“The lion’s grip of the order was upon our courts, and loyalty to that, displaced fealty to the state. If freemasonry ought to be abolished, it should certainly be so abolished as to prevent its restoration. No means of doing this can be conceived so competent as those furnished by the ballot boxes. These means are commended to our adoption, by the most urgent considerations, by their mildness, their safety, their sufficiency, and the tested insufficiency of all others.”
The Anti-Masonic Party
The Proceedings of the United States Anti-Masonic Convention; Address to the People of the United States
“In this alarming emergency, the agents of government seemed paralyzed. Our public institutions and provisions for the preservation of tranquility, and the repression of crime, seemed nugatory. And without the use of other means than the law, and its official ministers, the most daring and brutal inroads, upon our dearest rights, would have passed off, without effort to understand their origin, punish their instruments, or provide against their recurrence. No arts were left untried by freemasons to baffle the pursuit of truth, and defeat the administration of justice.
[pullquote]“That murder has been committed, is now acknowledged by all. That it has been so committed, and the malefactors have acted under such authority, and have been so aided and comforted, as to carry the guilt of treason, cannot be doubted… Shall we forego, in behalf of’ freemasonry, or through fear of it, the primary purpose of civil organization?”[/pullquote]”The lion’s grip of the order was upon our courts, and loyalty to that, displaced fealty to the state. If freemasonry ought to be abolished, it should certainly be so abolished as to prevent its restoration. No means of doing this can be conceived so competent as those furnished by the ballot boxes.
“These means are commended to our adoption, by the most urgent considerations, by their mildness, their safety, their sufficiency, and the tested insufficiency of all others. They are the means provided, by the most venerated of our political fathers. Who shall disparage them? Whoever is opposed to freemasonry and really desires its extinction, must use them, or confess himself a slave or tyrant. To extinguish it, by violence, would be tyranny, if it were possible. To extinguish it, by the expression of honest convictions against it, would not be tyranny, but it cannot be accomplished, unless a majority unite in such expression; and whether they do or not, cannot be ascertained, without a general vote. To desire its [freemasonry’s] extinction, and do nothing to effect it, must proceed from indolence, fear, or the imagined force of assumed obligations in its favour, either of which amounts to a degrading slavery. To such slavery who is willing to submit? In truth none, who are not opposed to using every other means against it, are opposed to using our elective rights against it; and those who are opposed to using our elective rights against it, uniformly use their elective rights in its favour. The higher freemasons are expressly sworn to do it. Thus they adopt a conduct, which they stigmatize in us, as oppressive and persecuting, and which is so, when adopted secretly, by virtue of unlawful obligations, and in favour of a class of citizens, who associate for securing to themselves unequal privileges.
“Anti-masons would defend their rights, the laws of their country, and the most sacred treasures of liberty, from a fearful assault. Seeking to preserve and perpetuate all the blessings intended to be secured, by our government, they would proceed, in the spirit of strict conformity with its provisions. And they invite all, who appreciate these blessings, to join them. They have no secret purposes to accomplish– no selfish objects to promote– no time, nor means to cast away, in idle ostentation, or for useless notoriety. They know the country is in danger; and they come forth, from their retirements, to shield it. On their farms, in their shops, at their counters, in their offices, and at their desks, they have heard the wail of the bereaved widow and orphans, and, feeling the sympathies of humanity, they have inquired how they became so…
“Murder and treason they cannot help regarding with abhorrence, however disguised; and will resist, whoever may perpetrate or abet them. Their chosen weapon of resistance is the right of suffrage– a weapon of equal power in every freeman’s hand, and which is so tempered, as they trust, in the armory of patriotism, that neither the keen nor solid of freemasonry may resist its edge.
[pullquote]”Thus they adopt a conduct, which they stigmatize in us, as oppressive and persecuting, and which is so, when adopted secretly, by virtue of unlawful obligations, and in favour of a class of citizens, who associate for securing to themselves unequal privileges.”[/pullquote]”Fellow citizens, are we called to be anti-masons by the best feelings of our nature? Are our objects the highest that can effect the civil character? Are our means the most approved and indispensable? Unite with us– not for our sakes, but your own– Aid us in working out the redemption of our country from freemasonry. We are misrepresented and calumniated, as the chief public means of defeating the cause we have espoused. Examine by whom, and inquire into their motives. Be not deceived. If individuals among us are in fault, through ignorance, or passion, or interest, or profligacy, refuse them your confidence. But do not, therefore, betray your rights, and those of your country; nor let those beguile you into their support, who prefer secrecy to publicity, and freemasonry to republicanism. We are for practical, peaceable, and most necessary reform– not for the destruction, but the establishment of right. Freedom, in every beneficial sense, is the soul of anti-masonry.
