The Builder Magazine
September 1917 - Volume III -
RECEPTION OF THE FLAGS
BY BRO. LOUIS BLOCK, P. G.
At the public ceremonies
preliminary to the opening of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, the British, French and
American flags were each presented by a girl dressed in the white nurses
uniform of the Red Cross. When the British flag was borne down the aisle to
the stage the quartet sang "Rule Britannia" and the flag was received and
welcomed by the speaker with these words:
THE UNION JACK
MOST Worshipful Grand Master,
Mr. Chairman, my Brethren, Ladies and Gentlemen: As Masons we have often been
taught that Masonry is the science of symbols. Flags are either intensely
symbolical or they have no significance at all. It is natural therefore that
Masons should take a keen interest in flags.
This is the flag that is best
known as the "Union Jack." It is called this because it symbolizes the Union
of England, Scotland and Ireland. As you will see, it consists of a blue field
across which there are laid three crosses, a red one running straight across
and up and down, and a white one and a red one which run crossways from corner
to corner. These are the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew and St. Patrick,
St. George being the patron saint of England, St. Andrew the tutelary saint of
Scotland, and St. Patrick the well beloved saint of Ireland.
The banner of St. George was
a red cross laid perpendicularly across a white field. We can all recall the
famous legend of St. George and the dragon, how the beautiful daughter of the
King of On was rescued from the flaming jaws of the dragon who threatened to
devour her. Today in France the sons of St. George are freely offering up
their lives to rescue God's beautiful daughter Liberty from the all-devouring
jaws of the dragon of militarism.
The banner of St. Andrew
consisted of a white cross laid diagonally upon a blue field. It has a special
meaning for Masons, for in the early days it was the banner of the craftsmen
and King James the Sixth was heard to say, that whenever he attempted to
impose upon these sturdy workmen the smallest burden, they arose in their
wrath and hoisted "their bloody blue blanket" and resisted him. This banner
had painted upon it a thistle and round about it the motto, "Nemo me impune
lacessit." This, my brethren, is a latin phrase which being interpreted
meaneth, "Nobody monkeys with me without getting stung," and the sons of
Scotland fighting today Somewhere In France are proving to the enemy how
sharply this thistle can sting.
The banner of St. Patrick
consisted of a red cross stretched diagonally across a white field. We are
told that St. Patrick was especially beloved because he drove the snakes out
of Ireland. I sometimes suspect, however, that their real reason for leaving
was that they could hardly stomach the music by the Kilkenny cats of whom the
poet tells us,
"There were two cats of
They fought and they fit,
They scratched and they bit,
Until instead of two cabs of
There wasn't any."
Be this as it may, it is
nevertheless sure that the sons of the old sod are today proving to the
Prussians that the Kilkenny cats could take lessons from their Irish masters
when it comes to fighting.
Taken all together, the three
crosses go to make up the Union Jack, the banner of our ancient enemy, John
Bull. You know that in the old days we were forced to teach him a couple of
lessons in human liberty, forced to make him understand that we would neither
endure taxation without representation, nor permit him to impress free-born
American seamen upon the high seas, and to make him learn this lesson we had
to larrup him twice, once by land and once by sea. But that was a long time
ago and for over a hundred years now he has been our good neighbor on the
North and we have lived side by side with him for over a century with never a
soldier or a fort needed to maintain peace between us.
This is the flag of the land
which gave Masonry her birth. It is the banner of the country which produced
the greatest system of human law known to man --at once the wisest and
fairest, the safest and squarest system of free self control that has ever
blessed a troubled world. This is the national emblem of the people who speak
our mother tongue and for that reason we can know and understand them a little
bit better than any other people on the earth.
We used to think and feel
that while England loved liberty for herself she was not quite so ready to
grant it to others. But we have seen her heart undergo a wonderful
change--have seen the soul of the great Britain people rise and shake off its
selfishness and offer itself as a sacrifice for the suffering and the
oppressed of the world. If Britain was ever beset with the greed of conquest
she surely has shriven her soul by the great sacrifice made by her sons in
behalf of poor, broken, bleeding Belgium and we are now ready to believe that
with her whole heart and soul she loves liberty for her own sweet sake, and
that when she proudly declares that "Britons never, never, never will be
slaves" she means that slavery shall exist nowhere in the world and so we are
glad to welcome here today the proud banner of Britain, fold it to our hearts,
and wave it aloft alongside the Stars and Stripes.
(Then the National flag of
France was borne to the stage and the quartet sang the Marsellaise and the
speaker welcomed it by saying:)
This, my brethren, is the
tri-color, the tried colors of the sunny land of France. It is the flag of our
sister Republic, the standard of a great, cheery, laughing, sunny-souled and
happy-hearted people, and if there is a flag on the face of the earth to which
the American soul is irresistibly drawn with a tingling thrill, it is this
beautiful banner of France. How well our own song of the Red, White and Blue
would fit this fine flag. Let us give three cheers for this Red, White and
(Whereupon the great audience
arose to their feet and roared out a cheer that seemed to rock the building on
This is the banner that has
proved to the world that a people can be free and still not lose its power of
fighting. Just think of the magnificent resistance that this free people has
made against the most powerful, most magnificently organized and perfectly
operating Or as it fighting machine the world has ever seen. Under the
leadership of old Papa Joffre, the General Grant of France, they have fought
this military machine to a stand-still and are making its wheels grind
backward. At last, my brethren, we have an opportunity of paying the debt we
have so long owed to Rochambeau and Lafayette and we were sodden ingrates
indeed did we not respond to the call of our ancient friends who have so
freely poured out floods of their patriotic blood upon the sacred altar of
liberty. Verily, it takes a free people to know the heart of a free people,
and if there is a land in the world to which our hearts go out in its hour of
trial, it is this dearly beloved land of France, the land that was so true and
helpful to us in our own hour of crying need.
The other day in addressing
the Chamber of Deputies, Monsieur Ribot, the President of the Council,
speaking of us to his people, said that by taking part in this war for human
liberty we had proven ourselves faithful to the traditions of the founders of
our independence and had demonstrated that the enormous rise of our industrial
strength and economic and financial power had not weakened in us that need for
an ideal without which there could be no great nation. He further declared
that the powerful and decisive aid which the United States had thus brought to
France was not only a material aid but was more than all else a moral aid and
a real consolation in their hour of heavy affliction. Let us here highly
resolve that we will prove ourselves true to the faith our French brothers
have in us.
(Then the Stars and Stripes
were carried to the stage, the audience standing upon their feet and singing
the "Star Spangled Banner." When the flag was placed in the hands of the
speaker, he said:)
This is Old Glory, my flag
and your flag. If there ever was a flag about which an American ought to be
able to speak freely, fluently, and with great force, it surely is the Stars
and Stripes. But alas, on this occasion I feel as though human speech were far
too frail, poor and weak a thing to tell of the thoughts that fill the mind
and the feelings that thrill the soul. This is one of the times when words
seem absolutely worthless. This is the flag which the poet spoke of when he
"When Freedom from her
Unfurled her standard to the
She tore the azure robe of
And set the stars of glory
She mingled with its gorgeous
The milky baldric of the
And striped its pure
With streakings of the
Then from his mansion in the
She called her eagle bearer
And gave into his mighty
The symbol of her chosen
Unequal as I am to the
occasion I yet must try to tell what this banner means for us as
"Blue and crimson and white
Over the steel-tipped ordered
Or as it
"Catches the gleam of the
morning's first beam
In full glory reflected now
shines on the stream"
even if I call to my help the
words of others to tell the story. This is the flag that speaks to us of
"Sea fights and land fights,
grim and great,
Fought to make and to save
Weary marches and sinking
Cheers of victory from dying
Days of plenty and days of
March of strong lands swift
Equal justice, right and
Stately honor and reverend
Sign of a nation great and
To guard her people from
Glory, pride and honor all
Live in the flag to stand or
Even though I had the skill
of the sculptor that fits him to carve the cold rock into a living semblance
of life, or the inspiration of a painter who dips his brush in the colors of
the sunset to make the glowing landscape quiver with life upon the canvas
before him, or the exaltation of the singer who caught the high note of the
music of the spheres when the morning stars sang together,--even then I could
not begin to picture the power, the glory, the majesty, the dignity, and the
sanctity of the love of the free patriot for his flag.
"I am unworthy.
Should strike the chords
And fill the lands
From sea to sea with melody
All reverent yet with
Majestic, jubilant to tell,
How love must love
If love loves well."
Think of the sacred love of a
mother for her little child--of the cradle
"Gently rocking, rocking,
Silent, peaceful, to and
Of the mother's sweet looks
On the little face below,"
think of the love of a fine
strong man as he clasps to his breast his blushing bride, think of the sacred
affection linking together the lives of an old couple who have journeyed far
along life's road side by side into the sunset, think of the love and the
pride and the joy that flames back and forth between a staunch and sturdy son
and his silver-hail ed sire--think of all these and roll and blend them into
one and you cannot begin to tell of the love of the freeman for his flag!
Surely then we are ready to say:
"This is my flag. For it will
All that I have, even as they
They who dyed those blood-red
Their lives that it might
This is my flag. I am
To answer now its first clear
And with Thy help, Oh God,
Strive that it may not fall.
This is my flag. Dark days
O Lord, let me not fail.
Always my flag has led the
O Lord, let it not fail."
Some of us can fight, others
can work, others still can pay, each in his place can do his duty and be
worthy of the honor of being an American citizen and enjoying the blessings of
liberty. Each one of us can do his bit and remember that
"Honor and fame from no
Act well thy part, there all
the honor lies."
The poorest citizen in the
land can buy at least one Liberty Bond, and every dollar spent for a Liberty
Bond is a bullet blown into the bowels of the enemy. Let us here today in
overwhelming gratitude for the blessings that we have enjoyed under this
banner of the free, consecrate our souls anew to its service.
THE MISSING FLAG
But there is another banner
which is not here with us today, a flag which for the present at least we are
forced to shut out of our sacred circle. I speak of it with pain and regret,
with heart-ache and with a great sense of deep pity, for it is the flag of my
ancestors and my own father's ashes now lie buried beneath the soil over which
it waves. It is needless to say that I speak of the German flag. This flag
once flew over the heads of a great people, a people that stood high in the
ranks of world achievement, a people who were masters of the world, both in
medicine and in music, a people who love liberty, a people who produced Martin
Luther, who was the foremost champion of religious liberty in the world. There
is one curious thing about the colors of these flags which I am not sure that
you have noticed. Is it by mere chance that it happens that the colors of all
of the flags of freedom are red, white and blue, while those of the banner of
Prussian despotism are red, white and black? Was it a matter of mere accident
that this dark streak and sinister stripe appears in this flag which now
stands for the outlaw among the nations ? Is not this dark stripe symbolical
of the darkness of the mind, the military madness that holds a great people in
bonds and is fast driving it on to ruin? Surely. the black must be a symbol of
the madness of militarism.
When a storm gathers in the
heavens black clouds ;hut out from sight the face of the sun. But when the age
and madness of the elements has worn itself out and the roll of the thunder
has died away in the distance, then slowly but surely the blackness fades to
blue and the earth is bright and happy once more. Let us hope that so it will
be in this awful world war and that, when the storm of rage and madness has
been swept from out the hearts of our German brethren, that the blackness
which now blinds their sight will clear away, and be supplanted by the pure
blue of the unclouded sky of freedom and that peace and happiness will once
more prevail among all the peoples of the earth.
THE FLAG OF FRATERNITY
But there is another banner
here today, although we cannot see it with our mortal eyes. It is the unseen
flag of Fraternity that floats above the dome of that great "house not made
with hands," that temple of liberty which stands forever eternal in the
heavens. Its colors are all the colors of the rainbow and it spreads its
flaming folds across the world from sunrise to sunset. It is a flag that shall
fall upon the world as a reward for the awful sacrifice it is now being called
upon to make. In all of the history of this old earth never has there been a
sacrifice so awful, so bitter, so heart-rending, so soul-terrifying, so
overwhelming, as that which we are making today for the sake of human liberty,
and just so surely as we believe that there is a God of Justice, just so
certain must be the reward that will bless humanity for this mighty
manifestation of divine devotion to a most holy cause. Out of it all there
must come a world-wide unity and friendship, and a fraternity that shall reach
wide-swept to the uttermost corners of the globe. There must be a union of the
states, not of Europe alone, but of the whole world, and Masonry which has
been never the destroyer but always the builder, must play a mighty part in
erecting this world-wide temple of humanity. Even now Masons everywhere are
praying for the dawn of that day so beautifully pictured by Albert Pike:
"When all mankind shall be
one great lodge of brethren, And wars of fear and persecution shall be known
no more forever."
When that day comes we shall
behold with our spiritual eyes the mighty Temple of Human Liberty made more
magnificent than ever, and over its shining portal we shall read in letters of
living light the words, "Liberty and union, freedom and fraternity, now and
forever, one and inseparable, world without end."
THE TRUE JOY OF LIFE
This is the true joy of life,
the being used for a purpose recognized as yourself as a mighty one; the being
thoroughly worn out before you are thrown into the scrap heap; the being a
force in nature instead of a selfish little clod complaining that the world
will not devote itself to making you happy.--G. B. Shaw.
There are three qualities
which will enable a man to endure all hardships--unquestioning faith in a
beneficent God, an absorbing love for an individual, or a burning enthusiasm
for a cause.-- Salome Hocking.
A Journal For The Masonic
Published Monthly by the
National Masonic Research Society
VOLUME III NUMBER 9
TWO DOLLARS FIFTY CENTS THE
TWENTY-FIVE CENTS THE COPY
THE FAITH THAT IS IN THEM---A
Edited by BRO. GEO. E.
FRAZER, President, The Board of Stewards
Henry R. Evans, District of
Harold A. Kingsbury,
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Geo. W. Baird, District of
H.D. Funk, Minnesota
Frederick W. Hamilton,
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
Silas H. Sheperd, Wisconsin.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia
M.M. Johnson, Massachusetts
John Pickard, Missouri
Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia
T.W. Hugo, Minnesota
F.B. Gault, Washington
C.M. Schenck, Colorado
H.L. Haywood, Iowa
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin
Francis W. Shepardson,
S. W. Williams, Tennessee
Contributions to this Monthly
Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has
contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for discussion are
selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of
politics, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided, the purpose of
the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions
of leading Masonic students. The contributing editors assume responsibility
only for what each writes over his own signature. Comment from our Members on
the subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Correspondence column.
QUESTION NO. 5-- "Shall the
several Grand Jurisdictions modify their rules as to physical requirements of
candidates so that, other qualifications being satisfactory, Masons may
welcome the petitions of all those soldiers and sailors who lose arms, legs or
eyes in the service of their country? If so, shall ability to support himself
and immediate family be substituted as a requirement of each initiate? If not,
what physical requirements are reasonable?"
Mental Requirements Come
I should not regard it so
much a "modification of their rules as to physical requirements of candidates"
as getting back to those "first principles" which are the ancient landmarks of
Freemasonry, if the Grand Jurisdictions followed the rules and policy settled
for Kentucky 116 years ago by Grand Lodge action, namely, that the Grand Lodge
has no authority in the matter and the question of eligibility of persons who
have physical misfortunes lies entirely with the lodge which receives his
As I recall the first
decision concerned the petition of John Pope who was minus a left arm or hand.
The lodge received him and he became one of the brightest Lights of both
Masonic and Civil history in this state. Our rule of reason is that unless
the candidate is unable to feel the grip, hear the word or see the sign"
physical misfortune is no bar, except in cases where entrance to Masonry by
such persons is made under such conditions as to lead us to believe they might
become a financial charge from the beginning.
Without entering into a
discussion of philosophy, I am satisfied that the reason back of the original
requirement that a man be sound "in mind and member" was and still is purely
spiritual and not physical save incidentally as above set forth. A consumptive
or a man with eczema may have all his arms and legs but is undoubtedly
If I understand our rituals
aright, there is an extra-physical trend to them that can not be waved away
with an idle word, and which necessitates the student who would grasp our
philosophy's meaning, regarding his body as a machine or set of working tools
for the use of his mind. So that there may have once been more reason than
exists now, in these days of scientific surgery, for lodges to require
But as I say, physical
requirements in my opinion, have always been subordinate to and dependent upon
the mental or "spiritual" requirements, with the lodge itself as the judge.
Because of the erroneous
notion that "Speculative Masonry" was merely an outgrowth of "Operative
Masonry" whose symbols and rituals were in large part adapted to the ancient
wisdom we now call "Freemasonry," a great many of our unthinking and I am
sorry to say unlearned Grand Masters have built up "precedents" in their
jurisdictions which are followed from one generation to another somewhat as
attempts used to be made to confine the "landmarks" to a definite number,
resulting in the most absurd situations.
I think a most
interesting--and enlightening-- topic for research would be a comparison of
the various decisions in every jurisdiction. I recall one jurisdiction in this
country where the Grand Master decided that a man could not become a Mason
because he had lost a certain finger on the left hand and exactly the reverse
was decided (same finger) in another jurisdiction. Such a compilation of cold
statistics would amply demonstrate the need for reform. J. W. Norwood,
Let Us Make New Laws Slowly.
I believe that the several
Grand Lodges have already enacted too many regulations and that it is
impossible at present to unite on any uniform rule as to physical
qualifications. If it were possible, I doubt the wisdom of additional rules.
We have heard the charge to
preserve the "ancient landmarks" and never suffer them to be infringed, or
countenance a deviation from the established usages and customs of the
fraternity given to every Mason and have given it ourself, realizing we did
not know what we were talking about. In Mackey's enumeration of the
"landmarks" he includes physical qualification, but why did he not include the
requirement that apprentices serve seven years which was also a regulation
given in the "old charges"? Modern dentistry makes the conformity to one of
our requirements impossible in a majority of cases, but it has never been
seriously considered or its symbolic effect lessened. Electric lights now take
the place of the time-honored candle and so we might continue if it were
necessary to show that changes have been made in our usages and customs.
Brother R. F. Gould says that
"The dogmas of Perpetual Jurisdiction, Physical Perfection, and Exclusive (or
Territorial) Jurisdiction, have been evolved since the introduction of Masonry
into what has become the United States," from England.
Before making more laws of
Masonry let us get together and try and find out what a landmark is and what
constitutes ancient usages and customs and in the interval regard the Lodge as
a safe guardian of those we now consider as such.
The student of history can
not fail to see the harmful effects that have resulted from dogmatism in
politics, science, religion, and even in social life. Let us, as Freemasons,
avoid dogmas that will weaken the foundation of our Fraternity and allow
nothing to take preference over our fundamental principle of "The Fatherhood
of God and the Brotherhood of Man." In the past 200 years many changes have
been made in Masonic ritual and jurisprudence, some of which have been
questionable, and we fear have been made without due regard to the basic
principle. Let us be slow to enact laws and careful to make them on the basis
of those things on which we all agree. Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
Involves Changes in Ritual.
I should not advocate any
change in the physical qualifications of petitioners for our degrees as set
forth at present in the Grand Jurisdictions, nor even modifications to meet
the hypothetical cases covered in your inquiry. Opportunity offers the men of
the Army and Navy to seek Masonic Light, should the suggested chartering of
Military Lodges already discussed in the Forum be approved. Any such radical
modification as that embodied in your present query would involve a complete
revision of the ritual.
Viewing the subject from
another angle, so long as Masonry endures as an Institution in the United
States, the Patriotism and Charity constituting cardinal principles of the
Order, will promptly provide for such National Responsibilities as the Red
Cross, the National Soldiers' and Sailors' Homes and other obligations, an
increase of which must directly result as an aftermath of our present Battle
For Civilization. Our present high physical standard is an old landmark of
Masonry. Its abrogation, even for so laudable a purpose as you suggest, would
establish a bad precedent and personally I am opposed to innovations which
might lead to others, so ultimately lessening the great potency for good of an
ancient and honorable Institution.
If at any time the great
Government of the United States finds itself in the least hampered in properly
providing for the gallant soldiers and sailors who have suffered physical
impairment in its service, our Blue Brotherhood will be the first to
contribute to the needs of the Fourth Great Light of American Masonry--the
Flag. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Virginia is Investigating.
Aside from the motive of
opening the doors to returned veterans, which was not mentioned, the Grand
Lodge of Virginia, at its Annual in February, placed the subject of
modification of physical requirements in the hands of the Jurisprudence
Committee to be reported on in February, 1918. My fixed idea is that the
requirement of a degree of physical perfection is but a link with past ages of
the operative branch and should be retained for that reason alone. What that
degree of perfection shall be, should be left to the Lodges, except that all
initiates should be able to receive and comprehend our ceremonies, and should
be able to make a living for themselves and families. Prior to 1866 this was
about Virginia's position.
Grand Lodges legislate too
much and leave too little to the intelligence and Masonic zeal of the Lodges.
A change is coming as to physical requirement and it would be well but not at
all necessary that Grand Lodges should all agree. Certain it is that they will
not. Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
* * * Few Changes in
My opinion is that none of
the Grand Jurisdictions should in any way modify their present requirements as
to physical qualifications, because of military conditions. As I understand
it, there was very little modification of these requirements made by the Grand
Bodies because of conditions arising from the Civil War of 1861-1865 and in my
judgment the present war does not present any reasons for such modification
any stronger than were presented at the time of the Civil War.
Masonry is a fraternal and
charitable institution but not an eleemosynary one. Whatever charity the order
dispenses outside of its own membership should be given freely and in lump
sums to worthy objects, but the order ought not to invite into its ranks those
who would become burdens upon it and cause it to levy burdensome taxes upon
its members. The ability of one to support himself and immediate family ought
by no means to be substituted as a requirement for physical perfection. This
would in a majority of cases be strained to take care of what might be deemed
individual worthy cases and thus in the course of time the order would be
burdened with charitable distribution to many who, while deemed able to
support themselves and families at the time of their petition, would, due to
military injuries, afterwards find themselves unable to render such support.
Wisconsin has always been
very strict in applying the ancient landmark of physical perfection and I am
not one of those who believe that the bars should be let down at this or at
any other time. Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin.
* * *
I beg leave to invite
attention to the installation ceremonies of a W. M., which makes it clear that
we deny the right of any man or body of men to make innovations in the body of
My belief is that tampering
with the Landmarks and with the Constitutions is like driving nails into the
coffin of Freemasonry. Too much liberty has, I think, been taken with the
original plan of Masonry, and I would therefore advise protecting the
Landmarks and Constitutions rather than changing them. Geo. W. Baird,
Washington, D. C.
An American Anachronism.
There is an ever-growing
opinion amongst thinking Freemasons, that the Mental Qualification, not the
Physical, should be the test for membership in our Order.
