The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29
8th May, 1877.J. Braithwaite, Esq., G.M., I.O.O.F., Dunedin.
Dear Sir and Brother,—
I have to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 23rd ult., and will instruct the Wanganui and Rangitikei lodges to forward their returns as requested.
With reference to the Marton lodge, I regret to have to announce the fact that I have taken possession of the charter, books, and property of this lodge.
For some time past there has been a considerable amount of jealousy in this lodge, and I much regret the stand the members of it have taken. The particulars are as follows:—
The monthly meetings had been regularly notified, but no meeting had taken place since October 3rd till 10th April. The latter meeting I called myself to see what the members intended doing—viz., whether the lodge should be Carried on or not. I was much pained at the position taken up by the members with reference to the Grand Lodge, it being the desire of those present to entirely ignore our stand; they argued that the Marton lodge was not registered, and consequently was not a legal lodge, and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge. They decided to break up the lodge and divide the funds and property amongst themselves, without reference to the Grand Lodge. Upon this I at once took possession of the charter and degree books, and told them that the lodge was extinct, as they had had no meeting for six months.
They then formed themselves into a meeting, and decided to divide the funds, &c., but the manner of division was adjourned till 24th April. I attended, and (I may add that I am one of the trustees) I was asked whether 1 was prepared to hand over the funds and property of the lodge for distribution. I need hardly tell you my reply. I would not do so. My co-trustee leaves the matter entirely in my hands, and I await instructions from you. It is a source of regret that so prosperous a lodge as this should cease to exist. The real difficulty lay in getting "competent" brothers to occupy the chairs with proper dignity, and thus keep up the character of the order. Then again, the greater portion of the members are country settlers, and they find it irksome to ride so far to lodge, and consequently lose interest in the order.
I shall be glad if you will let me know what position I am to take up with reference to the funds and property of the late lodge. There is £50 invested, and some £5 in the bank; also, a valuable section of land in the township, worth at least £880; besides regalia, pedestals, &c.
According to rules, the lodge is extinct, and charter and books are to be returned to the G.L.; but there is nothing said about the funds or other property of the lodge.
Then again, what position will the Marton lodge stand in with the G.L., it not being registered ?
There have been no contributions received since June last, so that all the members are out of compliance, and as such I declined to allow them to discuss any subject or hold any proceedings on the 10th in the lodge-room, until they paid their dues. This they declined, as they said they intended to break up the lodge, and I was ignored entirely, as they said they did not acknowledge the G.L. Upon this I informed them that, according to rules, the lodge was extinct (Rule 52), and took possession of charter, &c.page 50
They seem desirous of dividing the spoil, but do not wish the G.L. to have any part or share. I consequently hold them in check, being one of the trustees, and in the event of the G.L. not being entitled to whole or part, who am I to transfer the property, funds, &c., to ? This would be a knotty point. I trust the Grand Lodge will study the case thoroughly, and also take the advice of Bro. Stout in the matter, and inform me what position I am to take up. In meantime I hold all property in trust for the Grand Lodge. Awaiting your reply,
W. E. Watt, D.D.G.M.