Grand Master Robert P. Dunlap
M.W. GRAND LODGE OF
ANCIENT FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS,
STATE OF MAINE.
VOL. II. 1848-1854.
Reprinted from the Proceedings.
PORTLAND: STEPHEN BERRY,PRINTER.
Grand Lodge of Maine,
1848. ANNUAL COMMUNICATION.
The Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Maine, was holden at Masons' Hall, in Portland, on the third day of May, A. L. 5848, and was opened in ample form at 9 o'clock A. M., by Most Worshipful Alexander H. Putney, Grand Master, assisted by
R. W. SAMUEL L. VALENTINE, Deputy Grand Master;
R. W. JOHN C. HUMPHREYS, S. G. Warden ;
R. W. JOHN MILLER, J. G. Warden, pro tem.;
R. W. HENRY H. BOODY, Grand Treasurer;
R. W. CHARLES B. SMITH, Rec. Grand Secretary;
R. W. NATHAN C. FLETCHER, Cor. Grand Secretary;
W. & Rev. CYRUS CUMMINGS, Grand Chaplain;
W. & Rev. CYRIL PEARL, W. & Rev. GILES BAILEY,
W. JOSHUA HERRICK, Gr. Marshal, pro tem.;
W. NELSON RACKLYFT, Senior Grand Deacon ;
W. CHARLES FOBES, J. G. Deacon, pro tem.;
W. JOHN PURINTON, Grand Steward; W.GEORGE SMALL,
Bro. JOHN DAIN, Grand Tyler.
district deputy grand masters.
R. W. DANIEL WINSLOW,
R. W. LORY BACON,
R. W. JOHN W. LINDLEY,
R. W. THOMAS P. TUFTS.
past grand officers.
M. W. ROBERT P. DUNLAP, P. G. Master,
M. W. ABNER B. THOMPSON, P. G. Master
Prayers were then offered by the Grand Chaplain.
Voted, That all Master Masons of regular standing, who desire it, be invited to take seats as visitors during the present communication of the Grand Lodge.
R. W. Bros. Joseph C. Stevens and Wm. Kimball were appointed a Committee on Credentials, who subsequently reported that the following Lodges were duly represented:
1 Portland, at Portland, by William Kimball, WM; James R. Milliken, SW;Henry C. Lovell, JW.
2 Warren, at Machias, by Warren E. Hovey, Proxy.
5 Kennebec, at Hallowell, by Nathaniel Gunnison, Proxy.
6 Amity, at Camden, by Abraham Ogier, Proxy.
8 United, at Brunswick, John D. Lincoln, JW; Octavius A. Merrill, Proxy.
10 Rising Virtue, at Bangor, by Joseph C. Stevens, WM; John Williams, SW.
12 Cumberland, at New Gloucester, by Charles Megquier, SW.
13 Oriental, at Bridgton, George Peirce, JW.
14 Solar, at Bath, by Thomas S. Bowles, Proxy.
16 St. George, at Warren, by John Miller, WM.
17 Ancient Land-Mark, at Portland, by Charles B. Smith, WM; Charles Fobes, SW; William Allen, JW.
19 Felicity, at Bucksport, by George W. Newbegin, Proxy.
21 Oriental Star, at Livermore, by Joseph S. Sargent, Proxy.
22 York, at Kennebunk, by Joshua Herrick, SW; James Larrabee, JW.
23 Freeport, at Freeport, by Samuel Thing, SW; R. R. Kendall, Proxy.
24 Phoenix, at Belfast, by H. G. O. Washburn, JW; D. G. Plummer, Proxy.
28 Northern Star, at North Anson, by Joel Fletcher, WM.
29 Tranquil, at Danville, by Josiah Little, Jr., Proxy.
31 Union, at Union, by Lewis Andrews, WM; Gilbert M. Blackington, JW; William Gleason, Proxy.
32 Hermon, at Gardiner, by Stephen Webber, WM; George H. Cook, JW.
33 Waterville, at Waterville, by Jacob M. Crooker, JW.
40 Lygonia, at Ellsworth, by Wm. Somerby, WM; E. L. M. Allen, JW; Asa A. Pond, Proxy.
46 St. Croix, at Calais, by J. Judson Ames, Proxy.
60 Aurora, at Thomaston, by Hiram Sprague, WM; Samuel Libby, SW. 58 Unity, at Freedom, by Seth Webb, Proxy.
Which report was accepted.
Bros. Samuel L. Valentine, Abner B. Thompson and Joshua Herrick were appointed a Committee on Warrants and Charters.