This physical qualification
is an anachronism--a form that has remained with us centuries after the
substance has gone--and strange to say remained only in the minds of American
Masons. This has been the cause of more worry to our Grand Lodge, more
rulings, more disappointment than almost any other single subject, all because
we insist in dragging this ancient Fetish into our assemblies.
The laws of Physical
Perfection died with the Operative Lodge. We apply these rules to our moral
and mental qualifications rather than to our physical today, or we should do
so. Ability to support himself so he may not become a charge on the Order, a
further ability to make himself known to, or as a Brother, by sight, sound or
touch, should govern all future initiations, and thus give our brave maimed
boys a chance to receive all the "comfort of the craft" when they return. J.
L. Carson, Virginia.
The Missouri "Cripple" Law.
My views on the Physical
Perfection idea have, in the past, been considered very radical. About fifteen
years ago I introduced, advocated, and the Grand Lodge of Missouri adopted,
the following law:
"It is incompetent for any
Lodge in this Jurisdiction to confer either of the three Degrees of Ancient
Craft Masonry on any person whose physical defects are such as to prevent his
receiving and imparting the ceremonies of the several degrees; provided, that
nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to render any one ineligible
to the privileges of Masonry, who can by the aid of artificial appliances
conform to the necessary ceremonies."
This law met with furious
criticism by some correspondents and editors of Masonic papers, and I was
dubbed an iconoclast, a destroyer of the "Ancient Landmarks," and one, after
denouncing me, said, "That charges should be preferred against me and
expelled." But this was fifteen years ago and the Missouri "Cripple Law" or
some modification of it, has been adopted in many Grand Lodges.
Freemasonry is a progressive
science and a new light and age has dawned. The Physical Perfection notion
became obsolete when operative Masonry became speculative. We recognize today
that a wooden leg is better than a wooden head, and a few fingers missing is
far better than a heart of stone. We believe today, (not merely mouthing the
Ritual), "that it is the internal qualification and not the external that
qualifies a man to be made a Mason."
The "Perfect Youth" doctrine
has become so absurd and ridiculous among thinking Masons, that it is no
longer necessary to even argue the question. It lives in some Grand Lodges
purely as a reminiscence of a past age, and like all obsolete notions, it dies
hard. "Shall Masonry welcome the petitions of all those soldiers and sailors
who have lost arms or eyes in the service of their country?" Yes, or any other
good man similarly afflicted.
There is only one point that
should be considered and that is the question of becoming dependent.
Freemasonry is a luxury and not an eleemosynary institution; pecuniary and
material benefits must not be the motive for gaining admission. No man should
be admitted, or he knowingly apply for admission, when inability to support
himself is self evident. The physical condition, as to loss of legs, arms,
eyes, fingers, toes, bow legs or baldhead, is of no importance, but the
question of ability to support himself is the only question involved. Wm. F.
* * *
A Survival from Operative
It was inevitable that the
Operative Masons should insist that their apprentices be sound in limb and in
good health, seeing that their trade was dangerous, onerous and difficult, and
that a sick man had to be supported out of the common purse. Also was it
inevitable that this ancient custom be carried over into Speculative Masonry
at the Revival in 1717, for it had come to be considered an Ancient Landmark,
and we all know how careful the Early Speculatives were to adhere to these.
But in spite of the sanctions of antiquity the premier Grand Lodge gradually
modified its rules as to qualifications, learning that what had been necessary
among the Operatives was no longer essential to Speculative Masonry. Even
Oliver, with all his loyalty to the past, was driven to see this, as witness
this paragraph found in his "Treasury":
"It would indeed be a
solecism in terms to contend that a loss or partial deprivation of a physical
organ of the body could, by any possibility, disqualify a man from studying
the sciences, or being made a Mason in our times, while in possession of sound
judgment, and the healthy exercises of his intellectual powers."
In 1875 the Board of General
Purposes of the Grand Lodge of England issued a circular in which the writer
"I am directed to say that
the general rule in this country is to consider a candidate eligible for
election who although not perfect in his limbs is sufficiently so to go
through the various ceremonies required in the different degrees." As to
whether the candidate was able "to go through the various ceremonies" was, it
goes without saying, left to the judgment of the ballot.
In an essay included in one
of the early volumes of the Iowa Grand Lodge Proceedings, T. S. Parvin takes
the same position:
"It is the SOLE RIGHT of each
and every LODGE to act upon these physical qualifications, as it is
universally conceded that they are the sole judges of the moral qualifications
of all candidates."
This, it seems to me, is good
sense. If a candidate is able to pay his dues, is in reasonable good health,
of average intelligence and has a good reputation, we need ask no more, unless
his physical defects may incapacitate him from performing the ceremonies. I,
myself, pray that the day may come when the chief qualification demanded of a
candidate will be the evidence of a sincere determination TO TAKE MASONRY
SERIOUSLY. We need more Masons and fewer members. H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
* * *
Manhood, Duty and Valor.
Eligibility to the Masonic
orders should not be denied any soldier or sailor of the United States because
of physical disabilities caused by such service, when such candidate has the
other essential moral and mental qualifications, it being granted of course
that physical impairment is properly authenticated as due to exposure in the
line of duty as such soldier or sailor. Masonry is not an eleemosynary
institution and every candidate for membership should be capable of supporting
himself and family, or least he should not become an immediate charge upon the
Order. A spasm of patriotic fervor or sympathy should not be permitted to vote
a man into membership in Masonry simply because he bore in his person the
evidence of military heroism. But being a man and having done a man's full
duty and is maimed thereby, such physical disability ought not to deny him a
place in our noble Order that in all its teachings places a premium upon
manhood, duty and valor. Franklin B. Gault, Washington.
* * *
The Massachusetts Rule.
I do not think that I can
better reply to your question for September than by quoting a provision of the
Grand Constitutions of Massachusetts which is as follows:
"If the physical deformity of
any applicant for the degrees does not amount to an inability to meet the
requirements of the Ritual, and honestly to acquire the means of subsistence,
it shall constitute no hindrance to his initiation."
The Grand Masters of
Massachusetts have never been willing to rule on particular cases but have
ruled in a general way that an awkward compliance might be accepted.
The Worshipful Master of a
Lodge is required to pass on cases as it appears best. There was a vote of the
Grand Lodge something over a hundred years ago to the effect that a blind man
might not be given the degrees, but that would appear to be unnecessary as a
blind man clearly could not comply with the regulations of the ritual.
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Symbolism of The Perfect Man.
I fear that I could not bring
myself to consent to the initiation of any man into the body of Freemasonry
who was not possessed of all of his physical members whole and complete. And I
believe that this is in accord with the very genius of the Order.
But first of all, however, I
must recognize and agree to the dictum, "It is the internal, and not the
external, qualifications that recommend a man to be a Mason," (Mackey, Book of
the Chapter, p. 41), and I fully realize how it may be drawn therefrom that a
man, having great internal qualifications, should not be debarred from the
privileges and duties of Freemasonry because he has lost perhaps the little
finger of his left hand. This is further complicated by a parallel which I
seem always able to find from the early Church. A candidate for Holy Orders
must come freeborn, of lawful age, under the tongue of good report, and also
sound of limb and unmutilated; but a man whose blood had been shed as a
martyr-- and who was possibly mutilated--had the priestly right of absolution,
and without further ordination. (Smith and Cheetham, Dict. Xn. Antiq., pp.
1118 and 1481-2.) So it could be argued that a man who had lost a limb in the
highly Masonic duty of the defense of his country, should, if otherwise
worthy, be admitted into the mysteries of Freemasonry.
Now all ceremonial, whether
of the Lodge or of the Church, has a materialistic, and a spiritual, or
symbolic interpretation--and either is as true as the other. Now, our ancient
operative brethren could not admit a maimed man to their Gild because he could
not perform the functions of the Craft; but this, it might seem, could be
waived when we enter the realm of the speculative. In other words, inability
to display the various external signs and tokens does not necessarily keep a
man from being internally what it is to be a Mason.
But even with these
considerations, I cannot bring myself to believe that a maimed man should be
admitted to initiation. Symbolism is the life of Freemasonry, and to such a
degree that frequently what is presented to our attention is but the symbol of
a symbol. And therefore, let us go to the Temple quarries. The Giblim have
hewn out of the living rock a stone that shows a flaw, although but slight.
This they drag with their strong cables before the Master and his wardens.
Should they accept it? We know what the overseers would have done. But should
this imperfect stone be placed in the North-east Corner, or even cemented by
the stronger tie to the other stones of the Temple ?
The candidate symbolizes, in
his physical being, the perfect man, who alone is fit to enter into the
composition of "that spiritual building, that house not made with hands,
eternal, in the heavens." I say symbolize rather than be, for none of us has
yet arrived at that perfection to which the whole of Freemasonry aspires, and
there may actually be, in many of us, hidden flaws that tend to weaken the
great Edifice. But still we must scrupulously preserve the symbol of what we
would be; we must continue to teach that we seek the perfect in body, mind and
spirit, that is, in the man, and that we cannot therefore admit an imperfect
man to initiation.
Let us remember, moreover,
that the Great Initiate was not maimed even in death (Ps. xxxiv., St. Jno. xix.,
36), and that He is the head-stone of the corner (Ps. cxviii., 22), the model
from which the whole structure and every part thereof may be taken. H. W.
* * *
Note by the Editor of This
The purpose of this
department is to show the faith that is in Masons in order that there may be
more light (and less dogmatism) in Masonry. The editor of this department
believes that Masonry is a philosophy, indeed that it is the philosophy that
has come down to us through the ages. Now a philosophy is a system of thought,
a system of living thought. Real Masonry forces real thinking. If this
department stimulates you to think, my Brother, will you not give THE BUILDER
the benefit of your serious thought by contribution of articles or by letters
addressed to the Editor? The opinions given above as to physical requirements
are worthy of the serious thought of thinking Masons. You can not agree with
all of these opinions--some of them are opposed to each other both in letter
and in spirit. If you have Masonic opinion on Masonic subjects (not political
opinion; not religious opinion), then THE BUILDER welcomes you to the forum of
its columns. George E. Frazer, Department Editor.
Let others write of battles
Of bloody, ghastly fields,
Where honor greets the man
And death the man who yields;
But I will write of him who
And vanquishes his sins,
Who struggles on through
Against himself and wins.
He is a hero staunch and
Who fights an unseen foe,
And puts at last beneath his
His passions base and low;
Who stands erect in manhood's
The bravest man who e'er drew
In foray or in raid.
It calls for something more
Or muscle to o'ercome
An enemy that marcheth not
With banner, plume or drum--
A foe forever lurking nigh,
With silent, steady tread;
Forever near your board by
At night beside your bed.
All honor, then, to that
Though rich or poor he be
Who struggles with his baser
Who conquers and is free!
He may not wear a hero's
Or fill a hero's grave;
Yet truth will place his name
The bravest of the brave.
BY BRO. LEO FISCHER, MANILA
In its struggle against
ignorance, superstition, and intolerance Freemasonry encountered a most
formidable opponent in an institution that for six long centuries ruled a
large portion of the globe with a rod of iron, namely, the Inquisition.
Wherever the Catholic missionaries had carried the cross of Christ, there the
Inquisition implanted its system of tribunals and spies, its practices of
denunciation, torture, and spoliation, its autos da fe and burning piles. The
avowed aim of the Inquisition, that of preserving the purity of the Roman
Catholic religion and with this end in view to ferret out, punish, and destroy
all heretics and other offenders against the faith was, of course, bound to
bring it into violent collision with Freemasonry, especially after that
institution had been condemned by the several papal bulls fulminated against
We shall now proceed to give
a brief history of the Holy Office, as the Inquisition is also called,
confining our attention principally to Spain, the country where its reign was
the longest and bloodiest, after which we shall endeavor to give an idea of
the character and procedure and the results of the work of that institution,
and finally we shall deal with the persecutions suffered at its hands by
Freemasonry on the Spanish peninsula.
There is some dispute as to
what should be considered the date of origin of the Inquisition.
Heretics were persecuted and
put to death long before the Inquisition, as such, ever existed. History
records the massacre of the disciples of Vilgard in southern Italy in the 10th
century; the burning of thirteen Cathari at Orleans in the 11th, and numerous
executions of heretics in subsequent years; but these killings were in most
instances the result of mob violence or of "justice" administered by secular
magistrates and lords.
The first rules of
inquisitorial procedure were laid down at the councils of the Church at Verona
(1183) and Toulouse (1229). At the latter council, sixteen decrees relative to
the investigation and punishment of heresy were passed, and the bishops were
declared to be natural judges of the doctrine. Later, however, the bishops
were deemed to be too lenient in their attitude towards offenders against the
faith, and the Cistercian and then the Dominican Orders were put in charge of
the work of persecuting heretics. Of this task the Dominicans acquitted
themselves with such zeal that their rigor and cruelty aroused much resentment
and hatred against the Inquisition. But no amount of opposition could stop
that institution now: the tiger had tasted blood during the famous crusade
against the Albigenses, in southern France, where a century of the bloodiest
and most cruel persecution resulted in the suppression of the sect mentioned
and the destruction of the flourishing Provencal civilization; and although
the inquisitors were driven out of Toulouse in 1235 and massacred at Avignonet
in 1242, and suffered other temporary checks and reverses, the Inquisition
took a firm foothold in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and other countries of
Europe and held nearly the entire Christian world under its bloody bondage for
In Spain the Inquisition was
first established in 1233. At the beginning it met with bitter opposition. The
Spanish monarchs exhibited tolerance towards the Jews and Mohammedans and
thereby incurred much criticism from Rome. However, the priests did not remain
idle, and massacres of Jews and Mohammedans, instigated by them, began in the
13th century and continued throughout the 14th and 15th. Finally, in 1480,
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella founded a National Inquisition for Spain,
without the aid of the Papacy. Inquisitorial tribunals were established
throughout the peninsula and the Spanish possessions in Italy, and a reign of
terror was initiated. The course of the Inquisition did not always run
smoothly and several inquisitors, among them the merciless Pedro de Arbues,
afterward canonized by the Church of Rome, were slain.
In 1483 the Dominican father
Thomas de Torquemada was, by papal bull, appointed Inquisitor General of the
Crown of Castile. During the first six months of his term of office, over two
thousand Jews and Mohammedans who had embraced the Christian religion under
compulsion, but had relapsed, were burnt at the stake; others, who had escaped
in time, were burnt in effigy, and some seventeen thousand persons suffered
other severe punishments for heresy.
According to a careful,
conservative estimate by Llorente (Histoire Critique de l'Inquisition
d'Espagne, Paris, 1818, Vol. I), during Torquemada's terrible rule, extending
over eighteen years, 10,220 persons were consigned to the flames; 6,860 were
burnt in effigy; 97,321 received sentences of imprisonment for life,
confiscation of property, disqualification from holding public office, and
other severe penalties, and 114,400 families were irretrievably ruined. So
hated was the arch fiend Torquemada that on his travels he had to be guarded
by a small army of "familiars," 50 of them mounted and 200 on foot, and on his
table there always lay the horn of a rhinoceros ("unicorn," Llorente has it),
which was supposed to detect and counteract the influence of poison.
The Grand Inquisitors-General
were nearly all members of the Dominican Order. Dominick de Guzman, the
founder of this Order, had organized during the persecution of the Albigenses
in southern France the so-called "Militia of Christ," a corps of spies and
denouncers of both sexes, recruited from all classes of society, which later
became known by the name of "familiars" of the Inquisition.
From Spain and Portugal the
Inquisition was carried to the colonies and possessions of these two countries
beyond the seas. Revolts and uprisings against the reign of terror instituted
by it occurred in many places, but were suppressed with iron hand. At times
the Holy Office relaxed somewhat in its severity, but periods of recrudescence
generally followed. Spain and her possessions were still a stronghold of the
Inquisition after the other countries had driven it out or reduced its power
to practically nothing. On December 4th, 1808, Napoleon suppressed the
Inquisition in Spain, but after the downfall of the great Corsican it was
re-established and held that unfortunate country under its sway until 1820,
when a general insurrection resulted in its final overthrow.
Nothing was sacred to the
Inquisition, nothing exempt from its fury. Its thunderbolts did not spare age
or innocence, and rank and station were no protection against them. Even death
was not respected by it; the remains of many dead were disinterred and
publicly burnt on the charge that the deceased had been a follower of the law
of Moses or Mohammed or had been guilty of other forms of heresy. Mere
children were subjected to torture and the children and often grandchildren of
persons condemned by the Holy Office were declared infamous, in addition to
having their inheritance confiscated. In one instance a son was compelled to
disinter the remains of his father and burn them publicly.
The following is part of the
decision pronounced by the Inquisition of Mexico in 1609: "And the sons and
daughters, if any, of the said Jorge de Almeida are hereby disqualified from
serving in any public office, or occupying any public position of honor or
trust, whether in the secular or ecclesiastic branches of the government; and
they are also forbidden to wear about their persons any ornament or jewel of
gold or silver, or precious stones, or coral, or to dress in silk or fine
cloth, or any other fine material of any kind." (Dr. Cyrus Adler, Trial of
Jorge de Almeida).
Heckethorn says that "the
Inquisitors were the first to put women to the torture; neither the weakness
nor the modesty of the sex had any influence on them. The Dominican friars
would flog naked women in the corridors of the Inquisition building, after
having first violated them, for some slight breach of discipline." (The Secret
Societies of all Ages and Countries, by Charles William Heckethorn, London,
Puigblanch ("The Inquisition
Unmasked," translation by William Walton, London, 1818) cites the case of a
noble lady, lately delivered of her child, who was arrested in 1557 on the
charge of being a Lutheran, and to whom the tribunal of Seville administered
the rack "with so much rigor that the ropes fixed on her arms, legs, and
thighs entered as far as her bones, when she remained senseless, casting up
quantities of blood; and died at the expiration of eight days, without any
other attendance than a young female who had also undergone the torture." The
same writer tells us that "in Seville . . . an inquisitor commanded a
beautiful young female, accused of practising Jewish rites, to be scourged in
his own presence; and, after committing lewdness with her, delivered her over
to the flames."
It must be remembered that
these horrors were committed by virtue of orders of torture beginning with the
phrase "Christi nomine invocato" !
After relating deeds like
these, which one would expect only of fiends incarnate, it seems bloody
sarcasm to read what one of the defenders of the Inquisition has to say: "In
reality, so great is the compassion of the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition
with the offenders that these themselves acknowledge it. The Holy Office shows
much forbearance, much kindness, much perfection, and this being true, as the
enemies and accusers of the Inquisition well know it is, let those accusers
come forward and confess and repent their errors; let them admit that it was
malice which made them say that the Inquisition is excessively rigorous, and
let them present themselves before this Holy Tribunal repentant and thus
return to the bosom of the Church; so mote it be, Amen." (Defensa critica de
la Inquisicion, by Don Melchor Rafael de Macanaz, Madrid, 1788.)
How little protection rank
and station in life afforded, is made patent by the fact that among the
victims of the Inquisition there were numerous nobles, statesmen, bishops, and
persons of wealth and influence. Even a nephew of King Ferdinand V was thrown
into the dungeons of the Inquisition and released only after undergoing
humiliating public penance.
The right of asylum did not
exist for the Inquisition. The following extract from an order of arrest
plainly shows this: "and ye shall seize the body of Gabriel de Granada, a
resident of this city of Mexico, wheresoever ye may find him, although it may
be in a church, monastery or other consecrated, fortified or privileged
place." (D. Fergusson, Trial of Gabriel de Granada.) Even the secret of the
confessional was violated. Don Juan Antonio Rodrigalvarez, canon of the royal
church of St. Isidore of Madrid, said of the Inquisition: "The infraction of
every right and principle in this tribunal still goes further, for though
secrecy is the very soul of all its proceedings, that of sacramental
confession is nevertheless not respected by it, in consequence of the
declarations it frequently requires of confessors relating to their
penitents." (Puigblanch, in the work above quoted.)
A person could be the
devoutest catholic imaginable and yet be arrested, thrown into the dungeons of
the Inquisition and perish there or at the stake, on the calumnious accusation
of an enemy or on account of some thoughtless remark, misconstrued and twisted
to suit the purpose of his enemies or of the inquisitors.
If a person put a clean cloth
on the table on Saturday, or sat at table with a Jew, or had his friends for
dinner at his home on the eve of his departure for a journey, he exposed
himself to the suspicion of being a Judaizer," and if he sang a Moorish song
or danced a Moorish dance, abstained from the use of wine, or changed his
linen on Friday, he was liable to be suspected of being a secret Mohammedan.
Once suspected, a person never escaped without suffering: years of
imprisonment in the secret dungeons of the Inquisition, torture, and the most
humiliating penances were sure to be his fate, because the Inquisition always
devised some way of finding a prisoner guilty. Llorente states that one
acquittal to every two thousand cases was about the proportion observed in the
judicial findings of the Holy Office.
The procedure of the
Inquisition, evolved by many generations of crafty and fanatical priests, was
the most insiduous that could be imagined. Upon receipt of the denunciation,
though it often came from the most suspicious sources and was inspired by the
impurest of motives, the Holy Office ordered the arrest of the accused, who
was considered guilty unless he achieved the tremendous task of proving
himself innocent. He was arrested without warning and conveyed forthwith to
the secret prisons of the Inquisition.
During the first three days
of his confinement there he received three monitions to confess his offenses
against the Catholic faith and thus secure mercy. He was not informed of the
charges against him, but was told that no one ever entered the prisons of the
Inquisition without being guilty of some crime. If he confessed himself guilty
of some offense or offenses not covered by the denunciation, his confession
furnished grounds for new charges. Whatever he said, his testimony was so
turned and twisted by his tormentors that his guilt appeared to be much
greater than an unbiased judge would have found it to be. In many cases his
confession did not save him from torture, and in none did it deliver him from
the humiliating penances decreed by the tribunal.
After the monitions had been
delivered, he was formally arraigned and the charges were then read to him;
but the name of the informant was never revealed, nor was the accused allowed
to face his secret accuser or the witnesses that had testified against him. If
the culprit remained mute or his confession was deemed incomplete, he was
ordered taken to the torture chamber, where the rack, pulley, thumbscrews,
fire, and other means of extorting a confession were applied to him for hours
at a time. If he fainted or remained obdurate, the torture was suspended for
the time being. Thousands of persons remained firm, thousands died from the
barbarous treatment received, and many thousands confessed to crimes they had
ever committed and were punished accordingly.
The terror inspired by the
Holy Office was a mental torture that often brought about the same result as
the physical suffering. The ascetic, cruel, relentless faces of the
inquisitors sometimes sufficed to terrify the prisoner into saying all the
tribunal wished him to say. One of the witnesses in the case against Jorge de
Almeida, above quoted, "begged that the Inquisitor" Don Alonso de Peralta
should not be present, because the mere sight of him made his flesh creep,
such was the terror with which his rigor inspired him."
