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Washington, a Mark Mason

Norton Sketch of the Lodge of Antiquity, A. F. V. A. M., I. G. R. C., by J. Beamish Saul, Past Master, Past D. D. G. M. (Montreal, 1903), quotes on page 8 a letter from Lieutenant Colonel W. Lacy, who subsequently was Master of the Lodge, which was "Formerly Lodge of Social and Military Virtues, No. 227 G. R. I., Instituted 4th March, 1752, in the 46th British Regiment, now the 2nd Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry."

"Soon after my initation, being a member of the mess committee [of the regiment], I found in the store rooms a bullock trunk with brass mountings, engraved N o. 227 L. S. M. V. I learned that it belonged to the Masons of the corps, and, being permitted to remove it to my bungalow, I found the lock had been broken, some of the jewels lost. It contained the Record book, some jewels, several books of the by-laws, the Bible and Charter, almost dilapidated. On the fly-leaf of the books of By-laws was printed: 'This Bible belonging to Lodge No. 227, was that on which Washington received a degree of Masonry, That during the war of Independence in America it was taken by the enemy, w ho returned it with a flag of truce, and again it was taken by the French in their attack on the island of Dominica, together with the Lodge jewels and mess plate of the officers, who returned it with the Lodge jewels under a {lag of truce, keeping the mess plate."' The Lodge was then in India.

Brother Beamish Saul summarizes another entry from the Lodge Minutes: "The bullock trunk containing the lodge's regalia and other effects accompanied the regiment when practical, but in some cases, for want of transport it, with other baggage had to follow. On one of these occasions the trunk fell into the hands of the Americans, but this fact coming to the knowledge of Washington, he immediately ordered it to be returned under 3 flag of truce and escorted by a guard of honor; it being also stated the regiment opened up its ranks, the guard of honor marching in, to the cheering music of the pipe and drum band. "

In 1833 Captain Lacy carried the Lodge chest with him when the 46th returned to England from India. The Lodge then went to Ireland; in 1846 it returned to Canada. In 1857 the Lodge affiliated with the Grand Lodge of Canada! changing its name to Lodge of Antiquity; in 1869 it affiliated with the Grand Lodge of Quebec.

"Of the precious volume of the Sacred Law already spoken of," writes Bro. Beamish, "the Lodge now possesses a bound photo zincographic copy [presented by Col. Lacy of the title page and about a dozen other principal pages, and containing also certain records of the West family and others who lived in the Jersevs at that time. The Bible itself is now kept in the officers mess room at Newsby in a walnut case on which is engraved: 'On this Sacred Volume Washington received a Degree of Masonry . . . Washington having been made, passed, and raised in Fredericksburg Lodge, in Virginia, at a much earlier date than when the 46th was in winter quarters near Philadelphia, tradition and the general consensus of opinion says it was the Mark Degree which was conferred. "

It is most reasonable to take it that the Degree was the Mark, since Washington already had been exalted to the Royal Arch at Fredericksburg in 1753; and that it was conferred at Philadelphia in or near 1777 at a time of truce, when Lodges were opened and visited by Masons from both sides of the line. "The Bible had been the property of the West family, who lived in Jerseys in 1776, many of the names of the births and deaths being` recorded up to 1769. The 46th were in the Jerseys in 1776."

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