Friday, July 10, 2015

Response to Bro. Alton Roundtree's alleged "slamming" by Bro. John L. Hairston

This post was originally published in the PHA Historiann Facebook group, as a means of addressing Bro. Roundtree's disagreement with what I had posted concerning the fundamental understanding of the nature of the National Compact and the Grand Lodges that gave allegiance to it. I will post my statement in whole to give a start to this article:

Published July 7, 2015 in the Facebook group, Historical Debate-The PHO and NGC, Bro. John L. Hairston, editor of the Quill and the Sword:

"I believe the foundation of the issue regarding the National Compact is understanding the National Grand Lodge and its authority was vested in the "National Compact".
We hear the name National Grand Lodge so much that we dismiss that its life stemmed from a Compact (Agreement) between Grand Lodges.
Without the Compact, you have no National Grand Lodge. And it doesn't matter what is placed in the Preamble of a Constitution, the National Grand Lodge had jurisdiction over Grand Lodges that agreed to countenance its existence and authority. A Grand Lodge had to petition for a Warrant. Three Lodges had to FIRST organize and constitute a Grand Lodge before they became a part of the Compact.
This is important. A Grand Lodge exercised their right to exist without any instrument originating from the National Grand Lodge.
If a Grand Lodge had the power to form without the National Grand Lodge, and had to petition them for recognition among that Compact of Grand Lodges, by what authority did the NGL have to suspend, expel or declare clandestine, any Grand Lodge exercising the same power to exist WITHOUT the NGL?
This is where PHO member get mixes up, they misplace the power of the National Grand Lodge. Is it born from within itself or is it vested in the AGREEMENT OF THE GRAND LODGES THAT GIVE ALLEGIANCE TO IT?
What is a National Grand Lodge with no Grand Lodges?
Even the leadership are members of the Grand Lodges in Compact, if the Grand Lodge decides that they no longer will give allegiance to the NGL, then those members who remain operative within that entity without ate in direct violation of the Grand Lodge Constitution, and will be without a Grand Lodge.
Individual masons were not members of the National Grand Lodge, it was the Grand Lodges who were members of the NGL. The individuals were REPRESENTATIVES of the Grand Lodges.
When this concept of the Compact (Agreement) is placed in its proper relation to the NGL, then PHO members will understand why their group is an aberration of true masonic principles of jurisprudence....more on this later, just wanted to express this thought."

The above posting was taken to Bro. Alton Roundtree, who then made this comment, that was later posted on the PHO Blog, maintained by one Christopher Belcher (I am posting the comment in whole):
"Good opinion, thought, or perspective. Sounds good, but where are the sources and documentation that shows that this is more than a perspective?
The Prince Hall Conference of Grand Masters would not agree with the statement that the National Grand Lodge is BOGUS.
The National Grand Lodge of 2015 is the same NGL as that of 1847. The NGL has had continuous operation and never had fewer than 13 state Grand Lodges [since1865]. The National Grand Lodge has always (from its inception) operated under a Constitution. Like any Grand Lodge, the Constitution defines the authority of the Grand Lodge and the relationship of subordinate organizations. The sentiments at the formation of the NGL clearly state the establishment of a National Grand Lodge and that the state Grand Lodges is not sovereign. The sentiments also show that the National Grand Lodge was operating under a Constitution from the inception of the organization in 1847. The National Grand Lodge was operating under Ahiman Rezon, pending development of a constitution. (The Freemason’s Library and General Ahiman Rezon; containing a delineation of the true principles of Freemasonry, etc.; by Samuel Cole. Baltimore, 1817. 8vo, 332 + 92 pages. There was a second edition in 1826.)
What Compact Agreement? The NGL does not operate under a “Compact Agreement.” The NGL Constitution states the relationship between the NGL and the state Grand Lodges. Grand Lodges under the NGL fully understand that they are subordinate and their position is stated in the NGL Constitution. State Grand Lodges under the NGL has no power beyond what is stated in the NGL Constitution that they helped write, update, and approve at a Triennial Session.
Alton Roundtree"

It is my intent to review Bro. Roundtree's statement to
answer and address the entirety of his concerns.

