William L. (William Leete) Stone.

Letters on masonry and anti-masonry, addressed to the Hon. John Quincy Adams online

. (page 48 of 49)
Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Leete) StoneLetters on masonry and anti-masonry, addressed to the Hon. John Quincy Adams → online text (page 48 of 49)
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men of no mean consideration.

VI. The institution cannot vindicate itself from the stig-
ma of this outrage. On the contrary, by the course they
have taken since it was perpetrated, both the Grand Lodge
and Grand Chapter, have in fact assumed the responsibili-
ty of the transaction. For aught that those governing bo-
dies have done, the convicts in that outrage, are as good
Masons — standing recti in curia — as any of us. Ought
men of principle and virtue to sustain such an institution,
or remain connected with it ?

VII. The conduct of Masons on the trials at the west,
is a sufficient cause for the abandonment. " Grand Jurors
" were false to their oaths, to truly present. Witnesses
" upon trial were false to their oaths, to truly testify. Petit
" Jurors were false to their oaths, to truly try. Witnesses
" in some instances spurned the authority of the court, and
" refused to testify, and in other instances even to be sworn.
" Sheriffs corruptly returned partial grand jurors."

VIII. The constructions that have been put upon the ob-
ligations, by Masons under oath, in , courts of justice, have
disqualified them from being impartial jurors, in cases where
a brother Mason is a party. Decisions to this effect have
been made in our own courts, of various grades, and in the
courts of other states, where the question has been raised,
and such is undoubtedly the law of thq land. The taking of the
obligations, as those to whom I refer have construed them,
is very justly a cause of exclusion from a jury in such cases.
And is it either wise or proper, to adhere to, and preserve,
an institution which operates such a disfranchisement ?

IX. The public sentiment is against the continuance of
the institution. Although I am not a believer in the infalli-
bility of the maxim " vox popidi vox Del" yet it is no mark
of wisdom obstinately to persist in opposition to the declar-



LETTER XLIX. 563

ed sentiments of the people, of all classes, and of all politi-
cal parties. The institution has lost all of veneration that
it ever possessed in the public mind; and now that the
grand arcana of the lodge room have been fully disclosed
to the rude gaze of the public, who among the order would
desire ever again to march forth in public with their robes,
and their lamb-skins, and their working tools, to encounter
the broad grins of the populace ?

X. Masons of pure hearts and sound principles, owe the
relinquishment of the order to those of their fellow citizens
who have stood by them, — refusing to denounce the whole
body as fanatics and bigots, ready to commit crimes, if they
have not already done it, for the sake of Masonry, — during
the bitter warfare of the Anti-masons. There are many
such, having no connexion with Masonry, but who, in re-
fusing to confound the innocent with the guilty, have incur-
red all the odium that has been heaped upon the Masons
themselves. As no possible good can evermore come of
the order, its members owe it to this portion of the public
to abandon it.

XL The institution is on the wane ; in most places it is
dead ; and its torpid body can never be reanimated. As
well might they think of establishing Mahometanism in this
enlightened land, as to cherish the idea of re-establishing
Freemasonry. There is no use in contending, at this late
hour, that the principles on which it was built, are moral,
benevolent and virtuous ; — public opinion is against it,— and
it is the height of folly to court disfranchisement and pro-
scription, when no possible benefit can arise from the sac-
rifice.

XIL If there are any who would still regard as a
sacrifice the abandonment of the order, I reply, that even
if it be a sacrifice, it is necessary for the public good. It
is only by the relinquishment of the institution, that peace
and social order can be restored in the regions of the Anti-



564 LETTER XLIX.

masonic excitement, and the public feeling brought again
to healthy action. Adhering to Masonry from mere obsti-
nacy against its opposite, will only keep alive, and spread
wider, the rancour and heart-burning existing over a large
space of our country.

