« ПретходнаНастави »
our noble Order. They put an argument into the open mouths of our enemies, and tolerate the very material against which the objector levels his attacks. As a dead fly makes the otherwise fragrant oiniment of the apothecary to stink, so can one licentious Mason bring a whole lodge into disrepute, and make its pretentions a stench in the nostrils of the scrutinizing.
The great outer world fixes its attention on the vicious, and says, an institution that can foster such, under secret vows, must be radically wrong, or so loose in its discipline as to neuteralize its worth.
A close eye, brethren, on the ballot-box, a close eye, Junior Warden, on the Craftsmen.—Kentucky Freemason.
IMPORTANT. We have been favored with a copy of a document issued by the Grand Orient of Brazil, sitting in the Valley of Lavradio, Rio Janeiro, a translation of which is subjoined, and to which we desire to call special attention.
This Masonic power, the only regular one in Brazil, has been hampered and impeded in its progress by an irregular organization at Benedictions, which has sought not only to interfere with its rightful jurisdiction, but to mystify, and thus prevent a fair hearing by the other Masonic powers of the world. The right has, however, triumphed, and this Grand Orient has been recognized as the only and justly formed one in the territory named. It now seeks to spread its affiliations in the United States of America, and to enter into close relations of amity and correspondence with the several Grand Lodges on the North American Continent. Having personally examined the questions relating to its organization and labors, and being perfectly satisfied of its regularity, we take great pleasure in commending its application, and in urging the several Grand Lodges to enter into correspondence and interchange representatives with it. We are the more inclined to this recommendation from the fact that the Grand Orient of Brazil, sitting at Lavradio, accepts and acts upon the American platform in regard to jurisdiction ; that it has suspended all intercourse with Hamburgh and the Grand Orient of France, and will refuse to hold corespondence with any Masonic power that will not recognize and maintain the American doctrine of exclusive Masonic juriscliction in the territory in which a recognized Masonic power may be located. The application is further recommended by R. W. Bro. A G. Goodall, charged with the Foreign Correspondence of th: Northern Supreme Council, and perhaps more than any other brother in the country au fait on the standing of Masonic Bodies abroad.
We repeat our expression of the hope that the various Grand Lodges of this country and the adjacent British possessions will at once recognize and interchange representatives with this Masonic power. Here follows a translation of their circular :
R10 JANEIRO, 1871. DEAR BROTHERS :--Permit me in the first place to offer you the assurance on the part of the Crand Orient of Brazil, Valley of Lavradio, of our most sincere and fraternal consideration,
The Grand Orient of Brazil, of which I have the honor to be Grand Secretary, has long entertained the desire of strengthening the bonds of human brotherhood within and without its jurisdiction. It is not enough to unite under one standard all honest men ; we should further endeavor to bring together those who are divided by the institutions and the geographical separations of countries.
This Grand Orient desires not only to unite the Masonic family of the country, but to enter into friendly relations with all the Masonic powers of the world, eleven of which, and those of the foremost, are already in correspondence with us. We shall persevere until our idea is realized, and in its behalf we cordially invite you to unite with us, giving us your friendship and accepting ours, and we shall feel especially flattered if your Grand Body consents to exchange representatives with us.
Upon receipt of your fraternal response to this letter, we will place at your disposal the names of brethren among us from whom you can choose one to represent you, and we ask in exchange the name of some brother to whom we can address the diploma authorizing him to represent us near your honorable body.
May the Supreme Architect guide your response and make it satisfy our desires. Fraternally,
DR. ALEX. F. Do. AMIRAL, Grand Secretary. We state additionally that communications may be addressed to the brother above named at Rio Janeiro, or to Bro. A. G. Goodall, No. 142 Broadway, New York, who will take great pleasure in forwarding them to their destination. -Dispatch.
CALIFORNIA. We are under great obligations to the R. W. Grand Secretary, Alex. G. Abell, for a copy of the printed proceedings of the R. W. Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California, at the Twenty-second Annual Communication, held in the city of San Francisco, October 1oth, A. L. 1871. The volume before us contains nearly 400 pp, is very neatly printed, and packed full of very inter esting matter. The various reports are able and comprehensive—those of the Grand Master and Committee on foreign correspondence, es. pecially so.
From the former we make the following selections, which will be quite as interesting, and at least as worthy of consideration, in this jurisdiction, as in the Golden State :
“We have indeed fallen on troublous times; and in the midst of this general decay of all that is good and commendable, Freemasonry has a public mission to perform. Never has there been presented so grand an opportunity for the display of your power, and never has the vigorous exercise of that power been more needed than at present. You should be the conservators of public as well as private morals-of political integrity as well as personal fidelity. Let every Mason, mindful of his individual responsibilities and true to the Divine teachings of the ancient Craft, wage eternal war on vice and wrong wherever found. and in whatever guise they present themselves. Scattered far and wide, every denizen of the State is within the personal influence of some of you.
