- 1 MOSES MICHAEL HAYS 1739-1805
MOSES MICHAEL HAYS 1739-1805
Grand Master, Massachusetts Grand Lodge, 1788-1792
- Involvement with King David's Lodge of Newport, Rhode Island.
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MOORE'S FREEMASON'S MONTHLY, 1861
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 8, June 1861, Page 232:
Moses Michael Hays was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1788, '89, '90 and '91. He was a Jew, and the only Brother of that religious faith who ever held any prominent office in the Grand Lodge of this State; and it is said he had no conscientious scruples in dietetics, — indeed, Grand Masters are not oftener troubled in that way than common people — or our observation is at fault! Bro. Hays, however, was a zealous Mason and highly respected by the Brethren of his day. He was buried in the Jews' burial-ground at Newport, R. I., where his son with filial love, some years after his decease, erected a handsome monument in commemoration of his virtues, and placed upon it the following inscription :—
"Here repose the ashes of Moses Michael Hays, Esq., who died in Boston, in the State of Massachusetts, on the 11th day of Sivan, A. M. 5565: 9th day of May, 1805 of the Christian era, aged 66.
" In commemoration of his virtues, his son with filial reverence erected this monument."
NEW ENGLAND FREEMASON, 1875
From New England Freemason, Vol. II;
- No. 2 (February 1875, Page 71)
- No. 3 (March 1875, Page 117)
- No. 4 (April 1875, Page 145):
Biographical Sketch of Moses Michael Hays, By the Editor.
Note: We are indebted to W. Brother Henry J. Parker, Past Master of Massachusetts Lodge, for important and valuable assistance in the preparation of this sketch.
There is probably less known in regard to the distinguished Brother whose name stands at the head of this article, than of any of the Grand Masters in Massachusetts. Brother Charles W. Moore, in the Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, vol. 20, p. 232, devotes to him only a dozen lines. He says: "He was a Jew, and the only Brother of that religious faith who ever held any prominent office in the Grand Lodge of this State; and it is said he has no conscientious scruples in dietetics. Bro. Hays, however, was a zealous Mason, and highly respected by the Brethren of his day."
He was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1739, came to this country about the year 1768, by way of Jamaica in the West Indies, and established himself at Newport, R. I. While in Jamaica, Brother Hays, through Henry Andrew Francken, received the appointment of Deputy Inspector General for North America. Dr. Mackey (Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, p. 697) thus relates the history of the introduction of the Scottish Rite into North America: "In 1758, a Body was organized at Paris, called the Council of Emperors of the East and West. This Council organized a Rite called the Rite of Perfection, which consisted of twenty-five degrees, the highest of which was Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret. In 1761, this Council granted a Patent or Deputation to Stephen Morin, authorizing him to propagate the Rite in the Western continent, whither he was about to repair. In the same year, Morin arrived at the city of St. Domingo, where he commenced the dissemination of the Rite, and appointed many Inspectors, both for the West Indies and for the United States. Among others, he conferred the degrees on M. M. Hays, with a power of appointing others when necessary. Hays accordingly appointed Isaac Da Costa Deputy Inspector General for South Carolina, who in 1783 introduced the Rite into that State by the establishment of a Grand Lodge of Perfection in Charleston. Other Inspectors were subsequently appointed; and in 1801, a Supreme Council was opened in Charleston by John Mitchell and Frederick Dalcho."
It is known that Brother Hays, while a resident of Newport, R. I., was active in Masonry. Indeed, he and one or two of his Jewish Brethren were the main supports of all the Masonic Bodies there. The fact that he took particular interest in the degrees of the Rose et Croix, coupled with the remark of Brother Moore as to his liberality in the matter of dietetics, would seem to indicate that he was less bigoted than the children of Israel are generally supposed to be. Further evidence is afforded on this point, as well as in regard to his general character and reputation, by the following extract from the Memoir of Samuel Joseph May:
"If the children of my day were taught, among other foolish things, to dread, if not despise, Jews, a very different lesson was impressed upon my young heart. There was but one family of the despised children of the house of Israel resident in Boston, the family of Moses Michael Hays; a man much respected, not only on account of his large wealth, but for his many personal virtues, and the high culture and great excellence of his wife, his son Judah, and his daughters,—especially Catherine and Slowey. His house, far down on Hanover Street, then one of the fashionable streets of the town, was the abode of hospitality; and his family moved in what were then the first circles of society. He and his truly good wife were hospitable, not to the rich alone, but also to the poor. Many indigent families were fed pretty regularly from his table. They would come especially after his frequent dinner parties, and were sure to be made welcome, not to the crumbs only, but to ampler portions of the food that might be left.
"Always on Saturday he expected a number of friends to dine with him. A full-length table was always spread and loaded witli the luxuries of the season; and he loved to see it surrounded by a few regular visitors, and others especially invited. My father was a favorite guest. He was regarded by Mr. Hays and his whole family as a particular friend, their chosen counsellor in times of perplexity, and their comforter in the days of their affliction. My father seldom failed to dine at Mr. Hays' on Saturday, and often took me with him; for he was sure I should meet refined company there.
"Both Uncle and Aunt Hays (for so I called them) were fond of children, particularly of me; and I was permitted to stay with them several days, and even weeks, together. And I can never forget, not merely their kind, but their conscientious care of me. I was the child of Christian parents, and they took especial pains that I should lose nothing of religious training so long as I was permitted to abide with them. Every night I was required, on going to bed, to repeat my Christian hymns and prayers to them, or else to an excellent Christian servant woman who lived with them many years. I witnessed their religious exercises, their fastings and their prayers, and was made to feel that they worshipped the Unseen, Almighty and All-merciful One. Of course I grew up without any prejudice against Jews—or any other religionists—because they did not believe as my father and my mother believed."
In the Boston Directory of the period, Brother Hays is described as keeping an Insurance Office at No. 68 State Street. He was probably what was then called an "underwriter," carrying on for his private account the same business as is now transacted by Insurance Companies. He died, intestate, May 9, 1805, and his son Judah administered on the estate, the inventory amounting to $80,000. His remaiiiB were conveyed to Newport, R. I., and buried in the Jewish cemetery, by the side of those of his daughter Rebecca. Some years afterwards, his son erected a handsome monument on the spot, and placed upon it the following inscription:
"Here repose the ashes of Moses Michael Hays, Esq., who died in Boston, in the State of Massachusetts, on the 11th day of Sivan, A. M. 5565: 9th day of May, 1805 of the Christian Era, aged 66.
"In commemoration of his virtues, his son, with filial reverence, erected this monument."
The Columbian Centinel, published in Boston on Saturday, May 11, 1805, contained the following obituary notice:
"In the character of the deceased there is much worthy of our admiration, much for our imitation. Possessed by nature of a strong intellect, there was a vigor in his conceptions of men and things which gave a seeming asperity to his conversation, which was ever frank and lucid. He walked abroad fearing no man, but loving all. Under his roof dwelt hospitality; it was an asylum of friendship, the mansion of peace. He was without guile, despising hypocrisy as he despised meanness. Take him for all in all, he was a man. In his death .society will mourn the loss of a most estimable citizen, his family the kindest of husbands, the most indulgent of fathers.
"But what consolation shall we offer to assuage the violence of their grief? Why, this is all — the recollection of his virtues, and that as he lived, so he died; that to his last moment the cheerfulness and benevolence of his whole life wasted not on his falling brow. Calm and without a sigh he sunk to rest, and is now secure in the bosom of his Father and our Father, of his God and our God."
Of the five daughters of Brother Hays, Rebecca died, unmarried, in Boston; Catherine and Slowey both died unmarried, in Richmond, Va.; Judith and Sally both married gentlemen of the name of Myers, in Richmond, and both have issue still living there. The son, all the grandsons and great-grandsons have been Masons.
The name of Brother Hays appears in the Records of Massachusetts Lodge, of Boston, for the first time, on the evening of July 3, 1781, as a visitor. He visited again Jan. 1, 1782, when he is described as "Mr. Rd. Td. Lodge." On the evening of Feb. 5, 1782, he is recorded on the list of visitors as "R. W. M. M. Hays, M. R. T. Lodge." On the occasion of his fourth visit — Nov. 5, 1782 — Brother John Warren, Senior Warden,"proposed Brother Hays to become a member of this Lodge. Voted that he be ballotted for this evening. He was accordingly ballotted for, and accepted."At this meeting were present four officers of the French Army, which, in December following, sailed for home from Boston by way of the West Indies."
At the very next meeting, Dec. 3,1782,"the Lodge proceeded, agreeable to the Bye-Laws, to make choice of officers for the year ensuing. R. W. Brother Bruce [Master] was unanimously chose Mr., but for reasons by him given was excused from accepting. Votes being again prepared, the following Brethren were chose, viz: R. W. Mo. Mi. Hays, Master, J. Warren, S. W., &c. Voted the R. W. Bro. Hays and Bro. Whipple join the committee chose 1st night in the last quarter for revising the Bye-Laws."
On the 16th of December, only thirteen days after the election above reported, Brother Hays presided at a Special Communication. One candidate was initiated; he and another were passed, and some business transacted, when "R. W. Br. Hays having resign'd the chair, votes were prepar'd for a choice, and Brother Jno. Warren was unanimously elected Master, and took the chair. The office of S. W. being vacant, Bro. Scollay succeeded it. [sic] Bro. Whipple succeeded the J. W.'s place, Bro. Bradford the S. D., and Bro. Dexter was unanimously chose J. D. The R. W. Bro. Warren beg'd leave to resign the chair, for reasons by him alleg'd. The Lodge accepted his resignation, and, votes being prepar'd, Bro. Hays was re-elected Mast 'unanim'. The thanks of the Lodge were voted to Bro. Warren for his past services as S. W. and Master."
This blowing hot and cold requires some explanation. Past Master Zachariah G. Whitman thus hints at a reason for it, in an address delivered before Massachusetts Lodge, Dec. 26, 1822:
"It is reported that Moses Michael Hays, a Jew and merchant possessed of great wealth, came out from England with a third patent constituting him Grand Master of a Grand Lodge in America, with power to grant charters to subordinate Lodges. It is also reported that the following method was taken to amalgamate his patent with that obtained by Gen. Warren. Brother Hays was proposed as a member of Massachusetts Lodge by the late M. W. John Warren, M. D., then Senior Warden, and at the same meeting, Nov. 5, 1782, elected a member. At the next meeting of Massachusetts Lodge, Dec. 3, 1782, Brother Hays was elected Master. Soon after, he was chosen Junior Grand Warden of Massachusetts Grand Lodge, and in 1788, Grand Master, and thus the two patents became united." This story of 'a third patent' probably had its origin in the powers conferred upon Brother Hays under the Scottish Rite, as already related. Such powers were new and strange to the Brethren of this country. They had already supp'd full with horrors of Ancients and Moderns, deputations from the Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The foremost of them had already come to the conclusion that it was time to "cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff"; that "the patient must minister to himself."They were vigorously agitating the question of "independency" in Masonic matters, as a natural and necessary consequence of their success in the civil experiment. It is, therefore, not strange that the advent among them of this formidable "Deputy Inspector General for North America" produced some fluttering, and that the Brethren used every means to enlist this, new dignitary on their side.
Brother Hays presided at every one of the fifteen meetings of the Lodge held during the year 1783, and on the 10th December was re-elected, and honored with a vote of thanks. At the same meeting, it was voted to celebrate the festival of St. John the Evangelist, (the Grand Lodge having decided not to observe it,) and the Master was made chairman of a committee to invite St. John's Lodge to join with them.
On the 7th of December, 1784, Brother Hays was again elected Master, and a vote of thanks was passed. On the 2d of May following, he was appointed chairman of a committee to represent the Lodge at the Convention to be held at Charlestown, on the 26th of the same month. Our readers will find a report of the proceedings of that Convention on p. 465 of vol. 1 of this Magazine. It will be observed that Brother Hays was chosen President of that Convention, and also chairman of a committee to which the whole business of the Convention was referred, and whose report was adopted, with the dissent of the representatives of only one Lodge, and that to certain paragraphs only.
A meeting of the Lodge was held on the 6th of June, 1785, Brother Hays being absent; from that date until June 12, 1788, a period of three years, the meetings were suspended.
On this latter date, Brother Hays specially called the members together, and "acquainted them that so much time had elapsed by neglect of the Lodge's meeting, that complaints were made by the Grand Lodge, and demands were made for the dues to the Grand Lodge; therefore the W. M. called on the Lodge for their serious consideration; whereupon the members present Voted and Resolved, To support the honor and dignity of the Lodge; and that from this evening shall commence our resolutions."
This resolution has been scrupulously observed, and no suspension of meetings, except during the summer months, has occurred. From the date last mentioned, also, the Lodge took a fresh and prosperous start, and each member vied with the others in contributing to the general welfare. On the 1st September, the M. W. Grand Master, M. M. Hays, presented the Lodge with three truncheons; whereupon the thanks of the Lodge were voted for the gift, and it was directed that the name and number of the Lodge be engraved on the silver cap at one end, and the donor's name on the other. The date of this gift, by comparatively recent vote, was added to the inscriptions. The caps of these truncheons were saved from the ruins of the fire which destroyed the Temple in April, 1864, and are carefully preserved.
Brother Hays' name appears for the first time in the Records of Massachusetts Grand Lodge on the evening of June 7, 1782. In a note at the end of the record, it is stated that "a copy of a letter from the Most Worshipful J. Webb and the two Grand Wardens, to Moses Michael Hays, together with his answer, are filed with the Grand Lodge Papers."
At the next meeting,"held on Special Occasion, Monday evening, 10th June, 1782,"after the list of Grand Officers and representatives of Lodges, the following entry is made: "Worshipful Moses M. Hays, by request of the Most Worshipful Master and Grand Wardens." At the same meeting it was "Voted, That a committee be appointed to Draught resolutions explanatory of the Powers and Authority of this Grand Lodge, respecting the extent and meaning of its jurisdiction, and of the exercise of any other Masonic Authority within its jurisdiction."The committee consisted of Perez Morton, Paul Revere, John Warren, James Avery and John Juteau. Their report was submitted on the 30th September following, but its consideration was deferred until"the next Lodge evening" — December 6th — when it was considered, paragraph by paragraph, adopted, ordered to be recorded in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge, to "be printed, and a copy inclosed to each of the Lodges under this jurisdiction, in order that it may be kept in, and considered a part of, the Book of Constitutions." This was the celebrated document asserting and defending the doctrine of Grand Lodge Independence and Sovereignty:— "That this Grand Lodge be forever 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."Brother Hays is not recorded as present at the Festival of St. John the Baptist, held in Faneuil Hall, that year, nor at either of the two meetings of the Grand Lodge in September following. At that of December 6th, his name appears as Master of Massachusetts Lodge, and in that capacity he"presented a List of the Choice of Officers for the year ensuing."
At a special meeting on the 24th December, he was joined with Brothers Perez Morton, William Scollay, James Avery and Stephen Bruce, as a committee "to confer with St. Andrew's Lodge, at their next meeting, upon the subject of their letter, on refusing to acknowledge the Independency of this Grand Lodge."
At the next meeting—Special, January 3, 1783 he was appointed one of a committee of seven,"to write to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, informing them the Reasons why the Grand Lodge in Commonwealth of Massachusetts assumed to themselves that Dignity;" "the same committee also to write the Grand Lodge of Philadelphia, in forming them of the Assumption of this Grand Lodge."
At the meeting of June 6, 1783, he was made chairman of a committee "to make report at the next meeting what Endorsement shall be made on the Warrants which have been granted from this Grand Lodge."This was probably in pursuance of one of the resolutions, reported by the committee on independent sovereignty, adopted December 6th:—"That the Grand Master for the time being be desired to call in all the Charters which were held under the jurisdiction of the late Grand Master, Joseph Warren, Esq., and return the same with an Endorsement thereon, expressive of their Voluntary Recognition of the Power and Authority of this Grand Lodge."
September 5th, 1783, a committee of seven was appointed "for the purpose of forming Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Grand Lodge; "it consisted of Paul Revere, Joseph Webb, John Warren, Perez Morton, Moses M. Hays, William Hoskins and William Scollay. They were ordered to report on the first Friday in October — the 3rd —which they did; and it was
- "Voted — That the Rules and Regulations for the Government of this Grand Lodge as reported by the Committee, after being read, paragraph by paragraph, be accepted.
- Voted — There be One Hundred copies of the Rules and Regulations of this Grand Lodge printed, and that each member be serv'd with a copy, also each Lodge under its jurisdiction. Voted— That a committee of three be chose to see the printing of the above Rules and Regulations mentioned."
At the meeting on the 4th December, 1783,"Worshipful Brother Hays Reports a Choice of the Officers and Members of Massachusetts Lodge, "and he and Brothers Revere and Morton were appointed a committee, "for the purpose of writing to the Lodges under this jurisdiction, and requesting an immediate answer to the late Circular Letter on the subject of Independence of this Grand Lodge, and that this letter accompany the Constitutions lately ordered to be printed and sent to those Lodges."
March 4, 1784, Brother Hays is recorded as having acted as Junior Grand Warden. At this meeting,"the Most Worshipful Grand Master [John Warren] communicated a Letter which he received from Br. Alex. Thomas, signed by him as Secretary of St. Andrew's Lodge, Holding under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, mentioning to take Notice that all Connection and Debates between the Grand Lodge and the Lodge of St. Andrew arc at an End. Return from St. Andrew's Lodge, Holding under this Grand Lodge, was received, accepted and approved of."