While, Bro. Roundtree is the author of the book, The National Grand Lodge and Prince Hall Freemasonry: The Untold Truth, it should be pointed out that, by admission in his book, Bro. Roundtree's work was to give the readers "sufficient information to DRAW THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS regarding the National Grand Lodge..." (refer to Introduction of the book).

This implies that the work he compiled was NOT conclusive. If the book served to give the "Untold Truth", then there would be no space for the reader to "draw their own conclusions". With the words of Bro. Roundtree clearly defined, despite the PHO group's attempt to make his work definitive and conclusive, we can accept the work of Bro. Roundtree as a foundation and "basis for FURTHER research".

On page 7 of the Untold Truth, in the section entitled, References, Bro. Roundtree states:

"Unlike the abundance of writings and records regarding the mainstream Lodges and Grand Lodges of America, records pertaining to the Prince Hall Lodges and Grand Lodges are of EXTREMELY LIMITED SUPPLY...For the most part, due to an emotional and antagonistic posture, Prince Hall writer ARE NOT CREDIBLE on the subject of the National Grand Lodge..."

He goes on to state:

"The National Grand Lodge LOST MANY OF ITS RECORDS (1847 to 1874)..."

Yet, he still believes that, "the untold Truth reflects the true, documented story of the National Grand Lodge..."

After the publishing of his book in 2010, there has been valuable information and documentation that has emerged, that was not published in his book, that would have been very important to understanding the position of many authors and researchers on the subject of the National Grand Lodge. It has also been revealed publicly that there was much information provided to Bro. Roundtree before the publishing of his book, that would have been valuable to the reader to "draw their own conclusion". Could it be that Bro. Roundtree ignored and dismissed information deliberately to maintain the agenda of selling the controversial position he presents in the Untold Truth?

Nevertheless, it has been admitted by Bro. Roundtree that he wrote with regards to what he had available and in his possession; this is in response to questions of why certain information wasn't published in the book. This fact lends to the position of this writer that the Untold Truth is not the "true, documented story of the National Grand Lodge", but rather, the opinion and interpretation of the documentation of Bro. Roundtree, which would lead us to the conclusion that his book is a "GOOD OPINION, thought or perspective".

In Bro. Roundtree's opinion of my post, he stated:

"Good opinion, thought, or perspective. Sounds good, but where are the sources and documentation that shows that this is more than a perspective?"

What Bro. Roundtree does not reveal in his opinion is that a great deal of documentation has been posted to a multiplicity of discussion groups that he has yet to address; even citing at one point, that he was not going to debate his book. What researcher or historian would publish a work and then refuse to address NEW information that may call for corrections to certain views and positions in his book? But, by the end of this article we will have presented the documentation that proves that my position is more than just a perspective. 

Bro. Roundtree stated:

"The Prince Hall Conference of Grand Masters would not agree with the statement that the National Grand Lodge is BOGUS."

I don't believe that I have met any researcher or historian, whose findings met the agreement of all parties, not even Bro. Roundtree. I do believe that he should, more thoroughly, review my comment to see that I never used the word "BOGUS" to describe the National Grand Lodge. The National Grand Lodge is the Body formed by the Compact of the Grand Lodges existing in 1847. That entity has a legitimate lineage to African Lodge #459. The current Prince Hall Origin group is the REORGANIZATION and ASSUMPTION of the name of the National Grand Lodge in 1889. I now present a document of a case brought before the Common Pleas Court of Franklin County (Ohio) dated July 19, 1921-The National Grand Lodge vs the Grand Lodge of Ohio (Prince Hall). The National Grand Lodge took the MW Grand Lodge of Ohio (Prince Hall) to court in an attempt to enjoin them from using the name, "masons" and having lodges in the State of Ohio. Here is the full judgement:

The most important potion of these documents is found on the second page, last paragraph (446):

"Upon the question as to whether or not in the year 1877 or 1878 the National Grand Lodge CEASED TO EXIST or ADJOURNED SINE DIE, there is a divergence in the evidence. However this may be, IT CLEARLY APPEARS FROM THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE that there was a HIATUS OF ELEVEN OR TWELVE YEARS IN THE OPERATION AND FUNCTIONING OF SAID NATIONAL GRAND LODGE."

