WILLIAM SEWALL GARDNER 1827-1888
Senior Grand Warden, 1864.
Grand Master, 1869-1871.
From Proceedings, Page VII-269, on his installation as Grand Master, December 29, 1868:
On the 28th. of December, 1829, the Grand Master, in his Inaugural Address to the Grand Lodge at the time of his Installation, said:—
No Masonic Body, perhaps, lies under greater responsibilities than this Grand Lodge. It is the first established in America, and by its authority Freemasonry was first promulgated in our land. This body, if I mistake not, has ever sustained a high character for dignity and respectability. When I consider the distinguished men who have occupied this chair, and the great importance which has ever been attached to this office, I tremble lest I should put forth, as it were, a sacrilegious hand and touch the ark. I am inclined to shrink from responsibilities which are so disproportionate to my powers. When I think too, that our institution is attacked by foes without and foes within, how does it heighten the interest and the fearfulness of the undertaking! But my brethren I have not in this respect taken a leap in the dark. 1 know the nature and character of the institution, whose defense I now re-espouse, and I am ready to stand by its interests and to protect them with all my feeble powers."
Such were the encouraging and manly words of one of our Grand Masters, at a time when it required courage and independence to represent the Fraternity in Massachusetts, and to stand forth in vindication of its professions and principles.
Today, after nearly forty years of storm and sunshine, of adversity succeeded by a wonderful prosperity, I repeat his words, feeling similar doubt, weighed down by like responsibilities, but looking forward to the same deliverance which his prophetic eye then clearly saw in the future.
The fact that Masonry was first established upon this continent in Massachusetts, and that this Grand body can trace its history back to 1733, when, as a Province of the Grand Lodge of England, it was organized in this city, probably impressed itself upon our distinguished brother. This is the Mother Grand Lodge upon this side of the waters, and therefore "it lies under greater responsibilities than any other Masonic Body." East and West, North and South has its influence extended. From its own bosom have gone forth brethren distinguished in all the walks of life, to plant in other States and in other lands, the Institution which was here so much respected, Masonry has been carefully cultivated in this State, and this Grand Lodge has always sustained the high character for dignity and respectability, to which, in 1829, it was considered necessary to allude. Those who have been chosen to direct its affairs have been gentlemen of high character and influence, and have reflected back upon the Fraternity that lustre which they have derived from it.
To preserve this dignified position, and transmit to our successors the Grand Lodge unimpaired in influence, untarnished in reputation, undegraded in dignity, becomes now our duty and our care.
At the time referred to a violent political tempest was raging against the Institution, encouraged by many influential men, and such was its fury, that the professed Mason adhered to his obligations and his Lodge at the expense of his social position, and oftentimes of excommunication from his religious society. In our day we have no such ordeal to pass through. We practice our rites undisturbed and enjoy to the fullest extent the popular favor. Men of all classes and conditions, in great numbers flock to our temples and gather about our altars. If brethren, members constitute the successful state of Masonry, then are we indeed fortunate, The number of lodges and of members was never before so large as at the present time, and the outward signs of prosperity were never more encouraging,
In view of the wonderful increase of the Fraternity, the brethren of the Grand Lodge in 1864, determined to erect a temple which should at once be a monument of Masonic enterprise, and a home for the Craft. Reserving the history of this building for a future occasion, I will only add now, that the Temple was constructed at a cost of about $423,127,01. so far as I have been able to gather, and that the Grand Lodge is now indebted to the amount of $377,460,79. The interest which it has assumed to pay annually is $29,882.31, being over $10,000 more than the Grand Lodge was worth when the Inaugural of 1829 was delivered. Before these liabilities accrued, the care of the Grand Lodge was comparatively light, and the duties of the executive officers few.
Now the Grand Lodge has become a corporation, and its financial interests exceed all others. It reckons not by thousands, but by hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it has become a recognized borrower of money in the busy marts of trade. Its notes mature and must be paid. Interest accumulates, bills become due. Thus Masonry which has carefully kept aloof from the influences and excitements of the world, has in a measure become mixed up with them. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has thus entered upon its new and untried experiment.
