- 1 JOHN T. HEARD 1809-1881
- 1.1 TERM
- 1.2 NOTES
- 1.3 BIOGRAPHY
- 1.4 MEMORIAL
- 1.5 SPEECHES
- 1.6 CHARTERS GRANTED
- 1.7 CHARTERS RESTORED
- 1.8 RULINGS
JOHN T. HEARD 1809-1881
- MM 1845, WM 1854, 1855, Columbian
- Grand Marshal 1851-1852
- Senior Grand Warden 1856
- Grand Master 1857-1859
FEAST OF ST. JOHN, DECEMBER 1907
From Proceedings, Page 1907-216, presented by Past Grand Master Sereno D. Nickerson at the Feast of St. John:
I sometimes think when I come to the installation of the Grand Master on this day, that the installing officer and many of the Brethren are so very kind and considerate that I ought to give them fair warning that there is great danger, if they keep up that course of conduct, that the present Grand Secletary may renew his youth and give you another twenty-five years of service. [Applause.]
During the whole period of my acquaintance with the Grand Lodge - and it is now almost fifty years since I came into the Grand Lodge as Senior Warden of my Lodge in 1860, - and I have never been out of it since, during that period we have been very much addicted to celebrating anniversaries. I think that it was largely through the influence of Grand Master Gardner that this custom was inaugurated. The Lodges have been encouraged to celebrate the anniversaries of the dates of their charters, not only the hundredth anniversary, but of late years they have taken to celebrating the fiftieth anniversary; and during the last few weeks the Grand Officers have been invited to attend three or four such anniversaries. As we have been called upon to address the Brethren on these occasions, we have naturally recurred to the Grand Master who signed those charters. That was John T. Heard, who was Grand Master in 1857, l858 and 1859. I remember him most distinctly, for I was initiated in April, 1856. On the twenty-seventh of December of that year he was installed for the first time ae Grand Master. A little before that event occurred, a little before the twenty-seventh of December, he assisted, as Deputy Grand Master, Bro. Winslow Lewis, who was the Grand Master, in constituting the Lodge which had been given the name of the latter Brother. It was one of the first important Masonic ceremonies which I had ever attended, and it made a very great impression on my mind.
Brother Heard was at that time a man in middle life, not quite fifty years old, just in the prime of life. He officiated with great skill, and manifested (what he always did, so far as I saw him, on Masonic occasions) the greatest admiration of his own position as Deputy Grand Master or Grand Master. He was a fine looking man, well proportioned, with jet black hair and side whiskers. He introduced or rather reintroduced as Grand Master, the old cocked hat which was worn in Revolutionary times and it became him admirably. I have thought sometimes lately, as I remembered him, of that imposing air of his, always wearing full evening dress, even during the ceremonies in the daytime by the Grand Lodge; I have often thought since of a remark that was made by one of our Brethren in the country when Brother Endicott presided as Grand Master. After the ceremony was over this Brother said, "He looked the Grand Master." That was the way with John T. Heard. He looked the Grand Master. He was accustomed in everything that he said in the Grand Lodge to express it ore rotundo, with the greatest dignity and ceremony possible. But it was not altogether show with him. He was a regular working Grand Master. During the whole three years that he served he was constantly at work for tbe benefit of the Grand Lodge; and many of his suggestions, which were then rather ridiculed, have since been carried out; and I am sure that if his spirit is with us it must be greatly delighted with what we have done in the last twenty or thirty years in following out his advice and directions.
At the first meeting at which he presided over the Grand Lodge, in March, 1857, he presented a very full report in regard to the Charity Fund of the Grand Lodge, about which very few Brethren, scarcely tbe Trustees themselves, knew anything. That report has been a standard work, and it was so full and so voluminous that the Grand Lodge hardly felt that they could afford to pay for printing it. It was not issued in the Proceedings but in a separate pamphlet, and I think it highly probable that Brother Heard paid the expense himself.
It is peculiarly proper that we should remember him on this occasion. He proposed during that first year, 1857, to revive the celebration of the Feast, which our Provincial Grand Masters had been charged, by the Grand Masters who issued their deputations, to observe regularly and annually, the Feast either of St. John the Baptist or St. John the Evangelist. In those days it was the custom to choose the officers of the Grand Lodge every six months, and those Feasts were often, both of them, observed by the Grand Lodge in the same year. Brother Heard proposed to revive the Feast in 1857, but he finally consented to waive it on account of the depression in business which was prevailing at that time. The next year, however, he did reintroduce the Feast, and it has been kept up ever since with the exception of the single year 1861, when the entertainment was varied by an oration from Brother Alger on Fraternal Friendships.
At the close of that first year Brother Heard told the Grand Lodge that during the year he had visited every Lodge iu the jurisdiction. There were then eighty-eight Lodges. It is true that he accomplished this wonderful feat by a bit of finesse. He would give notice to the Lodges in a certain locality that he was going to visit them, and in that way he would gather several Lodges and thus visit them all and so he would take them all to his own credit on the list. But he did a wonderfully good work. Many of them had hardly revived from the anti-Masonic craze, and he put them in the right way; he supplied them with competent Grand Lecturers, and he himself lectured them a good deal on the law and practice of our Institution.
The next good work that he accomplished was the sale of the old Temple, on the corner of Temple Place. That property had become altogether too small for the accommodation of the Lodges; and finally, largely through Brother Heard's exertions, a sale was made to the United States, they intending to use it as the United States Court House. They paid $100,000 for the property. The Grand Lodge then, by the advice of Edward A. Raymond, who had been an earlier Grand Master, and who was a rich man and a speculator in real estate in Boston, obtained possession of the lot on the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets, with three swell-front houses upon it. Those houses were remodeled into what was called the Winthrop House. Upon the top of that the Grand Lodge put apartments for our Lodges. The lot at that time was bought at a cost of about $10 a foot; it is now assessed for, I think, $80 or $90 per foot. At the opening of the apartments on that corner Brother Heard delivered an elaborate address, giving a full statement of the locations in which the Grand Lodge had found itself in the City of Boston during the previous years. As you know, that building was entirely destroyed by fire on the night of the fifth of April, 1864. The Grand Lodge realized from the insurance just about the amount that they had paid for the land. They then proceeded to erect a new Temple, which was dedicated on the twenty-fourth of June, 1867. In the meantime Brother Heard bad had fitted up for the Grand Lodge apartments in Nassau Hall, which afforded very good accommodations until our own Temple was in proper condition for occupancy.
He was not satisfied with what he did during his Grand Mastership, but he kept up his labors for the benefit of the Fraternity from the time when he went out of office until he went to his grave. He was born in 1809. That was the last year of Isaiah Thomas as Grand Master, and the year in which Thomas brought the Lodge of St. Andrew under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, thus completing the entire roll of Lodges in the Commonwealth.
I think it quite likely, when I told the Brethren that I was made a Mason in 1856, that some of them would say to themselves, "Why, that was before I was born!" and some of them, perhaps, would have a little doubt whether this world was quite worth living in before they came into it. [Laughter.] Now, Brethren, I will tell those of you who are inclined to that thought, don't you flatter yourselves. We got along very well without you. [Laughter.]
We have had here in Massachusetts, during the first hundred years of our experience as a Grand Lodge (I think I have often told the Brethren), the most famous series of Grand Masters that any State in the country can boast. During that period (you know Masonry had just come to the country in 1733, and if we carry it down to 1833), the Grand Masters who had served us had largely been Revolutionary soldiers. They had greatly contributed to the success of that momentous struggle of the weakest people, almost in the world, at any rate in the civilized portion of it, against the strongest nation of all. I am sorry to say that Samuel Adams, who was the backbone of the Revolution here in Massachusetts, was not a Mason. Brother Moore states in one of his articles positively that he was, but I think that is a mistake. I have never been able to find any evidence of it. But Adams has surrounded by Masons, who had his thorough confidence and who responded to every wish of his and of Joseph Warren's. They were hand and glove. I think we have cause, Brethren, to congratulate ourselves upon our history, and I think that each Grand Master who follows in that series have good reason to take great pride in his position. With that idea in view, Brethren, I will give you the health of our present Grand Master; may he long continue to be with us. [Applause.]
NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, JANUARY 1917
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XII, No. 4, January 1917, Page 119:
Born in Boston, May 4, 1809. Died December 1, 1880—71 years. Became a member of Columbian Lodge in May, 1845. Worshipful Master of Columbian Lodge in 1854 and 1855. Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts in 1857, 1858 and 1859. He was Lieutenant Colonel in the militia. Wrote Heard's History of Columbian Lodge. While Grand Master visited every Lodge in the State.
On October 2, 1858 laid the corner-stone of Minot's Ledge Lighthouse. During his administration the Masonic Temple was sold to the United States Government, and the purchase of the Winthrop House Estate was authorized. The cornerstone of the Plymouth Monument was also laid during his administration. At a regular meeting of Columbian Lodge, held January 6, 1881, a memorial report was submitted by a committee of which M. W. William D. Coolidge was Chairman. In this memorial it is said of M. W. Bro. Heard that he had occupied every post of honor and of prominence to which his Brethren could elevate him. Of his administration as Worshipful Master it was said:
"His administration as Worshipful Master of this Lodge will be remembered by us all as one of the most impressive and dignified that we have ever had. His manly physique and fine personal appearance will be recalled as that of one of the noblest that has ever appeared among us . . .
"But his social and genial qualities were never surpassed; he believed fully in the social element, and to him more than to any one else are we indebted for the revival of the annual celebration of the Feast of St. John."
M. W. Bro. Heard was a successful business man and was once offered the portfolio of the Secretary of the Treasury by President Buchanan. His business interests prevented his acceptance.
TROWEL, FALL 1998
From TROWEL, Fall 1998, Page 26:
John Trull Heard was a popular Grand Master who introduced many innovations and yet revived old customs and erected monuments to Masons of former times. Born in Boston on May 4, 1809, he was initiated into Columbian Lodge on February 20, 1845, and in 1846, served as Junior Deacon. With the exception of 1848 and 1849, he was continually in office either in Columbian or Grand Lodge until the end of his Grand Mastership in 1859.
In 1851 and 1852 he served as Grand Marshal and simultaneously as Junior and Senior Warden of Columbian Lodge. In 1854 and 1855 he presided as Master and raised 68 candidates. During 1856 he was Senior Grand Warden and procured from a grandson of Henry Price a very dilapidated portrait of our first Grand Master which was skillfully restored and placed in Grand Lodge. He was also instrumental in obtaining the Henry Price chair now displayed in our Grand Lodge Museum. When G.M. Winslow Lewis declined reelection at the Annual Communication in December, 1856, because of ill health. Bro. Heard was chosen unanimously, the first candidate up to that time to do so in his first election. In the address following his installation he advocated a revival of the ancient Festival of St. John the Evangelist, the construction of a fitting monument to Henry Price at Townsend and the printing of the records of Grand Lodge.
He also revived the wearing of the tricorn hat, first worn by Paul Revere in 1795 and discontinued during the anti-Masonic period. On June 17th, the 82nd anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, G. M. Heard and Grand Lodge Officers dedicated a marble model of the original Joseph Warren Monument previously erected in 1794 on the site of the present Bunker Hill obelisk.
At the close of his first year in office, Heard had visited all of the 88 Lodges in the jurisdiction, another first for a Grand Master. To many of the Brethren, seeing a Grand Master was a revelation and an inspiration. Tall in stature, Heard always appeared on Masonic occasions in full evening attire, wearing the tricorn hat. His manner, gained from a long, successful business career, made a lasting impression on all who met him.
Heard found many of the Lodges lacking in proper ritual instruction. Therefore, he appointed two additional Grand Lecturers and started an intensive training program that in time resulted in great improvement in the work. At his second installation, between 300 and 400 representatives of Lodges and visiting Brethren witnessed an exemplification of the work by the Grand Lecturers. That evening Heard announced that during the past year four new Masonic halls had been dedicated, five charters and six new Lodges regularly constituted.
Masonry was making a comeback throughout the Commonwealth as the result of positive public relations. Attendance increased to such an extent that the Grand Lodge building was becoming too small. Eventually, it was sold to the U. S. Government for use as a courthouse during Heard's third term. It sold for more than two and a half times its construction price 27 years earlier. In October, 1858, he laid the cornerstone of Minot's Lodge lighthouse and in 1859 that of the Plymouth Monument to the Pilgrim Fathers.
At the Quarterly Communication of March 8, 1859. G.M. Heard announced that Grand Lodge had obtained from the legislature a new Act of Incorporation, replacing the one it had voluntarily surrendered during the anti-Masonic period. This act authorized the holding of $200,000 worth of real estate and $50,000 worth of personal estate. At the same meeting the purchase of the Winthrop House estate for the second owned Grand Lodge building was announced. This estate was at the present location of Grand Lodge.
In December of that year three new Lodge rooms, Corinthian, Ionic and Doric, were dedicated in the refurbished building, the installation of recently elected Grand Lodge officers was held, and a larger number of Brethren participated in the Feast than had ever gathered in Boston on any similar occasion. In his final address that evening M.W. John T. Heard noted that 3231 were initiated in the three years preceding September 1, 1859.
Heard served Grand Lodge in many other capacities, on the Charity and Constitution Committees and the Board of Directors, and with addresses at various functions. He was also known for his generosity, extending a $10,000 line of credit for business expansion to one of his Grand Lecturers shortly after he had left his Grand Mastership.
He died at his home in Louisburg Square, Boston, on December 1, 1880, at the age of 71. A Special Communication of the Grand Lodge was opened three days later for a Masonic service in the Grand Lodge building, after which everyone proceeded to Heard's residence for the funeral and later to Mount Auburn Cemetery, where the Masonic Burial Service was read by Grand Master Charles Alfred Welch.
One may see the portrait of John T. Heard by E. T. Billings in Corinthian Hall on the third floor of the Grand Lodge building.
TROWEL, FALL 2012
From TROWEL, Fall 2012, Page 4:
by Rt. Wor. Walter H. Hunt.
At the Feast of St. John in December 1907, Senior Past Grand Master Sereno Dwight Nickerson offered a biographical sketch of Grand Master John Trull Heard. Brother Heard had departed this life about a quarter century earlier; most of those present knew him only by reputation, or as a portrait on the wall of Grand Lodge, a figure of the previous century; but to Brother Nickerson, who had joined the fraternity just as Brother Heard had ascended to the oriental chair of Grand Lodge, his memory was dear and poignant. Of him, Brother Nickerson remarked that:
He looked the Grand Master. He was accustomed in everything that he said in the Grand Lodge to express it ore rotundo [i.e., with great eloquence], with the greatest dignity and ceremony possible. But it was not altogether show with him. . . . During the whole three years that he served he was constantly at work for the benefit of the Grand Lodge; and many of his suggestions . . . have since been carried out; and I am sure that if his spirit is with us it must be greatly delighted with what we have done in the last twenty or thirty years in following out his advice and directions.
The extensive remarks, provided in full in our Proceedings, show the affection and respect with which Past Grand Master Heard was treated, long after his death; his was a reputation that cast a long shadow long into the twentieth century. To many of those who attended the Feast on that long-ago December night, Brother John T. Heard was among the greatest Grand Masters of Massachusetts.
John Trull Heard was born in Boston on May 4, 1809, 150 years to the day before the author. He was descended from many generations of New Englanders. While he demonstrated a scholarly bent from early in his life, he became a businessman, but he also wrote a number of articles on economy and politics.
In 1845 he joined Columbian Lodge, to which his grandfather, John Perkins, had belonged. He was soon involved as an officer; he served in various positions, including two years as master in 1854 and 1855 (during which he raised 68 new Masons), and several years as the lodge secretary.
He soon came to the attention of the Grand Lodge, in which he was a grand marshal, a deputy grand master for Most Worshipful Winslow Lewis, and as Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts from 1857 to 1859. Brother Heard’s engagement with the fraternity in Massachusetts coincided with a period of explosive growth, as it emerged from the terrible trials of the anti-Masonic period. New lodges were being formed, and many new candidates were coming to Masonry as it grew. He came to the office of Grand Master after Winslow Lewis declined nomination for a third year; though relatively young — he was just 47 when unanimously elected to the Grand Mastership — he was already well-known not only for his skill and familiarity with the work, but also for scholarship; he had recently authored a history of Columbian Lodge that still stands as a definitive work on the subject.
While much of the work of the fraternity in the 1850s would seem familiar to us today, there are aspects of Masonry that would be hard to imagine. All of the ritual work was given from memory without aid of cipher or regular instruction. Officers learned their duties, and their presentations, by repetition and rote, as we would say, “mouth to ear.” When Grand Master Heard took office, coming from one of the most prestigious lodges in the Commonwealth, he found much of the work unsatisfactory. As Brother Nickerson reported:
He found many of the lodges in very poor condition. In his annual address he reported that ‘some of them were sustaining a mode of work contrary to that established by this Grand Lodge, while others were entirely unskilled in any work whatever which bore any but the most distant resemblance to what would be recognized by a bright Freemason.