In the record of a Special Meeting held on the 15th of March, 1784, at the head of the list of officers and members present stand the following names: "Most Wpfll. John Warren, Esq., G. M. Rt. Wpfll. Paul Revere, Esq., D. G. M. Rt. Wpfll. M. M. Hays, Mr. Mass. Wpfll. Perez Morton, S. G. W. Wpfll. John Juteau, J. G. W. Benj. Coolidge, G. Sec'y."
We are at a loss to understand why the Master of Massachusetts Lodge should have precedence of the three last-named officers, or why his title should be different from theirs.
The only business recorded is the following:"The Lodges being called, the seats of Senior and Junior Grand Deacons were found vacant, that had been fill'd by Bros. Urann and Symmes, whom the Grand Lodge were informed had withdrawn themselves by adhering to the Brethren that declare themselves Holding under the Constitution of Scotland, as appears by their Letter to this Grand Lodge. The Lodge proceeded to the choice of Grand Deacons and Grand Stewards."
Thus far Brother Hays appears to have been very regular and constant in his attendance upon the Communications of the Grand Lodge; but his name does not occur again until the record of the 24th June, 1785, when he was chosen Junior Grand Warden. Notwithstanding this promotion, he is not recorded as present until the 2d of June, 1786, when he is described as Senior, instead of Junior, Grand Warden — probably a clerical error, the names being reversed. At this meeting numerous reports and returns were received from the Lodges, and"the Grand Lodge then proceeded to choice of Grand Officers for the year ensuing. A motion was made for the Constitutions to be read, which was negatived; and Voted, To proceed by Ballot for the choice of Grand Master, when, the numbers being counted, Most W. J. Webb was re-elected Grand Master, who was pleased to appoint the R. W. John Lowell D. G. Master. Senior Warden voted for, and M. M. Hays, Esq., elected, who excused himself, and his resignation was accepted. The Book of Constitutions being again called for, the Regulations were read, respecting the election of a Grand Master and other Officers. Motion made by Brother Revere for the adjournment of Grand Lodge, seconded by Brother Juteau, and negatived. The Lodge then proceeded to the choice of a new Senior Grd. Warden, Dr. Josiah Bartlett elected. "It was voted that the installation should take place at Charlestown on the 24th." Accordingly the Grand Lodge was "opened in due Masonick Form, "in Warren Hall, Charlestown, on Saturday, June 24th, 1786, at 3 o'clock p. m., and "the Most Worshipful Grand Master invested the officers with the Badges to them respectively belonging." Brother Hays was present.
At a Special Meeting held at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, State Street, on Friday evening, April 6, 1787, although apparently not in attendance, ho was appointed one of a committee of seven, "to act in conjunction with the other committee, who were to form a plan of union between the 2 Grand Lodges (St. John's and Massachusetts), and that said committee write to the several Lodges holding under this jurisdiction, to obtain their sentiments upon the subject, either by Proxy or otherwise, and to report at the next quarterly Communication."
Brother Hays' name does not again occur in the record until Friday evening, June 6, 1788, when the"Grand Lodge assembled in Ample Form "at the Bunch of Grapes. After the transaction of miscellaneous business, they proceeded to the choice of Grand Officers,"when the following were chosen: M. W. John Warren, Esq., G. M., who declined accepting the choice; whereupon the M. W. M. M. Hays, Esq., was unanimously chosen G. M., and, being informed of the choice by a Respectable Committee, he testified his acceptance of the same." "Tuesday, the 24th instant, was, by unanimous consent, appointed for the installation of Grand Officers for the ensuing year, at Bunch of Grapes, 6 o'clock p. m."
The installation did not take place at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, as ordered. The next record recites that "Massachusetts Grand Lodge assembled in ample form, July 24, 1788, at Charlestown, for installation of Grand officers for the year ensuing." By a clerical error July is substituted for June; the records of King Solomon's Lodge, as well as the newspapers of the time, give the date correctly."Grand Lodge being opened in Masonick Order,""On motion, voted to re-consider the vote of the last Grand Lodge for the installation of Grand Officers at the Bunch of Grapes, and to proceed on that Business at this place."The Brethren associated in office with the newly elected Grand Master were:
- Perez Morton, Esq., Deputy Grand Master.
- Josiah Bartlett, M. D., Senior Grand Warden.
- Gen. Elisha Porter, Junior Grand Warden.
- Aaron Dexter, M. D., Grand Treasurer.
- John Jackson, Recording Grand Secretary.
The new Grand Master was installed by his immediate predecessor, Dr. John Warren. The ceremonies of installation being concluded, the Grand Lodge was closed until the first Friday in September. No other business was transacted, nor does it appear from the record that any festivities took place on the occasion.
The records of King Solomon's Lodge, however, furnish the following information:
"June 24, 5788. Festival of St. John the Baptist. The Lodge assembled at Warren Hall. The Massachusetts Grand Lodge, being present, was opened in Ample Form and an installation of the Grand Officers took place; after which, the Grand Lodge being closed, King Solomon's Lodge was opened. After the transaction of some business, a procession was formed as follows: The officers and members of King Solomon's Lodge, under R. W. Isaac Snow, Master; the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, under M. W. Moses M. Hays, Grand Master; visiting Brethren from other Lodges; invited guests, amongst whom were His Honor Benjamin Lincoln, Lieutenant Governor, Rev. Samuel Parker, Rev. Mr. Montague, Rev. John Eliot, Rev. Mr. Rowland, Captain Thomas Harris, Representative of Charlestown, the Parish Committee, &c.; — fifty-seven Masons, ten invited guests and six musicians, making in all, seventy-three persons.
"The procession proceeded to the meeting-house with 'musick playing,' where divine service was performed by Rev. Messrs. Parker and Montague, after the Episcopal manner; after which, a collection was made for the benefit of the poor of Charlestown, when the sum of £9. 5s. 6d. was collected. The procession then returned to the Hall, where an elegant entertainment was provided, and the afternoon was spent in innocent festivity.
"The thanks of the Lodge were presented to Rev. Samuel Parker for his learned and elegant sermon, with the request that a copy might be furnished for the press; also, to Mr. Oliver Holden and the ladies and gentlemen who compose the Singing Society of this town, for their services this day.
"The money collected was distributed amongst twenty-seven worthy persons, more than half'of whom were widows.
"The whole expense of the festival was £32 12s. 6d."
The Massachusetts Centinel of that week gives some further particulars. The order of procession is curious on account of the mingling of the officers of King Solomon's Lodge and the Grand Officers.
Band of Musick.
Stewards of King Solomon's Lodge.
Deacons of King Solomon's Lodge.
Wardens of Lodges.
Masters of Lodges.
Treasurer and Secretary of King Solomon's Lodge.
Grand Treasurer and Secretary.
Wardens of King Solomon's Lodge.
Past Grand Officers.
Master of King Solomon's Lodge.
Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master.
"Having arrived at the meeting-house, an elegant and well adapted discourse was delivered to a numerous and respectful auditory by the Rev. Mr. Parker, of this town, from John the XIII, 35, and the solemnities of the day were much enlivened by the various performances of the Society of Singers, who favored the company with their services. At the conclusion of divine worship, the procession, being joined by a number of gentlemen of publick character, not of the fraternity, returned to the Hall, which was ingeniously decorated on the occasion. A genteel entertainment was provided and the following toasts were drank:
- Masonry universal.
- The United States.
- May the brightness of the East, the soft breezes of the South and the going down of the West have its influence on every Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.
- The Governour and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- All regular constituted Grand Lodges.
- May the Nine Pillars which have been raised to support the American Fabrick, be soon joined by the other four. [Alluding to the thirteen States and the new Constitution.]
- Our illustrious Brother George Washington, Esq.
- His Most Christian Majesty, Louis XVI.
- The memory of our illustrious Grand Master Joseph Warren, Esq.
- Agriculture and Commerce.
- Speedy relief to all distressed Brethren throughout the world.
- May the Americans be as distinguished for their virtues as they have been in arms.
- All mankind.
- M Worship. M. M. Hays, Esq., G. Master.
- R. W. Perez Morton Esq., D. G. M.
- Josiah Bartlett, S. G. W.
- Isaac Snow, J. G. W., pro tem.
- Aaron Dexter, G. Treas.
- John Jackson, G. Sec'y.
- Josiah Waters, G. Marshall.
'It gives me great pleasure, Brethren, to find here so Respectable a Lodge, and that pleasure is greatly increased by the expert abilities and knowledge you discover in our Sublime Science. You Possess fully the Rudiments of the Craft, and a steady perseverance of the pursuits you have already made, will enable you perfectly to understand the Origin, Design and Use of the Society, and will compensate you in the full price of your Travel and Industry.
'Masonry has suffered much by imprudent and unfaithful Brethren. Permit me, therefore, my dear Brethren, to recommend to you great Caution and Care in the choice of the persons whom you wish to Adorn with the formidable appellation and affection of Brother and Friend.
'Worshipful Master and Wardens, — I leave this Lodge under your Patronage and Care and under your Protection and Instruction. I flatter myself that they will, as in their numbers, shine as so many Brilliant Stars in the highest Heavens, where they will receive the reward of their Merit.
'You will, Worshipful, please to direct your Secretary to transcribe from your Records a complete list of the names of the officers and members of your Lodge, as well as the names of those whom you have brought from the Veil of Darkness thro' the current year, and you will please to transmit the same to the Grand Lodge at their next Quarterly Communication, that they may be Registered in the Grand Lodge Books, agreeable to our ancient usage.'
"The Right Worshipful Master of Massachusetts Lodge then arose and made the following reply:
"'Most Worshipful Grand Master,—Permit me, Sir, to return you the thanks of Massachusetts Lodge, and in their name to Assure you we feel gratefull for this Testimony of the Love and Affection of the Grand Lodge. Under its benign influence and direction, conformable to the Constitutions of Masonry, and a steady perseverance in pursuit of the original design of our Glorious Institution, we expect to increase in Wisdom, Strength and Beauty; and, we flatter ourselves, by a strict Observance of Order, Harmony and Proportion in our great work, we shall become proficients therein, which will fully compensate us for our Travel and Industry.
"' Agreeable to your directions, a list of the Names of the Officers and Members of the Lodge, and the Names of those who have been brought from the Veil of Darkness, shall be transmitted to Grand Lodge at their next Quarterly Communication.'"
On the next evening (March 10th) Grand Master Hays visited King Solomon's Lodge, of Charlestown, and on the 30th of the same month he visited Rising States Lodge, of Boston. On each occasion he was accompanied by the Grand Officers, and the same dignified ceremony was observed as in the case of Massachusetts Lodge, the Grand Master addressing to the assembled Brethren similar words of affectionate caution and admonition, and the Masters replying in terms of gratitude and respect. The ceremony and addresses in each instance are set forth at length in the Records of the Grand Lodge.
The Master of King Solomon's Lodge was Brother Isaac Snow, whose name appears frequently in the Grand Lodge Records. He died in the next year, and the following entry appears in the Records of the Lodge:
"Sept. 6, 5790. All necessary preparations having been made at a previous special meeting, a grand procession was formed by the M. W. Grand Master, Moses M. Hays, Esq., with his Grand Officers, to pay the last tribute of respect to the remains of our late Brother, R. W. Isaac Snow, Past Master of King Solomon's Lodge, who departed this life on Saturday, the fourth instant, aged 30 years."
The Master of Rising States Lodge, at the time of the official visit of Grand Master Hays, was Brother Paul Revere. The Grand Master having finished his address on that occasion, "the Right Worshipful Master of the Rising States Lodge then arose and in the Name of the Lodge returned thanks for the favor of this visit and for this Mark of Love and Affection of the Grand Lodge. It was a great addition to the pleasure of the Lodge to find the Grand Master so much gratified in viewing the Harmony and Decorum of the Lodge. And they presume to flatter themselves that, by a steady Perseverance of such Cultivation, and travelling in pursuit of Virtue and Morality, and being circumspect as to the persons we admit into our Society, we shall continue to merit the Approbation of the Grand Lodge. Agreeable to your Direction, Most Worshipful, a list of the Names of trie Officers and Members, as well as the Names of those who have been initiated the present year, shall be transmitted to the Grand Lodge."
The Grand Master was not content with the manifestation of an affectionate care and supervision of the Lodges in and near Boston only; his interest extended to all under his jurisdiction. Immediately after the account of the three official visits just described, the record sets forth the following letter, addressed to the Junior Grand Warden, Brigadier General Elisha Porter, of Hadley.
Sir:— The Most Worshipful Grand Master for this Commonwealth, attended by his Grand Officers, has visited the several Lodges in the vicinity of Boston, examined their Records, Charters &c,— and, being desirous that the Respective Lodges under this jurisdiction should be visited in like manner by the proper officer,— The Grand Master directs me to inform you that it is his will and pleasure that you proceed as soon as convenient to visit the Lodges in your vicinity; and you are hereby vested with full Power and Authority to examine their Records and Charters, and make a Report, at the next Quarterly Communication in June, of the State of the Lodges, remarking their progress in the Masonick art, and pressing a punctual discharge of their dues. Also to Direct Secretarys of Lodges to return a list of their Officers respectively to the Grand Lodge.
By Order of
M. M. Hays, Esqr, Grand Master,
Jno. Jackson, G. Secr
"The Massachusetts Grand Lodge Assembled in Ample Form (being quarterly Communication) Thursday even., 4 June, 5789, at the bunch of Grapes." "On motion— Voted, That the Grand Lodge now proceed to the Choice of G. Officers for the year ensuing. On counting the Votes, it appeared that John Warren Esq', was Elected G. Master. (This was the fourth time Dr. Warren had been elected to the Chair.) Voted, that a Committee of three (Bro. Bartlett. Bradford and Juteau were chosen), wait on Bro. Warren and acquaint him of his Appointment to the Chair. The Committee proceeded, and Reported that Bro. Warren returned thanks for the Honor done him in this Choice, but his situation in Business necessarily Obliged him to Decline Accepting it. Whereupon the G. Lodge again proceeded to the Choice of Grand Master and the M. W. M. M. Hays Esqr. was Unanimously chosen G. Master, who was pleased to accept the choice." "Voted, that the G. Secy. write to the Respective Lodges in the thirteen States [we suppose he means Grand Lodges] & Acquaint them with their [our?] proceedings respecting the Lodges ordered to be Erased from the G. Lodge Books." "Moved & Voted — That a Committee of three Assist the G. Sec' in writing to the several Lodges respecty. the Grand Lodges." "The Charter of Amity Lodge, returned, was presented by Bro. Revere." It was voted that the Grand Lodge celebrate the Feast of St. John the Baptist, and "that a Committee of five be raised to Conduct the Grand Feast;" of this committee the Grand Master was made chairman.
"Massachusetts Grand Lodge assembled in Ample Form June 24th, 5789, at the bunch of Grapes Tavern, to celebrate this festival & for Installation of Grand Officers. "Voted — That we now proceed to consider the Amendments proposed by the Committee relative to the Regulations of the Grand Lodge, and the aforesaid Amendments were unanimously adopted. "Voted — That a Committee of five be appointed to procure the printing of a book of Constitutions — provided it shall not be attended with Expence to the Grand Lodge; if, however, this cannot be effected, then the present Regulations are to be printed for the Benefit of the Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. The Committee appointed— M. W. G. M. Bro. Hays, G. S. W. Bro. Bartlett, Bro. Revere, Bro. Scollay & Bro. Dexter.
"The several Grand Officers chosen the present year on Thursday Eveng., 4 June, were now Installed. The Grand Master then declared R. W. Bro. Perez Morton, Esq. D. G. Master for the ensuing year." Voted that Bro. "Revere, Scollay and Bradford be a Committee to settle the late G. Treas' Accounts & place them in the Hands of the New G. Treas." - "The Business being Finished, at 2 o'clock The Feast was Celebrated in perfect Harmony."
No business of special interest was transacted at the Quarterly Communication in September following.
On the 4th of December, 1789, the Grand Lodge assembled at Concert Hall for the first time, Brother Paul Revere in the chair, the Grand Master not being present. It was voted a committee of three be appointed, consisting of Brothers Lowell, Bradford and Hunt, "to wait on the Gd. Master and request him to call the Committee upon the Book of Constitutions together, — so that the object of the Grand Lodge may be perfected.".
At the Quarterly Communication in March, 1790, a very painful subject was presented, which is thus stated in the record:"Whereas, in the course of a dispute in the public papers, between Bro. John Juteau and Bro. Baury du Bellerive, the former S. G. W. of this G. Lodge, and the latter a member of a Lodge under this jurisdiction, an imputation of conduct, highly unbecoming a Mason, has been brought against Bro' Juteau, and it being the duty of the G. Lodge not only to investigate the Misconduct of its Officers and to Censure the guilty, but also in case of false Accusation to Vindicate the Innocent, and to discountenance the Accuser; it is, therefore, Voted — By the Grand Lodge — That the said Bro. John Jutau and Bro. Baury de Bellerive be summoned to attend an Inquiry into the Charges above refcrr'd to, that such justice may be done to the party in fault as is consistent with the Rules of Masonry and the Dignity of the Craft. And it is further Voted, That the Grand Lodge be summoned to attend, for the purposes aforesaid, at the Concert Hall, on the first Friday in April, next, at 7 o'clock P. Mv and that Bro'. Jutau and Bro' Baury be summon'd to attend accordingly, by the See's serving them with a Copy of the Vote of the G. Lodge."
