- 1 SAMUEL CROCKER LAWRENCE 1832-1911
- 1.1 TERM
- 1.2 NOTES
- 1.3 BIOGRAPHY
- 1.4 MEMORIAL
- 1.5 SPEECHES
- 1.5.1 AT DEDICATION OF CRANE MEMORIAL HALL, QUINCY, MAY 1882
- 1.5.2 AT FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH, NORTH ATTLEBORO, SEPTEMBER 1882
- 1.5.3 AT THE CENTENNIAL OF KING SOLOMON'S LODGE, SEPTEMBER 1883
- 1.5.4 AT DEDICATION OF ASHLAND MASONIC HALL, SEPTEMBER 1883
- 1.5.5 AT THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF ST. JOHN'S LODGE, OCTOBER 1883
- 1.6 CHARTERS GRANTED
- 1.7 RULINGS
SAMUEL CROCKER LAWRENCE 1832-1911
- MM 1854, Hiram
- Charter Member 1855, WM 1863-1865, Mount Hermon
- Grand Sword Bearer 1869
- Senior Grand Warden, 1870
- Grand Master, 1881-1883
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 9, July 1861, Page 320.
The reader will learn with deep regret, that our Brother Col. S. C. Lawrence of the Massachusetts 5th regiment, was wounded in the recent unfortunate and precipitate fight at Bull's Bun, in Virginia, and that he is now lying ill at the hospital in Georgetown. We are happy, however, to be able to state, that his injuries are not dangerous, and that, if not already, he will, in a few days, be able to resume his command. Coi. Lawrence is S. Warden of Mt. Hermon Lodge, Medford, and is greatly beloved by his Brethren.
FROM NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, 1909
From New England Craftsman, Vol. V, No. 1, October 1909, Page 7:
Samuel Crocker Lawrence, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, was born in Medford, Mass., November 22, 1832, and attended the public schools of that town, entering Lawrence Academy of Groton, Mass. In 1847 he completed his preparations for Harvard College from which he graduated with honors, receiving the degree of A. B. in 1855 and the degree of A. M. in 1858. He immediately entered business life, going to Chicago and becoming a member of the firm of Bigelow & Lawrence, bankers. Returning to Medford in 1858 he engaged in business with his father and brother under the firm name of Daniel Lawrence & Sons.
He became interested in the State Militia and on the organization of the "Lawrence Light Guard," named in honor of his father, he was elected one of the lieutenants, soon rising to the rank of captain and at the time of the breaking out of the Civil War had become colonel of the fifth regiment. After his return from the war he was commissioned a brigadier general of the state militia by Gov. Andrew, June 9, 1862 and did excellent service, being honorably discharged in 1864. He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston and its commander in 1869.
He became interested in railroad matters and was elected president of the Eastern R. R. Co., in 1875 and on its union with the Boston & Maine R. R. Co., was elected a director which position he lias held ever since. He has been interested in several other railroads at different times.
He was the first mayor of Medford and held that office two years. Elected a trustee of the public library in 1868 he has continued to be a member as well as chairman of the board since that time. Since the establishment of the commissioners of the Sinking Funds in 1878 he has been a member and also the chairman.
He received the Master Mason degree in 1854 in Hiram Lodge, of West Cambridge, the Capitular degrees in St. Paul's R. A. Chapter of Boston and became a charter member of Mystic R. A. Chapter of Medford at its institution in 1863, in which he served as M. E. High Priest from 1878 to 1880 being honored later with the position of District Deputy Grand High Priest. He was also a charter member of Medford Council R. and S. Masters. The honors of Knighthood were conferred upon him in DeMolay Commandery in 1856, and in 1858 he became a member of Boston Commandery and afterwards Eminent Commander thereof, serving from October, 1873 to October, 1875. In 1862 he was invested with the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and in 1866 became a member of the Supreme Council 33°. He served as M. W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1881, 1882 and 1883, and in 1894 was elected R. E. Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and as such acted as chairman of the committee of the Triennial Conclave held in Boston in 1895. He has been a member of the board of directors of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts since December 0. 1869 and of the board of trustees of the Masonic Educational and Charity Fund since December 10, 1884.
He has held the office of Lieut. Commander of the Supreme Council of the A. A. S. Rite of Freemasonry for the Northern Jurisdiction (of the United States) from 1898 until the death of Sovereign Grand Commander Henry L. Palmer, May 7th of the present year when he succeeded to the position of Sovereign Grand Commander, which office has been confirmed by the unanimous vote of the Council.
No one has better deserved Masonic honor than Most Worshipful Brother Lawrence. He is a man of the highest integrity and deeply interested in the welfare of Freemasonry. His executive ability and his judgment are recognized and his opinion accepted almost without a question on all matters relating to the prosperity of the bodies that have claimed his attention. His election to the highest position in freemasonry is a just recognition of his merits and brings hearty satisfaction to all who have knowledge of his long service and unselfish devotion to the best interests of Freemasonry.
FROM TROWEL, SPRING 1993
From TROWEL, Spring 1993, Page 10:
The Legacy of Grand Master SAMUEL CROCKER LAWRENCE
By Bob Williams, TROWEL's Consulting Editor
When you enter the Grand Lodge Library on the third floor and look to your immediate right you, like most folks, probably ask "Who is he?" There hangs the likeness of Most Worshipful Samuel Crocker Lawrence, a typical 19th century successful businessman who seriously took and practiced his Masonic vows and contributed liberally to the relief and education of his fellow man through the gifts of money, books and much of his wisdom that society past, present and in the future might find the answers to many questions.
On Saturday, May 15. Most Worshipful David W. Lovering and the Grand Lodge Library Committee will honor the library's benefactor with a dinner and ceremony that will include the unveiling of a plaque that will officially name it the Most Worshipful and General Samuel Crocker Lawrence Library. Born in Medford in 1832, he was Grand Master 1881-83 and fought in the first Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. Plans for the occasion were not complete when this Spring issue of TROWEL was being prepared in November, but the affair will be open to Masons and non-Masons.
Through the foresight of Brother Lawrence, our Grand Lodge acquired the famous Masonic collection of Enoch T. Carson of Cincinnati which can be termed the cornerstone of our library. Enoch T. Carson is justly entitled to the credit of being styled the pioneer of Masonic collectors. At the time (1854) his collection was larger than all other American collections combined.
Fitted for Harvard College in Medford schools and Lawrence Academy in Groton, Bro. Lawrence was graduated 13th in his class of 1855. and with the exception of the years 1858-59 when employed in banking in Chicago, he made his home in Medford and continued the business established by his father. Elected Medford's first mayor 1893-94, he built an armory that would later hold his body in state when he died in 1911. Built at a cost of $226,000 and known as the Lawrence Light Guard Armory, it was purchased in 1984 by the A.J. Sulfaro Development Corp. for $900,000 and recycled and renovated into an office complex. It had once been owned by the Mystic Valley Masonic Association and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Descended from an ancestry traced to John Lawrence who settled in Watertown in 1635, he graduated from Harvard as a third lieutenant in Company E, 5th Mass. Infantry (Lawrence Light Guard), and when he returned from Chicago and believing that a war between the states was inevitable, he prevailed upon Governors Banks and Andrew to engage an officer of the French army to train his regiment at his own expense. Training was held in the hall above the Fitchburg Railway station in Boston. Six days after Fort Sumter was fired upon by the Confederates on April 12, 1861, the Light Guard was summoned to duty. His brother. R.W. Daniel W. Lawrence, took his horse to notify the regiment, following the same route taken by Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride 86 years earlier.
