Note:  This material was scanned into text files for the sole purpose of convenient electronic research. This material is NOT intended as a reproduction of the original volumes. However close the material is to becoming a reproduced work, it should ONLY be regarded as a textual reference.  Scanned at Phoenixmasonry by Ralph W. Omholt, PM in May 2007.

HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL

 

BRETHREN, MANY of you will know that I travel vast distances in the course of my lecture duties and the further I go the more astonished I am to see how many Brethren believe, quite genuinely, that our masonic ritual came down straight from heaven, directly into the hands of King Solomon. They are all quite certain that it was in English, of course, because that is the only language they speak up there. They are equally sure that it was all engraved on two tablets of stone, so that, heaven forbid, not one single word should ever be altered; and most of them believe that King Solomon, in his own lodge, practised the same ritual as they do in theirs.

 

But, it was not like that at all, and tonight I am going to try to sketch for you the history of our ritual from its very beginnings up to the point when it was virtually standardised, in 1813; but you must remember, while I am talking about English ritual 1 am also giving you the history of your own ritual as well. One thing is going to be unusual about tonight's talk. Tonight you are not going to get any fairy‑tales at all. Every word I utter will be based on documents which can be proved: and on the few rare occasions when, in spite of having the documents, we still have not got complete and perfect proof, I shall say loud and clear 'We think . . .' or 'We believe . . .'. Then you will know that we are, so‑to‑speak, on uncertain ground; but 1 will give you the best that we know. And since a talk of this kind must have a proper starting point, let me begin by saying that Freemasonry did not begin in Egypt, or Palestine, or Greece, or Rome.

 

BEGINNINGS OF MASON TRADE ORGANISATION

 

It all started in London, England, in the year 1356, a very important date, and it started as the result of a good old‑fashioned

 

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demarcation dispute. Now, you all know what a demarcation dispute is. When the boys in a trade union cannot make up their minds who is going to knock the nails and who will screw the screws, that is a demarcation dispute. And that is how it started, in 1356, when there was a great row going on in London between the mason hewers, the men who cut the stone, and the mason layers and setters, the men who actually built the walls. The exact details of the quarrel are not known, but, as a result of this row, 12 skilled master masons, with some famous men among them, came before the mayor and aldermen at Guildhall in London, and, with official permission, drew up a simple code of trade regulations.

 

The opening words of that document, which still survives, say that these men had come together because their trade had never been regulated in such form as other trades were. So here, in this document, we have an official guarantee that this was the very first attempt at some sort of trade organisation for the masons and, as we go through the document, the very first rule that they drew up gives a clue to the demarcation dispute that I was talking about. They ruled, `That every man of the trade may work at any work touching the trade if he be perfectly skilled and knowing in the same.' Brethren, that was the wisdom of Solomon! If you knew the job, you could do the job, and nobody could stop you! If we only had that much common sense nowadays in England, how much better off we should be.

 

The organisation that was set up at that time became, within 20 years, the London Masons Company, the first trade guild of the masons and one of the direct ancestors of our Freemasonry of today. This was the real beginning. Now the London Masons Company was not a lodge; it was a trade guild and I ought to spend a lot of time trying to explain how lodges began, a difficult problem because we have no records of the actual foundation of the early operative lodges.

 

Briefly, the guilds were town organisations, greatly favoured by the towns because they helped in the management of municipal affairs. In London, for example, from 1376 onwards, each of the trades elected two representatives who became members of the Common Council, all together forming the city government. But the mason trade did not lend itself to town organisation at all. Most of their main work was outside the towns ‑ the castles, the abbeys, the monaster‑

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL    3

 

ies, the defence works, the really big jobs of masonry were always far from the towns. And we believe that it was in those places, where there was no other kind of trade organisation, that the masons, who were engaged on those jobs for years on end, formed themselves into lodges, in imitation of the guilds, so that they had some form of self‑government on the job, while they were far away from all other forms of trade control.

 

The first actual information about lodges comes to us from a collection of documents which we know as the `Old Charges' or the Manuscript Constitutions' of masonry, a marvellous collection. They begin with the Regius Manuscript c1390; the next, the Cooke Manuscript is dated c1410 and we have 130 versions of these documents running right through to the eighteenth century.

 

The oldest version, the Regius Manuscript, is in rhyming verse and differs, in several respects, from the other texts, but, in their general shape and contents they are all very much alike. They begin with an Opening Prayer, Christian and Trinitarian, and then they go on with a history of the craft, starting in Bible times and in Bible lands, and tracing the rise of the craft and its spread right across Europe until it reached France and was then brought across the channel and finally established in England. Unbelievably bad history; any professor of history would drop dead if he were challenged to prove it; but the masons believed it. This was their guarantee of respectability as an ancient craft.

 

Then, after the history we find the regulations, the actual Charges, for masters, fellows and apprentices, including several rules of a purely moral character, and that is all. Occasionally, the name of one of the characters changes, or the wording of a regulation will be altered slightly, but all follow the same general pattern.

 

Apart from these three main sections, prayer, history and Charges, in most of them we find a few words which indicate the beginnings of masonic ceremony. I must add that we cannot find all the information in one single document; but when we study them as a collection, it is possible to reconstruct the outline of the admission ceremony of those days, the earliest ceremony of admission into the craft.

 

We know that the ceremony, such as it was, began with an opening prayer and then there was a `reading' of the history. (Many later documents refer to this `reading'.) In those days, 99 masons in 100 could not read, and we believe, therefore, that they selected

 

4   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

particular sections of the history which they memorised and recited from memory. To read the whole text, even if they could read, would have taken much too long. So the second part of the ceremony was the `reading'.

 

Then, we find an instruction, which appears regularly in practically every document, usually in Latin, and it says: `Then one of the elders holds out a book [sometimes "the book", sometimes the "Bible", and sometimes the "Holy Bible"] and he or they that are to be admitted shall place their hand thereon, and the following Charges shall be read.' In that position the regulations were read out to the candidate and he took the oath, a simple oath of fidelity to the king, to the master and to the craft, that he would obey the regulations and never bring the craft to shame. This was a direct lift from the guild oath, which was probably the only form that they knew; no frills, no penalties, a simple oath of fidelity to the king, the employer (the master) and to the trade.

 

From this point onwards, the oath becomes the heart and marrow, the crucial centre of every masonic ceremony. The Regius, which is the first of the versions to survive, emphasizes this and it is worth quoting here. After the reading of the Charges in the Regius Manuscript, we get these words: `And all the points hereinbefore To all of them he must be sworn, And all shall swear the same oath Of the masons, be they willing, be they loth' Whether they liked it or not, there was only one key that would open the door into the craft and that was the mason's oath. The importance, which the Regius attaches to it, we find repeated over and over again, not in the same words, but the emphasis is still there. The oath or obligation is the key to the admission ceremony.

 

So there I have described for you the earliest ceremony and now I can justify the title of my paper, Six Hundred Years of Craft Ritual. We have 1356 as the date of the beginnings of mason trade organisation, and around 1390 the earliest evidence which indicates a ceremony of admission. Split the difference. Somewhere between those two dates is when it all started. That is almost exactly 600 years of provable history and we can prove every stage of our development from then onwards.

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL   5

 

Masonry, the art of building, began many thousands of years before this, but, for the antecedents of our own Freemasonry, we can only go back to the direct line of history that can be proved, and that is 1356, when it really began in Britain.

 

And now there is one other point that must be mentioned before I go any further. I have been speaking of a time when there was only one degree. The documents do not say that there is only one degree, they simply indicate only one ceremony, never more than one. But I believe it cannot have been for the apprentice, or entered apprentice; it must have been for the fellow of craft, the man who was fully trained. The Old Charges do not say this, but there is ample outside evidence from which we draw this conclusion. We have many law‑suits and legal decisions that show that in the 1400s an apprentice was the chattel of his master. An apprentice was a piece of equipment, that belonged to his master. He could be bought and sold in much the same way that the master would buy and sell a horse or a cow and, under such conditions, it is impossible that an apprentice had any status in the lodge. That came much later. So, if we can think ourselves back into the time when there was only one degree it must have been for the fully‑trained mason, the fellow of craft.

 

Almost 150 years were to pass before the authorities and parliament began to realise that maybe an apprentice was actually a human being as well. In the early 1500s we have in England a whole collection of labour statutes, labour laws, which begin to recognise the status of apprentices, and around that time we begin to find evidence of more than one degree.

 

From 1598 onwards we have minutes of two Scottish Lodges that were practising two degrees. I will come to that later. Before that date there is no evidence on degrees, except perhaps in one English document, the Harleian MS, No 2054, dated c1650, but believed to be a copy of a text of the late 1500s, now lost.

 

FIRST HINT OF TWO DEGREES The Harleian MS is a perfectly normal version of the Old Charges, but bound up with it is a note in the same handwriting containing a new version of the mason's oath, of particular importance because it shows a major change from all earlier forms of the oath. Here it is: There is seu'all words & signes of a free Mason to be revailed to yu w`h y will answ: before God at the Great & terrible day of Judgm` y keep secret

 

HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

& not to revaile the same in the heares of any pson but to the M" & fellows of the said Society of free Masons so helpe me God xc.

 

Brethren, I know that I recited it too fast, but now I am going to read the first line again: There is several words and signs of a free mason to be revealed to you . . .' `Several words and signs . . .'plural, more than one degree. And here in a document that should have been dated 1550, we have the first hint of the expansion of the ceremonies into more than one degree. A few years later we have actual minutes that prove two degrees in practice. But notice, Brethren, that the ceremonies must also have been taking something of their modern shape.

 

They probably began with a prayer, a recital of part of the `history', the hand‑on‑book posture for the reading of the Charges, followed by an obligation and then the entrusting with secret words and signs, whatever they were. We do not know what they were, but we know that in both degrees the ceremonies were beginning to take the shape of our modern ceremonies. We have to wait quite a long while before we find the contents, the actual details, of those ceremonies, but we do find them at the end of the 1600s and that is my next theme. Remember, Brethren, we are still with only two degrees and I am going to deal now with the documents which actually describe those two ceremonies, as they first appeared on paper.

 

EARLIEST RITUAL FOR TWO DEGREES

 

The earliest evidence we have, is a document dated 1696, beautifully handwritten, and known as the Edinburgh Register House Manuscript, because it was found in the Public Record Office of Edinburgh. I deal first with that part of the text which describes the actual ceremonies. It is headed `THE FORME OF GIVING THE MASON WORD' which is one way of saying it is the manner of initiating a mason. It begins with the ceremony which made an apprentice into an 'entered‑ apprentice (usually about three years after the beginning of his indentures), followed by the ceremony for the admission of the ,master mason or fellow craft', the title of the second degree. The details are fascinating but I can only describe them very briefly, and wherever I can, I will use the original words, so that you can get the feel of the thing.  We are told that the candidate `was put to his knees' and `after a

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL

 

great many ceremonies to frighten him' (rough stuff, horse‑play it you like; apparently they tried to scare the wits out of him) `after a great many ceremonies to frighten him', he was made to take up the book and in that position he took the oath, and here is the earliest version of the mason's oath described as part of a whole ceremony.

 

By god himself and you shall answer to god when you shall stand nakd before him, at the great day, you shall not reveal any pairt of what you shall hear or see at this time whither by word nor write nor put it in wryte at any time nor draw it with the point of a sword, or any other instrument upon the snow or sand, nor shall you speak of it but with an entered mason, so help you god.

 

Brethren, if you were listening very carefully, you have just heard the earliest version of the words 'Indite, carve, mark, engrave or otherwise them delineate'. The very first version is the one I have just read, `not write nor put it in wryte, nor draw it with a point of a sword or any other instrument upon the snow or sand.' Notice, Brethren, there was no penalty in the obligation, just a plain obligation of secrecy.

 

After he had finished the obligation the youngster was taken out of the lodge by the last previous candidate, the last person who had been initiated before him. Outside the door of the lodge he was taught the sign, postures and words of entry (we do not know what they are until he comes back). He came back, took off his hat and made `a ridiculous bow' and then he gave the words of entry, which included a greeting to the master and the brethren. It finished up with the words `under no less pain than cutting of my throat' and there is a sort of footnote which says `for you must make that sign when you say that'. This is the earliest appearance in any document of an entered apprentice's sign.

 

Now Brethren, forget all about your beautifully furnished lodges; I am speaking of operative masonry, when the lodge was either a little room at the back of a pub, or above a pub, or else a shed attached to a big building job; and if there were a dozen masons there, that would have been a good attendance. So, after the boy had given the sign, he was brought up to the Master for the `entrusting'. Here is the Master; here, nearby, is the candidate; here is the `instructor', and he, the instructor, whispers the word into the ear of his neighbour, who whispers the word to the next man and so on, all round the lodge, until it comes to the Master, and the Master gives the word to the

7   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

candidate. In this case, there is a kind of biblical footnote, which shows, beyond all doubt, that the word was not one word but two. B and J, two pillar names, for the entered apprentice. This is very important later, when we begin to study the evolution of three degrees. In the two‑degree system there were two pillars for the entered apprentice.

 

That was really the whole of the floorwork, but it was followed by a set of simple questions and answers headed 'SOME OUESTIONEs THAT MASONS USE TO PUT TO THOSE WHO HAVE YE WORD BEFORE THEY WILL ACKNOWLEDGE THEM'. It included a few questions for testing a stranger outside the lodge, and this text gives us the first and oldest version of the masonic catechism. Here are some of the fifteen questions. 'Are you a mason? How shall I know it? Where were you entered? What makes a true and perfect lodge? Where was the first lodge? Are there any lights in your lodge? Are there any jewels in your lodge?' the first faint beginnings of masonic symbolism. It is amazing how little there was at the beginning. There, Brethren, 15 questions and answers, which must have been answered for the candidate; he had not had time to learn the answers. And that was the whole of the entered apprentice ceremony.

 

Now remember, Brethren, we are speaking about operative masonry, in the days, when masons earned their living with hammer and chisel. Under those conditions the second degree was taken about seven years after the date of initiation when the candidate came back to be made 'master or fellow craft'. Inside the lodge those two grades were equal, both fully trained masons. Outside the lodge, one was an employer, the other an employee. If he was the son of a Freeman Burgess of the city, he could take his Freedom and set up as a master immediately. Otherwise, he had to pay for the privilege, and until then, the fellow craft remained an employee. But inside the lodge they both had the same second degree.

 

So, after the end of his indentures of apprenticeship, and serving another year or two for 'meat and fee', (ie board plus a wage) he came along then for the second degree. He was 'put to his knees and took the oath anew'. It was the same oath that he had taken as an apprentice, omitting only three words. Then he was taken out of the lodge by the youngest master, and there he was taught the signs, posture and words of entry (we still do not know what they were). He came back and he gave what is called the 'master sign', but it is not

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL   9

 

described, so I cannot tell you about it. Then he was brought up for the entrusting. And now, the youngest master, the chap who had taken him outside, whispered the word to his neighbour, each in turn passing it all round the lodge, until it came to the Master, and the Master, on the five points of fellowship ‑ second degree, Brethren ‑ gave the word to the candidate. The five points in those days ‑ foot to foot, knee to knee, heart to heart, hand to hand, ear to ear, that is how it was at its first appearance. No Hiramic legend and no frills; only the FPOF and a word. But in this document the word is not mentioned. It appears very soon afterwards and I will deal with that later.

 

There were only two test questions for a fellowcraft degree, and that was the lot. Two degrees, beautifully described, not only in this document but in two other sister texts, the Chetwode Crawlev MS, dated about 1700 and the Kevan MS, quite recently discovered, dated about 1714. Three marvellous documents, all from the south of Scotland, all telling exactly the same story ‑ wonderful materials, if we dare to trust them. But, I am sorry to tell you Brethren that we, as scientists in masonry, dare not trust them, because they were written in violation of an oath. To put it at its simplest, the more they tell us the less they are to be trusted, unless, by some fluke or by some miracle, we can prove, as we must do, that these documents were actually used in a lodge; otherwise they are worthless. In this case, by a very happy fluke, we have got the proof and it makes a lovely story. That is what you are going to get now.

 

Remember, Brethren, our three documents are from 1696 to 1714. Right in the middle of this period, in the year 1702, a little group of Scottish gentlemen decided that they wanted to have a lodge in their own backyard so to speak. These were gentlemen who lived in the south of Scotland around Galashiels, some 30 miles S. E. of Edinburgh. They were all notable landowners in that area ‑ Sir John Pringle of Hoppringle, Sir James Pringle, his brother, Sir James Scott of Gala (Galashiels), their brother‑in‑law, plus another five neighbours came together and decided to form their own Lodge, in the village of Haughfoot near Galashiels. They chose a man who had a marvellous handwriting to be their scribe, and asked him to buy a minute book. He did. A lovely little leather‑bound book (octavo size), and he paid `fourteen shillings' Scots for it. I will not go into the difficulties of coinage now but today it would be about the equivalent

 

10   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

of twenty‑five cents. Being a Scotsman, he took very careful note of the amount and entered it in his minute book, to be repaid out of the first money due to the society. Then, in readiness for the first meeting of the lodge, he started off at what would have been page one with some notes, we do not know the details. But he went on and copied out the whole of one of these Scottish rituals, complete from beginning to end.

 

When he finished, he had filled ten pages, and his last twenty‑nine words of ritual were the first five lines at the top of page eleven. Now, this was a Scotsman, and I told you he had paid `fourteen shillings' for that book and the idea of leaving three‑quarters of a page empty offended against his native Scottish thrift. So, to save wasting it, underneath the twenty‑nine words, he put in a heading `The Same Day' and went straight on with the minutes of the first meeting of the Lodge. I hope you can imagine all this, Brethren, because I wrote the history of `The Lodge of Haughfoot', the first wholly non‑operative Lodge in Scotland, thirty‑four years older than the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The minutes were beautifully kept for sixty‑one years and eventually, in 1763, the Lodge was swallowed up by some of the larger surrounding lodges. The minute book went to the great Lodge of Selkirk and it came down from Selkirk to London for me to write the history.

 

We do not know when it happened but, sometime during those sixty‑one years, somebody, perhaps one of the later secretaries of the lodge, must have opened that minute book and caught sight of the opening pages and he must have had a fit! Ritual in a minute book! Out! And the first ten pages have disappeared; they are completely lost. That butcher would have taken page eleven as well but even he did not have the heart to destroy the minutes of the very first meeting of this wonderful lodge. So it was the minutes of the first meeting that saved those twenty‑nine golden words at the top of page eleven, and the twenty‑nine words are virtually identical with the corresponding portions of the Edinburgh Register House MS and its two sister texts. Those precious words are a guarantee that the other documents are to be trusted, and this gives us a marvellous starting point for the study of the ritual. Not only do we have the documents which describe the ceremonies; we also have a kind of yardstick, by which we can judge the quality of each new document as it arrives, and at this point they do begin to arrive.

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL  11

 

Now Brethren, let me warn you that up to now we have been speaking of Scottish documents. Heaven bless the Scots! They took care of every scrap of paper, and if it were not for them we would have practically no history. Our earliest and finest material is nearly all Scottish. But, when the English documents begin to appear, they seem to fit. They not only harmonise, they often fill in the gaps in the Scottish texts. From here on, I will name the country of origin of those documents that are not English.

 

Within the next few years, we find a number of valuable ritual documents, including some of the highest importance. The first of these is the Sloane MS, dated c1700, an English text, in the British Library today. It gives various `gripes' which had not appeared in any document before. It gives a new form of the Mason's oath which contains the words `without Equivocation or mentall Resarvation'. That appears for the very first time in the Sloane MS, and Brethren, from this point onwards, every ritual detail I give you, will be a first‑timer. I shall not repeat the individual details as they reappear in the later texts, nor can I say precisely when a particular practice actually began. I shall simply say that this or that item appears for the first time, giving you the name and date of the document by which it can be proved.

 

If you are with me on this, you will realise ‑ and I beg you to think of it in this way ‑ that you are watching a little plant, a seedling of Freemasonry, and every word I utter will be a new shoot, a new leaf, a new flower, a new branch. You will be watching the ritual grow; and if you see it that way, Brethren, I shall know I am not wasting my time, because that is the only way to see it.

 

Now, back to the Sloane MS which does not attempt to describe a whole ceremony. It has a fantastic collection of `gripes' and other strange modes of recognition. It has a catechism of some twenty‑two Questions and Answers, many of them similar to those in the Scottish texts, and there is a note which seems to confirm two pillars for the EA.

 

A later paragraph speaks of a salutation (?) for the Master, a curious `hug' posture, with `the masters grip by their right hands and the top of their Left hand fingers thurst close on ye small of each others Backbone . . .'. Here, the word is given as `Maha ‑ Byn', half in one ear and half in the other, to be used as a test word.

 

That was its first appearance in any of our documents, and if you 12HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY were testing somebody, you would say 'Maha' and the other would have to say 'Byn'; and if he did not say 'Byn' you would have no business with him. (Demonstrate).

 

I shall talk about several other versions as they crop up later on, but I must emphasise that here is an English document filling the gaps in the three Scottish texts, and this sort of thing happens over and over again.

 

Now we have another Scottish document, the Dumfries No 4 MS, dated c1710. It contains a mass of new material, but I can only mention a few of the items. One of its questions runs: 'How were you brought in?' 'Shamfully, w' a rope about my neck'. This is the earliest cable‑tow; and a later answer says the rope 'is to hang me if I should betray my trust'. Dumfries also mentions that the candidate receives the 'Royal Secret' kneeling 'upon my left knee'.

 

Among many interesting Questions and Answers, it lists some of fhe unusual penalties of those days. 'My heart taken out alive, my head cut off, my body buried within ye sea‑mark.' 'Within ye sea‑mark' is the earliest version of the 'cable's length from the shore'. Brethren, there is so much more, even at this early date, but I have to be brief and I shall give you all the important items as we move forward into the next stage.

 

Meanwhile, this was the situation at the time when the first Grand Lodge was founded in 1717. We only had two degrees in England, one for the entered apprentice and the second was for the 'master or fellow craft'. Dr Anderson, who compiled the first English Book of Constitutions in 1723, actually described the English second degree as 'Masters and Fellow‑Craft'. The Scottish term had already invaded England.

 

The next big stage in the history of the ritual, is the evolution of the third degree. Actually, we know a great deal about the third degree, but there are some dreadful gaps. We do not know when it started or why it started, and we cannot be sure who started it! In the light of a lifetime of study, I am going to tell you what we know, and we will try to fill the gaps.

 

It would have been easy, of course, if one could stretch out a hand in a very good library and pull out a large minute‑book and say 'Well, there is the earliest third degree that ever happened;' but it does not work out that way. The minute‑books come much later.

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL

 

HINTS OF THREE DEGREES

 

 The earliest hints of the third degree appear in documents like those that I have been talking about ‑ mainly documents that have been written out as aide‑inemoires for the men who owned them. But we have to use exposures as well, exposures printed for profit, or spite; and we get some useful hints of the third degree long before it actually appears in practice. And so, we start with one of the best, a lovely little text, a single sheet of paper known as the Trinity College, Dublin, Manuscript, dated 1711, found among the papers of a famous Irish doctor and scientist, Sir Thomas Molyneux. This document is headed with a kind of Triple Tau, and underneath it the words 'Under no less a penalty'. This is followed by a set of eleven O. and A. and we know straight away that something is wrong! We already have three perfect sets of fifteen questions, so eleven questions must be either bad memory or bad copying ‑ something is wrong! The questions are perfectly normal, only not enough of them. Then after the eleven questions we would expect the writer to give a description of the whole or part of the ceremony but, instead of that, he gives a kind of catalogue of the Freemason's words and signs.

 

He gives this sign (EA demonstrated) for the EA with the word B. He gives `knuckles, & sinues' as the sign for the 'fellow‑craftsman', with the word 'Jachquin'. The 'Master's sign is the back bone' and for him (ie the MM) the writer gives the world's worst description of the FPOF. (It seems clear that neither the author of this piece nor the writer of the Sloane MS, had ever heard of the Points of Fellowship, or knew how to describe them.) Here, as I demonstrate, are the exact words, no more and no less: Squeese the Master by ye back bone, put your knee between his, & say Matchpin.

 

That, Brethren, is our second version of the word of the third degree. We started with 'Mahabyn', and now 'Matchpin', horribly debased. Let me say now, loud and clear, nobody knows what the correct word was. It was probably Hebrew originally, but all the early versions are debased. We might work backwards, translating from the English, but we cannot be certain that our English words are correct. So, here in the Trinity College, Dublin, MS, we have, for the very first time, a document which has separate secrets for three separate degrees; the enterprentice, the fellowcraftsman and the 13 14HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY master. It is not proof of three degrees in practice, but it does show that somebody was playing with this idea in 1711.

 

The next piece of evidence on this theme comes from the first printed exposure, printed and published for entertainment or for spite, in a London newspaper, The Flying Post. The text is known as a `Mason's Examination'. By this time, 1723, the catechism was much longer and the text contained several pieces of rhyme, all interesting, but only one of particular importance to my present purpose and here it is: `An enter'd Mason 1 have been, Boaz and Jachin 1 have seen; A Fellow I was sworn most rare, And Know the Astler, Diamond, and Square: 1 know the Master's Part full well, As honest Maughbin will you tell.' Notice, Brethren, there are still two pillars for the EA, and once again somebody is dividing the Masonic secrets into three parts for three different categories of Masons. The idea of three degrees is in the air. We are still looking for minutes but they have not come yet.

 

Next, we have another priceless document, dated 1726, the Graham MS, a fascinating text which begins with a catechism of some thirty Questions and Answers, followed by a collection of legends, mainly about biblical characters, each story with a kind of Masonic twist in its tail. One legend tells how three sons went to their father's grave.

 

to try if they could find anything about him for to Lead them to the vertuable secret which this famieous preacher had ...

 

They opened the grave finding nothing save the dead body all most consumed away takeing a greip at a ffinger it came away so from Joynt to Joynt so to the wrest so to the Elbow so they Reared up the dead body and suported it setting ffoot to ffoot knee to knee Breast to breast Cheeck to cheeck and hand to back and cryed out help o ffather . . . so one said here is yet marow in this bone and the second said but a dry bone and the third said it stinketh so they agreed for to give it a name as is known to free masonry to this day ...  This is the earliest story of a raising in a Masonic context, apparently

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL    15

 

a fragment of the Hiramic legend, but the old gentleman in the grave was Father Noah, not Hiram Abif.

 

Another legend concerns `Bazalliell', the wonderful craftsman who built the mobile Temple and the Ark of the Covenant for the Israelites during their wandering in the wilderness. The story goes that near to death, Bazalliell asked for a tombstone to be erected over his grave, with an inscription `according to his diserveing' and that was done as follows: Here Lys the flowr of masonry superiour of many other companion to a king and to two princes a brother Here Lys the heart all secrets could conceall Here lys the tongue that never did reveal The last two lines could not have been more apt if they had been specially written for Hiram Abif; they are virtually a summary of the Hiramic legend.

 

In the catechism, one answer speaks of those that . . . have obtained a trible Voice by being entered passed and raised and Conformed by 3 severall Lodges . . .

 

`Entered, passed and raised' is clear enough. `Three several lodges' means three separate degrees, three separate ceremonies. There is no doubt at all that this is a reference to three degrees being practised. But we still want minutes and we have not got them. And I am very sorry to tell you, that the earliest minutes we have recording a third degree, fascinating and interesting as they are, refer to a ceremony that never happened in a lodge at all; it took place in the confines of a London Musical Society. It is a lovely story and that is what you are going to get now.

 

In December 1724 there was a nice little lodge meeting at the Queen's Head Tavern, in Hollis Street, in the Strand, about three hundred yards from our present Freemasons' Hall. Nice people; the best of London's musical, architectural and cultural society were members of this lodge. On the particular night in which I am interested, His Grace, the Duke of Richmond was Master of the lodge. I should add that His Grace, the Duke of Richmond was also Grand Master at that time, and you might call him `nice people'. It is true that he was the descendant of a royal illegitimate, but nowadays even royal illegitimates are counted as nice people. A couple of

 

16   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

 months later, seven of the members of this lodge and one brother they had borrowed from another lodge decided that they wanted to found a musical and architectural society.

 

They gave themselves a Latin title a mile long ‑ Philo Musicae et Architecturae Societas Apollini ‑ which I translate, 'The Apollonian Society for the Lovers of Music and Architecture' and they drew up a rule book which is beautiful beyond words. Every word of it written by hand. It looks as though the most magnificent printer had printed and decorated it.

 

Now these people were very keen on their Masonry and for their musical society they drew up an unusual code of rules. For example, one rule was that every one of the founders was to have his own coat‑of‑arms emblazoned in full colour in the opening pages of the minute book. How many lodges do you know, where every founder has his own coat‑of‑arms? This gives you an idea of the kind of boys they were. They loved their Masonry and they made another rule, that anybody could come along to their architectural lectures or to their musical evenings ‑ the finest conductors were members of the society ‑ anybody could come, but if he was not a Mason, he had to be made a Mason before they would let him in; and because they were so keen about the Masonic status of their members, they kept Masonic biographical notes of each member as he joined. It is from these notes that we are able to see what actually happened. I could talk about them all night, but for our present purposes, we need only follow the career of one of their members, Charles Cotton.

 

In the records of the Musical Society we read that on 22 December 1724 'Charles Cotton Esq'. was made a Mason by the said Grand Master' [ie His Grace The Duke of Richmond] in the Lodge at the Queen's Head. It could not be more regular than that. Then, on 18 February 1725 '. . . before We Founded This Society A Lodge was held . . . In Order to Pass Charles Cotton Esq`. . . .' and because it was on the day the society was founded, we cannot be sure whether Cotton was passed FC in the Lodge or in the Musical Society. Three months later, on 12 May 1725 'Brother Charles Cotton Esq'. Broth`. Papillion Ball Were regularly passed Masters'.

 

Now we have the date of Cotton's initiation, his passing and his raising; there is no doubt that he received three degrees. But 'regularly passed Masters' ‑ No! It could not have been more irregular! This was a Musical Society ‑ not a lodge! But I told you

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL   17

 

they were nice people, and they had some very distinguished visitors. First, the Senior Grand Warden came to see them. Then the Junior Grand Warden. And then, they got a nasty letter from the Grand Secretary and, in 1727, the society disappeared. Nothing now remains except their minute book in the British Library. If you ever go to London and go to Freemasons' Hall you will see a marvellous facsimile of that book. It is worth a journey to London just to see it. And that is the record of the earliest third degree. I wish we could produce a more respectable first‑timer, but that was the earliest.

 

I must tell you, Brethren, that Gould, the great Masonic historian believed, all his life, that this was the earliest third degree of which there was any record at all. But just before he died he wrote a brilliant article in the Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and he changed his mind. He said, `No, the minutes are open to wide interpretation, and we ought not to accept this as a record of the third degree.' Frankly, I do not believe that he proved his case, and on this point I dare to quarrel with Gould. Watch me carefully, Brethren, because I stand a chance of being struck down at this moment. Nobody argues with Gould! But I dispute this because, within ten months of this date, we have incontrovertible evidence of the third degree in practice. As you might expect, bless them, it comes from Scotland.

 

Lodge Dumbarton Kilwinning, now No 18 on the register of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, was founded in January 1726. At the foundation meeting there was the Master, with seven master masons, six fellowcrafts and three entered apprentices; some of them were operative masons, some non‑operative. Two months later, in March 1726, we have this minute: Gabriel Porterfield who appeared in the January meeting as a Fellow Craft was unanimously admitted and received a Master of the Fraternity and renewed his oath and gave in his entry money.

 

Now, notice Brethren, here was a Scotsman, who started in January as a fellowcraft, a founding fellowcraft of a new Lodge. Then he came along in March, and he renewed his oath, which means he took another ceremony; and he gave in his entry money, which means he paid for it. Brethren, if a Scotsman paid for it you bet your life he got it! There is no doubt about that. And there is the earliest 100 per cent gilt‑edged record of a third degree.

 

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Two years later, in December 1728, another new Lodge, Greenock Kilwinning, at its very first meeting, prescribed separate fees for entering, passing, and raising.

 

PRICHARD'S MASONRY DISSECTED

 

From then on we have ample evidence of the three degrees in practice and then in 1730 we have the earliest printed exposure which claimed to describe all three degrees, Masonry Dissected, published by Samuel Prichard in October 1730. It was the most valuable ritual work that had appeared until that time, all in the form of question and answer (apart from a brief introduction) and it had enormous influence in the stabilisation of our English ritual.

 

Its `Enter'd Prentice's Degree' ‑ by this time ninety‑two questions ‑ gave two pillar words to the EA, and the first of them was 'lettered'. Prichard managed to squeeze a lot of floor‑work into his EA questions and answers. Here is one question for the candidate: 'How did he make you a mason?' Listen to his answer: With my bare‑bended Knee and Body within the Square, the Compass extended to my naked Left Breast, my naked Right Hand on the Holy Bible: there I took the Obligation (or Oath) of a Mason.

 

All that information in one answer! And the next question was, 'Can you repeat that obligation?' with the answer, 'I'll do my endeavor', and Prichard followed this with a magnificent obligation which contained three sets of penalties (throat cut, heart torn out, body severed and ashes burned and scattered). This is how they appeared in 1730. Documents of 1760 show them separated, and later developments do not concern us here.

 

Prichard's 'Fellow‑Craft's Degree' was very short, only 33 questions and answers. It gave J alone to the FC (not lettered) but now the second degree had a lot of new material relating to the pillars, the middle chamber, the winding stairs, and a long recitation on the letter G, which began with the meaning 'Geometry' and ended denoting 'The Grand Architect and Contriver of the Universe'.

 

Prichard's 'Master's Degree or Master's Part' was made up of thirty questions with some very long answers, containing the earliest version of the Hiramic legend, literally the whole story as it ran in those days. It included the murder by 'three Ruffians', the searchers, 'Fifteen Loving Brothers' who agreed among themselves 'that if they

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL   19

 

did not find the Word in him or about him, the first Word should be the Master's Word'. Later, the discovery, `the Slip', the raising on the FPOF, and another new version of the MM word, which is said to mean `The Builder is smitten'.

 

There is no reason to believe that Prichard invented the Hiramic legend. As we read his story in conjunction with those collected by Thomas Graham in 1726 (quoted above), there can be little doubt that Prichard's version arose out of several streams of legend, probably an early result of speculative influence in those days.

 

But the third degree was not a new invention. It arose from a division of the original first degree into two parts, so that the original second degree with its FPOF and a word moved up into third place, both the second and third acquiring additional materials during the period of change. That was sometime between 1711 and 1725, but whether it started in England, Scotland, or Ireland is a mystery; we simply do not know.

 

Back now to Samuel Prichard and his Masonry Dissected. The book created a sensation; it sold three editions and one pirated edition in eleven days. It swept all other exposures off the market. For the next thirty years Prichard was being reprinted over and over again and nothing else could stand a chance; there was nothing fit to touch it. We lose something by this, because we have no records of any ritual developments in England during the next 30 years ‑ a great 30‑year gap. Only one new item appeared in all that time, the `Charge to the Initiate', a miniature of our modern version, in beautiful eighteenth‑century English. It was published in 1735, but we do not know who wrote it. For fresh information on the growth of the ritual, we have to go across the Channel, into France.

 

FURTHER EVIDENCE FROM FRANCE

 

The English planted Freemasonry in France in 1725, and it became an elegant pastime for the nobility and gentry. The Duke of So‑and‑So would hold a lodge in his house, where he was Master for ever and ever, and any time he invited a few friends round, they would open a lodge, and he would make a few more Masons. That was how it began, and it took about ten or twelve years before Masonry began to seep down, through to the lower levels. By that time lodges were beginning to meet in restaurants and taverns but around 1736, things were becoming difficult in France and it was

 

20   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

feared that the lodges were being used for plots and conspiracies against government.

 

At Paris, in particular, precautions were taken. An edict was issued by Rene Herault, Lieutenant‑General of Police, that tavern‑keepers and restaurant‑keepers were not to give accommodation to Masonic lodges at all, under penalty of being closed up for six months and a fine of 3,000 livres. We have two records, both in 1736‑37, of well‑known restaurants that were closed down by the Police for that reason. It did not work, and the reason was very simple. Masonry had started in private houses. The moment that the officials put the screw on the meetings in taverns and restaurants, it went back into private houses again; it went underground so‑to‑speak, and the Police were left helpless.

 

Eventually, Herault decided that he could do much more damage to the Craft if he could make it a laughing‑stock. If he could make it look ridiculous, he was sure he could put them out of business for all time, and he decided to try. He got in touch with one of his girl‑friends, a certain Madame Carton. Now, Brethren, I know what I am going to tell you sounds like our English News of the World, but I am giving you recorded history, and quite important history at that. So he got in touch with Madame Carton, who is always described as a dancer at the Paris opera. The plain fact is that she followed a much older profession. The best description that gives an idea of her status and her qualities, is that she slept in the best beds in Europe. She had a very special clientele. Now this was no youngster; she was fifty‑five years old at that time and she had a daughter who was also in the same interesting line of business. And I have to be very careful what I say, because it was believed that one of our own Grand Masters was entangled with either or both of them. All this was in the newspapers of those days.

 

Anyway, Herault got in touch with Madame Carton and asked her to obtain a copy of the Masonic ritual from one of her clients. He intended to publish it, and by making the Masons look ridiculous he was going to put them out of business. Well! She did, and he did. In other words, she got her copy of the ritual and passed it on to him. It was first published in France in 1737, under the title Reception d'un Frey‑Magon. Within a month it was translated in three London newspapers, but it failed to diminish the French zeal for Freemasonry and had no effect in England. I summarise briefly.

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL   21

 

The text, in narrative form, described only a single two‑pillar ceremony, dealing mainly with the floor‑work and only fragments of ritual. The Candidate was deprived of metals, right knee bare, left shoe worn `as a slipper' and locked in a room alone in total darkness, to put him in the right frame of mind for the ceremony. His eyes were bandaged and his sponsor knocked three times on the Lodge door. After several questions, he was introduced and admitted in the care of a Warden (Surveillant). Still blindfolded, he was led three times round the floor‑drawing in the centre of the Lodge, and there were ,resin flares'. It was customary in the French lodges in those days to have a pan of live coals just inside the door of the lodge and at the moment the candidate was brought in, they would sprinkle powdered resin on the live coal, to make an enormous flare, which would frighten the wits out of the candidate, even if he was blindfolded. (In many cases they did not blindfold them until they came to the obligation.) Then, amid a circle of swords, we get the posture for the obligation with three lots of penalties, and details of Aprons and Gloves. This is followed by the signs, tokens and words relating to two pillars. The ceremony contained several features unknown in English practice, and some parts of the story appear to be told in the wrong sequence, so that as we read it, we suddenly realise that the gentleman who was dictating it had his mind on much more worldly matters. So Brethren, this was the earliest exposure from France, not very good, but it was the first of a really wonderful stream of documents. As before, I shall only discuss the important ones.

 

My next, is Le Secret des Francs‑Masons (The Secret of the Freemasons) 1742, published by the Abbe Perau, who was Prior at the Sorbonne, the University of Paris. A beautiful first degree, all in narrative form, and every word in favour of the Craft. His words for the EA and FC were in reverse order (and this became common practice in Europe) but he said practically nothing about the second degree. He described the Masonic drinking and toasting at great length, with a marvellous description of `Masonic Fire'. He mentioned that the Master's degree was `a great ceremonial lamentation over the death of Hiram' but he knew nothing about the third degree and said that Master Masons got only a new sign and that was all.

 

Our next work is Le Catechisme des Francs‑Masons (The Freemasons' Catechism) published in 1744, by Louis Travenol, a famous French journalist. He dedicates his book `To the Fair Sex', which he

 

22   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

adores, saying that he is deliberately publishing this exposure for their benefit, because the Masons have excluded them, and his tone is mildly anti‑Masonic. He continues with a note `To the Reader', criticising several items in Perau's work, but agreeing that Le Secret is generally correct. For that reason (and Perau was hopelessly ignorant of the third degree) he confines his exposure to the MM degree. But that is followed by a catechism which is a composite for all three degrees, undivided, though it is easy to see which questions belong to the Master Mason.

 

Le Catechisme also contains two excellent engravings of the Tracing Boards, or Floor‑drawings, one called `Plan of the Lodge for the Apprentice‑Fellow' combined , and the other for `The Master's Lodge'.

 

Travenol begins his third degree with `The History of Adoniram, Architect of the Temple of Solomon'. The French texts usually say Adoniram instead of Hiram, and the story is a splendid version of the Hiramic Legend. In the best French versions, the Master's word (Jehova) was not lost; the nine Masters who were sent by Solomon to search for him, decided to adopt a substitute word out of fear that the three assassins had compelled Adoniram to divulge it.

 

This is followed by a separate chapter which describes the layout of a Master's Lodge, including the 'Floor‑drawing', and the earliest ceremony of opening a Master's Lodge. That contains a curious `Master's sign' that begins with a hand at the side of the forehead (demonstrate) and ends with the thumb in the pit of the stomach. And now, Brethren, we get a magnificent description of the floorwork of the third degree, the whole ceremony, so beautifully described and in such fine detail, that any Preceptor could reconstruct it from beginning to end ‑ and every word of this whole chapter is new material that had never appeared before.

 

Of course there are many items that differ from the practices we know, but now you can see why I am excited about these French documents. They give marvellous details, at a time when we have no corresponding material in England. But before I leave Le Catechisme, I must say a few words about its picture of the third degree Tracing Board or Floor‑drawing which contains, as its central * This section is reproduced in full on pp 306.

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL   23

 

theme, a coffin design, surrounded by tear drops, the tears which our ancient brethren shed over the death of our Master Adoniram.

 

On the coffin is a sprig of acacia and the word `JEHOVA', `ancien mot du Maitre, (the former word of a Master), but in the French degree it was not lost. It was the Ineffable Name, never to be uttered, and here, for the first time, the word Jehova is on the coffin. The diagram, in dots, shows how three zig‑zag steps over the coffin are to be made by the candidate in advancing from West to East, and many other interesting details too numerous to mention.

 

The catechism, which is the last main item in the book, is based (like all the early French catechisms) directly on Prichard's Masonry Dissected, but it contains a number of symbolic expansions and explanations, the result of speculative influence.

 

And so we come to the last of the French exposures that I must deal with today L'Ordre des Francs‑Magons Trahi (The Order of Freemasons Betrayed) published in 1745 by an anonymous writer, a thief! There was no law of copyright in those days and this man knew a good thing when he saw it. He took the best material he could find, collected it into one book, and added a few notes of his own. So, he stole Perau's book, 102 pages, the lot, and printed it as his own first degree. He said very little about the second degree (the second degree was always a bit of an orphan). He stole Travenol's lovely third degree and added a few notes including a few lines saying that before the Candidate's admission, the most junior MM in the Lodge lies down on the coffin, his face covered with a blood‑stained cloth, so that the Candidate will see him raised by the Master before he advances for his own part in the ceremony.

 

Of his own material, there is not very much; chapters on the Masonic Cipher, on the Signs, Grips and Words, and on Masonic customs. He also included two improved designs of the Floordrawings and two charming engravings illustrating the first and third degrees in progress. His catechism followed Travenol's version very closely but he did add four questions and answers (seemingly a minor contribution) but they are of high importance in our study of the ritual: Q.When a Mason finds himself in danger, what must he say and do to call the brethren to his aid? A.He must put his joined hands to his forehead, the fingers interlaced, and say `Help, ye Children (or Sons) of the Widow'.

 

24    HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

Brethren, I do not know if the `interlaced fingers' were used in the USA or Canada; I will only say that they were well known in several European jurisdictions, and the `Sons of the Widow' appear in most versions of the Hiramic legend.

 

Three more new questions ran: Q.What is the Password of an Apprentice?Ans: T ....

 

Q.That of a Fellow?Ans: S . . . .

 

Q.And that of a Master?Ans: G ....

 

This was the first appearance of Passwords in print, but the author added an explanatory note: These three Passwords are scarcely used except in France and at Frankfurt on Main. They are in the nature of Watchwords, introduced as a surer safeguard (when dealing) with brethren whom they do not know.

 

Passwords had never been heard of before this date, 1745, and they appear for the first time, in France. You will have noticed, Brethren, that some of them appear to be in the wrong order, and, because of the 30‑year gap, we do not know whether they were being used in England at that time or if they were a French invention. On this pu

 

le we have a curious piece of indirect evidence, and I must digress for a moment.

 

In the year 1730, the Grand Lodge of England was greatly troubled by the exposures that were being published, especially Prichard's Masonry Dissected, which was officially condemned in Grand Lodge. Later, as a precautionary measure, certain words in the first two degrees were interchanged, a move which gave grounds in due course for the rise of a rival Grand Lodge. Le Secret, 1742, Le Catechisme, 1744 and the Trahi, 1745, all give those words in the new order, and in 1745, when the Passwords made their first appearance in France, they also appear in reverse order. Knowing how regularly France had adopted ‑ and improved ‑ on English ritual practices, there seems to be a strong probability that Passwords were already in use in England (perhaps in reverse order), but there is not a single English document to support that theory.

 

So Brethren, by 1745 most of the principal elements in the Craft degrees were already in existence, and when the new stream of English rituals began to appear in the 1760s the best of that material had been embodied in our English practice. But it was still very crude and a great deal of polishing needed to be done.

 

SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL   25

 

The polishing began in 1769 by three writers ‑ Wellins Calcutt and William Hutchinson, in 1769, and William Preston in 1772, but Preston towered over the others. He was the great expounder of Freemasonry and its symbolism, a born teacher, constantly writing and improving on his work. Around 1800, the ritual and the Lectures, (which were the original catechisms, now expanded and explained in beautiful detail) were all at their shining best. And then with typical English carelessness, we spoiled it.

 

You know, Brethren, that from 1751 up to 1813, we had two rival Grand Lodges in England (the original, founded in 1717, and the rival Grand Lodge, known as the `Antients', founded in 1751) and they hated each other with truly Masonic zeal. Their differences were mainly in minor matters of ritual and in their views on Installation and the Royal Arch. The bitterness continued until 1809 when the first steps were taken towards a reconciliation and a much‑desired union of the rivals.

 

In 1809, the original Grand Lodge, the `Moderns', ordered the necessary revisions, and the Lodge of Promulgation was formed to vet the ritual and bring it to a form that would be satisfactory to both sides. That had to be done, or we would still have had two Grand Lodges to this day! They did an excellent job, and many changes were made in ritual and procedural matters; but a great deal of material was discarded, and it might be fair to say that they threw away the baby with the bath‑water. The Beehive, the Hour‑glass, the Scythe, the Pot of Incense etc, which were in our Tracing Boards in the early nineteenth century have disappeared. We have to be thankful indeed for the splendid material they left behind.

 

A NOTE FOR BRETHREN IN THE USA

I must add a note here for Brethren in the USA. You will realise that until the changes which I have just described, I have been talking about your ritual as well as ours in England. After the War of Independence the States rapidly began to set up their own Grand Lodges, but your ritual, mainly of English origin ‑ whether Antients or Moderns ‑ was still basically. English. Your big changes began in and around 1796, when Thomas Smith Webb, of Albany, NY, teamed up with an English Mason, John Hanmer, who was well versed in Preston's Lecture system.

 

In 1797 Webb published his Freemason's Monitor or Illustrations of

 

26   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

Masonry, largely based on Preston's Illustrations. Webb's Monitor, adapted from our ritual when, as I said, it was at its shining best, became so popular, that the American Grand Lodges, mainly in the Eastern states at that time, did everything they could to preserve it in its original form; eventually by the appointment of Grand Lecturers, whose duty it was (and is) to ensure that the officially adopted forms remain unchanged.

 

I cannot go into details now, but from the Rituals and Monitors I have studied and the Ceremonies and Demonstrations I have seen, there is no doubt that your ritual is much fuller than ours, giving the candidate much more explanation, interpretation, and symbolism, than we normally give in England.

 

In effect, because of the changes we made in our work between 1809 and 1813, it is fair to say that in many respects your ritual is older than ours and better than ours.

 

2 PILLARS AND GLOBES, COLUMNS AND CANDLESTICKS IN THE QC Lodge summons, dated 22 December 1961, there was a brief note relating to the Wardens' Columns which attracted considerable attention and comment. As author of the note, and Secretary of the Lodge, I had to answer a number of letters on that subject and on several other topics closely allied to it. During the course of this work it became obvious that there is much confusion on the subject of Pillars, Globes, Columns and Candlesticks, on the dates and stages of their introduction into Craft usage, and most of all, perhaps, on the curious way in which some of these items (which originally had places in the ritual, or furnishings, in their own right) are now made to serve a dual purpose, thereby adding to the confusion as to their origins.

 

There are, apparently, two main reasons for these difficulties. First, we have grown so accustomed to seeing our present‑day Lodges all more or less uniformly furnished that we accept the furnishings and their symbolism without question. Secondly, the Lectures on the Tracing Boards are given rarely nowadays so that Brethren are unfamiliar with the subject, or with the problems that are involved.

 

This essay was compiled, therefore, not with the intention of answering all the questions that arise, if indeed that were possible, but in order to separate the various threads which are now so badly entangled.

 

As these various items appear in our modern procedure, there is an extraordinary mixture of ritual‑references with odd items of furniture, some of which had a purely practical origin, while others were purely symbolical. I have tried to deal with each of these features separately, showing, as far as possible, their first introduction into the Craft, and tracing the various stages through which they passed into our present usage.

 

27 28   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY  

 

THE PILLARS

 

Extract from the Lecture on the Second Tracing Board: ... the two great pillars which were placed in the porchway entrance on the south side . . . they were formed hollow, the better to serve as archives to Freemasonry, for therein were deposited the constitutional Rolls . . . These pillars were adorned with two chapiters . . . [and] ... with two spheres on which were delineated maps of the celestial and terrestrial globes, pointing out 'Masonry universal'.

 

THE FIRST TWO PILLARS IN CRAFT TRADITION

 

The two earliest pillars in the literature of the Craft are those described in the legendary history which forms part of the Cooke MS c1410, and many later versions of the Old Charges. The story goes that they were made by the four children of Lamech, in readiness for the feared destruction of the world by fire or flood. One of the pillars was made of marble, the other of lacerus (ie lateres or burnt brick) because the first 'would not burn' and the other 'would not drown'. They were intended as a means of preserving 'all the sciences that they had found', which they had carved or engraved on the two pillars.

 

This legend dates back to the early apocryphal writings, and in the course of centuries a number of variations arose in which the story of the indestructible pillars remained fairly constant, although their erection was attributed to different heroes. Thus, Josephus ascribed them to Seth, while another apocryphal version says they were built by Enoch. * For some reason, not readily explained, the early MS Constitutions favour the children of Lamech as the principals in this ancient legend, which was embodied in the texts to show how all the then‑known sciences were preserved for mankind by this early piece of practical mason work.

 

The Old Charges were designed primarily to display the antiquity and high importance of the Craft, and it is highly significant that Solomon's two pillars do not appear in the early versions. David and Solomon are named among a long list of biblical and historical characters who '. . . loved masons well . . .', and gave or confirmed * For an excellent survey of pre‑Christian and other early versions and variations of this legend. see Knoop, Jones and Hamer, The Two Earliest Masonic MSS, pp 39‑44 and 162‑63.

 

PILLARS & GLOBES: COLUMNS & CANDLESTICKS  29

 

'their charges', but Solomon's Temple receives only a casual mention, and the pillars are not mentioned at all. It seems fairly certain, therefore, that in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Solomon's two pillars had no special significance for the mason craft.

 

SOLOMON'S PILLARS IN THE RITUAL

 

The first appearance of Solomon's pillars in the Craft ritual is in the Edinburgh Register House MS, 1696, in a catechism associated with the 'Mason Word' ceremonies.

 

The earliest‑known reference to the 'Mason Word' appears in 1637, in a diary‑entry made by the Earl of Rothes, and although no kind of ceremony is described in that record, it is reasonable to assume that the 'Mason Word' ceremonies were already known and practised at that date. The Edinburgh Register House MS is the oldest surviving document which describes the actual procedure of the ceremonies. The text is in two parts. One section, headed 'The Forme of Giveing the Mason Word', describes the rather rough and ready procedure for the admission of an entered apprentice, including ceremonies to frighten the candidate, an oath, a form of 'greeting', and certain verbal and physical modes of recognition. There is also a separate and similar procedure for the 'master mason or fellow craft'. (Only two degrees were known at that time.) The second part of this text is a catechism of some seventeen questions and answers, fifteen for the EA and a further two for the master or FC. It is probable that these questions, with the obligation, entrusting and greeting, represent the whole of the 'spoken‑work' of the ceremonies at that time.

 

The questions are of two kinds: (a) Test questions for the purpose of recognition.

 

(b) Informative questions for the purpose of instruction and explanation.

 

Among these we find the first faint hints of the beginning of Masonic symbolism.

 

A question in the catechism of 1696, and in six of the texts that followed soon after, runs: Q. Where was the first lodge? A.In the porch of Solomon's Temple.

 

30   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

Now, the Edinburgh Register House MS is a complete text; no part of it has been lost or obliterated during the 290 years or so since it was written, in 1696. In fact, there are several related texts belonging to the next twenty years, which amply demonstrate its completeness. It is therefore noteworthy that in this whole group of texts the two earlier pillars, built by the children of Lamech, have virtually disappeared. Barely a hint of them remains in any of the ritual documents from 1696 onwards.

 

The Dumfries No 4 MS c1710, is a version of the Old Charges which has been greatly enlarged by a collection of ritual questions and answers, with many items of religious interpretation. In its first part, it has the expected reference to the four children of Lamech and their two pillars, but towards the end of the catechism the pillars are mentioned again: Q. Where [was] the noble art or science found when it was lost? A.It was found in two pillars of stone the one would not sink the other would not burn.

 

This is followed by a long passage of religious interpretation saying that Solomon named his own two pillars in reference to 'ye two churches of ye Jews & gentiles . . .' That need not concern us here, but Solomon's pillars are not normally mentioned in the Old Charges, and the appearance of both sets of pillars in the two parts of the Dumfries MS, suggests that when the ceremonies were shaped to contain Solomon's J and B, the earlier `indestructible' pair were abandoned.

 

There is, in fact, no evidence that they had ever formed any part of the admission ceremonies, but we know very little about the ceremonies in their earliest forms. It seems fairly certain, however, that Solomon's pillars had achieved a really important place in the Craft ritual in the early 1600s.

 

Soon after their first mention in the early ritual‑texts these two pillars became a regular part of the 'furnishings' of the lodge, and it is possible to trace them from their earliest introduction up to their present place in the lodge‑room, as follows: (1) Their first appearance as part of a question in the catechism, with much additional evidence that they then had some esoteric significance. The early catechisms are particularly interesting in this respect, because they indicate that both of PILLARS & GLOBES: COLUMNS & CANDLESTICKS Solomon's Pillar‑names belonged at one time to the EA ceremony.

 

(2) They were drawn on the floor of the lodge in chalk and charcoal, forming part of the earliest versions of our modern 'Tracing Boards'. In December, 1733, the minutes of the Old King's Arms Lodge, No 28, record the first step towards the purchase of a 'Floor Cloth'. (A QC, vol lxii, p 236.) `Drawings' on the floor of the lodge are recorded in the minutes of the Old Dundee Lodge, No 18, from 1748 onwards. The Herault Letter of 1737 describes the 'Drawing', and the later French exposures, from 1744 onwards, contain excellent engravings showing both pillars (marked J and B) on the combined EA and FC floor‑drawing.

 

Between c1760 and 1765 several English exposures of the period indicate that the Wardens each had a column representing one of the Pillars, as part of his personal equipment in the lodge. The following extract is typical: 'The senior and junior Warden have each of them a Column in their Hand, about Twenty Inches long, which represents the two Columns of the Porch at Solomon's Temple, Boaz and Jachin.

 

The Senior is Boaz, or Strength. The Junior is Jachin, or to establish.' (From Three Distinct Knocks, 1760) (4) Finally, the two pillars appear as handsome pieces of furniture, perhaps four to eight feet high, standing usually at the western end of the lodge room. The earliest descriptions of the lay‑out of the lodge in the 1700s show both Wardens in the west, facing the Master. The two pillars were generally placed near them, forming a kind of portal, so that the candidates passed between them on their admission, a custom which exists in many lodges to this day.

 

This was perhaps the last development of all, though some of the wealthier lodges may have possessed such pillars at a comparatively early date. When we consider how many lodge rooms (especially in the provinces) still use pairs of large pillars, it is surprising that the eighteenth‑ and nineteenth‑century inventories make no mention of them. Probably this was because they were part of the equipment of

 

31 32   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

 Masonic Halls, so that they belonged to the landlords and not to the various lodges that used the rooms.

 

So we trace the two pillars from their first appearance as part of a question in the ritual through various stages of development until they became a prominent feature of lodge furniture.

 

But modern practices are not uniform in regard to the pillars; in London, for example, there are very few lodges which have the tall pillars, but they are always depicted on the second T.B., and they appear in miniature on the Wardens' pedestals.

 

CHAPITERS, GLOBES AND BOWLS

 

The biblical descriptions of Solomon's pillars give rise to many problems, especially as regards their dimensions and ornamentation. For us, the chapiters, bowls or globes which surmounted them are of particular interest, because of ritual developments and expansions during the eighteenth century.

 

In this particular problem a great deal depends on the interpretation of the original Hebrew text. The chapiters appear in 1 Kings, VII, 16: `. . . and he made two chapiters . . . ' The word is Ko‑thor‑oth = chapiters, capitals or crowns. Later, in verse 41, without mention of any further works, the text speaks of `. . . the two pillars and the two bowls of the chapiters . . .' The Hebrew reads Gooloth Ha‑ko‑thor‑oth, and the word Gooloth is a problem. Goolah (singular) means a ball or globe; also, a bowl or vessel, and various forms of the same root are used quite loosely to describe something round or spherical.

 

Our regular contacts with modern lodge Tracing‑Boards and furnishings have accustomed us to the idea that Solomon's two pillars were surmounted by chapiters or capitals, with a globe resting on each, but that is not proven. The early translators and illustrators of the Bible were by no means unanimous on this point, and the various terms they used to describe the chapiters, etc, show that they were not at all certain as to the appearance of the pillars. To take one example, the Geneva Bible, of 1560, a very handsome and popular illustrated Bible, which provided the interpretation for some of the proper names and seems to have been much used by the men who framed the Masonic ritual.

 

At ! Kings, VII, v. 16, '. . . and he made two chapiters . . .', there is a marginal note, `Or pommels', ie globular features. At this stage PILLARS & GLOBES: COLUMNS & CANDLESTICKS33 the Geneva Bible clearly indicates that the chapiters were globes or spheres, and not the crown‑shaped heads to the pillars that we would understand them to be.

 

Among the illustrations to this chapter in the Geneva Bible there are several interesting engravings of the Temple and its equipment, including a sketch of a pillar, surmounted by a shallow capital, with an ornamental globe poised on top. A marginal note to this illustration speaks of 'The height of the chapiter or round bal upon the pillar of five cubites hight . . .' (My italics.) So the chapiter was a round ball.

 

At II Chron., IV, v. 12, the same Bible gives a new interpretation, . . . two pillars, and the bowies, and the chapiters on the top of the two pillars . . .' Here it is evident that the 'bowies' and the chapiters were two separate features.

 

Whether we incline to bowls or globes, there is yet another interpretation which would exclude both. The accounts in both Kings and Chronicles refer to the pomegranate decoration which was attached to the 'bowies' or bellies of the chapiters (I Kings, VII, v. 41, 42, and II Chron., IV, v. 12, 13), and from these passages it is a perfectly proper inference that the chapiters were themselves 'bowl‑shaped', and that there were neither bowls nor globes above them.

 

Although the globes were finally adopted in Masonic furniture and decoration as head‑pieces to Solomon's Pillars, they came in very slowly, and during a large part of the eighteenth century there was no uniformity of practice on this point. The Trahi, one of the early French exposures, contains several engravings purporting to be 'Plans' of a Loge de Reception; in effect they are Tracing Boards for the 1st and 2nd combined, and another for the 3rd degree. The Apprentice Plan contains illustrations of the two pillars, marked J and B, both conventional Corinthian pillars, with flat tops. There is also, among a huge collection of symbols, a sketch which is described in the Index as a 'sphere', a kind of lattice‑work globe (actually an armillary sphere) used in astronomy to demonstrate the courses of the stars and planets.

 

The Lodge of Probity, No 61, Halifax (founded in 1738), was in serious decline in 1829, and an inventory of its possessions was taken at that time. One item reads: 'Box with Globes and Stands'.

 

 

The Phoenix Lodge, No 94, Sunderland (founded in 1755), has a PILLARS & GLOBES: COLUMNS & CANDLESTICKS35

 

pair of eighteenth‑century globes, each mounted on three legs, standing left and right of the Master's pedestal. All Souls' Lodge, No 170 (founded in 1767), had until 1888 a handsome pair of globes, each mounted on a tripod base, clearly of eighteenth‑century style, similarly placed left and right of the WM. The Lodge of Peace and Unity, No 314, Preston (founded in 1797), in a recent sketch of its lodge‑room, shows a pair of globes on low, three‑legged stands, placed on the floor of the lodge, left and right, a yard or two in front of the SW.

 

Among the unique collection of lodge equipment known as the 'Bath Furniture' is a pair of globes, 'celestial and terrestrial', on low four‑legged stands, and the minutes show that they were presented to the Royal Cumberland Lodge in 1805. It is interesting to observe that the equipment also includes a handsome pair of brass pillars, each about 5ft 9in in height, standing as usual in the west, and each of them surmounted with a large brass bowl. These date from the late eighteenth century.