Agreeably to appointment, the Grand Lodge assembled on the 2nd of April, with the Grand Master in the Chair, and"proceeded to the investigation of an imputation of conduct highly derogatory to the principles of good Men & Masons, as charged by Bro' Baury against Bro. Juteau. — Bro. Baury being present.— A letter was Recd. and Read from Bro. Juteau declining his Attendance this eveng. Whereupon — The G. Lodge Voted — That a Committee of two be appointed to wait on Bro' Jutau. Bro""Lowell & Bradford were accordingly chosen to inform Bro. Juteau that the G. Lodge expected his attendance at the Lodge now sitting. The Committee reported, that they had proceeded to Bro. Juteau's House, where they were informed that Bro. Juteau was not at Home. The G. Lodge then proceeded to make a full Enquiry into the charge alledged against Bro. Juteau.
"The G. Lodge, having maturely considered the Declarations made by Brothers Baury and Olive, [the witnesses], are Unanimously of Opinion that the allegation brought against Bro. Juteau, and published in the Herald of Freedom of the - December, 1789, under the signature of Baury de Bellerive, as it respects the point under consideration, viz. his, (Bro' J.), having two wives at one & the same time, is fully established. Whereupon, Voted Unanimously, that Bro' Juteau's conduct is and has been highly derogatory to the laws of Morality, Society and Honor, & diametrically Opposed to the Principles of Masonry. Voted Unanimously, that Bro' Juteau's office of S. G. W. of this G. Lodge is hereby Vacated, and that he be no longer considered a Member of the G. Lodge. And, Voted, that John Juteau's name be Erased from the G. Lodge Books by the Sec'y thereof, and that Notice be given of these proceedings to all the Lodges under this jurisdiction."
The election of officers took place on the 3d of June, 1790, when Brother Hays was again elected to the chair. The installation of officers and the celebration of St. John's Day took place at Concert Hall, on the 24th, when an interesting address was delivered by Dr. Josiah Bartlett, which is spread upon the records in full, and was afterwards published. The orator gives a brief sketch of the rise and progress of Masonry under Massachusetts Grand Lodge, and thus alludes to the subject of this Sketch:
"The next material event was the festival of June 24th, 1788, when our respected and Most Worshipful Brother, Moses M. Hays, whose extensive knowledge in the mysteries of the Craft have justly excited our attention, was duly elected and installed Grand Master; and who, by a steady perseverance in the various duties of his exalted station, has secured our affection and esteem. May he still continue a burning and a shining light around the Masonic Altar. And may the animated example of those who have so nobly reared this illustrious fabrick produce in us a laudable emulation to support its influence, by a constant cultivation of those kind offices of humanity which will convince the world that the main pillar of Masonry is the love of Mankind."
At the Quarterly Communication in September, "a committee was appointed to consider the state of the Grand Lodge, and report at the next quarterly communication." On the 8th of December, the committee submitted a full and comprehensive statement of the affairs of the Grand Lodge. They report, "that there is a much larger sum due to the Grand Lodge than is necessary to discharge the Debts, which they suppose will not exceed 130 dollars, and having maturely considered the situation of the different Lodges, and compared the sums due with their various circumstances, they have assessed the sum o f £58.16.0, which, when paid as follows, shall be in full discharge of all demands to the meeting"in December, inclusive, viz:
- States Rising States Lodge, £2.8.0
- Massachusetts, 1.16.0
- Berkshire, 7.10.0
- Trinity, 1.16.0
- Vermont, 3.0.0
- Warren, 9.0.0
- King Solomon's, 3.0.0
- Hampshire, 7.4.0
- Rising Sun, 7.10.0
- North Star, 4.10.0
- Friendship, 4.10.0
- Faithful, 3.12.0
- Dartmouth, 3.0.0
"It is the opinion of the Committee that a General Inattention to the Grand Lodge, and a want of strict adherence to its Laws and Regulations have tended to lessen its importance. They therefore recommend that the foregoing Lodges, and those only, be hereafter considered as within its immediate control; that all the other Lodges be considered as having forfeited their right of connection, not to be restored but by consent of the Grand Lodge, and that the Grand Master cause the names and precedency of the aforesaid Lodges, with the towns where they arc holden, to be recorded at large on a separate leaf of the Grand Lodge Book, to be a complete list of the Lodges within its jurisdiction at the present day.
"The Committee further recommend that, for the future support of the Grand Lodge, each of the said Lodges, with all such as may be regularly added, shall pay at each quarterly communication nine shillings; and that every Lodge not represented and neglecting to pay for the space of twelve months, shall positively forfeit their connection with the Grand Lodge; and it shall be the duty of the Grand Master for the time being, to revoke the Charters of such delinquent Lodges.
"It is further recommended, that the Grand Master write to any Lodges within the limits of this Commonwealth not mentioned in this report, and request that they would either form a new connection with the Grand Lodge or return the Charters they have received by its authority; and that he also write to the Lodges under this Jurisdiction requesting the immediate payment of the sums assessed, and that they attend either by their Officers or by proxy agreeably to the regulations of the G'd Lodge."
At the same Communication, "the Committee appointed to enquire into the state of certain persons, Foreigners, who call themselves Masons, and affect to hold a Lodge, reported: That, in their opinion, it was expedient to grant a Charter of Dispensation to them, under such restrictions as the Grand Lodge think proper. Which being read, it was thereupon Voted: That a Charter of Dispensation be granted them, for the term of three years, to hold a Lodge and to make Masons, provided that no person be made a Mason uutil the name of the Candidate be first given to the Grand Master, with his place of abode and occupation, and receive his approbation; and provided also, that the said persons, in presence of a Committee of this Grand Lodge, to be appointed for the purpose, take anew the several Masonic Obligations. At the end of which term, if their conduct shall warrant it, they may receive a Charter at large, without any further expence."The Lodge thus carefully warranted took the name of Harmonic Lodge, and was represented at the next Communication of the Grand Lodge, — March 2, 1791, — by the Master and Wardens, Brothers George Gideon, Peter Smink and George Grosman. They presented "the following Address, which was ordered to be engrossed,"and is spread upon the record:
"Harmonic Lodge legally assembled on the second Monday in February, A. L., 5791, A. D. 1791—then and there moved, seconded and unanimously Voted, that a Committee should be chosen to draft an address of thanks to the Most Worshipful Master, other officers and members belonging to the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, who are to assemble on the first Thursday in March.
"A. L. 5791, A. D. 1791, do report [sic] that we, the subscribers, being duly impressed with every sentiment of Gratitude towards our leading Patrons, and as a Committee regularly chosen in behalf of the Harmonic Lodge for that purpose, do return our humble & most sincere thanks for having taken into their wise Consideration the petition of our said Lodge & ratifying the same by granting a Charter therefor, together for all other Civilities therefrom received, particularly to our worthy Brother, Captain Joseph Laughton, for his extreme goodness in dispensing with his trouble & fees free gratis, and as duty bound we pray that Heaven may inspire the whole Fraternity with Light & Prosperity.
(Signed) Peter Smink, Frederic Granger, John J. Geyer, Committee.
While Brother Peter Smink's Masonic zeal is worthy of all commendation, we must admit that his knowledge of the art of English composition seems to have been somewhat limited.
At the Quarterly Communication held on the 2d of June, 1791, Brother Hays was re-elected Grand Master. A Charter was granted for Essex Lodge, of Salem, on the petition of the Rev. Dr. Bentley and others. The"Grand Lodge assembled in Ample Form, Friday, June 24th, 1791, at Concert Hall, to Celebrate the festival of St. John & for Installation of the Grand Officers, — proceeded to business by Installing the several officers chosen at the last Grand Lodge. The Grand Master then declared R. W. Brother Paul Revere Deputy Grand Master for the year ensuing. A procession was then form'd and march'd in proper order from Concert Hall to the Chapel, where prayers were read by the Rev. Mr. James Freeman, after which an elegant Discourse on Masonry was deliver'd by the Revd Brother William Bentley, of Salem. Procession then returned to Concert Hall, where the brethren partook of a decent entertainment. After dinner a number of Masonic & other toasts were drank."A collection was taken up for the relief of a worthy Brother, and "nineteen and one third dollars being collected, it was put into the hands of a Committee to be disposed of as they tho't proper for the relief of him and his family." "Motion by Brother [Perez] Morton that the remains of the feast be sent to the prisoners in the gaol, passed unanimously, & that the Grand Stewards be requested to see the same distributed."
The Columbian Centinel, of Saturday, June 25, 1791, gives some additional particulars in regard to this celebration:
"Yesterday being the festival of St. John, the same was celebrated in this town by the Most Worshipful M. M. Hays, Esq., and the Brethren of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
"At 11 o'clock, the Grand Lodge met and opened at Concert Hall, when the Grand Officers for the ensuing year were installed, and the procession formed in the following order: <p align=center> Grand Tyler with the Bible, Square and Compasses.
Grand Stewards — and Stewards with Staves.
Masters and Past Masters.
Royal Arch Masons.
Band of Musick.
Deputy Grand Master.
Attended by the Grand Sword Bearer and Grand Marshal.
"In this order, the Craft proceeded to the Stone Chapel, when the usual solemnities of the day were performed by the Rev. Mr. Freeman. An address was pronounced by Rev. Bro. Bentley, in which, with the maxims of universal philanthropy, the principles of the Craft were supported and maintained in a masterly and ingenious manner. The services being ended, the Procession returned to Concert Hall, where the Brethren partook of an elegant and sumptuous entertainment, after which the following toasts were drank:
- Our Brother George Washington, with the honors of Masonry.
- May Wisdom contrive our happiness, Strength support our virtuous resolutions, and Beauty adorn our beds.
- May the tongue of every Free and Accepted Mason be the key of his heart, may it hang in just equilibrium, and never be suffered to lie to the injury of a brother.
- May every Mason's heart have the freedom of chalk, the fervency of charcoal, the zeal of a friend, but not the hardness of marble, when a distressed brother makes his demand.
- May the Square form our conduct through life, the Level and Plumb-Line remind us of our condition, and teach us to walk perpendicular and act upright.
- May our wisdom be as conspicuous to our sisters as the wisdom of our Grand Master Solomon was to the Queen of Sheba.
- The American Fair — with the honors of Masonry.
- May we enter apprentices to virtue, be Fellow Crafts with Charity, and always Masters of our passions.
- May the Bible rule and guide us through life, the Square square our actions, and the Compasses circumscribe the bounds we are to keep with all mankind, especially with a brother.
- May the rays of celestial light dart from the East, force their way to the West, and pierce through the veil of ignorance, and may perseverance remove the keystone that covers truth.
- May the fragrance of a good report, like a sprig of Cassia, bloom over the head of every departed brother.
- May every Free and Accepted Mason rise in the East, find refreshment in the South, be dismissed in the West, and then be admitted into the middle chamber, to receive the rewards of a good mason.
- May the Royal Arch cover every honest mason's heart and overshadow all who act up to the true principles of the c# All Mankind."
Under date of September, 1791, we are informed that "no Grand Lodge was held this quarter in consequence of the absence of the Grand Secretary."
The last meeting of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge at which Brother Hays appears to have been present was the Quarterly Communication of December 5, 1791. The following business was transacted: The Grand Master was "requested to take proper measures to install the Officers of the Essex Lodge; "the Grand Master was requested to answer a letter from "Union Lodge, No. 1, Northwest of the Ohio; "the Grand Master, was made chairman of a committee "to write Circular Letters to all the Lodges in the United States, on the subject of a union with said Lodges; "the Grand Master was "requested to write to Rising Sun Lodge, at Keene, in the State of New Hampshire, in answer to a letter received from them some time since, which was not answered by a Committee chosen for that purpose, who are now dismissed; "Brother Thaddeus M. Harris was "added to the Com. for revising the book of Constitutions; and a Committee of seven was appointed,"agreeably to the spirit of a vote of the Grand Lodge passed at a former meeting, (March 2, 1787) to confer with the officers of St. John's Grand Lodge upon the Subject of a compleat Masonic Union throughout this Commonwealth."The Committee consisted of Brothers M. M. Hays, John Warren, Paul Revere, Josiah Bartlett, William Scollay, John Lowell & Joseph Laughton. They were ordered to report "as soon as may bo convenient.
"At the Quarterly Communication in March following, the Deputy Grand Master, Paul Revere, presided. All the members of the Union Committee were present except Brothers Hays and Laughton."A constitution & laws for associating the St. John's & the Massachusetts Grand Lodges, as unanimously agreed to by their Joint Committees & accepted by St. John's Grand Lodge, was read and deliberately considered. The question whether the s' constitution shall be accepted was called for & it pass'd unanimously in the affirmative."Voted that Brothers Warren, Scollay & Lowell be appointed to prepare a list of candidates for Officers of the Grand Lodge & also a list of seven electors agreeable to the constitution.
"The said committee having reported, the following Brethren were nominated & appointed:
- R.W. John Cutler, Grand Mast:
- R.W. Josiah Bartlett, S.G.W.
- R.W. Samuel Dunn, J.G.W.
- Samuel Parkman, G. Treasurer.
- Joseph Laughton, G. Secretary.
- For Electors, Brothers Revere, Dexter, Little, Bradford, Swan, Lowell & Scollay.
"Voted that Brothers Bartlett, Scollay & Bradford be a committee to wait upon Saint John's Grand Lodge, now sitting at the Bunch of Grapes, & inform them that this Grand Lodge have unanimously accepted the constitution, & having taken the necessary steps, they are now ready to proceed to the choice of Grand Master, G. Wardens, G. Treasurer & G. Secretary.
"The committee reported that seven Electors from St. John's G. Lodge would immediately attend for the purposes before mentioned."The Electors who met in convention were Brothers Revere, (Chairman,) Samuel Barrett, James Jackson, Samuel Dunn, Job Prince, Thomas Dennie, William Shaw, Thomas Farrington, John Lowell, Aaron Dexter, William Scollay, Samuel Bradford, William Little & Caleb Swan, who, having examined the lists of candidates, unanimously made choice of the following Brethren as the first Officers of the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
- R. W. John Cutler, Grand Master.
- R. W. Josiah Bartlett, Senr G. W.
- R. W. Mungo Mackay, Jun. G. W.
- Samuel Parkman, Grand Treas.
- Thomas Farrington, G. Secy.
It was then "voted that Brothers Revere, Bartlett, Scollay, Lincoln and Bradford be a committee to wait upon the Most Worshipful Moses M. Hays, Esq., with the thanks of this Grand Lodge, for his faith full services, &c, that the same be recorded in testimony of the obligations of this Grand Lodge, for his various and distinguished attentions to the interests of the Masonick Institution."
Thereupon all committees of the Grand Lodge were discharged, except the committee on the Book of Constitutions, and they were ordered to report their doings to the new Grand Lodge. Brothers Revere, Bartlett, Scollay and Bradford were appointed a committee to adjust all accounts, and to deliver to the Grand Master elect all records and Masonic papers, together with the furniture and regalia.
Finally, it was "voted that this Grand Lodge be dissolved."
The records close with a list of Lodges, which are"consider'd as within the immediate Jurisdiction of the late Massachusetts Grand Lodge,"and a list of persons who are"standing Members"of the same, the latter being attested by Grand Master Hays.
Thus ended in Massachusetts the rivalry between "Ancients" and Moderns; thus, in the language of the new Grand Master, "a Complete Union of the Two Grand Lodges, formerly held in this State, was happily effected, and the Grand Lodge of the most ancient and honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was completely organized."St. Andrew's Lodge alone held aloof, having some years previously fallen back under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Scotland; but in December, 1809, even she gave in her adhesion, the chain was made complete and has so remained to this day.
(From Proceedings, 1916.)
Most Worshipful Brother Hays was born of Hebrew parents, in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1739. He came to this country about the year 1768 by way of Jamaica and the West Indies and established himself at Newport, R. I. While in Jamaica Brother Hays, through Henry Andrew Francken, received the appointment of Deputy Inspector-General for North-America for the Rite of Perfection. A contemporaneous written copy of his deputation is among our archives. Dr. Mackey (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, p. 697) thus relates the history of the introduction of the Scottish Rite into North America.
"In 1758, a Body was organized at Paris, called The Council of the Emperors of the East and West. This Council organized a Rite called the Rite of Perfection, which consisted of twenty-five degrees, the highest of which was Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.
"In 1761, this Council granted a Patent or Deputation to Stephen Morin, authorizing him to propagate the Rite in the Western continent, whither he was about to repair. In the same year, Morin arrived at the city of St. Domingo, where he commenced the dissemination of the Rite, and appointed many Inspectors, both for the West Indies and for the United States. Among others, he conferred the degrees on M. M. Hays, with a power of appointing others when necessary. Hays accordingly appointed Isaac Da Costa Deputy Inspector-General for South Carolina, who in 1783 introduced the Rite into that State by the establishment of a Grand Lodge of Perfection in Charleston. Other Inspectors were subsequently appointed; and in 1801, a Supreme Council was opened in Charleston by John Mitchell and Frederick Dalcho."