At the first Battle of Bull Run in June, 1861, the regiment held its ground for three hours until General Heintzelman declared all was lost. Colonel Lawrence was wounded and left on the battlefield for dead. Later found by his adjutant and carried slowly to the Union lines where his wounds were dressed, he was returned to Boston in the hope he might return to the battlefield.
Refusing a colonelcy from President Abraham Lincoln so he could fight with his own hometown boys, he attempted a second time to serve in protecting Washington. D.C. On July 9, 1862, he was commissioned Brigadier General by Gov. Andrew. He reported for the draft riots of 1863 but resigned his commission a year later. He remained an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Loyal Legion and became active with the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, serving as its commander in 1869. He was active in banking, served on the committee to reorganize the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad; was director of the St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain Railroad, the Washington County Railway, Somerset Railway, Boston and Maine and the Maine Central railroads; was senior surviving director of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. at the time of his death; and as a director of the Eastern Railroad in 1875 and combining some of his own wealth and business acumen the stock rose from $3 to $150 a share and then consolidated it with the Boston and Maine. He made gifts of railroad stock to the Grand Lodge Education and Charity Trust.
While in his junior year at Harvard he received Masonic degrees in Hiram Lodge. West Cambridge, now Arlington, in 1854. When Mt. Hermon Lodge was started in the same year, he was a charter member, and in 1862, he was installed Worshipful Master, serving until January 1865. He was elected Senior Grand Warden in 1870, and from 1869 until his death, he was one of the Board of Directors. Elected Grand Master in 1881, he took great interest in the Masonic Education and Charity Trust. Through his untiring efforts more than those of any other one man, the debt on the Masonic Temple in Boston, amounting to $400,000, was finally paid. He visited every Lodge in the state to achieve that goal. He said the strength and lasting qualities of Masonry are to be found in Blue Lodge degrees and that the Grand Lodge is the foundation on which the superstructure is built.
Active in York Rite Masonry, he was Grand Commander of Massachusetts and Rhode Island in 1894. He became a Scottish Rite Mason in 1862, receiving the Thirty-third degree in 1864. He did much to settle a dispute within what is now the Northern Supreme Council. He was the Deputy for Massachusetts, Grand Lieutenant Commander, 1898-1909, and Sovereign Grand Commander, 1909-10. At the first general conference of the Supreme Councils of the world held in Brussels. Belgium in 1907, he headed the delegation from the Northern Jurisdiction with Past Grand Master Charles T. Gallagher.
Before returning home they visited the site of the cemetery in Paris where John Paul Jones had been found and the tomb of Lafayette and his family; a lot bordered by a wall where 1,306 victims of the guillotine were buried during the second year of the Reign of Terror in France. They visited Madame Gombault, granddaughter of one of Jones' sisters, and at a fee set by her and Brother Lawrence (a comfortable sum for her needs), he purchased one of the pistols carried by John Paul Jones in his battles. That pistol is now secured in the archives of our Grand Lodge. (See TROWEL, Summer, 1990.)
In August, 1992, the Lawrence family continued his legacy of giving by presenting to the Medford Historical Society the flag carried by the Lawrence Light Guard in the First Battle of Bull Run. Stained with mud and blood from two of the Light Guard bearers who were killed carrying the banner, the framed 40- by 68-inch flag of red and white silk stripes and an eagle encircled by 31 golden stars with the legend "5th Rgt. M. V. M." and "Bull Run, July 21, 1861."
Given to his daughter, Louise Lawrence Batchelder, the flag had been kept in several Batchelder homes in the Beverly area for three generations. Samuel Lawrence Batchelder, Jr., great-grandson of the General, made the presentation and said, "It is time the public had access to these things rather than to keep them in a box." Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn added, "It is significant for us as we celebrate our 100th birthday this year (1992)."
When the General died in 1911. Mrs. Caroline R. Lawrence, his widow, presented Grand Lodge with a marble bust of the General that had been executed in Italy by Franklin Simmons. It is now placed just inside the lobby (to the left) when entering Corinthian Hall on the third floor of Grand Lodge. It reminds us and expresses to us that the time will never come when this Grand Lodge will cease to be served by men of character and ability who will do their best to work for the credit of themselves and the honor of the Fraternity.
Since the revitalizing of the Grand Lodge Library Committee and through the talents and energies of Librarian Cynthia Alcorn and Assistant Librarian Ward Williamson, the Samuel Crocker Lawrence Library will have more of its literary treasures recorded and exposed and evaluated as already appraised by Robert Gilbert of Bristol, England and Kent Walgren of Salt Lake City. The latter is from the office of the Attorney General of Utah and dealer and researcher of Masonic books printed before 1850.
FROM PROCEEDINGS, 1911
From Proceedings, Page 1911-195:
"SAMUEL CROCKER LAWRENCE ended his long life of usefulness and successful endeavor on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 24, 1911, at his pleasant home on Rural avenue in Medford, after a lingering illness that had brought to all of our hearts daily anxiety and dread during the weeks preceding his death. Although hope of his recovery had been abandoned, the announcement came with the effect of a sudden and personal bereavement, and we could hardly reconcile ourselves to feel that this great, true, noble spirit, which had been a tower of strength to our Institution, had indeed passed forever from us.
"Though his ceaseless activities in various branches of life had made him one of our foremost citizens, to our Fraternity and especially to our Grand Lodge the loss comes with more than usual feelings of sadness and depression.
"His devotion had been continuous from his first association with Freemasonry, and in both the York and Scottish Rites he stood always not only for what is best and truest, but he had also been a leader and guide wherever encouragement in existing conditions was needed, or where progression into new ones had made itself felt.
"But a memorial of a man so many-sided as was our Brother Lawrence should not be limited to his work in our Fraternity. His personality had touched on many sides of our complex social and industrial life, and in all of thdm there was exhibited his philanthropic, benevolent and charitable nature, and an intelligent and clear-minded treatment of subjects based on the best principles of business and industrial training.
"Descended from an ancestry traced back many generations to the old English family of that name, his progenitor in this country was John Lawrence, who settled in Watertown in 1635, - the same stock thrt produeed the historical command : "Don't give up the ship!"
"Our Brother Lawrence was born in Medford, Nov. 22, 1832, the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence, and with the exception of two years spent in the banking business in Chicago in 1858-9, made his home in that place until his death.
"Fitting for college in the Medford schools and at Lawrence Academy in Groton, he graduated at Harvard number 13 in the famous class of 1855, his eminence in scholarship entitling him to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society; in 1858 he received the additional degree of A.M. from his Alma Mater. Among his classmates were Alexander Agassiz, Bishop Brooks, Frank R. Sanborn, Gen. R. S. Barlow, Edwin H. Abbot, Robert Treat Paine and Theodore Lyman; while with him in college were men bearing such familiar names as Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, Ex-president Eliot, Ex-mayor Green of Boston and Professor Pierce, the mathematician.
"Soon after college came his career as a banker in Chicago under the firm name of Bigelow & Lawrence, from which he soon returned to continue the business of his father, of which from 1867 he was the sole proprietor, under the name of Daniel Lawrence & Sons, until 1905, the two hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the settlement of Medford, when it was discontinued.
