JOHN H SHEPPARD 1789-1873
- MM 1812, Lincoln
- Member 1854, St. John's
- DDGM, District 12, 1859
- Corresponding Grand Secretary 1853-1856
- Junior Grand Warden 1857
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXXI, No. 10, August 1872, Page 294:
Our Brother the venerable and distinguished R. W. John H. Sheppard,—recently the Librarian of the New England Historico-Genealogical Society — is now in his sixtieth year of masonic fellowship, having been entered as an "Apprentice" in Lincoln Lodge, Wiscasset, Me., November 16, A. L. 5812; he was also exalted in St. Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter, Boston, October 3, 1818. This long association with the ancient order, unbroken for a single moment in unswerving fidelity to its duties, either by circumstances of domestic or public happening, of itself deserves honorable mention ; but our Brother has further claims in this regard ; he has nobly illustrated his career, social and masonic, in the eye of the community, throughout this remarkable period, by qualities generous, genial, bright, learned, pains-taking, and great intellectuality—dedicating all his gifts, together with his fine acquirements as a man of letters, to philanthropy, with the spirit of love, holy aspiration, and, be it recorded, with martyr-like zeal.
Bro. Sheppard was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England, March 17, 1789. (Julius Caesar walled this town; and for ten miles round traces of the wall are still to be seen.) His father was a merchant, and early in life became a Freemason; his mother, a Londoner, was educated at a Convent in France, and excelled in music; and her accomplishments served to good account, when owing to vicissitudes in fortune and the death of her husband in 1807— at Guadaloupe, where he was buried with masonic honors — she was left with a young family dependent upon her, with the aid of John, her eldest child, the subject of this notice. In 1793, the Sheppards came to America, settling at Hallowell, Me. They were well-bred people, of fine address and elegant manners. These desirable points are an inheritance in the family, and secured at a time of need, the valued friendship of such gentlemen as the Rev. John Sylvester John Gardner D. D.; Hon. Benj. Vaughn, L. L. D.; Gen. Dearborn; Hon. Nathan Weston, a Chief Justice of Maine; Hon. Ruel Williams, and Col. Higginson, Esq., of Boston.
Mr. Sheppard made preliminary preparations at Hallowell academy, entered Harvard College in 1804, retiring in the Junior year, owiug to the death of his father, and immediately began the study of law at Hallowell, in the office of the late Judge Wilde of the S. J. C. of Massachusetts. In 1810 he was admitted to the bar, opening an office in Wiscasset, Me. Devoting sole attention to hie profession, he was engaged, at some.terms of the Court, in every case, on one side or the other, and, as is said of him in his biography in Willis's Courts and Lawyers of Maine," Mr. Sheppard merged for a season his taste for literary pursuits in a struggle for the support of the family dependent upon him. In 1817, he was appointed Register of Probate for Lincoln County, which office he held seventeen years. He was also made a general assignee under the U. S. Bankrupt law, and for more than twenty years was one of the Overseers of Bowdoin College, receiving from that institution the honorary degree of Master of Arts. In 1842 he came to Boston, where he now lives.
Bro Sheppard's tastes are literary; he loves the very atmosphere of the graceful-pursuit. From an early day in the may-time of youth and promise, to these crowned years, well passing the four-score, he has paid court to the shrine of the Muses in delicately expressed effusions too numerous for record here ; some have had wide circulation, but few, after all, have been gathered up as they ought to have been. He shot them, like arrows in the air, with heart-felt emotion, and with a fire that loses not its heat. But for the absolute necessity for exertion in his early career, our friend would have been left the opportunity of setting up monuments in books more enduring than brass. This was denied him; as he says, touchingly, in one of his writings, quoting from Juvenal's Satires— How difficult it. is for one to rise into the beautiful purposes which he aspires to, when beset with stern every day necessities." Notwithstanding all these crosses, in one department of literature his record is full; namely, the masonic : and we have it to say, that, if a list of the ablest and most voluminous writers on Masonic themes should ever be made out, R. W. J. H. Sheppard's name must be prominent in that distinguished roll. As the Hon. Win. Willis, President of the Maine Historical Society, remarks, in the history above alluded to — a notice of Mr. Sheppard would be incomplete if his efforts and his honors as a prominent and leading member of the masonic order should have no place in it. Among the important masonic addresses delivered by Br. Sheppard at intervals covering a period of over half a century, are the following:—
- An address before Lincoln Lodge, Wiscasset, June 24, 1815.
