Hence, in the early days of the world’s history we discern the principle of association and co-operation, with plans and systems embodying its practical application. Organizations came into being, obedient to the summons of necessity. How well the various organizations have wrought along the pathway of centuries, and how great or small may have been the measure of their success, I am not here to discuss, much less to determine. Each has done its work in its own way, and pockets responsibility for results. Common courtesy and candor suggest that each has been largely animated by highest and worthiest of motives.
Reared upon the broad catholic principle of brotherhood, extending its helpful hand from nation to nation, and from continent to continent, linking its votaries together with the golden triple chain of Friendship, Love and Truth, can afford to be friendly with each, and have a kindly word for all societies that reach down after and raise up a fallen brother, and if possible make him wiser, better and happier. Should a like courtesy be extended to this order, while it would certainly constitute a new departure, it would prove none the less gratifying. But, from certain sources, the order has been the recipient of a peculiar kind of consideration, so long that “the memory of man scarce runneth to the contrary.” Inflamed appeals and bristling denunciations have gone out against it, “while great, swelling words”—swollen with hatred, bigotry, prejudice and superstition—have assailed it relentlessly and almost uninterruptedly. Mainly, these assaults have been met with the terse and pointed invocation, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”
That this great and potent brotherhood may not, in all its parts and jurisdictions, have so deported itself, and so carried forward its work, as to be justly free from unfavorable criticism and merited censure, is probably true. As with organizations, there is sometimes too much haste displayed in gathering, and too little discrimination exercised in selecting, the materials that are brought as component parts of the great superstructure of Odd-Fellowship. Too much daubing with untempered mortar—too great a desire for the exhibition of numerical force, and the multiplication of lodges—too much regard for the outward trappings and paraphernalia, and too little regard for the internal qualities of those seeking membership in the fraternity. Such deplorable departures, as well from the primary as the ultimate objects had in view, are not fairly attributable to anything that may be reasonably considered as an outgrowth of the order, but come despite its constant teachings and warnings. Bad work they of course make, and so at times and to a limited extent bring the fraternity under the ban of popular displeasure, but shall the world predicate unfavorable judgment upon a few and unfair tests? If so, and the principle