Boston: Mudge & Spooner, Printers, 1857. Elephant folio broadside, 22" x 17". Elaborately decorated border; advertisement for Abner W. Pollard of Boston, purveyor of "Masonic Books, Carpets, Diplomas, &c., &c." Signed in type, in thirteen columns, by more than 1500 Massachusetts Masons. Old folds, Near Fine.
The Declaration sought to counter the "inflammatory representations of certain offences, committed by a few misguided members of the Masonic Institution." The notoriety of the Morgan murder had enhanced already-existing anti-Masonic feeling. The Declaration assures the public that Masonic ceremonies and oaths do not oblige a Mason "to sustain his Masonic brethren in acts, which are at variance with the fundamental principles of morality, and incompatible with his duty as a good and faithful citizen." Freemasonry advocates "freedom of thought and speech, and permits each and every one to act according to the dictates of his own conscience in matters of religion, and of his personal preferences in matters of politics." Freemasonry is a good thing.
Fervent anti-Masonic sentiment in Massachusetts, resulting in the creation of an anti-Masonic political party, stimulated several publications of this broadside. All are rare. According to OCLC the 1831 printing [located only at AAS, NY Hist. Soc., and U UT] was followed by this 1857, and then by an 1871 broadside.
OCLC 476645026 [1- National Heritage Museum], 122941754 [3- AAS, Boston Athen., MA Hist.] as of December 2017. Item #34457