Former Masons Join Antimasonry

Posted: April 9, 2009 in Secret Societies
SECEDING MASONS’
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
ADOPTED AT LE ROY, JULY 4, 1828.

When men attempt to dissolve a system which has influenced and governed a part of community, and by its pretensions to antiquity, usefulness, and virtue, would demand the respect of all, it is proper to submit to the consideration of a candid and impartial world, the causes which impel them to such a course. We, seceders from the Masonic institution, availing ourselves of our natural and unalienable rights, and the privileges guaranteed to us by our constitution freely to discuss the principles of our government and laws, and to expose whatever may endanger the one or impede the due administration of the other, do offer the following reasons endeavoring to abolish the order of Freemasonry, and destroy its influence in our government.

In all arbitrary governments free inquiry has been restricted as fatal to the principles upon which they were based. In all ages of the world tyrants have found it necessary to shackle the minds of their subjects, to enable them to control their actions; for example ever taught that the free mind ever exerts a moral power that resists all attempts to enslave it. However forms of government heretofore have varied, the right to act and speak without a controlling power has never been permitted. Our ancestors who imbibed principles of civil and religious liberty, fled to America to escape persecution; and when Britain attempted to encroach upon the free exercise of those principles, our fathers hesitated not to dissolve their oaths of allegiance to the mother country, and declare themselves free and independent; and exulting millions of freemen yet bless their memories for the deed. A new theory of government was reduced to practice in the formation of the American republic. It involved in its structure principles of equal rights and equal privileges; and was based on the eternal foundation of public good. It protects the weak, restrains the powerful, and extends its honors and emoluments to the meritorious of every condition. It should have been the pride of every citizen to preserve this noble structure in all its beautiful symmetry and proportions. But the principle of self aggrandizement – the desire to control the destinies of others, and luxuriate in their spoils, unhappily still inhabits the human breast. Many attempts have already been made to impair the freedom of our institution and subvert our government. But they have been met by the irresistable power of public opinion and indignation, and crushed. In the meantime the Masonic society has been silently growing among us, whose principles and operations are calculated to subvert and destroy the great and important principles of the commonwealth. Before and during the revolutionary struggle, Masonry was but little known and practiced in this country. It was lost amid the change and confusion of the conflicting nations; and was reserved for a time of profound peace, to wind and insinuate itself into every department of government, and influence the result of almost every proceeding. Like many other attempts to overturn government and destroy the liberties of the people, it has chosen a time when the suspicions of men were asleep; and with a noiseless tread, in the darkness and silence of the night, has increased its power. Not yet content with its original powers and influence, it has of late received the aid of foreign and more arditary systems. With this accumulation of strength, it arrived at that formidable crisis when it bid open defiance to the laws of our country in the abduction and murder of an unoffending citizen of the republica. So wicked was this transaction, so extensive its preparation, and so openly justified, that it aroused the energies of an insulted people, whose exertions have opened the hidden recesses of this abode of darkness and mystery; and mankind may now view its power, its wickedness, and folly.
That it is opposed to the genius and design of this goverment, the spirit and precepts of our holy religion and the welfare of society generally, will appear from the following considerations:
It exercises jurisdiction over the persons and lives of citizens of the republic.
It abrogates to itself the right of punishing its members for offences unknown to the laws of this or any other nation.
It requires the concealment of crime, and protects the guilty from punishment.
It encourages the commission of crime, by affording to the guilty facilities of escape.
It affords opportunities for the corrupt and designing to form plans against the lives and characters of individuals.
It assumes titles and dignities incompatible with a republican form of government, and enjoins an obedience to them derogatory to republican principles.
It destroys all principles of equality, by bestowing favors on its own members to the exclusion of others equally meritorious and deserving.
It creates odious aristocracies by its obligations to support the interests of its members, in preference to others of equal qualifications.
It blasphemes the name, and attempts a personification of the Great Jehovah.
It prostitutes the Sacred Scriptures to unholy purposes, to subserve its own secular and trifling concerns.
It weakens the sanctions of morality and religion, by the multiplication of profane oaths, and an immoral familiarity with religious forms and ceremonies.
It discovers in its ceremonies an unholy commingling of divine truth with impious human inventions.
It destroys a veneration for religion and religion’s ordinances, by the profane use of religious forms.
It substitutes the self-righteousness and ceremonies of Masonry for the vital religion and ordinances of the Gospel.
It promotes habits of idleness and intemperance, by its members neglecting their business to attend its meetings and drink its libations.
It accumulates funds at the expense of indigent persons, and to the distress of their families, too often to be dissipated in rioting and pleasure and its senseless ceremonies and exhibitions.
It contracts the sympathies of the human heart for all the unfortunate, by confining its charities to its own members; and promotes the interests of a few at the expense of the many.

An institution thus fraught with so many and great evils, is dangerous to our government and the safety of our citizens, and is unfit to exist among a free people: We, therefore, believing it a duty we owe to God, our country and to posterity, resolve to expose its mystery, wickedness, and tendency, to public view – and we exhort all citizens who have a love of country, and a veneration for its laws, a spirit of our holy religion, and a regard for the welfare of mankind, to aid us in the cause which we have espoused — and appealing to Almighty God for the rectitude of our motives, we solemnly absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the Masonic institution, and declare ourselves free and independent: and in support of these resolutions, our government and laws, and the safety of individuals against the usurpations of all secret societies and open force, and against the "vengeance" of the Masonic institution, "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, or fortunes, and our sacred honour."

                                                                              Signed by 103 Seceding Masons.

Source: Star, July 12, 1831, page 2

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