"Among other prominent features of General Lawrence's life was his interest in military affairs. While fitting for college at Groton he was captain of a boys' company attached to the academy, and so won the attention of Boston's great philanthropist, Amos Lawrence, that $100 was presented by him for the benefit of the company. The year he graduated from college found him third lieutenant in Company E, 5th Massachusetts Infantry, called the Lawrence Light Guard in honor of his father; in 1856 he was its captain, and on his return from the West became major and colonel of the regiment to which it was attached.
"Believing war inevitable between the North and South, he urged upon Governor Banks and Governor Andrew the necessity for preparedness, and acting on this belief he engaged an officer of the French army to instruct his regiment in tactics and drill, hiring at his own expense the hall over the Fitchburg Railroad station in Boston, and thus was prepared, when Sumter was fired upon, April 12, 1861, with a command ready equipped for the fleld. Marching orders were issued on the 18th of April, and the same night his brother, our own R.W. Daniel W. Lawrence, took horse to notify the regiment, covering the route taken just eighty-six years before, by Paul Revere, on his famous midnight ride "for the country folk to be up and to arm." In both cases,
"The spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat."
"The next day all the companies reported at Boston, few having bad time to set their homes in order, and some not saying a last farewell.
"The record of his regiment is historic. At the first Bull Run fight it held its ground and continued the battle three hours after General Heintzleman had declared all was lost. Colonel Lawrence, bravely facing danger, was wounded and left for dead on the field, but being discovered by his adjutant was revived and carried by slow stages to the Union lines; suffering from his wounds, he returned with his command to Boston and was enthusiastically received. His injuries and state of health forbade his returning to the field, yet after the terrible disasters in the Shenandoah Valley he again reported at the head of his regiment for active duty, but, the national capital being no longer in danger, his services were not required.
"At the outbreak of the war President Lincoln had already offered him a colonelcy in the Regular Army, but this he declined by reason of his strong attachment to his own homeboys, with whom he desired to rernain. During his two weeks in Washington with his regiment, however, a warm friendship existed between the President and himself, which was a source of pride and comfort to him during his entire life.
"On July 9, 1862, he was commissioned brigadier general by Governor Andrew, which position he resigned Aug. 20, 1864. He reported for active service during the draft riots of 1863.
"After the war and during the remainder of his life, he continued his zealous interest in and connection with military affairs; he was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Loyal Legion, and other veteran organizations; and as an active member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, he was its Commander in 1869; in June last, at the two hundred and seventy-third anniversary of the company, he was Senior Past Commander and acted as escort to the Governor, marching over the route and participating in the review on the Common with the apparent vigor and strength of former years.
"An appropriate tribute to his military life was the posting of a guard of honor at the head and foot of the casket as he lay in state in the magnificent armory at Medford; the grizzled, veterans of '61 and the boys of '98 standing at rest, in perfect military form, as the last guard of their old comrade and commander, whose heroic character had so appealed to the spirits and aspirations of both.
"This armory was erected by him in honor of his father; and besides being a military monument in itself, it contains an extensive library of military and naval historical pictures, writings and relics, while for the company using it is a fully equipped rifle range which has graduated some of the champion militia shots of our country, - all the product of his munificence.
His name was revered in military circles, - Grand Army Posts, Sons of Veterans, and other organizations honoring themselves by adopting it. But he is now at rest with his old comrades of the Army, and has joined the great majority, where,
"On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead."
Though always deeply interested in public affairs he generally declined public office, accepting, however, the honor of Presidential Elector, and for forty-three years was trustee of the public library in his town and city which he.had profusely enriched from his own funds with hundreds of volumes and works of art; he also made an exception when his native town became a city, and accepted at the hands of his grateful friends and neighbors the compliment of being elected its first Mayor for the two years of 1893-4.
"In his long and successful career in the business and financial world, General Lawrence's name was the synonym of honesty and upright dealing, while his achievements spelled success in every venture; - not the success resulting from chance, or a favorable condition of the times, but accomplished by his own energy and industry and the application of the higher principles of life to his dealings between man and man, and so he was naturally sought for positions of trust and importance in the business world.
"Besides being vice-president and trustee of the savings bank in his own town, he was one of the committee to reorganize the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, and was a director of the St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain Railroad, the Washington County Railway, the Somerset Railway, the Boston & Maine and the Maine Central Railroads ; and in these, as in all other positions which he held, he took a pride in their successful and honest management, always regarding himself as a trustee for stockholders, the public, and all interested, rather than as one whose opportunity it was to make for his own concern the most that could be made at the expense of others.
"He was assiduous in his devotion to the affairs of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of which, at the time of his death, he was the senior surviving director; here ably seconding its president, Judge Henry L. Palmer, for so many years the honored head of the Scottish Rite branch of our Masonry and whom he succeeded in that position. Under their management the affairs of the company were so advanced that at the time of the life insurance scandals in New York City, which provoked an investigation of the management of the three great companies of this country, resulting in disgraceful disclosures, the Northwestern Company had achieved the position of fourth in size; but there never was a breath of suspicion as to its dealings with its policy-holders or the public, or with the condition of its funds. Faithfully and economically managed by these men and their associates, it is a monument to the honesty and efficiency of such men as Brother Lawrence and his associates.
"In railroad affairs, to which he brought the best experiences of business success, he was more occupied in saving and upbuilding than in wrecking, in which so many rich men indulged themselves before the practice became unprofitable under the Sherman law. After a careful research into the affairs of the Eastern Railroad, when he was elected a director in 1875, and finding it in a ruinous condition, he promptly made known the actual condition of the company and, assiduously devoting all his energy and his personal wealth to rebuilding the property, he averted bankruptcy and placed the company on a business basis; during his directorate the stock rose from $3. where it had fallen, to $150 a share when the Eastern was consolidated with the Boston & Maine Railroad, and he continued for many years as a director. His work was an object lesson for railroad magnates, and with such men as he in power there would be less distrust in public service management.
"The result was a credit to our State and Nation, and in marked contrast to those that have followed the late merger, which he vigorously opposed, - aided and ably supported by the tireless devotion of his son, our own R.W. William B. Lawrence, in the endeavor to prevent what he foresaw would be a serious loss to shareholders, and unfortunate for New England.
"In all these actions, as in every-day life, he was governed by the highest ideals of what he regarded as the whole duty of man. Inheriting ample means, which he increased by his own prudence and ability, he despised that ostentatious display of riches so common among wealthy men and avoided those extravagances which scandalize private life at home and damage the reputation of our country abroad. He regarded his wealth as a trust fortunately given to and acquired by him, which, as it had come from the people, should, in some measure at least, be devoted to their uses, and should never be employed for the base purposes of deriving more from them. This spirit showed itself in the large expenditures of money and of time given to aid his community in exterminating the gypsy and other moth-pests which, originating in his city, have devastated large portions of the country; while his extensive plantation at Florida was more like a government experiment station to exploit the growth of fruits and products than a winter resort for his own benefit. In this he worked for many years in conjunction with the Government to solve problems of fruit culture.
"But it was in his benefactions to the individual that his great nature was seen; although gifts of this character, under his last will, are numerous, he did not wait for its probate to distinguish himself by public comment and approval; his charities during life had been extensive but unostentatious, endeavoring as he said to devote at least one-half his income to benevolent purposes; and when he appeared to be extravagant, to claim that it cost him nothing as his heirs were paying for it; the general public knew little of his benefactions, for he intended that his left hand should not know what his right hand was doing. He has gone to his grave with more of the grateful praise that comes from the useful employment of riches than applies to the generality of the wealthy men of our day and generation. Ideally does he fill the thought of the poet:
"If any little love of miue may make a life the sweeter,
If any little care of mine may make another life completer,
If any lift of mine may ease the burrlen of another,
God give me love and care and strength, to help my toiling brother."
