- 1 JOSEPH WARREN 1741-1775
- 1.1 NOTES
- 1.2 BIOGRAPHY
- 1.3 INAUGURATION OF THE WARREN STATUE, JUNE 1857
- 1.4 SPEECHES
JOSEPH WARREN 1741-1775
Grand Master, Massachusetts Grand Lodge, 1769-1775
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XV, No. 8, June 1856, Page 256:
A few weeks since, the late Dr. John C. Warren disinterred from the family tomb under St. Paul's Church, the remains of his uncle, General Joseph Warren, who fell in the fight at Bunker Hill. The remains were placed in a stone urn, upon which an appropriate epitaph had been engraved. The skull was quite perfect, the chin still remaining. Behind one of the ears was seen an aperture, which indicated the place where the fatal ball entered which ended his brief but glorious career. The remains, with those of other members of the family, were placed in Forest Hills Cemetery.
INSTALLATION, JANUARY 1770
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 8, June 1861, Page 232:
We have had laid upon our table, as a matter of interest as well as of curiosity, a copy of The Providence Gazette and Country Journal Containing the freshest advices, foreign and domestic, from Saturday, Dec. 30, 1769, to Saturday, January 6, 1770. Printed by Joseph Carter, near the Court House. It is a folio of four pages, about 8 by 14 inches, and contains a variety of matters of curious interest.
Under the date, Boston, January 1, we find the following:
"By virtue of a commission lately received from the Right Honorable, and Most Worshipful, the Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in Scotland, on Wednesday was solemnized, at a Grand Lodge of ancient free and accepted Masons in this town, held at Mason's Hall, the instalment of the Most Worshipful Joseph Warren, Esq., Provincial Grand Master of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in North America; on the occasion there was an elegant oration. Alter the instalment there was a good entertainment."
1829 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
From Masonic Mirror, New Series, Vol. I, No. 22, November 1829, Page 174:
Gen. Joseph Warren.
Gen. Warren was appointed Grand Master of Masons in Boston, and within 100 miles of the same, by virtue of a commission from the Right Hon. and Most Worshipful George, Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master of Masons in Scotland, in December, 5769; and in 1773, a commission was received from the R. H. and M. W. Patrick, Earl of Dumphries, Grand Master of Masons in Scotland, under date of March 3, 1772, appointing him G. Master of Masons for the Continent of America. He held this office and discharged its duties, not merely in a manner honorable to himself but to the great satisfaction and lasting benefit of the fraternity, until the day of his premature death's signatures affixed several charters now in existence and is regarded as a venerated relick.
Gen. Warren was born in Roxbury, Mass. A. D. 1740. He graduated at Harvard College in 1759, and turned his attention to medical studies; for the practice of which he was soon qualified. In his profession, he was among the most eminent. His fine address, observes his biographer, as well as his attention to philosophy and the belle-lettres, gained him the esteem in regard of the polite and learned; while his frank, open disposition and obliging attention to persons under various circumstances of human distress, caused him to be greatly beloved by those who tried the humble walks of life. Charitable and generous, he fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and administered the healing balm to the afflicted. But nature designed him for a different and more active sphere. – At the commencement of difficulties between the colonies and mother country, he had an opportunity to shew his taste as a fine writer, and also his eloquence and patriotic zeal. He was in the class of bold politicians, as they were then distinguished from the modern whigs. He despised the suppliant tone of children to mother Britain. His maximum was that, "every kind of taxation was complete tyranny," on the part of England. He watched over the interests of his country with the earnestness of a faithful guardian; and his vigilance increased with every alarm. – when the American army first assembled at Cambridge and was in confusion, Warren's exertions and weight of character restore order in the camp, and inspired the soldiers with a zeal that led them on to Independence. From the year 1768, he was a principal member of a secret meeting or caucus in Boston, which had great influence on the concerns of the country.
With all his boldness and decision in zeal, he was circumspect and wise. In this assembly the plans of defence were matured. After the destruction of the tea, it was no longer kept secret. He was twice chosen the public orator of the town, on the anniversary of the massacre, and his orations breathe the energy of a great and daring mind. It was he who, on the evening before the battle of Lexington, obtained information of the intended expedition against Concord, dispatched an express to Messrs. Hancock and Adams, who were at Lexington, to warn them of their danger. He himself, on the next day, the memorable 19th of April, was very active. It is said, in Gen. Heath's memoirs, the ball off part of his earlock.
After the departure of Hancock to Congress, he was chosen president of the provincial Congress in this place. Four days previous to the battle of Bunker's or Breed's Hill, he received his commission of Major General. When the intrenchments were made upon the fatal spot, to encourage the men within the lines, he went down from Cambridge and joined them as a volunteer of the eventful day of the battle, June 17th. Just as the retreat commenced, a ball struck him on the head, and he died in the trenches, aged thirty five years. He was the first victim of rank that fell in the struggle with Great Britain; and is numbered among the "illustrious dead", as one who stands pre-eminent for his virtues, his talents, his patriotism and self-devotedness; whose consecrated niche in the temple of Fame will be sought and reverenced by every son and daughter of America, and our children's children, even to the fiftieth generation, shall be taught to list the name of Warren.
During the short period that are distinguished brother presided over the interests of the fraternity in America, notwithstanding the disturbed and unsettled state of public feeling, Masonry flourished, and increased in numbers and respectability. His loss then was a severe blow to the Institution. Buy it, the Lodges were again deprived of a head. difficulties arose respecting the extent of the powers of the Grand Lodge; its capacity to perform its usual functions; and confusion and disorder followed. The meetings were suspended during the occupancy of Boston by the British, but immediately on its evacuation, and previous to any regular communication; and we may say, previous to the adjustment of the existing difficulties; brethren, influenced by a pious regard to the memory of their late illustrious and revered Grand Master, were induced to search for his body; which, in the hurry and bustle of field of battle, had been indiscriminately buried on the spot where he breathed out his soul to him gave it. They accordingly repaired to the place; and by the direction of a person who was on the ground at the time of his burial, a spot was discovered where the earth had been recently turned up. On removing the turf and opening the grave, (which was on the brow of a hill, adjacent to a small cluster of springs) the remains were discovered. Though in a mangled condition, they were identified by means of an artificial tooth, and other marks known to his friends. Having been raised the corpse was conveyed, with all due respect and solemnity, to the State House in this city; from from whence by a large and respectable concourse of the brotherhood, with the late Grand Officers attending in procession, the mortal remains were carried to the stone chapel, where an animated eulogium was pronounced.
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. X, No. 6, March 1851, Page 160:
We pay that tribute which is due to the brave defenders of out liberties. Nations have in all ages, endeavored to perpetuate the brilliant actions of brave heroes, to inspire the living with a spirit of emulation, and to discharge the obligations they owe to those deeds of valor, by which their rights are secured. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, is a Roman maxim - i.e., it is pleasant to die for one's country; and Americans are not less patriotic than the Romans. A lamented Brother, the Grand Master of Masons for the continent of America, fell in the defence of his country's cause, for liberty and independence. General Joseph Warren, who was slain on Bunker's heights, on 17th June, 1775, was a martyr io the cause of freedom. He was the first victim of rank who fell in that memorable struggle with our mother country. He is numbered with the illustrious dead. He was pre-eminent for his virtues, his talents, his patriotism, his self-devotion. The niche in the temple of fame, to his memory, will be sought and reverenced by the sons and daughters of America, so long as patriotism shall be regarded as a virtue; and our children's children through coming generations shall be taught to lisp the name of Warren.
Tyrian Lodge hold his memory in grateful remembrance. The charter of Tyrian Lodge, bearing date March 2d, 1770, was the first he signed, and the Brethren esteem that document a precious relic, to be sacredly kept in everlasting remembrance of our worshipful Grand Master. His untimely death should embalm his memory in the heart of every Mason; and the virtues of so amiable, exemplary, and distinguished a character, should live on perpetual record.
1857 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVI, No. 6, April 1857, Page 161:
Gen. Warren was appointed Provincial Grand Master on the 30th of May, 1769, though his commission was not probably received in the Provinces until some months after its date. The first notice we find of it, was "at the assembly and feast held at Boston, in New England, at Mason's Hall, in the Green Dragon Tavern, on Wednesday, Dec. 27th, 5769;" at which were present, the M. W. Joseph Warren, Esq. Grand Master elect; the Master, Wardens and Brethren of St. Andrew's Lodge; the Master and Wardens of Lodge No. 58, of the Registry of England ; and the Master and Wardens of Lodge 322, of the Registry of Ireland," —being the three petitioning Lodges. The last two were army Lodges. At this meeting, the commission having been read, the Brethren proceeded, in ample form, to install the M. W. Joseph Warren, Grand Master of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, in Boston, &c. After which the following Brethren were nominated by the M. W. Grand Master, and unanimously elected Grand Officers, for the year ensuing, viz:—
- Jeremiah French, Esq., Capt. in the 29th Regt., S. G. W.
- Ponsonby Molesworth, Capt. in the 29th Regt., J. G. W.
- William Palfrey, (by proxy), G. Sec.
- Thomas Crafts, G. Treas,
- Joseph Webb, G. Mar.
- Paul Revere, S. G. D.
- Samuel Danforth, J. G, D.
- Thos. Urann, S. G. S.
- Caleb Hopkins, J. G. S.
- Edward Proctor, G. Sw.B."
And thus was formed the second Grand Lodge on the American Continent. Like the first, it was a Provincial Grand Lodge, and, to a limited extent, amenable for its acts, to the body from which it derived its authority. Both these Grand Lodges were invested with power to establish Lodges, and to make laws for their government, and to do and perform all such matters and things as were necessary for the advancement and welfare of the Order in the Colonies.
The second meeting of the new Grand Lodge was held on the 12th January 1770; but no business appears to have been transacted., except resolving that the regular quarterly communications of the Grand Lodge should be held on the first Fridays in March, June, September and December. The third meeting (which may be called the first quarterly meeting,) was accordingly held on the 2d of March 1770, when a committee was appointed "to prepare a body of laws for the regulation of the Grand Lodge." But the most important subject which came before the meeting, was "a petition from Brothers Phillip Marett (or Marriot), Andrew Fan Phillips, John Fletcher, Andrew Gidding, George Brown, David Parker Barrett Harkin and Epes Sargent, Jr., Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, resident in Gloucester, New England, dated Feb. 23d, 1770, praying for a dispensation, to be erected into a regular Lodge" — which being read, it was "voted, that a dispensation be granted said Brethren, they obliging themselves to pay such fees for the same as shall hereafter be stipulated by the Grand Lodge, — the said Lodge to be called by the name of the Tyrian Lodge." This Lodge, like the first established by the St. John's Grand Lodge, is still in existence, and in the enjoyment of a vigorous prosperity. And it may not be out of place here to remark, that up to this period — when it was thenceforth to share its privileges and labors with another — St. John's Grand Lodge had issued warrants for the establishment of thirty-seven Lodges, viz: in Massachusetts 6; Maine 2; New Hampshire 1; Rhode Island 3; Connecticut 7; New York 3 ; New Jersey 2 ; Pennsylvania 1 ; Maryland 1 ; "Virginia I; North Carolina 1; South Carolina 1; Canada 1; Nova Scotia 3; Newfoundland 1; West Indies 3. These statistics indicate, with sufficient exactness, the progress of the Institution in the Colonies, during the preceding thirty-seven years, and its condition at the date of the establishment of the second Grand Lodge in Massachusetts. Lodges had, in a few instances, been established in some of the other Colonies, under authority emanating from other sources; but the number was comparatively small.
The second warrant issued by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, was granted on the 13th May 1770, on the petition of Brothers Joseph Tyler, Wm. Palfrey, James Jackson, John Hill, John Jeffries, Nath. Cudworth, Isaac Rand and Joshua Loring, (or the establishment of the Massachusetts Lodge, in Boston. A division arose among the members of Grand Lodge on the presentation of this petition, as to the necessity for another Lodge in the town; but the warrant was finally granted, by a vote of eight to four — the Grand Master and Grand Secretary, (the latter one of the petitioners,) not voting. The Lodge is still in active existence, and the establishment of it seems not to have been productive of the inconveniences anticipated. Nor do all the Brethren appear to have regarded the field as yet fully occupied; for at the following June communication, a petition was presented for another Lodge in Boston. It was however promptly rejected by the Grand Lodge; as were several other similar petitions for Lodges in other parts of the Colony; an increase of the present number of Lodges being thought to be "totally unnecessary."
At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge in Dec. 1771, the Grand Master announced the appointment of the R. W. Joseph Webb, as his Deputy, and submitted to the body the question — "Whether the Grand Master has a right to nominate his Wardens?" The question was decided in the affirmative. What gave rise to the inquiry does not appear; but it was probably thought by some of the Brethren, that as the power was not expressly delegated in the commission of the Grand Master, he was exceeding his authority in exercising it. The matter was, however, disposed of in accordance with the ancient usage of the Institution, and the practice of the parent Grand Lodge; which body had, ten years previously, recognized the right of the Grand Master to nominate his successor; who, on such nomination, (made one year before the election,) "received the appellation of Grand Master elect." The Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, printed in 1604, provides that a "Provincial Grand Master shall be at liberty to choose two Brethren to be his Wardens, and a Secretary ; all of whom must be Master Masons." And this was probably the regulation under which Gen. Warren was appointed, and held his commission.
