lives in your hands, and the arrows of death are flying about your heads.
Many who have seen their behavior to you, and that without any provo¬
cation, twenty or thirty cowards fall upon one man, have wondered at the
patience of the blacks. It is not for want of courage in you, for they dare
not face you man to man, but in a mob, which we despise, and had rather
suffer wrong than to do wrong to the disturbance of the community and
the disgrace of our reputation; for every good citizen doth honor to the
laws of the state where he resides."
I right here re-echo the words of Prince Hall: they were
not cowards ; for he, with other members of African Lodge,
had passed through the Revolutionary struggle with credit to
themselves, and profit to their country. And this was not all :
their patriotism was unbounded. As a body of Masons, they
offered their services in aid of the State to suppress Shays
Rebellion, as the following taken from the State archives
To His Excellency James Bowdoin.
We, by the providence of God, are members of a fraternity that not
only enjoins upon us to be peaceable subjects to the civil powers where
we reside, but it also forbids our having concern in any plots or con¬
spiracies against the state where we dwell; and as it is the unhappy lot of
this state at the present day, and as the meanest of its members must
feel the want of a lawful and good government, and as we have been pro¬
tected for many years under this once happy Constitution, so we hope
by the blessing of God, we may long enjoy that blessing: therefore, we,
though unworthy members of this Commonwealth, are willing to help
and support, as far as our weak and feeble abilities may become neces¬
sary in this time of trouble and confusion, as you in your wisdom shall
direct us. That we may, under just and lawful authority, live peaceable
lives in all godliness and honesty, is the hearty wish of your humble
servants the members of the African Lodge ; and in their names I sub¬
scribe myself your most humble servant.
(Signedj Prince Hall.
Boston, Nov. 2('<, 17S6.
Thus you see, brethren, on every occasion, that Prince Hall
was laboring to disinthrall and elevate his fellow-creatures,
and seeking to do good in every manner : whilst the Grand
Master of the white Masons was cursing the race by enslaving
it, and setting at naught the principles taught by the founders