Question:

Discussion in 'Prince Hall Freemasonry' started by MasonicAdept, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    Was Prince Hall a Prince Hall Mason?

    Secondly, did Prince Hall subscribe to Freemasonry in the context of a BLACK EXPERIENCE?
     
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  2. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    God knows ! But I would say, no, he was not a Prince Hall Freemason according to the version I know of his initiation, he was Irish... who are, after all, described in one famous book as the "Blacks of Europe" maybe because they were oppressed, or maybe because they were cool :)

    I think Prince Hall Freemasonry flowed from him, or certainly that is the Traditional History we're told here in Australia.. where many just don't get the whole emergence of Prince Hall Freemasonry because they don't understand American History, or that there were debates there about whether coloured people and "pagans" (and I use the term on purpose to catch up Asians etc ) had a soul, were actually human, etc etc..
     
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  3. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    Prince Hall wasn't initiated under Irish Military Lodge.
    The records of African Lodge shows that the initiation was done by John Batt
     
  4. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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    I saw you mention that in the group discussion page. So was he a member of a particular lodge when he was initiated or was it Africa #1?
     
  5. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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    No, Prince Hall didn't come into being until later. Possibly after his death.
     
  6. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    Prince Hall was not initiated into any Lodge.
    According to the records, those 15 Brothers were initiated by John Batt alone (unauthorized). They formed African Lodge No. 1 without documentation.
    It wasn't until 1781, and the permit received by John Rowe, Provincial Grand master of St. John's PGL, did they have any form of documentation to truly assemble as Masons. It wasn't until 1784 that they received a charter to truly operate and function as a regular Lodge of Freemasons.
     
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  7. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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    @MasonicAdept I heard people mention St Andrews lodge, were there Black members there before Prince Hall was initiated?
     
  8. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Why do you say the initiation was unauthorized?

    Do you believe John Batt was a member of Irish Lodge 441? It has been reported that the GL shows he was?

    Who was the master of that Lodge at the time?
     
  9. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    I actually have St. Andrew's Lodge records 1762-1801, and there is no record of any Black men in America receiving the degrees or being raised in any Lodge in America before 1784.
     
  10. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    Because John Batt, although a member of Irish Military Lodge No. 441 performed the initiations in 1778 on March 6. Irish Military Lodge was not present in Boston at that point. They had evacuated Boston March 17, 1776, and never returned.

    The Grand Lodge of Ireland has already confirmed that there is no record of any initiation or membership of Prince Hall or any other of those listed on the registry on records of Irish Military Lodge.

    Yes, I have John Batt listed as a member of Irish Military Lodge. There is no record of his being Master of Irish Military Lodge. This was a point raised long after African Lodge No. 459 was established.
    John Batt, left with Irish Military Lodge in 1776, but was discharged in 1777, and returned to Boston and joined the Continental Army Dec. 1777, and remained there until June 1778, when he deserted the Continental Army. His military records show this.

    In the book, I actually had Don Hagist as a source for a lot of the Military information during the Revolutionary War...He is an expert.
     
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  11. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    I actually wished there was a method to posting documents and files, but it seems that I cannot.
     
  12. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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    You should be able to depending on file type. Upload a file includes pdfs, zip, txt, jpeg, jpg & others. It would probably depend on what you are using to access the site.
     
  13. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    I am looking at the buttons on the formatting bar, and I don't see a means of uploading a file (pdf).
    There is a insert image url button, a media embed button, but no insert a file button.
     
  14. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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    Next to post reply, do you see a "Upload a File" button?
     
  15. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    The entire matter of who did the initiation of Prince Hall and the other 14 members of African Lodge No. 1 revolve around when the initiation was done.
    According to record attached to this comment (Thanks to Bro. Mark), John Batt was the first Master of the Lodge until after June 1778.

    The first thing you will notice on the record is the top portion that says, "Boston March 6, 1778", there is another document that shows what John Batt was paid that proves that this was the date of the initiation.

    The Second thing you will notice is that the records shows that EAs, FC and Masters were MAID BY, the worthy and amiable GRAND MASTER BATT.

    This immediately raises questions, because according to the Grand Lodge of Ireland, John Batt was never a Grand Master of their Grand Lodge, which is the only means by which any member under their Jurisdiction could designate themselves as such. This come directly from the Grand Archivist, Rebecca Hayes.
    John Batt was neither a Grand Master under St, Andrew's (Scottish) or St. John's (Moderns) Provincial Grand Lodges in Boston (where he resided in March of 1778). So, it shows that John Batt was considered the first Master of African Lodge No. 1 prior to the Charter in 1784. As you can see in the third column, under masters, Prince Hall is also listed as GRAND MASTER (or the head of the Lodge). This tells us that the document was composed after March 6, 1778, at a time when Prince Hall had taken charge of the Lodge, after the desertion of John Batt. We know this for certain, because Prince Hall in a December 28, 1778 record was now doing the initiation.