At the quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge, on the 6th March, 1772, a petition was received "from Thomas Parsons, Wm. Greenough, Thos. Jones, Jonathan Boardman, Isaac Walker, Moses Brown, Simon Greenleaf, and Nathl. Nowell, Free and Accepted Masons, resident in Newburyport, praying they might be erected into a new Lodge by the name of St. Peter's Lodge.'" These petitioners were all of high respectability, and the prayer of the petition was promptly granted. We regret to add that this Lodge is not now in existence; and this regret is increased by the consideration that has led us lo notice its organization, as well as that of the Tyrian and Massachusetts Lodges, more in detail than we should have otherwise deemed necessary, or appropriate, in this sketch ; namely, that to these three Lodges were granted the only Charters issued by, or that bear the signature of, our illustrious Brother and Grand Master Joseph Warren. For this reason we could have wished that they might have been permitted to continue a living trio, to transmit through many coming generations, the gratifying evidence they afford of the relation that our lamented Brother held to the Masonic Institution, and the lively interest he manifested in its early establishment on this continent. (The original Charter of St. Peler's Lodge was lost at the lime of the revolution, for which a new one was issued during the Grand Mastership of M. W Paul Revere, in 1794.)
It does not appear that our Brother was called upon, in his capacity of Grand Master, to perform any act of particular importance, or out of the common course of duty, during the remainder of his official term ; except that on the 27th December 1773, he caused to be read in Grand Lodge, a new commission which he had some time before received from the Earl of Dumfries, Grand Master of Masons in Scotland, dated March 3, 1772, appointing him "Grand Master of Masons for the Continent of America"; and as such, he was forthwith duly installed and saluted, according to ancient usage. We notice, however, one or two entries in the records of this period, which are so significant of the interest many of the more active and distinguished officers of the Grand Lodge took in the "stirring events" cf the day, that we need offer no apology for introducing them in this connection. The first reads as follows (under date June 4, 1773) :—"The Grand Lodge being opened, and the Grand Master observing but few Grand Officers present, was acquainted of their necessary engagement in another society." Among the absentees was Col. Paul Revere, the friend of Warren, Hancock, and Adams, and one of the most active patriots of the Revolution, and a member of "another society" known as "the committee of public safety." He was Junior Grand Warden. Col. Joseph Webb, the Deputy G. Master, was also absent. He was an officer in the revolutionary army, having taken an active part in all the movements preceding the war.
Again.—In September of the same year, the record says—" The Grand Lodge did not proceed to business, on account of the fewness of members." Colonel Revere, and several of the same parties as before, were again absent, — probably at that " other society," whose meetings were doubtless very frequent, and the business before them very urgent! June 3, 1774, we find the following entry :— "Motioned, seconded and voted, this Grand Lodge be adjourned to Tuesday evening next, 7 o'clock; by reason of the few Grand Officers present; engaged in consequential Public Business." — Doubtless another meeting of that "other society!" But Grand Master Warren was himself absent this time,— perhaps in pursuit of his truant Deputy, Webb, and his Senior G. Deacon, Revere! If so, we dare say he found them,—and most probably in some retired room in the "Green Dragon Tavern," where his Grand Lodge usually held its sessions, and which place had the reputation of being a favorite resort for certain "rebellious spirits." The same parties were again absent at the Sept. meeting, and the faithful Secretary makes the following record—" The Members of this Grand Lodge being necessarily prevented from giving their attendance this evening, no regular Lodge could be held. Therefore adjourned to Wednesday evening, the 7th inst." Brother Thomas Urann, Past Master, presided for the purpose of adjournment. It must indeed have been pressing business ihut called all the officers from their places in Grand Lodge ! But, then, the times were pressing, and the " public business," we are told by our Brother the Secretary, was "consequential!"
The last meeting of the Grand Lodge, at which our Brother presided as Grand Master, was held at Masons' Hall, in the Green Dragon Tavern, on Friday, March 3d, 1775. The business being over, tho Grand Lodge 11 was closed to the first Friday in June." But that June meeting was never held. At the bottom of the page on which the proceedings of the March communication are recorded, we find the following entry : —
Memo.—19th April, 1775. Hostilities commenced between the Troop9 of Great Britain and America, in Lexington Battle. In consequence of which the Town was Blockaded, and no Lodge held until December, 1776."
The Brethren of the Grand Lodge, when they closed their meeting on the 3d March, did not anticipate that they had met their beloved Grand Master, in his official capacity, for the last time,—that he had laid aside his Jewel, never again to be resumed on earth. But such was the will of God. lie had presided over them for more than five years, guiding them by his wisdom and sustaining them by his example. He had rarely been absent from his post of duty. Even amid the exciting scenes in which he took so active a part, and in which his whole soul was absorbed, he did not forget his Brethren, or neglect his duty as their Grand Master. Of the forty communications of his Grand Lodge, he was present and presided at thirty-seven! A rare instance of fidelity to duty, evincive alike of his love for the Institution and of his devotion to its interests. Nor were his Masonic labors confined to his Grand Lodge. He was an efficient member of St. Andrew's Lodge, and took an active part in all its proceedings. It was his Alma Mater; and as such, he was ever zealous to defend its honor and promote its welfare, In it he was initiated on the 10th of September 1761 — took the second degree on the 2d November following, and the third, on the 28th November 1765. Having served it in a variety of relations, he was elected its Worshipful Master in 1769; but in consequence of his appointment, in that year, to the Prov. Grand Mastership, he seems not to have entered upon the active duties of the office. He was made a Royal Arch Mason in the " Royal Arch Lodge," attached to St. Andrew's Lodge, on the 14th of May, 1770.
Our Brother was horn in Roxbury, Mass., on the 11th June, 1741, and graduated at Harvard College in 1759, and taught school one year in his native town. He studied medicine under Dr. James Lloyd, and in a few years became one of the most eminent physicians in Boston. "But," says a recent writer, "his mind would not allow him to follow quietly his professional duties. He was an ardent lover of his country, and felt that the oppressions under which she groaned, must be met with open and determined resistance. He was bold and decided—and when he had.once carved out a path for himself, he unhesitatingly followed it. He proclaimed against every species of taxation, external or internal, direct or indirect, and expressed his belief that America could not only talk but fight—and with success—whatever the force sent against her. From 1768, he was a principal member of a secret caucus in Boston, which exerted very great influence upon the "political affairs of the country. It was through his means that Hancock and Adams were seasonably advertised of their danger, while at Lexington, on the evening of the 18th of April. (Hancock was a member of the Masonic Fraternity; audit is believed Adams was also, though he seems not lo have been active in its offices. Dr. Warren was active in the fight at Lexington, which took place on the following day. and also in a subsequent combat which terminated in the destruction of a British ship of war in Chelsea Beach.) Four days previous to the battle of Bunker's Heights, he received his commission of Major-General (e received this Commission from the Massachusetts "Provincial Congress," of which he was the President); He was within the entrenchment on the memorable 17th June, and was killed just at the commencement of the retreat. His death shed a gloom throughout the community ; for he was exceedingly beloved by all classes, for the mildness and affability of his deportment, and the virtues of his private life. As a statesman, he was able and judicious — as an orator, eloquent — as a man, of uncompromising integrity and undaunted bravery—and the first officer of rank who fell in the contest with Great Britain. The glory of Bunker-Hill is interwoven with the reputation of Major General Warren."
To the Masonic Fraternity his death was a serious misfortune. Being deprived of its lawful head, doubts arose respecting the nature of the powers of the Grand Lodge, and of its legal ability to continue to discharge the functions of its creation. Rut the first great care of the Brethren was the recovery of the remains of their beloved Grand Master.
Waving all other considerations, as of minor importance, they availed themselves of the earliest moment, after the evacuation of the town by the British troops (March 17, 1776,) to go in search of the body, which, in the hurry and bustle of the fight, had been indiscriminately buried on the field of battle. They repaired to the hill (April 8, 1776,) and by direction of a person who was on the ground at the time of its burial, n spot was discovered where the earth had been recently turned up. On removing the turf and opening the grave, (which was near the brow, on the northern declivity of the hill, and by a small cluster of springs,) the remains were discovered. (The spot is now (1857) marked by an appropriate granite slab, bearing a suitable inscription.) They were in a mangled condition but were easily identified from the circumstance that, the left upper cuspidatus, or eye-tooth, had been secured in its place by a golden wire. Having raised it, the body was conveyed, with proper respect and solemnity, to the State House (at the head of State street,) in Boston. From thence it was taken by a large concourse of Masonic Brethren, with the Grand Officers attending in procession, to King's Chapel, where an impressive and eloquent eulogium was pronounced by the R. W. Wor. Hon. Perez Morton, afterwards Solicitor General of the State, and the personal friend and associate of ihe deceased. The remains were then deposited in tho tomb of George Richards Minot, Esq., a friend of the family. (They were recently removed and entombed under St. Paul's Church. Thus the remains were three times buried, viz.,— first on Bunker Hill; secondly), in the Granary Burial-ground; and, thirdly, under St. Paul's Church, with a monumental inscription to mark the place of their deposit.)
1874 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
From New England Freemason, Vol. I, No. 3, March 1874, p. 105:
General Joseph Warren, FIRST GRAND MASTER OF THE MASSACHUSETTS GRAND LODGE.
Joseph Warren is pre-eminently the New England hero. He was the first man of distinction to lay down his life in the cause of American liberty. He fell upon a field which we have all been accustomed from childhood to regard as one of the most honorable and glorious in the annals of our Revolution. He was young, handsome, energetic, patriotic and brave. In short, he was the very type of the true gentleman — gentle in his manners and manly in his actions. It is not strange, therefore, that while he lived his countrymen regarded him with peculiar respect and affection, and that after his glorious death his memory should be embalmed in their hearts. As Masons, we feel a special pride in his record, because during the few years in which he served his country so zealously in various capacities, he was laboring diligently to promote the honor and usefulness of the Fraternity, and serving it most gracefully and acceptably in the capacity of Grand Master. His Brethren were the first to search for his remains, the first to erect a monument to his memory, and they will be the last to cherish the sweet remembrance of his virtues.
He was born in Roxbury, Mass., June 11, 1741. He graduated at Harvard College in 1759. While there, an incident occurred illustrating the fearless intrepedity for which he was always noted, and which is thus described by Loring, in "The Hundred Boston Orators." Some of his classmates were engaged in a merriment which they knew Warren would not approve, and adopted a plan to prevent his attendance. They fastened the door of the apartment, which was in the upper story of a college building. Warren, finding that he could not get in at the door, and perceiving that there was an open window, determined to effect his entrance by that way, from the roof. He accordingly ascended the stairs to the top of the building, and, getting out upon the roof, let himself down to the eaves, and thence, by the aid of a spout, to a level with the open window, through which he leaped into the midst of the conspirators. The spout, which was of wood, was so much decayed by time, that it fell to the ground as Warren relaxed his hold upon it. His classmates, hearing the crash, rushed to the window, and when they perceived the cause, loudly congratulated him upon the escape. He coolly remarked that the spout had retained its position just long enough to serve his purpose; and, without further notice of the accident, proceeded to remonstrate with them on the mischief they intended to perpetrate, which had the desired effect.
The same author relates another anecdote, illustrative of Warren's fearlessness, gathered from the traditions of the family. About the time of the Revolution, criminals were publicly executed upon a gallows erected on the Neck, near Roxbury. As Warren was one day walking in that direction, he met three British officers, one of whom muttered as they passed, " Go on, Warren; you will soon come to the gallows!" Whereupon, all three burst into a loud laugh. An insult from them was not to be borne. He, therefore, turned back immediately, and coolly demanded to know which of them had uttered the offensive words. They stood silent and crestfallen until, finding no answer could be obtained, he left them, heartily ashamed of themselves and each other, and com¬ pletely cowed by the manly bearing of this mere stripling.
This trait in his character was still more strikingly illustrated on the occasion of his delivery of the oration on the anniversary of the Boston Massacre in 1775, only three months before his death. Several distinguished citizens were invited to officiate, but declined. Warren, however, volunteered, probably stimulated by the threats of some of the British officers, that the attempt to speak on that anniversary of the event of the fifth of March, 1770, should cost the orator his life. " Warren's soul took fire at such a threat so openly made, and he wished for the honor of braving it." The day came, and the weather was remarkably fine. The Old South Meeting House was crowded at an early hour. One of the Royalists, in an abusive account published in a Tory newspaper, says, "we all sat gaping at one another, above an hour, expecting! " If this was true (which is very doubtful), the orator was probably detained by some very pressing professional engagement.' " At last," the sneerer continues, "a single horse chair stopped at the apothecary's, opposite the meeting, from which descended the orator of the day; and, entering the shop, was followed by a servant with a bundle, in which were the Ciceronian toga, etc." The scene is thus graphically described by a later and more friendly historian :
"The British officers occupied the aisles, the flight of steps to the pulpit, and several of them were within it. It was not precisely known whether this was accident or design. The orator, with the assistance of his friends, made his entrance at the pulpit window by a ladder. The officers, seeing his coolness and intrepidity, made way for him to advance and address the audience. An awful stillness preceded his exordium. Each man felt the palpitations of his own heart, and saw the pale but determined face of his neighbor. The speaker began his oration in a firm tone of voice, and proceeded with great energy and pathos. Warren and his friends were prepared to chastise contumely, prevent disgrace, and avenge an attempt at assassination.