All proceedings were carried
on in the utmost secrecy. As they advanced, more and more persons were
implicated in the case. Many an accused, shrinking from pain and death, driven
frantic by the pangs of torture, or deceived by false promises of clemency or
immunity, became the accuser of his friends and relatives. Sons betrayed their
parents and parents denounced their children, and the flinty-hearted secretary
of the court coldly penned orders for the arrest of victim after victim as the
cowering wretch before the tribunal stammered their names.
When the evidence was all
complete and sentence ready to be pronounced, preparations were generally made
for an auto da fe (in Spanish auto de fe, i.e., decision or sentence in a case
regarding the faith). This ceremony began with a solemn procession, generally
attended by much pomp, of the functionaries, familiars and henchmen of the
Inquisition, the persons condemned to be burnt or to suffer other punishment
or penance, and religious organizations and priests with banners and crosses.
A suitable stage and seats had been prepared on the square where the ceremony
was to take place, and after the arrival of the procession a mass was read;
the king, viceroy, or governor of the territory and other high government
officials took the oath of allegiance to the Holy Office; a sermon was
pronounced by the Inquisitor General, and the sentences of the persons
condemned by the tribunal were read. The condemned prisoners were arrayed in
sanbenitos and corozas, sack-like garments and pointed caps painted with
flames and figures of demons, and many of them were gagged in order to stifle
After the ceremony the
condemned were "relaxed" (turned over) to the secular authorities, for the
execution of their sentences, with the injunction that they be dealt with
compassionately. What hypocrisy ! Llorente says: "It certainly causes one
surprise to see the Inquisitors insert at the end of their sentences the
formula praying the (secular) judge not to apply the penalty of death to the
heretic, while it is demonstrated by several examples that when, in compliance
with the request of the Inquisitor, the judge did not send the culprit to the
stake, he was himself indicted as a suspect of the crime of heresy."
An auto da fe was generally a
gala occasion in Spain and her colonies. We have before us the account of one
of the most elaborate known, held at Madrid in 1680. This detailed account,
written by a member of the Inquisition, was published in Madrid in 1680. (Relacion
historica del auto general de fe que se celebro en Madrid el ano de 1680, por
Jose del Olmo.) At the auto da fe mentioned, 120 prisoners, each accompanied
by two priests, and the effigies of 134 accused persons who had made their
escape or had died in the prisons of the Inquisition, were paraded through the
streets of Madrid in a procession composed of thousands of priests, soldiers,
members of religious organizations, etc., had their sentences read to them in
the presence of the King and Queen of Spain on the "Plaza," and were then
"relaxed" to the secular authorities. Nineteen of them, who had been sentenced
to death, were taken to the brasero late at night, after the ceremonies were
over, and were there burnt at the stake.
The scenes that took place at
these burnings were sometimes of the most revolting and gruesome nature. The
following is an extract from the account of one of these executions in 1691,
on which occasion two Jews and a Jewess were burnt: "On seeing the flames near
them, they began to show the greatest fury, struggling to free themselves from
the ring to which they were bound, which Terongi at length effected, although
he could no longer hold himself upright, and he fell side long on the fire.
Catherine, as soon as the flames began to encircle her, screamed out
repeatedly for them to withdraw her from thence, although uniformly persisting
not to invoke the name of Jesus. On the flames touching Valls, he covered
himself, resisted, and struggled as long as he was able. Being fat, he took
fire in his inside, in such manner that before the flames had entwined around
him, his flesh burnt like a coal, and bursting in the middle his entrails fell
Often the poor wretches met
their death bravely; some died mocking and cursing the executioners and of
one, a Jew, it is even told that he drew the blazing fagots towards him with
his feet. The "relaxed" who had repented were generally strangled to death
before being consigned to the flames.
The fanaticism of the
populace is the best expressed by the following incident recorded by Del Olmo:
"It seems as if God moved the hearts of the craftsmen in order that the
serious difficulties that arose might be overcome; this is shown by the
following incident: Tomas Roman, overseer of works, having taken charge alone
of the execution of the work (of building the staging for the auto da fe
described by Del Olmo), at his own expense, in accordance with the design and
plan of Jose del Olmo, sixteen master builders with their subordinates,
lumber, and tools came, without human solicitation, to offer him their
services in the performance of his undertaking, and such were their
perseverance and fervent constancy that, without observing the accustomed
hours of rest and taking only sufficient time for food, they returned to their
labors with joy and pleasure, explaining the reason for their eagerness by
shouting: "Long live the faith of Jesus Christ; it shall all be finished in
time, and if there should be any lack of lumber, we would tear down our own
houses to put them to such holy use."
These were, of course, only
ignorant persons, but the more enlightened classes were not much better. We
again translate from Del Olmo's work the account of an incident illustrating
It seems that two days before
the auto mentioned, a preliminary ceremony took place which shows the attitude
taken by the royal couple of Spain. A company of soldiers marched out to the
Alcala gate to get the firewood prepared there. Each soldier took a fagot and
the company then marched back to the Palace Square. "The captain went upstairs
to His Majesty's apartments by the rear entrance, bearing a fagot on his
shield. It was taken from him by the Duke of Pastrana and carried into the
presence of His Majesty. The latter, with his own hand, took it in to show it
to our lady the Queen, Dona Luisa Maria de Borbon, and upon his return the
Duke received the fagot from the hand of the King and returned it to the
captain, with the command that His Majesty ordered it taken in his name and
cast into the fire the first. In giving such command, our Lord the King
followed the dictates of his pious character, inherited from the sainted King
Don Ferdinand the Third, who on a similar occasion, in order to give an
example to the world, took himself firewood to the burning pile."
Who were the principal
victims of the Inquisition ?
When the Inquisition was
first instituted in France, its hand fell the most heavily upon the Albigenses
of Languedoc, of whom many thousands were slain.
Upon the establishment of the
Holy Office in Spain, its first efforts were directed against the so-called
"New Christians." These comprised the but lately converted Jews (marranos),
many of whom had become Christians in order to escape the numerous
persecutions, but were secretly practising Judaism, and the converted Moors,
who had abandoned their religion for similar reasons, but were secretly
practising Moslem rites. These new Christians were especially welcome victims
to the Inquisition on account of the antipathy and envy with which they were
looked upon by the old Christians, owing to their constantly increasing
prosperity and wealth, which latter, on the other hand, offered a powerful
incentive to the Holy Office, a very expensive institution, according to all
accounts, and in need of all the money it could lay its hands on.
Later Lutherans, Jansenists,
Illuminati, and members of other sects came in for a great deal of attention,
and finally, during the last century of its existence, the Inquisition waged a
relentless war against Freemasonry.
In addition to these, the
Inquisition had other classes of offenders to contend with.
It had jurisdiction over
bigamists, persons claiming to be possessed by demons or to have supernatural
powers, witches and sorcerers, soothsayers, priests guilty of expressing
unorthodox views or of seducing or attempting to seduce women in the
It also had charge of the
censorship of books, and numerous auto da fe were held at which books,
writings, pictures, and statues that had incurred the disapproval of the Holy
Office were consigned to the flames.
Enormous damage was done to
literature, art, and science by this particular activity of the Inquisition.
Valuable products of literature were destroyed and suppressed or stifled in
their birth, and works of science and inventions that might have secured for
Spain a place in the foremost ranks of the civilized nations were never
conceived. This having continued for many generations, the very brain of the
nation became atrophied, and it will take centuries before unhappy Spain will
be able to cleanse her life blood from the poison permeating it as a result of
the many centuries of spiritual slavery and corruption.
This leads us to speak of the
consequences of the Inquisition in general.
The six centuries of the
reign of the Holy Office had the most terrible and widespread consequences in
Spain. The Inquisition drove from Spain's dominions millions of her most
useful subjects; it depopulated entire villages, towns, and districts; it even
changed the national character. Let us here quote what Burke has to say on
this matter in his "History of Spain":
"The work of the Inquisition,
while it tended, no doubt, to make men orthodox, tended also to make them
false, and suspicious, and cruel. Before the middle of the sixteenth century,
the Holy Office had profoundly affected the national character; and the
Spaniard, who had been celebrated in Europe during countless centuries for
every manly virtue, became, in the new world that had been given to him, no
less notorious for a cruelty beyond the imagination of a Roman emperor and a
rapacity beyond the dreams of a Republican proconsul."
We have no doubt that Spain
would not have declined so rapidly and would still be a first-rate power had
she not had her life blood sapped by the Inquisition. Compared with the
terrible injury wrought to country and nation by that institution; the
destruction of the Armada, was but a trifling incident which a rich and
powerful country could have remedied comparatively quickly, in order to repeat
the attempt with better success under more favorable conditions.
Now we shall give a short
account of the influence of the Inquisition on the Masonic Order, confining
our attention to Spain, with a few brief references to Portugal, and to the
18th and 19th century. We shall, therefore, not allude to the persecution of
the Knights Templar, who suffered such fearful torments at the hands of the
In 1738, Pope Clement XII
excommunicated all Freemasons in the bull "In eminenti," and two years after,
in 1740, Philip V, king of Spain, published a royal decree which was the first
blow struck at Freemasonry by Spain. Many Freemasons were arrested and sent to
the galleys where, laden with chains, ill fed and worse treated, they were
compelled to toil at the oars without compensation. In 1751, immediately upon
the publication of the bull "Providas romanorum ponticum," Ferdinand VI of
Spain issued a still more severe edict against the Order, and now the
Inquisition began to wage a merciless war against Freemasonry. We translate
the following from the "Ritual del Maestro Mason" (Madrid, 1909), an official
publication of the Spanish Grand Orient:
"The persecutions reached
their height in Spain in 1751, as a result of the new anathema launched by
Benedict and the denunciations of an ambitious, malevolent friar named Jose
Torrubia, who, desirous of obtaining a bishopric as reward for his services,
had promised to exterminate Freemasonry. He quickly rose to revisor and censor
of the Holy Office, which latter ordered him to enter a lodge under an assumed
name, after receiving from the Papal Penitentiary a dispensation authorizing
him to take any oath which might be required of him. This Torrubia actually
did, and soon thereafter he began to visit lodge after lodge in the peninsula
until he had gathered all the information he required for the execution of his
infamous plan. Having achieved this purpose, he presented to the Tribunal of
the Inquisition a terrible denunciation of the labors of Freemasonry,
accompanied by a list of ninety-seven lodges, with the membership roll of
"As a result of this
denunciation, hundreds of Freemasons were arrested and many were tortured by
In his "Histoire de
l'Inquisition," Llorente gives an account of the prosecution of a Monsieur
Tournon, in 1757. This man, a Parisian, had been called to Madrid by the
Spanish government to instruct Spanish workmen in the making of brass buckles.
One of his pupils denounced him to the Holy Office as a heretic, alleging that
Tournon had endeavored to induce him and others to become Freemasons. Tournon
had shown them diplomas or charts on which architectural and astronomical
instruments were depicted, and this had caused them to suspect magic, "in
which belief they were confirmed when they heard the imprecations contained in
the oath that, according to Tournon, they would have to take to preserve
profound secrecy regarding all they should see or hear in the lodges."
Tournon was arrested on May
Upon being interrogated by
the tribunal, he frankly admitted that he was a Freemason and had been one for
twenty years. He stated that he did not know whether there were any lodges in
Spain; that he was a Roman catholic; that he saw nothing in Freemasonry that
interfered with his religion, and that it was not true that Freemasonry taught
religious indifference. Here are a few of the questions and answers:
Q. What oath must a person
take in order to become a Mason ? A. He swears to preserve secrecy. Q.
Concerning what things ? A. Concerning things which it is inadvisable to make
public. Q. Is this oath accompanied by execrations? A. It is. Q. What are they
? A. One consents to suffer all evils and penalties that may afflict body and
soul if one should ever violate the obligation taken under oath. Q. Of what
importance is this obligation that it is considered justifiable to take an
oath with such fearful execrations? A. It is of importance for the good order
in the society. Q. What is going on in those lodges that might make trouble if
it were made public ? A. Nothing, if you judge things without bias and
prejudice. However, as there is a general mistaken impression on this subject,
care must be taken to prevent malicious interpretations, and these would
surely arise if one told everything that is going on in the lodges on the days
when the brethren meet.
The inquisitors further asked
Tournon whether and why Saint John was the patron saint of Freemasons; whether
it was true that the sun, moon, and stars were held in reverence in the lodges
and were represented therein; why a crucifix, a skull, and a dead human body
were present in the lodge room during initiations, and other questions more.
Tournon having answered all
these questions according to the truth, in the most frank and intelligent
manner, he was informed that his answers were false and untrue, and was
admonished, for the sake of the respect he owed to God and the Holy Virgin, to
say the truth and confess to the heresies of religious indifference, the
superstitious errors which had caused him to mix the sacred with the profane,
and the error of idolatry which had induced him to worship the heavenly
bodies. If he confessed and repudiated all these errors, the Holy Office would
use clemency in his case, otherwise he would be prosecuted with all the rigor
authorized against heretics.
Tournon remained firm in his
attitude during the several hearings of his case. He finally stated, however,
that nothing was left to him but to "admit that he had been in the wrong and
to confess his ignorance of the dangerous spirit of the statutes and customs
of Freemasonry; that he therefore confirmed all that he had testified in so
far as he had said that he had never believed there was anything contrary to
the Catholic religion in what he had done as a Freemason; but as it was
possible that he had erred, owing to his ignorance of certain particular
dogmas, he was ready to disavow all heresies into which he might have fallen
and prayed to be absolved from censure and promised to undergo such penance as
might be imposed upon him."
In December, 1757, judgment
was pronounced upon Monsieur Tournon, convicting him of the errors of
religious indifference, naturalism, superstition, and pagan practices; but in
view of his offer to recant, he escaped with a comparatively light sentence. A
private auto da fe was held in the court rooms of the Holy Office, attended by
such persons as had received permission from the senior inquisitor, and there
Tournon had his sentence read to him, received a reprimand from the senior
inquisitor, abjured all his heretical errors, read and signed a declaration of
his faith, and promised to sever all connections with Freemasonry or suffer
accordingly. He was sentenced to one year of imprisonment, at the expiration
of which he was to be expelled from Spain, and to undergo certain spiritual
Then Freemasonry had a
breathing spell and began to spread. In 1767, the first Grand Lodge was
constituted in Spain, and in 1780 a Grand Orient was organized there. The
following years, however, saw a change for the worse. The first Grand Master
of Spain, the Count of Aranda, a minister under Charles III, was banished in
1794 by Charles IV. In the neighboring Portugal the persecution of Freemasonry
reached the greatest violence in 1792. "Queen Isabel, counselled by her
confessor, ordered the governor of the island of Madera to deliver over to the
Tribunal of the Holy Office all members of the Masonic Order who could be
found. But few of the families of Freemasons succeeded in escaping the fury of
the Inquisition by fleeing to Europe or taking refuge in America. In 1809 the
persecution was renewed as a result of the constant agitations of the Catholic
priests, who so excited the fanatical populace that at Lisbon the mob vilely
murdered a large number of Freemasons who were following the funeral of a
brother mason. . . In 1817, the Grand Orient of Portugal had to dissolve again
on account of the edicts of King John VI, of 1818 and 1823, the first of which
assigned imprisonment and the second death as the penalty for every Portuguese
found to be a Freemason." (Ritual del Maestro Mason.)
A new era seemed to have
dawned for Freemasonry in Spain when Napoleon I. conquered the country and
abolished the Inquisition. Freemasonry flourished exceedingly under the
protection of the French invader and for a brief period after the French had
been ousted. The Cortes of Cadiz, which adopted the first Spanish
constitution, were largely composed of Freemasons. When the reconstruction
came, however, the Inquisition was re-established and another period of trial
and persecution set in for Freemasonry. In 1814, Ferdinand VII ordered all
lodges closed. Some continued to meet secretly, however. In 1815, lodges were
raided at Granada and Malaga and the brethren apprehended were cast into the
prisons of the Inquisition. During the next few years the persecutions became
extremely cruel and violent.
"In 1819, a Lodge was
surprised at Murcia; the brethren, nearly all persons of distinction, died
from the tortures inflicted upon them by the Inquisition, except the
illustrious lawyer Brother Romero Alpuente, whose strong constitution enabled
him to withstand the cruel suffering and who was released, the same as the
other persons who were imprisoned because they were Freemasons, by virtue of a
decree of the Provisional Government of 1820." (Ritual del Maestro Mason) .
In 1820, Ferdinand VII of
Spain fixed death on the gallows as the penalty for membership in the Masonic
Order, and when a Lodge was raided at Granada, in 1825, all the members were
hanged and the candidate, who had not yet been initiated, was sent to the
galleys. In 1828, the Marquis of Lebrillana and Captain Alvarez de Sotomayor
perished on the scaffold because they had not come forward and denounced
themselves as being Freemasons. In 1829, a Lodge was raided at Barcelona; the
Master was hanged, some of the brethren were sent to prison for life, and
others were sentenced to less severe penalties.
In 1832, at last, the liberal
government, organized with the aid of Freemasons, issued a general amnesty for
all offenders of this class and Masonry flourished once more. A new period of
trial began in 1849 and many persons were deported or sent to prison for their
connection with the Masonic Order, until the September revolution (1868) came
and put a final stop to these persecutions. An attempt was made to renew them
after the uprising of the natives of the Philippine Islands (1896), as a
result of which the Grande Oriente Ispaniol was charged with having fostered
the separatist movement and fathered the "Katipunan," a nave revolutionary
society patterned on Masonry so far as matters of form and organization were
concerned. his attempt fell flat, however.
While the persecutions last
mentioned can not, perhaps, be charged to the Inquisition, yet they were, to a
certain degree, the result and upshot of the bitter war which that defunct
institution had waged against Freemasonry for so many years.
This concludes our brief
study of the Inquisition and its influence on humanity in general and the
Masonic Order in particular.
The thought that it will have
inspired his brethren in Freemasonry with thoughts of gratitude and admiration
towards those who suffered and died for the cause in the days gone by is alone
sufficient to compensate the author for the time and effort which he has
devoted to this subject.
THE MASONIC RELIEF ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED
STATES AND CANADA
(Note. By the courtesy of Brother Willis D. Engle,
Secretary, we are in receipt of the following historical sketch of this
organization, whose effective work in behalf of a saner Masonic Charity is
perhaps little known to the rank and file of the Craft. In apprehending
frauds, impostors and unworthy persons, and systematically caring for worthy
cases it has developed exceptional facilities; hence the constantly increasing
support which it is receiving. Its next biennial meeting will be held at
Omaha, September 25-27, 1917. By following the practical suggestions with
which Brother Engle closes this article, our Brethren can in most cases
protect themselves against deception.)
THE institution of Free and Accepted Masonry,
whose fundamental principle is charity, has for many years, in this country
and in Europe, carried on the work of charitable relief in a manner that
encouraged mendicancy and, in a measure, tended to increase the fast
multiplying class that seeks to live without mental or physical effort. The
mere application of a man who claimed membership in the fraternity, for money,
was amply sufficient to accomplish the desired effect, and many unscrupulous
men (women also), with improper claims, have managed to secure a good living
upon the well-known benevolent desires of the craft.
The majority of Masons now living remember the
time when the legitimate business of every lodge session was interrupted by an
applicant for relief at the lodge door, which was always followed by the
appointment of a committee to wait upon the applicant, the report of the
committee after a necessarily superficial examination, and then the invariable
contribution, with all the necessary routine in connection therewith. Though
this practice is still in operation in the small towns and villages of the
country, nearly every city has learned and adopted a wiser and better plan of
giving relief. In almost every large centre of population there is now a
Masonic Board of Relief, organized upon a systematic basis, and managed by
Masons of experience and good judgment. The majority of these Boards of Relief
are operating upon a system recommended by this Association and by brethren
who have made Masonic relief a study of years, so that the practical part of
the general plan has become a matter of uniform action.
Though these Boards of Relief, when operating
according to the recommendations made, have proven the value of organization
and method, and have succeeded in reducing the aggregate of donations to the
improper claimants, and thus accomplished a saving that cannot, for obvious
reasons, be accurately stated, but which is vast, still an isolated Board of
Relief, acting independently, is incapable in itself of affording protection
to the funds placed at its disposal for charitable disbursement against more
than a small fraction of the unworthy. The reason for this inability is
sufficiently clear to need little explanation beyond that given in the monthly
circulars now issued.
Before the organization of this Association it was
found, by comparison of notes, that at least sixty percent of the applicants
for relief were unworthy for various reasons, chiefly because of unaffiliation
- the greatest of all evils Masonry has had to contend against in its
The conditions attending the disbursement of
charitable funds, and the necessity of establishing some kind of a check upon
the demands of the unworthy, were laid before several Grand Lodges with the
view to securing some authorized or concerted action whereby relief might be
systematized, with little effect however.
Pursuant to a call authorized by the Grand Lodge
of Maryland, signed by representatives of the Masonic Relief Boards of
Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, New York City, St. Louis, and Wilmington,
Del., a convention met in Baltimore, August 31st, 1885, when representatives
of twelve Relief Boards organized the General Masonic Relief Association of
the United States and Canada. It was a day of small things, but the
foundations were carefully and substantially laid, upon which has been builded
this Association, numbering among its members most of the Grand Lodges in
among its active workers have been distinguished Masons from all portions of
the country except the extreme West, who, owing to their distance from the
places of meeting have not been able to actively participate in the
deliberations of the Association, yet the hearty co-operation of the Masons,
both in the Mountain states and on the Pacific slope has been had.
The growth of the Association has been a steady
one, demonstrating the good work that it has done and is doing, and the
appreciation thereof by the Fraternity generally. This will be shown by the
following comparative statement of its membership.
Grand Lodges Relief Boards
1886 3 20 331
1892 17 24
1899 21 68 123
1905 22 71 180
1911 41 92 141
1916 48 138 97
There have been over 6,000 original cases
reported, some of them traveling under different aliases, while there have
been over 2,100 reports concerning men already recorded, many of them being
cases where frauds had been detected by our circulars which contain the
pictures of over 200 unworthy applicants.
WHERE CLAIM FOR RELIEF LIES
Every Master Mason is obligated to contribute to
the relief of a worthy brother in distress to the limit of his ability. While
this is a personal obligation assumed by every Master Mason, yet, in order
that Masonic relief may be systematized, the worthy provided for, and the
unworthy discriminated against, the usual practice is for the relief work to
be done through lodges and relief boards.
A brother's claim for relief primarily rests upon
the lodge of which he is a member, and every lodge should, to the extent of
its ability, extend relief to its own members in distress wherever they may
be. However, if a lodge to which a non-resident worthy brother belongs is
unable, or unwilling to relieve him, he has a claim upon any brother to whom
he may apply. But, for reasons before stated, such work is usually assumed by
the Lodge within whose territorial jurisdiction the brother resides. While the
obligation to relieve primarily rests upon the lodge to which a brother
belongs, any brother, lodge, or relief board extending relief to an applicant
has no legal claim - although a moral one - against the lodge to which such
brother belongs, unless it is specifically authorized to extend such aid.