 

In this case especially, as in all the cases cited above, there is no evidence of globes on top of the BJ pillars; the globes formed a part of the lodge equipment entirely in their own right.

 

The frontispiece to Noorthouck's Constitutions of 1784 is a symbolical drawing in which the architectural portion represents the interior of the then Free Mason's Hall. At the foot of the picture, in the foreground, is a long table bearing several Masonic tools and symbols, with two globes on tripod stands, and the description of the picture refers to '. . . the Globes and other Masonic Furniture and Implements of the Lodge'.

 

All this suggests that the globes were beginning to play some part in the lodge, or in the ritual, although they were not yet associated with the pillars. But even after the globes or bowls had begun to appear on the pillars, there was still considerable doubt as to what was correct. This is particularly noticeable in early Tracing Boards and decorated aprons, some showing 'bowls', and others 'globes'. (See illustrations, pp 14(1‑41 in AQC, vol lxxiv, for pillars with bowls, and ibid, p 52, where the pillars are surmounted by profuse foliage, growing presumably from bowls.) To summarise: (1) In the period of our earliest ritual documents, 1696 to 1730, there is no evidence that the globes formed any part of the 36HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FRFFMASONRY catechism or ritual, and it is reasonably certain that they were unknown as 'designs' or as furnishings in the lodges.

 

(2) Around 1745 it is probable that the sphere or globe had been introduced as one of the symbols in the 'floor drawings' or Tracing Boards. There is no evidence to show that it appeared in the catechism. There are several highly‑detailed catechisms belonging to this period, 1744 and later, but globes are not mentioned in any of them. The appearance of the sphere in the 1745 exposure is the only evidence suggesting that it played some part in the more or less impromptu explanations of lodge symbolism which probably came into practice about this time, or shortly afterwards.

 

(3) In the 1760s and 1770s, Solomon's Pillars with globes appear frequently in illustrations of lodge equipment and on aprons, but there is no uniformity of practice. In some lodges (as we have seen and shall see below) the globes were already a recognised part of the lodge furniture; elsewhere they surmounted the pillars, and were probably being 'explained' in `lectures'. In other places the globes were virtually unknown.

 

MAPS: MASONRY UNIVERSAL The tradition that the globes on Solomon's Pillars were covered with celestial and terrestrial maps is certainly post‑biblical, and appears to be a piece of eighteenth‑century embroidery to the ritual. We may wonder how this interest in earthly and heavenly maps arose, and there seems to be no sure answer. The early catechisms, ('1700 to 1730, all indicate a growing interest in the subject, eg: Q.How high is your lodge? A.. . . it reaches to heaven.` ... the material heavens and the starry firmament.' Q.How deep?$ A.. . . to the Centre of the Earth.$ There are also the more frequent questions relating to the Sun, Moon and Master Mason, with subsequent variations and expansions.

 

* Sloane MS, ('1700; Knoop. Jones and Flamer. the Earlti Masonic Catechisms, IE.M.C.I. 2nd cdn.. 1963, p 48.

 

Dumfries No 4 MS, ('1710. ibid., p 62. Prichard's Masonry Dissected, 1730, ibid., p 162.

 

PILLARS k GLOBES: COLUMNS K CANDLESTICKS37 These questions may well be the first pointers towards the subsequent interest in maps, and the armillary sphere of 1745, noted above, carries the subject a stage further.

 

The Lodge Summons of the Old Dundee Lodge, dated c1750, showed three pillars, two of them surmounted by globes depicting maps of the world and the firmament. A certificate issued by the Lodge of Antiquity in 1777 displayed, inter alia, a similar pair of maps. The 1768 edition of J. and B. has an engraved frontispiece showing the furniture and symbols of the lodge, including two pillars surmounted by globes ‑ one with rather vague map markings, and the other clearly marked with stars.

 

The various sets of geographical globes in pairs, described above (not 'pillar‑globes'), all indicate a deep Masonic interest in the celestial and terrestrial globes during the eighteenth century.

 

Preston, in his Illustrations of Masonry, 1775 edition, in the section dealing with the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, dwelt at some length on the globes and on the importance of astronomy and, of course, on the spiritual and moral lessons to be learned from them.

 

All this seems to imply that the maps were beginning to appear at this time, in the verbal portions of the ritual. The introduction of maps, 'celestial and terrestrial', led to a further development which eventually gave the Craft a phrase that has become a kind of hall‑mark of Freemasonry everywhere. The first hint of that expression appeared in l'Orde des Francs‑Magons Trahi, 1745, which added a new question to those passages in the catechism: Q. And its depth'? A.From the Surface of the Earth to the Centre. Q. Why do you answer thus'? A. To indicate, that Free‑Masons are spread all over the Earth, and all together they form nevertheless only one Lodge.

 

In 1760, Three Distinct Knocks (Antient's ritual) altered the final answer very effectively: Q.Why is your Lodge said to be from the Surface to the Centre of the Earth? A. Because that Masonrv is Universal.

 

In 1762, J. & B. (Moderns' ritual) gave the same answer, word for word. That is how we acquired the catchphrase 'Masonry Universal'.

 

38   HARRY C'ARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

THE PILLARS AS ARCHIVES

 

The biblical accounts of the casting of the pillars make no mention of their being cast hollow, although this may be inferred from the fact that, if they had been solid, their removal from Zeradatha and their final erection at Jerusalem would have been a quite exceptional feat of engineering. Jeremiah, Iii, v. 21, states that they were formed hollow, the metal being cast to a thickness of 'four‑fingers', but there is no suggestion that this was done so that the pillars might serve as `armoires', or containers of any kind, or that Solomon used them for ,storing the constitutional Rolls'.

 

Here again is a curious piece of eighteenth‑century `Masonic embroidery', and it seems possible that this was an attempt to link the pillars of Solomon with the two earlier pillars upon which `all the sciences' had been preserved. The earliest Masonic note I have been able to find on the subject is extremely vague. In 1769, Wellins Calcott wrote in his Candid Disquisition, p 66: ... neither are the reasons why they were made hollow known to any but those who are acquainted with the arcana of the society ...

 

This was undoubtedly intended to suggest that the hollow pillars were designed to serve some peculiarly Masonic purpose, but Calcott says nothing more on the subject, and I have been unable to trace any such reason for hollow pillars in eighteenth‑century Masonic ritual.

 

THREE LIGHTS: THREE PILLARS: THREE CANDLESTICKS Seventeen Masonic documents have survived, dated from 1696 to 1730, and they provide the foundation for our study of the evolution of the ritual. The earliest of them is the Edinburgh Register House MS (ERH), dated 1696, with a valuable description of the two‑degree system of those days. The last of that series is Samuel Prichard's Masonry Dissected (MD), which contains the oldest ritual of the three degrees, and the earliest version of the Hiramic legend. In all these early texts the ritual was mainly in the form of catechism, and we get some idea of its development during those thirty‑five years when we compare these two documents. The first contains fifteen questions and answers for the EA, and two for the `master or fellow‑craft'. Masonry Dissected has 155 Q and A in all, ie ninety‑two for the EA; thirty‑three for the FC; thirty for the MM.

 

PILLARS & GLOBES: COLUMNS & CANDLESTICKS39 THREE LIGHTS Twelve of the oldest rituals contain a question on the `lights of the lodge': Are there any lights in your lodge yes three ...

 

[ERH, 1696] The lights soon acquire a symbolic character, but originally they were probably candles or windows, with particular positions allocated to them, eg `NE, SW, and eastern passage', or `SE, S, and SW', etc, until we reach MD in 1730, which says the lights are three windows in the E, S and W and their purpose is `To light the Men to, at, and from their work'. MD distinguishes between symbolical lights and `fix'd lights', explaining that the latter are `large Candles placed on high Candlesticks'.

 

Symbolically, several texts say that the lights represent the Master, Warden and fellow‑craft. Four versions say `Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Three others say twelve lights, `Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Sun, Moon, Master‑Mason, Square, Rule, Plum, Line, Mell, Chi

 

el'. All these are of the period c1724‑26.

 

MD says `Sun, Moon and Master‑Mason' and after the question `Why so?' he answers `Sun to rule the Day, Moon the Night, and Master‑Mason his Lodge'. So we trace the lights from their first appearance in our ritual up to the point where they acquire their modern symbolism.

 

THREE PILLARS Extracts from the modern Lecture on the First Tracing Board: Our Lodges are supported by three great pillars. They are called Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. Wisdom to contrive, Strength to support, and Beauty to adorn . . . but as we have no noble orders in architecture known by the names of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, we refer them to the three most celebrated, which are, the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian.

 

The problems relating to the furnishings of the lodge do not end with Solomon's two pillars. As early as 1710 an entirely different set of three pillars makes its appearance in the catechisms and exposures. They appear for the first time in the Dumfries No 4 MS, which is dated about 1710:

 

40   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FRFFMASONRY

 

Q. How many pillars is in your lodge'? A. Three.

 

Q. What are these? A. Ye square the compass & ve Bible.

 

The three pillars do not appear again in the eleven versions of the catechisms between 1710 and 1730, but the question arises, with a new answer, in Prichard's Masonry Dissected: Q.What supports a Lodge? A. Three great Pillars.

 

Q. What are they called? A. Wisdom, Strength and Beauty.

 

Q. Why so? A. Wisdom to contrive, Strength to support, and Beauty to adorn.

 

Almost identical questions appeared in the Wilkinson MS c1727, and in a whole series of English and European exposures throughout the eighteenth century, invariably with the same answer, `Three. Wisdom to contrive, Strength to support, and Beauty to adorn'. But the descriptions of actual lodge furnishings in the early 1700s do not mention any sets of three, and it seems evident that these questions belong to a period long before there was any idea of turning them into actual pieces of furniture in the lodge‑room.

 

Early lodge inventories are too scarce to enable us to draw definite conclusions from the absence of references to any particular items of lodge furnishings or equipment. While it is fairly certain, therefore, that the early operative lodges were only sparsely furnished, it is evident, from surviving eighteenth‑century records, that in the 1750s there were already a number of lodges reasonably well equipped. A set of three pillars was mentioned in the records of the Nelson Lodge in 1757, and the Lodge of Relief, Bury, purchased a set of three pillars, for WM, SW and JW, in 1761. To this day, the ancient Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel), No l, now nearly 400 years old, uses a set of three pillars, each about three feet tall. The Master's pillar stands on the Altar, almost in the centre of the Lodge; the other two stand on the floor at the right of the SW and JW respectively. (The three principal officers, there, do not have pedestals.) Masonry Dissected remained the principal stabilising influence on English ritual until 1760, when a whole new series of English PILLARS & GLOBES; COLUMNS & CANDLESTICKS41 exposures began to appear, all displaying substantial expansion in the floor‑work of the ceremonies, and in their speculative interpretation. Three Distinct Knocks appeared in 1760, and J. & B. in 1762, claiming to expose respectively the rituals of the rival Grand Lodges, `Antients' and `Moderns'. Both of them now included several new questions and answers on the `Three great Pillars' agreeing that `they represent . . . The Master in the East . . . The Senior Warden in the West . . . [and] The Junior Warden in the South', with identical full explanations of their individual duties in those positions.

 

It seems likely that these questions were originally intended only to mark the geographical positions of the pillars, but in that period of speculative development the explanations were almost inevitable.

 

THREE CANDLESTICKS

 

Apart from Prichard's note in the 1730s on `large Candles placed on high Candlesticks', the first evidence of a combination of these two sets of equipment (that I have been able to trace) is in the records of the Lodge of Felicity, No 58, founded in 1737, when the Lodge ordered `Three Candlesticks to be made according to the following orders Vizt. 1 Dorrick, 1 Ionick, 1 Corrinthian and of Mahogany . . .'. In the Lodge inventory for Insurance in 1812 they had multiplied and were listed as `Six Large Candlesticks. Mahogany with brass mountings and nossils, carv'd of the three orders'. In 1739, the Old Dundee Lodge ordered a similar set, still in use today.

 

The connection is perhaps not immediately obvious, but these were the architectural styles associated with the attributes of the three pillars belonging to the Master and Wardens, 'Wisdom, Strength and Beauty'. The Masonic symbolism of the three pillars had been explained by Prichard in 1730, and it is almost certain that these two Lodges were putting his words into practical shape when they had their candlesticks made up in those three styles.

 

These two early examples may serve as a pointer to what was happening, but it was not yet general practice, and early evidence of their combined use is scarce. But we can trace the sets of three pillars from their first appearance in the ritual as a purely symbolical question, in which they support the Lodge, and are called `Wisdom, Strength and Beauty'. Later, they represent the three principal Officers, in the East, South, and West. From the time when they were being explained in this fashion, c1730 to 1760, it is fairly safe to

 

42   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

assume that they were beginning to appear in the 'Drawings', Floor‑Cloths or Tracing Boards. We know, of course, that they appeared regularly in the later versions, but the general pattern of their evolution seems to indicate that they were almost certainly included in many of the early designs that have not survived.

 

In the 1750s, and the 1760s, we have definite evidence (meagre indeed), that sets of three pillars were already in use as furniture in several lodges, and this adds strong support to the view that they had formerly appeared in the Tracing Boards. When, towards the end of the eighteenth century, the lodge rooms and Masonic Halls were being furnished for frequent or continuous use, the three pillars became a regular part of the furnishings, occasionally in their own right, but more often as the ornamental bases for the three `lesser lights', thus combining the two separate features into the one so frequently seen today.

 

THE GROWTH OF MASONIC SYMBOLISM

 

The growth in the number of symbols, as illustrated in the French exposures of the 1740s, and in the English versions of the 1760s, deserves some comment. In the Grand Lodge Museum there is a collection of painted metal templates, belonging apparently to several different sets. There are pillars with globes, a set of two small pillars without globes, and a separate set of three pillars. There is also a set of templates of 'Chapiters and Globes', ie, headpieces only, clearly designed for adding the globes on to normal flat‑topped pillars. All these, with many other symbols, were used in drawing the 'designs' on the floor of the lodge. As early as 1737, when the 'floor‑drawing' showed only 'steps' and two pillars, it was a part of the Master's duty to explain the 'designs' to the candidate, immediately after he had taken the obligation.:. There appears to have been no set ritual for this purpose, and the explanations were doubtless given impromptu. From 1742 onwards there is substantial evidence that the number of symbols had vastly increased,t and this would seem to indicate a real expansion in the 'explanations', The Hernult Letter. 1737. See translation in Lcics. L. of Research Reprints. No xiv.

 

+ Le Carechisme des Francs‑rnatons. 1742. and L'Ordre des Francs‑ma(ons Trahi. 1745. and in the Frontispiece of a whole stream of English exposures that began to make their appearance from 1 762 onwards. All three texts are reproduced in English translation in The Earlc French Exposures. Published by the Quatuor Coronati Lodge. No 2076.

 

PILLARS & GLOBES; COLUMNS & CANDLESTICKS43 implying some sort of dissertation akin to the later `Lectures on the Tracing Boards'.

 

Many of these old symbols, which appear frequently on the later eighteenth‑century Tracing Boards and in contemporary engravings, etc, have now disappeared from our modern workings, among them the Trowel, Beehive, the Hour‑glass, etc, and it is interesting to notice that in the USA, where much of our late eighteenth‑century ritual has been preserved, these symbols, with many others, appear regularly on the Tracing Boards.

 

In this brief essay, I have confined myself only to a few symbolised items'of our present‑day furnishings whose origins are liable to be clouded because of standardisation, but there is a whole world of interest to be found in the remaining symbology of the Craft.

 

3 THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY

 

The Prestonian Lecture for 1957 I... WE ARE not operative, but free and accepted or speculative masons . . .' The implication of these words often passes un‑noticed by those who hear them. In fact, they summarise practically the whole history of the craft, and they are a direct link between the present and the past.

 

The story of the craft in Britain may be carried back safely to the middle of the fourteenth century, but the Freemasonry of today bears no resemblance to the craft organisation of the 1300s. During those 600 years, under the play of industrial, social and economic influences, the craft has suffered enormous changes, and it is the sum total of those changes which makes up the story of the transition from operative to speculative masonry.

 

To tell the story in detail is a well‑nigh impossible task. The masons in medieval England found their main employment at castles, abbeys, monasteries and defence works, far from the large towns, usually under circumstances which were not conducive to any kind of municipal or guild controls. The Fabric Rolls and building accounts which survive, yield much information on wages and working conditions, etc, but virtually no evidence of a stable organisation. Much of the early history of the craft is based upon brief scraps of evidence, valuable in themselves, but apparently unconnected with each other, like random pieces of a jig‑saw pu

 

le, and vital records, which would have made the story clear, have now disappeared. As an example, the earliest surviving records of the London Masons'

 

44 THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY  45

 

Company are dated 1620; yet there is definite proof that the Company was in existence in 1472, and a strong probability that the date may be carried back 100 years earlier still.

 

For these reasons the development of craft organisation, and the story of the 'Transition' in England, cannot be told as a continuous narrative, but rather as a series of glimpses of the craft in its different stages of growth and change. Happily, the story falls into two parts. In Scotland, where a number of early lodge records have miraculously survived, we are able to trace the changes more clearly and, despite important differences in the development of the craft in the two countries, the Scottish records help to throw valuable light on English practice.

 

THE BEGINNINGS OF MASON CRAFT ORGANISATION IN ENGLAND

 

In 1356, following a demarcation dispute between the mason hewers and the `setters or layers', twelve skilled masters, representing both branches of the craft, came before the Mayor and Aldermen at Guildhall in London and, with the sanction of the municipal authorities, drew up a simple code of trade regulations.

 

The preamble to this early code states that `. . . their trade has not been regulated in due manner by the government of folks of their trade, in such form as other trades are'. Here is a clear statement that this was the first attempt to set up a proper governing body for the mason trade, and the first rule in the new code provides the clue to the demarcation dispute. They ordered: 1. . . . that every man of the trade may work at any work touching the trade, if he be perfectly skilled and knowing in the same.

 

Only seven further rules were made at this time: 2. Sworn masters were to be chosen as overseers, to ensure that no mason undertook work unless he was fully qualified to complete it.

 

3. No mason was to take contract work 'in gross' unless he could provide four or six men of the trade as sureties, they being responsible for the completion of the work if the original contractor failed.

 

4. Apprentices and journeymen were to work only in the presence of their masters, until they had been perfectly instructed in their calling.

 

5. Apprentices were not to be taken for less than seven years.

 

8. Enticement of apprentices was forbidden, under penalty of a fine for each offence.

 

46   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

Although the text contains no elaborate machinery for government of the craft, such as we find in later codes, the appointment of sworn masters with special duties as overseers shows that this was not going to be an outside committee of management, but an organisation for direct control of the masons and their work. The full extent of this development is not clear at this stage but twenty years later, in 1376, the Guildhall records show that the masons were now one of the 47 ,sufficient misteries' (ie recognised guilds) of the City of London, when they were called upon to elect four men of the trade to serve on the Common Council, sworn to give counsel for the common weal, and `preserving for each mistery its reasonable customs'.' No comparable mason regulations or records have been traced in Britain before the late fifteenth century, and we are therefore justified in dating the beginning of mason trade organisation in England at some time between 1356 and 1376.

 

In 1389, there is record of a bequest of 12d to the `Fraternity of Masons, London', and in a will dated 1418, a London mason made provision for a legacy of 6/8d `. . . to the fraternity of my art . . .' and bequeathed `. . . the livery cloak of my old and free mistery . . .' to a colleague. These two items are of interest as evidence of continuity, and there can be little doubt that the `Hole Crafte and felawship of Masons', which was given a Grant of Arms in 1472, was directly descended from the craft guild whose beginnings we have traced back to c1356.

 

In 1481 a new code of ordinances was published. The Fellowship had been a livery company since 1418 at least, and the new code included regulations for the livery, annual assemblies, election of wardens with powers of search for false work, restrictions against outsiders or `foreigners', payment of quarterages, and the maintenance of a `Common Box'; in fact, all the machinery of management for an established craft guild.

 

Apprentices were 'presented' and booked in the Company's records at the beginning of their terms of service; in some trades, apprentices were `sworn', and that may have been customary among masons. Access to the freedom was a matter of right to those who had completed their terms, and time‑served men were presented before * E. Conder Jr The Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons, 1894, pp 63‑5.

 

TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY  47

 

the `Wardens' of the Company and by them `enabled', ie examined and certified as craftsmen sufficiently skilled to set up as masters. New freemen took an oath of loyalty to the trade, the town and the Crown, but there is no evidence at this time of any kind of secrets, or degrees, or lodge, in connection with the London Masons' Company.

 

At Norwich there is evidence of some kind of craft organisation amongst masons during the fifteenth century, but elsewhere in the provinces there are no mason guild ordinances until the sixteenth century and even these are so rare as to suggest that the conditions of their employment prevented the masons from setting up the normal type of guild organisation which exercised its powers under municipal sanction.

 

The guilds were greatly favoured by municipal authorities because they facilitated the management of the towns in matters of wages, prices, taxation and defence. But the really important building works, the castles, abbeys, monasteries and defence works, were usually far from the towns, and masons travelled, often long distances, to find work. When they found it, they would stay on the job for long periods until their work was finished, and they travelled again. This necessary mobility made the guilds unsuitable for the masons, and it explains the dearth of evidence on mason guilds. Instead, they formed themselves into lodges, more or less temporary bodies, governing themselves by long‑established craft customs.

 

THE LODGE In its primary masonic sense, the word `lodge' appears in documents of the thirteenth century and later, to describe the workshop or hut, common to all sizeable building works, in which the masons worked, stored their tools, ate their meals and rested.

 

At places where building works were continuously in progress the lodge acquired a more permanent character. At York Minster, in 1370, an elaborate code of ordinances was drawn up by the Chapter regulating times of work and refreshment in the `lodge', etc, and new men were sworn to obey the regulations, and not to depart from the work without leave. Probably it was this continuity of employment in one place which gave rise to an extended meaning of `the lodge' so that it began to imply a group of masons permanently attached to a particular undertaking. Thus, at Canterbury in 1429, we find reference in the Prior's accounts to the `masons of the lodge,'

 

48   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

(Lathami de la Lo ygge) with lists of their names; but no regulations for this particular body have survived.

 

Generally, it would appear that these and similar groups of 'attached' masons, which are known to have existed in the middle ages, were wholly under the control of the authorities whom they served. There is no evidence that they exercised any trade controls; they were governed, not governing bodies. The question whether such groups of 'attached' masons might have tended to form themselves into lodges (in our modern sense) is discussed more fully later.

 

The word 'lodge' appears in a third, and more advanced sense, in Scotland in the sixteenth century, where it is used to describe the working masons of a particular town or district, organised to regulate the affairs of their trade, and having jurisdiction usually within town or city limits, but occasionally over a wider area. In their earliest form these lodges, best described as operative lodges, were intended primarily for purposes of trade control, and for the protection of the masters and craftsmen who came under their jurisdiction; and, in these functions, the aims of the operative lodge were broadly similar to those of the trade companies, such as the London Masons' Company, described above.* There was one peculiarity, however, which later distinguished the lodges from the craft guilds or companies. The members of the lodge shared a secret mode of recognition, which was communicated to them in the course of some sort of brief admission ceremony, under an oath of secrecy. In Scotland this system of recognition was generally known as 'the Mason Word', and there is good reason to believe that it consisted of something more than a mere verbal means of identification.

 

The 'Mason Word' as an operative institution probably came into use in the mid‑sixteenth century; and there are a number of references to it irv documents from 1637 onwards, sufficient to show that its existence was widely known in Scotland (where several operative lodges can be traced to the sixteenth century). In England, apart from the Old Charges, there is no comparable evidence of any similar organisation amongst operative masons until the early eighteenth century.

 

D. Knoop R G. P. Jones, The Scottish Mason and The Mason Word. (Manchcstcr Universitv Press, 1939) pp 6(I‑63.

 

THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY   49

 

Throughout the remainder of this essay, unless there is some special qualifying note in the text, the word 'lodge' is to be defined as an association of masons (operative or otherwise) who are bound together for their common good, and who share a secret mode of recognition to which they are sworn on admission.

 

THE MS CONSTITUTIONS OR OLD CHARGES' Our next evidence of development in mason lodge organisation in England, is derived from the MS Constitutions, a collection of some 130 texts beginning \'1390, and running right through to the eighteenth century. Many of them are closely related to each other, and it is possible to group them into some eight distinct 'families', with a number of unclassified versions. Their general pattern, however, is the same all through, and broadly speaking they each consist of three parts: (1) A opening prayer.

 

(ii) A fabricated history of the mason craft, in which various biblical and historical characters are all supposed to have had a great love for masons and for the 'science' of masonry. Many of these characters gave the masons 'charges', and the history purports to show how the 'science' was handed down until it was finally established in England. It is probable that this 'history' was compiled in order to provide a kind of traditional background for longstanding craft customs that were embodied in the texts.

 

(iii) A code of regulations for masters, fellows (ie qualified craftsmen), and apprentices. The texts usually contain vague arrangements for large‑scale 'assemblies' of masons, implying a widespread territorial organisation; but there is no evidence at all to show whether any such assemblies took place.

 

Some of the texts contain substantial additions and variations which need not concern us for the present. The two earliest versions are the Regius MS, \'1390 and the Cooke MS, \'1410, and the latter contains textual evidence which suggests that its regulations may have been copied from an 'original' text of the 1350s.

 

' D. Knoop. G. P. Jones & D. Ilamer. The 7 no Earliest Masonic MSS. (Manchester Universitv Press. 1938) for transcripts and e valuable stud\' of the oldest versions. For an excellent studv of the historical sections, see Die Genesis of Ereernasonre. by Knoop & Jones, 1947. pp 62_85. This chapter is largely based on the above. and on the numerous transcripts of the MS Constitutions published in the Transactions of the Qnaluor Coronati Lodge, No 2076. London.

 

5O   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

The actual Charges or regulations form a lengthy and interesting collection. The `Charges General' related mainly to personal conduct. The `Charges Singular' were chiefly concerned with trade matters. The following are a few selected items, to give some idea of their contents: Charges General. Masons were to be true to God and Holy Church, to the King, to their `Lord' (ie their employer) or Master, to be respectful and true to each other and to respect their womenfolk.

 

Charges Singular. No Master or fellow should take any work unless he was able and skilful enough to complete it. Masters should take work at reasonable pay, paying their fellows according to trade custom. No apprentice was to be taken for less than seven years, and only if the Master had enough work for two or three fellows at least. Masters were to pay fellows no more than they deserved, so that they were not cheated by false workmen. The Warden was to be a true mediator between Master and fellow. Itinerant masons coming in search of work were to be `cherished' and given work for two weeks at least; but if there was no work for them, they were to be `refreshed' with money to the next lodge.

 

The regulations are addressed to masters and fellows. Where they relate to apprentices, they are usually identical with the kind of conditions that were customarily embodied in apprentices' indentures. Despite these similarities, however, it is important to stress that the regulations in the MS Constitutions are not guild ordinances, because they lack certain provisions which were an essential feature of all such codes, ie.

 

(a) Arrangements for election of administrative officers and overseers with powers of `search'.

 

(b) Arrangements for annual assembly (and other meetings at specified dates).

 

(c) Sanction of the municipal authorities, which gave craft ordinances the force of law.

 

One other feature distinguishes the MS Constitutions or `Ancient Charges' from the normal codes of medieval craft ordinances, ie the inclusion of a number of items in the regulations which were not trade matters at all, but designed to preserve and elevate the moral

 

THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY   51

 

character of the craftsmen. It is this extraordinary combination of `history', trade and moral regulations which makes these early MSS unique among contemporary craft documents.

 

THE MS CONSTITUTIONS IN USE

 

We have already noted that the texts lack certain distinguishing features which would characterise normal codes of ordinances. In addition to this negative evidence, there are passages in the texts which indicate that the documents were not, originally, designed for use by established bodies of masons permanently located in towns or cities. The infrequent references to `the lodge' are almost certainly intended to mean `workshop'; the instruction to the steward that all craftsmen were to be served willingly, and to be charged equally for their food; the instruction to the warden to mediate between masters and fellows; all these points suggest that the documents were primarily intended for those semi‑permanent groups of masons who were brought together for a time in the course of their work, and who were, for that very reason, out of reach of established trade organisations in the towns.

 

At the building of Eton College, c1400‑60, and many other great undertakings in the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries where records survive, it is evident that large numbers of masons were in continuous employment for several years on end, and the MS Constitutions may well have been designed for use by such groups. It is equally possible that the documents were used by masons attached to ecclesiastical undertakings such as those at York and Canterbury (mentioned above) where, despite proximity to the towns, the masons came wholly under the control of the Church authorities.

 

It is impossible now to say whether any of these semi‑permanent groups of masons did in fact form themselves into lodges. The existence of such lodges in England at any time before the seventeenth century is a matter of pure speculation, for there is no evidence by which we could prove that they existed. Yet we may envisage the probability that, in places where there was no kind of trade guild or fellowship, lodges would arise to serve the masons as places of meeting and recreation, where they could discuss trade matters, air their grievances, and settle their disputes. It would be under such conditions that we might expect to see the rise of the English operative lodges.

 

52    HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

The texts make provision for an oath of obedience to be taken by new men 'that were never charged before'. This suggests some kind of 'admission ceremony' for newcomers. It would have been a very brief affair consisting of a recital of the opening prayer, with which all versions of the MS Constitutions begin, followed by the oath, and a reading of the appropriate 'charges' or regulations, ie a procedure roughly similar to that for admission into a craft company or fellowship.

 

In some of the later texts, however (and in other contemporary documents) we find a posture for the obligation and evidence of some kind of secret 'words and signes' to which the newcomers were sworn, implying that the MS Constitutions were indeed used in 'operative lodges'.

 

THE RISE AND POWER OF THE OPERATIVE LODGES

 

Our best evidence on the rise and powers of the operative lodges comes from Scotland where a fine collection of documents relating to the mason trade has survived. The first of these is the 'Seal of Cause','granted by the Edinburgh authorities in 1475, when the masons and wrights combined to form the Masons and Wrights Incorporation, a single guild for both trades. That document prescribed the rules by which the trades were to be governed, but there were powers to make additional rules, subject to official approval. Each of the trades was to choose two of 'the best and worthiest of their craft' who were sworn 'to search and see' that the craftsmen's work was 'lawfully and truly' done. Apprentices, at the end of their terms of training, were to be examined by the 'four men' to ensure that they were qualified to become fellow craft. If found worthy, they paid the requisite fee and could enjoy their new status. The 'Seal of Cause' does not mention a lodge and there is no evidence of a lodge in Edinburgh at this period.

 

The Lodge of Edinburgh probably came into being in c1500, but its earliest surviving minutes begin in 1599, when it was certainly the head Lodge of Scotland. There we find that the guild's duty of passing EAs as fellow crafts had been taken over by the Lodge. 'f A magnificent set of town and guild records has survived, and from * J. R. Dashwood & liarr7 Curr, tllirnutee ol tltc Ledge of Edinburgh (Matv's Chapel) No l. (OC Lodgc. 1962) pp 8‑11.

 

+ Ibid, p 46 et passim.

 

T11E TRANSITION FROM OPFRATIVE TO SPFCTLATIVE MASONRY   53

 

these together with Lodge minutes, it is possible to trace the careers of hundreds of masons in the four main stages of their working lives.* Apprentices, at the beginning of their indentures, had to be 'booked' in the town's Register of Apprentices. About three years later, they were admitted into the Lodge as 'entered apprentices'. At the end of their terms, if found qualified, they were passed fellow craft in the Lodge. They were now fully‑trained craftsmen, and in the smaller places, where there were no controls beyond those imposed by the Lodge, their status was in all respects equal to that of Master, and the titles of 'Master or fellow craft' were often used jointly and synonymously.

 

In the larger towns or burghs, the FC had to pass the fourth stage of Freeman‑Burgess, before he could set up as Master. That was open to all qualified 'indwellers of Edinburgh' on undertaking the duties of 'watch and ward', provision of a weapon for defence, and payment of the requisite fees. Broadly, the Incorporation controlled the mason trade in their duties to the town and to the public at large, eg price‑fixing, wage scales and the 'search for false work', while the Lodge controlled the day‑to‑day internal business of the craft.

 

In addition to the splendid run of Lodge minutes at Edinburgh, Kilwinning and other Scottish Lodges, there are two codes of regulations, the Schaw Statutes of 1598 and 1599, promulgated by William Schaw, Warden‑general of the Mason Craft and Master of Works to the Crown of Scotland. The first was addressed to the Masters of the Lodge of Edinburgh 'and all the maister maissounis within this realme'; the second, to the Lodge of Kilwinning, then described as 'second ludge' of Scotland. From all these sources we can see how the operative lodges exercised their powers.

 

They dealt with the admission of entered‑apprentices and passing fellow crafts. To restrict the supply of cheap labour, they controlled the number of apprentices that could be taken, no more than three in a Master's life‑time without special permission. Runaway apprentices were not to be employed and the enticement of apprentices was a crime. No mason was to take work under a man of another trade (eg under a carpenter) who had undertaken work that belonged to the mason trade. No Master was to take over another Master's work after * Harry Carr, The Mason and the Burgh. AQC. 67, pp 38‑43.

 

D. Murray Lyon, Hi.storv of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No l, Tcrcem. edn. 1903, pp 9‑14.

 

54    HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

a price had been agreed with the owner, under penalty of 40. All disputes were to be reported to the Warden or Deacon (=WM) within twenty‑four hours, under penalty of 10. All faults or defective works were to be reported, under penalty of 10 against the 'concealers'.

 

Two cases from the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh may serve to show how the Lodge dealt with offenders. In 1600, Alex' Schiell, `servand' to Adam Walker, was accused by his master and several members, of . . . the taking of certain works from the ground to the completing thereof . . . over the free masters heads as he confessed by having taken a deposit thereupon . . . [Quoted in modern English].

 

As a 'servand' Schiell may have been a 'stranger' working as journeyman for Walker, or at best he would have been a time‑served entered‑apprentice who had not yet passed FC. In the latter status, he was only entitled to take one job of work up to 10 in value, and no more without permission of the 'masters or Warden where they dwell', under penalty of 20.

 

Schiell had undertaken a complete contract 'over the free masters heads', ie work which belonged only to masters. When charged, he gave a saucy answer, boasting that he had taken a money deposit on the work, and that he would rather quit Edinburgh than submit to their laws. It is virtually certain that he had finished the work. But, as a 'servand' he was in no position to pay a substantial fine, and the Lodge ordered that no master in Edinburgh was to give him employment, under penalty of 40 (approximately three months wages of a skilled craftsman). That was the end of Schiell.* At the other end of the scale, on 27 December 1679, in the presence of the Deacon, Warden and Brethren of the Lodge, John Fulton, master mason, and Freeman Burgess of Edinburgh, was charged with 'seducing (=enticing) two entered‑apprentices belonging to our Lodge . . .'. The Lodge ordered . . . that he shall receive no benefit from this place nor no converse with any brother and likewise, his servants (= employees) to be discharged from serving him in his employment . . . until he give the deacon and the masters satisfaction.

 

* Dashwood & Carr. Milts of the L of Edr, pp 52‑3.

 

THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY55 They literally closed him down! Nothing more was heard of Fulton until 12 April 1680. He attended that meeting and on his `humble petition' in which he acknowledged `his former fault . . . promised to behave as a brother and never to commit such a fault again in all time coming', he was reinstated. But still he paid a fine of 40, equal to about eight weeks' wages of a Master Mason.

 

There were restrictions against the employment of `strangers'; if labour was scarce and a Master had to employ a `stranger', he paid a stiff fine for every day the outsider worked for him. There were severe penalties for working with `cowans', who had never been apprenticed to the trade. At Kilwinning in 1647 the penalty for this offence was 40 Scots, but it varied from time to time, according to the supply of labour. In 1705, the Lodge ordered that.

 

. . . if there be one mason to be found within fifteen miles he is not to employ a cowan under penalty of forty shillings Scots (ie only f2), One more item may be selected from the many that deserve mention. All Masters were ordered to take special care about the security of their scaffolding and `walkways', so that their men could work in the utmost safety. That was the Master's personal responsibility. If any man suffered hurt or damage as a result of his Master's carelessness, that Master could never take work again as a Master as long as he lived.'+ Breaches of the regulations were usually punished by fines, which were often doubled if they were not paid at the next meeting; but the lodge had much wider powers. For a serious offence by an employee, the lodge could order that nobody was to give him work. If a Master offended, the lodge could put him out of business by ordering that nobody was to work for him.

 

It must be remembered that every operative lodge was the lodge in charge of all the masons within its own territory and under the system of strict controls they were powerful and they flourished.

 

OPERATIVE LODGES IN ENGLAND In England, the Lodge at Alnwick (Northumberland) is the earliest operative lodge whose records survive. They begin with a curious code of operative and `moral' regulations drawn up in 1701, followed * /bid, pp 182‑3.

 

Harry Carr. Lodge Mother Kilwinning No 0. (QC Lodge 1961); pp 39‑43. D. Murray Lyon, op. cit p 11.

 

56]LARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY by the minutes up to 1757. There is nothing in the text to indicate whether the lodge was newly erected in 1701, or if it had been in existence before that time. So far as can be ascertained, all the men who were admitted during the period of its earliest records were operative masons.

 

Although they styled themselves 'The Company and Fellowship of Free Masons', they met as a lodge, made operative regulations, ,admitted masons', and made them 'free'. Apprentices were 'given their charge' at the time of their entry, and as we know that the lodge possessed a copy of the MS Constitutions, we may assume that some part of their ceremonial was based upon a reading of the Charges. The minutes, however, yield no evidence on the subject of ceremonies.

 

The records of early operative lodges in England are so scarce that it would have been difficult to say whether the Alnwick Lodge is to be considered typical. Fortunately, the minutes survive of another operative lodge, at SwalwelK in Durham, and their general contents are sufficiently similar to those of Alnwick to confirm that these lodges are indeed representative of their time.

 

In so far as we can compare them with the Scottish operative lodges, they performed a few limited functions of a similar nature, but if they had ever had the range of powers enjoyed by operative lodges north of the Border, they had certainly lost or relinquished them by the early 1700s, when their minutes begin.

 

At the time of their earliest surviving records, both Alnwick and Swalwell apparently had one rare characteristic in common, ie they were purely operative lodges; so far as can be ascertained, there is no evidence to show that either of them had any non‑operative members at this stage.

 

I have been at some pains to establish the probable nature of the earliest English operative lodges, because a starting point ‑ even a hypothetical one ‑ is essential, if we are to assess the extent of the changes which were involved in the transition from operative to speculative masonry.

 

* W. Ii. Rylands, 'The Alnwick Lodge Minutes', AQC, Id. pp 4‑26.

 

W. WapleS. 'The Swalwell Lodge', AQC, 62, pp 89‑90. The oldest minute is dated 1725, but there is little doubt that the Lodge was in existence before that date.

 

THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY57 LODGES IN COURSE OF TRANSITION Primarily Operative Lodges The earliest evidence as to lodges in the transition stage appears in Scotland, where lodges which were purely operative in character began to admit non‑operatives, that is to say men who had no connection with the trade at all, as members. They were usually drawn from the local gentry, and occasionally distinguished visitors to the district were also admitted. Generally their status in the lodges was that of honoured guests, and there is no reason to believe that their coming had any immediate effect on the functions or the character of the lodges.

 

At first, admissions of non‑operatives were very rare. At a meeting of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) in 1600, John Boswell of Auchinleck attended with William Schaw, Warden General and Master of Works to the Crown of Scotland, but that was not a normal Lodge meeting. It was called for the trial of Johne Broune, `wairden of ye lodge' who had committed a serious but unspecified offence. They must both have been there in an official capacity; they were not members of the Lodge. (The penalty should have been 40, but moved by 'certain considerations', it was reduced to 10.) There are no records of non‑operative admissions into the lodge until 3 July 1634, when Lord Alexander and his brother Sir Anthony Alexander, sons of the Earl of Stirling, with Sir Alexander Strachan, Bart, were separately admitted fellow crafts, presumably receiving the elements of the EA and FC degrees in a single session.

 

Later, the minute‑book gives us all the information we need to enable us to compare the steady admission of working masons with the infrequent records of non‑operative entrants.

 

Despite its non‑operative members, the lodge continued to exercise its functions as an operative lodge right up to the 1700s, making trade regulations for apprentices, journeymen and masters, collecting quarterages and punishing offenders.

 

At Aitchison's Haven, where lodge minutes begin in 1598, there are records of non‑operative admissions in 1672, 1677 and 1693. At Kilwinning (minutes from 1642) there are several records of admissions of nobility and gentry from 1672 onwards. 'I At Aberdeen, Dashwood & Carr, Mins. of the L. of Edr.. pp 99‑102.

 

+ There are occasional minutes recording non‑operatives who received both EA and FC in a single session (eg Carr. Kilwinning, pp 86, 89) but thev are comparatively rare.

 

58HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY where the earliest surviving lodge records are dated 1670, a list of members shows that there were 10 operative master‑masons or fellowcrafts on the roll, against 39 non‑operatives, drawn from the nobility and gentry, professional men, merchants, and tradesmen.

 

Like Mary's Chapel all these lodges were,~~till conducting themselves as operative lodges, though there can be little doubt that the Lodge of Aberdeen was already substantially affected by its overwhelming non‑operative membership; indeed it made special regulations in 1670 for its gentlemen members. The character of the lodge was beginning to change.

 

Such lodges as these, during the transition stage, may well be described as 'primarily‑operative lodges'.

 

NON‑OPERATIVE LODGES AND ACCEPTED MASONS In England another stage in the Transition appears during the seventeenth century when we find the first evidence relating to lodges which had nothing to do with the trade at all ‑ purely non‑operative lodges.

 

Perhaps the most interesting of these was the lodge which arose in connection with the London Masons' Company. The Company's early records are lost, but an old account‑book survives with entries from 1620. At that time it was a trade‑controlling body, governed by a Master and Warden, with a Court of Assistants. Apprentices to the trade, having completed their terms, took up their freedom, paid various fees amounting to 23/10d in all, and came `on the Yeomanry'; in due course they paid a further 9 and were advanced to `the Livery'; and the general body of the Company's membership was made up of these two grades.

 

The first hint of a lodge in connection with this trade organisation appears in the Company's accounts for 1621: Att the making Masons, viz. John Hince, John Browne, Rowland Everett, Evan Lloyde, James ffrench, John Clarke, Thomas Rose. Rd. of them as apereth by the Quartge booke ... 9. 6s. 8d.

 

ie an entry for money received from these men, showing an average of 26s. 8d. from each.

 

At first glance it might appear that they were paying some part of their Company‑fees, but the accounts (for 1620) show that three of them were already on the Livery, and another had been on the THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY59 Yeomanry for seven years at least. Those men had been masons by trade for years, and it is clear that this business of `making Masons' was something quite separate from normal trade routine.

 

Membership of this separate body was open to the Yeomanry and the Livery, but it was purely optional, and there were working masons of both grades in the Company who were never `made masons' in this special sense. On the other hand, the records reveal that a number of men were `made masons' who were not members of the Company at all, and who in fact were not connected with the mason trade in any way! It was perhaps for these entrants from outside the trade that the word `accepted' came to be used. It appears first in some special sense in 1631 when the accounts show that 6/6 was paid `. . . in goeing abroad and att a meeteing att the hall about ye Masons yt were to bee accepted'. In 1650 an entry shows two men paying the balance of their `fines . . . for coming on the Liuerie and admission uppon Acceptance of Masonry'; the Acception then cost 20/‑; and later, two strangers who had no connection with the Company paid 40/‑ each for `coming on the accepcon'. It should be stressed that when they joined the Acception these two had been `made masons' but they still had nothing to do with the Masons' Company, and for that reason they paid twice the normal feet Dr Plot described the business of becoming an Accepted Mason in his Natural History of Staffordshire which was written in 1686. After stating that one of the customs of the county was that of admitting men into the Society of Free‑Masons, a custom spread more‑or‑less all over the Nation, he adds that `persons of the most eminent quality . . . did not disdain to be of this Fellowship'. Plot's description of the admission ceremony and the purpose of the Society is fiery brief.

 

. . . they proceed to the admission of them, which chiefly consists in the communication of certain secret signs, whereby they are known to one another all over the Nation, by which means they have maintenance whither ever they travel: for if any man appear though altogether unknown that can shew any of these signes to a Fellow of the Society, whom they " Conder. op. cit pp 146. 155. 170.

 

> Under precise definition the title 'Accepted Masons' is used for men admitted into the 'Acception'. or into wholly non‑operative lodges. The term 'non‑operative masons' is reserved for those unconnected with the mason trade. who were admitted into operative lodges.

 

60HARRY CARR's WORLD OF FREEMASONRY otherwise call an accepted mason, he is obliged presently to come to him . . . if he want work he is bound to find him some; or if he cannot doe that, to give him mony, or otherwise support him till work can be had; which is one of their Articles.

 

Plot has more to say about the Free‑Masons, but the extracts above, with other scraps of contemporary information help to show what the 'Accepcon' was doing. It was a Society for 'making Masons', an adjunct of the London Masons' Company. It made 'accepted Masons' out of men who were already masons by trade and members of the Company; it also made 'accepted masons out of men who had no connection with either the trade or the Company.

 

Financially, the 'Accepcon' was in the Company's pocket, and its whole income from admission‑fees went into the Company's coffers; but from first to last it had no connection with trade affairs. The accounts suggest that its meetings were infrequent, but we cannot be sure of this. The Company's accounts are void of all reference to entertainment expenses for the 'Accepcon' which implies that such charges were defrayed by a whip‑round or 'club'. In that case it is possible that meetings were held at frequent or regular intervals, and only admissions were rare.

 

How long the 'Accepcon' had been in existence before 1620 is a matter of pure speculation. As late as 1677 a minute in the Court Books of the Company ordered the disposal of 6, '. . . which was left of the last accepted masons money . . .' and Ashmole visited the Lodge in 1682, showing that the 'Accepcon' had a continuous and lengthy (if erratic) existence, and may well have served as a pattern for similar organisations elsewhere.

 

A point of major importance, which seems to have escaped notice, is that the Company and the 'Accepcon' jointly were exercising practically the same functions as those 'primarily operative lodges' (described ante) of which we have several contemporary examples in Scotland. It seems highly probable that the London organisation in two parts and the Scottish Lodge in its 'merged' form represent two alternative lines of development.

 

Early evidence relating to other non‑operative lodges is very scarce. One of the best known cases was the meeting held on 16 Mcekren, 'Grand Lodge'. A QC, 69, was inclined to treat the 'Accepcon' as a series of ad /roc or occasional lodges, but this view does not seem to give due weight to the records.

 

im. TRANSITION FROM OPERAlIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY61 October 1646, at Warrington, at which Elias Ashmole and another gentleman were fnade Free‑Masons. The lodge on this occasion consisted of only seven men who were apparently all non‑operatives. Apart from the brief reference to this meeting in Ashmole's diary, all contemporary records of this lodge have disappeared. The fact that Ashmole described one of the gentlemen as 'warden', suggests that this was an established lodge, having a continuous existence; but we must envisage the possibility that it was an 'occasional' lodge, ie an assembly of five or six masons, met by inherent right, for the purpose of admitting new masons, and then disbanding without further trace.` Among the collected papers of the third Randle Holme there is a page of notes giving evidence of the existence of a non‑operative lodge at Chester, (‑1672‑75. It had some 26 members at least (including Holme himself) mainly belonging to the building trades, but there were other tradesmen, and merchants and gentlemen as well. Little is known of the Lodge at that time, but the fact that all the members appear to have been Chester men, with Holme's known interest in the Fellowship of the Masons, suggests that this was a 'continuous' non‑operative lodge whose records are now lost.

 

There are records of a non‑operative lodge at York, with details of admissions from 1712. The gentry were strongly represented in its membership, but Francis Drake in a speech to the Lodge in 1726, addressed himself to the 'working masons', men of other trades, and the gentry, a mixed membership similar to that at Chester.

 

Unfortunately, we know nothing about the beginnings of all these Lodges; we cannot be sure whether they were operative or non‑operative in origin, or how far they had changed before they make their first appearance in our old records. In Scotland, in 1702, a new Lodge was founded at Haughfoot (near Galashiels) and it occupies a unique place in the history of the Transition for it was the first wholly non‑operative Lodge, non‑operative at its foundation, and throughout its existence.

 

THE STAGES IN THE TRANSITION In the preceeding pages I have sketched very briefly the evolution * In Scotland. 'out‑entries' tic the admission of EA's or FC's awav from the lodge) were not uncommon, and quite legal, provided there was a quorum of five or six members (usually including an officer of the lodge) and the 'entries' were reported at the next meeting of the lodge, when the requisite fees had to be paid. Carr. KiAvinnin, pp 121‑27.

 

62HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY of mason trade and lodge organisation up to the stage at which the lodges were beginning to lose their strictly operative purpose. Conditions were not uniform everywhere, and the lines of development varied considerably in different places but, so far as we can follow the stages generally, their sequence seems to have been as follows: (1) The formation of mason guilds or companies, scarce in England.

 

(2) The evolution of operative lodges in places where there were no official trade organisations. These would have been contemporaneous with (1).

 

(3) Operative lodges taking over the internal management of the craft and working side by side with the Incorporations, which controlled the external functions of the trade in relation to wages, prices, and the protection of the customer and the public at large from `false work' and faulty materials.

 

(4) The admission of non‑operatives into operative lodges.

 

(5) The transition from wholly operative to non‑operative status, by an actual change in the character and composition of the lodge. There were two contributory causes: (a) diminishing powers of trade control: (b) the admission of non‑operatives. (6) The rise of wholly non‑operative lodges, having secret `words and signes', but being mainly associations for social, and convivial purposes.

 

(7) In the eighteenth century, the rise of the `speculative' influence in the lodges, and the gradual evolution of `speculative' freemasonry.

 

In Scotland, perhaps because of the close connection between the crafts organisations and the municipal authorities, the minute‑books of several old lodges have survived, and it is possible to trace the various stages in the transition, as recorded by the participants. Perhaps the best example for our purpose is the Lodge of Edinburgh, Mary's Chapel, whose minutes run virtually unbroken from 1599 to the present day.

 

THE REASONS FOR THE TRANSITION The Transition in Edinburgh The attendance records of the three gentlemen who were admitted (honorary) members of the Lodge of Edinburgh, and of the very few THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY63 non‑operatives who were admitted in the later 1600s, indicate that their interest in the Lodge was of brief duration; they were present at a few meetings and then disappeared. This implies that they probably played no part in any structural changes in the character of the lodge, although we know that the admission‑ceremonies were modified for their benefit.

 

At no time during the seventeenth century was the non‑operative membership high enough to `swamp' the lodge, and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that they were trying to make any changes. On the contrary, there is good evidence that the changes were largely due to economic causes.

 

The first evidence of decline appears c1650 when the town records reveal that a large proportion of the apprentices who were being entered in the lodge had never been `Booked' in the Register of Apprentices. This is even more noticeable in the period 1671‑90 when there was an enormous increase in the number of apprentices ,entered', without any corresponding rise in `Bookings'. Municipal regulations required all Apprentices to be `Booked' as an essential preliminary to their ultimate freedom, and the frequent breaches of this rule indicate that craftsmen were able to find ample employment outside the jurisdiction of the town.

 

During the same period 1676‑90 the Lodge records show a marked reluctance on the part of its 'entered‑apprentices' to take on their full responsibilities as craftsmen, by passing as Fellow‑Crafts. In 1677, following a series of disastrous fires, the Edinburgh Town Council ordered that all ruined buildings should be rebuilt in stone. As a result, there was plenty of work available, and apprentices who had finished their terms of service were able to make a living as journeymen, without having to bear the financial burdens of becoming `Fellowcraft or Master'. In effect, the Lodge was losing men who should have been its `full members', and who were its main source of income.

 

In 1681, The Lodge ordained that any master who employed EAs who remained `unpassed' for more than two years after they had completed their terms of service, was to pay a fine of 20/‑ per day, a very stiff penalty. This, and similar edicts in the succeeding years, helped to check the decline.

 

* Dashwood & Carr, Edinburgh, pp 192‑3.

 

64HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY But the whole idea of compulsory passing was out of keeping with the basis of craft organisation, which had centred on the principle of trained apprentices earning their promotion to the rank of FC by proving their qualifications in an essay, or test of practical skill. If entered apprentices were compelled to pass FC within two years of their discharge, there could be no question of a real qualifying test. From about this time, the 1680s, we may date the gradual change in the character of the Lodge, from a 'closed‑shop' association of skilled craftsmen to a trade association of `members', ie, a society in which actual numbers and Lodge income were to become more important than technical skill.

 

There were many other difficulties with which the Lodge had to contend. From 1673 onwards, the minutes show that the Edinburgh masons were greatly troubled by the intrusion of itinerant labour from outside the city. Severe penalties were ordained against masters who employed these `inhibited men' but with little avail." In 1677 a new Lodge was founded in the Canongate, which was a separate burgh adjoining the eastern part of the city of Edinburgh. The Canongate had had its own Incorporation of Wrights, Coopers, and Masons, since 1585, and the new Lodge t was outside the jurisdiction of the Lodge of Edinburgh. A rival Lodge on their doorstep! In 1688 yet another Lodge was founded, this time by masons seceding from Mary's Chapel.* Despite protests and the threat of penalties, only one of the seceders ever returned to Mary's Chapel, and the new Lodge continued to flourish. The enormity of this blow can only be judged when we remember that up to this time every operative lodge was the lodge of its own district, and had full control over all the masons in its own area. No operative lodge could function properly if it had a rival in its own territory, and the very existence of these rivals was proof that Mary's Chapel was losing the strong local trade control which it had formerly exercised.

 

In 1682, the Lodge of Edinburgh ordained that a fee of 12/‑ per annum was to be paid by all journeymen‑masons who did not belong to the Lodge, the income to be used for benevolent purposes, and, from 1688 onwards the minutes reveal an ever‑increasing interest in * Ibid, pp 172‑3, 198‑9.

 

+ Now Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2 (SC).

 

Now Lodge Canongate and Leith. Leith and Canongate. No 5 (SC).

 

THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY65 financial matters, with much time devoted to the lending of idle money, collection of debts and inspection of accounts. The Lodge was acquiring some of the characteristics of a benefit society.

 

In 1708 the Lodge ran into difficulties with its own journeymen, who complained that they had not got a proper oversight of the Lodge accounts and funds. It was a prolonged dispute which ended in the Law Courts in 1715, when the journeymen won the right to maintain a Lodge that they had set up in Edinburgh,` and to confer the `Mason Word'. This was yet another blow to the power and status of the mother Lodge, but the final stage in the Transition was still to come.

 

In December 1726, one of the members, James Mack, reported that a number of 'creditable tradesmen' in the city were anxious to join the Lodge, and were each of them willing to give 'a guinea in gold for the use of the poor'. The proposed candidates were all men from other trades, and although the golden guineas were very tempting, the diehard operatives in the Lodge rejected the proposal.

 

A month later, Mack returned to the attack at a meeting of seven masters (mainly friends of his) which he had apparently called without permission of the Master of the Lodge. The question of the proposed admissions was re‑opened, and there was a thundering row. The Master and Warden 'walked out', and the remaining five proceeded to elect new officers, choosing Mack as 'preses' or Master. The Lodge then admitted the Deacon of the Wrights as a joining FC; three 'entered‑apprentices' from other lodges, all non‑operative, were admitted and passed FC; and seven burgesses, none of them masons, were received 'entered apprentices and fellow crafts'.' In February 1727 another eight non‑operatives were admitted, and the operative character of the Lodge was completely lost. The extent of the change may be judged from the fact that in 1736, when the Lodge compiled its first code of Bye‑laws, not a single regulation was made which concerned the mason trade. The 'Transition' was complete! In the few Scottish lodges where adequate records survive,? the changes followed much the same pattern as at Mary's Chapel, and * Now the Lodge of Journeymen. No 8 (SC).

 

+ These men of other trades who received both degrees in one evening, were treated much better than the masons themselves, who waited approx. seven years hetwcen the grades of 'Entered Apprentice' and 'Fellow Craft'. Dashwood X Carr. Edinburgh. pp 278‑382.

 

$ eg Lodge Mother Kilwinning No 0 and the Lodge of Aberdeen No I"`.

 

66HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY generally it is clear that the main reasons for the changes were purely economic. The rapid growth of the towns, and the ability of craftsmen to find employment readily outside the jurisdiction of Lodge and Incorporation, led to a decline in the trade‑controlling powers of the lodges, so that they began to pay more attention to social and charitable works than to their old functions of trade control. The unrestricted admission of non‑operatives was an additional factor in helping to develop the social and convivial aspects of the lodges which, when their trade functions had faded altogether, were ready for those 'speculative' influences which began, very gradually, to come in.

 

THE TRANSITION IN ENGLAND In England, however, the reasons for the changes are not so easily explained, chiefly because of the absence of early lodge records. We premise that here, as in Scotland, the purest or most perfect type of operative lodge combined two functions, ie, trade control, and the communication of 'secrets'. Thus we may treat the Lodges at Alnwick and Mary's Chapel as virtually identical organisations, and the London Masons' Company in conjunction with the 'Accepcon' as a similar type of organisation at a different stage of development. There is no evidence that the Acception had been a part of the London Masons' Company in the earlier stages of the Company's history. On the contrary, the manner in which Acception items appear in the Company's account‑book suggests that it was a sort of side‑line probably intended at first for members of the Company alone.

 

Next we observe that the 'Accepcon' was beginning to admit non‑operatives though their fees still went into the Company's box. Unlike the arrangements in the Scottish lodges, the situation here was such that when economic pressures began to play a part, it was the Trade Company that was affected, while the Acception probably remained untouched.

 

As regards English masons, the strongest economic forces came into play after the Great Fire of London in 1666, when it became necessary to encourage alien and 'foreign' builders from outside London to come into the city. In four days 13,000 houses, 400 streets and 89 churches had been destroyed by the fire. All sorts of privileges were offered to newcomers. The old restrictions against `intruders' THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY67 and the customary requirements in regard to apprenticeship and `freedom' were all discarded. All incoming labourers in the building trades were to have the same rights as full freemen of the Crafts for seven years, (and more if necessary), until the city was rebuilt. By this Act of 1667, Parliament practically deprived the Company of its chief trade‑controlling powers.* From about this time we may date the multiplication of lodges in London, for there can be little doubt that the immigrants brought their own particular customs and practices. It may be from this period that we can date the curious mixture of Scottish and English practices which appear to have been embodied in early versions of the masonic ritual.

 

It may be noted that whatever lodges there were in London at that time (including the `Accepcon') were practically void of any real connection with trade affairs. Just as the rapid growth of Edinburgh had brought about a diminution in the trade‑controlling powers of Mary's Chapel, so in London the urgent need for builders had deprived the Masons' Company of its influence; and the lodges, ephemeral at first, and having no anchorage in the way of trade functions, tended to become mere social and convivial clubs of masons, of mixed membership, t still practising the procedure of ,making masons', but with little or no interest in the trade. Unfortunately, no records survive of these early lodges save those relating to the four (at least) which were in existence in London when the first Grand Lodge was founded in 1717.

 

THE SOCIAL OR CONVIVIAL PHASE Feasting and drinking was no novelty in masonic life, and the term .convivial masonry' (for lack of a better description) does not imply a decadent period in craft history. In the days of the earliest social and religious guilds, and later in the trade guilds and livery companies, ale‑drinkings, dinners and feasts were an important adjunct to the regular business of each meeting.

 

At Edinburgh in the late fifteenth century there are many records of new burgesses paying for their freedom with `spices and wine', a banquet, and in England the records of the trade companies in all the larger cities show that the provision of a breakfast, dinner or banquet ` Conder. op cit pp 183‑6 and 192. t :e, operative and non‑operative.

 

68HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY' was one of the recognised expenses of the freedom. In Scotland generally there are numerous regulations as to the banquets to be provided by masons when they became fellows‑of‑craft, and occasionally by apprentices at their `entry', and it is probable that similar practices were customary amongst English masons.

 

The Scottish lodge minutes show that with the gradual diminution of their authority and power in trade matters, the lodges began to acquire the characteristics of social and benevolent clubs, collecting funds for their `poor', lending money at interest, and meeting annually (if not more frequently) for their feasts. Despite the lack of records, there can be no doubt that English operative masonry followed a somewhat similar pattern in the course of the Transition.

 

It is impossible to date this phase of convivial masonry with any degree of accuracy. We must first of all discard our present‑day notion of all lodges under the control of a Grand Lodge, all working under the same regulations, and all practising the same rites. Up to the early eighteenth century each lodge was virtually a law unto itself; generally it made its own regulations, and it was subject only to the changing conditions of the trade in its own locality.

 

For these reasons the symptoms of decline and change did not make their appearance simultaneously. In England the evolution of `convivial masonry' probably began in the mid‑seventeenth century, and the Acception in the 1620s may be a good example of this type of Lodge without any operative `raison dWre.' In Scotland, where the lodges generally were still exercising operative controls in the late seventeenth century, the convivial phase seems to have begun in the early 1700s, but the whole business was a very gradual one. The lodges, slowly bereft of their original purpose and functions, and having no specific aims, continued as social clubs throughout a period of decline, until the Speculative renaissance gave them a new sense of direction.

