Question:

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

  1. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    Im not saying i dont recognize them....ive sat in a PH lodge and had PH bros sit in our lodge. They are regular now and i understand that they were irregularly formed...but they got a warrent even though they were black. So the rascism has nothing to do with it. I think if he had explained that they were missled by Batt they still woulda got their warrent.

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  2. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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    Racism had nothing to do with it. You lost me there.
     
  3. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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  4. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    @jdmadsenCraterlake211, you may be right in that sentiment, that maybe they would have received the warrant if he would have disclosed the initial illegal work of John Batt, but maybe he wasn't taking any chances.
    Again, we have the luxury of sitting in 2016 making judgments on what could have or what would have been.

    We can make those judgments, but we have to make them fairly...

    I don't think Racism was an issue in the granting of the Charter by the Grand Lodge of England, but the fact that they were not members of the ALREADY ESTABLISHED LODGES in Boston may be a product of that.
     
  5. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Thanks !

    "Know ye that we, at the humble petition of our Right Trusty and well beloved brethren, Prince Hall, Boston Smith, Thomas Sanderson, and several other brethren residing in Boston, New England, North America, do hereby constitute the said brethren into a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, under the title or denomination of the African Lodge, to be opened in Boston, aforesaid, and do further, at their said petition and of the great trust and confidence reposed in every of the said above-named brethren, hereby appoint the Prince Hall to be Master; Boston Smith, Senior Warden and Thomas Sanderson, Junior Warden, for the opening of the said Lodge, and for such further time only as shall be thought by the brethren thereof, it being our will that this our appointment of the above said officers, shall in affect any further election said Lodge, but that such election shall be regulated agreeable to such By-Laws of the said Lodge as shall be consistent with the Grand Law of the society contained in the Book of Constitutions: and we hereby will, and require of you the said Prince Hall, to take special care that all and every the said brethren are to have been regularly made Masons, and that they do observe, perform, and keep all the rules and orders contained in the Book of Constitutions; and, further, that you do from time to time cause to be entered, in a book kept for that purpose, an account of your proceedings in the Lodge, together with all such Rules,"

    My bolds.... interesting - a regular lodge can only be comprised if regular brethren...
     
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  6. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    It's a good point.. but we're not talking about regularity of Prince Hall GL but the formation of the lodge under Prince Hall.. and I'm not "complaining" - I'm interested in a rich part of masonic history :)
     
  7. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    There was such a neatness to pointing out that Prince Hall arose because some Irish Freemasons were NOT racists but initiated a group of coloured men in Boston.... you're wreaked out story :)
     
  8. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    @Bloke
    Keep in mind, that England had NO KNOWLEDGE of how Prince Hall was made, all they knew was what Prince Hall told William Moody, which was that they had been operating under a permit from John Rowe.
    John Rowe was a Provincial Grand Master under the Grand Lodge of England, and in their mind was where Prince Hall and the other brothers received their degrees.

    In addition, the statement, "do hereby constitute the said brethren into a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons..." only indicated the power of the Charter, and that by virtue of the charter, they would be Free and Accepted Masons.
    The charge to make sure that all brothers were Regularly made mason was a charge to be applied from the issuing of the charge and not retroactive.
    Truth of the matter was there were many of them irregularly and clandestinely made.

    The permit from John Rowe did not provide African Lodge No. 1 with the power to MAKE MASONS. Yet, from 1778-1784 we find about 40+ members from the original 15...How many of them were regularly made in 1784? NONE OF THEM.
     
  9. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Well, the main question then becomes; is that typical? And if atypical, does it really matter because i doubt it was unique....

    Does the "permit " from John Rowe specifically prohibit the working of degrees under it ?
     
  10. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    @Bloke Prince Hall stated that the permit only gave them the power to assemble as masons, march in procession and bury their dead. The permit gave them no power to make masons, hence one of the reason he sought the Charter.

    Here are more interesting questions:

    1. If Prince Hall approached John Rowe for some form of documentation to operate as a Lodge, why would he not either provide the charter for them or act as a liaison for him to get it from England?

    2. Why would the permit he provided only provide those three specific powers?

    3. Why after the reception of the permit wasn't African Lodge then brought under the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts?

