T H E M A S O N I C M A R T Y R.
THE BIOGRAPHY OF
SHERIFF OF NIAGARA COUNTY, NEW YORK.
WHO, FOR HIS
ATTACHMENT TO THE PRINCIPLES OF
MASONRY, AND HIS FIDELITY TO HIS TRUST, WAS IMPRISONED
TWENTY EIGHT MONTHS IN THE
BY ROB MORRIS, LL. D.,
MASONIC AUTHOR AND LECTURER.
"Mine enemies are lively and they are strong, and they that hate me
wrongfully are multiplied" -- PSALM xxxviii 19.
M O R R I S & M O N S A R R A T,
PUBLISHERS OF MASONIC LITERATURE
THE ABDUCTION OF MORGAN.
Our sketch of the person and character of William Morgan is derived mainly from the reminiscences of Hon. Ebenezer Mix, of Batavia, New York, a veteran Mason of much and deserved repute, and one who followed, with critical eye, the progress of the events in question. William Morgan, it is said, was born in Culpepper county, in the State of Virginia, about the year 1776. He was trained to the business of a stone-mason, which occupation he followed at intervals in a sluggish way until 1826. Curing the last war with Great Britain, he was connected with the piratical band of Lafitte; in which service he united with Jackson's army at New Orleans, and, with the rest of his ruffianly compradors, rendered good service against the enemy. His only military title, if any he had, grew out of his connection with the company of free rovers, the roll of Jackson's forces being innocent of his name.
After the war, he engaged in a small mercantile business at Richmond, Virginia, where, October 7, 1819, he married the daughter of a Methodist clergyman
10 ELI BRUCE, THE MASONIC MARTYR.
named Pendleton, then in her seventeenth year. The marriage not being agreeable to Mr. Pendleton, Morgan removed, in 1821, to the town of York, afterwards Toronto, in Canada, and engaged with another person in the business of brewing. This proving unsuccessful, he shifted his labors to Western New York, the scene of the drama in which he was to bear the part of Judas Iscariot. Here his character was, in all respects, infamous. At Rochester, working at his old profession for a Mr. Warren, he wormed himself so deeply into that gentleman's confidence as to persuade him that he (Morgan) was a Freemason, and succeeded in entering the lodge at Rochester in that capacity. No evidence has ever been adduced to show that Morgan acquired, in a lawful manner, more than one degree -- the Royal Arch; and we are constrained to believe that, as to the rest, he was a base impostor. But, emboldened by his success at Rochester, he claimed at Le Roy, to have acquired the six regular degrees up to, and including that of Most Excellent Master, and was allowed, in the Chapter there, with a most reprehensible laxity, to receive the Royal Arch at their hands.
During the year 1823, he removed to Batavia, where he resided at intervals until his abduction. Here he engaged the then Grand Lecturer, Mr. Blanchard Powers, resident at Batavia, to give him a course of Masonic instruction; by which means he was enabled to pass himself, without difficulty, as a Mason, and, in that capacity, to play whatever character might seem profitable to a mercenary disposition.
THE ABDUCTION OF WILLIAM MORGAN. 11
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THE ANTIMASONIC PARTY.
Our sketch of the rise and progress of the antimasonic movement must necessarily be brief. It originated unquestionably in the best feelings of human nature, but was almost immediately seized upon and appropriated by the evil and designing, who, pushing aside the honest men first moving it, changed the purpose first avowed -- the defense of humanity, into a general attack upon Masonry, and the political elevation of its opponents. Thus it was that the rescue of Morgan and the punishment of his abductors were, in a few months, lost in a purely political movement, in which such men as Solomon Southwick, and others, came constantly to the surface.
September 12th, about four P. M., the day of Morgan's abduction, Mrs. Morgan left Batavia, in company with Nathan Follet and George Ketchum, on her way to Canandaigua, to make inquiries respecting her husband. She arrived at about noon the next day. She took with her the Masonic Exposition Morgan had prepared, and delivered the pages over
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ELI BRUCE, THE MASONIC MARTYR.
Mr. Eli Bruce, the subject of this work, was born at Templeton, Worcester county, Massachusetts, November 8, 1793. His parents were Josiah and Mary Bruce. His brother, Dr. Silas Bruce, is still living in Boston, Massachusetts, his widow and three children at Centralia, Illinois. He received his name from Eli Bruce, noted in the history of New England as the first man in that country who constructed an organ. The cottage in which he was born, and that in which his boyhood years were passed, are both standing at the present time: an engraving of the latter is shown on p. 309 of this volume. His father died in 1804 or 1805, leaving a widow with seven children, five sons and two daughters, in humble circumstances of life. Thus it followed that the children were distributed among relatives and friends, and that Eli, who was next to the youngest, and then about twelve years of age, was taken into the family of Mr. Burrage, who reared him as a farmer's boy to the age of eighteen or nineteen years. The young man then purchased
HIS TRIAL, AND CONVICTION. 41
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of hemorrhoids. A cabinet-maker who called on me found me so changed, that he remarked he verily thought he would have to make me a coffin before my term of confinement expires!"