 

THE ADVENT OF SPECULATIVE MASONRY In the course of this essay, some care has been taken to avoid the use of the adjective `speculative' in relation either to lodges or their members. In our present‑day sense of the word as applied to the Craft, it means `a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols'. If this definition be adopted, it is highly improbable that the word could be used in relation to any of the THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY69 seventeenth century lodges, either in England or Scotland.

 

The advent of 'Speculative' Masonry is a problem directly connected with the subject of early Masonic ritual. The origins or sources of the ritual are unknown. We assume that at some early date, perhaps before the fourteenth century, the masons as a craft possessed a body of customs, craft‑lore and, at a later stage, 'secrets', from which the earliest elementary masonic ceremonies ultimately evolved. There is little doubt that they were known in Scotland before 1600, and in England before 1620.

 

Our earliest evidence as to the actual contents of the craft ritual is drawn from a series of masonic aide‑memoires compiled c1696‑c1714, all having a distinctly Scottish flavour. Despite their dubious origin it has been shown that these texts do represent the ceremonies as practised at that time, and perhaps even a century earlier." They depict a rite of two degrees, 'entered apprentice', and 'master or fellow craft', each containing an obligation, entrusting with 'secrets' and a series of questions and answers. t The texts contain nothing that might be described as speculative masonry, and on these documents alone there would be no grounds to infer that they are the same ceremonies as were practised in England generally, or in the London Acception.

 

Nevertheless, it seems likely that both English and Scottish ritual drew their inspiration from the same sources. There is a whole series of later texts c1700‑30, including several of non‑Scottish origin, and it is possible to trace in them a nucleus of ritual that seems to have been common to both countries. This nucleus of `catechism and esoteric matter' was probably the basis of the masonic ceremonies throughout the stages of operative, non‑operative and accepted masonry.", Since we cannot set a precise date to the period of so‑called 'convivial' masonry, which preceded the speculative reformation, the next question arises, 'when and how did the reformation begin'? In Scotland, the trade functions of the lodges helped to prevent any rapid changes, and it is possible that there were no real speculative developments until the 1730s. In all Scottish lodges where early minutes survive, this reluctance to change is a marked characteristic.

 

Carr. 600 Years of Craft Ritual, AQC, 81 pp 158‑9. + EMC, pp 31‑43.

 

Ibid, pp 71‑5 for the first printed exposure. 1723. All the texts collected in this work are interesting, and Prichard's Masonry Dissected, ibid. pp 157‑70, shows useful evidence of early speculative expansion.

 

70HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY The same is true of Alnwick, where the Lodge functioned as an operative lodge until 1748, when it was virtually re‑constituted as a speculative body.

 

In England, it seems likely that the changes began in the Acception, which was (so far as is known) the only Lodge completely void of any trade functions, and it was perhaps the first lodge in England to admit non‑operative masons. If it did in fact practise a ceremony related to the `nucleus', we know that the questions and answers, very simple in themselves, were such as would lend themselves readily to Speculative expansion.

 

In this connection, we have to consider the kind of men who were beginning to take an interest in the society. As early as 1646, when Ashmole was made a Freemason in a Lodge composed mainly of gentlemen‑masons, the craft in England was already attracting men of quality and learning; indeed all the seventeenth century commentators on the craft confirm this, either directly or by implication.

 

The reasons for this widespread interest are not known, but if the gentry were seeking anything more than mere companionship and conviviality they must have been sadly disappointed. The `words and signes', which had formed an additional bond for men who were already united in service to an ancient craft, must have been almost meaningless when they were divorced from their operative roots and purposes.

 

We can only speculate as to whether these seventeenth century accepted (or non‑operative) masons were in any way responsible for the changes which subsequently arose in the ritual practices, and in the aims of the craft. At the end of the century however, and in the first two decades of the eighteenth century, there was another revival of interest in the craft, which resulted in the formation of the first Grand Lodge. Its original and expressed objects were very modest, ie, to constitute an organisation under a Grand Master, to revive (?) or hold Quarterly Communications and an annual feast. The new body apparently neither claimed nor hoped for any wider jurisdiction th4n the few lodges in London and Westminster. But within a few years the Grand Lodge had gained adherents far and wide and the men who had been in the forefront of the movement had the requisite machinery to hand for propagating the ideas and ideals which were at the root of the Speculative transformation.

 

The earliest evidence from which we can infer some kind of THE TRANSITION FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE MASONRY71 modification of the ceremonies appears in Scotland in the 1600s,* and it was a change which could never have come naturally in a purely operative lodge. We have no textual evidence of subsequent changes until the eighteenth century. In these later texts, side by side with the evidence of re‑arrangement, we also find a certain amount of Speculative expansion, innovation and embellishment, which gives some sort of hint of what was taking place.

 

Undoubtedly, the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1717 was a decisive step towards the Speculative revival, but it was a slow process. The convivial phase did not disappear instantly; indeed smoking and drinking inside the lodge were quite customary throughout the eighteenth century.

 

But a new meaning and purpose was given to the ceremonies as the Craft gradually emerged from its aimless phase. From about 1730, largely as a result of the publication of `Exposures', there is evidence of a certain amount of standardisation of the ritual, but it was not until the 1760s and 1770s that the Craft began to acquire that unique combination of symbolism with the teaching of religious and moral principles, which have helped to make it a real `centre of union between good men and true'.

 

*Non‑operatives were admitted in a kind of 'combined' ceremony, to the status of FC. whereas masons waited some seven years between EA and FC.

 

4 LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING, No 0 This essay. reproduced by courtesv of the Leicester Lodge of Research, No 2429, from its Transactions for 1960‑61. is a prccis of the full‑length history, Mother Lodge Kilivinning, No 0, 1642‑1842. by the same author. which was published by the Quatuor Coronati Lodge. No 2076. It is now out of print.

 

KILWINNING AND THE SCHAW STATUTES, 1599 KILWiNNING, IN Ayrshire, on the right bank of the Garnock, about 24 miles SW of Glasgow, is today a town of some 7,000 inhabitants. In 1755 its population was 2,541, and in the 1600s, the period with which we are mainly concerned, it can have been little more than a village. It took its name after St Winnin who lived there in the eighth century, and the great glory of this little place was the Abbey of Kilwinning, founded probably between 1140 and 1190. When it was completed it must have been one of the noblest structures on the west coast of Scotland.

 

The abbey and monastery, however, did not play any great part in Scottish history, and its chief interest for us in our present study lies in the ancient tradition that it was the birthplace of Freemasonry in Scotland and that the Lodge, supposed to have been founded by the monastery builders, was the Mother Lodge of the Craft in the west of Scotland. Unfortunately, no documentary evidence has survived to support this theory.

 

The earliest surviving document which relates to the mason trade at Kilwinning‑ is the code of regulations known as the Schaw Statutes of 1599. They were promulgated by William Schaw, Master of Works to the Crown under James VI and Warden General of the Mason Craft. They show that at this date, 1599, the mason lodge at Kilwinning was of such standing as to be described by him as the `. . . heid and second ludge of Scotland . . .', and that it was then vested with substantial trade‑controlling powers over a wide area.

 

It granted Charters to some 34 new lodges, and claimed allegiance 72 LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 073 from them; it enjoyed a nationwide respect amounting almost to reverence, and it was, masonically, a law unto itself for more than two centuries.

 

William Schaw issued two main codes of regulations. The first, dated 28 December 1598, consisted of `. . . statutis and ordinanceis to be obseruit be all the maister maissounis within this realme . . .' [of Scotland]. It was directed to the mason craft throughout Scotland; its regulations were deemed to apply to all masons in that kingdom, and no single lodge is specifically mentioned in this code.

 

The second code of regulations was dated 28 December 1599, and that document was clearly addressed to the Lodge of Kilwinning alone. It contained regulations and provisions which may have held good in mason communities all over Scotland; it defined the relationship of the Lodge of Kilwinning to other masonic bodies, but essentially it was intended for Kilwinning.

 

It is not merely the oldest document relating to the Lodge, but is of special importance in regard to its authenticity and impartiality, because the regulations which it contains were not drawn up by the Lodge itself but were promulgated for the Lodge under the authority of an officer of the Scottish crown.

 

Broadly the regulations fall into three distinct groups: (a) Regulations which define the status of the Lodge in relation to the whole craft in Scotland.

 

(b) Regulations which define the status and powers of the Lodge in relation to other Lodges within its own territory.

 

Briefly, Kilwinning was given powers over all the Lodges in an area of roughly 1,000 square miles, with the right to have her representatives present at the elections of all Deacons and Wardens, to convene them when needed, and to make whatever regulations were required to preserve good order in the Craft.

 

It should be noted, however, that no contemporary records have survived of any of these lodges which were `subject to' Kilwinning, and it is extremely doubtful whether any such widespread organisation really existed. The earlier Kilwinning minutes show that the Lodge regularly appointed its own quartermasters in places far distant from Kilwinning, but there is no hint (in the early records) of any lodges subject to the Mother Lodge.

 

(c) Regulations for the proper management and `guid ordor' of the Lodge 74HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY They included provisions for the admission of Apprentices and Fellows of Craft, fees of entry, the imposition of `essays', annual examinations with power to fine any who failed their test. Kilwinning was to hold an Annual Court `to take trial of offences' with powers to expel the disobedient and punish offenders.

 

It is not easy to appraise the accuracy of this code of 1599 in regard to some of its provisions (eg banquets, examinations, etc) because the Lodge Minutes afford no evidence on those practices. The main importance of this text lies in the confirmation which it gives of the existence of the Lodge in 1599 as a headquarters of mason trade‑control on the west coast of Scotland, exercising its powers by sanction of the highest authority, while the frequent references to ancient acts and statutes, apparently so well known that they did not need to be repeated, suggest a high degree of organisation within the craft at Kilwinning, though it must be admitted that no evidence of such organisation prior to 1599 has survived.

 

That a mason Lodge existed here before 1599 is certain beyond reasonable doubt; but it is likely that we shall never know when the Lodge came into being, or whether it had any kind of continuity of existence before 1599.

 

Reg. 3 places Edinburgh as the `first and principall ludge in Scotland', with Kilwinning second, and Stirling third.

 

There is no suggestion here that Kilwinning or Stirling were in any way subservient to Edinburgh, and it is evident that the regulation deals here with three `head' lodges, each supreme in its own territory. Thus, although Kilwinning is frequently described as the `second Ludge of Scotland', the first regulation puts the situation more accurately with the phrase `. . . the heid and second Ludge of Scotland . . .'.

 

THE OLDEST MINUTES, 1642 Re‑organisation or Revival? The oldest surviving minutes of the Lodge are dated 20 December 1642, and there is no indication of its activities during the 43 years which had elapsed since the Schaw Statutes were published in 1599. From 1642 onwards, with few exceptions, the minutes were kept regularly, and despite the religious and other troubles which afflicted the country the old Lodge books provide practically an unbroken record of one of the oldest and most famous lodges in the world.

 

LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 0'I5 The first minute poses a problem, because it only needs a glance at the subsequent minutes to see that this assembly in 1642 was not an ordinary lodge meeting. The minute runs: xx December 1642 In the Ludge of Kilwinning convenit of the maissoun craft the persons following and Inrollit thame selffis in the said Ludge and submittit thame selffis thairunto and to the actis and statutis thairof . . .

 

followed by the names of 26 apprentices and fellows‑of‑craft, all with their marks attached. No other business was recorded. These men convened, enrolled themselves in the lodge, and promised to submit to its rules and regulations ‑ and that was all they did.

 

If we were not sure that the Lodge had been in existence since 1599, we might well believe that this was the foundation of a new lodge, but it was not. The only interpretation of the minute is that this meeting was called either to revive a dormant lodge, or to reorganise it after a period of internal trouble. There is valuable evidence on this question in the minutes of 1644 when John Smithe, who was present as a fellow‑craft in 1642, paid the balance of his fees for admission as a fellow‑craft, which had taken place some time before 1642.

 

Several other arguments might be added, but John Smithe's payment in 1644 makes it certain that the 1642 meeting was a reorganisation.

 

THE SECOND MEETING The next recorded meeting was held on 20 December 1643, and 20 December became the regular date for the Annual Meetings.

 

The Court of the Ludge . . . holdin in the vpper chamber of the Duelling hous of hew smithe . . .

 

From 1643 onwards and for many years afterwards the Kilwinning meetings were held in Hew Smithe's upper chamber. Incidentally, his name does not appear in any of the early rolls of those present at meetings, and it is highly probable that he was not a mason. In that case his house was probably chosen for its size, its accessibility `at the Cross of Kilwinning' and perhaps for the quality of the liquid refreshment which was doubtless available in his, as in many other Scottish 'dwelling‑houses' at that time.

 

The unusual nature of the business transacted by the brethren at 76HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY this meeting, tends to confirm that the Lodge was being reorganised. There was a restatement of the old powers for excluding the disobedient and procedure for the admission of 'fellow‑crafts or masters'. They fixed a new scale of quarterage, imposed fees‑ofhonour to be paid by the principal officers, and made arrangements for an annual meeting in July at Kilbarchan, a village about 15 miles north of Kilwinning, in addition to the regular meeting on 20 December.

 

The Kilbarchan meeting was designed to provide for the masons living in Kilwinning's northern territory, and fines for absence were fixed at 20/‑ or 40/‑, according to distance, apprentices paying only half those sums. As 40/‑ represented more than one‑third of a skilled mason's weekly wage, the penalties for non‑attendance were quite severe! All sums quoted in this paper are reproduced from the original minutes in Scots money. To arrive at the Sterling equivalents divide by twelve, ie 1 Scots equals 1/8d Sterling. One Merk Scots, ie 13/4 Scots, equals 1/1 1/2d Sterling at that time.

 

The best rough guide however is to compare these sums with the mason's wages. In summer (ie at the period of highest earnings), a skilled mason in Scotland received 5 6s 8d Scots per week, ie 8/l Id Sterling.

 

In addition to all this, there was the ordinary annual business, ie the election of Deacon and Warden (corresponding roughly to our Master and Treasurer), the appointment of Quartermasters as representatives of the Lodge in its outlying districts (whose main duty was the collection of Quarterage) and the appointment of a local lawyer to serve as Clerk.

 

It was indeed an enormous day's work, the only meeting of its kind in the whole history of the lodge, and after this date the minutes take on a more normal character, recording the routine proceedings of an Operative Lodge.

 

AN OPERATIVE LODGE IN ACTION We may imagine the Lodge meetings held in the first‑floor room of a house in a little Scottish village in the depths of winter. Attendances were small, ten or fifteen men, including apprentices, and several of them had travelled many miles, on dreadful roads, in order to be present.

 

LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO U77 The early minutes describe the lodge as: The Court of the Mason Trade of the Lodge of Kilwinning ...

 

The Court was 'lawfully affirmed' and proceedings began with a Roll‑call and fines for absentees. The lists of names of those present and absent during the 1640s indicate a total membership of about 40, ie about 25 'fellows of craft or masters', and 15 apprentices. Fines were collected and recorded. Men owing money for previous absence would pay up on the spot, or furnish guarantors for payment in future.

 

There would be the usual entry of apprentices, and admission of fellows‑of‑craft. A typical minute of this kind appears on 19 December 1646.

 

The qlk day the wardane deacone & remanint brethrein of the Maissoun tred within the forsaid ludge presentis ressauit and acceptit Hew Miller maissoun in Paisley, William Craufurd in Braidstaine, John Miller in Air, Robert Cauldwell fellow brethrein to ye said tred quha hes sworne to ye standart of ye said ludge ad vitam. As also hes ressauit ye persones following enter prenteiss to ve said craft Robert Corruithe, John Cauldwell. Allane Cauldwell Jon Craufurd & Andro Hart.

 

and there is no hint of ceremony except that the fellow‑craft swore the oath ad vitam.

 

Then there would be the election of Officers, a democratic affair with a `leet' of two or three candidates for each office, and quite often all the votes for each candidate were carefully recorded. After this the Lodge would settle down to its business as a 'Court' dealing with offenders. The early minutes afford many examples.

 

xx December 1645 Item they have ordainit that no man sal tak in wark Patrik Greir Robert Cauldwell & John Corruithe nor geve them ony service till they have satisfiet ye craft for thair saids unlaues [= fines] and dissobedienc nayther sall ony wark to thame till they have satisfiet as said is Vnder ye paine of ten merkis of Vnlaw for ilk contravener.

 

In this case three men had incurred the Lodge's displeasure. According to the minutes of 1644 their crime was a modest one; they had been absent from an appointed meeting, and they were duly fined. Normal procedure in such cases was to pay, or to promise payment, but these three men must have put up an argument, with 78HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY disastrous results, and we see the full power of the Lodge in action. No man was to employ the culprits or render them any service, and no man was to work for them until they had made amends. The Lodge could decide whether a mason would work or not and it could deprive him of his livelihood.

 

A year later (19 December 1646) . . . Heu Mure in Kilmarnok wes decernit to pay to the box ten merkis money of vnlaw for wirking with cowanes contrair to ye actis & ordinances of the said ludge . . .

 

The Lodge was being generous. `Ten merks' was only 6 13s 4d, and Mure had already been threatened with a fine of 40.

 

The first official ban against cowans is one of the regulations in the Schaw Statutes of 1598, here given in modern spelling: Item: that no master or fellow of craft receive any cowans to work in his society or company, nor send any of his servants to work with cowans, under the penalty of twenty pounds for each offence under this rule.

 

The word `cowan' is defined as `One who builds dry stone walls (ie without mortar); a dry‑stone‑diker; applied derogatorily to one who does the work of a mason, but has not been regularly apprenticed or bred to the trade.' ‑ (OED). From our point of view, a better definition is to be found in the minutes of Mother Kilwinning for 1705, probably the most‑quoted minute in the whole body of masonic literature: the same day by consent of the meeting his aggried that no meason shall imploy no cowan which is to say without the word to work if ther be one masson to be found within ffifftin mylls he is not to imploy one cowan under the paine of fortie Shilling Scots. (‑20th December, 1705, folio 103).

 

In order to clarify this regulation it is transcribed here in modern spelling with the addition of three words and modern punctuation: The same day by consent of the meeting [it] is agreed that no mason shall employ a cowan, which is to say [one] without the [mason] word, to work. If there be one mason to be found within fifteen miles, he is not to employ a cowan, under the penalty of forty shillings Scots.

 

`Without the word', ie the `Mason Word', which was conferred upon entered apprentices upon their first admission into the Lodge. By inference therefore a cowan was an untrained 'worker in stone, LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 079 who had not been apprenticed, and who was not connected with a mason Lodge.

 

It is often difficult to understand how this Scottish prejudice against cowans arose, especially as there must have been innumerable unskilled jobs for which these men would have been well suited. Perhaps the main reason is revealed in that phrase in the Kilwinning minute giving a 15 mile limit, ie the employment of cowans was forbidden because it was bad for the trade as a whole, and it was only to be tolerated in extreme cases when no qualified employees were available within a fifteen mile radius, a great distance in those days.

 

At Kilwinning, where the authority of the Lodge extended over a wide area, cowans were a fairly constant source of trouble, and the Lodge regulations prohibiting their employment were frequently enforced.

 

Apart from the records relating to cowans, the Kilwinning minutes are curiously silent as to the actual details of the offences which were judged and punished during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The names of the offenders and the penalties were recorded, usually a substantial fine and disbarment from all employment until it was paid.

 

As the story of the Lodge unfolds itself in the pages of the minute‑book there is ample evidence of the difficulties which it encountered in the administration of the craft over a vast area, and it is strange to see how the larger towns, Ayr, Irvine, Renfrew, Paisley, Kilmarnock, etc, all accepted the masonic domination of the Mother Lodge in this little Ayrshire village. From c1687 onwards the custom of appointing Quartermasters was abandoned, but the territories which had formerly been under Kilwinning's direction were ever ready to acknowledge their allegiance, and most of the early Charters issued.by the Mother Lodge were granted in those districts which had originally been under her own care.

 

BILLS AND BONDS. THE LODGE AS MONEY‑LENDER The study of our old Lodge records often reveals curious and unexpected facets of Masonic history, and at Kilwinning, most surprising of all perhaps, is the revelation that (apart from admission fees) the most steady and continuous source of income was derived, quite simply, from money‑lending! The earliest minutes afford little or no evidence on the subject and 80HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY most of the entrants apparently paid cash for their admission fees. In December 1655, John Hammiltoun upon his admission as FC gave `bond' for 8, and Wm Cowane who was also made FC, `promised to pay 40/‑ Scots . . . at the next meeting'. From this time onwards it became a fairly regular practice to pay admission fees by bill, bond, or promissory‑note. These documents were duly deposited in the Lodge `Box', and debtors were called upon to pay interest at the December meeting. The sums involved were not large, even when (as .often happened) they included accumulated fines for absence.

 

The system probably started by the Lodge giving credit terms for admission fees, but it soon developed into a regular business of money‑lending.

 

A minute of 1653 leaves no doubt on the subject of loans. `. . . Jon Cowane has paid this last year interest of twenty‑five merks he is owing to the box of borrowed money and is to pay the sum (ie the principal), and a year's interest at the next Court, 1654.' It is almost possible to trace the stages by which the system developed. At first, the granting of credit facilities for the payment of admission fees. Then, when funds permitted, the lending of sums ranging from ten to eighty merks (6 to 50 Scots) to members of the Lodge, perhaps for the purchase of materials and equipment when they needed it for a particular job.

 

The loans were not only for Masters. Entered Apprentices were also eligible, and they were even able to negotiate the loans before they entered the Lodge, eg in 1674: . . . John Smith at the Kirk of Stewartoune was admitted and entered prentise and has paid to the box and his booking money, and is hereby discharged thereof, except his bond of twentie merks which is not hereby discharged . . .

 

The minute is quite explicit. Smith paid all his admission fee and booking money but he still owed the Lodge 20 merks for a loan which must have been granted to him on the day of his admission, if not earlier. When funds became plentiful the Lodge began to lend money to non‑members, and very soon the Lodge began to have troubles with debt‑collection. All sorts of precautions were taken to ensure that the monies were safe.

 

LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 081 12 January 1728: . . . it is enacted that when any money is to be lent out of the box, that the borrower shall give an Cautioner which is not entered in with the Lodge, and if the Cautioner [ie a guarantor] shall enter with the Lodge the borrower shall be obliged at the first term to give a new Cautioner that is not entered.

 

These were not all simple transactions, in which the borrower took his loan, gave his bill and paid his interest annually. There are all sorts of, complicated minutes which indicate that the bonds were passed round among the members of the Lodge for purposes of negotiation.

 

The Loan and Bill transactions continued to be recorded in the minutes for about 140 years, punctuated by regular instructions to various officers and members to take legal proceedings for collection ‑ and the practice did not end until the 1770s.

 

THE TRANSITION AT KILWINNING The Kilwinning version of the Schaw Statutes, 1599, prescribed that the Lodge was to obtain the services of a notary to act as `clark & scryb' or secretary, and the minutes of 1643 show that the instruction was observed.

 

The early minutes of the Lodge of Mary's Chapel, Edinburgh, were also signed by a notary, serving in the same capacity.

 

It is inconceivable that these gentlemen could have discharged their duties unless they were actually present in the Lodge‑room during the meetings, and they were, in fact, non‑operative members, who received some payment for their services from admission fees and from the preparation of apprentices' indentures, discharges, and other legal documents.

 

It was not until the early 1670s, however, that the Lodge at Kilwinning began to admit non‑operatives as ordinary members, and the minutes of the years from 1672 to 1678 may be said to mark the first stage in the transition of the Lodge from a purely operative or trade‑controlling body, towards the kind of speculative Lodge that exists today.

 

In 1672, the minutes read: Eodem die Lord John Kennedie Earle off Cassells wes chosen to be Deacon. [Note. Deacon then was equivalent to WM today.] 82HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY The Earl of Cassillis, a local landowner, was not present. He was not a member of the Lodge, and had never previously visited there; indeed it is extremely doubtful if he was ever made a Mason. There is no hint in the preceding minutes of any reason why he should have been selected for this office, and he never visited the Lodge after his election.

 

Immediately after this extraordinary entry, William Cowan, an operative mason, was chosen as `Deput‑Deacon'. This was the first‑ever appointment of a Deput‑Deacon, and it seems to imply that the Lodge did not expect the noble Lord to attend very regularly, and was merely seeking his patronage. It is probable that he was formally invited to take the Office after his election, and that he rejected the invitation, for if he had accepted, he would doubtless have been re‑elected year after year, whether he attended or not.

 

At the next meeting, in December, 1673, several gentlemen were admitted as fellows of craft, among them Sir Alexander Cunynghame of Corshill. That night the list of names for the election of Deacon contained six names, three men of gentle birth and three operatives. Cassillis ‑ still absent ‑ got only I vote. Cunynghame received 9 votes and was elected, choosing an operative mason as Deput‑Deacon ‑ and two operatives were elected as Wardens.

 

About four weeks later, Sir Alex` Cunynghame presided at a special meeting of the Lodge, and The said day Alex` Earle of Eglintoune and Lawrence Wallace brother to the Laird of Sewaltoune were admitted prentises and fellows of Croft within the Lodge of Kilwinning and payed . . .

 

In 1674 the Earl of Eglington was elected Deacon. He never attended, and during the next few years the principal offices were always taken by the gentry, with operatives acting as their Deputies. But the gentlemen were seldom present and in 1679 the Lodge discarded its noble patrons, and reverted to the practice of choosing Officers from its own ranks as it had always done before.

 

We can only speculate on the reasons which prompted the Lodge to open its doors to non‑operatives generally and to the nobility and gentry in particular. It seems likely that there were two main reasons, patronage, and income. Doubtless it was hoped that the Lodge would gain in prestige and power if it was administered under the supervision and patronage of the local lairds and landowners.

 

LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 083 Whatever the reasons which prompted the step, Kilwinning did open its doors to non‑masons, but nothing much came of this first attempt. On the face of it, the whole affair seems to have petered out, but in the years that followed the number of non‑operative entrants grew steadily. The Lodge remained primarily operative in character, and continued for many years under operative management; but attendances began to fall off, and the Lodge went through a bad time.

 

The 25 years or so from 1689 to 1714 may be counted as the era of the `Lodge in decline', yet there is nothing in the minutes to explain what had happened. A small team of four or five members rotated through the various offices of Deacon, Warden and Clerk, and somehow they managed to hold the Lodge together until 1716 when the first signs of revival appear.

 

In 1716 there began a practice of holding a meeting in July regularly every year, and attendances started to improve. Doubtless the summer weather was helpful, and the July meetings were well supported. From 1716 onwards there were new men joining the Lodge at each meeting, the minutes become more detailed, and it is noticeable that there was a new spirit abroad.

 

At the meeting on 20 December 1733, three non‑operatives were admitted, ie: Mr Charles Hamilton, Collector of Excise. Patrick ffullerton Esq`,. Mr Alex` Baillie, Merchant in Glasgow.

 

This record marks the beginning of the last phase in Kilwinning's transition from operative to speculative masonry. From this time onwards a huge number of new men began to join the Lodge, many of them men of gentle birth, with local landowners, lawyers, surgeons, ship‑masters, Excise Officers, and sailors. There were indeed mason craftsmen and other artisans among the new intrants, but the management of the Lodge was now in the hands of the gentry.

 

At the end of 1734 we note the change in the title of the principal officer from `Deacon' to `Master'; not a major change perhaps, but good evidence of some new influence in the Lodge, and of a readiness to move with the times.

 

Probably the most important single item in the history of the Lodge during this exciting period was the arrangement (by invitation, no doubt), which brought Patrick Montgomery, the Laird of Bourtreehill, to the Chair of the Mother Lodge, on 27 March 1735. The circumstances were curious.

 

David Muir was elected Deacon in December 1734, and he signed 84HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY the minutes as Master in January and February 1735, and also in July and December 1735. But there were three meetings in March 1735, when Patrick Montgomerie presided as Master, and signed the minutes in that capacity. At that stage he was not yet a member of the Lodge and it was not until the third of the March meetings that he paid half‑a‑guinea 'for Entering himself a Member . . .'.

 

In December 1735, Muir, as Master, nominated Montgomery to be his successor, regardless of many worthy members who might have claimed the office. Montgomery had only been a member for nine months, but when the Lodge was assured that he was willing to accept office, and that it was legal to elect him in his absence, Montgomery was unanimously chosen.

 

The whole tenor of the minutes testifies to the eagerness with which he was welcomed into the principal office, at first as a guest, and he was elected at the earliest opportunity, almost certainly because he had some wider knowledge of the most advanced ritual and Lodge‑practice of that time.

 

It was during his tenure of the Chair in March that we find the first reference in the Kilwinning minutes to the third degree.

 

In December 1735, the Lodge for the first time styled itself as the `Lodge of the ffree and accepted Masons of Kilwinning'. Montgomery in January 1736 presented '. . . a sett of Jewels, viz, the Compass Square Plummet & Level . . .' the first jewels mentioned in the Minute book. In June the Lodge, under his presidency, drew up its first double‑scale of fees, non‑masons paying double the rate for `working masons'. In that same minute we find the first reference to 'Livery' (probably Aprons and Gloves). Montgomery was the first Master of the Lodge to be honoured with the designation 'The Right Worshipful'. In January 1736, on his first attendance at the Lodge after his election, he appointed James Marshall, an Irvine lawyer, to serve the Lodge as Secretary in addition to Alex` Cunningham who had been continued as Clerk. This was the first appointment of a Secretary, and in December 1736, when Montgomery was continued in the Chair, he was the first Master of Kilwinning to appoint Stewards. Altogether, the change in the Lodge during the course of these two years was really phenomenal.

 

Mother Kilwinning still had a substantial operative membership, but by now it was no longer exercising any trade controls. Operative masons and artisans continued to be admitted into the Lodge at LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 085 specially reduced fees, but they were joining for social rather than industrial reasons, and the concession in fees represented Kilwinning's last link with the mason trade.

 

The advent of the trigradal system implies that there were substantial changes in ritual practice and indicates the adoption of certain elements of ceremonial procedure which were of a Speculative nature. The period roughly from 1730 to 1760 may be counted as the time when Speculative ideas were gradually embodied into the ritual, and when the ceremonial practices began to take shape in their modern form.

 

The Kilwinning minutes, with their customary reticence on all ritual matters, furnish no detailed evidence of the changes, but the minutes of 1735 and 1736 show that the Lodge had passed through all the earliest stages of the transition, and was ready for the beginning of a new era.

 

KILWINNING, THE MOTHER LODGE In December 1677, eleven masons from the Canongate, at Edinburgh, travelled right across the country to Kilwinning and were constituted as a Lodge in their own right with Kilwinning as their Mother and creator.

 

The circumstances were quite extraordinary. The Canongate was a separate burgh, adjoining the royal burgh of Edinburgh at its eastern end. It had had its own Incorporation of Wrights, Coopers and Masons since 1585, but it had no Lodge.

 

Under the tight system of trade‑control exercised by the Lodge of Edinburgh, Mary's Chapel, these men must have known that they could expect no encouragement from Edinburgh and so they came to Kilwinning.

 

There is no indication in the Kilwinning minutes as to how the matter was broached, or how long it had been under discussion before it came to fruition on 20 December 1677, but the minutes suggest that Kilwinning must have given deep thought to this action, which might well have been considered as a manifest invasion of the territory of the Lodge of Edinburgh.

 

Until this time lodges had arisen naturally wherever groups of masons were settled in one place for lengthy periods, and every lodge was its own master, a sovereign lodge. There can be no question as to whether Kilwinning had the right to create a new lodge, because 86HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY every Lodge had that right if it so desired; the only doubt was as to the infringement of Mary's Chapel's territory. Kilwinning overcame this difficulty by resorting to a polite fiction, erecting the new society in terms which indicate that it was merely a branch of the Mother Lodge.

 

Thus the minute contains a note which refers to the Canongate Brethren as `. . . ane part of our number being willing to be booked & inrolid . . .'. The implication of the first five words of this extract is that these men were actually members of the lodge of Kilwinning (who were anxious to open a branch in the Canongate). Despite the phrase `ane part of our number' it is very doubtful whether any of these men had ever been entered or passed at Kilwinning. Yet it seems certain that they were (with one possible exception) all masons by trade, probably unattached to any particular Lodge, and wishing to erect their new Lodge in an orderly manner, they made their approach to Kilwinning as the traditional birthplace of all masonry in Scotland.

 

This Lodge, now Canongate‑Kilwinning No 2, was the first offspring of the Mother Lodge and it is undoubtedly the first Lodge that was ever created by another Lodge.

 

More than 50 years later, in 1729, another petition was delivered at Kilwinning, from a `Company of Masons at Tarpichen', a village roughly midway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Lodge at Torpichen had certainly been in existence some time before it made this approach to the Mother Lodge, and the main object of the petition was: . . . that ye may grant us a power of contstitutione and acting in our society under you in all things, to the recovering and maintaining of good order and suppressing immoralities and licenciousness . . .

 

(One wonders how far the Mother Lodge could assist in this last matter!) It is curious to notice that the petitioners acknowledged themselves as holding all their rights and privileges from Kilwinning even though Torpichen was well outside Kilwinning territory, but the whole tone of the petition indicates the reverence in which the Mother Lodge was held, and the benefits which Torpichen hoped to derive from its adopted Mother.

 

During the following years, a great number of Charters were LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 087 granted to new Lodges, and soon it became fashionable for Lodges to incorporate the word Kilwinning into their titles without any justification or permission at all. That did no serious harm to anyone, and it was all a great compliment to an ancient and honourable Lodge, but it led to a great deal of confusion.

 

It is now quite impossible to say definitely how many Lodges owed their existence to Kilwinning. There is indisputable evidence for at least 34, including two in Virginia, USA (when that country was still a British Colony), one in Antigua, West Indies, and one in Ireland.

 

Although Kilwinning was generally recognised as the `Mother Lodge' before the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in November 1736, she did not adopt that title, either in Lodge minutes or in general correspondence, until 1747. Her last Daughter‑lodge was erected in 1803, with the Number 79. It may well be that the Mother Lodge was responsible for 79 Lodges in all, but ‑ unfortunately ‑ we shall never be able to prove it.

 

THE GRAND LODGE OF SCOTLAND AND THE SECESSION 1735‑44 In 1735, with its management firmly held in non‑operative hands, the Mother Lodge entered into a period of growth and prosperity. It was drawing its members from all grades of society, masons, wrights and artisans, Excise officers and seamen, lawyers, ministers of religion, lairds and landed gentry. In 1741, the Earl of Kilmarnock served as Master for one year, and he was followed by Alexander, Earl of Eglinton, who thus revived a family link with the lodge which has continued for more than two centuries.

 

Entrance fees in 1736 were fixed for working masons, at 5/‑ Sterling for entered‑apprentices, 2/6d for fellows‑of‑craft (with extras for their `liverys'). Non‑operatives had to pay double those sums, and qualified men of both grades were entitled to be raised to the degree of master‑mason, gratis.

 

These preferential admission‑fees for working masons were virtually the last link between the Lodge and the craft from which it had arisen. There is no justification yet for describing it as a `speculative' lodge in our present sense of the word; its membership was substantially non‑operative, and at this period we begin to get an insight into the expanding benevolent work of the Lodge, as well as its newly‑developing social and convivial character.

 

88HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Since the 1680s the Lodge had distributed small sums to members in distress, and to widows of former members. Now the gifts in charity were expanded to include `travelling masons', and soon it became the practice to allocate small but regular payments to `the poor' in Irvine and Stevenston as well as Kilwinning.

 

In 1735 the Lodge recorded the purchase of a stone punch‑bowl and ladle, and a few months later the minutes acknowledge the receipt from the daughter‑lodge, Canongate‑Kilwinning, the gift of `a Sett of Songs,' ie a song‑book, evidently a valued and useful gift. In 1754, there is an expense item of 34/‑ for five dozen `Mason Glasses' (previously they had used glasses belonging to the `house' in which they met).

 

The changes of character and functions described here, were common to all the older Scottish Lodges. The newer creations, having no traditional link with the mason trade, developed quite natually in the modern non‑operative pattern.

 

In 1736, after a year of preliminary manoeuvres and negotiations, the Grand Lodge of Scotland was founded. Thirty‑three Lodges from all parts of Scotland were represented at the foundation meeting, Kilwinning among them. The Mother Lodge had participated whole‑heartedly in the preliminaries and although she had made a number of valid and useful proposals for the management of the Grand Lodge to be, they were at first shelved, and subsequently vetoed. Kilwinning did not protest against this or any other ruling of the Grand Lodge, but remained a loyal adherent of the new organisation.

 

One of the early difficulties which the new Grand Lodge encountered was the task of trying to determine the seniority of its adherent lodges and it took the wholly logical step of inviting the Lodges to establish their positions on the Roll by documentary proof, with the reasonable proviso that the Roll would be adjusted to make proper place for those which might subsequently prove their right to a higher status.

 

Under this ruling, Mary's Chapel, Edinburgh, with minutes from 1599 was enrolled as No 1, although it must have been common knowledge within the Craft that Kilwinning ‑ despite the absence of records ‑ could claim a history as old, if not older than this. For many lodges with quite genuine claims, real documentary proof would have been impossible. On such evidence alone, the Lodge of Aitchison's LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 089 Haven would have taken precedence over the Mother Lodge and Edinburgh too, for it had minutes from 1598 (although they were probably not available at that time).

 

In 1744, following a letter from Canongate‑Kilwinning, the Mother Lodge replied, complaining that she had been placed second on the Roll to Mary's Chapel No 1, but the Grand Lodge indicated that nothing could or would be done in the absence of documentary proof.

 

The Mother Lodge, secure in her acknowledged antiquity, did not dispute the Grand Lodge decision and did not attempt to lessen the status of any other Lodge, or to improve her own. Quietly she withdrew from her association with the Grand Lodge and resumed her ancient status, exercising rights which she had in fact never surrendered, granting Charters, offering fraternal welcome to visiting Masons regardless of their allegiance to the Grand Lodge or any other Lodge, and in every way conducting herself as though the Grand Lodge had never existed.

 

For its part, the Grand Lodge also treated the whole matter very calmly, and in 1750 Alexander, Earl of Eglinton, was chosen Grand Master Mason of Scotland while still RWM of the Mother Lodge, which suggests that there was no bad feeling on either side. In subsequent years, the Grand Lodge began to view the matter in a different spirit, instructing Lodges which owed allegiance to her to have no Masonic intercourse either with Kilwinning or any of her Daughter Lodges.

 

There is no doubt that some bad feeling was engendered in this way, but perhaps it was all for the best, since it may have helped considerably to pave the way towards the reunion which took place in 1807.

 

BUILDING THE NEW LODGE 1744‑80 It is quite clear that Kilwinning's secession from the Grand Lodge organisation entailed no loss of prestige for the Mother Lodge; indeed, it is possible that her status was enhanced by her action. In the 60 years of her separation from the Grand Lodge there are minutes showing that she Chartered at least 29 new lodges, and there may have been many more.

 

Membership was growing steadily by ordinary admissions within the Lodge, and these numbers were greatly increased by frequent admissions under the pernicious system of 'out‑entry'.

 

90HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY There is in fact, ample evidence, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, of the practice, fully recognised and accepted by a number of Lodges, of allowing their members to admit masons away from the Lodge, ie as 'out‑entries'. The essential characteristic of 'out‑entry' meetings was that they might be held at any time or place away from the Lodge, without the specific permission of the Lodge or its officers; and so long as the admissions complied with the Lodge regulations (and quite often when they did not) the Lodges were willing to ratify the admissions.

 

Although the Kilwinning records afford little evidence on the subject, there is good reason to believe that `out‑entries' had taken place since 1648. The Lodge enacted a rule in 1686 forbidding the practice but it continued at intervals until 1728 when, under new regulations, the practice was made legal again. From 1735 onwards there was a real spate of 'out‑entries', most of them properly recorded and ratified. In the 1750s, Irvine and Stevenston gradually became reception centres for prospective members of the Mother Lodge. Irvine recorded 11 intrants in 1755; 12 in 1762 and five in 1764; and Stevenston brought in nine new members in 1764. The last Kilwinning out‑entry was recorded in 1792.

 

The Lodge was now growing at a tremendous pace. Attendances at the annual meetings ranged from the sixties to over a hundred occasionally, and inevitably the question arose as to the Lodge finding or building a new `House' for its meetings. The project had first been mooted in 1747 and had been shelved. Now, in 1770, the matter had become really urgent, and a Committee was appointed . . . for purchasing ground to build . . .' and to collect outstanding monies for the purpose.

 

Despite the urgency nothing definite was done until 1778, when the Earl of Eglinton brought the matter to a head by offering the Lodge a 500 years' lease of the Eglinton `Court House' or girnal, at a really nominal rent of 2/6d per annum. The reaction of the Lodge was instantaneous: The Brethren . . . in Consideration of the Family of Eglintoune being often Friendly in protecting and countenancing the Ancient Mother Lodge and that the present Earl . . . in particular has been long a Member of this Lodge and often shewn his attachment to it . . . and that he lately presented the Lodge with a Stedding for Building a New Lodge . . . for a trifling Quit‑rent . . . Therefore in hopes of his further Continuance and in LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 091 gratitude for his past favours, they . . . do unanimously Elect Archibald Earl of Eglintoune to be Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Mother Lodge for Life . . .

 

This was the first use of the title `Most Worshipful' for the Master of the Mother Lodge, and the style `Most Worshipful Grand Master' remained in general use at Kilwinning for the next 60 years.

 

The Foundation stone for the new Hall was laid in 1779 and the re‑building was completed a year later, but the cost of the undertaking brought the Lodge to the edge of bankruptcy; it had used up all its funds and was hopelessly in debt.

 

The minutes in the succeeding years pathetically bemoan the low state of the funds which prevented the Lodge from bestowing Charity as it was wont to do, but a continuous ‑ if modest ‑ income was derived from hiring out the premises regularly for dances and other entertainments.

 

Ten years later in 1790 the Lodge still owed 52, plus interest, to the builder; he did not live to see the debt paid.

 

The Lodge funds under careful management were eventually brought into better shape, but an amusing finale to this chapter appeared in the minutes for 1841, when it was suddenly discovered that the Lodge had never paid one penny of its ground rent (2/6d pa) since the lease was first granted more than sixty years before.

 

The building that had been erected after so much effort served as the Lodge Hall for 113 years, until July 1893, when it was demolished.

 

A few months later a new Temple was completed and furnished at a cost of some 2,000, and the present Lodge building was consecrated on 30 September 1893.

 

HARD TIMES 1780‑1806 Following an era of great prosperity, the Mother Lodge passed through a very bad period in the twenty years or so from c1780 to c1800. Charity payments were reduced, money‑lending facilities ceased altogether, and attendances shrank disastrously (at several of the Annual Meetings in the 1780s the records show attendances ranging from six to eleven men in all, including the officers!).

 

By this time, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, now firmly established, had ordered its adherent lodges to refrain from all Masonic intercourse with Kilwinning and her Daughters, and an incident in

 

 92HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FRFEViASONRY

 

1791 was doubtless typical of the kind of difficulties that ensued.

 

In December 1791, a few weeks after their constitution as a Daughter Lodge of Mother Kilwinning, the Lodge of Paisley St Andrew Kilwinning, anxious to establish fraternal relations with other Lodges in their neighbourhood, sent a deputation to visit the Lodge Paisley St James. The latter, owning allegiance to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, took the lamentable course of refusing to receive the deputation. It was a gratuitous insult, aggravated by a great deal of unpleasant publicity.

 

If there were any similar incidents elsewhere, they were less widely advertised; this was the only case that was actually recorded in the Kilwinning minutes, and it was never mentioned again.

 

The Lodge gradually began to recover from its difficulties. Towards the end of the 1700s, admissions began to increase, attendances improved, and there were frequent visits from members of other lodges. More important still ‑ as evidence of Mother Kilwinning's status at this period ‑ there were a number of joining members, . and numerous records of the election of `honorary members'.

 

In 1767, the Lodge had imposed a new triple‑scale of admission fees; every apprentice who was a `Real working mason with Stone and Lime' paid 7/6d Sterling: a 'Wright or Square Man' paid 10/‑; a `Gentleman' paid 21/‑, and these rates remained in force until 1807. The accounts (which were kept meticulously at this period) afford evidence that the Lodge was beginning to prosper again.

 

In 1796 it paid the last 10 owing pn the building plus six years' interest! In 1797 the Lodge spent over 4 Sterling on Candelabra and Lamps. Increases in the payments of Charity, and minor extravagances such as the provision of Toddy for the Tyler and Stewards all go to indicate that the bad times were finished.

 

THE RE‑UNION, 1807 The re‑union of the Mother Lodge with the Grand Lodge of Scotland was a major event in her history, and the story of the negotiations which led to it (and of some of the results that followed) provides a good finale to this study of Kilwinning's oldest records.

 

When the Mother Lodge decided in 1744 to withdraw from her association with the Grand Lodge, she went her own way ‑ and flourished. From 1744 to 1807 there was no official contact between LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 0 93 Kilwinning and the Grand Lodge, but a number of brethren from Lodges under the Grand Lodge joined Kilwinning without hindrance.

 

At the turn of the century she had begun to recover from her financial distress, there were many influential men amongst her officers and members, and attendances were growing steadily.

 

It was at this stage that well‑wishers appeared on both sides, eager to heal the breach, and the first unofficial moves were made, in private letters and discussions, in 1806. The whole tenor of the subsequent negotiations shows that the Grand Lodge had much to gain from an amicable solution to the difficulties which had caused the separation, and the official proceedings began in 1807 with a most tactful letter from the Grand Lodge, addressed to the Secretary of the Mother Lodge: R.W. Sir, It has been the Subject of much great regret that the misunderstanding so long subsisting between the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Kilwinning Lodge Should not ere now have been Accomodated, It does not from Our Records, Appear very clearly, what were the reasons which induced your Lodge to leave the Bosom and protection of the Grand Lodge. But whatever was the Cause it must now be Obvious that it will tend greatly to the Interest, Honour and Respectability of the Craft in general, were Masonry in Scotland to be practised only in the Bosom of, and under the protection of the Grand Lodge, whereby she as the only head of the Masonic Body in Scotland, would feel herself responsible, for the Regularity and good Conduct, of every Lodge, enjoying the privilage of Meeting as a Masonic Body under her Charters . . .

 

The letter ended with a note that the Grand Lodge had appointed a Committee of prominent officers, with powers to meet a Kilwinning Committee in order to settle outstanding difficulties and arrange a mutually satisfactory settlement.

 

The Mother Lodge gave `deliberate consideration' to the Grand Lodge letter and appointed a Committee with similar powers. There followed a meeting of the Kilwinning Committee at Irvine on 25 May 1807, at which a number of points were drawn up to serve as a basis for discussion when the two Committees should meet. At first glance the minutes of that meeting seem to suggest that Kilwinning was preparing to impose stiff conditions as a preliminary to any talk of re‑union, but the situation of the Mother Lodge was, of 94HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY course, vastly different from any of the other Lodges which had joined the Grand Lodge. It was inevitable that the re‑union would involve the surrender of some of her ancient privileges, and she had also the duty of protecting the interests of her Daughter Lodges.

 

The two Committees met at Glasgow in October 1807, and in a single session they drew up a code of five articles which they jointly recommended: 1st That the Mother Lodge Kilwinning shall Renounce all right of Granting Charters, and come in along with all the Lodges holding under her, to the bosom of the Grand Lodge.

 

2dly That all the Lodges holding of the Mother Kilwinning shall be Obliged to Obtain from the Grand Lodge Confirmations of their respective Charters, for which a ffee of three Guineas only shall be exigible.

 

3dly That the Mother Kilwinning Lodge shall be placed at the head of the Roll of the Grand Lodge under the denomination of Mother Kilwinning; and her Daughter Lodges shall in the meantime be placed, at the end of the Said Roll, and as they shall apply for Confirmations, but under this Express declaration, that so soon as the Roll shall be arranged and Corrected which is in present Contemplation, the Lodges holding of Mother Kilwinning shall be entitled to be Ranked According to the dates of their Original Charters, and of those granted by the Grand Lodge.

 

4thly That Mother Kilwinning and her Daughter Lodges, shall have the same Interest in, and Management of the funds of the Grand Lodge as the Other Lodges now holding of her; The Mother Lodge Kilwinning Contributing ‑ annually to the said funds a sum not less than two shillings and sixpence for each Intrant, and her Daughter Lodges Contributing in the same manner as the present Lodges holding of the Grand Lodge.

 

Sthly That the Master of the Mother Kilwinning Lodge, for the time, shall be ipso facto Provincial Grand Master for the Ayrshire District ‑ And lastly while both Committees are satisfied that the preceding arrangements will be highly conductive to the honour and Interest of Scottish Masonry, and tho vested with the fullest powers, to make a final adjustment the Committees do only respectfully recomend its adoption to their respective Constituents.

 

Signed (10 Signatures).

 

The Lodge considered the points agreed by the two Committees, unanimously ratified and approved them, and after the Committee had been thanked for its efforts `. . . the healths of the Committee LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 095 were drunk Standing with all the honours of Masonry', and it was resolved that the Grand Lodge delegates be elected members of the Mother Lodge.

 

The Grand Lodge also met on 2 November, with 64 Lodges represented, and the conditions of the settlement were approved by all present with only one dissenting voice from the SW of Mary's Chapel `. . . on the ground of that Lodge being deprived of her place on the Roll . . .' Despite the protest, Grand Lodge accepted the proposals and ratified them, and the schism of more than 60 years was ended.

 

Both Mother Kilwinning and the Grand Lodge had just cause to be pleased with the settlement, and so far as the Mother Lodge was concerned, the matter was happily ended. But the Grand Lodge had not yet reconciled the Lodge of Mary's Chapel, Edinburgh, to the change that was involved in placing Mother Kilwinning at the head of the Roll, especially as the Mother Lodge had produced no really satisfactory documentary evidence of her right to that position.

 

There were many Kilwinning legends and traditions current in the Scottish Craft at that time that might have been cited at the Glasgow meeting in 1807. Historically, they were all equally ill‑founded, and incapable of proof. But the Grand Lodge representatives were not historians. They had no means at their disposal for verifying the claims, and having been appointed specifically `to Settle all disputes', they were not disposed to cavil at the claims which were made by the Kilwinning men.

 

There can be no doubt that, with or without proof, the Kilwinning brethren genuinely believed that theirs was the oldest masonic foundation in Scotland, and for all that we know, they may have been right in their claim. But a new situation had arisen in the 64 years that had elapsed since Mother Kilwinning had withdrawn from the Grand Lodge. In 1736‑43 the Grand Lodge was primarily concerned with the seniority of its adherent Lodges; in 1807 its main object was to effect the re‑union, and it had much to gain from persuading Kilwinning to return as an adherent. During those 64 years, the Mother Lodge had pursued its own independent course, virtually as a Grand Lodge in her own right. She had been for more than 200 years the focal centre of Masonry in the West of Scotland, and had erected or Chartered a huge number of Daughter Lodges which owed her allegiance.

 

96HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Several of these Lodges had already joined in with the Grand Lodge, but if Mother Kilwinning and all her remaining Daughters could be brought under her banner the result would bring a useful accession of funds as well as a vast improvement in her status as . . . the only head of the Masonic Body in Scotland'.

 

Kilwinning was therefore in a strong position to bargain for whatever rights and privileges she was about to relinquish. In the event, so long as her premier position on the Roll was assured, she asked for only one concession, the clause which made the Master of the Mother Lodge, ipso facto Provincial Grand Master for Ayrshire. It was a natural request, designed to enhance the status of the Mother Lodge within the Province, and to ensure that none of her junior lodges could acquire precedence over Kilwinning.

 

The readiness with which the Grand Lodge agreed to this unusual privilege may be taken as a measure of her eagerness to bring about the re‑union as speedily and smoothly as possible. It was largely a matter of expediency, and the main body of the Craft supported the Grand Lodge in its action. Mary's Chapel alone argued that the procedure was unfair to them.

 

The dispute was not finally settled until 1815 when in response to a petition from Mary's Chapel, '. . . it seemed to be the general sense of the Grand Lodge, that, after the solemn agreement entered into with Mother Kilwinning in 1807, and ratified, approved of, and acted upon by all parties ever since that period, that such petition and remonstrance by Mary's Chapel Lodge could not now be received and entertained, and ought, therefore, to be dismissed as incompetent and inadmissible; upon which the Right Worshipful Brother Robertson, Master of Mary's Chapel Lodge, agreed to withdraw the same, and the petition was accordingly withdrawn'.

 

THE NUMBER "0" Much curiosity is aroused nowadays by the unique No 0 which the Mother Lodge bears on the register of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The terms of the re‑union did not specify it; indeed it seems evident that the original intention was that Kilwinning was to have no number at all. The proposals which formed the basis of discussion at the Irvine meeting on 25 May, contained the following: 1st That the Lodge of Kilwinning shall be placed at the head of the Roll of LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 097 Lodges in Scotland without an v number but by the Title of the Mother Lodge Kilwinning or by the said Title and Number One if the Grand Lodge rather prefer the latter.

 

The clause in its ratified form, simply did not mention the number at all: 3rdly That the Mother Kilwinning Lodge shall be placed at the head of the Roll of the Grand Lodge under the denomination of Mother Kilwinning; . . .

 

Neither the Mother Lodge nor the Grand Lodge made use of the No 0 (or any other number) during the negotiations which led to the re‑union. The No 0 does not appear in any of the Kilwinning minutes during 1807 to 1842 (ie the whole of the third minute‑book) nor is it found in any of the contemporary minutes of the Grand Lodge.

 

For the purpose of this record, an attempt was made to ascertain when, and in what circumstances the number was allocated to the Mother Lodge, and the question was posed to Bro Dr A. F. Buchan, the Grand Secretary. After a careful search he reported that there is no minute recording that the number was ever allocated officially.

 

The Mother Lodge was not numbered in the minutes relating to the re‑union, and when the first edition of the Constitutions and Laws of the Grand Lodge was published, in 1836, Kilwinning was listed at the head of the Roll, without a number. In the second edition, 1848, the No 0 made its first appearance in print, and so far as can be ascertained, that was the first time the number was used officially.

 

Bro G. S. Draffen, Past Depute Grand Master, who assisted in this enquiry is of the opinion that it: I... was a purely administrative action on the part of the clerical staff in the Grand Lodge. Obviously when making a list of Lodges by number only, it was highly inconvenient to have a Lodge with no number at all . . . They appear to have started the list with the number '0', and gradually that has become accepted, even to the extent of brethren who are members of that Lodge using that number when they sign the Visitor's Book when they go to another Lodge.

 

It is not impossible that this practice of designating Lodge Mother Kilwinning as number '0' did in fact arise from the difficulty that its members found themselves in when visiting other Lodges and having to fill in the number of their Lodge which, of course, they could not do.

 

To sum up, Grand Lodge, as far as I can trace, has never officially adopted 98HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY the number `0' . . . It appears to have arisen from an administrative practice necessitated by purely practical reasons.

 

Until May 1983 the No 0 does not appear on Lodge stationery and summonses, although it was and is readily accepted by the Lodge. The Mother Lodge is known locally and throughout the world as No 0 (but Americans use the No Zero) and the Lodge aprons bear the letters MKO on their flaps.

 

Nevertheless, many of the old Depute Masters preferred the ancient designation, `The Mother Lodge of Scotland'.

 

AFTER THE RE‑UNION, 1807‑42 The third Minute Book of the Mother Lodge runs from 1806 to 1842, so that the records contained in the first three books cover almost exactly a period of 200 years, 1642 to 1842.

 

An immediate result of the re‑union was that Ayrshire became a Masonic Province of the Grand Lodge, with Kilwinning as its chief Lodge, and the RW Master of Kilwinning as its Prov Grand Master. In the Commission or Document which conferred that right the Grand Lodge carelessly inserted a proviso `so long as such Masters are approved of by Grand Lodge'. Kilwinning immediately protested that she alone had the right to choose and approve her Masters, and that such Masters were to be ipso facto Prov GM; and the offending words were removed.

 

One curious result of this close link between the Mother Lodge and the Provincial Grand Lodge, was the frequent appearance in the Lodge minutes, of items of business which would belong properly to the Minute book of the Provincial Grand Lodge. At the Anniversary meeting in 1816 the Lodge minutes record that the Prov GM was calling a meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge for March 1817, for Ipropogating the good of Masonry . . .' and to ensure that the Lodges in the district '. . . Conforme themselves to the Laws and Regulations of the Grand Lodge . . .'.

 

In due course a full report of the Meeting appeared in the Lodge minutes, and it must have been quite an occasion! There was an attendance of over 200 Brethren and proceedings began with a procession to the Church, a Sermon, then back to the Lodge; a loyal Address to the Prince Regent; `. . . a substantial and plentiful dinner . . . (and the Meeting) . . . broke up at a late hour'.

 

LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 099 Early in 1825 the rapid growth in the number of new Lodges on the Roll prompted the Grand Lodge to make a fresh classification of the Lodges under the various Provinces; and because of the large number of Lodges in Ayrshire, many of them at a great distance from Kilwinning, it was proposed that the Province should be divided, Masonically, into two parts; West Ayrshire, with 15 Lodges including Mother Kilwinning; East Ayrshire with 13 Lodges; and four Lodges were to be struck off the Roll.

 

In pursuance of this plan, which had apparently been settled without consulting the Mother Lodge or its Master, the Grand Lodge wrote to Mother Kilwinning on 20 April 1825, outlining the plan in some detail, and announcing that the division had already been made! `... The Grand Lodge of Scotland . . . being highly sensible that it will tend to the good of Masonry, as well as to the comfort and conveniency of the Brethren, to divide the county into two districts or provinces, which they have accordingly done as follows . . .

 

There followed a list of Lodges for the proposed West Province under Alex` Hamilton of Grange the then Prov GM and another list of lodges for the East Province under an un‑named Prov GM with headquarters at Maybole, and the Grand Lodge invited the Prov GM of Ayrshire to name the Brother who was to share the province with him.

 

The Prov GM and the Mother Lodge, counting this arrangement to be an infringement of their ancient rights, protested by letter to the Grand Lodge, and the matter should have ended at this point because Grand Lodge accepted the protest and abandoned the plan to divide the Ayrshire Province. But she was still busy with the re‑arrangement of other Provinces and, in 1826/27 a piece of mismanagement on her part nearly led to serious trouble.

 

In 1826, without consulting the Mother Lodge, the Grand Lodge decided to transfer two Lodges (Beith St John, and Largs St John) to the jurisdiction of the Renfrew Province, and the RWM of Beith St John reported the matter to the Mother Lodge at the anniversary meeting, in December 1826. A letter was despatched in January 1827, to Bro James Maconochie, the Proxy Master (an advocate, member of St Luke's Lodge) at Edinburgh, directing him to protest against this transfer and to have the matter put right.

 

No reply was received to this note, and in June 1827, a sharp letter WASHINGTON MASONIC L;BRARY AND MUSEUM 100}LARRY CARR s WORLD of FREEMASONRY was sent to him, again seeking his intervention. A note in similar terms was sent directly to the Grand Lodge: '. . . As I am anxious, as becomes my duty, to preserve the jurisdiction of the Provincial Grand Lodge in the same way as I received it, I insist that the lodges transferred into the two new provinces of Renfrew shall immediately be restored: and if not, I shall call a chapter of the lodge to take their advice.

 

Upon receipt of the second letter from the Mother Lodge, Maconochie replied that he had, upon receipt of the first letter, laid the complaint before the Grand Secretary with a request that the two Lodges should be 'restored'. The Grand Secretary later told Maconochie that 'this had been done', and he had undertaken to advise the GM of Mother Kilwinning that this was so. Maconochie had accepted the word of the Grand Secretary, and had therefore not troubled to report back to the Mother Lodge.

 

The arrival of the June letter showed Maconochie that the Grand Secretary had forgotten or failed to keep his promise, and Maconochie saw him again. This time the Grand Secretary replied by letter addressed to Maconochie: Dear Sir, I have read the letter from the RW Master of Mother Kilwinning to you, and I do assure you that when I received your communication 1 have made such arrangements as that no alteration has taken place, or will happen.

 

Signed, Alex' Lawrie, Gr Secy Maconochie dutifully reported all this to the Mother Lodge, with protestations of his continued interest and loyalty, and the matter was finally settled, but with no great show of courtesy on the part of the Grand Secretary.

 

In September 1834, the Kilwinning minutes report a letter from the Grand Secretary requesting the Lodge to `. . . Make a show of our books and pay arrears said to be due . . .'.

 

In 1835, the Grand Lodge decided to raise the Registration fees for Intrants to 5/6d and Kilwinning sent a protest saying that in terms of the 'Agreement' the fee was fixed at 2/6d. Here, the Mother Lodge was definitely in the wrong, because the fee had been fixed at '. . . a sum not less than . . .' 2/6d for each intrant. Two years later the point was still in dispute.

 

At first glance it would seem as though the Mother Lodge during LODGE MOTHER KILwINNING NO 0101 the years following the re‑union, was constantly at odds with the Grand Lodge, but of course it was not so. The incidents which are described here in close sequence, actually occurred in a period of 35 years. For the Grand Lodge it was a period of rapid growth, quite apart from the accession in one year of so many of Kilwinning's Daughters, and the problems of re‑organisation, procedure and management must have presented all sorts of difficulties.