The Common Pleas Court of Franklin County and their findings can be taken as credible and impartial. They had no vested benefit in either group, neither were they motivated by any of characteristics that Bro. Alton Roundtree attempted to discredit Prince Hall writers with. The above documents are not published in the Untold Truth and not even referenced. So what we have is an unbiased and impartial finding of a Court of law regarding the "continued existence" of the National Grand Lodge.

What we also discover in the Court's finding is a consistency with the documentation of the proceedings of the days after the National Grand Lodge, and the support of the position Prince Hall writers-that the National Grand Lodge ceased to exist in 1878, at the Wilmington Convention. The Court stated that:

" It clearly appears that in 1889 there was a REORGANIZATION OF OR A RESUMPTION OF ACTIVITIES ON THE PART OF SAID NATIONAL GRAND LODGE..." (refer to pg.446 of above documents).

This is vital information on two accounts:

1. The eleven years from 1889 would be 1878. The year of the Wilmington Convention where it was voted upon by all parties (Compact Grand Lodges included) but five, that the National Grand Lodge was to be shut down. Here we have impartial and unbiased documentation that supports the position that the National Grand Lodge ceased operations in 1878.

2. the year 1889 is a year after the Matthews manifesto, where W. D. Matthews threatened to suspend all Grand Lodge that did not return their allegiance to the National Grand Lodge. The vital point of his "manifesto" of 1888, was that if the Grand Lodges did not return their allegiance, then he would establish NEW GRAND LODGES (replacements) in the States where the Compact Grand Lodges has merged and severed ties with the National Compact.

My position is not based on who accepts it, but rather what can be documented and supported. I highly doubt that Bro. Roundtree wrote his book to support whatever the Conference of Grand Master's perspective of the National Grand Lodge was at the time.

Bro. Roundtree continued:

"The National Grand Lodge of 2015 is the same NGL as that of 1847. The NGL has had continuous operation and never had fewer than 13 state Grand Lodges [since1865]."

This an inaccurate and misleading comment. The first part concerning the Prince Hall Origin being the same group as the National Grand Lodge of 1847 has been addressed by the documentation above. The Common Pleas Court of Franklin County found that the National Grand Lodge discontinued operation in 1878, and either REORGANIZED OR RESUMED ACTIVITY in 1889. This would dispel the notion that the two are one and the same. Matthews manifesto also lends strength to the argument that the National Grand Lodge REORGANIZED, because they had to REPLACE the Grand Lodges that LEFT THE COMPACT during the years of 1878 and 1889. 

The second part of Bro. Roundtree's statement, that the National Grand Lodge (since 1865) held no fewer than 13 Grand Lodges under her is also false. On page 395 of the Untold Truth, Bro. Roundtree lists the Compact Grand Lodges of 1879 as only 11, 1880 as only 12, 1881 as only 11 (see page 396). So, he contradicts his statement by his own research and published listing. But even more, both his statement in response to my comment, as well as the listing for 1878 and 1879 Compact Grand Lodges is incorrect and based on his own personal opinion; and as we shall present very shortly, a lack of documentation.

What Bro. Roundtree doesn't give account for is the fact that although there may have been Compact Grand Lodges in a few of the States, they in no way were in allegiance to a National Grand Lodge; they were merely negotiating terms for merger with Independent Grand Lodges, and in some cases, like Tennessee, operating independently of both the State Rights Grand Lodges and the National Grand Lodge (refer to 1880 Proceedings of the Independent Grand Lodge of Tennessee). 

I would like to present another document that failed to make it into Bro. Roundtree's book that would very much bring to light the demise and condition of the faction of National Grand Lodge supporters after the Delaware Convention of 1878.
1883 Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas (Prince Hall)

S. V. B. Carty was the Grand Secretary of African Harmony Grand Lodge FAAYM for the State of Delaware at the time of the report he made, regarding the event after the Delaware Convention of 1878. According to Carty's report, the year after the Convetion (1879) George Levere (remember this name) made a call for a Convention in the same State (Delaware). This is important to understand, George Levere called a Special Session of the National Grand Lodge in 1879, one year before the actual Triennial was to be held.

George W. Levere's call was a violation of Article v. of the 1874 
Constitution of the National Grand Lodge (the Constitution in power at the Call of this clandestine convention) which stated:

"The COMMUNICATION of the M. W. N. G. Lodge shall be held TRIENNIALLY on the FIRST TUESDAY of OCTOBER at such places AS MAY BE DESIGNATED BY A VOTE OF ITS MEMBERS AND REPRESENTATIVES
SPECIALLY COMMUNICATIONS shall be had upon the CONCURRENT PETITION OF A MAJORITY of the M. W. State Grand Lodges, parties to the NATIONAL COMPACT."

