Francis J. Burd
Francis J. Burd, newspaper director, was born at Kuskegon, Mich. Jan. 7, 1870, son of J.S. Burd and N.J. (Evans) Burd. Married Frances Alice, daughter of A.M. Beattie, of Vancouver, June 7, 1905.
Came to Winnipeg in 1883, and was identified with the Winnipeg Free Press in circulation department. Joined Klondike rush, and in company with his brother established a newspaper at White Horse, which was not a success. Returned to Vancouver and was associated with the News Advertiser, and later with the late Walter Nichol then proprietor of the Province. Became managing director when that journal was taken over by the Southam interests, and is now President of the Company, Past President Can. Daily Newspaper Association. Home, 1300 Comox Street, Vancouver. That he has carried into his public life the principles set out in his address to Grand Lodge is shown by the fact that outside of Freemasonry, in which he has been active in all good works, he has been on the Board of Directors of the Vancouver General Hospital for 25 years, assisted in the work of St. Luke’s Home, King’s Daughter’s Home, Resthaven, Welfare Federation, B. C. Cancer Institute, and Treasurer of the Art Gallery, The Fairbridge Farm, and one of the Governors of the University of British Columbia. All these culminating in the receipt of the "Good Citizen" Medal for the City of Vancouver in 1938.
He became a Freemason in Winnipeg on April 7, 1893 in Ionic Lodge No. 25, G.R. Man. and passed the F.C. and M.M. later in that year, He was W. Master of that Lodge in 1898. On coming to British Columbia he affiliated with Acacia Lodge, No. 22 at Vancouver and still (1943) retains his membership in it it now as a Life Honorary Nember. He is also an Honorary Life Member of his Mother Lodge in Winnipeg, also of Western Gate Lodge, No. 48 and Kilwinning Lodge No. 59 at Vancouver and of Duke of Connaught Lodge, No. 64, at North Vancouver, Tyee Lodge, No. 66 at Prince Rupert, and Mount Lebanon Lodge, No. 72, at Marpole. in the Grand Lodge of B. C. he is the chairman of the Jurisprudence Committee, and is the representative of the Grand Lodge of England near the Grand Lodge of British Columbia. He also holds high rank in many of the concordant orders.
His first act as Grand Master was to cable to the Duke of Connaught Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, an address of congratulation on his appointment as Governor General of the Dominion of Canada and to welcome his coming.
Recognizing the need of a greater knowledge of our laws other than the constitution alone, he took upon himself to request R.W. Bro. Eli Harrison, son of that grand old pioneer of Freemasonry in British Columbia, M.W. Bro. Eli Harrison, Sr., a Jurist of ability and exper- ience both at the Bar and on the Bench, to compile an annotated digest of all the Constitutions, laws, edicts and decisions of the Grand Lodge from its organization, a volume which has been of inestimable value, not only to the officers of Grand Lodge, but also to the whole body of the Craft in the jurisdiction, This had been completed, and the Grand Master asked that a reasonable honorarium be voted for the work and this Grand Lodge was very glad to do.
In order to further assist the brethren, he issued, during his term of office, three circulars calculated to draw their attention to matters of importance to all. The first related to conferring degrees upon more than one candidate at a time, and for ballotting for more than one candidate at a time; the second, relative to the obligation of the members as to slandering a brother or repeating a slander current concerning a member of the Craft; and relating to the importance of preserving the Lodge records, especially the Minute Books, and recommending the Constituent Lodges to procure Fire-proof safes for that purpose. If this last had always been the rule in the Lodges the labors of the Grand Historians and their assistants would have been made much easier, and their work of more real importance to the Craft at large.
In addition to the circulars above mentioned, G.M. Burd made a number of recommendations to Grand Lodge and to his successors in office as Grand Masters. The first was that before granting dispensations for new Lodges the brethren asking therefor should be required to work as a Lodge of Instruction for such period of time as might be necessary to acquire proficiency in the ceremonial, This, he suggested, was particularly advisable where some of the applicants had belonged to Lodges indifferent jurisdictions.
In various districts, Lodges, which had experienced a period of prosperity, so long as the mines in the vicinity were producing satisfactorily, found themselves in difficulties when these gave out, and no others had been discovered to take their places. This was becoming quite noticeable even in the days of Grand Master Burd, and he warned that particular consideration should be given to such localities, especially mining camps dependent upon one mine and prospects. He might have made this cover towns dependent on timber, or, as the economists say, solely dependent on wasting assets. Grand Lodge agreed.
He also pointed out that the rule as to the examination of Worshipful Masters prior to installation in order to make sure that they were properly qualified to carry out their duties had not been as strictly enforced as it should have been, and he impressed on the Brethren the necessity for strict compliance with the regulations; that the District Deputy Grand Masters who had faithfully carried out their duties as such should be granted thereafter the appellation of "Right Worshipful"; and that a Monitor or Manual should be prepared, embracing the lectures, and such other knowledge as is proper to be printed, of the two works popularly known as Canadian and American.
He felt that the Brethren using the Emulation, Oxford, Stability, Australian and Canadian, which vary so little in their forms of work, would, no doubt, welcome such a volume, while those using the American work would welcome a selection from some of the books used in one of the United States. This could be included in a volume with the "Forms and Ceremonies." The first of these was not alluded to by Grand Lodge, which disagreed with the Grand Master as to the District Deputy Grand Masters, and did not think it advisable to confer Past rank on them; neither did it agree with the compilation of a Monitor as suggested, as it was of opinion that owing to the diversity of ritual and the smallness of the jurisdiction it had better be dropped for the time being.
There were also some other matters of minor importance among his recommendations; the amendment of the Funeral Ceremonial, the adoption of the Harrison Digest, the necessity, if possible, of the Lodges having Halls for their exclusive use, and that two o£ the most eminent Masonic Historians, Bro. Robert Freke Gould of Woking, England, and W. J. Chetworde Crawley of Dublin, Ireland be made honorary Members of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia, with the rank of Past Grand Warden. With all these Grand Lodge agreed.
Another ruling made by G. M. Burd was the subject of considerable comment. He was of the opinion that the wearing of Masonic regalia while attending Divine service was wrong, as the Lodge would not be at labour at the time, but he granted dispensations for that purpose following the precedent set by his predecessors, and because the Constitution, by imposing a fee for these dispensations had tacitly authorized them. However the practice later has been in accordance with his opinion, and the brethren attend such services, but not in Masonic regalia. He absolutely refused to grant dispensations for wearing Masonic clothing at dances, and there is no doubt but that his ruling was correct.
In closing his address Grand Master Burd spoke of his desire to encourage the Brethren to look at Freemasonry from the standard of trying to live up to their obligations, and so make it a potent force in our citizenship, rather than that of meeting for transaction of business, and adding to our members. He also thanked the Brethren for the honor conferred on him by electing him Grand Master in words which express the feeling of every Freemason who has had the honour to occupy the position of Grand Master; "Brethren, the most honored position in your gift, or in the gift of man, has been mine during the past year, and for this I sincerely thank you."
Robie L. Reid, Historical Notes and Biographical Sketches. pp. 280-83. fn 2.