HOW TO HANDLE APPLICATIONS
In communities where there is but one lodge, a
relief committee should be appointed; where there are two or more lodges, a
joint committee or board should be organized. This committee or board should
designate one brother, to whom all applicants should be referred for
investigation and recommendation. This brother, hereafter called "The
Officer," should be centrally located and easily accessible. The brethren
should be instructed to refrain from extending any assistance whatever to
strangers claiming to be Masons, emergencies excepted. The Officer should be
provided with our warning circulars, list of regular lodges and uniform
When the applicant reaches the Officer,
emergencies must be handled according to the demands of the situation, but
when there is time for careful investigation, the general procedure to be
adopted is as follows:
Allow the applicant to tell his story in full and
produce documentary evidence. It is not advisable to indulge in ritualistic
examinations. Advise applicant all applications must be handled according to
uniform code. Get out application blank and fill out all blanks on body and
secure signature of applicant. Next consult this list of lodges to see if the
lodge given exists. Also consult warning circulars. If applicant is therein
reported, dismiss, or, if justified, arrest him. If not reported, advise
applicant you will wire at once to the Secretary of his Lodge to establish his
identity. At this point many applications will be withdrawn, in which case
write a letter to the Secretary, simply stating that So-and-So, claiming
membership, called. If the applicant is a fraud, this will be sufficient to
call out an answer, and, if he is in good standing, it will not disclose the
nature of his visit. If the application is not withdrawn, wire or have
Secretary wire at once (day or night letter is recommended) to lodge (see
sample telegram attached) and be governed by answer. While waiting answer,
furnish order on restaurant for meals (also for room, if necessary), but do
not give cash. It is better to spend $5.00 to investigate rather than 50 cents
on a chance.
Request applicant to return later. Frauds seldom
Whenever a fraud is discovered, report by letter
to Rev. W.D. Engle, Secretary, Masonic Temple, Indianapolis, Ind., giving full
description and information.
Be careful in case of foreigners. It is generally
safe to refuse relief unless a certificate and dues receipt are produced.
Never give money, if other relief is available and
The same care should be taken in case applicant
claims to be member of family, widow, or orphan of a Mason.
Secretary Boaz Lodge Sixteen (use title only),
Deer Creek, Ohio:
John Smith, engineer, claiming membership your
lodge, age thirty, height five ten, weight one forty, black hair and eyes,
dark complexion, Roman nose, scar over left eye, applies for assistance (vary
to suit occasion) Wire standing, worthiness and instructions.
MASONIC RELIEF BOARD,
or Ionic Lodge No. 40, F. &
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO
BY BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P.G.M.,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
ON the second of December, 1907, Congressman
Wiley, of Alabama, introduced Bill No. 539 into the 60th Congress, asking an
appropriation of Public Money of $50,000, to erect in the Capital City of the
Nation a Monument to the memory of Jeremiah O'Brien, upon the pedestal of
which should be inscribed:
Erected to the memory of
The Heroic Irish-American
In the first sea fight of
The Revolutionary War
The British Schooner
The writer has been informed, by Mr. Wiley, that
the bill was exploited, lobbied, etc., by members of the Ancient Order of
Hibernians, and Knights of Columbus, who were proud of their hero and urgent
in their testimony in favor of the bill.
The "hearings" before the committee on Library, in
favor of the appropriation, were very complimentary to Captain O'Brien, and
quite convincing of his heroism, patriotism, etc.
Captain O'Brien, however, was not Irish, as they
evidently believed, but was born and raised in the State of Maine.
During the month of June, 1775, a small British
armed schooner visited the Harbor of Machias: it was the Margharetta. O'Brien
attacked her on the 12th of June, with several smaller vessels, armed with
muskets, shot-guns, pitch forks, axes, and one small cannon. The armament of
the Margharetta was far superior, being "sixteen swivels and four four-pounders,"
but the Americans carried her by boarding. The fight was bloody but of short
duration, and really was the first sea-fight of that war.
O'Brien used the battery of the Margharetta in
other vessels in "raiding" the enemy's vessels in the bay of Fundy, and around
New Foundland and Halifax, which waters he faithfully patrolled. The vessels
he used, though smaller than the Margharetta, were faster sailers, which was
much to their advantage. He encountered the Dilligence, the Fatmagouche and
another armed tender, which came to Machias to retake the Margharetta, and he
beat them off.
The Committee on Library, in the House of
Representatives, to whom the bill was referred for consideration and report,
was informed that Jeremiah O'Brien was a pew holder and attendant of the
Congregational Church at Machias, of which his father was one of the founders,
and that Jeremiah O'Brien was a charter member of Warren Lodge at Machias.
This they probably communicated to the promoters of the bill, for they as
suddenly abandoned it and the committee never reported the bill, pro nor con.
O'Brien served six years as a member of the
National Congress, and was held in high esteem. He died in 1858, at the age of
80 years, and was buried in the protestant cemetery at Machias, and the
memorial, shown in the cut, though not so ostentatious as the one asked for by
the hyphenated-Americans, is sufficient to identify the individual, who was
not an Irish-American at all.
THE STARS AND STRIPES
Did you ever stop to consider what our national
emblem represents to the true patriot? In form a memorial of events of supreme
importance in our history, it is a symbol of the national life itself, of the
power which binds us into one cohesive whole. It represents not only the
traditions, the history, the struggles and victories of the past, and our love
and devotion of the present, our institution and privileges and the liberty we
enjoy, but it represents and symbolizes our faith in and hope for the future.
The Flag always represents the ideal State. No matter how great
injustice we may think we suffer at the hands of those who wield the powers of
government at the time, the flag yet remains undimmed. We struggle and strive,
not to raise the National Emblem to a higher standard, but to raise society to
the standard of the ideal nation of which our flag is the sign and symbol. No
matter how far we may go, our National Banner holds a vision of a yet brighter
future, a vision of an ideal future which is a truly Masonic ideal, when
Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity shall reign
supreme. - Silver Trowel Bulletin, Calif.
DEVOTED TO THE "STUDY SIDE OF
Edited by Bro. Robert I.
THE LODGE AND THE CANDIDATE
Part I, Proposing and
(Note. The following article
is one of a series prepared by the Editor for reading and discussion in Lodges
and Study Clubs. This series is based upon the Society's "Bulletin Course of
Masonic Study." Each month we present a leading article supplemented by a list
of references on the same subject. Commencing with this issue, we also append
a column of "Helpful Hints to Study Club Leaders," which we hope will assist
those already doing this work, and inspire others to do likewise. This
innovation is in line with the Society's policy of stimulating active Masonic
We recommend that Lodges and
Study Clubs use the current paper at their meeting one month after it is
received. This gives time for careful study by the members; it also permits
the preparation of additional papers from the references. In the original
presentation of this paper, if it is read a paragraph at a time, and fully
discussed as you proceed, you will find that each member will get more out of
it. By this plan, the leader can bring out the important points listed under
"Helpful Hints," as you go along, and the discussion will perhaps be more to
the point than otherwise.
The Bulletin Course may be
taken up at this point as profitably as elsewhere. The previous lessons may be
considered review work. Mackey's Encyclopedia and the bound volumes of THE
BUILDER remain the necessary references; others will from time to time be
given; rare references will be reprinted in THE BULLETIN. YOUR LODGE can
undertake systematic Masonic study with small expense in dollars, but large
returns to your membership, if you will let us assist you. Our "STUDY CLUB
DEPARTMENT" is organized for that purpose.
Address Geo. L. Schoonover,
Secretary, Anamosa, Iowa.)
THE very word "candidate" has
a special significance. It means one clothed in white. As a symbol the color
reference is striking, representing as it does the stainless and unblemished.
It is also a reminder of the apron and all which that emblem teaches.
One who applies for the
degrees of Masonry must do so of his own free will and accord. He cannot be
solicited to become a member. No invitation in any form is offered to him. Of
all the requirements for a clear application this one is in the most rigorous
A petition for the degrees is
usually in brief form. It recites that the petitioner has long had a favorable
opinion of the institution and if found worthy is desirous of being admitted a
member; that he believes in the existence of a Supreme Being; that he has (or
has not) before petitioned a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for admission;
that he has lived in the same locality since the date he sets forth in the
petition; states when and where he was born; and also gives his occupation. To
this document there is appended his own signature and usually two Masonic
Of course it is only to be
expected that the endorsers of the application are able of their own knowledge
to verify some, if not all, of the statements made in the document to which
they have attached their signatures. It is not altogether reasonable that as
witnesses their names are merely to be accepted as deposing that if required
they can prove the identity of the person signing the statement.
CHANGES DUE TO NEW CONDITIONS
For a number of years there
has been a tendency to elaborate the forms of petition for the degrees and
that the method of investigation be extended and in general improved. That the
candidate shall be more thoroughly put upon record in certain essential
particulars is the object of these developments. Already in this paper I have
presented a simple form of application and now I offer the clauses found in
the application adopted in Pennsylvania so far as these are affected by recent
"Name in full.... Age.....
years. Date of birth...... Occupation (state specifically and in detail the
character of the occupation)...... Residence of petitioner (give street and
number).......... Where I have continuously resided since ...... My former
residences were at......for.....years, and at......for.....years. Place of
birth.......Name of employer .... Date of signature...........Signed......
"I recommend the petitioner
as worthy, and certify that I have been personally acquainted with him
for....years immediately preceding this date.
"I recommend the applicant as
worthy, and certify that I have been personally acquainted with him
for.....years immediately preceding this date.
PRESENTATION OF THE PETITION
This petition accompanied
with the fee stipulated by the bylaws of the Lodge is presented at a
communication of that body. If no sufficient objection, orally or in writing,
is addressed openly to the Lodge or privately presented to the Master, the
petition is received and acted upon to the extent of appointing a Committee of
Investigation. The Committee makes suitable inquiries and reports at a
succeeding communication of a Lodge. Some difference of opinion may easily
arise as to what are "suitable" avenues of investigation for the Committee.
COMMITTEE OF INVESTIGATION
Whether the endorsers know
much or little about the petitioner does not release the members of the
Committee of Investigation from the full share of responsibility for a
thorough inquiry into the worthiness of the applicant to receive the Masonic
degrees in the Lodge to which he has applied for this privilege.
THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS
What are these essential
The Ancient Charges exact
only the broadest of faiths. "That religion in which all men agree, leaving
their particular opinions to themselves; that is, to be good men and true, or
men of honor and honesty, by whatever persuasions they may be distinguished;
whereby Masonry becomes the center of union, and the means of conciliating
true friendship among persons that must have remained at a perpetual
My own State (Ohio)
interprets this in its Code as "No religious test shall ever be required of
any applicant for the benefits of Masonry other than a steadfast belief in the
existence and perfection of Deity; and no lodge under this Jurisdiction shall
receive any candidate without the acknowledgment of such belief." Of course
the Ohio Code also accepts as law the foregoing excerpt from the old Charges.
It is also provided by the
same State Code that "At his reception into the Lodge of Entered Apprentices,
the candidate must be able to respond of his own accord that in times of
difficulty and danger he trusts in God. The Masonic requirement is in the
expression of faith and trust--faith in God and trust in His protection-- and
if the candidate does not so respond he should be conducted from the Lodge."
The Code further recites that "Masonry is above sectarianism and embraces all
who acknowledge a belief in God."
Sundry other qualifications
are not so universally insisted upon as is the matter of religious faith,
though even in that important particular there are a very few instances where
the rigor of the situation is waived.
We are also informed by the
old Charges that "The persons admitted members of a Lodge must be good and
true men, freeborn and of mature and discreet age, bondmen, no women, no
immoral or scandalous men, but of good report."
At least one great Masonic
jurisdiction no longer follows this paragraph in its entirety. England uses
"free" instead of "freeborn."
Just what is "mature and
discreet age" may be variously estimated. Most jurisdictions specify
twenty-one years as the minimum. Exceptions have been known. The son of a
Mason was of old known as a Lewis and was privileged to become a member at an
earlier age than other applicants for the degrees.
Among the other regulations
are that the candidates shall be of good and honest parentage, and that they
have "right and perfect limbs and able of body to attend the said science."
Many hold that the individual
must be judged by his own acts and therefore this old stipulation as to
legitimate birth no longer obtains as tenaciously as of yore. There is also
great difference of opinion and of practice with regard to the matter of what
is sometimes called "physical perfection." One jurisdiction has gone on record
with the following: "A candidate for the degree of Entered Apprentice should
be able physically, as well as intellectually, of himself and without exterior
aid or assistance from another, to receive and impart all the essentials for
Masonic recognition." It is obviously impossible here on the printed page to
specify in detail all that the candidate will be instructed as to the
requirements of Masonic recognition.
Some Grand Lodges are much
more insistent than others as to the extent of bodily imperfection that may
prevail in order to disqualify the applicant. It is usually held that the
question only arises before the candidate receives the Entered Apprentice
degree. Should he by some accident occurring subsequent to initiation suffer
mutilation, this is sufficient cause in eight United States Jurisdictions for
arresting his further advancement.
THE DOCTRINE OF "PHYSICAL
The Grand Master of Alabama,
in 1915, in his annual report dealt with the physical and other qualifications
after this wise:
"One of the first lessons
taught the initiate is that 'it is the internal and not the external
qualifications of a man which recommend him to be made a Mason,' and yet, we
are prone to overlook any little stain on the moral character, and waive any
defect in the mental ability of a petitioner which renders him incapable of
properly understanding or comprehending the principles of our fraternity. We
are not willing to sit in judgment upon the intellectual attainments--or
rather, the lack of them-- of one who desires to connect himself with our
ancient and honorable institution, but we never overlook a stiff knee, nor
waive the loss of a foot, nor the first joint of a thumb. In so doing we deny
membership to many men of big brains and warm hearts; men of good moral
character; men whose mental ability and intellectual attainments would be of
great benefit to the craft and of greater benefit to the world by reason of
their association with us, and their help in the great work in which we are
"The requirements that an
acceptable petitioner shall be 'perfect in member' comes to us from the days
of operative Masonry when there was, probably, good reason therefor, but has
little to recommend it now except its antiquity, and, as I view it, with so
little to recommend it, and so much to condemn it, it is time that we modify
it, even at the risk of shattering what might be termed a landmark.
"I believe that
intellectually, morally, and socially, the effect upon the candidate and upon
the craft would be beneficial if by amending or modifying the present law
concerning physical perfection or qualifications we look more closely into the
intellectual, moral, and social qualifications of the petitioner, and admit
those who are worthy and well qualified from these standpoints, and waive such
slight physical requirements as now prohibit the reception of a petitioner who
cannot perfectly exemplify our ritual. I therefore recommend:
"That our constitutions and
edicts be so amended that the question of physical qualifications for
initiation or advancement be left to the subordinate petitioned lodge, subject
to the approval of the Grand Master."
The suggestion bore fruit. An
amendment adopted in 1916, reads as follows:
"No subordinate lodge shall
proceed to confer any or either of the degrees of Masonry upon any person who
is not a man, freeborn, of the age of twenty-one years or upward, of good
reputation, of sufficient natural and intellectual endowment, with an estate,
office, occupation, or some other obvious source of honest subsistence, from
which he may be able to spare something for works of charity and for
maintaining the ancient dignity and utility of the Masonic institution. If the
petitioner be physically defective by reason of deformity or being maimed, his
eligibility shall be determined by the lodge to which he has applied, and if
determined favorably to the petitioner he shall be eligible to receive the
degrees of Masonry when the action of the lodge has been approved by the Grand
Master in writing."
It is the law in Indiana that
"The Grand Master may with the consent of the Committee on Jurisprudence allow
lodges to receive and ballot on petitions for membership of those who can by
the aid of artificial appliances conform to the ceremonies of the order."
Since the adoption of this
law in 1911, the average number of such petitions has not exceeded eight in
any one year. Indiana has a membership of over seventy thousand Masons and
therefore the ratio of the "physically imperfect" is numerically very small.
Probably the method employed acts to some extent to deter or at least to
lessen the number of applications because of the official approval required of
those who are not influenced by the local personal equation. They do not have
an acquaintance with the applicants other than is requisite to understand the
extent of the bodily defect. Hasty and ill-advised action would appear to be
checked in every way by the Indiana method.
A special form has been
prepared for Indiana lodges which makes it easy to compile and submit such
data concerning every applicant as will enable the Grand Master and the
Committee on Jurisprudence to pass intelligently upon the merits or the
demerits of each case.
Says the Committee: "We must
remember that we should not encourage this class of applicants any more than
we should solicit the applicants who are physically perfect, nor should we
encourage them to believe that this amendment gives them an inalienable right
to the blessed privileges of our institution. Let them understand that this is
a favor to be bestowed only upon those whose mental, moral, and social
endowments have more than compensated for the loss they have sustained in the
In Massachusetts the law in
reference to physical qualifications is expressed thus: "If the physical
deformity of any applicant for the degrees does not amount to an inability to
meet the requirements of the ritual, and honestly to acquire the means of
subsistence, it shall constitute no hindrance to his initiation." Grand Master
Johnson interpreted the significance of this regulation to be that "The
physical defect of the candidate, whatever it may be, shall not be such as to
render him incapable of receiving and imparting instruction, nor of performing
any duties that may be required of him in his capacity or vocation as a Mason.
No such maim or defect of the body as the loss of an eye, an ear, a finger, or
other member not essential to the discharge of his Masonic duties, or to his
personal maintenance, does any violence to the spirit and original intent of
this regulation, and, in the opinion of your committee, no other construction
can be put upon it consistently with the higher demands of humanity, justice,
ADDITIONAL DATA FOR THE
Some lodges in Ohio provide
an additional series of questions in order that investigating committees may
be more thorough in searching out the character and reputation of applicants
for membership. Sometimes these questions are printed on the backs of the
petitions or reports. Under the heading of "Qualifications of Applicants"
there is stated:
"Each committee shall,
collectively if possible, visit the Petitioner in his home and require him to
answer the following questions:
"Do you pay your debts ? "Do
you use profane or indecent language, gamble, associate with improper persons,
indulge intemperately in intoxicating liquors, own or tend a saloon? "If
married, do you live with your family? "Do you believe in the everliving and
true God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures? "To what Organizations or
Associations do you belong? "The committee shall then ascertain from outside
sources: "If he is temperate in all his habits. "If his neighbors,
acquaintances and employers give him a good character. "If he is mercenary,
narrow-minded, arbitrary, or a disturbing element. "If he is physically
qualified to receive the degrees. "If he has sufficient education to
understand that Freemasonry is to improve in knowledge, to cultivate the
social virtues, and to practice out of the lodge the great moral and
charitable precepts taught in it. "If the Organizations to which he belongs
would circumscribe or prevent his usefulness in the Fraternity."
With the very broad scope of
these queries there is nevertheless omitted any mention of the provision to be
made by the applicant for the future welfare of those dependent upon him. The
Grand Lodge of New Zealand expects the applicant to satisfy the Committee of
Investigation regarding the insurance or other provision for the family in
case of the death or permanent disability of the petitioner.
Among the recommendations of
Grand Master Cotton of Missouri submitted to his Grand Lodge during the annual
communication of 1915 was one that suggested that committees of investigation
be required to answer the following questions with reference to applicants for
"Has the applicant resided in
Missouri twelve months and in the jurisdiction of the lodge six months? "Is he
mentally qualified and of proper age ? "Is he strictly honest and truthful?
"Is he addicted to the intemperate use of intoxicating liquors ? "Does he
gamble? "What is the character of his company and associates? "Does he
habitually use profane or indecent language? "Has he licentious or immoral
habits? "Is he a law-abiding citizen? "Do you consider him suitable material
for 'a beautiful system of morals"'?
Lodges in New Jersey have an
application blank containing the following directions and questions which the
investigating committee is in every case charged with the duty of having duly
and properly observed and answered:
"Brethren, you are appointed
a committee to investigate the character and eligibility of.....for membership
in our lodge.
"The following information
will guide you in performing your duty: "He is in business at.... (employed
by) ....located at...... He resides at..........
"You will obtain from said
petitioner full and correct answers to the following questions: "Names of
parents. "Names of brothers and sisters. "Where has he resided during the past
ten years ? (If more than one place, give places and periods of residence.)
"Does he appear to possess sufficient intelligence to understand and value the
doctrines and tenets of our order? "What are the names and addresses of all
his employers for the past two years, and the periods and nature of his
several employments ? "Is he married or single ? "If married, is he living
with his wife? "If not living with his wife, state the reason for separation.
"Has he any children? If so, how many? "What provision has he made for himself
or his family in case of his disability or death? "Does he contribute to the
immediate necessities of those who want, and is it his purpose to practice
charity so far as his circumstances will permit? "Has he ever been convicted
of a crime? If so, state the circumstances and result. "Is he physically
qualified to become a member of the order ? "What three responsible persons,
Masons preferred, have known him the most intimately, and for the longest
time? "Said committee shall report the results of its investigation to the
lodge in the following form, which shall be properly filled in: "Your
committee appointed upon the petition of Mr......... would report that they
called personally upon such petitioner, and have called or communicated by
letter with persons named in answer to questions five and fourteen, and have
received the following answers: (Give report of each person replying).
"From .................... "From ....................
"We are satisfied that the
answers in his statement contained are.... true; that his life, conduct,
morals, and general reputation and standing in the community in which he
resides are such that he is ....qualified as a proper candidate for Masonry,
and that there are .....reasons to the knowledge of your committee why the
prayer of such petitioner should not be granted."
Details so elaborate may to
many accustomed to the simpler forms appear unnecessary. On the other hand it
has in fact happened that the wrong man has been under investigation and that
the lodge has thereby been constrained to vote improperly. In this instance
the two men were of the same name but not related and both resided within the
jurisdiction of the lodge to which an application was tendered. The whole
proceedings were subsequently officially declared null and void. The Grand
Master found that "The committee did not report on the application placed in
their hands nor did the lodge vote on the petition of the man who applied."
Accordingly there was but the one thing to do and the lodge received the
following explicit instructions: "Let the committee do its duty, make report
on the proper man, and let the lodge vote on the proper petition."
Iris Lodge, No. 229, of
Cleveland, Ohio, uses the regulation blank for the petitioner's application
for membership. When this petition is received the Secretary sends the
applicant another printed blank which he is to fill out and return. This
latter blank bears the name and address of the Lodge and of its Secretary an
otherwise is as follows:
"Dear Sir:--I am in receipt
of your application to Iris Lodge. Will you kindly supply answers to the
following questions and return the form to me in the enclosed envelope at your
........................................ "Date of
Birth.................................... "Place of
Birth................................... "How long have you lived in
Cleveland............ "How long have you lived in Ohio.................
