"The writer has long believed that such a work would be of incalculable benefit to the craft, and has anxiously awaited its appearance from some abler hand, but, disappointed in this hope, he has himself, WHILE FULLY CONSCIOUS OF MANY IMPERFECTIONS, attempted to perform what he believes a necessary work." [emphasis mine]
"The object of this small treatise is to remove the scales and mist of ignorance that has been for a long time cast over the minds of the craft, and has caused many dissensions and rebellions among them, and in yet circulating an influence calculated to destroy the peace and harmony of the craft, for the want of correct information of their origin, to support their dignity as Masons."
Out of the 9 Compact Grand Lodges, 4 were replacement Grand Lodges formed by former members of Grand Lodges that were either Independent or had decided to withdraw from the National Compact.
New York, Delaware, and Maryland
"Mr. Belcher, in his first question, attempts to place the United Grand Lodge of New York as part of the National Compact. The New York Grand Lodge claims that they have never been subordinate to the National Grand Lodge at any time in its history. According to Blue-Lite Research Group founder and Grand Historian of the MWPHGL of NY, RW Ezekiel M. Bey:
"They did, however, in the plentitude of their power, on the 26th day of June, A. L. 5849, (a day we shall ever hold sacred to their memory) attempted to expel the "United Grand Lodge of the State of New York"..."
"A Temporary state of disuse or suspension."
So, we see that to place a Compact Grand Lodge in New York in 1848 is erroneous. The Independent Grand Lodge of Maryland never took a warrant from the National Grand Lodge either. I would like to present an article from the New York Age, dated Saturday, August 1, 1936, written by Hon. Harry Williamson:
2. There is no reference to the designation of Ancient York Masons in the records of either African Lodge Boston or Philadelphia.
To this, the National Grand Senior Warden, Cedric Lewis, in the York Rite Bulletin, dated April 2010, added:
"Freemasonry thrived in the British Isles prior to 1717. This earlier Masonry was of MANY FORMS AND VARIETIES. There was no central authority, and no organization. Operative and Speculative were not then clearly defined."
Because there is no trace of the letter written by PGM John T. Hilton, inviting the Grand Lodges to the Boston Convention in 1847, and there being no definitive documentation on the initial purpose of the National Grand Lodge and Compact, we must rely on those who were actually there, and take their word for the purpose and what was in the letter of invitation.
We go first to the Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware and their publication, Lux Et Veritas, 1856. They reprinted in this publication a statement from the United Grand Lodge of New York, who actually sent delegates from Boyer Lodge. This Grand Lodge was there during the formative years of the National Grand Lodge.
"Again it was conceived BY THE MEMBERS OF THAT CONVENTION that such an organization could be masonically formed, PRESERVING ALL THE RIGHTS AND PREROGATIVES NATURALLY BELONGING TO THE STATE GRAND LODGES..."
"The Grand Lodge of Boston, First African Grand Lodge of North America and Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, met in the city of Boston, State of Massachusetts, AND AFTER MATURE DELIBERATION the said Representatives, (the requisite or required masonical number of Grand Lodges being present,) adopted a resolution unanimously, in GOOD HARMONY, to organize and open a National Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons, for the United States of America..."
Origin of Freemasonry Among Colored Citizens
Commencement of the rebellion of two lodges....
Formation of another Grand Lodge in Pennsylvania...
The African Grand Lodge publishes that the Hiram Grand Lodge as Clandestine and Illegal, etc.
Question to pro-Compact historians and writer:
Does the acceptance of Hiram Grand Lodge into the Compact make the National Grand Lodge clandestine?
Is there any documentation from the day that would imply that Hiram was FIRST healed and then accepted?
Did the countenance of the existence of Hiram Grand Lodge by its contemporary Grand Lodges constitute it being a LEGAL and EQUAL party to the initial National Compact?
Union among all Colored Masons in the United States
This is the end of part 1 of this review. Part 2 of the review will resume next month (May).
1. Roundtree, Alton. The National Grand Lodge and Prince Hall Freemasonry: The Untold Truth (2010). Chapter 1 Formation of and Arguments against the National Grand Lodge. pg.9
2. Woodlin Lodge #30 F. & A. M. of the MWPHGL of NJ website: http://woodlin30.org/about/
3. Cox, Joseph. Great Black Men of Freemasonry (2002). pg. 353
4. Woodlin, Joshua. The Masonic National Union: A History of Origin of Freemasonry Among Coloured Citizens of America (1855) Joshua Woodlin. Preface.
5. Ibid., Chapter 1 General Remarks, pg. 1
6. Those Grand Lodges are the United Grand Lodge for the State of New York (1848); Hiram Grand Lodge for the State of Delaware (1849) and the First Colored Grand Lodge of Maryland (1848).
7. Roundtree, Alton. The National Grand Lodge and Prince Hall Freemasonry: The Untold Truth (2010). Appendix 1, pg. 389.
8. Bey, Ezekiel M. 2012. The Hour Glass: African American Freemasonry in the State of New York. Blue-Lite Publishing. pg.54
9. Report of the 1847 National Masonic Convention. See the Articles of Union between the Three Grand Lodges of Freemasons of Colour, in America, June 24th, 1847.
10. Woodlin, Joshua. 1855. The National Masonic Union. Burlington, NJ. pg. 30
11. Committee on Correspondence report. New York, July 26th, A. L. 5849. Adopted at a Special Meeting of the United Grand Lodge of the State of New York, July 30th A.D. 1849, and of Masonry 5849. This report is also called, The Elston Report.
13. Refer to any dictionary.
14. Roundtree, Alton. 2010. The National Grand Lodge and Prince Hall Freemasonry: The Untold Truth, KLR Publishing, LLC, pg.111.
15. Handbook of Freemasonry, by the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Ancient York Rite Masons, National Compact USA (1985).
16. York Rite Bulletin, Issue 2 April 2010, Cedric Lewis, "What's in a Name?"
17. Baker Harris, Ray. The York Problem, Masonic Service Associaction, Sept. 16, 1957.
19. Declaration of the Great National Convention, held at the City of Boston, Mass., June 23, 1847, A.L. 5847.
20. Woodlin, Joshua. The Masonic National Union: A History of Origin of Freemasonry Among Coloured Citizens of America (1855) Joshua Woodlin. Chapter 2 Origin of Freemasonry Among Colored Citizens, pg.10