The care of the Lodges, the preservation and perfection of the ritual, charity, which should be our great object, become subordinate to the greater duty of paying our debts and meeting our engagements. The overshadowing importance of our financial embarrassment meets us at every point and oppresses the administration of the affairs of the Grand Lodge. It would be wise for the financial and purely masonic duties of the Grand Lodge, to place them in seperate official departments, so that one should not interfere with the other.
Those brethren in affluent circumstances, familiar with the intricate ways of finance should have charge of the corporation, whatever may be their masonic experience or acquirements. A complete knowledge of our ritual and jurisprudence will not aid in raising money or paying our debts. It is impossible now to say how much would have been saved to the Grand Lodge, if some such plan had been adopted as early as 1864.
The impression exists that the Grand Lodge is exclusive, and that the Fraternity at large has no interest in it. Nothing could be more erroneous. Grand Lodges are comparatively of modern origin. The brethren formerly met in general convention to elect Grand Masters and transact general business for the good of the Craft. Such was the practice in England. In time these conventions became unwieldly, and the necessity arose of forming Grand Lodges, upon the representative principle, by which the administration of Masonic affairs could be conducted with greater regularity and less confusion. The inherent power of a Mason is none the less now than in the days of the "General Assembly".
In our Grand Lodge the Masters and Wardens of the respective Lodges are members. Through them every member of a subordinate Lodge is represented, and the power of the brethren is so far preserved that now, as in ancient times, they have the constitutional right to instruct their Masters and Wardens how to vote and act in Grand Lodge. There is no exclusive power in the Grand Lodge for all time, although in the exercise of its authority the Craft has invested it with authority over all the brethren in the jurisdiction, and to its decrees and edicts unlimited obedience must be paid. "Every warranted Lodge is a constitutional part of the Grand Lodge, in which assembly all the powers of the Fraternity reside," say our own Constitutions. The brethren throughout the jurisdiction elect the Masters and Wardens, who control the destinies of the Grand Lodge, and the brethren of the seperate Lodges can direct the action of their representatives. Thus the decrees, edicts, regulations, and constitutions of the Grand Lodge can be changed and modified whenever the Craft consider it wise so to do.
The power of the Grand Master is unquestionably great, inasmuch as no appeal lies from his decision. But his election occurs annually, in which two thirds of the votes must concur, and the opportunity to remove an arbitrary and unreasonable officer speedily occurs. To make more easy the representation in Grand Lodge, it has been determined that the three votes of each Lodge can be cast, although but one representative is present. In addition to this it is provided that a Lodge can elect a proxy to act for it, when the Masters and Wardens shall not either of them be present. It is apparent that every facility is given to the Fraternity to control the Grand Lodge, and that the rights of every Mason in the jurisdiction are recognized and preserved. As in the General Assembly, he has every privilege save that of a direct vote and voice in Grand Lodge, and these are indirectly preserved to him through the representatives whom he selects, and whose course of conduct he can point out and direct.
The votes in Grand Lodge are thus classified:—
- Permanent Members, 50.
- Officers 42,
- Masters and Wardens, about 525,
The permanent members are many of them aged: some are out of the State, or at such a distance from the Grand East, that they rarely enter the Grand Lodge, while others are enumerated in the list of officers. They are made life members by the votes of the brethren, (with one exception), two thirds of whom must concur in the election. These members, therefore, are chosen by the brethren at large through their representatives, Permanent members undoubtedly acquire influence. They would not be elected such if they did not possess it; they ought not to lose it because they are elected.
The object probably in making this kind of membership in Grand Lodge was to preserve from destruction the Grand Body itself. Whatever calamity might befall the institution at large, or come upon the Lodges, this peculiar membership would perpetuate the Grand Lodge, and protect it from annihilation, Should every Lodge in the jurisdiction cease to exist, the Grand Lodge would not thereby necessarily die. In the calm quiet of its own secluded retreat, it could preserve its vitality, until the proper time came to reestablish its subordinates and again exercise its powers.
