The Morgan Affair: A Tale Of Secret Societies, Kidnapping, And America’s First Third Political Party

It may seem a bit strange that the U.S. The two-party political system is frowned upon, but the circus around the creation of the country's first third party in the early 1800s may have been the cause of some gun-shame. The rise of this third political party stemmed from a wave of anti-Masonic sentiment that swept the country after the "Morgan Affair", when a disgruntled former mason threatened to reveal the secrets of the fraternal organization.

This Morgan Cow

It all started with Virginia native William Morgan, who served as a captain in the War of 1812 before settling in Canada with his teenage bride. After their brewery caught fire, leaving them penniless, the family relocated to Rochester, New York, where Morgan joined the local Masonic lodge, Wells Lodge No. 282. As a special organization surrounded by rumors of secret rituals that counted top political figures and prominent people. The businessmen, masons among its ranks guarded themselves cautiously from the prying eyes of non-members, and Morgan's membership was under question from the start. We know that he obtained the Royal Arch degrees or York Reit, for which he may have completed the first three degrees of Freemasonry, but there was no evidence that he himself had completed the first three degrees.

According to rumour, Morgan spoke to an acquaintance vouching for him, but whether this person really had reason to believe him or was just an accomplice, it is not known. Whatever the case, Morgan later joined the Western Star chapter R.A.M. Number 33 is based in Leroy, New York and has become a well-known mason in the state, giving presentations about Freemasonry and helping to land several Royal Arch chapters. However, in 1825, when he was helping to establish such a chapter in the small town of Batavia, New York, people began to question whether Morgan was actually a mason, and kicked him out of the local chapter. had gone.

Portrait of William Morgan, 1829.

What Happened To William Morgan?

Mildly enraged, Morgan threatens to write a book exposing the masons' secrets and even asks local newspaper publisher David C. It also secured some financial backers for his project, including Miller, who himself was denied membership in Masons. They soon realized that they had made some powerful enemies, as they began to suffer from strange misfortunes. Miller's newspaper office suspiciously caught fire, though before his business was destroyed, and Morgan was then arrested on charges of stealing, of all things shirt and tie.

The charges were dropped, but Morgan was jailed until he could pay the $2 cost of clothing. According to reports, a group of unidentified people arrive at the prison to pay Morgan's fees and bring him home, and Morgan is never seen again. Rumors spread that the masons drowned Morgan in the icy Niagara River, but many involved insisted that Morgan had only been given money and asked to head north into Canada and never return to the U.S. 

William Wert, 1832 presidential candidate of the Anti-Masonic Party.

The Morgan Affair

The news media had a field day with the story, which they dubbed the "Morgan Affair". Reports about kidnapping and murder conspiracies, occult rituals, and the power of the masons ran in newspapers across the country, bringing the organization into the national spotlight. Public perception of the previously respected organization soon turned sour, especially as the three men arrested for the kidnapping and alleged murder of Morgan were acquitted by a judge, who also happened to be a mason, resulting in the creation of a national antithesis. - Masonic Party.

The rule of the first third political party in the United States was short-lived. He nominated candidates for the presidency in both the 1828 and 1832 presidential elections, but he lost both times, and the public interest soon turned away from the masons and toward other issues such as slavery. Over time, the Anti-Masonic Party merged with the Whig Party, but half a century after the Morgan Affair, the Masons' reputation was tarnished. Their numbers also declined, but it is possible that the group became more selective about membership and secretive about their activities, all things considered.

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