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ADMISSION OF CANDIDATES.
Fayette, Mo., April 15, 1848. BR. C. W. MOORE,-Dear Sir, -Please answer me specifically through your Magazine, (as we look to it as high authority,) in relation to the following: A. petitions Lodge No. for initiation. When his petition has matured under By-Laws, and is taken up for action, the committee of investigation report favorably to A. The box is prepared, and B. rises and asks the Lodge to excuse him from voting,-stating that suspicions are held that A. will be rejected, and desires by this method to define his position, and in case of the rejection, that he may not be chargeable with it. The Lodge excuses B., takes the ballot for A., and all is fair: the petitioner is consequently found worthy. The Lodge is called off and no work done. During the time, it is intimated that A. shall take but one degree, of which A.'s friends inform him. When the Lodge is called on again, the friends of A. state, that apprehending that his introduction may be productive of discord, they desire to reconsider the vote, in order that they may not compromit the dignity and character of the Lodge. The vote is reconsidered, a motion to withdraw the petition and return A. his money, prevails unanimously. Is this proceeding regular?-and have the ancient landmarks been kept in view?
Respectfully and fraternally, your Brother.
It was undoubtedly competent for the Lodge to excuse B. from voting, though the reason assigned for wishing to be excused, would ordinarily be deemed to be insufficient. As a general rule, a member of a Lodge is not, and ought not to be allowed to throw upon others the responsibility of admitting or rejecting a candidate; nor will any good Mason, except for urgent and peculiar reasons, attempt or desire to do so. The balloting for candidates is a high and responsible duty, entrusted exclusively to members of Lodges, and the manner in which it is discharged is of the utmost importance to the character and prosperity of the whole Fraternity. Regarding the subject in this light, many of the Grand Lodges expressly provide by Constitutional regulation, that every member of a Lodge, if present, shall vote on the admission of candidates, unless excused by the Lodge, thus taking the power of granting the excuse out of the hands of the Master, and requiring a majority-vote of the Lodge.
We see nothing positively irregular in the action of the Lodge on the petition. A. had passed the investigation and the ballot, without reproach. He stood before the Lodge and on the record as a fair and eligible candidate, and was entitled to the degrees. But, notwithstanding this, for reasons not stated, his friends foresaw that his admission might disturb the harmony and perhaps injure the prosperity of the Lodge. This, like true and faithful Brethren, they were desirous to avoid, even at some inconvenience and disappointment to their friend. They, therefore, asked to have the vote admitting him reconsidered and his petition and fee returned. The Lodge granted their request, and thereby restored the petitioner to just where he stood before he made application for admission. He is, therefore, at liberty to renew his application at any Lodge within whose jurisdiction he may hereafter reside. Had he been rejected, the case
would have stood differently. The petition could not then have been withdrawn.
We have said that there was nothing positively irregular in the proceedings of the Lodge; and yet a little different course would have been more regular. We should not have moved a reconsideration of the ballot. That is a matter not to be reconsidered, except for pressing reasons, if at all. Besides, in the present case, it would seem to warrant the inference that the Lodge had unexpectedly been put in possession of information in relation to the candidate, which, if previously known, would have changed the result of the ballot. This was not probably the case, nor was it probably the design or wish of the Lodge to leave any such imputation upon his character. But all grounds for suspicion or unfavorable inference would have been removed, had a motion to allow the candidate to withdraw his petition at his own request, been substituted for the motion to reconsider the ballot-or, had not the latter motion been made.
A CORRESPONDENT writing from Mansfield, Ohio, proposes the following inquiry:
"It is said that every Lodge has six Jewels, three immovable and three movable, the Square, Level, Plumb, Rough Ashler, Perfect Ashler and TrestleBoard. Now which of these do you consider the immovable and which the movable Jewels ?"
The National Masonic Convention, held at Baltimore, in May, 1843, decided that the first three were the immovable Jewels. They are the permanent and unchangeable Jewels of the Lodge, and can never be taken or removed from their proper places, to be worn by officers of inferior rank, or who are acting in any other capacities than those indicated by the Jewels. They belong permanently and immovably to the three principal chairs or offices. The Square, removed from its proper position, or out of its true angle, is no longer a Square; and the same is true of the Plumb and Level.
