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Lodge met. And all falling within the description of members, who had obtained certificates from the Lodge of Reconciliations that they had been re-obligated, and had conformed to the articles of Union, were admitted to take their seats. At this meeting the Union was proclaimed at the sound of trumpets; and it was again solemnly and unanimously ratified.

After the utmost ceremony on this august occasion the United Grand Lodge was organized, and the Duke of Sussex was chosen and Installed Grand Master. Pursuant to the provisions of the 17th Article of the Union, a compilation of a revised code of the constitutions was undertaken.

The old records were consulted, and recourse was had to every means of information.

The work was subjected to much investigation and consideration. After the labor of fourteen years, it was completed and sanctioned by the Grand Lodge, and published in 1827.

The following are among the provisions of this deliberately formed collection of Masonic constitutions, laws and usages.

No Lodge shall, on any pretence, make more than five new Brothers in one day, unless by dispensation. Nor shall a Lodge be permitted to give more than one Degree to a Brother on the same day. Nor shall a higher Degree in Masonry be conferred on any Brother at a less interval than one month from his receiving a previous Degree; nor until he shall have passed an examination in open Lodge in that Degree.

(A note adds. "No dispensation can be granted to suspend the operation of this law.")

(The same provision is twice afterwards, in substance, repeated in that work.) Another provision is: all Lodges are bound to observe the same usages and customs. Every deviation, therefore, from the established mode of working, is highly improper, and cannot be justified or sanctioned.

Some of our Brethren have expressed doubts whether the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has not overstepped the ancient landmarks and proper Masonic rules in framing the fourth Article of their recently adopted Constitutions, part first, which provides that "By the ancient Constitutions and usages of Freemasonry, the Grand Lodge, as the Supreme Masonic authority in this Commonwealth, is invested with certain original, essential and unalterable powers and privileges; among which is the power of enacting Laws and Regulations for the government of the Craft; and of altering, repealing and abrogating them: of establishing and prescribing a uniform system of Work and Lectures, of issuing Dispensations," &c.

The Brethren alluded to state, that they " do now feel fully impressed with the belief that it was never originally intended to invest the Grand Lodge with such powers as would enable them from time to time to alter, repeal or abrogate such forms of Work and Lectures as had from almost immemorial usage been practised in all the Lodges."

Your Committee felt impelled by their respect for the scruples of their Brethren, as well as by the importance of the subject, to compare Article fourth, as well as all the provisions of our newly adopted Constitutions with all other codes of Masonic Constitutions, Rules and By-Laws which have been printed in the English language; and to which they could find access. They have quoted some of the provisions of the English Constitutions, published in 1827, not because they differ from other codes, but because the solemnity, research and deliberation upon which they were adopted, clothe them with the highest claims to be of authority, and correct exponents of the ancient Rules, Regulations, Usages and Landmarks of Freemasonry.

The Grand Lodge formed at York in 926, collected the old Constitutions from which the subsequent books of Constitutions were mainly compiled.

In 1717, the Grand Lodge at London revised their code of Constitutions, and after examining and re-examining the Work for several years, it was adopted by general consent, and in 1723 it was printed and published. This was the first

book of Constitutions was published in England. It contained among other provisions the following: :

"Every Grand Lodge has the inherent power and authority to make new regulations, or alter these for the benefit of the ancient Fraternity; provided always, that the old land-marks are carefully preserved."

The "Pocket Companion and History of Freemasons," 3d edition, published in London, in 1764, contains the Constitutional amendments made after 1723. Among other provisions it has the following:

"All particular Lodges are to observe the same usages as much as possible; in order to which and also to cultivate a good understanding among Freemasons, some members of each Lodge shall be deputed to visit other Lodges as often as shall be thought convenient.

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Every Grand Lodge has an inherent power and authority to make new regulations, and alter these for the real benefit of the ancient Fraternity; provided the ancient land-marks be preserved.

"Apprentices are to be Crafted and Raised only in the Grand Lodge, unless by Dispensation.

"Every Grand Lodge, duly met, has the power to amend or explain any of the printed regulations in the printed book of Constitutions, while they break not in on the ancient rules of the Fraternity. And it is not in the power of any man, or body of men, to make any alteration or innovation in the body of Masonry, without the consent of the Grand Lodge."

The Grand Lodge have an inherent right "of amending what may be thought inconvenient."

"The members of the Grand Lodge are the true representatives of all the Fraternity."

The book called "The Ahiman Rezon," containing the constitutional provisions, the ancient charges, rules, orders and usages, illustrations, &c. has passed through many editions in England, and several in this country. It contains the same rules relative to the authority of the Grand Lodge of England as have been quoted from the other books. An edition of it, published in Philadelphia, in 1783, contains the following constitutional provision for the Grand Lodge of Pennsyl

vania :

"The Grand Lodge has an inherent right and authority to make local ordinances and new regulations, as well as to amend and explain old ones, for their own particular benefit, and the good of Masonry in general; provided, always, that the ancient land-marks be carefully preserved. This has never been disputed, for the members of the Grand Lodge are the true representatives of all the Fraternity in communion, and are an absolute, independent body; provided the Grand Masonic Constitutions be never violated, nor the old land-marks removed.”

