The Murals in the Memorial Hall of the Montreal Masonic Memorial Temple
When the decision was taken to complete the Memorial Hall of the Montreal Masonic Memorial Temple, an invitation was extended to R.W. Bro. A.J.B. Milborne to submit a number of subjects which would lend themselves to a series of murals. Six subjects were selected and two artists, Bro. Adam Sheriff-Scott R.C.A.. of Zetland Lodge No. 12, and Bro. Charles W. Kelsey of Mount Royal Lodge No. 32 were commissioned to paint the murals. This they did with skill and artistry, which has earned them deserved admiration and appreciation.
It is almost impossible to conceive of the difficulties associated with the undertaking. Apart from establishing the sizes of the murals and the scale of the various figures to be consistent one with the other, it was necessary to contact Grand Lodges and individuals to obtain portraits of the leading figures so that they could be incorporated. The artists submitted sketches which were modified and updated several times as more information was obtained and to ensure consistency between the murals. Other details were also researched in order to reproduce as accurately as possible the actual conditions. These were incorporated when available, and no effort was spared to ensure accuracy.
The First Meeting of the Craft in Quebec
The first meeting of the Lodges in the Quebec Garrison was held on November 28, 1759 which "was so soon as Convenient after the Surrender of this place to His Britannic Majesty's Arms". The meeting was attended by the Masters and Wardens of the six Lodges in the regiments of the British forces. At this meeting Lieut. John Price Guinnett was elected as Provincial Grand Master and the mural depicts his installation. He appointed Captain Span as his Deputy and Bros. Huntingford and Prentice as Grand Wardens.
Lieut Prentice would eventually open a Tavern and acquire the famous Chien d'Or. The stone on which the Chien d'Or was carved now graces the facade of the Post Office building. Also in the picture is Col. Simon Frazer of the Frazer Highlanders and Sgt. Saunders "Sandy" Simpson. The latter's daughter, Mary would in 1782 become the object of the love of the young sea Captain of H.M.S. Albermarle. Had a friend not dissuaded Horatio Nelson from resigning his commission to marry Mary and settle in Quebec, British history may have taken a vastly different turn.
Also in the picture is Sgt. James Thompson, for nearly twenty years Grand Secretary of the Provincial Grand Lodge, who served thirteen times as Master and fourteen times as a warden of his Lodge. He later participated, at the age of 95, in the laying of the foundation stone of the Wolfe-Moncalm monument.
The Provincial Grand Lodge operated until 1792. Nearly sixty Lodges have been identified as being under its authority. It established Lodges as far west as Detroit and as far east as Fredricton. It also established a Lodge in Vargennes, Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain. The Lodge met in one of the few buildings left standing after the bombardment of the city, and even it had not escaped undamaged.
Frontispiece to the Constitutions of 1723
The Mural depicts the frontispiece of the "Constitutions of the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons" published by Dr. James Anderson in 1723. This subject was intended to remind the Craft that the Grand Lodge of Quebec derived its authority from the original Grand Lodge of England, known as the "Moderns" The principal personages are John, Duke of Montagu, Grand Master of Masons in England in 1721, wearing the robes of the Garter, handing to his successor Philip, Duke of Wharton, a roll of the Constitutions. Behind each Grand Master stand his officers: Dr. John Beal, Deputy Grand Master, Josias Villeneau and Thomas Morris Grand Wardens on the one side and on the other Dr. Jean Théophile Desaguliers , Deputy Grand Master, Joshua Timson and William Hawkins, Wardens.
The most interesting of the personages is Dr. Desaguliers who was Grand Master in 1719, and served as Deputy Grand Master in 1722-3 and again in 1725. Desaguliers was a French Huguenot who was smuggled out of France in a barrel as a child. He graduated from Oxford University and became a member of the Royal Society of London. He was the strength behind Anderson during the preparation of the Constitutions and was responsible for the creation of the Grand Lodge Benevolent Fund. He promoted Freemasonry wherever he traveled was called on by the Craft for the initiation of members of the Royal Family.