- An address at the consecration of the Grand Lodge of the State of Maine, Portland, St. John's day, 1820.
- A defence of Masonry before Lincoln Lodge, June 24, 1831.
- Address before Grand Lodge and Chapter of Maine, on the revival of Masonry, June 24, 1844.
- Address before Aurora Lodge, Fitchburg, June 24, 1846.
- Address before Columbian Lodge, Boston, at Installation, Jan. 21,1847.
- Address before Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, June 24, 1853.
- Address before Washington Lodge, Burlington, Vt. June 24, i860.
- Oration before the Knights Templars of Maine, on the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of Masonry in the State of Maine, St. John's day, 1862.
Besides these efforts he has added to the zest of manifold masonic occasions and publications by his odes and historical poems, which will last as long as philanthropy shall prompt human action. In the celebrated memorial-volume of the Lodge of St. Andrew, his contribution in prose and poetry is a striking feature of the permanent value of Mr. Sheppard's literary work.
One of the above orations, Defence of Masonry, brought out a reply from no less a person than John Quincy Adams. This gentleman was at the time a candidate for anti-masonic Governor of Massachusetts, and Mr. Sheppard stated in his oration that John Adams, the father, was a friend to Masonry, had spoken good words of it, etc; at this, the ire of the son was aroused, and he denounced this statement, flying into the newspapers with his denials, &c. Mr. Sheppard, in a word, squelched the "old man eloquent," thoroughly, by quoting John Adams' own words in a letter, at the moment and now, in possession of the Grand Lodge of this State, expressing his respect and friendly regard for Freemasonry. The oration passed through several editions in Boston etc., adding greatly to the reputation and sterling boldness of its author.
From Proceedings, Page 1873-77:
The Grand Master announced the decease of R.W. Bro. John H. Sheppard, which occurred on the 25th day of June last.
His funeral was attended at Emmanuel Church in this city, on the 26th day of June. The following representatives of the Grand Lodge were present at the service, which was conducted by Rev. Bro. Thomas R. Lambert, D.D., rector of St. John's Church, Charlestown, and Past Grand Chaplain of this Grand Lodge:—
- R.W. PERCIVAL L. EVERETT, Deputy Grand Master.
- R.W. WINSLOW LEWIS, Past Grand Master.
- R.W. JOHN T. HEARD, Past Grand Master.
- R.W. WILLIAM S. GARDNER, Past Grand Master.
- R.W. LUCIUS R. PAIGE, Past Deputy Grand Master.
- R.W. MARSHALL P. WILDER, Past Deputy Grand Master.
- R.W. CHARLES W. MOORE, Past Deputy Grand Master.
- R.W. CHARLES H. TITUS, Recording Grand Secretary.
- W. WILLIAM H. CHESSMAN, Grand Marshal.
- BRO. FREDERICK A. PIERCE, Grand Tyler.
The Grand Master was absent from the city and could not attend.
The body of our Brother was taken to Wiscasset, Maine, for burial.
The Grand Master appointed R.W. Bros. Charles W. Moore, Winslow Lewis and Charles H. Titus, a committee to prepare a suitable memoir of Brother Sheppard, who subsequently submitted the following report, which was accepted: —
R.W. John H. Sheppard, a permanent and honored member of this Grand Lodge, died at his residence in this city on the 25th day of June last, in the eighty-fifth year of his age.
Brother Sheppard was born in Cirencester, England, March 17, 1789, and came to this country with his parents when but four years old. Landing.at Philadelphia, the family resided there for a short time, but soon after permanently located themselves at Hallowell, in the then district of Maine, where our Brother was educated and fitted for college. His father dying in 1807, he was under the necessity of abandoning his collegiate course of study, and entered the office of the eminent jurist, Hon. Samuel S. Wilde (afterwards Judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts), as a student at law; and so rapid was his progress in his professional studies, that in 1810 he was admitted to the bar, and opened an office at Wiscasset, Maine, and was soon after elected Register of Probate for Lincoln County, which office he held for seventeen consecutive years. In 1842 he removed to Boston, where he continued to reside until his death.