Even this precaution did not preserve the Grand Lodge of Michigan from disorganization. In the excitement of anti-Masonry that Grand Body disbanded, and lost its very existence; and when in more peaceful times it sought to renew its life, it was determined by its sister Grand Lodges, that it did not possess it, that its existence had terminated, and that the Grand Lodge of Michigan could be established only by the action of the Lodges of the State.
This membership is a part of our Masonic system, and is as old as the history of Grand Lodges. These members have been selected for their masonic worth and experience by two-thirds of the brethren composing the Grand Lodge, and it is a well known fact that they have never acted nor voted as a unit on any matter upon which the other members of the Grand Lodge have been divided. From what has been said it is evident that the Fraternity at large, the thousands of Masons scattered over Massachusetts, are responsible for the present financial condition of the Grand Lodge. Whatever has been done has met with their tacit consent, their implied approval.
I recognize the right of every member of the Grand Lodge to inquire into our financial affairs, at proper times, and at proper places, and it is due to him and to the brethren whom he represents, that a true and faithful statement be given, if such will not impair the credit of the Grand Lodge, and provided also that the proper officers have it in their power to make it. It has certainly shown great confidence in past administrations, that no brother has called upon the Grand Officers for any exhibit of the expenses of the erection of this building. The contracts which have been made, with whom, and at what rates.
The Board of Directors, I doubt not, would have given every opportunity for a careful, scrutinizing examination of all their proceedings, would have willingly exhibited their records— where should exist in full, the history of the expenditure, and the authority therefor, of every dollar upon this structure, if such request had ever been made.
The argument is irresistible,—
First, — That the representatives of the Fraternity at large directed the building of this Temple.
Second,— That the Fraternity at large by their silence, by taking no steps to prevent it, encouraged their Board of Directors to proceed in the way and manner that they have in its erection.
Third,— That the Fraternity at large are responsible for the debt incurred.
Whether these conclusions are correct or not, the debt incurred is an indebtedness of the Grand Lodge, of which every subordinate Lodge is a constituent part, while every affiliated Mason is a constituent part of his Lodge. It requires, however, no logic to convince the brethren that the debt of the Grand Lodge is a matter in which they each and all have a vital interest. This subject has been presented in various forms, within the last two years. I can only reiterate what has already been said, and if possible, stimulate the brethren to greater exertions in behalf of the Grand Lodge, It needs every dollar which can be raised. The commutation which has already been paid has relieved it from great embarrassment, and it is to be hoped that the balance unpaid may be collected by some plan similar to that which has been resorted to.
I desire about all things to preserve that "dignity and respectability, which has characterized this Grand Lodge in all its past history, and I desire to retain in the office of Grand Master all those powers which belong to it. In the recess of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Master undoubtedly has much authority, and the constitutions and ancient laws recognize it fully,
But when the Grand Lodge is in session, he is the presiding officer of a dignified and respectable assembly of Masons and gentlemen, many of whom are as well, if not better qualified to perform the duties of Grand Master as he is himself. In the Grand Lodge resides all the power of the Grand Master, It makes him presiding officer thereof, and invests him with the authority which he exercises. He is the high servant of the Craft at large. They have placed such confidence in the wisdom of their choice, that they deny the right of appeal from his decisions, And yet, brethren, I should deliberate long, before ruling, that the opinion of the Grand Lodge was not more worthy of consideration than my own. The denial of the right of appeal was unquestionably made for wise purposes, and this great power was placed in the Grand Master for reasons which are obvious to every Mason, but it is a power which is to be exercised only, never capriciously, with great caution, and only when the interests of the Institution absolutely demand it.
The Grand Master is not "Masonry", he is the servant of all, appointed to a high and dignified position, to enforce the rules and regulations, both ancient and modern, made by the Craft, for the government of the Craft. The Grand Lodge is the Supreme Court of Appeal in all Masonic cases: and may be addressed by appeal, petition, or memorial, Inasmuch as it is the governing power in Masonry, the high court of last resort, every facility should be afforded to the members of the craft, and to its subordinates, to lay their grievances and complaints before it in accordance with the constitutions, and to give them patient hearing. Between it and them there should ever exist the fullest confidence, The weight and authority of the one should never oppress the others, and they on their part should ever sustain it in its government. Although its government is despotic, the Grand Lodge should never become the despot.
