In every trial in a Lodge for an offense against the laws and regulations or the principles of Freemasonry any Master Mason may be the accuser of another, but a profane cannot be permitted to Prefer charges against a Freemason. Yet, if circumstances are known to a profane upon which charges ought to be predicated, a Master Mason may avail himself of that information, and out of it frame an accusation to be presented to the Lodge. Such accusation will be received and investigated although remotely derived from one who is not a member of the Order.
It is not necessary that the accuser should be a member of the same Lodge. It is sufficient if he is an affiliated Freemason; but it is generally held that an unaffiliated Freemason is no more competent to prefer charges than a profane.
In consequence of the Junior Warden being placed over the Craft during the hours of refreshment, and of his being charged at the time of his installation to see "that none of the Craft be suffered to convert the purposes of refreshment into those of intemperance and excess," it has been very generally supposed that it is his duty, as the prosecuting officer of the Lodge, to prefer charges against any member who, by his conduct, has made himself amenable to the penal jurisdiction of the Lodge. We know of no ancient regulation which imposes this unpleasant duty upon the Junior Warden; but it does seem to be a very natural deduction, from his peculiar prerogative as the custosmorum or guardian of the conduct of the Craft, that in all cases of violation of the law he should, after due efforts toward producing a reform, be the proper officer to bring the conduct of the offending Brother to the notice of the Lodge.
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