 

For the Mother Lodge, having surrendered some of her ancient rights, and jealously guarding the concessions she had won at the re‑union, it was inevitable that the settling‑down period was full of anxiety, and in these circumstances each little difference with the Grand Lodge was magnified, sometimes out of all proportion to its importance.

 

The original Five Articles of the Settlement in 1807 were clearly inadequate to cover all the problems that were to arise, and as each difficulty was settled in its turn, precedents were laid and the Mother Lodge settled peacefully into her position at the head of the Roll of Lodges under the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

 

MODERN TIMES The privileges enjoyed by the Mother Lodge have nevertheless given rise to difficulties, even within her own Province of Ayrshire, and this brief sketch would be seriously out of date without some reference to the most recent problems.

 

In Scotland, unlike our English practice, the appointment of Provincial and District Grand Masters rests with the Grand Lodge itself, and not with the Grand Master. Those Commissions (or Patents of Office) are invariably for five years, and they are renewable. In practice, when a vacancy occurs at the expiration of this term, or on death or retirement of the holder, the Grand Secretary will write to the Provincial or District Grand Lodge, inviting nominations. This procedure applies to all the Scottish Provinces and Districts, but not to Ayrshire, where the Master of No 0 is ex officio Provincial Grand Master of Ayrshire.

 

It has long been the custom of Mother Kilwinning to keep watch for a Brother of status suitable to serve as Master of No 0 and ex officio Prov GM of Ayrshire. When they find a Brother with the requisite qualifications he is invited to become a joining member of the Lodge, and is elected Master in due course.

 

102HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Some years ago, an Ayrshire Brother, feeling that the system is very undemocratic, was proposed and elected as a joining member of No 0. He was a persuasive and forceful character, sufficiently well known and respected by the Ayrshire Lodges to get himself ,nominated' by them as a prospective Prov Grand Master.

 

All very well, but when the time came for the election of Master of No 0, he was not elected. The Lodge had ignored the `nomination', in effect depriving more than forty Lodges in the Province of the rights they would enjoy in every other Scottish Province. They simply have no say at all in the appointment of their Prov GM, and they are not at all happy about that.

 

Broadly, the Kilwinning problems today arise out of the social, industrial and economic changes that have taken place in that area during the past 175 years. In 1807, Kilwinning was the Lodge of its own territory, with the local nobility and gentry among its members. Today, the membership consists mainly of small shopkeepers and miners.

 

But their zeal for the preservation of their ancient privileges as the senior‑ranking Province has led them, occasionally, to claim rights over other Provinces, rights which belong only to that Province, or to the Grand Lodge itself.

 

Recently, without any desire to alter the basic terms of the re‑union of 1807, the Grand Lodge moved to amend Clause 5 of that agreement in a manner that would avoid or satisfy some of the modern problems that were totally unforeseen in 1807.

 

Unfortunately, in a series of meetings with the Grand Committee, those proposals had been resisted and rejected by the Kilwinning Committee to the point where Kilwinning had taken legal proceedings against the Grand Lodge, to maintain and uphold their supposed rights and privileges.

 

The mills of justice grind slowly, and those proceedings were still sub judice, so that it would be improper to comment. One can only hope and pray that there will be a speedy settlement to the legal action, and that a truly Masonic goodwill and tolerance may prevail.

 

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS While these pages were being prepared for press, news arrived of the settlement of the difficulties arising out of the 1807 Agreement. Both parties have now agreed the following.

 

LODGE MOTHER KILWINNING NO 0103 (Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, 5 May 1983) That the existing Clause V of the Agreement between the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Lodge Mother Kilwinning, No 0, dated 14 October 1807 be deleted and the following inserted: That there be erected and constituted the Provincial Grand Lodge of Kilwinning and any future Lodge erected within the Parish of Kilwinning. That Mother Kilwinning at its Annual Meeting in November will nominate a suitable Brother for the Office of Provincial Grand Master for 9 submission to Grand Lodge as in the case of all Provincial and District Grand Masters.

 

That Mother Kilwinning for all time coming shall have the honour to nominate annually a suitable Brother for the Office of Grand bible‑bearer whom Grand Lodge shall elect.

 

That the numbering of any new Lodge within the Parish of Kilwinning shall be prefaced with "0", such as "O1" and "02", etc.

 

That dispensation be granted to all Past Depute Masters of Lodge Mother Kilwinning to receive the Chair Degree. Page 58 of Proceedings.

 

5 SAMUEL PRICHARD'S MASONR Y DISSECTED, 1730 THIS ESSAY WAS compiled as an Introduction to the facsimile edition of Masonry Dissected, 1730, published by the Masonic Book Club of Illinois, USA, in 1977, which produces rare and important masonic books in limited editions available only to members.

 

Prichard's text is not included here (see p 410), but it is readily accessible in full, in the Early Masonic Catechisms, 2nd edn, 1963.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES In compiling the notes under this heading, I am much indebted to three specialist studies: (i) The Early Masonic Catechisms, by Knoop, Jones and Hamer, second edition, pp 157/8: (ii) 'Prichard's Masonry Dissected', by Comdr S. N. Smith, A QC, 51 pp 138/9: (iii) John T. Thorp in Leicester Lodge of Research Masonic Reprints, Vol XII (1929) pp 10/11.

 

Masonry Dissected The first edition of this 32pp 8vo pamphlet (approx 75/s" x 41/2") was advertised for sale in a London newspaper, the Daily Journal, on Tuesday 2 October 1730: This day is published ... MASONRY DISSECTED ... by Samuel Prichard ... Printed for J. Wilford ... (Price 6d) The second edition was advertised the very next day, 21 October, and again on the 23rd, two days later: the third edition was advertised on Saturday, 31 October 1730, and these two editions were also printed for Wilford. (See advertisements reproduced.) 104 SAMUEL PRICIIARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED', 1730 105 Meanwhile the pamphlet had been reprinted in Read's Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, on Saturday 24 October 1730. This was apparently a pirated version in which the whole thirty‑one printed pages of the original were crammed into two pages of the newspaper, each approximately 15" x 10".

 

Another pirated edition, dated MD.CC.

 

X. printed by Thomas Nichols, 'without Temple Bar' (London) had also probably made its appearance by the end of October 1730.

 

Prichard's text was reprinted, in two parts, in separate issues of the Northampton Mercury, the first section, up to the end of the Enter'd 'Prentice's Degree, in October 1730, and the remainder, from the Fellow‑Craft's Degree to the end, on 2 November 1730.

 

Thus, there were three separate editions by Prichard, and a pirated edition (Nichols), plus a newspaper version (Read's) all printed in London, and a two‑part newspaper version, printed in the Midlands, all within fourteen days! Thorp, writing in 1929, listed another fourteen editions before 1760 and nine more before the end of the eighteenth century. Bro Knoop and his collaborators, writing in 1943, mentioned 'thirty numbered editions . . . printed in England, and eight . . . in Scotland'.

 

In spite of this seeming profusion of copies, all the earlier editions are scarce and the four versions dated 1730 are extremely rare. There is a copy of the first edition in the Library of the United Grand Lodge of England and one in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Another first edition (formerly in the Wallace Heaton collection) is now owned by the present writer. There is a copy of the second edition in the Leicester Masonic Library (reprinted by J. T. Thorp in 1929). The third edition is the earliest in the British Museum collection. That version was the first to contain 'A List of Regular Lodges according to their Seniority and Constitution' and it was reproduced by Bro Douglas Knoop and his colleagues in The Early Masonic Catechisms, 1943. The excellent collection in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts also includes a copy of the Nichols pirated print.

 

SAMUEL PRICHARD HIS MASONIC BACKGROUND Among the many characters who made their mark in Masonic history during the early decades of the first Grand Lodge, Samuel Prichard

 

107

 

HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY The Daily Journal, Tuesday, zo October 1730 Tfbiz Dap is ipubliffjeb, (Dedicated to the Right Worfhipful and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Mafons, and the Author's Affidavit before Sir Richard Hopkins prefix'd) MASONRY DISSECTED: Being a Univerful and Genuine Defcription of all its Branches, from the Original to this Prefent Time; as it deliver'd in the Conftituted Regular Lodges both in City and Country, according to the feveral Degrees of Admifon. Giving an Impartial Account of their Regular Proceeding in Initiating their New‑Members in the whole Three Degrees of Mafonry, viz. I. Enter'd Apprentice. II. Fellow Craft. III. Mafter. To which is added, The Author's Vindication of himfelf. By SAMUEL PRITCHARD, late Member of a Conftituted Lodge.

 

Printed for J. WILFORD, at the Three Flower‑de‑Luces behind the Chapter‑Houfe, near St. Paul's. Price 6 d.

 

The first advertisement.

 

The Daily Journal, Wednesday, zI October 1730 aGlbig map ig Vubliffjeb, (Dedicated to the Right Worfhipful and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Mafons, and the Author's Affidavit before Sir Richard Hopkins pre fix'd) The SECOND EDITION, o f MASONRY DISSECTED: Being a Univerfal and Genuine Defcription of all its Branches, from the Original to this Prefent Time; as it deliver'd in the Conftituted Regular Lodges both in City and Country, according to the feveral Degrees of Admifion. Giving an Impartial Account of their Regular Proceeding in Initiating their New‑Members in the whole Three Degrees of Mafonry, viz. I. Enter'd Apprentice. II. Fellow Craft. III. Mafter. To which is added, The Author's Vindication of himfelf. By SAMUEL PRITCHARD, late Member of a Conftituted Lodge.

 

Printed for J. WILFORD, at the Three Flower‑de‑Luces behind the Chapter‑Houfe, near St. Paul's. Price 6 d.

 

The second advertisement. "The Second Edition of" has been inserted after line 4.

 

SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED', 1730 The Daily Journal, Friday, 23 October 1730 Thig Map is J)ublifheb, (Dedicated to the Right Worfhipful and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Mafons, The SECOND EDITION, o f MASONRY DISSECTED: Being a Univerfal and Genuine Defcription of all its Branches, from the Original to this Prefent Time; as it deliver'd in the Conftituted Regular Lodges both in City and Country, according to the feveral Degrees of Admiffion. Giving an Impartial Account of their Regular Proceeding in Initiating their New‑Members in the whole Three Degrees of Mafonry, viz. 1. Enter'd Apprentice. II. Fellow Craft. III. Mafter. To which is added, The Author's Vindication of himfelf. By SAMUEL PRITCHARD, late Member of a Conftituted Lodge.

 

Printed for J. WILFORD, at the Three Flower‑de‑Luces behind the Chapter‑Houfe, near St. Paul's. Price 6 d.

 

N. B. There is prefixed to this Account, a True Copy of the Affidavit made before Sir RICHARD HOPKINS, of its Truth and Genuinenefs in every Particular, without which all other Accounts are fpurious, and grofs Impofitions on the Publick.

 

The third advertisement. Original lines 4 and S are omitted and a footnote is added.

 

The Daily Journal, Saturday, 31 October 1730 Thig map io Vubliffjeb, (With a Lift of the Regular Lodges, according to their Seniority and Con f titution) The THIRD EDITION, o f (MASONRY DISSECTED: Being a Univerfal and Genuine Defcription of all its Branches, from the Original to this Prefent Time; as it is deliver'd in the Conftituted Regular Lodges both in City and Country, according to the feveral Degrees of Admiffion. Giving an Impartial Account of their Regular Proceeding in Initiating their New‑Members in the whole Three Degrees of Mafonry, viz. 1. Enter'd Apprentice. 11. Fellow Craft. 111. Mafter. To which is added, The Author's Vindication of himfelf. By SAMUEL PRITCHARD, late Member of a Conftituted Lodge.

 

Printed for J. WILFORD, at the Three Flower‑de‑Luces behind the Chapter‑Houfe, near St. Paul's. Price 6 d.

 

N. B. There is prefixed to this Account, a True Copy of the Affidavit made before Sir RICHARD HOPKINS, Of its Truth and Genuinenefs in every Particular, without which all other Accounts are fpurious, and grofs Impofitions on the Publick.

 

The fourth advertisement. `Third' instead of `Second' and the word `is', previously omitted, is now added in line 6.

 

108HARRY C'ARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY must surely rank as one of the most extraordinary. As a person, nothing is known about him, his family, social status, trade, or profession; he remains a complete mystery.

 

In October 1730 he published Masonry Dissected, a very successful pamphlet which claimed to be `A Universal and Genuine Description of [Masonry in] all its Branches'. At the next Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge on 15 December 1730 he was roundly condemned as `an Impostor': The Deputy Grand Master took notice of a Pamphlet lately published by one Pritchard [sic] who pretends to have been made a regular Mason: In Violation of the Obligation of a Mason w"' he swears he has broke in order to do hurt to Masonry and expressing himself with the utmost Indignation against both him (stiling him an Impostor) and of his Book as a foolish thing not to be regarded. But in order to prevent the Lodges being imposed upon by false Brethren or Impostors: Proposed . . . that no Person whatsoever should be admitted into Lodges unless some Member of the Lodge then present would vouch for such visiting Brothers being a regular Mason, and the Member's Name to be entered against the Visitor's Name in the Lodge Book, which Proposal was unanimously agreed to (QCA IX, pp 13516).

 

This was the only occasion on which Prichard's name appeared in the Grand Lodge Minutes. His Lodge was not mentioned and, so far as official records go, it is not even certain that he had ever been admitted into the Craft.

 

The only information to be found about him is that which can be deduced from his book as a whole, but especially from the eight preliminary pages, and from `The Author's Vindication of himself . . .', which formed its final chapter. The sources from which these details can be gathered are of two kinds: (a) Direct statements, made by Prichard, about himself and his reasons for compiling the book.

 

(b) Inferences that may properly be drawn from the knowledge of the Craft that he displayed in his introductory pages and in the text of his exposure.

 

There is reason to believe that the information thus obtained may furnish useful light on Prichard as a Mason and on his capacity as a writer on Masonry, all the more valuable, perhaps, because of the total absence of other sources. In the following notes the page SAMUEL PRICIIARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED' 1730 109 numbers shown in [] refer to un‑numbered pages in the first edition of Masonry Dissected.

 

LATE MEMBER OF A CONSTITUTED LODGE: [p 1]. Prichard's claim that he was 'late Member of a CONSTITUTED LODGE' implies that he was a Mason who had resigned or been excluded. This was probably true. Quite apart from his ritual text (which does not necessarily prove that he had been a Mason) there is evidence to show that he had a very good knowledge of Masonry and its background, and there is no reason to doubt his claim.

 

There is indeed a record of a 'Mr Sam'. Pritchard' in the minutes of the Lodge held at the Swan and Rummer Tavern, in Finch Lane, London, showing that he was a visitor to that Lodge on 25 September 1728, and the record also mentions his Lodge. It runs: 'Mr Sam'. Pritchard [of] Harry ye 8th head of 7 Dyalls' (Hughan, AQC 10, p 134).

 

The names Prichard and Pritchard are interchangeable, and this entry may have been made by the Secretary of the Lodge, who included the 't'. Grand Lodge also used the spelling 'Pritchard' in the minutes of 15 December 1730, above, and it appeared so in the advertisements, but not in Prichard's book.

 

Little is known about the Lodge at 'King Henry ye VIII Head' except that it was a `Regular Constituted Lodge', and was so recorded in the Grand Lodge List for 25 November 1725* when it had seventeen members whose names are also recorded (but Prichard's name was not among them). The Lodge sent representatives, Master and Wardens, to the Quarterly Communications in June 1728 and in December 17301, after which it seems to have disappeared.

 

If we could be sure that the visitor to the Swan and Rummer on 25 September 1728 was our Samuel Prichard, the record would be doubly interesting, partly because we know that the Lodge had a number of distinguished visitors, but chiefly because it was one of the earliest English Lodges recorded as working the third degree. Needless to say, Prichard's chief claim to Masonic fame or notoriety was his publication of Masonry Dissected, the first exposure of the ritual of three degrees.

 

* Minutes of the Grand Lodge ... 1723‑179, QCA, X, p 43. tibid. pp 86. 133.

 

110HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY The word `CONSTITUTED', on Prichard's title‑page, had a special significance at that time. The first Book of Constitutions, 1723, contained a chapter describing `the Manner of constituting a New Lodge' and on 25 November 1723 the Grand Lodge had ruled: That no new Lodge in or near London without it be regularly Constituted be Countenanced by the Grand Lodge, nor the Ma' or Wardens admitted at the Grand Lodge." Prichard's use of the word `Constituted' was intended to emphasise the regularity of his former Lodge, but it may well indicate a better than average knowledge of what was going on in the Grand Lodge.

 

THE OATH: [p 11]. A greatly inferior exposure, The Mystery of Free‑Masonry, had been on sale in London under various titles, since August 1730. Prichard's work was infinitely better and he probably decided to use the Oath as a plain piece of salesmanship, guaranteeing the quality of his own publication. It was sworn, before a magistrate, Sir Richard Hopkins, an Alderman of the Lime Street Ward of the City of London, on 13 October 1730.

 

It seems that pirated versions, under the same title, had begun to appear immediately after Prichard's first edition came out on 20 October, and he altered the 23 October advertisement for his second edition, by inserting a note which referred to the Oath (or Affidavit): NI3 There is prefixed to this Account, a True Copy of the Affidavit made before Sir Richard Hopkins, of its Truth and Genuineness in every Particular, without which all other accounts are spurious and gross Impositions on the Publick ...

 

THE DEDICATION: (pp III, IV]. This was addressed to the Fraternity itself, in polite and respectful terms, but when read in conjunction with the `Author's Vindication of himself' at the end of the work, the dedication appears to be tinged with irony.

 

Masonry Dissected: pp 5‑8. In this section, Prichard compared `the original Institution of Masonry' with the `Accepted Masonry' of his own day. He began with a very brief precis of the story of the Craft, as told (with many variations) in practically every version of the Old Charges or MS. Constitutions. He mentioned `the Liberal Arts and * ibid. p 54.

 

SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED', 1730111 Sciences; but more especially . . . Geometry' and traced the transmission of `the Art and Mystery of Masonry' from `the Building of the Tower of Babel', through Euclid, who communicated it to Hiram, the Master‑Mason concern'd in the Building of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, where was an excellent and curious Mason that was the chief under their Grand‑Master Hiram, whose Name was Mannon Grecus, who taught the Art of Masonry to one Carolos Marcil in France, who was afterwards elected King of France....

 

Omitting many details, but still following the Old Charges in outline, Prichard noted that the Craft was brought from France and became established in England, where `Masons were made in the Manner following': Tunc unus ex Senioribus teneat Librurn, cut illi vel ille ponant vel ponat Manus supra Librum; tum Praecepta debeant legi, ie Whilst one of the Seniors holdeth the Book, that he or they put their Hands upon the Book, whilst the Master ought to read the Laws or Charges.

 

It is obvious that Prichard was well acquainted with one or more versions of the Old Charges, although he did not name specific texts; but he did leave several clues, and the search is rewarding, because it produces valuable evidence of his status as a student of Freemasonry.

 

THE OLD CHARGES IN PRICHARD'S DAY Some 130 versions of the Old Charges have survived to this day, ranging in date from c1390 right through to the mid‑eighteenth century. Several of them are copies of earlier versions, but all of them ‑ even the early copies ‑ are rare and valuable manuscripts. Modern students are fortunate, because most of them have been reproduced in print during the past hundred years or more, so that their contents are readily accessible nowadays.

 

In Prichard's day, however, the majority of them would have been stored in private libraries, or in antiquarian collections, out of reach of the public, and their existence in most cases was unknown. There was, nevertheless, a great interest among Masonic leaders in these old documents which purported to recount the history of the Craft since Bible times, together with the Charges or Regulations by which the masons were governed. In the `historical' section of Anderson's Book of Constitutions, 1738, (p 110) he recorded, for 24 June 1718: 112HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY George Payne Esq: Grand Master . . . desired any Brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old Writings and Records concerning Masons and Masonry in order to shew the Usages of antient Times: And this Year several old Copies of the Gothic Constitutions were produced and collated.

 

On 24 June 1720, at the beginning of Payne's second term as Grand Master, Anderson noted that: This Year, at some private Lodges, several very valuable Manuscripts (for they had nothing yet in Print) concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets, and Usages . . . were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous Brothers, that those Papers might not fall into strange Hands. (ibid. p 111) At the Grand Festival in June 1721, Payne exhibited the Cooke MS, c1410 (now acknowledged as the second oldest version of the Old Charges).

 

Anderson had said, correctly, that `they had nothing yet in Print' (in 1720), but this was partially remedied in the next few years. In 1722, a version of the Old Constitutions was `Printed, and Sold by J. Roberts, in Warwick Lane' [London].

 

In 1724, and again in 1725, another pamphlet was `Printed for Sam. Briscoe, at the Bell‑Savage, on Ludgate‑Hill', and came on sale there and at three other places in London. It is now known as the Briscoe pamphlet, and contains a varied collection of Masonic odds‑and‑ends including a version of the Old Charges.

 

In 1728‑29 Benjamin Cole published another version, in book form; it was printed from engraved plates in three different states and the first `edition' may have appeared a year or two before 1728. These three versions are the only texts known to have been in print at the time when Prichard was preparing to publish his exposure. In addition there were a number of copies of several versions, most of them made by William Reid, who was Grand Secretary from 1727‑34. He was responsible for three texts, now known as the Fisher MS, c1726; Songhurst MS, c1726; and the Spencer MS, 1726, all three being virtually identical. Two years later, he produced another version, the Woodford MS, 1728, which was a copy of the Cooke MS of c1410.

 

One more text must be added to this list, because it is of special interest, ie the Bolt‑Coleraine MS, dated 1728, which will be discussed more fully, below.

 

SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED', 1730113 This completes the list of all the print and manuscript versions of the Old Charges that could have been readily accessible to Prichard in the years before he published his Masonry Dissected. He may, indeed, have had access to other versions, but that is extremely doubtful because ‑ had they been available ‑ there would almost certainly have been some record of their being copied, as was the case with the Cooke MS and Songhurst, Spencer, Fisher and BoltColeraine MSS.

 

THE THREE CLUES We may return now to the three clues which Prichard left; they consist of the two names, `Mannon Grecus' and `Carolos Marcil', with the Latin instruction `Tune unus ex Senioribus . . .' Among the 130 surviving versions of the Old Charges, there are many which lack all three items. Some contain one or both names in a fantastic variety of spellings", but they omit the Latin instruction; others contain that instruction in English. Only a small proportion contain all three items, ie two names with the Latin text, but their spellings differ widely from Prichard's clues. The following extracts, all earlier than 1730, may serve as illustrations, from versions that contain all three 'clues'.

 

Prichard's words,Latin text for comparisonMANNON GRFCUSCAROLOS MARC‑11‑(see p. 111 Thorp MS, 1629.NAymUs GREI=USCHARLES MART1LLabove) Spellings A QC, Vol 11,differ pp 209/210 Beaumont MS, 1690MANION GRFCUSCARALUS MARCHILLSpellings Yorkshire Olddiffer Charges, pp 76/8 By Poole & Worts Bain MS, 1670‑1680[Bi.ANK[ GROFCUSCHARLES MARFELLSpellings A QC, Vol 20,differ pp 260, 263. * The first name. 'Mannon Greens' appears in versions ranging from 'Naynms Greens' to 'minus Greenatus. alias Green'. The second name 'Carolos Marcil appears in versions ranging from Carolus Martyll' to 'Charles Marshall'.

 

114HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Drinkwater MS, No 1. c.1710MANNON GRALCUMCAROLUS MARTYLLWords Trans. Manchesterdiffer Assn. for Mas.

 

Research, Vol XV It is doubtful if Prichard had access to any of these texts, but even if he had, it is clear that none of them could have been his source for those names, or for the Latin instruction.

 

The manuscript and printed versions of the Old Charges that are known to have been accessible to Prichard before 1730 are equally unhelpful except in one case. As regards the three clues, for which we are searching, they exhibit wide variations of detail, eg the Spencer, Songhurst, and Fisher MSS, and the Cole engraved versions have neither the two names nor the Latin instruction. The Cooke MS of c1410 (and the Woodford MS, which was a copy made in 1728) have only one of the names, given as `Carolus Secundus', but they lack the Latin passage. The Briscoe print of 1724 gives both names `Nainus Groecus' and `Charles Marcil', but again the Latin instruction is omitted. The Roberts print, of 1722, has both names, with the Latin instruction, but none of the three items matches Prichard's clues, ie Roberts, 1722. Masonry Dissected, 1730.

 

Memongrecus: Carolus Martel Marmon Grecus: Carolos Marcil and for the Latin passage: Roberts, 1722 Prichard, 1730 Tunc Unus ex Senioribus veniat librum illi qui Injurandum reddat & ponat Manum in Libro vel supra librum duet Articulus & Precepta sibi legentur.

 

Tnnc unus ex Senioribus teneat Librum, ut illi vel ille ponant vel ponat Manus supra Librum; tum Praecepta debeant legi.

 

After much searching, there is only one version of the `Old Charges' that contains all three of Prichard's clues and that can be proved to have been in circulation at the time when Prichard was preparing his material. It is the Bolt‑Coleraine MS, dated 1728, and is believed to have been copied by one, William Askew, from an original now lost. This text of 1728 was in a small book of forty‑three SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED', 1730 pages, with an inscription which suggests that it was commissioned by Lord Coleraine, or prepared for presentation to him, at the time when he was Grand Master in 1727/8. The inscription runs: The Constitutions of the Right Hon hl and Worshipfull Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons A. M.5728 A. D.1728 The Rt. Honble Henry Lord Colerane Baron of Colerane in the Kingdom of Ireland Grand Master Odi Profanum (The Latin is from Horace, Odes III, 1. I. and means `I hate the uninitiate crowd . . .'). The book was in the possession of the Bristol Masonic Society until 1941, when it was destroyed by enemy action. Fortunately a transcript survived and that was reproduced in full in Gould's History of Freemasonry (Poole's edition, 1951, Vol I pp 25‑29).

 

As to Prichard's name clues, those in Bolt‑Coleraine are almost, but not quite identical: Prichard, 1730Mannon GrecusICarolos Marcil Bolt‑Coleraine, 1728Mannon GrecusCarolus Marcill As to the Latin instruction, in all except the spelling of one word, the two versions are word‑for‑word identical: Prichard's Masonry Dissected 1730 Tune unus ex Senioribus teneat Librum, ut illi vel ille ponant vel ponat Manus supra Librum: turn Praecepta debeant legi.

 

The Bolt‑Coleraine MS., 1728 (From the Bristol Transcript) Tunc Unus Ex Senioribus teneat Librum ut illi vel illem ponant vel ponat manus supra Librum Turn praecepta debeant Legi.

 

Because of the destruction of the 1728 copy of the Bolt‑Coleraine MS, in 1941, Bro Poole was unable to vouch for the accuracy of the Bristol transcript, which was the basis of his reproduction in 1951, 116IIARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY and this may perhaps explain the minute differences that appear in the two versions under discussion. But there is another explanation that may be far more satisfying.

 

All the manuscript versions of the Old Charges that can be proved to have been accessible to Prichard in 1730 were in some way connected with the Grand Lodge itself, or with Lord Coleraine, Grand Master in 1727‑28. The Spencer MS 1726, the Songhurst and Fisher MSS, c1726, were all copied by William Reid, who was Grand Secretary from 1727‑33. The Woodford MS (a copy of the Cooke MS, of c1410), was copied by him in 1728, and it contains an inscription headed `L`' Coleraine ‑ Gr" Master'. The Bolt‑Coleraine MS was also copied in 1728, by order of Lord Coleraine, or for his ultimate use.

 

At this period, two years before Prichard's Masonry Dissected was condemned by the Grand Lodge, Prichard obviously had access to the 1728 copy of the Old Charges which eventually became known as the Bolt‑Coleraine MS; but in that case, it is more probable that he had access to the original text from which that copy was made, and that his three clues were extracted from that version which is now lost. All this suggests that Prichard was in touch with William Reid, the Grand Secretary, and perhaps with Lord Coleraine as well.

 

Immediately following the Latin instruction, Prichard printed a very adequate English translation (which was not in the BoltColeraine MS) and this shows that he had, at the very least, a useful working knowledge of Latin.

 

The results of this somewhat involved examination of the sources of Prichard's clues show him to have been a man of some education, a student of the early documents of the Craft, with access to one or more texts of the Old Charges which were in the custody of the Grand Lodge, or of some of its senior officers; and this implies that in the years preceding the publication of Masonry Dissected, he had been a respectable member of a regular Lodge.

 

We shall see, moreover, when we examine the text of Prichard's three degrees, that he must have had a useful working knowledge of the ritual and usages of that time. Anderson recorded the destruction, in 1720, of `several very valuable Manuscripts . . . concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, . . . Secrets and Usages' and we have no means of knowing if Prichard had had access to those or to similar documents. But when we observe how vastly superior his work was to SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED', 1730 any of the early documents that have survived, and how much of his work can be directly linked with the earlier texts, it is obvious that he was much more than an average student of the Craft, its ritual and procedures.

 

ACCEPTED MASONRY: (pp 6‑7) Prichard continued his introductory remarks with a note on the Accepted Masonry of his own day: ... Accepted Masonry (as it now is) has not been heard of till within these few Years; no Constituted Lodges or Quarterly Communications were heard of till 1691, when Lords and Dukes, Lawyers and Shopkeepers, and other inferior Tradesmen, Porters not excepted, were admitted into this Mystery or no Mystery; It would have been difficult for Prichard to give a precise date for the rise of `Accepted Masonry', but there are records of the `Accepcon' in the London Masons Company from 1621 onwards, and Plot, in his Natural History of Staffordshire, had written in 1686 that `persons of the most eminent quality . . . did not disdain to be of this Fellowship', and that he had found it `spread more or less all over the Nation'.

 

Prichard's date, 1691, for the beginning of Quarterly Communications, would be beyond proof nowadays; there is no evidence to support the existence of any such established organisation in 1691.

 

Prichard's division of the classes of men who were joining the Craft, reflected the social distinctions of his own era: the first sort [Lords and Dukes] being introduc'd at a very great Expence, the second sort [Lawyers and Shopkeepers] at a moderate Rate, and the latter [inferior Tradesmen, Porters not excepted] for the Expence of six or seven Shillings, for which they receive that Badge of Honour, which (as they term it) is more ancient and more honourable than is the Star and Garter, which Antiquity is accounted, according to the Rules of Masonry, as delivered by their Tradition, ever since Adam, which I shall leave the candid Reader to determine.

 

This appears to be the earliest comparison of the Apron with the `Star and Garter', in words which have survived some 250 years as part of the Masonic ritual in English Lodges all over the world. This note on the Apron as a Badge of Honour is particularly interesting because there is no mention of the Apron in the text of Prichard's 118HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY exposure, showing ‑ on his own admission ‑ that his text is incomplete.

 

The reference to 'their Tradition, ever since Adam' is a gentle jibe at the opening words of the historical section of Anderson's first Book of Constitutions, 1723: Adam, our first Parent, . . . must have had the Liberal Sciences, particularly GeornetrY, written on his Heart: . . .

 

Prichard's introductory chapter continued with brief references to some of the mock‑Masonic societies of the 1730s, and the final paragraph consisted of a complaint that a Brother, having to withdraw from the Craft because of the `Quarterly Expenses' would be denied the Privilege (as a Visiting Brother) of knowing the Mystery for which he has already paid, which is a manifest Contradiction according to the Institution of Masonry itself . . .

 

The tone of this passage seems to suggest that Prichard was perhaps writing about himself as a sufferer under this rule. He cited another example of `loss of visiting privileges' in the `Vindication', which formed the final chapter of his book.

 

THE AUTHOR'S VINDICATION OF HIMSELF . . . pp 30, 31; The contents of this brief section are not at all in keeping with its pompous but promising title, The Author's Vindication of himself from the prejudiced Part of Mankind'. By way of vindication, the only reason he could find, to justify him in the breach of his Masonic oath, was that the Obligation had already been published: ... the grand Article, viz., the Obligation, has several Times been printed in the publick Papers, but is entirely genuine in the Daily Journal of Saturday, Aug. 22. 1730. which agrees in its Veracity with that deliver'd in this Pamphlet; and consequently when the Obligation of Secrecy is abrogated, the aforesaid Secret becomes of no Effect, and must be quite extinct; It had indeed been published under the title `The Mystery of Freemasonry', in the Daily Journal of 15 August, 1730 (and in several broadsides under various titles); but even if all these had been correct in every particular, their appearance in print could not have released or absolved him of his own oath. (Incidentally, the text in the Daily SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730119 Journal was vastly inferior to Prichard's version.) At this point, and with total irrelevance to his supposed vindication of himself, Prichard entered on a new theme, telling the story of some Masons* who made a Visitation from the first and oldest constituted Lodge (. . . in London) to a noted Lodge in this City, and was denied Admittance, because their old Lodge was removed to another House, which, . . . . . requires another Constitution, at no less Expence than two Guineas, with an elegant Entertainment, under the Denomination of being put to charitable Uses. . . .

 

He expressed serious doubts as to whether these costs would really be applied to the charitable uses for which such funds were intended, believing that they would `be expended towards the forming another System of Masonry, the old Fabrick being so ruinous, . . .' There is no record of this incident in the Grand Lodge Minutes; and there was no rule in the 1723 Book of Constitutions that would have justified a fee for a new Constitution in this case, unless the Brethren who were `denied Admittance' had actually withdrawn or separated themselves from their original Lodge, in which case Reg. VIII would have applied.

 

The story, if it were true, might well have influenced Prichard's views on the Masonry of his day and, doubtless, he recounted it as an additional excuse for his defection. His comments on the `ruinous' condition of the `Fabrick' of Masonry seem to reflect the resistance to change which must have been generated fairly widely during that era of major changes in the government of the Craft, while the young Grand Lodge was beginning to acquire control over old and new Lodges in London and the Provinces.

 

In the Records of the Lodge of Antiquity No 2 (Original No 1) pp 35/6, our late Bro W. H. Rylands identified the `first and oldest constituted Lodge . . . in London' as a reference to Original No 1 and examining Prichard's tirade, he came to the conclusion that the whole attack is directed not against Masonry in general, but against the new Fashions which threatened the "old Fabrick".

 

The final paragraph of Prichard's `Vindication' claimed that he was * He described them as `Operative Masons (but according to the polite Way of Expression, Accepted Masons)'.

 

120HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY induced to publish his exposure `at the Request of several Masons' and he expressed the hope that it would give entire Satisfaction, and have its desired Effect in preventing so many credulous Persons being drawn into so pernicious a Society.

 

Whether he was actually persuaded, by Masons, to undertake the publication is open to doubt and need not be taken seriously. The sting in the Vindication is contained in his opening and closing words: Of all the Impositions that have appear'd amongst Mankind, none are so ridiculous as the Mystery of Masonry . . . . . . . . so pernicious a Society.

 

These are the only passages in the whole book that are tinged with real animosity. They suggest that the exposure was not published merely as a protest against changes or innovations. Something had embittered him against the Craft and that is the final detail in the portrait of Prichard that we have tried to reconstruct from the evidence that he left for us. He had been a member of a regular Lodge, had read Anderson's Book of Constitutions and was a student of the history of the Craft. He was probably well known to senior officers of the Grand Lodge and certainly had free access to documents in which they were deeply interested. Soon after the Bolt‑Coleraine MS had been copied, in 1728, an incident had occurred ‑ trivial or serious, we do not know ‑ but it turned him against the Craft, and he betrayed his Obligation.

 

MASONIC CATECHISMS AND EXPOSURES* Until the late 1600s the only evidence we have on Masonic ritual consists of several versions of the masons' Obligation (in the Old Charges) with occasional notes describing how it was administered (as in the Latin instruction quoted on p 111, above). The earliest versions are simple oaths of fidelity to the King, the trade, and the Master, without any reference to esoteric matters, or penalties. Some of the later versions contain references to secrets, but without details.

 

For students of the evolution of Masonic ritual, the following works are particularly recommended: 'Masonic Ritual and Secrets before 1717' by the Rev Herbert Poole, AQC, 37, pp 4‑43; The Early Masonic Catechisms, by Knoop. Jones and Hamer, which contains transcripts of all the texts up to c1740, with a valuable introduction (2nd edn, pub]. by the QC Lodge); 'An Examination of the Early Masonic Catechisms'. by H. Carr, in AQC, Vols 83. 84 and 85. in which the contents of the earlier texts arc compared with Masonrv Dissected; The Genesis of Freemasonry. pp 204‑293, by Douglas Knoop and G. P. Jones. A less detailed sketch, covering developments up to c1813, 600 Years of Craft Ritual, by H. Carr. may also prove useful.

 

SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730 The Harleian MS, No 2054, c1650, contains a form of the Masons' obligation which speaks of `sev'all [ie several] words & signs of a free Mason', plural, implying secret modes of recognition for more than one degree, and indicating that the ceremonies were beginning to take on their modern shape, ie an obligation and `entrusting'; but the text gives no other details. From 1598 onwards, there are Scottish Lodge minutes which prove the existence of two degrees, the first for the Entered Apprentice, and the second for the `Master or Fellow‑craft', but they give no information as to the contents of those ceremonies.

 

Today, there are altogether seventeen Masonic documents that comprise the whole of the surviving evidence on the ritual up to 1730. Seven of these were printed in newspapers, or as broadsides or pamphlets, and all seven were published from motives of curiosity, profit, or spite; hence their general classification as `Exposures'.

 

The remaining ten documents are manuscripts, mainly in the form of Question and Answer, occasionally with the addition of notes on various Masonic matters. At least three of these texts (discovered respectively in 1904, 1930 and 1954) were undoubtedly copied out carefully by hand in order to serve as aides‑memoires to the ceremonies and they are particularly valuable on that account. All these hand‑written texts were obviously prepared for personal use and they are usually described under the more respectable heading of `Catechisms'.

 

The senior Grand Lodges (England, Ireland and Scotland) have never issued any official Rituals or Monitors, so that there are no authoritative documents that would provide a proper starting‑point for studies on the evolution and development of early Masonic ritual. It is this total absence of officially authorised material that has invested the Catechisms and Exposures with a degree of importance far beyond the interest they would otherwise have merited. Because all such documents ‑ whether hand‑written or printed ‑ were compiled in violation of the Mason's oath, they were collectively deemed to be of dubious origin and therefore suspect; and no matter how interesting their contents might be, they were considered unworthy of serious study. In effect, the more they revealed, the less they were to be trusted, unless it could be proved that the rituals and procedures which they described were linked in some way with the actual Lodge practice of their time. That kind of proof was not easy to 122HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY come by, but it did come ‑'in stages ‑ during a period of some thirty years. The story may seem irrelevant here, but it is not possible to make a fair assessment of Prichard's work without knowing how the cloud of mistrust that rested on all such documents was finally removed. It begins with a fragment of ritual, dated 1702, on the opening page of an old Scottish minute book.

 

THE `HAUGHFOOT FRAGMENT' In 1702, a little group of gentlemen, all Masons, decided to found a Lodge in the village of Haughfoot, some twenty miles S.E. of Edinburgh. Two of them, Sir John Hoppringle of that Ilk and his younger brother, Sir James Pringle, were notable landowners in that district. Another founder, Andrew Thomson, probably a lawyer, was due to become their `Boxmaster' and he served in that office, ie as Treasurer, combining it with the duties of Secretary. He was ordered to buy a minute‑book, for which he was reimbursed in due course `ffourteen shillings Scotts'.

 

The minute book survives to this day as one of the treasures of the ancient Lodge of Selkirk, now No 32, S.C. Its contents begin, in the middle of a sentence, at the top of page 11, the preceding ten pages having been lost or destroyed. As far as we can reconstruct the story, it seems that Thomson began his records with details of the preliminaries before the foundation of the Lodge, and then continued with what must have been a complete copy, or a pr6cis, of the two‑degree ritual of that time. When this was finished, he had filled the first ten pages, and the last five lines of ritual were at the top of page 11, leaving three‑quarters of the page blank. But his native Scottish thrift would not allow him to waste that page and, immediately after the end of his ritual text, he added a heading: `The same day' and continued with the minutes of the meeting held on 22 December 1702, apparently the first `working' meeting at which six `Intrants ... were duely and orderly admitted apprentice and ffellow Craft'.

 

The minutes were beautifully kept throughout the next sixty‑one years, but the Lodge disappeared in 1763, probably being swallowed up by some of its more powerful neighbours. At some stage in its history ‑ we do not know when ‑ the minute‑book must have fallen SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED', 1730 123 into the hands of a zealous busy‑body, who was so horrified at finding the ritual copied out into its opening pages that he tore out the first ten. He was constrained to leave the last fragment of ritual on page 11 intact, doubtless because that page contained the earliest minutes of the lodge. Hence, the 'Haughfoot fragment', just twenty‑nine words of ritual‑procedure, preserved since 1702 in the minute‑book of a small but very respectable Lodge. They begin in the middle of a sentence: of Entrie as the apprentice did Leaving our (The Common Judge.) Then they whisper the word as befor ‑ and the master mason grips his hand after the ordinary way.

 

The `fragment' with its uninformative references to a whispered word, and a grip given by the `master mason' did not attract serious attention from scholars because the main body of the text was missing and the surviving words, the `fragment', could not be matched to any other known text. It was left, so‑to‑speak, in mid‑air, simply because there were no means of ascertaining its real significance.

 

STAGES IN THE EVALUATION OF THE CATECHISMS AND EXPOSURES The first hesitant step towards a proper evaluation of the Catechisms and Exposures was taken in 1904, when Bro W. J. Hughan, a notable scholar and founder of the QC Lodge, compiled a brief note (in A QC Vol 17, pp 91/2) on a newly‑discovered manuscript that he had just acquired for the Grand Lodge of Ireland. It is now known as The Chetwode Crawley MS, c1700, and is reproduced in EMC, 2nd edn, pp 35‑38. The text is headed THE GRAND SECRETOR THE FORME OF GIVING THE MASON‑WORD and it describes, in narrative form, the ritual and procedure of the two admission ceremonies of its day. Its contents are of high importance in our present study and they may be summarised briefly, as follows: FOR THF ENTFRED‑APPRENTICE. The candidate was put 'upon his knees: And after a great many Ceremonies, to frighten him', he took up the Bible and repeated the Oath. He was then 'removed out of the Company with 124HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY the youngest Mason;' There, he endured further horseplay. Then, still outside the Lodge, he was taught 'the manner of making Guard, which is the Sign, Word & Postures of his Entry'.

 

He returned to the Lodge, made the [E.A.] Sign, recited the 'Words of Entry' and made the Sign again. Then, the 'word' was passed by 'the youngest mason' in a whisper to his neighbour who passed it on similarly, and so on all round the Lodge, until it came to the Master. who whispered it to the candidate. (There is a note indicating that the E.A. had two Pillar‑words). After this there was a Catechism of sixteen Questions and Answers, and that was all.

 

FOR THE `MASrcR‑MASOn OR Fra_LOw‑CRAFT. All Apprentices were removed '. . . non Suffered to stay, but only Mason Masters' and there was no horseplay. The candidate had the same `Oath administered . . . anew'. He was taken out by 'the youngest Master to learn the words & Signs of ffellowship'. Returning, he gave `the Master‑Sign' [not described] and 'the Same words of Entry as the prentice did, only leaving out the Common Judge', i.e. those three words, which were in the E.A. greeting. Then `the Masons whisper the word . . . as formerly', i.e., the 'word' was passed by the youngest Master in a 'rotational whisper', until it reached the Master. The candidate placed himself in a posture, for what was subsequently described as Wive . . . Points of (fellow‑ship', and he gave a whispered greeting to the Brethren. 'Then the Master Mason gives him the word & grips his hand, and afterwards, all the Masons, which is all to be done to make a perfect Mason'. Associated with this ceremony was a Catechism of only four test Questions and Answers, and that was all for the `Master‑Mason or ffellow‑Craft'.

 

In his notes on 'The Chetwode Crawley MS, Bro Hughan, after having compared it with all the early Exposures and Catechisms that were known in his day, observed that 'the Common Gudge' [sic] had been cited as part of the equipment of 'a just and perfect Lodge' in two printed Exposures, A Mason's Examination, 1723, and The Mystery of Free‑Masonry, 1730. To his credit, he was the first to notice the close similarity between the 'Haughfoot fragment' and the comparable section of the Chetwode‑Crawley MS (ie the words shown in italics in the above summary) but for reasons unknown, probably excessive caution, he dated the newly‑found text as 'about the year 1730, or slightly earlier'. Nevertheless, he accorded it a substantial degree of respectability when he wrote that the distinctive features in Chetwode‑Crawley SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED', 173012,5 suggest to my mind that it represents a more or less accurate account of the Ceremonies of the period, written by a brother, who took this plan to assist his memory, and who himself had been Admitted as an "Apprentice and Master Mason, or ffellow‑Craft" accordingly.

 

This was a bold admission in 1904, but it was clear that Bro Hughan's caution, in dating the text c1730, had misled him as to the true significance of the obvious relationship between the 'Haughfoot fragment' and the Chetwode Crawley MS.

 

In 1924, Bro Herbert Poole, in his 'Masonic Ritual and Secrets before 1717' (AQC, 37 p 7) discussed the same question and concluded that . . . the latter [i.e. the Chetwode‑Crawlev MS] though it may have been copied as late as 1730, must be regarded as a faithful description of a ceremony which was worked at the very beginning of the eighteenth century.

 

This was proper recognition at last, not merely of the CCMS for itself, but of the authentication which it gained from the 'fragment' of ritual in the minute book of the Haughfoot Lodge.

 

Bro Poole's conclusions were completely justified in 1930 on the discovery of a sister text to the CCMS, now known as the Edinburgh Register House MS, (because it was found in the Public Record Office of Edinburgh). It bore an endorsement 'Some Questiones Anent the mason word 1696' and that date 1696, after strict examination, is accepted by the experts. The two texts differ in many respects, eg in spelling, phrasing, and in the 'catechism‑narrative' sequence of the Edinburgh text, which is the reverse of that in the CCMS. In spite of these minor differences, there is no doubt that they are descended from a common original, and they certainly describe the same two ceremonies.

 

In 1954, a third version was discovered, now known as the Kevan MS, c1714, and this ‑ because of the omission of several words and phrases ‑ is clearly a defective text. Yet, there is no doubt that all three describe the same general procedure. Their differences, indeed, are helpful, because it is obvious that they were not copied from each other, implying ‑ so long as they can be authenticated ‑ that they represent lodge working over a fairly wide area in the south of Scotland. The authentication comes from the 'Haughfoot fragment' 126HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY which is clearly a precis of the corresponding passages in all three texts.

 

One major benefit that arises from these documents, as soon as they are recognised as respectable versions of the ritual of their day, is that they provide, collectively, a firm basis for furtherstudies and for testing the validity of some of the later texts; but it must be emphasised that the three sister‑texts, now often described as the 'Edinburgh group', represent only Scottish practice.

 

The English Masonic ceremonies, so far as may be judged from surviving evidence, were largely based on the Old Charges or MS Constitutions. In their early form they consisted of an invocation or opening prayer; a reading of some part of the `history' of the Craft; a recital of the 'Charges' or regulations; an obligation of fidelity, taken ,upon the book' (as indicated in several versions of the 'Latin instruction' quoted on p 111 above). Originally that was all; but in the seventeenth century, when we find versions of the Old Charges that contain references to 'secrets', and to several 'words & signs' etc, it is obvious that the ceremonies had been expanded to include some form of 'entrusting'. At this stage, the English ceremonies were already beginning to resemble the Scottish forms.

 

It would not be practicable, here, to make a prolonged study of how the practices of the two countries became merged. Gradually, the ritualistic influence of the Old Charges or MS Constitutions declined; but there is no doubt that . . . both types of operative ceremony, the one depicted in the MS Constitutions, and the one depicted in the MS Catechisms, have undoubtedly contributed to the development of present‑day working, and justify us in saying that the existing working has not a single, but a twofold origin.* It is only necessary to stress that so far as the Catechisms and Exposures are concerned, the best of the English texts (when they begin to appear from c1700 onwards) are in harmony with their Scottish counterparts. Generally, they complement each other, and often, a document, in one group, furnishes details that are lacking in the other. In this way, the sixteen texts that preceded Prichard's work supply a valuable body of evidence to show the sources of much of the material in Masonry Dissected.

 

" The Genesis of F'reeinasonrv. bv Knoop and Jones, M'tcr. Univ. Press, 1947 p 217.

 

SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730 127 MASONRY DISSECTED ‑ THE TEXT OF THE EXPOSURE There is a peculiar fascination attaching to the study of the text of Prichard's exposure, not only because it was the first publication that claimed to describe a system of three degrees, but also because of the variety of the problems that are involved. The work, as a whole, was unlike any of the earlier documents of its kind, both in its general structure and in the manner in which its parts are presented. Much of Prichard's material was already in existence, but some very important sections had never appeared in manuscript or in print; yet, there is good reason to believe that he did not invent those novelties, but had simply collected and arranged them.

 

In their Introduction to the Early Masonic Catechisms (pp 11‑13 and 18‑19) the authors, discussing the early documents up to c1740, were able to find textual affinities that might have formed a basis for classifying them in four separate groups, with Prichard's Masonry Dissected as the first of a fifth grouping; but this left them with six highly individualistic texts which did not bear `a close affinity to any other known document' and they were forced to conclude that `there is not sufficient material available to formulate a satisfactory classification'. There is nevertheless, good reason to believe that these groups represent separate streams of ritual.

 

Masonry Dissected, no matter how well it deserved to be placed at the head of a separate group, might well have been included with the six that could not be classified. It was not only the longest and most comprehensive document of its kind, but it also contained items that were more‑or‑less closely connected with most of the earlier texts. This suggests that it did not necessarily represent the working of a particular lodge, but may have been a composite of several different workings, a distinct possibility, since there was no official control of the ritual or procedures.

 

Generally, Prichard produced his text for each of the three degrees in the form of a catechism, or a `Question and Answer Lecture', which took place, presumably, after a candidate had passed that particular degree, ie the catechism was not a ceremony in itself, but an exercise in the explanation and interpretation of the ritual and procedure relevant to a particular degree.

 

There were certainly some omissions. Prichard made no mention of a `Prayer', or of any kind of `Charge to a newly admitted Brother': it may be that these were not customary in Prichard's Lodges. But his 128HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY ritual text also omitted all reference to the Apron, though he mentioned the `Badge of Honour' and actually quoted some of the words which accompanied the investiture. These are minor blemishes, however, and they do not seriously detract from the interest or the value of the work as a whole.

 

The Questions in Prichard's catechism fall readily into three groups: 1. Test questions which were doubtless used prior to the admission of an unknown visitor to a lodge, but which were also designed for test purposes, outside, or away from, the lodge.

 

2. Questions relating to the actual ceremonies and depicting the preparation of the candidates, and floorwork or procedure inside the lodge.

 

3. Questions relating to Lodges and Masonry generally, eg the `Form of the Lodge', its jewels, lights, furniture, the composition of a Lodge, the situation and duties of its officers, principles, modes of recognition etc, etc. This group also included much new material of an explanatory or mildly symbolical nature.

 

The new explanatory material marked an important stage in the expansion of the catechisms. The Edinburgh Register House MS, 1696, contained brief narrative descriptions of the EA and FC ceremonies, but it had only fifteen Questions and Answers for the EA, and two for the `Master or Fellow‑craft'. From c1700 onwards, most of the documents of this class, both in manuscript and print, showed the introduction of material that had not appeared in the earlier texts. They may have represented separate streams of ritual, or the practice of particular localities; but by 1730, we find much of this material ‑ from several sources ‑ in Masonry Dissected. Prichard had ninety‑two Q & A for the EA, thirty‑two for the FC, and thirty for the `Master's Degree'. A typical example of this expansion is a question in the Sloane MS, 3329, c1700: Q. W`1' is the mast's place in the Lodge It appeared in various forms in most of the texts that followed, and by the time it was printed in Masonry Dissected, it had grown into eight questions, beginning 'Where stands your Master?', with answers covering all the officers down to the `Junior Enter'd 'Prentice', their situations, jewels and duties.

 

SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730 129 It would not be practicable here to undertake an examination of Prichard's sources for all his material.' The authenticity or trustworthiness of his work can best be checked by comparison with earlier documents of the same class. Virtually the whole of his Enter'd 'Prentice's Degree can be traced back (as in the Sloane example just quoted) to texts from 1696 onwards and the same applies to substantial parts of his FC and MM degrees. But when we find major items in Prichard's text for which there are no precedents, we can only test their reliability by seeing how much of that material was accepted and used in the best of the publications that appeared in the following decades. (These aspects of Prichard's work are discussed in the Notes that follow the Facsimile. Not published here.) For the present we are concerned with one section of his work that distinguished Masonry Dissected from all its predecessors, ie the Hiramic Legend.

 

THE FIRST HIRAMIC LEGEND ‑ SOURCES From Q 133 to the end of the catechism, the text gives us the earliest known version of the `Hiramic Legend' and (apart from one interesting procedural note to Q 149) it is all in the form of question and answer. Our study, at this stage, is only concerned with Prichard's sources.

 

The story of Hiram's part in the building of Solomon's Temple is told twice in the Old Testament (1 Kings VII and 2 Chron 11' Masonic sources for the Legend are almost non‑existent. The Old Charges, in their historical section, trace the `science' of building through a collection of early biblical characters in which Solomon and his Temple are barely mentioned, and Hiram appears usually under a pseudonym, Aynon, Aymon, etc, in numerous variations. But there is no mention of Hiram's death in the biblical accounts, nor in the commentaries, nor in any of the Old Charges. Indeed, nowhere in all of these early sources is there any trace of the various incidents which made up the story, now generally known as the Hiramic Legend, and it seems certain that Prichard's version ‑ the earliest that has come down to us ‑ was a comparatively late introduction into Craft working.

 

A detailed study of this aspect of Prichard's material will be found in AQC. 83. pp 337‑357; AQC. 84, pp 293‑307 and AQC, 85, pp 331‑348.

 

130HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY If we examine his text to ascertain its principal elements, the story divides into four main sections: 1. The Master‑mason of KST who refused to divulge the MM Word, and was slain in consequence, ie 'faithful unto death'. 2. The assassins hide the body and bury it.

 

3. Solomon orders the search and the searchers agree amongst themselves that 'if they do not find the Word in him or about him, the first Word should be the Master's Word'.

 

4. The discovery of the corpse. The 'raising' on the FPOF and the 'Funeral'.

 

In all these items there is only one 'constant' that had appeared in practically all the earlier Masonic catechisms and exposures, ie the 'Points of Fellowship'. Sixteen of these texts have survived that preceded the publication of Masonrv Dissected, many of them differing widely from each other. Yet, in spite of their differences, fourteen of them, from 1696 onwards, contain descriptions of the 'Points of Fellowship' and some five or six of them furnish their own sadly‑debased versions of the word that is supposed to have accompanied those Points.

 

There can be no doubt whatever that this part of the 'Hiramic Legend' was very strongly established in Craft usage long before Prichard's work appeared, yet in all these there is no hint of a Hiramic Legend, except in one late version, The Wilkinson MS, ('1727, which contains a curious answer to one of its questions, Without mention of the 'Points of Fellowship': Q. What is the form of your Lodge A. An Oblong Square Q. Why so A. The Manner of our Great Master Hiram's grave This tiny fragment of evidence proves nothing of any importance, but it does at least imply that 'Hiram's grave' was of some interest to the Craft at that time.

 

So, we are left, in the period 1696 to 1730, with the 'Points of Fellowship' and a Word, parts of the skeleton of a legend, and it is very difficult to believe that this is all there was. Throughout the middle ages and well into the eighteenth century, hundreds of years before the invention of radio and television, stories and legends, SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730 music and songs were the main social recreation of the people. Indeed, the Old Charges themselves, with their numerous legends concerning the supposed founders of the Craft, and others `who loved masons well and gave them their charges', suggest very strongly that there must have been a store of craftlore, not necessarily in the ritual, with which the masons entertained themselves off duty. As to the `Points of Fellowship', even at the stage when the ritual contained no hint of a legend, it is impossible to believe that any group of masons could have recited the words, or demonstrated the postures that they described, without some kind of story or legend in explanation of their origin, or meaning.

 

In our search for sources, there is one document of supreme importance, the Graham MS, 1726, which must be cited frequently in connection with other aspects of Prichard's work. That text is unique in many respects. It is headed: THE WHOLE INSTITUTIONS OF FREF MASONRY OPENED AND PROVED BY THE BEST OF TRADITION AND STILL SOME REFFRANCE TO SCRIPTURE Its compiler was probably a churchman, or at least a deeply religious Christian, and he exercised his powers of interpretation on the catechism and on many aspects of the ritual that have rarely been handled in that way. After he had finished with the catechism, which consisted largely of elected questions that lent themselves to his purpose, he completed his manuscript with a collection of legends, each of them with a kind of Masonic twist in its tail. The characters were mainly biblical and one of the legends concerns three brothers who went to their father's grave . . . for to try if they could find anything about him ffor to Lead them to the vertuable secret which this famieous preacher had . . . Now these 3 men had allready agreed that if they did not ffind the very thing it self that the first thing that they found was to be to them as a secret they not Douting but did most ffirmly be Lieve that God was able and would . . . cause what they did find for to prove as vertuable to them as if they had received the secret at ffirst from God himself . . . so came to the Grave finding nothing save the dead body all most consumed away takeing a greip at a ffinger it came away so from Joynt to Joynt so to the wrest [wrist] so to the Elbow so they R Reared up the dead body and suported it setting 132HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY ffoot to ffoot knee to knee Breast to breast Cheeck to cheeck and hand to back and cryed out help o ffather . . . so one said here is yet marow in this bone . . .

 

(E. M. C.pp. 92/3) It is hardly necessary to comment on the resemblances between this extract and the relevant portions of Prichard's `Master's Part', but it is noteworthy that here too, the searchers agreed in advance `that if they did not ffind the very thing it self the first thing that they found was to be to them as a secret'. The details of decay, which led to what Prichard called `the Slip', are very similar in both texts, though the `greips' in the Graham MS do not agree with those in Prichard's `NB note' to Q 149.

 

The major difference between the two versions is in the principal characters. In Prichard, the victim was Hiram, the builder; in the 1726 version it was Father Noah and it was his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet, who `Reared him up' by the `Points of Fellowship'.

 

We have already had occasion to refer to separate 'streams' of ritual; the Graham MS, with its Noah Legend, provides us with a 'separate stream' of legend, and we need not be surprised to find that the earliest story of a raising within a Masonic context, concerned Noah instead of Hiram. The Graham MS may have emanated from Yorkshire, and if we were fortunate enough to find similar documents from Kent or Cornwall we might expect to find the same legend, with still different characters.

 

The Graham MS contains another collection of legends, one of which seems (to the present writer at least) to have considerable bearing on our search. It concerns another architect in the Old Testament who achieved great fame by his works. At last, being near to death, ... he disired to be buried in the valet' of Jehosephate and have cutte over him according to his diserveing [i.e. an appropriate epitaph on his tombstone] which was performed ..... and this was cutte as followsHere Lys the flowr of masonry Superior of many other Companion to a King and to two princes a brother Here Lys the heart all secrets could conceall Here lys the tongue that never did reveal‑ SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 17311 133 now after his death the inhabitance there about did think that the secrets of masonry had been totally Lost . . . . (EMC pp 93/4) Had this been an epitaph for HA it could not have been more apt, especially 'the tongue that never did reveal', but the hero, in this case, was Bezaleel, architect of the Tabernacle and designer of the Temple equipment and furnishings. The relationship of this legend to the 'faithful unto death' theme in Prichard's Hiramic legend is neither so clear nor so close as in the Noah legend: yet its very existence is sufficient to show that such legends were current in craft‑lore, ready to be adapted and embodied in the ritual by those who were interested in expanding it for Speculative use.

 

There is good reason to believe that the compiler of the Graham MS was not the inventor of the legends. In his catechism he only provided the religious interpretation of traditional materials, and that was almost certainly the case in his Noah legend. The date of his manuscript, 1726, is no real guide to the age of the Noah and Bezaleel stories. If Hiram the builder had been the principal character in those stories, we would be unable to date them much earlier than Prichard's Hiramic legend, which may be assumed to represent practice in the London area. The fact that the Graham legends deal with different characters and exhibit other textual differences as well, shows that they represent `separate streams' of legend, and that implies a greater antiquity and a more widespread usage.

 

One more document, a newspaper advertisement dated 1726, may be cited here as evidence that many times in Prichard's work, including several phrases relevant to the Hiramic Legend, were well known to Masons some years before Masonry Dissected was published. It was found in a collection of newspaper‑cuttings in the Grand Lodge Library. The name of the journal is unknown, but internal evidence in the text confirms the date, 1726. The advertisement is headed 'Antediluvian Masonry'.

 

The whole piece is a jibe against Dr John Theophilus Desaguliers, who was Grand Master in 1719, for innovations he is supposed to have introduced into the Craft, and it was apparently written by someone well informed on contemporary ritual and practice. The following brief extracts are selected only because of their relevance in the study of Prichard's Hiramic Legend: 134HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY . . . There will likewise be a Lecture giving a particular Description of the Temple of Solomon . . . with the whole History of the Widow's Son killed by the Blow of a Beetle, afterwards found three Foot East. three Foot West, and three Foot perpendicular, and the necessity there is for a Master to well understand the Rule of Three.

 

Later, there are references, inter alia, to . . . oblong‑Squares. cassia, and mossy Graves . . .

 

and the piece is signed By Order of the Fraternity Lewis Gilbin, M.B.N.

