From Robert Freke Gould, A Library of Freemasonry: Comprising Its History, Antiquities, Symbols, Constitutions, Customs, Etc., and Concordant Orders of Royal Arch, Knights Templar, A. A. S. Rite, Mystic Shrine, with Other Important Masonic Information of Value to the Fraternity Derived from Official and Standard Sources Throughout the World from the Earliest Period to the Present Time
(John C. Yorston, 1906), p. 406-408:
As already stated, there was a jealously on the part of the country Lodges towards the city Lodges, which were accused of controlling the Grand Lodge in their own interests and laying heavy burdens on the country Lodges: there was a feeling that the system of visitation by "Grand Visitors" was oppressive, and especially that the limitations upon representation by proxy were so effective as really to deprive many of the country Lodges of any representation. A convention of the Lodges in the western part of the State was held at Canandaigua, January 10, 1821, and amendments to the constitution proposed.
There was a project also for the Grand Lodge to build a "Grand Masonic Hall" in the City, and this undoubtedly had its effect. At the annual session in 1821, the representatives of the country Lodges were in the majority and amended the rules materially, reducing dues, allowing one proxy to represent five Lodges and a Past Master to be represented by another Past Master as his proxy . . . .
At the session in 1822 the representation was very large, and of course the country Lodges again in the ascendant. Tompkins declined a re-election and Joseph Enos was unanimously elected Grand Master, the city Lodges making no contest, but Richard Hatfield, Elias Hicks and Cornelius Bogert of the city party were elected respectively Junior Grand Warden, Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer; the election of these was detrimental to the interests of the country part, as the even proved.
Just before the Grand Lodge was closed, an amendment to the constitution was presented to be acted upon at the next session, providing for two Grand Lodges--one having jurisdiction over the city Lodges and such country Lodges as should choose to adhere to it, and the other having jurisdiction over the remaining Lodges: the brother presenting this belonged to the city party, which now saw that they were liable to have cause of grievance, instead of the other party.
At the next annual session in 1823 there was full attendance. . . . [p. 407] Grand officers were elected, and the amendment to the constitution, providing for two Grand Lodges, unanimously adopted . . . . The old Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer were again summoned to show cause why they should not be dealt with for contempt of the Grand Lodge, and not responding were suspended for ten years. Authority was given to the new officers to take the necessary legal proceedings to recover the books and property of the Grand Lodge. The City Grand Lodge immediately issued a circular giving a history of the proceedings, their reasons for their action, and a proposition for a settlement, but the formation of the District of Grand Lodges . . .
In 1825, the Country Grand Lodge proposed to have two Grand Lodges in the State and divide the territory, giving the City Grand Lodge only New York, Long Island, Richmond, and Westchester Counties; the City Grand Lodge rejected the proposition on account of the small territory proposed for it.The Country Grand Lodge met annually: it chartered very many Lodges, thirty in one year and over forty in the next. At the installation of its Grand Officers in 1825, DeWitt Clinton delivered an address, in which, while taking part with neither side, he urged with great force the duty of accomplishing a reunion. In 1826 a report on the subject of secession of the city Lodges made and printed, was ordered to be suppressed, and members, who had received copies, were requested to return them to the Grand Secretary.
. . . . [A] few days before the session of 1827 a meeting of members of the country Lodges was held and a committee appointed, which met the committee for the other body and agreed upon terms of union. The material ones were, that there should be one Grand Lodge located in New York City and to be deemed a continuation of the old Grand Lodge . . . . these articles, in practice, remain law to the present day. The articles were ratified by both Grand Lodges; and they met together the same evening at Tammany Hall, elected Grand Officers, adopted a new constitution, and fully completed the union.
But the Grand Lodge, at the very moment when it seemed to secure in its position of great influence, growth and usefulness, [p. 408] met a disaster as destructive in its effects, as it was sudden and unforeseen in its origins. The State was the birth-place of the Anti-Masonic excitement, and nowhere else did it rage with such unprecedented and bitter fury.
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