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It is the privilege of freemen to consult together, openly and peaceably, on all subjects interesting to their common welfare. And so long as the opinion of a majority shall prevail, enlightened and frequent consultation, among them, will furnish the most efficacious and acceptable means of expelling wrongs, and removing fears. Wrongs the most cruel and criminal have been committed, and fears the most agitating and well founded, exist, among us. To confer together, and to address you, upon these evils, and the most wholesome means to be adopted for their suppression, we have been delegated to assemble here, by a portion of your countrymen, respectable for their intelligence, and dedicated, in heart and life, to the free constitutions and laws of our country. In executing the momentous duties assigned us, we would proceed, in the ingenuous free spirit of men, who earnestly seek the good of all.
Facts numerous and authentic, demonstrate the existence, in this community, of crimes and dangers, which, upon their first distinct disclosure to honest inquiry, excite equal surprise and solicitude; and which cannot be reflected upon, by any mind imbued with genuine self-respect, and a just regard for human rights, without the deepest abhorrence and alarm.
Freemasonry is the source of these crimes and dangers.
In 1826, William Morgan, your free fellow citizen, was, by highly exalted members of the masonic fraternity, with unlawful violence, seized,-- secretly transported through the country more than one hundred miles, to a fortress of the United States, then in charge of freemasons, who had prepared it for his reception,-- there imprisoned, several days and nights, against his utmost efforts to escape,-- and after suffering the most unmanly insults, and the most inhuman abuse, he was privately murdered. Previously to his seizure, numerous meetings of freemasons, in lodges and otherwise, were held for the purpose of contriving and adopting the most certain means of carrying into effect, their unlawful objects upon him. These meeting were attended, and the designs of them approved, by several hundred of the most respectable and intelligent of the masonic brethren. They included legislators, judges, sheriffs, clergymen, generals, physicians, and lawyers. And they proceeded in discharge of, what they deemed, their masonic duties.