When the two Grand Lodges of Massachusetts were united in 1792, they prepared and published a book of Constitutions, and an improved edition of it was published in 1798. These books of Constitutions contain the following provi

sions:

"The powers of the Grand Lodge are independent; all distinction between ancient and modern Masons shall, as far as possible, be abolished."

"The modes of Work heretofore practised by St. John's Grand Lodge is recommended to the old, and enjoined on new Lodges."

"The Grand Lodge has an inherent power and authority to make local ordinances and new regulations, as well as amend old ones, for their own benefit and the good of Masonry in general; provided, always, that the Grand Constitution and ancient land-marks be carefully preserved. This has never been disputed, for the Grand Lodge is the representative of the whole Fraternity."

"No Brother shall be admitted into the Grand Lodge, but such as are members or voters: excepting petitioners and witnesses; and those called in on motion." The Grand Lodges in all the United States have drawn their laws, rules and regulations from the same sources: and so far as we have been able to examine, they all contain substantially the same provisions. The Masons in the territo

ries of Wisconsin and Iowa, have recently formed Grand Lodges, which are the newest and latest made. They compiled their Constitutions with all the lights of Masonry shining on them from both hemispheres. They declare the powers of the Grand Lodge to be "to grant new Lodges by letters patent under seal; to establish a uniform mode of Work within their jurisdiction, strictly conforming to the ancient land-marks. To appoint lecturers to instruct the Brethren, and correct errors, &c. To make such By-Laws as may be necessary for its good government; and prescribe the general regulation and government of its subordinate Lodges."

Many Masonic books, by various titles, have been published since 1723. Most of them contain much apocryphal matter, but the ancient charges and constitutional laws, rules and regulations in them all are almost identical. Their singu lar conformity, differing so little from each other, shows the fidelity with which the ancient land-marks have been preserved.

On a careful comparison of the Constitutions and Regulations recently adopted by our Grand Lodge, with all prior provisions on the same subject, the committee are satisfied that they are not inconsistent with the ancient usages and customs of the Craft. But, on the contrary, they are in strict conformity to them; and that they do not, in any point, conflict with the rights and privileges of subordinate Lodges. In the whole code there appears not a single provision that is any thing more than a new declaration of settled principles, to be found in the old ordinances, rules and regulations.

The power of the Grand Lodge is great; but every reflecting Mason, every friend of the Order, must perceive, that great power to direct, control, and TO CORRECT must be vested somewhere; or identity of rules, work and lectures could not be preserved. Every Lodge would cherish and transmit to their successors their accidental deviations and errors. These would soon be considered the customs of the fathers, and be tenaciously held and cherished as ancient and time honored usages. The variations of different Lodges would grow broader, till each became a distinct society, differing more and more in its laws, usages, work, paraphernalia and lectures from the others; and soon the identity, and with it the existence of the Order, would perish. Every lover of the upright, charitable and social principles; and of the simple, antique forms of the Craft, will unite in declaring this must not be done. Authority must exist; the wisdom and experience of ages unitedly declare that it can be no where so safely deposited as in Grand Lodges. They being but the representation-the concentrated principle, interest and feeling of the whole Fraternity-are, with great propriety, clothed with ample authority. They are entitled to speak with the voice of power, and to be heard with feelings of confidence and obedience. When this principle shall be given up, the Institution will be lost.

It has been said, that Grand Lodges are but a few centuries old; and before their existence the Fraternity were well governed without the delegation of such extensive powers. A little reflection and inquiry will show that such opinion is erroneous. In ancient times, when the number of Lodges was small, the whole power resided in the Master; his word was law, and whatever he decreed was implicitly received as ancient usage. Masters might then, like Solomon, be considered Grand Masters. The few rulers over large Lodges could occasionally confer together, and thus correct errors and repair the dilapidations of forgetfulness among themselves. But to preserve such a system the Masters must be few, however numerous the members. Hence we find that on the formation of the Grand Lodge in London, there were but four Lodges in the South of England. As Masonry became more and more extended, the necessity of changing its government became the more apparent. Grand Lodges were then established, and to them was ceded the authority of the Masters; and they have hitherto exercised, and it is believed they always will exercise, their ample powers over erring Lodges and Brethren, with charity, kindness and forbearance, and for the good of the Craft. For the convenience of attending and working the Lodges, while

the number of the initiated was not vastly increased, charters were multiplied, and one or more Lodges were established in almost every city.

To exercise over such a community a salutary and efficient government, frequent meetings of the Grand Lodges, conferences between them, and sometimes more extensive conventions became necessary, and these have been resorted to with entire success.

