The Former Chair of the Phylaxis Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices, Bro. Ralph McNeal Jr. of Arizona, with regards to the recents post to this blog claims that no consideration was paid to “Lux et Veritas”. He claims it was dismissed by those who have presented information from “The National Masonic Union” by National Grand Senior Warden Joshua Woodlin. The following is a review of the said document. This piece should serve as a challenge for Bro. McNeal to respond.
Lux et Veritas: Light and Truth or The Origin of Ancient Freemasonry
Among Colored Men in the state of Delaware
Bro. Christopher L. Belcher
Lux et Veritas: Light and Truth or The Origin of Ancient Freemasonry Among Colored Men in the state of Delaware is a 53 page book published by a committee of the Most Worshipful Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware of Ancient York Masons. The Committee was appointed at the December 17, 1855 Session of the Grand Lodge.  The committee consisted of the following: Frisby John Cooper, who was elected Grand Master of Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware at the 1855 Session. Levi Anderson, who was elected Grand Secretary; Moses G. Wilson, who was appointed Grand Lecturer; Absalom G. Caulk, who was elected Deputy Grand Master; and Joseph S. Caulk, who was elected Grand Junior Warden. Hiram Grand Lodge was an Independent Grand Lodge which was not of affiliation with the National Grand Lodge. This Grand Lodge exists today as the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Delaware. The Grand Lodge affiliated with the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge is the Most Worshipful African Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons Prince Hall Origin – National Compact, established June 24, 1855. Both Grand Lodges in the State of Delaware will be referenced several times during this review. The reason of the references is that, events in the history, as reported in this review are, to a certain extent, intertwined.
Structure of the Book:
The organization of Lux et Veritas was of five parts and covered various points of Masonic history of not just Delaware but other jurisdictions in that region of the country.
First Part: The First Part focuses briefly on the origin Freemasonry in the state of Delaware.
Second Part: The Second Part focuses on the challenge of the National Grand Lodge by a Committee of Correspondence consisting of Ransom F. Wake, Jacob Francis and Alexander Elston.
Third Part: The Third Part focuses on the formation and organization of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Fourth Part: The Fourth Part focuses on the dissention of the affiliates of those who were opposed to the authority of the National Grand Lodge.
Fifth Part: The Fifth Part covers various topics in including: Commentary regarding the Warrant obtained from the “white” Grand Lodge of Ohio by Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania; The Declaration of Sentiments of Lodges which formed African Harmony Grand Lodge F&AAYM of Delaware; An exposition of Lodges outside of affiliation of Independent as well as Compact Lodges; and Articles of Union of the Grand Lodges which were known as the Eastern Alliance.
The origin of Freemasonry in Delaware as presented by the committee duly notes that Freemasonry in Delaware had its roots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There is not much dispute considering the geographic location of Wilmington, Delaware to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (about 30 miles). Jacob Jenkins, an influential resident of Wilmington moved to Philadelphia. He and other former men of Wilmington became Master Masons in Union Lodge No. 4. According to the committee, Jacob Jenkins and Samuel Leary were made a Master Masons of Union Lodge in 1826. The committee reported that by 1844, other men made petition to Union Lodge No. 4. The committee also noted that, those members, in 1845 petitioned the Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania AYM to form a Lodge in Wilmington. The petition was approved and Star of the East Lodge No. 12 was established September 12, 1845.
Comments: There is very important information not included regarding the information provided in the details as presented by the Committee in their presentation. The committee fails to present the disposition of Grand Lodge in relations to the information provided above. It must be noted that Union Lodge No. 4 was established by First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. It must also be noted that Union Lodge No. 4 was expelled by First Independent African Grand Lodge in 1818. Union Lodge No. 4 along with Harmony Lodge No. 5 which was expelled by First Independent African Grand Lodge in 1828, formed the Grand Lodge to which the committee mentioned which was the Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. The authority to which Hiram Grand Lodge claim a regular lineage, is aligned with a warrant to which they claim was given by the “mainstream” Grand Lodge of Ohio (white). On July 18, 1845 African Grand Lodge of Massachusetts published a letter from a member of the Grand Lodge of Ohio as well as Mayor of the town of which the members of Union Lodge and Harmony Lodge claimed to have received the warrant denying have issued such warrant. The African Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was of the view that Hiram Grand Lodge was not a regular established Grand Lodge.