It is known that Brother Hays while a resident of Newport, R. I., was active in Masonry. Indeed, he and one or two of his Jewish Brethren were the main supports of all the Masonic Bodies there.
He was proposed as a member of The Massachusetts Lodge, Boston, November 5, 1782. December 3, 1782, he was elected Master and served during the years 1783, 1784, and 1785. In 1785, he was Junior Grand Warden and served as Grand Master of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge from July 24, 1788 until the union of the two Grand Lodges within this Commonwealth on March 5, 1792. He was one of the main factors in effecting the union.
The fact that he took particular interest in the degrees of the Rose et Croix, coupled with a remark of R.W. Charles W. Moore (13 M.F.M. 232) to the effect that he had no conscientious scruples in dietetics, would seem to indicate that he certainly was not bigoted. Further evidence is offered on this point, as well as in regard to his general character and reputation, by the following extract from the Memoir of Samuel Joseph May:
"If the children of my day were taught, among other foolish things, to dread, if not despise, Jews, a very different lesson was impressed upon my young heart. There was but one family of the despised children of the house of Israel resident in Boston - the family of Moses Michael Hays; a man much respected, not only on account of his large wealth, but for his many personal virtues, and the high culture and great excellence of his wife, his son Judah, and his daughters - especially Catherine and Slowey. His house, far down on Hanover Street, then one of the fashionable streets of the town, was the abode of hospitality; and his family moved in what were then the first circles of society. He and his truly good wife were hospitable, not to the rich alone, but also to the poor. Many indigent families were fed pretty regularly from his table. They would come especially after his frequent dinner parties, and were sure to be made welcome, not to the crumbs only, but to ampler portions of the food that might be left.
"Always on Saturday he expected a number of friends to dine with him. A full-length table was always spread and loaded with the luxuries of the season; and he loved to see it surrounded by a few regular visitors, and others especially invited. My father was a favorite guest. He was regarded by Mr. Hays and his whole family as a particular friend, their chosen counsellor in times of perplexity, and their comforter in the days of their affliction. My father seldom failed to dine at Mr. Hays, on Saturday, and often took me with him; for he was sure I should meet refined company there.
"Both Uncle and Aunt Hays (for so I called them) were fond of children, particularly of me; and I was permitted to stay with them several days, and even weeks, together. And I can never forget, not merely their kind, but their conscientious care of me. I was the child of Christian parents, and they took especial pains that I should lose nothing of religious training so long as I was permitted to abide with them. Every night I was required, on going to bed, to repeat my Christian hymns and prayers to them, or else to an excellent Christian servant woman who lived with them many years. f witnessed their religious exercises, their fastings and their prayers, and was made to feel that they worshipped the Unseen, Almighty and All-merciful One. Of course I grew up without any prejudice against Jews- or any other religionists - because they did not believe as my father and mother believed."
In the Boston Directory of the period Brother Hays is described as keeping an insurance office at No. 68 State Street. He was probably what was then called an underwriter, carrying on for his private account the same business as is now transacted by insurance companies. He died intestate, May 9, 1805, and his son Judah administered on the estate, the inventory amounting to $80,000. His remains were conveyed to Newport, R. I., and buried in the Jewish cemetery, by the side of those of his daughter Rebecca. Some years afterwards his son erected a handsome monument on the spot and placed upon it the following inscription:
"Here repose the ashes of Moses Michael Hays, Esq., who died in Boston, in the State of Massachusetts, on the 11th day of Sivan, A.M.5565; 9th day of May, 1805 of the Christian Era; aged 66. In commemoration of his virtues, his son, with filial reverence, erected this monument."
The Columbian Centinel, published in Boston on Saturday, May 11, 1805, contained the following obituary notice:
"In the character of the deceased there is much worthy of our admiration, much for our imitation. Possessed by nature of a strong intellect, there was a vigor in his conceptions of men and things which gave a seeming asperity to his conversation, which was ever frank and lucid. He walked abroad fearing no man, but loving all. Under his roof dwelt hospitality; it was an asylum of friendship, the mansion of peace. He was without guile, despising hypocrisy as he despised meanness. Take him for all in all, he was A MAN.
"In his death society will mourn the loss of a most estimable citizen, his family the kindest of husbands, the most indulgent of fathers. But what consolation shall we offer to assuage the violence of their grief? Why, this is all the recollection of his virtues, and that as he lived, so he died; that to his last moment the cheerfulness and benevolence of his whole life wasted not on his falling brow. Calm and without a sigh he sunk to rest, and is now secure in the bosom of his Father and our Father, of his God and our God.
Columbian Centinel for May 11, 1805.
Memorial Volume of 125th Anniversary of The Massachusetts Lodge, 27 and 88.
2 N.E.F. 71. 117, 145.
5 American Freemason, 576.
The Jews and Masonry in the United States before 1810, by Samuel Oppenheim (1910).
FROM NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, 1917
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XIII, No. 1, October 1917, Page 411:
From Lecture delivered by Benjamin A. Levy, S. D. of Shawmut Lodge, Boston.
His home life was ideal, since we find recorded in the memoirs of of Samuel Joseph May, an early Bostonian of note and a learned literary student, a splendid tribute which gives us a more intimate view of his home life.
He says, "If the children of my day were taught among other foolish things to dread, if not despise Jews, a very different lesson was impressed upon my young heart. There was but one family of the despised children of the House of Israel resident in Boston, the family of Moses Michael Hays, a man much rejected not only on account of his large wealth but for his many pergonal virtues and the high culture and great excellence of his wife, his son Judah, his daughters, especially Catherine and Slowey. His house far down Hanover Street, then one of the fashionable streets of the town, was the abode of hospitality and his family moved in the first circles of society.
"He and his truly good wife were hospitable, not only to the rich but also to the poor. Many indigent families were fed pretty regularly from his table. They would come especially after his frequent dinner parties and were sure to be made welcome not to the crumbs alone but to the ampler portions of the food that might be left. Always on Saturday he expected a number of friends to dine with him. A full length table was always spread and loaded with luxuries of the season. He loved to see it surrounded by a few regular visitors and others especially invited. My father was a favorite guest and often took me with him, for he was sure I would meet refined company there. Both Uncle and Aunt Hays were fond of children and particularly of me, and I was permitted to stay with them several days and often weeks. I was a child of Christian parents and they took special pains that I should lose nothing of religious training so long as I was permitted to abide with them. Every night on going to bed I was required to repeat my Christian prayers and hymns to them and I witnessed their prayers, religious exercises and fastings, and was made to feel that they worshipped the Unseen, Almighty and Merciful One. Of course I grew up without any prejudice against Jews or any other religious prejudice because they did not believe as my father and mother."
NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, DECEMBER 1937
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, December 1937, Page 80:
A SECRET PAGE OF HISTORY
The Place of Moses Michael Hays and the Sephardim Jew
By Cyetts Field Willard
In this year of 1937 when we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States it is appropriate that certain facts uncovered by the writer in his researches into the complex history of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry should be made known.
While much that relates to Freemasonry itself has been published by the writer in various magazines of the United States and has never been controverted, yet there are some facts in connection therewith whose significance to American history do not seem to have been recognized by American historians who perhaps were in ignorance of them.
They are occurrences that happened in Philadelphia, and can be verified there. In making public these facts now the writer is in nowise making public any of the secrets of Freemasonry, but simply correlating certain historical facts from which the reader may draw his own conclusions as the writer has done. In making these facts known at this time, it will be but doing long-delayed justice to the Sephardim Jews, whose far-sightedness, sacrifices and ability made it possible for others of their race to live here in peace while the race in general is suffering persecution in various countries of Europe today. It has also permitted their old-time persecutors likewise to enjoy the same peace and tolerance that is guaranteed by the first amendment to that Constitution that says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It is necessary for us to transport ourselves in thought to those early days when bitter religious intolerance prevailed to realize all the questions that entered into the daily life of the people. It was the financial help of these wealthy Sephardim Jews that in the opinion of the writer enabled Washington, in the darkest hour of the war, to grasp his opportunity and successfully conduct the Virginia campaign, that led to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, which ended the war in America after seven years of fighting although the Treaty of Peace that gave this country its full independence was not signed until 1783.
As the term "Sephardim Jew" has been used it might be well to say that the Jews are divided into the Sephardim and the Adhkenazim. The latter are the German, Polish, Roumanian and Russian Jews whose immigration to this country did not begin in any substantial degree until after 1810, as told by Oppermann in his very accurate pamphlet The Jews in Masonry Before 1810, in which he is confirmed by the works of the Jewish Historical Society. So that all the Jews were in this country during the Revolutionary were Sephardim Jews; with but rare exceptions. They were intensely patriotic and zealous at great pecuniary sacrifice in the cause of American freedom and many shed their blood for it.
At this point let me say: that so far as I know, is not a drop of Jewish blood in my veins, so it cannot be said that it is a Jew who is writing this. On the contrary the writer is a lineal descendant of stout Major Simon Willard, the head of the military forces of Massachusetts Bay Colony in the bloody King Philip Indian War, who bought the land from the Indians, and founded the town of Concord, Massachusetts in 1635.
As the plan to throw the tea overboard in Boston Harbor is said to have originated in the anteroom of Saint Andrew's Lodge of Boston, of which Paul Revere was Master, so Elbow Lane in Philadelphia may become as famous as the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston, where Saint Andrew's Lodge met. Graetz in his History of the Jews says that the Sephardim are the aristocrats of the Jews, and the others look up to them.
They claim to be the lineal descendants of King David, claiming they came from Palestine by the way of Egypt and Northern Africa, to Morocco whence they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into Spain and Portugal. They are handsome men, tall, usually six feet, with ruddy cheeks and brown eyes, who, bv the pride of race evident in their bearing, would seem to prove their claim to be "princes in Jerusalem." They were driven out of Spain and Portugal in 1492. The vessels taking them to their refuge in Holland passed the vessels of Columbus going to America. To Holland they transferred much of the wealth coming from America, by bills of exchange which the Jews invented. They helped to build up Holland's supremacy of the seas, where they produced such great men as Spinoza. Cromwell allowed them to cross from Holland and settle in England. One of these Sephardim from England as my friend when I, as a young man, was living in Paris. Graetz also says in his history that one of their distinguishing characteristics is that they associate on terms of perfect equality with their Christian neighbors.
On June 23, 1781. there appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet a newspaper published in Philadelphia, Jie following advertisement: "The Grand Elect Perfect ind Sublime Masons, as all Knights, Princes and In-fetors in Masonry, now in the city, are desired to ittend with their authentic titles on Monday evening It six o'clock at the home of Dennis McCartney in Elbow Lane, where a chapter will be held: By order ofthe Deputy Grand Inspector General for the State of Pennsylvania, Le Droiet De Bussey, Sublime Grand Secretary." The minutes of this meeting have been published in various Masonic publications, and the original minute-book is in the possession of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, whose library and Temple was on the corner of Broad and Market Streets in Philadelphia. There these statements can he verified bv inspecting this original minute book.
From the published record of this meeting we find there were present at the meeting with Solomon Bush Deputy Grand Inspector-General in the chair: Isaac Da Costa. Inspector-Genera1 for the West Indies and North America: Simon Nathan, Inspector for North Carolina; Samuel Myers, Inspector for the Leeward Islands; Bernard M. Spitzer for Georgia; Thomas Randall, Inspector for New Jerky: Benjamin Seixas of New York, whose brother started the New York Stock Exchange: and others not assigned any jurisdiction. This meeting lasted from six o'clock in the evening to ten-thirty, and the formation of a Lodge of Perfection was the ostensible purpose of the meeting, but this was laid over to the next meeting. The next meeting recorded was that of October 23, 1782, after the end of the war, which showed the Lodge fully organized in the sixteen months since the last recorded meeting.
Why were these rich Hebrew merchants and shipowners leaving their business in the darkest hour of what was to them, a great War, in which their lives and fortunes might be lost? It was not for the purpose of attending a joy-riding convention. There was, no doubt, some business of great importance to them as individuals, that was "off the record". As has been said: it was at the darkest hour of the war, on June 25, 1781. The treaty with France had been made and the money from France had been spent while supplies from Beaumarchais were used up. The paper money the Continental Congress had been forced to issue was now at its lowest value. Thomas Paine recorded he paid $300 for a pair of woolen stockings, and the simile "not worth a continental" has come down to our times, to express the nadir of worthlessness. These men knew what war was and what it meant to them. Some had shed their blood for the cause. Col. Solomon Bush, a physician of Whitemarsh township in Philadelphia had been a Captain in the Pennsylvania Battalion and was taken prisoner at Long Island, August 27, 1770, and returning to Philadelphia, appointed Deputy Adjutant General of Pennsylvania State militia July 5, 1777. In September, 1777. he was dangerously wounded and when the British occupied Philadelphia again taken prisoner, but released on parole. Isaac Da Costa was a prominent merchant of Charleston, South Carolina, but left that city when the British army took it, like many other wealthy Jews. The History of the Supreme Council 33rd Degree. Northern Jurisdiction, which is considered an authority says, that Moses Michael Hays was then the head of this branch of Masonry and he had visited Philadelphia in the early part of 1781, and appointed eight deputy Inspectors-General, as follows: Isaac Da Costa, South Carolina; Solomon Bush. Pcnsylvania; Joseph M. Myers. Maryland; Abraham Furst. Virginia; Simon Nathan, North Carolina; Barend M. Spitzcr, Georgia.
Moses M. Hays was born in New York City in 1739 and grew up as an American boy in that city. His father. Judah Hays, was one of six sons who came from Holland in the latter part of the 17th century, all prominent in the New York Sephardim congregation. Judah Hays was naturalized in 1739 and in 1760 was given a commission for his 10-gun ship, the Duke of Cumberland, with a crew of 50 men as a privateer in the French and Indian War to prey on the French commerce in the French West Indies. In this they were quite successful and Judah Havs acquired much wealth which Moses M. Hays inherited. It is easy to see that Hays had created an organization completely covering the then colonies which afterwards became States of the Republic. He had been appointed Inspector-General for the West Indies and North America in 1708. The next year he was named as Master of a Masonic Lodge which he, as a true Sephardim, named "King David Lodge." When the British occupied New York City in 1770, Hays and a number of wealthy Sephardim Jews left New York, Hays taking the warrant for his Lodge with him to Newport, R. I., where he opened Work again with one of the ship-owning families named Lopez as a Warden. They brought gunpowder from the Sephardim of Bordeaux who then made the best gunpowder under their own secret formula for the Secret Committee of Safety of which Ben Franklin was chairman. But many of the wealthy Jews of New York city also went to Philadelphia. Hays himself could look after New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the Eastern end of Connecticut, while Seixas could look after those Jews who still remained in New York. Randall in New Jersey; Bush, Pennsylvania, Delaware: Joseph M. Myers, Maryland; Furst. Virginia; Nathan, North Carolina; Da Costa, South Carolina; and Spitzer. Georgia. Samuel Myers, who afterwards became son-in-law of Hays, had as his jurisdiction the Leeward Islands, not a part of the Cnited States, but whose purpose may be seen later.
As has been said, the Jews invented bills of exchange, by which wealth could be transferred from place to place without anything tangible showing, except a piece of paper made in triplicate as a draft from one merchant on another in some far-distant place who owed him money.
At this time early in the year 1781 when Moses M. Hays recorded as having visited Philadelphia, a man named Haym Salomon began to loan Robert Morris. Treasurer of the United States, which Morris recorded in his diary, in some 75 entries, certain sums received from Haym Salomon, which aggregated when totaled the large sum of $165,000. One hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars would be at that time almost the equivalent of as many millions today, especially at a time when the paper monev the Continental Congress had been forced to issue had depreciated so much.
Now who was this Haym Salomon who loaned the Treasurer of the United States such a large sum of money? Where did he get it? Was he ever repaid? No: and that is why the facts about him are matters of history. It is known historically that only a few months before he began to lend this monev to the Treasurer of the United States he was a prisoner in a British military prison in New York City, having been arrested for advising desertion to Hessian soldiers in British pay who had been hired out bv the Gorman Prince of Hesse-Cassel. Salomon was a Polish Jew who spoke German who having been discovered advising these German troops to desert, was clapped into jail. He escaped death bv bribing- his iailer with all the money he had. and fled to Philadelphia, leaving his wife and infant son behind. When he landed in that citv he presented a memorial to Congress reciting his services to the cause and asked for employment, as he was without means. But no relief came from that source. Yet early in this year of 1781 about February, this poor refugee from a British prison inserted an advertisement in the Philadelphia newsnapers and opened an office where he offered to sell bills of exchange on St. Eustatius. one of the Dutch Leeward Islands, on Bordeaux and Holland asking the public to bring in their gold and silver to buy them. These rich shipowners and merchants like Hays, Lopez. Da Costa and the rest had money due them in these places but Salomon did not, and was so poor he had to ask Congress for employment. These historical facts are told by Opperman in his pamphlet The Jews in Masonry before 1810. Haym Solomon was never repaid for he died about two years later. His heirs never have been paid either. Several times bills have been presented in Congress to repay this money he advanced, but for some mysterious reason they were always dropped, loans he made were for these noble-minded and the Sephardim Jews like Moses M. Hays who had to use Haym Salomon as a blind to draw together their scattered resources into Philadelphia, by means of bills 4 exchange that Haym Solomon sold, the proceeds of which he loaned to the Treasurer of the United States.
