are they not ?
With this I might
leave the subject; but I will call attention to one other phase of it.
etc.‑But, it is asked, suppose we are convinced that if any of the objections
to negro Masonry are valid they relate to unimportant phases of the question,
and are insufficient to exclude Degro Masons from the pale of the Fraternity;
if, in other words, we are conconvinced that the claimants are Masons, are
there not, nevertheless, ,circumstances which preclude us‑American Masons‑from
recognizing them? We will now consider this question. But let us first note
that it has more than a double meaning: " Us " may mean you and me, or it may
mean our Grand Lodge; "them" may mean individual negro Masons, or it may mean
their Grand Lodges; and "recognize " may be
* See references in
a note on ~ 7, ante.
I GRAND LODGE OF
used in either of
two senses. A failure to note these distinctions has led to confusion of
thought and erroneous conclusions, against which we ought to guard.
Colloquially, we sometimes say we recognize" a fact, when we mean merely that
we perceive its existence. But in Masonry the word " recognize " is ordinarily
used with its more accurate meaning of "to admit with a formal
acknowledgment," "to accord formal recognition to," in short, "to enter into
diplomatic relations with." It may make things clearer if I first answer the
question with which this section began, before discussing the subject. My
personal opinions are:
1. That there is no
reason why an individual white Mason‑of course I mean unless forbidden by his
Grand Lodge‑should not accord to a negro Mason all the rights due to the
2. That the
individual Mason, as such, is not called upon to "enter into diplomatic
relations with" any Grand Lodge or Lodge; and that the tacit admission which
it is necessary to make in his own mind, in arriving at the conclusion that
the negto is a Mason,‑that he hails from a lawful Lodge,‑he may lawfully make.
3. That a Grand
Lodge might also properly make the same admission, should occasion ever
require; but that question is not before us now, as the Grand Lodge of
Washington has expressed no opinion on that subject.
4. That since the
action of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in 1876, there has been no proposal that any
white Grand Lodge " enter into diplomatic relations with " any negro Grand
Lodge, or 11 accord recognition to " any negro Grand Lodge or Lodge; and
therefore the question is not before us. But my own opinion is, that should
that question ever arise, it will be a mere question of policy,‑for that Grand
Lodge alone to decide, according to its judgment as to what is best for
Masonry. In other words, I answer that there are not circumstances which
absolutely preclude a Grand Lodge from recognizing a negro Grand Lodge, should
the good of Masonry, in its judgment, demand that step.
Let us now examine
some of these points more in detail.
~ 75. Recognition
of individuals. ‑But, it is asked, can we recognize a brother without also
recognizing the Lodge from which he hails, and the Grand Lodge to which that
Lodge belongs? Why not? It is done every day, and always has been done.* Yet
there appears to be great confusion of mind on this point among American
brethren. Again and again, in response to the official assurance of the Grand
Master of Washington that
* C. VAN DALEN, an
eminent German Mason, having been criticised by FINDEL in 1873 for opposing
German recognition of negro Grand Lodges, published a reply, in the Banhutte
of Jan., 1874 (reprinted in Proceedings, G. L. of N. Y., 1874, p. 237), which
closes as follows: " My vote still is: to receive joyfully and politely in our
lialls the individual colored brethren, but to refuse official recognition to
colored lodges and Grand Lodges. so long as they are not recognized by the
American Grand Lodges.
Inasmuch as I
permit every one to enjoy his own opinion on this subject, I demand for myself
the right to adhere to mine without having suspicion thrown upon me." For an
incident to the same effect, see Appendix 14, post.
his Grand Lodge had
not recognized any negro Grand Lodge. the question has been asked, "How is it
possible to recognize an individual Mason without, at the same time,
recognizing his Lodge and Grand Lodge?"* I do not know whether or not I can
make the point clear to these inquirers, but I will try. When an individual
asks us to acknowledge him as a member of the Universal Fraternity, we desire
to know, fifst, that he has been initiated into that Fraternity. Learning that
he has been, we want to know by what authority was initiated. Suppose we learn
that he was "made a Mason at sight" by the Grand Master of Pennsylvania: Most
of us would say, "That was grossly irregular; we do not admit that a Grand
Master has any right to do such a thing; but, irregular‑from our point of
view‑as his action was, it undoubtedly admitted you into the Universal
Fraternity." Or, suppose we learn that the brother was initiated‑as the PRINCE
OF WALES was‑in a Lodge which existed by the license of the King of Norway and
Sweden, who is Grand Master by virtue oj' being king, We might say, " We do
not recognize the King as more than a defacto GTand Master; we will enter into
no relations with the Grand Lodge of Sweden, because it is not an independent
Grand Lodge; and we shall exercise our right of declining to enter into any
relations with the particular Lodge in which you were made." Yet we should be
bound to add, "But, nevertheless, in spite of these great irregularities in
the administration and government of Masonry in your country, we find that
your making was inconsistent with only Grand Lodge regulations, and not
inconsistent with any Landmark of Masonry; and therefore we are bound, by our
obligation, to recognize you as a member of that Fraternity which is older
than Grand Lodges and superior to all their regulations."
76. Same.‑Suppose the man was made, years ago, in a Lodge in Cuba, established
by a Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite: We might say to him, "We do not
admit that a Supreme Council has any more right than a Royal Arch Chapter has
to create Lodges; we would not have cared to have had any dealings with your
Lodge; but we recognize the fact that you were made in a de facto Lodge,
existing by authority of a de facto ruling‑body which exercised authority over
Masonry, ‑irreg u larly indeed, but under claim and 'color' of right,‑and we
cannot denv you the name of 'Mason."' If the brother hailed from a Lodge under
the Grand Lodge "Three Globes" at Berlin, we should sav to him: "Our Grand
Lodge has never recognized the Three Globes‑perhaps it does not desire to. But
we know, as a matter of history, that the Three Globes is a Grand Lodge of
Masons. You are welcome, brother." And if the visitor hailed from a negro
Lodge in Kentucky, could not an indidual Washington Mason say to him: "I know,
as a matter of history, your line of descent from the Grand Lodge of England;
I know that, be‑
* Incidentally, it
may be remarked that the Grand Lodge of Washington has not yet recognized even
a single negro Mason. It left the matter where it found it, in the hands of
the Lodges. And Lodges do not derive their authority to receive visitors from
the Grand Lodge, butfrom the landmarks ofmasonry.
GRAND LODGE OF
ginning with PRINCE
HALL, you and your Masonic ancestors have, formore than a century,
successfully maintained au unbroken existence; during all that time your
possession of Masonry has been 'actual, adverse, visible, notorious,
exclusive, continuous, and under a claim and color of title.' * On my
conscience, I can not deny that you are as much a Maion as I am, an'u I intend
to recognize you as such. But we have long been on friendly terms with the
white Grand Lodge of Kentucky‑she is a little offish just now, but that makes
no difference,‑and without her approval we don't propose to enter into any
relations with the Grand Lodge or Lodge from whichyouhail. More than that, I
am a believer in the American doctrine of but one Grand Lodge in each State,
and I do not know that I should favor according recognition to a second Grand
Lodge in Kentucky, even if the white Grand Lodge in Kentucky did so."
This is a course
which equally avoids repudiating the solemn engagements into which we have
entered with every member of the Universal Fraternity, and giving any just
cause of offense to brethren in other jurisdictions. Itis the course pursued i
' n most foreign countries which have not expressly recognized the negro
organizations; t is the one I understand to have always been followed in
Washington‑a jurisdiction which has left nearly all foreign Grand Lodges in
th6 category of " Uni‑eeognized, but not denied "; and is the one which I,
individually, expect to follow as long as I live.
~ 77. Estoppel by
Massachusetts Decision.‑‑A great many have asserted that all the rest of the
world is precluded from recognizing negro Masons because‑it is asserted‑‑the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has decided that they are "clandestine." If there
were such a decision‑‑as the reader will presently see there is not‑and if
there were any such law of estoppel in Masonry, the decision would effect only
negro bodies in Massachusetts and those which have sprung from Massachusetts
since the decision was made;‑‑for territorial jurisdiction in the Grand Lodge
of Massachusetts is what is relied upon to give its alleged decision the
sweeping effect mentioned. But there are insuperable difficulties in the way
of showing that a Massachusetts decision would have any such effect.
Tbeideaoriginates in loose thinking on three subjects: Lodge trials,
territorial jurisdiction, and comity. It is a fact that when a Lodge expels a
man, other Lodges‑‑and, of course, individual Masons and Grand Lodges‑‑accept
the fact,‑ not because of some tine‑spun theory about comity or " exclusive
jurisdiction, " but simply because it is a fact ‑‑ that the man is an expelled
Mason. By a rule of comity, inquiry will not ordinarily be made as to whether
the Lodge was mistaken about the facts. But inquiry will be made as to whether
an expulsion actually occurred; and, in some cases, whether the Lodge had
jurisdiction, and whether a Masonic crime was charged;‑‑ for instance, in a
case like that where a French Lodge proposed to try the German Emperor and
Crown Prince.t If no expul‑
‑ Such possession
of real estate, for the statutory period, creates a title by " adverse
possession.,, t See first note under P& 75, ante.
'I GOULD, ]History,
sion occurred, or
if there was an absence of jurisdiction, nobody would be bound by the
statement of anybody ‑‑ not even by the statement of a committee or a Grand
Lodge ‑that an expulsion took place. Another case in which the force of comity
hardly gives effect to expulsions is where, in the case of rival Grand Lodges,
each body proceeds to " expell " all or some of the members of the other.* Of
course, in such a case, another Grand Lodge may be so friendly with one of the
contending parties as to ascribe validity to the acts of its friend. That,
however, is a great stretch of comity; and discreet Masons are inclined to
regard such expulsions in much the same way as the unbiased historian regards
the acts of Pope and anti‑Pope when they respectively excommunicate each
other. If Massachusetts had adjudged the colored Masons "clandestine," the
judgment would more nearly resemble this latter class of expulsions than any
other. One other circumstance, however, would deprive such a decision of even
such weight as this lowest class of expulsions may have:‑namely, that
decisions as to the standing of Lodges under another constitution bear no
analogy to Lodge‑trials, and every inference based upon any presumed analogy
is necessarily erroneous. We have seen that it is beyond question that neither
the fact that African Lodge No. 459 was in Massachusetts nor any other
circumstance gave the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts any jurisdiction over that
constituent of the Grand Lodge of England; or any other relation to negro
Masonry than that possessed by other white Grand Lodges.f This view seems to
have been generally accepted; for, as early as 1818 the Grand Lodge of New
York assumed the right to investigate the claims of negro Masonry for herself;
at a later day, Grand Bodies in various parts of the world t recognized negro
Grand Lodges; and during the past year more than a dozen Grand Lodges have
assured us " with a greater or less degree of calraness," that they also have
" decided " this question, not only for themselves but for us, for all time to
come;‑ none of which things could have occurred had there been a Massachusetts
decision which precluded all further inquiry. I fancy that if the Grand Lodge
of Massachusetts should recognize negro Masonry ‑‑as I do not doubt she will
do some day, just as soon as the g?,eat body of the Fraternity in that State
become aware of the merits of
*"But you are told
Lawrence Dermot[ sic I and William Preston were expelled Masons, and so they
were; for no immoral or untnasonic conduct, however, * * * Does not their
glorious, though temporary martyrdom, in this noble work, entitle them rather
to our admiration and gratitude?"‑JoHN DovE, The Virginia Text‑Book (3d. ed.),
t See ~P/ 39‑43 et
I Including Peru.
Within the year the Grand Secretary of New York has obtained an assurance from
the Grand Master of Peru that his Grand Lodge never recognized negro, Masonry.
But this probably merely indicates that the Grand Master of Peru does not
claim, for the present Grand Lodge, identity with the ruling body in Peru
which did recognize the negro Grand Lodge of Ohio, in or before 1876. In the
matter of recognitions, I could throw a bomb‑shell into the camps of many of
those who have attacked us most malignantly, by showing recognitions of negro
Masonry by Grand Bodies with which the Supreme Councils of the Northern and
Southern jurisdictions of the U. S., A. and A. S. Rite, are in most intimate
relation; if I cared to bring Scottish Rite matters into this paper.
i L GRAND LODGE OF
Masons in some of the Southern States will not deem her decision quite so
,conclusive " as they do now!
78. 8ame.‑.As to comity, I conceive that if the Prince Hall Grand Lodge still
exists in Massachusetts; and if the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts had decided
that it was a clandestine body, (tomity would induce the Grand Lodge.‑of
Washington to decline to accord recognition to Prince Hall Grand Lodge, if
asked to do so, without regard to whether she was in fact regular or not. This
is as far as any rule of comity extends, and as far as any Grand Lodge
actuated by any principle of comity would expect another to go. Up to the
present day, Washington's failure to recognize colored Grand Lodges seems to
rest on the twQ facts that she has never been asked to do so, and that she
respects the "American Doctrine " that dual Grand Lodges are inadvisable; *
for I fail to find that Massachusetts has made any such decision as the one
mentioned, Let us see what actions of hers have given rise to the erroneous
idea that she has done so.
First, when the
Grand Lodge was organized in 1792, African Lodge, No. 459, was not invited to
participate, or to unite with it. We have seenf that this did not affect the
validity of negro Masonry; and that the white Masons did not regard it as a
"decision" against the latter is apparent, as well from the absence of any
statement to that effect, as from the fact that they continued to visit the
about a century, the white Masons of Massachusetts have made no effort to
absorb the negro Masons into their organization. This is the nearest thing to
a " decision " against them that I have found; but it is too informal to be
given any such effect, and must rather be taken as evincing the sentiment
expressed by Brother PARvirm l~ and the Washington committee, that it is
4reforable to let them maintain separate organizations.