“The first and most prominent injunction of freemasonry is secrecy. Any violation of this it punishes with infamy and death. Secrecy is the shutting up of the mind from communion with other minds. And so far as it prevails, in relation to any social good, it is selfish, sour, ignorant, and restless….
“But there are other members of very different character, who adhere to it, with a tenacity exactly proportioned to their estimate of its adaptation to their evil designs. [George] Washington represented it as capable of being employed for the basest purposes, and never visited a lodge, but once or twice, in the last thirty years of his life.
“To this government freemasonry is wholly opposed. It requires unresisting submission to its own authority in contempt of public opinion– the claims of conscience– and the rights of private judgment. It would dam up the majestic current of improving thoughts, among all its subjects throughout the earth, by restricting beneficial communication. In attempting to do this, it has stained our country with a brother’s blood, tempted many of our influential citizens into the most degrading forms of falsehood, and burst away, with its powers undiminished, its vengeance provoked, and its pollution manifest, from the strong arm of distributive justice…
“It is one of the striking evidences of the wisdom of the framers of our constitution, and a bright presage of its perpetuity, that it is fit for all emergencies. It [the Constitution] contains provisions, which are abundantly adequate to the subversion of freemasonry. Perfectly convinced, that such a subversion must be effected or our liberties wrested from us, let us inquire, what are these provisions?
[pullquote]George Washington represented it as capable of being employed for the basest purposes, and never visited a lodge, but once or twice, in the last thirty years of his life.[/pullquote]”They consist in the just exercise of the rights reserved by the people to themselves, as the great constituent, supervising proprietors of the republic…
“The abuses of which we complain involve the highest crimes, of which man can be guilty, because they indicate the deepest malice, and the most fatal aim. They bespeak the most imminent danger, because they have proceeded from a conspiracy more numerous and better organized for mischief, than any other detailed in the records of man, and yet, though exposed, maintaining itself, in all its monstrous power. That murder has been committed, is now acknowledged by all. That it has been so committed, and the malefactors have acted under such authority, and have been so aided and comforted, as to carry the guilt of treason, cannot be doubted. Protection from these crimes, is the first duty of government, and the object for which it is invested with its highest powers. But protection cannot be secured, by the ordinary means. Shall it therefore be abandoned? Shall we forego, in behalf of’ freemasonry, or through fear of it, the primary purpose of civil organization? If we are true to ourselves it is certain we need not forego it; we can practically enforce it: for the rights of election remain. In these may be found full means– not of punishing the criminals– but of precluding any repetition of their crimes– of giving us that security against them, which is better than punishment; which is, indeed, the only proper object of all human punishment. The use of these means we advocate. Our adversaries reprobate it, and represent it as oppressive and persecuting.
“The exercise of the elective franchise is as much a function of our government as any one performed, by legislatures, executive magistrates, or judges. And the honest, intelligent, and fearless use of it, by all to whom it pertains, is as much a duty, in every case, as a similar use of other functions is, in any case, by those to whom they pertain. Such a use of the elective function is the duty most imperious, because it is the great corrective, in the last resort, of all other functions.
