- 1 BY-LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE MASTER, WARDENS AND MEMBERS OF THE GRAND LODGE OF MASSACHUSETTS
- 1.1 PREAMBLE
- 1.2 CHAPTER 1
- 1.3 CHAPTER 2
- 1.4 CHAPTER 3
- 1.5 CHAPTER 4
- 1.6 CHAPTER 5
- 1.6.1 Section 1
- 1.6.2 Section 2
- 1.6.3 Section 3
- 1.6.4 Section 4
- 1.6.5 Section 5
- 1.6.6 Section 6
- 1.6.7 Section 7
- 1.6.8 Section 8
- 1.6.9 Section 9
- 1.6.10 Section 10
- 1.6.11 Section 11
- 1.6.12 Section 12
- 1.6.13 Section 13
- 1.6.14 Section 14
- 1.6.15 Section 15
- 1.6.16 Section 16
- 1.6.17 Section 17
- 1.6.18 Section 18?
- 1.7 CHAPTER 6
BY-LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE MASTER, WARDENS AND MEMBERS OF THE GRAND LODGE OF MASSACHUSETTS
Adopted Anno Lucis 5819.
The Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, having obtained of the General Court an Act of Incorporation, dated June 16, 1817, with "power to make and ordain from time to time, By-laws, Rules and Regulations for the government and management of the Corporation, provided the same be not repugnant to the Constitution and Laws of this commonwealth," doth hereby make, ordain and promulgate the following as the By-laws, Rules and Regulations of the Master, Wardens and Members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Powers of the Grand Lodge, Manner of Holding Property, and Meetings.
Recognising all the ancient constitutions and usages of Free Masonry as principles essential and unalterable, the powers and prerogatives of this Grand Lodge imply its original privileges and authority, and extend to the government and regulation of the concerns of Free Masonry in the Lodges under its Jurisdiction; to the issuing of charters and dispensations, and to the revocation of the Same for un-Masonic conduct or neglect of duty.
The Grand Lodge shall have a common Seal; and the Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Wardens and Recording Grand Secretary shall be a Board of Trustees of the real and personal extate of the Grand Lodge, the tenure of which shall be in the name and for the behoof of "the Master, Wardens and Members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts;" and a majority of them shall have the power to use the seal for the purpose of carrying into effect all the contracts and resolutions adopted by the Grand Lodge. The said Trustees, or a majority of them, shall have the power to do and transact all things relative to the real and personal property of the Grand Lodge, in the name and on the behalf of the corporation, which are not herein otherways provided for. The corporation shall also hold in trust by deed of assignment the real estate of any subordinate lodge, under such stipulations as may be made by the assignees, and as they may judge proper to accept. And all evidence of the property of the Grand Lodge in fee, and of that held in behalf of the subordinate lodges, shall be recorded in a book kept for the purpose by the Grand Treasurer, as well as in the usual records of the several counties where said real estate lies.
The Regular Communications of the Grand Lodge shall be annual held in the town of Boston, on the second Wednesday of December, March, June and September, and special meetings may be called as the Grand Lodge, or Grand Master, shall direct.
The Charity Fund established by the Grand Lodge shall be styled "The Charity Fund of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts."
This Fund shall be increased annually by adding thereto one-fourth part of annual fees, and one third part of all initiation fees paid the Grand Lodge by the Lodges under its Jurisdiction.
One-half of all the donations made to the Grand Lodge not specifically appropriated by the donors, shall be added to said Fund.
The Charity Fund shall be held in the name of "the Master, Wardens and Members of the Grand Lodge" but shall be under the direction of a Board of Trustees, before named, and six Brethren, who are not acting officers of the Grand Lodge, to be elected by ballot, for the term of three years, and to constitute, during that term, a permanent part of the Board; and provided a vacancy should occur from death, resignation or any other cause, it shall be reported to the Grand Lodge, at the next quarterly Communication, at which time the vacancy shall be filled.
The Board of Trustees thus constituted, shall be styled "The Trustees of the Charity Fund of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts" who shall invest the accruing funds in the manner they shall deem most likely to be productive; and no loans or donations shall be made from the principal of said Fund until the income thereof shall, at the rate of six per Cent. shall amount to the sum of three thousand dollars per annum.
