Victoria Lodge No. 2
The delegates and special guests assembled in Victoria Lodge Room on June 24, 1875 to install the Officers that had been elected on the previous day. M.W.Bro. Ellis, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick, conducted the ceremony. Two members of Victoria Lodge were included in the first slate of Grand Lodge Officers viz.
|W.Bro. B. Wilson Higgs PM||Grand Secretary|
|W.Bro. James D. Mason PM||Grand Treasurer|
On July 28, 1875 the Lodge received a Dispensation empowering it to work under the aegis of the new Grand Lodge. (The essence of Dispensation was engrossed in the Continuing Charter that the Lodge received in 1961 following the fire) After eighteen years Victoria Lodge officially severed its ties with the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Several significant changes occurred and the decade after 1875 was the most difficult period in the Lodge’s history. St. Andrew’s Day was no longer celebrated as an anniversary. Installation of new Officers was changed to St. John’s Night, December 27, in accordance with the Constitution of Grand Lodge and the presiding Officer was no longer the Right Worshipful Master. The most troublesome change involved the requirement to change the colour of the Regalia.
A measurable sign of the difficulties was evident in the decline in membership. Some sources have attributed the problems to the institution of a third Lodge in the City and the consequent lack of new members. Certainly Victoria Lodge did not initiate new members after 1875 at the same rate as before. The Lodge had a membership of one-hundred and one in 1877 but slipped to fifty by 1883. In the period 1875-1883 the Lodge raised only twenty-one candidates. In the same interval several were suspended for non-payment of dues, thirty-four demitted and thirteen were declared withdrawn having not paid dues for two years. In May 1878 seventeen members were summoned to appear to answer for dues owed and ten Brethren were classified as withdrawn. Grand Lodge advised that Brethren could not be listed as “withdrawn’.
Not all of the difficulties could be attributed to the existence of a new Craft Lodge in Charlottetown. The Lodge also suffered from difficult internal problems in the management of finances. The actions of three members were investigated. One case resulted in a difficult Masonic Trial and the case spilled into the Courts when a $25 lawsuit involving two of the Brethren was filed. (Minutes, July 23, 1879) After an indefinite suspension was issued to one Brother, Grand Lodge became involved on an appeal and requested the reinstatement of the Brother pending payment of the account of $16.72. The preoccupation of the Lodge with those difficult issues was perhaps reflected in the decision to honour the Lodge Secretary in the aftermath. Bro. Alex Devine was presented with a Secretary’s Jewel and a Master Mason’s Apron on April 23, 1879. Bro. Devine requested a Demit in April 1881. As an illustration of the thoroughness of the Lodge in dealing with the charges, theMinutes contain a five-page Report by the Finance Committee, a three-page explanation by the defence and a twelve-page Report by a Review Committee appointed to examine the findings of the Finance Committee. The Secretary was paid $20 annually in 1880 “if the work is faithfully and well done.” (Minutes, January 28, 1880)