The M. W. Grand Master then made to the Grand Lodge the following address, which, on motion, was referred to Bros. John Miller, Nathan C. Fletcher and Wm. Kimball :
GRAND MASTER'S ADDRESS.
Right Worshipful Brethren of the Grand Lodge:
Allow me to congratulate you that the return of another annual Grand Communication brings with it its usual happy meeting. And as we thus meet and grasp the fraternal hand, animated by the living current which flows from the heart warmed by the principles of brotherly love and friendship, I trust we all most devoutly unite in rendering thanks to our Divine Master and Preserver, for the unremitting goodness with which He has crowned our lives, and the blessings He has bestowed on our cherished Institution. How full, even to overflowing, should be our grateful hearts, when we contrast our present prosperous and happy state as a fraternity, with what it was when, only five years since, less than a score of us met within these walls to mourn over our almost deserted altars, during the dark reign of Anti-Masonic calumny and persecution, and, if possible, devise some means of leaving in competent hands the treasure confided to our care. Some of you, my brethren, must well remember that occasion with the most lively emotions, for it was the organizing, as it were, of the " forlorn hope." Clouded, indeed, was our " canopy; " thick darkness covered all our skies, from the zenith to the horizon. All was dark, save the faint glimmer from the altars of three only of our fifty-eight lodges.
Yet though all was disheartening, though in a less sacred cause the stoutest heart would have quailed, I must bear you testimony that your faith failed not. Though but three glimmering tapers remained, the mystic number was unbroken. You resolved to trim your lamps and let the light shine; your banner was unfurled, your sails loosened to the breeze, and the ark confided to the care of Him who doeth all things well. Behold your ample reward! More than forty of our old lodges have revived, and new ones have been instituted, from whose altars the illuminating ray shoots forth. Well may we rejoice, my brethren, that the " winter of our discontent" is made " glorious summer " by the Son of Righteousness in whom we trust.
We rejoice as Masons in the prosperity and extension of our sacred rite, whose effect is to make most men better and no man worse. We rejoice as citizens, that, with the revival of Masonry, vice, which had so run riot over our land during the suspension of Masonic labor, has evidently received a check, and the cardinal virtues, so impressively taught in our ritual, are no
longer in danger of being submerged in the torrent of intemperance and ruin that had so deluged our beloved land. We rejoice to see our brethren engaged, and in the front ranks of every good work calculated to ameliorate the condition of man, as well as in their readiness to attend at the well known sound of the Gavel, and assist in bringing to the true masonic light "good men and true," to whom we may with safety commit the keeping of our Masonic Tabernacle on earth, when we shall be called to put off this tabernacle of clay, and ascend, as we humbly hope, to that spiritual tabernacle— " that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
I am happy to acknowledge the receipt of, and to lay before you, communications in the form of printed proceedings and circulars, received during the recess from all the Grand Lodges in our Union, and also from our sister Grand Lodge in the neighboring Province of Canada, together with the proceedings of the Masonic Convention held in the city of Baltimore in September last to form a Supreme Grand Lodge for the United States.
The transmission of these documents to each sister Grand Lodge annually, evinces that true courtesy and consideration which ever have been, and I trust ever will be a characteristic of the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons. It also affords me pleasure to say that we learn from these acceptable messengers that the craft is everywhere flourishing, even to the extent that the most ardent Mason could desire, and that peace, harmony and union almost universally prevail. True, an unhappy dispute has arisen between our sister Grand Lodges in Mississippi and Louisiana, which I trust the good sense and sound discretion of the brethren of those two states will soon overcome. But believing that little, if any, good is ever done by others taking part in a dispute, whose greatest merit must be its end, I shall express no opinion upon the merits of the question at issue, trusting that, if left to themselves, they will each and all soon commence looking for the ancient landmarks of the Order; and while engaged in thus searching for authorities to sustain their own particular views, each may become convinced that the other has rights which must be respected, and thus harmony be restored.
In addition to the usual amount of local and peculiar business in our sister Grand Lodges, many matters of interest to the fraternity at large have received considerable attention. I have neither the time nor ability to examine into and lay before you a digest of these matters in such manner as I could wish; but trusting that our Committee on Foreign Correspondence will make up for my deficiency, I will glance at some points which I deem most important.
First in order, perhaps, is the project of forming a Grand Lodge of the United States. We have heretofore held this Grand Lodge aloof from this important matter; but, as a convention has been held, a Constitution reported, and forwarded to the several Grand Lodges, the subject seems now, if never before, to require calm and deliberate action. Differences of opinion
exist as to the usefulness of such a general Grand Body. These should be examined with great care, or evil instead of good may come of the agitation of the question. For myself I regard the formation of such a Body as proper and advantageous to the cause, provided all will come into the arrangement harmoniously, but not otherwise.