At that time, the only uniform presentation of the degrees took place at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in December; all three of the degrees were presented by the grand lecturer in toto before the masters and wardens in the morning and early afternoon, prior to the business meeting of the Grand Lodge. Grand Master Heard deemed that inadequate; he appointed two special grand lecturers to assist the one installed grand lecturer, and the three men traveled throughout the state (at considerable expense) to teach the work. Indeed, at his second installation in December 1857, he was able to say that he had visited every Lodge in the State — a claim that had never been made before, and rarely since.
Grand Master Heard was also greatly concerned with the financial and organizational aspects both of Grand Lodge and the particular lodges in the state. At his first Quarterly Communication as Grand Master he presented a lengthy report on the Grand Lodge Charitable Fund; during his first year he issued guidelines for the dissemination of the work, the conduct of lodge and Grand Lodge officers in public events such as processions and dedications, and presided at the dedication of a statue of General and Brother Joseph Warren. His second and third years were even more active. During his three years as Grand Master he granted sixteen charters for new lodges, including two in the district of Chile, and restored a charter to one other lodge. By the time of his retirement he was well-known throughout the jurisdiction. As Brother Nickerson observed:
To many of the brethren the sight of a Grand Master was a new revelation; to all of them the sight of this Grand Master was an inspiration. Of tall stature, portly figure, fine face, and courtly manners, he always appeared, on Masonic occasions, in full evening dress, wearing the historic cocked hat . . . and which he wore most gracefully and becomingly. He magnified his office; but he showed that he had a profound sense of its dignity and high importance, and he inspired the same sentiment in the minds of all the brethren.
His successor in office was the man whom he had replaced: Winslow Lewis, who served a third year in 1860, as the storm clouds of the Civil War appeared on the horizon.
It was his intention to remain active as a distinguished Past Grand Master; but due to the eruption of the terrible conflict, he “became a strong Union man devoting his energy and money to the cause He resided much of the time from 1861 to 1865 at Washington.” (This text comes from his memorial in the New England Historical Society Register in 1882.) From this experience he retained the rank of colonel, and he was commonly referred to as “Colonel Heard” from his return to Massachusetts until his death 15 years later.
In the 1870s Brother Heard was active at Grand Lodge; he pursued the replacement of the many portraits of past Grand Masters lost in the fire of 1864, reported on the various petitions of black Freemasons for recognition by the Grand Lodge; made recommendations on the adoption of a revised seal by the Grand Lodge; and produced an exhaustive collection of biographies of grand chaplains, which appears in its entirety in the Proceedings for the year 1873. His accomplishments after his term as Grand Master are almost as extensive, and are at least as well-known, as his deeds while serving in Massachusetts’ highest office.
In the memorial given in March 1881, following his death (by a committee including six past Grand Masters), the following testament appears:
What manner of man was he that is gone and what has he done?— and when the scribe writes what one and another is eager to tell, he finds that he has made a bright page in our record, amid the memory of the departed, is as a sweet savor in our nostrils, ‘Verily, a great light has gone out in our East! A strong pillar in our Temple has fallen!’
To JOHN TRULL HEARD the Craft owe a large debt of gratitude; It is said that the average term of active interest in the fraternity is ten years; but his interest continued warm and strong for thirty-five years, and ended only with his life.
In 1865, Grand Master William Parkman granted a charter to brethren in Ipswich to establish a new lodge, which took the name John T. Heard Lodge, to honor this outstanding leader in the Craft. This lodge has been an active participant in the work of the fraternity for a century and a half, honoring the memory of the man whose name it adopted. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts should be most proud and should revere the memory of John T. Heard’s work and his legacy.
FROM PROCEEDINGS, 1881
Presented in Grand Lodge, March 9, 1881, Page 1881-14ff:
"When a bright and shining light in our Temple goes out, to burn, as we humbly hope, with new and greater brightness in the House Eternal; when a master workman lays down his well-worn working tools in the Lodge here below - to take them up again, as we fondly trust, in the Celestial Lodge above, with new light and wisdom and strength; our first cry is, Oh, the darkness! our next thought, How are we shorn of strength! When with sorrowful hearts and tearful eyes and trembling hands we have tenderly laid away in the bosom of mother earth all that was mortal of our departed Brother; when we have whispered the word of sympathy and comfort in the ears of those who were near and dear to him; then we gird up our loins for the work in which there is one the less to share,and we say to each other, What manner of man was he that is gone and what has he done? — and when the scribe writes what one and another is eager to tell, he finds that he has made a bright page in our record, amid the memory of the departed, is as a sweet savor in our nostrils, 'Verily, a great light has gone out in our East! A strong pillar in our Temple has fallen!' To JOHN TRULL HEARD the Craft owe a large debt of gratitude;" It is 'said that the average term of active interest in the Fraternity is ten years; but his interest continued warm and strong for thirty-five years, and ended only with his life. We may say of him as he said of Grand Master Lewis : he was 'one who for more than thirty years has with rare continuity of purpose devoted himself to our Institution.'
"Brother Heard was born in Boston, May 4, 1809. His maternal grandfather was John Perkins, one of the charter members of Columbian Lodge of Boston, who was made a Mason in St. John's Lodge in 1766, and died in Waldoborough, Me., about 1826. The grandson was initiated in Columbian Lodge, February 20, 1845, in the last year of the Mastership of that zealous and model Mason, George G. Smith, whose precepts, and example proved the inspiring and guiding influence of the whole Masonic life of the candidate. In 1846 he served as Junior Deacon, and from that year, with the exception of 1848 and 1849, was continually in office, either in the Lodge or the Grand Lodge, until he retired from the Grand Mastership in December, 1859. In 1851 and 1852 he served as Grand Marshal, and in the same years respectively as Junior and Senior Warden of Columbian Lodge. In 1854 and 1855 he presided as Master, and raised sixty-eight candidates.
"Soon after his first installation as Master an incident occurred which showed the character of the man. The Secretary of the Lodge (our late Grand Treasurer), who was an older Mason than Brother Heard, and had been for eight years in office, had procured a dispensation which was likely to be required, thinking thereby to.facilitate the business of the Lodge and aid the new Master. When the name of the new candidate concerned came up, the Secretary informed the Master that there need :be no delay in that case, as he had procured a dispensation from the Grand Master, which he presented. To this the Master replied that, while he had no doubt that the Secretary had acted from the best of motives and with the best intentions, it should be distinctly understood that it was the province of the Master to decide when the interposition of the Grand Master was required, and to ask for it when needed; and he requested the Secretary to remember that in future the Worshipful Master would discharge both of those duties. This was presenting the subject in a new light, and the Secretary was not only astonished, but indignant. With his usual impulsiveness and frankness, he replied that as, in his effort, to forward the work of the Lodge, he had only succeeded in giving offence to the Worshipful Master, he believed he did not understand his business, and he begged leave to resign his office. To this Brother Heard answered: 'Not so, my Brother. There is no offence, and you must not resign your office. You will continue to discharge its duties, as you have so acceptably for so many years, and in my station, I will strive to emulate your fidelity. When I lay down my office I shall deem myself very fortunate and happy if I shall have proved as faithful and as useful in my station as you in yours.' There the subject dropped.
Master and Secretary worked together in perfect harmony for two years, and at the end of that time both went out of office, the Secretary after a service of ten years. Very early in his Grand Mastership he thought it necessary to give the Recording Grand Secretary a gentle hint in the same direction. That officer was probably more familiar with Masonic law than almost any Brother then living. This knowledge, and the hard experience gained during the anti-Masonic crusade, in resisting which he had been forced into such a prominent place, gave his opinions great weight, and made him for years almost Grand Master, that officer often being merely the mouth-piece of Brother Moore's opinions. 'But when Brother Heard was installed he at once took the helm himself, and kept it during his whole term; but without interrupting the friendly feeling and respect which had long subsisted between them.
"In 1856 Brother Heard filled the office of Senior Grand Warden. It was during that year that he obtained from a grandson of Henry Price a portrait of the Father of Masonry in North America, painted when the subject was about forty years of age. Brother Heard found it in a very dilapidated condition, had it skillfully restored, and hung in Freemason's Hall, where it was destroyed in the disastrous fire of April 5, 1864.
"In the year 1856 he published A Historical Account of Columbian Lodge, from the granting of the dispensation, June 8, 1795,— Paul Revere, Grand Master. Only five hundred copies of this valuable work were printed, twenty-five of which were destroyed in the fire above named.
"At the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge, in December, 1856, Grand Master Lewis declined a reelection, on account of ill-health, and Brother Heard was unanimously chosen. He served during the years 1857, 1858, and 1859; They were crowded with work of very great value to the Craft. He infused new life and vigor into every branch of the Fraternity throughout the State. At his second installation he was able to say that he had visited all of the chartered Lodges in the jurisdiction, — a boast which no predecessor or successor could make. To many of the Brethren the sight of a Grand Master was a new revelation; to all of them the sight of this Grand Master was an inspiration. Of tall stature, portly figure, fine face, and courtly manners, he always appeared, on Masonic occasions, in full evening dress, wearing the historic cocked hat, which he brought forth from the hiding-place to which anti-Masonic malignity had consigned it, and which he wore most gracefully and becomingly. He magnified his office; but he showed that he had a profound sense of its dignity and high importance, and he inspired the same sentiment in the minds of all the Brethren.
"He found many of the Lodges in very poor condition. In his Annual Address he reported 'that some of them were sustaining a mode of work contrary to that established by this Grand Lodge, while others were entirely unskilled in any work whatever which bore any but the most distant resemblance to what would be recognized by a bright Freemason.' Deeming it very important that these irregularities should be speedily corrected, he appointed as Special Grand Lecturers, Brothers Caleb Rand and Isaac P. Seavey, who, with the Junior Grand Lecturer, Brother Benjamin F. Nourse, travelled all over the State, affording that instruction which 'Was greatly needed by many Lodges,' and finding 'that a much longer delay in communicating it to them would have been attended with the most evil consequences.' This service was attended with considerable expense; but he did not hesitate to use the funds of the Grand Lodge for the purpose when necessary. In reporting his action he expressed the opinion 'that no appropriation of money from the general fund for any other purpose would be productive of so many benefits to the Fraternity in general as that which may be necessary to establish uniformity in our usages and customs.' Few of the Craft are aware of the low state in which he found the Lodges, and the greatly improved condition in which he left them.
"At the first Quarterly Communication at which Bro. Heard presided, March, 1857, he presented an elaborate Report on the Condition of the Charity Fund of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. It was not published with the Annual Proceedings of that year, but in a separate pamphlet of sixty-four pages octavo. Probably very few copies are now in existence. At the same Communication he addressed, the Grand Lodge at some length; but unfortunately only some of the topics of this discourse were recorded: Public Dedications and Consecrations were condemned; it was advised that the Grand Lecturers only, or such Brethren as were approved by the Grand Master, should be employed by the Lodges in teaching the Work and Lectures; that the By-Laws of Lodges should be put into the hands of a Committee of the Grand Lodge for examination and correction; that better security should be provided for the archives of the Grand Lodge; and that more ample accommodations than the Temple afforded should be furnished. These, and other recommendations of the new Grand Master foreshadowed the eminently practical, efficient, and business-like character of his administration. Its progress and results abundantly justified and even bettered the prediction.
At the same Communication (March, 1857) a committee on a new banner was appointed, and upon their recommendation, at the next Communication (June, 1857), the seal, which had been in use by this Grand Lodge for more than a century, was discarded, and a new one adopted. At that time Brother Heard had little knowledge as to the points raised by the committee; but his studies as to the Montague question gave, him very clear' ideas as to the origin of the old seal and the true significance of its motto. This new light led him to regret the change exceedingly, and, as he was in the chair at the time it was voted, he considered himself specially responsible for it. He therefore, in March l878, brought the subject to the attention of the Grand Master. His letter sets forth very clearly the error of the committee in regard to the origin and meaning of the motto Follow Reason, and concludes as follows: 'I am not unfriendly to changes in the laws, customs, and habits of general society, and am disposed to yield to them without much scrutiny if they promise good; but in Masonic matters I am more scrupulous, and would allow no change in them whatever, that was not called for by the most urgent necessity. The sweeping act, by which our old seal was made to give way to the new, took from us an emblem which had been dear to several generations of our Brethren in Massachusetts.' The subject was referred to a committee, who, after the most thorough and careful consideration, recommended a return to the old seal, with the addition of the arms of the Commonwealth. Their recommendation was adopted, and it takes effect this day. It is gratifying to know that the conclusion reached by the committee met the cordial approval of Brother Heard.
"In June, 1857, the Grand Master inaugurated with Masonic rites a marble statue of General Warren, on the eighty-second anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill, in the presence and at the request of the Monument Association.
"On the 24th of the same month, in company with the Grand Officers and the De Molay Encampment of Boston, he united with the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island in the celebration of St. John's day. An oration was delivered by Past Grand Master Randall, and a poem by Brother Van Zandt (afterwards governor of Rhode Island). A full report of the celebration was published, containing both productions, and forms a most interesting pamphlet.
"On the 2d of October, 1858, Grand Master Heard laid the corner-stone of Minot's Ledge light-house, and delivered an address*, in which he set forth the more prominent instances in which the foundations of public structures had been laid with Masonic ceremonies in Great Britain and the United States. On the anniversary of St. John the Evangelist in that year he revived the Feast, and at the table delivered a carefully prepared address, giving a detailed history of the Feast as celebrated in England and Massachusetts.
"The record of that most interesting occasion concludes as follows: The company broke up at about eleven o'clock, after having enjoyed a very agreeable evening, in which hilarity was mingled with brotherly feelings, and recreation with instruction. It is hoped that the festivity of St. John the Evangelist, so long kept up in the olden time and so happily revived in the present, may now be continued without interruption. The hope here expressed has thus far been realized, with the exception that, in 1861, for the table ceremonies was substituted an eloquent and beautiful address on the subject of Masonic friendships, by Rev. Bro. William R. Alger. During this year the sale of the Masonic Temple to the United States Government was consummated, — a transaction to which the Grand Master had largely contributed. In connection with the Proceedings of this year was issued the list of grand officers from the union in 1792 to and including the year 1859. This list had first been prepared by Bro. Heard for his History of Columbian Lodge, but was now greatly enlarged and improved.
"At the Quarterly Communication in March, 1859, Grand Master Heard presented the Act of Incorporation which he had obtained from the Legislature of the Commonwealth, which was accepted and the Corporation formally organized. At the same meeting the purchase of the Winthrop House estate, on which the present Temple stands, was authorized During this year the corner-stone of the Plymouth Monument to the Pilgrim Fathers was laid with Masonic ceremonies, a duplicate copy of the ancient records of St. John's and Massachusetts Grand Lodges was made, and on the 27th of December the new apartments in the Winthrop House building, called Freemasons' Hall, were dedicated. On the latter occasion Grand Master Heard delivered an elaborate address, which was not published with the Proceedings; but in a separate pamphlet, comprising, with the appendix, one hundred and twenty-seven pages octavo. In these pages are given probably all, or nearly all, the information that can be gathered in regard to the various halls which have been occupied by the Masonic Fraternity in Boston. This occasion formed a most brilliant conclusion to one of the most useful administrations in this'Masonic jurisdiction known to any of the Brethren now living.
"But Brother Heard's interest in Masonry did not cease when he ceased to occupy one of its most conspicuous seats. His active mind was still busy in studying the history and antiquities of the Craft, and bringing forth treasures new and old to contribute to its honor and dignity. Most of us remember him principally for the elaborate reports he has contributed to our Records and Proceedings. In 1869 he furnished the report on the petition of Lewis Hayden and other colored men for recognition as Masons, and a second report on the Grand Charity Fund. In 1870 he devoted considerable time to procuring the portraits of Grand Masters to replace those lost by the fire in 1864; but his principal work in that year was the preparation of the elaborate and exhaustive report on the Montague question; in 1873 he presented the voluminous report on the Lives of the Grand Chaplains of this Grand Lodge. This report demonstrates the non-sectarian character, of our Institution, and has excited great attention and interest. In 1875 he contributed the Memorial to Grand Master Lewis, filling two hundred and fifty pages of our printed Proceedings, and comprising many of Bro. Lewis' addresses and letters never before published. In 1874 and 1875 he furnished for the New England Freemason the series of papers entitled respectively: Old London Taverns Identified with Masonry, Books of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England, Presents to the Grand Lodge of England, and Old Halls in London Associated with Masonry. Each of these reports and papers exhibited the wonderful patience and exhaustless industry which characterized every work of their author. Nothing escaped him. He seemed determined to gather every scrap of information, no matter, how trivial, which had any connection with the subject he was investigating. Several will remain, so long as the history of this Grand Lodge shall endure, as monuments of the zeal and industry of their author; and future historians of Masonry in England and Massachusetts will be profoundly grateful for the work he has done.