"The scene was sublime. A patriot, in whom the flush of youth and the grace and dignity of manhood were combined, stood armed in the sanctuary of God, to animate and encourage the sons of liberty and to hurl defiance at their oppressors. The orator commenced with the early history of the country, described the tenure by which we held our liberties and property, the affection we had constantly shown the parent country, and boldly told them how, and by whom these blessings of life had been violated. ' If pacific measures are ineffectual, and it appears that the only way to safety is through fields of blood, I know you will not turn your faces from your foes, but will undauntedly press forward until tyranny is trodden under foot, and you have fixed your adored goddess, Liberty, fast by Brunswick's side, on the American throne.' There was in his appeal to Britain, in his description of suffering, agony and horror, a calm and high-souled defiance which must have chilled the blood of every sensible foe. Such another hour has seldom happened in the history of man, and is not surpassed in the records of nations. The thunders of Demosthenes rolled at a distance from Phillip and his host, and Tully poured the fiercest torrent of his invective when Catiline was at a distance), and his dagger no longer to be feared; but Warren's speech was made to proud oppressors resting on their arms, whose errand it was to overawe and whose business it was to fight.
"During the delivery of the oration, a British officer, seated upon the pulpit stairs, held up one of his hands with several pistol bullets in the open palm. Warren observed the action, and quietly dropping his white handkerchief over the outstretched hand, went on with hiB discourse. The Tory reporter above quoted says, that "he was applauded by the mob, but groaned at by people of understanding." During the year 1760 he was employed as a teacher in a public school in Roxbury, and in the following year commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Lloyd, an eminent physician of that day. He began practice in 1763 and is said to have distinguished himself at once. In 1764, the small-pox prevailed extensively in Boston, and he was very successful in treating it. He thus gained the good will of the people and he never lost it. "His personal appearance, his address, his courtesy and his humanity, won the way to the hearts of all, and his knowledge and superiority of talents secured the conquest."
About this time he began to take an active part in political affairs, and his letters to public men and newspaper essays soon attracted the attention even of the government. Considering his age, many of these productions are remarkable for clearness of thought, terseness of statement and cogency of argument. He had caught the spirit and the stylo of Samuel Adams, the prime mover in the Revolution. The biographer of Adams says: "The bond of friendship and unreserved confidence was perfect between them, despite the difference in age," and Perez Morton, in his eulogy on Warren, declares that "their kindred souls were so closely twined, that both felt one joy, both one affliction." – "Warren was the closest friend that Samuel Adams ever had. No one among his younger associates in the cause, not even John Adams, ever enjoyed the confidence of Samuel Adams to such an extent as Warren, and that vacancy in his heart was never fully supplied ... In no letter of Samuel Adams can allusion be found to the death of Warren. His sorrow was probably of that nature which could find no solace in writing or commenting upon his loss."
In 1774, when Adams went to Philadelphia as a delegate to the Continental Congress from Massachusetts, Warren was chosen to represent the town of Boston in the Provincial Congress, and in the following year he was elected President of that Body. Here he manifested extraordinary powers of mind and a peculiar fitness for the guidance and government of men in times of difficulty and danger.
"Cautious in proposing measures, he was assiduous in pursuing what he thought, after mature deliberation, to be right, and never counted the probable cost of a measure, when he had decided that it was necessary to be taken." The Congress was then sitting at Watertown, and it is said to have been his custom every day upon the adjournment to mount his horse and hurry off to the camp, there to participate with the common soldiers in the exercises and drill, and to encourage and animate them by exhortation and example. He thus became well known to most of the soldiers, and wa» readily recognized and welcomed by them when he made his appearance in their midst on the memorable seventeenth of June. The Provincial Congress offered him the appointment of Surgeon General, but he declined it and accepted a commission as Major General dated only three days before the battle. He arrived upon the field only a few moments before the first attack of the British troops. This fact is accounted for by his nephew in a different manner from that heretofore received. In a recently published memoir of Dr. John Warren (Grand Master in 1783), the author says: "I have attended a lady who was born in Dedham on the seventeenth of June, 1775. Dr. Joseph Warren was engaged to attend her mother in her confinement. It is stated that he visited her on that morning, and finding she had no immediate occasion for his services, told her that he must go to Charlestown to get a shot at the British, and he would return to her in season. On the night of the sixteenth, it is well known that he presided at the meeting of the Colonial Congress, which continued in session a great part of the night in Watertown. It is very probable that he returned to visit his mother and his children at Roxbury before the battle, and from there went to visit his patient. It is well known that he was late on the battle field. Of course he never returned to her again and she was attended by his pupil, Mr. Eustis.
Thus it appears he was in active practice almost to the moment of his death." The story of the battle is familiar and also his share in it. His repeated refusal to take the command when offered it by Putnam and Prescott, his seizing a musket and flying from place to place wherever the fight was hottest, his reluctance to obey the order to retreat, being at only a few rods distance from the redoubt when the British had obtained full possession, his instant death by a bullet in the head, and his burial on the following day in a shallow grave beside the body of a butcher, — all these facts have been often recounted. Congress passed a resolution that a monument should be erected to his memory, and even prescribed the inscription, but it was never carried into effect.
Immediately after the evacuation of Boston, his Brethren determined to go in search of the body. They repaired to the spot indicated by an eye-witness of his death. It was at the brow of the hill, and near the head of the grave was placed an acacia tree. Upon the removal of the earth, which appeared to have been recently disturb3d, they indeed found the body of their Grand Master. The remains were discovered on the sixth of April, 1776, carefully conveyed to the State House in Boston, and on the eighth of the same month were borne in solemn procession to King's Chapel, where an oration was delivered by Perez Morton, who was at that time Grand Marshal. His eulogy has often been compared to the oration of Mark Antony over the dead body of Caesar. The exordium was in these words:
"Illustrious relics! What tidings from the grave? Why hast thou left the peaceful mansions of the tomb, to visit again this troubled earth ? Art thou the welcome messenger of peace? Art thou risen again to exhibit thy glorious wounds, and through them pro¬ claim salvation to thy country? Or art thou come to demand that last debt of humanity to which your rank and merit have so justly entitled you, but which has been so long ungenerously withheld? And art thou angry at the barbarous usage? Be appeased, sweet ghost! for, though thy body has long laid undistinguished among the vulgar dead, scarce privileged with earth enough to hide it from the birds of prey — though not a kindred tear was dropped, though not a friendly sigh was uttered o'er thy grave — and though the execrations of an impious foe were all thy funeral knells — yet, matchless patriot! thy memory has been embalmed in the affections of thy grateful countrymen, who, in their breasts, have raised eternal monuments to thy bravery!"
In another passage the eloquent orator says:
" In the social departments of life, practising upon the strength of that doctrine he used so earnestly to inculcate himself, that nothing so much conduced to enlighten mankind and advance the great end of society at large, as the frequent interchange of sentiments in friendly meetings, we find him constantly engaged in this eligible labor. But on none did he place so high a value as on that most honorable of all detached societies, the Free and Accepted Masons. Into this Fraternity he was early initiated, and after having given repeated proofs of a rapid proficiency in the art, and after having evidenced by his life the professions of his lips — finally, as the reward of his merit, he was commissioned the Most Worshipful Grand Master of all the Ancient Masons throughout North America. And you, Brethren, are living testimonies, with how much honor to himself and benefit to the Craft universal he discharged the duties of his elevated trust; with what sweetened accents he courted your attention, while, with wisdom, strength and beauty, he instructed his Lodges in the secret arts of Freemasonry; what perfect order and decorum he preserved in the government of them ; and, in all his conduct, what a bright example he set us, to live within compass and act upon the square.
"With what pleasure did he silence the wants of poor and penniless Brethren; yea, the necessitous everywhere, though ignorant of the mysteries of the Craft, from his benefactions felt the happy effects of that Institution which is founded on Faith, Hope and Charity. And the world may cease to wonder that he so readily offered up bis life on the altar of his country, when they are told that the main pillar of Masonry is the love of mankind.
" The fates, as though they would reveal in the person of our Grand Master those mysteries which have so long lain hid from the world, have suffered him, like the great master builder in the temple of old, to fall by the hands of ruffians and be again raised in honor and authority. We searched in the field for the murdered son of a widow, and we found him, by the turf and the twig, buried on the brow of a hill, though not in a decent grave. And though we must again commit his body to the tomb, yet our breasts shall be the burying spot of his Masonic virtues, and there
"An adamantine monument we'll rear,
With this inscription — Masonry lies here."
After the funeral ceremonies, the remains were deposited in a tomb in the Granary Burying Ground, where they remained for nearly fifty years, and the place of deposit was forgotten. In 1825, the laying of the corner-stone of Bunker Hill Monument revived the memory of General Warren and prompted a long search for his ashes, which was successful. They were identified, as in the previous exhumation, by the left upper eye-tooth, which had been secured in its place by a golden wire, and by the mark of the fatal bullet behind the left ear. The sacred relics were carefully collected, deposited in a box of hard wood, designated by a silver plate, and placed in the Warren Tomb under St. Paul's Church, Boston. A few years since they were again removed, and now rest in Forest Hills Cemetery.
To King Solomon's Lodge, of Charlestown, belongs the honor of erecting the first monument to the memory of Joseph Warren. At a meeting on the eleventh of November, 1794, a committee was appointed "to erect such a monument in Mr. Russell's Pasture, provided the land can be procured, as in their opinion will do honor to the Lodge, in memory of our late Brother, the Most Worshipful Joseph Warren." In the following month, the committee reported, through their chairman, Brother Josiah Bartlett (Grand Master in 1798), that Mr. Russell had generously offered a deed of as much land as might be necessary, and they had erected, at a cost of one thousand dollars, a Tuscan pillar, eighteen feet high, resting upon a platform eight feet in height, eight feet square, and fenced around to protect it from injury. On the top of the pillar was placed a gill urn, with the initials and age of General Warren enclosed within the square and compasses. On the southwest side of the pedestal was this inscription:
Erected A. D. 1794, by King Solomon's Lodge of Freemasons, constituted at Charlestown, 1783, in memory of Major General Warren and his Associates, who were slain on this memorable spot, June 17, 1775.
"None but they who set a just value upon the blessings of Liberty are worthy to enjoy her. In vain we toiled; in vain we fought; we bled in vain, if yon, our offspring, want valor to repel the assaults of her invaders."
Charlestown Settled, 1638; Burnt, 1775; Rebuilt, 1776.
The enclosed land given by Hon. James Russell.
The committee recommended that the Monument be placed under the immediate care of the Master and Wardens for the time being, whose business it should be to visit the spot as often as occasion might require, and to keep it in complete repair at the expense of the Lodge forever. The report was unanimously accepted. It was then voted, "That the Lodge proceed this day to dedicate the Monument which, by the report of their committee, hath been erected." Accordingly, at two o'clock, p. m., a procession was formed at Warren Hall, where the Lodge then met, consisting of "the members of the Lodge and other Brethren, the Magistrates, Selectmen, Ministers and Deacons, Town Treasurer and Clerk, the Parish Officers, Officers of the Artillery Company, Militia Officers, Citizens who have borne military commissions and the Trustees and Scholars of the Public Schools." They proceeded in solemn silence to the Hill where the ceremonies of dedication were performed and a short address was delivered by the W. Master, John Soley, Jr., (Grand Master in 1827).
The Lodge kept the monument in repair until the eighth of March, 1825, when they voted to present the land and Monument to the Bunker Hill Monument Association, "upon condition that there should be placed within the walls of the Monument they were about to erect a suitable memorial of the ancient pillar, in order to perpetuate that early patriotic act of the Masonic Fraternity." In fulfilment of that condition, King Solomon's Lodge, on the twenty-fourth of June, 1845, placed within the obelisk an exact model in marble of the original Monument. The public ceremonies were conducted by the Grand Lodge, and were witnessed by a large assembly, including many distinguished Brethren from other jurisdictions. An interesting feature of the occasion was the presentation of the working tools to the Grand Master, Augustus Peabody, by Past Grand Master John Soley, who had himself fifty years before dedicated the firtt Monument.
The corner-stone of the present Monument was laid with Masonic ceremonies, on the fiftieth anniversary of the battle, under the direction of Grand Master John Abbot, assisted by our illustrious Brother, Lafayette. The completion of the Monument was celebrated on the seventeenth of June, 1843, the Masonic portion of the procession being under the direction of King Solomon's Lodge. On that occasion, Past Grand Master Benjamin Russell, a soldier of the Revolution, wore the Masonic apron of General Warren. On the seventeenth of June, 1857, M. W. John T. Heard, Grand Master, assisted by the Grand Officers and two thousand Brethren, inaugurated a statue of General Warren, in presence of about five thousand persons, seated under a mammoth tent erected on the Monument grounds, and delivered an interesting historical address.
Joseph Warren was initiated in St. Andrew's Lodge, of Boston, on the tenth of September, 1761. He received the second degree on the second of November following, but there is no record as to the third. On the fourteenth of November, 1765, the Lodge voted unanimously that Dr. Joseph Warren, be re-admitted a member of the Lodge. He was elected Master in 1769. In December of the latter year, he received from the Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master of Masons in Scotland, a commission, bearing date the thirtieth of May previous, appointing him Grand Master of Masons in Boston, and within one hundred miles of the same. In 1773, he received another commission, dated March 3, 1772, and signed by the Earl of Dumfries, then Grand Master, extending his jurisdiction over the " Continent of America." He was installed under each of those commissions on the twenty-seventh of December of the respective years.
