EXTRACT - 2
Pages 124-126 (AMERICA AND CANADA)
During the last few months our Members have received various communications from the Masonic Brethren – Judge Parrish, W.B Lord, Darius Wilson. These circular letters are altogether so contradictory and misleading in themselves to uniformed Masons that, much as we object to give publicity to these American scandals, we feel compelled to place before our readers a series of explanations which may remove from their minds the cloud of doubt which these documents must necessarily raise as to – who is who! This explanation we will give in a series of short paragraphs, treating all the difficulties as they arise.
Although several minor charters were issued to America in 1856 which were transferred to Bro\Seymour, yet the first authority for a Sovereign Sanctuary 95 degrees was issued to Henry J. Seymour, 33-96 by J.E. Marconis, 33-97 and the Grand Orient of France in 1862It is however, allowed that a charter was originally issued to a Br\ Bernard, whom the Rite refused to accept, cancelled. Seymour received into the 33-95 a Mason of the name Calvin C. Burt, who was expelled from the Craft for dishonourable conduct, and accordingly he stood expelled from all degrees of our Rite. Meantime the Grand Orient of France issued a Concordat regulating all the degrees of our Rite with 33 degrees of the A.A. Rite, and acting upon this Seymour and his Sovereign Sanctuary arranged to reduce the degrees to 33 by eliminated the more useless names where no ceremony was attached. It is clear that in law Seymour could only sell or give what he had received, and the reductions is valid on no one who chooses to repudiate it. In such case, where the reduction is objected to, it is only necessary to recall the eliminated names; besides which all the American patents issued to this and other countries were on the old form of 95 degrees down to 1872, and even after that date.
The expelled Calvin C. Burt then declared himself Grand Master of the Rite of 95 Degrees, and went on receiving members into it and, as was always alleged, applied the fees for doing so to his own use. In point of fact, his Masonic standing in the United States was at no time other than of Masonic imposture. It is fair to add, however, that Burt asserts that he obtained re-admittance to the Craft and had his expulsion cancelled. This may or may not be so, and it is very little consequence, for he stood expelled in our Rite, and had made himself the leader of a spurious body, which was looked upon everywhere as an imposture and a swindle, and tending to bring disgrace upon the genuine bodies of our Ancient and Primitive Rite.
While all this was occurring the genuine Sovereign Sanctuary of America became dissatisfied with the conduct of Harry J. Seymour, and the Grand officers determined to purchase him out at a cost of 3.000 dollars. Seymour took the dollars, resigned his office to the Sovereign Sanctuary of America, with all patents, charters, rituals, documents and privileges whatsoever, and notified the same to the world. Upon this the Sov. Sanctuary of America elected as its Grand Master an honourable and high-minded gentleman, Professor Alexander B. Mott, 33 – 96, who yet holds the office of Grand Master by re-election. It follows from this that there is only one legitimate body of our Rite in America, namely – that presided over by Bro\ Mott; all others are spurious, and we have no excuse for holding relations with them. Anything contrary to this which may reach our members is Yankee bunkum and humbug.
The next step in this farce was as follows. The spurious Egyptian Rite of Memphis, presided over by Calvin C. Burt, became dissatisfied with their chief, and he (Burt) agreed to sell out to Darius Wilson for 1.000 dollars. A small hole and corner meeting, the circular of Bro\ Lord informs us, was held of a few members who were favourable to Darius Wilson - about eight we believe - who were said to represent 506 chapters, and 10.319, members, which was probably a mathematical calculation of what they might expect to get before the world came to an end. But a remainder of the prospective ten thousand members refused to agree to Darius Wilson’s purchase of the Rite, and elected Judge Parrish as their Grand Master. Thus there came into existence two spurious branches of our Rite; besides which Calvin C. Burt continued to confer degrees. This led to a judicial tribunal in which Wilson expelled Burt, and it was found:
- The said Burt is a liar.
- The said Burt is a swindler.
- The said Burt is a counterfeiter.
Against Wilson himself the following charges are made: (we do not, of course, vouch for all of them, and if not true, we render him a favour in informing him of them.)
