Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris of Dorchester (1768-1842) and American Freemasonry
by Janet Bush. A Paper delivered to the Dorchester Historical Society, November 16, 2008
[Janet Bush is serving as a ministerial intern at First Parish Church in Dorchester from September 2007 to June 2009. She is expecting to be ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister in April 2009. Research for this paper used church archives and other sources.]
Thaddeus Mason Harris served as senior pastor at the First Parish Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts from 1793 to 1836. Dorchester was one of the earliest Puritan churches in the new world, gathered in 1630. It is one of the five founding churches of Harvard College. And one of its first ministers, the Rev. Richard Mather, was the primary author of the Cambridge Platform.i The Cambridge Platform spelled out the rules of governance and relations within and between the early Puritan churches. It affirmed the principles of congregational polity - which meant that each church owned its own property, called its own pastor, and determined qualifications for membership. Those principles went hand in hand with the form of governance that became the New England town meeting.
Thaddeus Mason Harris also played a role in history. His pastorate spanned the period before the split among the congregationalists dubbed the Unitarian controversy, to the establishment of Unitarianism as a separate denomination. There was little or no controversy in his parish, however. One historian wrote, ?under his guidance the Dorchester parish suffered not divisions, but almost insensibly found itself in the liberal wing of the Congregational body.?ii Harris also played a sideline role in a major episode in the struggle between the conservative and liberal wings of the Congregational church; in 1807 his congregation had become too large, and divided. Harris? younger associate John Codman was called to establish Second Parish church. Codman, shortly thereafter, ignited a major controversy by refusing pulpit exchanges with liberal ministers.iii Harris and Codman, however, retained cordial relations.iv
Harris is worth studying both as a man representative of his time and as an interesting character in his own right. He wore many hats, as preacher, pastor, civic leader, naturalist, and historian. He was also a freemason, and was one of freemasonry?s ?major orators? at the turn of the century.v
This paper begins with an overview of Harris? life and interests. It then gives a brief overview of freemasonry in post-Revolutionary America, and of the objections and opposition that became a major anti-masonic movement in the 1820?s. Freemasonry as a movement was born out of the ideas and ideals of Enlightenment thinking, ideas that influenced the development of liberal Christianity as well.
Thaddeus Mason Harris - Life and Times
Thaddeus Mason Harris was born July 7, 1768, in Charlestown, MA. His family was forced to flee Charlestown ahead of the British invasion before the battle of Bunker Hill, when Harris was seven. The family resettled further west, and Harris? father died a few years later. So young Thaddeus grew up in hardship. His mother didn?t want him to pursue higher education, but he was obviously bright, and had a benefactor who encouraged him and helped with his secondary education. I suspect that the benefactor was impressed, not only with Harris intelligence, but also with his positive attitude and work ethic. Thaddeus supported himself, and his mother, by manual labor from a very young age, while studying at night. He entered Harvard in 1783, at age 15.vi (This was the customary age at that time).
Several biographers describe an incident that cemented Harris? faith and generally positive outlook. Nearly broke, Thaddeus was considering leaving Harvard. As he walked along one day, he saw something gold that had caught on his stick. It was a ring. Harris looked around, but the owner was nowhere to be seen. He went to a goldsmith, who offered him $2. The young man was so overcome with gratitude that the smith offered him another dollar. He went home and reported his good luck to his mother, who insisted on going to see the miraculous ring for herself. When she saw it, she burst into tears. The goldsmith raised his offer to $6.00.vii
Now financially secure, Harris continued his studies and graduated from Harvard in 1787. He was offered a job as librarian to George Washington, but became ill and had to decline it. He taught school, studied more theology, and in 1789 received ?approbation to preach.? He served as a librarian at Harvard for a few years, and then in December 1793 accepted the call to Dorchester. He married Mary Dix, daughter of a wealthy Dorchester (later Cambridge) family, in 1795. They had eight children.viii Mary was the aunt of Dorothea Dix, the woman who became a reformer and advocate for the mentally ill. Dix? biographer says she made use of Dr. Harris? ?excellent library.?ix
Harris? accomplishments and activities during the last decade of the 1700s and into the early 1800s were extraordinary. In 1790 he joined the Masonic lodge in Charlestown, and was active in its affairs. During that decade he wrote the constitution for the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. And before his call to Dorchester, in 1793, he published a Natural History of the Bible that went into multiple printings over several decades. In 1804 he published a six volume Encyclopedia. He wrote, preached, and addressed masonic lodge openings and other gatherings throughout the state. In 1806, he joined the Union Lodge, in Dorchester.10
In 1803, ?after a severe fit of sickness, he was induced to undertake a journey to the then newly-formed state of Ohio, which he accomplished on horseback.?xi On returning, he published a Journal of a tour into the territory northwest of the Alleghany [sic] Mountains, made in the spring of the year 1803: with a geographical and historical account of the state of Ohio. In 1807 he edited and published Exercises of piety, or, Meditations by G.J. Zollikofer.
