‘Pennsylvania Academy’s plans for October’
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II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATES supreme and subordinate.On its surface, the Second Charge is rather specific. A Free Mason is not to plot or conspire against his nation. However, how would the likes of Brothers Benjamin Franklin and George Washington – the Charges having been around for some time by the beginning of the American Revolution – reconcile themselves to the possibility that they could honor the Second Charge and be involved in a revolution against Britain, which was their nation? It is possible that there is a loophole in the Charge and it is further possible that the American Masons who involved themselves in “plots and conspiracies” against Britain may have recognized it or have at least used it to justify their actions.
A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos'd to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer'd the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish'd in Times of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State he is not to be countenanc'd in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being; they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.*
“I regard the non-affiliate, in most instances, as a parasite on the body of Masonry,” he said, “and is generally one who is wanting in appreciation of the true nature and purpose of the Order, and when admitted finds himself out of harmony with the whole trend of its teachings, or one who has sought admission from unworthy and improper motives….” What was to be the solution to the “bane of Masonry in the present age”? Bro. Dendy suggested that the Lodges take a more critical look at applicants for admission, “a more searching inquiry, not only as to the physical qualifications and moral fitness, but also as to the intellectual capacity of candidates to apprehend and appreciate the sublime teachings and mysteries of Free Masonry.” 11. Source: Cornwell, Ross & Willis, Samuel M. A History of Freemasonry in