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The Builder Magazine Vol II # II

The Builder Magazine Vol II # II

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Published by Cosmomind

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Published by: Cosmomind on Jul 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 BY BRO. CHARLES H. CALLAHAN, VIRGINIA GENERAL Washington, having resigned his commission asCommander-in-Chief of the American army, arrived at his home,after an absence of several years, on Christmas eve, 1783, and twodays later received a letter from the Master, Wardens andmembers of a Lodge of Free Masons, which had just beenorganized in the little city of Alexandria, Virginia, under a warrantfrom the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, felicitating himupon his safe return to private life. In reply to this fraternalcommunication Washington wrote on December 28th, as follows:--"GENTLEMEN: With a pleasing sensibility I received your favor of the 26th and beg leave to offer you my sincere thanks for thefavorable sentiments with which it abounds. I shall always feelpleasure when it may be in my power to render service to Lodge No.39 and in every act of Brotherly kindness to the members of it.
Being with great truth, your affectionate Brother and obligedhumble servant, GEORGE WASHINGTON."In the following June the General visited his Masonic Brethren in Alexandria and, according to the minutes, still extant, "wasunanimously elected an honorary member of the Lodge."In 1788 the Lodge surrendered its Pennsylvania charter, under which it had been known as No. 39, and applied to the GrandLodge of Virginia for a new warrant. General Washington becamethe first Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22, under the VirginiaCharter, which quaint and historic instrument still constitutes its badge of authority. Not only does this venerated parchmentcontain the name of Washington as Master, but also the autographof Edmund Randolph, who was then both Grand Master andgovernor of the Commonwealth, and who subsequently served inthe Cabinets of our first President as Attorney General andSecretary of State respectively. In 1805, by permission of the GrandLodge, the name or title of the Lodge was again changed by addingthe sir-name of its first Master, making it Alexandria-WashingtonLodge No. 22. It has been claimed by some writers that General Washington lacked zeal in the cause and work of our institution,and a few skeptically inclined have contended that he was not evena member of the Masonic Fraternity. The fallacy of this contentionis positively proven by the records of and personal letters from Washington to this Lodge. Indeed, the Charter itself is an eloquentand emphatic denial of the claim. Mr. Randolph, in wording the
instrument, leaves no doubt as to the identity of its first WorshipfulMaster. After the usual preamble, it sets forth, "Know ye, that we,Edmund Randolph, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealthaforesaid and Grand Master of the Most ancient and honorablesociety of Free Masons, within the same by and with the consent of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, do hereby constitute and appoint ourillustrious and well-beloved Brother George Washington, Esq., lateGeneral and Commander-in-Chief of the forces in the UnitedStates, etc." This settles beyond a doubt any question as to whetheror not it was the renowned leader of the American Revolution, andthe appointment also marks the beginning of the great patriot'sofficial association with the Masonic Fraternity of his home town;an association which has made a little obscure organization,situated in what was then an old fashioned colonial hamlet, themost famous subordinate Masonic Lodge in America--a veritableshrine to which thousands of patriotic members of the Fraternity from all parts of the country annually wend their way andreverently view the cherished mementos of their illustrious Brother Washington, which hang upon its walls and rest in the alcoves of its sanctum.The General's official connection with the Lodge raised it to aconspicuous place in the order from the very beginning of itsexistence, and, as a consequence, few noteworthy events haveoccurred in that vicinity in which it has not taken a prominent part. We shall, however, only refer to those that have in some way adirect association with the sage of Mount Vernon. On Friday the15th of April, 1791, by invitation of President Washington and in

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