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to each of the chapters within the six states before mentioned a circular letter, expressive of their opinions on the subject, which letter was in the words following, viz.
(CIRCULAR.) -61 COMPANIONS,
“ FROM time immemorial, we find that Grand Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons, have beeu established, wherever Masonry has flourished; for the purpose of granting warrants for instituting private Lodges, as well as for establishing certain general rules and regulations for the government of the same.
“ It is an opinion generally received, and we think well authenticated, that no Grand Lodge of Master Masons can claim or exercise authority over any Convention or Chapter of Royal Arch Masons ; nor can any Chapter, although of standing immemorial, exercise the authority of a Grand Chapter : We therefore think it highly expedient, for the regular goverument of all Chapters within the said States, who exercise the rights and privileges of Royal Arch Masons ; and to prevent irregularities in the propagation and use of those rights and privileges, that there should be a Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons established within the said States : And whereas this Convention has received official information from our Companions at Philadelphia, that the several Chapters within their vicinity, have recently assembled and established a Grand Chapter of Rayal Arch Masons for their government; In conformity to their example, we think it our duty to recommend to the several Chapters within the said States of New Hampshire, Massachư. setts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermout and New-York, to unite and form a Gran: Chapter for the said States.
“ The local situation of the States before mentioned, the easy and fiequent intercourse between their several princi
pal towns and cities, as well as the similarity of habits, manners and customs, as citizens and as Masons, which prevail throughout the said States, induce us to believe that a union of all the Chapters therein in one Grand Chapter, will have the most useful, lasting and happy effects in the uniform distribution and propagation of the sublime degrees of Masonry. They therefore take the liberty of recommending to the consideration of your Most Excellent Chapter, the propriety of appointing one or more delegate or delegates, to represent your Chapter, at a meeting of the several Chapters before mentioned, to be holden at the City of Hartford, in the State of Connecticut, on the fourth Wednesday of January next ensuing; investing them with full power and authority, in conjunction with the other delegates, to form and open a Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and to establish a Constitution for the government and regulation of all the Chapters that How are, or may hereafter be, erected within the said States."
In consequence of this address, the several chapters within the States therein enumerated (with the exception of two or three chapters only) appointed delegates, who assembled at Hartford, on the fourth Wednesday in January, 1798, and after several days deliberation upon the subject, they formed and adopted a constitution for the government of the royal arch chapters, and lodges of mark masters, past masters and most excellent masters, throughout the said states; and having elected and installed their grand officers, the grand chapter became completely organized.
Powers vested in the General Grand Officers.
AGREEABLY to the General Grand Royal Arch Constitution, Grand Royal Arch Chapters were established in the several Northern States, where there were royal arch chapters existing ; and in every instance the private chapters have united with, and acknowledged the authority of the said grand chapters.
The long-desired and necessary authority for correcting abuses, and regulating the concerns of royal arch masonry, in the northern states, being thus happily established, the sublime degrees soon became flourishing and respectable. Royal arch masons in the southern states (where there were no grand chapters) observed with pleasure and satisfaction the establishment of grand chapters in the northern states, under the authority of a general constitution, and became desirous of uniting with them, under the same authority. Applications were accordingly made for the privilege of opening new chapters in the southern states; but there being no provision made in the constitution for extending its authority beyond the limits first contemplated, the state grand chapters took the subject into consideration, and the following proceedings were had thereon :
GRAND ROYAL ARCH CHAPTER OF THE STATE
Providence, January 4, 1804. UPON motion made and seconded, the following resolu. tions, together with the preamble, passed unanimously, viz.
Whereas an application has been made to this Grand Chapter for the institution of a Royal Arch Chapter in one of the Southern States; and whereas the 12th section, and article of the Grand Royal Arch Constitution provides that the jurisdiction of the sereral State Grand Chapters shall not extend beyond the limits of the state in which they shali respectively be holden: therefore,
Resolved, that in the opinion of this grand chapter, no state grand chapter is competent to grant warrants for the institution of chapters or lodges beyond the jurisdiction of the state wherein the same is holden, excepting the instances provided for by the gth section of the second article of the constitution.
And whereas it appears to this grand chapter an object of great importance that the benefits of the grand royal arch constitution should be extended throughout the United States so soon as the same can be regularly effected, therefore,
Resolved, that this grand chapter do invest, and they do hereby invest, the grand high priest, king and scribe of the general grand chapter, or any two of them conjointly, with full power and authority to grant and issue letters of dispensation for the institution of lodges of mark masters, past masters, most excellent masters, and chapters of royal arch wasons, within any state in which there is not a grand royal arch chapter established; upon the same principles and conditions as the grand and deputy grand high priests of the state grand chapters are authorised to grant letters of dispensation for the like purposes in their respective states : Provided, that the fees required by the constitution on such áccasions shall be paid into the hands of the treastırer of the general grand chapter.
Resolved, that the grand secretary communicate a copy of the foregoing resolutions, and also a copy of the annexed circular letter, to the several grand chapters in the northerit states, and solicit their concurrence therein.
(CIRCULAR.) “ To the Most Excellent Grand Officers and Companions of the
Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of * EXCELLENT COMPANIONS,
“ THE subject of the annexed resolutions, which prea sented itself for the consideration of this grand chapter at their meeting of the present date, is viewed by us as involr ing consequences of serious magnitude, and such as we ap. prehend are intimately connected with the tranquillity, if not the existence, of that union, wbich at present so happily subsists between the several grand royal arch chapters of the Northern States of America
“ At the period when the general grand chapter was first instituted, and the constitution which unites and governs: us was formed and ratified, it was supposed to be impractieable to extend its influence throughout the United States ; its provisions were therefore coufined to the six northern states only : but subsequent experience has taught us that its extension is not only practicable, but desirable.
« The first question that naturally arises on this subject is relative to the manner in which this extension can be effected consistently with the constitution. By the 12th section and article of the constitution, the several state grand chapters are prohibited the privilege of instituting chapters, &c. in any of the southern or middle states, and it follows of course that if a chapter should be granted contrary to the provisions of the constitution within any of the said states; it is of itself utterly pull and void.