“To say that the powers of government should not be applied to the masonic outrages at all, would be so preposterous, as justly to excite suspicion of being implicated in them. Besides, it is now too late for any persons to say this with consistency; for since the inadequacy of all judicial application to them has been apparent, even adhering freemasons say it was not improper to appeal to the courts: “punish the guilty.” But if it was proper to appeal to the courts, in the first place, and that appeal has been rendered nugatory by the criminal interference of freemasonry, the reason for appealing to the powers of government against the outrages is immeasurably strengthened, not diminished. There is, therefore, no impropriety in resorting to the elective franchise to correct the evils of freemasonry. It invades no man’s rights. It gives no man reason to complain. It is no more disreputable than it is to resort to a legislature, or a court of law, for the correction of an evil, which they were instituted to redress. Would it be tolerated, for a moment, to stigmatize as oppression and persecution a resort to our legislators for the passage of a law to promote the public security; or to our judicial tribunals, for the punishment of crime? Neither can it be, thus to stigmatize a resort to the elective franchise, for the abolishing of freemasonry, which is fatal to all security, and the very charnal house of crime…”
An Account of the Savage Treatment of Captain William Morgan, in Fort Niagara
by Edward Giddins, formerly keeper of the fort and a Royal Arch Mason. Copyright 1996 Acacia Press, Incorporated MONTAGUE, MASSACHUSETTS. Originally Published: 1829 BOSTON: ANTI-MASONIC BOOKSTORE INTRODUCTION
CAPTAIN WILLIAM MORGAN, of New York, an intelligent man, and an inflexible republican, convinced of the dangers of Secret Societies, in a free Government, resolved to use his best endeavors for their suppression. Being a Royal Arch Mason, he had witnessed the corruption of the Institution. He saw it was an engine of personal advantage and political aggrandizement; that it gave to its members unfair advantages and extra privileges over the unsuspecting community; that its insidious influence extended to every transaction in society, raising as it were the Masonic combination unto a PRIVILEGED ORDER, who, under the Royal Names of GRAND KINGS, Grand Sovereigns, and Grand High Priests, in darkness and secrecy, ruled and plundered the people.
CAPTAIN MORGAN was a soldier and a brave man. He saw this detestable conspiracy and he dared to risk his life by bursting its shackles and warning an injured people! He was seized by a gang of Masonic desperadoes, who came 60 miles after him, in the morning about sunrise, Sept. 11, 1826, under a pretended process of law, (in the manner Mr. Jacob Allen was taken by Masons at Reading) and carried 60 miles, and placed for safe keeping in a county jail, in the care of a masonic jailer. Thence he was taken in stillness of the night, crying murder! murder! and transported one hundred miles further, and placed in a U.S. fortress, also in the keeping of a Mason. Here Mr. Giddin’s account commences. Thus it appears that our county jails and our national fortresses are all at the service of the Masons, to carry their bloody schemes of kidnapping and murder into execution.
Will a free and patriotic people submit to these things in silence? Fellow citizens! Read this pamphlet, and answer the question, ought a secret society to exist amongst us whose members can commit murder and yet escape punishment? MASONS HAVE done this, and their brethren, as may be seen by the oaths on our last page, are sworn to protect them.
Fellow citizens, are men bound by such Obligations and possessing such principals, FIT to be rulers of a FREE PEOPLE?
Read this and lend it to your neighbor.
A Statement of the facts
Relative to the confinement of WILLIAM MORGAN in Fort Niagara, and such parts of that conspiracy as fell within the knowledge of the writer
In presenting the following statement of facts, I beg leave to observe that I have no other excuse to make for the part I took in this foul transaction, than that I was a Royal Arch Mason, and did at that time consider my masonic obligations binding upon my conscience; and now, since these obligations are before the public, I am willing to abide by their decision, how much I was actuated by principles and how much by fear; one thing, however, is certain, that although nothing could have been more repugnant to my natural feelings, yet a sense of duty, and the horrid consequences of refusal, outweighed every other consideration.
In justice to those who took part in this transaction, I would observe, that as far as I am acquainted with them, I feel warranted in saying, that they were urged to those excesses by a strong sense of duty, they blindly thought themselves bound by the most horrid penalties, to perform; and it is to be hoped that the world will be charitable to them by commiserating their misfortunes and extenuating their faults, should they renounce this iniquitous combination, and honestly and fearlessly disclose the parts they acted in this conspiracy, and the causes which urged them to it; but, should they still persist in their obstinate silence, they must not expect that lenity which they otherwise might be entitled to from an indulgent public.
It is to be hoped that an institution whose very principles lead directly to such horrid outrages, and which is entirely made up of dissimulation and fraud, will be completely suppressed in this country and throughout the world, and that a barrier be instituted to prevent it from ever again polluting the earth with its insidious influence. But the public must not expect to accomplish this desirable object without unwanted pains and incessant vigilance; their task is but commencing, and, should they lack in circumspection or perseverance, the monster will yet flourish with more power and commit greater enormities than ever.