While wilful and persistent disobedience of the edicts, decrees, and laws of the Grand Lodge should be speedily and certainly punished, I would have its authority so light, that the Lodges and brethren should scarcely recognize its existence. Whether considered as parental or fraternal, lets its government be mild, easy, persuasive.
In entering upon the duties which appertain to the office of Grand Master, I shall endeavor to preserve, as far as possible, the Ancient customs and usages of the Craft, and the old manner of administering the affairs of this office. I have no new ideas to present, no new customs to inaugurate. To the Board of District Deputy Grand Masters, I shall look to perform much of the labor which of late years has found its way into this office. In their several Districts it is expected that they will be Deputy Grand Masters de facto as well as de jure. They have been selected from the Fraternity for their high personal character, their knowledge of Masonic jurisprudence, and their familiarity with the ritual. To them the brethren will have free and easy access for instruction, advice, and the construction of our Regulations and Constitutions. Their respective residences in the several Districts will make these communications at once convenient and agreeable.
Two years ago the Districts were remodeled throughout the Commonwealth. They were arranged, so far as could be done, upon the lines of railroads, that these officers, at little expense, and with great rapidity, could visit their Lodges. The number in each was reduced so that no one except the Boston District should contain more than twelve Lodges. The change was made carefully, with great labor, and was intended to be permanent. After consideration I have made some alterations, which it is hoped will prove beneficial.
The First District comprises the twelve Lodges of Boston proper. To the Second District are, added Faith and John Abbot Lodges. The Third District is composed of the Lodges in South and East Boston, Roxbury, West Roxbury and Dorchester. To the Fourth District are added Bethesda, Dalhousie and Meridian Lodges. To the Twelfth District is added Middlesex Lodge.
Instruction in the lectures and ritual has been confided to three brethren of learning, experience, and of great ability in the art of teaching. The Grand Lodge has placed in their hands the established work of this jurisdiction, which it is not in their power to modify or change. To preserve it in its present verbal form will be their duty as well as their pride. There are many things in the manner of rendering this work, of a dramatic character, which each Lodge will practice according to its pleasure. But to the lectures and ritual as taught by this Grand Lodge, it is expected that every Lodge will conform. To make this ritual more impressive, and the conferring of the degrees more attractive, should, in my judgment be the study and aim of every Master. The introduction of Music, and other adjuncts of a similar nature, have already done much to heighten the interest of the brethren in the exercises of the Lodge.
Until a comparatively recent period it was the custom for every Diploma to pass through the hands of the District Deputy Grand Masters, and for them at the end of each year, to make return of the number furnished to each Lodge. Of late years the Officers of Lodges situated near the Grand East have applied directly to the Grand Secretary, who has furnished these documents ad libitum, in blank and without keeping any account thereof. The bill to the Grand Lodge for Diplomas amounts annually to a large sum, and every effort should be made to reduce it. Under the present system many Diplomas are issued which are never used, and so carelessly have they been kept, that they have found their way, with the signature of the Grand Master and Grand Secretary thereon, into the hands of the profane, and of clandestine masons. It cannot be expected that the officers of Lodges will be more careful of these instruments than the Grand Lodge is. During the present year the Grand Secretary will issue Diplomas to none but the District Deputy Grand Masters, with each of whom he will keep a careful account of the number issued. These Grand Officers will issue to the Lodges such Diplomas as may be required, upon proof satisfactory that they are actually needed for the purposes required; and they will keep an account of the number furnished to each Lodge, and make return thereof to the Grand Lodge at the end of each year. They will see that proper care is taken in their distribution, and at the time of their annual visits to the Lodges they will make examination of the disposition made of them. They will also make return of the number arid names of each Past Master to whom they have issued Diplomas during their official term, and the Grand Secretary will furnish this Diploma to the District Deputies alone, and will keep an account pf the number issued and to whom.