Next, in 1797 the
Grand Lodge voted, in effect, that it would not receive as visitors, or
communicate with, American Masons who retained their allegiance to European
Grand Lodges; and, at or about the same time, that menibers of its Lodges
should not hold communication with such brethren.** We have already seen what
these things, which were designed to coerce St. Andrew's Lodge, amounted to‑tt
They did not imply that there was anything irregular about the brethren
against whom they were directed; but, on the contrary, were an invitation to
them to affiliate with the local organizations.
~ 79. Same.‑But to
a man well known as a matchless inventor and untiring defender of innovations
in Masonry; a man who manufactures
* See n 63 ante,
and 89, post.
i See ~ 38 et seg.,
See Appendix 11,
See Appendix 13,
** See GOULD'S
History, iv, 354.
tt Ante, ? 38 et
facts and invents
theories to suit his own convenience, we are indebted for information as to
the exact time, place and terms of this " decision " which we have so long
sought. This man, having been the arch‑enenly of the Degro Mason for a quarter
of a century; and having never lost an opportunity to malign and misrepresent
the Grand Lodge of Washington, seized with delight the opportunity to destroy
both, at one blow. His information is so exact, his argument so conclusive,
that I give his exact words. After mentioning that St. Andrew's Lodge "
finally yielded " and joined the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, * he says: f
"But Prince Hall
Lodge made no offer or attempt to give in its adhesion. but kept on in utter
disregard of the Grand Lodge, and thus became. by the decision of the Grand
Lodge of Massachusetts, which alone bad full jurisdiction over the question, a
clandestine lodge. The question raised in this controversy was then and there
finally decided": etc.
For definiteness as
to the " then and there " of this " decision " and
I know nothing to equal this; unless it be found in a famous opinion written
by my whiloni associate of Skagit County in a case in which he was attempting
to judicially determine the exact date of a marriage which had occurred, a
generation before, between a white man and one KITTY, an Indian girl. His
,, The date cannot
be determined from the evidence; but KITTY, who ought to know, says it was
when the salmon were just beginning to run."
The next reference
to negroes that I notice in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was in 1846; but
that was a case where a white member of the white Grand Lodge opened a
clandestine Lodge and initiated a number of negroes.t It has nothing to do
with " negro Masonry; except that the Degroes having petitioned to be
"healed," and a committee of the Grand Lodge having found " that there were
insuperable objections to granting the petition, which it was not necessary to
mention, " 11 and the negroes having concluded to take a charter from the
African Grand Lodge in Pennsylvania, I find no mention of complaint that this
would be an invasion of jurisdiction, or of warning given the petitioners that
it would not accomplish their aim to be " legalized as Masons."
* See ~ 32, ante.
t Proceedings, G.
L. of Maine, 1899, Cor. Rep., p. 308, will be the reference, if the author of
that report reproduces in the formal volume the matter contained in the
advance sheets which he printed and circulated throughout the U. S., in the
Spring of 1899, for the pllrpose of misrepresenting the position of the Grand
Lodge of Washington, deceiving Masons as to facts, and alienating our brethren
from us. In the octavo "signature" which he circulated, there are more
carefully concocted misrepresentations of fact than there are pages. That he
will reproduce this matter, I do not doubt: for ever since he attracted the
attention of R. P. GOULD, by assisting‑for a valuable consideration, and on
condition his own name should be placed on the title page‑an "enterprising 11
publisher to pirate GOULD'S History of Freemasonry, he has seemed desirous
that what GOULD said of PRESTON should apply to himself,‑that "(to put it
mildly) in all matters of a controversial nature, lie laboured under a
constitutional incapacity for exactitude of statement." In calculating to what
extent he may safely carry brazen misrepresentation in his attempts to deceive
and mislead the Masons of America, he has accepted as an axiom the opinion Of
SIR RICHAILD BURTON, that, " Next to the Antiquary, in simplicity of mind,
capacity of belief, and capability of assertion, ranks the Freemason.'' The
New England Freemason, Nov. 1875, p. 552.
I GRAND LODGE OF
1868an opportunity was afforded the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, had it
desired to avail itself of it,‑not to inake the negro Masons clandestine, for
that it could not do, but to declare that they should be treated as such in
Massachusetts. But it declined to do so. The members of that body, or at least
its committee, appear to me to have been in the state described by Brother
EvANs,* " too moral to do an injustice and defend it, too feeble in spirit to
dare to be just." In that year "Lewis Hayden and others "‑that is to say, seN‑enty‑two
members of the tive negro Lodges in Massachusetts, including many of the
leading colored men of the State‑joined in petitioning the white Grand Lodge
for recognition of their " equal,Masonle manhood." f The eommittee to whom the
petition was referred took a year to consider it, ~ and at last brought in
what has well been called a "limping report"‑‑
"A compromise which
no member of the committee, as far as we can ascertain, is willing to father.
It is a piece of patchwork which no one of the workmen who made it will claim
as all his own." ~l It reported (italics mine):‑
have examined the charter [of African Lodge No. 4591 and believe it is
authenti'c; but as they do not deem it necessary at this time to investigate
the historical statement contained in the petition, they have not inquired
into its legaleffect, nor whether any properorganization under it ever took
recommend that the petitioners have leave to withdraw."
The reasons given
by the committee for refusing to investigate the case that had been referred
to them were that‑
do not avowedly represent either of these Lodges (to which they belonged] or
any others; so that their statements and prayer should be regarded as
expressions of individual persons,** And‑
1, The petitioners
include only a portion of the persons who claim to derive privileges from this
instrument " [the charter.]
In accepting this
report, it is undeniable that the Grand Lodge simply rendered a jtidgment of
non suit; which is‑as may be explained to the layman‑simply dismissing the
case " without prejudice," without deciding its merits, and leaving the
parties just as though they had never been in court. And, of course, after the
committee had reported that they had " not inquired into " the case, or deemed
it " necessary to investigate the subject," their gratuitous assertion that
l,odges existing in Massachusetts without the sanction of their Grand Lodge
were " irregular and spurious " was the purest obiter dictuni‑‑binding on
nobody in any case, but doubly worthless as coming from men who ad initted
that they had
* See quotation in
~ 92, post. t The petition and report thereon are in Proceedings, G. L. of
Mass., 1869, p. 134 et seq. t Negro writers say it, or a sub‑committee, spent
weeks examining their records.
11 SAMUEL EvANs,
The Colored Masons' Petition, ut swpra, 10.
** As an
illustration of‑let the reader say what,‑it may be noted that when negro
Dimons petitioned the Grand Lodge of Canada in 1971, their petition was denied
because they did petition as Lodges and not as individuals.
the subject; and in their sage remark that members of such Lodges were "
denied masonic intercourse " and were " not recognized by the Craft," they but
repeated what the petitioners themselves had said.
~ 81. Same.‑GARDNFR's
address.‑In 1870, in the course of his Address, * Grand Master WILLIAM SEWALL
GARDNER presented incomparably the ablest argument against the negro Masons
that has ever been written. But it was not‑did not purport to be‑a decision of
anything. It was simply a partisan attack. The Grand Lodge did not pass upon
the matter‑the matter was not before it,‑but simply referred the address to a
committee "with authority to print the same." t The oceizsion for the paper
was the fact that the Committee on Foreign Correspondence of New Hampshire,t
speaking of the negro Lodges, had said:
"Facts are coming
to light which tend to show that the history of these Lodges has not been
told. They are said to derive their authority from the charter of the Grand
Lodge of England to African Lodge; it has been said that this was in violation
of the jurisdictional rights of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. The American
doctrine of Grand Lodge jurisdiction has grown up since then, and is not
elsewhere fully received even now; besides, there was then no Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts, or in' that State, whose rights could be interfered with; for
notwithstanding the claim to antiquity of that Grand Lodge, it was not formed
till 1792, and the two Provincial Grand Lodges before existing in the colony
both expired in 1775 by the death of their Provincial Grand Masters."
It was to refute
these statements that Bro. GARDNER volunteered his Address. I believe the
reader will say Bro. BELL was substantially correct. And as Bro. GARDNFR‑unlike
most other writers on negro Masonry‑quoted or cited his authorities, it is
possible to see just where he was misled by the defective inf orrnation with
which a student was at that day compelled to deal. So much ability is
displayed in his Address that I cannot doubt that had he had before him the
wealth of information concerning Masonic history and usages which scholars
have unearthed in the last quarter century, he would have'recognized the
legitimacy of negro Masonry. But all we are concerned with at this point is
the fact that his indictment was not a " decision."
82. Same;‑the Woodbury report.‑Probably one‑half of the committees who have
reported against negro Masonry‑or rather against the Grand Lodge of
Washington‑during the past year have based their conclusions upon a report
presented to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1876 by Bro. CHARLEs L.
WOODBURY and others. 11 For their doing this, instead of using the far abler
paper mentioned in the last section, I can see but two reasons: first, that
the WOODBURY report was all they had ever read on the subject; and, second,
that it contained eight " conclusions", ** ready arranged to be copied without
the labor of thinking.
Proceedings, G. L.
of Mass., 1870, p. 15.
Id, p. 50.
JOHN J. BELL;
Proceedings, G. L. of N. H., 1869, p. 111.
Proceedings, G. L.
of Mass., Sept., 1876, p. 59.
** See these "
conclusions " in a note under ~ 10, aitte.
I GRAND LODGE OF
0 It mattered not
to them that most of the " conclusions 11 were Dot conclusioijs of fact at
all, but more inferences and opinions. It mattered not that the " conclusions
" do not follow from anything in the body of the report. As a matter of fact,
the WOODBURY report, in its statements of fact and Masonic usage, is a tissue
of inaccuracies from beginning to end, which any Entered Apprentice ought to
be able to refute; and its summing up is a non sequitur. But with this we are
not concerned at present, but only with the question whether it was a "
decision " on negro Masonry. The subject of negro Masonry was not before the
Grand Lodge or the committee. The Proceedings tell us that the committee was "
appointed to consider the application of a Lodge (white] in Italy to become a
subordinate of our Grand Lodge, and the general question of Grand Lodge
jurisdiction." But the question of recognizing a negro Grand Lodge was pending
in the Grand Lodge of Ohio; and the committee, after disposing of the subject
referred to it, for the illegitimate purpose of coercing the Grand Lodge of
Ohio* proceeded to discuss negro Masonry. Its opinions on this s,ubject were
not a " decision 1', for anybody. And the Grand Lodge was so conscious of this
that its self‑respect precluded it from fathering them. The Proceedings read:
, R. W. CHARLF,s LE:vi WOODBURY * * * submitted the following report, which
was accepted, and the recommendation regarding the Lodge at Palermo was
83. Same.‑Report of 1898.‑At the December quarterly communication of the Grand
Lodge of Massachusetts in 1898, a committee composed of Brothers S. LOTHRop
THORNDIKE, CHARLFS C. DAME (the brother‑unless this be a namesake‑who, as
Grand Master, had appointed the committee destined, if not designed, to make
the farcical report of 1869, already considered) t and SERENO D.
NICKERSON‑Mentioned in a recent foot‑ n ote‑presen ted a report 11 in which
they describe themselves as, "The committee to which was referred the recent
action of the Grand Lodge of the State of Washington upon the subject of ,
Negro Masonry.' " The delicate nature of the task of reviewing this report
prior to the consideration by the Grand Lodge of Washington of the message
which it contains, is manifest; and I shall not review it. I may say, however,
that by whom the "action of the Grand Lodge of Washiiigton " was " r6ferred "
to this committee, I am not informed; and by what authority any " superior
jurisdiction under heaven " ** presumes to
* On motion of
SERENO D. NICKERSON, now Recording Grand Secretary, and a man against whom the
Grand Lodge of Washington has just ground for complaint for his clandestine
interference with its affairs during the past year and his use of his official
position for that purpose‑then a member of the committee and always a most
virulent negrophobist,‑" it was voted that five hundred copies ofso much of
this report as relates to the proposed action ofthe Grand Lodge of Ohio, and
the status ofthe so‑called African Grand L*dge, be printed for imynediate
distribution "!‑Id., p. 91.
t Id., p. 59.
I See 180, ante.
Proceedings, G. L.,
of Mass., Dec. 1898, p. 183,
** " * * * The
concensus of opinion and usage had crystallized into th6 following
propositions, as necessary deductions from the fundamental principles of
Freemasonry: " 1. It is the inherent right of the Lodges in an independent
State to organize a Grand 102
sit in judgment on
"the action of the Grand Lodge of Washington," I do not know. In the most
conciliatory spirit, I would suggest‑and only suggest‑that if this Grand Lodge
must be put on trial before a commit tee, it might be just to permit it to
have, say, one challenge to the jury "for cause," if not peremptory; and
possibly, if this be not asking too much, an opportunity to be heard. But to
resume. The only thing in the report of this committee which bears upon our
prese ' nt inquiry is the resolution, "That this Grand Lodge [Massachusetts] *
* * renews its refusal of Masonic recognition to persons, Lodges or Grand
Lodges deriving their Masonic lineage from a certain Prince Hall. * * * " That
this would not have been a " decision" that the persons of that
Masonic lineage "
were clandestine, even if there had been an actual case before the committee,
goes without saying. And that Massachusetts and every other Grand Lodge in the
world has an absolute legal right to decide whom she will not, or will,
recognize, is undeniable; and has never been questioned except in the case of
the Grand Lodge of Washington.
