Detail View: [NY] - Highlights of the Museum Collection: B33-148; Book, Minutes, Solomon's Lodge No. 1, Poughkeepsie, NY and the story of Benedict Arnold.

Title: 
B33-148; Book, Minutes, Solomon's Lodge No. 1, Poughkeepsie, NY and the story of Benedict Arnold.
Description: 
A Minutes Book that records a visit from Benedict Arnold in 1771, before he became a traitor. It also records the Lodge reaction in 1781 when his actions became known. Additionally, there is a recorded visit by George Washington in 1782.
Artifact Date and Number: 
1771, May 22 - 1784, July 8; (1771; 1772; 1773; 1774; 1775; 1776; 1777; 1778; 1779; 1780; 1781; 1782; 1783; 1784); B33-148
Accession Date: 
1899 - 1905 (Donated at some point during the following years: 1899; 1900; 1901; 1902; 1903; 1904; 1905)
Manufacture Time Period: 
MTP3 (1751-1800)
Accession Time Period: 
ATP3 (1901-1925)
Special Importance - Details: 
SpecialImportance; Revolutionary War
Card Number: 
1590
Nomenclature Term: 
Book
Measurements in cm: 
L: 40.5 W: 17.6 H: 6.2
Materials: 
Vellum; cardboard; paper; fabric; ink; glue; thread
Artifact Lodge Name Number Location and State: 
Solomon's Lodge No. 1; Poughkeepsie; NY
Artifact Other: 
Alongside the Hudson River, almost midway between New York City and Albany is a city named Poughkeepsie, founded in 1687 and named in 1715 as county seat for Dutchess County. In 1777, though it was still a small town, Poughkeepsie was strategically located and it served briefly as the capital of New York State. Eleven years after that, on July 26, 1788, the town hosted the ratification of the United States Constitution by New York State. On March 27, 1799, Poughkeepsie became an incorporated village and in 1854, a city charter was issued.
On April 18, 1771, the Provincial Grand Master George Harison issued a warrant to Solomon's Lodge No. 1, Poughkeepsie's first Masonic Lodge. At least two significant visitors mark the history of the Lodge, with Benedict Arnold visiting in 1771 and George Washington in 1782.
The Lodge was re-numbered three times: once in 1797 when it surrendered its Provincial charter and was issued a new one as No. 56; once in 1800 when it was changed to No. 5, and finally in 1819 when it was changed to No. 6. In 1828, after the Morgan affair, the Lodge disappeared, and so in 1832, the Grand Lodge declared that Solomon's Lodge No. 1 warrant was forfeited.
In 1852, the second Lodge in the area was warranted, named Poughkeepsie Lodge No. 266. This Lodge is still in existence and is celebrating its 155th Anniversary in June of 2007. In 1879, a third Masonic Lodge was warranted, named Triune Lodge No. 782, and in 1922, a fourth Lodge was warranted, named Obed Lodge No. 984. In 1986, these two lodges merged to become Triune-Obed Lodge No. 782, which celebrates its 128th Anniversary in September of 2007.
In the first volume of the Minutes of Solomon's Lodge No. 1, which dates from May 22, 1771 to March 9, 1785, there are a few pages that reflect part of the amazing history of the Revolutionary War in the Hudson Valley region. Images of the important pages of this Minutes Book were published in 1905 by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York in a catalog of the Library's collection made by the Committee on Antiquities. This catalog is numbered RM06.3 N48 and can be read at the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge located in Manhattan at 23rd Street on the 14th Floor.
Solomon's Lodge No. 1 was constituted on May 22nd, 1771, the date of the first Minutes recorded in this Book. At the next meeting, three weeks later on June 12th, the Lodge was visited by Benedict Arnold. His name in the list of visitors to the Lodge is crossed out in a way that allows visibility of the name below. This crossing-out of his name was a result of a resolution made on May 16, 1781, which states, "Ordered that the Name of Benedict Arnold be considered as obliterated from the Minutes of this Lodge, a Traitor." Next to this statement is a small drawing of a hand, with a finger pointing at the resolution. The ink used to draw the hand is slightly different, and so may have been added after the original statement.