Grand Master Warren presided over all the forty meetings of his Grand Lodge held previous to his death save four, namely, those of Dec. 27, 1770 (the Feast of St. John the Evangelist), June 16, 1773, June 3, and Sept. 2, 1774. On the last but one of these occasions, the record recites that the Grand Lodge " adjourned to Tuesday Evening Next, 7 o'clock; by reason of the few Grand Officers present; Engaged on Consequential Public Business." On the first of June, 1774, Gen. Gage put in force the Boston Port Act, closing the harbor against all inward bound vessels, and on that day his predecessor, Ex- Governor Hutchinson, sailed for England. Great distress was caused by the sudden transformation of a busy, thriving town (whose inhabitants were mostly traders, shipwrights and sailors), into a scene of idleness and want. On the fifth of June, Joseph Warren reported to the Committee of Correspondence of the town of Boston a " Solemn League and Covenant" for the suspension of all commerce with the Island of Great Britain, until the repeal of the Port Act and the restoration of the charter rights of the Colony. Verily, the Brethren had "Consequential Business" on their hands about that time, and the Grand Master gave it his particular attention. He was present, however, at the adjourned meeting of the Grand Lodge, on the seventh of that month.
When we consider his youth; the responsibilities and care of a young family devolved upon him as the surviving parent; the anxieties and labors of the large practice of a popular physician; the demands of an extensive correspondence both at home and abroad, personal as well as political; his constant attendance upon the meetings of the Committee of Correspondence, the Committee of Safety, town meetings, the Sons of Liberty, and other caucuses ; his numerous newspaper articles and State papers — when we consider all these things, we are filled with wonder at the energy and talent of the young hero, but we are at no Ioss to understand how it was that even in those troublous times Masonry flourished and prospered under his administration.
Surely the Fraternity owe him a debt of gratitude. It is fitting that we should perpetuate the remembrance of so amiable, distinguished and exemplary a character. Let every Brother revere his name and imitate his virtues.
1924 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XIX, No. 8, May 1924, Page 240:
The Nation's Debt to Joseph Warren
A True Knight of Liberty
By Professor Gilbert Patten Brown, A.M., Ph. D., LL. D.
Author of "Tales of the Forecastle," "The Graveyard of Plymouth," "Dorothy of Concord," "Memories of a Whaler," "The Crimes of Cotton Mather," "Why Benedict Arnold Went Wrong," "Colonial Days on the Kennebec," "The Ship's Husband," "Memories of Martinique," "The Glories of Thomas Paine," "Witchcraft Days in Boston," etc.
Note that this article contains some inaccuracies.
"Noble his mien and elegant his air,
Comely his person, and his visage fair."
The fathers of The Republic were most devout Masons — Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Hamilton, Stark, Putnam, Greene, Paine, and scores of others of note were of The Craft.
The first man of distinction to lay down his life in the cause of our western liberties was a young, brave, handsome, talented and energetic Boston physician — Joseph Warren, whose father was Joseph Warren and his mother, Mary Stevens. He was born in Roxbury District of that ancient, honorable and patriotic city on June 11, 1741. From early boyhood, everything that he took hold of flourished. The "North End Caucus," "The Sons of Liberty," "The Mechanics Club" and the "Lodge of St. Andrew," took new life after he became associated with them. He presided over thirty-six meetings of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, then and now the most dignified Masonic body on the American continent. He was a prolific writer, an elegant orator, and a polished scholar in the field of learning and science in his time. In Roxbury, Massachusetts, where he was born, there is a magnificent Masonic Temple, where a handsome memorial has been erected to his memory. The writer has visited the spot of his birth, the church where he attended service, the old lodge where he was made a Mason, the spot where he fell in battle, and lastly, the old graveyard in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where his remains were finally buried many years after his death.
Like Generals Hugh Mercer. Arthur St. Clair, John Brooks and Henry Dearborn, devout Masons, fine scholars, Christians and patriots of the Revolution, General Joseph Warren was a physician before becoming a soldier for the cause of the United Colonies of America. The ont thing alone that immortalized his name, and which reveals his devout, courageous and fiery patriotism, is the fact that when Samuel Adams, father of the American town meeting, declined to deliver the address on the anniversary of the "Boston Massacre," March 5, 1772, this young patriot delivered it, though he knew that the act was fraught with great danger to himself and his house hold. Many hundreds of British troops were garrisoned in the town. The high standards of Boston morale were threatened, and this grieved Dr. Warren very much. Of these conditions Dr. Cooper spoke in open church. He, too, was in danger of being murdered by the British. "The troops are corrupt in morale, and are in every sense an oppression. May Heaven soon deliver us from this great evil."
Dr. Warren was a delegate to the convention at Suffolk, which took measures to prevent Governor Gage from fortifying the South entrance to Boston. He was a delegate to the Massachusetts Congress in 1774. and was elected president of that body. It is said that "to his energy was in great measure due the successful result of the battle of Lexington." On June 14, 1775, he received his commission as Major-general of Massachusetts militia and took part shortly after in the battle of Breed's Hill, with which his name will be ever connected in the loving annals of a grateful republic.
It is related to the effect that he was warned by Elbridge Gerry against hazard in exposing his person, to which General Warren exclaimed: "I know that I may fall, but where is the man who docs not think it glorious and delightful to die for his country!" Another story related that a British officer called to him by name, to warn him of his risks and even ordered his men to cease firing. General Warren was shot in the head and died instantly, and was buried in the rubbish of the breastworks where he fell.
General Warren devoted years to Masonry and occupies a conspicuous place in the history of the Craft in these United States. He was a Mason in deed as well as in word, and such men always become the idols of their brethren. Lodges have been named in his honour in nearly every state in the Union.
Hr had been graduated from Harvard University in 1750, and stood high in his class. During 1760 he was employed as a public school teacher in Roxbury, and in the following year commenced the study of medicine under Dr. James Lloyd, an eminent physician of that day. He began practice in 1763 and soon distinguished himself in this blind art that some persons call a science. He lost a tooth at an early age, and the goldsmith, Paul Revere, made one and put it in, and it remains in his ashes until this very day. On September 6, 1761, he married a Boston belle, Miss Elizabeth Hooton, whose father was a wealthy merchant, a devout church goer, and a member of St. John's Masonic Lodge of the town. Four children, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary and Richard were born to this union.
In 1761 the smallpox prevailed extensively in Boston and vicinity and Ur. Warren was very successful in caring for the afflicted. About this time he began to take an active part in political affairs, and his letters to public men and his newspaper essays soon attracted the attention even of the Royal government. They were remarkable for clearness of thought, terseness of statement, fairness of issue, and cogency of argument. In 1771 he was chosen to represent the town of Boston in the Provincial Congress and in the following year was elected president of that body. Here he manifested extraordinary powers of mind and a peculiar fitness for the guidance and government of men in times of difficulty and danger.
This unique body, consisting chiefly of Masons, was then sitting at Watertown, and Upon its daily adjournment he hastened to 'he military camp, there to participate with 'he common soldiers in the exercise and drills and to encourage and animate them by exhortation and example. The Provincial Congress offered him the appointment of Surgeon-General, but he declined it, stating that he had rather be on the firing line, believing that he was an expert marksman. Only tile night previous to the fight on Breed's Hill, Charlestown heights, did he Preside at the meeting of the Colonial Congress which continued in session a great part of the night behind wcll-tylcd doors in Watertown. Early in the morning of June 17th he visited a patient in far off Dedham and left her saying that he must go to Charlestown to get a shot at the British and would be back to her in season for her confinement which was almost hourly expected. He arrived at Breed's Hill only a few moments before the first attack of the British troops. There he refused to take command when offered it by General Israel Putnam and Colonel William Prescott, seized a musket and fought as a private. His reluctance to obey the order to retreat resulted in his death as he was only a few yards from the redoubt when the British obtained full possession and was instantly killed by a bullet entering above the right ear. Shortly after the British had evacuated the town, his Masonic brethren resolved to go in search of the body. They repaired to a spot indicated by a member of the Lodge of St. Andrew, then a soldier and who was an eye-witness of his death. It was at the brow of a hill, and near the head of the grave was a small Acacia tree. This Acacia branch had been placed there by Dr. Benjamin Erothingham, one of the members of the Lodge of St. Andrew residing in Charlestown at the time of the battle.
Upon the removal of earth which appeared to have been recently disturbed they found their Grand Master, Dr. Joseph Warren, and Colonel Paul Revere identified the remains. On the little finger of his left hand was his dead wife's wedding-ring. This was observed, and the gold tooth Revere recognized, for it was his own handiwork. They carefully conveyed the body to the State House in Boston, and on the eighth day of the same month an oration was delivered over his remains by Perez Morton, who was at the time Grand Marshal of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge. After the funeral ceremonies the remains were deposited in a tomb in the Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street, where they remained for nearly half a century. In 1825 they were found, identified, deposited in a box of hardwood, designated by a silver plate and placed in the Warren tomb under historic St. Paul's Church, Boston. A number of years later they were again removed and found the final resting place in Forest Hills Cemetery, in the outskirts of Boston. There a modern stone marks the last resting place of one of the grandest of all Americans.
King Solomon's Lodge, (of which the writer is a life member), then of Charlestown, now of Somerville, on December 2, 1791, erected and dedicated a monument to his memory in the shape of a Tuscan pillar eighteen feet high, resting upon a platform eight feet in height, eight feet square, and fenced about to protect it from injury. On the top of the pillar was placed a gilt urn with the initials, "J. W." — Joseph Warren, enclosed within the square and compasses. The dedicatory services and procession were elaborate. The Lodge kept the monument in repair until March 8, 1825, when they voted to present the land and monument to the "Bunker Hill Monument Association," upon condition that there should be placed within the walls of the monument the Association was about to erect a suitable memorial of the ancient pillar in order to perpetuate that early patriotic act of this patriotic lodge. In fulfillment of that condition, the Lodge on June 24, 1845, placed within "Bunker Hill Monument" an exact model in marble of the original monument. The public ceremonies were conducted by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, including many distinguished brethren from other jurisdictions. An interesting feature of the occasion was the presentation of the working tools to the Grand Master, Honorable Augustus Peabody, by Past Grand Master John Soley, who had himself fifty years before dedicated the original monument. The cornerstone of the present monument was laid with Masonic ceremonies on the fiftieth anniversary of the battle of Breed's Hill under the direction of Grand Master John Abbot, assisted by our illustrious brother, General Gilbert de Lafayette. The completion of the monument was celebrated on the seventeenth of June, 1843, the Masonic portion of the procession being under the direction of King Solomon's Lodge. The land was given by the Honorable Benjamin Russell, and the records of the lodge call it "brother Russell's pasture." Past Grand Master Russell was also a Past Master of King Solomon's Lodge, and upon that noteworthy occasion he wore the Masonic apron once worn by Major-General Warren, while presiding over the Grand Lodge. He, too, had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War.
On June 15, 1857, Most Worshipful John T. Heard, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, assisted by the Grand officers and two thousand brethren, inaugurated a statue of General Warren in the presence of about six thousand persons. The Green Dragon Tavern, on Union Street, Boston, was the meeting place of the Lodge of St. Andrew during the Revolutionary War. Daniel Webster called it "Headquarters of the Revolution," for it was here that the "Sons of Liberty" were organized, also the "Boston Tea Party" of December 16, 1773 was planned and here assembled such patriots and warriors in the cause of liberty as John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, James Otis, Robert Treat Paine John Warren, John Greaton and Joseph Warren.
Our subject was given his first light in Masonry in the "Long Room" of the old Tavern on September 10, 1761. He was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on November 2, but there is no record as to the date of his receiving the degree of Master Mason. On November 11, 1765, the lodge voted unanimously that Doctor Joseph Warren be re-admitted as a member of the lodge. He was elected Master in 1769. In December of that year he received from the Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master of Masons in Scotland, a commission bearing date May 30, 1769, appointing him "Grand Master of Masons in Boston and within one hundred miles of the same." In 1773 he received another commission dated March 3, 1772, issued by the Earl of Dumfries, then Grand Master of Scotland, extending his jurisdiction over the continent of America.
The home life of Dr. Warren was one worthy of emulation. As the poet would say:
"How sweet the home of this good man;
His 'Golden Verses' led the way;
With orison the morn began,
With vespers hymns he closed the day."
Dr. Warren was proposed into Masonry by Colonel William Palfrey, and was initiated that same afternoon, being twenty years and three months old. He was the Senior Warden of the Lodge of St. Andrew in 1766, and was its Worshipful Master from November 1768 to November 1769.
Mrs. Warren died on April 26, 1773. They loved each other dearly. His last attendance at the Grand Lodge was on March 3, 1775. The following we read as an entry made at the end of the record of that meeting. 19 April, 1775. Hostilities commenced between the troops of Great Britain and America in Lexington Battle. In consequence of which the town was blockaded, and no Lodge held until December 1776.
In every State in these United States there should be Masonic bodies named in honour of the first man of distinction to lay down his life in the cause of American liberty. Our debt to Joseph Warren can be paid by a proper application of his virtues to modern ethics.
1983 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
From TROWEL, Vol. I, No. 2, 1983, Page 10:
BATTLE OF BOSTON — Possession of Bunker's Hill in Charlestown was important to the Americans led by Dr. Joseph Warren, Boston s leading patriot. General Howe s redcoats failed to take Breed s Hill (connected to Bunker's Hill) from the Americans, who, according to tradition withheld fire till they saw British eye whites. Royal marines launched the third and final successful charge, killing Dr. Warren. Brother Joseph Warren, age 33 was serving as Grand Master at the time of his death.