Like many educated men of his time, Harris took an interest in natural history and the natural world, as well as in history and the bible. He explains that the purpose of the Natural History of the Bible was to provide a ?clear and correct explanation? of ?the various beasts, birds and plants which are expressly mentioned or incidentally referred to? in the Bible, as an aid to:
1. better understanding the ?distinction between clean and unclean Animals?xii ...2. to help clear up obscure passages, and 3. to help ?confirm ... the truth of scripture history.?xiii The Natural History is an incredibly detailed, painstaking work in which he refers to 51 ?principal authorities? in Latin, French, English, Hebrew and Greek. His subjects included plants, animals, and minerals. It is difficult to resist quoting him. On frogs:
A frog, is, in itself, a harmless animal; but to most people who use it not as an article of food, exceedingly loathsome. God could with equal ease, have sent crocodiles, lions or tygers to have punished the Egyptians and their impious king. ... In the present instance, he shews the greatness of his power by making an animal devoid of every evil quality, the means of a terrible affliction to his enemies. ... Though he is Lord of hosts, he has no need of powerful armies, ... or the thunderbolts of justice, to punish a ... sinful nation; the frog, or the fly, in his hands, is a sufficient instrument of vengeance.xiv
A mention of the ?Lord?s vengeance,? or vengeance of any kind, is unusual in Harris? writings. Here, in 1801, he talks about covenant in terms of how a person should behave.
It hath pleased the great GOD, whose right to command his creatures is absolute, ... to promise certain privileges and blessings on condition of their performing certain duties: so that his bestowing of the favours is stipulated upon their compliance with the terms upon which they are offered. Their engaging to do so, is called entering into covenant with him, ... and declaring an intention faithfully to comply with them.xv
We enter into covenant with God, says Harris. He never suggests that God is a judge who condemns without reason. His message is one of encouragement to an upright, moral life, one in which God?s ?creatures? have a duty to society, self and God. ?God hath given us great and precious promises,? and we must hold up our part of the covenant.xvi This was the kind of theology that the more conservative and evangelical clergy worried about. It is a good example of what the Unitarian historian Conrad Wright calls Harris? liberal tendencies.xvii
Harris? pastoral kindness and tolerant, mild theological outlook are apparent in other sermons and addresses. In an ordination sermon in Brookline, he advises the congregation to ?kindly receive (your new minister?s) every hint of reasonable caution and friendly admonition,?.xviii In a sermon addressing his ?beloved flock? on New Year?s Day, he writes, ?
Good success, accompanied with good health, is the perfection of worldly prosperity. A good conscience, added to these, constitutes the perfection of earthly happiness.? Yet, compared with the worth of your immortal souls and the intrinsic value of religion, earthly prosperity and bodily health are of inconsiderable importance.xix
The sermon ends with ?grateful acknowledgment of the kindness of Providence? and an affectionate wish:
May your tranquility be prolonged, your prosperity increased, and all the amenities of life improved! Especially may the comforts and the pleasures of religion be enjoyed by you in all their happiest influence and extent!xx
Here is Harris, the pastor, optimist, and responsible citizen of his village and nation.
