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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Josh. Braithwaite, G.M. Marton, 30 July, 1877. Joseph Braithwaite, Esq., G.M., I.O.O.F., Dunedin

Fraternally yours,

Josh. Braithwaite, G.M.

Marton, Joseph Braithwaite, Esq., G.M., I.O.O.F., Dunedin.

Dear Sir and Brother,—

I have to acknowledge receipt of yours of 30 May, and delayed answering the same till I had convened a meeting of the members of the late Lodge to hear the decision of the G.L.

The first meeting was favourable to the G.L., but on the members considering the matter, I was requested to delay writing you on the subject until they had fully discussed the question, when the following resolution was carried, and I was asked to forward a copy to you. It is as follows:—Proposed by Mr. Deighton, seconded by Mr. T. R. Cash, "That the late members and trustees hold that the Grand Lodge is not entitled to any portion of the real and personal property of the late Lodge Loyal Marton, No. 11, excepting to such as mentioned in Rule 52 in General Rules of the Order, and will resist any claim until legal proof of the same shall be given by the Grand Lodge." Carried nem. con. Proposed by Mr. Cash, seconded by Mr. Beaven, "That a copy of the above resolution be handed to Mr. Watt, and that he be requested to communicate the same to the Grand Lodge."

If you observe, Rule 52 says nothing about the Lodge forfeiting anything to the G.L. except Charter, &c.

Had the G.L. offered half of everything, I feel certain that the members would have agreed, but they naturally cannot see the justice of the G.L. taking all; and I am myself placed in a very awkward and unpleasant position, being one of three trustees. I may say that I have come in for no small amount of abuse through holding out for the rights of the G.L. The members say that I have no power to dispose of their property to you, and legally they are right. I am trustee and hold in trust (with others) for the members of the Marton Lodge, and cannot surrender my trust to you. On the other hand I refuse to surrender to them, and I must know my position as trustee before I can act. Of course I look to the G.L. as the head to put me in no false position; and I do trust that I shall not be placed in the unenviable position of being placed between two fires—the G.L. on one side and the members of the late Lodge on the other.

You will of course understand that I personally wish the matter to be carried out strictly in accordance with the laws of Oddfellowship; and you will also see the peculiar position in which I am placed through being trustee.

The members will take legal proceedings against me if I transfer (which I cannot without my co-trustee) to you. On the other hand the G.L. may come on me if I do not do so. What am I to do ? Then again there arises the difficulty of non-registration. Can you legally recover? If not, then to whom am I to surrender my trust, for they cannot recover from me if I refuse to transfer to them, (as I hold your views on the subject,) they not being a joint-stock company or a registered body of any kind.

Rule 52 seems to contradict 56.

Pray consult over this unpleasant affair, and let me know what I am to do, as, if they take proceedings against me, I must expect you (the G.L.) to bear me out in your behalf. Would it not be advisable to state the case to a competent lawyer ? Mr. Cash (whose name appears in the resolution) is a barrister here, and wishes me to agree to hand over to them, and they give me a deed of indemnification, thus leaving you to assert your rights at law, but to this I have declined.

On Saturday evening, 21st, I installed the officers of the Rangitikei Lodge, and everything passed off well. A banquet afterwards wound up the pro- page 52 ceedings. I am glad to say that Bro. T. D. Cummins, of the Wanganui Lodge, is getting the affairs of that Lodge into better order, and I trust to better accounts from them in the future. There seems some desire to establish a Lodge at Palmerston North, and, in the event of their being successful, would ask that the regalia of the Marton Lodge be given to them. The late members here would agree to do so. Awaiting your reply, and trusting to an amicable settlement,

I am, dear Sir and Brother,

Fraternally yours,

W. E. Watt, D.D.G.M.