The Beginning of the Sovereign Great Priory of Canada 1884
(From John Ross Robertson’s “the History of the Knights Templars of Canada”)
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The Grand Prior then referred to the committee appointed by him at the meeting of Grand Priory in 1870, “To deliberate upon such questions and proposals as may tend to promote the interests of the Order in Canada, and that the result of these deliberations be embodied in a respectful Memorial, to be submitted to the Supreme Grand Conclave.”
This Memorial reads as follows:-
To His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master, and the Convent General of the United Religious and Military Orders of the Temple, and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta. The Memorial of the Templars of the several Preceptories of the Order in Canada United Religious and Military Orders of the Temple, and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, in the Dominion of Canada, under the jurisdiction of the former Grand Conclave of England and Wales.
Sheweth:- That on or about the year 1865, the Masonic Order in Canada, therefore holding under the three parent jurisdictions of England, Scotland and Ireland, in view of the dignity and position which Canada had then assumed and bade fair to attain, sough by consideration into a seperate and self-governing organization, to secure a Masonic status commensurate therewith; and it may at once conceded that by thus bringing the Craft into permanent local union, the advancement of the best interests of Masonary were subserved ; and with the rapid, material and political progress of Canada, her Grand Lodge has kept pace, the impetus given, by opening up an extended field for Masonic operation, having enlisted the energies of many of the most gifted and talented to give to Canadian Masonry a foremost and recognized position.
Nor could Royal Arch Masonty, the immediate pre-requisite of the Templar Order, be less honorably regarded, and the organization of the Grand Chapter of Canada, which followed closely that of the Grand Lodge, has been attended with no less happy and conspicuous results of rapid progress and national recognition. And it may be briefly added that the Order of the A. & A. Rite, recognized by treaty with the Templar Body, and other leading Masonic organizations, have been awarded the full privileges of self-government in Canada.
These remarks seem appropriately introductory to the present Memorial which the Templar Order in Canada desire to present to the Convent General, on its auspicious inauguration.
While Masonry was introduced into Canada at the earliest date of her settlement, and had attained proportions that in 1855 warranted the erection of the Grand Lodge of Canada, it was only in 1854 that, to the energy of that distinguished Mason and Templar, Colonel W. J. B. MacLeod Moore, Canada was indebted for the introduction of the Chivalric and Christian Order of the Temple : and to his judicious caution against its too rapid dissemination on the one hand, and a careful selection of opportunities on the other for promoting the true principles of the Order, your memorialists attribute the erection of Canada into a Grand Priory with partial self-government in 1868, as an evidence of recognition, as well of the success that had croened the efforts of the worthy Sir Knight, then created Grand Prior, as of the vast and commanding field of his operations, erected about the same time into the “Dominion of Canada”
The national position that the Dominion has now attained, not unnaturally leads her Templers to desire that their preogatives of self-government should not be less defined than those pertaining to her other Masonic organizations, and her contiguity, to the great neighboring Republic especially incites the desire that Canadian Templarism should be now invested with a local status which will allow of mutual recognition and independent action.
The recent happy confederation of the national Templar bodies of the empire as Great Priories, under one grand governing power, the Convent General, graced by a patronage so august as that of Her Most Gracious Majesty and a presidency so illustrious as that of heir to the throne, has, it need hardly be said, been watched with the highest interest by the Templars of the Dominion ; and the provision in the statutes for erecting further Great Priories in the British possessions, possessing the same internal powers of self-goverment reservrd to each imperial nationality, furnished the opportune moment for the admission of British Nort America into this national Templar confederation ; and as Canada, as a virtually self-governing Dominion or nationality, clings with the purest loyalty to its integration into the empire, so do her Templars loyally desire to derive from and hold under the Convent General, that local status as a Great Priory, which will cause the Order to be alike advanced in the Dominion and recognized by other nationalities.
The Templars of the Dominion of Canada, therefore, under the warmest inpulse of Knightly courtesy and unswerving loyalty, present this their memorial, with the fullest confidence that after careful consideration their erection into a Great Priory may be coneceded as a step calculated to subserve the best interests of the Christian and Chivalric Orders of the Temple and Hospital in this vast Dominion, and to perpetuate the ties of allegiance of a body which must, in the course of events, become one of the most powerful and influential under the Convent General.
(Signed), Samuel B. Harman, 18°, (Grand Z. of the Grand Chapter of Canada, and past Dist. Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada, &o., &c.,&c. ). Dputy Grand Prior. Toronto, Ontario, Dominion of Canada, April 25th, 1873
T. Douglas Harington, 33°, (Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, and Past Grand Z of the Grand Chapter of Canada, Sov. Gr. Insp. Gen. and Rep. of S. G. C. of England and Wales, A. & A. Rite) Past Deputy Grand Prior.
J. Kirk Patrick, 32°, (Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, and Past Grand Z of the Grand Chapter of Canada, and Past Grand J. and Rep of Grand Chapter of Scotland). Provincial Grand Commander for Ontario.
Thomas Bird Harris, 33°, (Grand Secretary Grand Lodge of Canada, Grand S. E. of the Grand Chapter of Canada, Past Dep. Pro. Gr. Commander and Grand Chancellor of Grand Priory). Committee on the Status of the Templar Order.