Having examined with a critical eye the traditions of No. 24, and having drawn unfavourable conclusions thereof from the only proofs available, we hasten to do homage to the Lodge in another respect.
To No. 24 (Ancient St. John's, Glasgow) we most willingly accord the honour of being the oldest subordinate Black Encampment, Lodge, Commandery or Preceptory in the Universe, and entitled to be ranked next in order to the Imperial Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe. It is older, by several years, than the resuscitated Grand Priory of England, of which His Majesty King Edward is the present Grand Prior; and considerably over twenty years older than the much talked of Grand Chapter of Ireland. It is to be regretted that vandal hands have prevented us from fixing even approximately the date of the institution of this lodge. The early records of the lodge have been deliberately cut out of the minute book and taken away, and the original Warrant has also gone amissing. Whatever the object may have been there is no doubt of the deliberate wantonness of the spoiliator. The old seal remains and has served the ordinary purposes of the Encampment until the year 1900, when the Encampment was presented with a modern rubber stamp. In the early days of the Encampment there was in connection with it a Friendly Society, which included for Society purposes members of other Black Encampments. This Friendly Society continued down till the year 1870. On the face of these old books may be read the names of many who have risen to high rank in the Order, and in the Orange Institution. Here we find the names of Dr. Clements and Dr. Leitch, both of whom attained the rank of Grand Master Orangeman of Scotland; Adam Thomson and Hans Newell, the former for many years Deputy Grand Master, and the latter Grand Master of the Imperial Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe; John Wilson, the first Provincial Grand Prior of Canada (West); Thomas Heron, previously referred to in connection with Ireland; William Hunter, for many years Grand Treasurer; and a host of others including the present Commander of the Encampment, William Shirley, Grand Recorder.
The Grand Master elected at the reorganization in 1831, was Sir George Donaldson, who retained office till 1840, afterwards going to Canada where he installed the first Warrant No. 2, in Montreal, probably in 1841. This was the beginning of the Order in America. It was during his term of office that the Grand Lodge of Scotland introduced Scottish Warrants into Ireland. The first being No. 28, on 24th April, 1834, to John Darby of Belfast. During this term we find No. 23 working in Neilston, Renfrewshire--William Graham, Master. In a letter dated 6th May, 1837, Companion Graham refers to James Tucker as being the former master of 23.
Sir Robert Blair was elected Grand Master in 1840, and held office till 1850. During his term we find No. 29, working in Ayr, on 9th December, 1840, James Quigg being Master at that time. On 11th July, 1841, Companion Quigg informed Grand Lodge that the brethren of Maybole were about to apply for a Warrant, but have no record of it being granted. During this year Grand Lodge issued a supplementary code of rules, consisting of 16 articles with a preamble, printed by S. & R. Inglis, 203 Gallowgate, Glasgow. Articles 5 and 6 may interest some of our readers, by letting them see how our immediate sires conferred their honours.
"Article 6--That whatever member or members the Grand Lodge chooses to confer the said important honour on, that he or they shall be admitted free of the usual sum paid to the Grand Lodge on admission of those who have not been a member of this institution before: and be it understood by the private Lodge to which he or they belong, that it is not the intention of the Grand Lodge to present said member or members from holding a membership, or from filling any office in the private Lodge to which they belong."
On 27th November, 1841, we have the first letter from the English Companions (that is the first that has been preserved) which although it does not definitely fix the date of our introduction into England, it leaves it tolerably certain that it was under the rule of Grand Master Blair that the introduction took place. On 23rd September, 1845, we have the resignation of Companion William Blair, as Grand Secretary, and on 28th October we have a letter from Grand Lodge to No. 23, signed James Simpson, Grand Secretary.