The reason for their action is to be found in the first amendment to the Constitution of the United Stated "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". That is the reason why the heirs of Haym Salomon were never repaid. They had to do this through him. If the American Revolution was not successful, as it then looked that it might not had be and they had done it in their own names openly; not only would the British authorities take all their fortune, but they would also have been hanged as rebels. It was one of the Pinckneys from South Carolina, a townsman of Da Costa and Spitzer who introduced the resolution embodying the first amendment. After the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, it had to be submitted to the thirteen States for ratification. Several of the State conventions ratifying the Constitution presented long lists of amendments, and in critical States the Federalists promised to vote for some. Madison drew up a list of 20 and Congress adopted twelve, ten of which were promptly ratified by the States. The are known as the "Bill of Rights", among which was the first amendment giving the Jews religious liberty.
Hays, Da Costa and Spitzer were members of Sephardim congregations and took active part in their religious ceremonies. The different States had adopted liberal laws on naturalization and elections so that with the adoption of the first amendment, and the Conatitution as a whole, the United States government was the first to admit the Jew to full citizenship since Titus captured Jerusalem more than 1700 years before and dispersed the Jews over the earth. This was the price for which the Sephardim Jews met in secret at Philadelphia on June 25, 1781, six years before, when they made arrangements to gather together their resources by means of the Bills of Exchange of Haym Salomon and lend the money to the United States in a desperate plunge for that religious freedom they all so ardently desired. Haym Salomon was a Mason and a member of York Lodge No. 2 of Philadelphia, but he never was a member of the Lodge of Perfection to which all the Sephardim belonged, as he was a Polish Jew, one of the Ashkenazim. This is another evidence of the secrecy that the Sephardim threw around their plans of work. There is no direct evidence to show that there was any agreement or bargain in the matter; and naturally there would not be. for it would not have been safe for them until the war was successful, which their money made possible. There are many facts of a cumulative nature that go to prove that what I term "A Secret Page of History" occurred as it is here written. When Washington was President he visited Newport, R. I. in 1792 and the Seixas mentioned as being present at the secret meeting of June 25. 1781, presented him with an address of welcome from the Sephardim congregation of that city, and also from King David Lodge of which Seixas was an officer. Washington had then been a Mason for more than 40 years. At that time Hays had moved from Newport (in 1782) and was the Grand Master of Massachusetts with Paul Revere as his deputy. He engaged in business in Boston with his son and conducted an extensive trade with the West Indies and gulf ports. On the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Massachusetts Bank, now the First National Bank of Boston, it was stated that on its opening for business in 1784, the first name inscribed as a depositor was that of Moses Michael Hays, one of the group of prominent citizens who had proposed its formation. He and his associates among the Sephardim Jews who used their finances to help the United States when it needed financial help so badly, were the men mainly responsible for this first amendment which served two purposes. It prevented the establishment of State religion like the "established" Episcopal church in England, supported by taxes which all citizens had to pay whether Jew or Gentile. It thus prevented the union of Church and State, at the same time giving the Jews liberty to practice their religion. It also gave the same right to the Roman Catholics who had driven the Jews out of Spain and Portugal.
We do not realize today the strength of the religious prejudice existing in those times. Where is the proof that the Sephardim Jews brought about the adoption of the first amendment? The result is the proof. Experience tells us that such things do not come by accident but require an organized effort to secure it, which the organized Sephardim Jews secured as related. The money that helped the United States when it needed it, had to come from somewhere and it came from the people who had it. Those were the wealthy Jews who were all of the Sephardim at that time. Salomon didn't have it. The same proviso for religious liberty was incorporated in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 governing the territory from which Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, etc., were organized and thus religious liberty spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean, although about 1837 before gold was discovered, the Ayuntamiento of Los Angeles, (town council) adopted a resolution that the Roman Catholic religion was the religion professed in that town, and anyone desiring to remain in that town must profess that religion.
The experience of the 150 years has shown us that of all the provisions of our wonderful Constitution the first amendment is its brightest jewel.
NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, 1939-1940
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XXXV, No. 4, December 1939, Page 93: From New England Craftsman, Vol. XXXV, No. 5, January 1940, Page 93:
More Light on Moses Michael Hays
By S. Broches
This interesting material was prepared with the assistance of the late J. Hugo Tatsch, Director of Education and Librarian of the Grand Lodge, A. F. and A. M. of Massachusetts, who helped with much of the research.
Among the Jews who played an important part not only in Jewish life, but also in general American life, Moses Michael Hays occupied a most distinctive place.
When Jacob Rodriquez Rivera was the moving spirit of the first oil trust in America, when Aaron Lopez, besides his great business interests in every part of the world (he was considered the second greatest merchant in America), was the man who bound together the Jewish communities of the West Indies with the Jews of America, and especially with the Jews of New York and New England, it was Moses Michael Hays who acted as the Jewish statesman and diplomat, owing to the fact that he was the first Jewish Grand Master of the Masons.
Moses Michael Hays was born in New York in 1739. (1) His father, Judah Hays, was a prominent merchant. He owned one quarter of the stock of a great ship, a "privateer", called the Duke of Cumberland. He was very wealthy, and it may be that this was the cause of his unbridled arrogance and his readiness always to fight for his position in the Jewish community. On one particular occasion he quarreled for an entire year with the Elders of the Sh'erith Israel Synagogue because he considered the pew allotted by them to his daughter inferior to her station in life. He submitted to their authority only after the Directors (Parnasim) of the congregation had fined him 20 shillings for his insubordination and threatened to suspend him from membership in the community if he persisted in his pugnacity (2). As the head of his family, Judah Hays was stern and despotic. He never pardoned one of his daughters, who had married against his will. One year before his death, making his will, he left her only five shillings. (3)
The Hays family, consisting of six brothers, came to New Amsterdam about 1720, and were continually at odds with the Jewish community of New York, and with the leaders of Congregation Sh'erith Israel. The dispute took on such proportions that one of the Hays family, Solomon, actually sued the Elders of Sh'erith Israel through the King's Attorney of the Colony of New York. The complaint was that the worthy members of the Congregation: Moses Gomez, Hayman Levi, Daniel Gomez, Isaac Gomez, Naphtali Hart, Hayman Myers, and Asher Myers, had assaulted and beaten up Solomon Hays in the public street. (4) The Elders of the Congregation were freed of all charges, and Solomon was fined 20 pounds by the community and warned that unless he brought forward the diatribe which he had written against the Elders he would be excommunicated (5). From this controversy it may be stated that the Elders of the Jewish community in New Amsterdam ruled its members with an iron hand. Moreover, thev were not always very charitable. In spite of the fad that Congregation Sh'erith Israel, according to the standards of that time, was the richest community and it consisted of the wealthiest merchants, the Jewish aged people, depended upon relief from the State. Thus we find the following petition, written by one Jacob Abrahams, which says:
To the worshipful the Mayor and corporation of the city of New York.
Petition of Jacob Abrahams. Humbly Sheweth.
That your petitioner being an old inhabitant of this city and now thro age, disease and other casualties rendered incapable of getting a livelihood begs relief from the corporation.
That your petitioner being a Jew cannot on account of his religious principles eat the victuals served out in the Poor house and humbly begs that some other provision may be made for him. And your petitioner will in duty ever pray.
Jacob Abrahams (6).
17th January 1786
Made Friends With Non-Jews
Young Moses was well aware of these conditions. He observed them carefully and they doubtless had an influence upon his character. It is very likely thai therein may be found the reason why he developed close friendships with non-Jews and his efforts to do business mostly with non-Jews. In those days Jewish merchants sought for Jewish clerks and representatives, both at home and in outside cities and even in the West Indies with which they conducted a large trade. But Moses Hays had most of his business dealings with non-Jews. Once he entered into partnership with a Jew, Meyer Pollock, and soon was forced to go into bankruptcy. (7)
In New York, while still young, he was his father's right hand. At the age of 21 he was in England (8). How much time did he spend there? What was his mission in England? What did he accomplish there? It is difficult to answer these questions. But it may be surmised that as a son of a rich American merchant he must have come in contact with the outstanding Jewish merchants in England, and through them also with the Masons, because many of the prominent Jewish merchants were in those days members of various Masonic Lodges.
At the time of Hays' visit in England the English Masons had already established their Grand Lodge and adopted their main principles, had created an historical basis for religious liberty and equality and arranged Masonry into a complete system. The Masonic Lodges ceased to be an organization of some individual groups that acted and conducted themselves as they pleased.
The Jews in England were acquainted with their teachings. They know about the "Noahites" and the Seven Commandments, which every Mason was duty bound to fulfill. Here are the Seven Commandments, which were properlv speaking, borrowed from the "Sanhedrin":
- Renounce all idols.
- Worship the only true God.
- Commit no murder.
- Be not defiled by incest.
- Do not steal.
- Be just.
- Eat no flesh with blood in it. (9)
The Jews also knew that the Masons believed that iheir history originated with Lemech, the descendant of Noah. It mav be remarked here that the Grand Lodge of New York introduced the above principles into their Constitution as late as 1800.
It may be easily understood that the Jews were strongly attracted by the ideology of the Masons, even if we should omit the various social and economic advantages that the Jewish merchants could derive from connections with them, since the Jews were involved in numerous ramified enterprises with foreign countries, and the Masons had expanded in France, Germany and Holland. A large number of London Jewish merchants belonged lo the Order at that time. Such names as: Abraham Shimenetz, Jacob Alvares, Isaac Baruch, Abraham De Medina, Solomon Mendes, Israel Segalas and Nicolas Abraham, registered as members of that Order, are to he met with as early as 1730 (10).
Contact With Masons
It stands to reason, therefore, that when Hays was in England he made acquaintance, through the Jewish merchants, with Freemasons and came in touch with them in one or another form, and we see indeed, that a few years after his stay in England he received the patent of Deputy Inspector General for America, i. e. of head leader, who had the right to disseminate Masonry in the Rite of Perfection and also appoint other deputies. In 1769 he founded the King David Lodge in New York (11), but he was connected with the Lodge only a short while because he left New York soon after his father died and his business took a bad turn. There may have been some other circumstances with which we are not acquainted. What we do know is that in the same year that he founded the King David Lodge he conducted business in Newport in partnership with Meyer Pollock and in September of the same year Hays was personally in Newport (12). There again his affairs did not progress too well. Whatever he undertook went very poorly. He and Pollock undertook to deliver a ship with merchandise to his "friends" in the West Indies, for a certain Elizer, and were compelled to appear in court, because they could not comply with the requirements of the contract. They had the same experience in their dealings with the brothers Naphtali and Isaac Hart. Moses Havs and Pollock ventured into shipbuilding enterprises, and the only ship they succeeded in putting forth was taken away by their creditors. The same thing happened to their shares in a vinegar factory which they owned in partnership with other merchants. They became interested in the oil business. Not being members of the Oil Trust they expected to get oil through Jacob Pollock, who was a member of the Trust, but the Trust refused to permit Jacob Pollock to supply the oil. Moses Hays and Meyer Pollock owed money to one of the members of the Trust. Moreover Hays and Pollock were accused of having sold everything to that Jacob Pollock and then leaving the city in order to avoid paying their debts (13). The truth of the matter was that they made a settlement with their creditors, whose list was very considerable. Sixty-six creditors appeared in court and petitioned to free the two partners from imprisonment. The court appointed a committee which took over everything they owned and compromised with their creditors (14).
Moses Hays remained in Newport and opened a business "at the Point, near Holmes Wharf, sells raisins, by the cask, geneva and brandy in 12 bottle cases: Jamaica Rum, Salad Oil, Bar-Iron, Ships-Bread, Hysan Tea, cinnamon, cloves, nutmegs and mace, white-bread and small kegs Irish beef and Burlington pork" (15).
The year 1770 marked the beginning of the struggle for emancipation from the English yoke. That was the worst time for the large merchants of the Colonies. Business was almost completely at a standstill due to the fact that the English shipping interests closed up many ports, especially in New England. It is easy to imagine why the greatest suspicions were thrown by the patriots upon the more important merchants, many of whom were summoned to take an oath of loyalty or the "test."
Newport had then a good-sized Jewish community and some of the very largest Jewish merchants. Still only a few of those merchants were called to take the "test."
When in July, 1776, the Rhode Island Assembly received charges against one hundred merchants, there were among them only four Jews, as follows: "Parson Touro, the Jew Priest," Isaac Hart, Myer Pollock and Moses Michael Hays.
Asserted His Patriotism
Rev. M. Touro refused to sign the Test of patriotic loyalty as he had not been naturalized, it was against his Religious Principles and he was a subject of the States of Holland.
Isaac Hart refused to take the Test because he was not in agreement with all the principles. Meyer Pollock motivated his refusal to sign the test, because such an act would be against the Jewish laws, against the Jewish religion. Moses Hays not only refused to take the oath, but he protested in very strong terms against it. He demanded that his accusers should be brought to court to prove their charges and he declared: "I decline subscribing to the test at present from these principles first that I deny ever being inimical to my country and call for my accusers and proof of conviction; second that I am an Israelite and am not allowed the liberty of a vote, or voice in common with the rest of the voters though consistent with the constitution, and the other colonies. Thirdly because the test is not general and consequently subject to many glaring inconveniences. Fourthly, continental Congress nor the General Assembly of this nor the Legislature of the other colonies have never in this contest taken any notice or countenance respecting the society of Israelites to which I belong. When any rule order or direction is made by the Congress or General Assembly I shall to the utmost of my power adhere to the same" (16).
Moses Michael Hays as a native American of the Jewish faith claimed his rights proudly. He demanded that he and all the other Jewish inhabitants should be granted the right to vote and to be elected to office. As Jew and as American he demanded the right to take part both in local and in national legislation. As we shall see later, Hays showed himself to be a far-seeing political figure who could visualize the future developments in the political life of the American Colonies. This becomes clear when we consider that Hays had no real ground to protest so strongly, basing his grievances solely upon his Jewishness.
Regardless of the fact that in Newport lived some of the richest and most influential Jewish merchants, only a few of them were summoned to take the oath, and those were the poorest ones among them.
Hays also had in 1776 a small retail business "at the house lately occupied by James Roberson, and opposite where the late Martin Howard, Esq. lived" (17).
It is worth while to notice that Hays, Pollock and Hart were Freemasons and, likewise, the Jewish merchants who were summoned later, in 1779, after the English left Newport, were also Freemasons (18) Shall we say, therefore, that the Jewish merchants were called to take the "test" because they belonged to the Freemasons?
The English Masons already at that time had very close relations with the Freemasons in America. Their influence was strongly felt. It is possible that Hays bad suspicions of that nature and since in his mind Masonrv was bound up with freedom and social equality for all. including the Jews, he protested vigorously against the suspicions which the taking of the oath might evoke against him. In order to make his protest all the more vigorous and leave a record of it he sent to the General Assembly a second written declaration in which he explained the reasons of his refusal to sign the "test."
Hays took a very small part in the life of the Colony when lie was in Newport. We do not find his name, as we do those of other Jewish merchants, signed to various petitions together with the other inhabitants of Newport when such issues arose as the retaining of the charter, enlarging a street, erection of public buildings and other similar questions, dealing with the life of the city.
When the British occupied Newport, Hays also, like so many other Jewish merchants left Newport, but he didn't stay in America. He went to his friends in Jamaica, whence he had asked Aaron Lopez, in 1779. to send him various articles informing him that his wife was feeling better and hoping to see Lopez in the spring (19). Hays figured that he would return to America. At that time he already had four children.
It is hard to conjecture what he did in Jamaica. In September, 1779, he was in Philadelphia and wanted to remain there, but economic conditions were extremely bad there so that he could do nothing, as we can see fron the following letter written by him to Aaron Lopez.
Just in Season to Celebrate the fast I got to this Place, so that I am not vet able to say, what measure; I shall Pursue respecting my designs.
From the Real Friendship I Bear you. & Apprehending Service may Assure to you, I take this Occasion to inform you of the State of Busines- ere, As farr as is yet Come to my Knowledge: — a General Disaprobation appears among the Trading People — it is no secret to say. That fixed Prices are at an end. And what goods that are now selling are at the most enormous Prices that have ever yet Transpired in Course of the Warr — to quote any Particular Article sold, is now Beyond all Conception, that is were any are to be had, their appears a scarsity.
I did propose Some Woollen goods here, these I find so rare & so high that I decline buying any, and If you will do me the favor of forwarding about 11 yds of flannel & as many of lowest Priced Linen 1o my Family at Town. I shall place its and, either in your hands, or here as Shall be most agreeable to you, I Hope the little Boy is long ere this Perfectly recovered of his wound.
— Assure your Lady & Family of Utmost Respect & am Very Truly
Yr. Mo. Obd. Sevt.
Mos. M. Hays
I am almost ashamed of this scrawl, but time will not Permit me to Copy it —I expect to be here some time. I Tender vou my Services & shall be happy to be favored with a line from you per Return of the Post. Let Mr. Jacobs know his son is well & Tender: his love & duty-" (20).
