Archive for April 4, 2008
BROTHER WASHINGTON was born at Bridges Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia on February 22, 1732, of the present calendar, but February 11, 1731 on his birth record. At age sixteen he became a surveyor on the estate of Lord Fairfax, then joined the army and later was on the staff of General Braddock.
Delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, he was unanimously chosen in 1775 as Commander-in-Chief of the Colonial Army and his Yorktown campaign ended the war on October 19, 1781, with the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and the British Army.
Washington presided at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia on May, 1787 for the framing of the Constitution and was elected President. In 1792 he was re-elected but refused a third term. He returned to his Mount Vernon estate as a farmer, his true ambition.
The Oath of office as President of the United States was administered on April 30, 1789 at New York City to General Washington, by Brother Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of the State of New York, and who also was the Grand Master of Masons.
The name of Washington occupies a prominent place in Masonic biography, not solely because of the services he provided for the Institution, either as a worker or writer, but because of his connection with the Craft which is a source of pride to every American Freemason, at least, who can thus call the “Father of his Country” a Brother.
Washington was initiated, in 1752, in the Lodge at Fredicksburg, Virginia, and the records of that Lodge, still in existence, present the following entries on the subject.
The first entry is thus: “Nov. 4th 1752. This evening Mr. George Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice.” The receipt of the entrance fee, amounting to £23s., was acknowledged.
On March 3rd of the following year, “Mr. George Washington” is recorded as “having been passed a Fellow Craft,” and on August 4, same year, 1753, the record of the transactions of the evening state that “Mr. George Washington,” and others whose names are mentioned, “have been raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.”
After the Revolutionary War, there was a strong movement to unite the nation’s Freemasons under a national Grand Lodge of the United States, and Washington was offered the position of national Grand Master which he refused.
We next hear of Washington’s official connection in the year 1788.
Lodge No. 39, at Alexandria, which had hitherto been working under the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, in 1788 transferred its allegiance to Virginia. On May 29 in that year the Lodge adopted the following resolution:
“The Lodge proceeded to the appointment of Master and Deputy Master to be recommended to the Grand Lodge of Virginia, when George Washington, Esq., was unanimously chosen Master; Robert McCrea, Deputy Master; Wm. Hunter, Jr., Senior Warden; John Allison, Junior Warden. And the Charter or Warrant under which the Lodge is still working is granted to Washington as Master.”
When the new Capitol City that would eventually bear his name was designed under his watchful eye, Freemasons laid a cornerstone of the new Capitol building in 1793, over which Washington presided in full Masonic regalia.
On December 14, 1799, he died at Mt. Vernon, Fairfax County in Virginia, about 15 miles from Washington, District of Columbia.
QUALIFICATIONS OF A PETITIONER
IF YOU ARE DESIRING TO BECOME A MASON, there are physical, moral, and spiritual qualifications which you must abide by and adhere to.
As a petitioner, you must:
be at least 18 years old
free of any previous felonious criminal convictions, and
be of good moral character.
You must also believe in a Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul.
The physical qualifications are necessary because the person must be free to make his own life decisions and be responsible for himself. The moral qualifications are self-evident for the viability of any brotherhood and the lofty ideals of our society. The spiritual qualifications support the structure of Freemasonry and affirm its consistency with the great Mystery Schools and religions of the world.
THE SECRET BALLOT
When a man has applied for Masonic membership, and his background has been THOROUGHLY investigated, the lodge members will vote by secret ballot to accept or to reject him for membership.
Masonry’s secret ballot is another of its ancient customs. It has been rather aptly said that when a petitioner is voted upon for Masonic membership, he undergoes the “Ordeal of the Secret Ballot.”
To be elected, he must receive an affirmative vote from each and every member present at that meeting.