His biographers consistently describe Harris? character as ?amiable.? He is, wrote Clarence Jewett, remembered for his ?genial nature and sparkling wit,? as well as his ?deep interest in history and people of the town.?xxi Jewett, Conrad Wright, and Samuel May Eliot all note that Harris was active and influential in many aspects of civic life. He was a member of the Mass. Historical Society, Horticultural Society, Humane Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Peace Society, Antiquarian Society, Congregational Charitable Society, Archaeological Society of Athens, Greece, and corresponding member of the Georgia Historical Society. He was also a member of the Dorchester Historical Society.xxii
He served as superintendent of schools, and he and John Codman served together on a committee that deliberated, and then recommended that Dorchester residents be vaccinated with the new smallpox vaccine, during or around the time of the War of 1812.xxiii He also continued to publish, writing a Textuary, or Guide to Preachers in the Selecting of Texts, in 1818.xxiv
Upon his retirement, at age 66, Harris undertook to research and publish a biography of James Oglethorpe, the founder and first governor of Georgia. It was his last published work, the revised edition coming out in 1841. An interesting feature of the Oglethorpe biography is what Harris omitted. James Oglethorpe, among his many accomplishments, founded the first masonic lodge in Georgia, in 1734 or 35.xxv Nowhere in his otherwise painstakingly detailed, chronologically organized biography, does Harris mention this fact.xxvi What happened?
Rev. Harris was deeply involved in and committed to freemasonry as a younger man.xxvii During the late 17th and early 18th centuries Harris addressed Masonic lodges across the state on a regular basis, and he championed masonry?s virtues when the fraternity came under attack. Yet his biographers do not mention Harris? connection to the craft.
Overview of Freemasonry in America 1790-1830
Freemasonry, writes one of its modern proponents and chroniclers, ?is a symbol of man?s search for wisdom, brotherhood and charity. ... Through rituals, symbols and obligations, ...(a brother) becomes a part of a community, as he begins his own individual search.?xxviii
The movement began in England, in the early 1700s. Influenced by Enlightenment ideas of rationalism, the founders of freemasonry developed a system of values, with symbols and rituals based on the medieval stonemason guilds, hence the designation of ?craft.?
A group of learned Englishmen discovered in the relatively recent stories and rituals of a contemporary group of artisans the signs of an antiquity that powerfully expressed their deepest beliefs about God and the nature of truth.?xxix
Masonry came to the colonies in the 1700s, and it played an active role in the life of the early republic. At its best, it was a fraternity where men from different stations could mingle as brothers, educate and encourage each other in their moral and spiritual development, and join forces to help one another and the community. Washington, Franklin, Paul Revere, and Andrew Jackson were freemasons. Its symbols were displayed on monuments and on the U.S. seal, and public institutions were dedicated with its ceremonies.
Freemasonry?s value were inspired by Enlightenment thinking. They stressed learning and science, with a ?Lockean epistemology that suggested that information obtained by the senses formed the raw material for later thought.?xxx Their Constitution, written by James Anderson in 1723, declares
A Mason is oblig?d ... to obey the moral Law; ... he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. ... Tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty.xxxi
A mason must also adhere to the code of ?Brotherly Love,? and be a ?peaceable subject to the Civil Powers.?xxxii
Initially deist rather than Christian, by the 19th century Masonic brotherhoods increasingly insisted their members hold some form of Christian belief.xxxiii Beyond that, Masons were required to leave doctrinal differences behind them in the lodge. The individual work of a Mason was to attain the various ?levels,? each associated with moral and spiritual development through greater understanding of the secrets and precepts of the craft.xxxiv Harris? beliefs in God, ?brotherly love,? moral integrity, respect for civil powers, self-improvement and service to one?s fellow masons and community were all masonic values.
Freemasonry?s emphasis on unity and brotherhood, and on logic and order, appealed to Harris. We see his affection for order, learning and science in the breadth of his interests and writings. In one biography Samuel Atkins Eliot, marveling over the extent and number of Harris? accomplishments, also notes ?The secret of his accomplishing so much was his untiring industry, and a perfectly methodical arrangement of his time.?xxxv A eulogist noted, ?In his study there was an arrangement, a classification, an order, in every department of intellectual pursuit, or learning and of business.? And the Reverend Harris displayed, ?a constant and most assiduous employment of time.?xxxvi
As noted above, his contemporaries saw Harris as amiable, compassionate, and as someone who shied away from conflict. In a ?Charge at the Opening of a Lodge,? Harris writes,
Come, then, ye who are emulous to excel in the true, the good, or the great! ... Come, you are welcome guests at the feast of CHARITY and the refreshment of LOVE!
