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Morgan's Monument

The Daily News, Batavia, Genesee County, New York State

September 14, 1882

The Unveiling Ceremonies Witnessed by a Large Crowd Who Listen to Able and Interesting Addresses Substance of the Speeches Proceedings at the Convention A Letter from Thurlow Weed.

The monument to William Morgan, erected by the National Christian Association now in convention in Batavia, was unveiled yesterday afternoon with extensive ceremonies. It stands, as the 'News' has previously stated, in the southwest corner of the old cemetery and faces the tracks of the Central railroad from which it is located but a few feet. Yesterday a platform had been erected on the west side of the monument for the accommodation of the speakers and the elder members of the association. Over a thousand people witnessed the exercises, the cemetery near the monument and Cemetery street at that point being crowded with spectators. Among the audience were over 200 delegates to the convention of the association. Several members of the local Masonic lodges were also in attendance, and listened to the scathing denounciations of the speakers with great calmness. A grave on the David C. Miller lot, said by the anti-masons to be the grave of Morgan, had been decorated for the occasion. It was bordered with moss and on the top the name "Morgan" had been laid in moss. It attracted considerable attention during the afternoon.

The exercises began with the singing of a hymn by Alexander Thompson composed for the occasion. The singing was led by Mr. Jonathan Blanchard, editor of the Christian Cynosure, Chicago, who read the hymn line by line, each line being repeated by the audience in song. The last verse of the hymn is as follows:

"And let our monument proclaim That Morgan is a martyr's name' Till heart and home from sea to sea, Shout, from the dark lodge bondage free."

The Rev. B.T. ROBERTS of Rochester, N.Y., followed in prayer. "We thank thee, Lord," he said, "that thou didst put it in the heart of one to love light and abhor darkness, and that through him the movement was inaugurated and is spreading surely to rid the world of the institutions of darkness that do so much in contributing to the evil of the world. We pray that, the colored being freed from slavery, the whites may be emancipated from the evils of secret societies."

Mr. F.M. CAPWELL of Dale, N.Y., chairman of the monument committee, made his presentation speech to the association, saying that "the monument represents the principles of the association which are as enduring as the granite composing the memorial, which is [as the covering dropped from the statue] now unveiled. We present it to you-see it for yourselves." Prof. Blanchard briefly accepted the monument in behalf of the association, and Dr. Roy, of Atlanta, Georgia, was introduced. The doctor said that the martyr builds his own monument in history and sets it up in the thoughts and sentiments of men and women. He becomes a light house and the light of his deeds is flashed out among the people, and thus the paradox arises: The world takes the life of a martyr but the world will not see him die. John BROWN, as he said himself, was worth more to die than to live; and John Brown's should is still "marching on." The recent movement to erect a monument to his memory was a fiasco, but the recollection of him will never die. His monument is built in the records of time. Morgan was a martyr to the principles which the National Christian Association represents today! Although fifty six years have elapsed since this martyr's death this shaft is now dedicated to his memory. His monument he built himself.

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When this nation was in the throes of civil war, one reform went forward while numerous evils sprang up. Immediately after the excitement of 1826 the institution which caused the death of William Morgan seemed to be overthrown; but it has revived and to day is more powerful than ever. Such an organization and system is inconsistent with the essence of National Republicanism. The man who has taken the oaths and obligations of the Masonic order is incapable of performing the functions of Judge, Sheriff or Juror truly, for as between one of his craft and one who is not he is bound to favor his craftsman. The monopoly of secret societies confronts our institutions with great peril. In prosecuting this reform which we have undertaken we must have faith in righteousness, said the speaker, and "keep dinging away." A long freight train passed at this time, and Dr. Roy improved the occurrence by remarking as the noise ceased: "There is an end to that train and there will be an end to our reform." He said he came from the south, where secret societies, among both the white and colored population, were very prevalent. Many men keep up dues and assessments in three or four secret societies, but neglect their church and in some instances, stint their families. The association has inaugurated a good work in the missionary line in hopes of keeping the young men out of secret societies. There is a competition, he said, between these societies and the church and the pastors are beginning to discover and understand it. There must be something done to check it.

