Grand Master from our Lodge

Daniel Babbitt

United by mystic ties, no less sacred than those vows assumed at the hymeneal altar, or less binding than those which unite in one communion and fellowship the members of the Christian family, separation for a limited period serves only to increase the measure of connubial felicity, to strengthen the bonds of affection among Christian brethren, and to add to the pleasure of social intercourse among Masons, to an extent and in a way known only to the initiated.

At the time when I was clothed with the authority, and invested with the insignia of the office of Grand Master, into which I was then duly installed, after claiming the indulgence and invoking the charity of the brethren for the many shortcomings and errors I should commit during the brief period I should remain in the discharge of its official duties, I had naught to offer in return but my sincere thanks, the prestige of gray hairs, an unwavering attachment to the fundamental principles of Ancient York Masonry, and a firm resolve, as far as in me lay, to protect the same against those modern innovations which threaten to mar its beauties, circumscribe its charities and destroy its usefulness. The antiquarian of a future age, like the one of the present or the past, in searching through the long vista of departed years for the origin of Free Masonry must be guided and directed to that period of time when the manners and customs, the usages, and, to some extent the language of the age, corresponded with those which now characterize the institution.

That public opinion, at the present day, appreciates the worth and excellence of the Masonic Institution is proven by the many spurious and counterfeit associations which have started into existence within the last few years, into which some of the brethren have been inadvertently drawn, and although, like the thousands which have preceded them, are destined to be of ephemeral duration, yet they have been the fruitful source of disquietude and divisions among those who have assumed their conflicting obligations. While the one extends its sympathy to the worthy of the whole family of man, the other would circumscribe both by creed or birth place. Cannot the fraternal but authoritative voice of this Grand Lodge be heard in a way to correct the evil, recall to its bosom the wandering brother, and restore peace and harmony among alienated brethren?

These suggestions are made without consultation with any of the brethren, from a sense of duty alone, by one who, for more than forty years, has not wavered in his attachment to the fundamental principles of Ancient York Masonry. He asks for them no consideration or action they are not entitled to receive at your hands. 

Grand Master's address
Grand Lodge, Trenton, 14 Jan 1857

~BIOGRAPHY~
Daniel Babbitt, M.D., son of Daniel and Sarah (Beach) Babbitt, was born in Mendham, Morris County, NJ and came to Orange in 1811 to practice medicine. Because there was not a shade tree in the town when he arrived, he procured from Mendham (in about 1814) some buttonwoods, which he set out himself in front of his residence on the West corner of Essex and Main Streets, in front of and around the First Presbyterian Church, and elsewhere, and gave away to whosoever would plant them. Dr. Babbitt was a graduate of Princeton, and practiced medicine in Orange until 1840. In 1811 he delivered in the First Presbyterian Church, a Fourth of July oration, which was printed in 1861 in the Orange journal. In 1823 he was one of the trustees of Orange Academy. He was also one of the original stockholders and directors of the Morris and Essex Railroad, president of the Orange Bank until near the close of his life, and vestryman and senior warden of St. Mark's parish. He was elected Grand Master in 1856 and declined a re-election, expressing a fear that his advanced age and increasing infirmities would prevent the faithful discharge of the duties of the position.