The Trustees of the Charity Fund shall hold their meetings on the Monday preceding each Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge, and at such other times as may be thought expedient; and a majority of the Board shall be necessary for every act, except that of adjournment.
Revised 09/12/1821: "The Trustees of the Charity Fund shall hold their meetings on the Monday preceding the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in December." (III-366)
The Board of Trustees shall appoint a Secretary, whose duty it shall be to make a correct record of their proceedings, and report the same to the Grand Lodge at every quarterly communication; and each report made to the Grand Lodge shall be signed by the Chairman of the Board: the Recording Grand Secretary shall keep a separate book, in which shall be recorded all the proceedings of the Trustees that shall be recorded by the Secretary of the Board.
Revised 09/12/1821: replace quarterly with annual, to read: "... and report the same to the Grand Lodge at every annual communication ..." (III-366)
The interest arising annually from the fund shall be appropriated as the Trustees shall direct, for the relief of such poor and distressed brethren, their widows and orphans, as they may consider worthy of assistance; but all interest unappropriated at the end of the year, shall be added to the principal.
Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge.
The Grand Lodge is composed of a Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden and Junior Grand Warden, Past Grand Masters, Past Deputy Grand Masters, Past Grand Wardens, a Grand Treasurer, two Grand Secretaries, District Deputy Grand Masters, Grand Marshal, Grand Chaplain, Senior Grand Deacon, Junior Grand Deacon, four Grand Stewards, a Grand Sword Bearer, two Grand Pursuivants, and the Masters and Wardens of Lodges under the Jurisdiction. Proxies of Lodges and the Grand Tiler; all these are members and have a right to vote in the Grand Lodge except the Grand Tiler.
The title of the Grand Master is "Most Worshipful," Past Grand Masters "Right Worshipful" and the following officers, whether in past or in office, viz.: Deputy Grand Master, Grand Wardens, Grand Treasurer, Recording Grand Secretary, Corresponding Grand Secretary, District Deputy Grand Masters, Grand Marshal, Grand Deacons and the Masters of Lodges "Right Worshipful"; the title of other Grand Officers shall be "Worshipful."
All present and past Grand Masters, Deputy Grand Masters and Grand Wardens and none others, are recognised as permanent members of the Grand Lodge.
Those composing the Grand Lodge shall take rank in the Grand Lodge, and in grand procession, agreeably to the above order.
The Grand Master, Grand Wardens, Grand Treasurer and Grand Recording Secretary shall be chosen by ballot. Two-thirds of the votes collected shall be necessary to make a choice of a Grand Master, and Grand Wardens, and a majority for the two other officers.
The choice shall be made on the second Wednesday in December annually, to commence at 8 o'clock P.M. The officers shall be annually installed on the ensuing anniversary of St. John the Evangelist; and when that Festival shall happen on a Sunday, the installation shall be on the next day. The Grand Master shall be installed by his immediate predecessor, or such Past Grand Master as the Grand Lodge may designate for the purpose; or when it is not a new choice, by the Senior Past Grand Master present.
After the installation of the Grand Master, he shall install the Grand Wardens, Grand Treasurer and the Grand Recording Secretary; appoint and install the other officers necessary to the due organization of the Grand Lodge, and appoint the District Deputy Grand Masters; shall issue commissions under the grand seal to the Deputy Grand Master and Grand Marshal. Absent officers may be installed by suitable proxies.
The several grand officers previous to their installation, shall make the following declaration: I solemnly promise upon the honor of a Mason, that in the office of ----- I will, according to the best of my abilities, strictly comply with the laws and regulations of this Grand Lodge, and all other antient Masonic usages.
All grand officers elected or appointed when installed, shall be proclaimed by the Grand Marshal, and shall retain their stations until their successors are installed.
The Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Wardens, Grand Treasurer, Recording Grand Secretary, Corresponding Grand Secretary, District Deputy Grand Masters, Grand Marshal and Grand Deacons, to be eligible to their offices, shall have passed the Chair of a regular Lodge. They shall not (the Grand Marshal and Grand Deacons excepted) be master, warden or proxy of any subordinate Lodge; and no brother shall be appointed to any other office in the Grand Lodge, except to the office of Grand Chaplain or Tiler, unless he be a present or past master or warden of a regular Lodge.
The Grand Master and Grand Wardens shall not be eligible more than three Years successively.
Every member of the Grand Lodge shall be entitled to one vote, and one vote only, unless he be a representative of a subordinate lodge when he shall have a right to two votes; but no member can deligate [sic] his right of membership and voting to any other person.
The Powers and Duty of the Grand Officers.
The Grand Master enjoys all powers and prerogatives agreeably to the antient constitutions, the usages, and landmarks of Masonry. The Deputy Grand Master enjoys these powers as far as they relate to presiding over the Grand Lodge, in the absence of the Grand Master. The Wardens assist the Grand Master in opening and closing the Grand Lodge, in the dispatch of business, and the preservation of order. When the Grand Master and the Deputy Grand Master are absent the Senior Grand Warden presides in the Grand Lodge; in his absence the Junior Grand Warden; in the absence of each of these, the oldest Past Grand Master; and if no officer of that grade be present, the oldest past senior grand officer is to preside. In either of these cases, the presiding officer (unless he be a Past Grand Master) shall wear the jewel of the Deputy Grand Master; but the other officers shall wear the jewels of the offices they fill.
The Grand Treasurer shall have the the charge of the personal property and funds of the Grand Lodge, under the direction of the Board of Trustees; shall give bonds for the faithful discharge of his trust in such sum, and with such surety or sureties as they shall require, and shall from time to time invest all unappropriated funds in his hands in the name of "The Master, Wardens and Members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts" in such manner as the aforesaid Trustees shall direct.
The Grand Treasurer shall have the care and management of all the funds of the Grand Lodge. He shall receive all Monies from the District Deputy Grand Masters; shall pay all bills passed by the Committee of Finance and Accounts, and such sums as the Trustees of the Charity Fund shall direct; shall have in his care all the regalia not entrusted to the Senior Grand Steward, all charters, records, seals and regalia returned to the Grand Lodge and all charters and dispensations for constituting new lodges. He shall receipt on each charter and dispensation for the sums that are received therefor; shall keep an accurate account of all money by him received and paid; and shall annually render an account thereof, with a schedule of the funds of the Grand Lodge, to the Committee of Finance; shall deliver to his successor in office the funds and other property of the Grand Lodge, entrusted to his care, taking duplicate receipts for the same, one of which receipts he shall deposit with the Recording Grand Secretary.
The Recording Grand Secretary shall give seasonable notice in a public newspaper, printed in Boston, of each regular communication of the Grand Lodge, three successive weeks previous thereto; and shall notify all the officers and permanent members thereof by letter. Special meetings may be called by the Grand Master, by inserting a notice thereof in any newspaper printed in Boston. He shall make a correct record of all the transactions of Grand Lodge; receive petitions, applications and appeals, and lay them before the Grand Master; shall fill, attest and affix the grand seal to all warrants, charters, commissions and certificates, by order of the Grand Master; shall keep a list of all the Lodges under this jurisdiction, according to seniority, and call the same at every communication. He shall present the chairman of every committee with a copy of the vote of his appointment, and shall attend all committees with such documents, as are in his possession, when required, record all reports of committees, which may be accepted by the Grand Lodge. He shall annually, in the month of January forward to each member of the Grand Lodge one, and to each District Deputy Grand Master such number of copies of the edicts and regulations of the Grand Lodge, which have been passed the preceding year, as may be necessary for the information and regulation of the subordinate Lodges, in which shall be included a correct list of the officers of the Grand Lodge, and District Deputy Grand Masters for the year ensuing. He shall make a transcript of the records in the month of September annually, immediately after the Communication of the Grand Lodge.