A system which has operated so well through so many ages should not be too readily touched by the adventurous hand of change. It satisfies the wants of the Fraternity, and they should one and all rest satisfied with it, until an abler and wiser one can be devised.

The appropriate duty of the Craft is to exercise and preserve their system in its ancient purity and simplicity. For this purpose Grand Lodges were established and invested with adequate authority. The modes of labor and instruction, as well as the rules and regulations, must be frequently compared. If differences shall be found, error must exist somewhere. In such case, diligent inquiry should be made, the wisest and most experienced should be consulted; and after due deliberation, a majority must decide what is error, and what is in strict conformity to the ancient usages and land-marks. And to such decisions the committee feel entire confidence that every true, faithful member of the ancient Brotherhood, will, on reflection, submit with cheerful acquiescence.

AUGUSTUS PEABODY,
JOHN Аввот,
THOMAS TOLMAN,

THOMAS POWER,

Committee.

JOHN HEWS.

Boston, May 17, 1844.

CONFERRING

THE DEGREES.

The Committee to whom was referred "the order for prohibiting the conferring of more than one Degree on the same candidate, on the same evening, or short of a month, unless by Dispensation,"

REPORT:

THAT they have carefully examined the order, and compared it with all ancient rules and usages on the subject, so far as they could have access to thein.

They find that on the junction of the two Grand Lodges of England, the Grand Lodge of all England, at York, and the Grand Lodge of Englaud, at London, which was effected in 1813, the Constitutions of the Order were revised and collated, with careful and laborious investigation, with a view to ascertain, present and preserve the true ancient laws and usages. For several years the investigation was prosecuted by experienced and able men, and in 1827, the work was completed, approved and published. It is now the Constitution of the United Grand Lodge of England. In that work is the following provision:

No Lodge shall on any pretence make more than five new Brothers in one day, unless by Dispensation; nor shall a Lodge be permitted to give more than one Degree to a Brother on the same day; nor shall a higher Degree in Masonry be conferred on a Brother at a less interval than one month, from his receiving a previous Degree. Nor until he has passed an examination in open Lodge in that Degree." And in a note it is stated, that "no Dispensation can be granted to suspend the operation of this law." The same provision is afterward twice repeated, in substance, in the same work. The early published books of Constitutious contain similar provisions.

In an edition of the Ahiman Rezon, published during the last century, in speaking of the reception of men of rank and science into the Institution, the rule is stated, that they are equally subjected to all the charges and regulations; and must be governed by the general rule.

"No Lodge shall make more than five new Brethren at one time, unless by Dispensation. Nor shall any be made, or admitted a member of a Lodge, without being proposed one month, &c. Apprentices, when expert in the business of their apprenticeship, shall be admitted, upon further improvement, as Fellow-Crafts, and in due time, be raised to the sublime degree of Master Masons, capable themselves to undertake their Lord's work, animated with the prospect of passing in future through the higher honors of Masonry."

It is entirely clear and plain that our Brethren in England do think, and in earlier times have thought, that this provision is in conformity both to ancient usage, and the spirit of the work. And your committee are of the same opinion.

The Order in question was adopted in the Grand Lodge, at the quarterly communication in June, 1843, having stood the requisite time for consideration of the Lodge. But in the publication of the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, subsequently made, it was, by accident, omitted.

It is now a standing law, and in the opinion of the committee it is a wise provision; and one that is in as strict accordance with the ancient rules, orders and usages, as it is with the spirit of the work.

They therefore recommend, that the ORDER in question be adopted as a Constitutional Rule, and that it be printed as the fourteenth rule of the "Miscellaneous Regulations ;" that it be pasted into all the books of the Constitutions which have not yet been distributed, and sent for the same purpose to the Lodges which have already received the work. All of which is respectfully presented by

AUGUSTUS PEABODY,
JOHN Аввот,

Commillee.

THOMAS TOLMAN,
THOMAS POWER,
JOHN HEWS.

Boston, May 17, 1844.

THE TRESTLE-BOARD.

The committee, to whom was referred the proceedings had at the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, held in the city of Richmond, on the eleventh day of December, A. L. 5843, have performed the duty assigned them, and make the following

REPORT:

YOUR Committee believe it is not usual to refer to a committee for action, the annual communication of a Grand Lodge, sent to this Grand Lodge. The supremacy of jurisdiction of each Grand Lodge within its own State, and the courtesy due from each to every other Grand Lodge, seem to forbid it. But as the above annual communication embraces one subject, as to which the co-operation of this Grand Lodge, in aid of the views of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, is requested, it can be no want of respect in this Grand Lodge to the Grand Lodge of Virginia, to refer their annual communication for the action of a committee, as to this subject. Indeed courtesy to the Grand Lodge of Virginia required it. The subject is their resolves of the following purport: that "the Masonic Trestle-Board cannot receive the sanction of the Grand Lodge of Virginia;" that they recommend to their subordinate Lodges to discontinue the use of it; and that

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