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Bro. Washington on St. John's Day
‘Masonic philatelists to meet’
44 minutes ago
That the Grand Lodge do constitute our worthy Brother, Joel R. Poinsett, the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, near the Republic of Mexico, the Agent and Representative of the Grand Lodge, for the purpose of establishing friendly relations with the Lodges of that Republic. That our said Representative be authorized, in the manner of the Grand Lodge, to visit and inspect the working of the said Lodges, and, if deemed expedient, to grant dispensations for the constituting and working of Lodges according to the ancient landmarks, as fixed by this Grand Lodge; with a request that he will communicate to the Grand Lodge such information and advice as will enable it to promote the cause of Masonry in that country.3There is, therefore, little doubt that the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina clearly desired to establish Lodges in Mexico. South Carolina, like several Grand Lodges of the time, had a history of establishing Lodges in territories not already occupied by another Grand Lodge. It had done so before in places such as Alabama and Cuba.4
and neither the Grand Lodge of South Carolina nor any other Grand Lodge had the right to intrude and interfere with the lawful sovereignty of the Grand Lodge of Mexico. The Grand Lodge of South Carolina certainly did not – it granted to one of its Past Officers, it is true, while it was ignorant of the real condition of affairs, the authority so to do, but we have no evidence that he ever availed himself of the authority, nor is it likely, with the knowledge he possessed of the condition of things, of which his superiors in South Carolina were ignorant, that he would commit so egregious an error as to interfere with the legally organized jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of a foreign country in which he was temporarily residing.6The story of Poinsett’s Masonic activities in Mexico does not end there. Mackey, referencing a pamphlet issued by a George Fisher in 1859 and entitled “Freemasonry in Mexico: It’s Origin, etc.: Illustrated by original documents not heretofore published,” claims that Poinsett was actually working as the proxy of the Grand Master of New York and, in 1825, obtained charters from New York for three Lodges in Mexico. Fisher, who Mackey reports to have been a Mason from California who was residing in Mexico in 1825, may have been in a position to be an accurate observer of the Masonic conditions in that country. Based on this information, Poinsett could possibly be considered as the man who brought Freemasonry to Mexico; not on behalf of his own Grand Lodge in South Carolina but on behalf of the one in New York.7
In the character of a Master Mason, you are authorized to correct the errors and irregularities of your uninformed brethren…From these excerpts, it is recognized that a Master Mason has certain responsibilities concerning uninformed Brethren. Maybe somewhat strangely, the Charge of a Master Mason does not identify who are considered the uninformed Brethren. It could possibly be argued that the uninformed are the Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts, but the charge does not specifically say that. If Master Masons are included as possible members of the group of the uninformed or less informed, however, then a contradiction of sorts appears.
…and by the regularity of your own behavior afford the best example for the conduct of others less informed.1
Such Masons are distinguished, not by the amount of knowledge that they possess, but by the number of jewels that they wear. They will give fifty dollars for a decoration, but not fifty cents for a book.2So what does an informed Master Mason have on his reading list? He can have many books but – in the Grand Jurisdiction of South Carolina – there is one book that he must have as his primary reference. It is the Ahiman Rezon which contains the Constitution and Code. He must also have that personal working knowledge of the rituals, which includes the lectures. If he has those two things, studies them, and understands them; then he very likely cannot be grouped with the uninformed Brethren. He will also be able to comply with his Master Mason’s Charge.