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4 The Great Schism The decade from 1876-86 saw angry declarations of principle, fumbled attempts at compromise, invasion and consolidation, pamphlet wars, bitterness, financial crisis and lawsuits, radicalizing of the demand for African American rights, brief-lived black Grand Lodges, frustration and indifference, and in the end new RWGL leaders eager to put the racial controversy behind them. During these years Templar membership shrank in both North America and Britain, but new Grand Lodges flourished outside the English-speaking world in Sweden, Norway, and elsewhere. The motives and expectations of the British leaders in 1876 remain unclear. Since early 1874 the membership had dropped precipitously in England, and the Grand Lodge there staggered under heavy indebtedness, circumstances that might have counseled caution . What did the British leaders want and expect? To secure for blacks in the American South the opportunity ofjoining the IOGT, or to win new power in the RWGL and-by rallying enthusiasm at home-protect existing power in the English and Scottish Grand Lodges? To obtain a two-thirds majority at the RWGL session for a constitutional amendment, or to create a justification for secession? A short-lived split to put pressure on opponents to make concessions, or a permanent break? Most likely, the racial question took priority for the British leaders. They were surprised at the extent of their defeat at the Louisville session in 1876, and they expected that in any schism many northern Grand Lodges would join them. They assumed that if anybody would be forced out, it would be the white southerne"rs; the British did not anticipate a lengthy schism dividing the Templars not just on both sides of the Atlantic but around the world, with divisions appearing nearly everywhere. Principles, illusions, and a sense of self-importance all influenced the British leaders. They disliked any kind of segregation 81 82 Temperance and Racism within the Templar Order; it was only to win votes at Louisville that they offered to accept racially segregated local lodges and Grand Lodges. They expected that the black people in the former slave states would pour into the IOGT if charters were made available. There were four million blacks in the American South, "ofwhom five hundred thousand were communicants in Christian Churches."l The British believed that the North Americans needed them more than the British needed the Americans and Canadians. As early as 1871 Scotland's George Gladstone had been content for the British to go it alone: "Subordination to America is a mistake." Allegedly, in 1875 Malins had asked an associate privately, "What do you think if we threw the Americans overboard?"2 Late in 1875 the United Executives of the Grand Lodges of the United Kingdom devised their strategy. In a circular titled "Shall the Negro be Excluded from the Order?" they insisted that the Grand Lodges in the former slave states allow blacks in their jurisdictions to become Templars. Under the provisions of the British Manifesto, as it was called, the RWGL could organize black lodges in jurisdictions where the local Grand Lodges would not, or commission other Grand Lodges to do the work. At this point the British did not ask for the racial integration of subordinate lodges or even a common Grand Lodge, but the United Executives made clear in the Manifesto that the British would not accept defeat. If the RWGL did not adopt the Manifesto, the British Grand Lodges would join with like-minded Templars in a provisional organization to send missionaries to the American South. On New Year's Day 1876 the British Manifesto was sent to all the IOGT's Grand Lodges. At the request of the GWCT of Scotland it was not published; he did not want a public threat to make it more difficult for the North American Grand Lodges to submit to the British demands.3 During the great schism, Malins's enemies asserted that he lacked authority to make rejection of the United Executives' demands the basis for the withdrawal of his Grand Lodge from the RWGL, since only District Lodges had seen the Manifesto prior to Louisville and not all of them. This argument lacks persuasiveness, for the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of England had openly affirmed "that the brotherhood of the [human] race is one of the fundamental principles" of the IOGT and directed its RWGL representatives to support the Manifesto of the United Executives. Moreover, leaders of the other Grand Lodges and the RWGL certainly knew what...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813161518
Related ISBN
9780813119847
MARC Record
OCLC
903964986
Pages
224
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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