Who Was Stephen Morin?

(Information taken from "A History of the Supreme Council, 33º of the AASR of Freemasonry for the NMJ" by George A. Newbury, published in 1987.)

Etienne Morin, hereinafter referred to as Stephen Morin, deserves the bulk of the credit for the establishment of the RIte of Perfection in the Western Hemisphere.

Specific information about his background is hard to find because he has a very common name for the time period. First accounts of our Stephen Morin note him being in the West Indies with a connection to Bordeaux, France. It is believed that Morin was made a Mason in Loge La Francaise in that town in approximately 1741.

Loge La Francaise is one of the earliest lodges to have taken an early and intense interest in the Ecossais (or Scottish Rite) degrees. Another lodge that demonstrated a keen interest in the degrees early on was the Loge Parfaite Harmonie, of which Morin rose to the position of Master by 1744.

Upon returning to the West Indies, Morin set up an Ecossais Chapter in San Domingo, a French colony on the island of Hispaniola at the time. Newbury notes that Morin "was a difficult person, inclined to... overstep his Masonic authority" (36). This caused him to return to France in 1759 to attend to the wishes of his superiors.

After this trip to France, where Morin tried to obtain a patent of authority to set up Masonic Lodges throughout the New World, and a brief detainment in London by British forces, Morin returned to San Domingo in 1763, patent in hand, with the intent of promoting the Rite of Perfection throughout the hemisphere.

Morin appointed several Deputy Inspectors General, and gave them the authority to spread the "Superior Degrees of Free and Accepted Masons" in their various territories. While Morin died in 1771, before the first official Supreme Council was formed at Charleston in 1801, he deserves credit for laying the foundation of the organization we know so well today.



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