Craft Masonry in Albany County, New York - Onondaga and Oswego ...

Craft Masonry in Albany County, New York - Onondaga and Oswego ...

It was now evident that a general unity and harmony had been established throughout the State between the Grand Body and the

Subordinates. The kindliness of spirit on the part of Masters’ Lodge was pointedly manifest in the letter of the committee, consisting

of Philip S. Van Rensselaer, Thomas Ellison and Casparus Hewson, dated January, 1795, when replying to the Grand Secretary in

New York City, who had announced the action of the Grand Lodge. The committee say, “We are charged to express the satisfaction

of Masters’ Lodge on the terms of accommodation being acceded to by the Grand Lodge, and with our thanks to you for the trouble

of communicating the information, have further to request that you will be pleased to give us instructions for our conduct as far as

respects the Grand Lodge.” This letter and the complimentary resolutions of the acceptance of jurisdiction, were read in Grand


It will, however, be distinctly noted that the Grand Lodge had not demanded the old Warrant of Masters’ Lodge, and tendered a new

one in its place. This gave rise to subsequent controversy, if not trouble.

In the mean time, an episode had occurred in Masters’ Lodge, showing all was not harmonious within. The before mentioned

committee, Brothers Van Rensselaer, Hewson, and Ellison, had been appointed by the Lodge when in regular Communication Dec.

8, 1794. An Extra Lodge was opened in due form January 12, 1795, present Sebastian Visscher, Master, pro tem; Daniel McEvers,

Senior Warden, pro tem; William Haggerty, Junior Warden, pro tem. The following resolution was adopted:

“Resolved, That in addition to the Committee appointed on the 8th December last on the Letter received from John Abrams,

Secretary of the Grand Lodge, the name of Bro. Sebastian Visscher be added.”

The Lodge was then closed, and Sebastian Visscher, as Master, pro tem., signed the Minutes.

The above proceedings caused inquiry and the opening of an Extra Lodge in due form, January 23, 1795; Philip S. Van Rensselaer,

Master in the East; James Kinman, Jr., and John Given, Jr., Wardens, P. T.; Brother McEvers, Acting Secretary, and eleven other

members present. On motion of Brother Gansevoort, seconded by Brother Philpot, it was

“Resolved, That the minutes of the Extra Lodge, held on the 12th January, be expunged from the minutes of this Lodge, for the

following reasons:—That the Lodge pretended to have been held was Clandestine, unconstitutional and invalid, inasmuch as the

Members were not respectively warned, the Lamp not as usual Lighted, the Lodge not Masonically tiled, and not one officer of the

Lodge nor any members present, but the members who assumed to themselves the three first offices of the Lodge, though the

officers were actually in town.

“Resolved, That the Master send an authenticated copy of these resolutions to the Grand Lodge, and request them to give no

confidence or credence to any appointment, or instructions that may be exhibited to them under authority of such Clandestine


“Resolved, unanimously, That Brothers Haggerty and McEvers having declared to the Lodge, that they were ignorant of the Bye-

Laws of the Lodge, which rendered their Meeting Clandestine, the Members—giving credence to their declarations—are charitably

disposed to accept their apology, and forbear passing resolutions of censure against them.

“Resolved, That Brother Visscher be summoned to assign his reasons to said Lodge for having been one of the Members who

composed the said Clandestine Lodge.”

The minutes of this Extra Lodge were certified by the Secretary, Elisha Kane, forwarded to the Grand Lodge, and there read, March

4, 1795. Accompanying the same was an apologetic letter from the Secretary, Elisha Kane, in which he says: “As business of

particular importance prevented me from attending the last Extra and Regular Meetings of Masters’ Lodge, I was therefore

unacquainted with the transactions since my last attendance. I was sorry to find when called on by the Worshipful Master, that I had

inconsiderately given the sanction of my name as Secretary to certain proceedings which appear entirely Clandestine. Lest I should

incur the bare supposition of improper behaviour in the breasts of the Members of the Grand Lodge, I beg leave to assure them,

through you, that I should not have given my signature, had I not supposed that the proceedings were regular, and had not

Sebastian Visscher who brought them to me assured me that it was the order of the Lodge that I should sign them; for although I

had not been personally warned, I supposed that others had and that the Lodge had been regularly held.”

This letter, addressed to the Grand Secretary, with other papers, was ordered to be filed, and the Grand Secretary, John Abrams,

further instructed to acknowledge the receipt of them in a suitable manner. This he did, informing Brother Elisha Kane that he was

“amply acquitted in the mind of every individual member of having been designedly accessory to the Clandestine meeting of

Masters’ Lodge, of the 12th January.”

Brother Visscher with his “credentials” did not offer to appear before the Grand Lodge. The subject matter of this Brother’s

ambitions, for the time, seems to have dropped out of importance.

Matters of various import having occupied the attention of the Grand Lodge, it had become forgetful of the original Warrants still held

by several old Lodges, and under which they worked while acknowledging the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge; but on January 18,

1797, mention was made that the Right Worshipful the Deputy Grand Master was going soon to Albany, and the following resolution

was unanimously adopted:

“Resolved, That he be requested to take charge of the delinquent Lodges in Poughkeepsie and Albany who have not surrendered

their original Warrants; that he be authorized to receive and cancel the same, and to furnish new ones under the jurisdiction of this

Grand Lodge; and also to commute with the said Lodges for their respective dues.”

The report of the Deputy Grand Master was made on the 6th September, that in pursuance of the directions given him on the 18th

January, “he had met the brethren of Masters’ Lodge in Albany; that he had made known to the brethren the request of the Grand

Lodge with respect to the surrender of their old Warrant. That the Lodge had appointed a Committee for conference, who had drawn

up a report which was shown to the Deputy Grand Master by the Chairman, in which they recommend to their Lodge a compliance


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