Sir William Dixon was elected Grand Master in 1850, and retained office till 1855. During these five years much was done for the placing of the Order on a more secure footing. We will notice a few of the principal points. First, we have the "Commission of the Imperial Grand Black Lodge of Scotland, &c., to Brother Adam Thompson, to hold a meeting of the Council of the Ancients." The text of the Commission ran thus:--
‘LOYAL BLACK LODGE ROOM, GLASGOW, January 5th, 1853.
At the same time there was issued a revised code of Maltese laws in which the same rule is followed in particularising what is "original," "old Maltese," "original modernised," "old Maltese modernised," &c. This we also have before us. Companion Cheesman says:--
On 23rd September, 1853, we find No. 28 working in Edinburgh, Robert Kirkland being Secretary. In 1854 the first Provincial Grand Priory of England was installed, and on 22nd July of the same year we have a somewhat novel proposition from No. 29, Ayr. They proposed to make all office bearers in private Lodges members of Grand Lodge, on condition that they pay the sum of ten shillings per annum, and attend at Grand Lodge at least once a year. It is not surprising to find that the proposal was promptly rejected.
Sir Samuel Robertson was elected Grand Master in 1855, and remained in office till 1860. In 1855 the degree known as Knights of Malta was made the working degree of the Order, and thereafter given under the "Black" Warrants. This step was deemed necessary as a check to "Chapter" men, who "by professing to be of the Black Order," thought proper to visit our lodges. It proved an impassable barrier and put an end to the practice.
In 1856 the Provincial Grand Priory of England was cancelled. About this time there arose a controversy about the originality of the degree of Knights of Malta, but as we have the Grand Secretary's report of the matter we may be better to quote it.
"GLASGOW, 22nd January, 1856
"The following arrangement to be observed during the night's proceedings:--
ROUTINE OF BUSINESS.
"First--A chairman to be appointed who shall have power to choose a committee to assist him in maintaining order. The Grand Master to be at one end of the table, and his opponent at the other: so that what each has got to say all the rest will hear.
"Second--The Grand Master is then to be put in possession of the name, address, and designation of his opponent, who is to discuss the Order of Malta. He (the opponent) is also to produce a certificate showing that he legally obtained that Order himself, failing which he cannot be allowed to proceed with the discussion.
"Third--This being done, all belonging to the Order to be admitted, but no one to interfere but the two thus mentioned, the chairman excepted, who shall settle any difference that may arise in the course of the discussion, and each to be allowed equal time to prove their originality; any other person or persons interfering will be dealt with as the chairman may direct.
"Fourth--A person shall be appointed to take notes on both sides, and time must be given him for that purpose. No other matter to be spoken of which is not bearing on said Order; and any deviation from it will be considered illegal, as all shall be carried on in strict accordance with the laws and statutes of the Order; and any infringe- ment thereon will be punished accordingly.
"Fifth--It is hoped that all the business will be done in two hours, but in order to prevent any other meeting of the kind, three hours will be allowed but no more. No other challenge to be given or taken by any member of members of the Grand Lodge, this is only in accordance with the Rules."
On the 24th September, 1858, the Provincial Grand Priory of Canada (West) was suppressed and the whole of the Commanderies in America united under one Provincial Grand Priory to be called the Provincial Grand Priory of British North America. On 24th December, 1858, a new form of certificate was sanctioned, altering the text only, the old emblematic heading being retained.
At this meeting the Grand Secretary, Hans Newall, proposed to get up a history of the Order if the Grand Master would render him that assistance he was so eminently qualified to do; which he was pleased to promise, and in consequence the matter was decided upon unanimously. If Sir Knight Newell ever wrote such a history, we have not seen or heard anything of it. On 24th June, 1859, Sir James M'Gowan made application for a renewal of No. 25 Warrant, which had been dormant for a considerable time. At this meeting Sir George Hamilton was nominated as worthy of being placed upon the staff of the Parent Grand Encampment although not at the time filling the office of Commander or Depute in any Commandery; which was carried by general acclamation. This placed on record a precedent which may be followed occasionally with advantage to the Grand Lodge, and to the body as a whole. It is a wise policy that recognises ability wherever it is found. There were no reports issued for the year 1859-60.
