Tag: Free Masons

Moustapha Morgan, the second and last (promised)

Wonders of digitalisation. If one likes to spend time with it & has a licensed access, one can read through a lot of strange magazines, like Triangel oder Akazienzweige am Lebensbaume ächten Maurerthums, a German publication (Brooklyn, Long Island, 7.IV.1855-16.XII.1865, ZDB-ID 2612362-9) or Masonic Mirror and American Keystone (Philadelphia, 05.I.1853-26.XII.1860, ZDB-ID 2613335-0).
As you may remember from the last boring post, dear reader, I wanted to know what it is about the claim that the notorious William MORGAN was found alive and kicking in Smyrna in 1831. I cited the article on Morgan in a German handbook of masonry from 1865 that itself cited the TriangelJahrgang V, Nr. 21, S. 465, vom 19. November 1859. This is correct, except for the number of the page, it is “165”, not “465”, but this is negligible ; important is that year, number and date are correct. See the pdf here: Morgan 1 Triangle. (The link opens a new page with the link to the pdf – not very elegant, sorry about that, I am not used to link pdfs.) The German text gives a correct summary of what is taken from Masonic Mirror and American Keystone, of course we want to read the source.
According to the search-result for “Morgan” in the electronic resource, “Morgan” is the subject of five articles in said title (17.I.1855, 28.II.1855, 7.III.1855, 23.XI.1859 and 14.XII.1859). Important are the first and the last, the others are reactions to readers & the public and bring nothing new. The informant is a certain Joseph Alexander BLOOM, “now [January 1855] in his seventieth year of his age, in the full vigor of his intellect”. BLOOM and Moustapha MORGAN “dined at the same house, and had frequent conversations”.

This house was a public place of entertainment, and was kept by one Salvo. It is situated on the bay, and it was near this place where Mr. Costa was taken.
Bro. Bloom further states that Morgan left this country in the ship “Mervine “, which sailed from Boston to Smyrna, and belonged to the firm of Langdon & Co. The captain’s name of the “Mervine ” was Welch; this was all told by Morgan to Bro. B.

(Morgan 17 01 1855, unelegant as above)

In November 1859 the ship’s and the captain’s name are corrected :

There is, however, some slight mistake in names. The vessel in which the person believed to be Morgan, sailed from this country to Smyrna, was the Brig Minerva, which was owned by Ezra Weston,* of Duxbury, Massachusetts. The captain’s name was Martin Waterman, We knew him from our early childhood, and think he is still living.

“* The Grandfather of the editor of  “The Ashler ” [from where this is taken]. (Morgan 14 12 1859). I have no clue whether it is this Minerva. This could be the house of Ezra WESTON II (about, about). Here‘s a link to the materials about the WATERMAN family, captain Martin WATERMAN lived from 1793 until 1860.

Brother GOODALL appears in the number from 23rd of November 1859, he states that he met two people in Constantinople who knew Moustapha MORGAN and one was tought English by him (Morgan 23 11 1859). Interestingly at the end of the article is mentioned that MORGAN was still alive in the early 1850s, he would have been in his late seventies then (born 1774) :

The last seen or known of him was five or six years ago, when he was still in Smyrna, had quit teaching, and was living in habits, manners and costume as a Turk.

The William Morgan pillar, dedicated to the “respectable citizen” & “martyr to the freedom of writing, printing, and speaking the truth” is still standing. Now I wonder who Mr. COSTA was ?