"Although Brother Heard took a deep interest in public affairs, and often expressed his opinions in regard to them through the newspapers, he had little inclination for public office. In the year 1858, however, he allowed his name to be used as a candidate for Congress. His District included the 'North End' of Boston, — once a very aristocratic quarter, but now of somewhat unsavory reputation. Some of the shrewd managers of Brother Heard's party proposed that he should make the acquaintance of his constituents in that locality in their native haunts and in propria persona. He accordingly made one visit; but the work was beneath his dignity, and not at all to his taste. The managers complained that 'he didn't do it well.' His opponent, also a Mason, less scrupulous and less fastidious, was elected by two hundred votes.
"The following incident shows the kindly and generous nature of our late Grand Master. Soon after he went out of office he met one of the Grand Lecturers, who had been very diligent and efficient in carrying out the work already referred to. Brother Heard inquired particularly as to his plans and his prospects, and especially whether he had all the money he required to carry on his business. The Brother replied that he had all he needed for the time being. 'Well,' said Brother Heard, 'if you find yourself in want of more at any time, come and see me.' Sometime after, the Brother, proposing an enlargement of his business, called on Brother Heard, and reminded him of their conversation. He was referred to the president of the bank where Brother Heard kept his account, and there the astonished Brother found a credit opened for him to the amount of ten thousand dollars. Of this he availed himself, to his great advantage, and in due time acquitted himself of the pecuniary obligations. It is believed that no one but the parties concerned, knew of this transaction until after Brother Heard's death.
"The Recording Grand Secretary, at its last Communication, presented to his own Lodge, of which Brother Heard was an Honorary Member, an appropriate memorial, which furnishes many details not above included, and which your committee would therefore beg leave to submit as a part of their report, as also the proceedings of Columbian Lodge In Memoriam. In these days of ante-mortem eulogies, when our Masonic periodicals are filled with the portraits of youth who have gone with lightning rapidity from the lowest to the highest round of the Masonic ladder, and who have ministered simply to their own pride and vanity by the journey, it is refreshing to contemplate a long life, now closed, of hard work and useful service upon the ground floor of the Temple. Some of your committee have wrought side by side with him during his whole Masonic life, and can bear testimony to his untiring zeal and devotion to the interest of our Fraternity. The Craft in Massachusetts have reason to cherish his memory with profound and lasting gratitude.
SERENO D. NICKERSON,
WILLIAM D. COOLIDGE,
CHARLES C. DAME,
WILLIAM S. GARDNER,
PERCIVAL L. EVERETT,
TRACY P. CHEEVER,
GEORGE A. GILLETTE,
- Note: This address is reproduced in full in Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, Nov. 1858, starting on Page 3. Past Grand Master Winslow Lewis gave an address beginning on Page 5; his father was mentioned by the Grand Master.
FROM LIBERAL FREEMASON, 1881
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. IV, No. 10, January 1881, Page 305:
While he was yet a young man, John Perkins, a native of Saxony, came to the United States, and in March, 1766, was made a Mason in St. John's Lodge of Boston.
Thirty years later he was a petitioner for the Charter of Columbian Lodge, was its first elected Junior Warden, third on the honorary list, and as late as January 1st, 1807, the Lodge gave him a vote of thanks for special services on that evening.
It was but natural that his attachment to Freemasonry should be transmitted to his heirs, and that such as were eligible should apply for the degrees to the Lodge which he had helped to establish.
Brother Perkins was the maternal grandfather of John T. Heard, who was born in Boston, May 4th, 1809, was initiated in Columbian Lodge, February 20th, 1845, and became a member May 1st, following.
The records of the Lodge will show how diligent he was in its service, and how faithfully he labored among the workmen. His first official position was that of Junior Deacon, which office he held in 1846 and 1847. He afterward served as Junior Warden, Senior Warden, and Worshipful Master, two years each, concluding in 1855, ami on January 19th of that year he availed himself of the privilege granted by a section in the By-Laws, and purchased a Life membership.
Freemasonry had peculiar attractions for such a mind as his, and for it his attachment increased with his years. His own opinions were broad, intelligent and liberal ; to quote his own language, "Freemasonry is all liberality," therefore, it was all the more acceptable to him, and a knowledge of it the more desirable. It cultivated high morals, good fellowship and manliness of life and character, therefore he cultivated it, and if there was any unrevealed thing in i:, whereby he could be aided to find its true genius he would still further explore its mysteries to find the knowledge whereby to comprehend it. To him it was a study at once interesting and profound, hence it was not an idle or vain curiosity that led him to seek admission to St. Andrews Royal Arch Chapter, of Boston, where he was exalted March ist, 1848, and on April 19th, following, he was created a Knight Templar in Boston Encampment (Commandery), also of Boston. The opportunity for usefulness which Columbian Lodge presented was zealously embraced by Brother Heard, who devoted ^he greater part of his masonic labors to what is generally known as the blue Lodge and its principal, the Grand Lodge.
In the Grand Lodge, he was Grand Marshal two years, was elected Senior Grand Warden in 1855, Grand Master in 1856, and served with more than ordinary ability in that office for the constitutional term of three years.
To him more than to any other is clue the establishment of that wise oversight of the Subordinate Lodges, which now gives the Grand Lodge annual information through the personal inspection and reports of the District Deputies, of the particular and general condition of the craft in the Commonwealth. His first address, made at the celebration of St. John's Day, December 30th, 1856, was a foreshadowing of the wisdom which characterized his administration, and of the thoroughness with which he did his work. Never before, certainly not within the memory of any one of the brethren, had a Grand Master visited every lodge in the jurisdiction, but in December, a year after he obtained that position, we hear him modestly saying, "Since I assumed the duties of this office, twelve months ago, 1 have visited all of the eighty-eight chartered Lodges situate within the bounds of this state, and also one of the four now existing therein by my authority." The memoranda of these visits were deposited with the Grand Secretary, and printed with the proceedings of 1857.
Frequently two lodges would be visited on the same day, and we have a vivid recollection of the amused manner in which he related to us the incidents attending one visit. The Lodge was called to meet at three o'clock in the afternoon, the Grand Master arrived at the hotel, where he was waited upon by the Master, who knew him only by name. The Grand Master declining an escort gave directions to the Master, and at the proper time presented himself in the ante-room, where he was met by the Tyler, armed with sword at "carry," who gravely informed him that the Grand Mister was to visit the Lodge, hence the dignity and importance of the occasion. Without disclosing his rank he requested the Tyler to inform the Master that a Brother desired to visit, and would like an examination. The Lodge was small in numbers, and as, apparently, the Grand Master had not yet arrived, the Master and Wardens undertook the task of testing the visitor. Their surprise was evident, but as each only knew the other to be a Mason by report, Brother Heard declined the ready invitation to go in; the examination was had, and resulted in the Grand Master conducting it, for they could not, but they were then practically and fully instructed in the way and manner of examining visiting brethren.
It was by such and similar modes, that the brethren in Massachusetts grew to understand, under his management, that the outer as well as the inner door should be alike skilfully guarded, and that the dignity of official station added less to the honor of Masonry, than the knowledge of how to direct its interests.
On the 28th clay of January, 1859, John T. Heard and seven others petitioned the "General Court" in terms as follows: "The undersigned petition your honorable body for an Act of Incorporation in behalf of the Master, Wardens and members of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, empowering them to hold real estate, not exceeding in amount two hundred thousand dollars, and personal estate not exceeding fifty thousand dollars." Such an act was passed March 1st, 1859. John T. Heard was authorized to call the first meeting of said Corporation, which he did March 9th, following, when the "Act" was accepted by Grand Lodge, eighty-nine votes in the affirmative and five in the negative.
His retirement from office was signalized by the dedication of the Masonic apartments in the Winthrop House, at the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets, Boston, now the site of the Masonic Temple, on St. John's Day, December 27th, 1859, at half past five o'clock, P. M., after which he installed his successor, Winslow Lewis, into the office of Grand Master, whom he also succeeded.
The various addresses of Grand Master Heard were characterized for their clear statements, business-like arrangement, and great thoroughness. These qualities are conspicuous in his Historical Account of Columbian Lodge, an elaborate work of 592 pages, valuable for its large amount of historical data, and as useful in local Masonic history as any similar work can be. The report on the title of "Viscount," whether Montacute or Montague, shows his patient and laborious application. This the reader, if at all curious, will find in the printed proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for 1870, covering 92 pages.
A more extended, and perhaps more useful work, is his Biographical Sketches of the Chaplains of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, commencing with the Rev. Thaddeus M. Harris, D. D., in 1797, and closing with the present incumbents, Rev. A. H. Quint, D. D., and Rev. Joshua Young. This is an elaborate work of 232 pages, printed with Grand Lodge Proceedings in 1873, and ought, as it deserves to be, a lasting monument to the sound head and good heart of John T. Heard, the once Grand Master.
The death of this Brother was noticed with regret by the newspapers printed in Boston, coupled with eulogistic remarks on his life as a most exemplary and useful citizen. From one of these we quote our closing remarks:
"The death of Col. John T. Heard, in this city, on Wednesday. December 1st, was not unanticipated by his friends. His failing health for some time past indicated that his tenure of life was not to be of long duration. He was a native of this city, and was born May 4th, 1809. His early years-were passed here, and his mercantile life was a most prosperous one. He was associated with the Trulls in their large distillery, and was engaged in several business enterprises. Col. Heard retired from business many years since, but he has not led an idle life, but has been active in good works. He was a pleasant speaker on many occasions of interest to the public and to the fraternity of Masons, while his natural dignity of manner, his genial and pleasant address, created friends for him in every circle which he frequented.
" In politics Col. Heard was for many years identified with the Democratic party, and was their candidate in this city for a seat in the Thirty-second Congress in opposition to Hon. William Appleton, the successful Whig candidate. In 1S51, Col. Heard was senior Aide to Gov. Boutwell. His only son, Dr. J. Theodore Heard was in active service during the War. Col. Heard resided a large portion of his time in Washington, extending to our soldiers many acts of kindness and liberality which made him a welcome visitor to the camps of Massachusetts soldiers. After the close of the war, Col. Heard became identified with the Republican party, and was a delegate to the Worcester Convention on one or two occasions. He was the recipient of commissions from Governor Clifford and Governor Washburn, which he declined. Col. Heard found his greatest pleasures in the retirement of his home and in the gratification of his literary tastes."
FEAST OF ST. JOHN, DECEMBER 1856
Portrait of Grand Master Heard, in the possession of John T. Heard Lodge, Ipswich
From Original Proceedings, Page 55ff:
Brethren of the Grand Lodge:
Having been elected by your undivided note to occupy the distinguished position of presiding over your deliberations and to perform the duties devolving upon the executive of this Masonic Jurisdiction, I would return my most grateful acknowledgments for your kindness and for the confidence you have thereby so generously reposed in me, and to assure you that my best efforts will be constantly directed to the continuance of the unexampled prosperity which now attends our ancient and time-honored institution.
It is deeply regretted that the impaired health of my predecessor has compelled him to decline another election to the station he has for two years so ably and worthily filled. In the expression of this regret, I know that I utter the sentiment of the whole fraternity of this Commonwealth. Besides losing his valuable services, we have to lament the painful cause of his retirement. It is hoped, however, that as he has now thrown off the cares and responsibilities appertaining to the supreme office of our Order, he will speedily recover his health and strength, and be permitted by a kind Providence long to favor us with his counsel and share with us our hours of relaxation and refreshment. For twenty six years, our distinguished Brother has been one of the most faithful and untiring laborers amongst us. The Beehive has indeed been to him a symbolic monitor of industry, in the practice of fraternal and benevolent excellence. From the pressing engagements of the learned profession, which he adorns, he has, in his zealous attachment to Masonry, found time to participate to an extent rarely equalled, in the affairs of the Lodge, Chapter, Encampment, and other Masonic organizations. As a Trustee of the Grand Charity Fund, a member of the Board of Relief, a Trustee of the Temple, and a member of the Board of Masonic Apartments, he bas ever been faithful, active and efficient. In the collection of our Library we observe his zeal and perseverance, and correct Masonic judgment. But not among the least of his labors is that of gathering together the portraits of eminent Masons, which embellish this Lodge-room. To so true a Brother our feelings are those of the sincerest attachment and affection : may his genial companionship be long vouchsafed to us; and when, at last, he shall have taken the third step delineated upon the Master's Carpet, may he "enjoy the happy reflection consequent upon a well-spent life, and die in the hope of a blessed immortality."
The affairs and interests of this Jurisdiction having been so fully presented by him who has so long and faithfully presided over them, there remain only a few subjects to which I would invite your attention. An almost daily observation of the duties of the Recording Grand Secretary, during the past year, has convinced me that the compensation allowed to that officer, is entirely inadequate to the numerous and important services he- performs. Believing that it is your desire to bestow a just and ample remuneration for labors of this kind, I would recommend that his salary be increased, and that he be permitted to employ a clerk at the expense of the Grand Lodge, as occasion may require.
In the course of their official duties, the officers of the Grand Lodge are frequently called to paints remote from their places of residence, requiring expenditures incidental thereto, which have been paid in some cases, from their own private means, and in others from the grand treasury. The occasions demanding such expenditures, are the laying of corner-stones of Masonic and public edifices, the constitution and consecration of Lodges, the installation of officers of new Lodges and the dedication of Masonic Halls — services strictly Masonic and official in their character, and beneficial in their influence on the welfare of the Order. It is for this body to determine, when a Lodge invites the grand officers to perform either of these duties, whether the expenses referred to shall be borne by the Grand Lodge exclusively, or whether in whole or in part by the subordinate Lodge. It seems to me to be just, that where the Lodge has the ability; the two bodies should bear them equally.
I would bring to your consideration the expediency of printing the Records of the Grand Lodge, including those of St. John's and Massachusetts' Grand Lodges. This might be done in a manner similar to that adopted for the publication of the Colonial records, under authority of the State government. The work should be given to a competent and discreet editor, and would be one of rare interest and usefulness. Thus the foundation of the history of our Order would be preserved, affording exact data and rich material for him who should undertake to write it.
As a means of promoting personal acquaintance among the Brethren, and securing the advantages arising from social intercourse, it seems desirable that observances of a festive character should be established at stated periods. In the warrant of the Grand Master of England, appointing, in 1733, Henry Price Grand Master of New England, an annual festival is enjoined in these terms : "And lastly, we will and require that our said Provincial Grand Master of New Eng land, do annually cause the Brethren to keep the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist, and dine together on that day, or (in case any accident should happen to prevent their dining together on that day) on any other day near that time, as he shall judge most fit, as is done here." From time immemorial the Brethren of England have every year kept "the Feast." Their regulations, in 1721, provided that it should be observed by "The Brethren of all the Lodges in and about London and Westminster;" who should "assemble either on St. John Evangelist's Day or St. John Baptist's Day, as the Grand Lodge shall think fit by a New Regulation." In 1731, it was ordained, "That no particular Lodge shall have a Feast on the Day of the General Feast." The expenses attending these occasions were defrayed by those who participated in them. At the communication of the Grand Lodge, April 25, 1723, "The Tickets were ordered to be Ten Shillings each, impressed from a curious Copper Plate, and sealed with the Grand Master's Seal of Office, to be disposed of by the Grand Wardens and Stewards." The Grand Master and other grand officers were installed into office, and other important business transacted at these communications.
By the present regulations of the Grand Lodge of England, printed in 1855, it is declared that " here shall be a Masonic festival, annually, on the Wednesday next following Saint George's Day, which shall be dedicated to brotherly love and refreshment, and to which all regular Masons shall have access, on providing themselves with tickets from the grand stewards of the year ;" and, further, that "Eighteen grand stewards shall be annually appointed, for the regulation of the grand festival, under the direction of the Grand Master." I have cited sufficient to show that " the feast" is, with our English Brethren, an ancient Masonic landmark, whioh they steadfastly regard to the present time. But, how have we, of this jurisdiction, departed from this ancient custom — from the command of the Warrant by which our institution was first organized on these shores! The restoration of these social communications would, no doubt, strengthen and harmonize our union, and animate to greater exertions to promote our common prosperity. Of late years, the practice has to some degree prevailed of celebrating St. John Baptist's Day among our Brethren of the country, not by ihe fraternity generally, but by particular Lodges. This anniversary occurring in the warm season, is appropriately commemorated away from crowded cities. May we not, in a spirit of reciprocity, attract our Brethren of the interior to social enjoyment in the metropolis ? And what more suitable season offers than that in which occurs St. John Evangelist's Day, which is set apart by the Constitutions for the installation of the officers of this Grand Lodge?
The erection of a monument to the memory of our First Grand Master, is worthy of consideration. As onr records now show, his remains are in the grave-yard in Townsend, in this State. The place of his burial is designated by a tablet bearing an inscription which records important facts of his life. To honor the worthy dead, accords with the feelings of respect and gratitude of the living. It may be hoped that some measures will ere long be instituted to provide a substantial and appropriate memorial to the honor of him who was the first to organize Freemasonry in this land. Oar beautiful Mount Auburn affords all the advantages for the deposit of so sacred a testimonial. The ground which should be selected for it might be of that extent as to be also the burial-place of Brethren who die among us, away from their kindred and homes.
