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Renunciations at the Connecticut State Convention.
In the discharge of what we conceive to be a pressing duty, we shall not attempt to offer any speculations respecting the origin or early design of the institution of Freemasonry, of which we have long been members. Nor would we indulge in any animadversions against the order to wound the feelings of any man. But we have a duty to perform respecting it, which we cannot neglect. For, in it, we do now most sincerely believe, the safety and future weal of our country are deeply concerned. By doing this duty we may incur, and perhaps we ought, all things considered, to expect to incur, the displeasure and reproach of some, and we may also wound the feelings of others. If we do, the fault, we are confident, will not be ours. We are prepared most seriously and honestly to say that, from what we know of the principles, ceremonies, and obligations of masonry, or in other words, its mysteries, we believe it calculated to do no good, and capable of doing great mischief. There is nothing in it to interest men of sense, when such men look at it, without bias, just as it is.
As a secret society, we think it should no longer be sustained in this republic, but should be discountenanced by every man who is a friend to equal rights, and an impartial administration of justice, as well as to sound morals and pure religion. We therefore, with a sincere wish to promote the best interests of our country, and of mankind generally, do in this public manner, make these our declarations respecting the masonic institution, affirming that the grand secrets of the order are no longer secrets, and withdrawing ourselves forever from all connexion and fellowship with it.
JASPER BIDWELL, 3 degrees.
Renunciation of Jesse Smith. To all Freemen, and especially those whom Christ hath made Free. Some years since I joined Speculative Freemasonry, and have taken four degrees. The abduction of Capt. William Morgan induced me to attempt an investigation of the oaths and ceremonies and compare them with the word of God-and in obedience to his command, I do believe the whole to be a device of Satan-conceived, born, and nursed in darkness--and in obedience to God's command, I do
hereby separate myself and renounce all connexion with said institution, and beseech the followers of the blessed Lamb, to come out of her, that they receive not of her plagues.
A seceding Mark Master Mason. Addison, County of Addison, State of Vt. Feb. 2, 1829.
The Spirit of Masonry. Extjact from a Sermon preached at Sherburne, N. Y. by Rev. David Kendall.
It is easy to see that the spirit of the masonic institution is such, and its plans so extensive, that the kingdom of Prince Immanuel, and the kingdom of prince Hiram Abiff cannot be erected and stand together on the earth. Each of these claim the whole earth for a possession. The King of Zion says, “ the meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace; and the wicked shall be cut off. Those mine enemies that would not that I should rule over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
But prince Abiff, on the contrary, claims the whole earth for his “ worthy and well qualified” subjects; and requires them to avenge his death on all enemies, traitors and cowans, when the time is fulfilled.
Neither can the religion of both these High Priests stand together on the earth, any more than their kingly reign. For what is light to the one, is darkness to the other; what is duty in one, is crime in the other; what is holy truth to the one, is falsehood and lies to the other; what is sanctum sanctorum to the one, is abomination and desolation to the other: inasmuch as whichever of these shall attain to its meridian glory and splendor, it will throw the other into the total darkness of midnight. And whichever of these shall rise and spread to the extent of its intended sublime and sovereign dominion, it will crush the other and grind it to powder, and scatter it like chaff driven before the winds, that no place may be found for it any more forever.
Our subject shows, that now it is high time for all, and for every one, to choose decidedly whom they will serve. If the Lord is God, serve him; but if Baal be God, then serve him.
The two-Prince Immanuel and prince Abiff, or Christianity and Masonry-we have found, on scripture trial, to be so totally different, and their claims and requirements so entirely opposite the one to the other, that it is impossible to be a true and faithful servant to both. Either you must love the one and hate the other; or cleave to one and despise the other. For what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what fellowship hath light with darkness, or what agreement hath the temple of God with idols! Nay, ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
As for myself, I have already made up my choice, and now declare, publicly and solemnly, for Prince Immanuel and his cause : and renounce all'allegiance and fellowship with prince Hiram Abiff and the masonic institution. Once indeed, by fair words and smooth speeches, I was caught in his snare, and led cable-towed and blind
fold in his path of freedom, till I had got a triple yoke of bondage upon my neck. This proving too heavy to bear, I retraced my steps silently, before any alarm was given or any cry of bondage, or of immolated victims, had sounded in our borders.
