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THURSDAY, MAY 19, 1831. A CONVENTION OF DELEGATES, elected in conformity to a recommendation of the Antimasonic State Committee of Massachusetts assembled this day at Faneuil Hall, in the City of Boston, agreeable to previous arrangements. Two hundred and fortyfive members were present.
The Convention was called to order by Hon. George 'ONIORNE, the oldest member from Suffolk.
On motion, it was
Vored, That Messrs. Amasa Walker of Suffolk, and William B. Breed of Essex, be a Committee to receive and examine the credentials of the Delegates to this Convention.
The following gentlemen were nominated and elected Officers of the Convention.
Hon. TIMOTHY FULLER, of Middlesex, President.
Voted, That this Convention will now attend prayers, and that the Rev. Mr. Goffe, of Worcester, be requested to officiate.
That Benjamin F. Hallett, Esq., of Rhode Island, be invited to a seat as an honorary member.
That a Committee of one from each County, to wit,Messrs. Hall, of Suffolk, Oliver, of Essex, Ames, of Plymouth, Brinley, of Norfolk, Bowman of Middlesex, Bennett, of Bristol, Starkweather, of Hampshire, Hoar, of Hampden, and Wells, of Franklin, be a Committee to invite snch gentlemen of their respect tive Counties as are present, to take seats as honorary members of this Convention.
That a Committee of five, to wit,-Messrs. Rice, of Worcester, Bailey, of Norfolk, Barnes of Suffolk, Gifford, of Bristol, and Breed, of Essex, be chosen to propose rules and orders for the government of this Convention.
That the Antimasonic State Committee be requested to report on such matters as they may deem pertinent to the cause of Antimasonry.
Doctor Abner Phelps, Chairman of said Committee, then made the following
AND GENTLEMEN OF THE CONVENTION,
The patriotic citizens of Massachusetts are here assembled by their Delegates. No common occurrence; no trivial event; no ambitious project, has occasioned it. Intelligence and cool delibération counteract and forbid unnecessary excitement. But this numerous and punctual attendance from distant Counties; this yenerable appearance and crowded auditory, evince public sentiment upon a subject worthy of grave contemplation.
We have come up to Faneuil Hall, which our Fathers consecrated to Liberty. Here was inspired American Independence; here it was fostered in its Cradle, and here were roused those mighty energies which strangled the British LION.
We enter this place to day, with holy devotion, and anxious solicitude, as we humbly trust, for the political salvation of our country. We come “10 consult upon the common good, seek redress of wrongs and grievances suffered" from Secret Societies.
Wrongs the most cruel and criminal have been committed, and multiplied grievances arisen, that can be no longer endured. On looking round for the cause of these evils, we are struck with astonishment and alarm at the disclosures. So much has been published already, that your Committee apprehend a brief statement of facts will, at this time be most acceptable to the Convention.
The Suffolk Committee were first appointed by a numerous body of their fellow citizens in August, 1829, “to investigate the nature, principles, and tendency of FREEMASONRY.' No member of the Board had ever been initiated. They felt the kindest feelings towards many members of the Fraternity; and they still cherish those feelings. They entertained a sincere desire to discharge their duty without injury to any man, impartially and faithfully to the public. Had considerations of a private or personal nature been suffered to operate on their minds, they would have declined the labour, expense and difficulties of the investigation.
Various methods were resorted to, by influential members of the Fraternity, to induce all, or nearly every individual of the Committee to withdraw. A specimen, or two, may be mentioned, merely to show the character of the opposition. Some were told that the Institution is very charitable, very ancient and honourable, the handmaid of religion ; that the good, the wise, and the great of all ages had belonged to it. That Washington, Franklin, and Lafayette
were masons. Would they, it was asked, belong to a bad Institution ? Others were told that the greatest and most respectable men in the nation, civil and military, learned divines, pious clergymen, and other highly esteemed citizens were now Masons. said they,
“ look at their characters, and judge of the Institution of Freemasonry. There's no need of any inquiry; there surely is no necessity for further investigation."
To this, in substance, was replied, “These things may be so; the Institution may be very ancient; but every good system is benefitted by close examination. The public, however, seem to demand, at least, probable evidence that Freemasonry is very ancient. If it has existed from Anno Lucis, as it pretends, or from the days of Solomon, or from the time of St. John, or from any other period previous to the last century, there must be evidence of the fact. One would suppose some ancient history must have recorded it; customs and ceremonies alluded to it; and that ancient relics, masonic plates, inscriptions and emblems from foundations of old monuments, castles and temples must now exist to demonstrate it. And further; great and good men have no doubt been made
We admire their characters, and will inquire whether they became initiates from what they before knew of the Institution, or from what they were previously told by interested men: whether Freemasonry made or tended to make them great and good ? and in proof, whether such men, generally, have been the most thorough Lodge-going Masons ? Or, whether, after a short acquaintance with the secrets and mysteries of the order, they have not ceased to attend ? For if so, this NEGLECT from such men, must be evidence against the concern. We cannot suppose that Washington, Franklin, or Lafayette would have neglected a good Institution
Such suggestions as these were by no means satisfactory to individuals of the Fraternity. The Masons appeared to dread more than any thing an investigation of their Institution. Sometimes, intimations were thrown out, calculated to operate on the fears of the Committee. They were told of the great numbers, the tremendous power and influence of the Fraternity: that Boston contained 6000 Freemasons, and the United States more than 350,000 : that if the Committee proceeded, a host of enemies would rise up against them: that DESPERATE FELLOWS were in the INSTITUTION ! and it could not be put down ! Toil and labour cannot affect it. No man can stand before it." With significant looks and gestures, they said, “Your business and occupations will be injured. Your interests and prospects will be cut off; a civil war will be created; there will be blood! Your characters and reputations will be ruined."
“ If such,” said the Committee, “be the POWER and DISPOSITION of Freemasonry, there's no hesitation--we give ourselves to the workwe will make the attempt, and try to go through it.-It is the cause of our common country ond of mankind. If we fall, let it be so: if we are sacrificed, it will be on the altar of patriotism. This INSTITUTION MUST BE EXAMINED, ITS GATES THROWN OPEN— ITS COVERING TAKEN OFF
- ITS WALLS
TUE BROAD LIGHT OF DAY LET INTO ITS