 

(AQC, 23, pp 325‑6) Returning now to the emergence of the Hiramic Legend, we have proof of the existence of the two‑degree system from 1598 onwards. In 1696, we have proof of the `Points of Fellowship' together with the 'Word' as the core of the second degree in that system, and there is reasonable probability that they may have been there in 1598 if not earlier. Jointly, those `Points' with the `Word' were the prime elements among the materials which subsequently became the legend of the third degree. Until Masonry Dissected was published in 1730, one or both of those elements had appeared in most of the earlier ritual documents, English as well as Scottish, always without explanation. Yet, the curious details of the `Points' and the nature of the `Word' that accompanied them, compel us to accept that there must have been a legend of some sort, within the Craft‑lore of those days, that would explain their origin and meaning. Indeed, to those who witnessed them, the actual movements in the `Points' must have been ‑ in themselves ‑ a useful reminder of the legend from which they were derived.

 

The absence of documentary proof, makes it impossible to determine when the legend or its elements first came into Craft usage. But when we consider the 1590s as a possible date for the `Points' and `Word', the variety of detail in the Noah and Bezaleel legends in the Graham MS, 1726, with the scarcely veiled hints in the `Antediluvian' advertisement of that year, and `the Manner of our Great Master Hiram's grave' in the Wilkinson MS, of c1727, it is obvious that the source materials of the legend were much earlier than 1696, though we have no proof of them in the ritual until the 1720s.

 

SAMUEL PRIC}IARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730135 THE EVOLUTION OF THE THREE‑DEGREE SYSTEM The evolution of the trigradal system is one of the major unsolved problems of Masonic research. We know a great deal about the third degree, but we do not know why it came into practice, when or where it began, or who was responsible for its evolution. No less important is the question `How did it take root and spread as it did, at a time when there was no governing body that organised the contents and dissemination of the ritual, and no prescribed working of any kind?' The reason for our ignorance on these matters is the absence of records of the third degree or the trigradal system in the Books of Constitutions and Grand Lodge minutes of that period. In the 1723 B of C, at a time when there were only two degrees in practice, Regulation XIII had prescribed that Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow‑Craft only here, unless by a Dispensation.

 

`Only here', ie in the Grand Lodge. This was an attempt, on the part of the Grand Lodge, to arrogate to itself the right to confer the senior degree. Dr Anderson, the compiler‑editor of the regulations, was a Scotsman and he used the joint title `Master and Fellow‑craft' in exactly the same way as it had been used in the 'Edinburgh‑group' of catechisms (and in early Scottish Lodge minutes from 1598 onwards) to describe the second degree in the two‑degree system.

 

The reasons for this Regulation may have originated in a desire for close control and good management of the Lodges, but the rule was an infringement of their inherent rights, which must have been deeply resented and which proved wholly unworkable. On 27 November 1725, this part of the Regulation was repealed: A Motion being made that Such part of the 13th Article of the Gen" Regulations relating to the Making of Ma" only at a Quarterly Communication, may be repealed, And that the Ma`` of Each Lodge with the Consent of his Wardens, And the Majority of the Brethren being Ma" may make Mar' at their Discretion Agreed Nem. Con. (QCA, X, p 64).

 

At face value this minute might be taken to mean that the Grand Lodge was giving permission for Lodges to confer the third degree, but it is equally likely that this was simply intended to give back to the Lodges their ancient right to confer the second degree of `Master and Fellow‑Craft'.

 

13EHARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY There is some reason to believe that Reg. XIII and the resentment it aroused was the reason for the splitting of the first degree into two parts, thus creating an `artificial' second degree (which was already known in its essentials to all Entered Apprentices) and thereby making the original second degree into the third. This certainly describes what was happening, but it is impossible to say definitely whether the Grand Lodge minute of 27 November 1725 referred to the second degree of the two‑degree system, or the third in the newly‑evolving trigradal system. The only official evidence on the subject appears in Charge IV in the 1723 Book of Constitutions, relating to the qualifications of Wardens, and in the altered version of the same Charge in the second edition in 1738: In 1723: No Brother can be a WARDEN until he has pass'd the part of a Fellow‑Craft: . . .

 

In 1738: The Wardens are chosen from among the Master‑Masons.....

 

Grand Lodge had obviously recognised the status of Master‑Masons, but there is certainly no trace of the third degree being promulgated by the Grand Lodge, or that any of its leading members were engaged in framing this new arrangement. As a result, we are compelled to seek even the faintest hints wherever they are to be found.

 

The earliest evidence suggesting the evolution of a three‑degree system is in the Trinity College, Dublin, MS, 1711. It begins as a very short catechism of only eleven Q and A, followed by a paragraph in narrative form, which lists a collection of signs, words, etc. In the course of this section, various modes of recognition are allocated to the Enterprentice, fellow craftsman, and Master (ie MM) the latter having the world's worst description of the Points of Fellowship, with a word that is quite unbelievably debased. This text, despite its numerous defects, lists the three separate grades with distinguishing modes of recognition belonging to each, the first hint that someone was experimenting with the idea of a system of three degrees. (EMC, p 70).

 

The `Mason's Examination', 1723, was the first exposure to be printed in a London newspaper The Flying Post or Post‑Master, 11‑13 April 1723. Its catechism had been substantially expanded and it contained no hint of trigradal practice; but the text contains a rhymed verse which appears to allocate certain distinguishing characteristics to three grades, `enter'd Mason, Fellow, and Master‑ SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730 137 Mason'. The details do not agree with those in the Trinity College, Dublin, MS, and some of them are pu

 

ling, but they are, nevertheless, a possible hint of a system of three degrees. (ibid. pp 71‑2) However interesting such hints may be, they cannot be accepted as proof of the trigradal system in practice. For that proof we must have actual Lodge minutes recording the conferment of the third degree, minutes which were scarce in 1720‑40, and very few have survived to this day. We do have a minute describing the conferment of the third degree in May 1725 in London and that is the earliest surviving record. That ceremony took place in a Musical Society, not in a Lodge, and it was Masonically highly irregular. But the story is interesting, and well documented.

 

In December 1724, there was a London Lodge which met at the Queen's Head Tavern, Hollis Street, in the Strand, only a few hundred yards from the present Grand Lodge building. It is recorded in the Grand Lodge Minute book, in the 'List of Regular Constituted Lodges . . ' dated 27 November 1725, with a list of fourteen of its members, though there were probably several more whose names are not listed. The membership was small and select, and there were among them several cultured gentlemen who were keenly interested in music and architecture. Around the end of 1724, seven of the members with one Brother from another Lodge decided to 'fix and establish a Mutual Society of True Lovers of Music and Architecture', which was duly founded on 18 February 1725, under the title 'Philo Musicae et Architecturae Societas Apollini'.

 

They drew up a book of 'Constitutions and Orders' (a masterpiece of the art of calligraphy, now in the British Library) which displayed on its title‑page the armorial bearings of the Founders, good evidence of their social status! These men enjoyed their Masonry and among their Rules was one which prescribed: 'That no person shall be admitted as a Visitor unless he be a Free Mason' and that rule applied, of course, to the members of the Society. The preamble to their 'Constitutions' listed the names of their Founders, with details of when and where they were made Masons. They also kept similar records for the Masons who joined their Society. Among these details there is a note that 'some time before' 138HARRY C'ARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY 1 February 1725 four of the Founders of the Musical Society `were regularly Pass'd Masters in the before mentioned Lodge of Hollis Street'.

 

This may well refer to a third degree but, because we have no record of the two earlier degrees being conferred on these Brethren, we must accept the possibility that this note may be a reference only to the second degree in the two‑degree system.

 

For indisputable evidence of the three degrees being conferred on one candidate, there are two entries in the same preamble followed by an item in the minutes of the Musical Society, and they are summarised here: Preamble: 22 December 1724. At a meeting attended by the Grand Master, His Grace the Duke of Richmond, who acted as Master on that evening, 'Charles Cotton Esq' was made a Mason by the said Grand Master'.

 

Preamble: 18 February 1725. 'And before We Founded This Society A Lodge was held Consisting of Masters Sufficient for that Purpose In Order to Pass Charles Cotton Esq` M, Papillon Ball and M` Thomas Marshall Fellow Crafts. . . .' [Note: 'A lodge was held' and because that happened on the day the Society was founded, it is not certain whether the Lodge was a regular meeting of the Hollis Street Lodge, or only a meeting of members of the Musical Society. But this was certainly the second degree for Bros Cotton and Ball, the latter having been initiated in the Lodge on I February 1725.] Philo‑Musicae Minutes: 12 May 1725. 'Our Beloved Brothers & Directors of this Right Worshipful] Societye whose Names are here. Underwritten (viz) Brother Charles Cotton Esq Broth` Papillon Ball Were regularly passed Masters ...

 

(QCA, IX, p 41) There can be no doubt that Cotton and Ball had received the three degrees, though the third was highly irregular, having been conferred at a meeting of the Musical Society, not a Lodge.

 

On 20 May 1725 the Grand Lodge minutes record That there be a Lre [Letter] wrote to the follg Brethren to desire them to attend the Grand Lodge at the next Quarterly Communication (vizt) [seven names of the principal Founders and officers of the Philo‑Musicae.] SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730139 The letter was apparently ignored, but the Musical Society had visits from the Junior Grand Warden on 2 September 1725 and the Senior Grand Warden on 23 December 1725 and the Society disappeared early in 1727.

 

The earliest unimpeachable record of the third degree is in the minutes of Lodge Dumbarton Kilwinning, now No 18 (Scotland). At its foundation meeting on 29 January 1726 there were present the WM with seven MM's, six FC's, and three EA's. At the next meeting on 25 March 1726: Gabrael Porterfield who appeared in the January meeting as a Fellow Craft was unanimously admitted and received a Master of the Fraternity and renewed his oath and gave in his entry money.

 

Porterfield was a Fellow Craft at the foundation meeting of the new Lodge. At the next meeting, he was `received a Master of the Fraternity and renewed his oath', ie another ceremony; and he `gave in his entry money', ie he paid for it. There can be no doubt that this was the third degree.

 

In December 1728, Lodge Greenock Kilwinning at its foundation meeting prescribed separate fees for being `entered as Apprentices . . . passed Fellow‑Craft . . . and . . . when raised Master Mason'.

 

The adoption of the three‑degree system was very slow. The earliest record of a third degree in the Lodge of Antiquity, then No 1, was in 1737. From c1733 onwards, there are records of Masters' Lodges usually attached to regular Lodges, but meeting generally on Sundays, for conferring the third degree; but these Masters' Lodges were few in number and ephemeral in character and most of them disappeared within two or three years. No details of their rituals have survived.

 

An interesting example of the slow adoption of the new system appears in the minutes of the ancient Lodge of Kelso, No 58 (Scotland) whose minutes begin in 1701. On 18 January 1754, three visiting Brethren from the Lodge Canongate from Leith, were invited to act as Master and Wardens in order to demonstrate how Fellow crafts were passed in and around Edinburgh, and two candidates were duly passed by the visiting team.

 

After the Lodge was closed, the Brethren continued conversing about `the forms and Practice of this Lodge in particular', when 140HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY . . . . . a most essential defect of our Constitution was discovered, viz‑that this Lodge had attained only to the two Degrees of Apprentices and Fellow Crafts, and know nothing of the Master's part, whereas all Regular Lodges over the World are composed of at least the three Regular Degrees of Master, Fellow Craft, and Prentice . . . . .

 

Here, at Kelso, almost thirty years after the trigradal system had begun to come into use, the members of the Lodge had never heard of it! They re‑opened the Lodge and the three visitors, with three other Master Masons who were present, conducted the MM degree and raised five Brethren that same evening. (W. F. Vernon. History of Freemasonry in Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire, p 120) Reverting now to 1730, in the Mystery of Free‑Masonry, which was published only two months before Prichard's work appeared, the same slow development is emphasised in two notes following a catch question! Q. How old are you'? A. Under 5, or under 7, which you will.

 

NB When you are first made a Mason, you are only entered Apprentice; and till you are made a Master, or, as they call it, pass'd the Master's Part, you are only an enter'd Apprentice, and consequently must answer under 7; for if you say above, they will expect the Master's Word and Signs.

 

Note, There is not one Mason in an Hundred that will be at the Expence to pass the Master's Part, except it be for Interest. (EMC, p 155) The general contents of this exposure, and of the NB note quoted here, suggest very strongly that the anonymous author was referring only to the second degree in the two‑degree system when he spoke of the slow adoption of the Master's Part; but the same comment would have applied, even more forcefully, to the Master's Part in the newly evolving trigradal system.

 

The point to be emphasised is that `The Master's Degree' in Prichard's work was still in a very early stage of development. There was no uniformity of practice in the Lodges and no official control of ritual. Most of the Lodges in 1730 would still have been working the earlier system of two degrees and no more; and many of them, especially in the Provinces, had never heard of the third degree. Others, mainly in and around London, were using the new trigradal system at whatever stage of development they had acquired it. Our study inevitably suggests that the change from two to three SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730141 degrees was almost certainly the work of Speculative Masons who took the opportunity of extending the moral, religious and philosophical aspects of the Craft by the use of allegory, legend and explanatory materials which brought new life and spirit into the ritual. Thus, the `Letter G' and the `Middle Chamber' came into the second degree and the Hiramic legend came into the third. That does not imply that these ritual novelties were new inventions; it is at least possible that they were traditional materials in Craft‑lore, before the Speculative expansion had begun.

 

The obvious question arises, `How, in the absence of official instructions and encouragement, was this great change achieved?' The answer seems to be that no major innovation was involved. The contents of the three‑degree system were, in all essentials, the same materials that had existed in the original two, but now in a new arrangement and enhanced by the addition of illustrations and legends which had probably existed long before the changes were contemplated. The actual spread of the new system would have been achieved by plain `contagion'. One Lodge would make a supposed improvement in its working, and if it proved popular, their work would be copied by those neighbouring Lodges that were able to witness it; and they in turn adopted, arranged and added new materials as they saw fit. Nobody was accused of innovation! When and where did it begin? It is impossible to answer these questions with any degree of certainty. The evidence of the Trinity College, Dublin, MS, quoted above, would suggest Ireland in 1711; but the date seems too early and there is no supporting evidence in lodge minutes, or in contemporary ritual texts. The Mason's Examination, 1723, plus the Pbilo Musicae evidence in 1725, would seem to be more reliable as to date and location, London, with the probability that the latter group were practising a ceremony that they had acquired in the lodge to which most of them belonged, at the Queen's Head Tavern in Hollis Street, London. The indisputable evidence from Dumbarton Kilwinning, in 1726, would seem to be a much stronger claim, but whether the three‑degree system actually began there is rather doubtful. Scotland had no Grand Lodge until 1736 and they do not appear to have had the outstanding Speculative members who might have introduced the changes. In England, George Payne, who was Grand Master in 1718, and Dr J. T. Desaguliers, GM in 1719, were the enthusiastic and devoted leaders 142HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY who might well have been responsible, and there were others, eg Martin Folkes and Francis Drake, who might have helped at a later stage.

 

Why did it happen? Under conditions of operative masonry practising the two‑degree system, there was only one degree for `Master and Fellow‑craft'. Inside the Lodge those two classes were equal, both fully trained masons. But outside the Lodge, the Master (ie MM) was entitled to operate as an employer, while the FC was only an employee. Inevitably the time would come when there had to be a separate degree for each grade, but under the operative system changes were rare and they usually happened only in response to changing conditions in the mason trade.

 

In c1725 operative masonry was almost at its last gasp. The strict controls formerly exercised by the operative (territorial) Lodges had virtually disappeared and most of the Lodges, both in England and Scotland, were of mixed operative and non‑operative membership, with no influence whatever in trade control. The reasons for needing an extra degree had apparently disappeared, but the desire probably remained, and the new conditions were favourable to change.

 

Another possible reason has already been noted, ie the desire of the English Masons to evade the restrictions implicit in Reg. XIII of the B of C which would have limited the Lodges to conferring only the Apprentice degree.

 

Perhaps the most satisfying explanation is that the changes reflect the earliest results of Speculative influence on the Craft after it had been organised under a Grand Lodge. So long as the cultured elements in the Craft were enjoying their Freemasonry, this kind of expansion was inevitable. It is possible that Reg. XIII may have encouraged their efforts, but the establishment of the Grand Lodge was itself the strongest stimulus.

 

`MASONRY DISSECTED'‑ ITS INFLUENCE ON THE RITUAL It is fitting that the final chapter of this study of Prichard's work should be devoted ‑ however briefly ‑ to a survey of its influence on the Craft ritual. There is no doubt that the book enjoyed a phenomenal success, both immediate and long‑term, and all the major historians of the ritual are agreed that Masonry Dissected was largely responsible for the stabilisation of the English ritual in its formative years under the first Grand Lodge.

 

SAMUEL PRICHARD'S 'MASONRY DISSECTED'. 1730 143 The reason for this success is obvious. In 1730, at a time when Freemasonry was growing in popularity and when Speculative influence was beginning to make itself felt, there was still a total absence of printed versions of officially‑approved ritual. Masonry Dissected, regardless of the private reasons that had prompted its publication, provided an accessible, soundly‑based, and reasonably accurate working, which would enable the Lodges to achieve some kind of standard, incomparably superior to any that had appeared in all the earlier texts, whether in manuscript or print.

 

After the three pamphlet editions in October 1730, and the pirated newspaper versions in the same month, there were at least nineteen further editions up to 1760, when the next series of English exposures began to appear. There were, indeed, four or five rival exposures published during those thirty years, all of them worthless catchpennies. Indeed, there are simply no records of new developments in English ritual during the thirty‑year gap, from 1730 to 1760 and throughout that period Prichard's work held the field.

 

It was translated into French by an anonymous writer, who published it in 1738 under the title La Reception Mysterieuse after having added his own comments, with a reprint of the Reception d'un Frey‑Ma(on, the first of the French exposures, originally published in 1737. All these parts were joined together as the first chapter of a book which also contained several chapters on European history etc, of no Masonic interest. Surprisingly, the title‑page gave Samuel Prichard's name as the sole author. The compiler was not a Freemason and that explains a number of curious and often amusing errors in translation. It was also translated into German and Dutch in 1738 (EFE, pp 9‑39).

 

When the best of the French exposures began to appear in the1740s we begin to see some of the long‑term effects of Prichard's work. L'Ordre des Francs‑Masons Trahi (the Trahi) was first published in 1745, fifteen years after Masonry Dissected, and it serves as an excellent illustration of what was happening. Its catechism, now substantially expanded by many new items that had come into French practice during the intervening years, was still basically Prichard's work. In fact, two questions and answers out of every three in the Trahi were directly taken from Masonry Dissected, either word‑forword, or with French embellishments; and the translation was far better than that in La Reception Mysterieuse. The Hiramic legend, 144HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY which had first appeared in Masonry Dissected in the course of answers to a dozen or so questions, was now the subject of a long narrative recital, and the Trahi also contained a valuable description of the floorwork and procedures of the ceremony. But when those new materials are stripped away, the basis is still Prichard's work.

 

The Trahi achieved no fewer than seventeen editions in French, up to 1781. It also appeared in German in 1745 under the title Der Verrathene Orden der Freimaurer, with three more German impressions in that year and three further editions in 1758, 1763 and 1778. The influence of all these French and German editions on European ritual must have been incalculable.

 

In England, after the thirty‑year gap, the new streams of exposures began to appear in 1760 and 1762 representing both Moderns' and Antients' practices; their catechisms still contained a great deal of Prichard's work, though so much new material had come into use that the original nucleus becomes less obvious. A certain amount of French influence had also remained and it is interesting to read the English descriptions of the procedure of the third degree, punctuated by a couple of paragraphs describing the corresponding procedure in the French Lodges.

 

Many more expansions and changes were to take place before the English ritual was standardised in 1813, but those are strictly beyond the scope of our present study. Nevertheless, the student who will take the trouble to compare his modern ritual with that of Prichard in 1730 will often be astonished to see how much has survived.

 

6 FREEMASONRY IN THE USA AMERICA ‑ FIFTY STATes and fifty separate, sovereign Grand Lodges! On my first visit, in 1960, I started at Montreal, Canada, then south to New York, Boston, and Washington; then right across country to San Francisco, Fresno and Los Angeles. It was a seven‑week Masonic Lecture tour and holiday combined, and I gave my Prestonian Lecture to enormous gatherings of Masons in all those cities, covering more than 7,000 miles within the American continent. When I returned to London after that splendid Masonic holiday, the DC of my Mother Lodge said, 'You must tell us all about it at dinner; and we can give you ten minutes.' Apart from the usual letters of introduction, my principal equipment for the tour consisted of an insatiable curiosity, and a sufficient knowledge of English Masonic practices to enable me to ask the right sort of questions so that I could make a reasonable assessment of our differences. I met and spoke to literally hundreds of Masons from EAs to Grand Masters, and Brethren you should know that Grand Masters are ten a penny in the USA. The explanation is simple. We, in England, choose the best man we can find, usually a cousin of the King or the Queen, and we re‑elect him every year for as long as he lives, or as long as he wants the job. In the USA, not so! Most of their Grand Masters are elected for one year only, a few elect for two years and even less to serve three. The result is that every year regularly, there are some 25 brand‑new secondhand Grand Masters thrown onto the market. When I said 'ten a penny' I was exaggerating; but you may prefer the American 'a dime a dozen'.

 

On that first visit, I saw many things that I liked very much, and some that horrified me; but I never stopped asking questions. As a lecturer, it is probable that I was meeting the best types of American Masons, men with a real love for the Craft and a serious interest in its 145 146HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY background. I can never forget that in Los Angeles I addressed a large gathering of Masons in a huge two‑ or three‑storey Masonic centre that they had built with their own hands, working voluntarily in their spare time and without pay, under a hired architect and with a practical team of builders, who ensured that the work was well and truly done, and I was proud to be associated with brethren of this calibre.

 

But, of course, the following impressions do not pretend to be a complete survey, nor can they possibly be true of the whole Craft in the USA. I have simply tried to describe something of what I saw, emphasising our differences in practice, with a critical eye for what seems strange to us, and wholehearted praise where praise is due. American Masons are warm, friendly folk, good hosts, good company, and eager to be helpful, and if my words appear to accentuate certain peculiarities, I must plead that they were written without malicious intent, knowing full well that there is much we can learn from them.

 

THE BACKGROUND The first thing that is obvious to every English Mason who visits the USA is that their Freemasonry is vastly different from ours. Indeed, he might be forgiven for saying that it is nothing like ours at all. In the first place, Masonry in the USA is not for father alone, but for the whole family.

 

For father there are the usual three `Blue' degrees, and then all the rest running right up to the 32 (The 33 is by selection and invitation; in fact, an honour, rather than a degree).

 

For mother, there is the Order of the Eastern Star, the Order of Amaranth, and several others less well known.

 

For boys, aged from 14 to 21, there is the Order of De Molay, named after Jacques de Molai, the last Grand Master of the medieval Knights Templar.

 

For girls, aged 13 to 20, there is an Order called Rainbow, and another called Job's Daughters, and all these are, in a very special and peculiar sense, Masonic.

 

All this will seem strange to English ears and must be explained. The plain fact is that when we, in England speak about Women and Freemasonry, we have been spoiled, because automatically we think of the two Orders very respectably established here, both claiming FREEMASONRY IN THE USA147 that they wear the same regalia, and use the same ritual as their husbands; and they are, of course, taboo.

 

For the situation in the USA I quote from the 150th year History of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, a regular Grand Lodge. After 19 chapters of straight history, the next is headed `Bodies Identified with Freemasonry in Lousiana' and that is followed by a list, including: The Order of the Eastern Star, The Order of the Rainbow, for Girls, The Order of De Molay.

 

Bodies Identified with Freemasonry is a clear definition of their close relationship with the Craft.

 

Eastern Star, founded in the USA is the largest fraternal organisation in the world to which both men and women may belong. A genuine Masonic relationship is an essential pre‑requisite; male members must be Master Masons in good standing, and a lady Candidate must be mother or wife, sister or daughter of a Freemason. Eastern Star is not quasi‑Masonic; they have their own ritual, based on five Biblical heroines, and they are doing magnificent work for Hospitals, Orphanages, Crippled Children, as well as the lesser charities within their own membership. In addition, they count it a duty and a privilege to serve the Craft in every way, eg catering, social, and charitable works.

 

Rainbow and De Molay require only Masonic sponsorship for joining. Rainbow, as a training ground for the girl who would like to follow mother into Eastern Star. De Molay is best described as an apprenticeship for Speculative Masonry. All this is unusual to us in England, and although it may seem wrong for a Grand Officer to say so, I like it, and I believe that it works! It has obvious advantages. Father knows where mother is on her night out, and vice versa. The fathers help the mothers in their `Masonry', and the mothers help the fathers in theirs, and both look after the children's organisations. Whether all these efforts have any marked effect on juvenile delinquency rates in the USA would be very hard to say, but I am firmly convinced that this family approach to the Craft can do nothing but good.

 

A nice example of this family spirit occurred in Massachusetts where I lectured to an assembly of some 500 brethren, and over 460 of us sat down to dinner afterwards. It was in an enormous hall, with 148HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY a stage at one end, on which the Lodge Organist was playing light music throughout the dinner. The tables were arranged Top‑table and sprigs (as in England), and everyone except the Officers was dressed in the utmost informality. But all the Officers were in meticulous dinner‑dress and throughout the evening we were served by waitresses immaculately dressed in white from head to foot. It was a pleasant, unpretentious meal, and all was going splendidly when, suddenly, the SW far away in the right‑hand corner of the room stood up and began to dance with one of the waitresses along the gangway between the sprigs! I was sitting at the right of the WM, and I leaned over to him and whispered. 'Worshipful Master, I thought I had seen almost everything in the Craft, but this I have never seen. Does it happen very often?' He turned to me with a smile and said, '1 hope it does; the lady he is dancing with is his wife. Tonight we are being waited on by our wives. . . .' They were Eastern Star, with 460 at dinner! (I was unable to find out if the husbands help with the 'washing‑up', but kitchens are highly mechanised in the USA).

 

With this kind of background, the objectives in the Craft tend to take on a rather different aspect from ours. Generally, they do not go in so strongly for the maintenance of large Masonic Institutions, as we do. There are, indeed, many splendid institutions, but the emphasis is mainly on the social side, parties, outings and celebrations of one kind or another. A great deal is done by way of homes and equipment for crippled children. Masonic 'Blood‑banks' are a big feature, the blood being for ultimate use by Masons and non‑Masons alike. There are some Masonic hospitals, and a number of homes for `senior citizens'. Nobody grows old in the USA; if they are lucky enough to live that long, they become 'senior citizens', and in those jurisdictions that aspire to the maintenance of institutions, it is usually the 'senior citizens' who get first care.

 

Finally, I must not omit from this description of the background to the Craft, the all‑too‑obvious fact that almost everyone wears a badge, usually a 'lapel‑badge', and one sees all sorts of Masonic symbols ranging up to the 33, with the 32 and 'Shriners' predominating. All this might seem to be a piece of pardonable male vanity and in the vast majority of cases it is nothing more. But the badges tend to become a temptation, and the Masonic visitor to the USA will not need to look far before he realises that they are all too often used for business.

 

FREEMASONRY IN THE USA 149 Of all things likely to shock an Englishman, this, I think, must be the most distasteful, and though I am sure that many brethren in the USA find these practices as objectionable as we do, but one has the impression that they have grown accustomed to them, and that is a great pity.

 

Many of the Grand Lodges publish monthly magazines which report the main Masonic events in their jurisdictions, as well as messages from the Grand Masters and other interesting articles. The pages of the text are generally interleaved with advertisements and in 1960 it was quite common to find that the publicity for the smaller firms included items which were blatant examples of Masonry being used for business: (Hotel) Bro. A.... B..... General Mgr., X.... Y.... Lo. No. 6666.

 

(Travel Agent) C.... D...., President. Member of P.... Q.... Lo. No. 777.

 

(Furrier) E .... F..... Past Master S .... T. . . . Lo. No. 8888. (Haulage) G.... H.... Bros. Inc., Members of M.... N.... Lo. No. 9999.

 

All the above are actual examples; only the names and Lodges have been masked, and all this in official Grand Lodge publications! Those journals are much more circumspect today.

 

I have heard the situation stated in a somewhat different form. One of my American friends told me, 'I wear the badge (a Shriner's badge, incidentally), to show that I'm proud of my Masonry. As long as I wear it, I'd never do anything to disgrace it; in fact, when I do business with a man whom I recognise to be a Brother, I always try to give him a bigger order than I would otherwise'. All this is true, I am sure, but where is there a commercial traveller among my friend's suppliers who could resist wearing a badge under such conditions? During a more recent visit to the USA at an informal Masonic party in Providence, Rhode Island, I teased my hosts about this custom of wearing Masonic badges for the wrong reasons, and when I had finished talking, one of the brethren said, 'It is all very well for you to talk about our using Masonry for business, but it is not always like that. Quite often, we have to try to take an order from a Roman Catholic, and then the badge is a liability ‑ not an asset.' I had to agree with him but, privately, I am convinced that it is easier to 150HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY remove the badge than to change your customer's religion! The RC ban against the Craft has now been removed, hopefully for ever.

 

LODGE MEMBERSHIP Judging by our standards in England, where average membership is around 80 per lodge, American lodge memberships are extraordinarily high. Consider, as an example, Washington, DC, the capital and the centre of government; it is virtually a city without industry. It has about fifty lodges in all, four of them with memberships of 1,100, 1,200, 1,400, and 1,500 respectively! And these enormous memberships to be found in all the large cities in the USA. It is, of course, impossible to strike average figures as between lodges in the small villages and those in the large towns, because they would be misleading. But in any of the cities, one might expect the general run of lodges to range from 400 to 800 members, with several others running into four figures.

 

At the time of my first visit to the USA, I was already Secretary of two lodges, and I was naturally pu

 

led as to the reasons for these (to us) fantastic numbers. There appear to be several reasons, and I dare not commit myself as to their order of importance: (a)Maintenance costs are very high for Lodges and lodge buildings in the USA, and this leads to some curious results. In some cities, when a new lodge is to be founded, it is not uncommon to find that the existing lodges raise objections, because they regard all future Masons in their territory as their own 'reserve pool', which will help swell their own membership in due course, and thus help them with their maintenance charges, and their balance sheets. In effect, the Masons themselves are opposing the formation of new lodges! (See the note on this subject in 'Wither are We Travelling?' by M W Bro Dwight L. Smith, PGM, and Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, in AQC, vol lxxvi, p 41).

 

(b) Most USA jurisdictions have curious regulations relating to what they call Single, Dual, or Plural membership. Some Grand Lodges allow only Single membership, ie, a Brother may belong to only one Craft Lodge and no more. Others allow Dual membership, usually permitting their members to belong to one lodge inside the State and one outside. Only very few Grand Lodges permit their members the same privilege as we enjoy here of Plural membership, ie of joining as many lodges as we please. It seems possible that, in some indirect way, these regulations have the effect of channelling vast numbers of FREEMASONRY IN THE USA151 Masons into a comparatively small number of lodges, and that leads to large memberships.

 

I realise that this may be faulty reasoning, but there is no doubt as to the facts, ie, that in many jurisdictions, if Lodge memberships are to be kept reasonably low, there are simply not enough Lodges to take the vast numbers of men who want to join.

 

There are other reasons which are almost national characteristics: (c)The Americans are great 'joiners': they like to be in on everything.

 

(d)They admire big numbers and mass production.

 

But it is possible that there is still another reason for the large numbers? I found that in many jurisdictions, it is customary for the Secretary to receive $1.50 annually per head for every member! (As a former Secretary of the QC Lodge, with over 12,000 members, I must say that the idea appeals to me enormously!) Before this paper went into print, I had it checked by a high‑ranking Brother in USA, and the only item on which he faulted me was on this $1.50 per head. `Harry' he said, `this is wrong. Many Lodges pay a fixed honorarium. My own Lodge, for example, pay their Secretary $100 a month, $12,000 a year'. `Good', I said, `and how many members have you got'? `Oh. Ours is only a small Lodge, with 400 members.' So they pay $3.00 a head, and that still looks good to me. I do not for one moment suggest that Secretaries are tempted to tout for members; I merely record the differences in our respective practices.

 

Of course I was anxious to know how the American Lodges achieve these enormous memberships, and the opportunity came when I visited the Grand Secretary's office in Boston, Massachusetts. Among many interesting papers that were given to me was their Year Book, containing all the statistics for the preceding year, and thumbing through the pages casually, I came to the section which summarised their Annual Returns. There were many pages of figures but at the very end of the list, there was one set of figures that caught my eye. They were the details for the very last lodge that was consecrated just before the year book was printed, and at the time of this return the lodge was only 11 months old. At that age (11 months), this infant lodge had a membership of 174; during the 11 months, it had Initiated 54 brethren; it had Passed 49, and Raised 45 brethren. Mass production in a really big way! 152HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY The lodges usually meet once a month (for ten or eleven months in the year) for their `Stated' or regular meetings, and every week, or fortnight, for `Emergent', `Special' or work meetings. Attendances are well below the 40 per cent we might expect at the Stated meetings, and even less at the `work' meetings, which are, in effect, the factories where Masons are turned out by mass production. This may sound cynical, but I believe it is a fair statement of the situation that exists in the larger Masonic Centres in the USA.

 

Arising from all this, perhaps the most frequent question I have been asked in England is, `With memberships of 800 to 1,500, how can a Mason ever become Master of a Lodge? Surely he could never live long enough'. The answer is that it is easy. All he needs to do is to express a desire to `go on', or to `get in line' as the Americans say, and the path is wide open for him. It is the great tragedy of Craft Masonry in the USA that vast numbers of those who join ‑ simply use Craft as a springboard to the Scottish Rite. To be WM of a `Blue' lodge may be very pleasant, but it is not nearly so important as to become a 32 Mason and a `Shriner', with all its attendant advantages (mainly social). As a result, the Craft is neglected, in favour of all sorts of side degrees.

 

Among the Grand Officers who see and deplore what is happening, this is a source of constant anxiety, frequently expressed in forthright statements. It is a disease whose presence is known and understood, but the remedy, unfortunately, is still to be found. Talk to any American Mason for five minutes, and the chances are that he will show you his wallet containing a whole 'concertina‑full' of Dues Cards witnessing the number of `Masonic' organisations to which he belongs. There will seldom be more than one (or two) Craft Lodges among them: the rest are all side degrees, that are helping, unintentionally, to sap the Craft of its vitality! THE SCOTTISH RITE AND THE SHRINE The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is perhaps the most powerful `Masonic' organisation in the USA, and it is the principal and most popular route towards the 32 and the `Shrine'. There is an alternative route, via the so‑called York Rite. The finest Masonic buildings and the largest Temples are those of the Scottish Rite, and when I lectured to exceptionally large numbers of Masons, the meetings were all held in Scottish Rite Temples.

 

FREEMASONRY IN THE USA153 They are, in fact, beautifully appointed theatres, wired for sound, with stages, scenery and props, wardrobes, dressing‑rooms, and elaborate stage‑lighting. The degrees are usually conferred in clusters, ie, a set of perhaps three or four degrees will be given the first two or three being `communicated' or recited, and one, the most important, being actually performed or `conferred'. The work is done by a team of Officers working as actors in a play. I am told that in some jurisdictions professional teams are used and they are paid for their services.

 

In England the journey to the 30 of the Scottish Rite would take a lifetime, and the 32 is a rare and exceptional honour. In the USA a Master Mason can acquire the 32 in one day! I quote from a circular published by the SR bodies in Houston, Texas: ONE DAY REUNION IN HOUSTON `The Rest of the Way in One Day' . . . 14 May 1977. The Total Fee for the Class $155.00. (Bank financing is available ... $13.50 per month for 12 months).

 

Over, 1,250,000 Master Masons seeking further light in Masonry, have taken the inspiring degrees offered by the Scottish Rite, and are now active members ...

 

Being a Scottish Rite Mason does not mean that you abandon your Blue Lodge. On the contrary, we require our members to maintain good standing in their home Lodge and urge that they attend and support their Blue Lodge activities ...

 

Candidates will become Members in Good Standing After these Essential Degrees, and May See the Other Degrees Exemplified at a Later Date . . .

 

On these big occasions there will usually be 400 candidates, seated in the front rows of the auditorium. The degrees are gorgeously costumed plays, mainly biblical, and one candidate only is selected from those present to take part in the `performance'. He is actually `in the ceremony', but all the candidates take their Obligations together and make the requisite `responses'. In effect, the selected candidate receives the degrees on behalf of his colleagues ‑ and they get theirs by a kind of artificial insemination.

 

Many of my close friends belong to the Scottish Rite, and I would not want to be misunderstood in what I write about it. Broadly speaking, it opens up the paths to a wider knowledge and understanding of the Craft itself, but to a much larger degree, of the 154HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY many `fringe studies' which may be said to spring from it. Of over four million Masons in the USA more than one in every four belongs to the 32, and that is an amazingly high proportion. It is here that the trouble lies, not because there is anything wrong with the Scottish Rite, but rather because of the reason why the brethren join them.

 

I have mentioned `Shriners', and must say a few words about that organisation. Its full title is `Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine', and it is strictly and in every sense a non‑Masonic Order, but a Brother must be a 32 Scottish Rite Mason (or a York Rite Mason of a similar grade), before he is eligible to join it.

 

But the `Shrine' is a thing apart: it is an Order devoted to the social pleasures and good works. At the centre of some twenty of the largest cities in Canada and USA, you will find a large and handsome cluster of buildings, under the sign, `the Shriners' Hospital for Crippled Children', and they serve children of every colour, race and creed, whether their parents are connected with the Craft or not. In 1959 there were eighteen Orthopaedic Units and three Burns Institutes; there are more today, and all doing marvellous work, which is spectacular, wholly praiseworthy, and deserves emulation. The administration of their hospitals is very sensible, too; they find the land, they build the hospitals, equip them splendidly and ensure their maintenance. All this is wholly admirable, but the other side of the coin is perhaps not so bright.

 

On the social side, they provide, I quote: `Your local Shrine Club, Country Club facilities and activities, Ladies' Nights, Parties, Participation in Irem Temple Uniformed Units, and all the Wonderful World of the Shrine'.

 

Inside the same folder is a picture of a little girl walking with crutches, and one leg in irons; heartbreaking.

 

Their funds are collected from dues, circuses, ball games and other sources, in (what would seem to us) extraordinary fashion. They stage great processions, with gaily decorated `floats', bands of music, parades of groups in fancy dress, as well as their own drill teams, bands and `chanters', and their members, wearing their uniforms that look like those of the French Zouaves, surmounted by a heavily ornamented fez, as headgear. The object, in short, is to persuade the public to open its pockets. Of course, they support their benevolent works out of their own pockets, too, but to our strait‑laced views on FREEMASONRY IN THE USA155 Masonic charities being maintained only out of Craft funds, the `Shriners' methods are rather strange, though undoubtedly effective. The Conventions appear to be a grand excuse for a good time in the broadest sense of the term and `Shriners' are commonly referred to as the `playboys of the Craft'. But the strongest criticism I have heard about them concerns their admission ceremonies, which depending on one's point of view, might be described as amusing and even Rabelaisian. It may be that some of the stories I have heard about them are in the same class as the 'nanny‑goat and red‑hot poker' tales told about the regular Craft.

 

As an institution, I gather that the `Shrine' comes under the control of the Grand Lodge of its territory, and it has to follow the edicts of the Grand Lodge and the Grand Master. Indeed, my informant reports a case within his own memory when a whole `Divan' (Cabinet) of Shrine Officers was replaced by edict of the Grand Master, because of some infraction. Generally, however, it seems that the title `playboys of the Craft' is well deserved, and their good works and social advantages go hand‑in‑hand with a somewhat colourful reputation.

 

Statistics are liable to misinterpretation, and I try to avoid them here. But an examination of the detailed charts relating to Craft memberships in the USA show quite clearly, that during the past three years there has been a small but regular fall in membership of Craft Lodges; yet the `Shrine' membership increases each year! CRAFT RITUAL There are a number of different Craft rituals in use in the USA, generally exhibiting only minor variations and, broadly speaking, they are very similar to ours in England. Yet, in a very curious way, the visitor who knows his ritual will find that the American versions sound strangely old‑fashioned, repetitive, and somewhat fuller and older than ours. Surprisingly, this is true; although the Americans got their ritual from Britain, their ritual is, in fact, older than ours, and that makes an interesting story.

 

As you probably know, our present ritual was virtually standardised at the time of the union of the rival Grand Lodges, in 1813, when the `Antients' and the `Moderns' ultimately came together to form the United Grand Lodge. For several years before that date, committees of learned brethren had been sitting, trying to evolve a 156HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY revised form of the ritual that would be acceptable to both sides. The results of their labours, very satisfactory to us nowadays, did not meet with the wholesale approval at that time. Many changes had been made and a great deal of symbolical material had been discarded. Indeed, it might almost be fair to say that in cleaning up the ritual, the baby had been thrown away with the bath‑water! American Masonic workings owe their origins, unquestionably, to England, Scotland and Ireland, but the stabilisation of their ritual was done by an American, Thomas Smith Webb, who, although he wrote very little of it himself, may well be described as the father of American ritual.

 

In 1792 Webb, a printer by trade, settled in Albany, NY, and soon afterwards he made the acquaintance of John Hanmer, an English Freemason who was a keen ritualist and apparently very knowledgeable about the Preston system. Webb, though barely 22 years of age, had already been a Freemason for nearly two years, and their mutual interests drew them together. This was the period when the English Masonic ritual was at its highest stage of development. Hutchinson and Calcott had published their works; Preston was in his prime, and the 1792 edition of his Illustrations of Masonry had just appeared. This was the eighth edition, as popular and successful as its predecessors, and it was almost a Bible to the English Craft. Webb took the book, retained sixty‑four pages of Preston's work intact, word for word, cut out a few minor items and rearranged others, and published it in 1797 under the title, Freemasons' Monitor or Illustrations of Freemasonry. Within twenty years the ritual in England had been altered, curtailed and polished up (some said ‑ almost beyond recognition), but not so in the USA; they preserved it.

 

Look at some of our oldest Tracing Boards and you will find pictures of the Scythe, Hour‑Glass, Beehive, Anchor, etc, which once had their proper places as symbolic portions of our ritual. They have disappeared from our Tracing Boards and from the ritual; but in America they are still in use to this day, depicted on the Boards and explained in their 'Monitors'. And so, it is fair to say, that their ritual, though it came from us, is actually older than ours, and it is not merely `old‑fashioned', but also more discursive, and by reason of their lectures, much more explanatory than ours, especially of the symbolical meaning of their procedure.

 

But apart from the things we have lost, their ritual material is FREEMASONRY IN THE USA157 essentially the same as ours, and easily recognisable. Their signs and secrets are the same as ours, except that they use the Scottish sign for the EA. Their second degree is more elaborate than ours. Their third is basically the same as ours, but because they perform the drama as if it were a play, treating the candidate as though he was really HA, the result is occasionally rather rough and frightening, especially in those lodges that pride themselves on the realism of their performance.

 

The manner in which the Americans safeguard their ritual is also interesting. In England our Grand Lodge views the ritual as a `domestic matter', ie a majority of the brethren in any lodge may decide which `named' form of ritual shall be worked, and unless the lodge was guilty of some serious breach, the Grand Lodge would not interfere. In the USA the very reverse is the case. Each Grand Lodge prescribes the ritual that its lodges shall work, and usually the Grand Lodge prints and publishes the 'monitorial' or explanatory portions of the rituals, too. Ten out of the forty‑nine Grand Lodges also publish the esoteric ritual, in code or cipher, but this is forbidden in the others. Moreover, to prevent innovations, the Grand Lodges protect their forms of working by the appointment of officers, called Grand Lecturers, whose duty is not to lecture, but to ensure that the groups of lodges under their care adhere to the official workings. They do this by means of official demonstrations called `Exemplifications', and during my first visit, I was lucky enough to see both first and second degrees rehearsed in this way.

 

The procedure is simple; each Grand Lecturer has perhaps eight to fifteen lodges under his care. On the appointed day, all the Officers (including Treasurer, Secretary, Stewards, etc), are ordered to attend in one of the Grand Lodge Temples, or at a central Masonic Temple, and attendance is compulsory. The officers of the most senior lodge will take their places, and they start to rehearse a ceremony, without interruption. After perhaps ten minutes, the Grand Lecturer will walk to the centre of the lodge, comment on the work and correct any errors that were made, and the next lodge in order of seniority will take over and continue. This is done until all the lodges have been rehearsed.

 

In some jurisdictions the organisation and procedure is different. The Grand Lecturer has a team of Grand Inspectors under him, each in charge of perhaps five Lodges. Each Lodge, in turn, is host to the other four, and only the `host' Lodge gives the `exemplification', 158HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY while the others look on. Ultimately, the Grand Lecturers are all responsible for the accuracy of the `work'.

 

The exemplifications I saw in Boston required a necessary period of adjustment to Bostonian English, but after that, I would gladly give them full marks; their work is splendid. It is proper, perhaps, to add a little tailpiece to this chapter, which gives an insight to the American approach to their Masonry. I am told that in several, if not most, of the USA jurisdictions, the Grand Lecturers are paid for their services! RITUALS AND MONITORS Grand Lodge practices, in regard to books of the ritual, differ from State to State. In Pennsylvania and California, for example, no written or printed ritual is permitted. All tuition is, as they say, `from mouth to ear', ie the Officers and candidates must attend at rehearsals or work‑meetings until they have memorised their work, simply by listening to it over and over again. In some jurisdictions each officer is responsible for training his successor, privately, not at rehearsals. The Ritual material is usually divided up into two categories: 1. 'Monitors' which print non‑secret portions of ritual and procedure, symbolic lectures, etc, all in plain language.

 

2.The `Rituals' proper, which are printed (in ten states), in some sort of cipher, with ... dots . . . in the usual places.

 

Books in both categories are supposed to be rather difficult to obtain, but one has the impression that this is merely a case of knowing where to look. The Monitors need not concern us here, but the Rituals are interesting. There appear to be four different ciphers that are mainly used. One of the most popular, is a kind of `geometrical' code, made up of straight lines, curves, angles and symbols, which look very difficult, but are, in fact, fairly easy to break down.

 

In many jurisdictions, a two‑letter code is used; usually the first and last letters of each word, but occasionally the first two letters of each word. These two codes are fairly difficult to read until one begins to have a fair knowledge of the `expected' word; but as soon as the phrases become at all familiar, the two‑letter codes are quite easy to read.

 

FREEMASONRY IN THE USA159 Most difficult of all is the one‑letter code, in which only the first letter of each word is used, and this is absolutely terrifying, almost impossible to read until one has acquired a real knowledge of the ritual.

 

From the Officers' point of view, all this is simply a matter of patience and regular attendance, but for the candidates it is another story. Here in England, the Candidate for Passing has to learn the answers to twelve questions, usually printed on cards in plain language, with perhaps one or two words omitted. For Raising he learns another nine answers, and he is through.

 

In the USA Jurisdictions, these examinations are called 'Proficiency Tests', and they must be a really worrying experience. In Rhode Island, for example, the EA, passing to FC, has to answer about seventy‑seven questions, with the Obligation, by heart, before he can pass his test; the FC must answer some forty questions and the Obligation from memory, and the MM, after he has taken his third degree, another forty or so, again with the Obligation by heart. Then, and not until then, does he become a real member of the lodge. Then he is allowed to sign the Register, and enjoy all the privileges of membership, including a Masonic Funeral if he wants it.

 

All this would be difficult enough if the questions and answers were printed in plain language, but they are not. In those jurisdictions where no printed rituals are permitted, the candidates must attend `Classes of Instruction', usually under the care of the JD or SD, until they have learned their work, `from mouth to ear'. Elsewhere they learn their work from the cipher books. I have a set of the `Proficiency Tests' as used in Rhode Island, in their one‑letter code. They are simply terrifying. I have been a Preceptor for many years, and I find them difficult to read. Heaven knows how the candidates manage ‑ but they do.

 

Here, I believe, it is fair to say that American Masons, after passing their `Proficiency Tests' in all three degrees, acquire a much wider knowledge of the ceremonies, and especially of their symbolical meaning, than our candidates get in England. Their patience and industry are more than justified.

 

VISITING A LODGE IN THE USA It is impossible to describe the practices of fifty separate Grand Lodges in a short Paper of this kind. To deal with such a subject in 160HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY detail would require several large volumes. In all that has been written thus far, and especially in the chapter below, the reader will please remember that practices vary from one Grand Lodge to another. I have simply tried to give my impressions based upon the different territories in which I visited.

 

The Lodge will be opened at perhaps 7.30 pm, directly into the Third Degree. All business is conducted in the Third Degree (except Initiation and Passing). There may have been a meeting earlier in the afternoon for degree work, and that would have been followed by a break from 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm for dinner, a simple and informal meal, without any toasts or speeches. 'Table‑work' as we know it in England, is almost unknown in the USA except on special occasions.

 

At 7.30 pm the Minutes and private Lodge business will be dealt with; at 8 pm the Lodge will be ready to receive its individual guests. Delegations, and perhaps their Deputy District Grand Master, the local Grand Lodge Officer, who has generally some ten to fifteen Lodges under his care.

 

Most of the Brethren and Visitors, including Grand Lodge Officers, will have picked up a plain white apron from a pile outside the Lodge door, and will enter, wearing no other Masonic clothing, except possibly a breast jewel. Americans, perhaps because of the vagaries of their climate, are very informal about Masonic dress, and the visitor need not be surprised at light‑coloured suits, brown shoes, and truly atrocious neckties; but the Officers of the Lodge are usually immaculate in dinner dress, with their full Lodge regalia, and their aprons are often very ornate by English standards.

 

The layout of the Lodges is not quite like ours in England but, of course, practices will vary in different jurisdictions ‑ I merely describe the best‑equipped Lodges that I saw during my many visits. The Temples are large, with the altar in the middle of the floor. As one might expect with 'mass‑production Masonry', the altars are enormous, perhaps 8 ft by 6 ft, with kneeling stools on all four sides; a fine altar‑cloth, a huge Bible with broad ribbon markers, and a spotlight above the altar shines directly on to the Bible. The three lesser lights (three handsome tall candlesticks) are placed at three corners of the altar. The precise positions of the three lights seemed to vary in different Lodges, and on this point there appears to be no absolute uniformity.

 

The WM, wearing a top hat, sits in the east, his chair framed in a FREEMASONRY IN THE USA161 handsome architectural `feature' between two pillars, at the head of a flight of seven steps which run along the eastern wall of the Lodge room. He sits `open to the Lodge' without any pedestal in front of him, but a little low table is at his right hand, just large enough to hold a gavel. The JW sits similarly framed, at the head of a flight of three steps, and the SW has five steps. The Treasurer and Secretary are seated separately in the NE and SE corners respectively, in heavy cash desks with grilles, ornamental cages, rather like those used for bank cashiers thirty or forty years ago. The floor is covered with carpet, usually of a normal household design ‑ not the black‑andwhite chequered `pavement' that we know.

 

The visitor entering the Lodge will be escorted to a point nearest the altar, where he halts to salute first the WM, then the JW, and then the SW. The salute, which I cannot describe here, is always the position of the hands at the moment of taking the Obligation: but the EA sign in America is the Scottish `Due Guard' (which can best be described as the postion of the hands when taking the Obligation in the Royal Arch).

 

In giving the salute, the visitor will have turned full circle towards the Master who stands to greet him. The Marshal (our DC) will now introduce the visitor by name, giving his Lodge number, rank, etc, and the WM removes his top hat, and holding it at his breast, welcomes the visitor by name, and if he is a Master or Past Master, the WM will offer him the `courtesy of the east. This is an invitation to the Guest to sit on the Master's right hand, a courtesy which I accepted gladly. But I was surprised to notice that the majority of American visitors (even including Grand Officers) bowed their thanks and remained in the body of the Lodge. This pu

 

led me very much, until I realised that I had overlooked one item of the Lodge furnishings. Along both sides of the Lodge, spaced at fairly close intervals, there is a row of large and handsome `Club' ashtrays ‑ and they are not there for ornament! There are no ashtrays in the east, and this probably explains the visitors' reluctance to sit there. I was told, somewhat shamefacedly, that there is no smoking during the degrees, but I suspect that my informant had his fingers crossed. All this is, of course, very horrifying to us, but one becomes accustomed to almost anything, and, as a strong smoker, I realise that there is a great temptation to stay within reach of the ashtrays. But in fairness, it must be emphasised that smoking in the Lodge room is permitted 162HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY only in certain American jurisdictions, not in all of them.

 

The last business of the evening is the confirmation of the Lodge accounts for that day's work, and perhaps this is why the Secretary and Treasurer are kept immured in their corners until the accounts have been passed.

 

The Americans are very efficient in matters of stage management. The Marshall carries a short ebony baton, perhaps 18 inches long, with handsome silver mounts, and he escorts the WM or the Chaplain down to the altar for all prayers and obligations, while all the lights gradually dim down to darkness, so that only the spotlight is left, shining directly on to the Bible. So, too, after the Lodge is closed, the Marshal organises the `Salute to the Flag'. A procession of Officers is formed, and a huge flag is brought into the Lodge under escort. It is borne towards the altar, the lights dim down, and only the spotlight is left shining on the flag, while the assembly sings, `My Country, 'tis of Thee'.

 

Yes. They really are different.

 

MORE LIGHT ON THE ROYAL ARCH THESE NOTES MUST begin with an apology, because it is fairly certain that some of the points to be made will seem surprising, if not actually rather shocking. I need only add that they will be explained as simply as possible and in the light of the best that is known in modern Masonic scholarship.

 

The Royal Arch made its first appearance in England during the 1740s. We may assume that the seeds of this new ceremony were germinating for several years before we have records of it, but we cannot date the practice of the Royal Arch earlier than c1740.

 

THE REASONS FOR THE RA If the question is asked, `Why did the Royal Arch appear?', the answer is that a further ceremony, or a separate `Fourth Grade', was inevitable, and this can best be explained by our knowledge of the evolution of the three Craft degrees.

 

The system of apprenticeship made its first appearance in England in the 1200s and a number of legal decisions confirm that in the 1400s apprentices were still the chattels of their masters, ie they were not `free' and would not have any status in a lodge. This suggests that the earliest single admission ceremony into the Craft (as described all too briefly in the early versions of the Old Charges) was for the fellow‑craft, the fully trained mason.

 

In 1598 and 1599 we have minutes of two Scottish Lodges showing two degrees in practice. The first made an apprentice into an `entered apprentice' and was usually conferred after he had served about three years of his indentures. The second degree of those days was usually conferred about seven years later and that made him a 'fellow‑craft', ie a fully trained mason.

 

163 164HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY A hundred years later, in 1696, we have the earliest Scottish ritual for those two degrees, and the second is described as 'Master or fellowcraft'. Inside the lodge those two grades were equal, both fully‑trained men. Outside the lodge the FCs remained employees, but those who could pay the requisite fees and take up the duties of citizenship were able to set up as Masters, ie as employers. Sooner or later it was inevitable that there would be a demand for a separate degree to distinguish the Masters, and the third degree appeared in England around 1724‑25. By 1730 it was widely known, though not so widely practised.

 

At this stage all three working grades within the Craft were covered by separate ceremonies; only one grade remained unrepresented in this fashion. There was still no distinguishing degree for the men who had presided in a Lodge, ie, for the Masters of Lodges, and inevitably a ceremony appeared around 1740.

 

This is, of course, an over‑simplification of the whole story and it represents my own opinions, but they are based entirely on historical foundations and the dates mentioned here are supported by documentary evidence.

 

EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROYAL ARCH As to the development of the RA ceremony, there is every reason to believe that it was designed, originally, for Masters of Lodges or for men who had passed the Chair, and although there is some difference of opinion as to the interpretation of the evidence on this point, there is, in fact, a great deal of valuable evidence to support this view. In 1744, Dr Fifield Dassigny published a book with an enormous title, A Serious and Impartial Enquiry into the Cause of the present Decay of Freemasonry in . . . Ireland, and, speaking of the Royal Arch, he described it as `. . . an organis'd body of men who have passed the chair'.

 

Twelve years later, Laurence Dermott, Grand Secretary of the Antients' Grand Lodge, wrote scornfully of those '. . . who think themselves Royal Arch Masons without passing the Chair in regular form . . .' (Ahiman Rezon, 1756, p 48). But in those days, when Masonry was not nearly so widespread as it is today, a restriction of this kind ‑ had it really been enforced ‑ would have made the new ceremony almost impossible, because there would never have been enough candidates to keep it alive; so, at a very early date, we begin MORE LIGHT ON THE ROYAL ARCH165 to find evidence of the introduction of a kind of artificial `Chair Degree' in which prospective members of the RA were given a sort of imitation Installation in order to qualify them to go on to the RA.

 

Minutes for the early period of the RA (ie c1740 to 1760) are exceedingly rare and uninformative, but there is a record of an emergency meeting at Bolton in 1769, at which three men were successively installed as Master, and afterwards the actual Master of the Lodge was reinstalled. At Mount Moriah Lodge, now No 34, London, it was resolved in June 1785, `. . . that Bro Phillips shall pass the Chair upon St John's Day in order to obtain the Supreme Degree of a Royal Arch . . .' At the Philanthropic Lodge, Leeds, now No 304, the minutes for May 1795, record that `Bro Durrans past the chair in order to receive the Royal Arch'. Numerous records of a similar character make it evident that a `fictitious passing the chair' ceremony was being widely practised in the second half of the eighteenth century.

 

When the rival Grand Chapters were united in 1817, the ,chair‑degree' was officially abolished, but it continued to be worked in many places until the 1850s.

 

To this day, in many of the American jurisdictions, the entrusting which forms a preliminary to the RA is a brief ceremony which contains recognisable elements of our Installation work.

 

PLACE OF ORIGIN It is impossible to say, with certainty, that the RA took its rise in any particular country, but it seems likely that the ceremony came into England from Ireland. Several of the earliest references to the RA are undoubtedly Irish, and when the rival Grand Lodge, the `Antients', was founded in 1751, largely by immigrant Irishmen, it recognised the RA as a more‑or‑less essential adjunct to the normal Craft degrees.

 

There is, however, another possibility, that the ceremony originated in France, where a great number of Masonic innovations and expansions made their appearance in the early 1740s. In particular, there is an interesting reference in the Sceau Rompu, an exposure dated 1745, to lodges founded by the Crusaders who practised a ceremony commemorating the Israelites who worked at the rebuilding of the second Temple `with trowel in hand and sword by their side'. Several similar items of evidence support the view that certain 166HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY characteristic features of the RA ceremony, by whatever name, were already known on the Continent at an early date, but this cannot be taken as proof of origin. Amid a host of new degrees that began to appear in France in the following decades, the Royal Arch as a ceremony or degree in its own right remained unknown.

 

THE ROYAL ARCH UNDER TWO GRAND LODGES The first Grand Lodge, the `Moderns', gave no official recognition to the Royal Arch in the early years of its development in England. It was practised, nevertheless, in several Moderns' lodges, though it was not regarded as an integral part of the Craft degrees. Royal Arch Chapters did not yet exist as separate bodies for controlling the new grade, and there was, of course, no supreme controlling authority.

 

In June 1766, Lord Blaney, Grand Master of the `Moderns', was exalted in a new Chapter entitled The Grand and Royal Chapter. That was the first step towards the formation of a Moderns' governing body for the Royal Arch. In that year, Lord Blaney issued a `Charter of Compact' by which the new Chapter became `The Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter', which controlled the Royal Arch of the `Moderns' under a variety of names, until 1817. That was the beginning of an era of progress and prosperity for the Order under the Moderns, and a large number of Royal Arch Chapters were formed.

 

The `Antients', founded in 1751, had always counted the Royal Arch as a regular part of Craft Masonry, under the control of their Grand Lodge. The ceremony was conferred in their lodges with full approval of their Grand Lodge, though many of its members were not Royal Arch Masons; they saw no need for a separate governing body. Finally, greatly impressed by the success of their rivals, the Antients created a nominal Grand Chapter in 1771, a shadowy body, without powers, virtually under the control of their Grand Lodge. Their Book of Constitutions, Ahiman Rezon, contained no regulations for the government of the Royal Arch, and their first code of RA regulations was not compiled until 1794, more than forty years after their Grand Lodge had come into being.

 

Throughout the existence of the rival Grand Lodges and Grand Chapters, no attempt was made to control or standardise the rituals that their Chapters were using and, as with Craft ritual, there must MORE LIGHT ON THE ROYAL ARCH167 have been substantial variations of practice in different parts of the country until the 1780s or 1790s.

 

SOURCES AND RITUAL OF THE ROYAL ARCH For the background of the English Royal Arch ceremony we have two sources, both of great antiquity: (1) The return of the Israelites from Babylon and the building of the second Temple, based on Ezra. Nehemiah etc., in the Old Testament.

 

(2) The legend of the discovery of the vault, the altar, and the Sacred Word. This dates back to the writings of the early historians and Fathers of the Christian Church.

 

The Bible fixes the date and circumstances in which the legendary discovery of the vault took place. The vault legend is the drama which enshrines the esoteric and deeply religious teachings that are the essence of the ceremony. We may be sure that, in greater or less detail, these sources provided the background of the Royal Arch admission ceremony from its earliest times.

