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other offenses, Grand Lodge itself may originate and complete the trial.
This latter principle of concurrent jurisdiction applies, also, to all Grand Lodge offenses, (except the Grand Master,) and to all others who, by the Constitution, are members of the Grand Lodge with or without the right to vote, with one notable exception.
The W. Master of a Lodge is a member of Grand Lodge, and can not be tried by his own Lodge, not, however, because he is a member of Grand Lodge but because he is Worshipfull Master of the Lodge He, like the Grand Master, can only be tried by Grand Lodge. But when he becomes a Past Master, with a constitutional right to sit in Grand Lodge, (but not to vote,) the original jurisdiction over him becomes concurrent; and whether proceedings against him shall be instituted by the Lodge or by the Grand Lodge will depend upon the nature of the offense.
For instance; if a Past Master be guilty, in his daily life, of any gross immorality or other unmasonic conduct, whereby dishonor is brought upon the Craft, his Lodge should deal with him ; but if the same individual appear on the floor of Grand Lodge in a state of intox ication, or if he outrage, in any way, its dignity, or violate its rules and edicts, Grand Lodge, in such a case, has undoubted power, in the protection of its dignity and the vindication of its authority, to inaugurate and complete the trial of the offender.
The whole question of jurisdiction may be briefly stated thus: In the trial of a Grand Master, a W. Master, or a Lodge, the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge is original and exclusive; but in the trial of all other officers or constitutional members of Grand Lodge, the jurisdiction is original and concurrent in both Lodge and Grand Lodge; while in the trial of all who are not members of Grand Lodge the jurisdiction of the Lodge is original, and that of the Grand Lodge is appellate.
In this statement of our opinions on the concurrent original jurisdiction of Grand Lodge over its officers and members, we wish it to be borne in mind that we confine ourselves exclusively to the question of power. The frequent exercise of original jurisdiction by Grand Lodge (except in the case of W. M. or M.W.G. M.) may be deprecated as bad policy; but when, from any cause, Grand Lodge is satisfied that the interests of Masonry require its action in a case of aggravated offense, by one of its own members or inferior officers, its power so to act can not, we think, be successfully questioned.
As the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge is drawing near, and as the usual amount of business, important and unimportant, will probably come before it for action, it would be well to call the attention of the Craft at large, and especially those who may be representatives at the ensuing meeting, to the inconsiderate and hasty manner in which business is usually tranasacted in our Grand Lodge. It must be appaent to any one of even limited experience in the one Grand Lodge, that the most important measures are frequently passed upon with the least possible consideration on the part of the members.
This want of consideration arises from two causes:
Ist, The practice of considering all important matters in committees of three each. These committees hold their meetings in rooms separate from the Grand Lodge hall, and the masses of the members have as little knowledge of the facts and arguments from which the committees deduce their conclusions, as the man in the moon. The committees usually report their conclusions, and not the facts upon which they are based.
2d, The almost superstitious veneration entertained by the members for these august committees, some of whom I fear are appointed on account of their eminent abilities in some other department, more than for their accurate knowledge of the Landmarks, Constitutional Rules and Regulptions of Masonry.
These committees report upon such matters as have been referred to them, and the report is put upon its adoption, and the members of the Grand Lodge are called upon to vote immediately, without any knowledge, or means of acquiring any knowledge, except such as the committee has reported. It is not uncommon to hear whispered objections in different parts of the hall; but a kind of superstitious dread of the fiery zeal of Brother Mitchell, the withering sarcasms of Brother Jaycokes, the logical deductions of Brothers McCurdy and Webber, or the slippery jokes of Brother Cudworth, deters most of the members from making serious, open objection, and for want of moral courage on the part of the members to oppose a report, even when their judgment dictated that course, has been the cause of our Grand Lodge adopting some great absurdities.
There is another cause of this ill considered legislation, and that is the multiplicity of business usually coming before the Grand Lodge, and the great anxiety to do a great amount of business in an incredibly short time. We usually have a heterogeneous mass of complicated reports, resolutions, edicts, &c., in which there is but little if any thing that is really needed for the good of the Craft, that it is enough to confound the inexperienced. If the Craft could maintain an existence against the bigotry and superstition of the dark and middle ages for the space of three thousand years, as we are told, being often called upon to pass through the most trying scenes, and all this time governed by the ancient Landmarks, with a few simple rules and regulations, why is it that in this latter half of the nineteenth century, when all the appliances for the moral, social, and intellectual culture of man have been called into requisition to better the condition of the human family, that the institution of Masonry needs to be governed so much? Has the eternal foundation upon which our institution was founded crumbled away into original atoms? Have the God-like principles which we claim as the essential elements of our Order become inefficient or obsolete? Have the simple rules that governed our ancient Brethren so many years lost their influence? Or has the institution in the day of its greatest prosperity degenerated into weakness and effeminacy that requires continual bolstering up? Brethren, think of these things; and let us have less legislation, and of a better quality. Let us have fewer laws, and be more careful to live up to them. Let us spend one session of our Grand Lodge in reviewing our past proceedings Let us compare our statutes and edicts with the ancient Landmarks and constitutions, and especially with the constitution of our Grand Lodge, and wherever we find any thing superfluous, or in confict with those venerable regulations, let it be cast to the four winds, that no more remembrance
may be had of our legislative vanity.