Upon all the Grand Officers let me charge the necessity of a most rigid economy in every department of the Grand Lodge. While the Lodges and the brethren are striving to reduce the debt, let them be encouraged by the knowledge that the expenses of the Grand Lodge are reduced to the lowest possible point.
It is proper and becoming for us upon this anniversary, to implore the Divine blessing upon the labors which we have now undertaken, and to pray that this Grand Lodge protected thus far through the vicissitudes it has passed, may find the same protecting care through the year before us. Let us gratefully remember the manifold blessings and comforts with which a kind Providence has surrounded us, both as an institution and as brethren, Let us return our sincere Thanksgiving to Almighty God for all his mercies toward us. His right hand has led us in safety thus far on our journey through life. Brethren, may the same Heavenly care be over you the coming year! May you return in safety to your homes from your labors here, encouraged to renewed exertions in behalf of Masonry and of our own Grand Lodge!
From Proceedings, Page VII-429, December 9, 1869; directives to District Deputy Grand Masters:
Rt W. District Deputy Grand Masters:
In entering upon your official duties of annually visiting the Lodges in your District, I desire to call your especial notice to the following matters which you will carefully note and make report thereon:—
- You will report the number of Brethren present at each Lodge, on the occasion of your official visit with the number of members.
- You will carefully inspect the Lodge-rooms, and see that they are securely tyled.
- You will see if others besides the proper officers are permitted in the preparation room with the candidate.
- Have the Deacons black rods and the Stewards white rods: and if not, what, if any rods, have they?
- Carefully examine the records and see that they are properly kept, and that the names of all the Officers of the Lodge are recorded.
- Has the Lodge in its Hall a copy of the Grand Lodge Constitutions?
- Are the By-Laws approved by the Grand Lodge, and properly attested by the Grand Secretary?
- Has each Lodge the proper Furniture, and especially the representations of the Three Lesser Lights.
- Is the work in all respects according to the Grand Lodge requirements, and are the services of a Grand Lecturer needed?
- Has the Lodge a Master's Carpet ?
- Ascertain generally the financial condition of each Lodge, and the amount of funds it has invested and on hand.
- If possible, ascertain the manner of examining Visitors, and impress upon the Masters and Officers the necessity of careful examination, and that a Brother must have sat with an applicant to be able to vouch for him, and be enabled to state on what Degree, the Lodge was open when they so sat.
- Examine the records to see if non-affiliated Brethren are admitted without the payment of the fee.
- If possible impress upon the Masters and Brethren the propriety of enforcing the rule that no Brother can enter the Lodge, after it is open without being announced and permission obtained; and in like manner, that none leave the lodge without permission of the W, Master.
- Report the number of Dispensations granted during the year; to what Lodge; for what; when; and the name to whose benefit granted.
- You will take charge of all Lodges under Dispensation in your District not enumerated in your Commission. Viz:—
- Has any Lodge appeared in public procession during the year, and if so upon what occasions, and was your Dispensation obtained therefor.
- Endeavor to make your report as soon as possible after you have performed your circuit.
- Make your bill of expenses to the Grand Lodge, as small as possible, remembering that the Grand Lodge is deeply in debt and requires the strictest economy in the administration of all its affairs.
- Have the officers of Lodges the collars required by the Constitutions, and if not in what manner are the jewels suspended and worn?
These are some of your duties; Others of no less consequence, will impress themselves upon you. Above all strive to be kind, courteous, affable and agreeable to all the Brethren, endeavor to bring them into kindly relations with the Grand Lodge and its Grand Officers, Avoid antagonism, Impress upon the Masters and Wardens the necessity of their attendance upon the Communications of the Grand Lodge, and that the destinies and control of the Grand Lodge are in their hands: and let the Brethren understand that they have their representation through their chosen officers.
Finally, Right Worshipful Brother, remember that you are the only officer of the Grand Lodge who comes in direct and close contact with all the Brethren of your District, and that, as the representative of the Grand Lodge, it is your duty to encourage the zealous Mason, impart instruction where you can, cheer the Lodges, and zealously labor, as a co-worker with your Brethren, to elevate the moral standard of Masonry in the field assigned to you.