"This world is not a fleeting show
For man's illusion given;
He that hath soothed the widow's woe,
Or wiped the orphan's tear doth know,
There's something here of heaven."
"While still in college, Brother Lawrence became interested in Freemasonry, and during his junior year at Harvard College, Oct. 26, 1854, he received his degrees in Hiram Lodge of what is now Arlington; becoming later one of the charter members of Mt. Hermon Lodge, and.at the time of his death their only survivor. He was the sixth Master of this Lodge, from October, 1862, until January, 1865.
"His devotion to the Craft was continuous, and during his active Masonic life he had attained official position in almost every body, subordinate and Grand, through all its branches. Elected Senior Grand Warden of our Grand Lodge in 1870, he had served since 1869 as one of the Board of Directors, and was our Most Worshipful Grand Master in 1881-2-3.
"He took a great interest in our Board of Directors and in our Masonic Education and Charity Trust; of the latter he had been a member and its Treasurer since its organization in January, 1885; and it was his pride to feel that both these bodies to the time of his death maintained, on the one hand, a high standard of true Masonic charity, and on the other, the conservative business and financial principles that should characterize great institutions of this kind.
"During his three years as Grand Master, through his untiring efforts more than those of any other one man, the debt on our old Masonic Temple, amounting to nearly $400,000, was finally paid. To inspire the Brethren with a desire and duty on their part to lift this burden, he traveled over the State at his own expense, urging and encouraging, teaching and directing the Fraternity how to do it.
"He was of that old school of Brethren who regarded with jealousy any infringement on the landmarks of Masonry; a school of such men as Judge Drummond, Judge Palmer, Judge Gardner, and our own Brother Nickerson, who, having Iearned by their research and experience that the strength and lasting qualities of Masonry are to be found in the Blue Lodge degrees, and that the Grand Lodge is the foundation on which the superstructure is built, knew that any growth or construction maintained on lines less stable than the foundation, is just so weak and inefficient as a lasting Masonic organization. Thus he held in veneration the Grand Lodges, whose regulations and rulings should 'not be lightly or unadvisedly' set aside by local rules or regulations of any other body calling itself Grand or Supreme; in this, as in other matters of principle, he exhibited a consistency and strength of character that is an example to be emulated and followed.
"In the York Rite he joined St. Paul's Royal Arch Chapter June 13, 1855, and becoming a charter member of Mystic Royal Arch Chapter of Medford in 1864, served in various posts until he became Most Excellent High Priest and District Deputy Grand High Priest.
"He became a charter member of Medford Council, Royal and Select Masters, in 1869, having previously received his degrees in Boston Council.
"De Molay Commandery, Knights Templars, conferred on him the Orders of Knighthood in 1856. Joining Boston Commandery in 1858, he became its Eminent Commander in October, 1873, for two years.
"He was an honorary member of Joseph Warren Commandery of Boston, St. John's Commandery of Philadelphia, and Apollo Commandery of Chicago.
"He was Deputy Grand Commander in 1875, and in 1894 was elected Grand Commander of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
"At the Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment held in Boston in 1895 he was its master spirit, contributing most generously from his personal funds to its success, and honoring our Fraternity by his splendid appearance at the head of his Grand Commandery, giving a character to the Institution that has become almost a Masonic tradition. The Committee on the Conclave testified their regard and esteem by presenting him an elaborate bronze vase.
"In Scottish Rite Masonry his talents and abilities have been employed to a degree that would amount to a life-work in any great industry or business undertaking. Foremost in achieving the union of the two rival bodies of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, May 17, 1867, of which union he was the last surviving active member, he had remained uutil the days of his last illness a most zealous and interested participant in all that pertained to the successful advancement of its interests.
"He became a Scottish Rite Mason in 1862, receiving the Thirty-third Degree Dec. 20, 1864. Two years later, Dec. 14, 1866, he was crowned as one of the active list. Before the union he had held office under the Rite, and during the many years of his active life filled subordinate offices, besides that of Deputy for Massachusetts, and passing through the chair of state became Puissant Grand Lieutenant Commander, which office he occupied until the retirement as Grand Commander of Judge Palmer, May 1, 1909, whom he succeeded, only to see him pass away within six days thereafter. Subsequently elected Grand Commander, he resigned in 1910.
"At the first general conference of the Supreme Councils of the world, held in Brussels, Belgium in 1907, he headed the delegation from our Northern Jurisdiction, filling the position with great credit and with a marked degree of success; his great worth was recognized and appreciated not only there but in London where, with Illustrious Brothers Smith and Gallagher, he was received by the Supreme Councils of England, Ireland and Scotland, and accorded high honors.
"He had been a charter member of several subordinate bodies under the Consistory, and in 1878 received the degree of the Royal Order of Scotland, and was one of the original members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of the United States as well as of the home body in Scotland.
"Notable and preëminent in his Masonic life was his great service to its financial side. In every body of which he was a member he was either trustee or treasurer of its funds, to all of which he had been more instrumental, probably, than any other in their creation and growth, and the conservation and practical usefulness of which he guarded with jealous care. In this he was merely applying those principles of business which, given to any undertaking, result in success; and while he abated not his zeal in his devotion to the symbolism and ritual of our Order; while he exemplified in every detail the spirit of friendship, charity and loyalty, and every virtue that should characterize the good Mason; he applied his best conservative business endeavors to maintaining the institution and all the bodies in it with which he was connected, on a basis that should be not only useful and valuable but permanent and lasting. How well he has performed his work we all know. How meagre is the language that shall endeavor to record his acts and character so that future generations shall understand him and know him as we did; but we can say of him that in our Grand Lodge and in all the bodies of each of the rites, he was justly regarded at the time of his death as the foremost Mason of our country. His life and character have shed lustre on our Institution, and have given it a position and standing such as comes from a valuable association.
"It would be difficult to state in one or few words the key-note of General Lawrence's character. Whatever it was, there was evolved from it the grace and kindliness, the benevolence and philanthropy which distinguished him. Every impulse in life was subordinated to his better nature, which some thought at times overruled his judgment. He took pleasure in bestowing, and for his reward received the gratifying knowledge that some one had been benefited. There was in him
"That best portion of a good man's life, -
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love."
"His nature led him to love his fellow-men, and thus the social instincts were constant and insistent; he enjoyed contact with widely differing classes. This fondness for social and fraternal life led to his early devotion to Masonry, but its symbolism and ritual and its ethical and moral messages appealed to him, while the desire to assist in building permanently and strongly attracted him to its details and administration.
"If in addition to this gentle and sentimental side we were to attempt to characterize him, we would say -
"Here is a man living in his full faculties nearly ten years beyond the time allotted by the Psalmist; possessing a big, generous, loving, sympathetic heart, combined with a head for business affairs; always with plenty of time to do any good thing; actively patriotic and loyal to his country both in peace and war; one who can listen as well as talk, and is always ready to let others have their say; patient with misfortune and even weakness, but intolerant of wrong or oppression; incapable of being bribed or cajoled; one who, being true to himself, expects truth from others; who has traveled enough of the various ways of life 'to know that there is only one way to live, and that is the right way ; only one way to do business, and that is the truthful way; only one way to work, and that is the efficient way.'