The Corresponding Grand Secretary shall receive, and answer, under the direction of the Grand Master, all foreign communications made to the Grand Lodge, shall communicate with such other masonic bodies as the Grand Lodge or Grand Master may direct, and make a correct record of the same; and when present shall, if required by the Grand Master, read all communications to the Grand Lodge.
The Grand Marshal shall direct the organization of the Grand Lodge before it is opened; collect from the members and petitioners in the Grand Lodge, all communications, and place them before the Grand Master, shall introduce visitors; shall direct the formation of processions, regulate all festivals and refreshments; shall communicate or execute all commands of the Grand Master, not otherwise provided for.
The District Deputy Grand Masters, shall visit their Lodges in their respective districts, and inspect their By-Laws, records and work, once a year at least, and before the last week in November; but if they deem it for the interest of masonry, they may delegate their duties to some suitable brother in distant lodges. They shall have the power to grant dispensations for initiation; shall communicate to the Lodges all edicts and regulations of the Grand Lodge, and furnish them with all such diplomas as they may be entitled to; shall receive and receipt for all dues to the Grand Lodge; receive the returns of the lodges and make their remarks thereon. They shall attend annually in Grand Lodge and pay to the Grand Treasurer all money in their hands, or transmit the returns and money to the Grand Treasurer on or before the first Monday in December, and take duplicate receipts therefor, one of which shall be deposited with the Grand Recording Secretary.
They shall receive a remuneration of their expenses in visiting the lodges; but shall present their account to the Committee of Finance for allowance. And each District Deputy Grand Master, on receiving from the Grand Treasurer the Jewel of his office, and the records of the district over which he is appointed, shall give in to the Grand Treasuere a receipt in the following form, viz.:
Whereas, I, ------ have been appointed and duly commissioned District Deputy Grand Master of Massachusetts for the ----- Masonic District, and have received the collar and jewel appertaining to said office, and the book of records of said district - I hereby promise to return the same, at the expiration or revocation of my commission, to the Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and in default thereof I promise to pay on demand to the order of said Treasurer, or whoever may hold the office of Treasurer of said Grand Lodge, the sum of fifty dollars.
The Grand Deacons are to communicate messages and to attend the Grand Master in all processions.
The Senior Grand Steward shall have in his charge all the jewels, clothing and furniture of the Grand Lodge; and at the annual communication and previous to the choice of officers, he shall render an accurate inventory of every thing committed to his care; shall deliver the same to his successor in office, taking duplicate receipts therefor, one of which receipts he shall deposit with the Grand Treasurer. He shall with the assistance of his brother Stewards properly distribute the jewels and cloathing, and collect the same at the closing of the Grand Lodge; and shall under the direction of the Grand Marshal, provide suitably for the Grand Lodge at every communication.
The Grand Sword Bearer is to attend the Grand Master and assist the Grand Marshal in the discharge of his duties.
The Grand Pursuivants are to guard the inner door of the Grand Lodge and precede all processions under the direction of the Grand Marshal.
The Grand Tiler is to guard the outer door.
Of Subordinate Lodges.
All of the Lodges under this Jurisdiction have a right to convene as Free and Accepted Masons, to receive and enter Apprentices, pass Fellow Crafts, and raise Master Masons and assess fees therefor; to choose officers annually, establish funds for charitable purposes, and transact all matters appertaining to Masonry, agreeably to their charters, the laws of the Grand Lodge and the antient usages of the Craft.
They must be represented in every communication of the Grand Lodge, by their Masters and Wardens or by Proxies duly commissioned, under the seal of the Lodge and the attestation of the Master and Secretary.
Each lodge may appoint any master mason of regular standing, being a member of a lodge under this jurisdiction, as a Proxy to represent them in the Grand Lodge; and such Proxy shall have a right to a seat in the Grand Lodge, during the masonic year in which he was apponted, and to a vote when the master and wardens of the lodge he represents shall not all be present. The letter, by which a lodge shall appoint a proxy, is to be in form or substance as follows, viz.:
See sample of appointment letter on page III-231.
Every lodge, represented by proxy in the Grand Lodge, shall issue the commission annually. All commissions of proxies shall expire with the closing of the Grand Lodge on the festival of St. John the Evangelist, or day of installation.