A careful review,
then, of the history of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts discloses that we are
not bound, even tinder the rule of comity, by any decision of that
jurisdiction that negro Masonry is clandestine; for,' unless there be some
ruling which has not been referred to in any of the literature of this ,;ubject,
Massachusetts has never made any such decision, even if some of her members
think she has. No, when speaking as controversionalists, whether as orators,
as editors, or upon corni‑nittees, individual Massachusetts Masons, influenced
either by that race feeling which‑deny its existence as we may‑every American
knows exists in every American breast, or by the natural irritation with which
we regard one who has defied our authority for an hundred and twenty years,
have used the terms " clandestine" and " spurious," freely and often; but the
Puritan conscience and her own self‑respect have caused the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts‑through all these years‑to hold back from saying that the sons
of PRINCIE HALL are not Masons, bound to us by a three‑fold tie. She has not
installation charges.‑Some have thought they found an obstacle to the
reception of negro Masons, in the fact that every Master of a Lodge at his
installqtion expresses his assent to two charges, substantially in the
following form: *
" IV. You admit
that no new Lodge can be formed without permission of the Grand Master or his
Deputy; nor any countenance given to any irregular Lodge, or to any person
clandestinely initiated therein."
VI. You agree that
no visitors shall be received into the Lodge
Lodge according to
the constitutions of Masonry, 'amenable to no superior jurisdiction under
heaven, and subject only to the immutable landmarks ofthe Craft.' "‑J. H.
DEtuMMOND, Goutd's Hi,~tory, iv, 315.
* As almost every
compiler of a Masonic Monitor has felt free to vary the language of these
charges to suit his taste, I have adopted the earliest form known to me‑that
given by PRESTON in his " Illustrations of Masonry," the first edition of
which appeared in 1772. (14th Ed., London: 1829, p. 75.) It may be observed
that PRESTON gives, first, nine charges which he says are " a summary of the
Ancient Charges," and then six others‑iiieluding the two in question,‑as "
Regulations of the Grand Lodge."‑Id., 73.
I GRAND LODGE OF
under due examination, and producing proper vouchers of a regular initiation."
Mason knows that Masters who have received this charge have, in every
generation, recognized Masons made in Lodges which had been formed bv
authority of persons‑" Scots Masters", t and others of the so‑called "York
Rite "‑who conld not, by any stretch of language be called " Grand Masters "
or " Deputies" de jure, but were able to iinpart validity to their acts only
because‑acting in accordance with the usages or the supposed necessities of
Masonry at the time and place‑they exercised de, facto the functions of, and
became de facto, fountain heads of Masonic authority. t And every thoughtful
Mason knows that these charges must be interpreted in accordance with Masonic
usage. But it is not necessary to strain the language of the charges to cover
our case, for none of the Lodges which we are considering have been "formed
without permission of the Grand Master." From the time that PRINCE HALL
assumed the title and functions of a Grand
brethren at Philadelphia, in 17.97‑and had his claim of authority acquiesced
in by these regqtlar Masons, ** who had been niade in England and I‑reland,‑the
negroes have never been without those who were Grand Masters de facto and, in
my opinion, according to Masonic usage, (le jure also. The reason for the rule
requiring "the Grand Master's warrant " or other authority when Lodges were
established was simply that there might be a decent and orderly administration
of Masonic affairs. Whatever accomplishes that result effects " the end of the
law and, consequently, it has long been a settled principle that, for such
purposes, the authority of one who is a de facto Grand Master answers every
requirement of law. ft There is no case in Masonic history where any‑
For example, all
the Lodges mentioned in 0 52‑56, ante, and many of those spoken of in 0 35.
t One who had
received the French degree of Scots Master was held to be entitled to make
Masons at sight and constitute Lodges on his own authority._Are Q. C., x, 53.
The 20th degree ofthe A. and A. Scottish Rite, " Grand Master of all Symbolic
Lodges," is said to have originally been a similar degree.
1. In Scotland, the
first of the two charges printed in the text is made to read: "You adrnit that
no Lodge can be constituted without a charter from a Grand Lodge, or other
supreme body entitled to grant them.' '‑LAURIE, Hiitory of Freemasonry (Ed.
In New York it has
been " Resolved, that we fully recognize the legitimacy of Masons made in
Lodges ofthe A. and A. [Scottish] Rite, in countries where that is the
dominant P.ite. "‑Proceedings, G. L. of N. Y., 1896, p. 194.‑That is to say,
plain Master Masons, who may not be even members of a Grand Lodge, may "
assemble in an upper chamber of a tavern, and there and then elect each other
into various kinds of Worshipfuls" and organize a Supreme Council which can
form Lodges which are recognizable within the meaning of the Installation
~l See ~ 59, ante.
** All writers
agree that the initiation of nearly all of the Philadelphia negroes whom
PRiNcE HALL formed into a Lodge has been traced to regular Lodges in the
tt Compare, for
instance, the acts of the Kings of Prussia and Sweden when claiming to be
natural heads of Masonry in their respective countries; the acquiescence of
the Fraternity in NAPOLEON'S practical appointment of a Grand Master and
Deputy G. M.;
Master 11 and
claimed to be at the head of a Grand Lodge whei 104
thing has ever been
held that was comparable in point of preposterousness with the idea that Grand
Lodges and Grand Masters who have an unbroken succession for more than ninety
years, and are the accepted authority over more than a thousand Lodges, are
unable to give a Lodge the regularity required by the installation charges.
The fact that a Lodge exists by authority of an organized Grand Lodge fixes
the fact of its regularity. What another Grand Lodge‑white or black‑‑may say
of it determines nothing but its standing with reference to that other Grand
Lodge;‑It being the absolute right of every Gran(f Lodge to determine for
itself, providing it act in good faith, what Lodges it will recognize; and it
being equally beyond its powers to terminate the existence or affect the
validity of a body which has never been on its register.
85. Rival negro bodies.‑It has been objected that the negroes " are not ready
for recognition," inasmuch as they have dissensions among themselves. In other
words, in some States there is both an independent Negro Grand Lodge and a
Grand Lodge under the National Compact or National Grand Lodge. * I shall not
waste time on this puerile excuse. Similar considerations have not deterred
several American Grand Lodges from recognizing one of the rival Grand Bodies
in Mexico, in recent years. In the first place, there is at present no
proposal to recognize any of the negro Grand Lodges.t Next, should recognition
of their Grand Bodies be esteemed a better course than to absorb them into our
organizations, applications for recognition would be considered‑as such
applications always are‑singly, and each upon its own merits. And, finally, it
cannot be doubted that the recognition of any negro Grand Lodge would result
in its absorbing all the other negro Masons of that State.
86. High Rites.‑Next, it is objected that the negroes have bodies of all the "
high degrees," and these cannot possibly be recognized by the white
organizations of similar rank. In the first place, I have not the slightest
sympathy with the man who has so little conception of Masonry that he will let
the interests of any " high degree " organization influence his action in
Lodge or Grand Lodge‑still less with the man who would permit those interests
to lead him to refuse the hand of a brother to a man whom he believed to be a
Mason. But I do not see any reason why the recognition of negro Masons should
involve any recognition of their "high degree" bodies;‑by other "high degree"
bodies, I mean, for we in Washington hold that it is eminently improper for a
Lodge or Grand Lodge to recognize " high degrees " or " high degree " bodies,
in any way. The white " high Rite " bodies have their quarrels; but the
experience of tile Grand Lodge of Washington has conclusively demonstrated
the act of the
Master of the old Lodge at York in assuming the title of Grand Master and
creating ten Lodges; those of the respective heads of the "City," "St. John's"
and " Phillips " Grand Lodges in New York in forming Lodges which, after being
denounced for a time, were finally admitted to be regular, even by their
rivals in the sarae State; etc., etc.
*See 66, ante.
t See 89, post.
t GRAND LODGE OF
absolute refusal of
a Grand Lodge to have anything to do with them is a complete protection
against discord. In our Grand Lodge, Thirty‑thirds of the " Southern," "
United States 11 and "Northern " jurisdictions affiliate like brothers‑as they
are; and high dignitaries of the Ancient and Primitive Rite, and Unknown
Brothers of the Martinist Order, waive the olive branch over their heads.
87. Social equality.‑The next objection is a very old one; one that is
passionately urged, and as vehemently withdrawn. It is, that the recognition
of the fact that certain negroes are Masons will compel us to "associate with
them on a plane of social equality;" and this "the white Masons of the South
will never do." l,have endeavored to explain my views on this point on an
earlier page;* and, as there explained, I do not believe any question of
"social equality" is involved. One of the verv foundation ‑stones of our
Institution is that she unites upon a level of Masonic equality men the most
widely separated by social inequality, the high and the low, the rich and
poor, "monarchs, for a season." and the bewers of wood and stone;‑aiid does
this without disturbing their relative social status in the slightest degree.
And as I am f Lilly convinced that the black ball and the right of objection
to visitors afford complete protection against unwelcome intrusions‑and why
they do not, Do one has attempted to explain in all the wordy war of the last
year,‑‑I cannot see any foundation for this objection when thrown into the
form of the naked assertion "that it will destroy Masonry in the South." Still
less can I see any foundation for the idea that for us to receive negroes in
our Lodges in Washington will "ruin," or in the least degree affect, Lodges
two or three thousand miles away;‑no one has told us how it would. I am
satisfied that had we not published our Proceedings last year, or had not half
a dozen of their leaders told them of it, not one Arkansas Mason in a hundred
would have learned in the next forkv years‑as they had not in the previous
forty, during all of which time our law was the same as it is to‑day‑that
there is no color line in Washington. f So slightly does our action affect
But if it be a
fact, as stated to me, t‑as I sincerely hope it is not‑that Southern Masons
take an oath not to affiliate with negro Masons, the otherwise unexplained
cause of the great excitement over the action of Washington becomes apparant.
But if such prove to be the case, the sympathy which one would naturally feel
for brethren placed in such a predicament would be almost lost sight of in the
indignation which t~e knowledge of such a thing would inspire. The
introduction of such an oath into a Masonic Lodge would be such an atrocious
affront to Masonry, such a perversion of its fundamental principles, as to
overshadow every other subject now before the Masonic world. I sincerely
* See ~ 16, ante.
t Less than a year
ago, several Soutliern Masonic Journals, in comnienting on this subject,
gravely explained to their readers that " in some jurisdictions," " it seems,"
negroes are not " necessarily excluded I See note under ~ 16, ante.
hope there is no
foundation for these remarks; but after the intimations that have been given
lue I could hardly say less. If those intimations are based on fact, then our
misguided brethren, or their immediate predecessors, are responsible for the
position in which they find themselves; and they must work out their own
88. A cognate
objection.‑Somewhat in line with matters spoken of in the earlier part of the
last section, is a suggestion made to me by one of the most esteemed of
American Grand Masters: that a white man might be initiated in one of the
negro Lodges in his State‑which he considers irregular bodies‑affiliate in
Washington, dimit, return to his former home, anci join a white Lodge there on
our dimit. It seems to me that the probability of such a case ever arising is
almost infinitely remote. I do not understand that negro Lodges initiate white
men more often than white Lodges, negroes; Washington investigating committees
investigate, and a white man hailing from a negro Lodge would be less likely
to be admitted than a negro; and no doubt the white Lodge of his native State,
knowing of the liberality‑or laxity, if you prefer‑of our ideas, would, under
the installation charge, require "vouchers of a regu‑, lar initiation. " * And
after all, if a man, standing so well that he passed the ordeals of
investigation and ballot in three different Lodges, and already possessed of
the secrets of Masonry, should succeed in entering a Lodge where he did not
belodg, would not the real injury to Masonry be microscopic? Furthermore, the
suggestion was based on the theory that we had made a change in our law,
thereby increasing the probability of such an incident. Stich is not the fact;
we have made no change in our law.t
89. Comity. ‑Exclusive territorial juris(liction.‑The last of our long list of
objections is suggested by tLe question, "Would it not evince a lack of the
spirit of comity, and a disregard for the 'American doctrine of exclusive
territorial jurisdiction,'t to accord recognition to a negro Grand Lodge
before the white Grand Lodge of the State in which it is situated has done so?
Undoubtedly it would‑as we Americans view things;‑if the recognizing Grand
Lodge and the other white Grand Lodge were on terms of comity. For this
reason, and others, no one in Washington has ever suggested according
recognition to any negro Grand Lodge out of this State. 11 The statement, so
persistently reiterated during the past year, that Washington " has recognized
negro Grand Lodges" is, in newspaper idiom, "the merest rot." The Washington
committee expressly pointed out that " no proposal to enter into relations
with the Negro Grand Lodges is involved."** I am clearly of the opinion that,
for example, so long as our relations with the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
remain as they are, it would neither be the part of comity nor for the
* See charge vi, in
? 84, ante. t See ? 1, ante. t, As to what that doctrine is, see ~ 63, ante.
'I See P, 78, ante. **Proceedings, G. L. of Washington, 1898, p. 59.
I GRAND LODGE OF
good of Masonry at
large for us to enter into similar relations with a second Grand Lodge in that
State‑no matter how regular it might be, nor how much we esteemed its members,
nor how freely we fraternized with them;*‑until the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts had first recognized that body. And I am equally clear that
every rule of comity, as'well as every law of Masonry requires other C#rand
Lodges to refrain from attemptitig to dictate how we shall deal with any Lodge
or Mason‑white or black‑in this State. We have, and should ever assert, the
exclusive right to determine for ourselves‑but not for others ‑what Lodges and
Masons in this State we will regard as regular. Not only the denial of this
right, but any attempt‑by edicts of non ‑intercourse, by condemnatory
resolutions, by "protests," or by any other means‑to restrain the free
exercise of this right is not merely a breach of comitv; is not merely
unfraternal; but is in the highest degree illegitimate, and in the strongest
senie of the term, unmasonic. It is an attack upon our sovereignty, and an
infringeinent on a fundamental principal of Masonry. For that Institution,
from the dawn of its history, has conferred upon every independent organized
body of Masons the absblute right of self‑government, limited by the Landmarks
of Masonry only.
