Know all men by these presents:
Thus were we greeted by the Grand Lodge of England, on the 20th day of September A.L. 5784, A.D. 1784; the following said Greeting and warranted 459, granted by the Grand Lodge of England on petition of Prince Hall, Boston Smith, Thomas Sanderson, and several other Masons, of Boston, constituting them into a regular Lodge for Free and Accepted Masons.
To all and ever our Right Worshipful and loving Brethren, we, Thomas Hall, Earl of Effingham, Lord Howard, etc., etc., etc.; acting Grand Master under the authority of His Royal Highness, Henry Frederice, Duke of Cumberland, etc., etc., etc., Grand Master of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, send Greetings:
Know ye, that we, at the humble petition of our right trust and well beloved Brethren Prince Hall, Boston Smith, Thomas Sanderson, and several other Brethren residing in Boston, New England, in North America, do hereby constitute the said Brethrren into 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 petition hereby appoint the said 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 proper by the Brethren thereof, it being our will that this our appointment of the above officers shall in no wise affect any future election of officers of the Lodge, but that such election shall be regulated agreeably by such by-laws of said Lodge as shall be consistent with the general laws of the Society, contained in the Book of Constitution and we hereby will require you, the said Prince Hall, to take especial care that all and everyone of said Brethren are, or 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 the purpose, an account of your proceedings in the Lodge, together with such rules, orders, and regulations as shall be made for the good government of the same; that in no wise you will omit once in every year to send to us, or our successors, Grand Master, or to to Roland Holt, Esq., our Deputy Grand Master, for the time being, an account in writing of your said proceedings and copies of all such rules, orders and regulations as shall be made as aforesaid, together with a list of the members of the Lodge, and such sum of money as may suit the circumstances of the Lodge, and reasonably be expected toward the Grand Charity.
Moreover, we hereby will and require you the said Prince Hall, as soon as conveniently may be, to send an account in writing, of what may be done by virtue of these presents.
Given at London under the hand and seal of Masonry, this 20th day of September A.L. 5784 A.D. 1784.
By the Grand Master's Command
Witness: Wm. White, G.S.
R. Holt, D.G.M
About the actual document...
"In 1869 a fire destroyed Massachusetts' Grand Lodge headquarters and a number of its priceless records. The charter in its metal tube was in the Grand Lodge chest. The tube saved the charter from the flames, but the intense heat charred the paper. It was at this time that Grand Master S. T. Kendall crawled into the burning building and in peril of his life, saved the charter from complete destruction. Thus a Grand Master's devotion and heroism further consecrated this parchment to us, and added a further detail to its already interesting history. The original Charter No. 459 has long since been made secure between heavy plate glass and is kept in a fire-proof vault in a downtown Boston bank."