Grand Lodge of the Territory of Florida,
May 15th, A L. 5844
To the W. Master, Wardens, and Brethren of Lodge, No. And to the Brethren Residing within
The undersigned were appointed at the last Grand Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Florida, a
Committee to prepare and address a letter to the brethren under its Jurisdiction; to be published with its proceeding for the purpose of arousing
the fraternity from the state of inaction and torpor, in which Masonry seems to be spell bound in Florida. We approach the performance
of this duty with a deep conviction of its importance, and a full consciousness of our inability to do it justice.
You will see from the proceedings which this letter accompanies, that the Grand Lodge of Florida is in correspondence with all the Grand
Lodges in the United States, and with the Grand Lodge of Texas; and that they all furnish the most cheering accounts of the flourishing
condition of Masonry every where. Shall Florida alone, be the region, where Free Masonry languishes and dies, or at best drags out a feeble
existence? No! Brethren, we feel assured, you will awake from your slumbers, and come up to the Great and Glorious work of rebuilding
the House of the Lord. Would to God, we could touch your hearts as with a live coal from off the altar, that would kindle a blaze
of holy enthusiasm in your bosoms, in the cause of Glorious Free Masonry in our sunny Florida.
We call to our aid Brethren, a Circular Letter, addressed by the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, to the brethren residing within
their Jurisdiction, which accomplishes the task assigned us, much better than we could perform it, and brethren the right spirit in glowing
and eloquent strains; and which we ingraft [sic] into our letter, and recommend it to the most serious consideration of every brother :
"The Annual Publication of our Transactions, which shortly will be placed in your hands, will, we trust, receive your attention and serious
reflection. We wish every Mason in the State to be made acquainted with these Transactions; every one is to some extent interested
in them. We, therefore, earnestly enjoin upon the Masters of all Lodges, that they cause them to be road in open Lodge, as early as possible;
and we desire that they may have free circulation amongst the Brethren, whether members of Lodges or not; and we earnestly call
upon every Brother to whom these letters become known, to arouse from the apathy which has held down the Fraternity in gloom and shadow,
to revive his energies, and to unite with us in our effort to renew the ancient glories of the Order, and to rebuild the great Edifice upon
the original foundation of Obedience to the laws of God and our country, and love towards each other.
In this work, which has most assuredly commenced, let no true Brother suppose he may excuse himself from bearing his part; indeed we
are convinced no true Brother can shrink from his duty, and yet claim an interest in the honors and rewards that await the faithful craftsman.
In our beloved and venerable Grand Master, who on the verge of ninety years of age, and after enjoying the highest honors of the
State, and some of the highest of the Nation, still finds a pleasure in promoting the prosperity of the Craft, we have an example of what a
Mason ought to be, "without fear, and without reproach." Let then, every Brother encourage his Brother to come forth to the work before us.
Think not, however, Brethren, that we regard numbers as a means or an evidence of prosperity or of strength. A few Lodges, with a few
members thoroughly imbued with the principles of the Order, faithful and punctual in the discharge of their duties, would be preferable to a
large number of Lodges with numerous members, yet loose in their discipline, and either uninstructed in the principles of the Masonic
Covenant, or careless in their performance.
The Grand Lodge has been highly gratified by the evidence, that not only many Brethren have given their attention to the means calculated
to improve the institution and preserve its pre-eminent position in the rapid advance of the age, but whole Lodges have united in
serious reflection on the subject, and have asked us to encourage them in their exertions, by our aprobation [sic]. These exertions--every movement
which has been made to make the wants and wishes of the fraternity known to us--have afforded us the very highest satisfaction, and
have convinced us that the time for action has fully arrived; the time which we have long desired, and for which the legislation of the Grand
Lodge for the last twelve years has been preparatory. Every Lodge, and every individual Brother has a duty to perform in the great work
which lies open before us. Unite with us then Beloved Brethren, in the first place as is the duty of Masons, in beseeching the sovereign spirit
of Truth and Love to guide us in wisdom in the path of Peace. Secondly, let every Brother give unceasing attention to the cultivation of
Concord and to the promotion of the happiness and prosperity of his brother. Let all strives and discords be discontinued, and terminated
by the sweet influence of Friendship and Charity; so shall we dwell together as a happy family, and secure to each other the full enjoyment
of the noble purposes of Our Institution. Thirdly, we would impress upon the Brethren, the duty of introducing into the fellowship
of the Order, only such persons from the profane world, as have the proper preparation of mind and heart, to fit them for a place in
the Edifice which we are erecting for the glory of the Supreme Architect of the Universe, and for the services of the human family.
Fourthly, we call upon the officers of all the Lodges within our jurisdiction, to use every influence in their power to perfect their organization,
to impart instruction, to exercise necessary discipline, and to inform us, at least once or twice a year of their true condition, their work,
their prospects, the changes which have occurred, the difficulties which they have encountered, and the success which has attended their
Finally, Brethren, we cannot impress too deeply on your minds the importance of a strict attention to the truths so ably set forth in the foregoing
extract. Remember they are urged by the most distinguished and experienced Masons in the United States, and the truest friends
of our order.
You can but be forcibly struck with the strong resemblance in character and circumstances between "our beloved and venerable Grand
Master," who has so long presided over, and sustained the craft in Florida, and the distinguished and venerable Grand Master who then
presided over the Craft in the State of New York, but who has since been called to his Station in the Grand Lodge above. They are
both truly bright examples in the Craft, "of what Masons ought to be, without fear, and without reproach." Let us, Brethren profit by their
examples, both for their zeal and their virtues.
John B. Taylor, P.D.G.M.
Thos. Hayward. Ga. Lec.
Thos. Brown, Ga. Secretary
State Library of Florida: Florida Collection, BR0017
Grand Lodge of the Territory of Florida, May 15th, A L. 5844 ... To the W. Master, Wardens, and brethren of Lodge, No. ___ ... to prepare and address a letter to the brethren under its Jurisdiction; to be published with its proceeding for the purpose of arousing the fraternity from the state of inaction and torpor, in which Masonry seems to be spell bound in Florida. ... [signed] John B. Taylor, P.D.G.M; Thos. Hayward, Gr.Lec.; Thos. Brown, Gr. Secretary.''