?May the joys of UNITY and PEACE prevail!?xxxvii
Harris? broadmindedness, which we might suspect from knowing that he maintained cordial ties with Codman despite the controversy Codman stirred up, is expressed in another of his Masonic addresses:
Such are the imperfections of our nature, such the diversities or prejudices of our education, and in such different lights do we see the same things, that it is not probable we ever concur exactly in the same opinions. ... (It is) reasonable and just ... (that) we should make allowances for these things.xxxviii
The values of the craft were consonant with Harris? religious values. He praised freemasonry, saying that as the Christian religion is concerned with ?benevolence and peace,? so is freemasonry known for its ?pacific and benevolent disposition.?xxxix Freemasonry, he writes,
inspires its member with the most exalted ideas of God, and leads to the exercise of the most pure and sublime piety. A reverence for the supreme Being ... is the elemental life, the primordial force of all its principles.xl
The masonic lodge was, for Harris, a pulpit from which he preached his moderate liberal values. In a lecture on the Book of Revelation, Harris? liberal tendencies surface:
Here we are assured that in another and better world the true follower of Jesus shall be admitted to a friendship, the pledges and privileges, the satisfactions and the glories of which, can be felt, understood, and realized only by the honored and highly favored receiver. ... O blessed revelation that opens such wonders! What encouragement and hope are here! ... (Every man must) begin to be that which we hope to be forever.xli
It seems clear that the moral life, for Harris, promised heavenly rewards. In a hymn he wrote for a Lodge, he sings,
May all the sons of peace
Their every grace improve;
?Till discord through the nations cease,
AND ALL THE WORLD BE LOVE!xlii
One would almost think Harris had been a Universalist.
Through freemasonry, Harris met and mingled with Universalists, and with members of other Christian denominations. Interestingly, the list of subscribers to the Masonic Discourses puts clergy in a separate section, the only profession to be so distinguished. They are a denominationally diverse lot. Universalist John Murray of Boston is on the list, as are Ezra Ripley of Concord and two other Unitarians, two Congregationalists, and two Episcopalians.xliii
This brief exploration of Harris? Masonic Discourses raises questions. Harris was a joiner. Although he may have benefited from the social connections masonry provided, he had a large parish and was deeply involved in many other organizations as well. Freemasonry must have met a specific need. We may wonder if Harris? theology evolved through his association with freemasonry, and/or if he was attracted and committed to it because it appealed to his nature and confirmed his values and faith. There is an interesting connection between the contemporary criticisms of freemasonry and the conservative element in the congregational churches of that time.
At the turn of the century, criticism of masonry was leveled by people who were suspicious of its secret rituals, and, somewhat paradoxically, both jealous of its exclusivism and worried about its apparent disregard for social differences.
Even as they pledged their loyalty to republican values of equality, ... such claims paradoxically also allowed brothers to assert high standing for themselves. ... The fraternity encouraged and taught high moral and intellectual standards by creating ?select associations of the most exemplary individuals.? ... (Members needed to have the capacity) to be ?enlightened by truth,? and ?exercise a rational and universal benevolence.? Brothers also claimed that Masonic training increased this original superiority.xliv
One turn of the century anti-mason was the Rev. Jedidiah Morse, who was also an active and vituperative member of the Congregational clergy who opposed the liberal ?takeover? of Harvard.xlv Morse, and Yale?s Timothy Dwight, another conservative Congregationalist, ?had echoed allegations circulating in Europe among Catholics and conservative that Masonry was the secret force behind the French revolution.?xlvi Masons like Harris felt the need to respond to this, and other charges.
Harris spoke frequently in freemasonry?s defense.xlvii Within the fraternity, he urged upright living, telling his brothers that ?a good life is an unanswerable refutation of every charge.?xlviii In the same address, he shows an aspect of Masonic conservatism, saying that one way to defend the craft is:
by our zeal for the interests of our country; by maintaining, supporting, and defending its civil and religious rights and liberties; by paying all due allegiance, honor and submission to its magistrates, ... by leading peaceable lives.
This is necessary, to
silence the approbrious allegations of those who strive to prejudice the public against Free Masonry by insinuating it is ?the hot-bed of sedition,? and fraught with purposes for the subversions of all government and rule.xlix
In what sounds like a direct defense against Morse, he counters the charge of ?favoring modern notions of ?Liberty and Equality.??
