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The chief aim, object, and end of our Societies (the “ Rules and Regula. tions” of which are certified and enrolled according to the laws of our country) are to relieve the sick and distressed, to assist and protect the widow and orphan, and to insure a certain sum to be paid upon the death of members, their wives, or children, and thus our objects are charitable only ; nothing of a political character is tolerated at our meetings, and our societies are open to members of every creed, without distinction. We forcibly incul. cate the observance of the most exalted precepts—"Friendship, Brotherly Love, Charity to the Afflicted and Distressed, and a strict adherence to Truth."
The “Sacred Book" conveys to us innumerable and impressive exhorta. tions to brotherly love, tender-heartedness, to forbearance, to charity in thought and deed, and to universal benevolence; guided by these principles, and acting from the impulse of these sentiments, the mischievous tendency of those evil passions which injure and destroy the happiness of man, are nullified in our meetings, whilst sincerity, plain dealing, and active benevolence, prompt both Heart and Hand to join in promoting the welfare of others. These are the distinguishing characteristics of " Odd-fellowship."
With these objects engrafted in each Odd-fellow's heart, judge of our amazement and just indignation in being stigmatised as a “secret society," which, in general, has for its objects the perversion of everything moral and divine, and to pander to the most evil and pernicious passions of human nature. Our indignation was just, in having this noble institution of our fatherland (founded on the purest philanthropy) compared to the secret societies of other countries, which have not the same objects in view, and the sentiment is unworthy of the intelligence of your reverence, or of any other gentleman having the welfare of society at heart, as we sincerely believe you have always had.
The members do you the justice to believe that your reverence's usual good judgment has been warped and misled upon this occasion ; and they have no doubt that when the laws and rules are laid before, and properly ex. plained to you, you will withdraw all opposition to the Friendly Societies of Maitland, which are of so much benefit to suffering humanity.
From an early period the Legislature have recognised the great value of “Friendly Societies,” and passed various enactments with the view of throwing around them the protection of the law, and the better enabling them to fulfil the objects their founder and supporters had in view. The Act of Parliament of Great Britain, passed in 1851, provides that the rules and tables of all Friendly Societies shall be certified by an experienced Actuary, who must declare that the tables may be fairly and safely adopted, and that they fairly represent the interest of members entering at those terms of age, without prejudice to any.
Thus our Societies, being based upon those calculations, are permanent and secure-the means being commensurate to the end in view; its monetary calculations are correct, and in harmony with those laws of sickness and mortality, which are well known to those who have given due attention to such matters ; so that individuals can say that it will really and truly be the support of their declining years, when the infirmities of old age creep upon them, and they will have the consolation of falling back on the industrious savings of their vigorous youth.
The pass-words are always moral sentences, and are changed quarterly; for, if there were not such secret economy whereby members could know each other, a stranger, who had not contributed like the rest, might deceive a true member of the Society, and entirely defeat the purposes for which it was instituted, namely, that of relieving the wants and administering consolation in the distresses of every member who fairly and honestly purchases and claims the privileges thereof. On behalf of the Friendly Societies of Maitland
GEORGE A. SMYTH, of Lodge No. 3933 M.U.
West Maitland, May 14th, 1859. Messrs. Maxwell, Cox, Edwards, &c. GENTLEMEN,-In reply to your communication I have (whilst cordially acknowledging its complimentary tone and language) to express my deej regret that I cannot comply with your request.
The Catholic Church disapproves of all “Societies" over which she does not exercise a guiding and controlling influence-she wishes to follow her children through all the various stages of life, and her solicitude for their spiritual welfare is not satisfied, unless religion, as taught within her fold, blesses and sustains all their undertakings.
When, therefore, my sanction of your proposed procession would be equivalent to a formal recognition and approval of your Society, I think that the members will sympathise with a refusal dictated solely by principle.
After a residence of nearly twenty.one years in Maitland, I can safely and confidently appeal to my close and frequent intercourse with every class and creed in the community-in proof of my earnest desire to establish and promote peace and harmony. I am, and always have been, willing to aid and assist benevolence and philanthropy in the mission of mercy and love, but I never have allowed my sense of duty, or the obedience which I owe to my Church, to parley with expediency, or bend before the shrine of popular applause. I remain, Gentlemen, your obedient servant,
J. T. LYNCH, Dean.
West Maitland, May 25th, 1859. To the Very Rev. J. T. Lynch, Dean, &c. REVEREND SIR,--I have been instructed, as Secretary to the General Meeting of the Friendly Societies of Maitland, holden at the Commercial Hotel, on Thursday evening last, to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th instant, in answer to their deputation who waited upon you; and also to forward you a copy of the resolution passed unanimously by the meeting upon hearing your letter read.