Artifact Other 2: 
Benedict Arnold?��s history shows that he was an ardent Patriot in the beginning of the War, his eagerness probably fueled by the trouble that the British were causing for colonial businessmen. In 1761, Benedict Arnold had opened a general store in New Haven, CT. Wanting to expand his operations, he convinced his sister to move to New Haven from Norwich to help run the store. With the sale of the Norwich property in 1764, Arnold was able to become a merchant trader, and traveled on a regular basis to Canada and to the West Indies, where it is believed he became a Freemason. Benedict Arnold affiliated with Hiram Lodge No. 1 in New Haven, CT, on April 10, 1765, where the Minutes read, "Brother Benedict Arnold is by Right Worshipful [Nathan Whiting] proposed to be made a member of the Right Worshipful Lodge and is accordingly made a member in this Lodge." Arnold is named often in the records of Hiram Lodge No. 1 up until 1772. On the date of Benedict Arnold's visit to Solomon's Lodge No. 1, June 12, 1771, James Livingston sat as Master. Also visiting that day was Robert R Livingston, "Jr.", the future Grand Master of Masons of the State of New York. Robert R Livingston was also one of the committee of five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. While the lack of a period after his middle initial is consistent with his life-long preference, in these Minutes, Robert R Livingston is referred to often as Jr., an unusual designation for him.
In 1767, Benedict Arnold married Margaret Mansfield, the daughter of a fellow Freemason, Samuel Mansfield. In the winter of 1770, Arnold had just returned from the West Indies to discover that rumors of his activities in the West Indies had tarnished his reputation at home, and in 1771, he sued the rumor-monger for slander. He had also begun building a large house near his store in 1770, which was completed in 1771. The lawsuit, along with the house-building, may explain why he was able to attend the Solomon?��s No. 1 June, 1771 meeting, instead of beginning the season's shipping travel.
Artifact Other 3: 
Because of his business interests, Arnold was active with the local Patriots and Sons of Liberty, and this also may account for his visit to a lodge that was over 70 miles away from his home. While the Revolution had not yet begun, the colonists were chafing under British rule, with the taxes imposed by the Stamp Act in 1765, the Townshend Revenue Act in 1767, and with the Boston Massacre in 1770.
When the Revolution began, Benedict Arnold aggressively joined the fight against the British. He was soon honored for his role alongside Ethan Allen in the May 1775 capture of the British Fort Ticonderoga. Arnold's wife Margaret died on June 19th, two months after the American Revolution began. Arnold then spent the next four years fighting valiantly for the Revolution, attacking forces in Canada and Connecticut and, with Horatio Gates, defeating General Burgoyne in 1777 at Saratoga. In June of 1778, he was given command of Philadelphia after it was evacuated by the British.
It was here in Philadelphia that he met his second wife, Peggy Shippen, who was a Loyalist and who was formerly loved and courted by Major Andre, a very interesting piece of information that helps to explain how Arnold and Andre knew each other.
Peggy's ambition is credited with being one of the main reasons for Arnold's treason, along with Arnold's huge dissatisfaction with the treatment he was receiving from the new government, which he felt had passed him over for promotions. He also felt unjustly charged with mismanaging his post in Philadelphia, where he had begun to live extravagantly. He was later court-marshaled in Morristown, NJ in December of 1780 for misuse of both funds and army personnel.
