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Odd Fellows' Pocket Companion.
INTRODUCTORY EXPLANATION OF ODD-FELLOWSHIP
DESIGN OF THE ORDER.
HE Order of Odd Fellows is a society of men for fraternal purposes; an association of individuals of various creeds and ideas, whose business it is, not only to alleviate each other's
trouhle in cases of necessity, but to cement themselves in the unity of Friendship, Love, and Truth: thus, it is not a mere pecuniary advantage, as many unfortunately understand it to be; its doctrine is, that in all the circumstances of life in which
a brother may be placed, he is to receive the aid, the counsel, or the protection of his fellow-member, not as a favor merely, but as a right.
As the largest secret association of the age, it has accomplished more good, and dispensed more real blessings among men, than all similar societies. The command of its laws is, that it visit the sick, relieve
the distressed, bury the dead, and educate the orphan; and although it has now during thirty-four years, in these United States, obeyed this injunction, this has • been but a tithe” of its ministrations; for it has consolidated two hundred thousand individuals in a compact of good-will that has produced results the most desirable-has been the means, in a variety of ways, of so uniting the hearts of men that its blessings have been realized “ like the dews of heaven, by the rich and the poor, the exalted and the humble."
ORIGIN OF THE ORDER.
HERE has been much speculation as to the
origin of the Institution of Odd-Fellowship.
Some have dated it as far back as Adam, who was said to have laid the foundation-stone of the Order. Others intimate that it existed among the ancient Jewish priesthood, under the lead of Moses and Aaron. (ne says that it was organized in A. D. 55, among the Roman soldiers, and that its present name was suggested by Titus Cæsar, who called the brethren Odd Fellow's because they knew each other by night and by day. It has been stated that the Order was established in the Spanish dominions in the fifth century, and that it was also introduced iuto Portugal in the sixth century, by King Henry ; that in the twelfth century it was established in France, and afterward in England, by John De Neville, attended by five knights from France, who formed a “Loyal Grand Lodge of Honor” in London, which existed until the eighteenth century, in the reign of George III., when a part of them began to form themselves into a union, a portion of which remains up to the present day; that the Lodges which have arisen from
these several organizations are numerous throughout the world, and have been called at different periods “Loyal Ancient Odd-Fellows, Union Odd-Fellows," and " Manchester Unity odd-Fellows.” I see no good reason why these historical accounts of the Order should be disputed, and am inclined therefore to believe that it emanated from some of the original sources above named. The Manchester Unity Association was introduced into the city of Manchester, England, about the year 1800, and from this we have American Odd-Fellowship, which now exists independent of that “Unity," and is called the “Independent Order of Odd-Fellows,” under the jurisdio tion of the Grand Lodge of the United States.
ORIGIN OF THE ORDER IN THE UNITED STATES.
HE actual commencement of Odd Fellowship UB in America was in 1806. The first Lodge
was opened in the old Shakspeare House, or tavern, in Fair-street, now Fulton, No. 135, between Nassau-street and Broadway, New York, on the 232 of December, 1806. The brothers who were mainly concerned in this association were William E. and John C. Chambers, John R. Thomas, William Dubois, George P. Morris, and others, some of whom are still living. This Lodge continued until 1822, (after having several times dissolved and revived,) when it became extinct. Prince Regent's Lodge was insti. tuted in New York in 1816; and the next was Washington Lodge, No. 1, at Baltimore, in 1819_from which date the Order may be said to have been fairly and successfully commenced in this country.
Thomas Wildey was the actual originator and founder of Odd-Fellowship as it exists in America. Ho arrived at Baltimore in the year 1818; and, having then been a member of the Order some twelve years, and enjoyed its advantages, he determined to establish it in the United States. He immediately consulted a brother, also an Englishman-John Welshon the subject, and they advertised for such membere as might be in the neighborhood to assemble at a speci. fied place. The result was the meeting of Wildey and Welsh, and John Duncan, John Cheatham, and Richard Rushworth, and the subsequent formation of a Lodge, which they called Washington Lodge, No. 1. It was organized at the house of William Lupton, sign of the Seven Stars, Second-street, Baltimore, Maryland, on the 26th of April, 1819. Afterward, Franklin Lodge, No. 2, was organized, and Henry M. Jackson, John Boyd, and John Crowder took an active part in the advancement of the cause.
Application having been made for a dispensation from the proper authority of the Order in England, the necessary documents were granted by the Duke of York's Lodge, Preston, M. U., and Washington Lodge received them on the 23d of October, 1820. This dispensation continued to be the warrant of authority under which the Lodge worked until, by a unanimous vote, it was surrendered into the hands of the Past Grands, and the Lodge received a warrant from the Grand Lodge* in its stead. Since that time (February 22, 1821) the Grand Lodge of the
* This was “The Grand Lodge of Maryland and of the United States," which was organized February 2žd, 1821, as follows:-The body of Past Grands (comprising, it is presumed, those from Wash. ington and Franklin Lodges) assembled, and surrendered the charter of Washington Lodge, No. 1, with all its powers, “ into their hands;" when the Grand Lodge was immediately organized, and the Grand officers installed, Thomas Wildey being elected the Grand Master.
United States has been the head of the Order in America.* A dispensation, or charter, was granted to the Grand Lodge of the United States, May 15, 1826, by the Grand Annual Movable Committee, (the head of the Order in Great Britain,) confirmatory of the one granted by the Duke of York's Lodge, and authorizing the said Grand Lodge to conduct the business of Odd-Fellowship in America, without the interference of any other country.
In consequence of important changes in the work of the Order, by the English brethren, made without the advice or consent of the Grand Lodge of the United States, and in defiance of its frequent remonstrance, a separation between the Order in Great Britain and America was determined by the Grand Lodge of the United States, at the session of that body in 1842. Previously, however, to this decision, the American brethren had in vain exerted every reasonable effort to induce the Manchester Unity of Odd-Fellows to restore the ancient language of the Order. It is gratifying, however, that, though the form used by these two bodies is slightly diverse, they are united in principle; and that the objects they have in view, and the good they accomplish, are the mainspring of their motive and action.
GOVERNMENT OF THE ORDER IN GREAT BRITAIN.
N the kingdom, the entire body of the Independent Order is distinguished by the title of
* The Manchester Unity of the Independent Order of Odd-Fellows,” so called from its organiza
* The Grand Lodge of the United States was organized as a sepa rate and distinct body, aside from the Grand Lodge of Maryland, on the 15th of January, 1825.