Victoria Lodge No. 2
Victoria Lodge has had an exemplary record of benevolent activity throughout its history. Swift to respond, generous in giving seeking no reward save that of knowing that a principle was upheld. The first recorded response was on March 23, 1858 when £3 was approved for the Right Worshipful Master and Treasurer (acting) to be expended by them in equal amounts for the relief of Bro. “K’, “a poor and destitute Master Mason who arrived in the City a short time since”; the relief of the widow of Bro. “G’ and Bro. “N’ of Belfast who was praying for pecuniary assistance. The Brethren accepted requests from strangers as well. On October 14, 1858 Bro. Larkin informed the Lodge that an American cast-away fisherman was in the City and without a dollar and asking for relief. A committee was appointed and ordered “to render him what they deem appropriate.” When the Brethren learned that one of their members was in England and “wholly unable to pay for his passage home” a sum of £6/15s (approx. $22) was guaranteed toward his passage home. On July 2, 1900 the Lodge assisted a “brother in distress stricken with blindness” who was unable to pay for his passage home to Chatham, New Brunswick. The Brethren contributed sufficient for his ticket and $5 extra spending. Providing for the wages of nurses ($5 per week) to attend the critically ill was a common form of relief. The total expense for nurses in 1889 was $55. On many occasions the two City Lodges acted together in response. When Brother Silas Barnard suffered losses in a fire in 1861 the Lodges collected £50. (approximately $160) The Lodges also organized annual concerts “for the benefit of the poor in the city.” (Reference January, 1861, February 1864, 1866) In August 1869 the Brethren were requested by the Right Worshipful Master to sit with Bro. Douglas who was ill. His death was recorded later in the month. In September 1944 a motion was adopted “that members of this Lodge assist in a night watch at the P.E.I. Hospital on a Brother Master Mason in distress.” When advised that the children of a Brother were “in very bad circumstances” the Lodge voted $5 in relief. (Minutes, February 6, 1874) The Lodge forwarded $300 for the relief of the Brethren in Saint John following the fire of 1877. When the Masonic Board of San Francisco advised that $8 had been spent in the relief of Bro. “M’ of Victoria Lodge, a motion to reimburse the Board was adopted. (Minutes, February 25, 1880)
The Lodge made an attempt to regulate and structure its benevolent work in 1889 when a resolution was adopted “for the establishment of a Relief Fund for the benefit of poor and distressed Master Masons their widows and orphans.” (Minutes, October 7, 1889) Although the initiative in 1889 did not succeed, the Lodge was successful in launching its own “Charity Fund’ in 1904. Section 21 of the Bye-Laws was amended to direct 25% of all initiation fees to the Fund for charitable and benevolent purposes. The Fund was administered by the three principal Officers and two members appointed annually.