THE GRAND LODGE MOVEMENT.
LORD ONSLOW'S VIEWS.
[From Our Own Reporter.]
CHRISTCHURCH, November I In the eorreflp'tlndenee fa the grand lodge; the Executive Committee of the Union (writing under date October 14) point out to Lord Onslow, who was asked to receive a deputation from them, that there are in the colony 147 lodges—Bs under the English, 15 under the Irish, and 47 under the Scotch constitutions. Of these, 50 English, 10 Irish, and 32 Scotch lodges had given their adhesion tp the proposed grand lodge; while 15 Englioh, 2 Irish, and 4 Scotch lodges were opposed to it; and 20 English, 3 Irish, and 11 Scotch were still undecided. The Executive have good reason to believe that the proportion of individual Masons in the colony whose views they represent is even greater than the majority of the lodges. They also learn from reliable sources that at least fourteen lodges are yet undebided, and arc only awaiting an expression of the Governor's approval to give in their adhesion. There was good reason to believe that, should he consent to accept the Grand Mastership, 120 lodges would immediately enrol under a New Zealand constitution.
The Governor's reply, dated from Nelson, says that from the moment of his appointment as Governor he made it his business, as a past officer of the English Grand Lodge, to inquire into the condition of the craft here, and studied the history of this movement since his arrival in the colony. He goes on to say :—"The approval of the Grand Lodt>e of England has already been given to the establishment of a grand lodge in seveoal of tho colonies of Australia, and there is no reason to believe that were the conditions in New Zealand similar to those which obtained iu those colonies immediately prior to the establishment of a grand lodge that that approval would be withheld in the present case. But as yet I have not felt myself able to represent to the Grand Secretary that that practical unanimity which has been secured in the Australian colonies has been attained in New Zealand. Although, according to the figures given in your letter, €2 out of 147 lodges have passed a resolution in favor of the establishment of a grand lodge for New Zealand, there remain no inconsiderable number of lodges who have expressed no such opinion ; and, further, there must be in many of the ninety-two lodges a minority of Masons more or leas numerous whose wishes are entitled to respect, though their opinions may not be those of the majority. I cannot but recognise the earnestness of purpose, and loyal, courteous, Masonic spirit in which the Masonic Union have carried on their efforts for the attainment of Masonic autonomy ; but I also note that the time during which their task has been prosecuted is comparatively limited, and though the results have been considerable the work does not yet appear to be done, for in such a case, and acting on behalf of such a body as Freemasons, whose chief bond is that of unity and complete accord, no result can truly be said to have been attained which does not bear with it the complete approval of the craft as a whole. You say that in your belief at least fourteen lodges do me the honor to attach such importance to an expression of my opinion on the subject that if it were known that I was favorable to the movement their adhesion would be secured. If that be so lam glad to be able to express my opinion, which is that if the establishment of a grand lodge of New Zealand were thought by an almost unanimous consensus of Masonic opinion in the colony to be likely to conduce to economy and tend to the extension of charity and the other guiding principles of Freemasonry, then—in a rapidly growing community such as this, which, in common with those of the Australian colonies whose example you seek to follow, is fast growing in the nation—nothing should be done to impede, but rather to foster such Masonic autonomy ; but circumstances at the present moment appear to me to be such that, while deeply sensible of the honor you propose to do me, I feel that were I to accept it I could not hope that all the lodges, still less all Freemasons, in New Zealand would enrol themselves under the new grand lodge, and I entertain grave doubts whether tho necessary recognition would be accorded by H.R.H. and the grand masters of the Scotch and Irish constitutions; while it is not impossible that grave schism, and perhaps a desire to overstep the bounds of legality, might arise in the ranks of Freemasons. I will not, therefore, put you to the trouble of leaving Wellington for the purpose of seeing me, but content myself with expressing the hope that in the course of twelve months, or possibly more, you may be able to show that your views are shared by a considerably large majority of the Masonic community ; and if the conditions which I have suggested arc then fulfilled, you may rely on commanding my services with the Grand Lodge of England, or in any manner in which I can be of use in furthering your views, and in acting for the benefit of Freemasons in general and New Zealand in particular."
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THE GRAND LODGE MOVEMENT., Evening Star, Issue 8055, 4 November 1889
THE GRAND LODGE MOVEMENT. Evening Star, Issue 8055, 4 November 1889
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