During the exciting political contest through which the community has just passed, one of unusual acrimony and violence, it is gratifying that partizan feelings have not been carried into our Lodge-rooms; and that the political opinions of all have been scrupulously respected. The indulgence of conversation and animadversion upon the exciting public topics of the day, ought ever to be banished from our assemblies.
Words of caution have so frequently been spoken from the East of this Grand Lodge, respecting the qualifications of persons asking admittance into our Order, that the repetition would seem to be unnecessary. But I cannot refrain from expressing alarm that less inquiry is exercised as to the moral and social fitness of candidates than our welfare and safety demand. Masonry is designed to be eminently a social institution ; its eleemosynary character is secondary. Of how great importance is it, then, that its disciples should be worthy of mutual esteem and confidence! Without such regard for each other, our boasted bond of union becomes powerless; and Masonry, if it exist at all, will do so only in name and form. I would, therefore, urge upon the officers of subordinate Lodges to exert the utmost scrutiny into the character of all who apply to them for initiation. If they are found unworthy, let no considerations whatever influence the ballot in their favor. Neither permit them to withdraw their petition without subjecting them to the negative vote; for otherwise they may gain admittance through portals less strictly guarded. A careful circumspection in this direction is indispensably necessary for the honor, usefulness, and even the existence of Freemasonry.
We have abundant cause for rejoicing at the general prosperity which attends our Order throughout the world. Its beneficent influences were never more extended and efficient than at the present time. Within the borders of this Commonwealth harmony and peace prevail, and a laudable emulation appears to actuate the Brethren to the faithful discharge of their Masonic duties. May the year now commenced under so happy circumstances, witness our continued success, and be productive of increased benefits to our ancient and beloved institution.
CONSTITUTION OF REVERE LODGE, MARCH 1857
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVI, No. 7, May 1857, Page 207:
Worshipful Master and Brethren of Revere Lodge:
I would express to you my high appreciation of your readiness to comply with my wishes, that the solemn ceremonies of this evening should be conducted before Masons only; and this compliance is the more entitled to my grateful consideration, since that you had, before learning my views, proceeded far in making arrangement?, not easily changed, by which this occasion was to have been public. Your generous act,on merits the approbation of the whole fraternity; and the loyalty it manifests, gives assurances that the principles of our Order will ever find, at your hands, unyielding support.
It is not necessary that I should at this time assign reasons for my objections to constitute a Lodge before persons who are not members of the fraternity ; further than to say, that the full efficacy of the solemnities cannot be realized by those upon whom they are interned lo act, except in a closely tyled Lodge. It may be observed, also, that it is becoming too general among the Lodges to display to the world the construction and decorations of our Lodge-rooms, and to an imprudent degree, our rites, which appears to me to be inconsistent with the plan and ground-work of Masonry. I do not see any good to be obtained by publicly exhibiting any of the ceremonies practised in our halls.
Our Constitutions declare that "every new Lodge shall be solemnly constituted by the Grand Master and his officers, or by some competent Brother especially commissioned by him for the purpose." In compliance with this regulation, and with ancient usage, I have constituted you into a regular Lodge, and from this time forth you will, it is hoped and believed, constitute a brilliant link in that great chain of Masonic societies which encircles the globe. In this relation you have great duties to perform, — directly, they relate to the limits of your borders; indirectly, they embrace the universal brotherhood. And, in order to exercise the highest, noblest and broadest Masonic duties, it is well never to loose sight of the fact that in all your actions you are doing that which may affect, for good or evil, the entire brotherhood. When you are assembled within the four walls of this room, let not your mental vision, nor your fraternal feelings be circumscribed by their limits; and always remember that there are those in every part of the earth who are your Brethren, whose rights and honor you are most solemnly bound to regard and protect. It is your first duty to manage well your own Lodge; but let me assure you that its best management will best promote the welfare of this jurisdiction, and in the highest degree protect the interests of the fraternity wheresoever dispersed.
You have chosen a name for your Lodge, cherished by Masons and honored by our countrymen. In the revolutionary struggle which resulted in placing the American colonies among the nations of the earth, Revere was conspicuous, maintaining a character for patriotism, intelligence and integrity which won for him the esteem and confidence of his compatriots. He was initiated as a Mason in St. Andrew's Lodge, in Boston, Sept. 4, 1760, and was raised January 27, 1761. He was Senior Warden of that Lodge in 1764 and Master in 1770. He was afterwards Junior and Senior Grand Warden and Deputy Grand Master of 11 the Massachusetts Grand Lodge." He was one of the fourteen electors who were appointed in 1792, to choose the officers of the new organization resulting from the union of the two Grand Lodges that had previously, for many years, held equal jurisdiction in Massachusetts. After the. Union, in 1795, he became Grand Master, which station he filled with ability for three years. In all the walks of life, this distinguished Brother maintained an honorable character. In selecting his name, therefore, for that of your Lodge, you have shown a due appreciation of merit, most creditable to your judgment. In him you have chosen an exemplar worthy of the strictest imitation—one, if faithfully followed, that will surely conduct you to Masonic excellence.
I am apprehensive that Lodges generally do not realize their true relation to the Grand Lodge; that they regard that body as a power in some degree isolated from the fraternity; and that its authority is exercised by persons too far removed from the interests of the subordinate Lodges, to feel deeply for their prosperity. Nothing can be farther from the fact. The Grand Lodge is composed of their officers, permanent members, and Masters and Wardens of every subordinate Lodge in the jurisdiction. A Lodge may be represented by proxy, who is the substitute for the first three officers. The present number of permanent members, — Past Grand Masters, Past Deputy Grand Masters, and Past Grand Wardens, — is thirty-four, one of whom is now an officer. The number of officers entitled to vote, exclusive of him who is also a permanent member, is eighteen. Excepting Bethesda Lodge, Valparaiso, there now are in the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, ninety Lodges, each of which is entitled to three seats in Grand Lodge, giving them two hundred and seventy votes in that body. It therefore appears that there are three hundred and twenty-two members composing the Grand Lodge, of which two hundred and seventy are officers and representatives of the subordinate Lodges. How apparent, then, is it that the Grand Lodge is not a small body set apart, as some seem to think, to control the affairs of Masonry, without responsibility to the rest of the fraternity. Composed so largely of representatives from subordinate Lodges, it has rather the character of a General Assembly of Masons, which before the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England used to govern the institution in that kingdom ! You now are a legally constituted part of this Masonic Jurisdiction, entitled to three votes in the Grand Lodge, and I hope your first three officers, — the only properly qualified representatives of your society,—will always manifest an interest and pride to share in all the proceedings in that body.
Worshipful Master: The organization of Masonry renders you the governor and responsible head of Revere Lodge, to whom alone the Grand Master and Grand Lodge, look for the faithful performance of the various duties devolving upon your Lodge. For the time being, your authority over your Lodge is supreme and no one can be permitted to call in question, by appeal to the Lodge, any of your decisions. If your Brethren should feel aggrieved at any act of yours, their only remedy is by appeal to the chief executive officer or to the Grand Lodge. But, my Brother, your interest in promoting the welfare of your Lodge, and your knowledge of Masonic law and usage, assure us that you will so rule and govern, that peace and harmony will prevail throughout the borders where you hold authority. I express for the Grand Lodge and for myself the hope that this, the youngest Lodge within our jurisdiction, may become one of the foremost in propagating a correct knowledge of our art and in dispersing the blessings that flow from the faithful and heartfelt practice of the benevolent principles of our institution.
BEFORE GRAND LODGE, DECEMBER 1857
From Original Proceedings, 1857, Page 36ff:
Brethren or the Grand Lodge :—
At our Quarterly Communication in September last, I announced the decease of R. W. Brother Elias Haskell - one of the eldest 'and most respected of our number. An adjournment haying taken place for the purpose, we had the mournful satisfaction to unite with his family and others in attending the funeral services performed over his remains at his late residence in this city. Brother Haskell attained to the great age of nearly ninety years; and, until a short time before his death, possessed his mental and physical faculties in a remarkable degree. He manifested a great attachment to Freemasonry; and for a long period rendered active and useful services in several Masonic societies. In the establishment of the Boston Masonic Board of Relief, in 1819, he took a prominent part. In December, 1833, he was elected Senior Grand Warden of this body, and served in that capacity three successive terms. Throughout the tempestuous season of anti-masonry, he never swerved from his fidelity to, our institution; and his name is borne upon the able and dignified memorial of this Grand Lodge, by which it surrendered, in 1833, its corporate powers to the General Court of Massachusetts.
Surrender of Charters.
Having received information that Bristol Lodge, in the town of Attleboro, had held but one meeting since its Chatter was restored, December 13, 1854, and that during this period it had made no returns or payments required by our regulations, I ordered, in August last, D. D. Grand Master Taber to take possession of its effects. This duty was promptly performed, and the Charter, records and jewels, have been placed in the keeping of the Grand Treasurer. As the delinquency of this Lodge to make returns and payments has continued for three years, its Charier, funds and regalia should be declared forfeited to the Grand Lodge, according to out Constitutions, Part 4th, Article 1, Sec. 4.
It has been officially communicated to me that at a special meeting of Good Samaritan Lodge, Reading, held on the 24th of September last, it was voted to deposit its Charter and book of records with the, Grand Lodge for safe keeping. The reason given for the act is, "that Brethren, not members of Good Samaritan Lodge, who were active in procuring said Charter and records from where they were placed, with said Grand Lodge, and had been for years, for safety, have failed themselves to become members of said Lodge." The Master states "that the remaining members of Good Samaritan Lodge are too few in number and too aged to sustain a creditable working Lodge." R. W. Bro. North, D. G. M. of the Third District, received the Charter and records and has deposited them with the Grand Treasurer. The dues of this Lodge to the Grand Lodge have been regularly paid until the present year. The facts in relation to this Lodge and Bristol Lodge, as well as the condition of others to which Charters have been restored, suggest the question whether the further restoration of Charters is expedient. By our Constitutions it is required that seven of the petitioners for the restoration of a Charter of a Lodge shall have been members at the time of its surrender: now, as the Charters in our archives were surrendered many years ago, the legal petitioners for their restoration must, in almost every case, be old and infirm men, and unfitted to re-establish a vigorous and prosperous Lodge; and this opinion is sustained by the statement received from Good Samaritan Lodge. It may properly be asked, why is the restoration of a Charter required at all, when a Charter for a new Lodge can be as readily obtained? The surrender of a Charter dishonors it: then, for what reason are Brethren sometimes so anxious to obtain one? It must be inferred that pecuniary considerations influence the choice. I would therefore recommend that a fee for restoring a Charter be established, equalling that charged for a new one. An arrangement so just, could afford no cause of complaint.
Meridian Sun Lodge, Brookfield; Harris Lodge, Templeton; Eden Lodge, Ware; and Doric Lodge, Southbridge, have had but a nominal existence for many years. Their names are still on the roll of the Grand Lodge and their erasure can be done only by your authority. In 1854, R. W. Horace Chenery, D. G. M. of the Sixth District, made the following endorsement on his return for that year, in relation to these Lodge — "Charters lost or returned to Grand Lodge."
Ascertaining that neither the Charters, records, nor any other properly of either of these Lodges was in our archives, and that there was no evidence that either of them had ever surrendered any of its effects to the Grand Lodge, I directed D. D. Grand Master Henry Earl to visit the towns in which the Lodges were located, and by due inquiry to determine whether or not the missing Charters could be recovered. Through his praiseworthy efforts, I am enabled to report that the Charter and records of Meridian Sun Lodge were in possession of Bro. Rufus Dodge, a worthy farmer eighty four years of age, who cheerfully resigned his charge on learning that it was the request of the Grand Lodge that he should do so. No meeting of M. S. Lodge has been held since 1834.
The records of Harris Lodge are obtained, but its Charter cannot be found. The Lodge funds were divided among its members in 1834.
It is probable that the Charter, jewels, records and furniture of Eden Lodge were destroyed by fire many years ago, when its hall was burned.
With regard to Doric Lodge, Bro. Earl has made many inquiries and ascertained important facts; but, as yet, he has not succeeded in recovering its Charter or other property. He will continue his researches.
Dedication of Halls, Charters issued and Lodges constituted.
During the past year four Masonic halls have been dedicated, five Charters for Lodges issued and six Lodges constituted and consecrated, namely,
- January 21. Dedication of the hall of Morning Star Lodge, Worcester, assisted by Brothers John H. Sheppard, J. G. W.; Charles W. Moore, R. G. S.; Wm. S. Gardner, G. M.; Peter C. Jones, G. S. B.; William W. Wheildon, G. S.; Jesse P. Pattee, G. P.; Benjamin F. Nourse, G. L.; and Eben F. Gay, G. T. The officers of the Lodge were installed by the G. M.
- February 2. Blackstone River Lodge, Blackstone, constituted and consecrated, and its officers installed. Present, Brothers Bradford L. Wales, S. G. W.; J. H. Sheppard, J. G. W.; C. W. Moore, R. G. S. ; Peter Wainwright, acting G. Tr.; Peter C. Jones, G. S. B.; Wm. W. Wheildon and W. D. Coolidge, G. Stewards; and E. F. Gay, G. T. Brother Levi Rawson, D. D. G. M. of the 4th District, was also present.
- March 11. Issued the Charter for Paul Revere Lodge, North Bridgewater. This Lodge was constituted and consecrated on the 6th of April, with the assistance of the principal grand officers.
- March 11. Executed the Charter of Revere Lodge, Boston, and constituted and consecrated it on the 27th March; the Grand Wardens and other grand officers assisting.
- September 9. Charter issued to Wyoming Lodge, Melrose, and to Joseph Warren Lodge, Boston.
- October 12. Wyoming Lodge constituted and consecrated, its officers installed, and its hall dedicated — all in ample form. The following grand officers were present—Brothers Sheppard, Tolman, Moore, Gay lord, Wheildon, Pattee, Gregory and Gay.
- October 15. Joseph Warren Lodge constituted and consecrated, and its officers installed. Those present, assisting, were Brothers Wales, Sheppard, Tulman, Moore, Warren, Wells, Gardner, Low, Wheildon, Pattee and Gay. R. W. Brother Wm. D. Coolidge, D. G. M. of 1st District, was also present.
- November 9. Dedication of the new hall of Jordan Lodge, South Danvers, and installation of its officers — present with the Grand Master, Brothers Sheppard, Moore, Pickman, Low, Wheildon and Jones. R. W. Brother Seavey, D. G. M. of the 2d District, was also present.
- December 9. Charter issued to Pequossette Lodge, Watertown.
- December 23. Constituted and consecrated Pequossette Lodge, installed its officers, and dedicated its hall. Brothers Sheppard, Moore, Tolman, Coolidge, Wells, Wainwright, Jones, Wheildon and Pattee, assisted in the ceremonies.
Dispensations to form Lodges granted.
Five Dispensations to form Lodges have been granted. This power has been exercised only after thorough inquiry whether the qualifications of the petitioners entitled them to the important trust of founding a Masonic Lodge. If they were members of Lodges, reasonable evidence has been required to show whether they were in good standing as such; if not members, whether they had been honorably discharged from the Lodge with which they had been connected, and were otherwise reputable; and if they had not had affiliation, as members, with any Lodge, whether their character merited the privilege petitioned for. Their standing in general society has not been disregarded, it having been deemed necessary, in order to insure the success of a new Lodge, that its members should have the respect of their neighbors. Attention has also been given to the locality where the petitioners resided, that it might be determined whether the extent of population promised the means of supporting a healthy and influential Lodge. The Brethren to whom I have confided Dispensations are believed to be skillful workmen, and good men and true.
The Lodges thus formed are,
- May 8. Eureka Lodge, New Bedford. Petitioners, Timothy Ingraham, W. M.; Henry F. Thomas, S. W.; Isaac M. Richardson, J. W.; Stephen A. Tripp, Moses G. Thomas, Robert C. Topham, James C. Tripp, Benjamin Russell, Moses H. Bliss, and George H. Taber. Recommended by Star-in-the-East Lodge.
- August 27. Mount Vernon Lodge, Maiden. Petitioners, Benjamin G. Hill, W. M.; Henry Crehore, S. W.; Charles Hill, J. W.; Charles Lewis, Thomas Tufts, James Bartlett, Edward D. Bell, Solomon Cruse, William C. Brooks, Francis Morandi, Tappen Sargent, and George G. Hill.
- October 21. John Abbot Lodge, Somerville. Petitioners, F. L. Raymond, W. M.; Joel F. Thayer, S. W.; James A. Bugbee, T. J. Leland, James M. Shute, George O. Brastow, Isaac Story, R. E. Demmon, Benjamin Woodard, Charles E. Gilman, John K. Hall, Thomas H. Lord, W. H. Sanders, Enoch Robinson, and Isaac F. Sheppard. Recommended by King Solomon and Putnam Lodges.
