NickersonAddress1888

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REMARKS OF THE RECORDING GRAND SECRETARY

Most Worshipful Grand Master and Brethren:— On the 27th of December, 1871, the retiring Grand Master, William Sewall Gardner, before installing his successor, delivered a most elaborate and carefully prepared eulogy of the First Provincial Grand Master of New England. Up to that time the name of Henry Price had been a familiar sound in the ears of Massachusetts Masons, it was even often spoken trippingly on their tongues. We had an excellent Lodge, then some thirteen years old, which bore his honored name. R. W. Brothers Charles W. Moore, John T. Heard and George Washington Warren had each tried his hand at a biographical sketch of our Founder, but each found the material in his reach very scanty, and each was obliged to confess that he had only half told the tale. It was, however, generally believed that" the whole field had been thoroughly reaped; that although the harvest was very meagre, we must therewith be content.

To those of us, therefore, who had long been eagerly asking for more, Brother Gardner's Henry Price Address came like a feast of fat things, all the more welcome because it was a complete surprise. It was then made known to us that Brother Gardner had for years been in the habit of searching in every quarter for any items, even the most trivial, that had the slightest connection or association with the life or the labors of Henry Price. With good reason did the orator claim: "For the purpose of preparing this paper, most careful search in every accessible department has been made to obtain information, however slight, in relation to the life of Henry Price. The archives of the State Department at the State House, of the town of Boston at the City Hall, the Records of Courts and Registries of Deeds in Suffolk and Middlesex, have each been most carefully scrutinized. Newspapers of the years in which he lived, and public documents in possession of the Historical Society and Athenaeum in Boston, and of the Antiquarian Society at Worcester, as well as church and town records have been thoroughly examined. No department, place of ancient deposit, or accessible means of information have been neglected." This was indeed no empty boast. The search was most careful and thorough. The return was considerable, perhaps all that could be expected, in view of the fact that nearly a century and a half had elapsed since the accession of our First Grand Master to the Chair of Solomon, and almost a century had passed since his death. Indeed the success was wonderful, when we consider the scrupulous and jealous care exercised by the Craft, in those early days of our history, about reducing to writing or preserving the record of any but the most ordinary occurrences and the simplest matters of fact. These scruples have always been found a serious and additional obstacle in his way by the Masonic historian, besides such as have obstructed the researches of all laborers in the study of the past.

Brother Gardner's efforts in this particular field left little more information to be desired, and still less to be expected. So careful and exact have his record of facts and his conclusions been found, that but very few errors or mistakes have been discovered, and those of but little importance;, and this, notwithstanding his work has been subjected to the severest scrutiny .of jealous and captious critics, stimulated by the most violent personal antipathy to the record and the conclusions. Indeed so convincing, so absolutely conclusive was Brother Gardner's defence of the memory of our Founder against the utterly baseless and shameful aspersions of his defamers, that many of his Brethren regarded the effort as' the using of a sledge-hammer to kill a fly — or some less savory insect.

It is true that the laborious researches of a few diligent delvers in the dark and, to many lookers-on, the dismal depths of eighteenth-century Masonry have brought to light, here aud there, a fact, which has enabled us to supply some trifling omission'in Bio. Gardner's .version- of the record, or to correct . some slight mistake in his inferences. But the lapse of nearly seventeen years has only served to confirm the judgment of those who heard the Henry Price Address delivered, that it will ever be regarded as a lasting monument to the industry, the legal acumen, and the judicial skill of the orator, and a triumphant vindication of the claim of our first Provincial Grand Master to be the "Founder, of Duly Constituted Masonry in America," and defence against the aspersions of. a. few individuals who are nominally of our own household, and who are prompted solely by a blind spite against the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, because she is, always has been, and always must be, first among her equals, as she is first in point of age; or, because, in.the highly circumspect and straightforward course she has . always pursued, the excessive vanity of .. these flies, upon the wheel has been somewhat severely crushed.

Many of my hearers will very naturally have asked themselves a most pertinent question as this bit of Masonic history has been rehearsed. If this vindication of our First Provincial Grand Master was so complete and triumphant, why is the lance again in rest? If so full and clear a light was shed upon these pages of our history by one of our brightest luminaries, now, alas, so recently quenched in death, why do we to-day elevate a brief candle" to shed its feeble ray upon the already bright and shining page?

My ready answer to your question is: because there is another Richmond in the field. Since Brother Gardner so successfully defended our claim to the front rank, a competitor has appeared, who was supposed never to haye entertained any serious thoughts on the subject until nearly a century and a half after the events on which the controversy turns. It has been reserved for the fifth generation from, its pretended founder to dispute the claim of Henry Price to be the Father of. Masonry in America. When Brother Gardner fought the battle our present competitor had not set up his title. He burst upon us armed cap-a-pie in full fighting trim, in the year of our Lord 1874, and ever since,

"Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand;"

he has continued to

— "rave, recite, and madden round the land."

Early in that year, at the suggestion of a member of the Fraternity residing in Boston, the editor of The Keystone, a Masonic weekly published in Philadelphia, searched the files of the newspapers printed in Philadelphia between 1730 and 1740. He was greatly surprised and elated by what he found. Then followed immediately the first of that series of outbursts of wonder and admiration which have convulsed the Masonic Fraternity of the great State of. Pennsylvania from that, day to this, and which threaten to have no end; outbursts of wonder and admiration which have their fit parallel in the doings and sayings of a famous searcher after hidden things, whose success has never failed to arouse the envy of the youthful mind.

The great discovery in the modern instance was the finding of two paragraphs in the Pennsylvania Gazette, published by Benjamin Franklin, under date of December 8, 1730, and June 26, 1732, respectively. The first was as follows: —

As there are several Lodges of Free Masons erected in this Province, and people have lately been much amused with conjectures concerning them; we think the following account of Freemasonry from London, will not be unacceptable to our readers.

The second paragraph from the "Pennsylvania Gazette" announced what the editor of The Keystone exultingly denominates "this precious item of news."

Philadelphia, June 26.

Saturday last, being St. John's Day, a Grand Lodge of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons was held at the Sun Tavern, in Water Street, when, alter a handsome entertainment, the Worshipful W. Allen, Esq., was unanimously chosen Grand Master of this Province, for the year ensuing; who was pleased to appoint Mr. William Pringle, Deputy Master. Wardens chosen for the ensuing year were Thomas Boude and Benjamin Franklin.

Now it was perfectly well known, to Brethren who had given much study .to our early history, that the Philadelphia newspapers of that time contained the declaration that so-called Lodges existed in Philadelphia before 1733, the date of Henry Price's Deputation. We are not aware that any Massachusetts. Mason ever disputed that such a statement was to be found in those papers, or that there was a grain of truth in it. The fact that the papers made such an assertion had been printed over and over again in Masonic publications, years before. The great discovery of 1874 consisted simply in finding the very words. We do not recollect that we had ever seen them, although they may have been reprinted. In commenting upon this "Mother-City" article, at that time, your orator frankly admitted his belief that Franklin's statement was correct, namely, that, on the 8th of December, 1730, there were "several Lodges of Free Masons erected in" Pennsylvania; but further light and more careful consideration lead us to question its absolute accuracy.

In July, 1874, the speaker reprinted entire and verbatim, in the New England Freemason, the article from The Keystone, in which was set forth in detail, the evidence, so-called, upon which the editor founded his claim for applying to Philadelphia the pretentious title, then first promulgated, of the "Mother-City of Freemasonry in America." "We gave as our reasons for occupying so much space in our magazine with one subject, the following: "Because almost anything relating to the early history of Freemasonry in America is interesting to every Masonic student in this country; because the author, thinks his researches have brought to light new and very important evidence; and because we wish our readers to he thoroughly informed of the views and opinions of intelligent Brethren whose conclusions differ from our own on this subject, and to hear both sides and judge for themselves."

We thus strove to do all in our power to set fully and fairly before the Brethren of this part of the country, the claims thus set up in opposition to . the version of the origin of Masonry in America which is,. always,has been, and probably always will be, believed to be the true version by. ninety-nine out of every hundred American Freemasons outside of the State of Pennsylvania.

In striking contrast to the policy then and always pursued by us in' this discussion,, the Philadelphia view of the question has been repeated over and over again, in every possible form that the ingenuity . of the over-zealous partisan could devise, or type and printer's ink could represent. From all readers thus appealed to, every item having the slightest bearing in favor of the other side has been most studiously concealed, while every newspaper article, pamphlet, or address advocating the Philadelphia view, (and their name is Legion) has been loaded with historical and biographical details having little or no connection with, or bearing upon, the question, and only useful to confuse and bewilder the uninformed and inexperienced reader and delude him into the belief. that such a bulky and ponderous structure must, from sheer necessity, have some foundation.

Many of these one-sided presentations of what the authors have seen fit to dignify with the name of history, have been allowed to pass unnoticed, partly because the claim, and most of the attempts to sustain it, seemed so helplessly and' hopelessly weak, unsupported and unsupportable; and partly because no Brother among us has been able to give the time to the' task of attempting to stay this everlasting flood; But a period seems to have arrived when longer forbearance would appear to indicate doubt or fear, — doubt of the strength and justice of our.cause, and fear of our ability to repel the attacks upon it. The duty has been forced upon us of renewing and placing upon perpetual record the declaration that Henry Price Was the Founder op Duly Constituted Masonry in America.

It is evident that Franklin was not a Freemason at the time of the publication of the first of the paragraphs we have quoted from the Pennsylvania Gazette; inasmuch as it is merely introductory to an exposure of Masonry copied from a recent London paper, one of the numerous " conjectures," with which the people of that day were "much amused."

Until very recently we had no knowledge as to where or when Franklin was made a Mason. Even so good an authority as Grand Master Gardner expresses the opinion that he was made in England. That, however, could not have been true. He was born in Boston, on the 17th of January, 1706; went to Philadelphia when about seventeen years of age, remained there about two years, when he tried his fortune in London, where he passed eighteen months, most of the time being employed as a journeyman printer. He landed in Philadelphia, on his return, on the 11th of October, 1726, being three mouths under age. "While in London he had undoubtedly heard much of Freemasonry, which was then attracting much attention, that being about the time of the revival or re-organization. But a poor journeyman printer, only twenty years of age, would hardly in those days have found favor with the nobility and gentry who controlled the London Lodges.

The interesting question, however, seems to be settled by a real discovery made a few years ago by our Philadelphia Brethren. About the year 1880, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania came into possession of a volume which purports to be the Ledger of the Secretary or Treasurer, (probably the latter), of what our Philadelphia Brethren are pleased to call the "First Lodge in Philadelphia, or St. John's Lodge." It was first brought to the notice of the Fraternity in the columns of The Keystone, under the title of "Liber B." We shall have more to say of it hereafter, in another connection. We refer to it now merely for the purpose of showing what light it throws upon the question of Franklin's initiation.

Among the accounts in this Ledger is one with Franklin, and the second item is a charge for the "remainder" of his " entrance" fee. It is dated June 24, 1731. The first entry bears the same date and. would seem to indicate that his "entrance" took place early in February, 1731, the year in which "he founded the public library there. This appears to settle the point, so long in doubt, as to where Franklin received light. It is probable that the "conjectures" he printed in his paper of December 8, 1730, so excited his own curiosity that he forthwith knocked at the door of the " First Lodge in Philadelphia." But he said, under that date, " there are several Lodges of Free Masons erected in this Province." Against this we must offset the proverbial inaccuracy of newspaper reports of Masonic affairs, even at this day and when furnished by members of the Fraternity. Four years later he writes to Henry Price of " false and rebel Brethren who are about to set up a distinct Lodge in opposition to the old and true Brethren." This would seem to indicate that the same, trouble had occurred before. At all events probably none of the "several Lodges" had any better authority than that with which Franklin affiliated.

But the other little item in the Pennsylvania Gazette which rewarded the search of our Philadelphia friends, is that of which they make most account.