"The tender, heartfelt, devoted and magnificent tribute of neighbors, friends, associates and Brethren on the day of the funeral, Sept. 27, 1911, in and about the beautiful armory building at Medford, is familiar to so many that auy effort to put it into words merely emphasizes the poverty of our mother tongue in attempting to reproduce it and its impressions.
"While the body lay in state, thousands of neighbors and friends passed his bier, gazing for the last time on him who had so honored them and their community by his character and example for all that makes the summit of high ideals in citizenship ; and while the mute, ceaseless cortege passed, and during the remainder of the day, all activities in public and private life of the city were suspended as a mark of respect for his memory.
"Not in our day and generation has there been so natural and spontaneous an outpouring of devotion, love and respect as was here shown; - without the attractions of a great parade, unattended by any of the trappings of ritual, military, or civil official organization, quietly, peacefully, earnestly, from every walk of life and from every body with which he was connected, men came to pay their last tribute of esteem; where whole bodies could not be accommodated, they came by committee or delegation; and a great throng was there 'to worship and bow down' at the simple yet inrpressive rites that attended his last day on earth.
"Among the Masonic Fraternity every body of which he was a member was represented, while it is fair to say that every permanent member of our Grand Lodge and every Mason of the Thirty-third Degree who was able to do so attended the services, coming from a score or more of different States and some from a thousand miles away; by all other organizations - college, military, social, civil, religious - with which he was connected, the same spirit was shown; the floral offerings, testifying that deep regard that accompanies a desire to be more than a personal part of the ceremony, came from organizations, associations, neighbors and friends, in quantity and kind surpassing the most generous profusion accorded to a great ruler; every available portion of that great armory was filled, while without, thousands filled the streets, silently had in spirit accompanying the mourning services within; the impressive rendering of music dear to him by the Harvard Quartet, followed by prayer and eulogy from our and his devoted friend and brother, Illustrious and Worshipful Dr. Frederick W. Hamilton, in which all joined in silent devotion, comprised the last ceremonials of farewell to that good and great man. Would space permit in this form of a Memorial, which for our Proceedings must be more of narrative than eulogy, your Committee would feel proud to adopt a reproduction of that complete, comprehensive and impressive tribute of Brother Hamilton in their attempt 'to put in words the grief one feels,' and thus fitter and better chosen words would appear on your records than can come from our pen.
"Brother Lawrence's remains reached their final resting-place at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, where pravers were said at the interment.
"And so he passed from us, having lived a life full of goodness, greatness and religious activity; not as does an active professor of a form of worship, but as one who did the will of his Master, - who, finding suffering all around, gave what he could to cheer and raise.
"I deem his faith the best
Who daily puts it into loving deeds
Done for the poor, the sorrowing, the oppressed -
For these are more than creeds;
One hand outstretched to man
In helpfulness, the other clings to God;
And thus upheld he walks through Time's brief span
In ways that Jesus trod.
"But while the mortal part has gone, he will he will ever live with us in minds and memories that are made better by having known him and his good deeds. He and his name will ever be an inspiration and an example.
"To his bereaved widow, who was his constant companion through a long and happy domestic life, and whose charm and grace of manner so endeared herself to all his associates and friends whose good fortune it was to have met her in company with him, we offer that warm feeling of sincere sympathy that comes from hearts presuming to share in the common loss that is thus heavily borne, and pray that He who has us all in His keeping may strengthen and sustain her in her affliction.
"To his children we extend our deepest sympathy, and especially to our beloved associate, R.W. Bro. William B. Lawrence, who has so manfully aided and sustained his father in trying times, and who has kindly consented to continue such of his father's good work as we shall find for him to do, we offer the homage and sympathy of a brother and friend.
"Surviving his younger brother after a companionship of nearly fourscore years, still strong in health of mind and body, beloved, respected and esteemed, we take to our hearts with the same tender feelings of regard that the memory of his brother awakens, and pray that the good Father of us all will preserve him in health and strength for many years - our own beloved R.W. Brother, Daniel W. Lawrence.
"Our final word is said, but as we began this Memorial with words employed by our late Brother in life, so we close with a tribute quoted by him on the death of Judge Palmer, his long-time friend and associate:
Twilight and evening bell, and after that the dark.
"The full, rich day of a splendid manhood fading slowly into the beautiful twilight of a serene old age; accumulated honors; the respect, the esteem, and beyond all the sincere love of mankind; life's work grandly done; life's duties bravely discharged; peacefully, ideally he has crossed the bar and passed out outo the broad bosom of Eternity's boundless sea.
"Not with pomp and circumstance, not with the usual trappings of the great, nor in the market-place, nor along publicity's white way, with its confusion and its shouting; but rather with strength and dignity he followed ever where duty led, up quiet paths to the very summit of achievement, to an eminence which few attain."
FROM NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, 1911
From New England Craftsman, Vol. VII, No. 1, October 1911, Page 2:
SAMUEL CROCKER LAWRENCE, one of the best known and most highly respected Freemasons of this country, died at his home, Medford, Mass., Sunday, September 24, 1911, in the 79th year of his life.
His death was not altogether unexpected, but was nevertheless a shock to his great circle of friends and associates, as well as to those with whom he was related by business interests. He leaves a large place vacant in all of the great interests in which he was concerned that cannot be readily filled.
He was deeply interested in Medford, the city of his birth, and has contributed largely to its prosperity.
He was born November 22, 1832. He attended the public schools of Medford, and entering Lawrence Academy of Groton, Mass., in 1847, he completed his preparations for Harvard College, from which he graduated with honors, receiving the degree of A. B. in 1855, and the degree of A. M. in 1858. He immediately entered business life, going to Chicago and becoming a member of the firm of Rigelow & Lawrence, bankers. Returning to Medford in 1858 he engaged in business with his father and brothel under the firm name of Daniel Lawrence & Sons.
He became interested in the State Militia, and on the organization of the "Lawrence Light Guard," named in honor of his father, he was elected one of the lieutenants, soon rising to the rank of captain and at the time of the breaking out of the Civil War had become colonel of the fifth regiment. After his return from the war he was commissioned a brigadier general of the state militia by Gov. Andrew, June 9, 1862, and did excellent service, being honorably discharged in 1864. He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, and its commander in 1869.
He became interested in railroad matters and was elected president of the Eastern R. R. Co. in 1875, and on its union with the Boston & Maine R. R. Co., was elected a director, which position he has held ever since. He has been interested in several other railroads at different times.
He was the first mayor of Medford, and held that office two years. Elected a trustee of the public library in 1868, he has continued to be a member as well as chairman of the board since that time. Since the establishment of the commissioners of the Sinking Funds in 1878, he has been a member, and also the chairman.
He received the Master Mason degree in 1854 in Hiram Lodge of West Cambridge, the Capitular degrees in St. Paul's R. A. Chapter of Boston and became a charter member of Mystic R. A. Chapter of Medford at its institution in 1863, in which he served as M. E. High Priest from 1878 to 1880, being honored later with the position of District Deputy Grand High Priest. He was also a charter member of Medford Council R. and S. Masters. The honors of Knighthood were conferred upon him in DeMolay Commandery in 1856, and in 1858 he became a member of Boston Commandery, and afterwards Eminent Commander thereof serving from October. 1873 to October 1875. In 1862 he was invested with the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and in 1866 became a member of the Supreme Council 33°. He served as M. W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1881, 1882 and l883, and in 1894 was elected R. E. Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and as such acted as chairman of the committee of the Triennial Conclave held in Boston in 1895. He has been a member of the board of directors of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts since December 9, 1869, and of the boards of trustees of the Masonic Educational and Charity fund since December 10, 1884.