- November 4. Berkshire Lodge, Adams, South Village. Petitioners, Daniel Upton, W. M.; F. O. Sayles, S. W.; H. M. Holmes, J. W.; Arnold Brayton, Edwin F. Jenks, Isaac Dean and Anthony Barton. Recommended by Lafayette Lodge of Adams, North Village.
- December 15. Hiram Lodge, of Copiapo, Copiapo, Chili, South America, on the petition of Joseph Y. Brower, A. C. Brower, Edmund Kendall, William Reay, Jr., Marc Henry Gaillard, Henry M. Caldwell, and George R. Stevenson. Recommended by Bethesda Lodge, Valparaiso, 23d Sept., 1857, and by R. W. Charles T. Ward, Jr., Special Deputy, residing at Valparaiso.
The Dispensation granted to form Star-of-the-South Lodges, Concepcion, South America, has been returned, some of the petitioners preferring to connect themselves with existing Lodges, rather than to establish a new one.
Initiations and Memberships.
By the returns recently received by the Grand Treasurer, it appears that the chartered Lodges initiated, from September 1, 1856, to September 1, 1857, 995 persons, and five Lodges under Dispensation initiated 97,—making a total of initiations of 1,092. The labors of Lodges under Dispensation from which no returns have been received, and from which no returns are required until after they have severally worked one year, would increase this number of initiates to a small extent. A table has been prepared presenting in a concise and convenient form the amount of work performed during the year by each Lodge, and the number of members of each Lodge on the first of September, 1857. The whole number of Brethren in affiliation with the Lodges in this Jurisdiction on that date, was 5,320. It is intended to include this table in the printed abstract of our proceedings of the past year. I regret to add, that several Lodges have not punctually observed their duty in making their returns, causing the grand officers, who require the information they contain for official purposes, much inconvenience.
District Deputy Grand Masters.
At the commencement of the last year an additional Masonic District was formed, making the number of Districts eleven. Owing to the increase of Lodges in Boston and its immediate vicinity, still another District has become necessary, and our Jurisdiction, within the limits of Massachusetts, is now divided into twelve Districts. The two Special Deputies, one for Nantucket, and the other for Provincetown, will not be re-appointed, they being deemed no longer necessary. The reports of the District Deputy Grand Masters to the Grand Master afford much satisfactory and useful information in relation to their respective Districts, and if printed with our proceedings will have a beneficial influence. These officers merit the highest commendation for the fidelity and ability with which they have discharged the duties entrusted to them. It is now fifty-four years since the District system was established, and at no time has its advantages been more apparent than at present. The services of a Special Deputy will still be required at Valparaiso, South America, and the Brother who has so satisfactorily filled the office for several years, will be continued in it.
Voters in Grand Lodge.
Our Grand Lodge consists, at this moment, of three hundred and thirty-three voters. This number is derived as follows, namely—
- Permanent Members, thirtyfive, two of whom are now elected officers; 33
- Elected officers; 5
- Appointed officers of Grand Lodge; 16
- District Deputy Grand Masters; 12
- Masters and Wardens of chartered Lodges in Massachusetts (88); 264
- Masters and Wardens of Bethesda Lodge, Valparaiso, South America; 3
- Whole number of voters; 333
The attendance at our Communications, though improving in number, is not so large as the important duties that devolve upon us demand. At the Quarterly Communication for this month, there were present at the hour of election of officers, only one hundred and three voters, or less than one-third of the whole number. Is it not a dereliction of duty for a Lodge to fail to participate in our transactions? In a great measure, the welfare of the Order in this Commonwealth depends upon your action; through your regulations and choice of Grand Officers are to be ascribed the state of discipline and degree of happiness existing in the institution* under your control. But your labors are not limited lo affairs internal to our Jurisdiction; they extend in their effects far beyond our borders, and affect more or less the great brotherhood. Regulations relating to inter-communication between this and other Jurisdictions for the preservation of the rights if all, and securing free and cordial intercourse among the Brethren generally, are established by Grand Lodges as among the foremost of their Masonic obligations. Hence, how necessary is it that every Lodge should be here represented.
Visits of Grand Master.
Since I assumed the duties of this office, twelve months ago, I have visited all of Ite eighty-eight chartered Lodges situated within the bounds of this State, and, also, one (Eureka) of the four now existing therein by my authority as your Grand Master. The other three of this latter class have been established so recently, that my visits to them can be advantageously deferred to a later time. The opportunity thus afforded to me of knowing the condition and wants of the Lodges, will not, it is hoped, be without benefit in the administration of affairs. By it, I have been enabled to make the personal acquaintance of some of the officers and members of every Lodge; to notice every Lodge-room and its decorations; the mode of work lo some extent; and to become acquainted with the views and spirit by which our Brethren are actuated. The knowledge of the location of each Lodge in respect to the population surrounding it, and consequently of the field it possesses from which it may gather new members, will not be without advantage in determining whether any ill-success that may attend it, is attributable to internal or external causes. These visits hare enabled me personally to address some members of every Lodge on subjects of local interest and of concern to the universal brotherhood. In the pursuance of this undertaking I have travelled twentyone hundred and four miles — by railroad fifteen hundred and twenty-two miles, by horse conveyance five hundred and live miles, and by steamboats seventy-seven miles;—and have addressed in the aggregate about twenty-five hundred members of our Order. Memoranda of these visits are deposited in the office of the Recording Grand Secretary. By all the Lodges I have been received with the respect due to my office, while to many of them, as well as to many Brethren, individually, am I personally indebted for kind attentions and generous hospitality.
Work and Lectures.
Soon after I had commenced visiting the Lodges, it became apparent to me that some of them were sustaining a mode of work contrary to that established by this Grand Lodge, while others were entirely unskilled in any work whatever which bore any but the most distant resemblance to what would be recognized by a bright Freemason. In some places, the deviations from our regulations were attributable to the influence of "old Masons," and in others, to adoptions from practices saiil to prevail in other jurisdictions, in violation of Sec. 5, Part Fifth, of our Constitutions, which is as follows, viz.:— "No Lodge shall encourage, promote, or permit, the delivery of any Masonic lectures, which have not been sanctioned and authorized by the Grand Lodge. Nor shall any Mason be permitted to deliver such lectures under this jurisdiction." The same authority declares (Sec. 9, Article I, Part Fourth,) that "all Lodges are particularly bound to observe the same usages and customs. Every deviation, therefore, from the established mode of working is highly improper, and ought not to be countenanced;" and again it declares, that "it shall be the duty of the Master and Wardens to qualify themselves, in the work and lectures, sanctioned by the Grand Lodge, that they may be enabled to instruct their respective Lodges."
Deeming it very important that these irregularities should be speedily corrected, I decided to bring into requisition at once the services of lecturers for the purpose. Such were the engagements of the Senior Grand Lecturer that his assistance could not be obtained; and so great was the labor to be performed, that the Junior Grand Lecturer could not accomplish it within the period which I thought desirable. I therefore appointed two Special Grand Lecturers to aid in the undertaking. The Junior Grand Lecturer, W. Bro. Benjamin F. Nourse, and one of the Special Lecturers, W. Bro. Caleb Rand, entered upon the performance of the duties assigned to them at the close of August, and the other Special Lecturer, R. W. Bra Isaac P. Seavey, early in September; and they have continued to lecture, with short intermissions, until the present time. The number of Lodges which they have visited and instructed beyond the limits of Boston, is forty-four. By the reports of the Lecturers it will be seen that instruction was greatly needed by many Lodges, and that a much longer delay in communicating it to them, would have been attended with the most evil consequences. The Senior Grand Lecturer, W. Bro. William C. Martin, reports favorably as to the condition of the nine Lodges which meet at the Masonic Temple, in this city. It is my desire to reader every Lodge perfect in the work and lectures of this Grand Lodge, by the means now exercised. It is attended with considerable expense, but it is my judgment that no appropriation of money from the general fund for any other purpose, would be productive of so many benefits to the fraternity, in general, as that which may be necessary to establish uniformity in our "usages and customs." The Lodges ought not, however, to subject the Grand Lodge to expenses for lecturers when they have the ability to pay for their services themselves, or when they can obtain instruction at little pains and gratuitously from other well informed Brethren; and especially uo Lodge in the neighborhood of Boston should do it, so long as the excellent Lodge of Instruction,— which meets in this Temple by your authority, and to which all worthy Masons can have access,— shall be continued.
Proficiency of Candidates.
The nominal, or "suitable proficiency" as it is called, demanded of candidates in the several stages of their advancement is not what is necessary in justice to them and for the interests and reputation of our Order in this Commonwealth. Every Lodge capable to instruct thoroughly, should require real proficiency of every candidate, step by step, as a condition of his advancement. The enforcement of such a rule would do much to elevate, strengthen and harmonize our society.
Qualifications of Candidates and objects of Freemasonry.
As the welfare and permanency of our institution depend upon the good character of its members, I cannot refrain from the expression of a fear that sufficient discrimination is not always exercised in respect to candidates. It has not escaped my observation that there is too great laxity by the committees of inquiry in their investigations, and that the duties reposed in them is often looked upon by them rather as a matter of form than as the most responsible which we are called upon to perform ; and therefore it sometimes occurs, in contravention of our rules, that a candidate is "balloted for, into whose moral character a strict inquiry has not been made." The utmost vigilance should be exerted in the inquiry; which should extend, not alone over a few months or years of his life, but from his youth up. And that should not be deemed a sufficient investigation which elicits nothing unfavorable to his reputation merely ; it should not cease until the most satisfactory evidences are obtained that he is affirmatively and positively a moral man. But the moral qualification of an applicant for the privileges of Freemasonry is not the only one which he must possess; for, as it is one of our objects "to inculcate the social virtues," it is necessary that he should be companionable, and readily disposed to mix in friendly and fraternal intercourse with our members. One of the Constitutions of our Older declares that no person shall be admitted a member of it unless he be of "good report; of sufficient natural endowments, and the senses of a man; with an estate, office, trade, occupation, or some visible way of acquiring an honest livelihood, and of working in his Craft, as becomes the members of this most ancient and honorable Fraternity, who ought, not only to earn what is sufficient for themselves and families, but likewise something to spare for works of charity, and supporting the true dignity of the royal Craft." And again the same authority asserts that "No Brother shall propose, for admission into this ancient and honorable society, any person, through friendship or partiality, who does not possess the moral and social virtues, a sound head and a good heart; and who has not an entire exemption from all those ill qualities and vices which would bring dishonor on the Craft."
To strike out the social and fraternal characteristics of our institution, and to limit its action to the relief of physical want, would render it unworthy of preservation; for as an instrument of collecting and dispensing poor-funds it is too costly and elaborate. Indeed, I may with justice remark that, judging by returns which I have received recently from the Lodges in our Jurisdiction, the amount paid out from their treasuries in 1856 for relief, was not probably one-fourth of that expended for other purposes. That learned and zealous Freemason, Dr. Oliver, thus negatives the opinion which some persons entertain that we are a charitable society, in the popular acceptation of that term: "The tendency of Freemasonry is sometimes mistaken, not only by the uninitiated, but also by many of those who have been superficially instructed in its mysteries. One considers it to be an institution formed for the purposes of benevolence, that, through its medium, the sick may be visited, the destitute relieved, the widow comforted, and the aged placed in a situation where want can never more afflict them: But this design, how amiable and praiseworthy soever it may be, is only one of the purposes of Freemasonry; and if, as this class of Brethren suppose, it were confined to these charitable ends, it would rank merely on a level with a common Friendly Society, or Sick Club."
We are called a "universal brotherhood ;" and it may be questioned whether through a misunderstanding of the term we have not impaired our prosperity and influence. Has not the idea which the term suggests led us to open our portals too readily and widely? Men of "every country, sect and opinion," we would accept as Brethren : but surely not all men of every country, sect and opinion; for if so, we should remove our barriers and obliterate the forms and ceremonies which distinguish us as a brotherhood. The word universal is applied to our society as embracing men "of all nations, tongues, kindreds and languages," who possess the Masonic standard of character. To render it more universal, would deprive it of its usefulness and eventually cause its destruction. But if we admit to our membership none but good men and true, men of honor and honesty, and practice faithfully according to our principles, our Order will not only advance the happiness of its members, but will confer blessings upon society generally.
Dispensations for Degrees.
The power of Dispensation, by which the terms of probation that our regulations require of candidates, may be intermitted, should be most rarely exercised. To dispense with the time that should be devoted to the investigation of character, is, of course, a more serious and responsible act than that of dispensing with the intervals of lime required, subsequently, in the course of advancement, from one step to another, in the knowledge of our art. There can seldom occur a case entitled to so great a privilege as that first referred to, and it should never be allowed, except when it promises some signal advantage to the fraternity. During the past year, the granting of Dispensations of the kind under consideration, has been discouraged, and I am pleased to state with much success. Our Constitutions declare that the District Deputy Grand Masters "shall have power to grant Dispensations for initiation," which declaration, if it be intended to enable them to exercise it independently of the Grand Master, is an infringement of his ancient prerogative. By the general regulations of the Grand Lodge of England, in 1720, this power rests with the "Grand Master or his Deputy;" but in all things, excepting during the absence of the Grand Master, the Deputy could act only as the former should require or depute him to act. The Deputy was the assistant of the Grand Master, and entirely under his direction, and if he discharged any duty, or exercised any oi the authority of the Grand Master, it was by his direction. It seems to me that it would be more in accordance with the ancient rights of the chief officer of our Order, if the provision now cited from our Constitutions, should be so amended as to leave it optional with him to depute the privilege of granting Dispensations, or not, as he should deem proper.
I have availed myself of the opportunity which my visits to our Lodges afforded, to bring to their notice the regulation of this Grand Lodge in relation to visitors from the Jurisdiction of New York, adopted December 14, 1853, by which such visitors shall, previously to their examination, furnish to the examining Committee of the Lodge they desire to visit, a Diploma, or Certificate, under the seal of the Grand Lodge and the signature of its Grand Secretary, that they were regularly made Masons and that they are now in good standing as such. This requirement does not appear to have been known to much extent, and there is reason to believe that much visiting has taken place in violation of its provisions. But if it should be enforced, it could not of itself entirely effect the purpose for which it was designed; for a person from New York without a certificate, has only to feign to belong to another Jurisdiction, to gain admission by examination. No good and true man would practice such duplicity; but men of an opposite character might do so, and hence means should be applied to prevent it. Let a certificate like that referred to, be demanded of all visitors who cannot be vouched for either as being regular Masons, or, if not known as such, as being citizens of another Jurisdiction. In the latter case the usual examination might suffice. But in view of the large number of improper persons from all jurisdictions, expelled Masons and others, who possess the qualifications to pass through the usual examination successfully, it may seriously be considered whether the interests of our institution do not render necessary a regulation like that yon have adopted in reference to visitors from New York, which shall be applicable to all visitors. Some Brethren erroneously hold to the opinion that such a requirement, would be a violation of the Masonic privileges.
The Grand Lodge of England in 1663, established the regulation that "No person, who shall be accepted a Freemason, shall be admitted into any Lodge, until he has brought a certificate of the time and place of his acceptation, from the Master of the limit where he was made, and the Lodge kept." The Master of every Lodge promises at the time of his installation, in the language of the ancient charge, "that no visitors shall be received into his Lodge without due examination and producing vouchers of their having been initiated in a regular Lodge." Modern authorities are equally explicit on this point Morris, in his Code of Masonic Law, says that "It is more appropriate to the genius of Masonry that eleven worthy Masons should be rejected at the doors of a Lodge, than that one unworthy visitor should be admitted. But the social and hospitable feeling of the Masonic Brotherhood incline them too often to reverse the figures." In a lecture delivered at Dublin, January 5, 1857, by the Deputy Grand Master of Ireland, John Fitzhenry Townsend, LL. D., is this cogent and appropriate passage: "As it is not only the Master's privilege but also his duty to rule the Lodge, none are permitted to enter it as visitors but by his permission, since he is responsible for the conduct of the assembly. At the very last Communication of the United Grand Lodge of England, this subject was discussed, and the resolution unanimously passed, was — That it is the opinion of this Grand Lodge, that it is in the power of the W. Master and Wardens of any private Lodge, to refuse admission to any visitor of known bad character. But, irrespectively of character, whoever claims to be present at a Masonic meeting must, if a Mason, be perfectly well aware that he is bound to satisfy the Master and Brethren as to his qualifications. The Master has a right to demand all the evidences of a visitor's right to admission—the production of his certificate—the proof of his being what he asserts himself to be, and any other test that he can devise. I can speak confidently on this head, as the decision of our own Grand Lodge has recently settled the question, that the admission of a visitor is not a matter of right. It is, of course, disagreeable to reject any one professing to be a Brother; but it is better that many true Masons should go away disappointed from our doors, than that one unauthorized person should gain admittance there."