Our Brother was an industrious student, of large intellectual capacity, and fine literary taste. As a classical and belles lettres scholar, he filled an enviable place in the walks of literature and learning. He was what is generally understood by the phrase, a "book-worm," and was never more at his ease, or, as he believed, more usefully employed, than when in his private study and among his books. Though a vigorous, clear, and ready writer, his literary productions consist mainly of a very excellent life of Commodore Tucker, occasional addresses, essays, and short poems. These, however, are ample to illustrate his extensive acquirements in the various fields of learning, and his cultivated taste and capacity as a public writer. His labors as the Librarian of the New England Historic- Genealogical Society, his written communications at its meetings, and his contributions to its periodical, are of permanent value, and place his name among the benefactors of that useful and respected Institution.
Brother Sheppard was initiated into Masonry in early life, by Lincoln Lodge, at Wiscasset, of which he was afterwards elected its Worshipful Master. He was made a Royal Arch Mason in St. Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter, of this city, and subsequently received the Orders of Knighthood in the Boston Encampment of Knights Templars. He was an honorary member of St. John's Lodge, of this city, and served this Grand Lodge, as its Corresponding Grand Secretary, from December 14, 1853, to December 10, 1856, when he was elected its Junior Grand Warden.
Such is a very brief and imperfect sketch of the public life, character and services of our deceased Brother. But no sketch of him would be perfect, or do justice to his memory, that should fail to make at least a brief mention of his other and higher life, — his Christian character, his Masonic fidelity, and the purity of heart which distinguished and marked all his social relations. He was a communicant of the Episcopal Church, and was for many years a Warden of St. Stephen's Chapel in this city, under the Rectorship of our venerable Brother, the Rev. Dr. E. M. P. Wells. In the faith of that church he lived, and in a firm belief of a future realization of the truth of its teachings, he died — a good, pure, and upright Christian Brother.
As a Mason, his life and eminent services, when the institution was on its severest trial, commend his memory to the gratitude and honor of his Brethren. Next to his religion, his Masonry was the idol of his affections, and the source of his moral and social enjoyments. Few Brethren were better versed in its mysteries, or learned in its history, and fewer still more accurately appreciated its beauties, or the magnitude of its influence in assuaging the asperities of the heart, and smoothing the rough ways of life. And it is right and proper, and a fraternal duty, to place this testimony to his uprightness and integrity, on the records of this Grand Lodge, not only as a tribute to his own worth, but as an encouragement and example to the living.
Voted, That a copy of the foregoing be transmitted to his surviving relatives, with the warmest sympathies of his Masonic Brethren in the great and irreparable loss they have sustained in his death.
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXXII, No. 8, August 1873, Page 242:
(By W. Bro. Hamilton Willis, of St. Andrew's Lodge.)
At an early hour on Wednesday, June 25, in this city, there passed away one of the oldest Masons in the United States, one of that glorious few yet remaining, whom the Fraternity delighted to honor, who by their talents, judgment, together with unflinching earnestness, carried Freemasonry triumphantly through the battle ordeal of nearly two generations ago. Our late friend and brother, John H. Sheppard, was born in Cirencester, England, March 17, 1789, and died — having outlived nearly all his kindred — as above stated, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, after a sickness of a few weeks. The tender offices of the Boston brethren comforted him to the last. A funeral service attended by Grand Lodge officers was performed at Emmanuel Church, from whence the remains were taken to Wiscasset, Maine, where Lincoln Lodge, in which the deceased had received his degrees, were in attendance for the final obsequies, which were done in a full and appropriate manner.
For the past thirty years Bro. Sheppard has lived in Boston, holding membership in St. John's Lodge. He was a zealous Mason; his heart was in the Order; he had drank deep at the well-springs of its great principles; he understood them, loved them, exemplifying them in his daily walk and conversation ; besides, with more than common ability, aided by an extensive acquaintance with polite learning, historic and centenarian research, ever with Freemasonry fresh in mind, he contributed both in poetry and in prose writing largely to its literature. We recall few whose pen has been more constantly, for sixty years, at the service of the Fraternity, than that of R. W. John H. Sheppard. A number of these performances, in the line of addresses, letters, speeches and poems are long, displaying intellectual vigor, imaginative power, dignity with delicacy of style, will be ever valuable as standard Masonic reading. But other thoughts crowd upon us. We would rather at this moment announce, as we have, in general, the field of the deceased's labors, and pass to a beautiful feature in his character which must claim our regard : namely, his consecration of himself to Masonry, together with the possession, with his whole soul, of its principles, which he gladly welcomed. How many there are in this community who will instantly remember, as they stopped this venerable brother on the street, in season or out of season, on some Masonic purpose, with what alacrity, with what heartiness, ho would listen, hearkening contentedly to the relation ; then, kindling with eager interest for the fullest response, oftentimes with enthusiasm, as though the matter were of dearest personal concern, he would pour forth with all the intensity of youth, entering as it were boldly into it, reanimating the subject with his own quickening spirit; often, as the case might be, either responding to the full, aye, to more than was expected, or adding or illustrating with breadth of acquaintance, a measure of knowledge, in the history of " the art" that was surprising.