XII. We owe the relinquishment of the order to the feel-
ings of the religious community. However much we may
deprecate the course that has been adopted upon this sub-
ject by most of the religious sects which are happily so nu-
merous in our country, yet we cannot doubt the purity of
their motives, and the sincerity of their opposition. They
know that a foul murder has been committed by a band of
Masons, in the name of the order. They have watch-
ed the progress of the trials, and marked the con-
duct of the accused, as well as of many others whose la-
bors were directed — not in aid of the laws — but to shield
their friends from justice. Members of the order know, that
but a comparatively small number, were engaged in the
wicked transaction. But from the mysterious connexion
by which all the fraternity, individually and collectively,
have been supposed to be bound together, those who are not
members, know not how to discriminate, or where to draw
the line of distinction. Hence the greater number arc suf-
fering for the delinquency of the less. Ought not respect,
therefore, to be paid to the feelings, — call them the preju-
dices, if you please, — of nearly the whole religious public
in the United States, by which means alone, the harmony
of the christian church, as well as of the political world,
can be restored.

These are conclusions to which I have arrived, after
much reflection, and a long and laborious investigation of
the whole matter; and I might add to the catalogue of rea-
sons, which, in my poor judgment, ought to induce a vol-
untary, simultaneous, and universal abandonment of specu-
lative Freemasonry in the United States. I am well aware



LETTER XLIX. 565

that many of my masonic brethren, will not at first coin-
cide with me in these opinions. Such have not always
been my own views, as the public well know. But I have
formed these opinions from facts of a startling nature,
as all who have done me the honor to accompany me
through these pages will have seen. 1 have likewise wit-
nessed how others have been affected by the influence of
this institution; and I have often been astonished to per-
ceive with what tenacity men of pure lives, and good con-
sciences, cling to it. The minds of many excellent men
seem actually crazed upon this subject. The whole con-
sistency of their lives is reversed when you come upop
the subject of Freemasonry. They appear to believe in it
as a matter of religion and faith, and whoever questions its
purity, and its excellence, is heretical, But I hope a more
liberal feenng is now beginning to prevail, and that
even many thousands who have hitherto refused to listen
to the voice of reason upon the subject, will now at least be
persuaded to take it up calmly, and reflect upon it. " I am
" satisfied," says Chancellor Walworth in a letter now be-
fore me, from which I have already quoted a few lines
above, " that the evils of keeping up the institution hereaf-
" ter, win more than counterbalance any good, which in
" this country i^an possibly be effected by it. And this
"has determined me, for the purpose of quieting the
" alarms of the community, and preserving the peace of
" neighborhoods, as well as to prevent divisions in the
" church of our Divine Master, to recommend that Ma-
"sons should submit to the reasonable demands of the
" public, to cease their meetings, and that the lodges sur-
" render up their charters." Yet Chancellor Walworth
is a Mason, and strongly opposed to political Anti-ma-
sonry. Such, however, are his honest opinions, and such
are the opinions of a vast majority of the most virtu-
ous, most intelligent, and most distinguished men of our



566 LETTER XLIX.

countiy, without regard to sect, or profession, or party. I
need not add, that such are my own opinions — as honestly
entertained, as they have been frankly and fearlessly ex-
pressed.

I have the honor, sir, to remain, &c.



APPENDIX



' 5'

(A.)

[ 1 1 was the author's intention to have inserted in this place the seven obligationsj as contain*
ed in Bernard ; but this work has been necessarily extended so much further than was origi-
nally contemplated, thathe must confine himself to the obligations of the third and seventh de-
grees, those beingtlie most essential, and indeed embracing all that is important of the others.]
OBLIGATION OF A MASTER MASON.

