To celebrate the 300th anniversary in England of the first Grand Lodge and the 275th anniversary of the appointment of the first Provincial Grand Master for Jamaica, Walter Scott was commissioned on behalf of the association for the establishment of an international order for help and fellowship between members which held secret ceremonies.
Freemasons were originally stone masons and constructed medieval cathedrals in Europe and gave the tools of their craft the symbolism of the brotherhood to which even royalties belonged. One founder of the Gleaner, Brother Decardova , in 1874 noted specific obligations laid on Free Masons where all religions of a non denominational character was strictly forbidden equally with political matters so that all men of all creeds but who shall believe in the supreme God; Jehovah and men of all shades of politics shall be enabled to meet on the broad platform of the Craft as one: its forewords crafted on the words of Marcus Mosiah Garvey says also;”the district, in deciding on its major project in celebrating the two important milestones says; a people without the knowledge of their past history ,origin and culture is like unto a tree without roots.”
The Book of Constitutions published in 1723 stated that Masonic candidates had to be good and true men, freeborn and of a mature and discreet age, no bondmen, no women no immortal or scandalous men but men of a good report. However, after emancipation the words ”free men” were substituted for “free born’’ and from 1847 freed slaves could also become Free Masons.
Jamaica’s culture is oriented to African heritage and life among merchants and governing people significantly involved Freemasons. Jamaica served as an arms depot for the revolutionary forces for certain countries when two Kingston Freemasons, Wellwood and Maxwell Hyslop provided funding for campaigns of Simon Bolivar the liberator to whom six Latin American republics owed their independence. Bolivar was himself a Freemason with connections with Brethren in Spain, England, France and Venezuela. After gaining power in Venezuela he prohibited all secret societies in 1828 and included the Freemasons.
The number of historic personalities who were Freemasons were astonishing. It included George Washington the first president of the USA to Brother Thomas Bruce; 7th Lord Elgin of Jamaica. Brother Robert Osborn and Brother Edward Jordan, colored Masons who worked on behalf of Jamaica’s emancipation were also among them as also Brother Alexander Fiddes ; doctor of the poor.
Several if not all powerful and influential men were and are Freemasons and have fought long and hard for Jamaica’s freedom and independence and have made several contributions not only financially to the Jamaican Society at large.