He has held the office of Lieut. Commander of the Supreme Council of the A. A. S. Rite of Freemasonry for the Northern Jurisdiction (of the United States) from 1898 until the death of Sovereign Grand Commander Henry L. Palmer, May 7, 1909, when he succeeded to the position of Sovereign Grand Commander, which office was confirmed by the unanimous vote of the Council.
The health of Sovereign Grand Commander Lawrence caused him to decline the office at the next session of the Supreme Council in September, 1910.
Without attempting to make a record of the work that this distinguished Mason has done, or even to name the offices he has filled, wc may accord him praise for his personal influence in maintaining the high character of freemasonry, and extruding its helpful influence.
He was a man of exemplary life and unquestioned integrity, he had great executive ability; his judgment was always sound, and his opinions accepted almost without question on all matters relating to the welfare of Freemasonry.
The funeral of Brother Lawrence was held Wednesday. September 27, in the magnificent armory in Medford which his generosity had provided for the city. More than 2500 persons attended the funeral, and hundreds of others were unable to gain admittance. The business of the city was entirely suspended out of respect to their most distnguished citizen.
The services were conducted by Rev. Frederick W. Hamilton, president of Tufts College. The brief opening hymn, Abide With Me. Dr. Hamilton read a selection from the Scriptures, I am the Resurrection and the Life, and the 23rd psalm, and Cardinal Newman's Lead Kindly Light was sung by the quartet.
In the eulogy Dr. Hamilton spoke of the greatness of Gen. Lawrence in his native city, in commerce and business and in the Masonic order. He said in part:
"No man could ever have seen Gen. Lawrence in any gathering, public or private even for the first time, with no knowledge of his identity or personality, without realizing immediately that he was gazing on no common man. He rose in physical stature and appearance like Saul above his brethren, and there was something in his face and in his bearing and in the tone of his voice that marked him at once a man of rare and unusual ability. If a stranger had asked who this man was he would have been told that he was a man whose character was as rare and unusual as he was in appearance.
"If he had asked a business man, he would have been told that here was a man whose great ability and financial acumen fitted him to organize large affairs in the world of commerce; that no financial undertaking was too complex for him to cope with; that his masterly hand steered many a corporation past the rocks of bankruptcy and that in the commonwealth of Massachusetts he ranked high among the foremost of its financial leaders.
"If a stranger had asked a citizen of Medford concerning him he would have been told that he was one of the most distinguished of his community; that in Medford, his native city, he was long considered its foremost citizen and that in the days of Medford's change from the status of a town to the dignity of a city he had organized its finances and had done things that entitled him to the love and respect of the entire community. Tfe would certainly see that here was a man as striking as his personality, and that here was a successful man in action and leadership, who had passed out of this community.
"If this stranger had asked a Mason who this man was, he would have been told thai he had done more for the fraternity throughout this country than anyone else since Washington and Paul Revere.
"He was a great and successful business man, and it is true that in his long and successful business career, although many men have differed with him in judgment, no man ever questioned his honesty or tegrity. lie had the respect and love nf the boys of '61, the love and respect of the hoys of '98, and the love and respect of the boys today who are drilling and putting themselves in the line of defence if the country should ever need their services, as 50 years ago it needed his.
"This man loved and served God - loved him with the simplicity and the earnestness which was characteristic of him; loved him with the strength of a great nature and the quietness of a modest one. He loved God because he could serve him, and believed that the trust which was placed in his hands was not because of any ambition for power, hut because of an opportunity given him for service. And now his work is done. He has gone from our midst to such other field of labor as God may have for him."
The tolling of fire hells announced the starting of the funeral cortege on its way to Mt. Auburn, where the body was interred beside that of his father, The flowers, except those from the family, which were placed on the grave, where a private service was conducted by Dr. Hamilton, were sent to various hospitals and institutions, in fulfilment of Gen. Lawrence's request.
The pallbearers were his secretary, Ernest B. Moore; his son-in-law, George L. Bachelder; four nephews, Albert E. Covelle of West Medford, City Treas. Edward A. Badger, Rosewell B. Lawrence, ex-chairman of the school committee, James C. Barr of Boston, and his grandson, Samuel C. Lawrence 2d. The ushers were officers and members of the Lawrence Light Guard Veteran Association, and included Col. Charles M. Green, J. Gilman Waite, Gen. J. H. Whitney, Charles H. Loomis. T. Howard Barnes, Charles B. Dunham, Ex-Mayor Clifford M. Brewer, George S. Hatch, Gilbert Hodges, J. W. Rockwell, Darius A. Green and Maj. Orville J. Whitney of the 5th infantry.
AT DEDICATION OF CRANE MEMORIAL HALL, QUINCY, MAY 1882
From Proceedings, Page 1882-66:
In compliance with the official invitation extended to the Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts, we have come here to dedicate this building to the noble uses for which it has been erected. Although the Grand Lodge has from time to time, in conformity with the ancient usages of our Fraternity, dedicated many of the great public edifices of the Commonwealth, designed for the use of the State, and for religious, charitable and monumental purposes, I am not aware that its services have ever been called into requisition in the dedication of a' building of this character. If such be the fact, I feel no hesitation in establishing a precedent which is in entire harmony with the spirit and aims of our Institution in originating and maintaining this ancient ceremonial of dedication; and the Grand Lodge has found it a grateful duty to lend its presence, through its official representatives, to assist in doing honor to this interesting occasion.
We fully recognize the claim which this historic town has upon the respect and gratitude of every American citizen. She has, from generation to generation, been the happy mother of sons to whom the graces of high intellect and public virtue have been heritable, and the brightest pages of our national annals are illuminated with their names.
"To save the State, to mould the fate
Of empire o'er these broadening lands, —
What nobler task could Honor ask
For faithful hearts, for trusty hands?"
As the representatives of an Institution, in which, from prerevolutionary times to the present, patriotism and loyalty have been traditional, we may well feel an interest in every evidence, of progress and prosperity in this typical New England municipality. And we may say, too, that our presence .here as members of the great Masonic Fraternity, invited to lend the sanction of its rites to the. dedication of this building, is not without its significance and its moral. Scarcely half a century has elapsed since a storm of popular odium and suspicion beat against the Institution we represent.. Many eminent men, honestly misapprehending the character and purposes of Masonry, engaged in the warfare against it, and one of the most distinguished leaders was a venerable and venerated citizen of Quincy. While we recall these facts simply as interesting incidents of history, and without the slightest shadow of displeasure or resentment, I may be allowed to give public expression to the gratification with which the Fraternity regards the great and salutary change which has come over public sentiment, consequent upon the better understanding of the nature and objects of the Masonic Institution. The kindly spirit which pervades the Brotherhood, the benign.social and moral influences which emanate from it, and the high respectability of its growing membership, are now universally recognized, and the public has ceased to dread indefinable dangers from the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons.