Sir Henry Marshall was elected Grand Master in 1860, and continued in office till 1866. Sir Hans Newell resigned the Grand Secretaryship in 18680, and Sir Thomas Leggatt elected to that office. The annual report for 1860-61 is the first we have in book form, and in it we have the first complete list of Commanderies and their location. As this is the first notice we have of many Encampments we give a summary of the list--Airdrie, 32; Ayr, 29, 30; Campbeltown, 71; Carluke, 33, 34, 35; Dalmellilngton, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Dalry, 14; Edinburgh, 28; Girvan, 31; Glasgow, 1, 2, 24, 25, 26, 27, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 74, 80, 83; Grreenock, 10, 11, 12; Holytown, 51; Johnstone, 6; Kilmarnock, 13; Kilwinning, 15, 16, 17; Moodiesburn, 4; Motherwell, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50; Paisley, 3; Partick; ;36; Rutherglen, 5. At the time the report was issued the following numbers only had made returns for the year--2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15, 24, 25, 32, 33, 36, and 37. There is in this report the following resolution:--
"That as a number of the Warrants formerly issued have now
become dormant, or otherwise ceased to exist, a revision of the roll
is requisite, to facilitate which all Commanderies holding a high
number and willing to take a lower number, shall have the renewal
free of expense, receiving at the same time the earliest vacant numbers
at the disposal of the Grand Encampment, according to priority of
application for the same."
At the Annual meeting of Grand Lodge in June, 1867, there was approved and adopted a book of Ritual, dealing with the installation of Encampments and Office-bearers by H. Newall, G.M., and printed by James Cameron. 31 Argyle Street, Glasgow, 1867. A second edition of this Ritual was issued in 1876, printed by Alexander M'Phee, 45 Union Street, Glasgow; but there is no change in the text, the two editions are word for word throughout. We would here notice that Grand Master Newell dropped into the very common error of confounding St. John the Baptist with the more modern St. John of Jerusalem, otherwise known as the Almoner. Referring to the Patron Saint of our Order he wrote thus:--
"From time immemorial it has been customary for the fraternity
to dedicate the different departments of our Institution to different
patrons; we dedicate our Lodges to King William, III, Prince of Orange,
of immortal memory; and our Encampments to St. John the Baptist,
or the Almoner."
On 15th October 1868, four new Warrants were issued. No. 27 for Jarrow, England; No. 45 for Tynedock, England; No. 40 for Saltcoats; and No. 39 for Stewarton. The two latter both in Ayrshire, Scotland.
An emergency meeting of the Imperial Grand Encampment was held on 20th February, 1869, for the installation of Sir George M'Leod, as Grand Master, in succession to Sir Hans Newell who retired from office.
Sir George M'Leod has the honour of holding office for a longer period than any of his compeers in our modern history. He ruled the Order for fully 21 years. On 19th June, 1869, Sir Hans Newell, Past Grand Master, called attention to the rule that "any Sir Knight Companion who shall withdraw his certificate from the Orange Lodge to which he belongs, and does not rejoin an Orange Lodge within three months, will be suspended till he becomes a member of an Orange Lodge." He said, "I find this rule works ill with us, and is going to put some of our members to very great inconvenience." The result of the discussion which followed was that the rule was amended to read "twelve" months instead of "three."
On 16th August, 1871, it was agreed to grant a Provincial Grand Warrant for the Colony of New South Wales, and intimation given that £10 sterling had been received for the purchase of jewels for the Provincial office-bearers. On 19th November, 1871, the terms of agreement between the Imperial Grand Black Encampment of the Universe and the Provincial Grand Black Encampment of New South Wales were ratified, and on 2nd January, 1872, it was reported to Grand Council by Sir Joseph Norwood, that the jewels which were ordered by the Provincial Grand Encampment of New South Wales had been forwarded by Royal mail Steamer to that Colony; but, unfortunately the steamer had been lost at sea. Information on the matter was ordered to be sent to the Provincial Grand Lodge.