It is only that voluntary and temporary condescension of superiors to inferiors which takes place during the meeting of the lodge; where it is considered essential to unanimity and promotion of brotherly love.l
Outside the lodge, he takes pains to point out, proper class distinctions are maintained. Equality, yes, but only behind closed doors.
So Harris was no radical. His association with the masons may also have influenced his stance on other issues, like slavery. Lodges, despite the Masonic avowal of universal brotherhood, were (unsurprisingly) not open to African-Americans. In 1775, Prince Hall, a freed African and property owner, established a Masonic lodge for Massachusetts men of color. In 1784, his African Lodge No. 459 received its charter from England.li Prince Hall worked for reforms and better treatment of Massachusetts? African-American population, in part inspired by the egalitarian values of the masonic order.lii
Harris counted himself publicly as opposed to slavery. He addressed an African American audience at a celebration of cessation of the slave trade, saying,
(All members of) the human race have a common Creator, a common origin, and a common nature. ... However they may be distinguished by outward circumstances, they possess the same affections, passions and sensibilities.
But then he continues,
Divine Providence prescribed the bounds of the habitation; so that respective territories of each are designated, that they might not be encroached upon nor invaded.liii
For Harris, Africans and Europeans shared a common God and nature, but were destined by their God to be separate. Harris was a member of a Masonic committee formed to consider the question of slavery in 1822.liv He was not an abolitionist; he supported the American Colonization Society, and re-colonization.lv
Unlike Harris, his successor, the Rev. Nathaniel Hall, was an abolitionist and was a colleague of Theodore Parker?s. The Dorchester church has, among its treasures, a chair that Parker gave to Hall. Interestingly, the abolitionist movement was closely related to antimasonic sentiment that escalated and reached its peak between 1825 and 1835. A number of abolitionists, including William Lloyd Garrison, were antimasons. Abolitionists borrowed tools and tactics from antimasonry in their cause.lvi
Harris continued his active involvement in masonry through at least the mid 1820s.lvii In the late 1820s opposition to freemasonry increased. The escalation may have been triggered by ?conspicuous displays and ceremonies, with Masonic pomp and symbolism,? during Lafayette?s visit to the United States in 1824. The proceedings of the Massachusetts Grand lodge describe Lafayette?s visit to Boston as ?one of the greatest days in Lodge history.?lix However, as one historian notes, ?Such ostentatious displays for a European aristocrat troubled certain citizens and reminded them of Washington?s warning ?against the insidious wile of foreign influence.??lx
Then, in 1826, William Morgan of Canandaigua, New York, a former mason, announced his intention to publish a description of masonic rituals along with an insider?s critique of the brotherhood. Morgan was harassed, then kidnapped and most likely murdered. He disappeared, and his body was never found. The scandal was publicized all over the country. Public outcry resulted in persecution of masons in all the states.
The antimasonic movement mushroomed out of the outrage at the Morgan affair; it became organized into the country?s first political third party, and it ?appealed to the same attitudes that had been fostering increased democratization of American politics? in the Jacksonian eralxi (although, ironically, Jackson himself was a mason).
Many freemasons resigned, both lay and clergy. Lodges were attacked and closed.lxii ?Many brothers who remained unconvinced by Antimasonic arguments recognized the dangers of opposing the attack.?lxiii I wondered, as I did my research, if Rev. Harris resigned. Steven Bullock, who has studied the relationship between freemasonry and religion in the 19th century, says that freemasonry largely appealed to younger men. Perhaps, I thought, Harris had moved on.lxiv
Freemasonry and Unitarian Universalist History - A Story With More to Tell?
Evangelical, conservative Christianity continued to be linked to antimasonic efforts. Daniel Walker Howe and others point to a relationship between antimasonic feeling and the Second Great Awakening of the 1820s.lxv In Massachusetts, one of the founders of the antimasonic movement was Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, a doctor and Harvard professor of medicine. Waterhouse was what one historian calls a religious ?troublemaker,? as well, ?sympathizing with the Calvinists who lost the battle to name the professor of divinity at Harvard and with Rev. Abiel Homes, a moderate Calvinist driven by liberals from Cambridge?s First Church.?lxvi Waterhouse was also responsible for promoting Jenner?s smallpox vaccine,lxvii the very vaccine Harris had helped Dorchester decide to administer to its citizens a decade earlier.