Batavia – Smyrna, via Boston

When there’s nothing else to do I read a bit, blindly grabbing a book from the shelf – Die geheimen Gesellschaften, Verbindungen und Orden von Dr. Georg SCHUSTER, Archivrat am Königlichen Preussischen Hausarchiv, 1905. I could not find more about archivist SCHUSTER, except that his year of birth on one site is given as 1859, no year of death mentioned (perhaps 1922 ?) – he has no article in the Deutsche Biographie, what is strange for a well published archivist. The mentioned Hausarchiv seems to be a part of the Geheime Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz today. In volume II of his book about secret societies SCHUSTER describes the history of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (pp. 190-213), and when he delineates how the order spread through Northern America pretty successfully, he mentions that this development is suddenly disrupted in 1827 following what he calls die unselige Freimaurerhetze (1827-1833), an agitation against freemasonry that affected all kinds of secret societies.
These incidents are connected with the name of a certain William MORGAN (Eng., no German article available) (1774-1826 ?), SCHUSTER gives a brief description in a footnote. MORGAN of Batavia, New York, seemingly was preparing a publication about the masons, spilling out all the “secrets” and “mysteries” of the society. What ever his reasons were, he was kidnapped and held captive in Canada – his fate remains unknown : Some say the kidnappers preferred easy solutions & simply threw him into the Niagara. Some men were tried for the crime of kidnapping, not for murder. The whole affaire has an additional political dimension, anti-masonry even became a platform for a presidential candidate, a certain William WIRT (Ger., Eng.) ; in 1827 an “Anti-Masonic-Party” (Ger., Eng.) was founded – all this became a process with its own internal dynamics for some years, in the mid 1830s this strange tempest was over. All this for the proclamation of an “exposing” book (read it on gutenberg.org) – as if there would be terrible secrets to be exposed. “Verräterschriften” btw are published since the early 18th century, mainly books by ex-members of lodges who were dis-satisfied, felt disgruntled, or simply had problems with reality, blaming the big conspiracy as origin of all evil.
Nevertheless MORGAN vanished, but SCHUSTER mentions that the “murder victim” was found leading a quiet and easy life under the name “Mustapha” in Smyrna, wo er noch 1843 gelebt haben soll (where he is said to have been found alive still in 1843). SCHUSTER relates on the Handbuch der Freimaurerei, II. Bd., S. 53 f. – what leads us nowhere, or better to the article about “Jehova”.
The trusted Internationales Freimaurerlexikon by Eugen LENNHOFF and Oskar POSNER from 1932 under the lemma Morgan-Affäre (sp. 1060-1062) repeats the claim that MORGAN resurfaced 1831 in Smyrna (“tauchte 1831 in Smyrna wieder auf”), sadly without further annotation of the source or any explanation given.
Google’s scan-orgies at least enable us to reach some remote, out-of-print-literature, like this : Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei. Zweiter Band : Honolulu – Pythagoras, Leipzig 1865 (= Zweite völlig umgearbeitete Auflage von LENNING’s Encyklopädie der Freimaurerei). “Honolulu to Pythagoras” – one has to love it !
On page 349 we find the article Morgan, and this seems to be the source for the claim that MORGAN is alive and kicking in Smyrna 1831 :

Erst in neuerer Zeit schien sich der Schleier, der über dem ganzen Vorfall lag, einigermassen zu lüften. In der von E. Röhr in Neuyork herausgegebenen Zeitschrift “Der Triangel ” (Jahrg. V, Nr. 21, S. 465) findet sich eine Mittheilung vom 19. Nov. 1859, wonach in der amerikanischen Zeitschrift “Mirror and Keystone” ein gewisser Br. Bloom, welcher lange Zeit in Beirut gelebt, erklärt habe, er sei 1831 in Smyrna, wo er längere Zeit gewohnt, mit einem Amerikaner bekannt geworden, der sich zu dem mohammedanischen Glauben bekannt, Mustapha genannt und im Englischen Unterricht ertheilt habe; derselbe habe sich ihm als jener W. Morgan zu erkennen gegeben und treffe damit auch das Porträt des letzteren ganz überein, das sich vor der “Aufdeckung der Geheimnisse der Freimaurer” befindet; er habe ihm auch das Schiff benannt, mit welchem er von Boston nach Smyrna gefahren sei. Demselben Blatte zufolge hat ein anderer amerikanischer Bruder und gleichfalls sehr geachteter Mann, Goodall, versichert, er habe während seines Aufenthalts in Konstantinopel mit zwei noch dort lebenden Personen gesprochen, welche beide den W. Morgan in Smyrna gekannt und deren eine sogar Unterricht im Englischen und Französischen bei ihm gehabt habe. M habe ihnen gestanden, dass er direct von den Vereinigten Staaten nach Smyrna gesegelt, dort türkische Kleidung angelegt, türkische Sitten angenommen und den Namen Mustapha sich beigelegt habe; er sei in Smyrna als Lehrer des Englischen und Französischen wohl bekannt gewesen. [Vgl. Lat XVIII, 266 f.]

The author of the article emphasises that nothing of the above is officially established – in fact he cites from second hand.
In an article in the magazine “Der Triangel” (The Triangle), volume V, number 21, page 465, edited by a certain E. RÖHR in New York, dated 19th of November 1859, another article is mentioned – sadly without date or bibliographical details : In the American publication “Mirror and Keystone” brother BLOOM, who lived for “a long time” in Beirut, explains that he was also living in Smyrna. There he met a Western person in 1831, an American who called himself “Mustapha” and followed the Islam, making his living by teaching English. This “Mustapha” revealed his true identity to BLOOM, and declared to be MORGAN. Also the image of the author in MORGAN’s book would be fitting. Mustapha / MORGAN named the ship he used to travel from Boston to Smyrna. Another brother called GOODALL stated in the same magazine that he met two persons in Constantinople, who not only knew MORGAN / Mustapha in Smyrna, but at least one was also tought by him in the use of English and French. He confessed to them that he sailed directly from the US to Smyrna, changed clothes there, adapted Turkish manners and the name Mustapha ; he was seemingly well-known as teacher of foreign languages in Smyrna. Sadly I could not identify the bibliographical details in brackets.
“Mirror and Keystone” seems to be “The Masonic Mirror and American Keystone”, a periodical published in Philadelphia from 1852 until 1860, at least that is what the KVK says. It is available as electronic resource via my library here, maybe I will go there on Monday. I wonder whether there was a direct sailing service Boston-Smyrna ?