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vanity and folly, and, as I thought, the evil tendency of masonry. Morgan's fate has, I acknowledge, strengthened the unfavorable impressions I entertained previously to his murder. Since that event, I have thought the institution not only idle and useless, but this horrible catastrophe has evinced that its mysteries may engender infatuatiou that will stop at no crime. Since that event, I have believed it would be a relinquishment of a duty I owed to society, if I suffered my respect for those venerated men who have left the world to believe that masonry was approved by them, prevent me from expressing the convictions of my own mind of its merits. The example of the many who have stood as high in the ranks of masonry as in the estimation of the world, would have induced me to have buried my own thoughts in silence. I should have been awed by their opinions could I be sure that these patrons, of whom masonry so justly boasts, deliberately examined the merits of the institution ; but when I reflect how many years of my life were passed before I gave the subject due consideration, I cannot but suppose that they, like myself, for a long time, may have been content to rest on the example of their predecessors, and that they have left their successors free to express their opinions. If these are unfavorable to masonry, no one can say that they are in opposition to what would have been the deliberate judgment of the persons whose great examples are considered of such authority.
I am happy that the letter I have had the honor to receive from you, affords me an opportunity to express,
in such a manner as I presume will give them publicity, my sentiments on this subject. I have reason to believe they are in accordance with those of many good and respectable men who are masons; and who, I hope, will not by their silence, suffer their example in becoming masons to have an undue influence. I come forward the more readily at this moment, when I think no party or unworthy motive can be imputed to me; when the excitement occasioned by the murder of Morgan, has subsided into a just abhorrence of the guilty ; and when the question is not whether every mason is not a bad man, but whether masonry is not a bad institution. I believe that it does no good that might not be accomplished by
far better means. Its secrecy and extensive combinations are dangerous. Its titles and trappings are vain, foolish, and inconsistent with our republican institutions. Its pretensions are absurd, fallacious and impious; and its ceremonies and inysteries are profane, and lead many to believe that they impose obligations paramount to the laws. However limited the influence of my opinions might be, I should be sorry to end my life, leaving it to be believed that I had lived and died the advocate of an institution of which I entertain such views.
REMARKS ON THE CHARACTER OF FREEMASONRY.
Extract from an Aildress by Rer. Moses Thacher, of Wrentham, Mass. on
the occusion of his seceding from the Musonic Institution. The subject to which I desire to cail your attention, is, the standing which I have retained for some time past, in relation to the masonic institution. Although I am a minister of the gospel, set apart to take the oversight of this church and people ; yet, far be it from me to feel myself above making concessions and retractions, wherein I have done wrong. That I have done wrong
in uniting myself to the masonic society, and given just occasion of offence to some of my Christian friends, I am now fuliy convinced. I am satisfied, by a knowledge of facts, which have recently been presented to my mind, and which have placed me beyond a reasonable doubt, that the institution is very different, in nature and utility, from what I anticipated when I first became a member. I then joined upon the assurance of others of its great antiquity, of the purity of its principles, and the many advantages which it would present to me as a minister of the gospel. Notwithstanding I verily thought, that I could depend upon those assurances; I have since found, to my sorrow and disgust, that I have been deceived and disappointed. By these remarks, I do not mean to cast reflections upon those who gave me such assurances. They were doubtless deceived ; and I feel much more disa posed to apply to myself the denunciation, Cursed is the
man that trusteth in man;" than harshly to censure those, who were, perhaps, the innocent occasion of my folly.
With regard to the antiquity of the institution, I have found, by well authenticated tacts, that it cannot be traced farther back than to the sixteenth century. I find that the first lodge of Freemasons ever instituted, was founded in London, and that the first, which emanated from this original stock, was as late as A. D. 1717. These facts are so authentic, that I feel myself warranted to say, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the institution is, comparatively, of recent origin. When therefore it professes to teach doctrines and tacts by tradition, from before the flood, from the days of Solomon, or even from the commencement of the Christian era; it is evident that the institution is made to speak a lie; a lie too, which, more than almost any thing else, has been the means of intolding in the bosom of the society, the vast multitudes, who have devoted themselves to its interests.