- His order is confined to a few hundred members of the 95 degrees, with whom he divided the fees for admission.
- He is running the Rite as a private speculation out of which he can make a living.
- That he is not a lawfully qualified medical practitioner.
The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts formally endorsed the assertion, that Wilson is running the Rite to make money, and expelled him from the Craft. It was an excess of zeal on part of Massachusetts, and has led Wilson into conferring the Craft degrees, wherever such intolerant Grand Lodges exist. We need only say that whilst every brother will admit that Wilson had a right to recoup himself fir his outlay of 1.000 dollars, yet any brother in this country who attempted to run a Masonic system in the lines upon which this is done, would be deservedly treated as a Masonic swindler.
The next irregularity arose in CANADA. Grand Master Mott believing that Canada was included in his charter, established a Grand Mystic Temple 32-94 in that dominion, upon which our Sovereign Sanctuary gave them a Mizraim Charter. Canada, dissatisfied with holding from the United States, instead of waiting for a charter declared themselves independent, and elected Bro\ Geo. C.
Longley, 33-95 as G. M. of a Sovereign Sanctuary and, as Darius Wilson had also established a Sovereign Sanctuary in Canada the two united in a fraternal manner as one body. Meantime G. M. Longley had chartered Bro\ W. B. Lord, of the United States, as G. M. of Mizraim, in opposition to G. M. Mott, who also claimed to confer Mizraim in virtue of being an honorary member of our own body.
But these complications were not yet and end. Seymour had a Mizraim patent, obtained in 1862, which he sold to Darius Wilson, as a genuine charter. Seymour could however, give Wilson no powers in our Rite, for he had none to give, he had sold and handed over every power to G. M. Mott. We know, however, that a 30-90 degrees charter had been stolen from Mott and handed by Seymour to Wilson. Of course such a stolen charter could carry with it not validity, and was at best only a council charter (30 degrees). Bro\ Lord, in his circular of January 21st, 1884, says, that our own Grand Examiner General (meaning Ill\ Bro\ Campbell), after due search says, that if Seymour had a document it was a forgery. But that is altogether a mistake. Seymour was over in England in 1872, and informed the writer of this personally that he had exchanged with Donald Campbell a Mizraim for a Memphis certificate; moreover, in 1873, Bro\ Donald Campbell at a personal interview told the writer that he held Mizraim powers from Whyte Melville, and had a 90 degrees certificate to Harry J. Seymour. The facts remains, however, that Seymour made no use of his Mizraim power and allowed Bro\ Lord to occupy the ground without protest. But we ought to have all the facts of the case as regards Seymour and Wilson, before drawing any inference as to the respective validity of the antagonistic claims of Lord Wilson.
It is to Wilson’s credit that he proposed a union with Mott’s body, but the terms were such that Mott refused compliance, and that we think in justice to himself. But it might be possible for Dr. Mott and Judge Parrish to unite their forces. Lord might join either with Mott or Wilson, probably the former.
Is there no man of influence amongst these several bodies that will strive to bring about a consummation so devoutly to be wished as union?
There another alternative, for the sake of peace and quietness, as regards Wilson, which is favoured by circumstances. The circumstances are as follows and it would depend upon Wilson himself whether he would accept recognition o such terms:
- We have shown that he is altogether a spurious and irregular member of our Rite, and he seems to have accepted the situation by detaching himself from all its traditions and forming a new Rite, inasmuch as he has compiled an entirely new Egyptian Ritual of 95 degrees, in which every grade is based on the antagonism which existed in old times between the Hyksos and native Egyptians. Might not, therefore, the regular Sovereign Sanctuaries accept it as a third Rite? We understand that a Limerick and Glasgow Brother are prepared to propose and second such proposal, but it could only be accepted subject to some limitations; we could not recognise the whole of his members is true, and it would be necessary to limit our recognition of members of the 95 degrees, to about a dozen Grand Officers of his governing body.
We leave our brethren to think over these ideas. We feel sure that they will agree with us in the desirability of keeping up the standing of our Rite, by admitting none but good and true Masons in their Chapters, and by supporting only the respectable and regular Sovereign Sanctuaries of the Rite.
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