Benedict Arnold had eight charges advanced against him by the Pennsylvania council, and of these, only four came before the court. He was acquitted of two of these charges. For one of the other charges, his actions were pronounced irregular and contrary to one of the articles of war, and for the second charge, his actions were found to be imprudent and reprehensible. His sentence was to be reprimanded by the commander-in-chief, George Washington, a sentence confirmed by Congress on February 12th, 1780. For Arnold, who felt wrongly accused, to be reprimanded by his friend Washington was not only embarrassing, but he thought it extremely insulting to all of the sacrifices he had made for the war effort, including having sustained permanent leg damage during the battles in which he had participated.
Artifact Other 4: 
Washington's reprimand was mild, and read as follows: "Our profession is the chastest (sic) of all: even the shadow of a fault tarnishes the lustre (sic) of our finest achievements. The least inadvertence may rob us of the public favor, so hard to be acquired. I reprehend you for having forgotten, that, in proportion as you had rendered yourself formidable to our enemies, you should have been guarded and temperate in your deportment towards your fellow-citizens. Exhibit anew those noble qualities which have placed you on the list of our most valued commanders. I will myself furnish you, as far as it may be in my power, with opportunities of regaining the esteem of your country."
At this point, Benedict Arnold had already made his first overture to the British. In a June 1778 letter to Colonel Robinson, he expressed that, "the ingratitude he had experienced, concurring with other causes, had entirely changed his principles, and that he now only sought to restore himself to the favor of his Prince, and would like to open a correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton for that purpose." After his humiliating censure, he turned down an active command position that Washington offered him in an effort to provide Arnold with an environment whereby he could restore his good name. Instead of accepting the active battle commission, Arnold convinced Washington to give him command of the strategically located West Point.
On September 23, 1780, Arnold's traitorous plot to turn West Point over to the British was discovered by the capture of a British soldier, Major John Andre, by three Patriots, named John Paulding, Isaac Van Wart and David Williams. Paulding and Williams later became Freemasons, with Paulding joining Cortlandt Lodge No. 34 in Cortlandt, NY in the 1790s and Williams joining Lotus Lodge No. 31 in 1827, serving as its first Junior Warden.
The commander in charge of the Second Light Dragoons, Lt. Col. John Jameson, sent the material found on Andre to George Washington, along with this letter, as written, "Sir, Inclosed (sic) you'll receive a parcel of Papers taken from [a] certain John Anderson [Andre] who has a pass signed by General Arnold as may be seen The Papers were found under the feet of his Stockings he offered the Men that took him one hundred Guineas and as many goods as they wou'd Please to ask I have sent the Prisoner to General Arnold he is very desirous of the Papers and every thing being sent with him But as I think they are of a very [d]angerou[s] tendency [ ]ht it more proper your Excell[ency] should see [t]hem."
Artifact Other 5: 
General Hamilton wrote later that Andre was initially sent to Arnold, but the decision was countermanded, and Andre was sent to Old Salem. Benedict Arnold escaped to the British ship, writing to George Washington that "...the same principle of love to my country actuates my present conduct, however it may appear inconsistent to the world, who very seldom judge right of any man's actions." Arnold later fought for the British against the Revolutionists and was ever after held in poor regard by both the Americans and the British. On October 2, 1780, Andre was killed by hanging, as regulations relating to a spy required, but, he was so sympathetic a figure that he "died universally esteemed and universally regretted."
Two years after the death of Major Andre, George Washington visited Solomon?��s Lodge No. 1 on December 27, 1782. He explained his presence in the Hudson River Valley at that time in a December 14th letter that he had not left for Virginia for the winter to attend to personal affairs because of the bad temper of the army, which was frustrated by lack of pay. On the exact date of Washington's visit to Solomon's Lodge No. 1 in Poughkeepsie, a letter written by David Humphreys to Lt. Col. William Stephens Smith states, ?ǣDear Smith: The Commander in Chief who has just gone to Poughkeepsie, has left it in charge with me to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of the 25th, and to inform you that he has no objections to your coming to the Army?Ǫ?ǥ
At the Solomon's No. 1 meeting, part of an address read to the Commander-in-Chief was recorded as follows: "We the Master, Wardens and Brethren of Solomon?��s Lodge No. 1 are highly sensible of the Honor done to Masonry in general by the countenance shown to it by the most Dignified Character..."