Before leaving the
subject, may I point out that comity is not law? Comity is courtesy; comity
yields not that which is due, but more than is due; it is not a response to a
demand, but a kindness flowing from good will. And, furthermore, comity is
mutual. Washington owes no comity to Grand Lodges which deny her sons the
rights and privileges of Masonry. And more than that, is not there such a
thing as straining the demands on comity too far? Those Grand Lodges which
have not cut us off, but which have almost asked us to place our sovereignty
in the keeping of Kei3tuckv and her allies,‑have they not placed a pretty
heavy strain on our comity? Had Count DILLON hesitated to eubmit to be
guillotined at the request of the lady, f could he have been justly charged
with a lack of comity?
How to Solve the
~90. Our personal
duty. The reader who has perused this long paper with conscientious desire to
arrive at truth‑and only such a reader‑is now in a position to determine in
which of the six classes mentioned on a former page I he places the negro
Mason. If in any class above the second, lie is confronted by the question,
What is my duty towards the negro Mason ? If he belongs to a jurisdiction
which has, to some extent, limited his action by placing the negro Mason in
the second class, he can at least see that no act or word of his encourages
the attempt to rivet the same shackles on its in Washington, whose consciences
are as yet free. But if he, also, is yet master of his own conscience and
judgment and actions, he naturally asks, What ought to be our attitude towards
the negro Masons and their organizations ? What treatment ought we to
* I ,,ee /?. 75,
ante. t See the anecdote in a note under ~ 45, ante.
See ~ , 7, atite.
accord to them ? By
whom, and how, ought their relations to the white organizations to be
I take it that it
is undeniable that the unaffilated Mason, and the Mason whose Grand Lodge has
i3ot bound his action in the matter, should accord to the negro Masons just
that standing which his individual judgment and conscience tell him they are
ent~tled to,‑neither more nor less. It seems to me, also, that as members of
that Universal Fraternity the existence of which is too often almost
forgotten, * the individual Mason has certain, rights and duties, and bears
certain relations towards all other members of that Fraternity‑even towards
those who may be technically non‑regular, from a Grand Lodge standpoint, ‑with
which Grand Lodges ought to interfere as little as possible; and that, as our
committee suggested last year, f a Grand Lodge ought not, by " a mere majority
v6te upon what is largely a question of history and a matter of opinion, to
bind each individual Mason of the Grand Jurisdiction either on the one hand,
to spurn one who is in his judgment a true and lawful brother, or, on the
other, to converse Masonically with one whom he honestly believes to be a
Subject to these
limitations, I take it as fundamental that each Grand Lodge‑Kentucky and South
Carolina no less than England and Washington‑ought to determine for itself,
but of course for no one else, how it will treat these people and their
organizations. This seems to me the only course donsistent either with Masonic
harmony or with that great principle of "self‑government, subject to the
Landmarks only" which lies at the very base of all Masonic law. I have no
right or desire to bind the consciences or the judgment of my Kentucky
brethren; and they SHALL NOT bind mine. If this view be adopted, we must
expect to see negro Masonry accorded, as is the case to‑day, a different
standing in one State or country from that which it has in another, t In
jurisdictions where prejudice‑I will not say against negroes, but against
negro Masons, if you please‑is the strongest, and the principles of Masonry
the least appreciated, we may expect that, perhaps for another century, negro
Masons will be denounced as " clandestine and spurious," and all intercourse
with them will be absolutely prohibited. In others, of a little higher order
of intelligence, and where the light of Masonry burns a little brighter, while
the negro organizations may be treated as invaders, individual negro Masons
may be treated as unrecognized rather than as spurious Masons. In others,
where darkness and error, passion and prejudice, have shrunk even more before
reason and knowledge, "sweetness and light," it may perhaps be held that the
rise of negro Masonry in America‑as the rise of "Ancient" Masonry did in
England‑divided our Fraternity into two distinct Societies, 11 between which "
there was very
* See fourth note
under ~ 51, ante.
t Proceedings, G.
L. of Washington, 1898, p. 51.
1 The Transactions
of the Grand Lodge of England for March 1, 1899, show that on that day certain
resolutions of condolence were received from the Grand Lodge of Liberia, a
body descended from PRiNcE HALL.
DERMOTT; see ~ 25, ante.
I GRAND LODGE OF
little in common,
except the wearing of aprons and the cultivation and practice of charity";*
but both of which were, according to their lights, loyal members of one
indivisible FRATERNITY. And, best of all, may we not hope to see‑if not yet,
still in the not distant future‑some jurisdictions wherein will exist that
happy condition which DFRMOTT longed for but did not live to see‑" a general
conformity and universal unity between the worthy masons of all denominations
" ? f‑a condition which was brought to pass, so far as England was concerned,
in 1813, by the " happy union " of those who had theretofore regarded each
other as a mob of impenitent Schismaties." t
91. Same.‑Dual Grand Lodges, or not ?‑The question whether after we reach the
stage of development which enables us to see that the Masonry of the negroes
is Masonry and has a right to exist‑we should absorb them into our
organizations or encourage them to maintain sepa rate ones, is beyond the
scope of this paper. The American writers who have written most strongly
against one of these plans would have written more strongly against the other,
bad that other been under consideration at the time:‑their object being to
discourage action of any kind' * My own opionion is, that the former course is
most consistent with the genius of the Masonic IDstittition and will
ultimately prevail; but that there are few parts of America in which race
feeling will not cause the latter to be preferred for a generation or two
longer. I am entirely clear that each Grand Lodge must settle this question
for icself; but agree that all information that might be obtained by a full
discussion of both plans ought to be carefully weighed.
92. Same.‑Moderation required.‑Whether the rights of negro Masons are finally
to be recognized or denied; whether or not Masonry shall be able to vindicate
its catholicity even when tried by the severe test of race feeling; whether we
are destined to realize that the "two Societies " already alluded to 11 are
but branches of one Universal Fraternity, or are to see the breach between
white Mason and black Mason widened into a gulf of hatred and war; until these
questions are settled, there is a demand upon all true lovers of the Masonic
Institution, for the exercise of the highest degree of patience, forbearance,
toleration and tact. Upon this point‑as well, I believe, as of the relative
positions of the Past, the Present and the Future upon the main question‑a
member of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts ** has spoken wisely and well:
,,No question is
more affected by prejudice. Blood is thicker than creed. Differeffees of
religious faith among MASODS would not create one‑tenth part of the commotion,
as the raising of this question of race does. On this question of affiliation
with races of all colors, or of one particular color, the men of the Past, the
'men of the Present, and the men of the Future have distinct ideas and
feelii3g. The first say 'N4D' to the
Masonic Facts and Fictions, 193.
t Ahiman Rezon, Ed.
I See ? 25, ante.
~l See? 90, ante.
** SAMUIE:L EVAiqs,
The Colored Masons' Petition, 8.
any and all circumstances, absolutely and emphatically, No.' The second say,
'We do not seek it; we do not object to it under some circumstances; with
restrictions we would be willing, without restrictions, unwilling. In fact, we
have not made up our minds.' The third say, 'We accept it, freely accept it,
as the logical sequence of our being Masons, of our professing Masonry; for
Masonry knows no race, knows all races alike.' The first has undergone
ossification, is already fossil. The second is playing at tilting; see‑saw; up
and down; this way, that way; undecided; timid; too moral to do an injustice
and defend it; too‑feeble in spirit to dare to be just. The third, positive,
progressive, in barmody with the tendencies of the age, hopeful, full of
faith, actuated by feelings in accordance with the doctrines of the common
fatherhood, universal brotherhood, and the claims of truth and justice to
service and submission from every human soul. The first would deny justice to
the colored Masons; the second would not deny, would not demand, would be
under the influence of the first; the third would insist on the whole truth
being told, on the admission of every proper claim."
differences as these exist; in a Fraternity whose boast has been that she
formed a "center of union" between men who must otherwise have remained "at a
perpetual distance," * and has kept her votaries free from even the
dissensions which flow from theological controversies, by "leaving their.
particular opinions to themselves," t dogmatic assertion, intoloradce of
differences, threats, and anathemas are out of place. Washington cannot say to
Kentucky, "Thou shalt;" nor can Kentucky say to Washington, "Thou shall not."
For the brethren of Kentucky and of Washington are not only Free Masons, they
are free men. Least of all can Kentucky say to Washington, "There is no ques
tion," for Washington hears the voice of ABEL's blood crying from the ground.
Nor can Kentucky tell us that another has settled this question for us; for
that is but the deceitful voice of the women who weep for TAMMUZ.T
It may be that in
one State it is impracticable, yet, to even discuss the question of
recognizing negro Masons; that in another it is best that white and black
Grand Lodges should profess ignorance of the other's existence; that in a
third the practicable plan is to recognize one Frateruity,, divided,
temporarily, into two Societies‑friendly or hostile, as you will; 11 while a
State may exist in which one Grand Lodge for all " worthy masons of all
denominations" may even now be possible. May it not be that our brethren of
the South know better than we what is for the best interests of Masonry in the
South, as the South now is? May it not be that we, here on the shores pf the
prophetic Pacific, know better than they what is best for us? In any event, it
is the immemorial law of Masonry that we should regulate our affairs; they,
theirs. And have we forgotten that it is also the law that we should "judge
with candor, ad‑
* The Charges of a
I Ezek. viii, 14.
11 "My opinion is
that the negroes can make as good a show for the legality of their Grand
Lodges as the whites can. * * * I think we had much better acknowledge them
than blend them into our organizations. "‑THEODORE S. PARVIN to J. D.
CALDV.'ELL quoted in Tite Negro Mason in Equity, 36.
I GRAND LODGE OF
friendship, and reprehend with justice;" and that, if " sub mission is
impracticable," we must carry on our contention "without Wrath and Rancor,"
and "saying or doing nothing which may hinder BROTHERLY LovF
and good Offices to
be renewed and continued; that all may see the BENIGN INFLUENCE Of MASONRY, as
all true MASONS have done from the Beginning of the WORLD, and will do to the
End of TIME.
"Amen so mote it
93. L'envoi.‑My tasl.: is done. " That is my I case'; " and I submit iti to
"an enlightened, a high‑minded, a right‑feeling, a conscientious, a
dispassionate, a sympathizing, a contemplative jury". f
My task is done.
Under circumstances the most unfavorable possible to literary work, and
knowing that what I should write would be greeted with falsehood,
misrepresentation, vituperation and abuse, I have endeavored to set forth
clearly the considerations that have led me to the unhesitating conclusion
that not one of the objections which have been urged against negro Masonry is
of any validity whatsoever; and to give such a plain and trustworthy statement
of the facts that the honest and intelligent reader may not only test my
opinions, but safely form opinions of his own. I have been compelled to treat
parts of the subject tediously and at great length. I have been aware that in
many instances I was "breaking a buttertly on a wheel." But some lies have
been so brazenly asserted and so persistently reiterated; some false doctrines
so insidiously suggested and craftily defended, that Do other course seemed
possible. I cannot hope that into a paper so wide in its scope no errors or
inaccuries have crept, 11 but I trust these will be found few and unimportant;
and I believe time and Masonic scholarship will vindicate my candor, and my
accuracy in all essential particulars. Nor can I hope that every reader will
agree with every opinion that I have expressed in the course of
argument‑‑there is no reason why he should do so; but I have not the least
doubt that the principal conclusions arrived at are THE TRUTH, or that such
will be the verdict of Posterity.
My task is done;
and I joy that I may turn again to my sorrow.
* The charges of a
Free‑Mason, A. D. 1723.
t With apologies to
Bro. HENRY SA13LER;‑Masonic Facts and FYotions, 198.
1 Pickwick papers,
I'~ Letters or
printed matter in which such errors are pointed out, if sent to the writer at
Walls Wall&, Washington, will be gratefully received.
ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE
The dispensation to
Extract from an
address delivered before Prince Hall Grand Lodge, June 30,1858, by JOHN V. DE
GRASSE, P. G. M. (italics mine):
"He knocked and the
doors of Masonry were opened unto him, and his eyes beheld the form and beauty
of our Lodge. That young man you will readily recognize as PRINCE HALL ‑ * *
One year later, according to a statement, which I have tn his own handwriting,
in company with THOMAS SANDERSON, BOSTON SMIT]A and others, * * * he organized
and opened, under dispensation granted by this British Travelling Lodge, * the
first Lodge of Masons composed of colored men, in America."
Massachusetts authorities for a charter.
The negro Masons
have a persistent tradition that PRINCE HALL applied to WARREN, the Scottish
Prov. G. M. at Boston, for it charter, and received some encouragement from
him; but that the matter fell through, on account of the death Of WARREN at
Banker Hill, June 17, 1775. Antinegro writers do not so much deny the fact of
the application, as scout at the suggestion that WARREN could have encouraged
it. WARREN, however, was a young man of exceptional liberality of views,
thoroughly permeated by the spirit of Freemasonry; and PRINCE HALL was a man
highly esteemed and trusted by the leaders of the patriot cause in Boston.