' I, A. B., of my own free will and accord, in presence of Almighty God, and this Wor-
shipful Lodge of Master Masons, erected to God, and dedicated to the holy order of St. John,
do hsreby and hereon, most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, m addition to my
former obligations, that 1 will not give the degree of a Master Mason to any one of an infe-
rior degree, nor to any other being in the known world, except it be to a true and lawful bro-
ther, or brethren. Master Mason, or within the body of a just and lawfully constituted lodge
of such; and not unto him, nor unto them, whom I shall hear so to be, but unto him and
them only whom I shall find so to be after strict trial and due examination, or lawful infor-
mation received. Furthermore, do 1 promise and swear, ihat I will not give the Master's
word, which I shall hereafter receive, neither in the lodge, nor out of it, except it be on the
five points of fellowship, and then not above my breath. Furthermore, do I promise and
swear, that I will not give the grand hailing sign of distress, except I am in real distiess, or
for the benefit of the craft when at work ; and should I ever see that sign given, or the word
accompany mg it, and the person who gave it appearing to be in distress, I will fly to his re-
lief at the risk of my life, should there be a greater probability of saving his life than of
losing my own. Furthermore do I promise and swear, that 1 will not wrong this lodge, nor
a brother of this degree, to the value of one cent, knowingly, myself, nor suffer it to be done
by others, if in my power to prevent it. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will
not be at the initiating, passing, and raising a candidate at one communication, without a
regular dispensation from the Grand Lodge tor the same. Furiherinore. do I promise and
swear that I will not be at the initiating, passing, or raising a candidate in a clandestine
lodge, I knowing it to be such. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will not be at
the initiating of an old man in dotage, a young man in nonage, an atheist, irreligious liber-
tine, idiot, mailman, hermaphrodite, nor woman. Furthermore, do I promise and swear,
that I will not spt^ak evil of a brother Master Mason, neither behind his back, nor before his
face, but will appiiz'i him of all approaching danger, if in my power. Furthermore, do I
promise and swear that I will not violate the chastity of a Master Mason's wife, mother,
sister, or d:uigh«er, I knowing them to be such, nor suffer it to be done by others, if in my
power to prevent it. Furtherniirn, do I promise and swear, that I will support the constitu-
tion of the Grand Lodge of the state of , under which this lodge is held, and conform

to all the liy-lawsj-rules, and regulations of this er any other lodge of which I may at any
time hereafter bechme a member. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will obey
all regular signs, summons, or tokens, given, handed, sent, or thrown to me, from the hand
of a brother Master Mason, or from the body of a just and lawfully constituted lodge of
such, provided it be within the length of my cable tow. Furthermore, do Ipromise and
swear, that a Master J\fason''s secrets, given to me in charge as such, and I knowing them
to be siicli, shall remain us secure and inviolable in my breast as in his own, when commU'
nicated to mc, murder and treason excepted; and they left to my own election. Further-
more, do I promise and swear, that 1 will go on a Master Mason's errand, whenever required,
even should I have to go barefoot, and bareheaded, if within the length of my cable-tow.
Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will be aiding and assisting all poor indigent
Master Masons, their wives anrt orphans, wheresoever dispersed round the globe, as far as
in my power, without injuring myself or family materially. Furthermore, do I promise and
swear, that if any part of this my solemn oath or obligation be omitted at this time, that I
will hold myself amenable thereto, whenever informed. To all which I do most solemnly
and sincerely promise and swear, with a fixed and steady purpose of mind in me, to keep^
and perform the .*ame, binding myself under no less penalty than to have my body severed^
in two in the midst, and divided to the north and south, my bowels burnt to ashea in tlie



» APPENDIX.

centre, and the aslies scattered before the four winds of heaven, tliat tJiere might not the
letist track or trace of remembrance remain amon^ men or Masons of so vile and perjured a
wretch as I should be, were I ever to prove wilfully guilty of violating any part of this my
solemn oath or obligation of a Master Mason So help me" God , and keep me steadfast in the
due performance of the same.'

