A Freemason who is not a member of any Lodge. As this class of Freemasons contribute nothing to the revenues nor to the strength of the Order, while they are always willing to partake of its benefits, they have been considered as an encumbrance Spoil the Craft, and have received the general condemnation of Grand Lodges. It is evident that, anterior to the present system of Lodge organization, which dates about the end of the eighteenth century, there could have been no unaffiliated Freemasons.
And, accordingly, the first reference that we find to the duty of lodge membership is in the Charges, published in 172.3, in Anderson's Constitutions, where it is said, after describing a Lodge that "every brother ought to belong to one"; and that 'in ancient times, no Master or Fellow could be absent from it, especially when warned to appear at it without incurring a severs censure, until it appeared to the Master and Wardens that pure necessity hindered him" (Constitutions, 1723, page 51). In this last clause, Doctor Anderson evidently refers to the regulation in the Old Constitutions, that required attendance on the Annual Assembly. For instance, in the oldest of these, the Halliwell or Regius Manuscript (lines 107 to 112) it is said, and we modernize the language, "that every Master that is a Freemason must be at the General Congregation, if he is told in reasonable time where the Assembly shall be holden; and to that Assembly he must go, unless he have reasonable excuse."
But the Assembly was rather in the nature of a Grand Lodge and neglect to attend its annual meeting would not place the offender in the position of a modern unaffiliated Freemason. But after the organization of subordinate Lodges, a permanent membership, which had been before unknown, was then established, and as the revenues of the Lodges, and through them of the Grand Lodge, were to be derived from the contributions of the members, it was found expedient to require every Freemason to affiliate with a Lodge, and hence the rule adopted in the Charge already cited. Yet, in Europe, non-affiliation, although deemed to some extent a Masonic offense, has not been visited by any penalty, except that which results from a deprivation of the ordinary advantages of membership in any Association.
The modern Constitution of England, however, prescribes that "no Brother who has ceased to be a Subscribing member of a Lodge shall be permitted to visit any one Lodge more than once until he again becomes a subscribing member of some Lodge" (Rule 152). He is permitted to visit each Lodge once, because it is supposed that this visit is made for the purpose of enabling him to make a selection of the one in which he may prefer working. But afterward he is excluded, in order to discountenance those Brethren who wish to continue members of the Order, and to partake of its benefits, without contributing to its support. The Constitutions of the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland are silent upon the Subject, nor is any penalty prescribed for un-affiliation by any of the Grand Lodges of the Continent of Europe
In the United States of America a different view has been taken of the Subject, and its Grand Lodges have, With great unanimity, denounced unaffiliated Freemasons in the strongest terms of condemnation, and visited them with penalties, which vary, however, to some extent in the different Jurisdictions. There is, probably no Grand Lodge in the United States that has not concurred in the opinion that the neglect or refusal of a Freemason to affiliate with a Lodge is a Masonic offense, to be visited by some penalty and a deprivation of some rights. The following principles may be laid down as constituting the law in the United States of America on the subject of unaffiliated Freemasons: 1. An unaffiliated Freemason is still bound by all those Masonic duties and obligations which refer to the Order in general but not by those which relate to Lodge organization .
2 He possesses, reciprocally all those rights which are derived from membership in the Order, but none of those which result from membership in a Lodge.
3.He has no right to assistance when in imminent peril, if he asks for that assistance in the conventional way
4.He has no right to pecuniary aid from a Lodge.
5.He has no right to visit Lodges, or to walk in Masonic processions.
6.He has no right to Masonic burial.
7.He still remains subject to the government of the Order, and may be tried and punished for any offense by the Lodge within whose geographical Jurisdiction he resides.
8.And, Lastly, as the non-affiliation is a violation of Masonic law, he may, if he refuses to abandon that condition, be tried and punished for it ,even by expulsion, if deemed necessary and expedient, by any Grand Lodge within whose Jurisdiction he lives.
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Just wanted to say that I got the ring - and it's the most beautiful ring I've seen. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Brother Ofotsu, Upper Marlboro, MD