 

The study of the actual ritual of the RA presents major difficulties, because we lack the splendid run of early ritual texts such as we have for the Craft degrees. In the earlier decades of the Royal Arch, as in early Craft practice, substantial parts of the work would have been in the form of catechism. The ritual documents that survive begin in the 1760s, with more detailed texts towards the end of that century.

 

Precise dating from ritual always raises problems. When we find a dated text containing new information, we may be satisfied that it represents the practice at that date, but we cannot be sure when it first came into use. The following notes may serve as examples illustrating the difficulties.

 

There is a French manuscript, date c1760, in the Grand Lodge library, which makes reference to a word `on the Triangle'. This is confirmed in another French text in c1765, and we find it again in c1784, in an English version of similar material, the Dovre MS, which was used by a Moderns' Chapter in Norway.

 

The earliest text that we have, describing the language of that word is the Tunnah MS, of c1794, which indicates that it was a compound word in three languages, Hebrew, Chaldee and Arabic. Several later texts, none earlier than c1804‑10, give the languages as Syriac, 168HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Chaldee and Arabic. All these documents make it clear that there was another `word', as early as c1760, and we shall come to that shortly. Strangely, the Hebrew characters at the corners of the `triangle' are not to be found in any of our ritual documents until after the `standardisation' in 1834.

 

Apart from overt Christian allusions, later removed, it is clear that in 0792, and perhaps a little earlier, the ceremony of Exaltation was in much the same pattern as it is today, but our present‑day Historical and Symbolical Lectures were still in the form of catechism.

 

There is evidence of the ceremonial Installation of the Principals in the 1790s, but esoteric material relating to those ceremonies does not appear until 0810‑12, and Passwords leading to the Chairs are not found until after 1834.

 

In studying the sources of the RA ritual we find several interesting passages in early Craft documents which suggest that the Royal Arch, in its early decades and certainly before 1760, borrowed or absorbed certain features that were probably current in early Craft usage. They come under two main headings, first, the `Ineffable Name', and next, the `Secret Shared by Three'. Both are sufficiently important to deserve attention.

 

THE INEFFABLE NAME There are in all seventeen Craft ritual texts from 1696 to 1730; only three of them refer, more‑or‑less clearly, to the Ineffable Name of God, `Jehovah'. The clearest is in The Institution of Free‑masons, dated c1725. It runs: QWho rules & governs the Lodge & is Master of it? A.Iehovah the Right Pillar. (EMC p 84) The original printed version, from which this was copied, is The Grand Mystery of Free Masons Discover'd, 1724, where the relevant passage runs: QWho rules and governs the Lodge, and is Master of it? A. Irah,or the Right Pillar. lachin, (E. M. C. p 78) * I am deeply indebted to E.Comp. John M. Hamill, Librarian of Grand Lodge, for the ritual details quoted here, and for valued help besides.

 

MORE LIGHT ON THE ROYAL ARCH169 The word Irah is a pu

 

le. I believe it is only half of a Hebrew place‑name, `lehovah Ireh' where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac, at God's command. The Angel stayed his hand. A ram was sacrificed instead `and Abraham called the name of the place lehovah Ireh. (Gen. 22, vv. 11‑14). It means `The Lord will see' or `provide'.

 

The third mention is in a printed broadsheet, published in Dublin in 1725, The Whole Institution of Free‑Masons Opened. It is a brief exposure of words, grips and catechism, much of it worthless, but interspersed with passages of Christian interpretation. The final paragraph begins as follows: Yet for all this I want the primitive Word, I answer it was God in six Terminations, to wit I am, and Johova is the answer to it, and Grip at the Rein of the Back . . .

 

(EMC, p 88) The `six Terminations' may perhaps refer to the six letters in the Name `Iehova'. The `Grip at the Rein of the Back' seems to suggest that the Ineffable Name was used in connexion with the Points of Fellowship, which are described earlier in the same text; but there the `Points' are associated with different words.

 

It must be emphasised that in the earliest group of ritual documents, 1696 to 1730, the Ineffable Name appears only in the three texts quoted above; the remaining fourteen have no hint of it. It is therefore impossible to ascertain whether, or how widely, that Name was actually used in the Craft ceremonies of that period.

 

From 1725 onwards the Name, Jehova, disappears from the English ritual texts and from English Craft usage. We find it next in the valuable stream of French exposures which began in 1737, during the great thirty‑year gap in new English developments 1730‑60, while Prichard's Masonry Dissected of 1730 held the field against all opposition.

 

Prichard's third degree had become the basis of the European MM degree, and the French in particular had added their own improvements. There, in Le Catechisme des Francs‑Masons, 1744, we find the first brief description of the opening of a Master's Lodge, with a fine description of the floor‑work of the third degree and the first illustration of the 'Floor‑drawing' for that ceremony. (EFE, pp 96‑9). The main feature in that design is a coffin‑lid on which there is a 170HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY sprig of acacia and below it is the word `Jehova', always described as `the former word of a Master', (ancien mot du Maitre). The explanatory text usually adds that `the word was changed after the death of Adoniram' out of fear that `his assassins had caused him to divulge it'. In the French rituals Adoniram was `the architect of the Temple of Solomon'.

 

L'Ordre des Francs‑Masons Trahi, 1745, was the best of the French exposures during the following decades, and its 'Floor‑drawing' was a greatly improved design. But it repeated these Jehova details word for word in its many editions up to 1786. It was also translated into German and Dutch from 1745 onwards. (EFE, pp 247‑69).

 

Le Sceau Rompu, 1745, claimed in its opening pages, that Masonry was descended from the `Crusader Princes' who planned `to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem ... in a spiritual sense' and `took the name of `Knights Free Masons' (Chevaliers Masons libres.) The several chapters in the book are more concerned with Masonic practices than with exposing the ritual. There is no mention of Jehova as `the former word of a Master' but the text follows Le Catechisme in saying that `the Masters agreed, out of fear that the Masters' word had been revealed ... that ... the first word that would be uttered, should serve in future for Masters'.

 

The unknown author of Le Sceau Rompu did, however, include an interesting novelty in his MM catechism. After Adoniram was `interred in the Sanctuary of the Temple', we find: Q. What did he [Solomon] order to be placed on his Tomb? A. A gold Medal, in triangular form, on which was engraved the word Jeova [sic]. Which is the name of God in Hebrew. (EFE, pp 205, 225).

 

Le Catechisme, in its second edition, was published in 1747. It was now entitled La Desolation des Entrepreneurs Modernes du Temple de Jerusalem, and much longer than the original. It included Jehova as the `former word of a Master', but it also added the triangular `Medal in gold' on Adoniram's tomb. (EFE, p 331).

 

I have quoted these important French texts only to show that the ineffable Name, `Jehovah', so rarely used in the early English ritual texts, had now become firmly established in the French and other European Craft Rituals as the `former word of a Master'.

 

Its next appearance in English Masonic usage was in the Royal Arch.

 

MORE LIGHT ON THE ROYAL ARCH171 THE TRIBLE VOICE‑‑‑THE SECRET SHARED BY THREE The Graham MS, 1726, is one of the most interesting of our early ritual documents. It begins as a catechism of some thirty questions and answers, followed by a collection of legends, mainly about Biblical characters, each story with a kind of `Masonic twist' in its tail.

 

One of the answers in the catechism speaks of those `that have obtained a trible Voice by being entered passed and raised and Conformed by 3 serverall Lodges . . .'. At first glance, this seems to be no more than a complex reference to the three‑degree system, which was coming into practice at that time. But among the legends, there is one that indicates a further meaning. (EMC, pp 90‑1).

 

That story deals with Bezaleel, the wonderful craftsman, architect of the Tabernacle, the mobile Temple of the Israelites during their forty years in the wilderness. Two younger brothers of an unidentified King Alboyin were so impressed by his skill that they asked that Bazaleel should instruct them `in his noble science'. He agreed on condition that they would never reveal his teachings `without another to themselves to make a trible voice'. The text says `they entered oath' accordingly, and he taught them the `theory and practice' of Masonry.

 

Later, after the death of Bezaleel.

 

the inhabitance there about did think that the secrets of masonry had been totally Lost ... for none knew the secrets thereof Save these two princes and they were so sworn at their entering not to discover it without another to make a trible voice ... (EMC pp 93‑4).

 

These brief extracts from the legend show that the 'trible voice' in the Graham MS, implies secrets shared by three, and communicable only by three.

 

Four years later, Masonry Dissected, 1730, contained the earliest version of the Hiramic legend and there was no hint of a secret shared by three. Hiram, challenged by his attackers, counselled `time and patience' and he was slain. A substitute word was adopted, and the ceremony was complete in itself.

 

In the several French versions, 1744 to 1757, and in their later editions, Adoniram being challenged, said that he `had not received the Word in such a manner'. He was murdered and `nine Masters' were sent to search for him. They knew the `former Word of a Master' and fearing he had been forced to divulge it they agreed that 172HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY the first word uttered on raising the corpse should be the Master's Word.

 

In all these versions, English and French, there is no hint of a secret shared by three, and the ceremony is complete in itself. When the new series of English exposures began to appear again in 1760 and 1762, the texts had been greatly expanded (and the Royal Arch had been in existence for some fifteen years at least). The two most important texts were Three Distinct Knocks, 1760, giving the ritual of the new rival Grand Lodge, the `Antients', and J & B 1762, with the ritual of the original Grand Lodge, the so‑called `Moderns'. In the points under discussion they are identical.

 

The three ruffians seek to obtain the `Masters Word and Gripe' so that `they might pass for Masters in other Countries, and have Masters Wages'. Hiram, when challenged, says he did not receive the word in such a manner, counselling time and patience, but now, for the first time, he continues: . . . for it was not in his Power to deliver it alone, except Three together, viz. Solomon, King of lsrael; Hiram, King of Tyre; and Hiram Abiff.

 

Earlier versions of the third degree were clear and simple. A word `lost', a substitute found, and the ceremony was deemed complete. This note in Three Distinct Knocks, 1760 (paraphrased in J & B, 1762) was the first item in print confirming what had been in regular practice for perhaps twenty years or more, ie the link between the third degree and the Royal Arch. It was the Royal Arch that provided the framework for a ceremony in which the `lost word' could be communicated, but only by three participants. But the quotation is good evidence that the Craft ritual had been modified or ,tailored' to fit with the Royal Arch legend as its completion.

 

The Graham MS, 1726, had first mentioned the `trible voice' in the course of one of its legends, but it never became actual practice in any English Craft degrees. Absence of early Royal Arch ritual texts makes it impossible to say precisely when it was first introduced, probably in the 1740s, but whatever the date, the secret shared by three made its first appearance in actual practice in the Royal Arch.

 

THE VAULT LEGEND Reference has already been made briefly to the legend of the Vault, the Altar, and the Sacred Word, which provide the scenic MORE LIGHT ON WE ROYAL ARCH173 background to the Royal Arch ceremony as well as the religious elements of its teachings. Several crypt or vault legends seem to have made their appearance in the spate of new degrees that were coming into use in the eighteenth century. Here, we are only concerned with those which may have been the source of what became the early Royal Arch legend in England.

 

The works of several writers are involved, all telling much the same story in their own style. Probably the oldest of these was written by Ammianus Marcellinus, CAD325‑393. He was a Greek, of noble birth, the son of Christian parents. As a young man, he entered the Roman army, serving in high office under Constantius II, and later under his successor, the Emperor Julian, `the Apostate'. In old age, he retired to Rome, and wrote a valuable history of the Roman empire, in Latin, from AD 96 to 378, forming an excellent continuation of the works of Tacitus. Of the original thirty‑one books the first thirteen are lost; the surviving eighteen cover the years from 353 to 378. The Ammianus version of our RA legend appears there, perhaps the most interesting of all, because the events relating to the Vault legend took place in Julian's reign, and Ammianus actually served with Julian in the Emperor's last two campaigns.

 

Another History of the Church, containing the Julian legend, was produced by Philostorgius, a Greek historian (born CAD 364). That work is now lost, but an epitomy of it was made by Photius, who became Patriarch of Constantinople in AD 853. This became the basis of yet another lengthy version in Latin, in the Ecclesiastical History, by Nicephorous Callistus, in the early fourteenth century.

 

Finally, in 1659, Samuel Lee published his Orbis Miraculum, in which he gave what was probably the first English version of the legend, citing Nicephorus Callistus as his source.

 

All these versions are concerned with the Emperor Julian's attempt to rebuild what would have been the fourth Temple of the Israelites in Jerusalem. That failed because of earthquake, or fire, or falling stones. How the events relating to the projected fourth Temple came to be adopted as the background to the Royal Arch, which deals with the rebuilding of the second Temple, under Cyrus and Darius, must remain something of a mystery.

 

There seems to be no doubt, however, that the Julian legend was still attracting attention in the eighteenth century, and it appeared again in the Histoire Ecclesiastique by Claude Fleury (b 1640; d 1723).

 

174HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY That version of the story was actually quoted by Louis Travenol in his exposure of the ritual under the title La Desolation des Entrepreneurs du Temple de Jerusalem, 1747. This was a much revised and expanded version of his excellent Catechisme des Francs‑Masons of 1744, virtually a new book. It contained many pieces borrowed from contemporary Masonic works, including a fragment from Le Sceau Rompu, 1745, which had opened with a chapter tracing the history of Masonry back to the Crusaders, and the `Knights Free‑Masons' (mentioned above).

 

Travenol was a better than average writer on Masonic subjects, and he knew where to look for his material. He criticised the ,restorers' who intended to rebuild the Temple `after the example of Julian, the Apostate' in order to refute `. . . the prophecy of JC [Jesus Christ] that the Temple was destroyed for all time'. In support of this belief he added a lengthy footnote to his text, giving the whole of the Ammianus Marcellinus version of the legend, from Claude Fleury's History. That was the first version of the Julian legend to have been published in a Masonic exposure.

 

For all these reasons, the Ammianus version holds a high position in the documentation of the Royal Arch ritual, and it is reproduced here (translated from the French) side by side with Samuel Lee's version from his Orbis Miraculum.

 

THE UNION AND RITUAL UNIFORMITY The union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813, led naturally to a union of their Royal Arch bodies, which was achieved on 18 March 1817. Among the new regulations was one that we take for granted nowadays, ie that every Chapter unattached to a lodge was to unite itself with a regular Craft lodge. It was to take that lodge's number, and to hold its meetings at separate times from the lodge. This led to many problems and difficulties, especially when the Chapter could not find an eligible mate, and had to link itself with a lodge in another town.

 

The troubles passed eventually, but there was still a long delay before any attempt was made at ritual standardisation. The first moves towards that end were begun in the early 1830s. A Committee was appointed by Supreme Grand Chapter. The work seems to have been dominated by the Rev G. A. Browne, sometime Grand Chaplain of the United Grand Lodge, who was singled out at one of MORE LIGHT ON THE ROYAL ARCH175 the meetings with special thanks for his services. In November 1834, the ceremonies were rehearsed and approved by Supreme Grand Chapter, and a Chapter of Promulgation was formed in 1835, for six months only, to work as a Chapter of Instruction and, in particular, to ensure uniformity of practice throughout the Order. It demonstrated the newly‑approved forms of the Installation and Exaltation ceremonies in a whole series of meetings held from May to August 1835, and in November 1835, to avoid misconception, the Grand Chapter `. . . resolved and declared that the ceremonies adopted and promulgated by special Grand Chapter on the 21 and 25 of November 1834, are the ceremonies of our Order which it is the duty of every Chapter to adopt and obey'. Domatic, Aldersgate, Standard and several other versions are all descended from the RA ritual of November 1834.

 

INNOVATIONS The changes and innovations that were made at this time may be said to represent the final stage in the development of the RA ritual, and, rightly or wrongly, it is customary to award praise or blame to the Rev G. A. Browne for the results of the Committee's labours. He perfected the RA Installation ceremonies, which had probably existed for many years before his time, but without any set form of words. He transformed the Catechisms and gave them their new shape as the three Principals' Lectures. He was almost certainly responsible for the introduction of the Letters at the angles of the T ... with their extraordinary combinations and translations or interpretations. Whoever was responsible for this part of the work, and whatever their motives may have been, the results were lamentable.

 

In studying the evolution of the ritual, Craft or RA (or any other), one must make allowances for evolutionary changes, for the retention of archaisms, and for occasional historical errors and anachronisms. The RA ritual exhibits all these minor defects and it needs no expert eye to notice them. Like an ancient work of architecture which reveals the skill of many hands in different periods, so that old and new are united in a harmonious whole, the RA ritual, over all, is an inspiration. But one small portion of it is open to really serious criticism, viz, the explanation of the Letters at the angles of the T . . . and there is urgent need for revision.

 

176HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Unfortunately, the defects are not easily recognised because, in this portion of the RA ritual, so much depends on a useful working knowledge of Hebrew. In addition to this language barrier, which affects the vast majority of our Brethren, there is also the inherent difficulty of discussing the subject adequately in print.

 

During this part of the ceremony we are told that every combination of the letters makes a word; that all the words have reference to the Deity or some Divine attribute: that certain Hebrew words (spelt wrongly) have specific meanings; that three pairs of words have particular meanings. Not one of these statements is correct, and some of the explanations that follow are so crude as to be downright offensive.

 

In an attempt to convey some idea of the faults that mar the ritual at this point, the relevant passages are reproduced here, as they appear in the Domatic working. (Aldersgate and Metropolitan are virtually identical with Domatic in this section. The Oxford working is much shorter at this point and contains fewer errors. It also has a long and interesting Note, which indicates that the compilers were aware of the defects, though apparently powerless to remedy them.) Text The characters at the angles of the triangle are of exceeding importance, though it is immaterial where the combination is commenced, as each has reference to the Deity or some Divine attribute. They are the 1, 2, and 3 of the Hebrew, corresponding to the 1, 2 and 3 of the English alphabet.

 

Comment Immaterial is nonsense! It is only necessary to glance at the letters to see the absurd result if the combinations are made in the wrong order.

 

This is simply not true. There are in all twelve possible two‑letter and three‑letter combinations. Of the twelve, only three make words that could possibly be used for our purpose. The rest are either not words at all, or they mean things which are quite irrelevant.

 

Text Take the 1 and the 2; they form 1‑2, which is Father.

 

MORE LIGHT ON THE ROYAL ARCH177 Comment Correct. (The only correct statement in the whole piece.) Text Take the 2, and 1, and the 3; they form 2‑1‑3, which is Lord.

 

Comment No; this is a childish mis‑spelling. The word we use cannot be spelt correctly with these letters. Had it been spelt correctly, it would mean `Lord, master, or owner', generally a `human' noun, not a divine one'. In that spelling, it would also be the name of a Phoenician (heathen) god; so that our use of the word in this sense is very near to blasphemy.

 

Text Take the 1 and the 3; they form 1‑3, which is Word.

 

Comment It does not mean Word; it means `God', or it means `not'.

 

Text Take the 3, and 1, and the 2; they form 3‑2‑1, which signifies Heart or Spirit.

 

Comment These three letters do not signify Heart or Spirit. This is another infantile mis‑spelling.

 

Text Take each combination with the whole, and it will read: 12/213 = Father Lord 13/213 = Word Lord 312/213 = Spirit Lord Comment In this whole set of six words (or three pairs), only the first word is correct. For anyone who understands Hebrew, the rest is awful! 178HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY There is a view, not uncommon perhaps, that since the vast majority of the Brethren do not understand the words at all, there is no need to worry about a few trifling points of spelling and interpretation. For those of us who value our Masonry, the answer is simple. The prime justification for the existence of the Craft in its present‑day form lies in the quality and importance of its teachings. If any of us happened to hear a school‑teacher telling a child that the letters D O G spell `God', we would be justly angry. Yet we allow something almost as bad in this Hebrew portion of the RA, and it passes without notice, simply because so few of the listeners have any knowledge of the subject.

 

The lessons that we draw from the letters on the T . . . in this portion of the RA ritual are of the utmost importance, because they are designed to crystallise the spiritual meaning of the whole ceremony within a few simple words. We are at fault, both in the `words' themselves and in the `explanations' we give to them, and the following is an earnest attempt to furnish a simple and trustworthy explanation of pure Hebrew words, with an interpretation that is wholly in keeping with the teachings that lie at the very roots of our RA ceremonies.

 

The characters at the angles of the triangle are of exceeding importance because the three words which we compose from them may be said to epitomize the Teachings of this Supreme Degree.

 

They are the 1, 2, and 3 of the Hebrew, corresponding to the 1, 2, and 3 of the English alphabet.

 

The 1 and the 2 together form the word 1‑2, which means Father, and reminds us of our close and intimate relation to Him as His children. The 1 and the 3 together form the word 1‑3, which means God. This word, in the original Hebrew, is seldom used by itself, but normally in conjunction with those attributes which may help us to envisage His glory. So, for us, the word 1‑3 means God, the Architect, the Almighty Creator, whose mercy and loving kindness are beyond human comprehension.

 

The 3 and the 2 together form the word 3‑2, which means Heart or Spirit, and is used here to remind us of our duty towards Him, whom we are to serve `with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our might'. With all our heart, as His children; with all our soul, from a deep conviction of His infinite goodness and power; and with all our might, because our service to Him can never be complete in thought and words alone. Such, my newly exalted Comps., is the explanation we give . . .

 

Eventually, I addressed an inquiry to the Grand Secretary of the

 

MORE LIGHT ON THE ROYAL ARCH179

 

Grand Lodge of Israel, to ascertain what letters are used in this part of the Royal Arch ceremony, as practised nowadays in Israel. I am delighted to report that (out of the twelve possible combinations of letters) they use exactly the same three 'two‑letter words' that are recommended here, with the interpretations, Father, God and Heart.

 

It will be observed that the familiar passage, 'Father‑Lord, Word‑Lord . . .', is now omitted, partly because the three letters do not fit that interpretaion (and never did). Another reason is because the interpretation is strictly Christian and Trinitarian, and it is, therefore, not in full accord with the official modern views on purely sectarian ritual.

 

But for those who would wish to retain this passage, I am indebted to E Comp R. A. Wells, Scribe E of Domatic Chapter of Instruction, No 177, who has produced an admirable and concise version of the earlier forms. It is, of course, understood that the following paragraph bears only an 'interpretational' connection with the original three Hebrew letters and their `words': In former times these characters in conjunction with the triangle have been explained as‑Father Lord, Word Lord, Spirit Lord, according to the teachings of the First Epistle of St John (chap. 5, v. 7): 'For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.' Such, my newly exalted Comp., is the explanation we give of . . . etc 8 THE LETTER G THE LETTER G, which is conspicuously displayed in many Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England (and in numerous other jurisdictions, too), has the curious, if not unique, distinction of being a Masonic symbol which does not have the all‑important characteristic of universality. All the others, the working tools, the greater and lesser lights, the pillars, etc, which form an intrinsic part of our method of teaching, convey the same lessons to Masons of every race, colour or creed, and in every language. The G, as it is explained in the majority of Englishlanguage rituals, bears its interpretation primarily in English alone (and only by accident in other tongues, such as German, etc).

 

As a starting point, we may note that in the majority of English Rituals the G is referred to in the lecture on the second TB as meaning God, TGGOTU.

 

During the Closing in the 2nd Deg. it is mentioned again, as follows: WM Bro JW, in this position, what have you discovered? JWA Sacred symbol.

 

WM Where situated? JWIn the centre of the building. WM To whom does it allude? JWTo God, the GG of the Universe.

 

But these are, so to speak, the modern refinements of ancient practice, and, as we shall see, there is a great deal of evidence in the Old Charges and in eighteenth century ritual documents to suggest that the G represented the science of Geometry, which always had a special place in the Craft; and so the questions arise: How and where did the G come into Masonic practice? What does it represent; God or Geometry, or both? What are the modern practices in regard to the G? 180 THE LETTER G To understand the nature of the problems, we go back to the sources of our earliest Masonic documents, the MS Constitutions or 'Old Charges'.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE `SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS OR SCIENCES' The ancient Greeks propounded the idea of a `circle' of arts and sciences as a necessary preliminary for Greek youth before proceeding to professional studies, but the precise contents of their curriculum is unknown, although our seven were apparently included among them.

 

The Roman artes liberales covered much wider ground, including the arts of gymnastics, war, generalship, politics, jurisprudence and medicine, etc. They were apparently not grouped into a fixed cycle such as the later grouping of the `Seven', and, from the point of view of the Roman gentry, there would never have been any kind of connection between the liberal studies and their practical applications. Thus, the association we find in the Ancient Charges between geometry and masonry would not have occurred to them; the crafts were deemed to be vulgar, and Seneca even excluded painting, sculpture and marble‑working from the `liberal arts'.

 

An early Roman attempt at codification by Varro, in the second century ac, has not survived. Martianus Capella, of Carthage, wrote his Septem A rtes Liberales some 600 years later, CAD 420, in which the arts were for the first time numbered seven. Cassiodorus (c480‑c565) produced a work on the same subject which became one of the standard treatises of the Middle Ages. Boethius was the first to divide them into two groups containing the four mathematical sciences, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry and Astronomy, and the three literary arts, Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic, though he dealt with only the first four.

 

By the time of Isidore, Bishop of Seville (AD 600‑36), the seven liberal arts were the recognised introduction to all knowledge, though he included many other sciences in his curriculum. His definition of the seven became the model for later encyclopaedists: There are seven liberal arts. First, grammar, that is, skill in speaking. Second, rhetoric, which on account of the grace and fluency of its eloquence is considered most necessary in the problem of civil life. Third, dialectic, also called logic, which by subtle discussion divides the true from the false. Fourth, arithmetic, which contains the causes and divisions of 182HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY numbers. Fifth, music, which consists of songs and music. Sixth, geometry, which comprehends the measures and dimensions of the earth. Seventh, astronomy, which contains the law of the stars.

 

There were, indeed, differing views in the Middle Ages as to which of the seven sciences was the most important, but the two oldest Masonic MSS, and all the later versions, stress the idea that Geometry was the foundation of all knowledge.

 

Marvel not that I say all sciences live only by Geometry ‑ for there is no art or handicraft wrought by men's hands but what is wrought by Geometry . . . Geometry is the science that all reasonable men live by . . .t Although the words differ in the various texts, this same theme is repeated regularly in the MS Constitutions, and when the texts reach the point at which Euclid comes into the traditional history, the story takes a curious twist and we find that he is reported to have taught the art of building, and that he gave it the name of geometry, now universally called Masonry. The following quotation is typical: And then this worthy Doctor [Euclid] . . . taught them ye Science of Geometrie & practise to worke in stones all manner of worthy work yt belongeth to buildings Churches Temples Castles . . .

 

and later: Euclid was ye first yt gave it ye name of Geometrie the wch is now called Masonrie throughout all this nation . . . (York No 1 MS. c1600$).

 

Thus the science of geometry and the craft of masonry become virtually synonymous in our oldest Masonic documents, and this particular theme is developed so regularly and with such emphasis that there can be no doubt that this was the basis of at least one meaning of the letter G when it was subsequently introduced into the ritual (and furnishings) of the Craft.

 

The references to God in the MS Constitutions are more formal. Most of the texts begin with a brief invocation or prayer: Thanked be God our Glorious Father and founder and former of heaven and earth ... 1 * The foregoing is a brief prdcis from the chapter of the Seven Liberal Arts in Knoop, Jones & Hamer's The Two Earliest Masonic MSS (Manchester University Press, 1938), pp 24‑6.

 

t Cooke MS, c1410, lines 99‑105 and 127‑28. Knoop, op cit, pp 74‑5. I reproduce the text in modern language.

 

$ The Yorkshire 'Old Charges' of Masons, Poole & Worts, p 114 et passim. 1 The Cooke MS, c1410.

 

THE LETTER G 183 Frequently the invocation is of a trinitarian character, but in either form it is simply to be understood as an `opening prayer' and there is no particular Masonic significance in it. The name of God also appears regularly in the first of the `Points' addressed to all Masons at their entry to the Craft, when they were adjured to love God and Holy Church, and their master and fellows, etc. Here too, though it reappears in every version of the Constitutions, it is a very proper but rather formal opening to the whole code of Points that follow it. The name of God is venerated, but it does not receive the kind of emphasis which would entitle us to deduce that it might have inspired our early brethren to symbolise it in any particular way.

 

Nothing that has been written thus far should be construed as a suggestion that the Masons of c1400 were already using the letter G as a symbol, either for God or for geometry. The point is that the word `geometry' had a special connotation for them; and so long as that idea remained (as it did for several hundred years), it was inevitable that when the first glimmerings of symbolism began to make their appearance in the Craft, the significance of geometry would be emphasised in some way. Within the same texts, however, the name of God receives more normal and formal treatment, so that we are driven to the conclusion that when the G symbol first appeared in Craft usage, it was not in allusion to God, but to Geometry, ie to the science which was deemed to be the very foundation of the Craft.

 

THE G IN EARLY ENGLISH RITUAL DOCUMENTS Our next source of information lies in the catechisms and exposures, starting in 1696, which furnish our earliest evidence on the ritual of their time. The oldest of the series, the Edinburgh Register House MS of 1696 (and the three related versions), contain no information on our subject; but the Sloane MS, dated c1700, has an interesting reference to the `Blazing Star', and although those words may appear irrelevant at this point, they assume some significance when the whole body of evidence is collated.

 

Q.How many Jewles belong to your Lodge? A. There are three the Square pavem` the blazing Star and the Danty tassley*.

 

'" EMC, pp 47‑48. `Danty Tassley' is a corruption of Indented Tarsal, `the border round about' the Lodge, as Prichard describes it; or possibly a corruption of perpentashler.

 

184 HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY A number of catechisms (both manuscript and printed) have survived from the years up to 1730, but the Blazing Star does not reappear in any of them until Prichard's Masonry Dissected, which was first published in October 1730: Q. A. A. A. Q. A.

 

Have you any Furniture in your Lodge? Yes.

 

What is it? Mosaick Pavement, Blazing Star and Indented Tarsel. What are they? Mosaick Pavement, the Ground Floor of the Lodge, Blazing Star, the Centre, and Indented Tarsel the Border round about it. [EMC, p 162.] A later version, the Chesham MS, c1740, is identical on this point", and these three texts are the only English documents of this class which refer to the Blazing Star up to 1740. We shall deal with the significance of this symbol and the manner in which it was depicted at a later stage in‑this study, but for the moment our main interest in it arises because Prichard's exposure deals with two completely separate elements, the Blazing Star and the Letter G. The former appears in the .Enter'd 'Prentices' Degree, but Prichard's numerous references to the G are all included in his 'Fellow Craft's Degree'.

 

If the letter G was indeed part of the ritual in the earlier pre‑Grand Lodge era, which I am inclined to doubt, it seems probable that it had fallen out of use for a time, because there is no trace of it in the numerous catechisms and exposures, English and Scottish, in the years from 1696 to 1730.

 

Prichard's FC Degree is a catechism of some thirty‑three Questions and Answers, followed by a rhymed 'examination' and a form of 'greeting'. We reproduce only those portions which relate to the G: Are you a Fellow‑Craft? I am.

 

Why was you made a Fellow‑Craft? For the sake of the Letter G. What does that G denote? Geometry, or the fifth Science.

 

Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. [Several questions leading to 'the Middle Chamber'.] Ibid. p 17‑1. As this text is virtually an exact copy ot Prichard. we ignore it in the later discussion.

 

THE LETTER G 185 Q. When you came into the middle, what did you see? A.The Resemblance of the Letter G.

 

Q.Who doth that G denote? A.One that's greater than you.

 

Q.Who's greater than I, that am a Free and Accepted Mason, the Master of a Lodge? A.The Grand Architect and Contriver of the Universe, or He that was taken up to the top of the Pinnacle of the Holy Temple. [An early version of our GAOTU.] Q. Can you repeat the Letter G? A. I'll do my Endeavour.

 

The Repeating of the Letter G Resp[onder] In the midst of Solomon's Temple there stands a G. A Letter fair for all to read and see, But few there be that understands What means that Letter G. Ex[aminer]My Friend, if you pretend to be Of this Fraternity.

 

You can forthwith and rightly tell What means that Letter G . . . [Nine lines are omitted here[ Resp.By Letters four and Science Five This G aright doth stand In a due Art and Proportion, You have your Answer, Friend. NB ‑ Four Letters are Boaz. Fifth Science Geometrv.* This is all that Prichard has on the subject, but before examining the significance of his text we quote from several other interesting documents.

 

The Wilkinson MS is a catechism, much shorter than Prichard's, which belongs to the same period; indeed, it was dated by Knoop as c1727, three years before Prichard, but that is not certain.

 

Q.What is the Center of yr. Lodge? A. The Letter G.

 

Q. What does it signify`? A. Geometry. [EMC, p 130.] This is all that the Wilkinson MS has on the subject of the G; tnid. pp 165‑67.

 

186HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY though far less detailed than Prichard, the information it gives tends to confirm Prichard's fuller version.

 

Another catechism of c1740, now lost, is A Dialogue between Simon and Philip. It contains only three questions on the G, but it also has an interesting pair of diagrams: Phil. Why was you made a Mason? Sim. For the sake of the Letter G. Phil. What does it signifye? Sim. Geomitry.

 

Phil. Why Geomitry? Sim. Because it is the Root and foundation of all Arts and Sciences.

 

And a note relating to this Q. and A. explains: `You may Observe why G is plated in the midle [sic] of the Lodge.' To complete the information from the Dialogue, the two diagrams are reproduced here:

(186)

 

 

THE LETTER G 187

 

Among the explanatory notes in this text there is one which describes the layout of the Lodge, and it clearly belongs to the diagrams: The Lodge's* ... is commonly made, with white tape nail'd to the Floor round as you see,t the Letters E for East and S for South &c are made of thin Silver or Tin very thin, And likewise the letter Gt at the top in the now constituted Lodge's is a Quadrant, a Square, a pair of Compasses and Plum line placed at the top of the Lodge . . .

 

The cruciform sketch of the Lodge is probably imaginary. The tape and nails and the tin are confirmed in other contemporary documents.

 

Two further references to the G and the Blazing Star must be mentioned here, although they do not come from catechisms. During the early decades of the eighteenth century there were a number of newspaper articles on the subject of Masonry, including items written in its defence, exposures, jibes at the Craft, and advertisements. One of these, under the title `Antediluvian Masonry', appeared in 1726. It was simply a skit on the contemporary Craft, though it was probably written by someone who had first‑hand knowledge of contemporary practices: There will be several Lectures on Ancient Masonry, particularly on the Signification of the Letter G, and how . . . the Antediluvian Masons form'd their Lodges, shewing what Innovations have lately been introduced by the Doctor and some other of the Moderns with their Tape, Jacks, Moveable Letters, Blazing Star, &c . . .'~ The Westminster Journal of 8 May 1742, contained an illustrated account of a procession of Mock Masons which had taken place in London on 27 April, some two weeks earlier. The writer describes the procession in full detail, and gives information on the Craft and its symbols, including a valuable reference to the Letter G and the Blazing Stars: The Letter G, Signifying Geometry, or the fifth Science, and for the sake of which all Fellow Crafts are made. This Letter G is the Essence of the Fellow Craft's * The word 'Lodge' is used here in the sense of Tracing Board. ie. the 'floor of the Lodge'.

 

+ The text runs exactly as shown. but 1 believe it would read correctly if new sentences began at these two points.

 

Knoop. Jones & Hamer. Early Masonic Pamphlets, pp 192‑94. The date 1726 is uncertain. but the item must have appeared between 1724 and 1731.

 

188HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Lodge: For being placed in the Middle of the Blazing Star, which is the Center of the enter'd Prentice's Lodge, it then is a Fellow Craft's Lodge.

 

Fellow Crafts are subsequently referred to as 'Letter G Men'. The procession had been organised by two prominent Masons in retaliation for some difference with the Grand Lodge, and there is good reason to believe that the details given in the newspaper report were an accurate description of some of the customs of that period. To summarise the evidence from the documents quoted: I. THE BLAZING STAR The Blazing Star was known in c1700 (Sloane MS), and probably widely known in 1726, but neither text gives any symbolic explanation. Prichard calls it part of the `Furniture' of the Lodge and says it is `the Centre'. (Not `at the centre' or `in the centre'; simply `the Centre'.) Both texts imply that it appears in a first degree Lodge, and the account in the Westminster Journal states specifically that it is `the Center of the enter'd Prentice's Lodge'.

 

The Dialogue does not mention a `Blazing Star', but its two diagrams may be relevant. One shows a G enclosed in a diamond, and we may perhaps assume that it belongs to the EA Lodge, but the implication is uncertain. The other shows a G in a flaming circle, and a note within the sketch says: `NB this circle and the Holy Flame is added when Masters are taken up.' Still not very helpful, except that there is a clear association of the `flame' with something Holy. The diagrams and the text indicate all these items in `the middle' of the Lodge.

 

II. THE LETTER G It appears for the first time in a ritual text in Prichard, 1730, which states that a Mason is made a Fellow Craft for the sake of the Letter G, and that the G means Geometry. Wilkinson confirms that the G means Geometry, and that it is in the centre of the Lodge; the Dialogue says that the Cand. was made a Mason (not a Fellow‑Craft) for the sake of the Letter G; both texts appear to be incomplete on these points, but the Dialogue diagrams also support the idea that the G is in the centre of the Lodge, and both texts are confirmed by the Westminster Journal.

 

"The practice of adding the G. as described in the above paragraph. is used to this dm, in some German Lodges, for altering the EA Tracing Board to FC.

 

THE LETTER G 189 III. THE G IN THE MIDDLE CHAMBER Prichard's text is the only one, of those quoted hitherto, that carries the symbolism of the G a stage further in his questions relating to the middle chamber, and now the symbol has a divine connotation. The reference to the Pinnacle of the Holy Temple is purely Christian, but now the G specifically denotes `the Grand Architect and Contriver of the Universe'.

 

The rhyme `Repeating of the Letter G' tends to confuse matters. It reverts to the `geometry' meaning of the letter G, which is now placed in the midst of Solomon's Temple.

 

The details in the Westminster Journal, 1742, are particularly helpful at this stage. They confirm that the G means geometry and belongs to the FC, and here, for the first time, we have a precise combination of two separate symbols, so that the G `placed in the Middle of the Blazing Star' transforms the EA Lodge into a Fellow‑Craft's Lodge.

 

Clearly, Prichard's text gives the fullest and, in certain respects, the only information: the other documents do not refute Prichard ‑ indeed, they all tend to confirm his statements. On Prichard's data, we may agree: (1) The G belongs to the FC. (2) It means Geometry.

 

(3) When the G appears in the middle chamber is means `Grand Architect', and certainly has some divine connotation.

 

(4) The Blazing Star (thus far without a G) is part of the Furniture of the Lodge, and in those places where it is used it certainly forms part of the EA Lodge.

 

(5) The `Blazing Star' in Prichard, with his G for the FC, and perhaps another for the `middle chamber', certainly denote two separate symbols and possibly three.

 

(6) The Westminster combination of the G with the Blazing Star is the earliest clear evidence of combined practice in regard to these two symbols. This kind of `combination' was by no means unusual, eg, `The Three Pillars' combined with `Three Lights', and the `Two Pillars' combined with `Two Globes'.

 

(7) The tin or silver G in the Dialogue confirms that it had passed beyond the stage of a mere verbal test‑question or rhyme, and was by this time a visible and tangible symbol. Prichard is a 190HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY possible confirmation: 'Antediluvian' and Westminster make it certain.

 

THE LETTER G: BEFORE OR AFTER 1730 In a note on the ritual of the pre‑Grand Lodge era, I suggested that if the Letter G had formed a part of the Masonic ritual before 1717 (and indeed before 1730), it had probably fallen out of use, because there is no trace of that symbol in all the ritual documents from 1696 to c1730. But there is another possibility that deserves consideration here, ie, that the G symbol for Geometry first came into use in c1730.

 

An examination of the whole collection of some sixteen ritual texts that have been discovered prior to the Prichard and Wilkinson texts of 1730 shows that, despite their numerous variations, there is a little nucleus of what may be called 'original material' that is common to all of them. Outside this nucleus, some show mere nonsense‑variations; others show definite developments indicating substantial growth in the subject‑matter of the ritual and procedure. But the nucleus is there, in each case as a kind of verbal measure of the trustworthiness of each text, and none of these documents has any reference, however remote, to Geometry or the Letter G.

 

From 1730 onwards we have seen that Prichard, Wilkinson, Chesham, the Dialogue and other sources all include the G theme and give it some prominence. We know, indeed, that the year 1730 marks the beginning of a great new era in ritual development, including the spread of the trigradal system and the general adoption of a much‑enlarged catechism. In both these advances, Prichard's work must have played an important part, although there is no justification for believing that he invented them. The real importance of his work lies in the readiness with which it was adopted, as witnessed by the vast number of editions that were published in England and in French, German and Dutch translations, and by the fact that it was adopted almost word for word as part of the longer and more elaborate Continental exposures of the 1740s.

 

In all these later versions, as we shall see, the Letter G appears, primarily with its Geometry connotation, and with subsequent expansions of symbolism, some of which have already been noted.

 

Thus, in trying to assess the degree of credence we may give to either of the two possibilities, we have on the one hand the theory THE LETTER G that the G was already in the ritual and that it had disappeared before 1730. This is extremely doubtful.

 

All the evidence as to the evolution of Masonic ritual suggests gradual growth from a small nucleus, with subsequent expansion, rearrangement and embellishment; and the possibility that a symbol of major importance had been dropped out of the Craft ritual before 1730 is, therefore, wholly unacceptable.

 

The alternative theory is that the Letter G was introduced into the Craft around 1730, based on the ancient tradition that Geometry and Masonry were synonymous. On the evidence already adduced, and on that which is to be examined below, this comparatively late introduction seems to be highly probable, and the wider interpretation of its symbolism, which is apparent in Prichard and in all the later texts, tends to confirm this late introduction and to refute the possibility of its earlier existence.

 

THE SYMBOLISM OF THE BLAZING STAR Before we proceed further with our study, we may pause to consider the symbolical significance of the Blazing Star, which seems to have had a f4irly continuous ‑ though occasionally tenuous ‑ connection with the Letter G.

 

The Sloane MS of c1700, which was the earliest text that mentioned the Blazing Star, did not discuss its symbolism, but apparently it was not intended to refer to one of the heavenly bodies. The Sun appears in this text in response to another question, and later texts that bear on this question all support the view that the Blazing Star is not one of the threefold group, sun, moon and stars, but a completely separate symbol.

 

Many of the early catechisms contain references to the sun, generally with some allusion to `lighting the men to work'. A few texts have a question on the number of lights in a Lodge, which elicits the answer `Twelve' (in four triads), including the `Sun, Moon and Master Mason', but Prichard's text was the first that had `Sun, Moon and Master Mason', as well as the Blazing Star.

 

Whether the latter was a piece of purely verbal symbolism, or was represented by a drawing or tangible emblem, its symbolical explanation presents a problem. It may have been a Christian symbol, ie, a forerunner of that `Bright and Morning Star' which came into the ritual at least fifty years later. Le Mason Demasque of 192HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY 1751, below, likens it to the `columns of fire', and also to the `Sun and the universe', but it adds a note of deep religious symbolism, describing it as `the centre, whence comes the true light'.

 

The frequent association of the Letter G with the Blazing Star raises the question as to whether the G `unadorned' is a symbol in its own right, or whether it should always be irradiated or combined with a Blazing Star.

 

Did the G acquire its rays of light because of its divine connotation? Did the `unadorned' G symbolise Geometry; and were the radiations added in order to give it a religious, instead of a scientific, meaning? There seems to be little doubt that the G was originally without radiations, and even the few texts already cited suggest that the blaze of light may have been introduced either in deference to the sanctity of the symbol or by combining it with a completely separate Blazing Star.

 

An examination of the further evidence that is available will show ‑ I fear ‑ that none of these questions can be answered with any degree of certainty.

 

EVIDENCE FROM THE FRENCH EXPOSURES Hitherto we have dealt only with British (or English) documentary sources of information on the letter G. So far as ritual texts in English are concerned (ie, catechisms and exposures), the years from 1730 to 1760 are virtually a blank. Prichard's exposure was regularly reprinted during that period, and in England it held the field. Whatever ritual changes there were, they did not appear in print.

 

In france and Germany, however, beginning in 1737, there was a steady flow of exposures which grew rapidly into a flood. Several of these were worthless catchpennies; some, however, were more serious and, in the absence of truly reliable sources of information, it must be agreed that they afford useful light on the ritual developments of their time.

 

We preface our extracts from the foreign texts with a few words from an involuntary exposure by John Coustos, who, in his confession to the Lisbon Inquisition on 21 March 1743, referred to the Letter G, and his words were transcribed in the Inquisition records. They add little to our knowledge of the subject, but they are a useful indication of widespread practice: THE LETTER G 193 The floor of the said Lodge has a design in white chalk wherein are formed several borders serving as ornament, together with a shining Star with a 'G' in the middle signifying the fifth science of Geometry to which all officers and apprentices should aspire . . . (AQC, Ixvi, p 114, which contains a misprint, 'Geography'.) Allowing for the fact that the European Freemasonry of that period was of English origin, it is not surprising that most of these works owed a great deal to Prichard, especially in their catechisms; but their expansions of material and their narrative descriptions of the ceremonies and other details went far beyond anything that had previously appeared in English documents.

 

Several of these Continental exposures also contained sketch plans showing the supposed layout of the 'Lodge' for t~e various degrees. These plans were generally a combination of two separate themes: (a) Diagrams showing the position of the Officers, altar, steps, etc; (b) Charts showing a collection of tools, symbols, etc, belonging to a particular degree, the combination forming a kind of elaborate and detailed tracing board.

 

We examine here the textual evidence from the Continental exposures; the illustrations will form the subject of a separate note, below.

 

Le Catechisme des Francs Ma(‑ons, 1744, contains a catechism of over eighty questions and answers, and the author admits that a few of them have slipped his memory. So far as our immediate quest is concerned, he is, however, very helpful. Unlike Prichard, he names the Blazing Star as one of the Ornaments of the Lodge (where the English texts call it 'Furniture'), and the word 'Ornaments' persists in all the French texts. Following Prichard, he says that the EA was made FC for the sake of the Letter G, ie, Geometry, the fifth Science. Then, after a few Q. and A., leading to the subject of the 'Middle Chamber': Q. When you entered [the middle chamber] what did you see`? A. A great Light in which I perceived the Letter G.

 

Q. What does the Letter G signify? A.God, that is to say DIEU, or one who is greater than you.

 

It is only in the last two Q. and A. that the Catechisme shows a development beyond the Prichard text which was its source. Prichard's middle chamber contained only 'The Resemblance of the letter G'. The Catechisme has a 'Great Light containing the G' [ie, a 194HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY combination of the G with the Blazing Star], and, as though to assure us of the English origin of the text, the answer to the last question says that the G means God, 'which means DIEU in English'.

 

The Sceau Rompu, of 1745, contains a splendid catechism, and in regard to the G, etc, it follows almost identically the pattern of Le Catechisme, including, in the middle chamber, 'A great light in which i was able to distinguish the letter G'. Finally, this text declares that the G '. . . signifies the name of God in Hebrew'. [It does not.] L'Ordre des Francs‑Magons Trahi is perhaps the most important exposure of this period because of the evidence it furnishes of contemporary expansions in ritual practices. It has the 'Blazing Star', and the Cand. is made FC by the Square, the Letter G and the Compasses', and 'For the [sake of] the Letter G'.

 

Later, in reply to the questions, 'Have you been paid?' and 'Where?', the MM replies, 'Yes . . . in the Middle Chamber'. There is no question of any peculiarly celestial light in the Chamber, but the Letter G, for the MM, goes back to the Catechisme definition, 'God, which (in English) means Dieu'.

 

The illustrations in this book are of great interest. Among them are two 'Plans' of an EA/FC Lodge, which are, in effect, symbolical charts or Tracing Board covering the first two degrees.

 

One of these pictures is entitled 'The Correct Plan of a Lodge for the Reception of an EA‑FC'. The other Plan (which had originally appeared in Le Catechisme des Francs‑Magons, 1744) is incorrect (according to the author of the Trahi), and is sub‑titled, As Published at Paris, but inexact. The two drawings are much alike, but the faulty picture omits the Sun, Moon and the Door to the Middle Chamber. Apart from these omissions, the main difference between the two pictures is in their arrangement of the letter G.

 

The incorrect picture shows a Five‑pointed Blazing Star with a G at its centre; the correct picture has the Blazing Star, without the G, but a large G appears (unnumbered and unindexed) above the Door of the Middle Chamber. (See illustrations).

 

The Trahi also contains a most interesting and unusual Footnote relating to the 'Steps': ... it must be noted that the Author of Le Secret des Francs Masons has forgotten to point out that the first step is made from the west door to the Square; the second, from the Square to the Letter G; and the third, from the Letter G to the Compass; the feet always in the form of a Square.

 

This seems to imply that the G may have been a `tangible' symbol on the floor of the Lodge.

 

Le Nouveau Catechisme, of 1749, contains all the same `G material', excluding the footnote, but the Letter G now stands for

 

Z s * The author of the Trahi had openly pirated the whole of the Secret des Francs MaCons (1742) and used that text as the first part of his book. admitting that the Secret was vcrv accurate in all but trifling matters of detail."

 

196   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

GOT [sic], which is '. . . the name of God in Hebrew'.

 

Le Mason Demasque, 1751, has a narrative section, which parallels and enlarges on its catechism, but generally both sections preserve the main items of their predecessors. In the catechism the Blazing Star serves 'to light the middle chamber'. The candidate is still made FC for the sake of the Letter G, but when the Master asks what that letter means, the answer contains an interesting expansion: A. Three things, Glory, Grandeur and Geometry, or the fifth Science. Glory for God, Grandeur for the Master of the Lodge, and Geometry for the Brethren.

 

These `Glory and Grandeur' definitions are, so far as I am aware, the first attempt to find new meanings for the G beyond those that were already well established.

 

Later, in reply to the question, 'Who is greater than I?, etc: A.It is God Himself, whose name, God in English, is represented by that Letter.

 

The narrative portion dealing with these matters is described as a 'Demonstration of the Tracing Board' (Demonstration de Tableau), and it contains, among numerous symbols, a Blazing Star with a G in the centre (as in the Catechisme 'Plan' of 1744).

 

The Board is a combination‑piece for EAs and FCs, and the explanation follows in close detail the Q and A of the catechism, thus furnishing an interesting and early example of the transition of the ritual from Question and Answer to the 'explanatory' recitations, or Lectures.

 

One further expansion appears in the Lecture, when the Blazing Star `. . . goes before us like the Column of fire which shone [brilla] to guide the people in the wilderness'.

 

Only one more text need be noted here, the Receuil Precieux . . . of 1767, and all the Demasque definitions are preserved in it practically word for word. The Receuil contains a great deal of symbolical expansion, but, so far as our particular study is concerned, only the Blazing Star shows a new interpretation, being described in one case as `The symbol of the Sun and the universe', and elsewhere, following the Demasque, it `. . . is the centre, whence comes the true light'.

 

This curious link between the Blazing Star and the Sun is unusual, but we shall find it again later on.

 

THE LETTER G 197 POSITION OF THE G IN RELATION TO THE DEGREES Another matter that may best be discussed at this stage is the situation of the G, with its relevant symbolism, almost invariably within the second degree. This involves one of the major questions in the evolution of the Masonic ceremonies, ie, the rise of the three‑degree system.

 

To summarise the subject very briefly, it may said that, with only one exception,* all the evidence of our early ritual‑documents indicates that, in the period 1696‑c1723, only two degrees were known in the Masonic ceremonies, one for the EA and one for the FC, or Master. At that stage one may fairly assume, from the evidence, that the EA ceremony was based on a two‑pillar theme, and the FC (or Master) ceremony had the FPOF as its nucleus.

 

In 1724, or very soon afterwards, the three‑degree system began to make its appearance, and by the time Prichard's exposure was published ‑ and soon after its publication ‑ the third degree was widely known, though not widely practised. A comparison of the ritual‑texts before the change took place, and after, shows beyond all reasonable doubt that the third was not a new degree tacked on to the former two. On the contrary, the third in the new system contained all the elements that had existed in the former second degree. In effect, it seems certain that the new system was achieved by a splitting‑up of the first degree into two parts, leaving one portion as the first and embellishing the remainder so as to form a new second. The process of development was gradual, and during its course all three grades were expanded. But if any of the three ceremonies may be described as new, that adjective belongs properly to the second degree.

 

It is from Prichard (and from his European imitators and 'improvers') that we may deduce the nature of the 'new' portions of the FC degree, since we know already that the pillar material was a simple transfer from the first degree. Prichard's was the first exposure that contained the 'Middle Chamber' theme and the new emphasis on the G with its related symbolism. Indeed, it seems likely that this was, at that time, the only new material in the second degree.

 

We shall probably never know whence he obtained it, but it was readily accepted in England and the European countries, and it The Trinity College, Dublin, Ms, c1711. allocates separate secrets to three grades. but it has nothing on the letter G in any of its meetings.

 

198 HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY reappeared regularly in Prichard's later editions and in the principal Continental exposures during the next forty years.

 

THE ENGLISH EXPOSURES OF THE 1760s After the spate of Continental exposures, there began, in 1760, a new stream of those publications in England. The English ritual practices were by this time fairly well stabilised, and this is borne out by the general similarity of the texts. A few of them also contain useful lists (or mentions) of lodge equipment, and `Plans' or Tracing Boards resembling those in the Continental exposures of the 1740s.

 

So far as our particular inquiry is concerned, the English texts of the 1760s yield no further information beyond that furnished by the earlier Continental group. Indeed, the English evidence is of such a negative character as to suggest that the Letter G and the Blazing Star no longer occupied positions of importance in the ritual, and were in course of being abandoned completely. The texts are reviewed here briefly, but only in regard to our theme.

 

Three Distinct Knocks, 1760. (At least four editions before 1780.) Contains EA questions on the Liberal Arts, including Geometry, but there is no mention of the Letter G. The FC portion has questions on the Middle Chamber and the Pillars, but no mention of the Blazing Star or the G, or any points relevant to our study.

 

Jachin & Boaz, 1762. (At least 16 editions before 1780.) Far the most popular text in the whole group, and there is reliable evidence that it was used in the Craft very much as the `little blue books' are used today. Everything that has been said about TDK, above, applies equally to J. & B., and when we consider the wide circulation that this book enjoyed, the negative evidence of the missing G and Blazing Star assumes an importance far greater than would be attached to the same circumstance in connection with a little‑known text. The point is that if those symbols were in wide general use in the Craft Lodges of that period, J. & B., with its numerous editions, would almost certainly have depicted and described them.

 

From the 1776 edition onwards, J. & B. contains an oval frontispiece in which the lodge symbols and furnishings are beautifully illustrated. The 1800 edition has an octagonal engraving containing all the same symbols in a new arrangement, but the G and the Blazing Star are missing from all these illustrations. It may be significant that fiom 1776 onwards a new symbol, `The All‑Seeing THE LETTER G 199 Eye' (described as the Eye of Providence), appears, in a blaze of light, which might bear an inferential relationship both to the G and the Blazing Star.

 

Hiram, 1764, and Shibboleth, 1765, are both void of all reference to our two symbols. Tubal Kain, 1767, is a mere copy of Prichard's Masonry Dissected, reprinting his material word for word, so that it offers nothing new and is probably not representative of its period.

 

Solomon in All his Glory, 1766. (At least five editions up to 1780.) This was an acknowledged translation of the French Magon Demasque, of 1751, though that title is not mentioned. The Blazing Star is described in the Introduction as `the torch which enlightens them' (ie, the Brn.). The FC ceremony, as in the Demasque, has the explanation of the Tableau, which contains the Blazing Star with the G in the centre, the flames referring to the `Pillar of Fire' ‑ in fact, all the Demasque material, both in narrative form in the Lecture, and in Q and A form in the catechism.

 

The Tableau of this FC ceremony contains the Blazing Star with the G at its centre in both the 1766 and 1768 editions. The 1777 edition shows the Star in precisely the same position, but without the G. In all cases the numbered chart relating to the Tableau describes item No 19 as `The Flaming star', and the G is never mentioned. It is rather doubtful if Solomon, etc, represents the English Masonic working of this period.

 

Mahhabone, 1765. (At least three editions up to 1780.) A compilation that borrows considerably from Prichard, J. & B., Hiram and Solomon. Its first series of catechisms, supposedly `Antients' ' working, are, like J. & B., void of all reference to our theme. Towards the end of the book, however, there are three further catechisms, under the heading `Modern Masonry', and the EA section refers to the Blazing Star which `enlighten'd the Middle Chamber', and the FC portion combines the G with the Blazing Star, saying that the G denotes Glory, Grandeur and Geometry.

 

The second edition of 1766 has a beautifully‑designed frontispiece, and here the Blazing Star is shown with the G at its centre. Again, the key to the picture refers to the Star, but does not mention the G.

 

The survey, above, covers all the principal exposures of the 1760s. It must be remembered, of course, that none of them was an official publication. On the contrary, they all owed their existence to some breach of Masonic secrecy and they must be treated as fundamentally

 

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THE LETTER G 201

 

unreliable sources. Unfortunately, we are compelled to examine them because no other evidence is available and we have to assess their reliability in the light of what we know of subsequent developments. For all these reasons the conclusions we draw from them are always tinged with some shade of doubt.

 

It is clear, however, that the whole group of these English texts of the 1760s affords no evidence at all of any expansion in the ritual practices in regard to the G or the Blazing Star. The two documents which would appear to have maintained former practices are clearly copies of the earlier versions, and neither of them achieved the circulation of TDK or of J. & B., so that it is unlikely that Solomon or Mahhabone can have had any material influence on the ritual of their day.

 

If we exclude those two texts, it becomes evident that during the period 1740‑70 the G and the Blazing Star had substantially diminished in their importance as a part of the ritual. The `Tracing Board Frontispieces', and other items to be noted later, all tend to show that these symbols were not lost entirely, but the negative evidence, from texts that are known to have achieved a high degree of popularity, cannot be ignored, and it seems reasonable to infer that even in those lodges where the two symbols were displayed they had virtually disappeared from the actual words of the ritual.

 

THE POCKET COMPANIONS AND THEIR SUCCESSORS In addition to the various exposures which achieved great popularity in England during the eighteenth century, another, more respectable, class of books made their first appearance in 1735, under the generic title of Pocket Companions. The size of Anderson's Book of Constitutions probably made it an awkward piece to be carried to and from lodge, and, when it went out of print in 1734, William Smith (whose identity has not been established) compiled and published the first Pocket Companion. It was practically a miniature version of Anderson's B of C, containing his `history' ‑ with additions, the Prayers, Charges, Regulations and Songs.

 

These little books proved so popular that some twenty‑five editions " Anderson, in his B of C, laid great stress on Geometry, eg: '. . . Adam ... must have had the Liberal Sciences, particularly Geometry. written on his Heart . . .' His work is full of allusions to the science, with a fantastic list of its supposed practitioners, including Noah. Abram, Moses. etc. His work might well have encouraged the introduction of the letter G, but his text affords no evidence that the symbol was in use in his day.

 

202HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY appeared within the next forty years. When Preston's 1775 edition of his Illustrations of Masonry appeared, with its more varied contents, it quickly took top place in this particular field, so that the demand for the Pocket Companions began to shrink and very few editions were published after 1780.

 

The G appears in only one of the Pocket Companions, the Book M, published at Newcastle in 1736, and now very rare. Its reference to the G is so cryptic as to suggest that it may have had a purely esoteric significance. (In the Irish Installation ceremony there is a note which states specifically that the G does not mean God, or Geometry, but that it has an esoteric meaning.) THE EXPOUNDERS AND EMBELLISHERS In 1769, Wellins Calcott, perhaps the first of the `illustrators' of the Masonic ritual, published his Candid Disquisition, a series of moral and ethical articles on the Craft, with a collection of Lectures delivered by well‑known Brn on various Masonic occasions. The work contained not a single reference to the letter G or its symbolism.

 

In 1775, William Hutchinson published his Spirit of Masonry, a collection of pieces, called Lectures, on the spiritual and symbolical aspects of the Craft. Lecture VIII, on Geometry, begins: It is now incumbent upon me to demonstrate to you the great signification of the letter G, wherewith lodges and the medals of masons are ornamented.

 

To apply its signification to the name of GOD only is depriving it of part of its Masonic import; although I have already shewn that the symbols used in lodges are expressive of the Divinity's being the great object of Masonry, as architect of the world.

 

This significant letter denotes Geometry, which to artificers is the science by which all their labours are found; and to Masons ... proof of the ... wisdom of the power of God in his creation.

 

Lecture IX deals with the Master Mason's Order and the lessons implicit in the MM ceremony: As the great testimonial that we are risen from the state of corruption, we bear the emblem of the Holy Trinity, as the insignia of our vows, and of the origin of the Master's order. This emblem is given by geometricians as a demonstration of the Trinity in Unity.

 

THE LETTER G 203

 

An illustration accompanies the text, and it is reproduced here, with another from the title‑page to same work, which has the the All‑Seeing Eye at the centre of the G.

 

 

 

From Hutchinson's Spirit of Masonry, 1775.

 

At left: From the title‑page. Note the 'Eve' within the G.

 

At right: From Lecture IX, on the `Master Masons' Order'.

 

This work clearly gives a place of importance to the Letter G, but it indicates that a curious change of emphasis had taken place. All previous writers, no matter what interpretation they gave to it, had first stressed that it represented Geometry, etc. Hutchinson says: To apply its signification to the name of GOD only is depriving it of part of its Masonic import . . .

