of our present Masonic system ; the Massachusetts Masons of
that day were trampling upon all of the doctrines of the Order,
by holding men and women in bondage, and by their acts of
kidnapping carried on in your harbors, as this letter with the
petition accompanying it, taken from the History of Portland
Lodge, No. I, by J. H. Drummond, conclusively shows.
FROM HISTORY OF PORTLAND LODGE, No. i.
I!Y J. H. DRUMMOND.
[Extract of a Letter from Boston.]
" I have one piece of good news to tell you. The negroes who were
kidnapped from here last winter are returned. They were carried to St.
Bartholomew's, and offered for sale. One of them was a sensible fellow
and a Freemason. The merchant to whom they were offered was of
this fraternity. They soon became acquainted. The negro told his
story. They were carried before the Governor, with the shipmaster and
the supercargo. The story of the negroes was, that they were decoyed
on board, under pretence of working. The story of the others was, that
they were purchased out of gaol, wherein they were confined for robbery.
The Governor detained them. They were kept within limits, and a
gentleman of the Island was bondsman for them for six months, in which
time they sent for proofs, which arriving, they were liberated.
"The morning after their arrival here, they made me a visit, being in¬
troduced by Prince Hall, who is one of the head men of the blacks in
this town. The interview was very affecting. 'There [said Prince], this
is the gentleman that was so much your friend, and petitioned against the
slave-trade.' They joined in thanking me ; and really, my dear sir, I felt,
and do still feel, from this circumstance, a pleasure which is a rich com¬
pensation for all the curses of the whole tribe of African traders, aided
by the distillers, which have been liberally bestowed on the clergy of this
town for their agency in the above petition."
Boston', April 18.
A copy of a petition presented to the General Court of this State, at
their late session, taken from the original, in the handwriting of the
signer, who is a free negro in the town of Boston.
To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the Com¬
monwealth of Massachusetts, in General Court assembled, on the 27th
February, 17S8 ;
The Petition of a great number of Blacks, freemen of this Common¬
wealth, humbly sheweth ;