It is proper that we should take part in the celebration of this event, — the completion of an enterprise which owed its conception to the generous public spirit of a member of our Order, and which the faithful affection of his family has brought to a successful conclusion. We heartily congratulate the people of Quincy that they have come into possession of such an inheritance. Here they will have a fitting depository for the wisdom of all ages, as it is made imperishable in books. The value of a well-selected library, open to the use of all the people, cannot be adequately measured. While it is of the greatest utility as an adjunct to our system of popular education, it does something more than to fit men to grapple successfully with the practical work of life, so far as the ends and aims are purely material. It is the great instrument for training men to those habits of intelligent inquiry and reflection which bring them to an acquaintance with the principles which underlie the science of life, without which we have no safe guidance, and are fit only to become the dupes of sophists, charlatans, and demagogues. It is the instrument also for purifying the imagination and refining the aspirations of the soul, until man becomes not only filled with wisdom and clothed with strength', but crowned with moral beauty. We cannot too profoundly recognize this fact, the commonplace statement of which is in danger of becoming tiresome to the public ear, that a republic founded upon intelligence and virtue is an ideally perfect government, but that without such a basis it is a delusion and a mockery.
Therefore while we felicitate the people of Quincy upon the possession of this noble edifice, and the library which it will contain, it is our fervent prayer that the full advantages which can be derived from such an institution may inure to this community. I beg you to call to mind the words of the philosopher whose recent death we justly regard as a national calamity : —
"Consider," says Emerson, "what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries, in a thousand years, have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom. The men themselves were hid and inaccessible, solitary, impatient of interruption, fenced by etiquette; but the thought which they did not uncover to their bosom friend is here written out in transparent words to us, the strangers of another age."
Approach, then, this temple, dedicated to the intellectual and moral improvement of man, with gratitude for the inestimable privileges it generously offers to the poorest citizen among you. In the serene atmosphere of study and contemplation may your souls be penetrated with the lessons of wisdom and virtue which the sages of all times have left for your guidance and instruction; and under such gracious influences may you be trained to habits of right thinking and right living, to social kindness and brotherly love, to a philanthropy which shall be as broad as humanity itself, and to all the virtues which exalt the standard of a true American citizenship.
AT FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH, NORTH ATTLEBORO, SEPTEMBER 1882
From Proceedings, Page 1882-199:
BRETHREN AND FRIENDS,— In conformity with the time honored usages of our Institution, and in cheerful compliance with the wishes of those who are interested in this undertaking, we have laid the corner-stone of this building, and have solemnly dedicated it to the purposes of Christian worship.
The rites in which we have been engaged are handed down to us from the founders of .Masonry, and are based upon a sincere reverence for any work of man's hands which has been faithfully and intelligently performed, and which has been directed to useful and noble ends: The traditions of our Craft, embodied in forms and ceremonies full of significance, have come down to us from the earlier builders, and especially from the great masters of the middle ages, whose works, the "cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples" which are scattered over the face of Europe, will remain the wonder and admiration of successive ages. At once workmen and artists, these Brethren approached their tasks in the spirit of religious consecration; and their cunning hands wrought out, in imperishable forms of grandeur and beauty, the conceptions of a genius which seems to have been specially inspired, and which perished with the times which gave it birth. In gazing upon the impressive monuments of their skill and genius, the eloquent language of the poet finds an echo in.our breasts : —
"How reverend is the face of this tall pile,
Whose ancient pillars lift their marble heads,
To bear aloft its arched and ponderous roof,
By its own weight made steadfast and immovable,
Looking tranquillity! "
Such was the work of the Masons of the past — the wonder and despair of modern architectural science. The forces which have shaped modern life and civilization have left their impress upon the character of our Fraternity, turning its activities into new channels, and giving it a wider fellowship. But we still fondly cling to the traditions which are the life-blood of our Institution; and may the time never come when we lose our reverence for that sincerity and thoroughness which give the stamp of honor and nobility to every man's work, — the trademark that needs no copyright to make it pass current through the world.
The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts has met this, as it has met every call of the same nature, from a sincere desire to lend its countenance and support to every work planned for the moral and material advancement of mankind. We have no wish to swell a pageant, or to take part in a ceremonial, so far as they subserve the purpose of mere display. But our Order, made up of men representing every class and interest of society, is alive to every movement affecting the general welfare, and from first to last it has been in the fullest sympathy with Christian effort and aspiration. From the very nature of its organization it has held aloof from all sectarian entanglements, while it has never failed to give its hearty godspeed to the good men of every religious denomination who are doing honest work for their fellow-men.
It is our earnest prayer that the religious society, in whose behalf our services have this day been called into requisition, may find in this community a field of labor which shall yield fruits acceptable to God. May the hearts of its members be purified from all personal and merely sectarian aims; and may they find in the work of our Lord, whose beginning and end is righteousness, their highest aspiration and their sublimest source of contentment. The corner-stone of a new temple has been laid: may the walls which are now to be reared shelter a happy and united people, whose God shall be the Lord forever.
AT THE CENTENNIAL OF KING SOLOMON'S LODGE, SEPTEMBER 1883
From Proceedings, Page 1883-114:
I deem myself fortunate, Brethren, in having the opportunity to participate with you in the enjoyment of the exercises and festivities of this memorable occasion, the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the institution of King Solomon's Lodge. It has given me much pleasure and gratification to follow our eloquent and learned Brother, the orator, of the day, as he traced with a graphic hand the history of this Lodge through the century, of its varied and interesting experience, and I am moved to congratulate you, Worshipful Master and members, upon the fact that your Lodge has a history — a history reflecting lustre alike upon its founders and the long line of respectable men who have succeeded them ; a history lighted up with pleasant traditions, which have come down to you through your fellowship with the past; a history also illustrated and ennobled by deeds of patriotic devotion and of unwavering loyalty to our beloved Order.
A Masonic Body may well be proud of such a Masonic ancestry and of such a record ; and I do not believe that your consciousness of a past of exceptional honor can fail of its excellent effect upon the future of this Lodge. A French proverb says Noblesse oblige; that is, nobility of birth imposes the obligation of nobleness of feeling and conduct. You are bound, therefore, by your origin and traditions, to a pledge of good citizenship and fidelity to the Craft, to patriotism, charity, and brotherly love. I count it an advantage to this community, which cannot easily be estimated, that, from first to last, nearly a thousand men have been trained to morality and to fraternal kindness at the altar of this good old Lodge; and that these influences, strengthened by grateful remembrance and sanctified by time, will be perpetuated to bless future generations of those who will gladly seek affiliation here. For King Solomon's Lodge may well be called a typical New England Lodge; as it is one of the oldest Lodges, so it has always been one of the best. Born at the close of the Revolution, its life had its commencement with that of the country.
Its founders had lived through the great struggle, and many of them had taken part in i t ; and they brought to their Masonic work hearts inspired with a love of liberty, justice, and humanity.
It seems to me that these men speak to us through every page of the history of this Lodge, and that even to this day "their works do follow them." With the pure blood of its parentage in its veins, the life of this Lodge has always been a healthy and vigorous one. The Masonic pulse has never beat intermittingly here. In sunshine and in cloud, through good report and through evil report, the Brethren have stoutly maintained their faith in Masonic principles, and in the darkest hours of our history, with all the spirit and courage of their Revolutionary founders, they scorned to blench before the fierce storm of popular prejudice and detraction with which the Masonic Institution was assailed. The members of this Lodge may remember with pride that since its foundation its organization has remained unimpaired, and that.there has been no suspension of its work, nor break in its records. All honor, then, to King Solomon's Lodge, and all honor to the faithful men who, in the dark days of anti-Masonry, sacrificed personal comfort, and even reputation itself, in their unfaltering and fearless devotion to the interests of our beloved Institution!
