ODDFELLOWS, ORDER OF, a secret benevolent and social th ciety, having mystic signs of recognition, initiatory rites and tk remonies, and various grades of dignity and honor. Great th tiquity has been claimed for the order of Oddfellowsthe ur Dst popular tradition ascribing it to the Jewish legion under th tus, who, it is asserted, received from the emperor its first nc arter written on a golden tablet. Oddfellows themselves, sh wever, now generally admit that the institution cannot be U aced back beyond the first half of the 18th century, and explain St e name as adopted at a time when the severance into sects ri id classes was so wide that persons aiming at social union and w. utual help were a marked exception to the general rule. pf ention is made by Defoe of the society of Oddfcllows, but the G dest lodge of which the name has been handed down is the St Dyal Aristarcus, No. 9, which met in 1745 at the Oakley cc rms, Borough of Southwark; Globe Tavern, Hatton Garden; fo the Boars Head in Smithfield, as the noble master may direct. A he earliest lodges were supported by each member and visitor S(tying a penny to the secretary on entering the lodge, and special a1 ims were voted to any brother in need. If out of work he was ipplied with a card and funds to reach the next lodge, and he m ent from lodge to lodge until he found employment. The lodges ~ adually adopted a definite common ritual and became confeder- c ed under the name of the Patriotic Order. Towards the end of F1 century many of the lodges were broken up by State prosecu.. ns on the suspicion that their purposes were seditious, but I society continued to exist as the Union Order of Oddfellows til 1809. In 1813, at a convention in Manchester, was formed I Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity, which w overshadows all the minor societies in England. Oddfellowip was introduced into the United States from the Manchester sity in 1819, and the grand lodge of Maryland and the United ates was constituted on the 22nd of February 1821. It now rals in membership and influence the Manchester Unity, from iich it severed its connection ~n 1842. In 1843 it issued a disnsation for opening the Prince of Wales Lodge No.1 at Montreal, inada. The American society, including Canada and the United ates, has its headquarters at Baltimore. Organizations, nnected either with the United States or England, have been anded in France, Germany, Switzerland, Gibraltar and Malta, istralia, New Zealand, the Fiji Islands, the Hawaiian Islands, uth Africa, South America, the West Indies and Barbados, d elsewhere.
The rules of the different societies, various song-books, and a Lmber of minor books on Oddfellowship have been published, but e most complete and trustworthy account of the institution is at in The Complete Manual of Oddfellowship, its History, Principles~ remonies and Symbolism, privately printed (1879). See also UENDLY Soczwrucs, -
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