- Jacob Jenkins and Samuel Leary, according to the report of the committee, were made a Mason in Union Lodge in 1826. Considering the cited comments above, it is reasonable to conclude that Jenkins, Leary and others were made to an illegal Grand Lodge (Hiram GL). Is there any way possible to consider these Masons as legitimate?
- The Star of the East Lodge No. 12 of Wilmington, Delaware was formed under the jurisdiction of Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware. Hiram Grand Lodge was formed by those who claimed a Warrant from the “white” Grand Lodge of Ohio. If the warrant received from the “white” Grand Lodge of Ohio was “counterfeit”, as reported by the report of the “white” Grand Lodge of Ohio, how can Star of the East Lodge No. 12 be a “legally” constituted Lodge?
Much of the focus of the second part of the book was concerning a report presented by a committee of the United Grand Lodge of New York. The committee consisted of the following: Ransom F. Wake, Jacob Francis and Alexander Elston. The report was accepted at a “special” Meeting of the United Grand Lodge on July 30,, 1849. The report directly challenged the authority of the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge. The Committee claimed that the National Grand Lodge was “self constituted”. It was also reported that the National Grand Lodge made an attempt to expel the United Grand Lodge of New York which occurred on June 26, 1849, four days prior to the committee’s report to the “special” Session of the United Grand Lodge of New York. The New York Committee report gives the impression as if United Grand Lodge was independently organized and was not a member of the National Grand Lodge. The New York committee claimed that a delegation of Philadelphia engaged in meetings in the interim between the 1847 meeting and the 1848 meeting. The New York Committee report claim these meetings to be illegal. The Committee did not cite the proceedings of the said meeting. The New York Committee took a very controversial position to challenge the authority of the African Grand Lodge as being a self constituted Grand Lodge.
- If the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge expelled the United Grand Lodge of New York 4 days before it scheduled to have a special meeting, and the New York acknowledged the actions of the National Grand Lodge in its report, can it be concluded that the United Grand Lodge was a member of the National Grand Lodge and the committee’s report a ploy to distance themselves?
- According to the Woodlin report, Alexander Elston was a delegate to the 1847 Boston Convention which established the National Grand Lodge. There was no mention of irregularities from 1847 to 1849. Would not New York Committee member Alexander Elston been more credible in his assertions if they were reported prior to the July 30, 1849 “special” meeting of the United Grand Lodge?
- Would the committee’s report be more credible if Alexander Elston was NOT a part of the Committee?
- Has any documentation of Alexander Elston position prior to the July 30, 1849 “special” meeting been enter into the literature to support the position?
Part three discusses the formation of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania F&AAYM. The committee replicated the same information Woodlin present regarding the establishment of the Grand Lodge. The Committee reported that Star of the East Lodge of Wilmington was warranted under the newly formed Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania F&AAYM. The committee reported that the Lodge received their charter bearing the number 21 and “worked accordingly”. The committee also reported that members of Star of the East Lodge petitioned the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania F&AAYM to organize another Lodge. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania F&AAYM accepted the petition and in November 1848 Rising Sun Lodge No. 28 was established under its jurisdiction. The committee also reported that in the same year a warrant was granted and Meridian Sun Lodge No. 29 was established under jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. The committee reported that those three Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania met in convention and formed the Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware June 9, 1849.
- If all three of the Lodges which formed the Hiram Grand Lodge were under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania F&AAYM, can it be concluded that the Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware was formed with Compact Lodges?