No one shall be proxy for more than one lodge at the same time.
All of the lodges under this jurisdiction shall make an annual return to the District Deputy Grand Master, of their officers and members, of all candidates initiated, crafted, and raised, agreeably to the form transmitted by the Grand Lodge. They shall record, with their by-laws, all the edicts and regulations they receive from the Grand Lodge.
They shall take rank in Grand Lodge according to the priority of the dates of their charters; they shall not hold meetings in any place excepting those designated therein, unless by a vote of the Grand Lodge; shall forfeit their charters when they are two years delinquent in their dues to the Grand Lodge, unless remitted by the Grand Lodge upon proper application.
The funds of such lodge as shall have forfeited its charter, shall be held by the Master, Wardens and Members of the Grand Lodge in trust, till the charter shall be restored; and the interest arising from said fund shall be made a part of the charity fund of the Grand Lodge.
They shall admit as members such only as are master masons, and elect or appoint none as permanent officers but members. They shall not ballot for any candidate for initiation who has not been proposed at a previous meeting, without obtaining a dispensation therefor, nor without making strict enquiry into his moral Character.
Revised 06/08/1825: "They shall admit as members such only as are Master Masons, and elect or appoint none as permanent Officers but members. They shall not ballot for any candidate for initiation who has not been proposed at a stated monthly meeting and who shall not have stood so proposed for one lunar month, without obtaining a dispensation therefor, nor without making strict enquiry into his moral character." (III-538)
No Lodge, in the absence of the master and wardens, shall initiate, craft or raise, unless a past master is present to preside.
No person residing in a town within this Commonwealth wherein a Lodge is held, shall be admitted a candidate by a lodge in any other town without the approbation of the master and wardens of a lodge in the town of his residence.
The fee demanded by a Lodge for initiating, crafting and raising shall not be less than nineteen dollars, including the fee to the Grand Lodge; but the initiation fee may be remitted to all Clergymen, or persons approbated by competent authority to preach the Gospel, who shall be received into the order; and the Grand Lodge will remit their initiation fee to the lodge wherein such clergymen were received.
Revised 03/11/1840: "The fee demanded a Lodge, for initiating, crafting and raising a Mason shall not be less than nineteen dollars including the fee to the Grand Lodge." (IV-496)
No lodge under this jurisdiction shall hereafter take notes of hand for fees, or grant any time of credit therefor.
No petition for the removal of a lodge from the place in which it is located, shall be sustained in Grand Lodge unless said petition is sanction by the District Deputy Grand Master of the district where said lodge is situated, and has the approbation of the lodge nearest the place where the said lodge is intended to be held; the same being signified in writing to the Grand Lodge.
No candidate, whose application may be rejected by a lodge shall be initiated in any lodge other than the one to which he first applied, without a recommendation from six members of said lodge, of whom the master and wardens shall be three. And when the master and wardens are unwilling to recommend a candidate, who has been rejected, it shall be their duty to communicate such rejection to the Grand Lodge, to the several lodges within the masonic district, and to the two nearest lodges of any adjacent state, if such lodges be within the distance of thirty miles. And if any mason knowingly assist, or recommend for initiation, to any lodge whatever, any candidate rejected as aforesaid, who may not have obtained a recommendation as before provided, such mason shall be expelled from, or debarred the privileges of the institution.
Each Lodge shall pay annually towards the support of the Grand Lodge, eight dollars; and three dollars for every candidate by them initiated.
The Lodges within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall be formed into twelve or more Districts, by the Grand Master, in each of which shall reside a District Deputy Grand Master.
It shall be the duty of every Master, or presiding officer, under this jurisdiction, when notified of the intended official visit of the District Deputy Grand Master, to convene his Lodge, receive him as the representative of the Grand Lodge, resign the chair to him while making his communications, submit to his inspection the by-laws, records and mode of work; shall deliver to him the return of the lodge and the dues of the Grand Lodge.
Every Lodge shall be furnished by the Grand Lodge with blank returns, and as many diplomas as they shall initiate candidates; and the master of each Lodge, who has complied with the laws of the Grand Lodge, shall be presented with a master's diploma, after having sustained the office one year.