In 1780 we find Hays had returned to Newport, whet he had founded a second King David Lodge and become very active. He was endeavoring to transform this Lodge into an international body which members of any nationality could join. In 1780 he called a meeting of the Lodge announcing the call in the papers in French and in English. At that time three French ships were anchored in Newport, and at the meeting three Frenchmen were admitted as new members. One of them was the secretary of Count Rochambeau and the other two were designated only as "gentlemen."
He Goes to Boston
Hays did not remain very long in Newport. Business was poor. In May and in July, 1781, Hays made trips to Boston in order to find out what he could undertake there. He found Boston more suitable for his purposes, for in January, 1782, we find that he had established an office in the American Cafe, State Street, from when he offered for sale:
"30 barrels Beef, 3 Hogsheads French Brandy, 12 hogsheads West-Indies Rum, 12 Hogsheads New England Rum, a quantity of goods, Indigo and about 15000 weight of Ship-Bread, a small dwelling house, a Town-house, a number of Town-Pitts with about one acre of land adjoining, being in the town of Briffield, South Parish, in the tenure of Mr. Robert Durkey commodiously situated in the centre of all Public Roads. Also 4 acres of land of Jamaica Plains and about a half acre of valuable land in West Boston, near Mr. Daniels Rope Walk; the whole will be sold reasonable, and good titles given. Also Turks-Island and Sales-Salt. Said Hays buys and sells Bills of Exchange and every kind of merchandize Bills of exchange on Europe now wanted to considerable amount' (21).
The Hays family were no strangers in Boston. As far back as 1728 Jacob Hays transacted business with Boston (22), and David Hays visited Boston in person in 1733 (23). Moses Hays inserted an advertisement in the Boston papers, in 1767, in which he offered ten Lbs. to anyone who would return goods stolen from the house of Rebecca Hays (24), and in the following years, as we have seen, Hays visited Boston more than once.
Moses Michael Hays, knowing Boston, chose in the year 1782, to open a store and settle there. Business started off well there from the very first. Just as Newport was discouraging, so was Boston a place of rapid success. Quickly Moses Michael Hays won a position as one of the foremost and most influential merchants of that time. The year 1782 was the last year before the conclusion of peace with England, which occurred in September, 1783. The American Colonies became free and independent. But they were, one the other hand, overwhelmed by debts. Massachusetts alone, exclusive of the National debt, owed over five million dollars. During the seven years of war commerce had been almost destroyed. Only the "Privateer" ships performed the functions of foreign traders, and brought some of the necessities. The population of twenty thousand before the war had dwindled to twelve thousand after the war (26). The industries, that were in their infancy could not satisfy even the least of the demands. Economic conditions were exceedingly bad. Paper money had no value, and even after the war and the conclusion of peace, the English government would not change its injurious policy in her former American Colonies and tried by all means not to allow them to stand on their own feet. It struck Massachusetts more than all the other colonies, and Boston suffered more than all the rest of Massachusetts, because it was a purely commercial city.
Reconstruction of the Colonies
Immediately after the conclusion of peace, the English government made a law which forbade American ships to export from and import to England goods manufactured in the West Indies. "Only vessels that belong to Englishmen and are managed and conducted by Englishmen may export and import the goods. American vessels can carry only American made products" (27). This compelled the American Colonies to seek other markets and other places with which they could unmolested do their imports, exports, buying and selling. It must be taken into consideration that a large number of the old, rich and experienced merchants had left Boston, and many of them even the country. Those were the great merchants whose sympathies were on the side of the English, the Tories. The end of the war required a new generation of merchants, who could restore American commerce and, with it, the entire economic structure of the country. One of these new merchants was Moses Michael Hays.
He was a man of a wide outlook upon things, of considerable knowledge and connections, which be had acquired both during the time of his associations with his father in New York and later when he became a Mason. His friendship with the prominent personalities of that time, Tories as well as Whigs, as well as his connections abroad, offered him all the opportunities to become one of the foremost merchants of that time (28).
In his business ventures Moses Hays had in mind, perhaps not realizing it himself, the political conditions of the time in general and of the Jews in particular. Knowing the difficult financial condition in which the National government, the Republic, found itself, he wrote a letter in 1782, just a few months after he had opened his store in Boston, to Robert Morris, the Secretary of the Treasury, in which be offered his assistance (29). With the same purpose in mind he helped to furnish "privateer vessels, gave bonds and became a partner of the Iris, which had a crew of twenty-six men and carried eight guns (30).
Moses Michael Havs prospered and bad a good name as a business-man. This appears from a letter, in which one of the largest merchants in Newport who needed to borrow money, wrote to his agents in Boston, the Lopez-Hastings Company, to obtain the money only through Hays (31).
In 1782 Hays opened a small office for real estate, insurance and loan agency. In 1783 he was already one of the ten foremost merchants who siijned the announcement of the founding of a bank in Boston and was one of those who took subscriptions for the bank. In 1784 he already sold and auctioned ships and in 1790 his business began to expand in Rhode Island in the State of New York, New Hampshire, in Georgia, La Plata and in other places (32).
It is worth while to notice, however, that in spite of being one of the founders of the bank, its first depositor, with 14,000 dollars on the first day, and doing most of his business through that bank, he was never appointed on the Board of Directors nor filled any office in the hank.
Moses Michael Hays transacted important business abroad (33). He was well acquainted witli the conditions of foreign markets. Many merchants who intended to open trade relations abroad and even send their representatives there to learn both the foreign languages and market conditions, applied to Havs for information. The following letter, written by Havs in 1789 to one of his clients, is very characteristic and interesting:
Boston Jan'y. 10, 1789
Mr. Chris Champlin
Your second favor of the 5th current by Mr. Ellery came to my hands. Our friend and his good lady have had a most pleasing Gale of the Coast and shall place them safely landed at Bourdeaux in about 25 days. I have not bad time to gain any information on the subject vou wrote. Shall therefore at Present only give you my Ideas & If on inquiry I find thev require Illucidation, or that thev are erroneous I will inform you further.—
Rice, Tobacco Pipe & Barrell Stabes have generally paid afreight but never much gain. Pot & Pear Ashes some time do very well but not in large quantity's, dry Cod fish answers in the month of February about the time of lent. It must be good Merchant-ible Fish and a small quantity only to be aport a Cargo.— Will yield a pretty good profit. Bayonne is the best market for Fish and here a cargo with some other articles will do very well. Say Fish North whale oyl, Tallow, Hogs lard &c.
Brandy can be had in all the Trading Ports in France & I don't know that the price differs very much. It is generally from 2# 10 sh to 3# 10 sh per vilt, which is 2 gallons.
The great markets for dry Cod Fish is Bilbon and other Ports in Spain and Portugal from whence the vessels proceed to France and to load salt and Brandy.
Marseilles is the best place in France for Frontenac wines Cordials, sweet oyle, raisins currents, prunes, Cheapest claret called Provincial wine. Claret in casks & in Bottles can be had in all the Ports in France. But the best is to be had at Bourdeaux where the best wine is put up for Ireland.
Our vessels from hence to France generally go to Lorient, Haver de Grace and some other Ports which are free Ports. The other Ports are places of deposit and your business can be done there and in other countries where you enter your goods for exportation.
The Houses Mr. Jones is connected with are Jno. B. Acher Bayonne & Dallet & Larraguy Marseilles.
At any moment you wish I can procure your Introduction to some Houses at Lorient, Nants Havre de Grace or elsewhere. The young Gentlemen that have gone from hence to obtain the French Language have gone to an academy at about 20 leagues from Bourdeaux but I presume any city in France would answer Mr. Christ's purpose of obtaining practical conversation of the language. But the idiom or principle must be procured by Instruction & close application.
It is impossible to say which is the Best Port for a small vessel as much depends on the Season of the year, in which case it is necessary to be regulated bv the Quality of the Fish at market at such season. If I have not given you satisfaction in your inquiry please to make further observations & I will endeavor to answer them.
English goods are so much preferred here that very few French goods are imported.- But I do presume that Cambricks, Fanns, Chints & Low Priced Silks can best be imported from France & Lyons is the largest manufacturing Town for these articles.
I am with respect, dear Sir
Yo. Mo. ob. & H. Servant
M. M. Hays (34)
Pioneer In Fire Insurance
But more than anything else Hays was interested in insurance. It may be said that he was the first man in Massachusetts who turned to fire insurance. He understood the importance of fire insurance. He understood that all these little wooden houses and stores that were built without any plan and so thicklv. can go awav in smoke in one day, and the losses would be indescribable.
There was no sign of fire insurance in the Boston of that day. Only ships were insured. So Moses Michael I Hays began to do insurance business through "underwriters." He even tried to organize them into a company. In November, 1784, he tried to call a meeting of the fire insurance underwriters in the "Bunch of Grapes" tavern. I But nothing came of that. In the group that tried one year later, in 1785, to obtain a permit from the city to organize such a company we fail to find his name. The city did not grant such a permit in that year. But ten I years later marks the foundation of the Massachusetts Fire Insurance Company. Hays' name is not mentioned even there, but he took out fire insurance on his house. The number of his policy was 1069 (35).
Moses Hays knew that the field was large enough for more than one company. It is possible that the methods I used in the creation and management of this insurance I company were not to his liking, and that the premiums were too high. Anyhow in 1797 he organized a second] company, called the Mutual Fire Insurance Company with a charter, the first clauses of which read as follows: "That Moses Michael Hays, Paul Revere, David Townsend, Henry Jackson, James White, William Eustis, Nathan Bond. James Sullivan, Samuel Salisbury, John Sweester, Edward Tuckerman, George R. Minot, William Parson, Charles Miller, Joseph Pope, Elisha Ticknor and their associates, being owners of buildings within the commonwealth shall be a corporation, together with all those who may become members thereof, under the name of "The Massachusetts Mutual Fire Insurance Company" and enjoy all privileges and power incident to incorporation (36).
The company set as its goal the creation of a stock of 2,000,000 dollars. In their by-laws there was a clause that one-fifth of the entire capital must remain intact. In those davs, when the idea of a mutual company was a novelty an enormous amount of energy, enterprise and! persistence was required in order to carry out such an idea, and finally the mutual company was opened in December, 1798 (37).
It is interesting to note that the company was the first one that had in its by-laws a clause about the compensation of firemen who distinguished themselves in the extinguishing of fires. That company was also the first one to employ agents for selling and canvassing fire insurance (38). In 1872, after the great fire in Boston, the company was forced to reorganize on account of too heavy losses, and in 1894 it entirely ceased to exist (39).
Moses Michael Hays took an important part not only in the company founded by him, but when in 1799 the Massachusetts Marine Insurance Company was reorganized as a Marine and Fire Insurance Company and was necessary to raise for that purpose the capital stock of 300,000 dollars, Moses Hays was one of the first subscribers. He purchased nine shares at 100 dollars each (40).
Hays took a great interest in everything that had to do with the upbuilding and the improvement of the city and the state. He and Moses Wallach donated twenty-two shillings, Hays twelve and Moses Wallace ten shillings, towards the collection made bv Jean Lucas for the beautification of the Common, in Boston. (41) Moses Hays never refused to buy shares, lottery tickets or what not, if these things had anything to do with the development of the resources of the country, viz. canals, bridges, woods, etc. In the posthumous inventory left by him we find the following various stocks and shares: United States 8 per cent Bonds, Navy 6 per cent Bonds, Boston Bank Stock, Boston Marine Insurance Stock, Fire and Marine Insurance Stock, Worcester Bank Stock. Third Mass. Turnpike, Kennebec Bridge, Boston Theatre, Mutual Fire Insurance Co., Mass. State Notes (42).
Prosperity in Boston
In the nineties of the 18th century Boston reached the level of the pre-war period. The general economic condition was good. Hundreds of ships entered and left Boston Harhor (341. "The Massachusetts Sentinel of August 2, 1782, quotes an extract from the New Hampshire Gazette," which reports that for the past year merchandise was exported from Boston in the amount of 145,156 lbs. 5 shills. & 4 pennies and in December of 1789 a certain writer waxes so enthusiastic over the great progress made by the commerce and shipping of Boston — 182 ships within the last two months — that he coricludes his eulogy with the following verses:
"Fearless now of hostil Fleets
Commerce Spreads her Native Sail
Peace the Honest Merchant Greets
While Plenty flows ev'ry gail." (44)
The enterprising spirit of the young merchants who filled the places of the Tories sought for expansion new places and more localities and countries where to go. Their energy pushed towards an outlet and one of its channels the trade with the West Indies and China. Moses Michael Hays was one of the very first to realize the importance and the future of this trade and the newspapers of that time recorded the following event: When the vessel Massachusetts, 830 tons, was constructed in Braintree exclusively for trading with China and was ready to be launched a great celebration was made. Six thousand people witnessed the ceremony. The newspapers emphasized that event and reported that it took place in the presence of Moses Michael Hays, of State Street. Samuel Parkman a merchant, and William Shaw a relative of Samuel Shaw, who was to go in the vessel to China. The newspapers would not have recorded these names if they had not heen the sponsors of the undertaking. Even in the advertisements about that vessel and the trip only those three names are cited and given as the only ones from whom all necessary information mav be obtained and through whom goods may be sent by that vessel to China.
Moses Michael Hays was also active in the social and political life of the colony. His social work consisted mainly of his great interest in the Masonic Lodges of Boston. He had visited them more than once while he was in Boston in 1781. He also attended the meeting of the Mass. Lodge at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, together with another Jewish Mason. Barron Judah, one month after he had opened his place of business (46). During the first few months Hays was not active in the Lodge. He didn't even become a member. He was very much absorbed with taking care of his family which already consisted of seven members. But the Freemasons of Boston knew quite a good deal about him, and they invited him in a special letter to attend the meeting of the Lodge. This letter was signed by the Master of the Lodge and two Wardens (47). That took place in June, 1782. It may be said that day marked the beginning of his great activity as leader of the Masons in Massachusetts. At one meeting in November he was accepted as a member, and in December he was elected Master of the Massachusetts Lodge (48).
The Masonic Lodges were some kind of a loose organization in those years with hardly any discipline and even without any serious attitude on the part of their members. It was more than anything a charitable organization, which met when the Master called the members together; whoever wished came, and whoever wished staved away. There existed in Boston alreadv two Provincial Grand Lodges, one called the St. John's Grand Lodge, that had obtained its patent from the Grand Lodge of England and another one called the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, which had obtained its patent from the Grand Lodge in Scotland (49). The first one was known as the Moderns and the second as the Ancients. ("The various systems of Freemasonry do not necessarily rest upon the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry as we know them now. In the eighteenth century, as well as today, there were several Masonic systems each of them working a set of degrees known as Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. There was the system as practiced in England, Ireland and Scotland; there were also the "Kit Ancien" the French Rite of Perfection—to mention only the better known systems.")
Assumes Leadership in the Masons
It is easy to understand that each one of the Grand Lodges wanted to have the jurisdiction over the local Lodges. During the war period Masonic activities were entirely discontinued. As to the St. John's Grand Lodge, During the war period Masonic activities were entirely discontinued. As to the St. John's Grand Lodge, it may be said that it was a Tory organization and consisted of many of the wealthiest merchants, a great number of whom were compelled to leave the Colonies.
It goes without saying that when Hays became the Master of the Massachusetts Lodge, he also became a leader in the Grand Lodge, and soon he was appointed on many committees. He served especially on one committee whose business it was to send out letters to all the Lodges to the effect that the Massachusetts Grand Lodge should become the only independent Provincial Grand Lodge. When the Lodges failed to answer promptly, Moses Hays signed a letter, very strict in tone, which demanded of the Lodges to reply immediatelv. He was also the member of a committee to notify the Grand Lodge of Scotland that the Masons of America declare themselves independent. Moses Hays was also one of those who drew up and signed the circular sent to all the other Lodges informing them about their letter to the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
Hays became so important that he was appointed at once on all their committees. He was also first the Junior Warden and a little after the Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge. In 1788 Moses Michael Hays was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts (50). Here the organizing talent, complete understanding of Masonry and unconditional devotion of Hays appeared in their full force. It may be said without exaggeration that he put Masonry in Massachusetts "on the map" and made of this organization the body we know nowadays.
Today it is very hard to understand how the meetings and the business were conducted in those days. Very few records of that time have been left. One thing is certain: that the organization was very loosely constituted. The responsibilities of the members to their organization were very few. It is easy to understand that similar relations prevailed between the local lodges and Grand Lodge. But as soon as Hays was elected Grand Master he began to introduce and establish discipline and order not only in the Grand Lodge, but also in all the Lodges, to coordinate, discipline and regulate the relation between the Grand Lodge and the local lodges. Hays knew that without such discipline the organizations would not be able to grow and that no new lodges would be started. He also understood the importance of the financial side of the organization, that dues must be paid and that without money no organization could live.
As soon as Hays assumed office he began to collect the charters of the suspended Masonic Lodges. Lodges not prompt in the delivery of charters were warned that their names would be published in all the Grand Lodges of America so that they would not be able to use their charters. Next, Hays introduced order in the financial chaos. The lodges owed great sums to the Grand Lodge and Hays thought that the best arrangement would be to make a settlement with the lodges and not claim all the money they owed. He settled the best way he could and thus he saved them from dissolution and fixed their accounts and payments to the Grand Lodge. In order to bind the lodges more closely to the Grand Lodge Hays began, during the first year of his office as Grand Master, to visit the individual lodges and make personal contact with them. He tried to induce them to keep and preserve their records and their books. Copies of their records and lists of their members were to be sent to the Grand Lodge. All this proved to be a great success. The lodges began to watch over their records and became more closelv bound to the Grand Lodge. To further strengthen the organization. Hays strove to formulate by-laws for the Grand Lodge and to get rid, once for all, of the two Provincial Grand Lodges, and unite them. That plan Havs carried through during the time of his Grandmastership.