It is claimed that both of these paragraphs "were public statements of prominent local facts, and neither, more especially the circumstantial account of the meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1732, (from which it necessarily follows that there were subordinate Lodges in Pennsylvania under its jurisdiction), and election of all its officers, including Benjamin Franklin, could have been made by him, in his own journal, and remain uncontradicted (as it does) in the following numbers of his paper, without being the literal truth."

We are not aware that any Massachusetts Mason — certainly no one having any claim to speak by authority — has ever denied that there existed in Philadelphia, before the date of Henry Price's deputation, some kind of an organization called a Lodge, — perhaps several; nor have we ever denied that at the same time there was an organization in that city which some of its members called a Grand Lodge. To deny these claims would be to discredit the letters which Benjamin Franklin wrote to Henry Price under date of Nov. 28, 1734, and to which every Massachusetts Mason, who ever saw or heard of them, has always given the fullest faith and credit. The wonderful "find" reported in The Keystone of July, 1874, brought to light little or nothing which was not expressly stated in the Franklin letters, or necessarily to be inferred from them.

Those letters were carried to Philadelphia in 1855 by Dr. Winslow Lewis, then Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and exhibited to the officers and members of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania at the dedication of the Chestnut-Street Hall. They hung for years in the office of the Grand Secretary of Massachusetts, until they were consumed in the fire which destroyed the Masonic apartments on the 6th of April, 1864. Attested copies of them were printed with the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for 1871, and they are to be found in many other Masonic publications.

We are not aware that any doubt was ever even hinted as to. the genuineness, authenticity, or reliability of these letters, or as to their existence, except by the Library Committee of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. In the "Dedication Memorial," published by that committee, they use these words: "During the year 1733, we are told that Henry Price was appointed as Provincial Grand Master," and " about this time it is said that a correspondence was held between Benjamin Franklin and Henry Price." The italics are ours.

The correspondence thus frequently alluded to is as follows: —

A.



Right Worshipful Grand Master and Most Worthy and Dear Brethren, — We acknowledge your favor of the 23d of October past, and rejoice that the Grand Master (whom God bless) hath so happily recovered from his late indisposition: and we now, glass in hand-drink to the establishment of his health, and the prosperity of your whole Lodge.

We have seen in the Boston prints an article of news from London, importing that at a Grand Lodge held there in August last, Mr. Price's deputation and power was extended over all America, which advice we hope is true, and we heartily congratulate him thereupon, and though this has not been as yet regularly signified to us by you, yet, giving credit thereto, we think it our duty to lay before your Lodge what we apprehend needful to be done for us, in order to promote and strengthen the interest in Masonry in this Province (which seems to want the sanction of some authority derived from home, to give the proceedings and determinations of our Lodge their due weight) to wit, a Deputation or Charter granted by the Right Worshipful Mr. Price, by virtue of his commission from Britain, confirming the Brethren of Pennsylvania in the privileges they at present enjoy of holding annually their Grand Lodge, choosing their Grand Master, Wardens and other officers, who may manage all affairs relating to the Brethren here with full power and authority, according to the customs and usages of Masons, the said Grand Master of Pennsylvania only yielding his chair, when the Grand Master of ail America shall be in place. This, if it seems good and reasonable to you to grant, will not only be extremely agreeable to us, but will also, we are confident, conduce much to the welfare, establishment, and reputation of Masonry in these parts. We therefore submit it for your consideration, and, as we hope our request will be complied with, we desire that it may be done as soon as possible, and. also accompanied with a copy of the R.W. Grand Master's first Deputation, and of the instrument by which it appears to be enlarged as above-mentioned, witnessed by your Wardens, and signed by the Secretary; for which favors this Lodge doubt not of being able to behave as not to be thought ungrateful.

We are, Right Worshipful Grand Master and Most Worthy Brethren,

Your Affectionate Brethren and obliged humble Servts,

Signed at the request of the Lodge, B. Franklin, G. M.
Philadelphia, Nov. 28, 1734.

B.



Dear Brother Price, — I am glad to hear of your recovery. I hoped to have seen you here this Fall, agreeable to the expectation you were so good as to give me; but since sickness has prevented your coming while the weather was moderate, I have no room to flatter myself with a visit from you before the Spring, when a deputation of the Brethren here will have an opportunity of showing how much they esteem you. I beg leave to recommend their request to you, and to inform you, that some false and rebel Brethren, who are foreigners, being about to set up a distinct Lodge in opposition to the old and true Brethren here, pretending to make Masons for a bowl of punch, and the Craft is like to come into disesteem among us unless the true Brethren are countenanced and distinguished by some such special authority as herein desired. I entreat, therefore, that whatever you shall think proper to do therein may be sent by the next post, if possible, or the next following.

I am, Your Affectionate Brother & humb Servt
B. Franklin, G.M.
Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, Nov. 28, 1734.

P. S.—If more of the Constitutions are wanted among you, please hint it to me.

[Address upon said letters :] "To Mr. Henry Price, At the Brazen Head "Boston, "N. E."

It will be observed that in these letters, Franklin gives no intimation of the existence of any other Lodge than his own, as distinguished from that which "some false and rebel Brethren" are "about to set up." He has no petition to present from the "several Lodges" of which he speaks so carelessly in his paper in 1730, before he was made a Mason. He claims to represent his own Lodge only, and that is so mixed up with what he calls "their Grand Lodge" that it is evident he knows no distinction between the two terms. The same confusion will be observed in his reference to the organizations in Massachusetts. It is "your Lodge," and "our Lodge" throughout both letters. It is true he subscribes both letters as "G. M.," but the first or official letter is "Sighed at the request of the Lodge." It is not by the request of the Grand Lodge, nor of "several Lodges."

The real and only question between the Brethren of Pennsylvania and those of Massachusetts is: Did the Masonic organizations, existing in Philadelphia previous to 1734, derive their authority prom warrants issued by any competent power, and if so, from what power?

Our Philadelphia friends assume that Daniel Coxe "undoubtedly, as Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, warranted the first Lodges in Pennsylvania, which were in existence in 1730, and which subsequently, in 1732, were governed by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania."

With all due respect we must most emphatically express our opinion that this is simply a begging of the question, after the coolest fashion.

It is true that the first deputation ever issued to a Provincial Grand Master for any part of North America was granted by the Duke of Norfolk, Grand Master of the Free and Accepted Masons of England, to Daniel Coxe, of New Jersey, under date of June 5, 1730, "for the Provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pensilvania." This deputation limited his authority to " the. space of two years from the feast of St John the Baptist now next ensuing," after which time the Brethren residing iu all or any part of said Provinces were "empowered every other year on the feast of St. John the Baptist to elect a Provincial Grand Master." A certified copy of this deputation was obtained from the Grand Secretary of England by the "Committee on the History of Masonry in New Jersey" and printed with the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of that State in 1864. It was re-printed in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1871, in connection with Grand Master Gardner's Henry Price Address, and has been since repeated times without number. It should also be mentioned that the granting of the Coxe deputation was reported by Anderson in his edition of the " Grand Constitutions" published in 1738; in " Entick's Constitutions," 1756; in "Noorthouck's Constitutions," 1784; in "Calcott's Disquisitions," 1769; in the "Pocket Companion," Edinburgh, 1754; and in many other Masonic publications. Notwithstanding the fact was so well known, few writers of any authority or standing previous to 1874, questioned the correctness of the Massachusetts version of the early history of Masonry in America. It was universally believed that Daniel Coxe never exercised the powers granted to him by the Duke of Norfolk's deputation.

The New Jersey Committee of 1864 were, of course, very desirous to establish the fact of the exercise of his functions, and they made the most diligent search with that end in view. But all their efforts only confirmed the belief that Daniel Cose never " exercised any of the prerogatives appertaining to the office of Provincial Grand Master in New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania." Under date of June 29, 1864, R.W. William Gray Clarke, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of England, replied to the enquiries of the Committee as follows: "Brother Coxe did not make any report of the appointment of Deputy Grand Master or Grand Wardens; neither did he report the congregating of Masons into Lodges. He did not transmit any account of having constituted Lodges, and does not indeed appear to have established any."

In 1870 the Grand Lodge of New Jersey published a volume containing the Proceedings of that Body from its organization in 1786 to 1857. As an introduction to this volume, Past Grand Master Whitehead contributed "a carefully-prepared "Historical Sketch of Freemasonry in New Jersey prior to 1786." In the course of this narrative the writer says, "Diligent research in the Archives of the Grand Lodge of England, and thorough inquiry for letters and papers bearing upon the subject, among the descendants of Brother Coxe have failed to disclose any testimony whatever of the exercise by him, or any one acting under his authority, of the prerogatives contained in the Deputation." Brother Whitehead does not concede that nothing was done by Coxe under that authority, but that nothing is known to have been done.

This conclusion was not shaken by the knowledge of the facts which four years later were revealed to the astonished minds of our Philadelphia friends. In the same Historical Sketch, Brother Whitehead remarks: "It is a fact gathered from the columns of the press of that day, that there existed a Lodge in Philadelphia, in 1732, of which William Allen, the Recorder of the city, was Master." He expresses the opinion that this Lodge, if warranted by Provincial Masonic authority, must have been the offspring of Brother Coxe's deputation, because the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts had no existence until 1733, and no record can be found of any Provincial authority prior to that of Brother Coxe. In this opinion he is undoubtedly correct. We believe that any Lodge or Lodges, existing in Pennsylvania prior to 1734, originated from no warrants issued by Provincial or other Masonic authority, but were "formed by voluntary associations of our Brethren."

No branch of the Fraternity, not even the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, is more deeply interested in the attempt to prove the exercise of Coxe's powers than the Craft of New Jersey. But the latter have never shown any disposition to re-echo the shouts of delight and triumph with which our Philadelphia Brethren have almost deafened our ears for the last fourteen years. On the 25th of January, 1887, the Grand Lodge of New Jersey celebrated the centennial anniversary of its organization. There were present from Pennsylvania the Grand Master, the Senior Grand Warden, Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary, and two other Past Grand Masters. An Historical Essay was read by Past Grand Master Henry R. Cannon, in which was set forth in full the Deputation of Daniel Coxe. The orator then proceeded to comment as follows: "There is no evidence, which can be considered entirely certain, and reliable, that the powers conferred upon Brother Daniel Coxe by the warrant above recited were ever exercised by him in this country for the formation of Masonic Lodges.

A Masonic Lodge existed in Philadelphia during the period for. which the authority of Brother Coxe, as above, continued. Chief Justice William Allen was the Master of that Lodge. The recent discovery by R. W. Brother MacCalla, among the papers of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, of the ledger of St. John's Lodge, Liber B., containing the accounts of the individual members from June 24, 1731, to June 24, 1738, has more fully established the fact of the existence of, a Lodge at that date, in the city of Philadelphia. There is no evidence, however, that this Lodge obtained its warrant from Brother Coxe. Had this been the case, Brother Benjamin Franklin would not have had occasion, as was the fact, to seek for confirmation of its authority from Brother Coxe's successor in office," that is, from Henry Price.

At least some of the New Jersey Brethren, long after, as well as long before the wonderful "find" of the editor of The Keystone in 1874, were thoroughly familiar with all that has been known in regard to that period in our history, for the last fifty or one hundred years. In spite of all assertions -and assumptions, in full view of all the boasted "evidence," true or false, genuine or manufactured, against all comers, the Craft of New Jersey now, as always, stoutly maintain "that nothing is known to have been done" by virtue of Daniel Coxe's deputation.

Brother Sidney Hayden bewails the eclipse of this bright and shining light in our Masonic firmament in somewhat more poetic language: "so little has been left on record of the Masonic history of Daniel Coxe, that even his Grand Mastership has been deemed a myth. His name stands in the annals of American Masonry, like the morning star at dawn, rising above the mountain's misty top and then fading from our vision in the sunlight of the bright skies that followed." "The bright skies that followed" were "undoubtedly" induced by the genial influence of Henry Price!