"Occupation ..................................... "If employed, give
Employer's name............... "Business Address
............................... "Single, Married or
Widower...................... "If married, how many in
family.................. "Do you attend any Church........................ "If
so, which..................................... "Give Pastor's
name.............................. "Do you belong to any Secret
Societies............ "If so, which..................................... "Give
names of three men to whom you can refer, other than those already on the
"Have you ever made application to a Masonic Lodge before............ "Give
any other information that will be of assistance to the Committee."
The effect of the last line
in the foregoing blank will be to encourage the applicant to make a more
thorough search through his answers to the preceding questions and to supply
additional data where his first replies may have been scanty of particulars.
In all these investigations
there is the object that a sense of absolute confidence within the lodge must
be satisfied. To attain this end the candidate is called upon for all the
necessary details of these qualifications essential to Masonic raw material.
Systematization of the work of investigation simplifies the labors of the
Committees, produces uniformity of results, and do much to provide that
nothing of value has been over looked. When these much to be desired results
are obtained the lodge can then proceed to ballot advisedly. Sure of its
ground the lodge then builds upon firm foundation the edifice Masonic, the
worthy candidate being by its labor fitted to the purpose of the Craft.
HELPFUL HINTS TO STUDY CLUB
Proposing and Recommending.
Under this heading we
consider all of the conditions surrounding a candidate for the Mysteries of
Masonry, his qualifications, and the duties of the Lodge with respect to a
proper consideration of his petition. The following points should be
thoroughly brought out in the Club discussion. In addition, we append some
questions dealing with the more general policies of a Lodge which will serve,
as we think, to form in the mind of a student a correct opinion on these
a. What is a complete and
legal Petition for the Mysteries of Masonry ? b. How does a Petition come
before the Lodge ? What are the successive steps which it must take before
finally being acted upon? c. What are the duties of the Recommenders to a
Petition ? d. What are the duties of the Committee on Investigation? e. Where
must a candidate reside in order to petition a Lodge ? What determines the
jurisdiction of a Lodge? When and where is jurisdiction referred to as
"concurrent" ? f. Discuss the doctrine of "Physical Perfection." What is the
law in your own State on the subject? g. In the olden time Lodges were small,
and the members knew all candidates personally. How far do modern conditions
justify a Committee on Investigation in asking for additional information
regarding a candidate ? In cities and towns with a considerable transient
population would you regard the lists of supplemental questions in this paper
as justifiable? h. Should the fact that a candidate has presented his petition
to a Lodge be kept from the general public ? Why ? i. Impress the necessity of
proper decorum in the ante-room and preparation room. What should be the
attitude of all the Brethren of a Lodge toward a candidate whose name has been
proposed? j. Has not the Lodge the right to try to learn whether or not a
candidate will take Masonry seriously? Should the petitioner's motives be
included in the list of qualifications? What is meant by "preparation in the
1. Which policy is best for
Masonry, charging a high initiation fee, say from $50.00 to $100.00, or a
relatively low fee, from $25.00 to $40.00?
a. Discuss the "human nature"
element. Which do we value most, things that cost us enough to demand
sacrifice, or things which cost us little ? b. Is the establishment of a
relatively high fee for the degrees in any sense placing a "money value on
Masonry" ? c. How far may a Lodge be said to place its own valuation upon the
work which it does, when it establishes the fee to be charged? d. Ought not
every Lodge to place itself in such a financial position that it can fulfill
its charitable obligations to its members ? What are these obligations ? e.
Ought not every candidate to be presented by the Lodge with enough good
Masonic literature so that he may come to a full understanding of what Masonry
is, and what it should mean to him ?
2. Discuss the question of
Lodge Dues as related to the above.
3. Bring out the fact that,
though the candidate is presently to assume an obligation to the Lodge, the
Lodge is also, through its W. M., to assume the same obligation toward the
candidate. This being true, the Lodge MUST determine for itself the qualities
of a candidate which tend to make him either worthy or unworthy of the mutual
confidence imposed by initiation.
Committee on Investigation,
THE BUILDER, vol. II, (Cor.) p. 254. Preliminary Statements of Candidate, THE
BUILDER, vol. Soliciting, THE BUILDER, vol. I, p. 40. Qualifications, THE
BUILDER, vol. I, pp. 126, 242, 248; vol. II, pp. 17, 30, 239, 274, 277, 350; (Cor.)
pp. 95, 160, 191, 318; (Lib.) p. 27; (Q. B.) pp. 317, 381. Old Constitutions
of Freemasonry, 1722, p. 15 Newton's "The Builders," p. 127. Mackey's
Encyclopedia: Candidate, Esoteric Masonry, Monitor, Proposing Candidates,
Recommendation, Residence, Qualifications of a Candidate, Jurisdiction of a
Lodge, Physical Qualifications. Mackey's Text Book of Masonic Jurisprudence,
Book I, Chapter ii. The student is also referred to the articles on "Physical
Qualifications" in this issue of THE BUILDER.
QUALIFICATIONS OF A CANDIDATE
WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
It is a society of men of all
classes in the social scale, all nations, races, colours, and creeds.
They must be believers in one
sole, personal God.
Further, of good position,
i.e., following some reputable calling. A usurer, a police-informer, the
follower of any degrading occupation, even though perfectly legal, such as a
hangman, would be an impossible candidate; because his presence would
dishonour the Craft, and he would be unfit to associate with gentlemen.
They must be of adequate
means; that is, their income must be in excess of their actual necessities.
Freemasonry is always more or less expensive, and we hold it a Masonic crime
to devote to the Craft what is required by one's family.
They must be of good repute
or morals. This does not imply that every candidate shall be absolutely
faultless; but what is known of him must be, on the whole, to his credit. The
man of business whose smartness borders on dishonesty; the boon companion
whose conviviality resolves itself into frequent excess; the man who is often
seen in doubtful company; the hotheaded disputant, whose violence of
temperament leads him to forget the respect due to his adversary; these are
not desirable members of the Craft, even though their good qualities exceed
their bad ones. And yet, if carelessly admitted there is a likelihood that the
Craft and its lessons may do them great good.
On the other hand, the
inveterate liar, the unclean liver, the drunkard, the rowdy, the companion of
rogues and vagabonds, the fraudulent bankrupt, the gambler, the spendthrift,
the betrayer of innocence, the hypocrite and the niggard, are under no
circumstances fit and proper candidates for the privileges of Freemasonry.
They must be Free. When
Masonry was first established, serfs and villains existed in the land. Such
were not admitted to apprenticeship in our lodges. In like manner we must not
admit a man who is not master of his own time and actions. But we apply the
restriction to his intellect also. A man bound down in the chains of
superstition, unable to take a free and manly view of matters in general, the
bondsman of priestcraft, of social laws and prejudices of his business
avocations even or a slave to his own passions, is not a fit associate for
Free men and Masons.
They must be sound men. When
Masonry was chiefly composed of operative Masons, a cripple was not admitted
to apprenticeship; the reason is obvious. We no longer insist upon soundness
of limb, provided the candidate can fulfill our requirements; but we stipulate
for mental soundness. A Mason must have a sound mind, capable of reasoning, of
instruction, of appreciating the beauties of our ritual, of expressing himself
clearly, of discriminating between good and evil, the noble and the base.
They must be educated men.
This does not imply a university career, or even a board-school education. The
best and truest and most serviceable education is often acquired amongst one's
fellow men in the battle of life. That they must be able to read and write is
obvious. But they must have been educated to possess the most valuable
attributes of a gentleman. Not in the restricted and false sense in which My
Lord Tomnoddy would apply the word. Polished manners and a good tailor neither
make nor mar the gentleman. Masons understand by the term a man who has learnt
to be considerate to all men, of a kind and chivalrous nature, who avoids acts
and words which pain his neighbors, honest in thought and deed, the support of
the weak, the vindicator of the oppressed. Such a man, though his hands be
horny, his boots clumsy, his gait heavy and his H's misplaced, is a noble man,
a friend to be trusted, and will make a good Mason. If in addition he
possesses the grace and complishments of Lord Chesterfield, or the erudition
of Bacon, he will be doubly welcome; but the latter qualities, without former,
are as naught.
They must be of a charitable
disposition. Charitable in giving of their superabundance, charitable in
sympathy with the distressed in body and mind, charitable in thinking no evil
of friend or foe. To virtue ever kind, to faults a little blind.
Such should be the members of
the Craft; this is the ideal which every lodge should strive to attain. That
in many cases we fall lamentably short of this high ideal, must be attributed
to the imperfections of our human nature.
--From "What Is
Freemasonry?" by G. W. Speth.
HELP TO MAKE YOUR LODGE A
Most of the Lodges that have
been called off for the summer season will call on again this month. The great
number that are following our Course of Study will resume their monthly study
meetings with the installment of the course in this issue of the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin. They will be better prepared than ever to
successfully conduct their meetings since the inauguration of the new feature,
"Helpful Hints to Study Leaders."
The facilities of the Study
Club Department have been greatly augmented and we are now in a better
position than ever before to answer the many questions that are being referred
to us by Lodges and Study Clubs. For the past ten months one of our clerks has
been employed in card-indexing the contents of all the Masonic books,
periodicals, Research Lodge transactions, Grand Lodge Proceedings,
Encyclopedias, etc., in the Library of the Society. Four of us have been busy
for several months on our "Clipping Bureau." In this Bureau we are clipping
and classifying under their proper titles articles of every description
contained in all the Masonic periodicals coming to our exchange table. Our
task will not be completed for many months to come but we already have a vast
fund of information for reference purposes and the card-index system and
Clipping Bureau are both in excellent working order. When both of these
systems are practically completed (they will both be constantly added to each
month as new material is received from other sources), we shall have the most
complete reference system that can be imagined, and the references on every
conceivable subject having to do with Masonry in any connection will be
instantly available. Every subject will have its individual index-card and
this card will show the volume and page of every book in the Library in which
allusion is made to the subject in particular, be it but a single line or
Take, if you please, the
"Oblong Square" for a subject. We consult our index-card and find immediately
a list of every mention of the subject that has been made in the many volumes
of the "Ars Quatuor Coronatorum," Mackey's Encyclopedia, MacKenzie's
Encyclopedia, THE BUILDER, NEW AGE, etc. We are also directed to the exact
volume and page of every other work on Masonry on our Library shelves wherein
anything ever appeared on this subject. We then take our folder from our
Clipping Bureau, containing all the clippings from the Grand Lodge Proceedings
and Masonic and other periodicals, and we are in a position to give the
individual member, Lodge or Study Club referring to us a question on this
subject, everything that has been written about it.
In addition to these
facilities, we have, by an order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge of Iowa,
free and unlimited access to every work on Masonry in the archives of the
greatest Masonic Library in the world, the Iowa Masonic Library at Cedar
Rapids, where are located two of the members of the Board of Stewards of the
National Masonic Research Society. Need we tell you any more of our vast
resources of Masonic reference?
Right here is where YOU, as a
member of the Research Society, enter into the proposition. Your own Lodge,
which may not have yet taken up this valuable and interesting feature in its
meetings, is entitled, through your membership in the Society, to the free
services of our Study Club Department and you will be conferring a great favor
upon your fellow-members of your Lodge by bringing this matter before them.
You may not be in a position
to take a leading part in the study meetings yourself, but doubtless there are
others among the officers and members of your Lodge who have the time and the
inclination to do so if the matter is properly presented to them. May we not
depend upon you to do this, if you cannot do more? Talk it over at the next
meeting of your Lodge and then let us hear from you, or if you are too busy,
have your Master or some other Brother write us for full particulars of our
Study plan, and thus number your Lodge among the many hundreds that are DOING
THINGS and living up to their obligations to their members.
BI-CENTENARY OF THE GRAND
LODGE OF ENGLAND BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ASS'T EDITOR LONDON FREEMASON
The fortunate habit, adhered
to by the London Freemason, of publishing portraits of Brethren elected to
preside over some of their London Lodges enables us this month to present to
our Members a likeness of Brother Dudley Wright, of London, whose graceful pen
has already adorned these pages. But for this publication, we could not have
done so, owing to the rules of the English Post Office prohibiting the mailing
of photographs to outside countries during the war.
Brother Wright was installed
as W. M. of Tuscan Mark Lodge No. 454 in London, on March 30, 1917, the brief
summary of his acceptance revealing a high conception of Masonry, and a devout
sense of the duties and responsibilities of the office. He occupies an eminent
position in English Masonry from a literary standpoint also, being at the
present time Associate Editor of the London Freemason. We hope in due time, to
be able to give to our readers a more extended notice of this Brother, and
also to explain more fully the position of Mark Mason Lodges in England, this
being a branch of Freemasonry not represented in America.
Gibbon in his "History of
Rome," in relating the story of the birth of the future deliverer of that
country--Nicholas Rienzi Gabrini-- says that from his parents, an innkeeper
and a washerwoman, he could inherit neither dignity nor fortune. The history
of every country and of many institutions teems with illustrations of the
manner in which gigantic structures have risen from the tiniest of
foundations. In the same way that before now a blow has caused a revolution
and mighty contests have arisen from trivial causes, of which the history of
the present day is presenting the most notable illustration in all annals, so
many of the great and solid institutions which adorn the world had their
origin almost in obscurity.
Of these institutions,
perhaps the most notable is the story of the Grand Lodge of England. Its
origin is known but the place of its birth has passed away. The members of the
original foundation had ambitions, because they decided that "till they should
have the honour of a noble Brother at their head," their Grand Master should
be selected from among themselves. But the most sanguine of the members of
those four Lodges who assembled in the upper room of "The Goose and Gridiron"
in St. Paul's Churchyard--a room twenty two feet long by fifteen feet
broad--on the 24th June, 1717, could not have glanced with prophetic vision
across the vista of two hundred years and seen those four constituent Lodges
grow and increase until they numbered nearly four thousand. But this
achievement, great as it is, is, however, one of the smallest links in the
Masonic chain forged in that upper room, a chain which now encircles the
globe. That Grand Lodge, organized "pro tempore in due form," became the
parent of the many hundreds of Grand Lodges now existent in all parts of the
From the earliest days of its
history the Craft of Freemasonry has attracted men of learning and of high
attainments in science and literature, and in the fourth year of the history
of Grand Lodge, the Duke of Montagu was installed as Grand Master amid the
rejoicings of the Brethren "who all expressed great joy at the happy Prospect
of being again patronised by noble Grand Masters as in the prosperous Times of
Free Masonry." From that time onward the Grand Master's Chair has been
occupied by a nobleman or a prince of the royal house. The heads of the Craft
have not, however, been chosen merely for the sake of the titles which they
bore, though some importance may undoubtedly, in the earlier days, have been
attached to this factor. One of the founders and the first resident of the
Royal Society--the Fellowship of which has always been regarded as the blue
riband of learning-- was a member of the Craft, and many of its prominent
officials, particularly in the early days of its history, have also been
prominent members and officers of the Grand Lodge of England. A similar
relationship existed, and, happily, still exists between the Grand Lodge and
the Society of Antiquaries.
But there are some
utilitarians who will always persist in asking the question Cui bono? What has
Freemasonry done that could not have been achieved by any other organization,
say, a religious body? Happily, religious strife and controversy are less
poignant in the present age than was the case two hundred years ago. There is
now discernible a tendency towards unification which must be particularly
cheering to those who have always maintained that in the principles of
Freemasonry may be found the common basic facts of all religious systems. In
India, where the caste system prevails in its most rigorous aspect, the Craft
has broken down all barriers: the high-caste Hindu will fraternise and without
question eat with the Mussulman, the Buddhist, and the Christian, if they are
his Brethren. If Freemasonry had done no more than this, it would have
accomplished what many statesmen and missionaries would, but a few decades
ago, have regarded as a miracle and, in the same breath, have declared that
such miracles, at any rate, never happen. It was that same longing, that same
ardent desire for unity, the begetter of strength, that led to the
organization of the Grand Lodge of England on the 24th June, 1717. The same
eagerness has led Brethren during the ensuing two hundred years-- particularly
in 1813--to cast aside everything that was tending to hinder the sublime
achievement and preserve and maintain the fundamental principle. There are
doubtless not a few who, if asked to say what had been the personal effect of
Freemasonry, would make answer in the words of the poet:
No one could tell me what my
soul might be; I sought for God, and God eluded me; I sought my brother out,
and found all three.
But to the unobservant
enquirer, who persists in putting the question Cui bono? and who must see in
order that he may believe, the guide may point with pride to the great Masonic
Institutions which have arisen during the-two last centuries and which were
founded as a practical demonstration of the second Masonic principle of
Relief. He could well challenge his questioner to produce their like as the
result of less than two hundred years' activity on the part of any
organization--religious, social, or philanthropic. He could also tell him--but
then the instances would be far too numerous to relate--of the hundreds, aye,
thousands, of aged Brethren, their wives and widows, whose declining years
would have ended in tragedy but for the practical sympathy of the members of
the Craft. He could point to the long roll of Girls and Boys who have passed
through the Institutions erected for their care and support, many of whose
names have been emblazoned, and some quite recently, on the annals of fame;
and then let both questioner and questioned try to imagine what would have
been their fate if Masonry had not put forward a helping hand. Then point to
the record of relief granted by the Board of Benevolence, by the numerous
Provincial Charity Funds, by the innumerable Masonic Institutions and Charity
Funds of the Sister Grand Lodges of Scotland, Ireland, the Overseas Dominions,
Allied and Foreign Countries and, at the same time, recollect that these are
but some of the offspring of that meeting in the little upper room of "The
Goose and Gridiron," St. Paul's Churchyard on the 24th June, 1717. Last, but
by no means least, tell the sceptical enquirer of the wonderful work that has
been accomplished in less than three years the Freemasons War Hospital in the
No less strenuous have been
the efforts of heads of the Craft to disseminate Truth, the third great
principle of the Order, or, adapting the words of Buckle, the historian, "to
purify the very source and fountain of our knowledge, and secure its future
progress, by casting off obstacles in the presence of which progress is
impossible." A mighty weapon which might have been used for ill has been
placed in the hands of the Grand Lodge of England, but, surely, the fact that
it has always been used for good must be the reason for the strength of the
Craft today. "Right not might" has been the watchword in the past and will be
the keynote of future success. The fact that the Craft, through the Grand
Lodge, has always stood for the right accounts for its might. As Lewis in his
work "On the Influence of Authority in Matters of Opinion" said: "It is of
paramount importance that truth, and not error, should be accredited; that
men, when they are led, should be led by safe guides; and that they should
thus profit by those processes of reasoning and investigation which have been
carried on in accordance with logical rules, but which they are notable to
verify for themselves." The wonderful growth and strength of Freemasonry
during two hundred years is in no small degree attributable to the fact that
the body militant has been under the direction of safe guides, Brethren who
have led by example and have not driven by force. Regard has been paid more to
the center than to the circumference, to the foundation more than to the
superstructure. Truth is one: And in all lands beneath the sun, Whoso hath
eyes to see may see The tokens of its unity.
There is a vast difference,
in point of numbers, from the gathering in that little upper room in "The
Goose and Gridiron" on the 24th June, 1717, and the huge assembly in the Royal
Albert Hall on the 23rd June, 1917, but the principles for which both meetings
were organized and held were the same. During two hundred years they have
been preserved inviolate. Exigencies of time and circumstances have
necessitated development in points of procedure but these have involved no
deviation from the original foundation. The center is still where it was. The
circumference is an ever-broadening one. Freemasonry has never employed the
argumentum ad hominem, but rather, with a mind conscious of rectitude, which
has enabled its adherents to set at naught criticisms founded on a
misunderstanding or wilful falsification of its aims, has adopted as its motto
Respice finem and pursued unfalteringly its way.
BY BRO. W. E. ATCHISON, ASS'T
V. PHYSICAL QUALIFICATIONS
(Note: The following is a
digest of the laws of the several Grand Jurisdictions of the United States
relating to physical qualifications of candidates for initiation into the
mysteries of Masonry. While it was our primary intention when this study was
begun to cite only the laws pertaining to "physical" qualifications, it became
evident, from the replies of some Grand Secretaries, that it would be
necessary in some instances to include also portions of the law concerning
moral, intellectual and age qualifications owing to the fact that these were
included in the same section or paragraph with physical qualifications, and to
delete all but physical qualifications might lead to a misinterpretation of
the law. These excerpts from the Codes are not in all instances exhaustive of
the Code but are comprehensive enough to cover the subject from almost every
angle without making the article too lengthy.
The present study is intended
only to cover the qualifications of candidates for initiation. The law of each
jurisdiction covering the question of advancement of Entered Apprentices and
Fellow Crafts sustaining physical injuries after initiation or passing may be
found in the February, 1917, number of THE BUILDER, pages 50 to 56,
Alabama. No subordinate lodge
shall proceed to confer any or either of the degrees of Masonry upon any
person who is not a man, freeborn, of the age of twenty-one years or upward,
of good reputation, of sufficient natural and intellectual endowment, with an
estate, office, trade, occupation, or some other obvious source of honest
subsistence, from which he may be able to spare something for works of charity
and for maintaining the ancient dignity and utility of the Masonic
If the petitioner be
physically defective by reason of deformity or being maimed, his eligibility
shall be determined by the Lodge to which he has applied, and if determined
favorable to the petitioner he shall be eligible to receive the degrees of
Masonry when the action of the Lodge has been approved by the Grand Master in
(The Jurisprudence Committee,
being requested by the Grand Master to interpret the above law replied "we do
not believe it advisable or desirable to attempt to specify the particular
instances which would authorize the waiver of physical infirmities or
deformities. The spirit of this amended clause of the constitution is broad,
and its purpose clear, and the construction thereof should be left to the
deliberate judgment of the subordinate lodge and the Grand Master, in the
light of this spirit and purpose under the facts of each particular case.")
Arizona. The person who
desires to be made a Mason must be a man; no woman or eunuch; free born, being
neither a slave nor the son of a bond woman; a believer in God and a future
existence; of moral conduct; capable of reading and writing; having no maim or
defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art, and
physically able to conform literally to what the several degrees respectively
require of him.
Arkansas. No person must be
made a Mason unless he be a man of full age, of good character, honest and
upright; he must have the use of his limbs and members, as a man ought to
have; and with no maim, nor any such defect as may incapacitate him to learn
the art, to give all due signs and salutations, to be made a Fellow Craft and
Master in due time; honestly and reputably to acquire means of subsistence;
and to comply fully and entirely with all the duties and obligations assumed
by him towards the Craft at large and individual brethren, and such as Masonic
law and usage impose upon or require of a good Mason.
Defects which have been held
to disqualify: Loss of arm. Stiff knee. Eunuch. Loss of left hand. Loss of
foot. Inability to take the steps.