In respect to the principles of the institution, it may be remarked, that this society, different from any other, holds two classes. The one class of principles, is, its costume, or dress, in which it appears before the public. These principles are, charity,* moral virtue, social intercourse, &c. all good in the abstract. The other class of principles consists in secrecy, secret signs and obligations, and secret doctrines. Upon these latter principles the whole institution is erected. This circumstance has doubtless deceived many. · It deceived me. For a considerable time, I thought the institution was built upon those principles, which I now find to be merely external, designed for profession and show. The institution, instead of being built upon charity, and moral virtue, is built upon the secret principles, which I have mentioned ; and these are principles by which genuine masons must be guided, however they may clash with other rules.
* It is not here admitted, that this is the charity which seeketh not her own." All that masons, as such, ever bestowed, in what they call " charity," is bestowed precisely on the same principle that a mutual fire insurance company assist one of their own members in making up the loss which he has sustained by the devouring element. This is a " charity," which the sufferer has a right, in equity, to demand, in consideration of what he has already thrown into the common stock.
That the masonic institution has its obligations, no mason will deny. The great and important question, which now agitates the public mind, is, What is the nature of these obligations ? Do those who take masonic obligatioos resign their lives to the disposal of the society; or does the society hold itself authorized to take the life of any individual or individuals, who may be considered as having violated its secret laws ? As it respects myself, I have told masons repeatedly, that the moment I became convinced, that there was any thing in masonic obligations which either authorized or sanctioned the infliction of death, as a penalty, in case of violation, I would renounce masonry immediately. But I have now to confess, with pain and sorrow, ihat a knowledge of facts has placed it beyond a doubt in my own mind, that the masonic fraternity, as a body, do mean to hold the lives of individual members at their disposal. It does appear by numerous facts, substantiated by plenary evidence, that a free citizen of these United States has not only been kidnapped and murdered by masons, but that this awful transaction was contrived and executed by inasonic bodies. It does appear, that masonic bodies, such as Lodges, Chapters, and Encampments, have secreted and facilitated the
escape of the murderers; and that they did send the one, who executed the fatal deed, out of the country as soon as possible.* Were it proper, at this time, I think I could furnish sufficient evidence of what I have stated, to satisfy any candid mind. But such conduct as this, I must consider a fair comment upon the secret principles of the institution.
Besides, it appears to have been a fact, that the General Grand Chapter of the United States was in session, in the city of New York, at the time William Morgan was taken from Batavia, and that an express was despatched immediately to inform the Grand Chapter what had taken place, and what was done with the unhappy victim. From the silence of the General Grand Chapter on the subject, we must draw the natural inference, that it did, virtually,
* See the Affidavit of Avery Allyn, before Horace Holden, Esq. of the city of New York, March 28, 1829; also of John Maon, before Judge Tisdale, of Genesee,
to say the least, sanction the outrage. The question also may be asked, Has any Grand Lodge in the United States, or any Grand Chapter, or Grand Encampment, or the General Grand Chapter, or General Grand Encampment, ever disavowed that the secret principles of the institution do authorize and sanction the infliction of death as a penalty ? Not to my knowledge ; and it may be presumed they never have. But until these general bodies do this, it matters not what individual masons, or individual lodges, may say on the subject ; because they all act in subordination. Unless the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, for example, disavow the prerogative to inflict death as a penalty, it is vain for any individual lodge, or lodge-s, in the Commonwealth to disavow it ; for all the loilges in the Cominonwealth are in subordination to the Grand Lodge. Of what avail would it be for this town to say, that the law of this Commonwealth does not denounce the penalty of death against the murderer, unless the government of the State come out and say so too! But I have evidence, that William Morgan is not the first, who has fallen a victim to masonic vengeance. I have been informed by as many as three different persons, (all masons,) that a man was 6 put out of the way, secretly murdered, a few years ago, by the Grand Lodge of a neighboring State.* la conversing also, with masons of high standing, I have never heard any of them, of a certain character, express the least regret that Morgan was put to death ; but only that he was not put to death more secretly. A High Priest of the order, some time since, told one of my brethren in the ministry, that he had no doubt that Morgan was put to death, and ihat he ought to be put to death on masonic principles. With these
" that is,
* T'he circumstances, as related to me by a mason of high standing, and who still retains such standing with the fraternity, were substantially these :--A member of the masonic institution, whom I will call A. B. and who lived in one of the back towns of R**** ******, took C, D., and made him a mason, as the nasuns would say, “illegally;" giving him such instructions that he " worked himself into a lodge." C. D. retained this illegal standing for some time, and rendered himself so familiar with the "work," that he obtained an office, I think that of junior or senior warden. By and by iowever, “it leaked out," that C. D. had been made a mason illegally, and by whom; when the lodge “ made him