The Masonic Testimony Part 6

Posted: April 13, 2009 in Secret Societies
Deposition of Joseph Esty,

JOSEPH ESTY, of the County of Tompkins, State of New York, aged thirty-five years and upwards, being produced, sworn and examined in hehalf the Plaintiff in the title of these Depositions named, doth depose as follows – viz: First,
To the first Interrogatory of the Plaintiff he saith, That he is a Freemason; that he has taken the following degrees in Freemasonry – to wit: The degree of Entered Apprentice, the degree of Fellow Craft, the degree of Master Mason, the degree of Mark Master Mason, the degree of Past Master Mason, the degree of Most Excellent Master, the degree of Royal Arch Companion, and two other degrees, one of which was called the degree of Most Secret Master, and the other degree of the Mediterranean Pass.
That one point in the Obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason is a general promise of secrecy: That the penalty to the oath in that degree is in substance as follows, to the best of his recollection –
"Under no less penalty than to have my tongue torn out by the roots, my body buried in the rough sands of the sea where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours."
That one point in the oath of a Fellow Craft Mason is a general promise of secrecy. That he does not recollect precisely the points in the penalty to the oath in this degree, and therefore cannot state them.
That in the degree of Fellow Craft Mason, or in the degree of Master Mason and which he is not certain, the candidate swears that he will obey all regular signs and summons handed, sent or thrown to him from a brother Mason:
That in the oath of one of the degrees he has taken, but which degree he does not recollect, "the candidate swears to fly to the relief of a brother giving him the grand hailing sign of distress, if there is a greater probability of saving his life than losing his own."
That in the oath to the degree of Master Mason there is a general promise of secrecy, similar to that contained in the oath to the preceding degrees:
That there is a point in the oath to this degree, requiring the candidate to FOREWARN A BROTHER MASTER MASON OF ALL APPROACHING DANGER. That he cannot state from recollection any further points in the oath to this degree:
That the penalty to the oath to this degree is in substance as follows:
"Binding myself under no less penalty than to have my body severed in two in the centre and divided to the north and south, my bowels burned to ashes in the midst and scattered to the four winds of Heaven, that there might not the least remembrance remain among men of Masons of so vile or perjured a wretch as I should be, should I ever be guilty of violating any part of this my oath or obligation of a Master Mason. So help me God and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same."
That in relation to the degree of Mark Master Mason, Past Master Mason, and most excellent Master Mason, most Secret Master and Mediterranean Pass, that he does not recollect the oaths to the same sufficiently to state them.
That he does not recollect the particular points in the oath in the Royal Arch degree of Freemasonry, and cannot state the same, as he has not attended a Lodge or Chapter for the space of about ten years.
To the third Interrogatory on the part of the plaintiff, he says, that he is a Royal Arch Companion. That he and two other persons were blind-folded and led by an officer of the chapter to a certain part of the room. That he was told by the officer to take his shoes off his feet FOR THE PLACE WHERE HE STOOD WAS HOLY GROUND:
That he cannot state minutely the scene of the burning bush in this degree; nor can he state the points in the oath to this degree.
To the fourth Interrogatory on the part of the plaintiff, he says, that he has never taken the degree of Knight Templar.
To the fifth Interrogatory on the part of the plaintiff he says, that as far as he has received the degrees of Freemasonry the same are substantially set forth, CORRECTLY and TRULY in "Bernard’s Light on Masonry," published and printed at Utica, A.D. 1829, by William Williams, Genesee Street. That the book has been partially examined by him, and contains only Freemasonry as far as he has any knowledge or recollection of the same.
To the sixth Interrogatory on the part of the plaintiff, he says, that he is unable to answer.
To the seventh Interrogatory on the part of the plaintiff he says, that he can state nothing further than what he has already stated.

Interrogatories proposed by Defendant.

Are you politically attached to the Anti-Masonic party?
Have you commited yourself to the public by written statement, verbal declaration, or otherwise, as the obligations, or principles of Masonry? and in what manner have you so commited yourself?
Do you publish an Anti-Masonic Newspaper? or are you in any manner connected with the publication of such a paper?
Are you a seceding Mason? And how long were you a Mason before you seceded? Have you at any time been an officer in a Lodge of Freemasons, and what offices have you filled if any? Have you at any time, and when, administered the Masonic obligations, and which of them to any person orpersons taking masonic degrees?
Have you at any time, and when, been expelled from a Lodge of Freemasons? If yea, for what offence, reputed or real?
Were you during your continuance with Masonry restrained or prohibited from disclosing its principles or obligations? If yea, state particularly the nature of the restraint or prohibition that was imposed upon you.
Was the obligation to promote the political advancement of each other generally received and acted upon by Masons while you were in their fellowship? If yea, how has it happened that upon all questions of general politics, Masons are found to be opposed to each other.

To the first Interrogatory on the part of the defendant he says. That he is not politically attached to the Anti-Masonic party, and that he is not attached to any party as a politcal partisan.
To the second Interrogatory on the part of the defendant, he says, that he has never committed himself to the public, by any verbal or written publication on the subject of Freemasonry.
To the third Interrogatory on the part of the defendant, he says, that he is not an Editor of any Anti-Masonic newspaper, nor is he any way connected with the publication thereof.
To the fourth Interrogatory on the part of the defendant, he says, that he is not a seceding Mason, that he has never been a regular officer in a Lodge, nor has he ever administered the Masonic oaths to any one.
To the fifth Interrogatory on the part of the defendant, he says, that he has never been expelled from a Lodge of Freemasons to his knowledge.
To the sixth Interrogatory on the part of the defendant, he says. That while he attended the Lodge and Chapter as a Mason, he felt bound by his masonic oaths not to disclose the secrets of Freemasonry. That he then supposed himself bound by a moral obligation to observe the oaths of Freemasonry.
To the seventh Interrogatory on the part of the defendant, he says, that to his knowledge while he was in the fellowship, there was no obligation on the part of Freemasons to promote the political advancement of each other.

                                                                                   JOSEPH ESTY

Sworn before us,
Frederick G. Stanley,                       Commissioners.
David D. Spencer

[Testimony to be continued……..]

Source, Star, September 14, 1835, page 2

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