At the time of Washington?��s visit to the Lodge, the Revolutionary War was almost over. Britain declared an end to the hostilities on February 4, 1783, and the United States Congress declared an end to the war on April 11, 1783. However, the British did not evacuate completely from New York City until almost a year after Washington?��s visit to Solomon?��s Lodge No. 1, leaving on November 25th, 1783, as Washington entered the city in triumph.
Associated Names: 
Benedict Arnold; George Washington; Robert R Livingston; George Harison; Nathan Whiting; James Livingston; Margaret Mansfield; Samuel Mansfield; Ethan Allen; Horatio Gates; John Burgoyne; Peggy Shippen; John Anderson; John Andre; Beverley Robinson; Sir Henry Clinton; John Paulding; Isaac Van Wart; David Williams; John Jameson; Alexander Hamilton; David Humphreys; William Stephens Smith
Donor Name and Title: 
Solomon's Lodge No. 1
Donor Lodge Name Number Location and State: 
Solomon's Lodge No. 1; Poughkeepsie; NY
Donor Other: 
On the original artifact card it states, "It is a matter of history, that after the close of the War of the Revolution, Washington was urged to become King of this Country. It is said that members of Solomon's Lodge conceived this idea, and endeavored to persuade Washington to accept the Crown." Washington, of course, refused.
Details: 
A long thin book with a heavy vellum binding with hand-written contents that record the minutes of the meetings of Solomon's Lodge No. 1. This first volume of a two volume set records the minutes from May 22, 1771, the date that the Lodge was constituted by, [at the time], W.. Robert R Livingston, Master of Union Lodge of New York City, by authority of R..W.. George Harison, Provincial Grand Master, and ends with the Communication of July 8, 1784. [Robert R Livingston became Most Worshipful Grand Master three years later in 1784, serving in that position until 1800.] The pages of the Minutes book are very brittle. Some are detached from the binding, and some have been reinforced with a fabric treatment. Throughout the minutes, there are numerous instances where names have been physically excised.
The pages shown here were printed and published in the 1905 catalogue of the Library collection.
Associated In Storage Number: 
AIS537
AIS details: 
Copies of Minutes Book artifact cards
Previous Number: 
J19
References: 
The Biography and Lodge Files at the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge, NY;
Benson, Egbert. Vindication of the Captors of Major Andre. T + W Mercein Printers, NY 1817;
Ford, Worthington Chauncey, editor. The Writings of George Washington, G.P. Putnam?��s Sons, New York, 1891;
Irving, Washington. Life of George Washington. New York, Vol. 4, 1856;
Knox, Sanka. '1780 Letter to Washington Hints at Arnold's Treason'. Printed in The New York Times, February 19, 1968;
Ress, George. The History of Poughkeepsie Lodge No. 266, F. & A. M. 1852-1969. The American Lodge of Research Free and Accepted Masons, New York, NY, Vol. XXI, 1992, p.43;
Smith, James H. History of Duchess County. New York, D. Mason & Co., 1882;
Titler, Dale M. 'Benedict Arnold Loves Peggy Shippen', printed in Yankee Magazine, Yankee Publishing, Inc., New Hampshire, January, 1975;
Wallace, Willard M. 'Traitorous Hero - The Life and Fortunes of Benedict Arnold.' Harper & Brothers Publishers, NY, 1954
Photography Information: 
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel EOS; Lighting: Eiko Supreme Photoflood ECA 120 volt; Editing: Adobe Photoshop; Rule: 1 centimeter black + white ruler; Photographer: Catherine M. Walter; Image, Data and Research: Courtesy of the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge, New York
Date created: 
8/24/07
Date modified: 
9/27/12
Filename: 
180.jpg