Grand Lodge of PEI History
The Grand Lodge of England did not issue formal recognition of the Grand Lodge until January 30, 1879 “owing to the continued absence of the most Worshipful Grand Master of England, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, in carrying out the duties he has undertaken…” the Grand Lodge of Scotland issued its formal recognition in 1878 subject to certain restrictions. At the Regular Communication of the Grand Lodge of Prince Edward Island on June 24, 1879 the Brethren passed a resolution declining the terms of recognition. Ten years later the Grand Lodge of Scotland issued a Commission appointing R.W.Bro. John W. Morrison of Victoria Lodge as Representative of the Grand Lodge of Scotland near the Grand Lodge of Prince Edward Island. (Proceedings, 1889, p.11)
The First Annual Communication was held in Charlottetown and ran for four days (February 16-19, 1876) The first session was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 16. Due to poor road conditions the Grand Master was unable to attend until the third session on Friday. The Deputy Grand Master, R.W.Bro. Thomas A. McLean, presided over the proceedings on Wednesday evening and on Thursday. Thirty-three Brethren attended the first Annual Communication. Seven of the eight Charter Lodges were represented. The newest Lodge in the Jurisdiction, King Solomon No. 9 A.F. & A.M. was operating ‘Under Dispensation’ and joined the Communication on the second day after their Officers were installed.
The Most Worshipful Grand Master, Bro. John Yeo, delivered his Address on Friday morning. In his first Address, the Grand Master acknowledged the fraternal greetings from the Grand Lodges in New Brunswick, Canada, Quebec, Manitoba, Ohio, Montana, Utah and New Jersey. The Grand Master announced several appointments of Grand Representatives. The Grand Secretary, R.W.Bro. B.Wilson Higgs, reported that the Warrants for the eight Charter Lodges had been delayed for want of parchment but were now ready having been printed by Bremner Brothers. The Grand Secretary superintended the work of printing and was careful to include information from the former Warrants since the Mother Grand Lodges were expected to call in the old Warrants. (Brethren of the older Lodges will recognize the extra detail in their Charter as a result of Bro Higgs’ intervention at that time.)
Several noteworthy resolutions were adopted at the first Annual Communication. The Grand Secretary was voted $150 for his work following the institution of Grand Lodge in 1875. The Grand Tyler received a stipend of $20. A Committee on Ritual was appointed to act on the Grand Master’s recommendation that a uniform ritual be adopted throughout the Jurisdiction. (The Ritual used in the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick was adopted in 1877.) The Board of General Purposes was given “full power to use their own judgement” about procuring Regalia and Jewels for Grand Lodge. A resolution that “Grand Lodge records its disapprobation of the custom of having intoxicating drinks at Masonic suppers and festivals” was also approved.
The Officers for the ensuing year were elected and installed on the third day. M.W.Bro. John Yeo was re-elected Grand Master as he would be for thirteen consecutive years. Several Officers were also re-elected. It was interesting to note the seven Brethren from the ranks of the clergy were installed as Grand Chaplain.