From Proceedings, Page 1888-63, presented by R.W. Bro. Samuel C. Lawrence:
Few men have rendered more conspicuous service in the cause of Masonry in this State, or have filled a higher place in the respect and regard of its members, than the distinguished and beloved Brother whose death we have recently been called to mourn.
William Sewall Gardner was born in Hallowell, Maine, Oct. 1, 1827, and was the only son of Robert and Susan Sewall Gardner. He came of sound Puritan ancestry, and, on the maternal side, was a descendant of the Sewalls, who, for more than a century, held high judicial positions in the courts of Massachusetts and Maine. The prominent traits of his character and the tenor of his professional life were singularly foreshadowed, by those of his ancestors.
He entered Bowdoin College in 1846, and, after graduating, began the study of law in Lowell, Mass. He was admitted to the bar in Middlesex County, Mass., in 1852, and three years later, entered into partnership with Theodore H. Sweetser, the well-known advocate. In 1861, the firm removed to Boston, where it at once obtained a wide and successful practice, which continued until Bro. Gardner's appointment to the bench of the Superior Court of Massachusetts, Dec. 31, 1875. He performed the duties of this position with dignity and honor until 1885, when he was promoted to a seat in the Supreme Judicial Court by Governor Robinson. Last September, failing health marked by serious nervous prostration, the result of unremitted application to his professional labors, compelled him to withdraw from the bench. In accepting his resignation, Governor Ames took occasion to tender him, in behalf of the Commonwealth, the assurance of the sympathy of its citizens on account of his illness, and their regret that he was compelled to relinquish a position in the judicial department of the State, the duties of which he had faithfully, ably and honorably discharged for a period of twelve years, with great benefit and credit to the Commonwealth.
A visit to Europe, and complete suspension from labor, failed to contribute to the reestablishment of his vital powers, and he gradually sank until his death, which occurred at his home in Newton, April 4, 1888. The Grand Lodge was represented at his funeral by the Grand Master and others of its officers and members, who joined with his professional brethren and a sorrowing community in paying the last tributes of respect to his memory.
Judge Gardner was twice married. In 1868, October 15th, he married Mary Thornton Davis, widow of Bro. Charles A. Davis, M.D., by whom he had one child, a daughter. In 1877, he formed a second union, with Sarah M. Davis, daughter of Hon. Isaac Davis, of Worcester, who survives him.
Bro. Gardner's connection with Masonry began about: the same time with his admission to> the bar, and, until his elevation to the bench in 1875, much of the time, he could spare from absorbing professional cares, was devoted to the promotion of the interests of our beloved Institution.
In the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts he was Grand Marshal in 57-58-59; District Deputy Grand Master in 1860-61-62-63 (District 3; Senior Grand Warden in, 1864, and M.W. Grand Master in 1869-70-71.
He was exalted to the degree Of Royal Arch Mason, November 21, 1853, in Mount Horeb Royal Arch Chapter, of Lowell, Mass. He received the degree of the Cryptic Rite, Feb. 23, 1857, in Ahasuerus Council of Royal and Select Masters, of Lowell, Mass. He received the Orders of Knighthood in Boston Commandery, being created a Knight Templar, May 12, 1854, and was a charter member of Pilgrim Commandery, of Lowell, chartered Oct. 10, 1855. He was its Junior Warden in 1856-57; Captain General in 1858-59; Generalissimo in 1859-60, and Eminent Commander in 1861-62. In the Grand Commandery of Mass. and R.I., he was Grand Captain-General in 1860-61; Grand Generalissimo in 1862-63, and Grand Commander in 1863-64. In the Grand Encampment of the United States, he served as Deputy Grand Master in 1865-68, and M.E. Grand Master in 1868-71. In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, he received the 32°, May 15, 1857. In July of the same year,, he became a charter member of Lowell Lodge of Perfection and Lowell Council of Princes of Jerusalem; in April, 1859, of Mount Calvary Chapter of Rose Croix, all of Lowell; and in August, 1860, of Massachusetts Consistory of S. P. R. S. 32°, then of Lowell, but now of Boston. In all these Bodies he served in various official capacities. He was Secretary of the Lodge of Perfection for nine years; he was Master of the Council of Princes, and the first Commander-in-Chief of Massachusetts Consistory. He rendered distinguished service as the Deputy of the Rite for Massachusetts from May 18, 1861, to May 17, 1867. He received the 33°, May 16, 1861, on which date he was crowned an active member-of the Supreme Council for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.S.A. On the tenth anniversary of the Union of German Freemasons, held at Darmstadt, Germany, July 23, 1871, he was elected Corresponding Member of that Body, and was honored with its Diploma.