The Tenth Triennial of the National Grand Lodge was held in Pittsburgh, Penn. and was recorded in the Pittsburgh Gazette, May 18, 1877. The Eleventh Triennial was to be held in 1880, which would make the Convention held May 1879, by this faction of Compact masons, a Special Communication, according to the NGL Constitution. I challenge bro. Roundtree or any PHO representative to produce the CONCURRENT PETITION BY A MAJORITY of MW State Grand Lodges praying for the Convention that was called by Levere in 1879. If we are to accept either contradicting statement of Bro. Roundtree regarding the number of Compact Grand Lodges in 1878 or 1879, then eight Compact Grand Lodges would have had to made petition in 1878 or six in 1879.

Question:

If the Concurrent petition occurred in 1878, what 8 State Grand Lodges made petition? If it occurred in 1879, what 6 State Grand Lodges made petition?

If there is no documented proof of any kind as to a Concurrent Petition of a majority of State Grand Lodges in 1878 or 1879, then the Convention Call was a violation of the Constitution and all acts under it clandestine.

According to the above account by Carty, those who complied with the call were but George W. Levere (the last legal NGM), G. W. Daniels (Tennessee), W. D. Matthews (NGSW), and the representative of the Compact Grand Lodge of Delaware (African Harmony Grand Lodge) of which S. V. B. Carty was present. With Levere and Daniels both being from Tennessee, Matthews from Kansas, and Harmony Grand Lodge, there was only 3 Grand Lodge present; hardly a quorum for business by the Constitution. The General Regulations, Article IV. of the 1874 Constitution of the National Grand Lodge state explicitly:

"The Representatives of FIVE GRAND LODGES, CONVENED ON DUE NOTICE, shall be INDISPENSABLY NECESSARY TO OPEN or TRANSACT BUSINESS IN THE NATIONAL GRAND LODGE..."

This is important on two accounts:

1. The National Grand Lodge called the Delaware Convention of 1878 in which the resolution to shut down the National Grand Lodge was adopted. The National Grand Lodge was in power to invite into its proceedings whomever they so desired. The minutes from that Convention showed that there was a Quorum for the National Grand Lodge to transact business. So, irregardless if the Convention was attended by more than Compact Grand Lodges and representatives, the decisions of the National Grand Lodge leaders and their representatives was legal and binding. And just in case one attempt to argue the presence of the Independent Grand Lodges, Article VI under General Regulations states:

"None but the members of the N. G. Lodge , (BROTHERS OF DISTINCTION FROM OTHER JURISDICTIONS EXCEPTED) shall be present at the opening of the same..."

I believe that we can conclude that if the National Grand Lodge invited the Independent Grand Lodges to the Convention they called, then they can be deemed "brothers of distinction from other jurisdictions".

Call to 1878 Masonic Convention (source: 1877 Proceedings of Pennsylvania)

The above documentation from the Pennsylvania 1877 Proceedings, along with the National Grand Lodge Constitution of 1874, we can conclude that the Delaware Convention was a legal and sanctioned Communication for the business of the National Grand Lodge to be conducted.

2. With only three Grand Loges represented, we find a direct violation of the May 1879 Convention. Whatever business conducted in it is clandestine by the provisions of the National Grand Lodge Constitution. 

The attendees of the clandestine convention recognized their dilemma, they didn't have enough to conduct any business of the National Grand Lodge. There is ample evidence to support my position that there wan't enough representatives to hold a quorum. Not only do we have the resolutions of Delaware and the actions of the Compact Grand Lodges after the Convention, we also have the eye witness testimony of a Compact Grand Lodge Mason.

Carty's Report also stated that he was not authorized (according to the Constitution) to act in the National Grand Lodge, but in absence of a Secretary, they illegally elected him to the seat of National Grand Secretary. Nevertheless, we find his report to be credible as he was eye witness and a supporter of the Compact up until the clandestine meeting of 1880.