Let that influence be ever wielded for the right, and, by this unity of purpose and of action, you will present a nucleus around which the moral power of communities may be gathered and consolidated, to arrest the epidemic which threatens to overwhelm and destroy
“With the new-fangled dogmas of a loose morality, Masonry must have no intercourse or sympathy; but in the midst of these growing evils—this threatened triumph of vice and immorality-it should stand like the beacon-light on some tall cliff or jutting headland, unshaken and unscathed, in the midst of, yet above and beyond the war of elements, ---whose golden sheen shall catch the first glance of the imperiled wanderer, to light him in peace and safety home.
But the lessons of morality must be taught, and this influence on society must be wielded, if at all, by your example rather than by precept-by acts, not wordsdeeds, not promises to do. You must yourselves obey the moral law in every particular, and be scrupulously observant of all your obligations. The Masonic relation does not require or permit you to shield a brother in the practice of any vice or wrong, and the temples where Justice is proclaimed as a cardinal virtue must never be converted into asylums for criminals.
“Imbued with these views of the public and private duties of Masons, I have never hesitated to exercise the power of my official position with prompt and unsparing hand when departures from that standard of excellence have come to my knowledge. I have never
felt called upon to deal tenderly with willful and persistent wrongdoers. That is a mistaken notion of Masonic charity which leads to the toleration of vice through a series of months and years, in the hope that, at some indefinite period in the future, reformation may be accomplished. I have but little patience with such treatment of such diseases, and have chosen to bring in requisition the remedies which Masonic jurisprudence affords, to hasten the cleansing of the Masonic household.
“ But it is the right of this Grand Lodge to know to what extent I have exercised the prerogative of a Grand Master in enforcing these views and purposes; and that will perhaps be best exhibited by presenting a case or two of actual occurrence. Some months since I was advised that a member of a certain Lodge was living in the very shadow of its temple in open prostitution with a vile and abandoned woman. In another instance a member was the proprietor of a gaming house, himself the dealer of the games, corrupting the morals of the community and luring his own brethren to destruction. I directed the Masters of these Lodges to demand of the brethren the immediate abandonment of these shameless practices, and, unless these demands were promptly and fully complied with, to proceed as speedily as possible to the expulsion of the offenders. To this they replied, with evident sorrow and regret, that though the accusations were conceded to be true, and the offenses public and notorious, yet such was the condition of the Lodges, and such the personal popularity of the offending brethren, that trial commissioners would certainly be elected who, in spite of the obvious facts, would pronounce in favor of the accused. To this I replied in turn; that, though the commissioners who would return such a verdict, under such circumstances, would be primarily liable to the severest penalties and would be promptly dealt with accordingly, yet there was an ultimate responsibility on the part of the Lodge which I should neither ignore nor forget; that, in my judgment, a Lodge which would or could elect trial commissioners who, upon such a state of conceded facts, would persist in acquitting the guilty parties, was hardly worthy of its charter; and I directed them again to proceed at once, and exhaust every remedy against the accused, and if the occasion arose, against the trial commissioners as well, or surrender into my hands the charter so unworthily held. In brief, that the Lodge must properly punish the offenders, or be punished itself for the omission.
“It may be urged that this would have been an extraordinary exercise of power and a dangerous precedent to establish-an attempt to coerce the judgment and destroy the independence of the trial com
missioners, and practically to pass upon the guilt of the accused by the Grand Master rather than by the legitimate tribunal. Concede all this to be true; and still, when the usual methods of discipline thufail, through the obvious indifference or culpable neglect and connivance of those charged in the first instance with that duty, there must be some ulterior resort, or a complete and shameful failure of justice. This Grand Body must reserve, and in my judgment has reserved, to itself, while in session, and to its executive head at all other times, the power to compel its subordinates to properly discipline their recreant members. And, unless otherwise instructed by you, I should in all cases of such open and flagrant disregard of those virtues which lie at the very root of the Masonic structure, and constitute all its grandeur and excellence, the facts being obvious and conceded, do again as I have done in the past. I should exercise this power of suspension and arrest, when milder means had failed, as often as the occasion for it might arise, unless interdicted by you; and I report these cases as illustrations, for your consideration, that I and my successors in this office may know how far we are to be sustained in such proceedings. My badge of Masonry is a mockery and a cheat if it implies nothing. It is worse than idle to bear that name unless the obligation it imposes can be always enforced by some power, promptly and effectually.
“ Other cases less flagrant than these, but still involving moral turpitude, have come to my knowledge during the year. But in most of them it has only been necessary to advise Masters how to proceed, and they have hastened with cheerful alacrity to the performance of their duties. These reported cases are of course exceptional ones, and generally there is a growing disposition to exact from all a rigid compliance with the ethics of Masonry. The moral advancement of the Fraternity at large has more than kept pace with its material progress: and it is on this fact that I tender you to-day my most cordial congratulations. That we have been heretofore tolerant of transgressions, I apprehend all will now concede. But I understand well enough why this has been. I know how unpleasant it is to be the promoter of a prosecution, especially in small communities, where every member has social and business relations with every other member. It is a disagreeable thing to inaugurate a trial. It brings the interrup
a . tion of personal relations and kindly offices, and very often the loss of business patronage, where such loss would be a serious inconvenience. And so each has waited for another to take the first step, and the duty has thereby been neglected by all. In some instances I have no doubt the inquiries have been made for the sole purpose of procuring from me an order to proceed, which would shift the responsibility to my