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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8

Letter of Instructions. I. O. O. F. O Ffice of the M. W. Grand Sire, R. W. G. L. of U. S., Philadelphia, Pa., March 4, 1878. R. W. Deputy Grand Sire:

Letter of Instructions. I. O. O. F. O Ffice of the M. W. Grand Sire, R. W. G. L. of U. S., Philadelphia, Pa.,

To John B. Harmon,

R. W. Deputy Grand Sire:

Dear Sir and Brother,—After offering to you and to the whole Order my sincere congratulations that your private affairs will permit you to accept the alternative appointment made by the Grand Lodge of the United States, "that in the event of the inability or refusal of the Grand Sire to perform the duty devolved upon him by law, to visit Australia and New Zealand, to effect an adjustment of the present complications there existing, and perform such other offices for the welfare of the Order there as in his judgment he may deem expedient, that the Deputy Grand Sire, John B. Harmon, be authorized and empowered to act in his stead," I proceed to prepare and present for your consideration and guidance, in the performance of this important mission, such suggestions and instructions as appear to me will be useful and proper.

First.—I adopt and accept your letter dated San Francisco, Feb. 11, 1878, addressed to the M. W. Grand Sire, as presenting clear, succinct, and very intelligent views of the situation and complications in the Order in that remote jurisdiction; of the proper remedy for them, and of the most ready and feasible means of approaching the brethren in New Zealand and in Australia on the subject.

Second.—I suggest that your idea of inducing the Grand Lodge of Australia to voluntarily surrender its Charter, and to accept in lieu thereof a new Charter as the Grand Lodge of Australasia, adjusting satisfactorily to it the reservations of authority to the Grand Lodge of the United States claimed, viz., its exclusive right to regulate the work, traveling P. W., and cards, as part of its machinery, to make ubiquitous and uniform its control of visitation throughout the world.

Third.—As to the Grand Lodge of New Zealand and your idea to act independently of it, treating exclusively with the Grand Lodge of Australia, I respectfully suggest that you stop at Dunedin, disclose your purpose, and endeavor to conciliate that Grand Body, and get it also to surrender its Charter and accept one from the Grand Lodge of Australasia. In the event of any disagreement on the part of New Zealand to this arrangement, you will proceed with, your negotiations with the Grand Lodge of Australia, and issue to that body the Charter for the Grand Lodge of Australasia spoken of, leaving the Grand Lodge of New Zealand as at present constituted, subject page 34 to future legislation. You will also encourage all other Provinces, in which Subordinates exist, to organize Subordinate Grand Lodges under "the Grand Lodge of Australasia."

Fourth.—Concerning the special subjects in your letter of February 18th, addressed to the R. W. Grand Corresponding and Recording Secretary, not mentioned in the foregoing, I have to advise that the Grand Secretary will furnish copies of the letters and documents you suggest as important for you to have, and will reply in detail to the several queries. In all other respects, the views presented by you in your letters of February 11th and 18th (copies of which are hereto annexed), of the duty in the premises, are so practical and depend so much upon the circumstances of the position, that I cordially defer to them, and recommend you to carry them out as far as may be in your power.

Fifth.—The appropriation comprehends the whole sum named (one thousand dollars), which is at your disposal.

Sixth.—The Grand C. and R. Secretary will be directed to prepare blank Grand Warrants, properly signed and attested to meet such exigencies as may arise, which you will apply according to such exigencies in your discretion. deferring the ratification of all assumption of extraordinary powers, if any rendered necessary, to the Grand Lodge of the United States.

Seventh.—The Grand C. and R. Secretary will be further charged with the preparation of your proper commission and credentials as Special Commissioner of the Grand Lodge of the United States to the brotherhood in Australia and New Zealand, with power to adjust and settle definitely with them all questions touching Odd Fellowship at issue with them, especially such as relate to the form of government of the Order, and to the general prosperity and welfare of the institution; also to supply you with such books, documents, and proceedings as may be required to enable you satisfactorily to discharge your duty in the premises.

Eighth.—The Grand Secretary will also supply you with data in reference to the question of the right of the Grand Lodge of the United States to furnish Australia with cards, and you will find inserted in the new Charter a similar provision on that subject to that in the Charter of the Grand Lodge of the German Empire, in order to establish beyond controversy the universality of the laws of the Order as to the manner of visitation therein throughout the world -it being the undoubted attribute of the sovereignty of the G. L. of U. S.. as the supreme head of the Order, to regulate this subject.

The Grand Sire, in concluding his instructions, would recommend to the Deputy Grand Sire, to avail himself of his opportunity to impart general instructions to the brotherhood upon the subject of Odd Fellowship, especially to address them wherever they can be assembled in considerable numbers, and to encourage them to our example, which has been so abundantly prospered throughout the world.

Wishing you a prosperous voyage, life and health adequate to so momentous and important a service; the special care and blessing of the Heavenly Father upon your long, distant, and perilous journey; success in your high, honorable, and useful mission; and a safe return to your home, family, and anxious brethren, I commit you with confidence to the keeping of Him who hath always vouchsafed the shelter and refuge of His outstretched wing to our beloved Order.

The Special Commissioner, Bro. John B. Harmon, will report in detail the results of this important mission, at or before the next session of the Grand Lodge of the United States, the third Monday of September, 1878.

Yours very respectfully,

J. W. Stokes, Grand Sire.