Defects which have been held
not to disqualify: Nearsightedness. Slight defect in hip. Broken right thigh
causing partial loss sense of feeling in right foot. Loss of one eye. Loss of
last joint of thumb on left hand.
California. No Lodge in this
jurisdiction shall receive an application for the degrees of Masonry unless
the applicant be a man; no woman nor eunuch; free born, being neither a slave
nor the son of a bond woman; a believer in God and a future existence; of
moral conduct; capable of reading and writing; having no maim or defect in his
body that may render him incapable of learning the art, and physically able to
conform substantially to what the several degrees respectively require of him.
A petition cannot be received
from one under 21, even though he would arrive at that age before action on
the petition could be taken.
A Lodge cannot with propriety
receive an application from one who has served a term in State's prison.
Nor from one under indictment
by a grand Jury.
The candidate must be a
believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and not quibble about
Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence.
The non-observance of the
first day of the week as a day of rest does not disqualify an applicant.
Saloon keepers and bar
keepers are ineligible.
Colorado. A candidate for the
degrees shall be a man, at least twenty-one years of age at the time his
petition is presented to the Lodge; free born, of sound mind, having no maim
or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art and
becoming perfect in the work, but physically able to conform literally to what
the several degrees may require of him; shall be of good report, and shall
possess a belief in one ever-living and true God. No Lodge shall confer the
Entered Apprentice Degree upon a candidate unless he possess these
qualifications. No substitution of artificial parts or limbs is a compliance
with the law. The loss of a hand or a foot, or any considerable part of such
member, or a material natural deformity therein, is an absolute
disqualification. Except where the disqualification is absolute, the Lodge has
a discretion, which must be governed by the spirit of the law as above set
Connecticut. The necessary
qualifications of a candidate are such that affect his character, which are
termed the internal qualifications, and such as affect his body, which are
termed the physical or external qualification.
The internal qualifications
are--(1) That he shall be free-born-- born of free parents--and under no
restraint as to his liberty. (2) That he shall be of lawful age, not less than
twenty-one years. (3) That he shall not be an "Irreligious libertine," nor a
"stupid atheist." (4) That he shall be of honest reputation, of humane
disposition, and of temperate and industrious habits. (5) That he shall be
actuated solely by a desire for knowledge, and of being servicable to his
fellow-men. (6) That he shall be of sound mind and memory.
The external qualifications
are: That he shall be a man --not a eunuch, nor a woman and that he shall
possess the full enjoyment of those faculties, organs, limbs and members which
are necessary for the reception and imparting of Masonic knowledge, and for a
full compliance with all the forms and ceremonies employed in such reception
or imparting, as practiced from time immemorial among Masons.
Delaware. Men made Masons
must be freeborn, of mature age and of good report, hale and sound, not
deformed at the time of their making and having full and proper use of their
limbs, so that they may be capable of receiving and communicating the art of
District of Columbia. No
Lodge shall initiate any candidate who is under twenty-one years of age or
whose physical defects are such as either to prevent him from being properly
instructed or from conforming literally to all requirements of the several
degrees in Ancient Craft Masonry.
Held: That the loss of right
thumb; loss of left hand; loss of index finger and middle finger of right hand
and part of right heel; stiff knee are all disqualifying disabilities.
Florida. The candidate for
initiation into Masonry must be a man; free-born; with good moral reputation;
of reasonable intelligence; physically capable of conforming literally to what
the several degrees require of him; and he must not be an atheist.
A light physical deformity
will not bar the initiation of a worthy applicant. The physical, mental and
moral qualifications must all be considered in preparing a ballot, and all
must have their due weight. The members of a Lodge are the judges as to these
It is a safe rule in these
days, though its antiquity may be greatly doubted, that a candidate should be
able to read and write.
The casualties of war are no
reason for changing the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry. The candidate must
be hale and sound, not deformed or dismembered, and must be able to perform
the work required in the first three degrees of Masonry.
An artificial substitute will
not qualify a dismembered applicant.
Georgia. A candidate at the
time of filing his petition must be fully twenty-one years of age.
Old age is not a bar to
Masonry provided that the candidate in consequence thereof, has not lost
possession of his physical and intellectual faculties, of which the Lodge must
be the judge.
A candidate should be able to
perform all the duties of Masonry, whether intellectual or physical.
The question of when a man is
in his dotage is a question of fact, to be applied to each particular case.
There is Ill no stated age at which a man would be considered in this
unfortunate condition. A man possessed of all his faculties, capable of
transacting the ordinary affairs of life and memorizing our lectures and
ceremonies, no matter how old he may be, is not in his dotage. One man may
reach this condition at a much earlier age than another.
One whose vision or hearing
are so much impaired as to prevent his full understanding of any of the forms
and ceremonies of Masonry, is ineligible to receive the degrees.
A candidate must be able to
both read and write. A man who can read, but cannot write, except to sign his
name, is not eligible for admission for membership.
Every candidate for
initiation in this Jurisdiction must be upright in body, not deformed or
dismembered at the time of making, but of hale and entire limbs, organs and
members, as a man ought to be.
In the following cases the
candidate is ineligible: (A) If either hand is amputated. (B) With only one
leg. (C) With one-half of one foot lost. (D) When any limb or part of limb is
lost, although approved mechanical appliances are used. (E) A hunch-back, who
is necessarily a deformed man (E) One who has one leg materially shorter than
other. (G) One whose left hand is crippled, and who has lost a thumb and two
joints of the first finger thereof. (H) One who has lost two joints off of two
fingers of the right hand. (I) One who has lost his right thumb at the first
joint. (J) One who has lost the first or index finger of the right hand at the
first joint, the second, half-way between the first and second joints, and the
third at the first joint (K) One whose thumb and index finger of the right
hand are sound, but the two middle fingers are drawn against the palm of the
hand, and cannot be straightened, and whose right arm is also slightly drawn,
so that when straightened as far as possible would form an angle of about 120
(L) With the thumb and
fingers of the left hand lost (M) With the fingers of either right or left
hand, except the first finger and thumb lost. (N) With two joints of the index
finger lost. (O) With the little finger and the ring finger lost, with two
other fingers off at the middle joint.
An illegitimate is not
The loss of first joint of
the first finger does not disqualify.
Held: If any candidate for
the mysteries for Freemasonry possess any physical defect which shall cause
him not to conform to the standards set out in our laws, or that may render
him incapable of learning the art of Freemasonry, he shall be ineligible.
Idaho. Decision by Grand
Master Waterhouse, 1898: The ancient regulations governing the qualifications
of a candidate for the degrees of Masonry were that he should not be formed
nor dismembered. Since Operative Masonry is not coupled with Speculative
Masonry, and we deal with Speculative Masonry only, this has been modified so
that a man be not deformed to an extent that will prevent him from receiving
and giving all Masonic signs, etc., nor prevent him from earning an honest
living for himself and family, and that he be not likely to become a charge
upon the Lodge. The Lodge to be the judge of this.
Held: That a man who is a
trifle lame - one leg shorter than the other--capable of making all signs
correctly and who would not become a charge on the Lodge and is not barred by
some particular section of our laws, is eligible. The Lodge to be the judge.
Held: That the following
defects are disqualifications: Loss of one eye; loss of one hand, loss of two
fingers from right hand; loss of leg; loss of right thumb.
Illinois. Every candidate
applying for the degrees in Mason must have the senses of a man, especially
those of hearing, seeing, and feeling; be a believer in God; capable of
reading and writing and possess no maim or defect in his body that may render
him incapable of conforming literally to what the several degrees require of
him. No provision of section shall be set aside, suspended, or dispensed with
the Grand Lodge.
The loss of sight in one eye
or the necessity of wearing a truss, are not disqualifications.
Indiana. Lodges are
prohibited from initiating any candidate under twenty-one years of age, or one
who has not made a declaration of his belief in the existence of the Deity, or
one whose physical disability is such as to prevent his literal compliance
with the ceremonies of the Order: Provided, That the Grand Master may, with
the consent of the Committee on Jurisprudence, allow Lodges to receive and
ballot on petitions for membership of those who can, by the aid of artificial
appliances, conform to the ceremonies of the Order in every particular.
It has been held that:
An applicant whose left knee
is anchylosed, and can not kneel on his left knee and can not kneel on both
knees is not eligible to the degrees in Masonry.
That one who has lost the
entire four fingers of his left hand is eligible to be made a Mason, because
that is not such a defect as would prevent him from fulfilling strictly the
requirements of Masonry. If it were the right hand, the decision would be
Iowa. A man to be eligible to
the degrees must be able to conform to all the ceremonies required in the work
and practice of Masonry with his natural person. No substitution of artificial
parts or limbs is a compliance with the law. The loss of a hand or foot is an
absolute disqualification; other deformities may or may not be, depending upon
the nature and extent.
Masters and Lodges will be
held strictly accountable for the observance of this rule. Except where the
disqualification is absolute, the Lodge has a discretion, which must be
exercised with prudence.
It has been held that a loss
of a foot at the ankle, after a person is elected for the degrees, absolutely
disqualifies, notwithstanding the election, and he can not be received.
Kansas. A candidate for the
mysteries of Masonry must be a man, free born, of sound mind, of mature age,
without bodily defect, without physical disability and living under the tongue
of good report.
Kentucky. A candidate for
initiation must possess no maim or deformity which will prevent him from being
perfectly instructed in the art and mystery of Freemasonry, and in his own
person instructing others by exemplification. Of all this the Lodge is the
The Entered Apprentice Degree
should not be conferred on one who wears a metal truss, unless he shall
dispense with it, but the Lodge is the sole judge as to whether the candidate
is duly and truly prepared.
Louisiana. A candidate should
be able to see, hear, feel and walk and should be in such possession of his
physical and mental faculties as will enable him to fully perfect both himself
and others, and be enabled to obtain thereby a living that he may not become a
charge to the Order.
The loss of an arm
disqualifies; a defect in the right hip, that makes it impossible to put the
right heel to the ground is a disqualification.
Loss of three fingers on the
right hand disqualifies.
One who has but one foot is
not physically qualified, nor can this physical disqualification be cured by
the fact that he has an artificial leg.
Loss of left arm between the
shoulder and elbow disqualifies. The loss of an eye, the candidate being able
to see well with the other eye and the loss of the first articular joint of
the thumb on the right hand does not disqualify.
The Lodge, in deciding upon
the physical qualifications of a candidate, must be governed by the views of
this Grand Lodge.
Held: That a man whose right
ankle is stiff, with the foot turned out and who slightly limps, may be
initiated providing he can perform the ceremonies of initiation and give the
signs of recognition, and has the other necessary qualifications.
That one who has one leg
shorter than the other and uses an extension shoe, but who can, without the
aid of the extension shoe assume all positions required in receiving the
degrees and give all signs of recognition, could be initiated.
The loss of right thumb
disqualifies. The loss of fingers of left hand does not disqualify.
Maine. Ancient regulations:
The physical deformity of an individual operates as a bar to his admission
into the fraternity. But as this regulation was adopted for the government of
the Craft when they united the character of Operative with that of Speculative
Masons, this Grand Lodge authorizes such, a construction of the regulation as
that, when the deformity of the candidate is not such as to prevent him being
instructed in the arts or mysteries of Freemasonry, and does not amount to an
inability honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, the admission will not
be an infringement of the requirements, but will be perfectly consistent with
the spirit of our institution.
To which are added the
following decisions given from time to time according to the Maine Masonic
A man who has lost his right
hand cannot be made a Mason.
Nor a man who has lost an arm
or a leg, a hand or a foot.
Not even if the deficiency
has been supplied by artificial means.
So of a man who, by palsy or
other cause, has lost the use of a leg.
If the Senior Warden can
conscientiously declare that the candidate "is in due form," and he is fully
able to receive and impart all signs and tokens necessary for Masonic
recognition, he is not physically ineligible.
Maryland. No Lodge shall on
any account initiate a candidate who is under twenty-one years of age nor
initiate, pass or raise a candidate whose physical defects prevent him from
conforming literally to all the requirements of the several degrees of Ancient
Massachusetts. If the
physical deformity of any applicant for the degrees does not amount to an
inability to meet the requirements of the ritual, and honestly to acquire the
means of subsistence, it shall constitute no hindrance to his initiation.
Numerous requests for rules
concerning the physical qualifications of particular candidates are made of
the Grand Master. Following precedent, he has persistently declined to pass
upon particular cases. He should state only Masonic Law on the subject, and
that general statement of law, the Master and his Lodge must apply upon their
own responsibility to the case on hand.
The following is an
authoritative statement of the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts on the question taken from the Proceedings of 1915:
"This regulation is to be
interpreted, not according to the Levitical law, with which Masonry never had
anything to do, either as a symbol or a fact, but by its own terms and the
logical consistency and propriety of its application. So interpreted, its
significance manifestly is, that the physical defect of the candidate whatever
it may be, shall not be such as to render him incapable of receiving and
imparting instruction, nor of performing any duties that may be required of
him in his capacity or vocation as a Mason. No such maim or defect of the body
as the loss of an eye, an ear, a finger, or other member not essential in the
discharge of his Masonic duties, or to his personal maintenance, does any
violence to the spirit and original intent of this regulation, and, in the
opinion of your committee, no other construction can be put upon it
consistently with the higher demands of humanity, justice and equality. 'Not
of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit
giveth life.' Your committee take leave of this branch of their report here,
in the belief that the regulation of our own Grand Lodge on the subject may be
safely left as it stands, and the interpretation and practical application of
it, to the intelligence of the Lodges. With the cases before them as they
arise, they can with more safety and greater propriety determine the proper
disposition of them."
Michigan. No Lodge shall
initiate, pass or raise a candidate who lacks any qualifications required of
him by ancient usage and by a Master Mason's obligation.
A Grand Master has no power
to dispense with any of the "qualifications of a candidate" prescribed by the
Minnesota. A candidate for
Masonry must be a man of mature age, free born, of good report, hale and
sound, not deformed or dismembered and no eunuch.
The requirements of the
Landmarks, that a petitioner must be a man of mature age, of good report, hale
and sound, not deformed or dismembered, may be deemed to be complied with if
the petitioner is twenty-one years of age when he files his petition, of good
character, physically and mentally sound, and if no physical defect exists
which will disable him as a candidate from conforming to and meeting the
requirements of the rites and ceremonies of all the degrees, without
assistance, or the aid of any artificial substitute for any member of his body
he may have lost, and especially can take all of the positions and steps
required in any of the degrees and has a perfect thumb and third joint of the
index finger of his right hand, normal hearing, and perfect sight of one eye.
No ruling of a Master of a
Lodge, nor decision or dispensation of the Grand Master, can warrant any
departure from the regulation laid down in this section.
Missouri. It is incompetent
for any Lodge in this Jurisdiction to confer either of the Three Degrees of
Ancient Craft Masonry on any person whose physical defects are such as to
prevent his receiving and imparting the ceremonies of the several degrees;
Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to render any
one ineligible to the privileges of Masonry who can by the aid of artificial
appliances conform to the necessary ceremonies.
It has been held:
That a man who has lost the
left leg below the knee and wears a cork leg is eligible, if able to conform
to the ceremonies.
That a Lodge could receive a
petition from one whose feet were of unequal size.
That a man having lost the
second, third and fourth fingers of his right hand is ineligible.
Montana. No Lodge shall
confer the Degrees upon any candidate unless he be a perfect man, having no
maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art
and becoming perfect in the degrees.
That a person with one
defective eye is eligible.
That the eligibility of a
person who has lost his right thumb, rests with the Lodge having Jurisdiction.
That a person who has lost
the index finger of the right hand at the knuckle joint is ineligible.
That one who has had his
right leg amputated below the knee is not eligible.
That the loss of either
finger from the left hand, the index finger and thumb being intact, would not
render a man ineligible.
A person with part Indian
blood is eligible.
Note by Grand Secretary
"The crux of the matter with
our Grand Lodge is the following, taken from the Ohio expression on the
subject, which was adopted by our Grand Lodge in 1899: 'A candidate for the
degree of Entered Apprentice should be able physically as well as
intellectually, to receive and impart all the essentials of Masonic
recognition, and this the Lodge may determine.'"
Nebraska. A Lodge can not
initiate any one who can not read and write, nor one having physical
imperfections which impair his ability to support himself and family, or by
reason of which he is unable to conform to all of our peculiar rites and
Nevada. Men to be made Masons
must be free born, of mature age, of good report, hale and sound, perfect in
their members, so far as to be able to perform all Masonic labor.
Report of Jurisprudence
Committee adopted in 1916:
We do not propose that our
constituent Lodges shall confer any degree--either on its own material or the
material of another Lodge or Jurisdiction--upon one who cannot comply with the
rules laid down by this Grand Lodge,- that an applicant must be hale and
sound, perfect in all his members, so far as to be able to perform Masonic
labor, and in full possession of all mental faculties.
This rule must be given the
earnest consideration of every Master within this Jurisdiction and we urge
that no relaxation be permitted.
New Hampshire. By the ancient
regulations, the physical deformity of an individual operates as a bar to his
admission into the Fraternity. But as this regulation was adopted for the
government of the Craft, at a period when they united the character of
Operative with that of Speculative Masons, this Grand Lodge authorizes such a
construction of the regulation as that, when the deformity of the candidate is
not such as to prevent him from being instructed in the art and mystery of
Freemasonry, and does not amount to an inability honestly to acquire the means
of subsistence, the admission will not be an infringement upon the Ancient
Landmarks, but will be consistent with the spirit of our Institution.
An applicant who has lost a
thumb and second finger of his right hand is ineligible.
An applicant who has lost his
left arm below the elbow is ineligible.
An applicant for the Degrees
who has a stiff knee is physically disqualified.
A Lodge rejecting an
applicant on account of physical disqualifications cannot waive jurisdiction
in favor of a Lodge in another state where physical disqualification is not a
bar to being made a Mason.
Applicants for the Degrees
must be able to comply readily and naturally with all the requirements of our
The Grand Master has no
authority to grant a dispensation which would enable a Lodge to initiate a
candidate who has lost a thumb and fore finger of the right hand.
A person who has lost his
left hand at the wrist is not eligible to receive the degrees.
A man whose foot is
artificial and whose leg from down about half-way from knee to ankle is
artificial, is not eligible for the degrees of Freemasonry.
A candidate with one leg
several inches shorter than the other and obliged to use a crutch is not
eligible to the degrees.
New Jersey. Before proceeding
with an initiation the Master or, in his absence, the acting Master, must have
accurate knowledge of the candidate's physical competency to literally conform
to all the requirements of Ancient Craft Masonry.
If a Master is in doubt as to
the physical qualifications of a candidate, he must not proceed until after a
personal inspection has been made by the direction of the Grand Master. The
instructions of the Grand Master must be followed without question.
If a candidate has any
visible physical defect, the Master must suspend all proceedings looking to
his initiation and at once report the case to the Grand Master, who, in person
or by Deputy, shall, after personal examination, decide as to the physical
competency of the candidate.
The assumption by a Lodge or
its Master, of authority to determine the eligibility of a maimed candidate
for initiation is forbidden.
New Mexico. No degree shall
be conferred upon any one who is physically unable to conform to the letter
and spirit of the ceremonies of the Fraternity; who is unable to read and
write; who is affected with any incurable disease; or has no visible or
legitimate means of support for himself and family.
We look more to the moral and
mental qualifications of those who knock at our doors.
All questions relative to
physical qualifications of petitioners for degrees have been answered by
reference to our Law--"Is he physically unable to conform to the letter and
spirit of the ceremonies of the Fraternity ? " The officers and members of a
Lodge are better qualified to answer that question than the Grand Master.
An applicant for the
"mysteries" who has lost, in its entirety, the thumb from the left hand, is
eligible to receive the "mysteries."
The rule in this Jurisdiction
is that if the candidate has any physical disability which would prevent him
from conforming to all our rites and ceremonies, then he is ineligible to
No one can be made a Mason
who is physically unable to conform to all the rites and ceremonies. A point
to be decided by the subordinate Lodge--and no stigma attaches to a rejection
of this kind.
If the committee finds the
candidate disqualified for any other reason than one affecting his moral
character, they may so report and the Lodge may permit the return of the fee
and the application without actually rejecting the candidate by ballot.
New York. A candidate must be
able without artificial aid or substitution of members or parts thereof to
conform to the ritual and to learn and practice the art as a brother should.
This includes not only Masonic work within Lodge room, but ability to earn his
livelihood by manual labor if necessary outside the Lodge room.
It does not include those
whose dismemberment of defect is such as to require or permit the substitution
of an artificial member or part thereof, even though with such substitution
the same result could be obtained.
That every candidate for the
honors of Freemasonry must be a man, free born, of mature and discreet age, no
eunuch, no woman, no immoral or scandalous man, but of good report, having no
maim or defect in his body or mind that may render him incapable of learning
and practicing the art.
That the right of a Lodge to
judge for itself who shall be admitted to initiation or affiliation therein is
inherent and indefeasible, not subject to dispensation or legislation of any
kind or from any source whatever.
Definition 6: Sec. 3:
Physical ability without artificial aid or substitution of members of parts
thereof to conform to the ritual and to learn and practice the art as a
brother should. This includes not only Masonic work within the Lodge room, but
ability to earn his livelihood by manual labor if necessary outside the Lodge
The Landmarks are inherently
and by Section I of Definitions of the Constitution, a part of the Masonic Law
of this State and "the only part of the Masonic Law or rule that may never be
altered or disturbed."
North Carolina. A candidate
for initiation must possess no maim or deformity which will prevent him from
being properly instructed in the art and mysteries of Freemasonry and in his
own person instruct others by exemplification. Maim or deformity after
initiation shall not prevent the brother from advancement. Such advancement is
a recognition of the claims of a worthy and unfortunate brother.
That a man paralyzed more
than thirty years ago, since which time he has been unable to walk without
crutches and has very little use of his legs, is ineligible to Masonry.
That an intending petitioner
who had lost his thumb just below the knuckle, but, in the opinion of the
Master was able to give the grips without much trouble, was held eligible to
the degrees. That one who has lost his left arm below the elbow is ineligible.
North Dakota. If the physical
disability of any applicant for the degrees does not amount, aided by any
ordinary artificial means, to an inability to meet the requirements and
honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, it shall constitute no hindrance
to his initiation.
Ohio. The Grand Lodge makes
the "Ancient Charges," as printed with its Constitution, Code, etc., a part of
its fundamental laws, and the language of the "Ancient Charges" is so plain as
to admit of but one construction, viz.: that a candidate for initiation must
be "without maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of
learning the Art, etc."
A person who has lost his
right hand at the wrist can not be legally initiated.
A person who has lost a hand,
an arm, a foot, a leg, or is deficient in any of his limbs or senses, cannot
be made a Mason.
A stiff knee is such a defect
as will bar a candidate.
