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Scottish Rite

At the annual Meeting at Boston, 1921, of the Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, United States of America, the sum of $50,000 was set apart "from the income of the permanent fund for the year 1921, to be expended under the direction of the Sovereign Grand Commander, the Grand Treasurer- General, and the Chairman of the Committee on Finance for such purposes of charity or relief as they may approve." On December 22,1991, the Grand Commander Leon M. Abbott announced the plan of this Committee to establish fifteen scholarships--one for each State in their jurisdiction--providing for a deserving son or daughter of a Master Mason a four years college course of education. Brothers Frederick W. Hamilton, Edgar F. Smith and Frederic B. Stevens were appointed on April 25, 1922, a special Advisory Committee to consider the scholarship plan and their report was submitted to the Annual Meeting at Cleveland, September 19, 1922, and adopted. an Educational Fund being established under the direction of the Committee on Education. In brief (as stated on page 96 of the 1929 Proceedings) the plan is that one scholarship be awarded for each State in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, the recipient to choose his own college or technical school, provided it is approved by the Scholarship Committee. The amount of the scholarship for the first year is the regular college charges, together with the amount estimated by the college authorities as sufficient for a decent living. For the second year only two-thirds of the living allowance will be allowed, and for the third and fourth years only one-half the living allowance. Candidates must be sons or daughters of Master Masons, preferably of the Scottish Rite, in good standing. They must be of good moral character and of good scholarship and unable to obtain such an education without assistance. The scholarships are awarded by the Scholarship Committee, the choice of the beneficiaries being committed to their sound judgment. The bills are to be sent to the Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, to be approved by him before taking the usual course for payment. As a memorial to Washington the Freemason--a farsighted promoter as will later be seen of education for our young people, the Supreme Council Southern Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite United States of America, at the biennial session of 1927 donated one million dollars to the George Washington University in the District of Columbia. This is the largest gift in the history of all the educational institutions at the City of Washington. Resolutions providing for the appropriation were introduced by Inspector General Perry W. Weidner of Southern California at the 1927 meeting and were unanimously adopted. A committee to carry the project into effect was appointed and consisted of Grand Commander John H. Cowles with Inspector Generals Perry NV. Breidner, Southern California; Edward C. Day, Montana, and Thomas J. Harkins, North Carolina. The generous offer outlined by the resolutions and as elaborated by the committee was accepted by the Trustees of George Washington University and the formal acceptance of the gift duly announced by President C. H. Marvin. This donation establishes and maintains a school of government at George Washington University, a department begun with the fall term of 1928. The will of Brother George Washington contained a stipulation that, read by few, deserves attention from many, and particularly by the Freemasons of the United States. The item in question comes immediately after provision had been made "towards the support of a free school established at and annexed to the said Academy, for the purpose of educating such children. . . as are unable to accomplish it with their own means, and who, in the judgment of the Trustees of the said Seminary, are best entitled to the benefit of this donation," stipulations quite in line, by the ways with what has been undertaken by several Masonic bodies in providing educational benefits of collegiate and university status for those unable otherwise to receive them. Washington's services for the State of Virginia in particular were rewarded not only by formal resolutions of gratitude but by a gift of substantial money value. The latter, as he says in his will, was refused, adding to this refusal, however, an intimation that if it should be the pleasure of the Legislature to permit me to appropriate the said shares to public uses, I would receive them on these terms with due sensibility and this it having consented to in flattering terms as will appear by a subsequent law and sundry resolutions in the most ample and honorable manner, I proceed after this recital for the more correct understanding of the case, to declare: That . . . it has been my ardent wish to see a plan devised on a liberal scale which would have a tendency to spread systematic ideas through all parts of this rising Empire, thereby to do away local attachments and state prejudices, as far as the nature of things would or indeed, ought to admit, from our National Councils-- looking anxiously forward to the accomplishment of so desirable an object as this is (in my estimation), my mind has not been able to contemplate any plan more likely to effect the measure than the establishment of a university in a