And now as a warning to others to flee out of Babylon, and escape for their lives to the mountain of Zion, I publish my full conviction, that there can be no fellowship between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of masonry.-Consequently that no one can be a worthy and well qualified subject of both these kingdoms at the same time. Let every one therefore be fully persuaded in his own mind which he will serve.
And when he has made up his choice for either, let him renounce all connexion and fellowship with the other; because it is impossible in this case for any man to serve two masters. From the best authority we learn that the mixed system of iron and clay shall be ground to powder, when the mighty mystical image of the beast is broken in pieces, and swept away with the besom of destruction.
Extract from the Renunciation of Artemas Kennedy,
of Milton, Mass. I am impelled on examination, to acknowledge that Freemasonry, in its nature and tendency, is hostile not only to our religion, but to the civil institutions of our country-to the regular and equitable administrations of justice, and to the general diffusion of social happiness.
I solemnly declare the oaths, obligations and principles of masonry, to the tenth degree, to be all faithfully and truly delineated by Morgan and the Le Roy Convention, on which account I now consider myself as breaking no masonic obligation, and only assenting to a truth already told and openly published to the world by a thousand witnesses. My greatest astonishment, at present, is, that so many of the order expose their veracity to such strong suspicion, in denying the truth of those late disclosures, and the probable murder of Morgan. His murder is in such strict accordance with masonic principles, that I have been lately told by a member of Christ's church, in this county, that he hoped Morgan was murdered, and that if he was, he was rightly served. Not being able to subscribe to, or approve of such principles myself, I have suffered lately, injury and persecution, and have been threatened this day, by a Royal Arch mason, from a great distance, and whom I never before saw, that he would be one of four to despatch me. Thus convinced and thus instigated, I feel it a conscientious duty, to disown all future connexion with such society and such principles. The call to this duty is so loud, that it breaks the slumbers of the night; it visits me at the table; it arrests the progress of my daily employment; and will, if not duly regarded, pursue me to the dark recesses of my tomb! I obey the call, break the bond, and declare myself free of masonic thraldom, and in so doing, I feel nobler freedom, I behold a more serene and purer light, than ever the mystic order presented to my unblinded eyes.
MASONIC OBLIGATIONS UNLAWFUL,
Elihu Mather for a Conspiracy to Kidnap William Morgan, at the
His Honor Judge GARDINER presiding.
Wednesday, Nov. 11, 1829.—The Hon. John C. Spencer, Special Counsel for the people, called on the trial of ELIHU MATHER, who stood indicted for a conspiracy to kidnap WILLIAM MORGAN.
Gen. V. Mathews, Wm. H. Adams, Esq. and Daniel D. Barnard, Esq. were counsel for the defendant.
Mr. Spencer was assisted by J. B. Coles, Esq. in behalf of the people.
Upon calling the jurors, some conversation took place between the respective counsel upon the manner of ascertaining whether the jurors were unbiassed. The counsel for the defendant proposed to put questions to jurors as they were drawn, and if the answers were not satisfactory, then reserve their right to challenge. To this Mr. Spencer ohjected, and offered to refer the examination of the jurors to the court. Judge Gardiner remarked, that questions would probably arise of considerable importance, and suggested the propriety of pursuing the legal course, which was adopted.
The clerk then proceeded to draw the jury. William Loomis and Simeon Gilding, were drawn from the panel of petit jurors, and being found acceptable to both parties, were appointed Triers, by the court.
Jonathan French was challenged by the defendant's counsel, and upon being sworn, said he had formed no opinion upon the question at issue. He had, he said, no bias against the defendant. Triers decided that Mr. F. was impartial, and he was sworn as a juror.