Laying the Foundation Stone of the Wolfe-Montcalm Monument
The Foundation Stone of the Wolfe-Moncalm Monument was laid in Quebec in 1828 with Masonic honours. The team was under the direction of R.W. Bro. Claude Dénéchau, Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Quebec and Three Rivers. The Governor, the Earl of Dalhousie was present at the ceremony. At the appropriate moment the Governor invited the R.W. Bro. Provincial Grand Master to conduct the ceremony according to Masonic practices. R.W. Bro. Dénéchau, supported by Deputy Grand Master Oliva and P.D.G.M. William A. Thompson, approached the stone and proceeded with the ceremony. On reaching the point of striking the three mystic strokes, he addressed James Thompson: "Mr. Thompson, we honour you here as the companion in arms and a venerable living witness of the fall of Wolfe, do us the also the favour to bear witness on this occasion by the Mallet in your hand." Mr. Thompson then gave the three strokes with the Mallet on the stone. James Thompson was then 95 years old and was one of the last survivors of the Battle for Quebec. He was supported by the arm of Captain Young of the 79th Highlanders whose pencil had produced the chaste and appropriate design used in the creation of the monument. James Thompson had been a Mason some seventy years.
Laying the Corner Stone of the Richardson Wing,
Montreal General Hospital
The foundation stone of the Montreal General Hospital was laid with Masonic honours by Sir John Johnson, Provincial Grand Master of Lower Canada on June 6, 1821. Ten years later the corner stone of an addition to the hospital, to be known as the Richardson Wing was laid on September 16, 1831 by R.W. Bro. John Molson, Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge for the District of Montreal and William Henry. The Honour Guard was under the command of Lieut Blais and the party included W.Bro. J.S. McCord, Grand Senior Warden, Bro. The Rev. Brook Bridge Stevens, Grand Chaplain, Bro. The Hon. William Badgley, Past Grand Junior Warden and other Grand and Past Grand Officers. The Hon. John Richardson was a merchant and contractor for the building of the Lachine Canal, who had always taken a great interest in the Montreal General Hospital. After his death the citizens took subscriptions for a monument in his honour. The moneys received were so far in excess of the expected cost that they used it instead to build a new wing to the hospital as the best means of honoring the dead, while providing utility to the living.
The Funeral of Sir John Johnson
Sir John Johnson was born in America in 1742. He took part in the French and Indian Wars and organized a loyalist regiment, known as the "Queen's Royal Greens", which fought in the War of Independence. He moved to Canada after the war, where he was appointed Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs for British North America from 1791.
Sir John Johnson was initiated into Royal Lodge, London in 1767. He was appointed Provincial Grand Master of New York in 1771 and was the fifth person to hold that office. After his arrival in Canada he was appointed Provincial Grand Master for Canada. He was a visitor to St Peter's Lodge in Montreal and moved the seat of the Provincial Grand Lodge from Quebec to Montreal. He continued in this office until his death in 1830.
A Special Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Montreal and William Henry was called on January 8, 1830 to assist in the interment of the late R.W. Bro. Sir John Johnson with the Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. John Molson presiding. The burial service in Christ's Church was conducted by Bro. the Rev. B.B. Stevens. After the service the Grand Lodge proceeded with the body to the St. Lawrence River where the body was embarked to be conveyed to the family vault.
The Natural Lodge Room on Owl's Head Mountain
In 1803, the Grand Lodge of Vermont warranted a Lodge which met in buildings close to or straddling the international boundary line between Stanstead and Derby Line, of which many Stanstead residents were members. The War of 1812 disturbed the harmony of the Lodge and the Canadian brethren petitioned the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Canada for a warrant to establish their own Lodge. The petition was granted and Golden Rule Lodge came into being.
In 1857, the Lodge obtained a Dispensation to open a Lodge in the natural Lodge room on the summit of Owl's Head Mountain which overlooks beautiful Lake Memphramagog. The Lodge thus preserved the tradition of our predecessors to meet "on the highest mountains and lowest valleys in the world, a day's journey from a town, without the bark of a dog, or the crow of a cock. The Lodge has continued the tradition to this day meeting without fail, rain or shine, on the nearest Saturday to St. John the Baptist day, every year since. The picture depicts the initiation of Alexander Murray on June 24, 1858 under the direction of W. Bro. Eli Gustin, Worshipful Master.