Such an application would, in the first instance, naturally be made orally. I
am not aware that any contemporaneous evidence on the subject survives. '
The tradition adds,
that after the death Of WARREN, PRINCE HALL applied to Grand Master WEBB, in
1779. This, I believe, has never been denied; and it was mentioned as early as
1828, by JOHN T. HILTON, in an address before the African Grand Lodge, of
Boston. Perhaps it was WEBB that advised PRINCE HALL to "send to France." See
CLARK, speaking of
the New York Dispatch, says: f
I I This paper was
edited by Past Grand Master Holmes, and also by Past Grand Master Simons, of
New York, who is especially known for his unfavorable disposition toward the
colored people. The issue of March 1, 1868, says:
I In the beginning
of the eighties of last century, a number of colored people of Boston,
Massachusetts, addressed the Grand Lodge of this city (Boston), requiring a
dispensation to do open and work a Lodge. This request was refused, upon which
the petitioners addressed the Grand Lodge of England, and their request was
* See ~P~, 17 and
55, ante; and compare Appendix 4, post.
t The Negro Mason
in Equity, 27.
i GRAND LODGE OF
Application for an
GARDNER * gives the
following as extracts from a letter of PRINCE HALL, dated March 1, f 1784,
accompanying his petition to the Grand Lodge of England for a charter:
"I would inform you
that this Lodge hath been founded almost eight years." "We have had no
opportunity to apply for a Warrant before now, though we have been importuned
to send to France for one, yet we thought it best to send to the fountain
head, from whence we received the light, for a Warrant."
I am informed that
JOHN V. DFGRASSE, in 1858, completed this last sentence, as follows:
" We thought it
best to send to the fountain head from whence we received our first light, for
a warrant, who we hope will not deny us, nor treat us beneath the rest of our
fellow‑men, though poor, yet sincere brethren of the craft."
The following, from
what appears to be the original letter‑book of PRINCE HALL‑rediscovered while
this paper was going through the press,‑is probably the same letter. The Mr.
[WILLIAM] MOODY addressed was Master of a Lodge in London.
Sir: Permit me to Return you my Brotherly Love and Gratitude for your kindness
to my Bretheren when in a strange land. When in time of need you stood their
friend and Brother (as they inform me), and as much as you have done it to
them I take it as done to me, for which I now Beg leave to return you, the
Wardens and Rest of the Bretheren of your Lodge my hearty thanks. I hope you
will forgive whatsoever you may have seen amiss in them.
hope that you will not receive no Brother of our Lodge without his warrant,
and signed in mauner and form as B'Reed.
Dear Brother I
would inform you that this Lodge hath been founded almost eight years and we
have *had only a Permit to Walk on St. John's Day and to Bury our Dead in
manner and form. We have had oppor tunity to apply for a Warrant before now,
though we have been impor tuned to send to France for one, yet vve thought it
best to send to the Fountain from whence we received the Light for a Warrant:
and now Dear Br. we must make you our advocate at the Grand Lodge, hoping you
will be so good (in our name and Stead) to Lay this Before the Royal Grand
Master and the Grand Wardens and the rest of the Grand Ledge; who we hope will
not deny us nor treat us Beneath the rest of our fellow men, although Poor yet
Sincere Bretheren of the Craft. After wishing you all happiness here and
hereafter, I beg leave to subscribe myself your Loving Friend and Brother.
Boston, March 2,
Warrai3t of African
Lodge, No. 459.
CONSTITUTION : A. G. M.
TO ALL AND EVERY:
Our right worshipful and loving brethren:‑We, 'FHOAIAS HOWARD, Earl of
Effingham, Lord Howard, etc., Acting Grand Master, under the
* Pro(!eedings, G.
L. of Mass., 1870, p. 34.
t CLARK reads this
date as " March 7.11
authority of his
Royal Highness, Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, etc., Grand Master of the
Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Ancient Masons, send
greeting: Know ye that we, at the humble petition of our Right Trusty and well
beloved brethren, Prince Hall, Boston Sriaith, Thomas Sanderson, and several
other brethren residing in Boston, New England, in North Araer1,~a do hereby
constitute the said brethren into a regular Lodge of Free Accepted Masons,
under the title or denomination of the African Lodge, to be opened in Boston,
aforesaid, and do further, at their said petition and of the great trust and
contidence reposed in every of the said above‑named brethren, hereby appoint
the said Prince Hall to be Master; Boston Smith, Senior Warden; and Thomas
Sanderson, Junior Warden, for opening the said Lodge, and for such further
time only as shall be thought by the brethren thereof, it being our will that
this, our appointment of the above officers, shall in no wise affect any
future election of officers of said Lodge, but that such election shall be
regulated, agreeable to such By‑Laws of the said Lodge as shall be consistent
with the Grand Laws of the society, contained in the Book of Constitutions;
and we hereby will, and require of you, the said Prince Hall, to take special
care that all and every, the said brethren, are to have been regularly made
Masons, and that they do observe, perform, and keep all the rules and orders
contained in the Book of Constitutions; and, further, that you do from time to
time cause to be entered, in a book kept for that purpose, an account of your
proceedings in the Lodge, together with all such. Rules, Orders, and
Regulations as shall be made for the good government of the same, that in no
wise you omit once in everv year to send to us, or our successors, Grand
Masters, or Rowland Holt, Iksq., our Deputy Grand Master, for the time being,
an account of your said proceeding, and copies of all such Rules, Orders and
Regulations as shall be made as aforesaid, together with the list of the
members of the Lodge, and such sum of riioney as may suit the circumstances of
the Lodge, and reasonably be expected toward the Grand Charity.
Moreover, we will,
and require of you, the said Prince Hall, as soon as conveniently may be, to
send an account in writing of what may be done by virtue of these presents.
Given at London,
under our hand and seal of Masonry, this 29th day of September, A. L. 5784, A.
D. 1784, by the Grand Master's command.
R. HOLT, Deputy
Grand Master. Attest: WILLIANI WHITE, Grand Secretary.
Receipt for Fee for
RECEIPT OF PAYMENT.
Received, 28th of
February, 1787, of Captain James Scott, tive pounds, fifteen shillings,
sixpence, being the fees on the Warrant of Constitution for the African Lodge
For the Grand Lodge
of the Society of' Free and Accepted Masons, 1'5, ]5s., 6d.
From the Boston
"Massachusetts Centinel " of May 2, 1787.
Boston, May 2, 1787.
from London, came the charter, etc., which his Royal Highness, the Duke of
Cumberland, and the Grand Lodge have been graciously pleased to grant to the
African Lodge in Boston. As the
I GRAND LODGE OF
brethren have a
desire.,to acknowledge all favors shown them, they, in this public manner,
return particular thanks to a certain member of the fraternity, who offered
the so generous reward in this paper some time since, for the charter supposed
to be lost, and to assure him, though they doubt of his friendship, that he
has made them many good friends.
From Address of
JOHN V. DE GRASSE, G. M., before Prince Hall Grand Lodge, June 30,1858.
our Charter was granted in London, September 17 1784, we did not receive it
until April 29, 1787, through the neglect and almost culpable carelessness of
Brother Gregor ' y, who did not take it from the Office of the Grand Secretary
where it had remained over two years." '~ On the 29th of April, the Charter
and a beautiful bound book of the Constitutions were delivered to PRINCE
the Grand Charity.
Extract from a
letter of the Grand Secretary of England to the Grand Master of Massachusetts,
dated May 5, 1870:
,,As you are h
Iready aware, the Warrant for the African Lodge was granted in 1784, and was
numbered 459, but the fee for the Warrapt, ~E4 4s., does not appear in our
Grand Lodge accounts until the 4th April, 1787. The following remittances *
were received for the Charity Fund from the African Lodge, viz: November 25,
April 18, 1792 . ..
November 27, 1793 .
November 22, 1797.
X2 2s. Ild.
Lettet‑ from the
Grand Secretary of England to PRINCE HALL.
BROTHER: I have the pleasure of sending inclosed the nted proceedings of the
Grand Lodge by which you will perceive the ~r.iurishing state of. our society;
and in the account of the 24th of November, 1787, you will find accredited
your donation to the charity fund, ten dollars sent by Captain Scott; and that
of the 18th of April last, your donation of one guinea. I am much obliged to
you for the sermon you spnt me, which I think very well written, and very
appropriate for the occasion.
When you next write
to me, I should be obliged to you if you would let me know if the lodges in
the inclosed list,f which were constituted by the Grand Lodge of England, are
yet in being, as we have never heard from them since the commencement of the
late war in America, or
* There had
evidently been a previous contribution of $10., Nov. 24, 1787. See Appendix
10. The difference of;El‑ 11‑ 6 between the fee for the warrant, here
mentioned, and the total surn paid 28 Feb., 178‑1, as shown in Appendix 6, may
have gone either to the Grand Charity, or to pay for fL comn3ission to PRINCE
HALL RS R Special Provincial Grand Master for the negro race.‑W. H. U.
t2d. Lodge No. 2,
in Boston, constituted Feb. 15,1749.
New Haven Lodgejn
Connecticut, constituted in Nov. 1750.
Providence Lodge in
Rhode Island Government, constituted Jan. 18, 1767.
in this Government (Mass.) constituted March 25,1760.
before: and in case they have ceased to meet, which I rather ap rehend, thev
ought to be erased from our list of lodges.
Tam much oblized to
you for the account you give respecting your own Lodge
ich I sincerely
wish success, as I should be happy to ave t n n~ to w6' b
y power to
Inclosed I send you
one of the calendars for the present year, of which I beg your acceptance.
I remain, with
Ri ht Worshipful
servant and brother, (Signed) WILLIAM WHITE.
Letter from PRINCE
Secretary.‑ Visiting by white Masons.
To the Grand
Secretary, London, Freemasons St.*
BROTHER:‑L received yours of the 20th of August last, together with the
printed accounts of the state of the Grand Lodge; and am happy to see the
flourishing state of the Society, and I am very sorry to see so many Lodges
whose behaviour hath been such as to put the Grand Lodge to so disagreeable a
task as to erase them from so honorable a society . I have made inquiry about
the Lodges you wrote to me about, the Lodge No. 42, ivhich used to meet at the
Royal Exchange, and kept at the Assembly House, at the head of Orange Tree
Lane, has kept a regular Lodge, and was joined last year by one or two more
Lodges. Their present Grand Master is John Cutler, chosen last year, and
walked to Trinity Church, where a sermon was delivered by Rev. Walter, D. D.,
June 25th. The Lodge No. 88 hath joined the'above Lodge ever since the death
of their Grand Master, Henry Price, Esq., for he is long since dead‑a worthy
Mason. As for the Marblehead Lodge No. 91. 1 cal3not
auy information of
it, whether it keeps or not; but I believe they
OV.~t, for if they
did, I should have heard from her. As for the Lodge No. 93, in New Haven,
Connecticut, I hear they keep a regular l,odge, and I have reason to believe
it. The Lodge No. 142 do keep the same, as some of them hath visited our
Lodge, and heard it from their own mouths.
I am happy that you
approve of the sermon. I have sent vou a charge I delivered at Charlestown, on
the 25th of June last, I ha\‑e‑ sent one to your Royal Grand Master, his Royal
Highness, the Prince of Wales, and another to his Deputy, and three for the
Grand Lodge, which I hope will meet your approval.
Views of General
ALBERT PIKE, Sovereign Grand Commander, A, & A. Scottish Rite.
13th September, 187~,
My DEAU FRIEND AND
BROTHER.‑I can see as plainly as you that the negro question is going to make
trouble. There are plenty of regular negro Masons and negro lodges in South
America and the West Indies, and our folks only stave off the question by
saying that uegro Masons here are clandestine. Prince Hall Lodge was as
regular a lodge as anv lodge created by competent authority, and had a perfect
right (as other lodges in Europe did) to establish other lodges, making itself
* The coplest in
England who supplied these letters seems to have run the address lines of the
two together, so that there is some doiibt as to which of the letters a word
or two belongs to.
Or , ai
.,I GRAND LODGE OF
Lodge. That's the
way the Berlin lodges, Three Globes and Royal York, became Grand Lodges.
The Grand Orient of
Hayti is as regular as any other. So is the Grand Orient of the Dominican
Republic, which, I dare say, has iiegroes in it and negro lodges under it.
Again, if the negro
lodges are not regular, they can easily get regularized, If our Grai2d Lodges
won't recognize negro lodges, they have the right to go elsewhere. The Grand
Lodge can't say to eight oi‑ more Masons, black or white, we will not give you
a charter because you are Degroes, or because you wish to work the Scottish
Rite, and you shall not go elsewhere to get one. That latter part is bosh.
the Grand Lodges. Yes, and so the German Grand Lodge Confederation is going to
do, and so will the Grand Orient of France before long. *
Of course, if
negrophily continues to be the religion established by law of your States,
there wilt be before long somewhere a beginning of recognition of negro
lodges. Then. the Royal Arch and Templar bodies of negt,oes niust be taken in,
and Masonry go~ down to their level. Will your plan work? I think not. I think
there is DO middle ground betinreen rigid exclusion of negroes or recognition
and affiliation with the whole mass.
If they are not
Masons, ho‑v protect them as such or at all ? If they are Masons, how deny
them affiliation or have two supreme powers in one jurisdiction,
I am not inclined
to meddle in the matter. I took my obligations to white rinen, not to negroes,
When I have to accept negroes as brothers or leave Masonry, I shall leave it.
I am interested to
keep the Ancient and Accepted Rite uncontaminated, in our country at least, by
the leprosy of negro association. Our Supreme Council can defend its
jurisdiction, and it is the law‑maker. There cLn not be a lawful body of that
Rite in our jurisdiction unless it is created by us.
1, am not so sure
but that, what with immensity of numbers, want of a purpose worth laboring
for, general indifference to anything above mere routine, general indifference
to obligations, pitiful charity and large expenses, fuss, feathers and
fandango, big temples and large debts, Masonry is become a great helpless,
inert mass that will someday, before long, topple over, and go under. If you
wish it should, I think you can hasten the catastrophe by urging a
protectorate of the negroes. Better let the thing drift. Apres nous le (teluge.