OBLIGATION OF A ROYAL ARCH M\SON.
I, A. B., of my own free will and accord, in the presence of Airnicshty God, and this chap-
ter of Royal Arch Masons, erfected to Go J, and dedicated to the holy order of St. John, do
hereby and hereon, most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, in addition to my for-
mer obligations, ihat I wiil not give the degree of Royal Arch Mason to anyone "of an
inferior degree, nor to any other being in the known world, except it be to a true and lawful
companion Royal Arch Mason, or within the body of a just and legally constituted chapter
of such, and not unto him or unto them whom I shall hear so to be, but unto him or them
only whom I shall find so to be, after strict trial, due examination, or legal information re-
ceived. Furthermore, do 1 promise and swear, that I will not give the Grand Omnific Royal
Arch word, which I shall hereafter receive, neither in the chapter nor out of it, except there
be present two companions Royal Arch Masons, who, with myself, make three, and then by
three times three, under a living arch, not above my breath. Furthermore, that I will not
reveal the ineffable characters belonging to this degree, or retain the key to them in my pos-
session, but destroy it, whenever it comes to my sight. Furthermore, do I promise and
swear, that I will not wrong this chapter, nor a companion of this degree, to the vF.lue of
any thing, knowingly myself, or suffer it to be done by others, if in my power to prevent it.
Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will not be at the exaltation of a candidate to,
this degree, at a clandestine chapter, I knowing it to be such. Furthermore, do I promise
and swear, that I will not assist or be present at the exaltation of a candidate to this degree
who has not regularly received the degrees of Entered Apprerjtice, Fellow <!raft, Master
Mason, Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, to the best of my knowledge and
belief. Furthermore, that 1 will not assist or see more or less than three candidates exalted
atone and the same time. Furthermore, that 1 will not assist or be present at the forming
or opening of a Royal Arch Chapter, unless there be present nine regular Royal Arch IV. a-
sons. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will not speak evil of a companion
Royal Arch Mason, neither behind his back nor before his face, but will apprize him of ap-
proaching danger, if in my power. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will not
strike a companion Royal Arch Mason in anger, so as to draw his blood. Furthermore, do
I promise and swear, that 1 will support the constitution of the General Grand Royal Arch
Chapter of the United States of America, also the constitution of Grand Royal Arch Chapter
of the state under which this chapter is held, and conform to all the by-laws, rules, and re-
gulations of this, or any other chapter of which I may hereafter become a member. Fur-
thermore, do I promise and swear, that I will obey all regular signs, summons, or tokens
given, handed, sent, or thrown to me, from the liand of a companion Royal Arch Mason,
or from the body of a just and lawfully constituted chapter of such, provided it be within
the length of my cable-tow Furtliermore, do I promise and swear, that I will aid and assist
a companion Royal Arch Mason, when engaged in any difficulty, and espouse his cause, so
far as to extricate him from the same, if in my power, wliether he be right or wrong. Also,
that I will promote a companion Royal Arch Mason's political preferment in preference to
another of equal qualifications. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that a companion
Royal Arch Mason's secrets, given me in charge as such, and I knowing ihem to be such,
shall remain as secure and inviolable in my breast as in his own, murder and treason not
excepted. Furthermore, do I promise and swear, that I will be aiding and assisting all poor
and indigent Royal Arch Ma^sons, their widows and orphans, wherever dispersed rround
the gtoiie, so far as in my power, without material injury to myself or family. All which I
most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to per-
form the same, without any equivocation, mental reservation, or self evasion of mind in me
whatever; binding myself under no less penalty, than that of having my skull smote off, and
my brains expased to the scorching rays of the sun, should I ever knowingly, or willingly,
violate or transgress any part of this my solemn oath, or obligation, of a Royal Arch Mason.
So help me God, and keep me steadfast in the performance of the same.



(B.)
OLD MS. copy OF ROYAL ARCH OBLIGATION.

[It was the author's first intention to have inserted in this place, all the obligations, as
contained in the old MSS mentioned in the text, that the reader might be the better enabled
to judge how rapidly these obligations have been increasing in length, even within the last
thirty years. But he is compelled to suppress them, for the same reason mentioned above,
viz: the already unforeseen extent of the work. It may, however, be enough to lemark,
thiit neither of the oblif^ations, in the first three degrees, as written out in these manusc tipt?,
is more than half as long as those disclosed by Morgan, and in common use. The obliga-
tions for the remaining four degrees of ancient Masonry, so called, are very much shorter.]

The Royal Arch obligation, so long and cumbersome, as given above, is all comprised in
the ancient ritual before me, under the four brief heads following:— " 1st. Forever to con-
ceal the secrets of this degree ;— 2d. Not to give the Royal Arch word, unless in the manner



APPENDIX. 3

irt which it is received ;— 3d. Not to assist in the exaltation of a Royal Arch Mason, unleai
five members are present, nor more nor leas than three at any one time ;— 4th. To aid, sup-
port, protect, and defend a Royal Arch Mason, even with the sword, if necessary." To
this is added the penalty, as given by Morgan.

N. B. These MS3. give a more sensible and intelligible, and a less exceptionable, account
of the seven degrees of Masonry, than any other work the author has seen. While Morgan
was at Rochester, these papers were there, and already written to his hands.



(C.)