It is for you to determine whether further regulations are needed on this subject, or whether the powers of the Grand Master are already adequate to prevent the entrance of improper persons into our assemblies.
Celebration on Bunker Hill.
In compliance with the invitation of the President of the Bunker Hill Monument Association, (R. W. Brother George W. Warren,) which you had accepted, Masonic rites, adapted to the inauguration of a statue erected in honor of General Joseph Warren, were performed, in connexion with other ceremonies, on the battle ground in Charlestown, on the seventeenth of June last. There was great appropriateness in our Order's taking a part on the occasion, it being designed to commemorate the bravery and patriotism of one who was, during his entire manhood, an active and zealous Freemason, and was, at the time of his death, the highest officer in our institution. There were present about one thousand Brethren, representing various societies, among which were twenty-four of the Lodges in this Jurisdiction. Through the politeness of R. W. Daniel Harwood, the Grand Master of Knights Templars, this Grand Lodge was honored with the tender of an escort from bis command, consisting of the Boston Encampment, Pilgrim Encampment, of Lowell, and delegations from the Springfield, and other Encampments. This noble body of men, about one hundred and fifty in number, were led by Sir John McClellan, the Deputy G. Master of the Grand Encampment. A body-guard for this Grand Lodge was detailed and placed under the direction of Sir John K. Hall. The great indebtedness felt by me for the many services rendered to us by the Encampments, induced me to make it the subject of a note of thanks which I addressed to their Grand Master. The arrangements of the day terminated successfully, and afforded general sat sf action.
24th of June.
The Grand Officers united with our Brethren of Rhode Island in the celebration of St. John's Day — the 24th of June last — at Providence. An address was delivered by R. W. George M. Randall, which ably and in an interesting manner presented the history of Freemasonry in that State. To the DeMolay Encampment of Boston, which was present, are your Grand Officers under obligations for kind attentions and generous entertainment.
By-Laws of Lodges.
During the year, I have examined the By-Laws of about forty Lodges. In some of them, I have recommended alterations which would make them more conformable to Masonic usage. About two-thirds of the Lodges elect their officers in November and December; and, in order that the yearly organization of every Lodge might conform more nearly to that of the Grand Lodge, as to time, it is desirable that the choice of officers should take place in one of those two months.
Printing Records of Grand Lodge.
On the expediency of printing our Records, to which I invited your attention in December last, the committee to whom my address was referred have reported adversely. They object to the measure — first, because the advantages would be disproportioned to the cost; secondly, because the records are not intended for public inspection, would not interest the general reader, and, being in the hands of our enemies, might be used to our hurt; thirdly, that "our treasury is not in a condition to respond to so large a draft as would be required to complete a work of this magnitude;" and, fourthly, that "our funds are sacredly dedicated to the poor and indigent, and cannot rightfully be applied to any purpose which has not this object distinctly in view." The objections of the committee have received my respectful consideration, but have failed to convince me that the printing of our records is improper or inexpedient. As I still view the work proposed as one calculated to benefit our Order, I beg to notice the reasons contained in the report of the committee unfavorable thereto.
It is said that the advantages would be disproportioned to the cost: what would be the advantages? The diffusion among the Fraternity of the knowledge of the origin and early career of Freemasonry in America; of much of its history here for a century and a quarter; and of the evidences of steady persistence in maintaining and carrying out, in adversity and prosperity, our benevolent principles, by noble men whose deeds and names ought not to be forgotten, are among some of the benefits which will be secured by the publication suggested. Freemasonry in Massachusetts has a brilliant and instructive history; and the examples it affords ought to be carried into every Lodge in our Commonwealth. Not a mere transcript of the records is what I would recommend, for much that is in them would be useless. The records alone would not give all the material, but there should be interwoven into them valuable documents which are upon our files, something of contemporaneous history and of biographical interest. The biographies of Price, Warren and Cutler, which are a part of the appendix to our new edition of the Constitutions, and for which we are indebted to the labors of our learned Brother, Charles W. Moore, show what may be produced from our records and other materials now accessible to us, by skillful hands.
But the foundation of these valuable personal histories was obtained from the records; and had these not been preserved, nearly all that we now know of the Masonic relations of these Grand Masters, could not have been written. Let the cumbrous manuscript volumes which contain the proceedings of this Grand Lodge be now destroyed, a full, authentic and faithful account of our institution in Massachusetts and in America, can never be given. This consideration, alone, would point to the measure of printing, as recommended, as an advantage which no intelligent Mason would disregard. Did the abstract of our proceedings, now published annually and embracing nearly all that would interest the Masonic reader, go back to 1733, the present question of printing would not probably exist But unfortunately, until within a few years, it has not given our transactions that fulness which a proper knowledge of them required. In the edition of our Constitutions published in 1798, is a meagre historical record of the Saint John's Grand Lodge, Massachusetts Grand Lodge, and of the United Grand Lodge, which reflects so little of what we feel assured must have been the character and influence of our society during the important period to which it relates, that I way, without injustice, pronounce it as unworthy to be called its history. From 1798 to 1830, there is, in printed form, scarcely a trace of the doings of our Brethren to be found. Subsequently, we begin to see detached accounts of Lodges and of this body in Brother Moore's Magazine; but we look in vain for any connected and regular recital of their proceedings. Now, the printing of our records will supply many of these deficiencies, and give us, in a convenient form, the means of obtaining a belter knowledge than we now have of the acts of our predecessors. Advantages so great, would justify much cost to secure them. The committee do not, however, estimate the cost; nor do I deem it important that they did not.
From about ninety Lodges, and over five thousand Masons in this jurisdiction, a subscription list would be formed adequate to sustain the work without help from the treasury of the Grand Lodge. As a private undertaking, it would, most probably, be amply remunerative, especially as then efforts would be made to increase the subscriptions beyond our jurisdiction.
It is objected that "the records are not intended for public inspection, would not interest the general reader, and, being in the hands of our enemies, might be used to our hurt." In the enunciation of these sentiments, the committee appear to have been controlled by fears similar to those which actuated our English Brethren to destroy valuable records lest they might be seen by the uninitiated. In 1718 it was proposed to compile for publication the history, charges, regulations, &c, of England, and the Grand Master "desired any Brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old writings and records concerning Masons and Masonry, in order to show the usages of ancient times;" and it is related that in 1719, "at some private Lodges, several very valuable manuscripts (for they had nothing yet in print) concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets and Usages, (particularly one writ by Mr. Nicholas Stone, the Warden of Inigo Jones,) were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous Brothers, that those papers might not fall into strange hands." It is lamentable that onr trans-Atlantic Brethren had so little confidence in the discernment and prudence of their Grand Lodge; for had it been otherwise, roach of the history of our Order would have been preserved that are now irrevocably lost. Let us profit by this untoward example, and not neglect that which our successors could rightly claim of us as our duty. I propose not to invade the arcana of Freemasonry, nor to place ourselves in the slightest degree in the power of our enemies, if we have any; on the contrary, I advocate the doing of that which will, while we preserve our mysteries intact, cement together and strengthen the Fraternity and render us impregnable against the assaults of adversaries. I recommended that "the work should be given to a competent and discreet editor;" and if entrusted to such a person — a Brother selected by authority of this Grand Lodge — there can be no doubt that our interests and safety will be scrupulously regarded and protected.
Again the committee object that the means in our treasury will "not warrant so great an outlay as the work proposed would require. There having been no estimate made as to the expenditure requisite, it is difficult to determine this point, even if the whole of it were to be defrayed from our funds and no part of it to be contributed by subscribers. But I will venture to predict that the receipt of the treasury for the present year, beyond the amount of our current expenses, will more than equal the entire cost of publication; and should doubts be entertained as to the suitableness of an appropriation for such a purpose, I would ask whether it would not be as productive of good to the institution as rich regalia and costly pageants I do not disparage the application of our money for decoration and reasonable Masonic display; but wish to direct attention to a comparison of the advantages to be derived from them, with those to be realized from an authentic exposition of the labors of the Craft during a most interesting period of its existence.
The last objection of the committee is that which declares that our funds are sacredly dedicated to the poor and indigent. To this proposition I beg to dissent most emphatically. Having already expressed my views as to the nature and objects of our institution, I will only observe here, that though it is benevolent in its intentions, and seeks to ensure morality among its members, its high object or distinguishing characteristic is to cultivate the social virtues and bring mankind together in the bonds of brotherhood. Every thing that will tend to increase its social condition should be made subservient to that end. If, therefore, the opening of the pages of our past, and presenting the virtues thereon recorded, as examples to our Brethren of to-day and their successors, will contribute to that cementation which will unite them " into one sacred band, or society of friends and Brothers," any means that we can command to effect an object so desirable, will not be misapplied.
Visit to the Grave of the first Grand Master.
By invitation of Aurora Lodge, Fitchburg, I installed its officers, assisted by the Grand Wardens and other Grand Officers, on the 28th of September last. On the following day, through the kindness of the Lodge, the Grand Wardens, R. Grand Secretary and myself were conveyed to Townsend, eight miles distant, where is the burial place of our first Grand Master, Henry Price. The last survivor of his family, Mr. William Wallace, kindly received us, and directed us to the grave of his ancestor. It is in the old grave-yard of the town, and indicated by a large slate tablet, placed at its head, bearing the epitaph which is familiar to you. The tablet wears the destructive marks of time, and cannot remain entire many years longer. I would recommend that this Grand Lodge obtain the charge and control of this sacred spot, and that it erect thereon, at no remote day, a monument commemorative of the relations which existed between the deceased and our ancient fraternity.
I lay before you a correspondence that recently passed between the Grand Master of England and myself. His letter will be read with pleasure, as it shows that our eminent Brother has lost none of that regard for our Order, which he has manifested by his labors to promote its honor and usefulness during so many years.
A printed Communication received from the Grand Lodge of Maine, in relation to the formation of a General Grand Lodge for the United States, I have caused to be placed on file in the office of the Recording G. Secretary. This subject has so recently received your attention and been so wisely disposed of, that you will probably deem any further action in relation to it unnecessary at this time. A short time ago, I received a letter from a highly respectable source — from a Brother in Buenos Ayres — giving an historical account of Freemasonry in that country and of its present condition there. This paper is also on file in the Secretary's office.
I had intended to have ordered a "Grand Feast" on this memorable day, in compliance with the command given to our first Grand Master, and with an ancient custom of the Craft; but, owing to the depressing influences under which our community is now suffering, it was thought advisable not to attempt its re-establishment at this time. I still hold to the opinion, however, that the occasion that brings us together at this season would be more attractive and beneficial by connecting with it moderate festivity.
The year now terminated has been one of so much activity in our jurisdiction that I have often had need of the counsel and assistance of my associates in office, which they have at all times rendered with alacrity. To none have I been more largely indebted for support than to the Grand Wardens, for which I tender to them my sincerest thanks. The punctuality and fidelity with which they have performed their duties afford an example to the younger members of our institution worthy of imitation. As permanent members in this body, which they now are, we may hope that we shall long enjoy the benefit of their wisdom and experience.
I now declare this Grand Lodge duly organized for another year: during that period may " neither envy, discord, nor confusion, interrupt or disturb the peace and good fellowship" which should prevail within, our borders.
BEFORE GRAND LODGE, DECEMBER 1858
From Original Proceedings, Page 31ff:
It is a subject for congratulation that so many of the voters in this Grand Lodge, are permitted by a kind Providence to assemble together on this our one hundred and twenty-fifth annual festival. As representatives and members of our venerable Order in Massachusetts, we have further cause of rejoicing in the prosperity and happiness which prevail generally in this jurisdiction; and that our relations with the Brotherhood everywhere are distinguished by friendly and brotherly intercourse. It is also a subject of congratulation that we are favored with the presence of many of our older Brethren, to whom we are indebted for wise and prudent counsels, and many examples of fidelity and heroism in the days of trial and adversity. And though we ardently desire that they may long remain with us and continue to unite with us in our hours of refreshment, if not in our hours of labor, yet we are reminded, but too often, that their number is lessening; that their ranks are becoming thinner and thinner as year after year rolls away. Scarcely does this festive period return that it is not clouded by the announcement of the decease of a permanent member of this Grand Lodge, ripe with age and beloved by us all; and I regret to add that this occasion is saddened by recollections of recent mournful events.
Past Grand Master, - Francis J. Oliver, died on the 21st of August last, in Middletown, Conn., where he bad principally resided after his removal from Boston. He was born in Boston on the 10th of October, 1777, and was, therefore, nearly eighty-one years old at the lime of his death. He was a graduate of Harvard University of the class of 1795. After leaving college he engaged in commercial pursuits, which, though varied in their results, he conducted with ability and with honor to himself. Early in life he was made a Mason in Saint John's Lodge, in Boston, over which he subsequently presided with dignity and efficiency. In December, 1808, he was elected Junior Grand Warden, which station he occupied one year; and at the close of that term he consecutively served three years as Senior Grand Warden, four years as Deputy Grand Master and three years as Grand Master; closing his long and brilliant official career in December, 1819. Of the term during which he was Deputy Grand Master, the first year was under Grand Master Timothy Bigelow, and the remainder of it under Grand Master Benjamin Russell. During his administration as Grand Master, the act of incorporation in favor of this Grand Lodge was passed by the legislature — June 16, 1817. "Throughout his long and honorable life, he was the steadfast Mason, — one ever ready to support the principles and practices of the Order, whether in its prosperity or adversity."
Past Deputy Grand Master, Rev. Asa Eaton, D. D., died at his residence, in Boston, on the morning of the 24th of March last, he having reached the age of fourscore years. He was born in Plaistow, N. H., July 25, 1778. His preparatory studies were pursued with Rev. Giles Merrill, the preceptor of Atkinson Academy, in New Hampshire, and he graduated at Harvard University in 1803. On leaving the University he become lay reader in Christ Church, Boston, and continued in the office until 1805, when he was admitted to orders. From July, 1805, to May, 1829, he was the Rector of that church. From 1829 to 1837, his labors as City Missionary were crowned with great success, and secured for him the love and attachment of his numerous parishioners. On retiring from this position, he became connected with a literary institution in New Jersey, which connection continued until 1841. After his return to Boston, though without a parish, he engaged actively in the service of the Church. While a student at the University, he employed his vacations in keeping school; and he was thus occupied at Groton, Mass., in 1802, when he was initialed into Masonry in Saint Paul Lodge in that town. He received his first Masonic lesson from the late Hon. and R. W. Timothy Bigelow, who was then the Master of the Lodge. On his removing his residence to Boston in 1803, he become a member of Saint John's Lodge. He was Chaplain of this Grand Lodge one or more terms, and frequently officiated in that capacity for subordinate Lodges. In 1820, he was appointed Deputy Grand Master by the Grand Master, Hon. Samuel P. P. Fay. After having been a Freemason for more than half a century, he bore hearty testimony to its usefulness, and expressed the sincerest approbation of its principles.
I have also to inform you of the death of an officer of this Grand Lodge,—that of R. W. Brother Henry Earl, District Deputy Grand Master of the Sixth District, who died at his residence, in Worcester, on Tuesday, the 12th of October last, aged fifty-six years. He was an intelligent and highly respected citizen, and very strongly attached to our noble institution. As a member and officer of our Order, he discharged all his duties with alacrity and fidelity. His services while District Deputy — continued during a term of nearly two years — were characterized by his usual devotion to duty, and a lively interest in the prosperity of the Lodges under his charge. His remains were buried, with Masonic honors, by Morning Star Lodge, un the Saturday following the day of his decease.
Daring the past year, I have granted Dispensations to several Lodges for the interment of deceased Brethren, "with the formalities of the Order." Of the number of burials, in like manner, on the "special request" of Masons while living, I am not informed, though several cases have come to my knowledge. Our solemn funeral rites, when performed impressively, are designed to awaken the most salutary feelings in the spectator, and should, therefore, be conducted by a Master, only alter much previous study and reflection.
Dedications of Halls, Charters Issued, &c.
Since our last annual festival, four Charters have been issued, and the Lodges to which they were granted, constituted; six Masonic halls have been dedicated; and one Charter restored, namely :—
- December 30, 1857. The new hall of Mount Zion Lodge, Barre, was dedicated in due form by R. W. and Rev. Dr. William Flint, Deputy Grand Master, assisted by R. W. Brothers Henry Goddard and Isaac H. Wright, Grand Wardens, R. W. Henry Earl, District Deputy G. Master of the Sixth District, and R. W. Wm. D. Coolidge, District Deputy Grand Master of the First District. In the afternoon, previous to the dedication, an address was delivered in the Town Hall, before the public. A "choice and beautiful supper" was enjoyed in the evening at the close of the ceremonies.
