MUNROE, WILLIAM H. 1827-1892
From Proceedings, Page 1892-180:
It is a somewhat peculiar and significant coincidence that during. the very hour of the meeting of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the 14th of September last, one of its honored and beloved members laid aside the mortal and put on the immortal. While we were at labor he was called to his rest.
Rev. William Henry Munroe, Worshipful Grand Chaplain of this Grand Lodge, died at his home in Chelsea on the above-named date. Brother Munroe was born in Boston on the 3d of March, 1827. Of his association with Masonry we have these records: He was initiated Oct. 9, 1865, in Burlington Lodge, No. 32, Burlington, New Jersey, from which he dimitted in 1868, upon his removal to Philadelphia. He dimitted from Philadelphia Lodge, No. 72, Jan. 1, 1889, and was admitted to St. John's Lodge, Boston, Feb. 4, 1889, of which he was Chaplain from that date until his death.. He was appointed Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Dec. 30, 1890, by M.W. Grand Master Samuel Wells, and held that position at the time of his decease. His last meeting with us here was at the Quarterly Communication on the 8th of June last.
Brother Munroe graduated at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.; took the course of study at the Alexandria Theological Seminary, and was ordained to the ministry of the Episcopal Church in 1856. He was rector of churches in Melrose, Mass.; Burlington, N.J.; Philadelphia, Penn.; East Boston, and last, for a period of eleven years, at the old historic Christ Church, North End, Boston, where he finished his life-work. It is a somewhat peculiar fact that at the font of this old church, when an infant, he was baptized, the opening and closing of his life being thus associated there.
These are some of the simple and meagre outlines of the outward life of Bro. Munroe. If we are to measure men by what they are, and what they do, by the healthful and helpful influence on other lives while living, and grateful, loving remembrance when gone, it will be no small place we shall accord Bro. Munroe. No claim indeed would be made for him as great in the qualities of intellect, or as the world sometimes esteems greatness; but, if earnestness of life is a high and holy purpose; if a loving thoughtfulness for others and unselfishness which was a part of his very being; if sympathy for sorrow and suffering and want, and a desire to alleviate and lift the burdens which weigh on poor human hearts; if a spirit about which there was no touch of envy, and a charity which suffered long and was kind and thought no evil; if, in short, a character built after the pattern of Christian manliness, constitute an essential of a true and noble life, we shall most gratefully accord Bro. Munroe this high place among his fellows. And after all, Brethren, is not Christian manhood the highest type?
" Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
'Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood."
This man's life was filled with these qualities. His faith was as strong as it was simple. He loved his church, and to do his church work, but it was only a very small part of his love that was bounded by his ecclesiastical. relations. I personally know, by what he once said to me in a very earnest manner, that certain restrictions imposed by his church government were narrower than the breadth and catholicity of his mind and spirit, for these were as large and broad as humanity.
I am sure he would say: "I pray thee then write me as one who loves his fellow-men." Only a man of this character and spirit could do the work he accomplished; for that work, especially at the North End in Boston, was largely a missionary work, not simply among those who constituted his parishioners, but in the whole neighborhood and among different nationalities. The poor whom he helped, the inexperienced whom he advised, the erring and misguided whom he directed in the better way; — the quivering lip and moistened eye of many who gathered at his funeral testified of their indebtedness to him, and what a hold he had upon their hearts.
His modesty, his unassuming and even shrinking nature, would perhaps impell him to put his hand upon our lips and ask us to - withhold this tribute, which we who knew him, and knew of him, may with truthful and loving conscientiousness put into his mouth. "When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me it gave witness to me; because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me; and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and the cause wbich I knew not I searched out. Unto me men gave ear, and waited and kept silence at my counsel."
To do such work is to truly live, and by this work, impelled by the spirit that was in him, our Brother lives, and will continue, in other lives whom he has helped and blessed.
"Can that man be dead whose spiritual influence is upon his kind? He lives in glory; and his speaking dust has more of life than half his breathing moulds." We offer this simple, brief, but heart-felt tribute to the memory of our Rev. Brother William Henry Munroe.
CHARLES A. SKINNER.