111. COMP. JOHN D.
Views of M. ‑.W. ‑.
THEODORE S. PAUVIN, Grand Secretary, Iowa.
From a letter to
JOHN D. CALDWELL, 1875.
" I have read
opinions of Pike and Winslow Lewis in the pamphlet you
*This was written
before the Grand Orient had dispensed with the requirement of a beliefin
God.‑W. H. 1,‑,
Rolm 5‑ I 118
sent me. My opinion
is that the negroes can make as good a show for the legality of their Grand
Lodges as the whites can It is only a matter of taste, and not of laws.
" I am satisfied
that all the world outside the United States will ere long recognize them, and
I think we had much better acknowledge them than to blend them into our
organization." AI'PENDIX 14.
Letter, X. Y. Z. to
‑, ENGLAND, 22
iVy de(,tr Brother
I have readwith
great interest the report on the action of the Grand Lodge of Washington in
the matter of Negro Freemasonry.
shortly put, are :
1. That the
Coloured Masons in the U. S. A. are true Masons, having been regularly made bv
others who derive their descent and authority from legitimate sources.
2. That it being
logically impossible to deny them this title, some means must be found.
whereby their status shall be recognized, and Masonic intercourse with their
white Fellows rendered possible.
3. That their
actual admission as visitors to a white Lodge must be left to the discretion
of such Lodge.
With contention No.
1, it seems to me absolutely impossible to disagree, especially for an English
Mason. Although we have not formally recognised the PRINCF HALL organizatious,
I feel certain that no English Lodge would refuse admission as a visitor to
any one of their members, provided he came properly provided with a
certificate from his Grand Lodge, and was able to prove himself
satisfactorily. Not long ago, I was present in a Lodge in the north of England
lecturing, and one of my most attentive and intelligent auditors was a Negro,
who had been admitted on the usual proof, and who subsequently replied as the
Orator (and I think Grand Warden) of the Grand Lodge of (I fancy) Kentucky. I
was rather amused to find afterwards that the Lodge had no idea that the
brother belonged to what was considered in America a clandestine Grand Lodge,
but when I explained the matter privately to the W. M., he saw Do reason
whatever to regret the action the Lodge had unwittingly taken. The brother in
question was on his way to Liberia as an official representative in some way
of the U. S. Government, and I found him a highly intelligent and well read
man. Of course he may have been quite an exception, but if there be many such
in your parts, to exclude them from your Lodges seems to me absurd. The
brother would have been an acquisition in any Lodge.
Contention No. 2
follows from the first. ']'he only case against their recognition seems to me
the fact that Grand Lodge (white) declares them clandestine. But clandestine
does not mean, Masonically, anything disgraceful; it simply means "
unrecognized, irregular, not in communion,"
* I have been
granted the privilege of withholding the name of the‑writer of this letter,
for the present. When the critics have demonstrated to their satisfaction that
he knows nothing about Masonry, I may give the writer's name.
I GRAN]) LODGE OF
and in no way
touches their real status as true Masons. It is in the power of any and every
Grand Lodge to declare any Mason clandestine; it merely means we won't have
anything to do with you. It is therefore in the power of any Grand Lodge to
say, " so far as we are concerned, you, from this moment cease to be
clandestine." Your Grand Lodge, in so doing, does not in any way force other
Grand Lodges to follow suitFor instance, England and many other jurisdictions
have declared the Grand Orient of France clandestine, but the G. 0. of Belgium
has not done so. None the legs, we continue to recognise the G. 0. of Belgium.
They have a right to their own opinion, and we acknowledge this. If I were to
receive a French Mason into my Lodge, I should probably be expelled by my
Grand Lodge; but I may, and have met French Masons in a Belgian Lodge, and my
conduct in so doing cannot be impugned. As to the concurrent jurisdiction, you
know already my opinion that this violates no Landmark; it is simply a G. L.
arrangement which may be altered at any time. If you choose to permit two or
more Grand Lodges in Washington, this has nothing to do with any other Grand
Lodge. At the beginning of this century England swarmed with French prisoners
of war on parol. Many of them were Masons, and naturally preferred working
under their own G. 0. They were allowed to do so, and in many places
French,Lodges existed at that time, not only without protest from the G. L. of
England, but so far with its consent that intervisiting was not unusual. Not
that we should countenance such a course now, but it was an exceptional time,
and exceptional measures were taken to meet the emergency. The case of the
Negroes in America is equally emergent and exceptional. There may be no law to
prevent their initiation in white Lodges, but the ballot bars their entry. The
conclusion is obvious. Masonry knows no distinction of race, religion or
colour; and if you won't have them in your Lodges, you must, in fairness,
permit them to have Lodges of their own.
As to the third
contention, you know how I always have insisted that the Lodge is my family,
and I have a right to bar the entrance of any man whom I do not wish to meet,
simply because such is my desire, and because I should not be comfortable in
his society. Therefore you are again fully justified in permitting, but
refraining from forcing, the Lodges to admit coloured visitors.
I know that the
matter bristles with difficulties, owing to social con
siderations in your
country, and it ' seems to me that you have come to a
wise and workable
compromise, on which I congratulate all concerned.
fraternally, X. Y. Z.
Views of WILLIAM
JAMES HUGHAN, * P. S. G. D., author of "History of Freemasonry in York," "The
Old Charges of British Freemasons," etc., etc.
The recognition of
Negro Freemasonry by the Grand Lodge of Wash‑
* Now fir8t
ington is a step of
almost vital importance to the Grand Lodges in the United States of America,
and will doubtless lead to considerable discussion, as well as opposition.
It appear to me
that the matter is one for settlement by the Grand Lodges immediately
concerned, and therefore I feel that it would be out of place to say a few
words thereon just now, save on the generitl question.
In Great Britain
and Ireland as well as Canada and Australia, etc., we consider that
Freemasonry, as such, recognizes no distinctions of Colour, Creed or Clime,
and therefore if a Negro, otherwise eligible, were balloted for and accepted
in one of our Lodges, his initiation would follow as a matter of course, and
be perfectly regular. Candidates must be free men, not necessarily free born,
though undoubtedly the earlier qualification included the latter with the
former, but never, according to my investigations, was the Colotir of the
candidate ever a matter of legislation or consideration by the operative
Masons. I quite agree with the M. W. Grand Master of Washington (my esteemed
friend, Bro. W. H. UPTON) that the warrant granted to Bro. PRINCE HALL, in
1784, by the Grand Lodge of England (of 171 j' origin) was quite regular, and
in accordance with the usages and customs of the period, and that African
Lodge was quite as legal and Masonic as any other chartered in America. Also
that its removal from the Register in 1814 by the same Grand Lodge did not
make its subsequent career‑to now, if it has continuously workedirregular, or
cause its privileges to be forfeited; as the result practically was simply its
removal from the English Roll' Now, however, such erasure would carry with it
actual extinction, unless placed on another Grand Lodge Register. The Lodge
was empowered to initiate men who were "free born," without respect to colour,
as with its parent Grand l,odge; but when it became legal for it to accept
t~rce men, is quite another question.
I have always
advocated the initiation of suitable gentlemen without respect to creed, clime
or colour, but that does not make me a believer in the Masonic regularity, as
we understand the term, of the Negro, or Coloured Masons, now under
consideration. In the absence of sufficient evidence, I decline to recognize
such as mv brethren. This, however, is quite a different question from the
regularity of African Lodge.
The Grand Lodge of
Washington recognizes, or agrees to tolerate, Negro Lodges formed within its
jurisdiction, and eventually a Grand Lodge; so that, under those
circumstances, there would be rival or independent Lodges working in the State
of Washington, initiating candidates without respect to colour, and not
amenable to the regular Sovereign Grand Lodge, having M. W. Bro. W. H. UPTON
as Grand Master. This I cannot support in any way. If the Lodges of Negroes
are regular, place them on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Washington as
equals, but as rivals, never. I do not say that any Landmark would be
violated; for there were two or more Grand Lodges at work in some of the
States last century; and even at the present time, two or more Grand Lodges
often claim jurisdiction in the same District or Territory or Country. But
I I I
GRAND LODGE OF
when one Grand
Lodge becomes wholly Sovereign, as respects its recognized Jurisdiction, and
has absorbed all subordinate Lodges therein, experience has proved that
thereafter it would not be for the true interests of the Craft to permit of
another Grand Lodge ever entering its territory, and such invasion should be
objected to by all its Peers.
In this view of the
matter, it seems to we that some other course should be adopted than that
followed by the Grand Lodge of Washington.
1. X. 98.
W. J. HUGHAN.
Views Of W. J.
CHETWODE CRAWLEY, LL. D., D. C. L.; P. S. G. D., Grand Secretary of the Grand
Lodge of Instruction, IrelaDd; author of " CTmentaria Hibernica, " etc.
50, ST. STEPHEN's
To the HoD. W. H.
UPTON, Seattle, Washington, U. S. A.:
My Dear Bro. ttpton
‑Allow me to begin by sending my congratulaT!ODS to the M. W. Grand Lodge of
Washington on having secured you asGrandMaster. The Grand Lodge bas honoured
itself by the selection.
English‑speaking Freemasons of the Old World note with the keenest interest
the step taken by your Grand Lodge in according recognition to the Negro Grand
Lodges that can claim descent from the Grand Lodge of England, the Mother
Grand Lodge of all our Jurisdictions. I can make no claii‑n to speak on behalf
of the Grand Lodge of Ireland and I am, indeed, aware that brethren of great
weight in this and the sister Grand Lodges of the United Kingdom are not
prepared to recognize unconditionally our brethren of African or of Asiastic
descent. But to the great majority of us it seems that your Grand Lodge is
within its rights in thus extending the hand of fellowship, and to a scarcely
less majority it seems that your Grand Lodge is within its duties in so doing.
The Grand Lodge of
Ireland has always been accustomed to attach the greatest weight to the
opinions of Brethren on the spot. Thus, when any case for inquiry is made out,
our Grand Lodge invariably refers the matter to the Provincial Grand Lodge for
investigation and report. Similarly, we believe that you American Brethren on
the spot have the best means of ascertaining the propriety of claims such as
those of your neighboring Grand Lodges, white or black, to recognition. Acting
on this principle, we have always refrained from recognition of any distant
Grand Lodge on the sole ground of an unimpeachable pedigree. We have always
sought the aid of the neighboring Grand Lodges in determining the question,
just as we would have sought the aid of the neighboring Lodges of the Province
in investigating a case of a Lodge of our own. We know that differences, which
seem from the other side of the World trivial distinctions, may turn out on
closer inspection to be formidable obstacles. We, therefore, await the verdict
of the Brethren on the spot, and wish your Grand Lodge a hearty God‑speed in
' make no pretence
of having read all the literature of the controversy. But the subject has
interested me for many years, and I have a suffl‑
recollection of the ground taken up in bygone days by the opposing battalions
to venture on a historical protest. When our good brethren of the Committees
on Foreign Correspondence come to quote George Payne's Code of 1720, they will
do well to remember it was designed for a very limited jurisdiction, that of
~'The cities of London & Westminster" and not for the Provinces or the
Colonies, much less for the Craft at large. In that code, too, the Grand
Master's Warrant does not mean the Grand Master's charter. As a matter of
fact, no Lodge charter was issued by any Grand Lodge till the Grand Lodge of
Ireland set the example imniediately after its reorganization in 1730; and,
again as a matter of fact, the Brethren in America grasped the advantages of
the course pursued by Ireland, and made use of Lodge Charters before they were
used by the English Brethren. For a third of a century after the revival of
1717, the Lodges in England did without charters.
It might be well to
take into account that the earliest instance of the limitation of the
territorial jurisdiction of any Grand Lodge follows from a provision of the
Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1768, which limits the jurisdiction of subordi '
nate military Lodges in places where legitimate Lodges of civilians already
existed. As the Grand Lodge is made up of its subordinate Lodges, the
limitation of the former's jurisdiction is the logical consequence. I think I
can say, with some confidence, that this is the earliest trace of such a
provision in the code of any Grand Lodge.
When the historical
investigation is divested of the modern connotation of the word Warrant, and
the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction removed from the category
of Ancient Landmarks into that of modern arrangements, the real question at
issue will be more clearly and more easily determined.
Speaking my own
individual opinion, I am confident that when the African Grand Lodges,
furnished with the approbation of the neighboring Grand Lodges, present
themselves at the portals of Irish Freemasonry, they will receive a hearty
fraternal welcome. And it will be a proud distinction for your Grand Lodge to
have led the way in bridging over a gap that, from my distant point of view,
surprises me by its persistent existence.
Again expressing my
congratulations on your accession to the office of Grand Master,
Believe me, Yours
in the bonds of the Fraternity,
6th Oct., 1898.
W. J. CHETWODE
I GRAND LODGE OF
Message.* SEAL OF THE
UNITED GRAND LODGE
OF ENGLAND, GRAND LODGIR.
GREAT QUEEN ST.,
LONDON, W. C., 5th May, 1899.
Most Worshipful Sir
of January 20th, 1899, with enclosures, to the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Lathom, as
Pro. Grand Master of England, has in consequence of the lamented death of his
lordship, been laid before the advisers of His Royal Highness the Most
Worshipful Grand Master, who have carefully considered the matters submitted,
and have directed me to thank you for so fully setting forth the difficulties
of the position in America by reason of the existence of lodges of Negro
Masons not holdiDg under the recognised Grand Lodges. The Grand Lodge of
England knows no distinction of race, colour, or creed, so long as the
fundamental principles of Ancient Freemasonry are faithfully observed, and it
would not be likely to cease intercourse with a Grand Lodge which pursued a
similar policy. The question as to the regularity and recognition of the
Lodges referred to in your letter, is, however, one for each Grand Lodge to
determine for itself; and the advisers of our Most Worshipful Grand Master do
not feel at liberty to express any opinion upon the acts of Sister Grand
Lodges in according or withholding such recognition. Personally, they regret
that there should be such a wide divergence of opinion as your letter and
documents indicate; and they earnestly trust that time and circumstances will
facilitate the most harmonious working throughout the whole of the Masonic
jurisdictions of the United States.