I remain, Reverend Sir, your obedient servant,
ALEX. WILKINSON, Secretary. Copy of a Resolution passed by the Friendly Societies of Maitland on Thursday evening, the 19th May, 1859. “That this meeting hear with regret the decision that the Reverend Dean
Lynch, R. C. Č., has come to with regard to the Friendly Societies of Maitland, and that this Meeting doth hereby resolve and agree, with respect to any member of the various orders in Maitland, whilst in the receipt of benefits from any such Societies--that the laws relative to the burial of deceased members shall be strictly acted upon by following their remains to their last resting-place, without reference to any creed, and that they will not permit any clerical influence of any kind whatsoever to interfere with the established customs of the Friendly Societies, whose laws, rules, and regulations, are certified and enrolled according to the laws of our country.”
(A true copy.]
ALEX, WILKINSON, Sec.
West Maitland, May 27th, 1859. The Very Rev. Dean Lynch regrets that he must return the resolution with which Mr. Alex. Wilkinson has been instructed to favor him.
Dean Lynch is always anxious to treat individuals and “ Societies'' with proper courtesy, and he would not willingly give pain ; but self-respect, and due regard for his position, forbids the reception of a resolution ignoring and disclaiming all deference and consideration for ecclesiastical authority.
The members of the various Orders in Maitland may rest assured that Dean Lynch will enforce and carry out, by his “clerical influence,” the laws and discipline of the Catholic Church.
On the receipt of the above letter from the Very Rev. Dean Lynch, returning the resolution of the 19th ultimo, a special general meeting of all the Friendly Societies was convened by advertisement on Monday evening last, the 6th instant, when the undermentioned resolution was passed :“Resolved : That the Friendly Societies of Maitland do hereby express
their unqualified indignation at the despotic conduct of the Reverend Dean Lynch, Roman Catholic clergyman, in attempting to tyrannise over and crush them, as exhibited in his letter of the 27th May last, and hereby unanimously confirm their resolution of the 19th May, and repudiate the authority which the Dean so unwarrantably arrogates to himself over them, or any of their members."
ANNIVERSARIES, PRESENTATIONS, &c.
ABERDARE.-On the evening of Friday, the 7th of October, a splendid gold guard chain, value five guineas, the spontaneous gift of the brethren of the John Watkins Lodge, was presented to P.G. William Edmonds, their faithful and zealous permanent secretary. Mr. Edmonds has been many years secretary to the Temple of Love Lodge, and numerous other societies, in all of which he has signalised himself by a careful and diligent discharge of his duties.
ABERSYCHAN.-QUARTERLY MEETING. - PRESENTATION TO P.P.G.M. SHBLLARD.-The delegates of the Pontypool District of the M.U. of Odd-fellows met for the transaction of their quarterly business, at the White Hart Inn, on Monday, September 19th. The delegates reported favourably of the state of their lodges, and it was announced that 54 new members had been initiated during the last quarter, making the total number of 1,536 members of the district. A dispensation was granted for the opening of a new lodge at Mr. Trubey's, Steadman's Terrace, Sebastopol. A sum of £4 135., which had been collected at various lodges, was presented to a brother named Dunn, who was in distress. After the general business of the meeting had been concluded, the delegates proceeded to present Brother P.P.G.M. Shellard with a testimonial, which consisted of a double-bottomed gold lever
watch, purchased at a cost of £17
10s., by the joint subscription of the members. It was supplied by Brother D. Evans, watchmaker and jeweller, Pontypool, and bore the following inscription :-" Presented to P.P.G.M. Wm. #1. Shellard, by the Pontypool District of the M.U.I.O. of O.F., for his faithful exertions in the Order 37 years.--September 19th, 1859.” Brother George Thomas, C.S. of the District, made the presentation in an eloquent and appropriate speech. Mr. Shellard acknowledging, said that he scarcely could express the emotions that were then agitating his bosom. Reference had kindly been made by Mr. Thomas to the part he had taken, and to the exertions he had made in the cause of Odd-fellowship; but he was not aware that he had done anything more than his duty. It afforded him, however, the greatest satisfaction, to think that he had not laboured in vain, and that his conduct had met with their approval.
BELFAST.-The annual Ball and Soiree of the Members of the Belfast District took place on the 16th of December, when a very full attendance gave evidence of the interest the members of the several Lodges in the District take in Odd-Fellowship. Victoria Hall was gaily decorated for the occasion, and a large number of members and friends appeared in regalia. P. Prov. G.M. Downing in the chair. The late period of the month at which the report reached us, prevents a more extended notice.
BIRMINGHAM.—On Monday, 14th November, the members and friends of the Victoria Lodge met to celebrate the twenty-second anniversary. After the dinner (provided in excellent style,) the chair was taken by Mr. Spratt, the vice-chair being ably filled by Mr. George Fletcher. The usual loyal toasts being disposed of, the chairman proposed, “ The Manchester Order of Odd-fellows, and the health of its Officers.” Birmingham had its share in the government of the Unity, one of its useful officers, their valued C.S. H. Buck, being D.G.M. In proposing prosperity to Birmingham district, it was stated that it was in a most flourishing condition, having 3,673 members, and a capital of £35,077. Prov. G.M. Owen res led in a very able speech, followed by an effective address, by Prov. D.G.M. Leighton. The chairman stated that the position of the lodge was good, being 68 members, and a capital of £567 11s. Some capital singing concluded the evening.