YALE UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY
A firm believer in Samuel Adams, our Dr. Joseph Warren joined him to inspire the Colonists and Masons toward the pursuit of liberty. Born in Roxbury June 11, 1741, Warren was graduated from Harvard in 1759. After teaching a year at Roxbury Latin School he studied medicine and began his practice in 1764.
From the time of the Stamp Act (1765) he contributed toward the cause of freedom from the Crown. When Adams went to the Continental Congress in 1774, Warren became the leading figure in the Massachusetts political movement. He was elected president of the Provincial Congress, wrote the Suffolk Resolves of September 9,1774, was elected a Major General of the Massachusetts forces but chose to fight at Bunker Hill as a private.
When encouraged not to participate in the fight, he said, "It is sweet and right to die for one's country."
Joseph Warren received his degrees in Masonry in the Lodge of St. Andrew, Boston, in 1761 and was elected its Master on November 30, 1768. On May 30, 1769, George Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master of Scotland, granted Warren a commission as Provincial Grand Master of Masons in Boston. A subsequent commission, dated March 3, 1772, extended his jurisdiction from the original 100 miles from Boston to all of North America.
Warren exercised his authority on December 27, 1769 by organizing the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (Ancients) at the Green Dragon Tavern, Boston. That body was historically known as the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. It assumed its independence March 8, 1777, thus becoming the first independent Grand Lodge in the United States. On March 5, 1792 it united with St. John's Lodge of Massachusetts.
Dr. Warren's body was four times buried. First near the spot where he was killed at Bunker Hill. Found and identified on April 4,1776, the Grand Lodge removed it to the tomb of George Richard Minot, friend of the Warren family, in Granary Burying Ground.
His body was next removed to the Warren tomb in Saint Paul's Church, Boston. Finally, in 1855, the remains were deposited in an urn and placed in the family vault at Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston, where they now repose.
With the adoption of the revisions of the Grand Constitution in 1930, a provision was made to those already authorized. "A medal to be known as the Distinguished Service Medal may be conferred by the Grand Master upon such Brethren as may have rendered distinguished service to the Lodges of which they are members."
The medal is commonly referred to as the Joseph Warren Medal, carrying an imprint of Most Worshipful Joseph Warren. A fitting tribute to an outstanding Mason and Patriot.
1989 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
From TROWEL, Winter 1989, Page 3:
Born in Roxbury (now part of Boston) in 1740, he graduated from Harvard and was made a Mason in the Lodge of St. Andrew, Boston, Sept. 10, 1761. He received the Second Degree Nov. 2 of the same year, but it was not until Nov. 28, 1765—four years after his initiation—that he was made a Master Mason. The delay was in the spirit and practice of the times. He remained a member of that Lodge until killed at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.
JOSEPH WARREN: Martyr of Bunker Hill
By Robert W. Williams III
On a quiet summer afternoon about 230 years ago, some Harvard College students shut themselves in an upper dormitory room to arrange some affairs pertaining to their class. Another class member desired to be with them — knowing they intended to thwart some fondly cherished purpose of his own. They refused to admit him; the door was closed, and he could not gain admittance without violence, which he chose to avoid.
Reconnoitering the premises he discovered that one of the windows in the room was open and he noticed a nearby waterspout that extended from the roof to the ground. He climbed to the top of the house and slid down the eaves, then laid hold of the spout and descended until he was opposite the open window. With a prodigious physical effort he thrust himself through the window and landed in the room! Simultaneously, the waterspout crashed to the ground; had it fallen a moment sooner the boy would have been thrown to the pavement below and, undoubtedly, seriously injured. He cooly remarked to himself, "It served its purpose!"
That Harvard boy was Joseph Warren, later to be known as Doctor Warren and General Warren, the martyr of Bunker Hill and the Grand Master of Masons (Massachusetts Provincial Grand Lodge) in North America. The boy had already given promise of the man in whatever he undertook. The fearless act of getting into that room was the swelling bud which opened and blossomed and bore fruit in his adult life.
Original Bunker Hill Monument
In December 1769 Warren received a commission from the Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master of Masons in Scotland, appointing him Provincial Grand Master of Masons in Boston and within 100 miles of the same. The commission was dated May 30, 1769. When the Earl of Dumfries succeeded Dalhousie as Grand Master of Scotland he issued another appointment to Warren, dated March 7, 1772, constituting Warren "Grand Master of Masons for the Continent of America," thus extending his original limits. He was indefatigable in the discharge of his Masonic duties and, coupled with the labors of his extensive medical practice, the care of his motherless children, together with his patriotic devotion to his country, won for him the highest regard of the public and the Craft. His name is indelibly engraved on the mystic temple of Freemasonry, just as it is on the pages of American history.
Somewhat impetuous in his nature, but brave to a fault, Bro. Warren craved the task of doing what others dared not do — the same courage imbued in Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and other patriots. On the anniversary of the Boston Massacre (March 3, 1770) Warren was the orator. While it was a duty which won him distinction, it was also one of peril. English military officers usually attended in order to heckle Warren and it required a brave man to stand up in Old South Church, in the face of those officers, to boldly proclaim their bloody deeds. It required a cool head and steady nerves, and Grand Master Joseph Warren had both.
The crowd at the church was immense; the aisles, the pulpit stairs, and the pulpit itself were filled with officers and soldiers of the garrison, always there to intimidate the speaker. Warren was equal to the task but entered the church through a pulpit window in the rear, knowing he might have been barred from entering through the front door. In the midst of his most impassioned speech, an English officer seated on the pulpit stairs and in full view of Warren, held several pistol bullets in his open hand. The act was significant; while the moment was one of peril and required the exercise of both courage and prudence, to falter and allow a single nerve or muscle to tremble would have meant failure — even ruin to Warren and others. Everybody knew the intent of the officer and a man of less courage than Warren might have flinched, but the future hero, his eyes having caught the act of the officer and without the least discomposure or pause in his discourse, he simply approached the officer and dropped a white handkerchief into the officer's hand! The act was so adroitly and courteously performed that the Breton was compelled to acknowledge it by permitting the orator to continue in peace.
On June 14, 1775, three days before the Battle of Bunker Hill (actually Breed's Hill), Dr. Warren was elected Major General by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Without military education or experience, he was placed in the presence of the whole British army. Against the protests of Gen. Artemus Ward, Gen. Israel Putnam and others, Warren chose to shoulder a musket and join the fighting men behind barricades on the hill. He had felt a premonition of his death and declared to Betsy Palmer (whose husband joined the Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington), "Come, my little girl, drink a glass of wine with me for the last time, for I shall go to the hill tomorrow and I shall never come off."
The shooting lasted less than one hour but only because the Patriots ran out of ammunition. Warren had been shot in the back of the head and thrown to the ground. His body was thrown in a ditch by a British officer and buried with others. It was discovered months later and identified by Paul Revere who recognized a false tooth he had made for Warren. He was next buried in the Granary burial ground (Tremont St., Boston) where he was laid after Masonic ceremonies in King's Chapel and, thirdly, he was buried in the Warren Tomb in St. Paul's Cathedral, Boston. Finally, on August 3, 1855, "The precious ashes were carefully deposited in an imperishable urn and placed in the family vault at Forest Hill Cemetery where they now repose." (G.L. Proc. 1855-69 p. 511.) On April 8, 1777 Congress ordered a monument to be erected over the grave of Gen. Warren in the Town of Boston, but like many other things that Congress resolves, it was never accomplished. In 1794 King Solomon's Lodge of Charlestown (now meeting in Somerville) erected a monument on Bunker Hill on land donated by Bro. Benjamin Russell for that purpose. It was "A Tuscan pillar, 18 feet in height placed on a platform 8 feet high, 8 feet square, and fences around to protect it from injury."
The Bunker Hill Monument Association was formed in 1823 for the "purpose of erecting on Bunker Hill a more fitting and enduring monument to the memory of the brave men who fell there in the cause of human liberty." King Solomon's Lodge (1783) then gave the Association the ground which it owned, together with the monument it had eerected to the memory of Bro. Warren, on condition "that some trace of its former existence" might b preserved in the monument to be erected. On June 17, 1825, Grand Lodge opened at 8 a. m. and a procession was formed on the Common which proceeded to Bunker Hill in Charlestown. There, in the presence of Bro. Lafayette (the apron he wore is in the Grand Lodge archives), representatives from every New England state except Rhode Island, along with the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, Grand Master John Abbot, and Senior Past Grand Master Isaiah Thomas, assisted in laying the cornerstone and Lafayette and Bro. Daniel Webster addressed the great gathering. The monument was completed and dedicated June 17, 1843, but without the presence of the Grand Lodge. It was during the anti-Masonic era and a resolution to attend was defeated.
Inside the present obelisk is a model of the first monument that had been erected by King Solomon's Lodge. It is made of the finest Italian marble and, including the granite pedestal on which it stands, is about nine feet in height and bears substantially the same inscription as the former one. The memorial is now under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service (1976) and anybody can climb the 294 steps to the top without charge. From windows you can view Boston and, in particular, Charlestown Navy Yard where the U. S. S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) is berthed.
Joseph Warren, like Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, George Washington, and many others including Henry Knox, John Sullivan, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, seems to have been born and raised to inaugurate the glorious struggle for freedom and then gathered to the heaven of the virtuous dead to herald the coming of their successors who have fought to preserve the freedom gained by the Patriots. From the write-of-assistance trial of 1761 to General Washington's resignation from the Continental Army in 1783, Masons, men and women fought the most powerful nation at that time and forged a new nation of democracy that today links itself as the strong ally of the nation it defeated.
(Contributing source: Cornelius Moore in the "Voice of Masonry", published in "The Freemasons Repository", Nov. 1881, Vol. 11.)
2006 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
From the 150th Anniversary History of Joseph Warren-Soley Lodge, November 2006, Proceedings Page 2006-153:
Joseph Warren was born in Roxbury in 1741. He graduated from Harvard in 1759 and practiced medicine in Boston. He was an ardent Mason and a member of The Lodge of Saint Andrew, which met in the "Long Room"®of the Green Dragon Tavern. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was organized on St. John's Day, 1767 with Joseph Warren as Grand Master. It was at the Green Dragon that Sam Adams, Paul Revere, Warren, Hancock, Otis and others met and passed resolutions in opposition to British policies. Joseph was a member of the Boston Committee of Safetyy and in 1774 presented to the convention in Milton the Suffolk Resolves, advocating forcible resistance to the British. These were conveyed to Congress in Philadelphia in Paul Revere's saddlebags and endorsed by those present. On the night of April 18, 1775, he dispatched Dawes and Revere to warn the patriots that the British were marching on Concord. He was killed during the battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill on June 17, 1775 at the age of 34.
INAUGURATION OF THE WARREN STATUE, JUNE 1857
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVI, No. 9, June 1857, Page 260:
The imposing ceremonies of inaugurating the Statue of Gen. Warren on Bunker Hill, took place on Wednesday the 17th June, in the presence of probably not less than five thousand ladies and gentlemen, all comfortably seated under a mammoth tent, which had been erected for the occasion on the Monument grounds. The day was most propitious for all who took part in the ceremonies. The rain of the preceding day had laid the dust, so that no inconvenience was experienced from that source, and the sun being obscured by floating clouds, the fatigue of a long march was rendered comparatively light.
The procession was formed in Boston, under the marshalship of Col. Aspinwall, and the arrangements were probably all carried out according to the programme, though there was more delay in the execution of them than is always agreeable. The procession began to move about noon, and reached the pavilion on the hill between three and four o'clock. The streets and houses on the route were filled with spectators, and many of them were beautifully decorated with flags. But as these and all the general arrangements are so fully described in the papers of the ensuing morning, we do not feel the necessity of encumbering our pages with any particular notice of them. They were all worthy of the occasion and honorable to the patriotic sentiments of the people. But our business is with the Masonic ceremonies, and these demand more space than we have in our pages to devote to them.
The two prominent features in the procession were the Masonic and Military, and they were both large and brilliant. The Masonic formed the second division, and we are inclined to the belief that on no former public occasion has the Fraternity of the State ever appeared in so large numbers or to so much advantage. There were not, however, so many Lodges present as was expected. Many that had accepted the invitation of the Grand Lodge and signified their intention of being present, were deterred from doing so by the unfavorable indications of the weather the preceding day and evening.
The Grand Lodge assembled at the Temple punctually at 9 o'clock in the morning, and the Brethren were formed in procession and ready to take place in the line, precisely at 10 o'clock — the hour designated by the Chief Marshal of the day, for tho whole body to move. The responsibility of the subsequent delay, therefore, does not, in any degree, rest with the Marshals of the Masonic division, who performed their laborious and difficult duties with commendable promptness and ability. The Chief Marshal of the division was W. Brother William S. Gardner, Esq., of Lowell, (Marshal of the Grand Lodge,) and his Aids were Brs. Benjamin Dean, Chas. A. Davis, E. T. Wilson, Isaac C. Eastman, D. Mc. B. Thaxter, and Edw. D. Bell, who wore the costume of the De Molay Encampment of Knights Templar, and were mounted. The assistants, on foot, were Brothers Robert Wood, Henry T. Kimball, Jacob Baldwin, Jr., Wm. P. Jones, John A. Goodwin, Leonard Brown, Samuel Boyd and John A. Stevens.