1st: If at any time it shall be found necessary to suspend or cancel the Charter of any Lodge under this jurisdiction, for irregular or unmasonic conduct, the members of said Lodge, at the time of its having incurred such penalty, shall be disqualified to visit or join any other Lodge, without special permission of the Grand Lodge, obtained on memorial.
2nd: Any Mason knowingly assisting at the work of a Lodge, whose warrant or charter has been suspended or cancelled, shall be liable to expulsion from the rights of Masonry.
All Grand Lodge records, heretofore made, and other masonic papers, shall be safely deposited in the archives of this Grand Lodge; and they never shall be carried out but by the Grand Master's permission.
Every petition for constituting a new lodge, must be accompanied with the approbation of the two lodges nearest the place where the said lodge is to be held, and the petitioners recommended by the District Deputy Grand Master of the district in which said lodge is intended to be located; and if not so accompanied, shall not be sustained in Grand Lodge.
And every Lodge shall be consecrated and its officers installed within twelve months from the date of its charter.
Revised 06/11/1823: Substitute for the first sentence: "Every petition for constituting a new lodge, must be accompanied with the approbation of the two lodges nearest the place where said Lodge is to be located. Exceptiong where two or more Lodges are situated in the town or City in which a new Lodge is prayed for; in which case, application shall be made to all the Lodges in said town or city and the approbation of two thirds thereof be obtained; and in all cases the expediency of the measure must be certified by the District Deputy Grand Master before a petition for a new Lodge shall be sustained in Grand Lodge." (text III-414; approved III-443).
For every charter hereafter granted there shall be paid to the Grand Treasurer eighty-five dollars, seventy of which shall be the funds of the Grand Lodge, ten for the Charity Fund and five shall be paid to the Recording Grand Secretary for filling and affixing the grand seal to the same.
Every charter returned to the Grand Lodge; with an intention of being resumed, shall be accompanied by the by-Laws, records, seal and regalia of the lodge; and no charter thus deposited, shall be restored unless seven of the applicants were members at the time it was deposited.
Every charter, when declared forfeited, shall be returned to the Grand Lodge with the records, by-laws and seal of the lodge; and all members of a lodge, who shall vote to divide the funds thereof among themselves, shall be liable to expulsion.
At the annual communication for the choice of officers, a Committee of Finance and Accounts shall be chosen by ballot, consisting of three, whose duty shall be to pass all bills against the Grand Lodge; examine the records of the Grand Secretaries, and have them transcribed into the transcript books; audit the accounts of the Grand Treasurer and recommend to the Grand odge the compensation to be allowed for services, and report at the next annual communication for, and previous to, the choice of officers. Said report shall embrace all the expenditures of the Grand Lodge for the preceding year, as well as a statement of all the funds of the Grand Lodge, made to them by the Grand Treasurer; an abstract of which shall be inserted in, and make a part of the annual communication, to be distributed to all the subordinate lodges.
All other committees, chosen or appointed, shall report their proceedings at the next communication after their appointment. The first brother chosen shall be chairman, and shall furnish each of the committee with a copy of the vote of his appointment, as received from the Grand Secretary, and appoint the time and place of meeting.
The expenses of all committees shall be paid by the Grand Lodge.
Each District Deputy Grand Master, and every Master and Warden of a Lodge must be clothed with his jewel, before he shall be allowed to take his seat and vote in Grand Lodge, without special permission of the presiding officer.
No vote passed in Grand Lodge can be reconsidered by a less number than was present when the vote was passed, provided a return of the number of voters was made and recorded.
No permanent regulation shall be established at the meeting when it is proposed, nor until it has been duly considered by a committee to be chosen by the Grand Lodge.
Adopted 03/08/1826: "The prayer of a petition for a new Lodge shall not be granted at the Communication when it is presented; but shall be referred to a Committee with instructions to report at the next following Communication." (III-568; adopted IV-8)
Petitioners and others of the Fraternity may be admitted as visitors by permission of the Grand Master, and in his absence by the permission of the presiding officer.