Brother Hayden goes on to state: "it is a curious fact, that newspapers printed in Philadelphia, as early as 1732, state the existence of a Masonic Lodge in that city at that elate, and that William Allen, then recorder of the city, (and afterwards chief justice of the Province), was, on St. John the Baptist's day of 1732, elected Grand Master in Philadelphia. Were the Brethren in that city at that time holding .Lodges under authority from Daniel Coxe, or by the old immemorial right and usage of Masons?" Immemorial fiddlestick!! Was any Lodge established in England on such a foundation after 1717? Would any Lodge so established there have been " countenanced" at anytime since that date? Is not eight years a sufficiently long period to allow for the news of the printed constitution of 1723 to penetrate even into Pennsylvania? Ts it always to be as difficult and painful an operation to get an item of intelligence well into the understanding of a Pennsylvanian, as it is said to be to get a joke into a Scotchman's? Franklin caught the idea very quickly, and told his Brethren that their "First Lodge" was no Lodge at all, and
would not be until it received "a Deputation or Charter
 granted by the Right Worshipful Mr. Price, by virtue of his 
commission from Britain." He. applied for and received 
the needed "sanction" from Mr. Price, who was graciously
pleased to appoint Bro. Franklin the " first Master" of this
 "First Lodge in Pennsylvania," then for the first time duly con
stituted; and thus were superseded William Button and William
Allen, of blessed memory ! and all other self-styled Masters of
that vicinage.

We believe that unbiased investigators of this chapter of Masonic history will come to the conclusion that Daniel Coxe was of the opinion that he had more important and profitable business on his hands than the establishing of Lodges, unless they were Lodges in the vast wilderness. At. the time.he was appointed Provincial Grand Master, he was in England for the purpose of perfecting his title to a claim which he inherited from his father, Dr. Daniel Coxe, physician to Charles II. (Bro. Josiah II. Drummond informs us that there is on record in the Boston Registry of Deeds, book 30, page 208, a deed, dated in 1691, of land in what was then Oxford, Mass. One of the parties to this deed was Daniel Cox, of London, Doctor of Physic.) This claim covered an enormous territory, including Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and all the country north, on both sides of the Mississippi, up as high as Kentucky. In 1722 he published in London an account of what he called his "Carolana." It was entitled, "A Description of the English Province of Carolana, by the Spaniards called Florida, and by the French La Louisiane."

Richard S. Field, in an Address delivered before the New Jersey Historical Society, gives many interesting details of the life of this indifferent Grand Master. He says: "The fifth chapter of the work {Carolana} unfolds "a new and curious discovery ' of an easy communication betwixt the River Mississippi and the South Sea, which separates America from China, by means of several large rivers and lakes. This easy communication was by water, with the exception of "about half a day's land carriage." The River Mississippi, through one of its branches, is shown to be - navigable to its heads or springs, which proceed from a ridge of hills, somewhat north of New Mexico, passable by horse, foot or wagon, in less than half a day; and on the other side of this ridge are said to be navigable rivers, which run into a great lake, that empties itself by another navigable river into the South Sea. This ridge of hills, passable by horse, foot or wagon, in less than half a day, was of course the Rocky Mountains.

" The question as to his title has long since lost its.interest, and his description of the Province only shows how little was then known of the geography of our country; but his preface to the work contains suggestions which, as they connect themselves with the formation of our American Union, cannot even now be deemed unimportant."

Then follows a synopsis of his plan for a union of the Colonies for mutual defence. Dr. Franklin's famous "Albany Plan of Union" is "little more than a transcript of the design sketched by Daniel Coxe" more than thirty years before.

In 1734 Daniel Coxe was appointed an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He "remained upon the Bench of the Supreme Court until his death, which took place at Trenton in the spring of 1739. His early career in New Jersey was clouded, by his connection with Lord Cornbury, and his differences with Governor Hunter; but he lived to enjoy the confidence and respect of the community; and his judicial duties appear to have been discharged with ability and integrity;"

We are indebted to Bro. Henry Sadler, Grand Tyler of the Grand Lodge of England, for the information that Bro. Coxe was registered as a member of Lodge No. 8, at "the Devil Tavern, within Temple Bar," in 1731, the year after the date of his deputation. The warrant of this Lodge was dated April 25, 1722, the year when the first edition of Coxe's "Carolana" was published in London. He was there in November, 1716, and in December, 1719. He was in Trenton, New Jersey, in September, 1723, and April, 1728, as appears by his letters tinder those dates. He probably received his deputation in hand, as Henry Price received his, and at or about the time it was dated, namely, June 5, 1730. He was present and his health was drank by the Grand Lodge of England, Jan. 29, 1731. It is not unlikely that he brought home his commission as Associate Justice in 1734, as was often the practice in those days.

Consider that it was a great undertaking to "go home;" that the voyage each way occupied months, and the stay was consequently for years; that Coxe was vigorously engaged in perfecting his title to half the continent of North America, and straining every nerve to colonize it — dealing with Government offices, then probably even a slower and'more wearisome business than it is at the present time. In view of all these considerations it seems fair to presume that Coxe was not in America during the term of his deputation, and for that reason did not act under it.

His chief residence during middle life, according to Bro. MacCalla, was at Burlington, New Jersey, only eighteen miles from Philadelphia. In 1728 Coxe describes that town as "almost in the centre of all of his Majesty's Dominions on the continent." He died at his residence in Trenton, twenty-eight miles from Philadelphia, on April 25, 1739, aged 65, and on the following day Benjamin Franklin thus announced the death in the Pennsylvania Gazette, dated April 19 to April 26: "Yesterday morning, died at Trenton, the Hon. Daniel Cox, Esq., one of the justices of the Supreme Court of the Province of New Jersey." Only nine years had elapsed since the date of his deputation as the First Provincial Grand Master of North America, and only eight years since Franklin was initiated in a Lodge "undoubtedly" warranted by him; and yet Franklin reports the death in his own paper, on the day after it occurred, but has not one word to say in regard to his Masonic character; and, in fact, never before or afterwards made the slightest allusion to him in the paper.

Our Philadelphia friends derive great comfort from a few brief paragraphs in the Pennsylvania Gazette. We would commend this announcement of the death of Coxe to their careful consideration. The first Provincial Grand Master of North America dies, who, " undoubtedly, as Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, warranted the first Lodges in Pennsylvania, which were in existence in 1730, and which subsequently, in 1732, were governed by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania." Franklin was one of the earliest initiates of the' first Lodge established under this authority, and only one year later appears " n full-orbed glory" as "Warden" under a Grand Master of their own choosing; and two years thereafter, still by, through and under the same authority, writes himself down "G. M." All this, forsooth, and yet, never once, " with filial confidence inspired," has he the grace, "in his own newspaper, he himself being a Mason," to tell us " my father made them all; " nay, more, permits that father to sink into his grave,

"Unwept, unhionoured and unsung."

An attempt has been made to prove, by the direct declaration of a contemporary, that Bro. Coxe actually exorcised his prerogative as Provincial Grand Master by granting a warrant for a Lodge in Philadelphia. This startling piece of evidence is generally known under the title of the "Henry Bell Letter."

The brief paragraph to which this title has been given, was first made public by Past Grand Master Lamberton, in the Address delivered by him at the dedication of the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, in September, 1873. He introduced it with this remark : " Although no record remains of the acts of Coxe, yet he seems, contrary to the hitherto accepted belief,' to have exercised his official functions.. In a letter still in existence, dated Nov. 17, 1754, from Henry Bell, of Lancaster, to' Thomas Cadwallader, of Philadelphia, this passage occurs:—

"As you well know, I was one of the originators of the first Masonic Lodge of Philadelphia. A party of us used to meet at the Tun Tavern, in Water Street, and sometimes opened a Lodge there. Once, in the fall of 1730, we formed a design of obtaining a charter for a regular Lodge, and made application to the Grand Lodge of England for one, but before receiving it we beard that Daniel Cox, of New Jersey, had been appointed by that Grand Lodge as Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We therefore made application to him, and our request was granted."

Bro. Laniberton's only comment on this new and astonishing declaration was in the following words: "The dispensation to this Lodge was doubtless issued late in 1730, or early in 1731. If granted at all, it must have been before the 24th of June, 1732; for, by the terms of the appointment of Daniel Coxe, his powers as an appointed Grand Master extended but for 'two years from the Feast of St. John the Baptist' next ensuing the date of the deputation." Evidently the orator did not "take much stock" in this little item of evidence, for, after the brief comment just quoted, he proceeded as follows: "On the 30th of April, 1733, a deputation was granted by Anthony Browne, the sixth Viscount Montague, Grand Master of England, to R. W. Henry Price, as Provincial Grand Master of New England and dominions and territory thereunto belonging. On the 30th of July of that year, at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, in Boston, the R. W. Grand Master was duly invested and congratulated, and 'St. John's Grand Lodge' was then formed. The Lodges in Philadelphia, doubtless desiring to place themselves under the immediate jurisdiction of that Grand Lodge, accepted and recognized the power of R. W. Grand Master Price to appoint Benjamin Franklin as the Grand Master. Massachusetts authority gives as the date of this appointment the 24th of June, 1734. From a contemporary account, it is certain that on that day, at the celebration of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, he appeared as 'Grand Master.'

"Franklin evidently had doubts of the regularity of the powers of the Lodge, or Lodges, over which he exercised authority, for, signing himself as G. M., on the 28th of November, 1734, he wrote from Philadelphia to the 'Right Worshipful Grand Master and Most Worthy and Dear Brethren in Boston,' referring to news from London, that at a Grand Lodge held there in August of that year, Mr. Price's deputation and power were extended over all America, congratulating, him thereon, and requesting, ' in order to promote and strengthen the interests of Masonry in this Province (which seem to want the sanction of some authority derived from home, to give the proceedings and determinations of our Lodge their due weight), "that a deputation or charter be granted by the Right Worshipful Grand Master Price, by virtue of his commission from Britain, confirming the Brethren of Pennsylvania in the privileges they at present enjoy," and this he asked might be "accompanied with a copy of the R. W. Grand Master's first deputation and the instrument by which it appears to be enlarged." In a private note sent with this letter he complained that there were some false and rebel Brethren' about to set up a distinct Lodge in opposition to the old and true Brethren here,' and that ' the Craft is like to come into disesteem among us unless the true Brethren are countenanced and distinguished by some such special authority as herein desired.'

"It is needless to follow on the history of the Grand Lodge, as then constituted, and of which Franklin, in 1749, again became the Grand Master, by appointment of R. W. [masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=GMOxnard Thomas Oxnard], who had been commissioned by Lord John Ward, Grand Master of England, as Provincial Grand Master of North America."

Thus, after reciting the Henry Bell declaration, that Daniel Coxe had granted a warrant for a Lodge in Philadelphia in 1730, Bro. Lamberton immediately proceeds to relate the early history of Masonry in Pennsylvania, exactly in accordance with the views of Massachusetts Masons.: He could find in the Henry Bell letter not the slightest "smack of age," not an atom of "the saltness of time." He showed no disposition to ring the changes on that Bell. He chose rather to believe with the New Jersey Brethren that if Franklin's Lodge had authority from Coxe, there would have been no necessity for seeking confirmation from Price. He attempted no quibbling with Franklin's declaration that "some authority from home" was needed to distinguish "the old and true Brethren" from the "false and rebel," and he emphasized the source of that authority — for the italics are the orator's, and not ours.

Notwithstanding Bro. MacCalla printed the oration of Bro. Lamberton in The Keystone, including the wonderful letter, the latter seems to have attracted very little attention, and even Bro. MacCalla himself had forgotten it, for he makes no allusion to it whatever in his elaborate account of his prodigious "find," published in The Keystone some nine months later. A hint from Boston was again needed to put him on the right track and set him all agog once more.