central part of the United States to which the youth of fortune and talents from all parts thereof might be sent for the completion of their education in all the branches of polite literature--in arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge in . . . polities and good Government.... Under these impressions so fully dilated: I give and bequeath in perpetuity the 50 shares which I hold in the Potomac Company (under the aforesaid acts of the Legislature of Virginia) towards the endowment of a University to be established within the limits of the District of Columbia, under the auspices of the General Government. if that government should incline to extend a fostering hand towards it...... But the failure of the funds due to the collapse of the company put an end for the time to the wise plans of Washington. We must not overlook the fact that this is by no means the limit of educational work by Scottish Rite Brethren. Not only do they contribute through the medium of the other branches of the Fraternity in which they hold membership but, as is noted else where in this article, as in North Carolina, for example, they donate independently to State educational enterprise, and further, as in the following characteristic instance, it was decided at the fifty-eighth Annual Meeting in 1927, at Utica. of the New York Council of Deliberation of the Scottish Rite to award scholarships to boys and girls of the Masonic Home there, beginning that fall. Income from a $15,000 fund, known as the Scottish Rite Permanent Fund, was used for this purpose. Selection of those at the Home to receive scholarships was begun forthwith. There is a Masonic club-house at Berkeley, California, an outstanding educational and social factor in the collegiate lives of the students. Similar enterprises are found elsewhere. A Scottish Rite dormitory in Austin, at the University of Texas, provides accommodations for several hundred girls, a benevolent provision that inspires as well as protects. The girls of that dormitory promised $1,500 to the erection of the University of Texas Memorial Stadium and this pledge was paid in full. These scholarships awarded by leading organizations of Freemasons remind us of another instance or two worthy of record. An English Lodge whose Master had been so deserving of praise during his term of office that when he came to leave the chair the Brethren subscribed for a scholarship in the University of London. This was done with the purpose of allowing this good Brother to select some young man or woman to benefit by this opportunity of studying at one of the greatest educational institutions of the world. Probably the Brother was unusually interested in education and we can understand how delighted and honored he felt at this distinction. His experience was not unique, as in 19 5 we heard from Utica, New York, that, as a memorial to three Past District Deputy Grand Masters of the State, Lewis D. Collins, of Batavia, Rev. Pierre Cushing, of LeRoy, and John XT, Sparrow, of Warsaw, the Past Masters' Association of the Geneses Wyoming District voted to raise $5.000, the interest to be used for the education of a boy from the Masonic Home. Doubt appears to have arisen as to the advisability of locating the College twenty miles from Hannibal, in Marion County, Missouri, remote from city or town, and in 1846 a circular letter was authorized to the Lodges, inviting propositions. Four towns responded, Palmyra, Hannibal, Liberty, and Lexington, the latter being chosen. Committees were appointed to select a site of not less than five nor more than twenty acres, to raise funds, start building, and dispose by rent or sale of the old property. The corner-stone of the new College was laid on May 18, 1847. Among other proceedings at the Communication of 1847 a Committee was appointed to ascertain what prominent educators were Freemasons so as to have a handy list of them for selection when the College was completed. In 1848 the Committee on Masonic Hall reported adversely and the Committee on the College at Lexington stated that it had cash to date $8,759. 7, and the cost of the College would be $15,000. Salaries of College President and instructors were fixed by Grand Lodge, the highest $1,500 per year. At an adjourned session of the Grand Lodge, 184S, Brother Wilkens Tannehill of Nashville, Tennessee, was elected President, Brother van Doren, Professor of Mathematics, and a resolution introduced to add a Medical Department to the College. A special agent for the College Endowment Fund was to receive ten per cent on all monies collected. Ninety-five students were reported in 1849. But the succeeding meetings of the Grand Lodge show the College expenses exceeding the income, although the Endowment Fund in 1853 amounted to $53,198. We note that the average age of the college students in 1854 was fifteen and the number admitted was 175. A mortgage of $1,500 was placed by the Grand Lodge on the College property in 1855 and we see in 1857 that only eight beneficiaries mere among the 175 students, the original planning of the College, to educate children of indigent brethren notwithstanding. The Grand Lodge in 1859, after a brave and benevolent purpose, pursued faithfully for years, decided that experience showed the fixed fact that the Masonic College had failed to meet the reasonable and just expectations of the Grand Lodge and of its warmest and most ardent