Antimasons criticized Freemasonry as a ?rival religion.?lxviii The Rev. Moses Thacher, writing for an anthology of antimasonic tracts published in 1830, writes,
There .. lies the true secret of that opposition to Freemasonry, which is expressed by some of our most serious and conscientious men in society. They have considered masons as erecting a system of religion, in distinction from, and in opposition to, the religion of the gospel, (and) ... they have had their reasons for so thinking. ... They have seen, in Charts and Monitors, prayers and other forms of religious service, in which neither the name, more the atonement of Christ, is recognized. They have heard the burial service ... which virtually pronounces the deceased in heaven, let his moral character have been what it might.lxix
The same criticisms could of course be addressed to the liberal Unitarians and the Universalists, as well.
Most historians agree that, although related, ?the evangelical surge known as the Second Great Awakening did not ?cause? the spread of antimasonry.?lxx But, as noted earlier, in the early 1800s, ?many Americans believed that Freemasonry carried ... the European seeds of aristocratic social relations, commercialized values, and secularized faith.?lxxi The Morgan affair, plus the odd combination of secrecy, a blend of egalitarian ?brotherhood? within and perceived elitism without, and the masonic ?warmed-over versions of naturalized religion? doomed freemasonry, at least for the time.
What happened to Harris? relationship with freemasonry? Rev. Harris? name appears many times in the proceedings of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, as a loyal attendee at meetings and a member of the various committees, through about 1823. And then - a gap. The minutes of one meeting in 1830 noted his resignation as Trustee of the Grand Charity Fund, although he didn?t attend that meeting.
In 1837, Harris? name appears again, as an attendee at a meeting at which the speaker ?briefly sketched the history of the persecution thro which the fraternity had just passed, (and) concluded with an able and satisfactory vindication of the time honored principles of the Institution.?lxxii
So Harris remained a loyal mason throughout the period of controversy, even if he did not attend regular meetings of the Grand Lodge. The eulogy delivered at the Masonic memorial service gives us a sense of the toll the controversy must have taken on him. His fellow mason Benjamin Huntoon wrote that Harris? ?nature recoiled? from this turmoil:
From his age, his character, his profession, and high standing in Society, he was selected as a prominent mark for the shafts of anti-masonic proscription and vituperation. ... He was frequently insulted by printed papers sent to him, containing the most scurrilous abuse of his characted ... because he would not ... renounc our time-hallowed Institution - whose principles he had early espoused - whose patrons he deeply revered - whose members he sincerely loved.
In the midst of the dark rolling torrent, he stood a rock, the peaceful sunbeams of heaven resting on its smiling brow.
Freemasonry, to those outside it, may seem intriguing and strange, with its arcane symbolism and rituals, and with that paradoxical blend of egalitarian, faith-filled values and elitism. But this exploration of Rev. Harris suggests that freemasonry may be part of the story of how Unitarian and Universalist ideas developed. Why did Harris give freemasonry so much of his time and passion? His speeches and sermons point to a strong connection between liberal early 19th century congregational theology and the main tenets of freemasonry. Rev. David Johnson, Brookline, MA emeritus minister, told me recently that there are many associations beween the masons and New England Universalists.
I remain curious, also, as to why the connections between freemasonry and the early development of liberal religion are not well known. Harris was an historian, a pastor, a responsible citizen and a man of good will who reflected many of the values of his time. Perhaps he would urge us to explore these connections. Or perhaps he would smile genially, and suggest we go learn more about frogs.
i Conrad Wright. History of UU Polity, Chapter 1 ? (downloaded from the UUA website)
ii Samuel Atkins Eliot. Heralds of a Liberal Faith. Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1910. Page 212.
iii Conrad Wright. ?Institutional Reconstruction in the Unitarian Controversy? in The Unitarian Controversy. Boston: Skinner House Books, 1994. PDF format downloaded from course website, page 2.
iv The First Parish Church Dorchester archives include a copy of Codman?s sermons inscribed to Rev. Harris. Jewett (see note xxii below) reports that they worked together in various civic capacities, including the smallpox commission. Codman returned to First Parish to preach. He gave the prayer at its bicentennial celebration in June 1830.
v Steven Bullock. Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840. University of North Carolina Press, 1996. Page 176.
vi Eliot, page 206.
vii Eliot, page 208.