The next piece of evidence that we do not find in Bro. Roundtree's book is the records of Tennessee (Independent) which shows George W. Levere as an active member of the Independent Grand Lodge of Tennessee until he was suspended for unmasonic conduct in 1883. George W. Levere is listed as the National Grand Master for the years 1877-1886 on the Prince Hall Origin website


George W. Levere is listed as the seventh National Grand Master, from 1877-1886. According to the Constitution of the National Grand Lodge (1874), under General Regulations, Article I and II:

Article 1:
Every officer  and member of the N. G. Lodge MUST BE A MEMBER of a SUBORDINATE LODGE WITHIN THE JURISDICTION of THE N.G. LODGE.

Article II:
NO BROTHER, resident in the vicinity of a Lodge, and who is not a member of some Lodge, shall be permitted to visit the N. G. Lodge except by special invitation.

George W. Levere was in violation of the requirement of being a member of a Lodge under the National Grand Lodge. In the State of Tennessee we find the nail in the coffin:
1880 Proceedings of the Independent Grand Lodge of Tennessee

I thought it important to present the above, because it gives insight to the state and condition of the Craft in Tennessee in 1880. According to the Grand Master's address, there were three bodies operating in Tennessee. One being the Independent Grand Lodge of Tennessee, another being the Compact Grand Lodge under S. P. Pickett (remember the name), and the group under John Boyd, which was said to have been a split from the S. P. Pickett group that had his warrant revoked at the clandestine Triennial at Wilmington, DE in 1880. Before the PHO enthusiast become excited and state that they now have proof that the National Grand Lodge was continued after the Convention; it is important to grasp the fact that it continued ILLEGALLY. The question isn't whether we can find activity, but whether that activity was legal. Legally, the National Grand Lodge was shut down in 1878, by the majority of both Compact and Independent Grand Lodges. Remember the report by S. V. B. Carty? There was an illegal Convention in Wilmington the next year, where the Triennial was voted to meet in Missouri, which they could find no welcome, and moved it to Wilmington, DE in 1880. Reread again about the Triennial:
1883 Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas (Prince Hall)

George W. Levere was a member of S. P. Pickett's Compact Grand Lodge (Meridian Lodge No. 4). George Daniels was a member of this same Grand Lodge as well. George Levere and George Daniels represented Tennessee in the clandestine convention in 1879:
1883 Proceedings of the Grand Lodge 

Now, Lets move to the Tennessee Convention Proceedings of 1882 and put an end to the debate:

These proceedings create a great dilemma for Compact hopefuls as they prove that the National Grand Lodge was without a National Grand Master for at least 3 years. Keep in mind, according to the Prince Hall Origin website, and Bro. Roundtree's book, Appendix 41, page 785, George W. Levere was supposedly the National Grand Master for the years of 1877-1886.

On June 12, 1882, the two Grand Lodges of Independent and Compact convened for the purpose of forming a MERGER. An important portion of this page of the proceedings is this:

"We your Committee, WHO WERE APPOINTED AT THE LAST ANNUAL COMMUNICATION OF the Most Worshipful GRAND LODGES-respectively at KNOXVILLE and CHATTANOOGA-in July, 1881, as "A Conference Committee on MASONIC UNION", have UNANIMOUSLY AGREED that the TWO GRAND LODGES now existing in the State can be UNITED..."

There was no dissent to the merger, and both Grand Lodges would be full participants. The problem for PHO proponents is simple:
1882 Proceedings of the Masonic Convention for Union (Tenn.)

George W. Levere SERVED ON THE COMMITTEE FOR UNION!!!

What a blow to the position of the Continuous Existence theory. The alleged National Grand Master was actually serving on the Committee of Masonic Union, which means that he was a member of the Grand Lodge of S. P. Pickett and a member of Meridian Lodge No. 4 in Knoxville. Even though he was elected the NGM in 1877, he was still subject to his membership in the Grand Lodge in Knoxville per the 1874 National Grand Lodge Constitution, General Regulations, Article I. The Union of the Independent and Compact Grand Lodges dissolved the Compact Lodge and formed the new Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Tennessee. There was no longer ANY Compact Grand Lodge in Tennessee, and the National Grand Master, by his own vote and participation was now a member of a Grand Lodge that was both Independent and NOT under the Jurisdiction of the National Grand Lodge. With the dissolving of the Compact Grand Lodge in the merger, came also the dissolving of both Levere's membership in the Compact and his position as National Grand Master.