You are at liberty
to make such use of this communication as you think proper.
M. W. Bro.
W. H. UPTON,
I have the honour
Most Worshipful Sir
E. LETCHWORTH, Grand Secretary.
Grand Master, Grand
Lodge of Washington, U. S. A.
Letter from His
Grace The Most Noble The DUKE OF ABERCORN, K. G., Grand Master of Ireland. f
13th March 1899
Grand Master Upton
Pray accept my
thanks for your courteous communication and enclosures relating to Negro Grand
Lodges in the United States of America.
* Appendices 17,
18, 19, 20 and 21 were written in response to requests for expressions of
opinion upon "ilny phase of the question," and for fraternal counsel; and upon
the assurance that whatever should be said would be regarded as the personal
views of the writer,‑in no wise binding upon his Grand Lodge.
in the letter of the Grand Master of Ireland, appearing to be of a privat,6
nature, are not printed.
I am both surprised
and grieved by the sudden storm and, having before me only the statements in
your letter, I confess I am not quite clear as to how and why it originated. I
am precluded therefore from giving such a judicial opinion as you seek.
general grounds there are particular considerations why the Grand Master of
Ireland should be slow to pronounce a judgment.
You are good enough
to attach weight to My opinion, and I therefore think it my duty‑leaving on
one side any application to existing controversies‑to state plainly my
profound conviction that the proposition to deem any worthy man ineligible for
the rights and privileges of Freemasonry solely on account of his complexion
or his pedigree will be held by Irish Freemasons to be inconsistent with the
Antient Landmarks of the Craft.
I am greatly
confident that the Irish Brethren would consider such a subversion of
fundamental principles to be incomparably more serious than the existence of
two Grand Lodges with concurrent jurisdiction, which is, after all, a mere
matter of discipline, not necessarily infringing the Antient Landmarks=and the
Grand Lodge of Ireland may fairl~ claim to be heard on the point, seeing that
it seems to have been the first to introduce the doctrine of the limitation of
Lodge jurisdiction into Masonic Law.
With all fraternal
good wishes for the continued prosperity of your Grand Lodge, I remain
Master of Ireland.
To the Honble Wm.
R. UPTON, Walla Walla, Washington, U. S. A.
M.‑.W.‑.BRo. DR. JOSEPH WERNER, Grand Master, Grand Mother‑Lodge of the
Eclectic Freemasons' Union.
SEAL OF THE
M.‑.W.‑.Brother W. H. UPTON, Grand Master of Masons, Washington.
M.‑. W.‑.Sir and
Dear Brother: I have putyour letter before the meeting of our Grand Lodge. The
brethren have authorized me, to reply to you, not only in my own name, but
also in that of the Grand Lodge, leaving it to your discretion to publish the
answer or not.
and laws of our Eclect Grand Lodge are founded on the "Old Charges,"
accordii3g to which: position, nationality or color, religious or political
opinion are no objection to election as freemasons. Thence it results, that we
are bound to recognize Negro Lodges‑provided the‑v are established strictly in
accordance with the landmarks of Masonry‑quite as much as Mohamedan or Indian
On the other hand,
however, we have no right to interfere with the concerns of American Grand
Lodges or other Lodges, not even in the
* The original is
2 GRAND LODGE OF
shape of advice.
Besides I am not acquainted enough with American affairs to be able to give
advice, even privately.
We can only say,
that this disharmony is very painful to us. Every difference in the Lodges
does harm to freemasonry in general and in our opinion it is much to be
regretted that there is no universal harmony in the chief questions of
I have the honour
to be fraternally yours,
22d February 1899.
Letter from M. ‑.W.
‑.Bro. CARL WIEBE, Grand Master of Hamburg. * HAMBURG, den March 9th, 1899.
M.‑.W.‑.Bro. Wm. H.
UPTON, Grand Master of Masons, Walla Walla, Washington, U. S. A.
M.‑. W.‑.Sir and
Dear Bro.: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt your circular letter of
January 20th with enclosures.
You ask my opinion
on the matter submitted by your circular and I will give it on the
understanding that you accept it as an expression of my personal views, as my
Grand Lodge does not meet until the 13th of May next and I have therefore no
means of ascertaining its views at present.
I understand the
question at issue to be as follows: "Your Committee‑Report, adopted June 15th,
1898 states, that your Grand Lodge is of opinion that its constituent Lodges
or.the members thereof may recognize as Brother Masons, negroes who have been
initiated in Lodges which can trace their origin to certain lodge or lodges
warranted by English constitution about 115 yeaxs ago; further, that your
Grand Lodge will eventually, should a Negro Grand Lodge in accordance with the
Landmarks of Masonry and with Masonic Law generally, be established in your
State, extend its sincere gympathy to your colonred brethren in every effort
to proinote the welfare of the Craft." Your action is objected to by several
American Grand Lodges on the grounds: " that the descent of the negro lodges
is irregular, that their establishment violates the American doctrine of
exclusive territorial jurisdiction and that Degroes are ineligible to be made
Masons." . My views OD the matter are of course European and not American
ones, but I believe them to be based on the old Charges and Landmarl,‑s of
Pure and Antien t Masonry such as laid down by our common forefathers.
I believe that it
is unwise and unjust to dispute the legal standing Of any Lodge or Grand Lodge
which practises Masonry according to our standard and has been doing good and
honest work amongst the people of its own class for upwards of a hundred
years. It may be possible or even admissible to contest the legal standing of
a Lodge or Grand Lodge at the time of its establishment, but if such Lodge or
Grand Lodge has
* The original is
I I 1.1‑‑ I 126
contention of legality and afterwards does successfully withstand the much
severer test of vitality for over a hundred years, then in my opinion it has
conclusiveiv proved that it owes its existence not to mere chance or caprice,
but that it is destined tofuVIl a mission and to supply a want. It can then
claim our fraternal esteem and even our recognition if it keep within the
bounds and practices of Pure and Ai3tient Masonry.
I further believe
Masonry to be universal and not restricted to any particular class of men, nor
to race, color or creed, but destined to be a center of concord for all good
men and true. This I believe to be one of the old Landmarks also from time
immemorial. On the purely American doctrine of exclusive territorial
jurisdiction I would desire to say as little as possible. It is certainly not
an old Landmark and it is one of those things which we in Germany cannot see
the necessity of and we m iy therefore be pardoned for not believing in it. In
the City of Hamburg we have 16 Lodges belonging to 6 different Grand Lodges
and we certainly do not find it in any.way detrimental to the interests of the
But how is it that
your antagonists‑if such an expression be allowed in Masonry‑maintain for
themselves and as their right, the doctrine of exclusive territorial
jurisdiction and yet want to interfere, and most seriously, too, with your
jurisdiction, authority and autonomy by putting what may almost be termed
illegitimate pressure upon you when your opinion happens to differ from theirs
in a matter which is not one of the old Landmarks?
And further. If the
law of the land says all men are alike, whether white or coloured, how can
Masonry make a law by which one set is qitalified to be a Mason and one not?
Of course, the law
of the land cannot and does not compel one to accept anyone, white or black,
into one's company, family or lodge, but the law of the land compels
one‑morally in this case‑‑not to deny any one the same rights which one claims
We here in Europe
would even go further than you and would not only acknowledge a colored man's
right to establish Lodges, but also would certainly admit properly certified
coloured brethren. I remember visitors to our Lodges here from Monrovia,
Tacgmel, etc.; but as an old South African colonist I can very well understand
the difficulties of your ‑Position. Race prejudice not only amongst white and
colored, but also amongst the ditterent white races themselves is a very
strong factor in South African life and history.
But I think it is
one of the duties and the privileges of Freemasonry to try to overcome
prejudice in every form, to be ahead of its time in everything whereby the
chain of brotherhood amongst all men can be strenghened,‑and yours is a noble
effort in showing to American Freemasons and to the world at large inwltich
way this can be done.
expression of your feelings does honor to your heart; it is valuable and
important, even if your aim cannot at present be accomplished; it will be a
Landmark in itself for the times of the future, even
"I I if you shou'
raised agal white Mas
You ma whose vif
,, Difft of a GT
duly ro Statute its pro
As I nals icounf I
TV GRAND LODGE OF
if you should have
to reconsider your decision in view of the opposition raised against it, and
in the interests of peace and harmony amongst the white Masons of your State.
may be quite sure of thefull sympathy of your Germany brethren whose views
generally are laid down in
5 of the Statute oj the German Grand Lodge League:
colour and race are no impediment to the recognition of a Grand Lodge or Lodge
and any Grand Lodge or Lodge will be duly recognized as soon as the necessary
informations regarding its Statutes and Principles. and sufficient moral
guarantees regarding its proper and salutary Masouic working are offered."
As I intend
publishing this letter in one of our German Masonic Journals in May, 1899, you
are at full liberty also to give it publicity in your country as suggested by
I have the honor to
be fraternally yours,
CARL WIEBE, G. M.
of (ir. Lodge of.Hamb?~rg.
Letter from M.: W.:
LEONARID MORRIS, Grand Master of Prince Edward Island.
SVMMERSIDE, P. E.
Island, March 7,1899.
W WILLIAM H. UPTON,
Grand Master of Masons, Walla Walla, Washington, U. S. A.
M. W. Sir and
Brother ‑ Your letter dated 20th January to hand along with circular and Grand
Lodge Proceedings relative to Negro Masonry.
I have read the
correspondence of other Grand Lodges on the subject also. You have asked me
for a fraternal reply and as a Brother Mason I cannot decline.
I cannot commit to
paper anything that may be taken as emanating from our Grand Lodge or
expressive of the sentiments of that Body. Whatever I do write will be only my
own opinion and you may make any use you wish of it.
I think there
should be but one Grand Lodge of Masons in each State, Province or Territory
and that all Masons within its limits should be under its jurisdiction, laws
and edicts regardless of Race or Color.
It appears that in
the United States there are thirty thousand Negro Masons called irregular or
clandestine by the Regular Grand Lodges and to be consistent with my honest
convictions I think that Prince Hall Masodry invaded the territory of these
Grand Lodges without color of right.
It seems that your
Grand Lodge by adopting the Report of a Committee recognized this Negro
Masonry without consulting Sister Grand Lodges. That is where I think you
erred. The problem should be referred to all the American Grand Lodges and by
a commission of Representatives the matter might have been amicably settled.
We must never forget that we are a Fraternity and while Grand Lodges are
supreme within their own limits there are matters which effect the rights of
others. There our sovereign authority ceases. We cannot afford wars. We must
make peace. United we stand divided we fall.
I anticipate that
you will reconsider your action as a Grand Body and 128
ask for concerted
action on the part of the Grand Lodges of the United States in this matter.
I am sure that the
liberty loving Masons of America will not deny the light of Masonry to any
worthy man whether Black or White if applied for in a regular manner.
The color line in
some states may be difficult to obliterate but as the standard of negro
character rises the color'line will fade and eventually one United Masonic
Fraternity will stand to help and bless its votaries.
We will not at
present take any decided action. When Grand Lodge meets in June the matter
will be dealt with.
Be assured of my
Brotherly love and regard.
,rhere is one
lesson which we learned on our way to the Grand East which we should never
forget: when we come to a difficult place to kneel and pray.
Believe me yours
Grand Master oj*
Letter from the
Grand Secretary of England to " The American Tyler.,, UNITED GRAND LODGE OF
ENGLAND, Free Masons' Hall, Great Queen St., London, W. C., October 15, 1898.
Dedr Sir and
Brotlier ‑ Adverting to your letter of the 28th inst., in which you ask me for
my opinion on the action of the Grand Lodge of Washington in the recognition
of "Colored Masonry," I trust you will not consider me wanting courtesy if I
refrain from discussing a matter which does not immediately concern the Grand
Lodge with which I have the honor to be officially connected.
I am, dear sir and
brother, yours faithfully and fraternally, E. LFTCHWORTH, G. S.
Letter from the
Grand Secretary for Foreign Correspondence of the Grand Lodge of Victoria
(Australia) to "The American Tyler."
OFFICE, Free Masons'Hall, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne, November 5, 1898.
Your favor of
September 28, 1898, is to hand, in which you seek my opinion on the action of
the Grand Lodge of Washington in the recognition of "Colored Masonry."
22,23,24 and 25 are reprinted from "The American Tyler" of January 1, 1899,
and were addressed to that Journal.
The pertinent point
in the letter of Grand Secretary LETCHWORTH is his very pointed hint that the
private affairsof the Grand Lodge of Washington do not " immediately concern "
other Grand Lodges,‑not even the Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge more
concerned than any other, inasmuch as the whole attack on negro Masonry rests
on a denial of her authority to warrant African Lodge No. 459,‑and is an
attack on her sovereignty.
I . i . ‑ ‑4 GRAND
LODGE OF WASHINGTON.
As yet the
proceedings of said Grand Lodge for this year have not vet reached me. I am
not in a position to give a definite opinion. I ~ave read in The Free Mason
(London) some correspondence upon the action of said Grand Lodge, and learn
that the resolution passed by the Grand Lodge of Washington covers two points:
(a) it confers power upon negro Masonry to institute Lodges among men of their
own race, (b) it recognizes colored Masons as members of the Craft.