 

Evidently, by 1775, some interpreters had begun to relate the symbol to the Deity alone, and Hutchinson was trying to restore the earlier practice, ie, God and Geometry. The Trinitarian link between the G and the `Master Mason's Order' is, so far as I am aware, without contemporary parallel.

 

William Preston was by far the greatest influence on the symbolical expansion and interpretation of the ritual. His Illustrations of Masonry ran through innumerable editions, and the Lectures, in which the results of his studies were framed in Question and Answer 204}LARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY form, were the ancestors of those in use in many modern workings today.

 

In his Illustrations of 1775 (and later), he made numerous references to `Geometry, or Masonry, originally synonymous terms'. He enlarged on its `moral advantages' and on the spiritual and scientific studies to which it gives rise, but, rather surprisingly, he made no reference in this book to the letter G as a symbol, nor to the Blazing Star.

 

In the Grand Lodge Library, however, there is a MS, No 16540 (dated by its watermarks 1807‑10), which is supposed to be in Preston's own handwriting. If not, it was certainly copied out by someone who had access to Preston's material. Here we have the lengthy explanations framed in Q and A, some being traditional, and others, to say the least, unusual. The candidate is passed FC not `for the sake of the letter G', but `for the sake of Gy . . . because G'' and My were synonymous terms.

 

But in the section dealing with the Middle Chamber, Preston gave his imagination full rein: l. In this Chamber, what struck the admiration of the candidate? On entering . . . the splendour of the scene . . . The counsel [sic, ie, Solomon's Council] arrayed . . . pageantry . . .

 

2. To what was the attention principally [sic] directed? The figure which first struck the attention, at the entrance was the sacred sign, richly emblasoned, and surrounded by a glory. In this figure the holy name of G was inscribed in letters of gold.

 

3. Where was it placed? In the center of the Chamber. Why? To represent the Supreme Judge of the World . . . 4. . . . struck with the sublimity of the object, prostrate on the ground they fell in humble and profound adoration . . . Recovering . . . & viewing with fixed eyes the symbol of the deity through the emblem of his power . . . etc.

 

We know that Preston meant well; other comment is superfluous. Although there is good evidence that large parts of this text were used in at least one London lodge in the 1780s and later, I have been unable to trace if the portions quoted from the Middle Chamber Lecture, above, were actually used. So far as I know, it has not survived into present‑day practice, and I cannot believe that it was widely practised in Preston's day.

 

We have now traced the letter G through all the principal written TIiL LETTER G 205 and printed ritual sources up to the late 1780s. Despite the emphasis laid on the symbol by Prichard in the 1730s, and by the Continental catechisms in the 1740s and later, it is clear that the English stream of texts of the 1760s were ignoring this theme, and there is little evidence in the 1780s of its being used in the course of the admission ceremonies. Hutchinson's and Preston's quotations both belong probably to the special occasions when zealous expounders of the ritual demonstrated what could be done with an essentially simple theme. But I do not believe that any of the florid pieces quoted for this later period represents the type of symbolical explanation of the letter G current in the lodges at that time.

 

I am inclined to accept the hint, in Hutchinson, that the G was now revered as a sacred symbol, rather than a scientific one, and Preston, in a rather fantastic manner, tends to confirm this.

 

No doubt this religious interpretation was fostered and encouraged by the G that was displayed in many lodges, first as a drawn or movable letter on the 'Floor‑drawing', then as a painted letter on the Tracing Boards, and later perhaps as a more or less ornate irradiated symbol hanging in the centre of the lodge or over the Master's Chair. But its ritualistic importance had, almost certainly, declined, except perhaps in a few rare lodges where ritual practices were expanding beyond the bare mimimum.

 

THE G AND THE BLAZING STAR AS TANGIBLE SYMBOLS The `Antediluvian' skit, with its reference to Movable Letters and Blazing Stars, is perhaps one of the earliest pieces of evidence of the gradual change from merely verbal to visible symbols. The lodges, during the early decades of the eighteenth century, must have been sparsely furnished, especially as regards strictly Masonic equipment. Lodges meeting in small taverns could not be expected to own very much in the way of movable furniture. Three candlesticks and a Bible, with a few collar‑ribbons and jewels, were doubtless the first essentials. The remaining symbols were probably drawn, more or less expertly, on the floor of the lodge, either with chalk and charcoal or tape and pins, and supplemented later by metal templates, as described in the Dialogue. During the 1740s many lodges were already using ready‑made `floorcloths' that could be rolled up and stored in a small space, and these were the prototype of our present‑day Tracing Boards.

 

206HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY In the 1730s and 1740s a few well‑to‑do lodges were beginning to spend substantial sums on equipment, and from this time onwards we find lodge records of purchases of candlesticks, floorcloths and jewels, etc, while the exposures list such items as pillars, wardens' columns, wands, globes, etc ‑ in fact, much of the paraphernalia of a modern lodge. Still later, in the 1770s and 1780s, the early lodge inventories that have survived confirm this gradual evolution, which had, in fact, begun some 30 or 40 years before.

 

So it is in this period, c1740 to c1780, that we may look to find evidence of the G as an item of lodge furnishings, as a pendant from the ceiling of the lodge‑room, or as a template on the floor, or as part of the design of the Tracing Boards. But here, except in regard to Tracing Boards, our search yields only meagre results ‑ in fact, almost a complete blank.

 

In those days, when candles were the only means of illumination, the idea of the Blazing Star on the G as an actual blaze of light may be ruled out as a physical impossibility. The `light' from those items was largely symbolical.

 

A close search of early lodge histories and inventories* has failed to reveal even a single case of the G or the Blazing Star as a ceiling pendant. Perhaps the murky lighting and low‑ceilinged rooms made such pieces impracticable. Whatever the reason, there is no trace of them in the period up to 1780, and the verbal references noted in the ritual‑texts must also be deemed symbolical.

 

As regards cut‑out letters and templates, we have the reference to metal cut‑outs in the Dialogue, c1740, in the `Antediluvian' text of 1726, with possible confirmation in the Westminster Journal, and this somewhat dubious evidence is supported by a record of the Lodge of Relief, No 42, Bury, where `brass emblems, BJ and G' were in use since 1771. There is no note of when they were purchased. 't An inventory made by the Marquis of Granby Lodge, No 124, Durham, in 1775, begins with `The Letter G and a Slate'.+, This entry poses a problem. It is, of course, possible that these two items had nothing to do with each other; but the note in the Westminster Journal, 1742, in which the G was added to the Blazing Star to * Particularly the papers on English, Irish and Scottish Lodge Inventories and Furnishings, by Bro. C. Marshall Rose, in A QC. lxii, lxiii and lxic, as well as many individual lodge histories. E. B. Beesley, Mas. Antiquities in E. Lancs. Lodges, p 148; also Drawing, AQC, xxix, p 304. $ Wm. Logan, Historv of Freemasonrv in Durham (and) the Marquis of Granbv Lodge, No 124, p 17.

 

208HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY transform the EA lodge into an FC lodge (quoted ante, p 175), suggests that there was a link between the Slate and the G.

 

My guess is that the Blazing Star was drawn on the slate for the EAs, and when a second deg. was to be given, the Letter G, in shiny metal, or in diamante (like many eighteenth century jewels), was laid in the centre. This is the only explanation I can give which combines these two items in line with recorded practice.

 

An inventory of the Royal Sussex Lodge of Hospitality, Bristol, now No 187, taken in 1816, but representing pre‑Union equipment, lists a Star and Silver without indication, however, as to whether this represented one item or two.

 

An inventory of the Moira Lodge of Honour, No 326, in 1813, recorded `1 Letter G in Tin', and as this was one of many tin pieces recorded in their possession, Bro Powell was of opinion that these were templates used for `Drawing the Lodge'.t But because all the items were carefully and recognisably painted, I concur with Dring's opinion that the pieces were actually used as mobile portions of the tracing board, ie, not as templates. Though these pieces belong to the period 1809‑13, they were certainly in imitation of much earlier practices.

 

I have omitted from this collection of tangible G's the many collar jewels, in plate and pierced silver, which were much worn by Masons in the eighteenth century. The Grand Lodge Museum has a splendid collection of them, dating from c1760 onwards, and they are excellent examples of the silversmith's art, containing beautifully carved and etched collections of `working tools', usually enclosed within a large G, which more or less frames the whole design.

 

While noting the existence of these jewels, which surely indicate a substantial interest in the letter G, it is proper to point out that the interest appears to have been `decorative' rather than `ritualistic'.

 

It has not been possible to prove, for example, whether the jewels belonged to a particular grade, and it seems possible that they were worn by anyone who could afford them. This view is supported by the introductory note in the 1776 edition of J. & B., which speaks of the * From photostat supplied by Bro Eric Ward. A QC. xxix. pp 299 and 321.

 

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210   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

`Regalia and Emblematical Figures ... represented in the Frontispiece'. The latter is drawn as an oval `. . . Medallion, in Imitation of those Medals, or Plates, that are common among the Brotherhood. These Medals are usually of Silver, and some have them highly finished and ornamented, so as to be worth ten or twenty Guineas. They are suspended round the Neck with Ribbons of various Colours, and worn on their Public Days of Meeting, at Funeral Processions, &c, in Honour of the Craft . . .'.

 

So far as I have been able to ascertain, there is no evidence of these jewels being used as 'present ation‑pieces' (ie, for services rendered), and there is no evidence of any symbolical explanation belonging to them.

 

ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE EXPOSURES AND OTHER MASONIC SOURCES Both the English and Continental exposures of the eighteenth century afford another useful source of information on our subject in their illustrations depicting lodge symbols and equipment. They are usually set out in more or less formal designs, rather like crowded Tracing Boards.

 

Within the period up to 1780 there were many other publications, eg, Books of Constitutions, Song Books, Pocket Companions, disquisitions on the Craft and prints illustrating the ceremonies. There are also a few very early lodge `Cloths' or Tracing Boards, and various jewels and pieces of furniture, which come in towards the end of our period, and from most of these sources we have illustrated selected items that have a bearing on our theme.

 

The illustrations are not intended as a complete collection ‑ if, indeed, such a collection were possible ‑ but because we have only shown items which contain the G, they may give rise to some misunderstanding. It is therefore necessary to emphasise that several important works, in which we might have expected to find the symbol displayed and explained, do not have it.

 

SURVEY AND CONCLUSIONS Having examined the evidence that is, available on our subject up to c1780, the inferences and some tentative conclusions are now briefly summarised. The present‑day practices in regard to the G and

 

211

 

the Blazing Star are not relevant here, since our prime object is to trace the rise and early development of those practices.

 

c1390. The importance of Geometry in the oldest documents of the Craft. The G symbol, from its earliest beginnings, must have represented Geometry. It acquired extended meanings later, but never lost its original basic connotation which it probably had, amongst Masons, long before any stabilised forms of ritual had begun to appear.

 

212HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FRFFMASONRY c1700. The first appearance of the Blazing Star in a ritual text which does not mention either the G or Geometry (the Sloane MS). It may have been a Christian survival, and its constant position, `in the centre', confirmed in most of the later texts, suggests that it was a Divine symbol.

 

c1727‑30. In the ritual, the Blazing Star for the EA; G for the FC; and it now has two connotations, Geometry and God. G is always at the centre of the lodge: whether ceiling or floor is uncertain, but the latter seems more probable.

 

c1726‑40. The G as a `cut‑out' letter, a three‑dimensional symbol. It is sometimes irradiated, and then it is perhaps a combination of the G and BS. A suggestion that the combination turns an EA Lodge into an FC Lodge; and another possibility that the combination (in some places) may belong to the MM.

 

c1744‑51. On the Continent, in the ritual, the Blazing Star is one of the ornaments of the lodge (ie, of all grades). G is still associated with the FC, and still means Geometry. G is usually associated with a Great Light (in the Middle Chamber), and there and then it always has a Divine connotation. From 1751 it has further interpretation, ie, Glory, Grandeur (and Geometry). Evidence suggests the appearance of the G and the BS, separately or combined, as illustrations on the Floor, or on the Tracing Boards, ie, not as three‑dimensional symbols.

 

c1760‑66. English evidence suggests that the G and BS are falling out of use in the ritual. Useful evidence to show that they appeared on Tracing Boards, and that they were being combined into one symbol, ie, an irradiated G, or a Blazing Star with a G at its centre. Very scanty evidence of their use as tangible symbols, so rare indeed as to suggest that they were not used generally.

 

c1775. A scarcity of textual references suggests that the G is not being explained in the ritual. Hutchinson's note that the G does not mean God alone seems to imply that the `Geometry' meaning had faded, and that the Craft had begun to accept an interpretation similar to that which is in use today.

 

Finally, a note on design. Most of the early diagrams of the Blazing Star, whether by itself or as a `frame' for the G, are in the form of a pentalpha, ie, a five‑pointed star. The triangle as a `frame' for the G is apparently a later development, and, in addition to the example quoted earlier, there is an interesting example in the Kirkwall Scroll,

 

213

 

which is perhaps c1770. (See A QC, x, p 79.) The G in the six‑pointed star (or Shield of David) is also late and far more rare, probably belonging to the period c1760 to 1780.

 

THE G IN MODERN PRACTICE The following pages represent a brief sketch of present‑day practices in regard to the Blazing Star and the letter G. This is not intended as a truly comprehensive survey (even of the numerous rituals practised in England alone). The data given here for England, 214HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Ireland, Scotland, some of the European countries and USA jurisdictions may serve as an indication only of the developments in this particular portion of our ritual during the past 250 years.

 

ENGLAND In England it is perhaps fair to say that Emulation, with its numerous imitations and derivatives, represents the rituals most widely practised.

 

Emulation, 1st Deg. The Blazing Star appears in the lecture on the First Tracing Board and in the First Lecture, Section 5. It is one of the ornaments of the lodge, and is described (in both cases) as follows: The Blazing Star, or Glory in the centre, refers to the Sun, which enlightens the earth, and by its benign influence dispenses its blessings to mankind in general.

 

The Blazing Star is illustrated on the Emulation 1 TB as a seven‑pointed star within a circle, the latter being irradiated, and there is no G at the centre. The Sun, Moon and Stars are shown separately on the TB, so that, although the Blazing Star is supposed to `refer us to the Sun', both symbols are illustrated, and in the First Lecture, Section 3, there is a series of questions dealing with the Sun, Moon and Master of the Lodge.

 

Emulation, 2nd Deg. In the Second Lecture, Section 2, the candidate is passed FC `for the sake of Geometry or the fifth science, on which Masonry is founded', an explanation that goes right back to Prichard, 1730. Geometry and its virtues are discussed at some length, both here and in Section 4, but the G is not mentioned at this stage. In the Lecture on the Second TB, and in the Second Lecture, Section 5, the Middle Chamber is said to contain `certain Hebrew characters, which are now depicted in a FC's L by the letter G', and the G is said to denote `God, the Grand Geometrician of the Universe; to whom we must all . . .', etc.

 

The Emulation 2nd TB depicts the G in the middle of a `Shield of David' (ie, two interlaced triangles), the whole being irradiated, and forming a kind of pictorial allusion to Psalm 84, v 11, `. . . for the Lord God is a sun and shield', and those words actually appear in the 1736 Newcastle Pocket Companion, The Book M.

 

It must be emphasised, however, that the `Lectures' and the THE LETTER G215 explanation of the Tracing Boards are heard only rarely in the vast majority of Lodges, and the Letter G, with or without the Blazing Star, does not appear on any of the `standard' Tracing Boards that are in use in the nineteen Temples at Freemasons' Hall, London.

 

As regards `tangible' symbols, just as with the forms of the ritual, there is no uniformity of practice in England. In the London area, which contains some 1,650 Lodges, it is rare to see the letter G or Blazing Star displayed either in the east or hanging from the centre of the ceiling.

 

In the Provinces, especially the N and W of England, variations of practice appear to be more marked in proportion to the distance of the lodges from London. Still, in the majority of rituals, the explanation of the letter G follows the `Emulation' pattern, but, unlike London practice, the G is usually visible as a more or less ornate cut‑out letter hanging in the centre, and occasionally it appears as a carved or moulded ornament on the ceiling. The Blazing Star is generally in the east, usually as a luminous transparency above the Master's Chair.

 

Bro Win Waples, writing of the Lodges in County Durham, says: All North‑Eastern Lodges have a `G', and the seven stars in the ceiling, except the Phoenix Hall (1785), No 94, Sunderland, which has a Triangle with the letter G inside it. The apex of the Triangle points to the east, and the whole is surmounted with a radiant sun eighteen feet in diameter.

 

Most old Lodges still use the Star in the East, generally above the Canopy, or Master's Chair. This Star is switched on for a moment at that point in the 3rd when the cand is asked to `. . . lift your eyes to that Bright Morning Star . . .' SCOTLAND The G is displayed in every Scottish Lodge, but not in the Grand Lodge. It usually hangs above the Altar, in the centre of the Lodge, but it is frequently found in the east, over the Master's Chair.

 

The Scottish Masonic ritual generally resembles the standard English workings in many respects, although it is much more elaborate and `explanatory'. In their lecture on the First TB, the Blazing Star is `Emulation', word‑for‑word; and the lecture on the Second TB, speaking of the letter G in the Middle Chamber, also follows Emulation precisely, with its definition, `denoting God, the Grand Geometrician . . .'.

 

216   HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

But the Scottish ritual does not lose sight of the original meaning of the G. The Second TB Lecture is followed by a Charge, and then by another lengthy piece (partly in the form of Q and A) entitled `The Middle Chamber Lecture'. Its final paragraph begins: My Brother, we have now arrived at a place representing the Middle Chamber of KST. Behold the letter G suspended in the E; it is the initial letter of Geometry, the first and noblest of sciences.

 

(From information supplied by Bro G. S. Draffen, of Newington, MBE, P Dep GM of GL of Scotland.) IRELAND The Irish ritual and procedure is perhaps the most interesting formulary, because it shows a distinct and deliberate departure from the more normal practices outlined above.

 

As regards the letter G on display, there appears to be no complete uniformity of practice. Official information is that the letter G is not displayed in Irish Lodges, and, from another reliable source, 'the letter G is practically ignored in Ireland!' But this applies only to the first three degrees, and the evidence collected from correspondents seems to indicate that the G was deliberately removed from those ceremonies in order to give it a special prominence at a higher stage.

 

... the letter G is displayed in both our Lodge Rooms in Cork. It forms part of a symbol over the Master's Chair, comprising a Square and Compasses and the G intertwined.

 

It is not referred to, at any time, in any of the three degrees, or at any time explained in any way. We always understood it to represent the initial letter of the word of the Installed Master, but even when giving this degree in a Conclave, it is not usually referred to by drawing the new Master's attention to it, although I once heard an Installing Officer state that the G in the PM's Jewel did, in fact, refer to that word, and not to God.

 

I have never heard it suggested that it could be connected with Geometry.

 

(From an officer of the Prov GL, Munster.) The Standard Irish PM Jewel is a `gallows' square and compasses, enclosing the letter G, and numerous early examples have survived from the late eighteenth century. The G on the Jewel (as noted in an earlier chapter) is by no means a novelty. Many beautiful examples are to be found in the English Grand Lodge Museum, but those are THE LETTER G217

 

not associated with any particular degree or status; the G in the Irish Jewel belongs specifically to the Installed Master and PM, and this is borne out by the following extract from the Irish Installation ritual. It is an explanatory passage, which is recited immediately after the new WM has received the Master's word: You will find the Scriptural reference to that word in a marginal reference in the . . . Old Testament . . . and it is to this word and not to the Name of the Deity nor to the science of Geometry that the latter refers.

 

This extract provides the basis for my suggestion that there has been a deliberate change from the normal symbolism. The Irish working gives the Master's word without interpretation, and then it takes the trouble to emphasise that the letter G does not mean God or Geometry, etc ‑ a rare example of a recognised Masonic ritual pronouncing, by implication, that other workings are not correct on a particular point.

 

The suggestion of deliberate change is strongly supported by the Lurgan Floorcloth, a single sheet containing emblems for all three Craft degrees. (See page 207.) It was painted for the Lodge in 1764 and thus provides good evidence of early practice. The Square and Compasses, under the central arch, enclose an irradiated Sun, without the G. The letter G appears quite separately and boldly at the centre of the picture, and it is clearly intended as one of the symbols belonging to the degrees, and not to the IM or PM.

 

But the transfer of the G, in Irish practice, seems to have gone even further, for it appears in several Irish Royal Arch documents, usually in the form of an irradiated Sun with a G at its centre, immediately below the Keystone. (See Lepper and Crossle, Hist of GL of Ireland, vol i, p 338.) GERMANY The G appears in the centre of the Blazing Star (a pentagram) on the 'tapis', ie, the Tracing Board of the 1. In the 2 it is in the centre of a six‑pointed star (hexagram), still on the 'tapis'. In the MM degree it appears in a transparent hexagram, in the East. In the first degree it means God; in the second, Geometry; in the third, as a hint to Golgotha.

 

(From information supplied by Bro R. Ebel, of Oldenberg, Germany.) (See Page 213, Tracing Board for the EA Degree.) 218HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY

 

THE NETHERLANDS The letter G, always in a five‑pointed Blazing Star, appears on the Tracing Board in all Dutch Lodges, lying in the centre of the floor. It also appears, again in a Blazing Star, in an illuminated transparency, above the Master's chair, but only in the second and third degrees. It is illuminated after the candidate has completed his five perambulations in the 2. It is also mentioned in the opening of the Lodge in the 2 and in the Catechism of that degree. (See remarks, below.) In the present (official) Craft ritual, no particular explanation of the letter G is given. Older workings (ie, the ritual of 1865, which was influenced by the English Craft workings after 1815, and also by the Hamburg ritual of Schrdder) give the explanation as `God, the Great Geometrician of the Universe'.

 

In the opening ceremony in the Second Degree, the following dialogue is contained: WM: Bro SW, are you a Fellow Craft Freemason? SW:I am acquainted with the letter G.

 

The same question and answer are found in the Catechism of the Second Degree, which is read between the WM and a Fellow Craft, after the Ceremony of Passing. In this Catechism, the WM puts the following questions to the Bro who is giving the answers: WM: What is the meaning of that letter? FC:It is a symbol of the Eternal Source of all Perfection. WM: Where did you see that letter G? FC:In the centre of the Blazing Star. WM: What does that Star denote? FC:The Light, which shines on our path, even in the deepest darkness, and which originated with the Great Architect of the Universe.

 

This part of the ritual is of modern origin, and not ancient practice, although it is part of the official ritual of our Grand Lodge.

 

The explanation of the letter G has been the subject of much speculation. Some authors have stated that the `original' letter G is the Hebrew gimel, which has the form of a square, but no such letter has ever been found in older illustrations.* The G is often explained by our `Kabballistic' Brethren (there are, unfortunately, still too many of them) with the use of the symbolism of numbers; more * I can find no trace of the Hebrew 'gimel'. either as a square or a right‑angle.

 

THE LETTER G 219 serious Brethren have thought of `Gnosis',t as the immediate insight to the `hidden mysteries of Nature and Science'. The philosopher G. J. P. G. Bolland, who was not a Freemason, wrote a book on the Blazing Star in connection with ancient Greek philosophy, and explains the symbol as the principle of `Generation'.

 

Personally, I am of the opinion that the letter G should not be explained at all in Masonic ritual; it is meant to have a certain ,allusive' value, and the road to various explanations should be left open.

 

(From Bro Dr D. C. J. van Peype, of Leiden.) NEW YORK (USA) The Blazing Star is mentioned in the First Degree as one of the three ornaments of the Lodge. No further description is given, except that it is `in the centre'.

 

The letter G appears in the Second Degree where the SD addresses the Candidate (after the Entrusting) as follows: My Brother, we have now arrived in a place representing the Middle Chamber of KST. Behold the letter G suspended in the East; it is the initial of Geometry, the first and noblest of sciences, and is the basis on which the superstructure of Masonry is erected . . .'. (Followed by a dissertation on what may be learned by means of Geometry.) Later the WM reverts to the G: My Brother, the letter G, to which your attention has been directed on your passing hither, has a still higher and more significant meaning. [The WM uncovers, and all rise.] It is the initial letter of the great and sacred name of God, before whom all, from the EA in the NE corner to the WM in the E, should most humbly, reverentially, and devoutly bow.

 

CONNECTICUT (USA) Bro James R. Case, Grand Historian, Connecticut, writes: 1. In Connecticut, the letter G is displayed in the lodge room and occasionally on the outside of the lodge hall or temple.

 

2. Within the lodge room it usually appears above the Master's chair, and may be flat on the wall, set out or suspended from the ceiling, depending on whether built in or added, etc. It may also be seen +'Gnosis' is defined in OED as 'a higher knowledge of spiritual things'.

 

220HARRY CAiztz's WORLD of FREEMASONRY occasionally as a decoration, or one of the figures on the altar, base of the columns, or where not. It shows on the old 'wall charts' [ie, Tracing Boards] for the FC degree.

 

3. The G appears in all sorts of combinations‑within a star, within rays of light, within the square and compasses, within a triangle, etc. It is usually lighted and frequently wired, so that it is illuminated when the great lights are displayed or when the lodge is declared open.

 

4. The letter G is mentioned in the FC degree as the initial of Geometry and further explained as an allusion to the Sacred Name, etc.

 

5. The Blazing Star is mentioned in the monitorial lecture of the EA degree, where it appears in the centre of the mosaic pavement and once was said to be commemorative of the star which appeared in the east to guide the wise men to the place of the Nativity. But it is more often explained as the hieroglyphic representation of Divine Providence on which we rely for the blessings and comforts of our lives checkered with good and evil.

 

[Iowa practice is almost identical with the above, apart from a slight variation in the symbolism of the Blazing Star. HC] SCANDINAVIA The G is displayed in the FC degree, in the middle of the Tracing Board, which, in the Swedish Rite, is placed in the middle of the floor of the Lodge. Further in the west, there is a G in a transparency, ie, illuminated.

 

In the MM Degree, the G appears in the E, above the head of the WM. In both these degrees it is explained as Geometry.

 

(From Bro E. H. B. Birkved, Copenhagen, Denmark.) Finally, an interesting note from Bro J. M. Harvey, of Sao Paulo, Brazil: In the Portuguese edition of Emulation Working, published by the Grand Orient of Brazil in 1920, the Second Tracing Board ends with the words, 'que aqui estam representados pela letra D significando Deus, o Grande Geometra do Universo'.

 

Thus, the letter G becomes a D for the Masons in Brazil.

 

POSTSCRIPT Doubtless there are many other variations of practice and interpretation that have arisen during the centuries. All are interest‑ T11E LE i‑FER C; 221 ing, and some are surprising. This essay was written in an attempt to ascertain whence the practices arose and how they developed. It was not designed to show that a particular symbol or a certain form of words is right, and that others are therefore wrong. There is a great need for a proper tolerance in such matters. We may regret that certain symbols and phrases have tended to disappear from practice, or that their importance and symbolism has been enlarged or altered far beyond their original significance. Within the vast boundaries of Masonry universal there is room for every shade of interpretation, and I believe the Craft is strengthened and enriched by these variations and by the absence of uniformity.

 

9 KIPLING AND THE CRAFT THE CENTENARY YEAR of Kipling's birth would seem to be justification for adding yet one more to the vast number of papers that have already been written on this subject.

 

The need for this further essay was first made apparent to me when ‑ in my capacity as Secretary of the Lodge and Editor of the Transactions ‑ I began to receive inquiries from Brethren as far away as Vancouver and Singapore, asking for materials and information which might help them to complete their own papers on Kipling, and I found, to my surprise, that while our library contains a great deal of relevant material, there has never been a paper on Kipling in our Transactions.

 

I approached four Brethren in turn, each with vastly better qualifications for this task than any that I could muster ‑ but without success; and eventually the work fell to me. My diffidence was increased when one of the Brethren with whom I discussed the project said: `What, another paper on Kipling and Freemasonry! Let's hope it will be the paper to end all papers on that subject!' Coming from a middle‑aged man who had been a lover of Kipling's works since childhood, this remark pu

 

led me, but he would not enlarge on it.

 

When I started to read the papers that had already been written, I began to understand, and, although he may not have so intended, he had indeed provided the best of reasons for yet another piece. On the subject of Kipling's Masonic writings, each of the earlier papers had covered the ground more or less thoroughly, with suitable quotations, comment and interpretation. But on Kipling's Masonic career and background, there was a kind of uniform haziness, a screen of uncertainty and inaccuracy as to dates and details, which could hardly have been more effective if he had been born 500 years ago; here, it seemed to me, was the real justification.

 

222 KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 223 In regard to Kipling's Masonic writings, it is hoped that the brief selections quoted will suffice to point the way towards the pleasures that are in store for the would‑be reader of the tales and verses from which they are drawn. So far as the main events of Kipling's Masonic career are concerned, I will only say that every effort has been made to check the facts and to quote the proper authority for the statements that are made here. I have been fortunate enough to find useful pieces of hitherto unpublished material, and these, with original minutes and records, are quoted wherever possible. Where sundry details still remain unconfirmed, the absence of confirmation will be properly noted.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I must acknowledge my indebtedness first and mainly to Charles Carrington's famous work, Rudyard Kipling, His Life and Work (London, Macmillan, 1955), which has furnished the principal biographical data in my paper.* Next, to Bro R. E. Harbord, President of the Kipling Society of England, for the loan of valuable papers and for furnishing the two Kipling portraits reproduced in the paper. In addition, I owe him my special thanks for his kindness in reading the proofs of the paper and the corrections and data he supplied in the course of that task. My thanks likewise to another member of the Kipling Society, Bro Capt D. M. Penrose, Secretary of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, who provided the details of Kipling's admission to that body.

 

Finally, my thanks are due to Bro Col R. J. Wilkinson, Librarian of Mark Grand Lodge, and to the numerous Secretaries of Craft Lodges who added to ‑ or confirmed ‑ information already known; to Bro A. R. Hewitt, Librarian and Curator to the Grand Lodge, for unstinted help; and to the‑Board of General Purposes for their permission to reproduce a portion of Kipling's work as Secretary of his Mother Lodge.

 

RUDYARD KIPLING'S PARENTS AND FAMILY BACKGROUND John Lockwood Kipling was born on 6 July 1837, the eldest son of * Subsequent references to this book are marked C.C.

 

224HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY a Methodist minister. Despite an unhappy schooling at a boarding school near Leeds, he grew up to be a man of wide reading and he early developed a deep interest in the Arts and Crafts movement, one of the results of the Great Exhibition of 1851. In 1861 he was employed as a sculptor during the building of the Victoria and Albert Museum, but his interest in the arts expressed itself equally well in painting, in prose, and in a craftsman's skill with tools. At the age of 22 he settled in Burslem to gain experience in pottery‑designing, and there he met his future wife, Alice Macdonald, daughter of the local Methodist minister. They were married in London in 1865.

 

The Macdonalds were a large and remarkable family, five sisters and two brothers, who, by their own talents and by marriage, had established themselves as an artistic and literary circle in London. The Rosettis, Swinburne and William Morris were among their friends. One sister married Edward Burne Jones; another married Edward Poynter. Both men became members of the Royal Academy and Baronets; Poynter was later a President of the RA.

 

At the time of his marriage, John Lockwood Kipling was very poor, but he had managed to obtain an appointment as principal of a new art school at Bombay, and the couple left for India soon after their wedding. It was a country where they had neither friends nor influence. Hope, health and a zest for his work were John Lockwood Kipling's principal assets, but he was a good‑humoured and very likeable man.

 

HIS CHILDHOOD Joseph Rudyard Kipling* was born at Bombay on 30 December 1865, and in that bustling, thriving city he spent the first five years of his childhood, his world bounded by the limits of his parents' bungalow garden, where he played with modelling‑clay and the sculptor's chips from his father's studio.

 

His most frequent companion was Meeta, a Hindu servant, from whom he acquired such a competent knowledge of the vernacular that he often had to be reminded to speak English when with his parents.

 

In March 1868, the family visited England for a brief spell, and * Rudyard. the name of the place where his parents had first met.

 

KII'LING AND THE CRAFT225 there, three months later, Kipling's sister 'Trix' (Alice) was born. In 1871 they came to England again for a six‑month furlough, and before the parents returned to India they made arrangements ‑ customary with Anglo‑Indian families ‑ to leave the children in England for their education.

 

Rudyard, aged nearly six, and Trix, aged three, were boarded at the home of a retired sea captain at Southsea. Their new guardians, automatically promoted to the status of 'Uncle and Aunty', were total strangers; indeed, John Kipling had chosen the couple from a newspaper advertisement. There is some speculation as to why the children were not boarded with any of their relatives, and it seems possible that the reason was partly because John Kipling's independent spirit would not let him seek favours from his wealthier 'in‑laws'; but it may simply have been because the latter were fully occupied with their own families.

 

The five years that Rudyard and Trix spent at Southsea, though they appeared to be living in modest comfort, were a period of wretchedness and misery that left their mark, on the lad especially. 'Aunt Rosa' was doubtless a good woman, but harsh, tyrannical and unsympathetic. At the age of six, Rudyard had not yet learned to read or write, and in the years that followed he became a restless, clumsy, unruly and unresponsive lad. When he did learn to read, a whole new world must have opened for him, and he read everything that came within his reach. He talked constantly about the characters in his books and suffered the worst of all punishments when deprived of his reading.

 

His eyesight became affected, resulting in a series of bad monthly reports from the day school which he attended, followed by further punishments. But a long time passed before it was realised that the lad's eyes were so weak. Glasses were ordered and he was forbidden to risk further eyestrain by reading. The next few months were the worst of all for the boy. The story, 'Baa, Baa, Black Sheep' (published later in Wee Willie Winkie), is a wholly biographical piece, and it describes this period of their lives as Kipling remembered it, with pitiable effect. If it was in any way exaggerated, that may be readily explained as a child's‑eye view, but it must have been a fearful experience for him to have recalled it as he did.

 

There came, at last, a happy day in March 1877, when his mother arrived from India and the two children were taken off to a farm at 226HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Loughton, Essex, where they had a wonderful holiday under their mother's care ‑ in preparation for Rudyard's admission to a public school.

 

SCHOOL AT WESTWARD HO! The United Services' College at Westward Ho! in Bideford Bay, North Devon, was founded in 1874 by a group of Army officers who sought to give their sons a gentleman's education at fees within their means. It was chosen by John Kipling because its headmaster, Cormell Price, was a friend of his ‑ and he was already Uncle `Crom' to the young Rudyard.

 

The school was in its fifth year when Kipling joined it, its discipline stern, if not harsh. Most of his fellows were soldiers' sons, and both they and their environment were distinctly rough and ready. Kipling's defective sight rendered him unfit for most of the school sports or for holding his own against heavy‑handed or quarrelsome boys ‑ and he soon learned to avoid trouble by his tact and friendliness. But there is good evidence that he found his fellows tough, and the settling‑in period was not a happy time, as we see in a letter from the boy's mother to Cormell Price, dated 24 January 1878: This morning I had no letter from Ruddy ‑ yesterday I had four. It is the roughness of the lads he seems to feel most; he doesn't grumble to me ‑ but he is lonely and down. I was his chum, you know, and he hasn't found another yet. I don't encourage the rain of letters; I discourage it ‑ at the same time knowing that both his father and I have really an unusual twist for scribbling, and think no more of it than of talking ... The lad has a great deal that is feminine in his nature, and a little sympathy from any quarter will reconcile him to his changed life more than anything....

 

Despite the lad's facility with his pen, his mother was clearly ready to believe it was an hereditary trait rather than a native skill! Very gradually, the separation from his mother and sister were compensated for by the friends he found in this new male society. At twelve he was short for his age, chubby, with an aggressive chin, the heavy black eyebrows which so distinguished him in later life, and bright blue eyes behind thick glasses which he wore only when he was not reading.

 

In 1878, John Lockwood Kipling was in charge of the India section of the Paris Exhibition, and Rudyard was taken over to Paris for a KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 227 memorable holiday with an English friend from another school. John Kipling was quick to realise his son's good qualities, but he was still unable to refrain from judging him by adult standards, although `Ruddy' was not yet thirteen years old. On 15 June 1878, John Lockwood Kipling wrote to Cormell Price: I find Ruddy a delightfully amiable and companionable little chap, but the way in which he only half apprehends the common facts and necessities of daily life is surprising. Vagueness and inaccuracy, I fear, will always bother him & they take curious forms . . .

 

If there is anything in him at all, the steady stress of daily work in which exactness is required should pull his mind together a little. But I should think he will always be inclined to shirk the collar and to interest himself in out of the way things. . . .

 

But the boy's interests were widening, greatly encouraged by `Uncle Crom', in whose company, during the holidays, he met and was thoroughly at home with artists and writers. His own reading had become diversified and adult, and he had the useful faculty of digesting the essence of a book in a matter of minutes.

 

When the opportunity came for him to share a study with two other boys, George Beresford and Lionel Dunsterville (M'Turk & Stalky) joined him and unwittingly became the pattern for the adventures enshrined in Stalky & Co.

 

A particular influence on Kipling at this time was William Crofts, his teacher for Latin and English Literature, who helped to broaden his reading, which now ranged very widely indeed. Defoe, Fielding, Smollett, Dickens and Thackeray had been the basis of his early reading at Southsea. At Westward Ho! Milton, Tennyson, Longfellow, Emerson, Mark Twain and Bret Harte, Carlyle, Ruskin and Browning, and Landor's Imaginary Conversations were all studied and discussed to the point where Kipling was able to write verse and tales in the style of any of his favourites. In the last two years of his schooling, `Uncle Crom' gave Kipling the run of his library without pressure or prohibition, leaving him free to range over hundreds of volumes of verse, drama and prose in English and French. Now `the Head' began to take a close personal interest in Kipling's studies. In * Extracts from a collection of 18 autograph letters from 3 July 1874, to 3 March 1899, all addressed to Cormell Price. Kipling's headmaster and friend. They were sold at Sotheby's auction rooms on 1 December 1964, by Price's son. At the time of writing the purchaser is unknown. The extracts here arc from the Sotheby sale catalogue.

 

228HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FRFFMASONRY 1881 his parents had arranged for the publication of a collection of his verses under the title, Schoolboy Lyrics ‑ all unknown to their author. Kipling, absorbed in his reading and writing, was clearly destined for some kind of literary career. Whether this first publication was a simple piece of family pride, or whether they foresaw a successful literary career for their son, it is certain that before the end of that year they had made their decision, and this is shown in a letter from John Lockwood Kipling to Cormell Price: Lahore, 23 October 1881.

 

. . . Now a boy living in India has curiously few chances of going wrong‑and especially living with his own people. I must confess from what I have seen of Ruddy it is the moral side I dread a breakout on. I don't think he is the stuff to resist temptation.

 

It has occurred to us that the regular daily work of a newspaper would furnish by no means a bad occupation and I doubt not I could get him engaged on the Civil & Military Gazette here. And on the whole I am inclined to think that the easy‑going general interest he is ready to take in all sorts of things, though the plague of his masters, who think he could do so much better if he would only work‑is after all one of those affairs of temperament & constitution which nothing can change, and must be made the best of. Journalism seems to be specially invented for such desultory souls. . . .

 

A few weeks later John Kipling wrote to another friend that he proposed to bring Rudyard out to India next year, and get him some newspaper work. Oxford we can't afford. Ruddy thirsts for a man's life and a man's work.

 

Nevertheless, his last year at school was a happy time for Rudyard. Beresford and Dunsterville were his inseparable companions and they were the leaders of taste in the school. Their exploits included all sorts of pranks in breach of school regulations, smoking, poaching and excursions out of bounds; but they never blundered into serious mischief, and Kipling found time ‑ in addition to his studies ‑ to write several poems for the College Chronicle and some articles for a local newspaper.

 

John Kipling was still troubled about his son's character and abilities, as may be seen in the following extracts from his letters: Lahore, 17 June 1882.

 

. . . And if Ruddy does not learn conciseness, and the way to begin to consider a question‑the mere fluency & facility of yarning he possesses KIPLING AND THE CRAFT229 will be of but little use. I am inclined to think he will learn his work in harness better than anywhere else. . . .

 

Simla, 1 September 1882.

 

. . . It is impossible of course not to see the faults of the boy's qualities ‑ with others more serious . . . Alice says I am unduly harsh in saying, Ruddy must be a journalist because he won't fit himself for anything else . . . But though far from triumphant about him, we cannot but see that he has some of the qualities necessary for his craft. . . .

 

Rudyard's last `school' summer holiday was spent at Rottingdean with a host of Macdonald cousins, and partly at Skipton with his Kipling grandmother. He sailed for India on 20 September 1882, alone, in dri

 

ling rain and seasick.

 

LAHORE AND SIMLA, 1882‑1887 After four weeks at sea, with an exciting stop at Port Said which made a deep impression on Kipling's imaginative mind, he arrived at Lahore in October 1882, happy to be back in the atmosphere of his childhood.

 

Lahore, a low‑lying, ancient walled city full of the sights, sounds and smells of Asia, was connected by a broad boulevard to its newer European quarter, which housed some seventy British residents. Outside the city, at a distance of some four miles, was Mian Mir, a military cantonment housing a Battalion of British Infantry and a Battery or more of Artillery. John Kipling was Principal of the Mayo School of Art and Curator of the Lahore Museum, and for the first few days after his return Rudyard helped in the Museum, where his father had established a notable collection, relating to Indian arts and archaeology, that was much used by the students.

 

In November 1882, Rudyard, nearly 17 years of age, started work as `Assistant Editor' on the Civil & Military Gazette, a local newspaper owned by two Englishmen, who were also the proprietors of the Pioneer at Allahabad ‑ a journal of national status. Both of them were. close friends to John and Alice Kipling, who were frequent contributors to the Pioneer, and there can be no doubt that this friendship had helped in procuring Rudyard's appointment.

 

The editor, Stephen Wheeler, was the only other European member of the staff, and, as he was often sick with fever, Kipling frequently carried the responsibility of overseeing the 170 Indian 230HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY printing hands. Wheeler kept him hard at work on news‑agency telegrams, preparing their contents as copy for each edition which went to press at midnight. Kipling mastered the technical work without difficulty and his schooling had already prepared him for the strictly‑controlled style of his literary work, which must have involved a severe restriction on his own native exuberance.

 

In 1883, aged 18, he already had his own quarters in his parents' bungalow, a personal servant, a bay pony and a trap in which he drove to the office, which consisted of two wooden sheds near to the city. John Lockwood Kipling wrote to a friend in 1883: Ruddy is getting on well, having mastered the details of his work in a very short time. His chief, Mr. Wheeler, is very tetchy and irritable, and by dint of his exertions in patience and forbearance, the boy is training for heaven as well as for editorship. I am sure he is better here where there are no music‑hall ditties to pick up, no young persons to philander with . . . All that makes Lahore profoundly dull makes it safe for young persons. . . . (C.C., p. 50, quoting from the Kipling Papers, the property of Mrs. George Bambridge, Kipling's daughter.) During the hot weather of 1883 his parents went for several weeks into the Hills, and Kipling was unbearably alone in the house with the Indian servants. Then he stayed for 30 days at Simla with James Walker, one of his employers.

 

Simla was virtually the centre of government from May to October, housing the Viceroy and his staff, with the best and gayest of Anglo‑Indian society, as well as the place‑seekers and fortunehunters. It was, according to John Kipling, `full of pretty girls' and, of course, the wealthier matrons, who stayed there for several months, though their husbands had to be satisfied with only their month or sixty days of leave. Simla was a hill‑town whose steep slopes left no room for good roads. All the houses were built on the slopes and in constant danger of slipping down the hillsides during the rainy months of July and August. Yet that was the brightest time for Simla, when the Europeans most needed refuge from the fever‑ridden. plains.

 

In August, Kipling was back at work in deserted Lahore, where a dozen men represented the whole European community, the remainder being away in the Hills with their families.

 

He was a none‑too‑popular honorary member of the Punjab Club KIPLING AND THE CRAFT231 (doubtless because he was too young for full membership) and there he dined and spent most of his evenings. After the paper had gone to press he wandered for hours through the alleys of the old city until the cool of dawn brought some relief.

 

In January 1884, his mother brought Trix back to India from England, and the next four years were Kipling's happiest years in India. Trix, an attractive and intelligent girl, made up the devoted and close‑knit `Family Square', as Alice Kipling called it, which was perhaps the best formative influence on Rudyard's character.

 

Soon he was commissioned as special reporter on public events, and in March. 1884, he went to Patiala State, in the train of Lord Ripon, the Viceroy, where he greatly enjoyed princely hospitality and turned in some very successful newspaper work. Here, incidentally, he had his first experience of Indian bribery when he rejected a choice of banknotes, a concubine, or an Arab horse, which were offered him if he would use his newspaper's influence on behalf of one of the Indian princes. Wherever he went, people, scenes, objects, actions and behaviour were noted, observed and stored in his extraordinarily receptive memory, as always, to reappear at some future date in his stories and verses.

 

His one unhappy moment during this year was the end of his first love affair. At the age of 16, while in England, he had met Flo Garrard, a lovely, sophisticated girl, who was another paying guest with Trix at `Aunty Rosa's'. Their meetings must have been infrequent and secret, but, when Rudyard left England in 1882, the attachment was so far advanced that they considered themselves engaged. She was a year or two older than Rudyard, and when, in July, 1884, she wrote breaking off their `understanding', he must have been deeply hurt, though undoubtedly it was the best thing that could have happened. Eighteen months later he wrote to one of his English aunts asking her to find out if Flo Garrard was happy, and she held her place in his memory for many years. This theme of a young man in India and his girl at home was frequently repeated in his later stories.

 

The year 1884 brought cholera to Lahore, where the European community had eleven cases and four deaths out of the population of seventy. The family were at Dalhousie, a more economical hillstation than Simla, and Rudyard joined them for a month, during which he and Trix together wrote a volume of verse parodies, 232HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Echoes, published later by the Civil & Military Gazette. The book had a fairly good reception and Rudyard's articles were also beginning to attract attention, though he used different pen‑names for his contributions to the down‑country journals.

 

In March 1885, he was at Rawalpindi for the first big event under Lord Dufferin, the new Viceroy, when his political articles and reportage began to win him credit as a well‑informed journalist.

 

Lord Dufferin's first summer at Simla, 1885, was a turning‑point in the social life of the Kiplings. He was a traveller, scholar and wit; his wife a great lady who strengthened her husband's hand, and their daughter was a pupil in John Kipling's sketching class. Lady Dufferin soon brought the Kiplings into the Viceregal circle of friends, and in no time their son, Lord Clandeboye, had become attached to Trix, now an acknowledged beauty and an accomplished actress and dancer. The young man was packed off to England before matters could become too involved, but the two families remained good friends. Rudyard was at Simla as a journalist on duty, and his employers insisted that he must learn to dance and partake fully in the social life, a hint which he accepted wholeheartedly.

 

In 1885 the family produced a `magazine' which was subsequently published in the Gazette under the title Quartette, and it contained the first two stories which Rudyard, in later time, thought worthy of preservation in his collected editions ‑ one, Phantom Rickshaw, a Poe‑like study of hallucination; the other, Morrowbie Jukes, a venture into the unknown world of Indian life, far removed from his normal journalistic world. About this time, too, he fell in love again, with a daughter of the military chaplain at Mian Mir, but this time the affair had no depth or duration and he came through it unharmed.

 

Kipling was now nearly 21 years old, an untidy, abrupt fellow, cheerful, exuberant and with abounding energy, quick in repartee and witty. He had a great zeal for his chosen profession, working hard enough for three, and he was singularly happy within the 'family‑square', but he still had an uneasy social manner. Some of these traits are manifestly irreconcilable, and it seems that they were born of a natural shyness or diffidence which disappeared on close acquaintance. Everyone who knew him well found him a likeable and even a loveable character.

 

In April 1886, aged 20 years and 3 months, Kipling entered the Craft.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 233 KIPLING'S EARLY YEARS IN THE CRAFT One of the many papers on Kipling, `Bro Rudyard Kipling and His Masonic Verse',* speaks of Kipling's father as Bro John Lockwood Kipling, and this is the only case I have found which suggests that Rudyard may have had a family connection with the Craft. It is extremely doubtful if there was any such link. Kipling never mentioned it, and, allowing for the deep affection he had for his father, it is certain that he would have noted the fact either in his letters or his writings. There is likewise no mention of any kind of family link to be found. Kipling was proposed for initiation into Lodge Hope and Perseverance, No 782 (EC), by a military friend, Col Oswald Menzies, at that time President of the Punjab Dist Bd of General Purposes; he was seconded by another member of the Lodge, Bro C. Brown.

 

In his little autobiography, Something of Myself, pp 52‑3, written towards the end of his life, he gives his own modest account of his admission: In '85 I was made a Freemason by dispensation (Lodge Hope and Perseverance 782 E.C.) being under age, because the Lodge hoped for a good Secretary. They did not get him, but I helped, and got the Father to advise, in decorating the bare walls of the Masonic Hall with hangings after the prescription of Solomon's Temple.

 

Here I met Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, members of the Araya and Brahmo Samaj, and a Jew Tyler,t who was priest and butcher to his little community in the city. So yet another world opened to me which I needed.

 

Kipling was wrong in his dates. The following is a transcript of all the minutes relating to his admission in the records of the Lodge Hope and Perseverance, 1886‑87:", [INITIATION] MINUTES of the Proceedings of the Regular Meeting of Lodge of Hope and Perseverance, No 782, EC, Held at The Masonic Hall (Anarkali), Lahore, India, on Monday, the 5 April 1886.

 

Worshipful Master: W. Brother G. B. Wolseley.

 

By Bro Marcus Lewis. PAGDC (ENG), PDGW (Natal).

 

t The Tyler of the District Grand Lodge of the Punjab, and of the Lodge of Industry. No 1485, meeting at Lahore, was a Bro E. 1. Manasseh. almost certainly a Jew. I have been unable to trace the name of the Tyler of No 782, but it is extremely likely that it was this same Bro Manasseh.

 

From a copy made of the original Minutes prepared by Bro W. L. Murray‑Brooks. of Lodge de Loraine, No 541. of Newcastle‑upon‑Tyne, a member of the Kipling Society. Subsequent quotations from his transcripts of the minutes are marked (MB). Reproductions of his notes arc marked (MB/N).

 

234HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Item on Agenda 3.The Ballot was taken for Mr Joseph Rudyard Kipling, aged 20 years 2'/2 months, Assistant Editor, `Civil & Military Gazette', and residing at Lahore, a candidate for Initiation.

 

PROPOSED by W Bro Col. Menezes SECONDED by Bro C. Brown which proved unanimously favourable. DISPENSATION from District Grand Master authorising his Initiation as a minor was then read.

 

4. THE CANDIDATE, Mr Joseph Rudyard Kipling, was then admitted and initiated in due form into the Mysteries and Secrets of Ancient Freemasonry, The Worshipful Master giving the Degree. (Signed) O. Menezes, PM [PASSING] At the Regular meeting on Monday, 3 May 1886. Worshipful Master: W Bro Col O. Menezes.

 

3.BRO KIPLING being a Candidate for the Second, or Fellowcraft, Degree, was duly examined in the First, or Entered Apprentice, Degree and being found proficient, was allowed to retire for preparation.

 

4.THE LODGE was then opened in the Second Degree.

 

5. THE candidate was then re‑admitted and passed to the Second Degree in due and ancient form.

 

[RAISING] At the Regular Meeting on Monday, 6 December 1886 [the Lodge having been in vacation in the interim].

 

Worshipful Master: W Bro Col G. B. Wolseley.

 

3.BROTHER RUDYARD KIPLING being a Candidate for the High and Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, was then examined by the Worshipful Master according to ancient custom, and having proved proficient, was allowed to retire, while 4.THE LODGE was opened in the Third Degree.

 

5. ON the Candidate being re‑admitted, he was raised to the Third Degree in due and ancient form.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 235 `The Minutes recording his raising are actually entered in the Minute Book in Kipling's own handwriting, he having acted as Secretary to the meeting at which he was raised ‑ perhaps a unique position.' (MB/N.) Entered in April 1886; Passed in May; Raised in December, the Lodge having been closed in the interim period, which included the hot months. It is perhaps typical of Kipling that within a few months of his Raising he gave a Lecture in his Mother Lodge on the `Origin of the Craft First Degree', and four months later he lectured again on `Popular Views on Freemasonry'. (The first Lecture was on 4 April 1887; the second on 4 July 1887.) (MB/N). What a great pity that the texts of both talks have disappeared! There is no record of the source of Kipling's Masonic knowledge and it is extremely doubtful if his Lodge possessed a Masonic Library. The military Lodge at Mian Mir was an even less likely source. The only Masonic journal then published in the Punjab was the Masonic Record of Western India, * a monthly magazine of some 40 pages octavo, printed at Allahabad, which gave brief items of Masonic news from all parts of the world, with fuller details from the English Quarterly Communications and fairly full reports of Indian Masonic matters, all these being interspersed with brief articles, poems and stories more or less related to the Craft. Some of the earlier volumes of this little journal may have furnished Kipling with his material, but that is pure speculation. Yet, if Kipling at 21 was anything like the successful author of later years, betraying in his tales a full grasp of all the technical information belonging to his subject and eagerly inserting the odd details that show how he delighted in his mastery of them, it is certain that he did not undertake his Masonic Lectures without a good grounding.

 

He was recorded as Secretary, duly elected, 'f at the regular meeting on 10 January 1887. He was invested with his collar of office at the February meeting, `appointed PM Steward' at that meeting, and he attended every monthly meeting up to and including 1 August 1887.' He pursued every branch of the Craft that was within his reach with his customary zeal. He was advanced in the Mark Degree in Fidelity ' Subsequent references to this journal arc marked M.R.W.I. Secretaries arc not elected nowadaN~s.

 

': MB/N.

 

236HARRY CARR'S WORLD 01: FREEMASONRY Mark Lodge, No 98, at Lahore, on 14 April 1887, and was elevated in Mt. Ararat Ark Mariners' Lodge, No 98, on the same day.

 

Of his love for Freemasonry there can be no doubt, especially when we see how often it crept into his later writings; yet it is strange that he left practically no personal records of his Lodges, or of his friendships in the Craft.

 

The Lodge of Hope and Perseverance, No 782, was constituted in 1858 (as No 1084), meeting in the `Lodge Rooms', Lahore. At the time of Kipling's Initiation it had some 25 or 30 members, largely made up ‑ as one might expect in the India of that time ‑ of soldiers, civil engineers, civil servants, doctors, men attached to various branches of the post and telegraph services and to the police. The total Masonic population of the Punjab State, under the District Grand Lodge, English Constitution, was 650 (approx.) in some 20 Lodges, an average of 30 members per Lodge. These low numbers, combined with the high incidence of illness, home furlough and unavoidable long‑distance travel in a large and developing country, must have caused all sorts of difficulties in the continuity of management of the Lodges. This was remedied in No 782 in 1887, a year after Kipling's Initiation, when the Lodge amalgamated with Lodge Ravee, No 1215, which was in difficulties owing to insufficient membership; No 782, the stronger Lodge, absorbed the weaker. The Grand Lodge Ravee returned its Warrant.

 

The well‑known passage in Something of Myself, in which Kipling wrote, `Here I met Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, members of the Araya and Brahmo Samaj . . .', may be true in substance, but it tends to create the impression that Hope and Perseverance was a heavily `mixed' Lodge, with a high proportion of members from the native population. This was probably quite unintentional, but one of Kipling's letters to The Times in 1925 (forty years after his Initiation) seems to support the suggestion, and it contains, incidentally, a notable error of fact: ... I was Secretary for some years of Hope and Perseverance Lodge, No 782, Lahore, which included Brethren of at least four creeds. I was entered by a member of Bramo Samaj, a Hindu, passed by a Mohammedan, and raised by an Englishman. Our Tyler was an Indian Jew.

 

We met, of course, on the level, and the only difference anyone would * Dates and details confirmed by Mark Grand Lodge.

 

KIPLING AND TIIF CRAFT 237 notice was that at our banquets some of the Brethren, who were debarred by caste rules from eating food not ceremonially prepared, sat over empty plates.' The Lodge minutes prove that the details of Entry are certainly incorrect, and those of Passing are probably wrong, too. A reference to the Initiation minute, above, will show that it ends with the words `. . . the Worshipful Master giving the Degree'. The WM on the night in question was W Bro Col G. B. Wolseley, C.B, PDistDepGM, certainly not a Hindu, and he presided at Kipling's Raising, too. The WM at the Passing was Col Oswald Menzies, who had proposed him. There is no record in the minutes of any other Brother taking the Chair for the 2 and 3 ceremonies, and it seems very likely that the `. . . Hindu and . . . Mohammedan . . .' were either the results of faulty memory or the creatures of a fertile imagination.

 

It is certain that the ability of Europeans and Asiatics to meet `on the Level' in the Lodge Room, without distinction of class or colour, race or creed, had made a very deep impression on Kipling, as witness his poem The Mother Lodge, which was founded on that theme, and this may well explain the momentary lapse in the accuracy of his memoirs. The records show that there were, in fact, at least four non‑European Brethren in the Lodge at that time, as follows: Bikrama SinghtProfession not stated Mohammed Hayat Khant Assistant Commissioner Protal C. Chatterjee, M.A.tPleaders In the Law Courts (?) Gopal DastU.C.S. (?) The Kipling file in the Grand Lodge archives contains the Annual Return made to the Dist G Lodge of the Punjab by the Lodge of Hope and Perseverance on 31 December 1886. The Lodge had evidently been suffering from Secretarial troubles at that time,1 and This letter was also printed in the Freemason (London), 28 March 1925, and our transcript is from that journal. The Grand Lodge Kipling file contains a copy of another letter from Kipling to a correspondent in S. Africa, which repeats these details almost word for word. The letter was offered for sale to the Grand Lodge Library, but was not purchased, as there was reason to suspect it as a forgery. For that reason, we do not reproduce it here.

 

Names recorded in the Annual Return to the Dist Grand Lodge. Professions as recorded in the Grand Lodge Register.

 

1 A Minute of the Bd of GP of the Dist GL of the Punjab, dated 25 August 1886, shows that the Lodge had not yet made its Return for the preceding 30 June. (M.R.W.I., vol. xxiii, p. 305.) 238HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY this particular Return is especially interesting, because it was compiled and signed by Kipling himself, as Acting‑Secretary, only eight months after his Initiation and less than four weeks after his Raising! Kipling's Return shows a total of twenty‑four members in the Lodge, including the four named above, but his Return is certainly incomplete. B. C. Jussawalla, a merchant, joined the Lodge in 1884, and was still on the Roll five years later, but he does not appear in Kipling's Return. Dr Brij Lal Ghose, RB, Assistant Surgeon, joined the Lodge in 1879 and there is no record of his resignation, but he, too, is omitted from Kipling's Return, though he is regularly shown in high office at meetings of the Dist Grand Lodge and its Committees during the period of Kipling's association with the Lodge.

 

It is strange that Kipling left practically no record of his personal impressions and recollections within his own Lodge. Stranger still, perhaps, that none of the Masonic allusions in his verse and prose can be deemed strictly autobiographical. In later years, after he had achieved world fame, he avoided all discussion of his private affairs with strangers and shunned that kind of publicity like the plague. This facet of his character arose directly from the success which made him a target for all who could profit from his words. But that was not the case in his youth, when he was still shy, ill‑at‑ease and finding it very difficult to settle into the adult society of Lahore. For a youngster in that frame of mind, to be received as an equal in the Lodge was indeed an unforgettable experience, and when, towards the end of his life, he wrote about his Initiation: 'So yet another world opened to me, which I needed', he was referring not so much to Freemasonry, the Craft itself, but to the little group of Brethren who had opened their doors to him.

 

He made it his business to learn about the Craft, because, as a writer, that kind of approach was second nature to him. That he found it in every way admirable is constantly revealed in his writings; but his zeal for the craft was not centred in its organisation or its ritual, and one may doubt if he would ever have reached the Chair, even if he had had an opportunity to do so. There seems to be no doubt, and his subsequent record confirms the fact, that his real love for the Craft was based on the welcome that he found in it and upon the rich variety of characters whom he met in the Lodge.

 

On 10 January 1887, a few days after his election as Secretary, he is KIPLING AND THE CRAFT239 recorded as `J. Rudyard Kipling, Secy of No 782', a visitor at the meeting of the Dist Grand Lodge at Lahore (M. R. W.1. , vol xxiii, pp 450); a month later he served in that capacity at a meeting of the Permanent Committee of his Lodge. It is reasonably certain that he found time to visit the Lodge at Mian Mir (St John the Evangelist, No 1483), where two of the members were Surgeon Capt Terence Mulvaney and Lieut Learoyd, RA, whose names are immortalised in Soldiers Three. The remainder of his career in the Craft was sadly interrupted by the calls of his profession ‑ but that is another story.

 

LITERARY SUCCESS AND RESIGNATION FROM THE LODGE In the summer of 1886, Kipling joined his family at Simla, where (by reason of Lord Clandeboye's attachment to `Trix') he moved into the Viceregal circle and found numerous friends among the rising young men of the Viceroy's staff, which led to a natural and noticeable increase in his status as a journalist.

