150th Anniversary of the Union of 1867
May 17, 2017
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction Supreme Council's "Union of 1867." Previous to the Union, two competing Scottish Rite Supreme Councils existed in the northeast and midwest of the United States, the territory covered by the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Despite years of animosity between the two Councils, a spirit of fraternal union moved the two groups to come together. The two Supreme Councils, as they wrote, "were destined, by the power and rapid progress of the beneficent principles governing them, to lose their individuality and become merged in one Grand United Supreme Council."As they stated in the introduction to their published Proceedings of 1867, the Supreme Councils, which had each "claimed legitimacy to the discomfiture of the other," had decided to merge "as one united body with but one soul."
The merged Councils issued a proclamation, pictured here, announcing themselves to the Masonic world. In it, they declared that "all the unhappy differences previously existing among the Brethren of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in this jurisdiction, were harmoniously adjusted through a Solemn Treaty of Union."
Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, the merger of these two organizations presented logistical challenges. Multiple subordinate bodies in close geographical proximity to each other existed throughout the jurisdiction, each of which was now subordinate to the one merged Supreme Council. This led to the consolidation of a number of these subordinate bodies in the early 1870s. (You can read about one of these short-lived bodies that was consolidated in an earlier post on the topic.)
Interested in taking a closer look? You can view a high resolution image of the Treaty of Proclamation at our Digital Collections website, where we also provide access to a number of other documents related to the history of the Scottish Rite.