The procession was formed in the following order:— The Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with about one hundred and fifty Knights, consisting of the Boston Encampment, (under the command of Dr. Lewis,) Pilgrim Encampment of Lowell, and delegations from the Springfield, and other Encampments. In the absence of the Grand Master, (Dr. D. Harwood,) who was prevented by illness from attending to the duty, the command of this escort devolved on Sir John McClellan, as the Dep. G. Master of the Grand Encampment. This body, as usual, presented a beautiful appearance, and secured by their good order and soldierly movements, their full share of the attention and praise of the spectators. They were preceded by the Weymouth Band. Next came the Lodges, preceded by the Brass Band. The date of the Charter, location of each Lodge, with the names of the Masters, and the number of members present, are here given in their order :—
- Baalbec — East Boston, 1853, S. T. Bliss, 75.
- Mount Tabor — East Boston, 1846, S. L. Fowle, 60.
- St. Paul's — South Boston, 1847, T. Hill, Jr., 75.
- Star of Bethlehem — Chelsea, 1844, E. W. Lothrop, 35.
- Liberty — Beverly, 1824, John B. Hill, 20.
- Norfolk Union — Randolph, 1819, J. White Belcher, 42.
- Jordan — South Danvers, 1808, N. P. C. Paterson, 35.
- Pentucket — Lowell, 1807, Isaac Hooper, 40.
- Amicable — Cambridge, 1805, George B. Eaton, 40.
- Mount Carmel —Lynn, 1805, T. A. Ingalls, 20.
- Mount Lebanon — Boston, 1801, F. H. Sprague, 100.
- Fraternal — Barnstable, 1801, R. S. Pope, 30.
- Rising Star — Stoughton, 1799, G. Talbot, 30.
- Meridian — Natick, 1797, Malachi Babcock, 60.
- Hiram — West Cambridge, 1797, I. H. Wright, 60.
- St. Paul's — Groton, 1797, Ebenezer Sawtell, 15.
- Columbian — Boston, 1796, William B. Fowle, Jr., 100.
- Old Colony — Hingham, 1792, Ely Whitton, 65.
- King Solomon's — Charlestown, 1763, Caleb Rand, 75.
- Massachusetts — Boston, 1770, John Fellows, 50.
- The Tyrian — Gloucester, 1770, T. J. Babson, 25. (The Charter of this Lodge bears the signatures of General Joseph Warren and Paul Revere).
- Ashler — Rockport, 1852, Eben Blatchford, 25.
- Philanthropic — Marblehead, 1760, David Blaney, 40.
- St. John's — Boston, 1733, Solon Thornton, 50.
- St. Andrew's Lodge, in which Gen. Warren was initiated and of which he had been Master, but which does not appear in this list as a distinct Lodge, was represented by its oldest surviving Past Masters, in the body of the Grand Lodge. Next came the Royal Arch Masons, under the banner of Adoniram Chapter of New Bedford, and they made a very fine appearance.
The Supreme Grand Council 33d for the Northern Jurisdiction, was represented by 111. Brothers Edward A. Raymond, G. C.; Rev. Paul Dean, as Lt. G. C.; S. W. Robinson, G. Treas.; and Rev. Geo. M. Randall (32°) as G. Secretary. These Brethren wore their appropriate regalia and rode in an open barouche.
The Grand Lodges of New Hampshire and Rhode Island, with Past Officers from those of Maine and the District of Columbia, came next.
Then followed the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, — a detachment of Knights from the Boston Encampment, under the command of Sir John K. Hall, acting as a body-guard; and it is proper to add here, that this duty was most admirably and acceptably performed by the Sir Knights to whom it was entrusted. The Grand Lodge was organized as follows :—
- Grand Tyler — Br. Eben F. Gay.
- Grand Stewards, with white rods — Brs. John Low and William Palfrey.
- Grand Standard Bearer — Br. Isaac Gary, assisted by Brs. C. W. Walker and L. L. Tarbell, in the costume of the De Molay Encampment.
- Grand Pursuivants — Rev. Br. Albert Case and Br, James Perkins.
- Grand Chaplains — Dr. Osgood, of Springfield and Rev. Br. N M. Gaylord, of Boston.
- District Deputy G. Masters — R. W. Brs. Isaac P. Seavey, Sylvester Baxter, Wm. North, Daniel Reynolds and W.W. Wheildon, p. t.
- Corresponding Grand Secretary — Br. William Makepeace.
- Grand Treasurer — R. W. Lucius R. Paige.
- Recording G. Secretary — R. W. Chas. W. Moore.
- Senior G. Warden — R. W. Bradford Wales.
- Junior G. Warden — R. W. John H. Sheppard.
- Deputy Grand Master — R. W. Rev. William Flint.
- Deacon, with black rod, Br. Ezekiel Bates.
- Grand Master, M. W. John T. Heard. * Deacon, with black rod, Br. Enoch Hobart.
- Grand Sword Bearer — Br. Peter C. Jones.
- Grand Stewards, with white rods—Brs. Jesse P. Pattee and John Alden.
The procession thus formed, consisted of about two thousand Masons, and took its place in the line, under the direction of its Chief Marshal, and proceeded to the Pavillion on the Hill, where the ceremonies took place as follows :—
- Music by the Germania Band.
- Prayer by Rev. James Walker, President of Harvard College.
- Uncovering of the Statue.
- Address of Presentation by Hon. Edward Everett, on behalf of the subscribers to the Statue.
- Address of Reception by G. Washington Warren, Esq., President of the Monument Association.
- Masonic Ceremonies. These commenced with the following brief address to the Grand Master by the President of the Monument Association, W. Bro. Warren.
Most Worshipful, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts — You have been invited here from your connection, and that of your fraternity, with the Bunker Hill Monument Association, and with the illustrious man whom we have assembled to honor, to perform the Masonic ceremonies of inauguration. Thanking you, sir, and your fraternity, for the noble manner in which you have responded to the call, by the full attendance of the Brethren of the Order, I have now to request that you will perform, as far as the limited time will permit, those services, according to Masonic usage.
The M. W. Brother John T. Heard, Esq., Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, responded to this invitation in the following appropriate and able address. And we take the liberty here to say, that no part of the ceremonies of the day commanded greater attention or was received with greater apparent interest by the vast concourse of persons present. It was eloquently, earnestly and effectively spoken :—
Mr. President —
The invitation which you so courteously extended to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and through that body to the Masonic Fraternity under its jurisdiction, to assist in the inauguration of this Statue, has been most cordially accepted. The large number of Brethren here assembled, manifests the deep interest they feel in the occasion. With pride and pleasure they unite with their fellow-citizens in honoring the memory of the soldier and patriot, and no other portion of this assembly acknowledges with livelier emotion and gratitude his gallantry and self-sacrificing devotion to his country. But another consideration has influenced us to join in the impressive ceremonies of this day : General Warren was a Brother Mason — an active, zealous, honored member of our Order.
He was admitted to membership in 1761 — when only about twenty-one years of age — in St. Andrew's Lodge in Boston. Over this Lodge he was elected Master in 1769; and during that year, so highly were his efforts to promote the efficiency and honor of our institution appreciated, he was promoted to the station of Provincial Grand Master by the Grand Master of Scotland —the Right Hon. George, the Earl of Dalhousie. This office he filled to the time of his death, with great benefit to the Craft and honor to himself. The punctuality and zeal with which he discharged its various and responsible duties are evidenced by the fact, that he presided at thirty-seven out of the forty communications of his Grand Lodge, held while he was Grand Master. It is worthy of remark that two of the three communications from which he was absent, were held in June and September, in 1774, when, in the language of the record, he was " ngaged in consequential Public Business." At this important period, the distinguished Paul Revere was his Senior Warden, and Colonel Joseph Webb, an officer of the revolutionary war, his Junior Warden, both of whom were afterwards Grand Masters. Thus were these eminent men united together by fraternal relations peculiar to our society, and co-operating, in elevated and important positions, in the great movement which resulted in the national independence of our country.
The last communication of the Grand Lodge at which General Warren presided, was held in the Green Dragon Tavern, in Boston, on Friday, March 3d, 1775. The business of the meeting having been concluded, the Lodge "was closed to the first Friday in June." This communication did not take place. The battle of Lexington, and the seige of Boston, interrupted the peaceful gatherings of the Brethren, and they were for a time suspended.
The learned biographer, (Chas. W. Moore,) of the Masonic life of Warren, to whom I am indebted for some of the facts which I have stated, informs us that at the bottom of the page on which the proceedings of the March communication are recorded, there is this entry:—
Memo. 19th April, 1775, Hostilities commenced between the Troops of Great Britain and America, in Lexington Bailie. In consequence of which the Town was Blockaded, and no Lodge held until December, 1776."
On the morning of the 17th June, 1775, 82 years ago, our Grand Master engaged in the conflict that has rendered this spot memorable. Regardless of personal danger, and anxious for his country's honor, he plunged into the thickest of the fight, and by his encouraging example, stimulated his countrymen to those deeds of valor, of which every American is justly proud. But it was not his privilege to survive the contest — he fell one of the first martyrs in that struggle, the blessed fruits of which it is our happiness to enjoy. His death cast a deep gloom over the community ; and by none was it more keenly lamented than by the Fraternity. To them he had been attached by ties, personal and official, for many years; they knew him intimately ; they loved and honored him; and it was natural, therefore, that the sudden and violent termination of his life, should have been felt by them as an irreparable loss.
The Masonic Fraternity have always been among the foremost in rendering honor to the memory of the brave and devoted men who sacrificed their lives on this field in the noble cause of American freedom. After the evacuation of Boston by the enemy, March 17, 1776, the first care of the Brethren was the preservation of the remains of their esteemed chief. The body having been identified, it was conveyed to Boston and deposited in the Granary Burial-ground. On the occasion, impressive funeral services were performed in King's Chapel, and an eulogy was delivered by R. W. Brother, Hon. Perez Morton, afterwards Solicitor General of the State.
To King Solomon's Lodge, of Charlestown, belongs the honor of erecting the first Monument to the memory of Warren. A lot of land, on this hill, having been generously given for the purpose by Hon. James Russell, the Lodge raised upon it, in 1794, a Tuscan Pillar, eighteen feet in height, the pedestal of which was " eight feet high, eight feet square, and fenced round to protect it from injury." The pillar was surmounted with a gilt urn, bearing the initials and age of the deceased, enclosed in the square and compasses. On the pedestal was an inscription in memory of Major General Joseph Warren, and his associates," who were here slain. This structure was dedicated in December, 1794, when an address was pronounced by the Master of the Lodge, Brother John Soley, Jr., who, in 1826, was Grand Master of Massachusetts.
On the 8th of March, 1825, King Solomon's Lodge presented the Monument, with the land upon which it stood, to the Bunker Hill Monument Association. Under the auspices of that body the Pillar was removed, and in its place the granite obelisk before us, was erected. The corner-stone of the "Bunker Hill Monument" was laid with Masonic ceremonies on the fiftieth anniversary of the battle. They were conducted by M. W. John Abbot, assisted by our illustrious Br, Lafayette, and in the presence of Daniel Webster, who was President of the Association, of members of the national and state governments, the military, and a vast concourse of people. Thousands of our Brethren joined in the procession and performances of the day.
The completion of this Monument in 1843, afforded another opportunity to the members of our Order to unite with their fellow-citizens in celebrating the noble deeds of the soldiers and patriots of the revolution. Again, on the 24th of June, 1845, on the occasion of depositing " an exact model" of the original Monument, within the obelisk, the Fraternity assembled in great numbers. This Monument was provided through the liberality of King Solomon's Lodge; and under its direction and patronage the ceremonies of inauguration were conducted. The interest of the celebration was increased by the presence and eloquence of the venerable R. W. Br. John Soley, Esq., who a half century before, delivered the address at the dedication of the original structure.
And again, at this time, Mr. President, is our ancient and honorable institution summoned to aid in placing here another testimonial to departed greatness. This Statue, which so faithfully preserves the features, form and expression of the renowned person it represents, we shall now proceed to dedicate in accordance with ancient Masonic usage ; and may it long endure to remind American citizens of the virtues of him who poured out his life's blood in contending for the great principles upon which our institutions of government are founded.
The services then proceeded as follows:—
- Grand Master. R. W. Senior Grand Warden: In accordance with the vote of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, passed at the communication of that body, held in Boston in March last, we are assembled here to assist in the inauguration of this Statue of Major General Joseph Warren, which has been sculpted by a skillful artist, under the patronage of a number of public-spirited citizens, in honor of him whose devotion to his country's cause in its struggle for National Independence, terminated his life. This illustrious individual, at the time of his death, occupied the highest station in our Order, which he had, for a series of years, filled with distinguished ability: It is my order, therefore, that the Brethren and all others present, maintain silence, that our solemn services may be duly observed.
- Senior Grand Warden. R. W. Junior Grand Warden: As the solemn rites of Freemasonry, appropriate to the inauguration of a Statue erected to the memory of General Warren — a Past Grand Master, — are now to take place, you will enjoin upon the Brethren, and all others who are present, to observe the decorum befitting the place and the occasion.
- Junior Grand Warden. Brethren, and all others who are present: You will take notice that the M. W. Grand Master will now perform the ceremonies adapted to the inauguration of a Statue: Let order and silence prevail.
- Grand Master. R. W. Deputy Grand Master: What is the proper Jewel of your office?
- Deputy Grand Master. The Square.
- Grand Master. Have you applied the Square to those parts of the Foundation-Stone that should be square?
- Deputy Grand Master. I have, Most Worshipful, and the Craftsmen have done their duty.
- Grand Master. R. W. Senior Grand Warden: What is the proper Jewel of your office?
- Senior Grand Warden. The Level.