Mr. Sheppard came to Boston an old man, already having lived a long, stirring, useful Masonic career in Maine; yet, where many retire early to the upper seats "in the East," to enjoy the kindly respect, the tender greetings of "the workmen on the floor," he chose to be verily at work. How truthfully, indeed, might we have added to the above description, that a brother never parted from such an interview with him, without also an offer of his co-operation personally, in any worthy undertaking for the glory of the Order, which his voice or pen could serve. Masonic work, and labor in behalf thereof, were at once his delight, his refreshment. Each new suggestion, every epoch, bade him rise to the occasion with the ardor of a very neophyte. How sublime too his ecstacies at every new discovery from ancient lore, or positive development in the attributes of Freemasonry, — then the graceful embodiment in form of the new light would prompt the ready pen to an outpouring in prose or verse, adorning his subject in felicitous imagery, drawn from his gleaning in literary fields. The reflection is a most grateful one, that as age advanced with those bereavements, absence of kindred and infirmities which overtake old age, together with, in this case, long years of loneliness, as it were, in the world, with a cup of sorrow full too in life's experience, Bro. Sheppard found sympathy and loved perennial associations in the bosom of his beloved Order; within or without its asylums, all intercourse was a charming solace to his spirit. There are moments in life when neither congenial occupation nor intellectual resources will fill the gap, giving repose to the troubled feelings; when any man, however stout-hearted, but far more a lonely one, well forward in the Pilgrimage, will feel a sense of solitariness amid the never so varied scenes around him. It was at such times that Freemasonry came near to our brother as a tender boon, even with no one nigh; his great familiarity with its capacities, the overflowing, loving kindness of its whole system, its far-reaching record and wonderful story, made for him an instant diver sion—or, seeking its hospitable roofs, where a hearty welcome greeted him, he was sure to encounter those renewals of friendship, that cheering intercourse which stood him instead of kith and kin. Verily our late venerable friend was a touching example of what the cunning workmanship of Masonry can do to restore strength to the stricken soul. Shall we not add the remark, that, when a brother of the attainments of R. W. John H. Sheppard could find so much that was needful to his peace of mind in the Order, does it not behoove the Craftsmen in every i portion of life to heed faithfully its work, its lessons, its ritual?
It remains for us to speak of the career of the deceased. The facts we gather from a memoir of him in "Willis's History of the Courts and Lawyers of Maine." When Bro. Sheppard was four years old his I family quitted England for Philadelphia, subsequently settling at Hal- lowell, Maine. In 1807 his father died, leaving a widow and eight children, of whom he was the eldest, a dependent family. The Sheppards were well-bred, and found valued friends. The mother was accomplished in music, teaching it in Portland under the patronage of Chief Justice Mellen. Hon. Benj. Yaughan, Rev. John S. J. Gardner, D. D., the distinguished Judge Wilde—with whom he studied law — and Geo. Higginson, Esq., among others, were friends indeed to the family. Bro. Sheppard was graduated at Harvard College, and in 1810 was admitted to the bar, opening an office at Wiscasset, Me. For seventeen years he was Register of Probate for Lincoln county. In 1842 he removed to Boston; in 1854 he was chosen to the Massachusetts legislature. The Boston Journal, in a notice of him on this occasion, says: "He was never a politician; his days and nights are mainly devoted to literature ; he is a fine linguist." It may be added to this, that he commenced the study of German in his seventy filth year. For a number of years he was librarian of the " N. E. Historical Genealogical Society." He was twice married.
The memoir from which we derived the above dates, after speaking of Bro. Sheppard's admirable public addresses, with especial encomium upon his conduct in a memorable encounter with John Quincy Adams, rendering also a handsome tribute to his good service in the cause of letters, says, "His labors in the library of the New England Historical Society, and his communications at its meetings, and to its periodical, the Register, are of permanent value, and will place his name among the benefactors of that useful and respected institution."
