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however, have been actuated by the most malignant passions, stimulated by avarice to make money by any means whether right or wrong, or much learning may, perhaps, have made him mad. But whatever may have been his motive, his work was well calculated to excite the most ill founded suspicions respecting an institution, which in every age and country, had been uniformly friendly to government, good order, and religion ; an institution which in the most positive and solemn manner, depounces all plots, conspiracies, and rebellions ; an institution, the very essentials of which, breathe nothing but peace and good will towards men.
But Robinson's book, notwithstanding the above well known facts, bad passed through several editions in the United States ; and though more replete with assertion than proof, with jealous surmises than satisfactory reasons ; and in many parts inconsistent and contradictory, had met with numerous readers and some advocates. What the Illuminati may be, I know not; but if their principles be such as professor Robinson has represented them, there is no masonic lodge, either ancient or modern, which would not shudder at the very idea of having any connexion or correspondence with them.
When the fact, however, was notorious, to professor Robinson, as well as to all the intelligent part of the community, that many of the wisest as well as the best members of society, in every part of the civilized world, and that the most illustrious princes in Europe, and, in parti. cular, most of those belonging to the royal family of Great Britain,were free-masons, he ought to have paused before he vented a philippic, which will be believed by no one of common sense, and which will ever tend to vilify his character in the opinion of men, who choose to think for themselves.
From the first chapter of this book, which treats of the
origin and history of free-masonry, it appears that kings and princes, bishops and other dignitaries of the Christian Church, had deemed it an honour to belong to the order. It is likewise well known, that the immortal Washington, the illustrious Franklin, the gallant general Warren, the patriotic Samuel Adams, late governor of the state of Massa, chusetts, and many others of our most eminent citizens, whose names might be adduced, belonged to this ancient and honourable fraternity. Were these enemies to religion and government ? His royal highness the prince regent of England, was grand master of masons in England, of whom he now styles himself the patron, and his brother prince Edward, was, in the year 1915, grand master in Lower Canada. Who can for a moment suppose, tbat these, or any of the other eminent personages, whom I have mentioned, would wish to overturn the government of his native couatry ? But to come nearer home, his excellency Daniel D. Tompkins, vice president of the United States, and his excellency De Witt Clinton, Esq. governor of the state of New.York, as well as many others of our most distinguished statesmen and citizens, are masons of the highest grade. Does any one apprehend, that gentlemen of their rank and standing in society, would have any agency, directly or indirectly, ia subverting the govern. ment or religion of the country which gave them birth?
It may be supposed, that I am contending with a shadow, as Mr. Robinson only speaks of a coaspiracy against the religions and governments in Europe ; but enough has been said to convince the unprejudiced reader, that the general principles of masonry have been, in all ages and countries, essentially the same ; and that in masonic lodges, there never did, por never can exist any discussions, which can excite animosity in regard to politics, religion, or any other subject, which has the least tendency to disturb the public tranquillity.
But in order to allay every apprehension which this book might have excited in the mind of the community, the grand lodge of Massachusetts, on the 11th June, 1798, deemed it adviseable to report to the chief magistrate of the federal government those sentiments, which characterize all the lodges, and which have ever evinced that free and accepted masons are good, faithful, peaceable and obedient citizens.
The following is a copy of this important document.
“ An address of the grand lodge of free and accepted masons of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, in ample form assembled at a quarterly communication in Boston, June 11th, A. D. 1798, to the president of the United States.
“ Sir, “ Flattery and a discussion of political opinions are inconsistent with the principles of this ancient fraternity; but while we are bound to cultivate benevolence, and extend the arm of charity to our brethren of every clime, we feel the strongest obligations to support the civil authority which protects us. And when the illiberal attacks of a foreign enthusiast,* aided by the unfounded prejudices of his followers, are tending to embarras the public mind with respect to the real views of our society, we think it our duty to join in full concert with our fellow citizens in expressions of gratitude to the Supreme Architect of the Universe, for endowing you with that wisdom, patriotic firmness and integrity, which has characterized your public conduct.
“While the independence of our country, and the operation of just and equal laws have contributed to enlarge the sphere of social happiness, we rejoice that our ma:
* This paragraph has reference to Professor Robinson, the visionary author alluded to in the beginning of this chapter.
sonic brethren throughout the United States have discovered, by their conduct, a zeal to promote the public welfare, and that many of them have been conspicuous for their talents and unwearied exertions. Among these, your venerable predecessor is the most illustrious example ; and the memory of our beloved WARREN, who from the chair of this grand lodge, has often urged the members to the exercise of patriotism and philanthropy, and who sealed his principles with his blood, shall ever ani. mate us to a laudable imitation of his virtues.
“ Sincerely we deprecate the calamities of war, and have fervently wished success to every endeavour for the preservation of peace. But, sir, if we disregard the blessings of liberty, we are unworthy to enjoy them. In vain have our statesmen laboured in our public assemblies, and by the midnight taper; in vain have our mountains and vallies been stained with the blood of our heroes, if we want firmness to repel the assaults of every presumptuous invader. And while as citizens of a free republic, we engage our utmost exertions in the cause of our country, and offer our services to protect the fair inheritance of our ancestors ; as masons, we will cultivate the precepts of our institution, and alleviate the miseries of all, who, by the fortune of war, or the ordinary occurrences of life, are the proper objects of our attention.
“ Long may you continue a patron of the useful arts, and an ornament of the present generation. May you finish your public labours with an approving conscience, and be gathered to the sepulcbre of your co-patriots with the benedictions of your countrymen ; and, finally, may you be admitted to that celestial temple, where all national distinctions are lost in undissembled friendship and universal peace.
.- Josiah Bartlet, grand master. as Attest, Daniel Oliver, grand secretary,”
To this address, the President returned the following answer: " To the grand lodge of Massachusetts.
“ Gentlemen, “ As I never had the honour to be one of your ancient fraternity, I feel myself under the greater obligations to you for this affectionate and respectful address. Many of my best friends have been masons, and two of them, my professional patron, the learned GridLEY,* and my intimate friend, your immortal Warren, whose life and death were lessons and examples of patriotism and phiJanthropy, were grand masters; yet so it has happened, that I had never the felicity to be initiated. Such examples as these, and a greater still in my venerable predecessor, would have been sufficient to induce me to hold
* OS this gentleman, the following character was inserted in the pub. lic priots, and is retained in the records of the grand lodge.
“ Boston, September 17th, 1766. On Thursday last, died, Jeremy Gridley, Esquire, Attorney General for the Prorince, and a member of the general court. His funeral was attended with that respect, which was due to his memory, by the members of the council, &c. the society of free-masons, of which he was grand master ; the officers of the first regiment of militia, of which he was colonel; the members of the marine society, of which he was president, and a great number of the gentlemen of the town.
“Strength of understanding, clearness of apprehension, and solidity of judgment were cultivated in leim by a liberal education and olose mode of thinking. His extensive acquaintance with classical and al. most every other part of literature, gave him the first rank among men of learning. His thorough knowledge of the civil and common law, which he had studied as a science founded in the principles of government and the nature of man, justly placed him at the head of his profession. His tender feelings, relative to his natural and civil ties, his exquisite sensibility and generous effusion of soul for bis friend, were proofs, that his heart was as good, as his head was sound, and well qualified him to preside ever that ancient sociсty, whose benevolent constitutions do honour to mankind. He sustained the painful attacks of death with philosophical calmness and firmness, which rea sulted from the stearly principles of his religion.”