The above are some of the reasons we have heard urged in support of the decision of the Convention, which we believe now to be the general practice of the country. We are free to admit that we do not attach much importance to the reasoning; nor do we think it very essential whether the first or last three be considered the immovable Jewels. It is desirable, however, that there should be uniformity, and as the Convention decided the question in the manner stated, the Lodges have very properly, as a general thing, felt bound to abide by that decision.
THE LOUISIANA GRAND LODGE OF ANCIENT YORK MASONS.
THE above is the title of the new Grand Lodge which has just been organized in the city of New Orleans.
Our readers are already aware, that in consequence of sundry alleged innovations, and other proceedings, inconsistent with the recognized Constitutions and usages of ancient Masonry, on the part of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, the York Masons of New-Orleans and vicinity, having remonstrated and protested until they were satisfied of the futility of both, withdrew from what they conceived to be a corrupt body, and petitioned the Grand Lodge of Mississippi, being the nearest, to investigate the subject; and if, in its opinion, the grievances of the petitioners were well grounded, to grant them authority to congregate themselves into York Lodges, under its Constitution. That Grand Lodge deemed the matter of sufficient importance to the whole Fraternity, to demand the investigation asked for. It was accordingly entered upon, and resulted in the conviction, that the Grand Lodge of Louisiana had, by its practices, so vitiated itself, that it could no longer be recognized as a Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons; under which Constitution it was originally formed, and in which character only, it had been acknowledged by the great mass of the Fraternity in the United States.
Taking this view of the subject, the Grand Lodge of Mississippi did not hesitate to grant the second branch of the prayer of the petitioners. It issued Dispensations, and, after the expiration of the usual time, Charters, for the organization of seven Ancient York Lodges, within the State of Louisiana. The result of these measures is the organization of the Grand Lodge whose name we have placed at the head of this notice for the following particulars in relation to which we are indebted to an attentive correspondent:
New Orleans, April 30, 1848.
R. W. BRO. MOORE,-We closed our Grand Lodge on Saturday evening, April 22d, after a session of eight evenings, though not in regular succession, during which time the object of our assembling was accomplished as fully, and in as short a time, as circumstances would admit of, nearly, perhaps all our number being engaged in active pursuits, such as require our almost entire attention during the day, and, in many instances, until a late hour at night. As our proceedings are not ready for the press, and may not be for some days, I will give you a slight notice of them, and will feel under obligations to you if you will take some notice of the formation of our Grand Lodge in your valuable Magazine.
Resolutions having been previously passed by the seven subordinate Lodges working under Charters from the M. W. Grand Lodge of the State of Mississippi, to meet in Convention and take the necessary steps towards forming a Grand
Lodge for our future government, the delegates convened on the evening of the 8th March, pursuant to previous notice, all the Lodges being represented, and the representation being almost entirely complete, there being not more, I believe, than one delegate absent. The meeting was called to order by W. Bro. Thomas H. Lewis, and on motion, W. H. Howard was called to the chair, and W. Bro. A. J. Williams appointed Secretary. The object of the meeting was then explained, the Charters delivered into the hands of the presiding officer, inspected, and deposited in the archives. The election and installation of officers then took place, W. Br. M. R. Dudley having been elected M. W. G. Master; W. Bro. W. P. Coleman, G. S. W.; Bro. G. Gorin, G. J. W.; W. Bro. W. H. Howard, G. Sec.; Bro. W. Blair, G. Treas.; Bro. J. A. Staats, G. Tyler. A resolution was then passed authorizing the issuing of Dispensations to the several subordinate Lodges to work under until Charters could be issued; and a committee appointed to draft and report a Constitution, after which the G. Lodge was called to refreshment.