Prof. C.A. Blanchard, principal of Wheaton College, Ill., and a son of Jonathan Blanchard, delivered the next address. He is an admirable speaker, with full, deep tones and excellent articulation, and his address was replete with interest, holding the closet attention of the audience. "This granite shaft," he said, "which solemnly points its silent finger toward the sun by day and toward the stars by night, will not stir the sense of Morgan or any of the other sleepers in younger graves. For what purpose, then, is this costly monument erected and why are these hundreds of people assembled here to-day, if ewe cannot bring the martyr back to life? Morgan was not one who was conspicuous for his talent, nor one who shaped the destiny of the nation, nor one who possessed a heaven illumined mind, nor a personal friend of any one of us. He was sleeping in this burial ground before most of us were born. He was murdered. There are various reasons and proofs that go to show that we are not here on "a fool's errand." When a great movement has resulted in the accomplishment of its object, it has been customary to erect a monument to the man who was prominent in the event. The lodge against which Morgan's blow was aimed, however, still lives and to day is ten times greater and more powerful than it was 56 years ago. It's conclaves now fill the air with music and the streets with marching men. Why give a monument to a failure? The movement he inaugurated will ultimately attain success. In 1826 the Masonic institution was very powerful, including all classes of men among its members. Every newspaper was silenced and all court officials were influenced. If a Mason committed any crime, as the abductors and murderers of Morgan did, a reward would be offered for his apprehension, and simultaneously a private note would be dispatched to the lodge to which he belonged, promising immunity from punishment if he were captured. Such is an instance of how justice is shackled by the intense power of masonic oaths and obligations. Morgan, the martyr, was not a coward, whatever else may be said of him. Single handed and alone he met his numerous adversaries, and overpowered by them he was vanquished."

Another song was sung at the conclusion of the address, and Judge Moses TAGGART of Batavia was called upon. He resided in Batavia during the Morgan excitement and was personaly[sic] acquainted with Morgan. He remembered when the party of Masons came here from Canandaigua to arrest Morgan. They were armed with heavy clubs, but disposed of them after arriving here, because they attracted so much attention. Mr. Taggart said that in March, 1828, he attended an Anti-Masonic convention at which there were nineteen delegates from what was then Genesee county, and that he is the only survivor.

Mrs. Emeline J. Mather of Canandaigua made a few remarks. She said that she heard Morgan's cries of "murder" when he was being removed from the Canandaigua jail on the night of September 12, 1826. Her parents, who lived near the jail, also heard the cries but were afraid to give an alarm. Miss Sarah STEVENS of Batavia, whose recollections cover all the Morgan excitement, made some interesting remarks, after which the ceremonies were closed by singing.

The Anti-Masonic Convention.

Mr. Jonathan Blanchard, of Wheaton, Ill., a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, lectured on "Christian Politics" at the anti-Masonic convention last night. He discussed his subject with marked ability for an hour and a half, and the audience which nearly filled the hall paid strict attention to his remarks. The platform of the party of which he is the Presidential candidate, is very brief, and declares for christianity, temperance, the abolition of secret societies, and a direct vote for President and Vice-President of the United States instead of an electoral college. Article 4 of the platform is as follows: "That the charters of all secret lodges granted by our Federal and State Legislature should be withdrawn, and their oaths prohibited by law."

The Opera House last night was converted into a lodging house and many of the delegates, who had been unable to secure accommodations at the hotels, slept there. The number of delegates up to last night aggregated 246.

The convention this morning was opened by devotional exercises conducted by Rev. W.H. Ross of Allegan, Mich. Following that came the transaction of miscellaneous business, and a long communication was read from Thurlow WEED, who on account of illness was unable to be present. The communication gave a complete account of the "abduction and murder of William Morgan," much of which has appeared in print many times. Mrs. Mather of Canandaigua then gave interesting reminiscences of the Morgan times, and the committee on resolutions presented their report, which will be acted upon this afternoon.

This evening Elder H.H. Hinman, southern agent of the National Christian Association, will speak on "The Secret Societies among the Freedmen," and Elder J. F. Browne of Cabin Creek, Ky., will also deliver an address. *

Submitted by Linda C. Schmidt

 

 

 

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