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United Grand Lodge of England

The Grand Lodge of England assumed that title in the year 1813, because it was the n formed by the Union of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient, the "Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England according to the Old Institutions, "and the Grand Lodge of Moderns, the "Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons under the Constitution of England. "The Body thus formed, by which an end was put to the dissensions of the Craft which had existed in England for more than half a century, adopted the title, by which it has ever Since been known, of the United Grand Lodge of ancient Freemasons of England (see Union of 1813).



The history of the introduction of freemasonry in to the United States of America is discussed in this work under the titles of the several States into which the Union is divided, and to which therefore the reader is referred.

It may, however, be necessary to say, in a general view of the subject, that the first notice we have of Freemasonry in the United States is in 1729, in which year, during the Grand Mastership of the Duke of Norfolk, Mr. Daniel Coxe was appointed Provincial Grand Master for New Jersey. We have not, however, been able to obtain any evidence that he exercised his prerogative by the establishment of Lodges in that Province, although it is probable that he did. In the year 1733, the "Saint John's Grand Lodge "was opened in Boston, inconsequence of a Charter granted, on the application of several Brethren residing in that city, by Lord Viscount Montague, the Grand Master of England. From that time Freemasonry was rapidly disseminated through the country by the establishment of Provincial Grand Lodges, all of which after the Revolutionary War, which separated the colonies from the mother country, assumed the rank and prerogatives of independent Grand Lodges. The history of these Bodies being treated under their respective titles, the remainder of this article may more properly be devoted to the character of the Masonic organization in the United States.

The Rite practiced in this country is correctly called the American Rite. This title, however, has been adopted within only a comparatively recent period. It is still very usual with Masonic writers to call the Rite practiced in this country the York Rite. The expression, however, Doctor Mackey held to be incorrect. The Freemasonry of the United States, though founded, like that practiced in every other country, upon the three Symbolic Degrees which alone constitute the true York Rite, has, by its modifications and its adoption of advanced Degrees, so changed the Rite as to give it an entirely different form from that which properly constitutes the pure York Rite (see American Rite).

In each State of the Union there is a Grand Lodge which exercises jurisdiction over the Symbolic Degrees. The jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge, however, is exercised to acertain extent over what are called the higher Bodies, namely, the Chapters, Councils, and Commanderies. Forby the American construction o f Masonic law, a Freemas onexpelled by the Grand Lodge forfeits his membership in all of these Bodies to which he may be attached. Hence a Knight Templar, or a Royal Arch Mason, becomes ipsofacto, because of that fact, suspended or expelled by his suspension or expulsion by a Symbolic Lodge, the appeal from which action lies only to the Grand Lodge. Thus the Masonic standing and existence of even the Grand Commander of a Grand Commandery is actually in the hands of the Grand Lodge, by whose decree of expulsion his relation with the Body over which he presides may be dissevered.

Royal Arch Masonry is controlled in each State by a Grand Chapter. Besides these Grand Chapters, there is a General Grand Chapter of the United States, which, however, exercises only a moral influence over the State Grand Chapters, since it possesses "no power of discipline, admonition, censure, or instruction over the Grand Chapters. "In Territories where there are no Grand Chapters, the General Grand Chaptere constitutes subordinate Chapters, and over these it exercises plenary jurisdiction.

The next branch of the Order is Cryptic Freemasonry, which, although rapidly growing, is not yet as extensive as Royal Arch Masonry. It consists of two Degrees, Royal and Select Master, to which is sometimes added the Super-Excellent, which, however, is generally considered only as an honorary or supplementary Degree. These Degrees are conferred in Councils which owe their obedience to Grand Councils. Only one Grand Council can exist in a State or Territory, as is the case with a Grand Lodge, a Grand Chapter, or a Grand Commandery. Grand Councils exist in many of the States, and elsewhere the Councils have been established by Charters emanating from the General Grand Council.

Templarism is governed by a Supreme Body, whose style is the Grand Encampment of the United States, and this Body, which meets triennially, possesses sovereign power over the whole Templar system in the United States. Its presiding officer is called Grand Master, and this is the highest office known to American Templarism. Throughout the States the reare Grand Commanderies, which exercise immediate jurisdiction over the Commanderies in the State, subject, however, to the super intending control of the Grand Encampment. Where there are no Grand Commanderies, Charters are issued directly to subordinate Commanderies by the Grand Encampment.

The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is very popular in the United States. There are two Supreme Councils--one for the Southern Jurisdiction, which is the Mother Council of the world. Its nominal Grand East is at Charleston, South Carolina; but its Secretariat has been removed to Washington City since the year 1870. The other Council is for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Its Grand East and Secretariat is at Boston, Massachusetts. The Northern Supreme Council has jurisdiction over the States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Southern supreme Council exercises jurisdiction over all the other States and Territories of the United States.

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