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Manuel R. Camus passes away

Today in Masonic History Manuel R. Camus passes away in 1949.

Manuel R. Camus was a Filipino politician and Grand Master of the Philippines.

Camus was born on October 16th, 1875 in Manila. Camus was fourteen years younger than José Rizal. Despite their age difference the two men were friends through the fraternity and it was Camus who convinced Rizal to stay out of the Philippines when he was in danger of being arrested there.

Camus put himself into a self imposed exile in Singapore. He returned to the Philippines after the Spanish-American war when the Philippines were turned over to the United States from Spain. He worked initially as an interpreter of the Provost Marshall General.

Camus later began working in government. First he worked as the city attorney for Manila. After he was appointed to the Judiciary. He served as a judge for two decades. In his time as a judge he was known for being fair and impartial in his decisions.

In 1928, Camus was elected to the Philippine Senate. He served there until 1931. Again his high level of integrity was recognized by all who worked with him. At a time when many used their position in the politics of the Philippines to enrich themselves, Camus resisted such temptations. After leaving the Senate he went into a private legal practice.

Outside of the professional arena, Camus took an interest in the youth of the Philippines. He was one of the organizers of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the YMCA of the Philippines.

Camus passed away on December 22nd, 1949.

Camus has a long and complex association with the masonic fraternity. He started his masonic journey while in Singapore. He was raised in Zetland in the East Lodge No. 508. The lodge operated under the United Grand Lodge of England. Records indicate he demitted from Zetland Lodge a year later, presumably when he returned to the Philippines. It is unclear what his status in the fraternity was for the next two years in the Philippines. He did sign a petition to create Manila Lodge No. 342 in 1901, under the Grand Lodge of California. From there he demitted from Manila Lodge and on the same day petitioned the Grand Lodge of Scotland to form Perla De Oriente Lodge No. 1034 in 1908. He then demitted there in 1916 when he helped to form Cosmos Lodge No. 8 under the Grand Lodge of the Philippines. Camus served as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines in 1934.

Camus was also a member of York Rite, Scottish Rite and was a Shriner affiliated with the Nile Temple in Seattle, Washington.