About that time your orator thought it his duty to give his opinion of the "respective merits of the Bells and the Fudges and their historians." On this particular clang he commented thus: "If the letter is genuine, authentic, credible, we must confess that it goes far to confirm the views of our Philadelphia Brethren. But with all due respect we beg leave to doubt in regard to it. We want more light before we accept it. Who were the writer and the receiver? Where has the letter been for one hundred and twenty years? In whose custody? Why has it never been brought to light before? What is the full text of the letter, and what its present condition? These and numerous other questions must be satisfactorily answered before we can admit this piece of evidence. For an item which has been waited for almost one hundred and fifty years it comes remarkably pat. If not a swift witness in one sense, it is in another, for it certainly covers the whole ground. We are suspicious of it. It bears on its face indications that it is not genuine. Of course we do not presume to deny the genuineness of the document, but we beg to be favored with all.the information in regard to it which can be obtained."

These questions were asked in August, 1874, when the discovery of the letter was quite new and fresh, and when all could have been readily answered if it had been " an honest tale." Furthermore the critic was Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and therefore spoke as one having authority, and was fairly entitled to the fullest information that could be given. These [questions have never been answered, and we. confidently affirm, after waiting fourteen years, that they cannot be answered.

The only attempt at a defence of this clumsy fabrication was made last year, and sinks all concerned in it deeper in theniire. A "gentleman of a mysterious turn of mind" came into the office of the Grand Secretary " in the year 1873, when the Craft were preparing for the dedication of the new Masonic Temple," and showed "one of the clerks" a letter. The latter seized his pen and copied a single paragraph which fairly and squarely asserted their claim in the question between Boston and Philadelphia. Not another line was copied in addition, save the date and the names of writer and receiver. Feeble efforts are alleged to have been made to obtain a photographic copy of the letter; but even the munificent offer of one hundred dollars fails to make any impression upon the hard heart of the " mysterious gentleman," if the "clerk" ever communicated the offer. The vigorous and impatient seekers after the photograph are supposed to have been restrained in their impetuosity by the thought that "It is a comparatively easy matter to prepare a document, and give it the marks of antiquity by using paper bearing the water-marks of years past." They were still further warned by the sad exposure of "the unsatisfactory condition of the earliest minutes of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, showing conclusively that the paper used in the minute-book, purporting to be original, was manufactured some years after the date of the first minutes written thereon." Harassed by these doubts and fears, our timid seekers of light allowed fourteen years to elapse, and now find themselves charged with the moifinfiil duty of informing us that both the "clerk" and the " gentleman of a mysterious turn of mind" have passed on to " the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns." A conclusion hardly less lame and impotent than the tale itself. But how dramatic and impressive the whole affair ! While the entire Craft of the great State of Pennsylvania are in the midst of the hurly-burly attendant upon the putting of the finishing touches to the greatest Masonic Temple on earth, into the office of the Grand Secretary stalks a stranger "of a mysterious turn of mind." With stealthy step he approaches the desk of the humblest "clerk," whom with cunning craft he had selected as the congenial confidant of the burden of the mystery. Slowly and solemnly he draws from his bosom a "paper bearing the water-marks of years past," and spreads it before the astonished eyes of the artless scribe. Albeit heretofore innocent of all knowledge of history, be knew a hawk from a hand-saw. With unerring instinct he pounced <upon a precious paragraph and with the pen of a ready writer, regardless of "water-marks," he spread it upon a virgin sheet, just " as easy as ---." This done, and no more, the mysterious stranger stole away, bearing the precious document with him. The historian relates that both "clerk" and "mysterious gentleman " had once a locaL habitation and a name, but now, alas! both have gone to the shades and taken the famous letter with them. There let them lie together in well-earned obscurity.

"Liber B" came into the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in November, 1880," having been inherited by Mr. Gr. T. Ingham, together, with other old writings and papers, formerly the property of David Hall, for many years Franklin's partner in the printing business." The attention of its "discoverer" was immediately called to this volume, and also several times subsequently ; but it was not until February, 1884, that any public mention of the book or its contents was made. This second wonderful "find" was then reported in The Keystone, with a flourish of trumpets almost as prodigious as that which heralded the discovery of 1874: It was declared that This is by far the oldest Masonic Lodge Book in America. "The entire volume is richly worthy of reproduction in print, and, by phototype. It far outranks in age any Lodge record on this continent, and is one of the oldest in the world. It is more than we ever anticipated finding, and therefore the more valued when found." When exhibited in the Masonic Temple, Philadelphia, on Thursday evening, Feb. 28, 1884, by its discoverer, it is said to have "excited the greatest interest, and was pronounced the most ancient and valuable Masonic record yet discovered in America."

The Library Committee of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania have reprinted, in Part IV. of the "Early History" of that Grand Lodge, the whole of "this invaluable volume," under the title of "Ledger of St. John's Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Philadelphia, 1731-1738."

The substance of The Keystone article in relation to Liber B also forms one of the numerous chap-books published in glorification of the "Mother City," for circulation among the Brethren of Pennsylvania.

The editors of all these versions have omitted, (inadvertently, of course,) to state that the Masonic portion of this volume is comprised in the last one hundred and fifty or sixty pages. The Ledger is a volume of about 400 pages. Under date of Aug. 2, 1731, we are informed this "book when blank, which now was paid for out of stock," cost 16 shillings. Two years later Franklin's account is credited with 13 shillings, as the price of a "Day booke." It is to be hoped that this volume also may yet be found.

The Ledger opens with an indexed catalogue, the name of Allen, William, appearing on the first page. Next follow 40 or 50 pages of memoranda of deliveries of prayer-books and Bibles, copies of Laws sent to the State House, etc., during the years 1791 and 1792. These are succeeded by a great number of blank pages, all ruled for accounts. Then appears a page headed " The twins," and nothing more .on the page. Again a considerable number of blank pages, and four more pages of accounts of deliveries of printed sheets, etc. These are followed by 15 blank pages, and then comes page 6 of the reprint of this Ledger, as furnished in Part TV. of the "Early History," "Dr. Messrs. Shippen & Pratt," etc. This is a neat, businesslike account, running through 1736 and 1737. After two blank pages come pages 10-13 of the reprint, in a hand and style much cramped and crowded, and greatly inferior to the preceding account. Six more blank pages follow, and are succeeded by the accounts of the individual members as set forth in pages 14-74 of the reprint. The last account is opened with one Edward Humphreys; but no entries are made, and the book ends with 13 blank pages. Including the blank pages interspersed, these accounts occupy about 150 pages, and some 200 blank pages intervene between these and the delivery accounts in the beginning of the book. Tlie footings of the Masonic accounts are by several different hands.

The Library Committee of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania express the opinion that in June of 1735-36 "Benjamin Franklin was secretary, and continued so until the records or accounts end." They say further: " It was Benjamin Franklin who balanced the accounts of the members in the Ledger, and he wrote the last entry in the book. The writing has been examined by experts, and comparisons made with well-known authenticated signatures and other writings of Benjamin Franklin ; and the testimony is, that the last entries made in the Masonic portion of Liber B were by Benjamin Franklin."

Your orator has made a somewhat careful examination of this volume, and has no hesitation in saying that he believes it to be genuine, and a most interesting and valuable addition to Masonic archives. He as unqualifiedly dissents from the . opinions: that it "is by far the oldest Masonic Lodge Book in America;" that "it far outranks in age any Lodge record on this continent, and is one of the oldest in the world;" that it is "the most ancient and valuable Masonic record yet discovered in America," or that any portion of it is in the handwriting of Benjamin Franklin. Such claims can add nothing to the estimate of the Ledger by competent judges, and only expose to ridicule their extravagant authors.

We disagree also with Bro. MacCalla in the opinion that "this Ledger was used by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania; for Bros. Pratt and Syng were elected Grand Wardens in 1737, and Bros. Cadwallader and Boude, Grand Wardens, as appears from Franklin's reports of the elections of Grand Officers in his ' Pennsylvania Gazette' of 1737 and '38." We object to this conclusion for two reasons: first, because the Brethren named describe themselves in the accounts as Wardens, and not as Grand Wardens; and secondly, because, so far as these Wardens' accounts afford the means of judging, they are made up from the accounts of the members of the Lodge, which follow. Of the two items cited by Bro. MacCalla in support of his theory, one was transferred from an individual account to the Wardens' account. There is nothing in Liber B except the title assigned to William Allen, which gives the slightest hint of a Grand Lodge, and Bro. Mac-Calla's comment would seem to indicate, what we have always believed, that Lodge and Grand Lodge were one and the same thing, and mirabile dictu! Liber B is sans Coxe, sans Bell, sans — everything. Dr. Cadwallader's name does appear, but only when the Lodge is in extremis, too late for physic."

"The silent doctor shook his head."

The patient lingered for a year, and died.

According to Liber B, "Wm. Allen, Esq., Grand Mr.," seems to have followed closely in the footsteps of his distinguished predecessor, Daniel Coxe; and the Graft of Pennsylvania seem to have been doubly blest in having two indifferent Grand Masters at one and the same time, one at home and one abroad, and each may fairly be said to have been "conspicuous by his absence." There are 40 items in the debit side of Grand Master Allen's account in Liber B. Of these, 20 cover charges for absence between July, 1731, and June, 1733, inclusive, and in addition we find an entry under date of June 6, 1737, as follows: " To his absence money @ 10 d p— 10—10." This item is a puzzle. No other member is charged for his absence after June, 1733. Why should the worthy ex-Grand Master be "rais'd to that bad eminence?" Was it on account of his much sinning in that respect? Then again, the fine had always been one, shilling. Why was it reduced in this instance to ten pence per night? Perhaps on the ground that he was a wholesale customer. His punishment seems all the more severe, inasmuch as the account shows that he was striving to mend his ways; for between July, 1733, and June, 1737, he appears to have been absent only these 13 " Lodge days," for which he was charged 10d. each.

The record of Franklin makes a much better showing. He was absent twice in 1731, three times in 1732, and once in 1733, the last being on April 2. The account, however, affords but little light as to the precise period of Franklin's visit to Boston at some time in 1733, or 1734. It shows that it was possible for him to have been absent from Philadelphia from March 6 to May 6, 1733, without incurring a second penalty for absence from the Lodge. The interval thus afforded was amply sufficient for Franklin's journey to Boston. It was probably then and there that "he became acquainted with Our Rt. Worl. Grand Master, Mr. Price, who further Instructed him in the Royal Art."

Immediately after June, 1734, there was a striking change in the manner of keeping the accounts. Up to and including that date the practice had been to charge each member every month with his "Quota," or dues, and also with his absence, if any. After June, 1734, the dues were charged annually only, and no absence was charged against any member except William Allen, as before stated.

During the months ;of April, May and June, 1734, accounts are opened with six Brethren, and "Entrance money" is charged to them within those three months, namely, to two in April, one in May, and three in June. To no other Brother is there any entry whatever in April or May, 1734, and to every other Brother — except those six initiates — there is a charge of Is. 6d., under date of June, 1734. We suppose that this last-named charge was for the "Quota," or dues, for the three months April, May and June, a charge similar to the first item in many Of the accounts under date June 24, 1731, namely, "To 5 Lodge days' omition at 6d. per diem." The word "omition" we presume to be a new version of our word "omission," and not synonymous with " Quota," as explained by Bro. MacCalla, although the amount charged was 6d. in each. But for the fact that "Entrance money "appears in each of the months April, May and June, 1734, we should be inclined to the opinion that the full text of the charge against every Brother, (except those initiates), under date of June, 1734, should be To 3 Lodge days' omition at 6d. per diem 1s. 6d., thereby indicating that the meetings were omitted in April, May and June, 1734. No absence, however, is charged to any member during those three months, unless it is included in the charge against "William Allen under date of June 6, 1737. Why there were no charges in April and May, .1734, (except for "Entrance money,") or why the three months' " Quotas" for April, May and June were lumped together in the account of each member, is a puzzle which we cannot solve. The difficulty may be owing in part — perhaps wholly — to typographical errors in the reprint which are very numerous. While examining the original your orator began to correct his copy, but abandoned the attempt for lack of time.. It is to be regretted that more care was not exercised in printing such a record.