    I would say the circumstance were indeed unique....
     
  11. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Really unique ? What makes it so is the Masonic Limbo Prince Hall lodges latter found themselves in, but there are probably other cases, lost in the mists of time because they are now not seen as so important...

    Provincial GMs seem notorious for this sort of thing - leaving or creating messy situations; they were here. Google tells me Rowe was a slaver, that might have been a factor... .

    Rowe was the Provincial GL "from England" ? The Moderns or Ancients ? If Africa Lodge was working under England, they are hardly going to necessarily join GM Massachuetts - who I assume were Ancients ? .. (We've still got a lodge here working under UGLE 130 years after our local GL was formed... ) as I assume the traditional lodge where Prince Hall was initiated were also Ancients...... to say nothing of the American War of Independence placing a wedge between lodges in England and what would become the USA... There's lot of apples and oranges going on even in what you've told me; its hard to compare apples and oranges ..
     
  12. mrpierce17

    mrpierce17 KOP Council director / Lodge instructor Premium Member

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    Interesting questions indeed I always wondered about number 3 myself
     
  13. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    Interesting...I think this was a first for African American and the dilemma of issuing a charter to Free Negroes.

    Could have been, the only issue is why issue anything at all? Rowe could have simply refused the request.
    Plus, Slavery didn't end until 1783 in Massachusetts...

    Yes, Rowe was the Provincial Grand Master for the St. John's Provincial Grand Lodge which was under the Moderns Grand Lodge of England. The St. Andrew's Provincial Grand Lodge was considered Antient, but it was really under the Constitution of Scotland.

    Firstly, and most primarily, Prince Hall was NOT initiated in ANY LODGE. So, the point of him being initiated in an Antient Lodge is a no go.
    Prince Hall was initiated by John Batt without the assistance or presence of ANY LODGE.
    Prince Hall received a permit from the St. John's PGL, and a Charter from the Governing Body of that entity, and was still excluded from the formation of the GL of Massachusetts in 1792 of which St. John's Provincial GL was the primary entity in its formation.

    It was unique in the sense, that no other Lodges would have received that snub. Even St. Andrew's was invited and they were rivals.
     
  14. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Do you think he was "initiated" in the presence of John Batt alone; without any other Freemason being present ?
     
  15. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    That is what the documentation states, and this is what I wholeheartedly know was the case. The entirety of my book deals with this subject.
     
  16. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    So did he just obligate him then? I dont know how one man could do the entirety of a degree?

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  17. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    How the degrees were conferred isn't known, whether there was an obligation of some sort, but I know for a fact it was ONE person involved, and he initiated all 15 on the same day...They were passed and raised at different times.

    I posted a document in the Prince Hall Research portion of the forum, that shows the registry.
    On that registry, John Batt is designated GRAND MASTER.

    Was John Batt making masons on sight?

    Just a question...

    We know that no Lodge was involved, and that John Batt had no authority to confer the degrees on ONE PERSON, let alone 15 one one day. This reeks of degree peddling.
     
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  18. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I would imagine you have formed a view in your book,,,
     
  19. MasonicAdept

    MasonicAdept Premium Member

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    I have presented my research and finding...
     
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    No matter the details of the back story, the charter from the Premier Grand Lodge of England establishes the Brothers of African Lodge 459 as regular. We don't necessarily know if getting that charter counted as healing for some or all of them but having that charter settled the matter. As I've been reading the discussion I've been thinking of all the parts of the story and that's the piece that fell into place for me. Charter equals regular. Name on a charter equals acceptance. History before that goes form crucial to interesting, even fascinating. History before that is history.

    It was racism that kept 459 from being accepted into the forming GLs of New England. It is still racism that keeps recognition from happening in both directions in many states. I accept that once 459 was large enough to hive other lodges it was time for them to do that and once there were at least 3 it was time to organize their own jurisdiction. Not the usual process but it's the only choice they had at the time. It took until the 1980s for that process to be retroactively declared regular. So here too history goes from crucial to interesting, even fascinating. History before that is history.

    I'm a history buff so I love history. Reading through this discussion it took a while for me to realize that two transitions are involved - Regularity guaranteed at the point of receiving a charter. Regularity guaranteed at the point of receiving recognition.
     

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