AT ST. JOHN'S DAY, FITCHBURG, JUNE 1846
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. V, No. 10, August, 1846, p. 309:
In an Address I had the honor to deliver at die Anniversary of St. John, before the Grand Lodge of Maine, two years since, I traced our history through all the vicissitudes of fortune, to King Athelstane, grandson of Alfred the Great, A. D. 926. Nor did I stop there—but by a chain of evidence, the links of which were well rivetted together, I went back to a much earlier period. The investigation cost me the lucubrations of many days, proving that most of the Fathers of the Church were Masons; and the Discipline or the Secret was the result of this research and reading—a fact too little known to the Fraternity, and deserving the elucidation of some abler hand than mine. But it was not my intention, on this occasion, to renew the subject of our antiquity. The recollections of my intercourse with the Brethren, whether in the Lodge, Chapter or Encampment of Knights Templars, are among the happiest of a life somewhat chequered, and not unacquainted with grief. There is a halo around them, cheering and vivid as the purple light of spring, or the freshness and buoyancy of our boyish days. To share with my Brothers in those social meetings, where the light grew brighter and brighter, as we went on our winding way—to meet them in the Lodge and out of it—at home and abroad, with kindness and cordiality—to know that a warm hand and open heart were not yet lost in the cold selfishness of a money-getting, dollar-adoring world—and to realize that there were those who would drop a tear on my grave, when I am gone, was a source of pleasing reflection. They are sunny spots in the reminiscences of the past Yet these visions are now tinged with some shades of sorrow.
Brethren, my lot was cast in a once flourishing seaport, small in population, rich in refined society, and beautiful for land and water scenery, and the evergreen forests which shaded its distant hills. This spot was blessed with one of the oldest and most influential Lodges in the State. A Royal Arch Chapter, of bright reputation, was also there. The members of these societies, with scarcely an exception, were Masons, who did honor to the cause; some of whom wore men of high bearing in the country, and some of ripe scholarship and superior talents. But of all these Brethren, with whom I often went up to that retreat, where we took sweet counsel together, the far greater part have bid adieu to the scenes of this world! They have gone home. The silver cord has been loosened and the bowl broken at the fountain. If the roll of the workmen should be called, how many would be missing! But their memories, like the fir trees of the North, are fresh and green as ever. When I sometimes visit that romantic spot, and pause on the hill-tops or by the banks of the deep waters, which flow near the dwellings they once cheered, their living likenesses seem to rise before me, and their excellent characters touch my soul with a mournful impression that they are gone! By their lives, they verified the principles of Masonry—by their death, they bore testimony that they endured to the end, and died as they lived, in the faith of the Brotherhood, which holds fast to the resurrection of the dead! And yet, when I sometimes muse upon those days of Aidd long syne, I could say in the words of the original and picturesque Macaulay, "New forms of beauty start at once into existence, and all the burial places of the memory give up their dead."
LAYING THE CORNER-STONE OF THE BUNKER-HILL MONUMENT.
It is now more than twenty years, since the corner stone of that lofty monument, which looms up on the battle ground of Bunker Hill, was laid. It was on the 17th of June, 1825. The ceremony was performed by John Abbot, Esq. G. M. of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, assisted by our illustrious Brother Lafayette, in the midst of more than four thousand Masons, and escorted by some of the choicest soldiery of New England; while a vast multitude of spectators hung round the declivity—a mass represented in the papers of the day, as greatly exceeding one hundred thousand persons. The spectacle was imposing, magnificent, sublime. Fifty years had passed since the battle. It was the jubilee of Freedom. More than forty veterans, the survivors of Bunker Hill, with their sparse, silver locks, waving like a banner over the spot, were there—nearly two hundred soldiers of the Revolutionary army, were there—and our Fraternity was •there—seen and honored of all men. For an Almighty Providence, in the hiding of his power, had not then suffered innocence to be exposed to suspicion, falsehood and persecution. No stormy Petrel was then seen hovering in our sky—no hand breadth cloud, sign of the coming storm, then appeared in our horizon. We stood on elevated ground, in the pride of integrity, and in the sweet consciousness of meaning well and doing good. We looked on the face of Lafayette, and it seemed to shine, as it were, with the setting sunbeams of a glorious life. As we beheld him, we saw the living form of the days of Chivalry—a true picture of intrepid Masonry, ever ready to arm in the defence of humanity—a venerable and beauti¬ ful illustration of a great and good man, and our hearts burned within us. There were many, who met on that hallowed spot; for delegates came from all parts of the land. Brethren came from the lofty hills and valleys of Maine, where summer wears its deepest verdure, and where the white fields of winter delight in the splendor of the Aurora Borealis—they came from the granite fastnesses and sylvan villages of New Hampshire—from the Green Mountains and meandering streams of Vermont—from the sea-beat shores and fertile glebes of Rhode Island, small, but Eden-like in her domain—they came, too, from the shady banks of the Connecticut, of which Barlow wrote one of the finest strains of American minstrelsy—
"No watery glades in richer valleys shine,
Nor drinks the sea a lovelier wave than thine,"—
and they came from other and distant States, on this memorable occasion. Masonry was then in the meridian of its greatness; and it was remarked by one of the R. A. cortege of Maine, who addressed the Grand Master in parting, that " there was a larger number of organized Fraternities on the first battle ground of American Independence, than had ever met together since the completion and dedication of King Solomon's Temple."