The Grand Lodge appointed a committee to work out by-laws and methods of management for the Grand Lodge. The work of that committee was completed and adopted on March 5, 1792. In the same year a joint meeting of both Grand Lodges took place under the chairmanship of Paul Revere, and the fusion was realized. A new Grand Master was elected. In April a committee was appointed, with Havs as a member, to draw up and prepare the laws and regulations of the united Grand Lodge, and thus the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts came into being (51).
It is an interesting fact in that from that time on Hays' name has not been mentioned by the Masons. He took no part in their work. He was not present even at the installation of the Grand Master. This may be explained by the fact that the former Tories, the aristocracy of the former St. John Lodge could not forgive the devoted patriot and Jew, Moses Michael Hays, and did their best to get rid of him.
To go hack to earlier years, Hays carried great weight among the Masons even before he came to Boston. This appears from a letter written to him by one Davan, a respectable Mason and large merchant of New York, and later of Elizabeth, N. J. That letter was written to Hays in 1774, when he went from Newport to the West I Imlies. Here is the letter:
To the Most Illustrious Prince, Moses M. Hays of the Ineffable Lodge of Perfection. at Newport, Rhode Island.
Most Illustrious Prince of Princes, Sovereign Knight of the Sun &c &c &c.
I return my most sincere thanks for your agreeable favour rec'd fr the hands of Bror. Myer. I congratulate you on your happy return from the West Indies & herein join with me Bror. Hildredth & Bror. Marshall, added to our most sincere & ardent wishes for your prosperity & Happiness, we have had the pleasure of one meeting already & shall repeat that happyness this night.
The first opportunity hereafter (having none at present suitable by me I shall as a small token of my friendship send you a dozen of the best Aprons calculated for the Knights of the Sun which I shall crave your acceptance off, it will give me pleasure to hear often from you.
I greet you Most Illustrious Prince
& the rest of the Princes
& with wishing you health & Happiness.
Your faithful Brother, (Signed) John Davan.
P. S. Bror. Tongue requests me to present you with his most sincere affection & esteem.
New York 27 Aug't 1774 (52)
Hays was appointed Deputy Inspector General, as far lack as 1768, by Franken. He took his office verv seriously. It is possible that even at that early period Havs understood the importance of that office both from a local as well as from a political point of view. For according to the principles and customs of the Masons, mey were in duty bound to help each other. The history of the Masons is full of such instances. Members that body called upon their brothers in the lodges for assistance, and not only in an economic sense. In records of the New York Grand Lodge can be found a number of such instances. Here is one such case. A Mason who was jailed was very angry with the Masons of his lodge because he had not come to free him inmcdiatclv upon the receipt of a letter informing him about his plight and had suffered him to be imprisoned for three weeks (53).
Hays, apparently, foresaw the future of Masonry in America, its expansion and influence and he used all his efforts to spread the ideals of Masonry. In 1781, while in Philadelphia, he appointed eight Deputy Inspector Generals for the various provinces of America and for the West Indies. They were all merchants of note and prominent social workers in their diverse cities. Seven of them were Jews. At the time of their appointment they were all in Philadelphia, having escaped from the English. But Hays knew that as soon as the war would be over, each one of them would return to his city and exercise there a great influence, not only as Masons. It actually turned out this way.
Following are the names of the appointed inspectors: Isaac Da Costa, for South Carolina, Solomon Bush, for Pennsylvania, Barend M. Spitzer, for Georgia, Abraham Frost, for Virginia, Joseph M. Myers, for North Carolina, Thomas Randal, for New Jersey, and Samuel Myers, for Leeward Islands (54).
The Mysterious Meeting in Philadelphia
In 1781 the war was actually ended, but officially peace was concluded in September, 1783. The Continental Congress held its session in Philadelphia and made laws for the republic. The Constitution of the American States had to be drawn up. In the beginning of that year Hays was in Philadelphia. In the middle of that year a "Master" Lodge meeting of the General Inspectors appointed by Hays was called. The only purpose of that meeting was the admission of a new member; a new Deputy Inspector, one Nathan Frost (55). In the minutes of that meeting even the name of Hays was not mentioned, but the patent of Frost was signed by Hays.
What was transacted at that meeting, it is hard to say. Their would not have called a "master" meeting of all the General Inspectors merely for the admission of a new member. But what did Havs have to do in Philadelphia? These questions call for an answer.
At the same time that Hays stayrcd in Philadelphia Havm Salomon operated there with foreign draft notes and contributed money for the government. Where did he get the money? Whence and how did he get so suddenly all these connections with foreign countries himself, not being a merchant of importance, and without possessing any money upon his arrival in Philadelphia?
When we take into consideration the fact that Moses Hays had known Haym Salomon since he (Hays) lived with his father in New York, and the letter that Havs sent to Robert Morris, in 1782. in which he offered his help to the government, and when we recall the above-mentioned meeting of the high Masonic officials,— we shall find a connection between the merchants, Moses Michael Hays and Haym Salomon and the funds for the government. Therein we may also find the social and other connections and reactions.
It is understood that the larger Jewish merchants and their communities were vitally interested in the laws that were to he created in the New World. They certainly did not want— they abhorred the thought that the old story may be repeated in the New World, the story in which the Jews always remained strangers and their religion a target for all sorts of malicious persecutions. The gentlemen referred to above could not depend solely upon the effects of the spirit of Liberalism spread by the French Encyclopedists. Moses Hays, who took an active part in the political life of his city was, most assuredly, best acquainted with the issues involved in that party struggle.
In the light of all the above circumstances we mav understand the significance of that special meeting in 1781, of the high Jewish Masonic officials, who formally assembled merely for the purpose of admitting a new member.
Besides his activities as Grand Master of the Masonry, Moses Michael Havs also became an honorary member of the Boston Marine Society, which consisted only of the captains and the owners of ships. Moses Michael Hayes did not own any ships, but his influence and the place held by him among the Boston merchants, helped him to be accepted as an honorary member of the Boston Marine Society. As a coincidence, on the same day Harrison Gray Otis was accepted as an honorary member (56).
His One Political Venture
Moses Michael Hays tried also to participate in the political life of Boston. In 1798 he was at the height of his business career. He had a great many friends. He bad founded the Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He was the one who ventured into trade with China. He shipped vessels to the Mediterranean harbors. He had very close connections with every part of the world. His name was famous everywhere, and it is understood that he wished to utilize his popularity and participate in political life. He ran for the Senatorship of Suffolk County.
The elections took place in Fanueil Hall. It was a town meeting of all the men, twenty-one years and up, and Hays received one vote. It must be said here that all the other candidates who failed also received one or two votes, even such men as Harrison Gray Otis, Captain Nickerson and others. Those elected for the Senate were Oliver Wendell by 1674 votes and Thomas Davis by 1780 votes (57).
Considering his close friendship with Harrison Gray Otis and Thomas Perkins, Hays must have been a devoted Federalist in his political views. When he ran for Senator he already occupied two large houses, "N. W. on Middle street, S. W. on Thomas Walley and N. E. on Mrs. Stater," one was a three-story brick house and the other was a wooden one. The houses had thirty-one windows (58).
His family consisted of his wife, four daughters, one son, his sister, Rev. Touro's widow and her two sons, Judah and Abraham Touro. Hays' son and nephews worked with him in his business and were a great help to him. Judah Touro was even sent, in 1798, with verl valuable merchandise to the harbors of the Mediterranean (59). Hays' son, Judah, was sent to France to lean the language and the business methods of that counti and to get a general acquaintance with the affairs of the world. In this connection it is noteworthy to read th letter written by Hays to his son in Europe. The letter is full of fatherly care and advice about the conduct anl well-being of his son. Hays certainly was a true fa then and one cannot help but admire his experience and warmth of heart (60).
Moses Michael Hays had a large open house, doors were always open to strangers. The reports of his charitableness went far and wide. On Friday nights and on Sabbath he liked to dine at large tables surroundel by many guests (61). But, strange to say, there were no Jews at these tables. Rev. May, in describing the Friday evenings at Hays', states that he knows only onl Jew, and that is Moses Hays. Even the prominent Jewish merchants who passed through Boston in those years also found not more than one Jew there, Moses Hays (62). Is it true that there were no more Jews in Boston?
When you look through the census of 1790 you wil find there such names as: William Abrams, Ezekiel Dekaster, Benjamin Abrams, Isaac Solomon, David JJ cobs, Moses (Abraham) Wallach, Mrs. Cohon, Bri-lif Miranda, Mrs. ALrahams, Isaac Pollock. We also find there Abraham Salis, translator, apothecary, doctor, who married Mary Leachcraft in 1784, and, perhaps, the first Jew who obtained license to sell strong liquors Again we find the David Lopez, who had a store in pars nership with one Hastings, B. Judah, Abraham Jacobi, Abraham Solomon, Jacob Emanuel, a doctor and "male mid-wife" from Germany and also such names Litauer and Hyman, businessmen (63).
It appears that this Abraham Solomon was a greai adventurer. He hailed from Marblehead, when he hal married a certain Elizabeth Love. As soon as he caul to Boston they deported him back to Marblehead. Hi became a soldier in the Revolutionary army where 1 served for six months. He reappeared in Boston was arrested for buying silver and gold coins and pa ing very much paper money for them. He was put in jaiil but was soon released. He explained that he had lieeJ hired by a certain merchant to do the reprehensil deed. That merchant, of course, denied the charge. Tbj same Solomon was caught speaking to a company people in favorable terms about the English. For tl misdemeanor he was fined ten pounds (64).
From the above-mentioned census I took out only the more pronounced Jewish names. To these should be added that in that year the "privateer" ship Bruitis brought to Salem a group of Jews, seized from an English ship in the vicinity of Gibraltar (65). All this shows that there were Jews in Boston at that time, but it seems that they did not come to Hays. The question is why? Didn't they know about him? Should we conjecture that the reason is to be found in Hays' lack of piety, or the fact that the Jewish dietary laws were not observed in his house (66)? It is difficult to answer these questions in view of the scarcity of material that we possess about these phases in Hays' life.
Moses Michael Hays died on the 9th of May, 1805 at the age of 66. All the Boston papers, The Independent Chronicle, The Boston Gazette, The Columbian Centinel published lengthy articles about Hays (67).
Hays was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Newport, where his monument may still be seen. He left a great fortune consisting of land in Rhode Island and Georgia, houses in Boston and also shares, bonds and stocks. Even today one could furnish one of the largest hotels with all the utensils kept in his houses. He also left twenty-two "Hebrew books" and fifteen non-Jewish books. His entire estate was estimated in round figures, to have been worth about eighty-two thousand dollars, surely an enormous figure according to the standards of that time. His estate was distributed, according to his will, among his wife, four daughters and one son, who became the administrator of the entire estate.
Two of Hays" daughters. Slavey and Salley, lived in Richmond, Va., at that time. They were married to the Myers. Hays' wife, Rachel, did not survive him very long, and she too was interred near her husband in Newport.
- Jacob Hugo Tatsch and Harry Smith, Moses Michael Hays (Boston 1937), p. 32.
- American Jewish History, Soc. Pub. Vol. 21, p. 38.
- Jacob Hugo Tatsch and Harry Smith, Moses Michael Hays, p. 31.
- Hall of Records. New York.
- American Jewish History, Soc. Pub. Vol. 21, p. 81.
- Board of Aldermen and City Clerk Records, New York.
- Supreme Court Records, Book F., p. 506 — Newport, R. I.
- Hays Receipts 1759-1762 — American Jewish History Society Library, N. Y.
- Albert S. Mackay, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Vol. 2., p. 715, 716.
- Register Lodge 84 (1730-1732) in England. Y. I. Gessen - Jews In Masonry — St. Petersburg, 1903 (in Russian).
- Tatsch and Smith, Moses Michael Hays, p. 45.
- American Jewish History, Soc. Pub. Vol. 28, pp. 253, 254.
- John Carter Library, Providence, R. I. (Brown Papers).
- Superior Court Records, Book F., p. 506, Book E., p. 427, Newport, R. I.
- Newport Mercury, November 30, 1772.
- R. I. Archives, General Assembly Papers. Revolutionary War Suspected Persons, p. 14.
- Newport Mercury, June 3, 1776.
- Register of St. John's Masonic Lodge, Newport, R. I.
- Proceedings of R. I., Mass. Historical Society, Vol. 10, p. 58.
- Aaron Lopez Letters, Newport Historical Society Vaults.
- Hon. Max Levi — Address delivered in Truro Synagogue, Nevport, R. I., February 21, 1932.
- Independent Chronicle, January 10, 1782.
- Supreme Court Files, 21383.
- Ibid., 43512.
- Boston Evening Post, April 6, 1767.
- Justin Winsor — Memorial History of Boston, Vol. 3, p. 18.
- Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 194.
- Bayley Myers Collection, New York Public Library.
- American Jewish History, Soc. Pub., Vol. 28, p. 254.
- Records of the American Revolution, 1775-1788 (Washington 1906), p. 353.
- Cristopher Champlin Letters — Newport Historical Society Vault.
- Independent Chronicle, December 18, 1783; June 1, September 16, 1784; November 17, 1790; Probate Court Records, Vol. 122-3, p. 215.
- Supreme Court Files, 94275.
- Letters of American Merchants, Vol. 3, p. 92 — Bakers' Library.
- The Insurance Library Association Report, 1888-1900 (Boston 1901).
- Ibid., p. 78.
- Ibid., p. 77. Warren Nathan — Insurance in Mass., p. 1924.
- Ibid., p. 85.
- Archives, State Insurance Department, Boston.
- Insurance Library Association Report, 1888-1900.
- Massachusetts Sentinel, April 2, 1785.
- Inventory, Moses Michael Hays, Probate Court Records.
- Justin Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, Vol. 4, p. 207.
- Massachusetts Sentinel, December 5, 1789.
- Jacob Hugo Tatsch and Harry Smith, Moses Michael Hays, p. 53.
- Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Mass., 1733-1792 (1895), p. 298.
- Jacob Hugo Tatsch and Harry Smith, Moses Michael Hays, p. 53.
- Ibid., p. 55.
- Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Mass., 1733-1792 (1895), pp. 312, 326, 350.
- Ibid., pp. 351, 352, 357. 358, 380, 381.
- Jacob Hugo Tatsch and Harry Smith, Moses Michael Hays, p. 63.
- Archives of the New York Grand Lodge. Early Documents.
- Julius F. Sachse, Ancient Documents Relating to the A. and A. Scottish Rite with Annotations (Philadelphia, 1915), pp. 12, 13.
- Ibid., p. 13.
- Boston Marine Society Charter and By-Laws. (Boston. 1930), p.328.
- Record Commissioner Report. (Boston), Vol. 35. p. 93.
- Ibid., p. 216.
- Freeman Hunt, Lives of American Merchants (New York, 1858). Vol. 2, p. 447.
- Jacob Hugo Tatsch and Harry Smith, Moses Michael Hays, p. 40.
- G. B. Emerson, Memoirs of Samuel Joseph May (Boston, 1874), pp. 15. 16; American Jewish History, Soc. Pub., Vol. 19, p. 6.
- Ibid., Vol. 23. p. 273.
- Report Record Commissioner of Boston, Vol. XXII. pp. 49, 446, 450. 479, 495. 461. 502, 459, 179; Vol. XXX, pp. 104, 454; Vol. XXVIII, p. 242; Vol. XXIII. pp. 216. 449.
- Supreme Court Files, 107702. 95142, 94554, 92660, 92662. 95667.
- American Jewish History, Soc. Pub., Vol. 19, p. 9.
- Mass. Archives, Book 68, p. 444.
- Independent Chronicle, March 6. 1783; March 10. 30, 1786; June 26, 1783; May 10. 1787; Columbian Centinel, January 2, 9, 1788; February 16, 23. 1788.
- Independent Chronicle, April 12. 1778; Publications of Colonial Society of Mass., 1897-1898. Vol. 5, p. 263.
- Newport Mercury, June 30, 1781.
- New England Freemason, February 8, 1875.
- Columbian Centinel, May 11. 1805; Boston Gazette, May 13, 18, 1805; Independent Chronicle, May 13, 1805.
From TROWEL, Winter 1990, Page 2:
Moses Michael Hays: Merchant, Citizen, Freemason, 1739-1805
By Robert W. Williams, III
If the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (commonly called the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts) is the lengthening shadow of one man - Henry Price - the same may be said about Moses Michael Hays. Under his leadership a standard was set in the late eighteenth century Boston for Jews in business and civic leadership, community service, and charity. The most prominent Jew in Boston before the late 1840s, Hays achieved what many before could not: success as both a Bostonian and a member of a minority culture. He not only carved a niche in society and Freemasonry for himself, but he opened doors for other Jews who chose to contribute to mankind.