I. A. SHINGLEDECKER.
BEFORE the next number of our Magazine can reach its readers, the Annual Communication of our Grand Lodge will have been held. We therefore take occasion, in this issue, to remind our readers and the representatives of Lodges of the change in time and place of meeting, and of some business that will require careful consideration by Grand Lodge.
First. An amendment of the Constitution, adopted last winter, requires the Grand Lodge to meet on “the second Tuesday of January at high Twelve."
Second. For a score or more of years, the Grand Lodge sessions have been generally held in the Masonic Hall of Peninsular Chapter, Detroit. Those who have attended Grand Lodge, for five or six years past, need not be reminded of the uncomfortable crowding and imperfect ventilation to which they have been subjected by the insufficient size of the Hall. It will be borne in mind, that the next annual communication is to be held in Young Men's Hall, or in the Opera House -probably the former—where there will be abundance of room and every convenience for the comfortable transaction of business.
Third. An amendment of Art. VI, Sec. 2, of Grand Lodge Constitution is also pending, to be adopted or rejected at the approaching Grand Communication. The question involved is of an importance which will justify a full explanation of its nature and effect.
Section 2 of Art. VI, of G. L. Constitution, formerly provided, that “ for initiation or advancement one black ball rejects; for membership three, Last winter, this was changed so as to read, “ for initiation, advancement or membership one black ball rejects.” This amendment was adopted by an almost unanimous vote of the Grand Lodge. * But some, who preferred the old rule, presented a resolution in the usual manner, to so amend the Constitution as to restore the original provision relative to membership. It is this proposition which is now to be considered and acted on.
Briefly, the question stands thus : the the Constitution now provides, that one black ball rejects an application for membership; and G. L. is asked to change "one" black ball to
We are free to say, that we hope the change will not be made. The proposition to change originates in sympathy for individual Masons, who, it is supposed, will, under the rule as it stands, be refused membership in the Lodge of their vicinage. We admit that it is easy to imagine cases of hardship that may arise, or, possibly, to cite those that have arisen-cases, in which worthy brethren may, by a bare possibility, be improperly excluded from a Lodge, and denied the right of affiliation. But it is difficult to conceive of much trouble from such a cause. Natural and honorable as this sympathy for a rejected brother undoubtedly is, we must be careful that Masonic sympathy does not run away with our Masonic prudence and judgment. We must constantly bear in mind that the interests of every Lodge in this jurisdiction, and, to a certain extent, of the Craft in general, are favorably or unfavorably influenced when we exact Constitutional provisions of this nature.
We should be sympathy, for a brother who is worthy, does not prompt us to infict on a harmonius Lodge one who is not worthy.
We hold that the interests of a Lodge are paramount to those of any individual Mason that the harmony of the Lodge is its chief strength-and that when personal considerations induce legislation
very careful that
which tends to disturb the very foundations of the Lodge we act unwisely.
Our landmarks and our experience unite to teach the wisdom of our constitutional rules relative to membership. If the ancient Constitutions and Landmarks teach any thing clearly, it is this thing—that all additions to the material or membership of the Lodge shall be made by the unanimous voice of its members. No one will question that experience teaches the wisdom of a rigid observance of the rule, so far as it relates to initiation and advancement. Now if harmony be the chief strength of the Lodge, we are unable to discover why that harmony shall not be as zealously and rigidly guarded at the inner as at the outer door.
We are unable to discover sound reasons to fear any unwholesome or unfortunate effects from the operation of the rule under consideration, just because we are unable to discover any reason to question the ability of each individual member of a Lodge to cast a black ball as intelligently and Masonically on an application for membership, as on an application for degrees.
Another argument in favor of retaining the rule as it is, is found in the fact, that it establishes one uniform rule for the regulation of the ballot. Under the old rule mistakes were constantly reported to the Grand Lodge—mistakes by Masters in announcing the result of the ballot. Under this rule there can be no such mistake.
We hope Grand Lodge will reject the proposed amendment, and keep the rule of ballot the same for membership as for degrees.
GRAND COUNCIL OF INDIANA.
Bro. CHAPLIN :-The Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of the State of Indiana convened at Logansport on the 17th inst., and the Grand Chapter on the 18th. Both were well attended, and their proceedings were characterized by the true Masonic spirit. Compan ion Martin H. Rice was elected Grand Puissant of the Council, and Companion R. J. Chesnutwood, Grand High Priest of the Chapter, honors well and worthily bestowed.
Two ancient and venerable Companions were present, bearing testimony of their devotion to the Order. These were Companion John B. Rose, of Wabash, who was made a Mason in 1818, and participated in the organization of the Grand Lodge .of Indiana, and Companion Nicholas D. Grove, of Logansport, who became a Mason in 1819. Both are strong in body and mind, full of years and full of honors.
The Grand Council appropriated two hundred dollars for the re