Never shall I forget the panorama of that august scene. The season of the year was propitious—a clear and cloudless sky—the sun at high meridian—the ocean air breathing wooingly upon us—the country around redolent of sweets and variegated with a depth of coloring peculiar to our Northern climate—the sky spreading its blue arch over land and water—the place, a spot consecrated to the manes of heroic men, eternized in the memory of millions—and an individual to address us, on whose mighty intellect, and commanding eloquence, both as a statesman and an orator, a nation looked with confidence and pride—all, all, united to give a deep interest and a kind of dramatic sublimity to the celebration. We stood on the ground, where, fifty years before, was first heard the key-note of that Declaration of Independence, whose murmuring echoes stole along the Atlantic shores, from mountain and glen, from city and village, until, reaching the day and the hour of July 4th, 1776, it sounded like the thunder of Heaven, when the Ruler of the world takes to himself his great power, and "the horse and his rider is cast into the sea!"
No, my Brethren, that day, that Olympian festival, cannot be forgotten. Beneath and along the sides of Bunker Hill lay a widely extended town, which had risen like a Phoenix, from the ashes of a conflagration fifty years before,—in front of us were anchored war ships, the pride and bulwark of the country— across the winding waters of Charles river, our enterprising metropolis spread out its riches, as the spires of its churches pointed to Heaven—a wide bay, fleets of merchantmen, verdant islands, and the distant blue of the ocean, appeared in the east, as from " thence we looked toward England"—the land of our pilgrim fathers,—and an amphitheatre of hills, hanging over fields and villages, lined the western horizon—all these points of vision contributed to fill up the ideal painting of the mind, as the eye, revelling in the picturesque, was ravished as it wandered into distance over the heads of the immense crowd.
It was a time of peace, of health, of prosperity. Every circumstance seemed to give a brilliant hue to the imagery, which even now, in all its gorgeous display, rises like the reality, before me. There, sat a venerable band, the lion hearted men of other days, the survivors of the battle, and near them a host of revolution¬ ary patriarchs—here, were glittering rows of fashion and elegance, gathered from the roses and lilies of New England, beautiful as Venus when she rose into life from her native sea—not far off were citizens of rank, and soldiers in their military costume, densely filling the space—and near and around them, on semi-circular seats, sat the various Orders of Masonry, in their superb regalia—the Blue Lodges, the Crimson Chapters, the Red Cross Knights, and the sable Templars. In the rear hung thousands of spectators; and in front, was an elevated stage, where, in the midst of the dignitaries and choice spirits of the land, and with the venerable form of our illustrious visitor Lafayette, at his side, stood Daniel Webster, visible to all, and distinctly heard by the vast assembly which was before him, and even by a large part of that forest of human forms which shadowed the outskirts of the great gathering. With a voice which filled so much of this wide space with its clear and deep toned utterance, he held the breath of thousands, as of one man, while he portrayed the past struggles, the present glory, and the future prospects, of#our Republic. How ravishing were those bursts of eloquence as be spoke under the open sky. His mind embraced a world in its patriotism, and his imagination, touching the central fires of the globe, as it kindled, seemed to shake the firmament. To see him, to hear him, to feel the grasp of such an intellect, is to remember hint forever! He had drank deep of the spirit of 76, and he gave us to drink. Indeed, the whole was a splendid vision—a day of this world's glory—a white mark in the calendar of life. It was a dazzling contrast to that dismal scene, when, June 17, 1775, the sun went down on that hill in blood, and the daughters of Masonry wept over the remains of the immortal Warren!
"Manibus date lilia plenis
Purpureos spargam flores."
Give me the earliest lilies of the spring,
And purple flowers in rich profusion bring.