    What is most interesting about this point is that the record shows THREE COLUMNS, one for EA, the other for FC and Master, and you will see that most of the names are the same throughout the columns, which shows a progression of a particular member through the degrees. What has to be paid attention to is that the Masters column has dates associated with the names, and those dates are when those members were MAID MASTERS. And, all of them are AFTER March 6, 1778, with the exception of Prince Hall. We know that Prince Hall was initiated on March 6, 1778 (not raised), because his name appears on the listing of those INITIATED on March 6, 1778. So, the initiation didn't happen on March 6, 1775, but on March 6, 1778; this would exclude Irish Military Lodge from taking part in this initiation, because they were in New York fighting the New York Campaign. Irish Military Lodge eventually became a founding lodge of the Grand Lodge of New York (MS) in 1781, they eventually left New York for England in 1783.

    So, according to the records, John Batt was the FIRST MASTER, and he did the initiations all by his lonesome...African Lodge No. 1 was not a regular group until 1784, six years after their initial Initiation....
     

    Attached Files:

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  16. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    This is all interesting stuff.... Do you think the man Prince Hall was ever a "regular" Freemason ?

    It's hardly surprising to read of Freemasons being made without warrant. It was common in the 1700's. Even here in the 1860's they were doing that.. how we think of regularity now encompassing men being initiated under warrants was not always followed..

    If Prince Hall was never a regular Freemason, does it rally matter 200+ years on with Prince Hall GLs being regular ? Some might say it does, and those saying that would either be racists, dogmatic zealots, or Freemasons looking to absorb large groups of members.

    Gee, are you getting some hate mail on this ?
     
  17. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    Yes, African Lodge achieved Regularity in 1784 with the issuing of the Charter from England (Modern GL). Keep in mind, the records of African Lodge provide three stages of development for African Lodge:

    1. African Lodge No. 1 (1778-1783)
    2. African Lodge No. 459 (1784-1826)
    3. African Grand Lodge (1826-1847)

    My book deals with only the FIRST developmental stage of African Lodge (the formative years), the years prior to the charter in 1784. it can be shown without a shadow of doubt, that March 6, 1775 is an incorrect date for the initiation of the first members of African Lodge; that July 3, 1776 is an incorrect date for the formation of African Lodge No. 1; there was no permit provided by Irish Military Lodge and no participation from them in any of the actions of John Batt.

    I am aware of the fact that much of the way we view regularity and what is considered standards were not in place during the time, but one thing for sure is this, John Batt had NO AUTHORITY to confer degrees on any person, let alone 15 persons in ONE DAY. I suspect John Batt of degree peddling, and Prince Hall and those brothers wanting to embrace Freemasonry as a means of setting their community on the le vel with white society of Boston (then) were duped into believing they were regularly receiving the degrees.
    The light brought to this point is the letter that Prince Hall wrote to William Moody (WM of Brotherly Lodge Lodge No. 55 London) in 1784. He failed to disclose any connection to John Batt or any permit from him or Irish Military Lodge, he only mentioned the permit African Lodge received from Provincial Grand Master John Rowe. I think this was strategic on the part of Prince Hall to place the years of operation implicitly under the permit of Rowe. The mention of John Batt, and his solo conferral would have raised eyebrows among the brothers of England and hurt the cause and objective of receiving the long sought after warrant of constitution.

    1778 has no bearing on the Modern standing of any Grand Lodge under the PHA designation. 1784 healed any deviations or irregularities.
    Hate mail?
    LOL, no, just some very reluctant Elders who are trying to ignore the book for as long as they can...
     
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  18. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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  19. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    @MRichard, it is very well possible that they did peition St. John's Provincial GL, they did receive a permit from PGM John Rowe. I would conclude that he petitioned them and the permit was the result of the petition (I have my own thoughts on the permit).
    There is no record with the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts showing any "formal" petition, but we know that to receive the permit, they had to have had some contact with the Provincial Grand Lodge (St. John's).
    I think that after receiving the permit, although said document did not give provision to make masons, African Lodge did do so, and had been making masons since 1778. African Lodge saw the handicap in the permit received from St. John's and decided to go to the source.

    An interesting point to contemplate is the fact that African Lodge did not go through the Provincial Grand Lodge to obtain the warrant, but went AROUND them...The Provincial Grand Lodge could have been the liaison between the Grand Lodge of England and African Lodge, but African Lodge went through Brotherly Love Lodge No. 55 and WM William Moody...That was interesting.

    To further support a contention, at the formation of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1792, although African Lodge had a BONA FIDE WARRANT from the very same place St. John's Provincial Grand Lodge had received, both warrant and dispensation, they were excluded in the formation of that Grand Lodge. Had they been invited and received, there would be no such thing as Prince Hall Freemasonry, and there would have been ONE GRAND LODGE per State.
     
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  20. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Thanks - you provably want to dump that pic from your signature, people often complain of such a large signature on this board..

    So, how and why do you think the story of the Irish Lodge became established lore ?
     

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