The following was the only obligation for all three of the degrees of ancient Masonry, in
the year 1730— only 102 years ago. At that time there were but three degrees known :—

" I hereby solemnly vow and swear, in the presence of Almishty God, and this right
worshipful assembly, that I will hail and conceal, and never reveal, the secrets or secresy of
Masons or Masonry that shall be revealed unto me, unless to a true and lawful brother, after
an examination, or in a just and worshipful lodge of brothers and fellows well met. 2d. I
furthermore promise and vow, that I will not write tliem, print them, mark them, carve them,
or engrave them, or cause them to be written, printed, marked, carved, or engraved on wood
or stone, so as the visible character or impression of a letter may appear, whereby it may be
unlawfully obtamed. All this, under no less penalty than to have my throat cut, my tongue
taken from the roof of my mouth, my heart plucked from under my left breast, then to be
buried in the sand of the sea, the length of a cable-rope from shore, where the tide ebbs and
flows twice in twenty-four hours, my body to be burnt to ashes, my ashes to be scattered upon
the face of the earth, so that there shall be no resemblance of me among Masons. So help
me God."



(D.)
First Proclamation of the Qovernor.
DE WITT CLINTON, Governor of the State of New-York, to state officers and
(L. S.) ministers of justice in said stale, and particularly in the county of Genesee, and
ll»e neighboring co\in\.\e,s— Or eeting -.
Whereas, information, under oath, has been transmitted to me by Theodore F.Talbot,
Esquire, and other citizens of the county of Genesee, acting as a committee in behalf of the
people of that county, representing that divers outrages and oppressions have been commit-
ted on the rights of petsons residing in the village of Batavia, and that disturbances have en-
sued, which are injurious, and may prove destructive to peace and good order in that quar-
ter. Now, therefore, I enjoin it upon you, and each of you, to pursue all proper and effi-
cient measures for tlie apprehension of the offenders, and the prevention of future outrages.
And I do also request the good citizens of this state, to co-operate with the civil authoritiea
jn maintaining the ascendency of law and good order.



(E.)
Second Proclamation of the Qovernor.

Whereas, it has been represented to me, that William Morgan, who was unlawfully con-
veyed from thejail of the county of Ontario, sometime in the month ofSejitember last, has
not been found, and that it might have a benificial effect in restoring him to his family and
in promoting the detection and punishment of the perpetrators of this violent outrage, if, in
addition to the proceeding heretofore adopted by me, a proclamation was issued offering a
specific reward for these purposes:— JVbw, iAere/ ore, in order that the offenders maybe
brought to condign punishment and the violated majesty of the laws thereby effectually vin-
dicated, I do hereby offer, in addition to the assurances of compensation heretofore given, a
reward of three hundred dollars for the discovery of the offenders and a reward of one hun-
dred dollars for the discovery of any and every one of them, to be paid on conviction ; and
also a further reward of two hundred dollars for authentic information of the place where
the said William Morgan has been conveyed, and I do enjoin it upon all sheriffs, magistrates,
and other officers and ministers of justice to be vigilant and active in the discharge of their
duties on this occasion.

,T a ■» In witness whereof, I have hereunto set mv hand, and the privy seal at the city of
^L,. ».; j^ib-jny this 26th day of October, Anno Dominil826.

DE WITT CLINTON.
Third Proclamation of the Qovernor.

Whereaa, the measures adopted for the discovery of Williatn Morgan, afler his unlawful
abduction from Canandaigua in September last, have not been attended with success ; and
whereas many of the good citizens of this state are under an impression, from the lapse of
time and other circumstances, that he has been murdered :— Now, therefore, to the end that,
if living, he may be rescored to his family, and, if murdered, that the perpetrators may be
brought to condign punishment, I have thought fit to issue this proclamation, promisinga re-
ward of one thousand dollars for the discovery of the offender or offenders, to be paid on con-

72



4 APPENDIX.

viction and on the certificate of the Attorney General, or officer prosecuting on the part of the
state, that the person or persons claiming the said last mentioned reward, is or are justly en-
titled to the same under this proclamation. And I further promise a free pardon,'so far as I am
authorised under the constitution of this state, to any accomplice or co-operator who shall make
a full discovery of the offender or offenders . And I do enjoin it upon all officers and ministers
of justice, and all other persons, to be vigilant and active in bringing to justice the perpetra-
tors of a crime so abhorrent to humanity and so derogatory from the ascendency of law and



Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Leete) StoneLetters on masonry and anti-masonry, addressed to the Hon. John Quincy Adams → online text (page 48 of 49)