Brethren, I do not intend to recur to those matters in your history which have been so fully and admirably set forth by my esteemed Brother in his masterly Address. I cannot help, however, congratulating you upon the thorough and systematic manner in which the records of this Lodge have been kept since its organization. They are a monument to the intelligence of the Lodge, and to the zeal and ability of successive secretaries.
Such records are of inestimable value; they touch the inner life of times which are growing distant from us; they throw light upon social and domestic habits, upon men and their motives; and they furnish landmarks by which we can judge not only of the progress of Masonry, but of the gradual changes which come with new circumstances and fresh ideas.
What shall I say more, except to felicitate you most heartily upon the occasion which has brought us together. Your Lodge has enjoyed a hundred years of prosperous and beneficent life.
It is a long period of existence for any human institution, —especially long in a new country like ours. Looking back upon the history of your Lodge, I can rejoice with you that there is no blot upon its annals. Be it yours to maintain that high standard of Masonic principles which your predecessors have ever upheld, and to hand down to those who follow you the same unsullied record; and here, upon the hundredth anniversary of your organization, may you strengthen your hearts with new vows of fidelity to Masonry, with a fresh consecration to its noble work of Charity and Love.
Brethren, it is my earnest wish that King Solomon's Lodge may continue to flourish, and that its name may ever be honored among men.
AT DEDICATION OF ASHLAND MASONIC HALL, SEPTEMBER 1883
From Proceedings, Page 1883-143:
We are assembled here, Brethren, to do honor to an occasion of more than ordinary interest to the members of this Lodge.
This Masonic family has made for. itself a new home, and has for the first time, gathered, .together under this, rooftree. You, my Brethren of North Star Lodge,, have found it a grateful task to adorn and beautify these apartments ; to add to their comfort and convenience, and to make them not only pleasant to the eye, but in every way suited to the purposes to which they are devoted upon the success which has crowned your efforts, but upon the pleasing evidence it furnishes us of your zeal and prosperity.
It is plain that a love of Masonry has entered into your work, and that very fact alone makes it all the more interesting and beautiful. We justly, then, take pleasure in dedicating this Hall to the service of Masonry. It nobly represents the liberality and active Masonic spirit of the Lodge, and it stands a pledge of your renewed devotion to the principles of Freemasonry and of a fresh consecration to its noble work of charity and love.
In entering into the possession of a new home you may properly be considered to have made a new departure in your Masonic life; and the occasion would lose half of its interest and value did it not awaken your minds to a more thoughtful consideration of your duties as Masons, and a more thorough appreciation of the character, scope, and aim of Masonic work. Bear in mind that our ritual and symbols, forms and ceremonies, dear as they are to us, are only valuable for the meaning they carry with them, and for the lessons they teach. Let the principles of Masonry fasten themselves upon, your hearts, quickening them to a juster sense of your duties to your fellow-men,.and of your dependence upon that Supreme Being whose beneficent hand upholds and governs the universe.
We heartily felicitate you, W. Master, officers and members, upon the happy occasion which has brought us together. May your best hopes for the future prosperity of }'Our Lodge be fully realized. May this Hall be the trysting-place of all loyal Masonic hearts in this neighborhood ; may harmony and brotherly love prevail among you ; may piety and benevolence move you to all deeds of kindness and charity; and may the existence of your Lodge and the noble influences which emanate from it be a blessing to our Institution, both for the great good it shall do to this community, and the bright example it shall hold up for the imitation of the Brethren at large. "May your Lodge continue to flourish, your union to strengthen, and your happiness to abound; and when at last we shall be removed from the labors of the earthly Lodge, may we all be admitted to the brotherhood of the perfect, in the. Building of God, the Hall not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
AT THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF ST. JOHN'S LODGE, OCTOBER 1883
From Proceedings, Page 1883-194:
Upon the conclusion of the address the M.W. Grand Master presented the Lodge with a new Charter, in nearly the following words:—
W. MASTER AND BRETHREN: — Duly authorized.by a vote of the Grand Lodge to decide upon the claims of Saint John's Lodge to a date of precedence earlier than that named in its present charter, I have given careful attention to the historical facts involved in this question,, and have reached a conclusion which has already been informally announced to the members of the Lodge. The reasons which have moved me to a compliance with their wishes are embodied in the amended charter which I hold in my hand, and. they need not be recapitulated here. It is sufficient to say that this Lodge had its origin in the First Lodge, so called, of Massachusetts, instituted August 31, 1733. About fifty years afterwards, on the 7th of February, 1783, the First Lodge, by the process of consolidation, absorbed the membership of another Lodge, called the Second Lodge, which had been instituted February 15, 1749, and the united Lodge assumed the title of Saint John's Lodge, and as> such received a new charter, dated February 7, 1783.
The memories and traditions of your ancient Lodge go back to the time of its foundation as the First Lodge. Its birth was coeval with that of organized Masonry in this State, and it was a stay and support to the Grand Lodge at a time when Masonry had few adherents in a. sparsely-settled country, and when an organized association of faithful and enterprising Brethren here in Boston could render invaluable aid to the Grand Body. Naturally, the Brethren. of Saint John's Lodge have felt that the date of precedence named in the charter which they now hold, misrepresents the true history of the Lodge and tends to cut them off from those associations with a venerable past which they would most tenderly and sacredly cherish: for they cling to their origin with that feeling instinctive in man which prompts him to hold fast, to his home, his family, and his native land. Recognizing the justice of the claims of this Lodge to an unbroken identity with the First Lodge, and sharing with fullest sympathy the sentiment which prompts the Brethren to assert their rights, I have caused a charter to be prepared, and duly authenticated, under which St. John's Lodge will enjoy its-true date of precedence, and thus a longstanding injustice will be rectified.
And now, Worshipful Master, accept this roll; it is the amended charter of your Lodge. Effectually, I give you back your old charter of 1733. It gives me sincere gratification to find myself the instrument of conferring a pleasure, upon the members of this Lodge, and of consummating an act of substantial justice. I heartily congratulate you, members of St. John's Lodge, that the true historical record of your Lodge is now vindicated, and that its annals are enlarged by another half-century of faithful work and interesting experience.
BRETHREN, —Your past is now secure. May the record of the long and honorable life which your Lodge has enjoyed be an incentive to "you, and those who come after you, to add, year by year, new lustre to its record by accumulating deeds of charity and fraternal love. May the principles of our beloved Institution find a fresh enforcement in your hearts when you r ecall the memory of the good, men who, through five generations, have been associated in this. Lodge, and who, by their fidelity to their Masonic vows, and by the pure tenor of their lives, have helped to make Masonry a name of honor in this Commonwealth,— securing for it a moral and material prosperity far surpassing anything which could have been looked for by its founders.
Few associated Bodies in this land can boast of a pre-revolutionary ancestry, and of an antiquity such as yours. But the pride which comes from a high lineage, and from the inheritance of a spotless name, is only justifiable when it stimulates man to a corresponding nobility of action, and I rejoice to believe that the well-earned fame of this Lodge is regarded as a sacred trust by you who inherit it, and that you will hand down the same unsullied record to your successors; so that the future of this Lodge will be worthy of its brilliant past. I invoke the blessing of Divine Providence upon all your efforts to promote the honor and prosperity and increase the usefulness of St. John's Lodge.