Now, as the
practice of Masonry in these colonies is not brought into conflict with the "
colored " races, i. e.,.men who may have, bee,,a brought up in slavery, but
are now "free men, " we have no difficulty like that which has existed for a
hundred years in some of our sister Grand Lodges of America. These colonies
have ever tried to follow in the footsteps of the Grand Lodge of England, who
granted a charter to open a " colored " lodge in 1784. As we have none of that
class, as above defined, in these colonies, there is no possibility of a
charterof thesame kindbeing granted here. When, however, a freeman of full age
and of good report has knocked at the door of our lodges, he has been received
and recognized as a brother in Masonry, whatever has been the color of his
skin. We have initiated " blacks " who have been minstrels from your States,
and " Chinamen " who have found little sympathy in some of your Western
States. What's more, in the District Grand Lodge in this colony, and in the
present United Grand Lodge of Masons here, we have honored with Grand Lodge
rank a worthy brother who at the same time was colored in the sense defined.
Now, I don't
remember having met with a " colored " Mason from one of the thirty‑one
colored Grand Lodges in your States; and it is a question whether with the
knowledge of such being clandestine Grand Lodges, such would be welcomed here
any more than in your Grand Lodges or other lodges, without first taking an
obligation in open lodge of fealty to the United Grand Lodge of Victoria as is
demanded from others.
You will see, then,
from what I have written, that my opinion is based upon past practice, viz.,
color of skin has nothing to do with Masonry, otherwise we would be in
conflict with many worthy Masons who visit these lands; that no warrant would
be given to work Masonry here, that would be bounded by color, though it might
be by language; that no recognition would be accorded to another Grand Lodge,
whatever its character, working in our territory, nor would this Grand Lodge
grant a charter or warrant to work in occupied territory.
I trust that wise
councils will prevail in the present crisis brought about by the action of the
Grand Lodge of Washington. Before the United Grand Lodge of Victoria was
formed, Masonry here presented a sad picture of the " Brotherhood of Man."
There were four aspects of "Universal Freemasonry" in Victoria, represented by
England, Ireland, Scotland and Victoria; and if there be greater antipathies
in your States between the colored and the white Grand Lodges than existed
between the four above mentioned, then Freemasonry is a thing of naught in the
judgmedt of thoughtful beings. From so great a distance as Victoria, ‑ 9
and from one who
took an active part in bringing about the consolidation of Freemasonry here, I
would suggest, is it not possible for a unification of Freemasonry among the
colored and the whites in America ? Certainly, when we have to appear before
the Grand Tyler of the Grand Lodge above, being worthy of entrance, He will be
so pleased to welcome worthy brethren as to miss seeing their color. Believe
me, yotirs fraternally,
P. D. G. M.,
Grand Sec. For.
Letter from the
Grand Secretary of Nova Scotia to " The American
OFFICF, OF GRAND
SECRETARY, FREE MASONS' HALL, HALIFAX, October 1898.
Dear Sir and
Replying to your
favor of the 28th tilt. asking my opinion of "the action of the Grand Lodge of
Washington in the recognition of colored Masonry," the questiod ' which should
be settled by able Masonic jurists of the Grand Lodge of England at the date a
charter was granted, had the constitutional authority to grant a charter and
of invading territory which at that date did not Masonically belong to the
Grand Lodge of England. On this point hangs the validity of the Prince Hall
Masons, who are not admitted into our lodges. We are peculiarly situated here,
having a colored Lodge in this city having its charter from the Grand Lodge of
England and now Linder the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia. While freely admitted
into our Lodges as visitors we do not confer degrees on colored people outside
their own Lodges, nor are they perniitted to give degrees to any but those of
their own color. Colored Free Masons come here on the British men‑of‑war
coming here from the West Indies, and I have seen colored companions coming
here and admitted into our Chapters, but the R. A. degrees are not conferred
here on our colored brothers. The committee to whom this subject was referred
by the Grand Lodge of Washington made a very able report, but whether it will
stand the test of brothers eminent in Masonic law and history is something
that has yet to be known. Yours fraternally, W. Ross, Grand Secretary.
R.‑.W.‑.THOMAS MONTGOMERY, Grand Secretary of Minnesota, to "The American
ST. PAUL, Minn.,
October 7, 1898.
Dear Sir and
You ask for my
opinion on the action of the Grand Lodge of Washington in the recognition of
"Colored Masonry." Their action was embodied in three resolutions. The first I
fully approve, viz., that Masonry is universal and that no race or color test
should determine the titness of a candidate for Masonic degrees. The opinion
expressed in the second seems to me to be well founded, viz.,
I i :1~1,;
GRAND LODGE OF
that the Prince
Hall Grand Lodge and the two others named had a legitimate origin, as much so
at least as manv existing Grand Lodges. That n~lgroes made in Lodges tracing
their origin to said Grand Lodges should be recognized as regular Masons as
authorized by the resolution I suppose should logically follow, but I doubt
the wisdom of such recognition in this country on the ground of the accepted
American doctrine of exclusive Grand Lodge jurisdiction or sovereignty over
the first three degree's and that only one Grand Lodge can lawfully exist in
any one state. Hence our refusal in Minnesota to recognize as regular, under
the American system, the negro Grand Lodges, or to admit their members as
visitors. Except for this doctrine, confined, I belidve, to the United States,
the reasons given for recognition are worthy of careful consideration. It is a
well known fact that negroes thus hailing are received as visitors outside of
the United States, and if I should be visiting the same Lodge I must recognize
their Masonic status or retire.
As to the principle
in the third resolution, that so long as colored Lodges confine their
operations to colored people only, the establishment of Lodges or a Grand
Lodge will iiot be regarded as an invasion of the jurisdiction of existing
Grand Lodges; it is at variaDCe with the said American doctrine and its
adoption will lead to confusion. So‑called Masonic Lodges composed wholly of
colored persons do exist and are numerous throughout our country, a fact we
cannot ignore. If, as is claimed, they practice our rites and disseminate the
true principles of the Masonic institution among their own race, whether their
origin and legitimacy be regular or not, I can bid them Godspeed, even if for
social or prudential reasons, I discourage or even discountenance full
fraternal recognition. Fraternally yours, THOS. MONTGOMERY, Grand Secretary.
Letter Of WILLIAM
JAMEs HUGHAN to Wm. H. UPTON.‑" Oonstititting " Lodges.
Dear V. W. Grand
In reply to your
query, let me state that in the old usage of the Grand Lodge of England
("Moderns"), a difference was observed between Constitution and Consecration,
in this respect, that whereas the warrants, from 1757 (or possibly slightly
earlier, but after 1753) really constituted the petitioners into a Lodge and
[it?] thus became constituted de facto, by holding the first meeting and the
Master being installed; the ceremony of Consecration need not be performed at
the same time, and it often was not, even down so late as in my own time.
When I was
Provincial Grand Secretary of Cornwall. England, the distance between the
opening, and thus constitution, of the Lodge at St. Ives, and its
consecration, was over twelve months; during the interim the meetings having
been held, and all things conducted as a regular Lodge.
15. 18'. ")9.
1 ‑1 132
however, have since wisely provided for the Constitution and Consecration of
all new Lodges on the same day, in this Country; and no dispensation is now
issued for the opening of such Lodges beforehand, but the Consecration must
take place with the Constitution.
The warrants from
1757 (say) really constituted the petitioners into a Lodge, nominated the W.
M. and ' Wardens, and held the Master responsible for the regularity of the
proceedings, etc. Prior to 1755 (circa), the documents were different and
practically empowered a Brother to constitute the Lodge, and the W. M. and
Wardens were not nominated.
warranted at Boston, Mass., by my own Grand Lodge of England, in 1784, 1 deem
to be on a par with all other legal Lodges of the period, and that its Master
PRiNcE HALL was as much a regular Freemason as any other Master in that or any
other City, and his Lo(ige as regularly for7ned and constituted.
WM. JAMEs HUGHAN.
Letter from ROBERT
FREK.E GOULD to Wm. H. UPTON.‑" Constituting" f,o(Iges.
My Dear Brother: In
your letter of March 26th you say:
"In some of your
writings I find it stated that the Installation ceremony fell into desuetude
among the 'Moderns' some time about 1740 or 1750. " *
I don't think I
ever wrote to the Above effect. t But, passing this over, let me state that I
cannot believe the " Moderns " ever had a ceremony of Installation, and that I
am not aware of any evidence or argument in favour of their having had such a
ceremony, which appears to warrant any serious consideration.
My views on the
point are sumiy)ed up in Ars Quat. Cor. Vol. v (1892) p. 104 el seq. (Article
on " Thos. Manningham.") * * * *
Next, the " Moderns
" did not follow the practice of the " Ancients " in ai,ithorizing some one to
act as Deputy Grand Master (or Acting Grand Master) for 3 hours.
There being no
Installation Ceremony, there was nothing to do but "start ahead." I would
amplify the latter answer if time permitted, but like yourself I shall not
have leisure until June.
Anything of a
Masonic character in this note, you have my full permission to quote as coming
from the rnanufactory of
April 17th, 1899.
Bro. W. H. UPTON.
friend, R. F. GOULD.
* The letter then
went on to inquire whether this was in old Lodges only, or whether new Lodges
ceased to be " constituted " by a cerernony.‑W. H. U. t Bro, GOULD is correct:
what lie did write will be found quoted in a note under 0 37, ante.
GRAND LODGE OF
Views of DR. JOSEPH
ROBBINS, P. G. M, of Illinois.
From his Report on
Masonic Correspondence, presented to the Grand Lodge of Illinois, October,
After a slumber
somewhat longer than Rip VAN WINKLE'S famous nap, the subject of Negro Masonry
comes to the front through the action of the Grand Lodge ot Washington on a
communication from some colored Masons, received and referred last year, as
noted in our report.
proceedings have not yet come to band, the delay being chiefly due to the sad
bereavement of Grand Master UPTON, Who lost his wife about the middle of
August, after an illness that kept him at her bedside for weeks.
courtesy of M.‑.W.‑.Brother UPTON, whose thoughtfulness under such trying
circumstances we highly appreciate, we have been favored with a copy of the
report of the special committee, reprinted from the Grand Lodge proceedings,
and both on account of the intrinsic importance of the subject, and the
ability, erudition and truly Masonic spirit which characterize the report, we
are glad to place it before our readers, together with the action of the Grand
l,odge thereon: [At this point Bro. ROBBINS prints the report of the
Washington coin‑ niittee in full; and then continues:]
We had occasion in
1871 to discuss the question of the legitimacy of African Lodge, in reviewing
an address by M. W. WILLIAM SFWALI. GARDNER, then grand master of
Massachusetts, delivered at the quarterly cominuiiication of that grand lodge
in March, 1WO.
The address was, as
we then said, apparently a fair and square effort to do that which a
coinn)itlee of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts ran away from‑to meet by
argument drawn from history, the claims advanced in the petition of certain
colored Masons, of the colored organization there, to recognition.
To do this he
6~ssayed to prove thiit in 1784, %viien African Lodge obtained its charter
froiii the Grand Lodge of England, the American doctrine of exclusive grand
lodge jurisdiction had been fully established, it having been put forward in
1782 by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, an independent grand lodge formed in
1777 b * y the constituents of the provincial grand lodge set up by GEN.
JOSEPfl WARREN by virtue of a deputation from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and
which expired with the death of the provincial gi‑atici master oi) Bunker
Hill, June 17, 1775.
claimed that on that March day in 1777 the "' Massa chusetts Grand Lodge' by a
revolution and assumption of the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a
grand lodge, became a free, independent, sovereign grand lodge with a jul‑isdiction
absolute, exclusive, and entire throughout the commonwealth of Massachusetts,"
and said that " by this revolution and assumption, from that day to this, the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, without interruption, had exercised all the
plenary powers of a grand lodge."
How valueless this
oracular declaration is as a historical basis for an argument against the
legitimacy of African Lodge will be seen in spite of the misuse of "
Massachusetts Grand Lodge " and " Grand Lodge of Massachusetts " as
convertible terms, when it is recalled that in the declaration of principles,
which was rather a justification of its right to exist as a free and
independent body, performing the functions of a grand lodge, than an assertion
of jurisdictional rights as against any other grand lodge than Scotland‑to
whom St. ADdi‑eiv's Lodge, the lodge of WARREN. the late provincial grand
master, was still paying dues‑tiie " Massachusetts Grand Lodge " (Ancieqs)
appealed to the precedents of
I REPORT ON
the mother country
to justify its existence as an independent bo4y in a territory where another
grand lodge (the St. John's Grand Lodge, derived from the ‑'Moderns," through
PRICE), already existed.
Grand Lodge " recognized the equal independence of the St. John's Grand Lodge,
as is shown by the fact that it at no time assumed or claimed any authority
over the constituents of that body, and took the initiative in the
negotiations for a conference looking to a perfect union of the two bodies,
which was finally accomplished in 1792, when the present Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts was formed with JoiiN CUTLMR, Grand Master of St. John's Grand
Lodge, as its first Grand Master.
The charter of
African Lodge was grante(I by the Grand Lodge of England September 29, 1784,
but was not received in Boston until April 29, 1787, which Brother GAI?DNER
says was " ten years after the 'Massachusetts Grand Lodge' had asserted its
freedom and independence; ten years after the American doctrine of grand lodge
jurisdiction had been established."
The first half of
this declaration is manifestly true; the second half as clearly not true.
African Lodge had been a regularly chtrtered body for eight years, and had
been in possession of the parchment attesting that fact for five years when
the first grand lodge ctine into existence, that was in a positior to assert
its jurisdiction over all the lodges in Massachusetts, or that ever claimed
the right to do so; the declaration of the Massachusetts (;rand l,o