March 9th.-Constitution reported, read, and referred to a committee of Masters of the Lodges. The following appointments were made: W. Bro. Thomas H. Lewis, R. W. D. G. Master; Bro. John S. Claiborne, G. S. D.; W. Bro. Dr. D. G. Benbrook, G. J. D.; Rev. Bro. C. P. Clarke, G. Chaplain; W. Bro. A. J. Williams, G. Marshal. The following name was then adopted-THE LOUISIANA GRAND LODGE OF ANCIENT YORK MASONS. A committee was appointed to select forms of Dispensations and Charters, and a suitable Seal, after which the Brethren were called to refreshment.
March 17th.-Constitution reported by committee with alterations and amendments. W. Bro. L. E. Reynolds appointed G. Sword Bearer; Bros. A. C. Labott, and Wm. M. Perkins, G. Stewards.
23d, 24th and 25th.-Constitution debated, completed and adopted.
28th. Five hundred copies of the Constitution and proceedings ordered to be printed. Forms of Dispensations and Charters, and Seal, reported and adopted. The forms from Trestle-Board.
April 12th.-R. W. D. G. M. presiding. The dangerous illness of the M. W. G. Master was announced by the Chair, and the G. Lodge called to refreshment. 14th.-Convened in consequence of the death of M. W. G. Master. Funeral procession, &c., but no business transacted. Called to refreshment until Saturday evening, 22d.
22d.-Resolutions passed recommending the formation of a Supreme Grand Lodge. Also, a resolution authorizing and directing the G. Secretary to issue diplomas on application of members of subordinate Lodges in good standing. A communication was received from Lafayette Lodge, No. 2, requesting the Grand Lodge to change their name to that of Dudley Lodge, No. 2, which request was granted. Grand Lodge closed.
So far as we can judge from the above, the proceedings seem to have been correct enough, except, perhaps, that Bro. Lewis, being Master, we believe, of the oldest Lodge, should have presided in the Convention. It was not necessary to take up the Charters of the Lodges and substitute. new ones for them. It would have answered a better purpose had they
been endorsed by the proper officers of the new Grand Lodge, and left in the possession of the Lodges, as documentary evidence of their right to organize a Grand Lodge. But this can now be done, if deemed expedi
THE FORCE OF A SUMMONS.
Yazoo City, Miss., April 18, 1848.
COMP. C. W. MOORE,-Dear Sir :-As your Magazine is considered the best authority on the subject of Masonry, and as you seem to be willing at all times to answer such questions as will serve to enlighten the Craft, I am induced to ask you the following:
Has the H. P. of a R. A. Chapter, the authority to grant an excuse to a member for non-attendance, when the Chapter is not sitting; or, in other words, when the M. E. H. P. issues his summons for a call or special meeting, has he the authority to grant an excuse to a member, (whom the summons has been served on,) before the Chapter is opened? The answer to this inquiry in the next number of your Magazine, will enlighten your Companions in this quarter.
G. M. P.
Our correspondent is not definite enough in his statement, nor is it certain that we agree with him in the import of the word "summons," as used in Masonic proceedings. We understand it to be-1, a call of authority, a citation to appear and answer to the charges therein set forth; and, 2d, an imperative injunction to appear at a special or regular meeting of the Lodge or Chapter, with which the Brother or Companion receiving it is affiliated.* It is never issued except on special and extraordinary occasions. Does our correspondent so understand the word, and does he intend to use it in the latter sense? If so, then the H. P. of a Chapter is not at liberty to excuse any Companion from attendance, on whom such summons has been served. He may receive the excuse of a Companion and lay it before the Chapter for their acceptance; which, if they see fit to do, the Companion is excused; but he has no authority to excuse any member who has been summoned by order of the Chapter. The object of the summons is to secure the attendance of every member. This object might be defeated, to the prejudice of the parties, or to the matter before the meeting, if such a discretionary or dispensing power were invested in the presiding officer.
If, on the contrary, our correspondent uses the word in the sense of a notice of the time and place of meeting, then the H. P. is at liberty to grant the excuse, if the reasons assigned be satisfactory; unless there is some special regulation of the Chapter to the contrary.
*It is employed in another sense, to which we need not more particularly refer.