The subject of Grand Lodge certificates has for several years been discussed in different Grand Lodges, and our sister Grand Lodge of New York, if I understand the matter correctly, requests all lodges to refuse admission to any one hailing from that state who is not furnished with such document. I therefore recommend to our brethren in the subordinate lodges in this state to govern themselves accordingly, as no doubt can exist of there being some good grounds for the request. As this Grand Lodge has deemed it inexpedient to grant such certificates, I suggest that brethren who contemplate traveling should be advised to take with them their diploma; for while, as a general principle, I cannot for a moment recognize a paper or parchment voucher as entitling a man to, or a want of it debarring him from Masonic privileges, yet I hold it a duty of every brother to furnish all the evidence in his power to satisfy the lodge he seeks to visit, that he is no impostor.
Of all subjects most likely to be injured by too much legislation, I believe Masonry to be emphatically the one; for, having had the benefit of the wisdom of the good and great of old, its landmarks are so clearly defined, its-duties so well settled, that it would seem to me next to impious to lay hands on it with the attempt to improve it. And I cannot but fear that the practice of the day is tending towards an excess of legislation which may in the end prove truly disastrous. Nevertheless, I would not be understood as opposed to the doings in general of our annual sessions. It may be and probably is the case, that during the suspension of Masonic labor in some parts of our country, the landmarks have been suffered to be partially hid among the dirt and rubbish, which require a careful removal in order that they may appear as of old. This done, I should say let things remain as they were " before the fathers fell asleep." As connected with the same idea, I would also deprecate the multiplication of books designed as manuals; for, though true it may be that one brother has as good an abstract right to make a book as another, I hold that no one has such a right at all unless he be appointed by competent authority, which authority must and will of course, restrict him to the old landmarks. But the great evil of the day in book making in all departments, in my estimation, lies in the fact that each new edition must be " revised, improved, enlarged, corrected, embellished," &c. Impressed with a sense of danger from innovations, I would respectfully suggest that Masons should beware, and abide by the truth taught in the homely adage, " Let well enough alone."
The subject of education, the moral engine above all other human institutions calculated to raise man to his proper sphere, has ever engaged the attention of our fraternity; and our sister Grand Lodges in Missouri and Ken-
tucky have each set a noble example in the establishment of Masonic Colleges, which are shown by their late reports to be in a flourishing condition. Would, my brethren, that we could follow their example!—but, while we cannot, may we not make a beginning, even though the completion of the project be left to after ages ? I make the suggestion for your serious consideration.
For the state of our several lodges, I refer you to their returns, together with the reports of our several District Deputy Grand Masters, my own engagements having been such that I have not been able to visit the lodges as my inclination would have led me to do. I have, however, frequently visited the two lodges in this city, and take pleasure in saying that they are prosperous and their work well done. I also had the pleasure, in February last, of being present and installing the officers of York Lodge, No. 22, at Kennebunk, which has revived and commenced work under favorable circumstances.
Soon after the close of the last annual communication, it was made known to me that Tranquil Lodge, No. 29, which had been authorized to be held at Auburn, was unable to procure a suitable place in Auburn to hold their meetings, but would be convened, if they could be permitted, in Danville, near the line of Auburn. I therefore granted a dispensation to authorize said lodge to be holden in Danville until the meeting of this Grand Lodge.
I have granted a dispensation to Freeport Lodge to hold their regular meetings and pursue their labors, they having lost their charter, as well as all their furniture and regalia, by fire. I recommend them to the favorable consideration of the Grand Lodge. I have granted a dispensation to a competent number of brethren to form a lodge at Hope, to be called " Mount Hope Lodge "; and also to a competent number of brethren at Old Town to form a new lodge there, to be called " Star in the East Lodge," which dispensations are all returnable to this communication for the action of this Grand Lodge.
I perceive that controversies have arisen between some of our sister Grand Lodges, in consequence of conferring the degrees in a subordinate lodge upon those who were mere sojourners at the time and place when and where accepted. That this, in some cases, may have been done inadvertently, may readily be supposed ; and I take this occasion to put my brethren of our subordinate lodges on their guard against a practice so manifestly wrong.
On another important matter I must earnestly advise the craft in this jurisdiction. Though it is with regret that I feel myself compelled to differ with distinguished craftsmen, who hold a high rank in my estimation, I deem it necessary to urge them to be extremely cautious in their inquiries into the character of applicants; after which, the result being satisfactory, to proceed to take a ballot upon his application, and, if the ballot is a clear one, to make him a Mason, in fact, thus fulfilling the language of our ritual.
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