- Grand Master. Have you applied the Level to the Foundation-Stone?
- Senior Grand Warden. I have, Most Worshipful, and the Craftsmen have done their duty.
- Grand Master. R. W. Junior Grand Warden: What is the proper Jewel of your office?
- Junior Grand Warden. The Plumb.
- Grand Master. Have you applied the Plumb to the several edges of the Foundation-Stone?
- Junior Grand Warden. I have, Most Worshipful, and the Craftsmen have done their duty.
- Grand Master. The Craftsmen having skillfully and faithfully performed their duty, I declare the Foundation-Stone of this Statue "well formed, true and trusty."
Rev. Noah M. Gaylord, the Grand Chaplain, then read the following selections from the Bible :—
- "Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine." Genesis xxvii: 28.
- "Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it." Gen. xxvii: 18.
- "Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head and anoint him." Exodus xxix: 7.
" "And then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy." Exodus xl: 9.
- "That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil." Deuteronomy xi. 14.
- "Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil." Deuteronomy xii: 17.
- "Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my Lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants." 2 Chronicles ii: 15.
- "I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him." Psalms Ixxx: 20.
" "And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengthened man's heart." Psalms civ: 15.
- "And the earth shall bear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel." Hosea ii: 22.
" "They that dwelleth under the shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon." Hosea xiv: 7. " "The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted; the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth." Joel i: 10.
- "Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith." Joel ii. 19.
The following Masonic Hymn, written for the occasion, by Rev. Bro. William R. Alger, was then sung to the tune " Old Hundred," the audience joining in the singing:—
When once of old, in Israel,
Our early Brethren wrought with toil,
Jehovah's blessing on them fell
In showers of Corn and Wine and Oil.
When there a shrine to Him alone
They built, with worship sin to foil,
On threshold and on corner-stone
They poured out Corn and Wine and Oil.
When once our noble Warren moved
Athwart the battle's dread turmoil,
And shed his martyr blood, it proved
Our country's Corn and Wine and Oil.
And we have come, fraternal bands,
With joy and pride and prosperous spoil,
To honor him by votive hands
With streams of Corn and Wine and Oil.
The Statue of our Master Grand
We plant upon this hallowed soil —
Hark to the shoutings of the land!
Pour on it Corn and Wine and Oil.
Here, where he fell, stand it for aye:
No serpent round it ever coil,
But truth to latest ages say —
'Twas placed 'midst Corn and Wine and Oil.
The Grand Master then took the cup containing the Corn, and delivered it to the G. Marshal, who presented it to the Deputy Grand Master, (Rev. Dr, Wm. Flint,) who poured it upon the ground, saying —
"May the Supreme Architect of the Universe strengthen and sustain the Crafts. men to finish the work founded by their fathers as shall best redound to His honor and the welfare of this nation."
[The corn was taken from a parcel of wheat, part of which was used at the laying of the Corner -Stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, in 1825. The G. Master was indebted for it to the kindness of Mrs. Appleton, the widow of Brother Benjamin B. Appleton, who was at that lime a Deacon of the Grand Lodge.]
The cup containing the Wine having in like manner been delivered to the Senior Grand Warden, (Hon. Bradford L. Wales,) he poured it upon the ground, saying —
"May the Giver of All Things bestow his blessing upon all patriotic and benevolent undertakings ; and plenteously bestow upon this people that virtue and wisdom which shall enable them to preserve and transmit to succeeding generations the privileges they enjoy."
The cup containing the Oil having been delivered to the Junior Grand Warden, (John H. Sheppard, Esq.,) he poured it upon the ground, saying —
"May the Great Ruler of the Universe preserve the Union of the United States, and may it be a bond of Friendship and Brotherly Love that shall endure through all time."
He then repeated, in a very eloquent manner, the following Ode, written by himself:—
Spots there are, forgotten never,
Spots where freemen died or won;
Glory shines on them forever,
As it shone on Marathon.
Mark yon granite Column towering,
Looming up o'er land and sea;
There the storm of war, first lowering,
Burst on our Thermopylae.
There, the dreadful onset braving,
Our Grand Master fought and fell,
Like dying Knight with Red Cross waving,
While the trumpet sounds his knell.
Pioneer to peace and glory,
Nobly was his life-blood spent;
He needs no stone to tell his story,
Bunker Hill's his Monument.
Hark! responding to each other,
Spirits on this hill-top wait,
While the Statue of our Brother
Solemnly we consecrate.
Corn, Wine and Oil were symbols given
In primeval Palestine,
When Brethren sought a boon from heaven,
Upon temple, church or shrine.
Wine — from th' rich grape's blushing fountain,
Corn — which grew in field or glen,
Oil — from the Olive's sunny mountain,
Were the pure oblations then.
Shade of Warren! From thy dwelling
View thy happy native land ;—
From sea to sea our Union swelling —
Oh! forever may it stand.
The Grand Master then said,
"May Corn, Wine and Oil, which the Craftsmen employ as symbols of 'health, plenty and peace,' abound among men throughout the world; and may this Statue long continue to stand upon this eminence as a memorial of affectionate gratitude to one who sacrificed his life for the benefit of mankind."
The Benediction was then pronounced by Rev. Dr. Osgood, of Springfield, as follows :—
"May the blessing of the Almighty God, the Ruler of the Universe, in whom we all live, move and have our being; the Being who has bestowed upon us so many national blessings, who has brought us together on this occasion to render honor to the memory of one to whom honor is due — may the blessing of that God be upon us, and continue to bless us, until time shall be no longer. For Christ's sake. Amen!"
Response by the Brethren — "So mote it be."
The Masonic ceremonies being concluded, addresses were delivered by Gov. Gardner, of Massachusetts, Gov. Dyer, of Rhode Island, Gov. Holley, of Connecticut, Hon. Robt. C. Winthrop, Hon. James M. Mason, of Virginia, and Hon. John P. Kennedy, of Maryland; and the assembly was appropriately dismissed by Mr. Warren.
Persons holding tickets of invitation then repaired to the City Hall, where a handsome collation had been prepared by the City authorities of Charlestown, and where they were briefly welcomed by Mayor Sawyer. Mr. Warren also received his friends and invited guests at his residence on Monument Square.
The Boston Encampment of Knights Templar also furnished a collation for its members and invited guests at Chapman Hall, which we hear very highly commended.
It is enough perhaps to say, in conclusion, that the whole proceedings of the day were eminently successful and creditable to all parties engaged in them. Nothing to our knowledge occurred to be regretted, but much to be remembered with satisfaction and pleasure.
BOSTON MASSACRE ORATION, MARCH 1775
From Joseph Warren web site:
ORATION Delivered at Boston, 6 March 1775
“MY EVER HONOURED FELLOW CITIZENS, It is not without the most humiliating conviction of my want of ability that I now appear before you: but the sense I have of the obligation I am under to obey the calls of my country at all times, together with an animating recollection of your indulgence, exhibited upon so many occasions, has induced me, once more, undeserving as I am to throw myself upon that candour which looks with kindness on the feeblest efforts of an honest mind.
You will not now expect the elegance, the learning, the fire, the enrapturing strains of eloquence which charmed you when a LOVELL, a CHURCH, or a HANCOCK spake; but you will permit me to say that with sincerity, equal to theirs, I mourn over my bleeding country: with them I weep at her distress, and with them deeply resent the many injuries she has received from the hands of cruel and unreasonable men.
That personal freedom is the natural right of every man; and that property, or an exclusive right to dispose of what he has honestly acquired by his own labour, necessarily arises therefrom, are truths which common sense has placed beyond the reach of contradiction. And no man, or body of man, can without being guilty of flagrant injustice, claim a right to dispose of the persons or acquisitions of any other man, or body of men, unless it can be proved that such a right has arisen from some compact between the parties in which it has been explicitly and freely granted.
If I may be indulged in taking a retrospective view of the first settlement of our country, it will be easy to determine with what degree of justice the late parliament of Great Britain has assumed the power of giving away that property which the Americans have earned by their labour.
Our fathers having nobly resolved never to wear the yoke of despotism, and seeing the European world, at the time, through indolence and cowardice, falling a prey to tyranny, bravely threw themselves upon the bosom of the ocean, determined to find a place in which they might enjoy their freedom, or perish in the glorious attempt. Approving heaven beheld the favourite ark dancing upon the waves, and graciously preserved it until the chosen families were brought in safety to these western regions. They found the land swarming with savages, who threatened death with every kind of torture. But savages, and death with torture were far less terrible than slavery: nothing was so much the object of their abhorrence as a tyrant’s power: they knew that it was more safe to dwell with man in his most unpolished state, -than in a country where arbitrary power prevails. Even anarchy itself, that bugbear held up by the tools of power (though truly to be deprecated) is infinitely less dangerous to mankind than arbitrary government. Anarchy can be but of short duration; for when men are at liberty to pursue that course which is most conducive to their own happiness, they will soon come into it, and from the rudest state of nature, order and good government must soon arise. But tyranny, when once established, entails its curses on a nation to the latest period of time; unless some daring genius, inspired by heaven, shall, unappalled danger, bravely form and execute the arduous design of restoring liberty and life to his enslaved, murdered country.
The tools of power, in every age, have racked their inventions to justify the few in sporting with the happiness of the many; and, having found their sophistry too weak to hold mankind in bondage, have impiously dared to force religion, the daughter of the king of heaven, to become a prostitute in the service of hell. They taught that princes, honoured with the name of Christian, might bid defiance to the founder of their faith, might pillage Pagan countries and deluge them with blood, only because they boasted themselves to be the disciples of that teacher who strictly charged his followers to do to others as they would that others should do unto them.
This country, having been discovered by an English subject, in the year 1620, was (according to the system which the blind superstition of those times supported) deemed the property of the crown of England. Our ancestors, when they resolved to quit their native soil, obtained from King James, a grant of certain lands in North America. This they probably did to silence the cavils of their enemies, for it cannot be doubted but they despised the pretended right which he claimed thereto. Certain it is, that he might, with equal propriety and justice, have made them a grant of the planet Jupiter. And their subsequent conduct plainly shows that they were too well acquainted with humanity, and the principles of natural equity, to suppose that the grant gave them any right to take possession; they therefore entered into a treaty with the natives, and bought from them the lands: nor have I ever yet obtained any information that our ancestors ever pleaded, or that the natives ever regarded the grant from the English crown: the business was transacted by the parties in the same independent manner that it would have been, had neither of them ever known or heard of the island of Great Britain.
Having become the honest proprietors of the soil, they immediately applied themselves to the cultivation of it; and they soon held the virgin earth teeming with richest fruits, a grateful recompense for their unwearied toil. The fields began to wave with ripening harvests, and the late barren wilderness was seen to blossom like the rose. The savage natives saw with wonder the delightful change, and quickly formed a scheme to obtain that by fraud or force, which nature meant as the reward of industry alone. But the illustrious emigrants soon convinced the rude invaders, that they were not less ready to take the field for battle than for labour; and the insidious foe was driven from their borders as often as he ventured to disturb them. The crown of England looked with indifference on the contest; our ancestors were left alone to combat with the natives. Nor is there any. reason to believe, that it ever was intended by the one party, or expected by the other, that the grantor should defend and maintain the grantees in the peaceable possession of the lands named in the patents. And it appears plainly, from the history of those times, that neither the prince, nor the people of England, thought themselves much interested in the matter. They had not then any idea of a thousandth part of those advantages which they since have, and we are most heartily willing they should still continue to reap from us.
But when, at an infinite expense of toil and blood, this widely extended continent had been cultivated and defended: when the hardy adventurers justly expected that they and their descendants should peaceably have enjoyed the harvest of those fields which they had sown, and the fruit of those vineyards which they had planted; this country was then thought worthy the attention of the British ministry; and the only justifiable and only successful means of rendering the colonies serviceable to Britain were adopted. By an intercourse of friendly offices, the two countries became so united in affection, that they thought not of any distinct or separate interests, they found both countries flourishing and happy. Britain saw her commerce extended, and her wealth increased; her lands raised to an immense value; her fleets riding triumphant on the ocean; the terror of her arms spreading to every quarter of the globe. The colonist found himself free, and thought himself secure; he dwelt under his own vine, and under his own fig tree, and had none to make him afraid: he knew indeed that by purchasing the manufactures of Great Britain, he contributed to its greatness: he knew that all the wealth, that his labour produced centered in Great Britain; but that, far from exciting his envy, filled him with the highest pleasure; that thought supported him in all his toils. When the business of the day was past, he solaced himself with the contemplation, or perhaps entertained his listening family with the recital of some great, some glorious transaction which shines conspicuous in the history of Britain: or, perhaps, his elevated fancy led him to foretell with a kind of enthusiastic confidence, the glory, power, and duration of an empire which should extend from one end of the earth to the other: he saw, or thought he saw, the British nation risen to a pitch of grandeur which cast a veil over the Roman glory, and ravished with the preview, boasted a race of British kings, whose names should echo through those realms where Cyrus, Alexander, and the Caesars were unknown; princes for whom millions of grateful subjects redeemed from slavery and Pagan ignorance, should, with thankful tongues, offer up their prayers and praises to that transcendently great and beneficent Being, by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice.
These pleasing connections might have continued; these delightsome prospects might have been every day extended; and even the reveries of the most warm imagination might have been realized; but unhappily for us, unhappily for Britain, the madness of an avaricious minister of state, has drawn a sable curtain over the charming scene, and in its stead, has brought upon the stage, discord, envy, hatred, and revenge, with civil war close in their rear.
