The Grand Lodge Of Georgia Masonic Principles
"Freemasonry is a charitable, benevolent, educational and religious society. Its principles are proclaimed as widely as men will hear. Its only secrets are in its methods of recognition and of symbolic instruction.
It is charitable in that it is not organized for profit and none of its income insures to the benefit of any individual, but all is devoted to the promotion of the welfare and happiness of mankind.
It is benevolent in that it teaches and exemplifies altruism as a duty.
It is educational in that it teaches by prescribed ceremonies a system of morality and brotherhood based upon the Sacred Law.
It is religious in that it teaches monotheism; the Volume of the Sacred Law is open upon its altars whenever a Lodge is in session; reverence for God is ever present in its ceremonial, and to its brethren are constantly addressed lessons of morality; yet it is not sectarian or theological.
It is a social organization only so far as it furnishes additional inducement that men may foregather in numbers, thereby providing more material for its primary work of education, of worship and of charity.
Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of the individual man, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community. Thus it impresses upon its members the principles of personal righteousness and personal responsibility, enlightens them as to those things which make for human welfare, and inspires them with the feeling of charity or good will toward all mankind which will move them to translate principle and conviction into action.
To that end it teaches and stands for the worship of God; truth and justice; fraternity and philanthropy; enlightenment and orderly liberty, civil, religious and intellectual. It charges each of its members to be true and loyal to the government of the country to which we owe allegiance and to be obedient to the law of any in which we may be.
Believing these things, this Grand Lodge affirms its continued adherence to that ancient and approved rule of Freemasonry which forbids the discussion in Masonic meetings of creeds, politics or other topics likely to excite personal animosities.
The true Freemason will act in civil life according to his individual judgement and the dictates of his conscience."
The History of Masons in Georgia
A band of English colonists under the leadership of General James Edward Oglethorpe, British soldier, statesman and humanitarian, arrived on the west bank of the Savannah River on February 12, 1733. This was the birth of the English Province of Georgia, the last of the Thirteen Colonies. Georgia was the southwestern frontier of British America for many years.
In the same year, December 13, 1733, the Grand Lodge of England at its Quarterly Communication in London adopted a resolution to "collect the Charity of this Society towards enabling the Trustees (of Georgia) to send distressed Brethren to Georgia where they may be comfortably provided for...that it be strenuously (sic) recommended by the Masters and Wardens of regular Lodges to make a generous collection amongst all their Members for that purpose..."
Some three months later, February 21, 1734, a Lodge of Freemasons was organized at Savannah under the "old Customs" (without warrant). Noble Jones, intimate friend of James Oglethorpe, was initiated on that date, the first Freemason made in Georgia. On December 2, 1735, the Lodge was warranted by the Grand Lodge of England and entered on the engraved list as "The Lodge at Savannah in Ye Province of Georgia". It was assigned number 139 on the register of English Lodges. By 1770 its number had been reduced to No. 63 and by 1792 it was No. 46, although no longer an English Lodge.
The Lodge at Savannah changed its name in or prior to 1770 to Solomon's Lodge. In 1774 and 1775, respectively, the Grand Lodge of England warranted two more Lodges in Savannah, Unity No. 465 and Grenadiers No. 481. Both Lodges died an early death.
Except for that brief period, Solomon's Lodge was the only Lodge in Georgia from 1734 until 1785. Solomon's Lodge was the second duly constituted Lodge in America, next only to a Lodge in Boston warranted in 1733. Solomon's Lodge is the Mother Lodge of Georgia.
Serving as Provincial Grand Masters in Georgia were: Grey Elliott, 1760 until he was succeeded in 1771 by Noble Jones. Brother Jones served until his death in 1775. Sometime during the War for independence, Samuel Elbert, American soldier and later Governor of Georgia, was "elected" Provincial Grand Master. On December 15, 1786, Brother Elbert resigned as Provincial Grand Master so that the independent Grand Lodge of Georgia might be formed.
A group of dissident Freemasons in Savannah, disapproving the workings of Solomon's Lodge, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1784 for a charter to organize a Lodge. Their petition was granted by Pennsylvania on March 31, 1785, the Lodge being listed on Pennsylvania's register as no. 42, to be known as Hiram Lodge, Savannah, Georgia.
In the true spirit of Freemasonry the differences between the two Lodges were soon reconciled. In the following year it is known that two additional Lodges existed in the , one at Augusta and one at Washington. It is believed these four Lodges, on December 16, 1786 met together and created the most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the of Georgia. William Stephens, Past Master of Solomon's Lodge, now No. 1, and the first U.S. Court Judge in Georgia, was elected and installed Grand Master.
The next eight Lodges in Georgia were: Columbia No. 3, Augusta; St. Louis No. 4, Washington; Washington No. 5, Washington; St. John's No. 6, Sunbury; Little River No. 7, Little River; St. Patrick's No. 8, Waynesboro; St. George's No. 9, Kiokas; Union No. 10, Savannah.
With the exception of Solomon's No. 1, all of the above Lodges are extinct. Social Lodge, originally No. 18, Augusta, Georgia, now also No. 1, was chartered in December, 1799. Georgia has 451 Lodges and 72,451 members (as of October, 1997).
Freemasonry has existed continuously in Georgia since 1734. The Grand Lodge of Georgia, F. & A. M., has existed since 1786.
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the of Georgia was incorporated with perpetual duration on February 6, 1796, by an Act of the General Assembly of Georgia passed for that purpose, and has been delivered down to the present day.