« AnteriorContinuar »
tion and concentration of power in the city of Manchester. “ The Grand Annual Movable Committee,' consisting of representatives from districts in the ratio of one for every thousand members, is the sovereign depository of the power of the Order, not only in relation to the work, but also in reference to the entire detail of government, descending even to all the rules and regulations of subordinate Lodges, and leaving with them the isolated power of making bylaws not inconsistent with the enactments of the A. M. C. This body is constitutionally movable in its character and absolute in its powers. It assembles annually, in Whitsun-week, which is in England a period of universal holiday, at which time a Grand Master and Board of Directors are elected, all of whom must be residents of the city of Manchester. The Board exercises during the recess a supervisory jurisdiction over all the affairs of the Order; it usually expounds the laws, responds to all applications for instruction or advice, and heretofore was an integral part of a standing committee for the determination of all questions of grievance, subject to the final action of the Grand A. M. C. The propriety of a change of this form of government is, we are informed, under advisement.
ORGANIZATION OF THE ORDER IN THE UNITED STATES.
IN the United States, the Order of Odd-Fellow
ship consists of two several branches, viz. & Lodges and Encampments. With the Degree of Rebekah, the Lodges comprise seven, and the Encampments three degrees. These, with the exception of degrees obtained through official service, embrace the entire work; the Royal-Purple Degree, of the Encampment, being the highest and last. The cost of attaining these several degrees varies in different localities ; but usually it does not exceed forty, and in some States it is less than thirty dollars. The qualifications required, are that the candidate must be a free white man, twenty-one years of age, of good moral character and sound health, and a believer in the Supreme Being, the Maker and Ruler of the Universe.
All Lodges and Encampments are, directly or indirectly, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the United States, which body meets annually on the first Monday* of September, and specially, when necessary, at the call of the Grand-Sire. It is the supreme head of the Order in the United States, and is the source of all true and legitimate authority in Odd-Fellowship therein. It consists of Representatives, elected from each local or State Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment–one for any number of members under one thousand, within the jurisdiction of said several local bodies, and an additional one for any number comprising and exceeding one thousand -and of Past Grand-Sires, the latter of whom are admitted to seats, with the privilege of speaking and offering motions, but not of voting, unless they be Representatives.
Its elective officers consist of a Grand-Sire, a Deputy Grand-Sire, a Recording and a Corresponding Secretary, and a Treasurer, who are elected biennially, by the Representatives. The appointed officers consist of a Marshal, a Chaplain, and a Guardian. It transacts its business in secret; but any
* The time was changed at the last session, (September, 1852) from the third to the first Monday.
Past Grand who shall have attained to the RoyalPurple Degree, and who is in “good standing,” may, by special permission, be admitted to its meetings.
The State Grand Lodges and Grand Encampments are the heads of the Order in the localities where they are severally established. Three or more subordinate Lodges or Encampments—having been previously instituted by the Grand Lodge of the United States, and which are under its jurisdiction*- located in any State, District, or Territory, wherein reside seven Past Grands, or seven Past Chief-Patriarchs, in good standing, may petition for and obtain from the Grand Lodge of the United States a charter for a Grand Lodge or for a Grand Encampment. These consist of Representatives from the Lodges or Encampments, which usually comprise all the Past Grands, or the Past Chief-Patriarchs—and sometimes the Past High-Priests of the subordinates. Their chief officer is a Grand-Master, or a GrandPatriarch, who is elected annually by the Past Grands or by the Past Chief-Patriarchs. The State Grand Lodges and Grand Encampments have power to grant and revoke charters for subordinates in their several jurisdictions, and to make such laws as may appertain to the Order in their localities. No person, ex
* Upon the petition of five brothers of the Order, in good standing, praying for a Charter to open a subordinate Lodge, or of seven Patriarchs for one to open a subordinate Encampment, in a State, District, or Territory where a Grand Lodge or Grand Encampment has not been established, the Grand Lodge of the United States will grant the same. Such Lodge or Encampment will be organized by a Past Grand, or a Past Chief-Patriarch, by authority from the Grand-Sire. Such petition, accompanied by the charter-fee, (thirty dollars,) must be forwarded to the Grand-Secretary of the Grand Lodge of the United States, at Baltimore, Maryland. The form
the petition is similar to that submitted to a State Grand
cept a Past Grand or a Past Chief-Patriarch, is permitted to visit the Grand Bodies. Past Grands are of the Grand Lodges; Past Chief-Patriarchs and Past High-Priests of the Grand Encampments: these bodies are entirely separate and distinct from each other.
The subordinate Lodges consist of what may be appropriately called “THE PEOPLE:" from these, in a true and legitimate sense, proceed Encampments, Grand Lodges, Grand Encampments, and, finally, the
supreme head of the Order.” They comprise a variety of minds ; but, we may confidently say, they are of one heart. The chief officer of a subordinate Lodge is called a Noble-Grand; he is elected semiannually ; he has the control of the members and business of the Lodge. Other officers are elected and appointed to support and assist him in his duties. We have previously stated what qualifications are necessary to entitle a gentleman to membership. The manner of introducing candidates is as follows:A brother of the Lodge proposes his friend, whom he must be willing to recommend. On the reception of the proposition, a committee is at once appointed, whose business it is to ascertain the character, age, condition of health, and standing of the applicant. If this committee, after due investigation, report that they believe him worthy, he is, on the week following such report, “balloted for;" and if three black balls appear against him, he is rejected—if not, he is elected. [In some States, two black balls are suffi. cient.] He may then be initiated to membership in the Lodge. (A brother of the Order, wishing to become a member of a Lodge, must present his card from the Lodge of which he was formerly a member, when his case must be referred to a committee, and
he must he reported on and balloted for in the man. ner above stated.) After a certain time, which varies in different States, usually a month-the brother is entitled to receive the first three degrees, and after a certain other additional season, the last two; these Degrees are granted by a vote of the Lodge, and conferred by a person appointed or authorized for the purpose.
The Encampments consist of brothers who belong to the Lodges, and who must have attained to the fifth or Scarlet Degree. No person can be admitted to membership in an Encampment, unless he be a Scarlet-Degree member, in good standing. Encampments comprise three degrees, which are considered by many the sublimest of Odd-Fellowship. Their principal officers consist of a Chief-Patriarch and a High-Priest, whose duties are to preside over, and perform the work of, the Encampment. No brother of the Order should be content with his advancement to the Scarlet, or final Degree of his Lodge; he should proceed through the Encampment to the last, or Royal-Purple Degree. Such elevation will entitle him to privileges and advantages of mu ih value.
A new degree, for Ladies, called the “Degree of Rebekah," was adopted by the Grand Lodge of the United States on the 20th of September, 1851. It was written by Schuyler Colfax, Esq., of Indiana. It is designed for all worthy members advanced to the Scarlet Degree, and for their wives. It is gratuitously bestowed on all qualified persons. It is conferred in the Lodge-room, usually at the close of the Lodge meeting, but sometimes at a meeting specially called for the purpose. The form for opening and closiag this degree is prescribed by the Grand Lodge of the