Letter from Albert Pike to Rocky P. Earhart December 31, 1885
In the vault of the Portland Scottish Rite are a number of letters written by Albert Pike to members of the Orient of Oregon. Brother Pike’s writing is challenging to decipher, and after failing to discover what the first word of the letters was, I was not hopeful as to my success. However after some effort it was possible to translate his writing, except that aforementioned first word. The letter comes after the Secretary General William Morton Ireland (1834-1892) had been sick for some time with pneumonia.
Brother Ireland was Initiated in Union Lodge #121 in Philadelphia on January 10, 1856, and served as Master of that Lodge in 1862. Wm. Ireland rose through the ranks of the Scottish Rite receiving the KCCH on May 8, 1872, Inspector General Honorary May 5, 1874, receiving the Grand Cross the same day. He became an Active member of the Supreme Council and was crowned on October 18, 1882 and at that time elected General Secretary. He took up the Secretaries work, which had been mostly done by Pike in 1877, helping to relieve Pike’s burden, and was officially elected to that position as mentioned above.
Orient of Washington, 31st December, 1885
Brother Rocky P. Earhart, 33°
Inspector General in Oregon:
____________ and beyond measure disgusted and indignant I am compelled by duty to the order as well as to myself, to write you this letter.
The Secretary General has been sick since the 3rd instant, having had pneumonia. The physician has ceased with visiting him, and he sits up all day, he has not yet got down stairs.
Many letters addressed to me having failed to reach me, and since to embargo has been removed, these now have reached me being full of complaints of unaccountable neglect and delay in every way, on the part of Brother Ireland, with, in some cases, inclusion of myself in the censure, than have to explore the chaos of papers on his table and in an unlocked closet, and have found many letters addressed to him, some mailed as long ago he-
___(missing corner of letter)___pened, and several in like condition, addressed to my-(self) __(missing)__ow where others to me are locked up unopened, in a drawer. I have found money in letters, many orders and drafts, not collected, and scattered about in various places.
Among other unopened letters, I found yours of 10th October last, delivered by carrier, 16th October, and your large registered package of 5th October, delivered 14th October. After several days had passed, I opened the letter last night, in the presence of Brothers Webber and MacGrotty, found your letter, the account stated by you, and the money order, $559.75. These I have placed in the hands of the Treasurer-General.
I cannot find your letter ordering patents for William Valentine Spencer. I have gone through the Register of Patents, to find data for 33° Patents for Brothers Christopher Taylor, John R. Foster, and F. N. Shurtliff, and can find none.
I can find no data for Ladies certificates for Mrs. Wygants, or her daughter, or for Brother Taylor’s relative, and there is nothing here to show were Brothers Henin, deLin, Colburn and Ackerman have applied for Patents. I send you blank slips to cover all the cases; and, if they are sent to me, registered, when filled up, (ther)e will be no delay, I assure you.
(Irelan)d’s conduct is unacceptable ___(missing corner of letter)___ were he has been demitted for months __(missing)__ he has been devotedly paying attention to almost every evening, all this year, except while away, and who has been nursing him while he has been sick, been with him all day and evening for a month ending yesterday, and though he is sitting up all day, is still with him all day and until 9 in the evening. He seems to have neglected nearly everything: he has certainly not appropriated any money to his own use.
I see that you charge commissions on the money received for the 33° Degree. No commissions on such money’s have ever been allowed: and no account charging them can pass. The Statute giving commissions has never been considered to refer to any degrees except those that Deputies can confer, as well as Inspectors General.
So you will have to remit $112.50. I will insist on Ireland going over your accounts. If you order any thing for a time hereafter, you had better enclose the letter to the Secretary General in an envelope addressed to me, and register your letter.
I do not know what the result will be, when I hand he-
___(missing corner of letter)__ have taken charge of, and _(missing)_ and my letters, ___(missing corner)___ps locked up. But there has to be a new Dispensation and order of things at all costs.
If you have written to me during the year, in respect to the answers spoken of herein, the letter or letters have been kept from coming to my hands.
Always truly and fraternally yours
Albert Pike 33°
(PS) Does Bro. Shurtliff spell his name leff or liff?
Is there an s at the end of Wygant?
About the author:
Michael D. Robinson 32° KCCH, was the second Master Mason Raised in Esoterika Lodge #227, and the first member Raised in that Lodge to serve as Worshipful Master. He was elected Master in 2013 and 2014, and currently serves as Historian. He is also Historian for Research Lodge #198 and Eugene Lodge #11 and District Deputy of District #13. Brother Robinson was appointed Historian of the Scottish Rite Orient of Oregon in December of 2014. He was the recipient of the “Novus Astorum” from the Portland Valley Scottish Rite in 2010, and the Hiram Award from Esoterika Lodge in 2012. In March of 2015 he was made Secretary of the Eugene Valley, and Director of the Work for that Valley in January of 2017.