THE GRAND LODGE QUESTION.
A meeting of the Otago branch of the Masonic Union was held at the Freemasons' Hall last night to receive the report of the sub-committee appointed on July 15 to consider the question of the founding of a grand lodge for New Zealand. P.M. Bro. Sydney James occupied the chair, and there were about forty-five brothers present. The Chairman stated that since the meeting on the 15th July he had noticed that there was a deal of ill-feeling existing between the brethren of the different constitutions—why, he did not know—and he thought it would bo beßt to let things settle a little, if possible, before calling a meeting. He was sorry to have to Bay that he had heard insinuations thrown out that he had chaDged bis views on this matter, and he had also seen the samo in letters, and even in a lodge the remark had been made ; but he wished to say, unreservedly, that from the first he had not changed his opinions. VS hen the question was first brought up he was of opinion that a grand lodge for New Zealand was advisable, -but it was with tho proviso that the whole of the constitutions came together and acted as one. But this had not been done, and they were now further off the original intention than ever. Bros. Ronaldson and Da Eenzy had been served with notices of all the meetings, and if they did not attend it was not his fault. At this stage Bro. De Renzy read the minutes of the two previous meetings, one held on the Ist July and the other a fortnight later, after which The Chairman went on to say that shortly before the time for the meeting of delegates in Wellington he thought it was his duty to address a memo, to the chairman of the Conference (Mr E. T. Gillon), and it was as follows :
Dunedin, September 7,1889,
Dear fir and W. Brother,—ln view of your meeting next week I think it but right I should report the state of affairs in the Otaeo district so far as I know them, Ihe last meeting of the Union ended, after a great deal of discussion, in tbe motion proposed by Bro. St Robert Stout being carried. This motion appointed a cub-committee to preparo a bat)is of union, and to report to a further meeting of the craft, Tho nub committco have met twice, and havo done nothing, for they cannot agreo on the first question, as to whether one or more grand lodges is desirable. The brethren of the S.C. state that they will only approve of one for each island; in fact, so far as I can see, they dis*pprovo (with very few exceptions) of the movement in toto.
The lodges of the B.C. arc very apitbetic on the question; even those that voted for it have done so in a very half-hearted manner, and this, taken with the vory great objeotion shown by the S.C. and 1.0., leads me but to one conclusion—viz., that in the Otogo district, instead of any|stops taken leading to aunionof the different constitutions, wo are, I am sorry to say, farther from it than when we commenced, and that in fact there is nothing but disunion.—l haw, etc., Sydney Jamks, Chairman Otago District. lie asked no one as to whether or not ho should send that letter, but Bimply considered it his duty to write to Bro. Gillon stating what he thought were the plain facts. Up to the present time, however, the receipt of that letter had not been acknowledged. The Committee that had been appointed had drawn up a report, with which they might or might not all agree; but with one clause |he certainly did agree, and that was the one in which it was stated that the question was not ripe for action. He then called upon Bro. M'Nicoll to read the report. Bro. De Renzy said that before doing that he should like to Bay a word or two, and went on to Bpeak for a few minutes in a tone quite inaudible to the majority of those present. After repeated requests to "speak up " he was uudorstood to say that he was not surprised at Bro. Gillon not replying to the chairman's letter, as ho (the chairman) had acted towards Bro. Gillon in the same way. As to the chairman's remark that the time was not yet ripe for a grand lodge, he would say that many a time he had hoard him say that the time was ripe, and ripe long ago. Bro. M'Nicoll then read the report, which was published by us on the 28th September. After referring to tho principles that should be insisted upon, tho Committee remarked that they believed the constitutions proposed by the brethren in Welling ton were unworkable, and the two concluding clauses were as follows :—" Your Committee believe that no real union will be consummated until there is greater harmony amongst the members and lodges on the question of a grand lodge, and that this cannot be obtained without further consideration and negotiation. Your Committee suggest that their report should be sent to tho various district grand lodges and subordinate lodges in the colony, and that pending consideration of their suggestions the Committee recommend that the Grand Lodge formed in Wellington be not countenanced."
The Chairman moved the adoption of the report, and that a copy of it be sent through the lodges. Bro. M'Nicoll seconded.
Bro. Dk Renzy pointed out that it ceuld not be sent to the lodges in the English Constitution, as the D.G.M. had issued a circular to the effect that no discussion on the question could take place. Bro. Gallaway supported Bro. De Renzy. Bro. Sir R. Stout held that although the circular had been issued they wero not prevented from sending a copy of the report to the lodges of the English Constitution. The motion covered all the ground it was necessary to touch on, and ho would not, therefore, move a motion which he had drawn up. He had always been in favor of a union; but wanted a union, and not disunion, and it seemed to him that the steps being taken in Wellington and by some brethren in this district were leading in the way of preventing union in the future. After referring at length to matters connected with the basis of the union, he said that if there was to be any true Masonic union, the brethren who desired it should not gain the sympathy of the old members if they were going to force them or attempt to force them into it. The young men in the colony, of course, wanted a grand lodge in the colony for themselves, but they did not consider the strong ties that bound many of the older members to the Home union, and these ties could not be broken without causing pain—a fact which waß liable to be overlooked. He was sorry to see feeling shown in the matter. It seemed to him that they were trying to put union away from them, and the only way to regain the old position, he thought, was to let the matter drop for some time and take it up some months, or a year, or perhaps more, hence. Bro. Burton moved, and Bro. Ronaldson seconded, as an amendment—"That in lieu of adopting the report we declare that the true interests of Freemasonry wi'l be best conserved by supporting the action of the Masonic Convention recently held at Wellington." After further discussion, the amendment was put and 9 voted for it, while 25 voted against it. The motion was then put and carried.
Lodge Wellington, by a majority of six to one, reaffirmed their previous decision to remain attached to the Grand Lodge of England.
Permanent link to this item
MASONIC., Evening Star, Issue 8042, 19 October 1889