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Colleges, Masonic

There was at one time a great disposition exhibited by the Fraternity of the United States to establish Colleges, to be placed under the supervision of Grand Lodges. The first one ever endowed in this country was that at Lexington, in Missouri, established by the Grand Lodge of that State, in October, 1841, which for some time pursued a prosperous career. Other Grand Lodges, such as those of Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida, and a few others, subsequently either actually organized or took the preliminary steps for organizing Masonic colleges in their respective Jurisdictions. But experience has shown that there is an incongruity between the official labors of a Grand Lodge as the Masonic head of the Order, and the superintendence and support of a college. Hence, these institutions have been very generally discontinued, and the care of providing for the education of indigent children of the Craft has been wisely committed to the subordinate Lodges and other branches of the Masonic Institutions. Brother Thomas Brown, a distinguished Grand Master of Florida, thus expressed the following views on this subject: "We question if the endowment of colleges and large seminaries of learning, under the auspices and patronage of Masonic bodies, be the wisest plan for the accomplishment of the great design, or is in accordance ,with the character and principles of the Fraternity. Such institutions savor more of pageantry than utility; and as large funds, amassed for such purposes, must of necessity be placed under the control and management of comparatively few, it will have a corrupting influence, promote discord, and bring reproach upon the craft. The principles of Freemasonry do not sympathize with speculations in stock and exchange brokerage. such, we fear, will be the evils attendant on such institutions, to say nothing of the questionable right and policy of drawing funds from the subordinate Lodges, which could be appropriated by their proper officers more judiciously, economically, and faithfully to the accomplishment of the same great and desirable object in the true Masonic spirit of charity, which is the bond of peace." The above summary' of the situation by Doctor Mackey may be extended to the extent of a few comments on. some of the enterprises of the past in which the Craft was interested for substantially the same benevolent reasons that in these modern days of ours prompt the Brethren to suggest somewhat similar activities. Stephen W. B. Carnemegy, born 1797, died 1892, Grand Master in 1836-8, was the author of a resolution at the Grand Lodge Communication of 1841 to establish a Masonic College in Missouri "for the education of the sons of indigent Masons and others'' and this was approved. Subscriptions were reported at the Communication of 1842 as $3,556.25 for sons, and $3,926.25 for daughters, and $185 for the erection of a Masonic Hall. Brother Carnegy was an active force. We find him in attendance at the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1844 and on being invited at 3:30 to make any desired suggestions, he asked aid for the Masonic College then under construction in his State and "a voluntary collection was taken up" (Doings of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, 1800--1900, H. B. Grant). In all likelihood this enthusiasm encouraged the Kentucky Brethren to undertake a Masonic College of their own. The regulations for the Masonic College in Missouri required a preparatory school and a collegiate department, the Faculty to consist of a Professor for each of the following departments: ''On Natural Philosophy and Astronomy,'' ''On Mathematics," "On Mental and Moral Science," and "Ancient Languages and Literature.'' This is some course, even if not a very practicable one, as seen in the eyes of this age. The conditions were : six months' tuition free, but charges for board; the Grand Lodge to designate the number of students each subordinate Lodge could send free of charge. The College was chartered by. the State. In those days $25 paid the board and washing of a student for a whole Session, and a cord of good wood could be purchased for a dollar.



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