 

On his return to Lahore, in the cool months of 1886‑7, he began to write the verse and stories that brought him to fame. Wheeler, his chief at the Gazette, had allowed him no scope for the imaginative writing that he wanted to do; but now, broken in health, the editor was retiring, and Kay Robinson, assistant editor of the Pioneer at Allahabad and a good friend to Kipling, was to take over Wheeler's position. Kipling was delighted and the new arrangement began to show immediate results. Copying a journalistic feature that had proved very successful during his time on the London Globe, Robinson set Kipling to write a series of regular weekly articles for the Gazette. They were to be short topical pieces of high local interest and limited to 2,000 words, an ideal discipline for Kipling and one that he greatly enjoyed. The best of them are preserved today in his Plain Tales from the Hills.

 

In the course of his journalistic duties he was ready to take all sorts of risks in the lowest quarters of the town, and he had already developed an uncanny skill in quickly absorbing local colour, a skill which became one of his principal assets as a writer. It was said that he knew more about the shady side of life in Lahore than the police, more about the regiments and the life at Mian Mir than the Officers themselves; but his curiosity ranged over every field.

 

In 1887 he sold a collection of his verse, of local and topical interest, under the title Departmental Ditties, to a Calcutta publisher, 240}LARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY for 500 Rupees. They were inclined to be shocking and cynical, attracting considerable attention in India, but the only review in the London Press found them merely `quaint and amusing', perhaps because they were too closely related to the narrow themes of civil service and military life in India. His friends, and Robinson especially, were beginning to urge him to spread his wings and seek a wider public in London, but he was happy in his Lahore‑Simla surroundings, treating his employment on the Gazette as a kind of seven‑year apprenticeship to his profession.

 

During the summer of 1887, Kipling's employers were arranging to transfer him to the staff of the Pioneer at Allahabad, and the minutes of the Lodge of Hope and Perseverance, No 782 (in Kipling's own handwriting), record the following: 3.The Secretary having announced his impending departure to Allahabad as a reason why he should be relieved of his office, W Bro J. J. Davies rose and said: 'Worshipful Sir and Brethren, `We have all heard with deep regret the intimation made by our Bro Secretary that we are soon to lose his services as Secretary of this Lodge. Those of us who have watched his conduct since his initiation feel sure that he has before him a successful Masonic career, for the thoroughness with which he conducted his duties was prompted by a lively interest in his work and by a keen desire for a deeper insight into the hidden truths of Masonry.

 

`Bro Kipling has also contributed towards the welfare of the Lodge by the series of Lectures which he delivered to the Brethren, which was of a nature both interesting and instructive, while his courteous disposition has won for him the general esteem of the Brethren. He has been all that a Secretary should be, and it is with regret that I hear the Lodge is about to lose the services of one whom I feel sure will yet be an ornament to his Lodge and a bright light in the Masonic Circle.

 

`I feel sure that all the Brethren will join me in wishing Bro Kipling success in his future life and to express a hope that circumstances will permit him to occasionally visit the meetings of his Mother Lodge.' Bro Kipling returned thanks for the kind allusions made to his success as Secretary and for the good wishes expressed by the Brethren present. He said he would always remember with pride and affection the meetings he had attended at Lodge Hope and Perseverance whereby he had formed friendships which would leave a lasting KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 241 impression on his memory. He would take every opportunity that offered of attending the meetings of his Mother Lodge.

 

(Signed) E. C. Jussawallah.

 

At this stage Kipling cannot have had any idea that his departure would be anything more than a temporary break in his Masonic career, and until that time he had certainly discharged all his duties, and more, with a praiseworthy zeal.

 

He lived a bachelor life at the Allahabad Club, but he soon found good and interesting friends, notably Prof S. A. Hill, a Government meteorologist, and his wife. In a letter to her sister in Pennsylvania, she described Kipling as short, dark‑haired, balding and fortyish (he was only twenty‑two), with a heavy moustache and thick glasses, a scintillating and animated story‑teller, and equally interesting in more sober conversation.

 

The Plain Tales met with immediate success in India, where many of their thinly‑disguised characters were readily recognised. A French editiont was also well received, but the work remained unnoticed in London. For the Pioneer, Kipling was now travelling a good deal and was writing a series of articles, the Letters of Marque, afterwards issued as the first part of Vol. 1 of From Sea to Sea. He began to write fiction for the Week's News and for other journals ‑ work which was all too quickly written and accepted by undiscriminating publishers and public. Six volumes of short stories were issued in 1888 (later contained in Soldiers Three and Wee Willie Winkle). They brought him, for the first time, a bank balance of 200 in advance royalties, and established his reputation as a writer whose works ranged over civil service, military, native and society life. They were sketches and impressions as much as stories, in which character‑studies and local colour were as important as the tales themselves.

 

Busy though he was, Kipling still found time for his Freemasonry, and there is a record of his attendance at the Installation meeting of Lodge Independence with Philanthropy, No 391, at Allahabad, on 22 December 1887, when Sir John Edge, Chief Justice of the NW Provinces, was installed before an enormous assembly. (M. R. W.1. , * Reproduced from MB. The minutes are signed by Bro Jussawallah, whose name had been omitted from Kipling's Annual Return to the Dist Grand Lodge. Kipling is entered as Secretary in the Records of the Regular Meeting of 7 November 1887. but the minutes are not in Kipling's handwriting. (MB/N.) The French edition appeared later.

 

242HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY vol xxiv, p 345.) In March 1888, when he believed that he was permanently settled in Allahabad, he wrote to his Lodge at Lahore as recorded in the Minutes: At the Regular Meeting on Monday, 2 April 1888. Worshipful Master: W Bro Koenig.

 

9. Read the following letter from Bro RUDYARD KIPLING dated Allahabad, 22 March 1888: `Dear Sir and Worshipful Master, 'It is with great regret I have permanently transferred to Allahabad to inform you that I am now and therefore forced to abandon any active connection with my Mother Lodge. I write to ask you to forward a Clearance Certificate to enable me to join 'Lodge Independence with Philanthropy' at this Station, and also to send my Grand Lodge Certificate to the Master of that Lodge when it arrives. I have of course no intention of withdrawing my name from the Lodge Roll and shall be obliged if you would have me put down as an Absent Brother.

 

'I send herewith Rs 24 PM, subscription and shall always look back with keen pleasure to my Masonic life in "Lodge Hope and Perseverance", and, if at any time, I can do anything to further its aims and objects, am entirely at your disposal. Convey my warmest and most fraternal regards to the Brethren and Believe me Yours faithfully and fraternally, (Sgd.) RUDYARD KIPLING.' THE SECRETARY was directed to comply with Bro Kipling's request and to reply to his letter thanking him warmly for his kind offer and expressing regret that his altered circumstances has deprived us of his valuable assistance and genial companionship. (Sgd.) F. Koenig, WM(MB) It seems certain that Kipling fully intended to pursue his Masonic career in his new environment, while remaining on the Roll of No 782 as an 'Absent Brother' (probably a status equal to 'countrymembership'), but that was not to be. He was recalled to duty at the Civil & Military Gazette and there followed a brief spell at Lahore, deputising for Robinson, who was absent on sick‑leave. It is recorded that he attended, for the last time, at his Mother Lodge, No 782, in May 1888, acting as Inner Guard.* (MB/N.) The heat of the summer months became intolerable and Kipling went off for a three‑week * This was apparently his first and last 'floor‑office'.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 243 stay at Simla, which was doubly enjoyable because he had already made up his mind to go to England. He returned to Allahabad, where his pleasure in the company of the Hills (he had been living with them during most of 1888) was marred by Mrs Hill's sudden and serious illness. On her recovery she decided to convalesce at her home in Pennsylvania, and, on hearing this, Kipling resolved to travel east‑about to England, going with them to America, en route. Introductions to friends in the USA were showered on him.

 

He joined the Lodge Independence with Philanthropy, No 391, at Allahabad, on 17 April 1888.* At that time it was the fourth largest Lodge under the District Grand Lodge of Bengal, with 35 members. The largest Lodge had only 50 members, and the records show that several Bengal Lodges were in abeyance and others were having great difficulty because of their small memberships. (MRWI, vol xxiv, p 449.) No 391 was a `mixed' Lodge with a substantial proportion of non‑European members,* and it is fairly certain that Kipling would have been very happy there, but his active participation in the work of the Lodge lasted, in fact, less than a year, because of his projected trip to England. (He never returned to Allahabad, and resigned from the Lodge on 31 December 1895).

 

In February 1889, he went home to Lahore for a farewell visit, and soon afterwards went down to Calcutta. The March 1889, minutes of Hope and Perseverance record: At the Regular Meeting of the Lodge held on Monday, 4 March 1889. Worshipful Master: W Bro F. Koenig.

 

8. THE WORSHIPFUL MASTER stated that he had received a card from Bro RUDYARD KIPLING stating that he was leaving the Province permanently and wished to resign. Directed that it be acknowledged with regret. (MB) Kipling resigned from his Mark and Ark Mariner Lodges three months later, on 30 June 1889.1 On 9 March 1889, he went aboard the S.S. Madura with Prof and Mrs Hill for the beginning of a happy holiday, enlivened by the society of his friends. His time was filled by his unending interest in the mechanism of the ship and in the men who kept it moving, as well as the yarns of the variegated travellers in the bars and smoking * From the Grand Lodge Registers.

 

t Information confirmed by Mark Grand Lodge.

 

244HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY rooms. They passed through Rangoon, Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong, and stayed a whole month in Japan, each halt making an indelible impression on his photographic mind and leaving a store of colour, sights and sounds that enriched so much of his later work. They left Japan for San Francisco, and there, in the course of newspaper interviews, Kipling carelessly let fall various items of too‑ready and immature criticism of American affairs, which made him an unpopular target in the American press.

 

The Hills left him at San Francisco to finish their journey by train, and Kipling remained in the care of Mrs Carr, a friend of his mother, who introduced him into wealthy and influential society, and to professional men, journalists and writers, who found him a boon companion. After a few days he went off for a fishing holiday to Portland, Oregon, and then into British Columbia, where a smart piece of salesmanship left him owning a plot of land in Vancouver City which was certainly not worth what he had paid for it.

 

Writing articles all the while for his paper, he travelled leisurely across America until he arrived eventually at the little town of Beaver Falls, Pa., where Mrs Hill was living with her parents. Kipling stayed with the family for two months, and there he met Mrs Hill's young sister, Caroline Taylor, a plump and cheerful girl. Continuing his travels in the Eastern States, his closer acquaintance with the country and its people brought him to a real liking for what he saw and a somewhat jingoist view of the importance of the 'Anglo‑Saxon all round the world'. The appearance of several favourable reviews of his works must have pleased him greatly, but at this period a pirated version of Plain Tales was published in the USA, the first of a whole series of similar outrages, which, allowing for his poverty at the time and his inability to obtain legal redress, was an understandable source of exasperation.* An introduction to Henry Harper, head of the New York publishing house, led to an interview which was quickly ended by Harper's brutal rudeness. Happily, `He never had to ask a favour of an American publisher again.' (C. C., p 132.) Meanwhile, carrie Taylor had decided to go to India with her sister, and at the end of September 1889, all four, the Hills, Carrie * It is interesting to read in the Masonic Record of Western India for October 1887 (vol xxiv, pp 272‑5). a bitter article by Bro R. F. Gould, the great historian, and a Founder of the O.C. Lodge, protesting that his life work, The History of Freemasonrv, had been similarly treated by unscrupulous American publishers.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT245 and Kipling, took ship for England, arriving in London in early October. There, Kipling left his friends to take a short holiday in Paris. On his return to London he moved into two rooms at the foot of Villiers Street, overlooking the embankment, only a few doors from the London office of the Pioneer. Mrs Hill and Carrie helped him to settle in before they went off to India.

 

Kipling had few friends in London, and he was lonely, short of money and too proud to ask for help. His letters to Mrs Hill at this time betray his loneliness and nostalgia for India, which persisted long after he had won his place in London literary circles. His letters to Carrie show that he was falling in love with her, not surprising, perhaps, in view of his lack of young feminine company during those important years. Andrew Lang, who had reviewed some of Kipling's earlier work, took him to the Savile Club, the haunt of editors and writers, and this resulted in an introduction to Sampson Low, who arranged to publish an English edition of his six volumes, but on rather unfavourable terms. More useful introductions came to him through Wheeler, his former chief at Lahore, now on the staff of the St James's Gazette, and from Mowbray Morris, editor of Macmillan's Magazine. Wheeler took him to Sidney Low, who later described his first evening with Kipling, at Sweeting's in Fleet Street, where, with very little persuasion, Kipling began to talk of India and his travels, and soon had half the room as his audience. Two of his poems, both under pseudonyms, were published by Macmillan, and soon he counted the best of literary London among his friends.

 

Trix, now married, visited him in London in February 1890, and was shocked to find him in poor health and low spirits. He had met his first love, Flo Garrard, by chance in London, and had realised that she still meant a great deal to him. Perhaps his attachment to Carrie was of too rapid a growth to withstand their separation, or its roots may have been too shallow. Whatever the reasons, his estrangement from her was complete by this time. He resumed his courtship of Flo Garrard, without hope of success, because she was interested in nothing but her own career as an artist. He confided all this to Trix, but his only refuge was in his work, which he pursued . . . with a sort of fury'.

 

His visits to his aunts and cousins were rare and pleasurable interludes, though they introduced him into good society where ‑ as usual ‑ he was made much of. Publishers' doors were being opened to 246HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY him and he had enough commissioned work in hand to be assured of a modest livelihood. A splendid review of his works in the London Times in March 1890, described him as a writer who had `tapped a new vein, and ... worked it out with real originality'. It led to a Kipling boom in London, while the re‑issue of his early works in America went on more strongly than ever. Kipling had arrived! He was twenty‑five years old, with a collection of prose and verse behind him, including Plain Tales from the Hills and the Departmental Ditties, which had made his reputation from India to America.

 

He sent a cryptic telegram to his parents announcing his success and inviting them to come to England. The message was a gem of its kind; it ran: `Genesis xlv, 9, 10, 13.' The first of those verses reads: `Haste ye and go up to my father and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph; God hath made me lord of all Egypt; and come down unto me, tarry not.' Nothing could have been more apposite, and his choice of the quotation reveals a very useful knowledge of the Bible.

 

In May 1890, his parents came to London and the `family square' was happily re‑united. It is strange that this ‑ the period of his first real taste of success ‑ was the time when he published The Light That Failed, which contained the story of his involvement with Flo Garrard, and much autobiographical material, yet tinged with occasional bitterness and cruelty, wholly out of keeping with his character.

 

MARRIAGE AND FAME Around 1890, Kipling met Wolcott Balestier, a charming and talented young journalist ‑ turned publisher ‑ who had captured literary London. Balestier, an American, with a sure foresight of the young author's potentialities, set himself to make friends with Kipling, and he succeeded, despite Rudyard's justifiable distrust of publishers ‑ especially American. Soon there was talk of their collaborating in a novel, which appeared about two years later as The Naulahka ‑ a book based on America and India ‑ which gave them both good opportunity for their individual talents. As agent for an American publishing house, Balestier actually persuaded Kipling to write a happy ending to The Light That Failed ‑ a commercial move which nobody else in Rudyard's circle could have achieved.

 

Balestier's family visited England to share in his success and KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 247 Kipling visited them often; but it was in Wolcott's office that he first met Caroline Balestier, Wolcott's sister ‑ a quiet, competent and forceful young woman, who made such an impression on Kipling's mother that she instantly predicted, without enthusiasm, but correctly, as it transpired, `That young woman is going to marry our Ruddy.' Kipling's health was very bad at this time and he was troubled with constant recurrence of malaria and dysentery, with mental exhaustion resulting from the great pressure of work since his arrival in England. On medical advice he took a short voyage to America with one of his Macdonald uncles, Kipling travelling under the name of J. Macdonald for the sake of privacy. The stratagem failed; his eyebrows and moustache made him too easily recognisable, and when he found that his arrival was already publicised in New York ‑ knowing he was not fit to face the intrusion of reporters ‑ he returned immediately to England.

 

In July 1891, he stayed with the Balestiers at their home in the Isle of Wight, and it is fairly certain that by this time he and Carrie had come to an understanding ‑ which was not made public, however. In August, still in pursuit of health, he set out on a voyage round the world. He made a brief and pleasant stay in Cape Town, where he met Cecil Rhodes, who ultimately became a great friend. On to New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia and back to Colombo, with a train journey of four days and nights through India to Lahore, where he arrived for a Christmas reunion with his parents.

 

But soon after his arrival he received a cable from Caroline to say that Wolcott had died of typhoid while on a business trip to Dresden. Kipling did not stay for Christmas and managed to get back to England in 14 days, a notable feat at that time. Meanwhile, Carrie had taken charge; `. . . a little person of extraordinary capacity who will float them all successfully home', said Henry James in one of his letters, paying tribute to her `. . . force, acuteness ... and courage'.

 

Kipling arrived in London in January 1892, and they immediately arranged to marry within eight days, by special licence. An influenza epidemic was raging, and only one cousin, `Ambo' Poynter, attended (as best man), with Henry James, Edmund Gosse and William Heinemann as the only friends present at the ceremony at All Souls', Langham Place. The newly‑weds parted at the church door, because Carrie had to nurse her mother. Their wedding party was a small family lunch held two days later.

 

248HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY From this time on, Kipling's story cannot be told or read without the constant reminder of this masterful and devoted woman in the background. She watched his health, shielded him from intruders, kept his accounts, managed their homes and their many moves, and bore him three children. All that was, of course, in the future, but it is noteworthy that the majority of writers on the Kiplings are agreed that it was he who got the best of the bargain.

 

Rudyard was now comfortably off, with 2,000 in the bank and with many publishers' contracts in his pocket, and the couple set off for a honeymoon voyage round the world, Kipling taking the final chapters of The Naulahka* to prepare them for the press en route.

 

As part of their tour they stopped off at Brattleboro', Vermont, headquarters and home of the Balestier family, staying a few days with Carrie's younger brother, Beatty Balestier, and his wife. Beatty conveyed a 10‑acre plot of the family land to them for a nominal sum, and they continued their trip through Chicago to Canada, Kipling paying his way by his travel sketches, which were now far more profitable than on his first American visit. Reporters sought him constantly and were kept at bay by Carrie, now his business manager. And so, on to Japan and Yokohama, where their joyous holiday was rudely interrupted by the failure of Kipling's bank, with the loss of his life's savings, nearly 2,000.1 They were stranded in Japan with only their return tickets, some 10 sterling and 100 dollars in a New York bank. Lack of cash was no longer a serious worry, because there was a ready and constant demand for everything Kipling wrote, and hospitality was showered on the young couple everywhere. They stayed another three weeks in Japan, but cancelled the remainder of their honeymoon.

 

Back to Vermont, where, in a house rented at 10 dollars a month, with a Swedish maid at 18 dollars per month, they lived in Spartan simplicity for a year.

 

In April 1892, the Barrack‑Room Ballads were published; they were three times reprinted in that year and fifty times more in the next thirty years. As usual, a pirated edition had appeared in the USA before the authorised English edition came out in 1892! But * This was the title of the book, but when, a little later, the Kiplings built their own home in Vermont, they named it correctly, Naulakha.

 

The bank eventually paid all its depositors.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 249 Kipling did very little new writing in their honeymoon year. The Naulahka began to bring in a useful and rapidly‑growing income and money was flowing in rapidly from Kipling's earlier work. Now much of their time was spent in planning, with a New York architect friend, a new house that was to be built on their 10‑acre plot.

 

The Kiplings visited the Balestier family often and they were much attached to Beatty's little daughter, but Beatty himself, a gay, extravagant and intemperate fellow, did not get on well with his sister Carrie, who treated him as an irresponsible boy, doling out his share of Naulahka dividends in petty sums, as a deliberate means of controlling his extravagance.

 

Before the new house was ready, their first child, Josephine, was born in December 1892. That year was also made happy for them by a visit from John Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard's father, now retired, and the two men went off for a trip into Canada, leaving Carrie to prepare and supervise the removal into their new home, `Naulhakha'.

 

Father and son got on famously together, and Rudyard, as always, was ready and glad to have his father's help, which was quite invaluable in artistic and certain technical matters. This was the period which gave rise to the Jungle Books ‑ the best‑sellers of all Kipling's works. Now, after a period of comparative rest and with the assurance of real prosperity, Kipling had again got into his stride with the `return of a feeling of great strength'. At this time he wrote some of his most notable verse and ballads ‑ work which would have brought him fame if he had not achieved it already. He could now command $100 per thousand words, a very high rate in those days, and Scribner's paid him $500 for his dramatic poem, M'Andrew's Hymn.

 

After a brief holiday in Bermuda, Rudyard and Carrie crossed to England in 1894, moving into a house at Tisbury, Wiltshire, where Rudyard's parents had settled in retirement. In their frequent visits to London, the Kiplings were lionized and feted. Back to the light, quiet and peace of Naulakha, they lived comfortably with their little daughter, enjoying the society of a few close friends. Rudyard noted in Carrie's diary, in December, 1894, that he had earned $25,000 (5,000), a great sum in those days.

 

The interminable intrusions of summer‑visitors, sightseers and journalists eventually drove Carrie to sell her husband's autographs at $2.50 each for charity, in the hope of avoiding the nuisance ‑ but 250HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY that was misinterpreted as a publicity device, and it attracted abusive comment.

 

Early in 1896 the Kiplings took a six‑week holiday in Washington, DC, while Carrie recuperated after a furnace accident. There they were made welcome in the very best of American society, but Kipling, on a visit to the White House, was disgusted by the company he met among President Cleveland's associates. This disenchantment was largely compensated for by the close friendship he formed with `Teddy' Roosevelt.

 

On their return home, a serious money quarrel arose between Carrie and her brother over his careless stewardship of the house during their absence, and the two families were no longer on speaking terms ‑ a real discomfort because they were such close neighbours. Meanwhile, the Anglo‑American dispute over the Venezuela‑British Guiana borders led to a great deal of bad feeling on both sides of the Atlantic, and the Kiplings began to plan a return to England; but that had to be deferred, as Carrie was expecting the birth of her second child. Their daughter, Elsie, was born in February 1896.

 

Kipling was busy meanwhile on Captains Courageous, an allAmerican story in characters and setting, which grew largely out of his friendship with Dr Conland, their family physician. The rift with the Balestiers had widened and about this time Beatty was made bankrupt. The newsmen swooped, scenting a story, but Kipling refused to be interviewed. `American reviewing is brutal and immoral . . . Is it not enough to steal my books without intruding on my private life?' During the winter he played golf in the snow, with red balls, and learned to ski ‑ on the first skis in Vermont ‑ sent to him by Conan Doyle. Later in the year he took up the fashionable sport of cycling, and in May 1896, an accidental spill on a road near his home led to a face‑to‑face meeting with Beatty, who, in an ungovernable rage, threatened to shoot Kipling. Very unwisely, Kipling laid information against his brother‑in‑law for threatening to kill him, and Beatty was arrested next day. The ensuing court proceedings brought the Kiplings the most frantic and unwelcome publicity, which was aggravated by Rudyard's impulsive and ill‑advised behaviour throughout the whole of this trying period. The case was adjourned for trial, but nothing came of it because they left the USA before it KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 251 came up for hearing. They had had four happy years in Vermont, but the miseries of the family quarrel finally drove them back to England, where they arrived in September 1896, staying at a rented house near Torquay.

 

TORQUAY AND ROTTINGDEAN It was a barrack of a house after the beauty and comfort of Naulakha, but there was compensation in the visits they had from their family and friends. John Lockwood Kipling set up a studio in their coach‑house, moving over from Tisbury to help his son with a projected illustrated edition of his works. Living not far from Dartmouth, Rudyard was invited to cruise with the Channel Squadron, and ‑ always an avid collector of the data that might form the background to his stories ‑ he began zealously to master navel and engine‑room techniques.

 

Kipling had maintained his membership of Lodge Independence with Philanthropy, No 391, Allahabad, since 1888, but he resigned on 31 December 1895. It had been his only Lodge during those years, and, so far as all known records go, he became an unattached Brother, remaining in that status for the next four years. The details of his subsequent Masonic affiliations are given below.

 

In the winter of 1896 he did not do very much work, although he was now feeling much better (doubtless because of his distance from the troublesome Beatty). He was elected to the Athenaeum at the age of 31, their youngest member, and on the night of his admission he dined there with Cecil Rhodes, Alfred Milner and the Editor of The Times. Two months later, with Carrie expecting the birth of their third child, Rudyard began to look around in Kent and Sussex for a new home, and in June 1897, they moved into North End House, Rottingdean, at the centre of a large group of relatives ‑ and accessible to their friends. It was Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee year and the publication in The Times of his Recessional attracted admiration far surpassing Kipling's earlier triumphs. Now his name was being voiced as a possible Poet Laureate.

 

Their Third child, a son, John, was born in August 1897, and, at Christmas, Kipling wrote in Carrie's diary that this year was "In all ways the richest to us two personally". In January the happy pair embarked for a winter holiday in South Africa, which opened a new sphere of interest for Kipling. It was followed soon afterwards by a 252HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY summer cruise for Rudyard with the Channel Squadron, which proved a great personal triumph for him.

 

This year saw the publication of his poem, The White Man's Burden, another triumph. It was the first appearance in print of that now‑famous phrase, one of a whole series of verses with a strong imperialistic tone, typical of some earlier Indian verse, but always urging the sense of responsibility and duty that ought to over‑ride all tangible reward.

 

In February 1899, they set off on a visit to New York ‑ Carrie to see her mother, and Rudyard to deal with a copyright dispute which led to a long, expensive and fruitless lawsuit. Unwisely, they had decided to take the three children with them and, after a fearful crossing, arrived at their New York hotel with all the children ill from whooping‑cough. Carrie herself fell ill, but she shook it off for the sake of the children. Dr Conland arrived from Vermont, bringing the news that Beatty was threatening to sue Kipling for $50,000 for malicious arrest. Josephine, the eldest child, developed pneumonia and was sent off to Long Island in the care of Conland; Elsie also showed symptoms, but soon recovered; while John, the baby, became ill with bronchitis. Family and business worries proved too much for Kipling, and he, too, succumbed with an inflammation of the lungs which rapidly deteriorated ‑ so that he became delirious and dangerously ill. The news could not be kept from the press and traffic outside their hotel was blocked by crowds of sympathisers. Letters and messages flowed in from all parts of the world and the hotel lobby was crowded with reporters. Prayers were said for Kipling in the churches and people were seen to kneel before the hotel doors to pray for him. Never ‑ even for Royalty ‑ had there been such a spontaneous proof of affection and admiration. Carrie, despite all her courage and competence, was desperate, and Frank Doubleday, the New York publisher and their dear friend, neglected his own affairs to act as secretary and manager for Carrie while she looked after the children.

 

On 4 March, Kipling was at last declared out of danger, though still very ill, but two days later Josephine died. Many Months passed before Kipling was fully restored to health ‑ but neither he nor Carrie ever recovered from the shock of Josephine's death. In May, Kipling was fit to return to England under orders to take a six‑months' rest, and Doubleday, with his wife, made the journey with them and did KIPLING AND THE CRAFT253 not leave them until they were settled back in their own home. Andrew Carnegie wrote offering them the use of a small house in the Scottish Highlands, and there Rudyard mended slowly and settled down gradually to work again.

 

On 4 October 1899, doubtless as a result of his residence in Scotland, Kipling was elected an Honorary Member of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No 2 (SC), and ‑ rare honour ‑ he was made Poet Laureate of the Lodge (1905‑8), thereby joining a distinguished band of Brethren of whom Robert Burns was the first, in 1787‑96. There is no evidence, unfortunately, of his visiting the Lodge, but ill‑health and family troubles would explain that.

 

In October 1899, Stalky & Co. was published, adding a new facet to his fame because it was so obviously autobiographical, but it met with a mixed reception and, as a picture of school life, many critics found it distasteful. Kipling was now at the height of his fame; social invitations were showered upon him ‑ and mainly refused. It had been a sad and bitter year for them, and they needed quiet and seclusion.

 

THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR: KIPLING THE IMPERIALIST In September 1899, on the eve of the Boer War, Kipling published a poem, The Old Issue, in which he urged that the quarrel with Kruger was a fight for liberty and against tyranny. Some part of this must have had its roots in a native imperialism which was an inherent part of his background; but there is no doubt that it was also inspired by his unbounded admiration for the Empire‑builders, the men with the machines and tools, the road‑makers, the bridge‑builders and the engineers.

 

When the war was declared he started the Soldiers' Families' Fund, and his poem, The Absent‑Minded Beggar, set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan, helped to raise nearly a quarter‑of‑a‑million pounds for the fund. Never a seeker after limelight, he now shunned publicity, and when Harmsworth, of the Daily Mail, wanted to give the poem and its author publicity in aid of the fund, Kipling wrote asking that his name should be kept out.

 

The verses are fetching money in a wonderful way ‑ thanks to your management ‑ but don't make so much of their author. (CC p 304) In January 1900, he left with Carrie for a trip to South Africa, 254HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREFMASONRY including a tour of the Military Hospitals, and he was there just in time to welcome Rhodes on his release after the raising of the siege of Kimberley. Rhodes spoke of his plan to build a house at Groote Schoor for artists and writers who would stay there as his guests, and offered them the house when ready. Carrie accepted enthusiastically and went off with the architect to select a site.

 

At the Battle of Paardeberg, Kipling went up to the Modder River rail‑head on an ambulance train, returning with a trainload of wounded men, his first direct experience of the horrors of war. There is an interesting note regarding Kipling's visit to Bloemfontein in the Transactions of the Authors' Lodge, vol v, p 226. It speaks of Conan Doyle's services during the South African War, when he was Medical Officer to the Langham Field Hospital. He was `. . . one of the brethren who formed the never‑to‑be‑forgotten Emergency Lodge held at Bloemfontein in company with Bro Rudyard Kipling and other notable Masons.' It has proved impossible to trace any further details of this particular Lodge meeting. With the gradual success of the campaign, Lord Roberts resolved to start an Army newspaper and he wired Kipling inviting him to join the staff of the new journal. Kipling accepted a temporary post as sub‑editor for the few weeks that remained of his stay in South Africa and wrote a number of pieces for the paper, The Friend, enjoying himself enormously in the company of his congenial colleagues. The dry, warm climate suited him and he flourished.

 

Back at Rottingdean, his writings at this period had a strong political flavour, but towards the end of 1900 he was preparing to publish Kim, his last work on India, a task which had engaged him intermittently for some years. It is an adventure story in which the plot is of minor importance, but it furnished the opportunity for a study of an enormous variety of people in circumstances which enabled Kipling to depict the life, colour and atmosphere of his beloved India, and something of the mysticism and the complexities of character of its population.

 

At the end of 1900 the Kiplings were back in South Africa and moved into `The Woolsack', the dream‑cottage that Rhodes had placed at their disposal, their happiest environment for many years.* Meanwhile, the war dragged on, bringing many unpleasant shocks, * They wintered there regularly with the children from 1901 to 1908.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT255 despite the general success of Lord Roberts' campaign after the opening disasters. Kipling, deeply touched by the losses that had been suffered through the inexperience of the soldiers and the inefficiency of their officers, wrote The Army of a Dream, a vision of England trained and prepared for war, with an awakening at the end reminding the readers that the men who might have made this possible had thrown away their lives in the recent holocausts.

 

A year later, in December 1901, his poem, The Islanders, pursued the theme still further, as a plea for less interest in sport and more in national service and defence. His reference in that poem to `flannelled fools and muddied oafs' aroused great criticism and antipathy, but Kipling was never afraid to say what he thought.

 

In March 1902, Rhodes died, and Kipling wrote the verses which are inscribed on his tomb. Rudyard had lost a great friend, more especially one whose hopes for the outcome of the war coincided with his own, of a land settled by the men who would bring a new prosperity. His war poems, soldier ballads and stories of this period often reflect this feeling.

 

Later in 1902 the Kiplings settled in at their best and happiest home in England, `Bateman's', at Burwash, in Sussex. By this time they had bought their second car, and motoring adventures and misadventures appear frequently in some of Rudyard's stories of this period.

 

The war ended, and the inevitable reaction that followed it enabled Kipling to relax at `Bateman's'. After the publication, in 1903, of his book of South African verse, The Five Nations, he began to apply himself to his writing in a new and more controlled style. There was no longer any hurry to publish and he held his work back, cutting and revising until he was fully satisfied. His genius ranged from far‑seeing science fiction to children's tales and his work took on an even wider variety ‑ occasionally with a kind of obscurity ‑ yet with a breadth of vision and appeal that kept him high on the list of the world's story‑tellers.

 

The Conservative landslide in the General Election of 1906 and the subsequent elections in South Africa were a great blow to the Kiplings, and they made their last stay at the `Woolsack' in April 1908.

 

KIPLING THE POLITICIAN: THE WORLD WAR It seems strange that Kipling, whose conscientious mastery of 256HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY intricate technical matters enabled him to write with facility on all sorts of subjects, could never bring himself to `write to order'. This may have been one of the reasons why he never became Poet Laureate; it certainly prevented him from taking any kind of public office that might limit his freedom to write and say what he thought. He refused Parliamentary constituencies, and he refused two invitations to travel in the Royal entourage on State visits to India. A Knighthood (KCB) had been offered him, and refused, in 1899. The KCMG was similarly refused in 1904.

 

He did, however, accept academic honours, and in 1907‑8 he and Carrie spent much time in travelling to ceremonial occasions at the Universities, including a trip to Canada to accept a doctorate at McGill. That trip was combined with a lecture‑tour to Canadian Clubs, in which he continued to expound a facet of his Imperialist ideas ‑ exhorting them to understand and accept their responsibilities.

 

In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, a great honour which carried, in those days, a grant of some 7,700.

 

In July 1909, Kipling joined the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, a purely Christian society, open to Master Masons `. . . of high moral character . . . [and] . . . of sufficient ability to be capable of understanding the revelations of philosophy, theosophy and science, possessing a mind free from prejudice and anxious for instruction . . .' This brief quotation sufficiently demonstrates the range of studies which fall within the Society's nine grades and it shows that Kipling was ready to explore far beyond the normal range of Masonic study.

 

One of the conditions of entry is that the Candidate must be `a subscribing member of a Regular Lodge under the Grand Lodge of England or under a jurisdiction in amity therewith . . .' and Kipling described himself as a member of Lodge Hope and Perseverance, No 782, although he had resigned from that Lodge in 1889! The Application Form also contains the motto, chosen by Kipling for that occasion, 'Fortuna non virtute', a modest note which may be freely translated, `By good Fortune, not by Merit'.

 

The Authors' Lodge, No 3456, was founded in 1910, and apparently Kipling was invited either to be a founder or to attend the Consecration. He was unable to be present, and the report of the Consecration (Freemasons' Chronicle, November 1910) records that KIPLING AND THE CRAFT 257 letters were received from Kipling and many other prominent authors of that period, sending their greetings and good wishes.

 

A careful check of the Transactions of the Authors' Lodge reveals that he made no contributions to their work, but he is listed as an Honorary Member of the Lodge in the Transactions, vol iv, which cover the period 1918 to 1928. There is no record of the precise date of election.

 

Kipling's mother died at Tisbury in 1910, followed early in 1911 by his father. Though he was devoted to his parents, he had seen less of them in recent years, being fully occupied with his work and in the tight circle of his own family. One wonders if this may have been due to a possible coldness between Carrie and her mother‑in‑law.

 

From 1909 to 1914 his active interest in right‑wing Conservative politics kept him fully occupied. His dislike of Liberal policies, strikes and the troubles in Ireland provided him with ample ammunition, and he wrote no longer as a spokesman for the `little man' or the ,underdog', but as a propagandist for the Tory Party. He was a friend of Baden‑Powell, and became a Commissioner and an active supporter of the Boy Scout movement, as well as of the National Service League, the latter an unpopular cause in those days. In May 1914, a wild and intemperate anti‑Liberal speech to 10,000 people at Tunbridge Wells brought him a great deal of adverse publicity, bringing embarrassment to himself and to his own party.

 

When war was declared, young John Kipling, not yet 17, went up to London to offer himself for a Commission, but his weak sight prevented this. Kipling thereupon wrote to Lord Roberts, and with his influence the lad was nominated to their friend's own regiment, the Irish Guards. The Kiplings, with their daughter Elsie, were busy meanwhile at `Bateman's' on work for the Red Cross and for the Belgian Refugees. Rudyard now began a tour of the Military Hospitals and training Camps in England, writing articles for the Daily Telegraph and stories based on incidents of the war.

 

The family made frequent trips to London, where John could come in from his barracks to meet them.

 

In August 1915, Rudyard was invited to visit the French Armies in the field. He met Clemenceau, Briand and General Nivelle, and had a warm reception everywhere, being easily recognised, because his works were as well known in France as in England. On his return, Confirmed in Trans. of Authors' Lodge, No ?456, vol i.

 

258HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY there was an invitation from the Admiralty to Kipling to write about the Royal Navy ‑ apparently in the hope of satisfying the Allies of the activities of the `Silent Service'. He made visits to the Dover Patrol and the Harwich Flotilla, and, on returning home, fell ill with gastritis.

 

On 2 October 1915, a telegram arrived from the War Office reporting that John was wounded and missing after the Battle of Loos. After a few days, Kipling returned to his work, the only anodyne, while awaiting further information. Two years passed before they had the full story. The lad had been shot through the head in action when his Company forced its way into a gap between Hill Seventy and Hulluch. After the agonised years of waiting and incessant inquiries, the parents, numbed and broken, sought refuge more than ever within themselves, with Elsie as the only comfort left to them.

 

Kipling made several visits to quiet sections of the Front, to the Grand Fleet in Scottish waters, and to the Naval establishments at Cover and Harwich. Apart from his war journalism, his best work of this period consisted of Naval songs and ballads. In 1917 he began work on a History of the Irish Guards, his son's regiment, and, in the same year, made a visit to Italy to collect material for the story of the Italian campaign, The War in the Mountains. In this year, too, he wrote `In the Interests of the Brethren', by far the best of his Masonic writings, rich in sympathy and full of understanding of the needs of the men who were actually fighting in the war." Following the confirmation of the death of his own son, one may imagine his anguish when he wrote of the principal character, L. H. Burges, of Burges and Son. `. . . but Son had been killed in Egypt'.

 

In September 1917, he was invited to join the Imperial War Graves Commission, of which he was a diligent member for the last 18 years of his life; indeed, it was he who chose for them the inscription, `Their Name Liveth for Evermore.' ... never before had war exacted such a terrible toll of death; never before had a permanent organisation for the care of their graves been needed in peace‑time ... among the graves under its care were those of men and women of manv nations and of many religions ... and by the nature of its task it [had to be] free from religious partiality. ‑" Published in Debits and Credits in 1926.

 

+ From Thirtc‑tire Masters. The Story of the Builders o1 the Silent Cities Lodge. No. 4984. by W Bro C. G. Wvndham Parker. L.G.R.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAPI 259 The newly‑formed Commission made its Headquarters just outside St Omer, and in January 1922, a Lodge was consecrated at St Omer as No 12 on the Register of the Grande Loge Nationale Independante et Reguliere pour la France et les Colonies, Frangaises (now the GLNF). Among the founders of the Lodge was Rudyard Kipling, and it was to his inspiration that the Lodge owes its name, `The Builders of the Silent Cities', which so beautifully expresses the vocation of its members, `whose sympathetic labour it is to construct and maintain permanent resting places for . . . the valiant dead of the British Empire who fell in the Great War'.

 

The first two Initiates of the Lodge were Major‑General Sir Fabian Ware, Vice‑Chairman and Chief Horticultural Officer of the Commission, and Captain J. S. Parker (from whose son's work these notes have been reproduced). As a tribute to Kipling, the Lodge adopted a modified form of the `Sussex Working' of the Third Degree; Kipling was then a Sussex man and it was believed to be his favourite `working',* but, in fact, his interest was in the Commission itself, rather than the Lodge, though he retained his membership of No 12 until his death.t He was invited to become one of the Rhodes Trustees (for the Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford), an honour which he accepted willingly because both he and Carrie had taken a deep interest with Rhodes in the scheme when he was planning it. On 28 June 1918, the Motherland Lodge, No 3861, was consecrated at Freemasons' Hall, London, `. . . to signalise . . . the coming together of the English speaking family of nations to fight side by side on behalf of liberty and right, against wrong and oppression'. Kipling had been invited to attend, but he is listed among the Brethren who sent letters of apology. According to custom, the Consecrating Officers were made Honorary Members of the Lodge and presented with Founders' Jewels. 'A similar honour was conferred on' [various distinguished visitors, as well as] `Bro Rudyard Kipling (who had personally selected for inclusion in the souvenir of the meeting a verse from his Song of the Native‑born).' (Freemasons' Chronicle, 20 July 1918, pp 28‑30.) The Secretary of the Lodge reports that, despite the Honorary Membership, there is no record of Kipling ever visiting the ' One may wonder. indeed. when R.K. found time to acquire a 'favourite working'. for there is virtually no evidence of his attendances at Lodges after his first departure from India.

 

~‑ Confirmed by the secretary of the Lodge.

 

260HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Lodge, or of his taking any practical interest in it thereafter.

 

War work and war journalism kept Kipling busy, leaving him little time for his ordinary literary work, and his best work of this period is in verse, especially those pieces which were highly critical of the errors and mismanagements of the war. When it was ended, Carrie wrote in her diary, `a world to be remade . . . without a son'.

 

FINALE The family returned to `Bateman's' as to a refuge ‑ Rudyard in poor health, and Carrie a diligent guardian and a constant shield against intruders. But theirs was not a hermit existence. There was a constant stream of visits from their closest intimates; John's army colleagues came, and the children of their relatives and friends. Airmen came to visit and to discuss the world air‑routes that Kipling had predicted so long before. Stanley Baldwin, his cousin, serving under Bonar Law's Government, came to offer him `any honour he will accept', but he steadfastly refused.

 

In December 1921, he was offered the Order of Merit, an honour in the King's personal gift, tendered in a charming letter from Lord Stamfordham. Refused, it was offered again in 1924 and refused again, but the King's admiration for Kipling and his work was not harmed by this stubborn independence.

 

In 1920 the family resumed their motor‑tours in France, giving Kipling an opportunity to make personal inspection of more than 30 cemeteries under the War Graves Commission, on which he reported and advised. They also paid a visit to Loos to identify the spot where John had died.

 

In 1921 they went to Paris, where Kipling accepted a Doctorate of the University of Paris, and was feted as a national hero by the social and political leaders of France. In 1922 they accompanied the King and Queen on their pilgrimage to the War Cemeteries, and Rudyard had the opportunity of a long private conversation with the King. Thereafter, his work on the Irish Guards being finished, the customary exhaustion followed and he was troubled again with gastric illness, which had been an intermittent source of discomfort for many years. He settled down at Batemans, a listless and bedridden invalid ‑ with no interest, even in politics.

 

During this period the New York World published details of a supposed interview with Clare Sheridan, reporting Kipling's views on

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT261

 

Anglo‑American relations, and that he had charged that America had come into the war too late and withdrawn too soon, with other observations equally unpalatable to the friends of both countries. It is possible that Kipling had indeed aired his views during an informal and private tea‑time visit by Clare Sheridan to Burwash. If so, his words were certainly `off‑the‑record'; but they became front‑page news in the world Press, to Carrie's great distress, because her husband was too ill to deal with the matter. It was also a great embarrassment to the Government, at a time when relations with the USA were delicate. Eventually, Kipling sent a notice to the Press saying that he had not given an interview and denying that he had said the words attributed to him.

 

A severe recurrence of his illness led to a surgical operation, followed by several months of convalescence and a sea trip to Cannes, where he gradually recovered his health and began work again. At this period he wrote The Janeites, another `Stalky' story, and several war stories, published in 1926 as Debits and Credits. Fashions had changed since his last book had been published some nine years before, and the new book had small success at first, though it steadily moved into favour afterwards. His zeal for compression, generally a virtue in a story‑writer, when carried to extremes often made his work obscure and cryptic. Another volume of stories (published in 1932) was clearly the work of a tired and ageing invalid.

 

In 1926 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Literature ‑ an honour shared only with Scott, Meredith and Hardy. A year later, somewhat to Kipling's displeasure, the Kipling Society was formed, with General Dunsterville, `Stalky' himself, as its first President. Much of the family's time in the next years was spent in motor‑tours and voyages in search of sunshine.

 

In 1925 the War Graves Commission opened a new Head Office in London and many of the senior members of No 12 (France) found themselves transferred to England. This led to the formation of a London Lodge under the same title as its sister Lodge in France. Builders of the Silent Cities Lodge, No 4948, was consecrated in December 1927, and Kipling, still deeply interested in the work of the Commission, was one of its founders. But there is no evidence that he attended the Consecration or that he ever attended or took active part in the work of the Lodge. (He resigned in 1935, shortly before his death.) 262}TARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Rudyard's last serious work was done in the early months of 1932, and now, as though he knew that the sands were running out for him, he began to tidy up, arranging a new volume of Collected Verse, as well as A Pageant of Kipling, a collection of verse and prose selected for the American market.

 

He supervised the preparation of the sumptuous Sussex Edition of his works, and then began to write Something of Myself, the bare framework of an autobiography, which tantalisingly ommited most of the most important people and incidents in his career.

 

In the summer of 1935 the Kiplings went off together to Marienbad (for Carrie's sake), and in the autumn Rudyard was busy with Hollywood agents, arranging for the filming of several of his stories.

 

In January 1936, Kipling replied to an invitation from the Secretary of the Authors' Lodge: Bateman's, Burwash, Sussex. January 2, 1936. Dear Brother Spalding, Thank you very much indeed for the Lodge invitation for the 15th, but I'm sorry to say that each year I pass from the labour of fighting the English climate to the refreshment, more or less, of the South of France, and by the 15th I ought to be there in whatever sunshine this mad world has to offer.

 

Please convey my regrets to the Brethren, and Believe me, Fraternally yours, (Signed) RUDYARD KIPLING.

 

(Transactions of Authors' Lodge, vol. vii, p 162.) Early in January 1936, they were spending a few days at Brown's Hotel in London, prior to a projected trip to Cannes. On the night of 13 January, Rudyard suffered a violent haemorrhage; he lingered a few days and died on 18 January 1936, soon after his 70th birthday. He lies buried in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey.

 

Is it fair ‑ or even possible ‑ to sum up in few lines the Masonic character of a man who had led such a full, busy and successful life? The constant interruptions in his career, his necessary mobility as a journalist, and his travels, his early marriage and his subsequent wanderings, all contributed towards his inability to make `progress' in the Craft. Yet his zeal for Freemasonry was proclaimed in his writings KIPLING AND THE CRAFT263 time and time again. It has been suggested that as a creator of word‑images his was not the kind of temperament to be troubled with the learning of ready‑made ritual, but his writings show, constantly, that he had mastered a great deal of Masonic ritual during the bare three years of his Masonry in India.

 

When he wrote his wonderful Masonic tale, `In the Interests of the Brethren', he was, indeed, an Honorary Member of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, but he had been a non‑subscribing Mason for some 20 years, yet nothing could better display his affection for the Craft or his knowledge of its background, and, perhaps most important of all, his love for humanity.

 

There was in his character a kind of native vehemence which prompted him occasionally to express himself in hasty words ‑ that he must have regretted ‑ yet it was that same vehemence which brought the blazing light of sympathy into his writings, which taught him how to defend the under‑dog, which helped him to write with insight and understanding for children, as well as adults, over fields of literature unequalled by anyone before or since his day.

 

Generally ‑ and all his Masonic writings seem to support this view ‑ he was a `practical' Mason, keenly aware of the practical usefulness of the Craft in bringing men together in service and good deeds; yet in Kim ‑ and in some of his poems ‑ he showed a genuine awareness of the spriritual aspects of the Craft.

 

PART II

 

FREEMASONRY AND MASONIC ALLUSIONS IN KIPLING'S WORK The extracts that follow do not pretend to be a complete catalogue or collection of all the Masonic allusions in Kipling's prose and verse. Indeed, it is doubtful if such a comprehensive collection would be possible, because many of them hinge on a mere turn of phrase, or association of ideas, where it is difficult to be certain of the writer's intentions. Nor is there any attempt here to make a study of Kipling's qualities as a writer. The extracts are presented, primarily, to show the many and various ways in which he expressed his ideas about the Craft, to indicate the diversity of purpose with which they were written, and to give some idea of the fascinating items of high 264HARRY C'ARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY Masonic interest which await the reader who has not already discovered them for himself.

 

Occasionally the allusions are wholly Masonic in character, so that the background, the story and the theme (or moral) are all centred on some aspect of the Craft. Often the Masonic references are bold and clear, yet without any particular relevance to the story, which would have been equally complete without them. In such cases the allusions seem to have slipped into the text almost involuntarily, as though Kipling could find no better way of expressing himself, even though he must have known that their full significance might only be apparent to a tiny fraction of his readers. These references reflect an inner compulsion which is, itself, a measure of his love for the Craft.

 

In contrast to the direct allusions, relevant or not, the most difficult items of all to trace are the tricks of phrasing ‑ the odd word or two which have their origins or parallels in Masonic ideas and lines of thought ‑ although the words themselves do not belong to any specific Ritual or Lodge procedure.

 

All the extracts presented here fall into one or other of the categories outlined above. Previous writers have presented the same material more or less at random, usually on the basis of personal preference. They are reproduced below, as far as possible in chronological order, with only enough comment to enable the reader to grasp their implications, but with larger notes on matters that deserve special attention.

 

Many of the pieces appeared originally in newspapers, etc, but it would be extremely difficult for the reader to locate them in that form. The dates and book titles that are given in each case represent the main work in which the items were first collected and published.

 

The Man Who Would Be King (Indian Railway Series, 1888) (Wee Willie Winkie, 1895) is generally accounted one of the best of Kipling's stories. It is told by a journalist (presumably Kipling himself) who falls into conversation, on a train journey, with an entertaining vagabond, Peachey Carnehan, who is planning a blackmailing visit to a native ruler. Warned off by the journalist, Carnehan asks him to deliver a message to another loafer at a railway‑junction at some distance. The conversation runs: KIPLING AND THE CRAFT265 `I ask you as a stranger ‑ going to the West', he said, with emphasis. `Where have you come from?' said 1.

 

`From the East', said he, 'and I am hoping that you will give him the message on the Square ‑ for the sake of my Mother, as well as your own.' Englishmen are not usually softened by appeals to the memory of their mothers, but for certain reasons, which will be fully apparent, I saw fit to agree.

 

The journalist delivers the message ‑ which is only the arrangement for a rendezvous ‑ and he puts the matter out of mind. Several months later the two scamps walk into his office and introduce themselves as `Brother Peachey Carnehan and Brother Daniel Dravot', and they unfold a plan to go into Kafiristan, in North‑West Afghanistan, where they propose to drill the natives and set themselves up as Kings. The night is spent in studying maps and perfecting plans for the journey, which is full of danger on every hand, and the two soldiers of fortune go off.

 

Two years later Carnehan, the unrecognisable and crippled wreck of a man, crawls into the narrator's office, and tells the story of their journey. The two adventurers did reach Kafiristan, where the natives believed them to be gods.

 

Now the story takes a curious twist, based on the idea ‑ commonly held among Masonic travellers and students of folk‑lore during the past hundred years or so ‑ that many primitive and civilised tribes in the Near and Far East use signs and symbols which are known and used in Speculative Masonry. Dravot, by some accident, makes this discovery, and the rest of their story, apart from its tragic end, is almost pure Masonry: `Peachey', says Dravot, `we don't want to fight no more. The Craft's the trick, so help me!' and he brings forward that same Chief . . . Billy Fish, we called him . . . `Shake hands with him', says Dravot, and I shook hands and nearly dropped, for Billy Fish gave me the Grip. I said nothing, but tried him with the Fellow Craft Grip. He answers all right, and I tried the Master's Grip, but that was a slip. `A Fellow Craft he is!' I says to Dan. `Does he know the Word?T 'He does', says Dan, `and all the priests know. It's a miracle! The Chiefs and the priests can work a Fellow Craft Lodge in a way that's very like ours, and they've cut the marks on the rocks, but they don't know the Third Degree, and they've come to find out. It's Gord's Truth! I've known these long years that the Afghans knew up to the Fellow Craft Degree, but this is a miracle. A God and a Grand‑Master of 266HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY the Craft am I, and a Lodge in the Third Degree I will open, and we'll raise the Head Priests and the Chiefs of the villages.' 'It's against all the Law', I says, 'holding a Lodge without warrant . . .' 'It's a master‑stroke o' policy', says Dravot. 'It means running the country as easy as a four‑wheeled bogie on a down grade. We can't stop to inquire now, or they'll turn against us. I've forty Chiefs at my heel, and passed and raised . . . they shall be . . . The Temple of Imbra will do for the Lodge‑room. The women must make aprons as you show them. . .' The most amazing miracles was at Lodge next night ... I felt uneasy, for I knew we'd have to fudge the Ritual . . . The minute Dravot puts on the Master's apron . . . the priest fetches a whoop and a howl, and tries to overturn the stone that Dravot was sitting on. 'It's all up now', I says . . . Dravot never winked an eye, not when ten priests took and tilted over the Grand‑Master's Chair . . . The priest begins rubbing the bottom end of it to clear away the black dirt, and . . . he shows all the other priests the Master's Mark, same as was on Dravot's apron, cut into the stone. The old chap falls flat on his face at Dravot's feet . . . 'Luck again', says Dravot . . . 'they say it's the missing Mark that no one could understand the why of. We're more than safe now.' Using the butt of his gun as a Gavel, Dravot declares himself 'Grand Master of all Freemasonry in Kafiristan in this the Mother Lodge o' the country, and the King of Kafiristan equally with Peachey!' Overwhelmed by their success, Dravot decides to take a wife from among the tribe and the transition from the status of gods to mere mortals proves to be their undoing. The tribe revolts, with results that are dreadful to read, but splendidly told.

 

In a very different vein is The Rout of the White Hussars (Plain Tales from the Hills, 1888). It is a light‑hearted and slightly cynical tale of a very proud Cavalry Regiment in India, whose Colonel, a new man, self‑willed and bumptious, decides to 'cast' the DrumHorse, the idol of the Regiment. One of the Subalterns buys the horse against the Colonel's wish, on the pretext that he would not want the beast ill‑treated by a future owner, and mollifies him by a promise that the horse will be shot. A different horse is substituted, shot and buried with suitable honours.

 

The Colonel, aware that his obstinate action has aroused great resentment in the regiment, decides to make the men 'sweat for KIPLING AND THE CRAFT267 their . . . insolence', and orders a Brigade field‑day.

 

At the end of a gruelling day the White Hussars are preparing their horses for stables to the traditional accompaniment of the regimental band. Suddenly, silhouetted against the sunset, the men see a lone horse, with a sort of grid‑iron mounted on its back, approaching the band. There is a neigh, and the piebald is immediately recognised as the dead Drum‑Horse of the White Hussars; the grid‑iron is, in fact, a skeleton, riding between kettle‑drums draped in black! Panic seizes the men and their horses; the regiment ‑ for the first time in its history ‑ breaks and runs. The Drum‑Horse, disgusted by the behaviour of his old friends, trots up to the steps of the Mess, where the Colonel discovers that the whole affair is a practical joke ‑ and the skeleton has been fastened into the saddle with wire.

 

The regiment gradually filters back, and the Masonic sting of the story is in its tail. A week later the Subaltern who had bought the Drum‑Horse.

 

. . . received an extraordinary letter from someone who signed himself `Secretary, Charity and Zeal, 3709, EC', and asked for `the return of our skeleton which we have reason to believe is in your possession' . . . 'Beg your pardon, Sir', said the Band‑Sergeant, `but the skeleton is with me, an' I'll return it if you'll pay the carriage into the Civil Lines. There's a coffin with it, Sir.' Need we ask what the Lodge was doing with a skeleton and a coffin? One of Kipling's many military tales of this period is With the Main Guard (Soldiers Three, 1890). The story is told by Mulvaney, the wild Irishman, of an adventure with his first regiment, the blackguardly Black Tyrones. They are ordered out on a punitive expedition against Pathan tribesmen, and the regiment, attacking, is jammed into a narrow defile. Some fierce hand‑to‑hand fighting ensues.

 

`Knee to knee!' sings out Crook, wid a laugh whip the rush av our comin' into the gut shtopped, an' he was huggin' a hairy great Paythan, neither bein' able to do anything to the other, the' both was wishful.

 

`Breast to breast!' he says, as the Tyrone was pushin' us forward closer an' closer.

 

`An' hand over back!' sez a Sargint that was behin'. I saw a sword lick 268HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY out past Crook's ear like a snake's tongue, an' the Paythan was took in the apple av his throat like a pig at Dromeen fair.

 

`Thank ye, Brother Inner Guard', sez Crook, cool as a cucumber, widout salt . . . I wanted that room.' . . .

 

Masonry was strong in all ranks of the Indian military Lodges, but here the Masonic crosstalk is a gratuitous introduction born of Kipling's own enthusiasm; the tale would have read just as well without it. He used the same theme, in verse, a few years later, in With Scindia to Delhi (Barrack‑Room Ballads, 1893), to describe another battle: '. . . There was no room to clear a sword ‑ no power to strike a blow, for foot to foot, ay, breast to breast, the battle held us fast . . .' A Masonic poem, beautiful in its theme as in its clear simplicity, is My New‑Cut Ashlar (Life's Handicap, 1891). It is the prayer of a craftsman who hopes that his work may be found worthy in the eyes of the Great Overseer. But the symbolism is not for Masons alone, and the two last lines are a plea and a promise of dedication: MY NEW‑CUT ASHLAR (Life's Handicap, 1891) My new‑cut ashlar takes the light Where crimson‑blank the windows flare. By my own work before the night, Great Overseer, I make my prayer.

 

If there be good in that I wrought, Thy Hand compelled it, Master, Thine ‑ Where I have failed to meet Thy Thought I know, through Thee, the blame was mine.

 

One stone the more swings into place In that dread Temple of Thy worth. It is enough that, through Thy Grace, I saw nought common on Thy Earth.

 

Take not that vision from my ken ‑ Or whatsoe'er may spoil or speed.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT26)9 Help me to need no aid from men That I may help such men as need! THE WIDOW AT WINDSOR (Barrack‑Room Ballads, 1892) An early poem which used Masonic phrases to express Kipling's ideas on a non‑Masonic subject was `The Widow at Windsor'. It describes the soldier's views of the might and power of Queen Victoria, but in none‑too‑respectful language. Yet, to the trooper, the British Empire is `the Lodge' that stretches from the Tropics to the Pole: Hands off o' the sons o' the Widow, Hands off o' the goods in 'er shop, For the Kings must come down an' the Emperors frown When the Widow at Windsor says `Stop"! (Poor beggars! ‑ we're sent to say `Stop'!) Then 'ere's to the Lodge o' the Widow, From the Pole to the Tropics it runs ‑ To the Lodge that we tile with the rank an' the file, An' open in form with the guns.

 

(Poor beggars! ‑ it's always they guns!) The poem ends with a play on the Tyler's Toast: Then 'ere's to the sons o' the Widow, Wherever, 'owever they roam.

 

'Ere's all they desire, an' if they require A speedy return to their 'ome.

 

(Poor beggars! ‑ they'll never see 'ome!) In the same collection, Barrack‑Room Ballads, 1892, one of Kipling's poems which achieved great fame was The Ballad of East and West, the story of an Afghan raid on a Border fort, in which the Colonel's valuable mare is stolen ‑ and recovered. Despite the opening line of the poem Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, 270HARRY CARR'S WORLD OF FREEMASONRY it tells the tale of worthy foemen and the story is told at a rollicking pace ‑ one can almost hear the clatter of hooves. Towards the end of the poem the narrator, realising the bravery of the enemy, finds that they, too, are men of quality: They have taken the Oath of the Brother‑in‑Blood on leavened bread and salt: They have taken the Oath of the Brother‑in‑Blood on fire and fresh‑cut sod, On the hilt and haft of the Khyber knife, and the Wondrous Names of God.

 

In the last lines, the Colonel's son rides back to the fort with the son of the Afghan chief at his side, as friends, and the whole theme of the poem is enshrined in the one line, And to have come back to Fort Bukloh where they went forth but one.

 

No strong Masonic allusions here, but an expression of Kipling's views on the infinite possibilities of the Brotherhood of Man.

 

Perhaps the best known and best loved of Kipling's Masonic poems, also produced at this period, was The Mother‑Lodge (The Seven Seas, 1896), `which he wrote in a single morning'.t Nothing could better express the profound impression that the universality of the Craft had made on Kipling's mind. The poem is no mere catalogue of the men of different Asiatic races who sat side‑by‑side in Lodge. There is a special emphasis on the Aden Jew and the Roman Catholic, with a proper respect for the problems of caste; and Kipling shows the unique atmosphere of the Lodge when he says that each man could talk of the God he knew best in an environment of brotherhood and understanding. It is the picture of an Indian Lodge of Kipling's day, and it is good to know that the characteristics that he admired so much have remained to this day.

 

* This reference to the Names of God has been used as the flimsy basis for the suggestion that Kipling was a member of the Royal Arch. There is, in fact, no evidence of any kind in support of this argument.

 

tC.C.,p213.

 

KIPLING AND THE CRAFT THE MOTHER‑LODGE (The Seven Seas, 1896) There was Rundle, Station Master, An' Beazeley of the Rail, An' 'Ackman, Commissariat, An' Donkin' o' the Jail; An' Blake, Conductor‑Sergeant, Our Master twice was 'e, With 'im that kept the Europe‑shop, Old Framjee Eduljee.

 

Outside ‑ Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam! Inside ‑ Brother, an' it doesn't do no 'arm. We met upon the Level an' we p