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New York

The first Provincial Grand Master from 1730, Colonel Daniel Coxe, did not take any active steps towards the exercise of his new office. Captain Richard Riggs, however, who succeeded him on November 15, 1737! arrived in New York on May 21, 1738. The Provincial Grand Lodge was then organized and the first mention of Freemasonry in New York which occurs in the New York Gazette of January 22, 1739, is thought to refer to this body.

The fourth Provincial Grand Master was the most active in organizing Lodges Temple and Saint Fohn's were both alive in 1758 and the latter, the Charter of which was dated 1751, was probably constituted first. On September 5, 1781, the Atholl Grand Lodge authorized the constitution of a Provincial Grand Lodge of New York with the Rev. William Walter as Provincial Grand Master. Nine Lodges united in its formation, but Lodges constituted by the Moderns were excluded, and some years elapsed before it was thought advisable to allow them to participate. In 1787 the Grand Lodge declared illegal all Lodges in the State not under its own control.

The Royal Arch Degree was probably worked under the Lodge Charters at first. It is thought that Washington Chapter began life with the Provincial Grand Lodge, warranted in 1781, but as its records were destroyed by fire the facts about its early history are unknown. Five Chapters, namely, Hudson, Temple, Horeb, Hibernian and Montgomery, constituted on March 14, 1798, a Deputy Grand Chapter for the State of New York, subordinate to the Grand Chapter of the United States. Companion De Witt Clinton was then elected Deputy Grand High Priest. Brother Clinton also served as Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of New York, Grand Master of Knights Templar of the United States and for fourteen years was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of his State, being furthermore United States Senator, Mayor of New York City, and later was elected Governor of New York. He did not hesitate to publicly defend Freemasonry when many in public office were too fearful to be fair, or were even maliciously antagonistic. As Governor he was prompt, judicial and thorough with the problems raised by the Morgan mystery, and also wrote these sterling convictions to show his personal Masonic sentiments: "I know that Free Masonry, properly understood, and faithfully attended to, is friendly to religion, morality, liberty and good government; and I shall never shrink under any state of excitement, or any extent of misapprehension, from bearing testimony in favor of the purity of an Institution which can boast of a Washington and a Franklin and a Lafayette as distinguished members, which inculcates no principles and authorizes no acts that are not in perfect accordance with good morals, civil liberty and entire obedience to the government and the laws." On January 10, 1799, the Grand Chapter to the Northern States assumed the name, as it already had the status, of a General Grand body and the Deputy Grand Chapters omitted the word Deputy from their titles.

Columbia Grand Council, No. 1, was opened at a meeting in Saint John's Hall on September 2, 1810. It was probably a self-constituted body. On January 18, 1823, it was resolved to form a Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters and at a Convention held a week later Companion Lownds was chosen Most Illustrious Royal Grand Master.

In 1860 this Grand Council united with another organized May 7, 1854, by representatives of Washington, Pennell and Oriental Councils. A list of members of Morton's Encampment, probably the first in the State, appeared in 1796. Reference to a procession including Knights Templar in the Independent Journal of New York, December 28, 1785, suggests that the Encampment was at work years before 1796. Of those established about the beginning of the nineteenth century, Temple Commandery, No. 2, seems to be the oldest. A meeting was held on January 2, 1814, of the leading Knights Templar in the State Assuming the necessary authority, they chose officers for a Grand Encampment and on June 18, 1814, this body was established with De Witt Clinton as Grand Master. June 21, 1816, the General Grand Encampment of the United States was organized at New York. Ineffable Lodge of Perfection and Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem were chartered at Albany on December 2O, 1767. Some years elapsed and on August 6, 1806, the Chapter of Rose Croix of New York City and the Consistory of New York City were both constituted.

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