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MASONIC UNION., Issue 8055, 4 November 1889
A largely-attended meeting of the members of the Canterbury Masonic Union was held at Chri3tchurch on Thursday last. Bro. R. C. Bishop occupied the chair. The President reported the result of the deputation to the District G.M., E.G., and D.D.G.M., S.C., as to the position which the various lodges who had given in their assent to the proposed constitution for New Zealand would occupy with respect to their respective grand lodges after the 9th November, when it was proposed that the New Zealand Grand Lodge should come into force. He stated that the District G.M. (Bro. H. Thomson) had stated that he would writs officially to the past district grand masters of Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales, to ascertain what course was adopted there. This result was regarded as very satisfactory by the brethren present. The President then said the object of calling them together that evening was to inform them of the latest development in connection with the proposed grand lodge for New Zealand, and to consult them as to the best means to be adopted to continue the movement until the New Zealand Grand Lodoe was an accomplished fact. There could be no doubt that the appointment of the first grand master was a matter of the greatest importance to the craft, and it had been understood that His Excellency the Governor should be requested to accept that hi"h office, especially as he came to us pecularly well fitted by his past grand lodge experience to assume the control of our New Zealand Constitution. His official position removed him from any of those feelings of local jealousy which, rightly or wrongly, were attributed to those who had long reaided in and taken an active part in the affairs of any particular locality. His Excellency, however, for the best of reasons, no doubt, in his own opinion, came to the conclusion that sufficient unanimity did not yet prevail amongst the members of the craft to warrant his acceptance of the grand mastership at the present time, and hid suggested the postponement of the establishment of the Grand Lodge with flf view of obtaining greater unanimity of opinion. His Excellency's opinion deserved every consideration at their hands, and a resolution would be submitted to them that evening containing a recommendation from this brancn of the Union, that the resolution passed by the Convention in Wellington la:-t month should be delayed so a3 to give the lodges a fmther opportunity of arriving at sufficient unanimity to induce His Excellency to accept the grand mastership. In the telegrams which he would read they would see "that it was intended to convene a meeting of district and provincial grand masters in Dunedin on the 9th January next, with a view of promoting that unanimity of feeling so much desired, and he sincerely trusted their efforts would be crowned with success. On the question of unanimity he would like to express his own opinion. He saw by the returns published in the report of the proceedings of the conventions that out of 143 lodges in New Zealand ninety-six had agreed to unite under one constitution, twenty-four only had declared against the propositions, and the others had either postponed their decisions or had not discussed the question. Now, he certainly did think that they would never inaugurate an important change of this kir 1 with a greater majority ta commence with. When once the Grand Lodge was duly constituted and recognised by other grand lodges—wh'ch recognitions he felt must follow so powerful acombination—thegreater number of those lodges at present holding out, mostly from sentimental ideas, would see the advantages of unity, and soon give in their adherence to tbe New Zealand Constitution. Let them look at the example of New South Wales and Victoria. With minorities, and small minorities, weak in numbers, they established their independent Grand Lodge, and although they had to fight against non-recognition for years, the advantages of combining under one constitution year by year became so obvious to all those really interested in the welfare of the cratfc that the majorities were forced to admit the benefits of uniting utder one control, and eventually took the necessary steps to bring about the union so long delayed. He should much regret to see a similar contest here, and would strongly advocate making evciy fair concession as to the time when the constitution should be brought into operation, lo a3 to give these who "at present differed from them eve'.y opportunity of joining with the Union from the first; but he felt that the movement had progressed eo far, and the advantage to the craft would be so great, that they must continue. Both experience and observation had satisfied him of the advisableness, if not absolute necessity, of bringing about this change, and he was now prepared to cast in his lot with the New Zealand Constitution, even if they only commenced with ten lodgesrecognition or no recognition for the time being. And the very act of forming a New Zealand grand lodge would again give prominence to this fact: that this is yet unoccupied territory, and liable to the incursions of any number of constitutions until they united for their own protection; and the step he advocated would be the first towards arriving at that desirable result. Might that time be near. He would now read the telegram from Bros. Gillon and Robertson, which stated that His Excellency Bro. Lord Onslow had felt that there was not sufficient unanimity among the craft to warrant him in acceding to the reque3t to take the office of Grand Master of New Zealand. The telegram went on to say that after conference, District Grand Masters Atkinson and Graham had decided to call a meeting of district and provincial Grand masters in Dunedin on January 9.
Bro, C. P. Hu'bert moved—"That in view of the fact of Hh Excellency the Governor having advised the postponement of the formation of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand until there i.3 greater unanimity amongst the craft on the question of unitirg under one constitution, this branch of the New Zealand Masonic Union it advisable to recommend delay in bringing into operation the resolutions adopted at the Convention held in \\ ellington in September last, until after the proposed meeting of district and provincial grand masters, to bo held in Dunedin on January 9. The members of this Union, whilst agree-
iug with the propriety of the delay sug- j gested, desire to reiterate their emphatic opinion that the uniting of the three constitutions now existing under j a New Zealand one will be of the i greatest benefit to the craft." He felt sure that they could not get a greater] majority than they had, in consequence of : the peculiar geographical formation of New Zealand. He hoped, therefore, that they would pass the resolution, and while doing so would not relax the efforts they had made to obtain the New Zealand constitution. A telegram which he had just received from Wellington informed him that there was every hope that the postponement would bring about the result they all desired, and that Ero. Sir H. Atkinson was \ now very earnest in bringing about the j meeting of the district and provincial grand ma-.ters in Dunedin. . | Bro. E. C. Brown seconded the motion. He thoujht that there wa3 no doubi of the wisdom of the delay proposed, and he only trusted that the members of the Union and aU those who beUeved in the movement would still unite in the work, and pieaß on until the end was attained. Bro. George R. Hart pointed out that the praposed delay wa3 not by any means an abandonment of the position they had taken up. The delay spoken of would, he thought, be productive of a great deal of good, because the meeting of the district and provincial grand masters in Dunedin would do more to promote unanimity than anything which had yet taken place. He would suggest that means should be taken to lay before His Excellency thefactsrelatingtothe movement, either by deputation or otherwise. Then advantage might be taken to put strongly before His Excellency, with a view of his future decision, the peculiar circumstances of Masonry in New Zealand, from insular and provincial jealousies preventing entire unanimity of action. He urged upon the brethren not to give way in the good work, but to still press on. Carried unanimously. The President said the New South Wales Constitution had been established by some twenty lodges out of 100, whereas here there were ninety-six out of 134 in favor of a New Zealand Constitution. Bro. E. C. Brown moved—"That His Excellency the Governor be respectfully requested to grant an interview toa deputation from this Union during his stay in Christchurch, and that the following brethren bo appointed as such deputation—viz., Bros. Bishop, Kaye, Hulbert, Hull, W. R. Mitchell, and the mover." Bro. Guudry seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously.
MASONIC UNION., Issue 8055, 4 November 1889
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