The following extracts from Franklin's "weekly newspaper, the " Pennsylvania Gazette," are given in connection with the reprint of the Ledger: —

"Philadelphia, June 16. We hear that on Monday night last, some people pretending to be Free Masons, got together in a cellar with a young man, who was desirous of being made one, and in the ceremony 'tis said, they threw some burning spirits upon him, either accidentally or to terrify him, which burnt him so that he was obliged to take his bed and died this morning. The coroner's inquest are now sitting on the body."

St. John's Lodge caused the following statement to be published in the same paper : —

"Pennsylvania, ss. Hopkinson, Grand Master: Whereas,, some ill-disposed persons, in this city, assuming the name of, Free Masons, have for several years past imposed upon several well meaning people, who were desirous of becoming true Brethren, persuading them, after they had performed certain ridiculous ceremonies, that they were really become Free Masons, and have lately under the pretence of making a young man a Mason, caused his death, as 'tis said by Purging, Vomiting, Burning, and the terror of certain horrid and diabolical Rites. It is thought proper for preventing such impositions-for the future, and to avoid any unjust aspersions that may be thrown on the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity on this account, either in this city or any other part of the world, to publish this advertisement declaring the abhorrence of all true Brethren to such practices in general, and their innocence of this fact-in particular; and that the persons concerned in this wicked action, are not of any society of Free and Accepted Masons to our knowledge or belief.

"Signed on behalf of all the members of St. John's Lodge at Philadelphia, the 16th day of June, 1737.
"Thomas Hopkinson, Grand Master."
"Will Shippen, Deputy Master. (Misprint. Should be William Plumsted.)
"Joseph Shippen,
"Henry Prat, Grand Wardens."


"Philadelphia, June 23. The Coroner's Inquest on the body of the young man mentioned in our last, found that his death was occasioned by the burning spirits thrown upon him, but that as far as it appeared; to them, by the evidence they had, the throwing of these spirits upon him was accidental. 'Tis said, however, since the Inquest, further evidence has been given to the Magistrate that it was a voluntary action."

These items furnish the only explanation now known of the moribund condition of St. John's Lodge at this time. So far as we can ascertain, the light went out entirely about one year later, June, 1738, and probably was not rekindled until Franklin obtained the necessary authority from our Grand Master in 1749.

We invite attention to the confusion of Lodge and Grand Lodge here observable once more. The statement was issued by the Lodge and is declared to be signed in behalf of the members of that Body. All the signers were members of the Lodge, and yet they dignify themselves with the title Grand.

Observe, also, the reference to the "false and rebel brethren" of whom Franklin complained in his private letter to Henry Price, dated Nov. 28, 1734, who were still imposing upon well meaning people, as they had done "for some years past."

In all our investigations and discussions of these matters we have endeavored to avoid the errors into which our Philadelphia friends seem prone to fall, that is, jumping at conclusions and substituting assumptions for arguments.

They have appropriated and freely use the word "undoubtedly." Whenever the subject-matter has not a shadow of certainty about it, in fact constitutes the very point under discussion, the wish seems to be father to the thought. With fatal facility they hurl at us their "undoubtedly" — and voilà! tout est fini! We will at least strive to be somewhat more modest. We will venture to adopt the word "probably." Unlike theirs-, it has not about it any of the elements of what the boys would call "a clincher." It has, however, the recommendation of being a somewhat "more tenderer word."

We have been "much amused" with the Preface and the "Remarks" attached to the reprint of Liber B. Both are bristling with the peculiarities to which we have objected. Both Preface and concluding Remarks are signed by the Chairman, in behalf of the Library Committee of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. We congratulate the other members of the , committee on thus being relieved from a portion of the responsibility for these brilliant comments on their editorial labors. We would gladly present these suggestions in all their native simplicity, but neither time, space nor patience permit. It is claimed that in their Reprint of the Proceedings of their Grand Lodge, which includes the reprint of Liber B, the "Committee has conclusively shown the following facts : —

  • 1st. That Coxe was the first Prov. G.M. in America.
  • 2d. That his deputation preceded Price's by four years.
  • 3d. That his was a continuing deputation, while Price's was not.
  • 4th. That his health was drank by the Grand Lodge of England.
  • 5th. That there was a Lodge in Philadelphia in 1731.
  • 6th. That Franklin was made a Mason about January, 1731.
  • 7th. That Franklin reprinted the Constitutions in 1731.

Now the truth is that every one of these facts, exeept the 6th, was perfectly well known and undisputed long before the Library Committee commenced its labors. The Reprint added nothing whatever to our knowledge on those points. All in them that was material or important, with the exception named, was clearly and distinctly set forth in Grand Master Gardner's Henry Price Address, delivered in December, 1871, and most of it had been often printed. To be strictly accurate, however, it should be noted that Coxe's deputation preceded Price's first commission by only three years, and its extension by four years; also that Liber B shows that Franklin was made a Mason in February, 1731. In the Preface to the reprint of the Ledger, the astute chairman delivers himself thus:" It will be noted that this book is Libre 'B.'

We feel sure that Libre 'A' will not contain anything save commercial accounts. In fact, we have creditable knowledge that our surmises are correct, that Libre 'A' is in existence and contains nothing but mercantile and business accounts." The italics are his.

Now, in the name of common sense, what does the man mean? What had the Lodge to do with "mercantile and business accounts." If Liber A contains nothing but such accounts, it had no connection with "St. John's Lodge," and there was no occasion to mention it. If it purports to be Liber A of "St. John's Lodge," and the title Liber B is correctly given, somebody has blundered. Furthermore, why favor us with "surmises" in one line and "creditable knowledge " in the next. We supposed that the learned commentator flattered himself that he was writing history. It is to be feared that he has mistaken his vocation, and that Nature intended that he should harp upon another string.

We are reminded of a story told of a Boston lawyer, who was cross-examining a rather reluctant witness, a bar-tender by occupation. "What did John Smith say?" asked the attorney. "Well," said the witness, "the inference that I drew was—" "Never mind your inference!" retorted the lawyer, "what did he say? Give us the facts. We will draw the inference. Your business is to draw beer." So we
 say to the Chairman of the Library Committee, Surmise us no
surmises. Make a clean breast of what you know — if indeed
 you know anything. Give us the facts and we will draw our
own inferences. But whatever you do, we shall pray all
 angels and ministers of grace to defend, us' from another
 "Henry Bell, letter!!!"

In 1882 the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania celebrated with considerable pomp and circumstance, and with great flourish of trumpets, what was facetiously denominated its "Sesqui-Centennial," the intention being to thereby designate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of its organization. "Why the year 1732 was selected as the date of birth of that Grand Lodge is not very clearly set forth in any of the numerous Addresses delivered on that occasion, nor does either of them make any allusion to the Henry Bell letter. According to the ledger accounts in "Liber B," the so-called St. John's Lodge existed, at least, as early as February, 1731, and according to the same authority on the 24th day of June, 1731, William Allen was'Grand Master, although the Deputation of Daniel Coxe authorized him to wear that dignity until the 24th of June, 1732. The discovery of Liber B should have been made a few years earlier. In that case the wear and tear of genius involved in the fabrication of the famous "Henry Bell letter" would have .been avoided, and our friends might have celebrated their "Sesqui-Centennial" in 1881 instead of 1882.

We are puzzled, however, to understand how the orators would have reconciled the powers of. a Grand Master Coxe, commissioned by the Duke of Norfolk, and a Grand Master Allen, "undoubtedly" commissioned by the aforesaid Coxe, both exercising their authority in the same territory, and at the same time. This would seem to be a wheel within a wheel, heretofore unknown in Masonic history, a complication which it would puzzle even a Philadelphia lawyer to explain.

The anniversary of the organization of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania seems to have been a "movable feast." Its Centennial was celebrated in 1834, in accordance with Masonic chronology as understood in Massachusetts. On that occasion the oration was delivered by Bro. George M. Dallas, then Deputy Grand Master, one of the most- distinguished lawyers the State has ever produced, just fresh from service in the United States Senate; who was chosen Grand Master in December following, and Vice-President of the United States ten years later. He was always a diligent student of the history of his State and country, a man of a clear head, a sound judgment, and a strong will. He was born July 10, 1792, only two years after the death of Franklin, and four months after the union of the Ancient and Modern Grand Lodges in Massachusetts. He must have known many per-t sons, Brethren as well as profane, who had been associated with Franklin, and who had, perhaps, heard from his own lips the story of his early connection with the Fraternity. At the time of this Centennial great attention was drawn to our history, our- professions, and our practices. We had no bolder, more determined, more unflinching supporter than George M. Dallas, then in the very prinre and full vigor of middle age. Verily there were giants in those days, and this one said to anti-Masonry in Pennsylvania: " Here shall thy proud waves be stayed;" and it was so.

The Communication at which Brother Dallas' Oration was delivered is entitled, in the printed Proceedings of that year, an

Extra Grand Communication.
St. John the Baptists Day.

" Centennial Anniversary of the establishment of the First Lodge in Pennsylvania, of which Lodge Brother BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was the First Master," June 24, 1834. The death of Lafayette was announced, and resolutions of condolence were adopted. A vote of thanks for the oration was passed and a copy requested for publication. In closing, the orator paid an eloquent tribute to Lafayette, concluding as follows: "While we join in the sad and solemn rites everywhere performing by our countrymen, in melancholy attestation of their deep veneration and undying gratitude for an early and indefatigable public benefactor, we cannot but own one added pang, though accompanied by one peculiar-pride, as kindling memory suggests that he also was a Mason." May we not fairly suppose that the "also" points to a eulogy in previous paragraphs of "Benjamin Franklin, the First Master of the First Lodge in Pennsylvania," whose Centennial Anniversary they were then celebrating?

It should be borne in mind, in this connection, that there was then in extensive circulation, in that city, a work of 376 pages, entitled " The Picture of Philadelphia, by James Mease, M.D." It was first published in 1811, and republished in 1831, only three years before the Centennial. The "learned doctor" thus anticipates the editor of The Keystone, in his "wonderful find" of 1874. "The Gazettes, the only authority existing on the subject, inform us of a Grand Lodge having been held so early as the year 1732, at the 'Tun Tavern,' the fashionable hotel at the time, when William Allen, the Becorder (afterwards Chief Justice), was chosen Grand Master."

It is idle to suppose that, under the circumstances we have described, such a man as Brother Dallas would have filled the roll of orator, on such an occasion, without having satisfied himself as to the correctness of the date assigned for the anniversary, and being prepared to satisfy his hearers also. We have made repeated attempts to bring to light this Address, but as no effort appears to have been made to spread it before the Fraternity at the time of its delivery, we fear that it is lost beyond all hope of recovery. It is certain, however, that the Centennial was celebrated in 1834, notwithstanding nearly all of the material facts presented in the recent wonderful "finds" were then known and read of all men who made any pretensions to a knowledge of the history of the Craft in this country.

