An exposition of Freemasonry was actually published after the author, Captain Morgan Freeman, was kidnapped (and murdered) by Freemasons from the town of Batavia, New York on Sept. 11, 1826, for reasons concerning the contents exposed in his book. Published, posthumously, in 1827, it remains one of the most critical expose's of Freemasonry. Mystery surrounded the murder of the author for more than 50 years.
This free-book is actually the written testimony and sworn, notarized affidavit concerning the death of Captain William Morgan and investigation by Thurlow Weed. Below is the introduction to Captain Morgan's book, Illustrations of Masonry, by the publisher, written in 1826.
We have scanned the 15 page testimony of Thurlow Weed, from a reproduction, which appears to have been the original plates this booklet was printed from.
Excerpt from the Introduction:
In the absence of the author, or rather complier of the following work, who was kidnapped and carried away frmo the village of Baravia, on the 11th day of September, 1826, by a number of Freemasons, it devolves upon the publisher to attempt to set forth some of the leading views that governed those who embarked in the undertaking.
To contend with prejudice, and to struggle against customs and opinions, which superstition, time and ignorance have hallowed, requires time, patience, and magnanimity. When we begin to pull down the strongholds of error, the batteries we level against them, though strong, and powerful; and victorious at last, are at first received with violence; and when in our conquering career we meet with scoffs and revilings from the besieged partisans of untenable positions, it the more forcibly impresses us we are but men; and that in every work of reformation and renovation we must encounter various difficulties.
For a full confirmation of our statement we might refer to the history of the world. It is nor our intention, however, to give a full detail of the whim and caprices of man to bring forth the historical records of other years as proof of the windings and shiftings of hte various characters who have 'Strutted their brief hour on life's stage' in order to convince that customs, associations, and institutions are like the lives of the aurhors and abettors, fleeting and fragile. Many of them rise up as bubbles on the ocean, and die away.
Circumstances give them existence, and when these causes cease to exist, they go into the same gulf of oblvion as countless exploded opinions and tenats have gone before them. The mind that formed and planned them, goes on in its dazzling flight, bounding over barrier after barrier, till it has arrived at the ulimate goal of consumation.
... We have with ourselve the knowledge; and everywhere around us the proofs that we are beings destined not to stand still. In our present state of advancement, we look with pity on the small progress of our fathers in arts and sciences, and social institutions; and when compared with our elevated rank, we have just cause of pride and of grateful feelings.
... In the present enlightened state to which society has advanced, we contend that the opinions and tenets and pretended secrecies of 'olden times,' handed down to us, should be fully, fairly, and freely canvassed; that from the mist and darkness which have hung over them, they should come out before the open light of day, and be subject to the rigid test of candid investigation.
We come to lay before the world the claims of an institution which has been sanctioned by ages, venerated for wisdom, exalted for 'light;' but, an institution whose benefits have always been overrated, and whose continuance is not in the slightest degree, necessary. We meet it with its high requirements, its 'time honored customs,' its swelling titles, and shall show it in its nakedness and simplicity. Strip it of its 'borrowed trappings' and it is a mere nothing, a toy not now worthy the notice of a child to sport with. We look back to is as, at one period, a 'cement of society and bond of union' --
... If we could climb to the highest ascent of human science and trace the mighty progress of human genius in every gigantic effort of mind in logic, geometry, mathematics, chemistry, and every other 'branch of knowledge,' we ridicule the idea that Masonry, in her retirements, contains the arts and sciences. The sturdiest Mason in the whole fraternity is not bold enough to uphold or maintain the opinion for one moment in sober reality.
... We pretend not to act under a cover. We shall 'tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.'
... Masonry is of itself naked and worthless.
Introduction by Colonel David C. Miller, Batavia, New York 1826