O'er the green spot, let fragrant memory spread
Perennial blossoms to the honor'd dead,
And while this Stone, by Masons laid,
will tell Where Freedom triumph'd,
and where Warren fell, Its column,
towering up to Heaven, shall be
Th' eternal Landmark of the brave and free!
AT ST. JOHN'S DAY, PORTLAND, MAINE, JUNE 1862
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXI, No. 11, August, 1862, Page 342:
M. W. Grand Master — We have come to visit yon in response to your kind invitation, on this anniversary so dear to the fraternity, for hundreds of years, and bringing to ourselves and to you the reminiscences of Ancient Craft Masonry which runs back to scene* in the Holy Land, end to the honored name of that patron St. John, to whom we consecrate this festival. We have come as the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, from which, one handled years ago, you received your charter; and we have come from your parent Commonwealth, of which you were once an integral part, until you became a free and independent Slate, and now rivaling her in commerce and all the arts of life, and more especially in loyalty to the memoir in this day of National calamity and most unholy rebellion.
But we come not alone to greet you with All-hail on this Jubilee of Portland Lodge. You behold us accompanied with an escort of Knights Templar, the representatives of those who fought for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre in the Crusades of such thrilling memory—Crusades which regenerated Europe from the slumber of the Dark Ages.
A centennial celebration like this carries us back to past times, and our own early history. Among the visions of other days, we are reminded of that epoch in American Freemasonry, July 30, 1733, when the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts — the earliest institution of the Craft known on this continent, was chartered under the hand and seal of Lord Montacute, Grand Master of Masons in England. The warrant was sent to Henry Price, a merchant of Boston, whom our R. W. Br. Moore happily describes as the "fine old English gentleman" — the Father of Masonry in America. By this warrant he was appointed Provincial G. M. for New England, and the next year be was clothed with larger powers extending over North America. On the 24th of June, 1734, the first Lodge in Pennsylvania was chartered, over which the celebrated Dr. Franklin was empowered as M., and the same day a warrant was issued to the "Lodge of Holy St. John" at Portsmouth, N. H. It was followed by another on the 27th of December following, to the "First Lodge" in South Carolina, at Charleston. According to Mills' Statistics of South Carolina, in 1826 there were fourteen Lodges, 1500 Brethren and annual charities of $1500 in that city. I will not burden yon with a detail of charters which our Grand Lodge issued to other States.
These facts are interesting, at this time, and worthy of remembrance. We are reminded, too, of the long and prosperous existence of your Fraternity,—"Portland Lodge," chartered March 20, 1762, a hundred years ago; of "Warren Lodge," Machias, Sept. 4, 1778; and "Lincoln Lodge," Wiscasset, June the 1st, 1792, each of which is now venerable and ancient. You are aware that your Lodge was originally called Falmouth, and afterwards altered to Portland. The first name applied to your locality before it was set off and incorporated as the town of Portland, July 4, 1786; a name which excites in every American a train of sorrowful and indignant feelings. For it was here, in the Revolutionary war, that a petty officer in the British navy, Henry Mowatt, with a squadron of four armed vessels, on the 18th day of October, 1755, entered your harbor, laid his ships abreast of the town, and for nearly nine hours discharged their broadsides of bombs, balls and grape-shot upon the defenceless place, and laid nearly all the settlement in ashes! The particulars of this unparalleled atrocity, so contrary to the laws of war among civilized nations, as described by our late Mayor, the Hon. William Willis, in bis History of Portland, makes the reader shudder at the idea of such cruelty in one born in a Christian land—a land of so many glorious memories. England felt the shame of this black spot in her history, and pretended to disavow the authority; yet she let the perpetrator go to his grave unhung.
But Falmouth rose like a Phoenix from her ashes; and Portland looms up as one of the most beautiful cities on the Atlantic shore. Situated upon and between two hills, from whose summits the while brow of Ml. Washington may be teen in the west, and the boundless are of sky and ocean in (he east—almost entirely an island — with a deep harbor which the Great Eastern ought lo have visited before all other ports in America, if the managers had not been recreant to their promise — with handsome houses and gardens, wide streets and avenues under shady trees — and with a promenade and ride or corso, as the Italians call it, running six miles around the city and along the margin of waters, Portland is justly the delight of strangers, who come from a sultry region to inhale the sea breezes of the North. And why when so many gallant Sir Knights are present, why shall I not speak of the proverbial beauty of your ladies!