Some demon, in an evil hour, suggested to a short sighted financier, the hateful project of transferring the whole property of the king’s subjects in America, to his subjects in Britain. The claim of the British parliament to tax the colonies, can never be supported but by such a TRANSFER; for the right of the House of Commons of Great, Britain, to originate any tax, or grant money, is altogether derived from their being elected by the people of Great Britain to act for them; and the people of Great Britain cannot confer on their representatives a right to give or grant any thing which they themselves have not a right to give or grant personally. Therefore it follows, that if the members chosen by the people of Great Britain, to represent them in parliament, have, by virtue of their being so chosen, any right to give or grant American property, or to lay any tax upon the lands or persons of the colonists, it is because the lands and people in the colonies are bonafide, owned by, and justly belonging to the people of Great Britain. But (As has been before observed) every man has a right to personal freedom, consequently a right to enjoy what is acquired by his own labour. And as it is evident that the property in this country has been acquired by our own labour; it is the duty of the people of Great Britain, to produce some compact in which we have explicitly given up to them a right to dispose of our persons or property. Until this is done, every attempt of theirs, or of those whom they have deputed to act for them to give or grant any part of our property, is directly repugnant to every principle of reason and natural justice. But, I may boldly say, that such a compact never existed, no, not even in imagination. Nevertheless, the representatives of a nation, long famed for justice and the exercise of every noble virtue, have been prevailed on to adopt the fatal scheme: and although the dreadful consequences of this wicked policy have already shaken the empire to its centre; yet still it is persisted in. Regardless of the voice of reason, deaf to the prayers and supplications, and unaffected with the flowing tears of suffering millions, the British ministry still hug the darling idol; and every rolling year affords fresh instances of the absurd devotion with which they worship it. Alas! how has the folly, the distraction of the British councils, blasted our swelling hopes, and spread a gloom over this western hemisphere.
The hearts of Britons and Americans, which lately felt the generous glow of mutual confidence and love, now burn with jealousy and rage. Though, but of yesterday, I recollect (deeply affected at the ill boding change) the happy hours that past whilst Britain and America rejoiced in the prosperity and greatness of each other (heaven grant those halcyon days may soon return.) But now the Briton too often looks on the American with an envious eye taught to consider his just plea for the enjoyment of his earnings, as the effect of pride and stubborn opposition to the parent country. Whilst the American beholds the Briton as the ruffian, ready first to take away his property, and next, what is still dearer to every virtuous man, the liberty of his country.
When the measures of administration had disgusted the colonies to the highest degree, and the people of Great Britain had, by artifice and falsehood, been irritated against America, an army was sent over to enforce submission to certain acts of the British parliament, which reason scorned to countenance, and which placemen and pensioners were found unable to support.
Martial law and the government of a well regulated city, are so entirely different, that it has always been considered as improper to quarter troops in populous cities; frequent disputes must necessarily arise between the citizen and the soldier, even if no previous animosities subsist. And it is further certain, from a consideration of the nature of mankind, as well as from constant experience, that standing armies always endanger the liberty of the subject. But when the people on the one part, considered the army as sent to enslave them, and the army on the other, were taught to look on the people as in a state of rebellion, it was but just to fear the most disagreeable consequences. Our fears, we have seen, were but too well grounded.
The many injuries offered to the town, I pass over in silence. I cannot now mark out the path which led to that unequaled scene of horror, the sad remembrance of which, takes the full possession of my soul. The sanguinary theatre again opens itself to view. The baleful images of terror crowd around me, and discontented ghosts, with hollow groans, appear to solemnize the anniversary of the FIFTH of MARCH.
Approach we then the melancholy walk of death. Hither let me call the gay companion; here let him drop a farewell tear upon that body which so late he saw vigorous and warm with social mirth; hither let me lead the tender mother to weep over her beloved son: come widowed mourner, here satiate thy grief; behold thy murdered husband gasping on the ground, and to complete the pompous show of wretchedness, bring in each hand thy infant children to bewail their father’s fate. Take heed, ye orphan babes, lest, whilst your streaming eyes are fixed upon the ghastly corpse, your feet glide on the stones bespattered with your father’s brains. (After Mr. Gray had been shot through the body, and had fallen dead on the ground, a bayonet was pushed through his skull; part of the bone being broken, his brains fell out upon the pavement. ) Enough! this tragedy need not be heightened by an infant weltering in the blood of him that gave it birth. Nature, reluctant shrinks already from the view, and the chilled blood rolls slowly backward in its fountain. We wildly stare about, and with amazement, ask, who spread this ruin round us? what wretch has dared deface the image of his God? has haughty France, or cruel Spain, sent forth her myrmidons? has the grim savage rused again from the far distant wilderness? or does some fiend, fierce from the depth of hell, with all the rancorous malice, which the apostate damned can feel, twang her destructive bow, and hurl her deadly arrows at our breast? no, none of these; but, how astonishing! It is the hand of Britain that inflicts the wound. The arms of George, our rightful king, have been employed to shed that blood, when justice, or the honour of his crown, had called his subjects to the field.
But pity, grief, astonishment, with all the softer movements of the soul, must now give way to stronger passions. Say, fellow citizens, what dreadful thought now swells your heaving bosoms; you fly to arms, sharp indignation flashes from each eye, revenge gnashes her iron teeth, death grins an hideous smile, secure to drench his greedy jaws in human gore, whilst hovering furies darken all the air.
But stop, my bold adventurous countrymen, stain not your weapons with the blood of Britons. Attend to reason’s voice, humanity puts in her claim, and sues to be again admitted to her wonted seat, the bosom of the brave. Revenge is far beneath the noble mind. Many perhaps, compelled to rank among the vile assassins, do, from their inmost souls, detest the barbarous action. The winged death, shot from your arms, may chance to pierce some breast that bleeds already for your injured country.
The storm subsides; a solemn pause ensues; you spare, upon condition they depart. They go; they quit your city; they no more shall give offence. Thus closes the important drama.
And could it have been convinced that we again should have seen a British army in our land, sent to enforce obedience to acts of parliament destructive of our liberty. But the royal ear, far distant from this western world, has been assaulted by the tongue of slander; and villains, traitorous alike to king and country, have prevailed upon a gracious prince to clothe his countenance with wrath, and to erect the hostile banner against a people ever affectionate and loyal to him his illustrious predecessors of the house of Hanover. Our streets are again filled with armed men; our harbour is crowded with ships of war; but these cannot intimidate us; our liberty must be preserved; it is far dearer than life, we hold it even dear as our allegiance; we must defend it against the attacks of friends as well as enemies; we cannot suffer even Britons to ravish it from us.
No longer could we reflect, with generous pride, or the heroic actions of our American forefathers, no longer boast our origin from that far famed island, whose warlike sons have so often drawn their well tried swords to save her from the ravages of tyranny; could we, but for a moment, entertain the thought of giving up our liberty. The man who meanly will submit to wear a shackle, contemns the noblest gift of heaven, and impiously affronts the God that made him free.
It was a maxim of the Roman people, which eminently conduced to the greatness of that state, never to despair of the commonwealth. The maxim may prove as salutary to us now, as it did to them. Short sighted mortals see not the numerous links of small and great events, which form the chain on which the fate of kings and nations is suspended. Ease and prosperity (though pleasing for a day) have often sunk a people into effeminacy and sloth. Hardships and dangers (though we for ever strive to shun them) have frequently called forth such virtues, as have commanded the applause and reverence of an admiring world. Our country loudly calls you to be circumspect, vigilant, active, and brave. Perhaps (all gracious Heaven avert it) perhaps, the power of Britain, a nation great in war, by some malignant influence, may be employed to enslave you: but let not even this discourage you. Her arms it is true, have filled the world with terror; her troops have reaped the laurels of the field: her fleets have rode triumphant on the sea–and when, or where, did you, my countrymen, depart inglorious from the field of fight? (This footnote also does not appear in Warren’s handwritten manuscript of the speech.) The Patience with which this People have bourne the repeated Injuries which have been heap’d upon them, and their unwillingness to take any Sanguinary Measures, has very injudiciously been ascribed to Cowardice, by Persons both here and in Great Britain; I most heartily wish that an Opinion so erroneous in itself, and so fatal in its consequences, might be utterly removed before it be too late: And I think nothing further necessary to convince every intelligent Man, that the Conduct of this People is owing to the tender Regard which they have for their Fellow Men, and an utter Abhorrence to the Shedding of human Blood, than a little Attention to their general Temper and Disposition, discovered when they cannot be supposed to be under any Apprehension of Danger to themselves. –I will only mention the universal Detestation which they hold to every Act of Cruelty, by whom and upon whomsoever committed; the mild Spirit of their Laws; the very few Crimes to which capital Penalties are annexed; and the very great Backwardness which both Courts and Juries discover in condemning Persons charged with capital Crimes. — But if any should think this Observation not to the Purpose, I readily appeal to those Gentlemen of the Army who have been, in the Camp, or in the field, with the Americans.”) You too can shew the trophies of your forefathers victories and your own; can name the fortresses and battles you have won; and many of you count the honourable scars or wounds received while fighting for your king and country.
Where justice is the standard, heaven is the warrior’s shield; but conscious guilt unnerves the arm that lifts the sword against the innocent. Britain, united with these colonies, by commerce and affection, by interest and blood, may mock the threats of France and Spain; may be the, seat of universal empire. But should America, either by force, or those more dangerous engines, luxury and corruption, ever be brought into a state of vassalage, Britain must lose her freedom Also. No longer shall she sit the empress of the sea: her ships no more shall waft her thunders over the wide ocean: the wreath shall wither on her temples: her weakened arm shall be unable to defend her coasts: and she, at last, must bow her venerable head to some proud foreigner’s despotic rule.
But, if from past events, we may venture to form a judgment of the future, we justly may expect that the devices of our enemies will but increase the triumphs of our country. I must indulge a hope that Britain’s liberty, as well as ours, will eventually be preserved by the virtue of America.
The attempt of the British parliament to raise a revenue from America, and our denial of their right to do it, have excited an almost universal inquiry into the rights of mankind in general, and of British subjects in particular; the necessary result of which must be such a liberality of sentiment, and such a jealousy of those in power, as will, better than an adamantine wall, secure us against the future approaches of despotism.
The malice of the Boston port bill has been defeated in a very considerable degree, by giving you an opportunity of deserving, and our brethren in this and our sister colonies an opportunity of bestowing, those benefactions which have delighted your friends and astonished your enemies, not only in America, but in Europe also. And what is more valuable still, the sympathetic feelings for a brother is distress, and the grateful emotions excited in the breast of him who finds relief, must for ever endear each other, and form those indissoluble bonds of friendship and affection, on which the preservation of our rights so evidently depend.
The mutilation of our charter has made every other colony jealous for its own; for this, if once submitted to us, would get on float the property and government of every British settlement upon the continent. If charters are not deemed sacred, how miserably precarious is every thing founded upon them.
Even the sending troops to put these acts in execution, is not without advantages to us. The exactness and beauty of their discipline inspire our youth with ardour in the pursuit of military knowledge. Charles the invincible, taught Peter the Great, the art of war. The battle of Pultowa convinced Charles of the proficiency Peter had made.
Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves. The faltering tongue of hoary age calls on you to support your country. The lisping infant raises its suppliant hands, imploring defence against the monster slavery. Your fathers look from their celestial seats with smiling approbation on their sons, who boldly stand forth in the cause of virtue; but sternly frown upon the inhuman miscreant, who, to secure the loaves and fishes to himself, would breed a serpent to destroy his children.
But, pardon me, my fellow citizens, I know you want not zeal or fortitude. You will maintain your rights or perish in the generous struggle. However, difficult the combat, you never will decline it when freedom is the prize. An independence on Great Britain is not our aim. No, our wish is, that Britain and the colonies may, like the oak and the ivy, grow and increase in strength together. But whilst the infatuated plan or making one part of the empire slaves to the other, is persisted in; the interest and safety of Britain, as well as the colonies, require that the wise measures, recommended by the honourable the continental congress, be steadily pursued; whereby the unnatural contest between a parent honoured, and a child beloved, may probably be brought to such an issue, as that the peace and happiness of both may be established upon a lasting basis. But if these pacific measures are ineffectual, and it appears that the only way to safety, is through fields of blood, I know you will not turn your faces from your foes, but will, undauntedly, press forward, until tyranny is trodden under foot, and you have fixed your adored goddess Liberty, fast by a Brunswick’s side, on the American throne.
You then, who nobly have espoused your country’s cause, who generously have sacrificed wealth and ease; who had despised the pomp and shew of tinseled greatness; refused the summons to the festive board; been deaf to the alluring calls of luxury and mirth; who have forsaken the downy pillow to keep your vigils by the midnight lamp, for the salvation of your invaded county, that you might break the fowler’s snare, and disappoint the vulture of his prey, you then will reap that harvest of renown which you so justly have deserved. Your country shall pay her grateful tribute of applause. Even the children of your most inveterate enemies, ashamed to tell from whom they sprang, while they in secret, curse their stupid, cruel parents, shall join the general voice of gratitude to those who broke the fetters which their fathers forged.
Having redeemed your country, and secured the blessing to future generations, who, fired by your example, shall emulate your virtues, and learn from you the heavenly art of making millions happy; with heart felt joy, which transports all your own, you cry, the glorious work is done. Then drop the mantle to some young Elisha, and take your seats with kindred spirits in your native skies.
Perez Morton's address at Warren's re-interment, April 1776