- January 22, 1858. At the Communication of the Grand Lodge, held on the 28th of December, 1857, a petition from sundry Brethren, former members of Bethel Lodge, for the restoration of the Charter of that Lodge, was presented and referred to Brothers Dean, Baker and Martin, with full powers. The report of the committee was favorable to the prayer of the petitioners, and I ordered the Charter to be delivered to them. It bears the following endorsement: "By authority of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, delegated to a Committee of its body on the 28th of December last, the within Charter, with all its original powers and privileges, is hereby restored to the following petitioners; former members of the Lodge therein named, to wit:— Aaron Woods, Henry Fobes, Nathan Weeks, J. B. Woods, John Crosby, Ichabod Pope and Daniel Ford." This Lodge is in the town of Enfield.
- June 9. Issued Charter to Eureka Lodge, in conformity to act of the Grand Lodge.
- June 24. New hall of Mount Moriah Lodge, Westfield, dedicated by R. W. Franklin Weston, of Dalton, whom I appointed specially for the purpose at the request of the Master of the Lodge. This is one of our most flourishing Lodges, and to Bro. Weston's aid and counsel afforded to it on its establishment, is its present prosperity to be attributed. Hence the request of the Lodge lor his being authorized to act as before stated.
- July 21. Constituted Eureka Lodge, New Bedford, assisted by Brothers William Flint, Charles W. Moore, John H. Sheppard, William W. Wheildon, George H. Taber, John Low, S. M. Hunt, Wm. S. Gardner, Wm. W. Baker, Peter C. Jones, Marcus A. Moore and Eben F. Gay. Officers of the Lodge installed were Henry F. Thomas, W. M.; Isaac M. Richardson, S. W.; Isaac C. Taber, J. W.; Benjamin Russell, Treasurer, and Stephen A. Tripp, Secretary.
- September 8. Issued Charters to John Abbot Lodge, Somerville; Berkshire Lodge, Adams; and Mount Vernon Lodge, Malden.
- September 13. Constituted John Abbot Lodge, in ample form, assisted by officers of the Grand Lodge. Also dedicated the new and convenient hall of the Lodge. The officers installed were John K. Hall, W. M.; Joel F. Thayer, S. W.; James R. Bugbee, J. W.; Thomas J. Leland, Treasurer, and Charles E. Gilman, Secretary.
- September 21. Constituted Berkshire Lodge, Adams, South Village, installed its officers and dedicated its new hall, assisted by a full suite of Grand Officers. In the afternoon, previous to constituting the new Lodge, opened the Grand Lodge, and with the efficient aid of Brother Nourse, the Junior Grand Lecturer, initiated one candidate and raised three. This unusual, if not unprecedented, performance by our Grand Lodge, was occasioned by arrangements previously made by Berkshire Lodge, to which it was desirable to conform. The officers installed were Daniel Upton, W. M.; H. M. Holmes, S. W.; W. H. Tyler, J. W.; George C Lawrence, Treasurer, and Edwin T. Jenks, Secretary.
- October 12. Constituted Mount Vernon Lodge, Maiden, installed its officers and dedicated its commodious and beautiful hall, assisted by Grand Officers. The officers installed were B. G. Hill, W. M.; Charles Hill, S. W.; James Bartlett, J. W.; Edward D. Bell, Trees., and W. D. Holden, Secretary. At the close of the ceremonies, Rev. Bro. T. J. Greenwood, Chaplain of Mt. Vernon Lodge, delivered an appropriate poem of great merit.
- November 1. Dedicated Nassau Hall, Boston, to Masonic purposes. assisted by a large suite of Grand Officers. This hall is for the accommodation of the Grand Lodge and the other Masonic bodies, which have hitherto met in the Masonic Temple, Tremont Street. On the occasion an Ode, written by Bro. Wm. W. Wheildon, was sung; and another, written by Bro. John K. Hall, was read by Bro. Wyzeman Marshall.
According to custom, the precedence of Lodges has been determined by the dates of their Charters, the privileges of seniority having been accorded to tho Lodge whose Charier bears the oldest dale; and a Charter that has been surrendered and afterwards restored, has formed no exception to the rule, but has continued to the Lodge possessing it, its original priority. It seems to me to be just to require that those Lodges which surrender their Charters, should, when the same are restored, take their precedence only at the date of restoration; otherwise, the Lodges established subsequently to the date of a restored Charter, and which have never suspended their work, are made to yield in priority to one which has performed its task unfaithfully. Bethel Lodge, according to the date of its Charter, takes precedence over all Lodges chartered since 1825, which, as a great portion of them have never intermitted their labors, is manifestly unjust.
Dispensations to Form Lodges Granted.
There are now six Lodges working under Dispensations granted since our Quarterly Communication in March last. Although a Lodge existed in each of the cities of Charlestown and Worcester, such woe the growth of our Order in those places that our Brethren more immediately interested deemed further Lodge accommodations therein necessary for their comfort and welfare; and, therefore, upon petitions therefor, I granted the power to form an additional Lodge in each of the localities named. In both cities there appears to be entire harmony prevailing between the old and new Lodges; and it if believed-that a spirit of emulation will be aroused that will conduce to the prosperity of the Brethren who compose them.
- March 22. Granted Dispensation to form Quaboag Lodge, in Warren, to Brothers Lucius E. Truesdell, (W. M.,) D. W. Shepard, (S. W.,) Dwight Ellis, (J. W.,) William M. Ward, Calvin Shepard, Franklin Drury, C. A. Bradley and John Tyler. Recommended by Thomas Lodge, and approved by R. W. Henry Earl, D. D. G. M. of the 6th District. Dispensation to be returned at the Communication of Grand Lodge in March next.
- May 19. Granted a Dispensation to form Henry Price Lodge, in Charlestown, to Brothers Charles B. Rogers, (W. M.,) George Washington Warren, (S. W.,) W. N. Lane, (J. W.,) J. A. D. Worcester, C L. Stevenson, Charles H. Blanchard, F. W. Hurd, Oliver Ayres, Elijah S. Wait, William W. Pierce, Isaac Cook, H. G. Waldron, G. A. Lounsberry, A. E. Cutler, H. Wellington, Thomas B. Harris, Edward T. Woodward, Thos. B. Preston, Wm. Bowen Morris, Lester Holcomb, Thomas R. Lambert, Isaac Locke and W. B. Stearns. Recommended by King Solomon's Lodge and approved by R. W. Charles B. Rogers, D. D. G. M. of the Eleventh District. Dispensation to be returned at the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge in June next This Lodge has taken the name of our first Grand Master,— a laudable act, as it may incite inquiry into our history and in relation to prominent Masonic characters.
- June 21. Granted a Dispensation to form Montacute Lodge, iu Worcester, to Brothers William A. Smith, (W. M.,) George W. Bentley, (S. W.,) James H. Osgood, (J. W.,) John Firth, James H. Freeland, Charles B. Whiting, Seh P. Miller, Thomas N. Hurlbert, Lyman Brooks, Wm. A. Cary, John Field, Daniel Seagrave, Wm. H. Eaton, E H. Broad, Edward R. Fiske, James L. Burbank, H. M. Willer, C. A. White, S. Chapin Smith, T. A. Clark, Edwin Bymur, T. W. Wellington, Benjamin Lewis, Jonathan Barnard, A. F. Damon, Wm. N. Greer, B. B. Hurlburt, A. A. Burditt, John A. Dana, Henry Bowman and A. H. Washburn. Recommended by Morning Star Lodge, and approved by R W. Henry Earl, D. D. G. M. of the Sixth Distiict. Dispensation returnable at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge in June next. This Lodge bears the name of the Grand Master of England, who, in 1733, appointed Henry Price, Esq., to be Provincial Grand Master in America.
- September 10. Dispensation granted to form Webster Lodge, in the town of Webster, to Brothers Charles E. Blair, (W. M.,) C. E. Brown, (S. W.,) George Clapp, (J. W.,) Elijah Pratt, John L. Harris, James Stansfield, William Hill, Wm. W. Holmes, John N. Leavens. Daniel Morrison, Lyman Sheldon, Cornelius Putnam, Jr., Otis Stearns, W. Hetherington, L. H. Cleveland, Elisha Harwood, L. Shumway, B. Gates, B. Paine, J. Bacon, John Wetherell, Wm. Sigourney, David Hoi man and Pardon Stone. Recommended by Olive Branch Lodge, and approved by R. W. Levi Rawson, D. D. G. M. nf the Fourth District. Dispensation to be returned in September, 1859. The greater part, if not all, of the Brethren named are members of Olive Branch Lodge. The latter Lodge has for some time past met alternately at Sutton and Webster, and it is therefore believed that the convenience of all the Brethren will be promoted by the establishment of the new Lodge.
- September 23. Dispensation granted to form Trinity Lodge, in Clinton, to Brothers E. D. Bancroft, (W. M.,) Henry Bowman, (S. W.,) A. A. Burditt, (J. W.,) Daniel Marsh, George L. Thurston, A. M. Eaglesham, Charles W. Odiorne, Levi Greene, Anthony Lane, Luke Bigelow, John Bigelow, John G. Thurston, Reuben Blood, Joel Pratt and Horace Faulkner. Recommended by St. Paul Lodge, and approved by R. W. William North, D. D. G. M. of the Third District. Dispensation returnable in September, 1859.
- November 17. Dispensation to form Southern-Cross Lodge, Valparaiso, Chili, granted to Brothers John Bigler, William Trevilt, William L. Hobson, Charles S. Rand, C. T. Ward, Jr., Elisha K. Cook, Thomas K. Armstrong, Treat S. Beach, Noyes Baldwin and Charles Wachten. Recommended by Bethesda Lodge in said city, and approved by our Special Deputy, R. W. Charles T. Ward, Jr. The Dispensation to continue in force until the Quarterly Communication of this Grand Lodge to be held in December, 1859. This will make the third Lodge in Chili, subordinate to this Masonic Jurisdiction.
Voters In Grand Lodge.
The attendance of the representatives of subordinate Lodges at our Communications is increasing in numbers, but the representation is still far short of what it should be, in view of the important business which is here transacted. On the call of the voters at the last Annual Communication, the number present, including officers and members, was only one hundred and twenty-nine. It was gratifying, however, to observe that of this number, forty two were Masters of Lodges. But two Lodges were represented by proxies. The whole number of voters is now three hundred and fiftyone, namely—
- Permanent members, thirty-five, less two who are officers; 33
- Elected officers; 5
- Appointed officers of Grand Lodge; 16
- District Deputy Grand Masters; 12
- Committee of Finance; 3
- Masters and Wardens of chartered Lodges in Massachusetts (93); 279
- Master and Wardens of Bethesda Lodge, Valparaiso; 3
- Whole number of voters; 351
In my last annual address, I cited various authorities to show that a person claiming to be a Mason and desiring to visit a Lodge, might be refused admission unless he could present a certificate of his good standing in the Order, or could be vouched for to that effect by a Brother present; and that it could be denied to him, without such evidence, even though he could pass the usual examination. On this point— the receiving of visitors — the Master of a Lodge must necessarily possess very large discretionary power, and, for its proper exercise, is responsible to the Grand Lodge. That the Grand Lodge, and Grand Master, as the chief executive officer, have the right to dictate the terms on which Brethren may visit Lodges subordinate to them, is beyond a question; and they may use it freely and absolutely, without any accountability to any other Masonic Jurisdiction. Of course it is not to bu presumed that in this jurisdiction either the Grand Lodge or Grand Master would limit the privilege of visiting beyond what the safety, welfare and reputation of the Institution should seem to demand; or that they would subject Brethren of other jurisdictions to more onerous regulations than are imposed upon members of our own Lodges.
In consequence of information, reliable but confidential, that clandestine proceedings had taken place, at a point designated, in this jurisdiction, highly prejudicial io the weJl-being of Freemasonry, and as a means of counteracting their effects, I ordered, on the 10th of April last, a circular to be issued from the office of the Recording Grand Secretary, and a copy of it to be sent to each of our Lodges, in which it was "requested and desired" of the Lodges "not to examine or admit as visitors, whether hailing from Lodges under our own jurisdiction, or from those of other States, (unless personally known to, and avouched for, by some Brother present,) any person or persons who do not at the time of application for admission, present the Certificate or Diploma of the Grand Lodge of this Commonwealth; or, if from a distant State, the Certificate or Diploma of the Grand Lodge of said State, properly authenticated, certifying that the bearer has been lawfully made a Mason in a regularly constituted Lodge, and that he is now in good standing as a member of our Institution." There being good reasons to believe that the proceedings referred to have been discontinued, I do, therefore, now revoke that portion of the circular here quoted, leaving it to the Masters of Lodges to require Certificates or Diplomas of visitors, or not, as circumstances may, in their judgment, seem to demand.
I have granted Dispensations to supply, by election, vacancies in the offices of Junior and Senior Wardens as follows, namely—
- April 5. To supply the office of Junior Warden in Mount Hermon Lodge, Medford; the incumbent having resigned in consequence of his removal to the State of Kentucky. Application therefor made by the Master.
- May 6. To fill vacancy in the office of Junior Warden in Wyoming Lodge, in Melrose; the incumbent having removed beyond this Jurisdiction. Application therefor made by the Master, Senior Warden and six members of the Lodge.
- May 31. To fill vacancy in the office of Senior Warden in De Witt Clinton Lodge, in Sandwich; the incumbent having resigned under circumstances which precluded his performing the duties of the station. Applied for by the Master, who represented that it was the desire of the Lodge it should thus be filled.
- July 1. To elect the Senior Warden of Saint Paul's Lodge, in South Boston the office having become vacant by the resignation of incumbent. Applied for by the Master, who made the request at the instance of his Lodge.
It is a maxim in Masonic jurisprudence that "no officer after his installation can resign," yet circumstances do sometimes exist under which such resignation may not only be permitted, but may be required; as when an officer removes his residence into another jurisdiction, leaving his station in his Lodge vacant, perhaps immediately after his installation and at the commencement of the Masonic year. In such case, however, the Master has power to supply the office, pro tempore, at each meeting of the Lodge, but such a mode of filling a vacancy, especially of so important an office as that of Warden, is liable to many objections. II through contumacy an officer neglect his duties and should offer his resignation, it should not be accepted, but he should be dealt with for unmasonic conduct; and in view of such a case the maxim referred to would hold good.
There can be no doubt that the Grand Master has the power to authorize the supplying a vacancy existing in any office of a subordinate Lodge by election, when, in his judgment, its peace and interests require it. He can grant Dispensations to form Lodges, the officers of which he appoints; "he may convene any Lodge within his jurisdiction, preside therein," &c.; "he may suspend a Lodge," and may grant Dispensations for conferring the degrees, or confer them himself, through the instrumentality of a Lodge, at least; all of which powers are greater than that which he exercises when by his Dispensation he permits a Lodge to supply a vacancy occurring in any of its offices. Moreover, on the death or permanent absence of the Master and Wardens of a Lodge, it is his duty to provide it with these officers, temporarily by his appointment, and, if necessary, permanently by ordering an election. In the Dispensations which I have granted, I have ordered doe notice to be given to the members of the Lodges of the time of election, and that the officers elect should be installed before entering upon their duties; and when the vacancy to be filled was that of the station of Senior Warden, that the Junior Warden's assent to the election should be obtained before it could take place.
It is my belief that the calls for relief upon our charitable funds, have been satisfied entirely, so far as the applicants were worthy and possessed the requisite qualifications. There are three channels through which our relief-funds pass lo the recipients;
- Through the "Committee of Charily of the Grand Lodge;
- The "Committee of Charity of the Trustees of the Charity Fund ;" and,
- "The Boston Masonic Board of Relief".
Among those who have received assistance are aged women and men whose lives have been exemplary, but who are very poor and dependent Some of them have for a long time derived a considerable portion of the means of their support from our committees, and may be regarded as permanent pensioners on our treasury. It is to this claw that I would ask your particular attention and that of the Brethren by whom our charity funds are dispensed. It includes the infirm in body and mind; those who have no near kindred or faithful friends to watch over and nurse them, and husband the pittance contributed for their maintenance. Our gifts to (he destitute thus circumstanced, must of necessity come far short of the efficacy it is important they should possess; and I would, therefore, suggest, that provision might be made for the admission of the females into that excellent institution, called "The Home," established in this city by "The Association for the Relief of Aged Indigent Females." A like provision might be made for the males; and it is believed that facilities therefor will exist at no very remote day, since it is contemplated by some of the benevolent men of this city, to erect a "Home" for indigent males, to be conducted on the principles of that devoted to females.
Initiations and Memberships
The Grand Treasurer has presented a statement, showing the number of initiations of each Lodge during the year ending September 1, 1858; and also the number of members at that date; by which it appears that the whole number of initiations, including those of four Lodges under Dispensation, is 940; and the total number of members of Lodges in this Jurisdiction is 5,960. Though our numerical strength has been greatly increased, yet we are assured that our intellectual and moral vigor has been cared for in a corresponding degree. Though the rejections have been many, yet they do not appear to have been the result of any improper motives, or caused by any other than the highest regard for the interests and honor of the fraternity. The secret ballot should never be made an instrument for the gratification of pique or revenge, but ought always to be governed by intelligent and conscientious considerations worthy of the noble principles, which, as Masons, we profess to maintain. If we have not welcomed all who have desired to come among us, may we not ascribe it to the laudable determination to sedulously guard our good name, and render every Brother worthy of the remark, made nearly fifty years ago, by one not of our number, who, when asked about another man's character, replied, "He is a good man, for he is a Mason."