Amos Cliff was drawn and challenged by the defendant's counsel. Upon being sworn, said he had formed an opinion. He was rejected.
John Follett was challenged by defendant's counsel. Upon being sworn, he said he did not know that he had formed or expressed an opinion. Had heard something about the Morgan business, but had read very little upon the subject. Had no bias or prejudice. The challenge was withdrawn.
Charles Kelly challenged by the defendant's counsel, and sworn. Has not heard much said about Mather, and has formed no opinion against him. Thinks he has not said that the whole fraternity were guilty of the murder of Morgan. The challenge was waived.
Samuel Church was challenged. Seymour Murdock was sworn as a witness. He said he had heard Church say that Mather ought to be punished for the Morgan business. He said that those who drove the carriage ought to be punished. He had heard Mr. Church say this several times. Mr. C. was then sworn. He said he had often said that the guilty ought to be punished, but don't recollect of baving named Mather. The triers, after a short consultation, rejected Mr. Church.
Chauncey Hood was challenged by the defendant's counsel. El
bridge Farewell testified that he had heard Mr. Hood say, that Elihu Mather had a hand in it. Hood was rejected.
Epaphras Pennel challenged. Zimri Perrigo testified, that he had heard Pennel say that he thought Mather was concerned in carrying off Morgan. Mr. P. sworn; testified that he had no recollection of saying that Mather was positively guilty. Had said that if the circumstances related about M. were true, he must be guilty. Had not made up a positive opinion. Was rejected.
Luther St. John challenged and sworn. Had formed a qualified opinion. If reports were true, he considered Mather guilty-if not true, not guilty. His opinion would be governed entirely by the testimony. Had no bias or prejudice against the accused. Had heard and read much about the abduction of Morgan.
Mr. Spencer contended that Mr. St. John was, in the eye of the law, a competent juror. It would be impossible, he said, to find, in the county of Orleans, an intelligent man who did not believe Mather guilty, if the circumstances alleged against him should be proved to be true. Mr. Adams insisted that Mr. St. John, having formed a qualified opinion, could not be impartial, and therefore urged his rejection. The triers, after a short consultation, decided that Mr. St. John “is indifferent.”
D. Reed challenged and sworn. Thinks he has expressed an opinion that Mather was concerned in the Morgan business. Rejected.
Wm. Bullard, upon being drawn, said he had formed an opinion, and was excused.
Robert Anderson, next drawn. Mr. Spencer challenged this juror on the ground that he was a member of the society of Freemasons, and of the degree of Royal Arch. Gen. Mathews demanded that the cause of challenge should be reduced to writing, which having been done, Gen. Mathews and Mr. Barnard denied that the cause stated was a legal ground of challenge. Mr. Spencer then produced his authorities. It was laid down in Archbold, among other causes for principal challenge, that where a juror “belonged to the same Society or Corporation” with a party, he was an incompetent juror. The court remarked that the term society, in the sense which it was used by Archbold, had reference to societies recognized by law. Mr. Spencer said he was prepared to prove that the Grand Royal Arch Chapter, of which the juror and defendant were members, was made a body corporate by an act of our State legislature. After hearing the arguments of counsel, the court overruled the challenge for principal cause. Mr. Spencer then challenged the juror “ to the favor.”
Mr. Spencer here stated that the juror, Judge Anderson, was an important witness in behalf of the people, and ought not to act in the capacity of juror and witness. The defendant's counsel urged that Mr. Anderson's being a witness, did not disqualify him as a juror, and that they could not consent to excuse him for that cause.
The same triers were again sworn, and Mr. Spencer called
Dr. Joseph K. Brown. Witness is a Royal Arch mason. Knows Robert Anderson and Elihu Mather as masons of the same degree. He and they are members of the Gaines chapter. Freemasons are not all of the Royal Arch degree. Lodges are below, and encamp