Seeing and hearing are two of
the most important qualifications of an applicant for initiation, and if he is
unable to hear ordinary conversation, he is disqualified.
An applicant for degrees
being blind in one eye, but otherwise eligible, would not, because of such
defect alone, be rendered disqualified to receive the degrees of Freemasonry.
A candidate for the degree of
Entered Apprentice should be able physically, as well as intellectually, of
himself and without exterior aid or assistance from another, to receive and
impart all the essentials for Masonic recognition.
Oklahoma. A petitioner shall
have attained the full age of twenty-one years, be free born, of good moral
character and without maim or such bodily defect as would incapacitate him to
make all signs and salutations and to properly learn the art.
It has been held that:
One who has lost his right
arm is physically disqualified. Where a man have lost his left foot, same
having been removed about two inches above the ankle joint, who wears a cork
foot, is not eligible for the degrees of Masonry.
One who has lost part of
right thumb, if enough of his thumb remains so that he can give all grips
clearly and distinctly, this infirmity does not necessarily disqualify.
One who has lost the index
finger of his right hand and has a wire finger attached to hand cannot be
One whose eyesight is such as
to prevent him from being instructed in the arts and mysteries of Masonry, is
The loss of the right eye (or
of either eye) does not disqualify a candidate.
One whose leg is shorter than
the other but who can stand erect without too much strain or effort, both feet
square on the ground and put himself in proper position to give the necessary
steps and signs, could petition for the degrees.
Oregon. Every candidate
applying for the degrees of Masonry must be a man, free born, have the senses
of a man, possess the ability to earn a livelihood, and possess the physical
ability to conform substantially to and be instructed in and give instructions
in the arts and mysteries of Freemasonry.
*Pennsylvania. The requisite
qualifications for initiation and membership in a Lodge, are that the
petitioner shall be a man, free born, of mature age, sound in all his members,
of good Masonic report, and able to earn a livelihood for himself and family,
and perform the work of a member in a Lodge.
The perfect youth is the
standard; perfect in his physical form, and so perfect in his mental and moral
structure, that no deformity in either will ever prevent him from properly
understanding those virtues and precepts Freemasonry teaches and enjoins.
There are no degrees in disability. If it exists, so that the slightest
violation of the perfectness is cognizable, it is as fatal to the man as
though it took away his arm, hand, finger, leg, or foot. There is not in
Freemasonry a positive, comparative, or superlative disqualification. It is
the disqualification, per se, the simple naked fact, that the standard of a
perfect youth is not attained, that ends the question. It is neither debatable
nor avoidable. Anatomical disquisitions, wordy casuistry, persistent
importunities, or the citation of instances, wherein ignorance was the
discredit of the example, will not suffice to subordinate obedience to the
Landmarks. The Rough Ashlar must be fitted to its proper place without
disfiguring the perfect symmetry of the perfect work.
By the 5th Article of the
Gothic Constitution, adopted at York in the year 926, it is declared that "a
candidate must be without blemish, and have the full and proper use of his
limbs, for a maimed man can do the Craft no good." This is the first written
declaration of the Landmark, which continued from that period until 1722, when
the further condition was expressed that the candidate must "be a perfect
youth, having no maim or defect in his body," etc. In 1783, the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania declared that the candidates must "be hale and sound, not
deformed or dismembered at the time of their making." This is the Landmark,
and the most ordinary understanding can comprehend what the disabilities are
which "forbid the making."
The qualifications of
candidates are thus defined in the Ancient Charges: "The persons admitted
members of a Lodge must be good and true men, free-born, and of mature and
discreet age, no woman, no immoral or scandalous men, but of good report." "No
Master should take an apprentice unless he be a perfect youth, having no maim
or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the Art, of
serving his Master's lord, and of being made a Brother, and unless he be
descended of honest parents."
When a candidate appears for
initiation, and the Master discovers that he is not physically perfect, and
declines to initiate the candidate for this reason, his petition can be
withdrawn; but all the facts of the case must be entered upon the minutes of
the Lodge and at once reported to the Grand Secretary.
Rhode Island. No man who is
unable to perfect every part of the work in the Three Degrees of Symbolical
Masonry is eligible to receive those Three Degrees.
South Carolina. Every
candidate for initiation in this Jurisdiction must be without maim or defect
in his body or mind that may render him incapable of learning and practicing
the art, and who can comply literally with all the requirements as to
initiation ceremonies without artificial aid or friendly assistance.
South Dakota. A candidate
must be free-born, under no bondage, twenty-one years of age, in possession of
sound mind, free from any physical defect or dismemberment, no atheist, eunuch
It has been held that:
A man who has lost his foot
and part of his leg cannot be initiated if wearing a cork leg.
A slight deformity is no bar
to the candidate's initiation unless it prevents his receiving and imparting
Masonic knowledge in the usual manner. The Lodge must consider the matter and
draw the line. A deformed man is ineligible to the degrees.
A man who is physically able
to conform fully to the requirements of our ritual, receive and impart
instructions therein, and who possesses all the necessary qualifications to be
made a Mason, may petition for the degrees.
The local Lodge and not the
Grand Master should be the judge of the moral, physical and intellectual
qualifications of its candidates, it being responsible to the Grand Lodge for
When the Grand Lodge is
appealed to and the facts presented in a question of physical
disqualifications, it is the duty to pass upon them.
Tennessee. A candidate for
the mysteries of Freemasonry must be a man, free born, not less than
twenty-one years of age, and of good report.
He must be physically and
mentally capable of earning a livelihood, and of receiving and imparting the
Ritual of Masonry. By "imparting" is meant by actual demonstration. To
describe by words does not comply with the Law.
Texas. The perfect man is an
ideal being, and absolute perfection does not exist among men, neither
physically, mentally nor morally; therefore it is not obnoxious to the Ancient
Landmarks and Charges of Masonry that slight maims or defects of body should
debar an applicant for initiation or advancement in Masonry, and an applicant
for initiation must be sound and hale, without maim or defect in his body that
may render him ineligible to be a Mason; that is, physical maims and defects
should be considered on the basis of his ability to receive, practice and
impart freely and without artificial or other aid, all the rites and
ceremonies of Ancient Craft Masonry including Masonic work in the Lodge room
and shall possess the mental and physical ability to earn his livelihood in
his chosen occupation outside the Lodge room.
That when an applicant for
initiation has a maim or defect, the Lodge to which the application is made
shall refer the case, with a faithful description of such maim or defect, to
the Grand Master, who shall thereupon rule upon the eligibility of the
applicant in the light of these resolutions.
Utah. Every candidate for the
degrees in Masonry must be a man, free born, have the senses of a man and
possess physical ability to earn a livelihood, and to conform substantially to
the rites and ceremonies of Masonry, and be instructed in its mysteries. It
has been held that the loss of first joint of the fingers of right hand will
not debar a candidate.
*Vermont. Physical ability to
earn a livelihood, and to conform substantially to the forms and ceremonies of
Masonry, and be instructed in its mysteries, is all that is required, provided
the candidate possess the higher qualifications of a belief in God, of mental
worth and the record of a moral and upright life; that this interpretation of
the ancient charges and regulations is not inconsistent with the true spirit
of the Masonic Institution, but in keeping with its sublime teachings from
Mental or physical deformity:
Since deformity is not such
as to prevent the candidate from being instructed in the mysteries of the
Craft, the admission will not be an infringement of the ancient Landmarks, but
will be perfectly consistent with the spirit of Freemasonry.
A blind man cannot be made a
Mason. Hearing, seeing, and feeling are the senses most revered by Masons.
Virginia. No petition for
initiation shall be entertained from any person who is not a free-born man of
the age of twenty one years, of sound mind, of good repute, and so perfect in
body that he can without artificial aid or friendly assistance, conform to the
Ritual, and who does not believe and trust in God as the Supreme Architect and
Governor of the Universe.
It has been held that:
One who had lost a leg cannot
The petition of an applicant
whose elbow was perfectly rigid, and who could not comply with the Ritual,
could not be received.
A Lodge could not confer the
degrees on a candidate, who, after filing his petition, lost the small finger
of his right hand and finger next to it.
One who had met with an
accident, or received a wound in his left arm which necessitates an amputation
a couple of inches below his elbow and who had an artificial arm and hand but
was unable in any particular to conform to the ritual, was ineligible.
A man with an artificial foot
Washington. Every candidate
petitioning for the degrees of Masonry in order to be eligible, must have the
senses of a man, especially those of hearing, seeing and feeling, and
possessing no maim or defect in his body that would render him incapable of
conforming literally to what the degrees respectively require of him. No
provision of this section shall be set aside, suspended or dispensed with by
the Grand Master or by the Grand Lodge.
The Lodge shall itself
determine the petitioner's physical disqualifications by the sole test of
whether any maim or defect in his body renders him incapable of conforming
literally to what the several degrees require of him.
A request for dispensation to
receive a petition for the degrees from a man with an artificial foot was
West Virginia. The general
rule is that "when the deformity of the candidate is not such as to prevent
him from meeting fully the requirements of the ritual, or from honestly
acquiring the means of subsistence," he is eligible.
The edict of the Grand Lodge
as to physical qualifications of candidates, as above stated, is in derogation
of the ancient regulation requiring the candidate to be sound in limb and
member; and while it must be held as law in this Jurisdiction until modified
or repealed by the Grand Lodge, yet it must be given a strict construction,
and if it is doubtful as to whether a particular candidate is within its
provisions, the doubt must be resolved against him.
It has been held that a
candidate is eligible in the following cases:
Loss of the thumb and index
finger of left hand; loss of fingers of left hand; loss of the middle finger
of left hand; loss of second finger and third finger off at the first knuckle
on the right hand; loss of first joint of forefinger of right hand and the
whole of the second finger, except at knuckle joint; loss of the second and
third joints of forefinger of right hand, leaving a stub protruding long or
short; loss of first joint of the middle finger of the right hand and the
third finger slightly crooked towards the second finger; loss of the two
little fingers of right hand at first joint; loss of one eye and the other in
which the sight is defective but not entirely gone; loss of one eye; a
hunchback whose deformity is not such as to prevent him from meeting the
requirements of the ritual and from honestly acquiring the means of
subsistence; a person who has a deformity on the right shoulder blade, next
the back, of the size of a beef-heart, who walks erect and is not hindered
because of such deformity from gaining a livelihood; hernia, unless it be such
as to prevent meeting some of the requirements of the ritual, or from honestly
acquiring the means of subsistence; stiff right ankle, with foot somewhat
smaller than the left and turned out, if he can conform to the ritual.
It has been held that a
candidate is not eligible in the following cases:
Loss of the thumb of the
right hand; loss of the first three fingers of the right hand; loss of the
first or knuckle joint of right hand; loss of part of the second finger at the
second joint, and the ring and little finger at the approximal joint of the
right hand; loss of right index finger at the second joint, the second and
right fingers near the hand, and the little finger curved inward, contracted
and stiffened; loss of the two middle fingers of the right hand, including the
knuckle joint; loss of the first three fingers of the right hand close to the
palm; loss of thumb above the first joint on right hand; born "into this world
minus his left hand;" left hand crippled in such a manner as to prevent
flattening it out; minus the thumb and all the fingers of the left hand; minus
the thumb on the left hand, and the thumb on the right hand is forked almost
amounting to two thumbs; right hand smaller than the other, the fingers of
which were not more than one-half inch long.
Born with but two fingers on
his right hand, his thumb being perfect; left arm three inches shorter than
the right, four inches less in circumference, left hand could not be turned
upwards on a level with the waist; incapacity to bend left leg from stiffness
so that person could not kneel; stiff knee joint and unable to kneel on right
knee; left leg two and one-half inches shorter than the right; right leg four
inches shorter than the other and walks with staff; loss of right foot at the
ankle and uses cork foot; right leg off below the knee; badly deformed in both
feet from birth, with large bulges instead of hollow insteps in his feet,
rendering the person perceptibly lame; deaf, but could hear with an
Wisconsin. The Landmarks as
to physical qualifications to be strictly construed. The candidate must be a
man, free born, hale and sound and unmutilated.
The above physical
qualification is founded on Landmark Eighteen and reads as follows, viz.:
"Certain qualifications of
candidates for initiation are derived from a Landmark of the Craft. These
qualifications are that he should be a man - shall be unmutilated, free born,
and of mature age. That is to say, a woman, a cripple, or a slave, or one born
in slavery, is disqualified for initiation into the rites of Masonry.
Statutes, it is true, have from time to time been enacted, enforcing or
explaining these principles; but the qualifications really arise from the very
nature of the Masonic institution, and from its symbolic teachings, and have
always existed as Landmarks."
Wyoming. When the deformity
of the candidate is not such as to prevent him from being instructed in the
arts and mysteries of Freemasonry, and does not amount to an inability
honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, the admission will not be an
infringement upon the ancient landmarks, but will be perfectly consistent with
the spirit of our institutions.
It has been held that:
A man with only one eye is
A man who had lost part of
the forefinger of the left hand is eligible.
One who had lost the two
middle fingers and the end of his thumb at the first joint on his right hand,
The loss of a foot renders a
A man who had a stiff hip
joint, the result of a revolver going off in his pocket while on horseback, is
ineligible to the degrees.
*Referred to Grand Secretary
for confirmation but no reply received up to time of going to press.
GENERAL STATEMENT OF THE
With the language in the
various Codes, Decisions, Edicts and Regulations varying in almost every
instance, it seems almost impossible to arrive at any "general rules" of our
American Jurisdictions. And yet, a reasonable interpretation, having in view
all the surrounding circumstances cited and the apparent intent of the Grand
Lodges in passing the legislation, would probably lead our readers to agree
with us, at least substantially, in the following generalizations. In any
event, we have tried to take a reasonable view of the rule in each state,
taking the provisions of all the documentary evidence as a whole. We have not
attempted to quibble over absolutely exact definitions. In several cases we
have deliberately overlooked apparent attempts to modify the doctrine of
physical perfection, where in fact no discretion is specifically allowed to
anyone, either Lodge, Grand Lodge or Grand Master, to so modify. Such an
attempt has justified us, in one or two places, in saying that a "liberal"
construction of the law is intended. It would be interesting indeed if we
could discover the actual interpretation that is being placed upon some of
these modifications by the Lodges, in practice. For we have grave suspicions
that in at least a few cases, equivocal language has been used deliberately,
or at least as a compromise between extreme views, in order that the Lodges
could as a matter of fact do about as they pleased, without fear of being
With this tendency, not
confined to Masonry alone, to "wink" at evasion of the law, ye scribe is
entirely out of sympathy. The law should be so written as to mean exactly what
it says, responsibility for defiance or evasion of the law should be placed
exactly where it belongs, on the Lodge and the Worshipful Master, and
discipline provided which would stop the unauthorized practices. If a Grand
Lodge determines that the doctrine of physical perfection is right and in
harmony with the modern application of the Ancient Charges, there should be no
misunderstanding about it. If the Grand Lodge decides that the wooden head is
less desirable than the wooden leg, the Fraternity as a whole will be
benefited by saying that such is the principle which is accepted by that Body,
and its application to individual cases by the Lodges should follow the lines
of interpretation laid down. To equivocate on this important matter leads to
confusion and sometimes discord that is entirely out of harmony with the
established principles of Freemasonry.
Having relieved ourself of
this "effusion," we will endeavor to summarize the rules.
First. "Physical Perfection"
obtains in 16 Jurisdictions, while 20 others specify that "literal conformity
to the requirements of the ritual is a necessary prerequisite to initiation."
Second. Five Jurisdictions
use language indicating that "substantial" conformity to the requirements of
the ritual is satisfactory.
Third. Three Jurisdictions
say that the use of artificial parts or limbs in conforming to ritualistic
requirements shall not necessarily constitute a disqualification, leaving the
Lodge to decide, either in whole or in part, in the latter case providing for
review either by the Grand Lodge or the Grand Master.
Jurisdictions specifically prohibit the use of artificial parts or limbs, or
provide that such shall be an absolute disqualification.
Fifth. In 10 States the Lodge
is specifically mentioned as having authority and power to determine the
question of eligibility; three others allow the Lodge discretion in its
determination "within the specific rules laid down," or "where the
disqualification is not absolute," one denies such right.
Sixth. Conformity with the
views of the Grand Lodge, or Grand Lodge approval of the ballot are provisions
in 3 States; 4 Jurisdictions specifically deny the right of either the Grand
Lodge or the Grand Master to waive disqualifications or repeal the strict
provisions of the law.
Seventh. Four Jurisdictions
require the Grand Master's approval to a petition, or his permission to ballot
upon such a petition; in one State he is allowed some discretion in
determining whether the disqualification is or is not absolute; 4 States deny
him any discretion, or say that he has no prerogative giving him any right to
Jurisdictions recognize the candidate's "means of subsistence," or "ability to
obtain an honest livelihood" as an important factor in determining his
eligibility. Some say "and," and some say "or," leaving it doubtful whether
this is or is not a partial test of physical qualifications.
Ninth. Fifteen States,
directly or by implication, provide for a liberal construction or
interpretation of the law; 13 specifically say it shall be strictly
Tenth. Minor infirmities or
deformities do not disqualify in 17 of our Jurisdictions. A few of them,
either in the Codes, or Decisions, give specific lists, though they do not
specify that it is necessarily a complete list.
CORRECTIONS TO FORMER TABLES
(February, 1917, BUILDER, page 53.) In column headed "When rejected applicant
may renew application" change to read "It is the right and duty of the Master
to determine when a candidate shall be advanced except when objections have
In column headed "Objection"
change to read "Objections must be made known to the Lodge and their
sufficiency determined by a two-thirds vote."
Minnesota. (Same issue and
page as above.) In column headed "Time between degrees" change to read
"Proficiency required; no time limit."
Affiliation. Maine. (January,
1917, BUILDER, page 11.) In column headed "To whom petition may be presented"
change to read "Any Lodge within or without the State." In column headed "When
rejected applicant may renew petition" change to read "To any Lodge within the
State as often as desired."
THE TWO READINGS
We laid his body in the
And mourned a well-filled
life now closed,--
Remembered kindnesses well
planned and done,
And temples built ere weary
His tools another took, and
To emulate the life now lost
His life on earth is but a
Past work is all the
tenderest eye can scan.
Yes ! All is Past, though
Memory sweet recalls
Each mighty effort made, and
Upon the casket holding that
We drop the Acacia sprig, and
* * * * * * * * * * *
Our doubt is too
What workman works for one
He who is gone is just behind
the evening cloud
That hangs between earth's
gloaming and the clearer way.
Behold him now emancipate
On greater Levels of the
Behold him as he dares to use
the tools of Heaven,--
Erect the brighter homes of
Heaven's Love and Might.
And listen to the strains
The cultured ear, the noble
That nerve the high ambition,
stir the awakened soul
And tell of true success in
the long Eternal March.
* * * * * * *
No earthly tomb can close a
life well lived;
Nor cloud once hide the
Ultimate of Love.
Acacia means a life that
And death is but the door to
BY BRO. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON,
NOT one of the eight thousand Freemasons , who sat
in the Royal Albert Hall, in London, June 23rd, will ever forget the scene.
Nor will any one of them ever see another like it. As an occasion it was
memorable; as a spectacle it was unique. It marked the 200th anniversary of
the founding of the Mother Grand Lodge of England, and was in all ways worthy
of that noble tradition. Truly it was a great privilege to have been present
on a day so historic, and to have looked upon a scene at once so picturesque
and so remarkable.
The assemblage was arranged in five tiers,
stretching from the arena to the highest gallery beneath the roof, all wearing
their respective regalia. Even without the evening dress, usually worn in
English Lodges, it made a very striking picture not to be forgotten by one
accustomed to the simpler and less ornate ways of American Masonry. Although
the number was so large, it included none of the rank and file of the Craft,
but only Grand Officers, past and present, Past Masters of Lodges, the
reigning Rulers of the Order, and, of course, distinguished visitors. Sitting
in the closely-packed arena, I thought of many things, trying to look beyond
the scene before me to that other gathering in the old Ale-house in St. Paul's
Churchyard, June 24th, 1717.
Shortly before three o'clock, a procession was
formed, and the Deputy Grand Master, Brother T.F. Halsey, was escorted to the
Chair, "the Throne," as it is called in England. He is a sturdy and noble man,
his head bowed with the weight of more than eighty years, most lovable to
know, and very popular among the Craft. He formally opened the Lodge, and then
a further procession, in which he himself took part, moved to the main
entrance to receive the Grand Master, the Duke of Connaught. It was an
imposing procession through the arena to the orchestra, as the Grand Master
ascended to his Throne. Where all are distinguished it seems idle to mention
names, except to say the procession included, besides the Grand Master and his
Officers, the Grand Masters of Ireland and Scotland, district Grand Masters of
Argentine, Malta, Ceylon, and Bengal, and the Provincial Grand Masters of
The Grand Master announced that in the name of the
Brethren he had sent a telegram to the King, expressing the loyalty of
Freemasons to the Empire and the hope of a speedy victory and a lasting peace.
He then read the reply of the King, in which His Majesty conveyed his cordial
thanks, and added that the traditional loyalty of English Freemasonry "has
been to me a proud memory during the anxious years through which we are
passing." The Deputy Grand Master then gave a brief but vivid account of the
growth of Grand Lodge during the 200 years of its existence, from four Lodges
in 1717 to 3,226 in active work under its obedience today, besides the many
Lodges and Grand Lodges descended from the mother body and now working in
lands beyond the boundaries of the British Empire.
In reply, the Grand Master made a very graceful
and appropriate address, in which he said that every Mason could say of those
devoted Brethren who, to their lasting honor, invoked the original assembly in
1717, what was said of their illustrious contemporary - whose maul, used in
the building of St. Paul's Cathedral, he held in his hand - "If you wish to
see their monument, look around." They builded better than they knew, because
they built on the strongest foundations. He recalled the close association of
members of the Royal House of England with English Freemasonry, which began
shortly after the founding of the Grand Lodge and has continued to this day.
Indeed, the Grand Lodge had been in existence only twenty years, when the
Prince of Wales became the Master of a Lodge. The Grand Master recalled,
further, that it was his grandfather, the Duke of Kent, who did so much to
promote the Union of Grand Lodges in 1813, from which so many Masonic
blessings had flowed. Loyalty to the Empire, he said, devotion to public
order, and a determination to assist in every beneficent and patriotic work,
has always characterized English Masonry, and those qualities remain its
highest titles of honor.