On 19th February, 1871, a new Warrant (No. 29) was granted for Leith, in name of Sir Knight Companion James Robertson. A second Warrant (No. 82) was granted to Stranraer, on 22nd June, 1871; and on 13th December of the same year, No. 85 was granted to Larkhall, and on 28th January, 1873, No. 42 was granted to Rutherglen, Sir Thomas Henry being the first Master. During this year, the Imperial Parent Grand Encampment published in pamphlet form a "History of the Sixth Language," which was a reprint of a series of letters which had appeared in the "Toronto Patriot," Canada. The original purpose of these letters was to show the origin of the two Blacks--the Knights of Malta, or Scottis Black, and the Black Chapter, or Irish Black. To put it mildly, the little pamphlet was an eye-opener to many who had been deluded into joining the Chapter, and over and over again have the Irish Sir Knights thanked the Grand Encampment for publishing it. In 1881 they wrote--"the pamphlet styled ‘The History of the Sixth Language' is proving very effective, as it has been the direct means of gaining over not a few of the members of the Black Chapter of Ireland, who were entrapped soon after their admission to the Arch-purple Degree. We could heartily wish that the pamphlet had a wider circulation, and we would ask the Imperial Grand Encampment of the Universe to recommend it to the Order generally." On July 4th, 1876, we find that No. 19 was issued to Paisley in exchange for No. 113; and No. 20 to Barrhead in exchange for 112.
We have now to record, with an acknowledgement of our sincere regret, an event which was followed by consequences disasterous to our Ancient Order in Great Britain and Ireland; an event which went perilously near wrecking the good old ship "whose flag had braved"--well, not a thousand, but 830--"years, the battle and the breeze"; and which as a matter of course, converted our weak places into the strongholds of our enemy--the Black Chapter. But let us to the facts as they are recorded in the Grand Encampments' reports. On 16th December, 1876, Sir Knight Robert Houston referred to a privilege the Supreme Grand Encampment of America had, of admitting Protestants without first being Orangemen, and moved the following motion:--"That we admit good Protestants, whether Orangemen or not." After a lengthened discussion it was tabled for the June meeting. At the June meeting it was brought up, only to be postponed for another six months; at the end of which latter period, i.e., on 22nd December, 1877, it was for the third time brought forward, not by the original proposer but by Sir Knight Robert Stewart, seconded by Sir Knight James Boyde--"That we admit good Protestants if they be members or adherents of a Protestant Church, whether they be Orangemen or not."
This resolution seems to us to imply that there are good Protestants who are neither members nor adherents of a Protestant Church, an inference to which we cannot assent. On the contrary, we believe that such Protestants as are neither members nor adherents of a Protestant Church are very bad Protestants, if indeed they can be reckoned Protestants at all. A Protestant who makes no Protest seem to us an anomoly, if not a positive contradiction of terms. But let us return to the motion, such as it is. It was again "postponed till the next meeting," when on 15th June, 1878, it was brought forward for the fourth time and received its due reward. The Grand Recorder of that date sums up the result in one word--"defeated." The obnoxious motion was thus got rid of, but the consequences followed all the same. But what were they?
Let us have a look at the Grand Recorder's report to Grand Encampment, 5th June, 1880.--"Last year there were 47 Encampments under our jurisdiction. The council regrets to think that only 26 have complied with the wish of the Grand Encampment in sending in their returns." When this question was introduced there were 57 Encampments working under our jurisdiction. We have no statement of what the numbers were in 1878, when the motion was defeated: but we have enough and more than enough. In 2877 there were 57 Encampments, two of which--No. 16, Dundee, and 21 Kinning Park--were new Encampments formed during the year 1879-80, so that the actual result was a loss of 33 Encampments in three years. There is no good to be gained by trying to shut our .