Perhaps his greatest achievement in business was his role in the establishment of the first permanent, successful bank in Boston, the Massachusetts Bank, now known as the Bank of Boston. From June 11 through August 6. 1990, on the 36th floor of the bank, the American Jewish Historical Society of Waltham and the Bank of Boston presented an exhibit: A Most Valuable Citizen: Moses Michael Hays and the Establishment of Post-Revolutionary Boston. Our Grand Lodge loaned the apron worn by Hays that is preserved in our Museum on the second floor, as well the only known portrait of him. The portrait had been copied by Miss E. M. Carpenter from the original work of Gilbert Stuart owned by E. T. D. Myers, a grandson of Hays. The original was later destroyed by fire in Richmond. VA.
To really know Hays and appreciate what he and other early Jews in America had to endure, one must know of their early trials.
In 1492 the government of Spain had declared Roman Catholicism the only practicing religion permitted in the country. Those who did not convert to it would have to leave the country or answer to the dreaded Inquisition. Many went to the stake. Many children and grandchildren of Jews migrated to Spanish possessions of the New World. Ten years after Columbus discovered America, trade privileges were granted to a Jewish company by King Ferdinand V of Castile and Leon. But in 1511 the long arm of the Inquisition and Crown reached across the Atlantic to persecute anew. When Portugal and Holland went to war sometime later, the Marranos (Jews) gave aid to the Dutch. Upon the defeat of the Portuguese many settled in Brazil. But the recovery of Brazil by the Portuguese in 1654 prompted Jews to seek a haven in other Dutch settlements in America. They departed for Surinam and New Netherlands, letter known as the Isle of Manhattan.
With Peter Stuyvesant's marked degree of tolerance and hospitality to the strangers, Jews secured their first foothold n North America. It was in New York that they began their commercial activities as importers and exporters, a field in which Moses Michael Hays did exceedingly well in his day more than a century later. Though they were still disadvantaged as aliens under British domination after they took possession from the Dutch in 1664, a modification of statutes and the enactment of the naturalization law in 1740 worked in their favor.
The tolerance of Stuyvesant in New Amsterdam toward the Jews prompted several families to migrate to Newport between 1654 and 1657 where they were joined by a contingent from Curaçao. Roger Williams was not only tolerant toward the Jews, but exerted himself on behalf of them. This was shown in his argument supporting the re-admission of the Jews to England. In that respect he differed from his Puritan neighbors to the north where Cotton Mather had stigmatized Newport as "the common receptacle of the convicts of Jerusalem and the outcasts of the land." It was with the arrival of the Lopez family and other outstanding families in 1750 that Newport enjoyed a rapid commercial development and became a strong rival of New York. Families came from Spain, Portugal, the West Indies, and South America.
The earliest reference to a Jew in Massachusetts relates to one Solomon Franco. Provision was made May 3, 1649 that "The court doth allow the said Solomon Franco six shillings per week out of the treasury for 10 weeks for subsistence till he can get his passage into Holland so (long) as he do so within that time." He had been ordered out of Boston alter losing his lawsuit for payment of commission.
Judah Monis, who died in 1764 at age 81, was appointed Instructor in Hebrew at Harvard in 1722, but only after he converted to Christianity. He published the first Hebrew grammar in America in 1735. Between 1740 and 1776 only four persons were naturalized in the Superior Court of Boston, one of whom was the famous Aaron Lopez, formerly of Newport, but later (1762) of Swansey (now Swansea). Moses Michael Hays entered the picture soon after. However, with his death in 1805, and the departure of his family for other places, Jewish life was practically non-existent until the 1840s.
Born in New York City in 1739, the son of Jewish Dutch immigrants, Hays worked in his father's trading and shipping business until his father died in 1764. Two years later he married Rachel Myers, sister of the New York silversmith Myer Myers. By 1768 he had moved his family and business to Newport, RI, and in 1776 he was living at least part-time in Boston where the family would settle permanently by 1782. In Boston he had an insurance business on State Street and a shipping business on Long Wharf. He played a significant role in the creation of Boston's economic and cultural character, helped to establish trade routes between Boston and the Far East, and the Boston Marine Society and fire insurance industries.
In June of 1775, seventy-six men in Newport were asked to sign a declaration of loyalty to the cause of the Colonies. Some of them were Tories or Loyalists (British sympathizers), but most were not, including Hays. When summoned to prove loyalty, Hays refused, demanding a confrontation with his accusers. He prepared a formal statement, which said in brief, "This is my native land!" He expressed his belief that the Revolutionary War was a just cause in a statement made July 2, 1776. The letter was presented to the General Assembly of Rhode Island. Called before Speaker Metcalf Bowler, he demanded to face his accusers and refused to sign the oath. Only when the oath was required of everyone, did Hays subscribe his name, "'solemnly and sincerely" and promised to do all he could "in defense of the United Colonies."
Along with Meyer Pollock, Hays built ships and did business on the seas. One ship sprang a leak and was smashed to bits. The ship and cargo were insured, but the loss was so great that both men were imprisoned for debt. When released, Hays opened a stationery shop, but the outbreak of war had sapped Newport of its vitality and with the British occupation it became a garrison town. The people, Christians and Jews, left the area. Hays then found success in Boston.
For the Jewish people, Freemasonry in the pre-1717 period was essentially and exclusively a Christian institution. Insofar as the exclusion of the Jews was concerned, it was due not only to the measures of suppression which prevented them from becoming free agents in the communities where they lived, but also because opportunities as artisans, mechanics, and builders were curtailed. In primitive times they had been shepherds and agriculturalists, but with migration to Europe, they learned that economic and social insecurity made it imperative that accumulated wealth be flexible and mobile. Operative Freemasonry in medieval England was essentially a Christian institution; some of the early charges made reference to the Virgin Mary that the Jew could not and would not subscribe to.
The earliest reference to Jews in English Freemasonry appeared in an announcement in the Daily Post of London on June 24, 1717. It was reported that "at a meeting held at the Rose Tavern in Cheapside where in the present of several Brethren of Distinction, as well as Jews as Christians, a Mr. Ed. Rose was admitted of the Fraternity by Mr. Danl. Delvalle, an eminent Jew Snuff Merchant."
In an article authored by Rev. F. Peterson, in the History of Rhode Island and Newport in the Past (New York, 1853), page 101: "In the spring of 1658, Mordecai Campannall, Moses Packeckoe, Levi, and others, in all 15 families, arrived in Newport from Holland. They brought with them the first three degrees of Masonry, and worked them in the house of Campannall, and continued to do so, they and their successors, to the year 1742."
Duly constituted Freemasonry was not introduced in Rhode Island until 1749, and the first Jewish connections with it are those of King David's Lodge, of which Moses Michael Hays was Master under a New York warrant. Prior to the American Revolution, only two Lodges existed in Rhode Island: Saint John's No. 1 of Newport, instituted Dec. 27, 1749, and Saint John's No. 1 of Providence, instituted Feb. 17, 1757, both originally of "Modern" allegiance. At the outbreak of the war, an absolute decay took place in the St. John's Lodge at Newport. In February 1769, George Harrison, the Provincial Grand Master of New York, issued a warrant to Moses Michael Hays, a Hebrew of great Masonic distinction, for a Lodge in the city of New York, to be known as King David Lodge, which he directed as its Master until June 7, 1780, when upon his removal to Newport, he, as "Grand Elect Perfect Supreme Deputy Inspector of Masonry," organized King David Lodge at Newport in line of practice and ritual as pursued by the "Ancients," and as Master he proceeded to initiate certain members of St. John's Lodge whom he held as "Moderns," into the Fraternity in due and ancient form. It appears form the records of Oct. 29, 1787, "That most of the members of St. John's Lodge had united with King David Lodge, that St. John's Lodge had never been revived under that name and in their opinion it never would." Moses M. Hays, Master; Moses Seixas, Sen. Warden; David Lopez, Jun. Warden; Jeremiah Clare, Treasurer; Henry Dayton, Secretary; Solo. A. Myers, Deacon.
The Providence Lodge prospered and is now located in East Greenwich, but the Lodge at Newport suffered. Through the effort and concern of Moses Seixas, King David Lodge merged into St. John's Lodge, and on Oct. 19, 1790, King David Lodge ceased to exist. Bro. Seixas was the instigator of the merger which brought his 130 members into St. John's Lodge, which had only 11 members. On June 21-23, 1991, the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations will celebrate its 200th anniversary at The Viking Hotel in Newport, not far from the Touro Synagogue, the oldest in North America. The speaker will be Judge and Bro. David B. Sentelle, who, following some resistance from three U.S. Senators before confirmation, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
On June 12, 1798, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts granted a charter to 17 petitioners for the first Lodge in Taunton, MA. They chose the name of King David Lodge, which is now one of only seven lunar Lodges in the state, meeting on or before the full of the moon on Wednesday, September through June, or when the tenth stated meeting in the Masonic year is held. Because some of the 17 petitioners and others in Taunton were engaged in commerce using the Taunton River, the mouth of which is in Mt. Hope Bay, we may assume they chose the name to keep King David Lodge active. It is possible some of the men may have sat in King David Lodge in Newport when serving with the military during the Revolutionary War. We do know that the main travel road from Boston to Newport was via Taunton with the stagecoach road always in view of the river. The Hays family, no doubt, were travelers of this road.
Hays' menage consisted of himself, his wife RacheH children, his widowed sister, Mrs. Reyna Touro, and two infant sons, Judah and Abraham, who were raised and educated by Bro. Hays. A daughter, Catherine, was 1 the Hays family on Oct. 3, 1776 while they resided on Middle St., in Boston (now Hanover St.). At the time| area was the choice residential section of the town.
Through an act of incorporation The Massachusetts Bank was secured, and when it opened July 5, 1784, Hays, who made the first deposit of $14,500, was the first to register his name on the ledger. He also drew the first check the same day, made payable to Jonathan B. Livingston for $60. He had made a contribution to Harvard College before 1780 and held membership No. 328 in the Boston Marine Society. In a Memoir published in 1873 by the American Unitarian Society at Boston, a Rev. Samuel Joseph May pays great tribute to Hays and his family, relating how Hays taught Hebrew lessons in his home on Saturdays, and for the many contributions he made to Boston society.
Bro. Hays and Rachel had only one son, Judah, born in Rhode Island in 1772. He drowned in St. Augustine, Florida, on May 1, 1832. His earthly remains, like those of Hays, his wife, and three daughters, are interred in the Touro Cemetery on Touro St., Newport. At the time there was no Jewish burial ground in Massachusetts. Judah was one of the founders of the Boston Athenaeum and was initiated in The Massachusetts Lodge in Boston on Aug. 7, 1788. He was Passed and Raised Aug. 16, and elected to membership Jan. 11, 1790. His diploma may be seen in the Grand Lodge Museum, Boston.
Of five daughters, there is some record. Rebekah, born in 1769, who died in Boston on July 23, 1802; Slowey, birth unknown, who died Oct. 19, 1836; Judith, born Sept. 2, 1767, who died at Richmond, VA on Feb. 4, 1844. Judith and her sister Sally, who died in Richmond on Aug. 3, 1832, married half-brothers, Samuel Myers and Moses Mears Myers, who were originally from New York. Both couples were married on Sept. 21, 1796. Daughter Catherine died in Richmond on Jan. 2, 1854. She was in love with her cousin the philanthropist Judah Touro, but her father frowned upon the marriage on grounds of consanguinity. Both remained unmarried through life.
It is not known where or when Moses Michael Hays received Masonic light. He appeared on the Masonic horizon Dec. 6, 1768 when Henry Andrew Francken of Jamaica appointed him Deputy Inspector General of the Rite of Perfection for the West Indies and North America. Contrary to accepted opinion, the various systems of Freemasonry do not necessarily rest upon the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry as we know them now. In the eighteenth century, as well as today, there were several Masonic systems, each of them working a set of degrees known as Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. There was the system in England, Ireland, and Scotland; there were also the Rit Ancien, the French Rite or Rit Moderne, the Swedish Rite, and the Rite of Perfection to mention the better known systems. It may be that Hays received his degrees in a New York Lodge, or he may have been made a full-fledged Mason of the Rite of Perfection, a system embracing a series of degrees from the first to the twenty-fifth. There is no documented evidence other than his own transcript of a patent given him by Francken.
He became a member of The Massachusetts Lodge Nov. 15, 1782 at a meeting held at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern. Proposed that night by Bro. John Warren (brother of Joseph), he was elected. Attending the meeting were Moses Seixas, Senior Warden of King David's Lodge, Newport, and officers of the French fleet, including Adm. Marquis de Vandreil. A month later Hays was elected Master. He was re-elected in 1783 and 1784. Hard times followed the Revolution and the Lodge was not at labor from 1785 until 1788.
There were two Provincial Grand Lodges in Massachusetts. The first was founded by Henry Price on July 30, 1733, and was known as Saint John's Grand Lodge. The second resulted from the commission dated May 30, 1769 given to Joseph Warren, Master of St. Andrew's Lodge, by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. When the Massachusetts Grand Lodge was organized March 8, 1777, Joseph Webb was chosen Grand Master, serving through 1783. John Warren was elected for one year and Webb served again through 1786. Warren was elected to serve one more year and Moses M. Hays was elected in 1788. His term of office ended with the merger of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge and St. John's Grand Lodge in March 5-19, 1792.
At a meeting of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge held on Dec. 5, 1791 at Concert Hall, Boston, it was "Voted That a Committee of Seven be appointed agreeably to the Spirit of a Vote of this Grand Lodge passed March 2, 1791, to Confer with the Officers of St. John's Grand Lodge, upon the subject of a Compleat Masonic Union throughout this Commonwealth and that the Said Committee report as soon as may be Convenient. Committee: M.M. Hays, John Warren. Paul Revere, Josiah Bartlett, William Scollay, John Lowell, Joseph Laughton. Attest, (signed) Joseph Laughton, Gd. Secry."
In consequence of that meeting, a special Grand Lodge of St. John was called at Bro. Colman's on January 18, 1792, with R. W. John Cutler, Senior Grand Warden, in the Chair. "Voted That a Committee of seven be chosen to Confer with the Committee from Massachusetts Grand Lodge and promote the proposed Union, provided it can be done on true Masonic principles, and that John Cutler, Samuel Parkman, Mungo Mackay, Samuel Dunn, John Foster Williams, Thomas Dennie, and Wm. Shaw be the Committee."
In 1791 M. W. Hays warranted King Solomon's Lodge of Perfection at Holme's Hole, Martha's Vineyard, with the privilege of making Royal Arch Masons. This was a hautes ks creation, which came into the Grand Lodge fellowship in 1797 and ceased working in 1811.
On March 5, 1792, when final steps for the merger of the oGrand Lodges took place, Paul Revere presided at the last meeting of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. He had been appointed as Deputy Grand Master in that Grand Lodge. R. W. John Cutler was chosen the Grand Master of the new Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The old order changed and passed into the history books; some things preserved for posterity, others lost, thus denying historians the writing of a complete history of that which we now know as The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.
Most Worshipful Hays died intestate and his son Judah administered the estate which was valued at $81,479.34. The heirs were Rachel Hays, widow; Judith Myers, wife of Samuel Myers; Sally Myers, wife of Moses M. Myers; Catherine Hays, Slowey Hays, and Judah Hays. Portraits by Gilbert Stuart of other family members exist among his descendants today.
American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a lengthy poem about the small Newport Touro Cemetery which tells of the pioneering Jewish families and the spirit and the winds that brought them to America.
Bro. Hays counted among his close associates U.S. Senator and Boston mayor (1829) Harrison Gray Otis, nephew of the famed James Otis, who actually instigated the war against England. Sen. Otis was a member of the Federalist Party who first served as a Congressman (1797-1801) then as Senator (1817-22). A strong opponent of slavery, Otis died in 1848. Paul Revere was a trusted friend and made at least nine pieces of silver for the Hays family, which probably were given to the Touro Synagogue. I was apprised of the silver by Mrs. Mercer Gilmore of Kansas City, when she visited our Grand Lodge Library at the time of the opening of the exhibit at the Bank of Boston. She is a direct descendant of the Myers family of Richmond. "It's buried in the Newport synagogue," she remarked, but when I approached Rabbi Shapiro about it, and he pleaded nolo, presumably for security reasons. A Federalist-type building across from the synagogue is being refurbished to serve as a museum for Touro, but is delayed in opening. Judah Touro, who also taught Hebrew lessons, died in 1854 at age 78, after a successful career in shipping in New Orleans. He left $10,000 to the Massachusetts General Hospital (the largest gift at the time), in memory of his brother, Abraham. Other financial bequests were made to various New England institutions, including $10,000 toward construction of the Bunker Hill Monument.
Though we would like to conclude this story with "they (Jews) lived happily forever," the persecutions of World War II and the tension in the Middle East tell us that because of tyrants and jealousies the world will never know complete harmony, and that brotherly love and affection does not always prevail. The Hays family and their close associates, through their love, devotion and contributions to society, made America a better place to live for those who followed, and they proved that some hope ends in fruition.
- Moses Michael Hays, written in collaboration by Wor. Harry Smith of Moses Michael Hays Lodge, and J. Hugo Tatsch, A.M., Litt.D., Acting Librarian and Curator of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, copyrighted 1937 by Moses Michael Hays Lodge, A.F. and A.M.;
- American Jewish Historical Society of Waltham, MA;
- The Bank of Boston and Ellen Smith, guest curator;
- History of King David Lodge, 1798-1898, Taunton, MA.