ISSUE 23, October 2007

Editorial
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Pro Grand Master : Quarterly Communication
Grand Secretary: Exciting times ahead
Historic: Telford - Mason extraordinary
Travel: Cruising round Sicily
Samaritan: Helping the distressed
Younger Masons: The common bond
Jersey: Local Masons guard the Duke
   Classic car run: Down memory lane
International: Joseph Brant - a Masonic legend
Universities Scheme: The way ahead
Grand Chancellor: The importance of external relations
Education: Events : Understanding the symbols of the craft
Specialist Lodges: Australia link
Royal Arch: Why join the Royal Arch?
Lbrary & Museum: Major award for Library & Museum
MQ Signs off
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity : NMSF : RMBI : RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Joseph Brant portrait, 1776
    Another story relating to Brant during the war has another ‘rebel’ captive named Lieutenant Boyd giving Brant a Masonic sign, which secured him a reprieve from execution. However, on this occasion, Brant left his Masonic captive in the care of the British, who subsequently had Boyd tortured and executed.
     After the war, Brant removed himself with his tribe to Canada, establishing the Grand River Reservation for the Mohawk Indians. He became affiliated with Lodge No. 11 at the Mohawk village at Grand River of which he was the first Master and he later affiliated with Barton Lodge No.10 at Hamilton, Ontario. Brant returned to England in 1785 in an attempt to settle legal disputes on the Reservation lands, were he was again well received by George III and the Prince of Wales.
     After Brant’s death in 1807, his legend continued to develop, with numerous accounts of his life and his death being written. One such account lengthily entitled The Life of Captain Joseph Brant with An Account of his Re-interment at Mohawk, 1850, and of the Corner Stone Ceremony in the Erection of the Brant Memorial, 1886, celebrated Brant’s achievements and detailed that a certain Jonathan Maynard had also been saved by Brant during the war.
     Like McKinstry, Maynard, who later became a member of the Senate of Massachusetts, had been saved at the last minute by Brant, who had recognised him giving a Masonic sign. Brant’s remains were re-interred in 1850 with an Indian relay, where a number of warriors took turn in carrying his remains to the chapel of the Mohawks, located in Brant’s Mohawk village, which is now part of the city of Brantford. Many local Freemasons were present, and his tomb was restored with an inscription paid for by them.
     The legend of Brant saving his fellow Masons was examined by Albert C. Mackey in his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry in which he referred to a book entitled Indian Masonry by a certain Brother Robert C. Wright. In the book, Wright states that ‘signs given by the Indians could easily be mistaken for Masonic signs by an enthusiastic Freemason’.
     Using Wright’s claims that the Indians used similar Masonic signs or gestures within their culture, and these were mistaken by over enthusiastic Freemasons, Mackey was putting forward an argument that the stories of encounters with ‘Masonic’ Indians were perhaps in doubt.
     Mackey then put forward the question ‘is the Indian a Freemason’ before examining a number of historically Native American Indians who were Freemasons, including Joseph Brant and General Eli S. Parker, the Seneca Chief who fought in the American Civil War. Mackey concluded:
     ‘Thus from primitive and ancient rites akin to Freemasonry, which had their origin in the shadows of the distant past, the American Indian is graduating into Free and Accepted Masonry as it has been taught to us. It is an instructive example of the universality of human belief in fraternity, morality and immortality’.
     Mackey presented that the Indians, in recognising the universal ethos of Freemasonry within their own culture, were drawn to the Craft. Thus an understanding into Brant’s moralistic approach to fellow Freemasons who were prisoners during the war was being sought, his actions fascinating Masonic historians well into the twentieth century.
     Brant became a symbol for Freemasonry, his story being used as a metaphor for the Masonic bond, a bond which became greater than the bond of serving one’s country during wartime. Brant also came to represent a respect for the Native American Indian during a time when the US was promoting the ‘manifest destiny’, an ethos which the United States government saw as God’s right for them to settle the Indian lands of the west.
     Brant’s myth even exceeded the traditional Victorian image of the ‘noble savage’, his meeting of other Freemasons while visiting London such as the writer James Boswell and Masonic members of the Hanoverian Household such as the Prince of Wales compounded this. Brant once said:
     ‘My principle is founded on justice, and justice is all I wish for’, a statement which certainly conveyed his moralistic and Masonic ethos.


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