Page images
PDF
EPUB

threatens to disturb its members in the nearly exclusive enjoyment of office, influence, emolument and power.

Time, that never fails to test the merit of things, will furnish the refutation of the charges liberally preferred against those who are engaged in the anti-masonic cause. To the charge of insincerity, they oppose an inflexible perseverance in the attainment of their avowed objects. To that of persecution, an invariable abstinence from all displays of malevolence and perpetration of acts of outrage and violence. Let them prove themselves, according to their profession, the friends of peace, morality, religion and law. Against the malevolent accusation of being factionists, let them exhibit a uniform and unswerving adherence to the principles and the usages of democracy And to refute the charge of being without a plan or worthy object, let them continue the steadfast and ardent advocates of a liberal, enlightened and judicious policy, calculated to extend and diffuse the blessings of a free government, promote the interests and advance the glory of the State. Public opinion governs the world. The institution of Freemasonry is now subjected to its scrutiny, and its decision will bring to it exaltation or overthrow. The PEOPLE have undertaken the work of investigation, and to them exclusively belong and may safely be intrusted the task of its prosecution. Full confidence may be indulged that they will conduct it in a manner to commend, without apprehension, their acts, their motives and their objects, to the just discrimination and enlightened judgment of a judging world. Albany, May 5th, 1829.

M. HAYDEN, Ch'n. ABNER HAZELTINE, Sec'y.

ADDRESS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS ANTI-MASONIC CONVENTION TO THE CITIZENS OF THE

COMMONWEALTH.

Fellow CITIZENS,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” On these fundamental principles of civil and religious right, the people of these United States not only cast off the yoke of foreign domination, but “the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good.” We consider it therefore, the duty of every citizen to watch for the public welfare; to sound the alarm in view of public danger; and to encourage laudable measures, which may be devised for the safety and interest of the whole. Although false alarms are never to be created, and existing maladies are to be cured by the best possible remedies; yet, when public evils do exist, free men should never suffer themselves to rest until those evils are eradicated.

The common cause of our common country, demands the utmost vigilance of an intelligent community. In order that this vigilance may be maintained, it is necessary that corresponding exertions be used to scatter light upon every subject which has an important political bearing. Light being diffused upon such subjects, and the attention of the people being directed to those things which are either salutary or prejudicial to the public good; it argues either a want of moral principle, or a criminal degree of apathy, not to feel interested; and those who feel deeply interested, must act. But men of intelligence and integrity, will act openly, honestly, consistently, understandingly, and perseveringly. They will not shrink from the scrutiny of their fellow citizens, nor seek to hide themselves from the public eye; and while they adopt and pursue, with a steady, undeviating course, those measures, which they deem for the general interest, they will frankly and ingenuously give the reasons of their

conduct, that the public may approve or condemn, as occasion may require.

On this ground, we consider it not only the right, but the obligation, of citizens of this Commonwealth, in concert with others of our sister States, to assemble for the express purpose of investigating the nature, tendency, and political bearing of Freemasonry.

We are aware that this subject is one of great interest, and, in its own nature, exceedingly delicate; inasmuch as it relates to the opinions and practice of many, who, for talents, learning and integrity, are ranked among the first men in our country. We are, likewise, by no means insensible, that a thorough investigation of this subject must bring us in unpleasant collision with men whom we highly regard for their moral worth, and with many to whom we are bound by the strongest ties of social and relative friendship. We would, therefore, have it distinctly understood, that we have neither collision nor controversy with masons as men, but only with men as

masons.