Questions to Bro. Roundtree:

1. Why was this information not published in your book?

2. Can you explain why you listed George Levere as the National Grand Master for the years of 1877-1886, when it is clear and evident that he, by virtue of the merger of his Grand Lodge and Lodge, was no longer the National Grand Master?

3. Was it legal for the National Grand Master to be a member of a Lodge or Grand Lodge that was not under the jurisdiction of the National Grand Lodge?

First Annual Communication Proceedings of the MW GL of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Mason for the State of Tennessee (1883)


Now, that the Compact Grand Lodge was dissolved by merger in 1882, and Levere's Lodge #8 on the rolls of the new independent Grand Lodge, he was under the Constitution of the new Grand Lodge of Tennessee. He was no longer recognized as the National Grand Master and the constitution of the National Grand Lodge no longer applied to him. This is important to understand, because we also find in these proceedings:


First Annual Communication Proceedings of the MW GL of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Mason for the State of Tennessee (1883)

Legally, George W. Levere was a SUSPENDED MASON!

This means that the alleged National Grand Master, listed on the PHO website and Bro. Roundtree's book, for the years 1877-1886, was actually a SUSPENDED MASON. There is no way for Bro. Roundtree or any PHO proponent to justify or explain away. Their so-called National Grand Master was a clear and blatant suspended Mason. It is also interesting to find listed among the Past Master members of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee in 1885 is George Levere:
1885 Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee (Independent)

George Levere illegally called the convention in 1879 in violation of the Constitution of the NGL. He then continued the National Grand Lodge in violation of the Wilmington Resolutions of 1878. One Year later after the "Triennial of 1880", he serves on the committee to merge the Grand Lodge he was a member of in 1881. In 1882, he became a member of the Independent Grand Lodge of Tennessee, thereby forfeiting his membership in the Compact and his position as National Grand Master. He was suspended in 1883 from his lodge for unmasonic conduct, thereby making himself a clandestine mason for continuing to operate masonically without reinstatement in his Lodge and Grand Lodge. The National Grand Lodge after 1878 was a clandestine group based on their action and proceedings thereafter. The Prince Hall Origin according to all documentation I have presented has no connection to the original National Grand Lodge of 1847 or the clandestine activities of George W. Levere and W.D. Matthew from 1879 to 1887. What they are truly connected to is the reorganization of the clandestine National Grand Lodge under W. D. Matthews in 1889, two years after his election in 1887. Matthews' threat to REPLACE Grand Lodges, was truly an indication that there was a need to reorganize in order to jump start the dead organization.

Bro. Alton Roundtree continued:

"The National Grand Lodge has always (from its inception) operated under a Constitution. Like any Grand Lodge, the Constitution defines the authority of the Grand Lodge and the relationship of subordinate organizations. The sentiments at the formation of the NGL clearly state the establishment of a National Grand Lodge and that the state Grand Lodges is not sovereign. The sentiments also show that the National Grand Lodge was operating under a Constitution from the inception of the organization in 1847. The National Grand Lodge was operating under Ahiman Rezon, pending development of a constitution. (The Freemason’s Library and General Ahiman Rezon; containing a delineation of the true principles of Freemasonry, etc.; by Samuel Cole. Baltimore, 1817. 8vo, 332 + 92 pages. There was a second edition in 1826.)"

Bro. Roundtree is creating a straw man here. There isn't an argument of whether the National Grand Lodge operated under a constitution and whether it defined the relationship between the subordinate Grand Lodges and the National Grand Lodge. The question is whether the Constitution ever provided a voice of authority for the subordinate Grand Lodges. Let's allow the 1874 Constitution to speak for itself:

" Article I:
This body shall be known as the M.W.N.G. Lodge of F.A.Y.M's of North America, and it is hereby declared that the respective State Grand Lodges represented in this Grand Lodge, TO BE THE HIGHEST AND ONLY LEGITIMATE SOURCE OF MASONIC AUTHORITY OVER THE THREE SYMBOLIC DEGREES OF FREEMASONRY (colored) in the United States of North America."