friends, that the Grand Lodge would not put forth any further efforts for its sustenance and whereas the treasuries of the Lodges were constantly drained for its support, thereby in a very great measure cutting off their resources for dispensing their own charities, it was therefore resolved "That at the close of the present Collegiate year the College be closed, sine die (without date) and that no more of the funds of this Grand Lodge be appropriated for its sustenance, further than to meet its present liabilities; that all Scholarships held either by Lodges or individuals, shall at the swish of the parties holding them, be cancelled, and such parties be released from all further obligations under the same." Citizens of Lexington had given $30,000 to sustain the College. The Grand Lodge and the Lodges gave even more. only to fail. During the Civil Bar the Battle of Lexington, September, 1861. was fought there, Union soldiers occupied the buildings, and the College and boarding-house were badly wrecked by cannon fire. At last the Grand Lodge gave the College and grounds to the Marvin Female Institute. The report adopted by the Grand Lodge, in 1872, says, From the 1st of February, 1872, the Marvin Female Institute at Lexington, Missouri, will be known be the name of " Central Female College." and the same obligations entered into between the Grand Lodge and the institute will be carried out by the College, viz.: The Grand Lodge has the right to keep constantly at the College thirty daughters of deceased indigent Master Masons, free of tuition charge, they boarding in the College and paying their own expenses, except tuition. The religious proclivities of these students are not to be interfered with, contrary to such directions as their parents or guardians may dictate. Applications for admission of Masonic beneficiaries must be made through the committee appointed by the Grand Lodge: and the fact of the father having died while in good Masonic standing or the father now living being such, can be certified to by the nearest Lodge, or by some brother known to the committee. The old College building still forms a part of the main structure of what is the justly celebrated Central College for Women under the control of the Methodist Church. When the Grand Lodge of Missouri, on October 2, 1849, purchased the property in Marion County, the membership in that State was only 1139. Dr. William F. Kuhn, discussing with us the ambitions of the Brethren, alluded to the direction of their ideas, saying, "The curriculum embraced four departments, Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, Mathematics, Mental and Moral Science, Ancient Languages and Literature, six months tuition was given free, and $25.00 paid for board, room and washing for a whole session. The College in 1844 had forty students. Later, at Lexington, the enthusiasm of its projectors ran high. Hopes were entertained to have it rival Yale and Harvard but it became a burden and was an unfortunate adventure. So that is the story of a Masonic College in Missouri, and ought to be a warning for all such attempts in the future." Because of this very point, possible recurrence anywhere and everywhere of the same sort of project, and recognizing the importance of the advice of Past Grand Master Kuhn, space is freely given to this experiment in Missouri. Similar projects developed elsewhere as we shall note. Probably the visit of Brother Carnegy of Missouri in 1844 to the Grand Lodge of Kentucky had due weight in focusing the attention of his hosts upon the subject of Masonic Colleges. He was not the first to bring the matter of education to their attention. Grand Master Henry Wingate on August 28, 1843, urged the fostering of local and general schools, endowing professorships in colleges, and securing scholarships for indigent Freemasons' children. A proposition in 1844 to establish a Masonic School and Asylum resulted in recommending the appointment of seven as Trustees of Funk Seminary, a new school building at La Grange, Oldham County, Kentucky, with an endowment of $6,000 offered upon condition of maintaining a school and receiving pay scholars. The Committee on Education, or Trustees, were to employ teachers but contract no debt beyond the amount due from the lottery or manager; adopt by-laws, which Grand Lodge might alter, and at each annual communication of the Grand Lodge five Brethren were to be chosen as a Board of Trustees who were to make provision for the education of Masonic orphans in said seminary, but not to incur debt. The Trustees were to solicit contributions and make report. Every Freemason in Kentucky was requested to pay $1 towards the support of this educational charity. A further explanation, in 1845, shows that the LaGrange property included a two-story building, cost $4,580 with the lots, and $6,000, well secured, all conveyed to the Grand Lodge conditional on an efficient school being maintained where sons of citizens of the town and county might attend as pay pupils. James C. Davis took charge of the Primary department for the tuition fees, agreeing gratuitously to educate ten students to be sent by the Grand Lodge. Rev. J. R. Finley was made Principal and agent to solicit funds. Rev. A. A. Morrison was appointed Professor of Languages to find his compensation in the fees of his department. There were 127 pupils. A female school at LaGrange desired to be transferred