140 year of Shriners

140 year of Shriners

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yreka Masonic Lodge: Howard Lodge #37

Dean Mark forweb.jpg

Mark Dean

By Mark Dean
On the anniversary of 235 years of American independence it should be noted that in this republic our governmental system mirrors that of the Masonic framework of governance by which the Grand Lodges administer the broader scheme of Masonic business affairs within the community of Freemasonry while the smaller independent lodges operate under the bylaws derived from Anderson’s Constitutions. That Masonic manuscript, which standardized the rituals and general practices of Freemasonry, was written by the Rev. James Anderson in 1723 and 1728, which was then re-printed in Philadelphia in 1734 by Benjamin Franklin and distributed throughout the colonies extolling the virtues of Freemasonry. It was widely acclaimed at the time by the American colonists and was the first  book on Freemasonry printed in America.
The basic principles of governance employed in Freemasonry then and now include: that the Grand Lodge is the supreme entity in the Masonic federal system – local lodges are self governing and independent – the election of officers is carried out by secret ballot – governance is limited by the Masonic Constitution – the popular sovereignty of representative government and majority rule are fundamental – fiscal responsibility is delegated to the legislative body – a type of judicial review is conducted by the Grand Lodge and freedom of speech is a hallmark of Freemasonry.
It’s well known that many of our nation’s founding fathers, including Benjamin Franklin, were Masons. In fact, the actual number is generally exaggerated and yet, as is often the case in history, one of our nations most notable heroic figures is all but forgotten by Masons and the general public alike. Haym Salomon (1740-1785), a Polish immigrant to America in 1772, was the man that made the American Revolution financially possible. He was also a member of that famous revolutionary group known as the Sons of Liberty and a Mason affiliated with Maryland Lodge No. 2 of New York. Not only was Salomon able to keep the revolution afloat financially, but he served the American Revolutionary cause as a spy and was jailed twice under those charges by the British during their occupation of New York. On the occasion of the second occurrence, when carrying out orders from Gen. George Washington, Salomon was sentenced to hang but was able to bribe a guard with gold pieces he had secretly sewn in his clothes and escaped to Philadelphia, where he eventually became one of the greatest financiers of that city.
During that time Salomon advanced large sums of his own money to the American government to keep the cause of freedom from floundering, for which neither he nor his family after his death received anything in return. Ultimately his decision to join the American Revolution led to his financial destruction but helped us all to win the freedoms we enjoy some 235 years later.
This remarkable man, patriot and Mason, died penniless at the age of 45 in 1785. However, he was recognized posthumously with a U.S. commemorative stamp in 1975 and is depicted in a statue, located in Chicago, Ill., next to Robert Morris as one of the financiers of the American Revolution alongside Gen. Washington. On the back of the stamp, one of only two stamps to have such an honor, it is inscribed with these words: “Businessman and broker Haym Salomon was responsible for raising most of the money needed to finance the American Revolution and later to save the new nation from collapse.”
For more information about Freemasonry, including membership from all walks of life for men 18 years or older who are of a strong character and who believe in a supreme being, please contact Yreka Howard Lodge #37 Master Larry Arkfeld during regular business hours at 842- 4467.

– Mark Dean is the junior deacon of Howard Lodge #37

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