As we have stated, Franklin was made a Mason in the so-called Saint John's Lodge, at Philadelphia, probably in February, 1731. He became eligible only in the preceding month. Little as seems to have been known at that time by the Brethren of Philadelphia in regard to the requirements of, the Constitutions, published in London eight years before, it can hardly be doubted that some of them, and none better than Franklin himself, knew of so important a provision as the rule that "no Lodge shall make any Man under the Age of Twenty-five, who must be also his own Master." Franklin attained that age in January, 1731, and was initiated in February following. So far as we can judge from "Liber B" he appears to have been a much interested and model member. From June 24, 1731, to June 24, 1738, the period covered by these Ledger accounts, he is charged with only six absences, thus affording a striking contrast to at least one more pretentious member. About two years later he visited the head-quarters of Masonry in North America and availed himself of the opportunity to obtain more light. The exact date of this visit we have not been able to determine. His autobiography says: After ten years' absence from Boston, I made a journey thither to visit my relations." Some authorities seem to think that his visits to his birth-place were made with a precise interval of ten years. This is not correct. He informs us that he left Boston in October, 1723, "a boy of but 17." His family knew nothing of him or his whereabouts until he suddenly appeared among them again, early in May, 1724. He came afterwards in 1733 or 1734, '43, '46, '53 and '54. It was during his stay here in 1746 that the subject of electricity was first brought to his notice. The visits of 1733, '43 and '54 are especially memorable in our Masonic annals.

"Whether the "ten years' absence" to which he refers is to be reckoned from October, 1723, or from May or June, 1724, is uncertain, but it is not of very great importance. Certain it is, however, that under date of June 24, 1734, the records of Saint John's Grand Lodge, of Boston, recite that "About this time Our Worshl. Bror. Mr. Benj. Franklin from Philadelphia became acquainted with Our Rt. Worsl. Grand Master Mr. Price, who further Instructed him in the Royal Art, and said Franklin on his Return to Philadelphia call4 the Brethren there together, who petition'd Our Rt. Worsh;. Grand Master for a constitution to hold a Lodge, and Our Rt. Worshl. Grand Master having this year Recd. Orders from the Grand Lodge in England to Establish Masonry in all North America did send a Deputation to Philadelphia, appointing the Rt. Worshl. Mr. Benj. Franklin first Master; which is the beginning of Masonry there."

The item of Masonic history thus set forth has ever since been almost universally accepted as literally and exactly true. To the best of our knowledge and belief no fact has been brought to light, in Philadelphia or elsewhere, which is not entirely consistent with this record. Franklin was in Boston at some time between October, 1733, and June, 1734. Price brought his deputation from London and established his Provincial Grand Lodge in July, 1733. Franklin himself says that even the newspapers of the day reported that in 1734 — after his visit — the Deputation was extended to cover all North America. It is very evident that Franklin, and his associates likewise, needed-to be "further instructed in the Eoyal Art," for they had set up a Lodge in the old pre-1717 way, although the Mother Grand Lodge had ten years before expressly forbidden "any Set or Number of Masons to take upon themselves to form a Lodge without the Grand Master's Warrant." Probably their first knowledge of such a regulation, or of the Grand Constitutions generally, was Obtained from Henry Price when he furnished Franklin with* Anderson's edition of 1723, which he reprinted in 1734.

In 1743 Franklin again visited Boston, and on the 25th of -May is recorded as present in the First Lodge, Henry Price acting as Master. On the 11th of October, 1754, he attended "a Quarterly Communication or Grand Lodge, holden in Concert Hall," Boston. At that meeting the volume of Records containing the' item of June 24, 1734, herein set forth, was probably on the Secretary's desk and open to Franklin's inspection. Grand Master Price presided, Jeremy Gridley was elected to succeed Thomas Oxnard, deceased, and a committee was appointed to petition the Grand Master of England for a Deputation in favor of Bro. Gridley. The petition forms a part of the Record and concludes as follows": —

"And, Whereas, Masonry Originated Here anno 5733,
 and in the year following Our then G. M. Price received
 orders from G. M. Crawford to Establish Masonry in all
 North America in Pursuance of which the Several Lodges
 hereafter mentioned have recd. Constitutions from us. We
therefore Crave due Precedency, & that in order thereunto
Our G.M. Elect, may in his deputation be stiled G.M. of all
 North America, and your Petitioners as in duty Bound shall
 ever Pray. .

  • "5734. Philadelphia.
  • " 35. New Hampshire & South Carolina.
  • " 38. Antigua and Annapolis in Nova Scotia.
  • " 46. Newfoundland.
  • " 49. Rhode Island.
  • " 50. Halifax in Nova Scotia.
  • " 50. Annapolis in Maryland.
  • " 53. New London in Connecticutt.
  • " 54. Middletown in ditto
  • "52. New Haven in ditto."
It is fairly to be presumed that the then distinguished philosopher discussed Masonic affairs in Philadelphia, past, present and future, with the Founder of Masonry in North America and his compeers, and did not hesitate to give his opinion as to the claims advanced by them, past as well as future.

Masonry appears to have found rather an uncongenial soil in Philadelphia in those days. The Lodge, of 1731, whether established with or without competent authority, ceased to exist in 1738, and. for about ten years there were probably no Lodges there. In 1749 Benjamin Franklin made a second attempt, and being satisfied with his previous treatment and the purity of the source, he came again to the Provincial Grand Master of North America in Boston, and Thomas Oxnard, the legitimate successor of Henry Price, granted the powers asked for. We are in doubt as to the extent of those powers. Bro. MacCalla says: "In 1749 Benjamin Franklin was appointed Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania, by Bro. Thomas Oxnard, Provincial Grand Master of all North America."' But the only reference to the subject in the Records of our Grand Lodge is the following under date of April 10th, 1752: —

"For the Lodge att Philadelphia Bro. McDaniel appeared and paid for their Constitution £31 10 shillings."

Two years before (1750), according to Bro. MacCalla, an appointment as Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania, from the Grand Master of England, was received by William Allen, who appointed Franklin Deputy Grand Master. On the 11th of October, 1754, as already stated, "Bro. Benjamin Franklin" was present in our Grand Lodge, when Jeremy Gridley was chosen Grand Master. Ho went to England in 1757, as the agent of the colony, and remained there five years.

It is reported in "Noorthouck's Constitutions," under date of Nov. 17, 1760, as follows: "Grand Lodge, at the Crown and Anchor. Present: Franklyn, Esq., Provincial Grand Master of Philadelphia ; Franklyn, Esq., Provincial Grand Secretary of Philadelphia." The visitors were Benjamin Franklin and his son William.

We have no denunciations to make of this first Lodge in Philadelphia. We do not need to be "corroborated by the Pennsylvania Gazette," in the belief that there were Masons there in 1730. More than a century earlier there were Masons wherever the English language w:is spoken on this continent. There is evidence even that Masonry existed in Nova Scotia as early as 1606, without the English language. In 1741 Governor Jonathan Belcher said to the First Lodge in Boston, "It is now thirty-seven years since I was admitted into the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons." He was present and his health was drank in the Grand Lodge of England, Sept. 26, 1744. The Craft spread far and wide, and whenever two or three of them were gathered together they made merry and they made Masons. In process of time this, loose way of doing business was found to have its disadvantages, and order and system were introduced. But we were far away from the fountain head and in some localities we drifted on in the old way for years after the old way had been forbidden. The news travelled slowly in those days, and the officers who were appointed to transmit it were themselves often far away and too busy with other matters to attend to their Masonic duties. We have a firm conviction that Franklin soon taught his fellows of "St. John's Lodge" that if they desired "the regular Lodges" "to own them as fair Brethren and duly form'd " and not to "treat them as Rebels," they must speedily apply to the Grand Master " to approve of them by his Warrant." Coxe was thousands of miles away, and had shown no interest in the half-fledged brood which had been committed to his care; never having exercised the powers intrusted to him those powers could not inure to the benefit of the Brethren of his jurisdiction after the expiration of his authority.

"About this time" Henry Price had come over from headquarters, bringing a similar commission; and, full of zeal and knowledge of the new ways, had forthwith gone vigorously to work. He was scattering the good seed right and left. Probably from him Franklin obtained a copy of the Constitutions of 1-728 — the first ever issued — and immediately went to work and reprinted them. Thus he gained the honor of printing the first Masonic book in America. It was a great undertaking for those days, and when it was finished, he says, "After ten years' absence from Boston, and having become easy in my circumstances, I made a journey thither to visit my relations, which I could not sooner well afford." He probably carried some of the Constitutions with him, for in August of that year (1734) the following advertisement appeared in the Boston newspapers: "Lately Published, — the Constitutions of the Freemasons, containing the History, Charges, Regulations, &c, of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the Use of the Lodges. For Sale at the Heart and Crown, in Cornhill." It will be remembered that, in the private note to Henry Price, already quoted, dated November 28th, of the same year,'Franklin expressed his fear that this supply might have been exhausted: "If more of the Constitutions are wanted among you, please hint it to me."

The imprint of this volume is as follows: "London Printed; Anno 5723. Re-printed in Philadelphia by special Order, for the Use of the Brethren in North-America. In the Year of Masonry, 5734, Anno Domini 1734". The "Library Committee" ask: "What other construction can be put on these words but that this St. John's Lodge, by special order, directed Franklin to print it for the use of the Brethren of North America?" In reply to this question we would suggest two constructions, either of which seems to us much more plausible and probable than that proposed by the Committee. What power or authority had this embryo Lodge of thirty members, whether warranted or not, to issue a " special Order," and what force or effect would it have had, if issued? The printing of books in Philadelphia had scarcely been attempted, and an "Order" from such a source, to engage in such a perilous undertaking, would be simply funny, "a joke to cure the dumps." Franklin himself said: "At the time I established myself in Pennsylvania, there was not a good bookseller's shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston. In New York and Philad'a the printers were, indeed, stationers; they sold only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books."

St. John's Lodge was like the old Vermont justice of the peace, who was told that he had no power to "commit" anybody but himself. This "special Order" announcement was either by the authority and permission,of Henry Price, or it was simply the advertising nourish of the publisher. If the former supposition is correct, those words were added in pursuance of correspondence or conversation between Price and Franklin, and in anticipation of the extension of Price's authority over all North America, which Price had probably already petitioned for -— perhaps at the suggestion of Franklin himself.

If this " construction " should seem to the querist too farfetched, we would recommend to him our second. Some critics will surely incline to the opinion that this " special Order " flourish smacks rather more of the shop than of the Craft.

Upon reflection, we are tempted to suggest a third "construction," namely, that the "special Order" was issued by Franklin himself. He styled himself "G. M. Pennsylvania" — what more competent authority could there be in that vicinage to issue — or to execute — a "special Order" in that line. It would, at least, not fail of execution.

Our own verdict, however, is most emphatically pronounced against the "construction" proposed by the Library Committee and in favor of the first of our own suggestions.

In the spring of 1734 we find Franklin in the home of his boyhood, among familiar scenes and acquaintances. He is now a staid, well-to-do citizen of no mean city, although not so populous as his native town. He has already, somewhat of. a reputation as one full of wise saws and modern instances, having the year before published' the first number of Poor Richard's Almanack. He is the father of a family, and a Freemason of only three year's standing, but he calls himself Grand Master. His Masonic pedigree, in both capacities, is somewhat clouded ; but no one in this country was very conversant with Masonic rules or Masonic titles, and every Brother was willing to say " I am no herald, to inquire into men's pedigrees; it sufficeth me if I know their virtues." By common consent the Craft have allowed the matter to rest there. The discussion of the subject of late years, on our part, at least, has been prompted simply and solely by a desire to protect the memory of our honored Founder, and vindicate our history from unjust and groundless aspersions. But we must confess that we are at a loss to understand how Lodges in Pennsylvania, without Warrants, could have been considered regular fourteen years after the revival in 1717, when no Lodge was or could be established under the same conditions "at home." The same authority covered.both jurisdictions, and, after the new order of things had been so long in operation, what was irregular in this respect in England was equally so in Pennsylvania. Franklin discovered their weak point very soon after his admission, and he took the earliest and the wisest steps possible to secure protection by applying to Grand Master Price.