I sincerely regret the recent reduction in the amount of fees payable to the Grand Lodge on initiates. In my judgment, this is a change in the wrong direction. In some degree, tho respectability and usefulness of our Order demand that our pecuniary receipts should be larger; and I am convinced that if the fees required of initiates were fifty instead of twenty dollars, with corresponding payments into the Grand Treasury, the most salutary benefits would be the consequence. A few of the Lodges have established regulations requiring a high degree of proficiency in candidates as a qualification upon which their advancement is made to depend; and as might have been expected, such Lodges are among the best conducted in the jurisdiction. Bat few Dispensations to confer the degrees in a manner granted by such authority, have been requested during the past year. Within the year I have given four Dispensations to Lodges in other Jurisdictions to confer the degrees on residents of this State. The reasons for such a privilege ought to be very strong, or it should not be asked for. Had the number of applications for it been large, I should have withheld my consent; for, in general, we are better judges of the qualifications of candidates who reside with us, than are the Brethren who dwell beyond our borders.
I hare been frequently consulted by Masters of Lodges as to the intent of the following provision in the Constitution, Sec. 5, Art III., Part Fourth:—
"All applications for initiation shall be made to the Lodge in the town where the petitioner resides, if there be a Lodge in such town; but if there be none, then he shall apply to the Lodge nearest his residence. And no person residing in a town where there is a Lodge, shall be initiated in nny other town, without the written consent and approbation of the Master and Wardens of that Lodge."
I have held that a strict construction of the regulations that a person residing in a town where there is no Lodge, must be initiated in the nearest Lodge, and that the recommendation of such Lodge would not entitle him to be initiated elsewhere.
District Deputy Grand Masters
The reports of this efficient corps of officers merit attentive perusal. They indicate the condition of particular Lodges, and point out whatever may be entitled to commendation, or needful of amendment in the several districts. The Quarterly meetings held by the Deputies, have been productive of much good; inasmuch as they have proved the means of imparting a knowledge to every Deputy, of important occurrences and transactions throughout the jurisdiction, which could not be communicated to them in writing, but which may be useful in preserving the general discipline and subordination.
Having received information of the sickness of the late District Deputy of the Sixth District, which incapacitated him from performing all of the duties of the office, I appointed on the 4th of October last, R. W. John A. Dana to act as his Assistant. After the decease of Bro. Earl, a full commission was issued to Bro. Dana, who has since acted as the Deputy of that district.
Work, Lectures, Trestle-Board, &c.
The undertaking, commenced in 1857, to render all our Lodges skilful and thorough in the ritual, has steadily advanced, and I have the gratification to inform you that there ate but few Lodges which have not several members, at least, capable to instruct in our mode of work, and impart a full knowledge of the lectures. It is essential that each Lodge should possess within itself the means of instruction, and thus relieve the treasury of the heavy expenditure attendant upon the system of lecturing that has of late been in practice. Il is expected that when all of tho Lodges have attained a due proficiency, such expense will no longer be incurred, except that which may attend the annual exemplification by the Grand Lecturers. Some of the revolts of making our Brethren good workmen are exhibited in the improved discipline and government of the Lodges, and in the increased and more punctual attendance at Lodge-meetings.
If the power to create Lodges of Instruction was extended,allowing the Grand Master to erect them wherever, in his judgment, they would be beneficial, a great facility for perfecting a knowledge of the Work and Lectures would be provided. Our Constitutions provide that "A Lodge of Instruction may be holden in any town or city in the Commonwealth, where there is more than one Lodge located: Provided the sanction of either of said Lodges, and the permission ot the Grand Master, in writing, be obtained." Such Lodges might be formed into districts, each district to embrace two or more regular Lodges located in different towns or cities. For example, a district might be formed including the Lodges in Roxbury, Dorchester and Quincy, and another might comprise the Lodges in Northampton, Shelburne Falls, Greenfield aud Northfield; and thus proceeding throughout the jurisdiction, there need be no Lodge which could not enjoy the advantages afforded by a Lodge of Instruction. An occasional visit to these schools of Freemasonry by a Grand Lecturer, would insure uniformity of instruction in all parts of the State. I would here call the attention of the Lodges to the fact that it is fh» duly of the Grand Lecturers to exemplify the Work and Lectures according to the system adopted by the Grand Lodge; and thai no Lodge should deviate from their instruction. And no officer of the Grand Lodge, except the Grand Master, has any authority to interfere with their instructions; they being amenable to the supreme authority alone for innovations made or permitted by them. I would also remark that no lecturer can be employed by any Lodge, who has not written authority from the Grand Master so to act.
It would tend to facilitate the improvement of newly-made Brethren to place in their hands some one of the approved manuals, or Trestle-Boards of Freemasonry. These can be obtained at little expense. The New Trestle-Board, by Bro. Charles W. Moore, approved by this Grand Lodge, is one to be safely entrusted to novitiates.
In June last I received a communication from the Provincial Grand Lodge of New Brunswick, informing me that it desired the services of W. Bro. Caleb Rand, of Charlestown, to give to its jurisdiction instruction in the mode of work and lectures authorized by this Grand Lodge, and requesting my concurrence in the selection. Subsequentiy, Bro. Rand visited New Brunswick, and his labors there were attended with entire success.
Communications Received From Other Jurisdictions, &c.
In January I received a communication from the Most Worshipful John S. Caldwell, Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, inviting the officers of this Grand Lodge "to attend a called Communication of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, at the City of Richmond," on the 22d of February ensuing, "for the purpose of Inaugurating the Statue of our Illustrious Brother, George Washington." The great length of the journey prevented the acceptance of the invitation.
I have already presented to you two circular letters, one dated in March and the other in April last, addressed to me by the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Virginia and relating to the purchase of Mount Vernon, which were referred to a committee, who reported at our Communication in September. Your adoption of the report will render it my duty to promulgate to our Lodges the recommendation therein, that a "contribution of one dollar be made by each member of all the subordinate Lodges towards a fund for the purchase of Mount Vernon," whenever a notice shall hereafter be given by the M. W. Grand Lodge of Virginia, that the co-operation of the other Grand Lodges in the Union has been secured.
Early in May last, I received a circular letter from the "Office of the G. Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, and Member of the Permanent Committee of the Universal Congress," signed by "John Dove, Member of the Permanent Committee for U. S. A.," and presenting a plan for a Masonic Universal Congress. The letter is on file in our Grand Secretary's Office.
Sometime in September last, I received a circular signed by Phillip C. Tucker, M. W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Vermont, and of Rob. Morris, R. W. Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, relating to certain proceedings which had just before taken place in Canada, resulting in a reconciliation between what is therein termed the "Grand Lodge of Canada" and the " Antient Grand Lodge." The circular observes that " the details of the settlement will reach you through the Grand Secretary of the now United Grand Lodge of Canada," but they have not yet been communicated to me. I am gratified to be able to announce to you, however, from information derived from "an unofficial source, that the difficulties that have for sometime existed in Canada West are reconciled, and the Brethren there are now harmoniously united under one Grand Lodge. At the convocation of the Grand Lodge of England on the first instant, the M. W. Grand Master, the Earl of Zetland, moved the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted, namely— "That official intimation having been received of the formation of the Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons in Canada, this Grand Lodge recognizes that body as an independent Grand Lodge, having jurisdiction over the province hitherto known as Canada West, and expresses its desire to entertain henceforth with it such a cordial and fraternal intercourse as will serve to promote the interest of Masonry in both countries." The fraternal relations that have always existed between the Brethren of Canada and Massachusetts, will be strengthened by the act of union so cordially recognized by the mother Grand Lodge.
In February last, 1 received a communication from the Grand Orient of Peru, informing me of certain false pretences of a person calling himself "Colonel Santiago Flores." He visited our Grand Lodge in 1852, pretending to be the "Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Peru." The communication having been laid before you, and had your consideration, any further statement of its contents by me is unnecessary.
Through the kind attention of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, we are in possession of a copy of the proceedings of that body from 1808 to 1847, in one volume, durably bound. To the Grand Lodge of Iowa are we also indebted for a copy of its proceedings from 1844 to 1853, which are contained in one volume. These collections of the transactions of our sister Grand Lodges are very valuable: is not their example worthy of imitation by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts!
Saint John the Baptist's Day was celebrated in Boston by the De Molay Encampment of Knights Templars, who entertained as their guests on the occasion, the Richmond Encampment of Knights Templar, of Virginia. Rarely has the military branch of our Order shone to greater advantage than on that day. The beautiful appearance of the procession on its way to Bunker Hill, attracted a vast crowd of interested and admiring spectators. The clay and evening were spent by the Encampments, in a social and festive manner. Not the least among the benefits realized from the visit of our Richmond Brethren, is the establishment of intimate personal acquaintance and social relations between influential Brethren of two of the oldest Masonic Jurisdictions on the continent.
King Solomon's Lodge, Charlestown, celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary on the 6th of September. An appropriate address was delivered by the Deputy Grand Master, Rev. Dr. William Flint. The Charter of the Lodge bears the date of the 5th of September, 1783, and the names of Joseph Warren, Grand Master; Joseph Webb, Past Grand Master; Paul Revere, Senior Grand Warden and Joseph Urann, Junior Grand Warden. King Solomon's Lodge has given two Grand Masters to this Jurisdiction— Josiah Bartlett and John Soley.
The duties of the office of Treasurer necessarily augment as the number of Lodges increases; and I would, therefore, suggest whether the compensation allowed to that officer is not inadequate to the services at present rendered by him. On referring to the accounts, from 1812 to the present time, it appears that his salary has varied, during that period, from fifty to one hundred and eighty. The highest amount was paid during five years, and the lowest, three years. From 1839 to 1852, his salary was seventy-five dollars. It is now one hundred and twenty-five dollars.
Minot's Ledge Lighthouse
The corner-stone designed for the Minot's Ledge Lighthouse was examined in accordance with ancient Masonic custom, on the 2d of October; the Grand Officers having been previously invited for the purpose by Capt. Alexander, the superintendent of the work. It had been contemplated to perform the ceremonies on the foundation for the structure, but it proving to be inaccessible on account of the roughness of the sea, they took place on the neighboring shore. A full aocount of the occasion was given in the newspapers of the day.
Sale of the Temple
The sale of the Masonic Temple has been consummated, by the Trustees' having received the sum which the U. S. government agreed to pay for it.
A brief account of the causes which led to this transaction will not be without interest to some of the Brethren here present.
For several years, the Masonic apartments in the Temple were inconvenient and too limited to afford accommodations to the large number of institutions which held their meetings in them. To obtain them for special meetings was attended with difficulties sometimes almost insuperable. In view of these facts my predecessor, on leaving the office of Grand Master, in December, 1856, addressed the Grand Lodge in these terms: "It has become evident to you all, that this building is quite too limited for the increase of our numbers, that this our largest room is often filled to repletion, that the smaller apartments are not adapted to the purposes for which they are necessarily used, and that at no distant day, our Fraternity will require a mere spacious Temple than this."
Concurring in these views, I brought the subject to your attention at the Quarterly Communication in March, 1857, and a committee of five were appointed "to consider and report at the next Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge in what manner, in their judgment, better accommodations can be secured for the use of the Fraternity than those they now have in this Temple."
Much solicitude was manifested by the Brethren who take the deepest interest in the well-being of our institution, to provide the needed accommodations in the Temple, and thus avoid, if possible, a change of locality. To that end their counsels were directed, and many plans were suggested by which to attain the object. Its exclusive use by Masonic tenants being regarded as out of the question, in consequence of the magnitude of the rents they would incur, architects and others skilled in the art of building were consulted as to the practicability of remodeling it so as to adapt it to Masonic and business purposes. After full examination of the subject, it was decided that the objects desired might be obtained in one of two ways, namely, 1, by adding another story, and 2, by the purchase and addition of the adjoining estate on the east. To the first suggestion it was objected that it would destroy the proportions of the structure, and cause a large outlay to effect it; and to the latter was opposed the difficulty of obtaining the estate except at an exorbitant price. And, finally, it was the judgment of one of the most experienced architects consulted, that in no other way could suitable rooms be procured upon the site of the Temple, more economically than by removing the old building and erecting another in its place. This recommendation found no supporters, as it was obvious that it would be more advantageous to sell the property at the price at which it was generally valued, and procure another estate, ihe adaptation of which to our purposes could be effected at an expenditure which would not far exceed the amount of the proceeds of such sale.
Early in May, 1S57, it was suggested that as the U. S. government had it in contemplation to procure an estate for the permanent accommodation of the U. S. Courts, the Temple might answer for the purpose; and soon afterward, a correspondence occurred between an officer of one of the courts and myself in relation to the sale of the Temple to the United States, The subject was entertained by the Trustees of the Temple, and measures were taken by them to accomplish the object.
At the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge, held in June, 1857, the committee previously appointed and before mentioned, reported: "That from a careful examination of this building, (the Temple,) they find that it is not capable of being so altered as to furnish the requisite accommodation. They also find that the present value of this properly is such, that even if accommodation could be furnished here, it would be at an annual rent of from $8,000 to $10,000, besides taxes, insurance and repairs, excepting only the rent of the Chickering rooms. Under these circumstances your committee are happy to be able to report further, that having had a meeting with the Trustees of the Masonic Temple, they are informed by them that they have a prospect of disposing of the building very advantageously to the Grand Lodge."
At the tame June Communication, R. W. Edward A. Raymond offered the following vote, which was laid on the table:—
"Voted, That the Trustees be, and they are hereby authorized to sell the Masonic Temple, on such terms as they shall deem to be for the interest of the Grand Lodge, and they are also hereby empowered, if they shall so dispose of the Temple, to secure by purchase or otherwise, a suitable lot of land for the erection of another building adapted to the present necessities of the Grand Lodge and Fraternity."
At the Quarterly Communication in September, the proposition of Bro. Raymond was taken op and debated at some length. Its further consideration was postponed to the 23d of September, at a Special Communication to be called for the purpose.
At the Special Communication, the motion of Bro. Raymond was amended as follows, namely—
"Voted, That the Trustees be, and they are hereby instructed and required to sell the Masonic Temple, to the United States of America, upon the terms and conditions proposed by the Secretary of the Interior in his communication to the President of the Board of Trustees of said Masonic Temple, dated Sept. 3d, 1857, and hold the proceeds upon the same trusts and for the same uses as they now hold the Masonic Temple,"
and the vote on its adoption, stood 63 yeas to 35 nays.
I believe that I speak the general sentiment of the Brethren of this Jurisdiction in saying that another Temple, adequate for our wants through generations to come, should be provided at no distant day.
There is no necessity for immediate and hasty action, for spacious apartments here in Nassau Hall, will serve us until an acceptable site can be selected and an edifice erected thereon, which shall serve the double purpose of a safe and lucrative investment of our funds, and be creditable to us as an architectural ornament to the metropolis. The structure might be on a scale to afford the means of profitable investment not only for the funds of the Grand Lodge, but also for those of the subordinate Lodges. The united Masonic funds in Massachusetts, if so applied, might be managed through the instrumentality of corporate powers, in the direction of which each contributing party could participate.
In conclusion, permit me to express to you my most grateful acknowledgments for the kindness to which for the third time I am indebted for the honor of presiding over the ancient Masonic Jurisdiction of this Commonwealth. My two years of service in this station, have brought with them many cares and responsibilities and much labor, and I do not anticipate that my third and last year will differ in these respects from those that have preceded it. I shall, however, endeavor to discharge my official duties impartially and faithfully, and exert myself by all the means at my command, to promote the prosperity and harmony of the brotherhood.
AT INSTALLATION OF ABERDOUR LODGE, NOVEMBER 1863
- 03/11/1857 Revere, Boston
- 03/11/1857 Paul Revere, North Bridgewater (Brockton)
- 09/09/1857 Joseph Warren, Boston
- 09/09/1857 Wyoming, Melrose
- 12/09/1857 Pequossette, Watertown
- 06/09/1858 Eureka, New Bedford
- 09/08/1858 Berkshire, Adams
- 09/08/1858 Mount Vernon, Malden
- 09/08/1858 John Abbot, Somerville
- 03/09/1859 Quaboag, Warren
- 06/08/1859 Montacute, Worcester
- 06/08/1859 Henry Price, Charlestown
- 09/14/1859 Webster, Webster
- 09/14/1859 Trinity, Clinton
- 12/14/1859 Hiram, Copiapo, Chile
- 12/14/1859 Southern Cross, Valparaiso, Chile