The state elections of New York came off this day and resulted in the election of Throop (of Chesbro trial notoriety) as governor, over Francis Granger, by a majority of about eight thousand. A calculation by a distinguished statistician of New York gives the number of antimasonic presses in the State at this period at forty-six. There were two hundred and thirty-four papers published in the state.
November 2d. -- Find I am improving in health and strength, although my head is much disordered. Having had six or eight days of very fine weather, it is very congenial to my constitution.
November 3d. -- Passed the day tolerably. Suffered not so much till evening, when my head became somewhat painful.
November 4th. -- Had a fall, owing to the weakness in my knees. The election returns in this county show it to be anti throughout. Of course my friend J. C. Spencer is elected!
Not one, but all mankind's epitome,
Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong,
Was everything by starts, and nothing long.'
November 5th. -- Not so much pain in my head as yesterday. Had a long talk with the father of the Smith, (Joseph Smith,) who, according to the old man's account, is the particular favorite of Heaven!
THE SECOND YEAR'S IMPRISONMENT. 267
To him Heaven has vouchsafed to reveal its mysteries; he is the herald of the latter-day glory. The old man avers that he is commissioned by God to baptize and preach this new doctrine. He says that our Bible is much abridged and deficient, that soon the Divine will is to be made known to all, as written in the new Bible, or Book of Mormon.
November 6, 1830. --
'Tis fulsome stuff to please thy itching ear,
Survey thy soul, not what thou dost appear,
But what thou art!'
November 8, 1830.
Shall I to thee no tribute pay,
Who formed my soul to love and truth,
And hung thy lamp to cheer my way.
"'O yes, my raptured heart shall pour
Unnumbered praises to thy name,
Though in affliction's deepest hour,
Thy hand supports my feeble frame.'
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bread of sorrow. Let those censure me who know no sin!
Sabbath, November 14, 1830 --
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THE SECOND YEAR'S IMPRISONMENT. 273
They are to be forwarded to the Governor for a pardon. Prospects seem fair. Judge Price, Loomis, and Rawspn called to see me."
The marriage of Mrs. Lucinda Morgan, wife of the abducted William Morgan occurred this day, at Batavia. Mr. George W. Harris, a Freemason, was the bridegroom. They were divorced in 1853 or 1854, in one of the Western States (Iowa we believe) upon serious charges against her. Mrs. Morgan (Harris) died in Memphis, Tenn., in the Female Asylum, in 1860.
November 25th -- Hope seems to be breaking through the dark mist of affliction, and gives me comfort in the depths of disease and distress. If the Governor listens to my petition, I shall be free. This will add new energies to my system. By invigorating the mind it will give a tone to the stomach. Applied two blisters to my head, hoping it may the last needed in this cage of unclean spirits.
November 26th -- Read Mr. Maynard and Fred Whittlesey's report to the Antimasonic Convention at Philadelphia. Vox et preterea nihil. Time will develop all things. People ere long will see that these factionists have more of self in view than public weal. It needs only time.
And chase each varying falsehood as it flies
The long arrears of ridicule to pay
And brings neglected virtue back to day.'"
Charges having been madeby the antimasonic press, that the Masonic Fraternity arranged their electioneering operations in the late elections in the
274 ELI BRUCE, THE MASONIC MARTYR.
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Since the completion of the foregoing, we have received from Dr. Silas Bruce, of Boston, Mass., a letter from which we make the following extracts. The reader will easily mark its proper place in the volume.
"Albany, 15th of February, 1829.Well Silas, tempus fugit. So we go up and down in the scales of life -- prospects rising, vanishing -- coming, receding. Success was almost within my grasp, was just visible through the long vista of civil, religious, and political thralldom. I came here on Thursday, and my business will prolong my stay until next Thursday or Friday. I have business with the Supreme Court, also with the commissionar of land office, and the Court of Exchequer. With the two latter I have some moneyed accounts, while the former has some business with me.
"I heard last night that the Supreme Court had decided the question which had been referred to
300 ELI BRUCE, THE MASONIC MARTYR.
them on my trial in Canandaigua, in my favor. I presume it is so. It is right in the nature of things. I believe I wrote you the case at length some time last fall. Nothing could have been more just and plain, and I shall realize what I expected. But I presume new persecutions will arise at our next Court of Oyer and Terminer in Niagara county. The antis are (if I may use the broad expression, h--ll bent on my conviction. Pardon the severity of the term. They have done so much and made out nothing, that they are ready to bite off the end of their tongues for disappointment. The Senate yesterday made a bill to introduce to the Lower House, proposing to debar all Masons from sitting as jurors. Nothing could be more disgusting, nothing more pusillanimous. It originated, too, in that body which is termed Honorable. But it will meet with deserved contempt in the Lower House. One of the members, not a Mason, rooms with me here. I have got hardened to affliction, so that I am quite happy and contented. Squalls and earthquakes, simoons and siroccos are all one to me! I can make a living in spite of the worst of anti-ism. A depression of spirits, a desertion of business, a tippling habit, and a want of energy are what my enemies look for in me, but they can find none of these things in or about me.
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