In reviewing Bro. Gardner's Masonic career, which covers a larger share of labor and of honor than usually falls to the lot of our most distinguished. Craftsmen, we must gratefully pay him the tribute due to his high attainments, his indefatigable industry and unselfish devotion, in every department of Masonic duty which was entrusted to his hands. His trained and exact habits of mind and scholarly love of research admirably fitted him for the labors of a Masonic historian and expositor, and the contributions of his pen have done much to enlarge the field of Masonic information. He. was deeply versed in the ritualism of the Craft, and regarded with tender reverence, every precept, symbol and form, which gives to it significance, illumination and force. His interpretation of Masonry; doubtless borrowed something from the natural seriousness of his character; but it was beautifully enforced by the kindliness of his. manners, the gentle dignity Of his bearing, the purity of his life and the unquestioned integrity of his heart. It is a matter of just pride to Masons that such men find in the inner life of our Craft so much that contributes to the moral aid, refreshment and comfort, of which mankind stands so sorely in need; and Masonry will require no defence or apology while such men love it.
It is unnecessary in this presence to enlarge upon the service which our beloved Brother rendered as Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. He brought to the discharge of the duties of that position a love of order which was constitutional, thorough habits of work, an intimate acquaintance with the laws and usages of the Craft, and a keen perception of its practical needs. Perhaps no man has come to that office better equipped for its proper work; and certainly his conduct of Masonic affairs during three, terms of service has left an indelible impression, upon the minds of his contemporaries, an impression perhaps as much due to an intelligent recognition of the high aims and purposes of the man, as to a just appreciation of the great benefits which accrued to the Institution under his wise and thoughtful administration. Masonry has made great advancement, and has achieved wonderful triumphs since that time; but we must not forget that the impulse which has so accelerated its progress was given in earlier days by the hands of noble men, some of whom are still living and honored among us, while others have passed on to the freer life; of the immortals. Among those men, living and dead, who infused into Masonry a fresh current of vitality, and to whom we owe a debt which only love and gratitude can repay, William Sewall Gardner holds an undisputed place.
- 06/09/1869 Faith, Charlestown
- 06/09/1869 Delta, Weymouth
- 12/09/1869 Bethany, West Amesbury
- 12/09/1869 Palestine, Everett
- 03/09/1870 Rabboni, South Boston
- 03/09/1870 Globe, Hinsdale
- 03/09/1870 Charity, North Cambridge
- 06/08/1870 Vernon, Belchertown
- 06/08/1870 Morning Sun, Conway
- 06/08/1870 Mount Holyoke, South Hadley
- 06/08/1870 Upton, Cheshire
- 09/14/1870 Puritan, Abington
- 12/14/1870 Howard, South Yarmouth
- 03/08/1871 Charles River, Medway
- 03/08/1871 Temple, East Boston
- 03/08/1871 Aconcagua, Valparaiso, Chile
- 06/14/1871 Ezekiel Bates, Attleboro
- 06/14/1871 Quinsigamond, Worcester
- 06/14/1871 Mariners', Cotuit
- 09/13/1871 Occidental, Stockbridge
- 09/13/1871 Belcher, Chicopee
- 09/13/1871 Beth-Horon, Brookline
- 09/13/1871 Mosaic, Danvers
- 09/13/1871 Newton, Wilbraham
- 09/13/1871 Phoenician, Lawrence
- 09/13/1871 Simon W. Robinson, Lexington
- 09/13/1871 Good Samaritan, Reading