to the Funk Seminary under control of the Grand Lodge. Six hundred dollars a year was voted to the seminary as long as it remained under Grand Lodge control. Soon the school is mentioned as the Masonic Seminary and Masonic College and in 1847 there were 170 students with beneficiaries from twelve Lodges. Mention is made that the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia recommended the Masonic College of Kentucky to its Lodges and their members, and that Mississippi reported "The Masonic College of Kentucky is one of the wisest and one of the most philanthropic establishments of the present age," and so on, leading up to the Committee on Education of Kentucky advising that the Trustees of the College be authorized to contract with the Grand Lodge of Alabama to educate one hundred students a year for ten successive years, for $1,000 a year in advance. The tide turned. At the Communication of 1848 the reduction in pay students and withdrawal of scholarships by Lodges had "strained the institution in its finances" and in 1849 "four hundred dollars as an increase of appropriation to the College for the year was made." Let it not be understood that this was the sum of what the generous Grand Lodge undertook for educational labors. In 1850, realizing that much had been done for boys to the exclusion of girls, therefore $1,000 a year was set apart for the education of female children of deceased Master Masons, and a Committee was also appointed "to devise the most suitable plan for supporting and educating daughters of poor deceased Master Masons." Grand Secretary H. B. Grant says the Grand Lodge's works of benevolence mounted up to over a million in one hundred years, 1800-1900 (footnote, Centennial History, page 210). The college under critical examination showed conditions not favorable to successful continuance. Brother Grant says (page 217, Centennial history), "No doubt the trouble was the Grand Lodge started with a school on too small a capital to be a seminary, college and university, so that as the school grew, Grand Lodge floundered about under all these names, and more of them." At last the property was leased in 1857 by the Trustees at a nominal rental for five years. Reports now came to the Grand Lodge as landlord concerning building repairs and so forth, incidentally alluding to the educational conditions and prospects, but in 1873 the report showed there had been no school there for years, the Grand Lodge surrendered the property, and with the few later allusions to legal adjustments the College came to an end. Ohio had a like opportunity but escaped. The Grand Lodge at Columbus, 1848, received a proposition from the Trustees of Worthington College for the transfer of that property for use in founding a Masonic College. The offer was made through James Kilbourne, President, and was referred to the Committee on Education. The Brethren submitted an elaborate report to the Grand Lodge, probably too long an essay for easy rapid digestion, as no final action resulted. However, a start was made and some interest aroused. At the following Communication Brother William T. Leacock, D.D., President of the Masonic College of Kentucky, presented and read a letter from the Grand Master of Kentucky to this Grand Lodge, introducing him, and asking fraternal consideration of the object of his visit, which letter was referred to a Committee, which reported, commending Brother Leacock to the subordinate Lodges of the State. The good Brother, two days later, delivered a Masonic address in the Episcopal Church to the Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter, and Grand Encampment of Ohio. Perhaps his hearers preferred to subscribe to the College outside the State, hut no action seems to have been exerted toward a Masonic College in Ohio. Arkansas experimented with the idea. The Grand Lodge once bought a large amount of property in the east end of Little Rock, which was then merely a town, and on this site they built an institution of learning, Saint John's College. This was a semi-military College. For some time it prospered. But the town was not big enough to support. it and later on the College was abandoned. The Grand Lodge continued to own the property for many years. Finally it was sold in one lump. With the proceeds the Grand Lodge built a Masonic Temple on the corner of Fifth and Main Streets, Little Rock. That building since then has burned down and that property was sold. Brother Charles E. Rosenbaum, Past Grand Master of Arkansas, and Lieutenant Grand Commander, Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, who furnished these notes on Saint John's College, writes further: "Had they (the Grand Lodge) held the original Saint John's College property until within the past five or ten 5 ears, the Grand Lodge would have bad more money to invest than they could reasonably have found a place to put it. That is only one of the events that go along in Masonic as well as other affairs. We now have an Orphans' Home and School in Batesville in this State and it is running in good shape. I have been the President of the Board of Trustees of that ever since the Edict was created to build it." Georgia took over an educational institution at Covington in that State. That was in 1859, the Southern Masonic Female College. This was conducted by the Grand Lodge from 1859 up to 1873.

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