No city in the United States has surpassed Portland in enterprise. It has already doubled your wealth and resources, and greatly increased your population. The Grand Trunk Railroad, which owes so much to the influence and liberality of your merchants and citizens, reaching from your shores, along mountains, valleys and winding streams, lo the great river St. Lawrence, and then through the gigantic tunnel-bridge to Montreal — a more majestic wonder than its English prototype at Menai Straits—standing as a monument of tbe public spirit and moral courage of Portland. From such an enterprise your city is already reaping a reward; for with her right arm she stretches her trade into the very heart of one of England's richest provinces: and with her left, through British Steamers, cullg the commerce of England herself from her own island home.
I feel proud of Maine, where the larger part of my life was spent, and I admire her noble stand and loyally to the Union, in this unhappy civil war. When Washington, in his Farewell Address, uttered these words :— "Frown indignantly upon the first dawning of any attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest," who could dream, that two generations were hardly passed, before we were put upon a trial? Two years ago this was the happy land, prosperous and exalted in privileges beyond any nation on earth. A change has come over us. Who could believe that the meteor flag of rebellion would so soon be seen, flying over seven States, led away and seduced by a conspiracy of evil spirits like Catiline, Cethegus, Lentulus, and thus have fallen from glor ? But that memorable day, April the 12th, 1861, when the first gun was fired at Sumter, seemed like a sudden thunder stroke in the heavens; it shook the great heart of the nation; then did the rising people of the North and West "frown indignantly;" while the echo of that gun was passing from mountain to mountain, from the White Hills of New Hampshire to the Sierra Nevada of California, more than 600,000 volunteers stepped forward, and hundreds of millions of treasure were proffered in defence of the Republic. Honor to Maine for her noble stand in loyalty to the Union. Like Massachusetts she has sent forth the flower of her youth, and the strength of her manhood in this sacred cause, and spared not her treasures. The meteor flag of rebellion already quails before that starry banner which before has led to victory in two wars. The ancient Romans bad an old adage commemorated by one of their poets.
Dum domus Italiæ Capitoli immobile saxum
Accolet, imperiuinque pater Romanus habebit:"
Freely translated, While the Sons of Liberty shall retain our Capitol, the Union thill remain indissoluble.
Can any one doubt that these remarks are seasonable and in their place, at such an assembly of Masons, and on a festival like this? I trust not. True, the dogmas of politics and the doctrines of religion are not allowed as matters of discussion in the Lodges. But here we stand on no such neutral ground. Loyalty to our country and obedience to her laws, are among the first principles of Free-masonry. The union of these States, is dear to us as the apple of the eye. It shall not, it must not be touched by rebellion; for the smallest mote of treason which afflicts it draws a tear, while we "frown indignantly" at the culprit.
M.W. Grand Master, I congratulate you upon the flourishing condition of Freemasonry in your State. You now number 111 Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Maine, which I had the honor of addressing June 24, 1820, after its organization under its first Grand Master, first Gov., Wm. King. Again, June 24, 1844, I addressed your Grand Lodge on the revival of Masonry, alter the political persecution, which aimed at the extinction of the Order, had become powerless. Our Lodges in that trying time generally stood firm to their principles, although here and there, a feeble Brother fainted by the way and went no more with us, and a very few proved recreant and joined the adversary. But let bygones be bygones.
With pleasure would I refer to honored names among you; many of whom have gone to their last, and we trust, happy home; but the time forbids. Allow me before I sit down, to offer my humble testimony in behalf of Freemasonry. An experience of fifty years will excuse my egotism in speaking of myself. Of all human institutions, Freemasonry is the wisest and beet. Its motive is benevolence, its endeavor to make good citizens and faithful subjects of government. It supplies one of the great wants of our nature, for we all need friends and sympathy. It is composed of men of all ranks, denominations and parties, and we meet on equality. In England it has a softening influence on the pride of Aristocracy; in America it checks the leveling tendency of Democracy. I have studied its history, and the proof is irrefragable that it has come down to us from a very remote antiquity. I regard it as, in some degree, a religious institution, for it leads to the threshold of Christianity, by leaching a reverence for our Creator and His holy name and word—the immortality of the soul, and that those who by faith, are good men and true, will be happy in the world to come. Some of the best and greatest men whoever lived, have not disdained lo wear the while apron, the emblem of innocence and purity. It is a conservative institution, and the only one on earth, where all meet on the level and practically recognize one common Brotherhood.