Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Templars Considered Esperanto

No booze at this party
Not the Knights Templar of the medieval period, but (according to Wikipedia), a temperance organization modeled on Freemasonry. The Washington Times reported on its convention on June 4, 1908. We can assume this was no drunken bash. Their meeting place is listed as the Pythian Temple, which was the meeting place for yet another fraternal organization, The Knights of Pythias, itself founded in Washington D.C.

The main thrust of the meeting was to move forward on a proposal that the movement be neutral on the religion of its members. The organization's web site makes no reference of any sort about religion. Most chapters seem to be in Europse, though there seem to be no chapters in France or Italy. The religious neutrality part seems to have gone through.

The other proposal was that the organization take up Esperanto as the language for its international meetings.
Esperanto will be the language used at future triennial meeting of the international order, if the recommendation of the committee on literature is adopted. B. A. Hockert, of Hartford, Conn., chairman of the committee, said that, in view of the waste of time at meetings, because of translation of speeches and reports of members from different lands, it would be well, if possible, to use the universal language. He urged members to study it and see if it could not be used successfully at the next meeting.
I have found a report on the 1911 meeting of the Good Templars. No reference to Esperanto, but maybe I should hold out my hopes for 1914.

The organization was founded in the United States, but by 1908, Sweden had the largest number of members, with about 200,000 Good Templars. England had the largest children's membership, beating out Sweden by about 9,000 children.

Although the group was considering Esperanto, a committee
recommended that an international magazine be published in several languages. This was referred to the new international executive committee.
Why not publish the magazine in Esperanto? That would get the members reading it.

Update: Not long after writing this, on a whim, I e-mailed the Good Templars, asking if they had any information about ever adopting Esperanto. I'll update this if they ever get back to me.
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