Observe the respectful and even affectionate language of Franklin in addressing Price. In the spring of that year it had been agreed that Price should visit Philadelphia in the fall. We are inclined to think that the 'sickness which prevented him from fulfilling the engagement was caused by a fall from his horse and the breaking of a leg. He met with such an accident about this time and the effect of it was plainly to be seen when the few remaining bones were transferred to their new resting-place on the 4th inst. Franklin rejoices that Price has so happily recovered, and, after the manner, of the time, drinks to the establishment of his health and the prosperity of his whole Lodge. Franklin seeks no honors or benefit for himself, but only "to promote and strengthen the interest of Masonry in this Province." He had already acquainted the Grand Master with the details of the situation there; had informed him that certain Brethren who had come from England ten years or more ago and had been entered Apprentices there, had for several years past been in the habit of meeting at the Tim Tavern, whenever the spirit moved them, and there occasional^ made a new Brother, as they had seen it done in London. Whenever their Master was an Esquire, or other rich or learned man, they honored him with the title of Grand, and sometimes they gave the same dignity to the Lodge, as he had often heard Masons do in London six or seven years before. He had heard so much of Masonry there and then, that as soon as he was twenty-five years of age he applied to some of these excellent men who made Masons at the Tun Tavern, and about three years ago they had made him a Brother, " as good and true as any other." He soon learned that the ways of his Masters were not in all respects like those in use in London, and therefore he had sent to Price for a copy of the new Constitutions, and was so much pleased with the book, that he had reprinted it in his own shop, and was now ready to supply it in any quantity.

From the Constitutions he had learned that there were " regular Lodges " which differed from his own, in that they were held by virtue of a warrant from the Grand Master. From Price he had learned that a petition had been forwarded to London, praying the Grand Master to extend Price"s authority over all North America; and, learning that the new deputation had been recently received, he renews the request, made in the spring, that his Lodge may be made " regular," and its members owned " as fair Brethren and duly form'd," by virtue of the "Grand Master's Warrant." And that is the beginning of duly constituted Masonry in Pennsylvania, — Henry Bell to the contrary notwithstanding, and confirmed and sustained by the testimony of Liber B !

What is called the revival or re-organization of Masonry took place in London about the year 1717. Before that time it was the practice of the Brethren to assemble in chance gatherings, wherever and whenever a sufficient number could be found. The purpose of these assemblies was principally social enjoyment, but occasionally an Entered Apprentice was received, and few went beyond that degree. A ritual was almost unknown, and such forms and ceremonies as were observed would now be regarded as bordering on the burlesque and ridiculous. Of course, uniformity, discipline, government, responsibility,, were impossible and unknown.

In those days it was the universal custom for meetings of the Craft to be held in taverns, partly because those houses only could furnish rooms of sufficient capacity to accommodate the numbers assembled, and partly because they afforded the means of refreshment, which at such gatherings was deemed of more importance than the labor. Before the revival or reorganization in 1717, Lodges had no names, nor numbers, but were distinguished by the signs of the taverns at which the meetings were held. Even Records were almost unknown for some years; those of the Grand Lodge of England commence in 1723 ; but long after that, many scrupulous Brethren regarded with holy horror the mere suggestion of putting upon paper the simplest and most ordinary reports or verbiage of the Craft. To this extreme fastidiousness is due the difficulty so often experienced by Masonic students, when they find themselves compelled to labor painfully in the tracing out of details which should have been clearly set forth, but which, from excessive timidity, have either been omitted altogether; or carefully obscured.

The Grand Lodge organized at the Apple Tree Tavern, in London, in 1717, made an important change in the practice of the Fraternity by declaring : —

That the privilege of assembling as Masons, which has been hitherto unlimited, shall be vested in certain Lodges or Assemblies of Masons, convened in certain places; and that every Lodge to be hereafter convened, except the four old Lodges at this time existing, shall be legally authorized to act by a warrant from the Grand Master for the time being, granted to certain individuals by petition, with the consent and approbation of the Grand Lodge in Communication ; and without such warrant no Lodge shall be hereafter deemed regular or constitutional.

In Anderson's Constitutions of 1723, we find among the General Eegulations "Compiled first by Mr. George Payne, Anno 1720, when he was Grand Master, and approv'd by the Grand Lodge on St. John Baptist's Day, Anno 1721," the following, being the second paragraph of Article VIII.: —

"If any Set or Number of Masons shall take upon themselves to form a Lodge without the Grand Master's Warrant the regular Lodges are not to countenance them, nor own them as fair Brethren and duly form'd, nor. approve of their Acts and Deeds; but must treat them as Rebels, until they humble themselves, as the Grand Master shall in his Prudence direct, and until, he approve of them by his Warrant, which must be signify'd to the other Lodges, as the Custom is when a new Lodge is to be register'd in the List of Lodges."

The new system thus inaugurated met with general approval, and was adopted by common consent by the English-speaking portion of the Craft, from time to time, as it became known. In no _ quarter was 'the new departure more cordially approved, or more cheerfully conformed to, than in the British North American Provinces. The relations between the Colonies and the mother country were very intimate and friendly. To the colonists England was "home," and its fashions had almost the binding force of law. There is a tradition that the new Masonic plan was followed in Boston as early as 1720, only three years after it was inaugurated in London. The earliest reference to. this subject, which we have been able to find, occurs in the Masonic Mirror and Mechanics' Intelligencer, published in Boston by Bro. Charles W. Moore. In the issue of that paper for Jan. 27, 1827, the editor prints the following statement: —

"A year or two since, a clergyman of the Church of England, who is probably more conversant with that church in America than any other individual now living, politely furnished us with, a document wherein, it appeared that the first regular Lodge of Freemasons in America was holden in King's Chapel, Boston, by a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of England, somewhere about the year 1720. It produced great excitement at the time, and the Brethren considered it prudent to discontinue their meetings."

The same statement is repeated by Bro. Moore, in a little
work published by him in 1829, compiled from Lawrie's
 "History of Freemasonry," with notes and additions, in
cluding an "Historical Sketch of the Masonic Institution in America."

The statement is again repeated by him in ,the third volume of the Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, issued April 1, 1844. This time the name of the clergyman from whom the information was derived is given as "The late Rev. Mr. Montague, formerly of Dedham."

It is matter of surprise that Bro. Moore did not set the " document" forth in full in his Magazine, or at least describe it so clearly that it might be brought to light by some gleaner after him in tbe field of Masonic history. We can only account for . the omission by the supposition that the anti-Mason in struggle directed his attention to the needs of the present with such all-absorbing earnestness .and zeal that he was content to let the dead past bury its dead. That battle almost monopolized his thoughts from the date of the first publication named until the last.

None of the descendants of "The late Rev. Mr. Montague " are able to give us any light on the subject. The Rev. Dr. Henry W. Foote, the present rector and the historian of King's Chapel, is probably more familiar with the archives of that Society than any other person, but after diligent search he informs us that he is unable.to find any evidence in support of the statement we have quoted from Bro. Moore. We have referred to the matter here in order that it might not be supposed that we had overlooked it, and in the hope.that the missing link may yet be found.

Price represented Townsend in the Provincial Assembly during the years 1764 and 1765,— a service which had not been rendered since 1745. They were important and eventful years in the history of the Colony. It was in 1764 that the first public opposition was made to the Parliamentary schemes for taxation without representation in America. It was in that year the "alarm bell" was first rung by that sturdy old patriot Samuel Adams, anticipating the famous utterances of Patrick Henry by just one year. The obnoxious revenue acts projected in 1763, and culminating in the Stamp Act, which received the royal assent in 1765, were the real moving causes of the American Revolution.

The Instructions to the Representatives of the town of Boston in the Provincial Assembly of the year 1764, drawn up by Samuel Adams, contain the first public denial of the right of the British Parliament to tax the Colonists without their consent, and the first suggestion of a union of the Colonists for the redress of their grievances. These Instructions were adopted by the inhabitants of Boston, in town meeting assembled in Faneuil Hali, on the 24th of May. A few days later they were published and circulated through the continent. The effect was immediate. They became the basis of the Provincial policy, the germs of the great issues of the Revolution.

The Provincial Assembly of Massachusetts came together in June, and at once acted in accordance with the wishes of the people. A memorial, addressed to the- Colonial agent in London, was drawn up by Brother James Otis, and adopted on the 13th of June, vindicating the rights and privileges belonging to the people by charter or by birth. On the day following a committee was appointed to correspond with the several Assemblies on the continent, and urge them to united efforts for the protection of their inalienable rights.

During the same month Brothers James Otis and Oxenbridge Thacher had respectively published their famous pamphlets: "Rights of the Colonies," and "Sentiments of a British American." The former the Assembly adopted as its own, and ordered it to be sent to the Colonial agent in England. The House had hardly had time to accomplish these preconcerted measures, when it was suddenly prorogued by the Governor, the odious Francis Bernard.

The Legislature remained prorogued during the summer, but the Governor was forced to call them together again in October. They immediately made the Boston Instructions the groundwork of their proceedings, by petitioning the King, Lords and Commons "for a repeal of the Sugar Act," in an address brought in by Brother Thacher.

The Stamp Act passed the Commons in February, 1765, the House of Lords in March, and received the royal assent in the same month. The news reached Boston in April, and was received with mingled alarm and indignation. At the opening of the session of the Legislature in May the Governor touched very lightly on the Stamp Act. Committees were appointed to answer all references in the speech to matters other than that, to which no reply was made. The most important action taken was the issuing of circular letters to the several Houses of Representatives or Burgesses throughout the continent, calling for the assembling of committees from each, at New York, on the first day of October following, to consult together on the dangers and difficulties surrounding them.

A new series of Boston Instructions were adopted by the people on the 18th of September, enjoining the Boston members of the Legislature against participating in any public measures for countenancing or assisting the execution of the Act. In his opening address to the Legislature, on the 25th of September, the Governor drew a vivid picture of the dreadful consequences of a refusal to use the authorized stamps. On the following day a committee was appointed to prepare a reply. While the committee was engaged on this duty, a bill was introduced declaring the necessity of going on with the general business of the Province without stamps. While this subject was under consideration, the frightened Governor suddenly prorogued the Assembly.

About this time Brother Oxenbridge Thacher laid down his life as a sacrifice to his zeal for the cause of liberty. He is represented to have been "a man of the most admirable character in all the relations of life," " equally conspicuous for his unaffected piety and sterling patriotism."

On the morning of September 27th, a town meeting was convened to elect a Representative in the place of Mr. Thacher, and Samuel Adams was duly elected. He immediately repaired to the Assembly, was qualified, and had scarcely taken his seat when a message was brought down from the Governor proroguing the Assembly to the last week in October.

The Legislature reassembled on the 24th of October, when Mr. Adams was appointed chairman of the committee to present to the Governor the answer to his opening speech of the previous session — Mr. Adams having undoubtedly drafted the answer during the interval between the sessions.

During the recess Mr. Adams had prepared another famous paper, to be offered to the House in obedience, to the Boston Instructions. It was an assertion and vindication of the inherent and inalienable rights of the people, to be placed upon the public records for transmission to posterity.

The answer to the Governor's speech was accepted by the House in the forenoon of October 24th; and in the afternoon the committee on the declaration of rights was appointed. On the 26th their report was read and ordered to lie on the table for three days for the perusal of the members. On the 29th, there being a full house, the resolves ^as reported were particularly considered ( and passed. The concluding paragraph was in the following words : —

"Ordered, That all the foregoing resolves be kept in the records of this House, that a just sense of liberty and the firm sentiments of loyalty be transmitted to posterity."

It has been truly said that "these resolves startled the whole Province, in fact they rang through the entire continent."

It is to be regretted that the Records of the "General
 Court" for that period are so meagre and defective as to afford
but little direct and positive information of the action of Henry
Price, or indeed any but the most prominent members, upon the
important questions which we have referred to. It is certain
that many of his associate members were his active supporters
in Masonic service. In addition to those already named, we
find Andrew Belcher, the member from Milton. He was the, son of Governor Jonathan Belcher, and was appointed by.
Price, in 1733, the first Deputy Grand Master.