It was in this Triennial when the National Grand Lodge saw fit to return the authority in the States to the State Grand Lodges for their (NGL) own survival. Bro. Roundtree made the statement to set up his next statement:


"
What Compact Agreement? The NGL does not operate under a “Compact Agreement.” The NGL Constitution states the relationship between the NGL and the state Grand Lodges. Grand Lodges under the NGL fully understand that they are subordinate and their position is stated in the NGL Constitution. State Grand Lodges under the NGL has no power beyond what is stated in the NGL Constitution that they helped write, update, and approve at a Triennial Session.

Alton Roundtree"

Bro. Roundtree asks, WHAT COMPACT?
I indeed had to chuckle, because he wrote the book on the National Compact but then questions what the Compact was in regards to the National Grand Lodge, I found it a bit amusing. Nevertheless, let's answer Bro. Roundtree's question:

Definition of COMPACT

:  an agreement or covenant between two or more parties

Origin of COMPACT

Latin compactum, from neuter of compactus, past participle of compacisci to make an agreement, from com- + pacisci to contract — more at pact
First Known Use: 1591
Source of definition is the Merriam Webster's Dictionary

This tells us that a Compact is an AGREEMENT BETWEEN TWO OR MORE PARTIES. Can we find a Compact in the 1847 Sentiments of the Assembly of Grand Lodges in Boston?

"...we mutually PLEDGE OURSELVES TO EACH OTHER IN THE SOLEMN TIES OF BROTHERHOOD..."

These are words of Covenant and Agreement. On June 26th, 1847, a COMPACT was forged between those Grand Lodges, and despite whatever controversy may surround its formation, it birthed the National Grand Lodge. Hence my comment:
"We hear the name National Grand Lodge so much that we dismiss that its life stemmed from a Compact (Agreement) between Grand Lodges.
Without the Compact, you have no National Grand Lodge. And it doesn't matter what is placed in the Preamble of a Constitution, the National Grand Lodge had jurisdiction over Grand Lodges that agreed to countenance its existence and authority."
The 1874 National Grand Lodge Constitution, Article V., which can actually be found in Bro. Roundtree's book, The Untold Truth, Appendix 29, page 686, declares:
"Special Communications shall be had upon the concurrent petition of a majority of the M. W. State Grand Lodges, PARTIES TO THE NATIONAL COMPACT."
Question to Bro. Roundtree:
What is the National Compact spoken of here in this Article of the National Grand Lodge Constitution of 1874 (the last NGL Constitution in force)?
It is obvious to me as well as the National Grand Lodge of 1874, that there was a National Compact. Without the Compact, you have no National Grand Lodge. And it doesn't matter what is placed in the Preamble of a Constitution, the National Grand Lodge had jurisdiction over Grand Lodges that agreed to countenance its existence and authority. A Grand Lodge had to petition for a Warrant. Three Lodges had to FIRST organize and constitute a Grand Lodge before they became a part of the Compact.
This is important. A Grand Lodge exercised their right to exist without any instrument originating from the National Grand Lodge.
If a Grand Lodge had the power to form without the National Grand Lodge, and had to petition them for recognition among that Compact of Grand Lodges, by what authority did the NGL have to suspend, expel or declare clandestine, any Grand Lodge exercising the same power to exist WITHOUT the NGL?

This is where PHO member get mixes up, they misplace the power of the National Grand Lodge. Is it born from within itself or is it vested in the AGREEMENT OF THE GRAND LODGES THAT GIVE ALLEGIANCE TO IT?

What is a National Grand Lodge with no Grand Lodges?
Even the leadership are members of the Grand Lodges in Compact, if the Grand Lodge decides that they no longer will give allegiance to the NGL, then those members who remain operative within that entity without ate in direct violation of the Grand Lodge Constitution, and will be without a Grand Lodge.
Individual masons were not members of the Grand Lodges, it was the Grand Lodges who were members of the NGL. The individuals were REPRESENTATIVES of the Grand Lodges.

I believe that the above comment truly represents what the Compact was and how it was to be empowered, whether that was the case with the National Grand Lodge is of no consequence when we find the concept in its founding document and subsequent Constitution.

I do look forward to a healthy dialog on these issues that I have addressed, and the documentation that I have presented that is not published, nor referenced in your book. This would constitute new emerging documentation, unless you are saying that you were in possession of it at the writing of the Untold Truth. Nevertheless, I leave the response to your concerns and the floor now open to you my dear Brother.













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