viii Eliot, page 208.
ix Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Stranger and Traveler: The Story of Dorothea Dix, Reformer. Little Brown and Co., 1975. Page 45.
x Harris? name is listed in the records of the Dorchester Union Lodge. I am grateful to Norman Brown, a longtime member of First Parish Dorchester, for providing me with access to this information.
xi Dorchester Athenaeum, ?From The Clapp Memorial. Boston, 1876, p. 218? http://www.dorchesteratheneum.org/page.php?id=724
xii Thaddeus Mason Harris, The Natural History of the Bible. Boston: Weeds and Lilly, 1820. (Originally published 1793). Page iii.
xiii Harris, Natural History, page v.
xiv Ibid, page 175.
xv Thaddeus Mason Harris, Discourse on Covenant Engagements in the Christian Church, delivered at Dorchester on Communion Day, December 6, 1801. Unpublished sermon collection, printed by Manning & Loring.
xvi Ibid, page 17.
xvii Conrad Wright, ?Institutional Reconstruction in the Unitarian Controversy.? PDF format downloaded from course website, page 3.
xviii Thaddeus Mason Harris, A Sermon Preached at the Ordination of the Rev. John Pierce, to the Pastoral Care of the Church and Christian Society in Brookline. March 15, 1797. Unpublished sermon collection, printed by Manning&Loring. Page 29.
xix Harris, The New Year?s Wish of an Affectionate Minister for the People of his Charge; Addressed to them in a Sermon. Preached at Dorchester, January 1, 1796. Unpublished sermon collection, printed by Manning&Loring. Page 13.
xx Thaddeus Mason Harris, ?The New Year?s Wish of an Affectionate Minister for the People of his Charge; Addressed to them in a Sermon.? Preached at Dorchester, January 1, 1796. Bound volume of privately collected sermons, 1796-1804. Page 24.
xxi Clarence F. Jewett, in Justin Winsor, ed. The Memorial History of Boston: Including Suffolk County, Massachusetts, 1630-1880. Vol. III. The Revolutionary Period. Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1881. Page 592.
xxii Eliot, page 210.
xxiii Ibid, page 591.
xxiv Yale University Library Catalog.
xxv Rev. Forrest D. Haggard. The Clergy and the Craft. Missouri Lodge of Research. Ovid Bell Press, 1970. Page 95. AND http://www.freemason.org/cClarfo/spring_2004/history2.htm
xxvi Thaddeus Mason Harris. Biographical Memorials of James Oglethorpe. Project Gutenberg online books. Originally published 1841. Reviewed descriptions of Oglethorpe?s activities during the year 1734, and did a word search on ?lodge,? ?Savannah,? and ?Mason? in a downloaded version of the book.
xxvii Samuel Eliot (Eliot, page 210) notes that Harris was a member of the Mass. Historical Society, Horticultural Society, Humane Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Peace Society, Antiquarian Society, Congregational Charitable Society, Archaeological Society of Athens, Greece, and corresponding member of the Georgia Historical Society. There is no mention of his lodge connections. Was his Masonic connection considered an embarrassment by later biographers?
xxviii Mark. A. Tabbert. American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities. National Heritage Museum, Lexington, MA and NY University Press, 2005. Page 13.
xxix Bullock, page 25.
xxx Bullock, page 140.
xxxi James Anderson. The Constitutions of Free-masons. London, Anno 5723 (1723) Reprinted in Philadelphia, Anno Domini 1734. Page 48.
xxxii Anderson, pages 50 and 57.
xxxiii Bullock, page 171.
xxxiv Tabbert, page 7.
xxxv Eliot, page 209.
xxxvi Rev. Benjamin Huntoon, Eulogy Delivered by the request of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts at the Funeral in Commemoration of Rev. and R.W. Thaddeus Mason Harris D.D., May 4, 1842.
xxxvii Thaddeus Mason Harris, ?Charge at the Opening of a Lodge,? in Masonic Discourses. Charlestown, MA: Samuel Etheridge, 1801.
xxxviii Thaddeus Mason Harris. Discourse III: Delivered at Wrentham (Lodge Opening), October 10, 1798. In Harris, Masonic Discourses. Charlestown, MA: Samuel Etheridge, 1801. Page 5
xxxix Thaddeus Mason Harris. Discourse II: Delivered at Oxford (Lodge Opening), September 13, 1798. In Harris, Masonic Discourses. Charlestown, MA: Samuel Etheridge, 1801. Page 42.