From the fact that his fellow-citizens sent him to represent them in those stirring times; that in January, 1773, they brought themselves into line with the patriots of other towns by adopting ringing resolutions in response to the letters of the, Boston Committee of Correspondence; that in a conveyance made May 14, 1779, he uses the words " and third year of the independence of the United States of America" — from all these facts we infer that Henry Price was in full sympathy with James Otis, Oxenbridge Thacher, Joseph Warren, Paul Revere, and the many other Brethren who wrought under his Grand Mastership and who so bravely battled for freedom in and about the " great town " of Boston, which was in that day the "Mistriss {sic} of North America."

In some of the Colonies the intelligence of the new departure, as to requiring warrants for Lodges, did not spread so early or so quickly as in Massachusetts, or the Brethren did not take so kindly to the idea. Notably was this the case in Pennsylvania. Even as late as 1731, as we have seen, a Lodge was started in Philadelphia on the old system,—that is, without, any warrant, — so far as we can judge from the evidence now known to exist.

The reasons for this difference of proceeding, as between Boston and Philadelphia, are easily to be traced. Boston was settled in 1630, by English Puritans whose energy, enterprise and industry," in less than a century and a half, made it the foremost champion of colonial independence." For more than two centuries its inhabitants have maintained essentially the old British type and to this day travellers often describe as having the appearance of a substantial English provincial* town. Until the breaking out of hostilities with the mother countty, almost the entire commerce of the colonies was transacted through Boston. The communication with England was direct and frequent, and the relations between the two communities were familiar and close. The " home " fashions were caught up and adopted readily and eagerly. In 1733, when Henry Price,, warranted the First Lodge in Boston, the population was about 18,000. About that time appeared an edition of Bonner's Map, entitled a "Prospect of Boston, the Capital of New England and Mistriss {sic} of North America." In 1736 the officers of the First Lodge in Boston informed their Brethren of Lodge Glasgow Kilwinning, that the former Lodge "is adorned with the most eminent gentlemen of this great town."

Philadelphia was founded in 1682. Its early settlers were mostly Quakers. William Penn described the locality as "a spot that seemed to have been appointed for a town." "Of all places in the world," said he, " I remember not one better seated." The settlement filled up rapidly, the immigration coming largely from Germany and the North of Ireland. In 1731 about 12,000 inhabitants were reckoned, being somewhat in advance of New York. In 1777, when the town was occupied by the British forces under Lord Howe, the population numbered 21,767. It will be observed that this was one year after the Declaration of Independence and forty-four years after the constitution of the First Lodge in Boston. From the beginning the elements seem to have been rather incongruous.

"We might naturally suppose that Quakers, Dutchmen and Irishmen would agree about as well as oil and water. v In the Address already quoted Mr. Field says : —

West Jersey under its Proprietary Government was, in fact, what Pennsylvania was only in name, a pure Quaker commonwealth. It may be safely affirmed, that William Penn himself had more to do in moulding the institutions of West Jersey, that his spirit was more deeply infused into them, and that they reflected more clearly the pure and benign features of: his character, than did those of the State which bore his name. In Pennsylvania, his views were often sadly thwarted, and his gentle sway was regarded with a jealousy and distrust, which it is difficult for us at this day to understand. But in West Jersey his influence was supreme, his benevolent disposition was allowed free scope, and he was the object of unbounded love and confidence. Her Concessions and Agreements, her fundamental laws and Constitutions, were nearly all the work of his hand ; all bear the impress of his character.

Franklin had similar difficulties to contend with fifty years later. Hayden tells us: "He was well known at this period as the friend and patron of popular education and every useful art. It was not apathy and indifference on the part of the community respecting education that he had to contend with alone; but there was an element in the population of Philadelphia and its vicinity that regarded all measures for the greater diffusion of knowledge, as dangerous innovations on the established customs of society. There still exists a correspondence between one Christopher Sowrs, a German printer in Germantown, and Conrad Weiser, in which. the former complains bitterly of the efforts of Franklin and the Freemasons generally to establish free schools. He says: "The people who are the promoters of the free schools are Grand Masters and Wardens among the Freemasons, their very pillars." It is not strange that Freemasonry with great difficulty obtained a foothold among such a population.

We fancy, however, that it was not altogether the fault of the people that, the struggle was so long and hard. Inasmuch as the "First Lodge in Philadelphia" numbered among its fifty members " some of the most eminent of the early citizens," it is a noticeable fact that the Autobiography of Franklin makes no allusion to the Lodge, mentions only five or six of the members, and in only two or three instances are the references to those members accompanied by any expressions of special interest or regard. William Allen is named two or three times, but only as associated with Franklin in public business — in one instance being called Judge Allen.

Henry Price was not a great man, but he was an honest man and a zealous Mason. The Masonry of Daniel Coxe was of his "life a thing apart." Twas Price's " whole existence."

He was an enthusiast on the subject. Such a man is a Godsend to our Craft. Without such an one, every now and then, we should drift into utter stupidity and inanition. Where should we have been if the "distinguished" Grand Masters of that time, in other parts of the country, had been like those in Pennsylvania — like Coxe and Allen ? What standing would our Fraternity have in England, to-day, if we were not • blessed witli a Gould, a Hughan, a Speth, and others like them ? How would the Fraternity in America have stood today without such Brethren as Gardner, Drummond, Carson and Parvin? Let us all ever pray: From lukewarm, dead-and-alive, do-nothing Grand Masters, good Lord deliver us! howsoever "distinguished" they may be in other walks of life. For more than forty years he was a constant attendant upon> Lodge and Grand Lodge, always ready to fill any office or perform any duty that his admiring Brethren saw fit to assign him. During the administration of his successor as Grand Master, Price organized, in 1738, the first Masters' Lodge ever established in this country, and himself filled the office of Master until 1744, being absent during that time only once. Hayden says very truly: "He frequently performed the duties of the minor offices of the Lodge, and was ever an active member."

What a striking contrast does this record present to that of his contemporary Grand Master, William Allen, of Philadelphia. The latter "was one of the most learned, influential and wealthy men of his time," and we are told "it is matter of sincere congratulation that the Grand Master of Masons of Pennsylvania, in the year 1732, and a second time in 1750, was a person so distinguished, and that the record of his greatness remains to this day." It is, however, our painful duty, as faithful chroniclers, to add that, as appears by "the most ancient and valuable Masonic record yet discovered in America," the learning, influence and wealth of this excellent Brother were wholly, devoted to other purposes than the advancement of Masonry; that he was absent from the meetings of. his Lodge nearly all the time that he was. called Grand Master, and from about one-half of all the Masonic meetings of which his record gives any information ; that, so far as is now known, he never constituted a Lodge or performed any other service for which the Fraternity have any particular cause to be grateful; that while Henry Price was serving in any and every subordinate office of his Lodge, his "distinguished" ' compeer was magnifying his office by riding about the city of Philadelphia in his coach-and-four, under the skilful guidance of a" coachman who was imported from England and was a great whip." Like Saul and Jonathan, however, they " were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided." Both died in 1780. < As a natural result of the incompetence, indifference or mismanagement of this Grand Master "so distinguished," when Franklin returned from London, in 1762, he found the field in the possession of the seceders, the schismatics, the falsely called "Ancients;" and it has been the proud, boast of their successors, even to the present day, that they have never swerved from the faith of their founders so much as a hair's breadth.

We maintain now, as we have said over and over again, that, to the best of our knowledge and belief, no one entitled to represent the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has ever denied that there was in Philadelphia, one, two, or even three years before the date of Henry Price's Deputation, an association called a Lodge, and even that it was dignified with the title of Grand Lodge. Franklin's letters to Henry Price so stated, and the fact has been published to the world times without number. We admit it now, and we always have admitted it; but we deny that such an association, whether called Lodge, or Grand Lodge, derived its title from any competent authority, or that it can fairly be assumed to have existed under the. right of immemorial usage; and we do further deny that the existence of such an association within its borders, for seven or eight years, whether with or without a warrant, gives a city any show of right to the title of Mother-City, when nobody pretends that the association ever propagated. When that association died and made no sign, its successor did likewise, and more than twent}- years elapsed before any Masonic organization of the boasted "Mother-City " could claim to have produced chick or child. On the other hand, we claim that the first Provincial Grand Lodge in America was duly organized in Boston, in 1733, under authority of a warrant from the Grand Lodge of England ; that a Grand Lodge duly authorized and constituted has existed here ever since ; that said first Provincial Grand Lodge immediately commenced the exercise of the powers conferred upon it, and did increase and multiply most abundantly, spreading its branches far and wide, and even from the very beginning extending its protection over the half-fledged brood then just breaking the shell in Philadelphia. These claims are sustained by the positive and repeated declarations of Henry Price and his contemporaries, as well as by the Records of our several Masonic organizations of the time, as abundantly appears in Brother Gardner's Henry Price Address. Those Records we ' believe to be entirely honest, truthful, and reliable ; as much so as those of the Grand Lodge of England, after which ours were probably modelled. These claims, we furthermore believe, have received for a century and a half the approval and sanction of most well-informed and competent Masonic authorities. Those who have given their assent to the contrary opinion have probably been influenced by a too-ready acceptance of a pretended piece of evidence which we have already considered at some length. We have always striven to conduct the discussion of these points with the utmost courtesy and good feeling, but so far as relates to one form of attack we feel that forbearance has long ceased to be a virtue, and that a decent self-respect requires that we should characterize it in,the strongest terms. Fourteen years ago we expressed doubts of the genuineness of the so-called Henry Bell letter, and asked to have it properly demonstrated. Not the slightest attempt,' worthy of consideration, has been made in'that direction. That single paragraph asserting a fact which forms the very point of the controversy, unsustained by any explanation, collateral proof, or even a sponsor, has been inserted in at least two ponderous official publications having the quasi sanction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, one of them being even denominated its "Early History."

We now distinctly declare that our firm conviction is, and always has been, that the " Henry Bell letter " is a gross fabrication, and .that it was deliberately prepared for use in this discussion. We know not who is responsible for its preparation, but we do know that the Mason who would knowingly and deliberately interpolate in our Masonic history a false statement, who, cuttle-fish like, injects this inky cloud into the discussion, deserves the severest condemnation of the whole Fraternity. We know, further, that the editor of The Keystone, and the Chairman of the Library Committee of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania," are principally responsible for the circulation, far and wide, of a paper having apparently an important bearing upon a question in dispute between the Grand Lodges of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, without having made any attempt to verify the paper, or having utterly failed in such attempts, if any were made. We know that sthose Brethren have continued to circulate this paper as a< genuine and trustworthy document for fourteen years, notwithstanding the fact that, in less than one year after its first publication, the Grand Master of Massachusetts expressed doubts whether the paper was "genuine, authentic, credible," declared that " It bears on its face indications that it is not genuine," and demanded that certain "questions must be satisfactorily answered before we could admit this piece of evidence." We know that those questions have never been answered, except by evasions and sneers, and, although the utter failure to authenticate that paper is admitted, its circulation is still continued for what it is worth. If such an answer means anything, reduced to plain English it would read thus: We shrewdly suspect that the Henry Bell letter is a clumsy fabrication, contrived and executed by— well! we can't be bothered to pick out the very fellow — but it's of "no consequence"; we will.continue to reap the benefit of his rascality by continuing to use it as dust to be thrown in the eyes of Brethren who are not wide-awake and accustomed to look sharp!

For our part, we do not intend that it shall be said that this scandalous document "remained uncontradicted." We have none but fair words for fair arguments, but for such dark and doubtful thrusts we can return only scorn and contempt.

No evidence yet produced from any quarter has shaken our faith in the justice of the boast of Peter Pelham, Secretary of the first Lodge in Boston, made in his address of congratulation to Governor William Shirley, and set forth in the Records of that Lodge under date of October 14th, 1741, that the First Lodge in Boston was the MOTHER LODGE OF AMERICA, or in the truth of the declaration of Brother Sidney Hayden, of Pennsylvania, that Henry Price is justly regarded as the Father of Freemasonry in America.


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