The Masonic Testimony Part 7

Posted: April 13, 2009 in Secret Societies
SATURDAY, January 23, 1836.

The chairman stated to the committee that the question of punishing the refusing witnesses had already been before the House, and those witnesses had been discharged. –
It was a question worthy the consideration of the committee, whether they should proceed in the investigation, and sit there and subject themselves to further contempt, when it was well known the committee would not be sustained. For his part, he did not wish to attempt any thing that would not be sustained by the House. He would ask the committee whether the investigation shall be gone further into, or left to the future action of the people of the state.
Mr. Spackman was desirous for the investigation to go on. Mr. Cox was not able at present to decide, and suggested that the committee had better adjourn till Monday.
The chairman stated that in all probability the witnesses now present would place themselves in the same situation as others had already. It would hardly be justice to the witnesses now present, to detain them, after the action of the House had been had on the cases of others. They, if they testified, would be placed and considered as voluntary or perjured witnesses, and would be subjected to the vilification and perhaps persecution of others. He did not fear but the people would determine what course is due to support their petitions. So far as voluntary testimony can go, the necessity of investigating – and abolishing the lodge, had already been determined. Its oaths, its practices, its application to the government, had already been determined, and it seemed to him, better not to go on – not to hold out appearances, when evils have been concealed; and not to make the people believe the evils had been investigated.
When different gentlemen came forward in bland or rude manner, and they say they won’t obey the laws, the rude man is the most excusable, for he can plead ignorance. He did not feel disposed to sit here to be thrown further into contempt. He had an insuperable ojection to being made the object of legal scorn. After some further discussion, the committee adjourned to meet again at 3 o’clock, P.M. on Thursday next.

Testimony of Dr. Robert May.
THURSDAY, January 28, 1836

Dr. ROBERT MAY being sworn, testified as follows:

1st. Are you a Mason? If so, of how many degrees, and in what state, and when were you made a Mason?
2nd. Have you read Bernard’s Light on Masonry? If yea, is it substantially correct as far as you have gone?
3rd. When had you first certain information of the death of Wm. Morgan? State how you received the information, from whom, and whether as a Masonic secret? State fully all you know on that subject.
4th. Have you ever been called on by masons to vote for a mason, because he was a mason? State fully the conversation relative to the subject between you and any of your masonic brethren.
5th. Have you ever known crime concealed under the masonic obligation? If yea, state what the crime was, in what state committed, and whether it was thus concealed under the full conviction that the masonic obligations required such concealment.
6th. Have you ever known any attempt by masons to procure undue advantage in judicial proceedings through masonry?
7th. Who was the master of the lodge who communicated the Morgan intelligence and at what place, and in what lodge was it given?

To the first question, I answer –
I was made a mason in the state of Pennsylvania, and have taken four degrees; I was made a mason in Chester county, in Phoenix Lodge, No. 75.
2nd Question. I have read Bernard’s Light on Masonry, and as far as I have gone it is substantially correct.
3rd Question. In 1827 or 1828, the Worshipful Master of the lodge of which I was a member, communicated, as Worshipful Master of the lodge, to the brethren, that he had just returned from the Niagara frontiers; that he had become acquainted with distinguished masons at Rochester and other places, who informed him masonically, that Wm. Morgan was dead; that he was put to death by masons, because he was about to reveal the secrets of Masonry. The Worshipful Master added, that he communicated this as a masonic secret, and that the brethren should conduct themselves accordingly.
4th Question. Masons have called on me as a mason to vote for a brother mason, which I refused to do, observing at the same time, that my masonic obligation did not bind me to vote for a mason; to which they replied that I was only a Master Mason, and my obligation did not bind me to vote for a brother mason, but the spirit of the obligation was to prefer them.
5th Question. I have known the crime of forgery, committed in the state of Pennsylvania, concealed under the masonic obligation.
I have been requested by a mason to sit as an arbitrator between him and an individual who was not a mason, with a request that I would favour him as a mason.
I have known masons who tried to procure masons as arbitrators, assigning as a reason that they expected to be favoured.
I have known a mason to complain that a brother mason who was an arbitrator, did not favour him enough.
The Worshipful Master of the lodge who communicated the death of Wm. Morgan to the lodge, was Dr. David Rutter, of Lawrence Lodge, No. 171, Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania.
On being asked when he quit attending the lodge, witness answered: That he has never attended a lodge since he heard the circumstance of the death of Wm. Morgan, detailed as above stated.
In answer to a question from Mr. Huston, witness said: a mason has informed him that he had refrained from seducing a brother Mason’s daughter, on account of his masonic obligations.

                                                                         ROBERT MAY

Sworn and subscribed, this 11th day of February, 1836, before me.  THADDEUS STEVENS.

[Testimony to be continued………]

Source: Star, August 8, 1836, page 2


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