On page 21 of the report there was another interesting statement made. It reads as such:
“Therefore we stand a free and independent State Grand Lodge and acknowledge no other authority superior to a State Grand Lodge. Also we here state the formation of the Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, by a convention.
Names of Lodges:
New Jerusalem Lodge No. 1
Harmony Lodge, No. 5
Union Lodge No. 4”
The committee continued the presentation with information regarding the formation of the National Grand Lodge with replications of information contained within the Woodlin presentation. It was also mentioned by the committee that there was an annual election which elected Jacob Jenkins and subordinate officers. One thing of interest is that there was not mention of the delegates to that “annual” meeting. It should be noted that according to Woodlin, the majority of those in that cabinet were expelled by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania F&AAYM six months later.
The committee presented information that demonstrated the Lodges in Pennsylvania which were in opposition to the authority of the National Grand Lodge pass resolutions dissolve connection with the National Grand Lodge. The text alludes to that there were only the Lodges who were disconnecting with the National were the only ones in attendance. The committee did not list the delegates. The committee then presented the responses from the National Grand Lodge which appears to be replicated from Woodlin. The committee presented transactions where it appears that Jacob Jenkins responded by expelling Pennsylvania Lodges that remained with the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania affiliated with the National Grand Lodge. The committee presented information of the declaration of independence made by one Lodge under the Compact Grand Lodge of New Jersey and part of the membership of another. There is no mention of the membership of that Lodge and the part of the other Lodge seeking cover under any of the three Independent Grand Lodges that rebelled against the National Grand Lodge.
What was of interest to this reviewer is the information presented by the committee that in some manner suggested that the Chillicothe, Ohio warrant which was presented by those who formed Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was somehow legitimate. The Committee was not clear in presenting their position in this reviewer’s opinion. There was a reference to the Warrant and other property being stolen by Richard Frisbey and the formation of Lodges which were part of the Philanthropic faction of African American Masons. The committee did report on the resolutions as presented by the Lodges loyal to the Compact in Delaware that eventually formed the African Harmony Grand Lodge of Delaware. The information presented in the report by William Emery 33⁰ on the history of African Harmony Grand Lodge of Delaware F&AAYM tends to mirror the committee’s report. The committee’s report concludes with the formation and adoption of articles of the Eastern Alliance as a pact formed by those in staunch opposition to the National Grand Lodge.
In the reviewer’s opinion, it appears that Lux et Veritas may have been a rebuttal of Woodlin’s National Masonic Union attempting to give the independent’s perspective to the issues surrounding the events that led to two factions of African American Freemasons at that time. The committee made, through conjecture, their staunch opposition duly noted as to the formation of the National Grand Lodge. The Questions and Comments throughout this piece should inspire additional research as well as lively discussion and debates regarding the National Grand Lodge and its early history. Lux et Veritas can be read in its entirety at: http://www.nglhrs.org/phocadownload/Lux%20et%20Veritas3.pdf
 Proceedings, Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware F&AAYM, 17 Dec. 1855, Wilmington, G. W. Vernon Printer, page 13
 Ibid at page 14
 Ibid at page 13
 Brock, Matthew, History of the National Grand Lodge: A Study of the Origin, Organization, Battles, Controversies and the Evolution of the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons, Prince Hall Origin National Compact, U. S. A., April 1980, Columbus, Ohio
 Woodlin, J., The Masonic National Union: A History of the Origin of Ancient Freemasonry Among the Coloured Citizens, in the United States of America, Burlington, N. J., 1855, page 13
 Woodlin at page 23. It should also be noted that the same information is replicated in “Lux et Veritas” at page 24.
 Grand Lodge Committeee, Lux et Veritas or Light and Truth The Origin of Ancient Freemasonry Among Colored Men in the state of Delaware, 1856, Wilminton, page 21
 Woodlin, at page 38