While however, we are willing to concede to masons, as men, all that is just, honorable, virtuous and paiseworthy, on their part; we are not willing to admit, that all the talents, and all the learning, and all the moral worth, of our common country, are the perquisite of the masonic fraternity. We are not willing to admit that they “are the people," and that “wisdom will die with them.” However highly we may respect masons as men ; we cannot concede, that aprons, sashes, jewels, mitres, secret rites and obligations, or princely titles, can justly secure to them prerogatives of honor, profit and trust; or that they are more deserving of public confidence, than any other class of citizens. We cannot stand afar off, and

exceedingly fear and quake," because of the “awful mystery," which, for a century past, has hung over this institution ; nor can the venerable locks of some of its members, its pretended claims to sanctity and "holiness to the Lord,” nor even the sword of the “ tyler," awe us into silence; or hinder our drawing near to scrutinize the foundation, materials, and “cap-stone" of this mystical building. These things premised, the delegates from several

counties in this Commonwealth, convened for the purpose of investigating the principles of Speculative masonry, now beg leave to place before their constituents, and fellow citizens in general, certain reasons, why they consider the masonic institution as dangerous to our civil and religious liberties.

The first reason which we would offer, relative to this' subject, and which demands our serious consideration, is this :

Tue MASONIC FRATERNITY HAVE ERECTED FOR THEMSELVES A DISTINCT, AND INDEPENDENT GOVERNMENT, WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES.

It cannot be denied, that any community, arrogating to itself the right of punishing offenders, not recognized by the laws of the land ; and, especially, holding in its own power, the lives of its members ; must, so far, be considered as claiming independence, and refusing, in these respects, to hold itself amenable to any higher authority. But, that the masonic fraternity have done this, and still persist in their claim to independence, has been made to appear by the most satisfactory evidence. The testimony of their own members has abundantly shown, that they have instituted a code of laws, not subject to the supervision of any civil power; and this code is sanguinary. The code of laws in this institution, consists in the several "oaths or obligations" of its several de grees, to every one of which a penalty is annexed; and that penalty is death. Every Freemason, in every degree by which he may advance, is made to swear, that he will forever conceal the secret rites and principles of the institution ; his acting himself " under no less penalty," than to die a most horrid and barbarous death, if he should ever knowingly or wilfully violate any essential part of his obligation. In order to have a fair view of the barbarous and sanguinary nature of this code, it may not be improper to recapitulate the penalties of the first seven degrees. The Entered Apprentice binds himself under no less penalty than to have his throat cut across, his tongue torn out by the roots, and his body buried in the rough sands of the sea.' The penalty of the Fellow Craft, is, 'to have his left breast torn open, and his heart and vitals taken from thence, to be thrown over his left

shoulder, and carried into the valley of Jehoshaphat.' The Master Mason swears under the penalty of having his body severed in two, his bowels burnt to ashes, and the ashes scattered to 'the four winds of heaven. The candidate for the fourth degree, 'binds himself under no less penalty, than to have his right ear smote off, and his right hand chopped off as the penalty of an imposter.' The Past Master swears under the penalty of having his "tongue split from tip to root.” The Most Excellent Master binds himself under the penalty of having his “ breast torn open, and his heart and vitals taken from thence, and exposed to rot on the dung hill.” The Royal Arch Mason imprecates the penalty of having his "skull smote off, and his brains exposed to the scorching rays of the sun."

Such, fellow citizens, are the sanguinary penalties, by which the masonic code is sanctioned, up to the seventh degree. Those of the higher degrees, are of the same nature, except that if possible, they increase in barbarism.

Now it is vain for masons any longer to deny, that these are the penalties by which the laws of their institution are enforced; because those obligations have already become the subject of judicial record, as developed, under oath, in courts of justice.

It is equally vain for them to pretend, that these penalties have received only a passive signification. The obligations speak for themselves. No person can read them, with an unprejudiced mind, without receiving the strong, immediate and horrid impression, that they were intended to be put in execution. Some of us, likewise, know, from our own observation, that these obligations have been uniformly administered in lodges and chapters, and suffered to stand, as literally expressed, without note or comment. The candidate is made to bind himself " der no less penalty,than to suffer thus and so, if he "should prove wilfully guilty of violating any part of his obligation." But what is a penalty? Johnson says, it is a "punishment;" judicial infliction," " forfeiture upon non performance." It is a contradiction in terms, then, to say, that a penalty is merely passive. The delinquent also, in the terms expressed, is supposed to prove "wil

un

« PreviousContinue »