xl Ibid, page 49.
xli Thaddeus Mason Harris. Discourse V: ?Freemasonry Glorified,? in Harris, Masonic Discourses. Charlestown, MA: Samuel Etheridge, 1801. Pages 90 and 91.
xlii Thaddeus Mason Harris. ?A HYMN, Sung at the Consecration of Union Lodge, in Dorchester, June 24, 1797.? in A Sermon, Preached at Dorchester, June 24, 1797 by Peter Thacher, D.D. Boston: Samuel Hall, 1797.
xliii Harris, Masonic Discourses, page 334. I ascertained denomination affiliation by web search and found all but one minister on a church website.
xliv Bullock, page 152.
xlv Paul Goodman. Towards a Christian Republic: Antimasonry and the Great Transition in New England, 1826-1836. Oxford University Press, 1988. Page 55.
xlvi Goodman, page 55.
xlvii Bullock, page 176.
xlviii Thaddeus Mason Harris. Discourse XI: On the best way of defending freemasonry, in Harris, Masonic Discourses. Page 219.
xlix Ibid, page 220-221.
l Thaddeus Mason Harris. Discourse VIII: On preserving the credit of the institution, in Harris, Masonic Discourses. Page 147.
li Tabbert, page 38.
lii Bullock, pages 159-161.
liii Thaddeus Mason Harris, ?A Discourse Delivered before the African Society in Boston, 15th of July, 1822, on the Anniversary Celebration of the Abolition of the Slave Trade.? Boston: Phelps and Farnham, 1822. Pages 3, 4, and 15.
liv Slavery chronology at http://innercity.org/holt/chron_1790_1829.html ?1822/03/09 Masonic Meeting held in the Senate Chamber in the United States Capital, to organize a General Grand Lodge of the Untied Sates The group adapted a unanimous resolution offered by Henry Clay Grand Master of Kentucky (1820) calling upon the various Grand Lodges to consider the matter at their next annual meeting. The committee was headed by John Marshall, Grand Master of Virginia (1793-1795) and included Reverend Thaddeus Mason Harris of Massachusetts, one of the best known Masons of the day. (Ray Baker Harris, Sesqui-Centennial History of the Grand Lodge Free and accepted Masons, District of Columbia, 1811-1961, Washington, DC, 1962)?
lv Mitch Kachun, Festivals of Freedom: Meaning and Memory in African American Emancipation. University of Massachusetts Press, 2006. Page 29.
lvi Goodman, page 292.
lvii The last of Harris? published masonic addresses I was able to locate was delivered in 1824 - a ?Discourse? on the interment of R.W. James Davenport, Master of Union Lodge, in 1824. (Harvard Library Catalog).
lviii Goodman (page 158) describes the furor stirred up by Antimasons when Lafayette put in an appearance at the cornerstone laying of the Bunker Hill Monument, in Charlestown, MA.
lix Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 1815-1825. Boston: Caustic Claflin Co., page 116.
lx Tabbert, page 57.
lxi Daniel Walker Howe. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. Oxford University Press, 2007.
lxii Ibid. page 64.
lxiii Bullock, page 290.
lxiv It seems odd that there is no mention of his masonic involvement in the biographies I read, except if one takes the depth of feeling stirred up by Antimasons into account. And, as noted earlier, it?s striking that Harris does not mention that Oglethorpe founded a lodge in Savannah. The librarian at the National Heritage Museum, Lexington, MA suggested to me that many masons kept this aspect of their lives separate, and that such omissions were somewhat common.
lxv Tabbert, page 58.
lxvi Goodman, page 159.
lxviii Howe, page 269.
lxix Rev. Moses Thacher. ?The Abuse and Perversion of the Masonic Institution? in James Odiorne, ed. Opinions on Speculative Freemasonry, Relative to its Origin, Nature and Tendency. Commissioned by the State Anti-Masonic Committee of Massachusetts. Boston: Perkins and Marvin, 1830. Page 27.
lxx Goodman, page 236.
lxxii Proceedings of the Massachusetts General Lodge, 1826-1844, page 476.
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Created: December 13, 2008 Modified: December 15, 2008