Victoria Lodge No. 2
The challenges of communicating with a distant Grand Lodge was especially evident in the effort to get approval of the first Code of Bye-Laws. The Bye-Laws were adopted in Victoria Lodge on September 27, 1858 and a copy was forwarded to the Grand Lodge for approval. In 1861 a Committee was appointed to correspond with Kilwinning Lodge in Scotland in an effort “to have our grievance relative to our Bye-Laws properly represented at the next meeting of the Grand Lodge.” In March 1862 Victoria Lodge received a request from Grand Lodge to forward another copy of the Bye-Laws as the original had been lost. An Emergent Communication was called later in the month to adopt the new Code and to thank Bro. Morrison for his work The Lodge paid thirty Shillings to have the copy made for Grand Lodge. When the Code was finally approved the Lodge had one hundred and fifty copies bound in cloth for sale to each member at one shilling six pence.
The volume of Degree work in Victoria Lodge in the early years was remarkable. In the first year the Brethren held thirty Communications and raised twenty-four Brethren. Several of the petitioners in the first years were mariners who required much expediency with Degrees to meet their work schedule. Residencies in Boston, New York, Portland and Prince Edward Island were represented in the four Petitions received on May 1, 1858. The four candidates were elected, initiated and passed on the same night and three were raised on May 3, 1858. The Petition of Ewen Bell was received on February 28, 1858. He was initiated on March 8 and was passed, raised and granted a Demit to leave the Island on March 13. Special consideration was also afforded to Islanders from the rural areas. The Right Worshipful Master called an Emergent Communication on February 6, 1858 because John A. MacLean of St. Peters Bay was in Town and was desirous of being initiated if elected. The Petition was presented and several Brethren spoke very highly of Mr. MacLean. He was elected and initiated. Twenty-two Brethren were present. Bro. MacLean was raised on September 13, 1858.
It was interesting to note that among the entrants in the first years of Victoria Lodge were two future “Fathers of Confederation’ in the Province. William Henry Pope and Thomas H. Haviland were raised on November 21, 1859.
The governance of Degree work had some interesting features. Balloting was conducted prior to the Entered Apprentice and Master Mason Degree. Perhaps because the Lodge normally worked on the first Degree, Entered Apprentices and Fellow Craft could sponsor a Petition. On January 2, 1858 Bro. Fowle, a Fellow Craft, presented a Petition “for the honours of Masonry” from William Murray. Likewise Bro. Robert Hodgson, an Entered Apprentice, presented Petitions from Donald MacDonald and James Thompson.