BRISTOL.---The members of the Loyal Benevolent Lodge held their seventeenth anniversary on Tuesday, October 11th, Prov. D.G.M. Michael Jackson, in the chair, and P.G. Francis Wood, in the vice-chair, supported by Dr. M‘Donald, P.P.D.G.M. ; Francis Young, P.G.M. ; Thomas Adams, c.S., and nearly sixty of the members and their friends. After the removal of the cloth a variety of toasts were given and responded to; among the toasts was, “ the health of G.M., D.G.M., and Board of Directors in Manchester;" after the toast, “ Prosperity to the Benevolent Lodge," Past Prov. G.M. John Bridgwood, the treasurer of the lodge, stated that the number of members on the lodge books was 150, and that the total amount of surplus cash out at interest was £709 ; that after paying upwards of £100 for sick pay, they had been enabled to deposit £80 in the Savings Bank, being the gain on the past year. The chairman then, in the name of the lodge, presented to P.G. John Silley, a diploma enclosed in a very handsome gilt frame and glass, certifying that he had filled the several offices in the lodge to their entire satisfaction. P.G. William D. Bedgood then amused the company with several airs on the piano. The evening's amusement was closed by the whole company singing the National Anthem. Blaize Castle Lodge.-On the
28th July last, a new Lodge was opened at the Black Boy Inn, Durdham Down, called the Blaize Castle Lodge, under very
promising auspices, and it has since been making its way very successfully. Mr. F. B. Coates has had the privilege of being appointed the first Noble Grand. A young member of the lodge has written some pleasing poetical reminiscences of the progress of the lodge during the first three months of its existence, for which we regret we cannot find space.- Widoro's Hope Lodge.-On Monday evening, October 31st, the members of this Lodge, with several friends, dined together at their lodge house, for the purpose of celebrating their nineteenth anniversary. The chairs were filled by N.G. Wm. Thomas, and P.G. Joseph Roberts. After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, the Secretary, P.G. Charles Williams, gave a financial statement of the lodge funds, and showed an increase of £78 on the past year. The chairman, at this period of the evening, called their attention to the pleasing duty they had appointed him to perform, viz., that of presenting to P.P.G.M. George Harvey, a gold Albert chain, value £4, subscribed for by the members as a small acknowledgment of the many services he had rendered the lodge for many years, whereby a considerable saving was effected in the general expenditure of the society.
BURY ST. EDMUND's.—The brethren and friends of the Loyal West Suffolk Design Lodge, No. 2425, held their nineteenth anniversary on Monday, Sept. 12. A large number of the members met in the morning at the Castle Inn, and from thence went in procession with the regalia of the order, &c. companied by the band of the West Suffolk Militia (by permission of Captain Halls), to Saint Mary's Church, where an excellent sermon was preached by the Rev. J. Richardson. After service, the members and their friends adjourned to the Botanic Gardens, which were kindly thrown open by the proprietor, and in various amusements occupied their time until the dinner hour. The dinner took place in the Corn Exchange, at four o'clock, when nearly 300 sat down to an excellent and substantial repast, provided by host and Brother Baker, of the Castle Inn. The chair was occupied by J. A. Hardcastle, Esq., M.P., who was supported by T. Bridgeman, Esq., T. Collins, Esq., T. W. Cooper, Esq., J. Kilner, Esq., Rev. H. E. Daniel, &c. &c. Brother Banyard alled the vice-chair. The report of this anniversary occupies 2ļ columns of the Bury and Norwich Post, but we can only spare space to say that in answer to the toast of the evening, Brother Copeland stated that it was now seven years ago that their lodge became a legalized body, from which time he was happy to say it had been a flourishing body. Since they had registered the lodge they had initiated 183 members, 37 of them initiated since their last anniversary. The excess of income in the seven years was £1079 188. 01d., being an average of £155 58. 5d. per year. The excess of income was last year larger than in any previous year-it was then £197 14s. 41d. The value of the lodge fund at the present time was £2100. They had been more favoured this year as regarded sickness, than in any year previous, the sick pay, being some £56 less than in the year before, when it was £120 78. sickness this year was not more than six days, whereas the average of the Unity was something like nine or ten days. The sick pay of the lodge during the seven years had amounted to £775 2s. 1 d., and the funeral expenditure to £161 15s. 11., giving a total of payments from the lodge of £936 188.
CREWE.— The anniversary of the establishment of the Loyal Strangers Home District Lodge was celebrated by a dinner at Brother Furber's, Adelphi Hotel, Crewe, on August the 27th, when upwards of 74 gentlemen (71 of whom were members of this and other lodges) sat down to a good and sub. stantial banquet ; James G. Tinning, P. Prov. G.M., of the Crewe Lodge, in the chair; Joseph Slack, P.G., in the vice-chair. The present number of members is 65, the numbers last year being 53, which shows an increase of 12.