An address from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, read
by Grand Master Lord Donoughmore, and another from the Grand Lodge of
Scotland, read by Grand Master General Gordon Gilmour, followed. There were
also messages from Grand Lodges in oversea Dominions, and from representatives
of Grand Lodges in the United States, to all of which the Duke replied very
happily. A number of promotions and appointments were announced, including
that of Sir Edward Letchworth, the Grand Secretary, which was regarded as a
fitting recognition of the completion of twenty-five years of service. The
Grand Secretary read an address from the interned civilian Freemasons at
Ruhleben, Germany, and the session closed with the singing of the National
Very beautiful, too, I am told, was the Service of
Thanksgiving, held on Sunday morning, June 24th, at which the Bishop of
Birmingham preached. Unfortunately, I was not permitted to attend it, owing to
my engagement in my own pulpit at the City Temple. His sermon dealt, it is
said, with the great problems which are to follow the war, and the part which
Masonry should have in solving them. I should
like to have heard it, because it seems to me that our Order ought to have a
very large and benign ministry in helping to build upon the wreck of today a
better, purer, wiser, greater tomorrow. And so endeth an event which will
linger long in the memory of English Masons, and which marks, let us hope, the
opening of a new era in the story of the greatest order of men upon earth.
In my next Official Communique I shall be giving
some impressions of English Masonry which I think will be of interest to
Brethren on that side, and especially with reference to what is going on in
the way of Masonic Research. Meantime - and, truly, it is a mean time - I send
greetings to all the Builders, and wish them every blessing in their labors.
City Temple, London, June 25th.
THE BUSINESS OF MASONRY
OF all the sources of misunderstanding among
Masons there are few if any that are more potent in evil possibilities than
those concerned with what may be termed the business of the institution. We
are fraternal first of all, and there are many of us who never seem to grasp
the fact that when we are least businesslike we may be least effective as a
fraternity. So it comes about that there are too often, inside and outside the
body Masonic, curious and conflicting ideas of what the fraternity should do
in monetary matters.
By way of being more explicit let us state a case
from actual experience to show what the outside world thinks of Masonry and
what is often expected of it.
A business man was for several years a member of a
lodge and at his death in good standing thereof. He died after a long illness
during which he was frequently visited by his brethren.
A desire was long previously expressed by him that
in the event of his death the funeral ceremony of the fraternity should be
conducted by the brotherhood and this was promptly promised by the officers,
and a notation so made opposite his name when he signed the Constitutions. A
son in fair but not over well-to-do circumstances and a sister in like
condition were his nearest living relations but he had several cousins of
considerable means. The son was a Mason.
When death came the Secretary of the lodge was
notified and he went out at once to visit the family. They knew of the wish to
be buried Masonically but suggested that in some way it might be possible to
also use the church service for the dead that is given by the communion
adhered to by the departed brother. This seemed easily capable of adjustment
and the Lodge Secretary so informed the relatives but also pointed out that
this he felt should be referred to the Worshipful Master for his consideration
and formal consent.
On taking up the question with the Master the
latter advised the relatives that he thought it most seemly for the funeral
services to be kept separate and distinct, the Episcopal service to be
rendered at the church and the Masonic service at the grave. It seemed to him
that any contact or interference of the one funeral ceremony with the other
was a detriment to both. The clergyman on consultation agreed with him and
this point was passed without further discussion and the plan of burial
eventually carried into effect to the satisfaction of all concerned.
The morning of the funeral a request from the
relatives was made for a further conference with the officials of the lodge.
Master and Secretary reported at once and were advised of all the arrangements
made for the funeral. These appeared to be complete and no expense had been
spared to make the appointments of the most impressive type.
The brethren knowing that the deceased had left
little or no property were pleased that his relatives were able and willing to
go to so much expense and care to show their respect and affection for him.
To this comment the relatives replied with every
satisfaction because, as they pointed out, the better the lodge was pleased
the better they would in turn be satisfied.
This mutual exchange of compliments was not
altogether sufficiently explicit to meet all the expectations of one relative
present. He was not a Mason. A brother of his was a member of the fraternity,
and the dead man was a cousin. It was easy to see and to hear that he was
furnishing the financial resources for the funeral.
When he mentioned the amount paid for the grave
and the expenditure for the coffin and all the other items necessary to his
interment standards the brethren were somewhat dismayed at the detail. They
somehow felt that they were being given too intimate a view of the cost.
The Master was indeed embarassed. He was convinced
that he should say how much this lavish allowance told of the affection behind
it. In doing so he could not refrain from saying as delicately as he could
that this was purely a matter for the family and not for the lodge and that on
that account he the more appreciated their confidence because he had really no
right of any kind to inquire into the amount they might choose to spend.
At this statement there seemed to be a distinct drop in the
prevailing unanimity. The man of means at once spoke
"Why it is only the proper thing I am sure to tell
you the total of the bill, isn't it?"
"No, indeed," said the Master, "We are not
concerned with the bill. This is not our affair."
"Do you mean to say that when a Masonic lodge
conducts a funeral it does not pay all the bills ?"
"That is exactly what I must say if you ask the
question. There may be cases where the lodge properly pays the bill but every
instance is judged on its own merits. We have no rule, as I read the Masonic
law, requiring us to pay the bills when the family are well able to do so."
"You surprise me. I thought that all secret
societies had death benefits or things of that sort to meet the funeral
"No death benefits are paid of equal sums in all
cases, - in fact nothing of the sort is promised anybody. We do attempt to aid
the widow and orphan in their distress but here there is no widow to be
succored, no child to cherish. You as relatives want this brother to have a
funeral suitable to your condition in society. You have taken the necessary
steps to bring this about. You are fully able as far as we know, to meet the
expense you have incurred. But into this we do not seek to inquire because
that is not our business. All that we have to do is to render the funeral
service at the grave and do it as well as we know how. Beyond that we have
nothing further to do with the cost except to provide the transportation for
our members. So far as the expenses go we are no more to be charged with them
than is the minister whom you desire to have a part in the ceremonies."
"But I want to tell you that this brother of yours
has left no estate and there are no funds to meet these bills when they come
"That is something that you ought to have
considered before you gave orders for this elaborate funeral. I do not see how
you can expect us to pay the bills nor for that matter do I see how you can
escape the responsibility for them."
"But are you not a philanthropic organization?
Seems to me that here is a case where you could very appropriately contribute
the amount for giving this member of yours decent burial."
It was evident that he did not propose to pay the
bill if he could get out of it. There were plenty of witnesses present and it
was undoubtedly the place and the time to speak plainly. So the Master thought
for a moment or two before replying, then he spoke earnestly:
"We do pay many bills where those most benefited
are not in a position to take care of them. These acts are done as a charity.
Each case is judged on its own merits. If you will say here and now that you
believe this to be a fit subject for charity I will take the matter up with my
lodge at its next meeting and we will see what we can do about it. But at
present I see no good evidence that you relatives can not take care of these
bills at the proper time. Therefore I don't think that I ought to recommend
the payment of the bills as a charity by my lodge."
And when the matter was so bluntly set forth there
was nothing more than a growl or two privately that that funeral was not to be
a charity affair. It was not. With all the musical and choral adjuncts
possible the ceremony gave prestige to the social crowd for whom it was
conducted. The procession started from the large house in town of the wealthy
relative and even he, sore as he may have been in pocketbook, and rebuffed as
was his business zeal for a trade deal that left him so much to the rear in
money results, was a cheery loser on the surface and met his mishap with a
SAYS THE YOUNG MASTER MASON
At the altar of Masonry have I knelt and mine eyes
have seen the Light.
The Apron has been explained to me; with pride I
Into my hands were laid the tools of the Craft.
Symbols of serious import taught me much, and will
teach me more as the years slip fast behind my onward march.
Before me in all directions outstretched lies the
Masonic chart of duties great and glorious, as exacting as they are elevating.
Tied to the fraternity by bonds tight-wound and
oath-bound, easily I cannot escape the obligations due from me to it.
To do my part well, I well must know my part.
Willing to learn am I.
At the door I still stand and strike thereon my
Arouse ye, I say.
To you I present my plea.
Ye are my brethren. To you I plead for Masonic
wisdom to the end that I too may be among you a well-informed Master Mason.
Each year one hundred thousand of us take your
We enter the sacred hall and from the Temple go
forth impressed to readiness by the ceremonies.
We are puzzled at their significance, and
uncertain of future study.
Most of us soon find the social worth of Masonry
Content with our increased acquaintance we slacken
and stop our search for knowledge.
Satisfied with the added grips of the hands among
a flock of button and badge bedecked members we lose our grip upon the inner
values of the head and the heart.
Yours is the duty of our enlightenment.
On you is the burden of our instruction.
What we know comes from you our Elder Brethren or
we fail and fall by the wayside of a busy world, too tired to tread an upward
path where toil is sure and labor long.
Full well ye know we Masons are the more akin
where we are the better taught.
No union is so close as that of a perfect
No friendship is so strong as that founded on
When we all know Masonry as it was intended to be,
shall we not the better know each other?
What ye know of Masonry belongs to me and to these
my brother initiates.
Our claims ye cannot ignore.
We have done our part, we have filled our place,
we demand the wages due.
Neither disregarded nor despised can be our plea.
Your institution and ours rests upon the granting
of our petition.
Either you shall accept a lower level of Masonic
standards or you must set your banner high and educate us to its lofty
At the door we stand and knock for admission to
the inner mysteries of the Holy Tabernacle.
Echoes in your hearts are stirred by our alarm.
At your hands we seek more light.
From none shall it come but from yours, for unto
ye has the Great Architect given the charge, and you must administer your
Why then stand ye here idle ?
Are ye content with numbers, satisfied because the
scroll is writ large with names ?
Empty and vain as a rope of sand is then your
Ye then are building upon the shifting shores of a
When the winds of adversity come upon you the
structure shall not withstand the storm.
Its walls will crumble, the foundations be torn,
and it be swept aside for things more stalwart and sufficient.
Today is your era of events, tomorrow is ours.
Your opportunity is now, the future belongs to us.
Is it not wise therefore to plan for us that we
may in due time carry forward your labors to still nobler achievements ?
Come, let us go. Time waits neither on man nor
Mason. The hour is at hand. We are the sons of light. From us the darkness
shall recede, the gloom of ignorance be lighted up with knowledge. Only with
your help can we the sooner make for Masonry its proper place. Withhold not
therefore your hands my brethren in help, for unto you under God's great grant
of life to us we seek to fulfill the destiny of all true and earnest Master
A STUDY CLUB SPEECH BEFORE
Of after-dinner speakers there are many and in our
fraternity opportunities quickly multiply for the exhibition of whatever skill
may be exercised to this end. These occasions are altogether too numerous for
mention save as in the present instance by way of comparison. Meridian Lodge,
the Daylight Lodge of Cleveland, observed this summer as in previous years a
"sunrise raising." Lodge was opened at 2:30 a. m. Breakfast was served at 6
o'clock. Before the closing of the lodge a representative of THE BUILDER was
invited to discuss the National Masonic Research Society and the Study Club
work in particular. He puts the fact upon record and points out that in his
judgment the work of Study Club extension is as well done early as late.
Please let everyone make a note of this and act accordingly.
"STUDIES IN MYSTICISM"
NOTHING is more interesting in the whole field of
ancient history than the story of the Ancient Mysteries. These were secret
societies existing for the purpose of teaching the rudiments of knowledge and
the principles of religion to their adepts, a very valuable service in a day
when the priesthood sought to make knowledge a monopoly. The men admitted to
these societies by initiation were bound by awful oaths of secrecy and were
led through a number of ordeals to test their courage and their earnestness.
The Egyptian Mystery of Isis and Osiris, the Eleusinian Mystery of Greece, and
Mithraism, a Persian cult transplanted in Rome, exercised an incalculable
influence in their day.
After Christianity had begun to show signs of its
power, pagan writers, especially in the third and fourth centuries, sought to
blend together the teachings of these Mysteries, the theosophy of the Jews,
the doctrines of the Gnostics, and certain floating doctrines, into a religion
that might offer itself as a worthy rival of the new faith. Many of the
writers who undertook this task attributed their books to "Thrice Greatest
Hermes," a more or less mythical Egyptian personage who was probably, in the
beginning, the god Thoth, the scribe and book-keeper of the Egyptian deities.
In this way the mixture of magic and mysticism thus evolved came to be called
"Hermeticism." The reader who may feel a curiosity to learn more of this story
may be referred to Mead's "Thrice Greatest Hermes," a very interesting and
Meanwhile, among the Jews, a number of
philosophers had been at work interpreting the Old Testament from a similar
point of view. Their argument was that there is a hidden meaning behind the
letter of the text which can be understood only by those possessing the key.
What this hidden meaning was cannot very well be described in a paragraph; it
may here be sufficient to say that this "Secret Doctrine" sought to teach men
how to find union with God, using the symbolism of numbers, the Tetragrammaton,
the Story of the Garden of Eden, and of the building of Solomon's Temple, as
allegories through which to convey the secret to the initiated. A.E. Waite, in
his:"Doctrine and Literature of the Kabalah," tells the story in full for
those who may be interested. The Kabalah persisted through many centuries and
exerted a profound influence in Christian theology at about the time of the
At about this latter time a legend found currency
in Europe which told that a certain Christian Rosenkreuz, while traveling in
the Orient in the Fifteenth Century, had re-discovered the secret of the Wise
Men of the East. Here and there individuals appeared who claimed to possess
this Secret; they became very numerous, and even powerful in the early
Seventeenth Century, and it is even believed by some that these "Rosicrucians"
organized lodges in which especially qualified men could be initiated into the
hidden lore of the Orient.
Meanwhile, from a time beginning before the
institution of Christianity, there had grown up a different kind of school -
the Mystics. These men were, for the most part, in the churches, and their
chief interest was the religious life, instead of philosophy and metaphysics,
and they sought to teach men how, by devotion, prayer and spiritual
discipline, that they might learn to live in God. Among the Mystics, Plotinus,
Tauler, Ruysbroeck, and William Law, may be mentioned as typical great names.
Alongside of these, since a time when the memory
of man runneth not to the contrary, there had stood the secret societies of
the Builders, known in latter days as the Gilds. These also taught secrets to
initiated men, using their working tools and building processes as symbols.
Needless to say, the authentic school of Masonic historians believe that it
was from these Gilds that the organization of our modern social cult of
Other secret or occult fraternities, the
alchemists, for example, might have been included in this brief sketch; but we
have indicated a sufficient number to bring us face to face with this
question: How much does Freemasonry owe to these several movements? That all
our symbols and ceremonies did not originate with the Operative Masons has
long been held by our greatest scholars. Thus, it was Pike's favorite theory
that the Speculative Masons, many of them, accepted into the lodges in the
Seventeenth Century, men such as Ashmole and the like, were really
Hermeticists who made use of the Builders' simple rites as a vehicle for their
"Secret Doctrine." Woodford, in a paper read before the Lodge Coronati, argued
to the same point, and suggested a number of our symbols which seem to be of
Hermetic origin; Dr. Westcott, in another paper before the same Research
Lodge, sought to trace others of our symbols to the Rosicrucians. Oliver and
Mackey, as we all know, found very many echoes of the Ancient Mysteries in our
Now it is the purpose of A.E. Waite's "Studies in
Mysticism" to show, at least it is one of the principal purposes, how much
Freemasonry is indebted to Mysticism and to the occult societies which we have
mentioned. Few men have ever been better qualified for such a task because it
has been his chosen vocation to make a special study of occultism in every
form, as witness his various books, among which are the two works on the
Kabalah, the "Real History of the Rosicrucians," "The Secret Tradition in
Freemasonry," "The Way of Divine Union" and the translation of Eliphas Levi's
"History of Magic," not to mention that other work, a volume of peculiar
power, compact of sweetness and light, "The Life of Louis Claude de
Saint-Martin." It is because of this erudition, and because he has enjoyed
personal initiation into many of the secret bodies, that his "Studies in
Mysticism" may be so heartily recommended to the Masonic student who seeks
some leading in this difficult problem as to the relationship between
Freemasonry and the various mystical and occult movements.
Waite's thesis in this book, if we may hazard an
epitome of a volume so manifold, so rich in material, and so profound, is
this: That all the Mysteries, the occult fraternities, and the other similar
movements, have all one end in common, the way in which a man may find union
with God; that this is achieved through regeneration, or re-birth, which is
the doctrine that the physical, or natural, in man, must be placed under
subjection to the spiritual in man; that this is the real end of the
ceremonies and teachings of Freemasonry; and that therefore our own order is
now carrying on the ancient tradition. In this wise he seeks to show that,
while the BODY of Freemasonry may have been inherited from the Operative
Masons of the Gilds, the SOUL of Freemasonry has come to it from the many
sources of the old secret and occult fraternities. Mr. Waite expounded this
theory in very simple fashion in a series of articles that appeared in the
early issues of this Journal.
Some have found Mr. Waite's books difficult
reading; in a sense they are that, for he does not carry his mind on his
sleeve. But it is worth something of an effort, even for busy men, to
persevere until they have familiarized themselves with his vocabulary. We have
read and re-read his books; we shall do so many other times; for we believe
that there are few living teachers who are so wise, so sound, so true to
realities, so well equipped to lead the apprentice along the way that leads to
the Inner Chamber of the life of the soul.
* * *
"THINGS A FREEMASON SHOULD
There are very many such things, are there not? Of
a number sufficient to fill an encyclopedia; indeed, to master the lore of one
small department of Masonry has now become the task of the life-long
specialist, so that the rank and file of us must stand aside "in giant
ignorance.” But even so there are some things which EVERY Mason should know
and which will not task any average brain to learn. Fortunately, the
literature on Masonry addressed to the "man in the trench" grows apace and
will doubtless continue so to grow, and so mote it be. "The Builders," written
by the former editor-in-chief of this Journal; "Speculative Masonry," by
Brother MacBride; "The Philosophy of Masonry," by Brother Pound, himself a
philosopher, and many other things besides; "Freemasonry Before the Grand
Lodge Era," by Brother Vibert: these and many another similar book have set
new currents to moving in the life-blood of the Craft; and again, so mote it
Alongside such studies one is glad to place
"Things a Freemason Should Know," by Brother Fred J.W. Crowe, a former Master
of the Lodge Coronati of England, warrant enough for any reader. It is a
modest little volume of 86 pages, built for pocket wear, done into a book by
Kenning & Son of London: its cost, according to a stub in our check-book, is
one dollar, the price of a few potatoes! Its worth, however, cannot be
computed in such terms, which, these days, is saying much.
The first thing a Freemason should know, according
to Brother Crowe, is the history of the Craft, the HISTORY, we say, not the
fairy tales. He who reads the first three chapters of this book will obtain a
very fair understanding of that.
Then comes "Our Rulers." Many times we boast of
the calibre of the men who lead the Craft in its work; but not often do we
take the time to make their acquaintance, though their names are often known
to fame outside our boundaries. Brother Crowe begins, as is proper, with
Anthony Sayer, himself, and closes with the Duke of Connaught, as an
Englishman naturally would.
Chapter five deals with the various Grand Lodges
now in operation while chapter six gives a very brief, but valuable, account
of Our Literature. The "our" here is very English, indeed, as all the names
mentioned are English, the scholars connected with the Lodge Coronati
receiving the lion's share of attention, which is as it should be as we have
already testified in this department.
"Our Regalia" is by far the most worth-while
chapter in the volume for it tells us just what we need to know about "the
badge of a Mason." Brother Crowe may be said to have specialized on the apron
and does not hesitate to drive his plow through the mass of rubbish that has
accumulated about that emblem. He has the distinction, further, of having made
the first serious attempt, in the spirit of the scientist, to account for the
use of blue in Masonry. His theory, briefly stated, is that the Craft borrowed
the hue from the Order of the Garter, and that its symbolical significance
grew up "after the fact." Scholars not a few have attacked this theory but
thus far it may be said .to have as good a right to existence as any other
theory we have.
Masonic Charities, which the English brethren make
a great deal more of than we do, receive attention in the last chapter of this
interesting and, on the whole, very authoritative brief study.
THE QUESTION BOX
GRAND LODGE RECOGNITION AND
THE RIGHT OF VISITATION
Dear Brother Editor: I attended last evening a
meeting of the Square and Compass Club of the University of Chicago. There
were in attendance representatives of eleven states and two foreign countries
- one from Hungary and one from the Philippine Islands. The former had visited
Lodges in France. The latter had receipts showing his lodge - La Regeneration,
Manila, P.I. - to owe allegiance to the Grand Orient of Spain.
How will these brothers stand on visiting lodges
in this country? They have all the necessary documents to prove their
identity. Should they be eligible on visiting a regular lodge to examination?
Franklin T. Jones, Ohio.
Brother Willis D. Engle, of Indianapolis, Ind., in
his 1917 "Complete List of the Masonic Grand Lodges of the World," gives six
Lodges under the Grand Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine
Islands. At the meeting of the Grand Lodge in their new temple in February,
1917, charters were granted to 27 new Lodges. It appears from the Proceedings
that most of these represented groups of Masons who had belonged to Lodges
previously under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Spain. Brother Newton
C. Comfort, Grand Secretary, speaking in Grand Lodge in favor of a motion to
grant charters to these Lodges, said, in part:
It will be remembered that our R.W. Deputy Grand Master in his
message at the opening of the first annual communication of this Grand Lodge
said "The purpose of its formation (this Grand Lodge) is to promote and
maintain harmony and UNITY in our Masonic relations and to increase the
Fraternity in the Orient." And the M.W. Grand Master said, "Our hearts beat
with exultation and gratitude to the Grand Master of the Universe for having
the opportunity of a century - that of bringing to this country a Masonry
regular and nonpolitical. We are sincerely in hope that the year will bring
together under our jurisdiction the regular lodges of the Philippine Islands."
The next year the Grand Master made a number of
allusions to the particular aim of this Grand Lodge being the unifying of the
various Masonic entities and interests in the Philippine Islands, and among
other things he said "All were productive of a lively influence for amity and
harmony among the members of the various Jurisdictions represented in the
cosmopolitan city of Manila, among whom and for whom, the best efforts of this
Grand Lodge must be pledged if the high aims and fundamentals of our Grand
Lodge are to be realized. This can be done in time without the abandonment of
one jot or one tittle of the American standards, and in full accord with the
ancient Landmarks and Charges of the Fraternity. All of our Americanisms, some
of which are not Landmarks, and perhaps to some not essentials, can also be
safeguarded; and no lowering of standards should be made in our endeavors to
solve one of the greatest problems the Fraternity has been called upon to work
out in recent decades and with this end in view, a work magnificent in its
possibilities and results lies before us; and we will be equal to the task
only in so far as we are strictly obedient to the precepts of our universal
brotherhood. We will win and the victory will in coming years be a glory of
which every Mason can justly be proud."
Last year also our Grand Master alluded to the
same great vision before our eyes, that of the unification of the Masonry of
the Philippine Islands. In our hearts, in our addresses, and in our work
throughout the last ten years, the uppermost thought has been to bring Masonry
to her own, united and triumphant in these far off isles of the sea.
We who have not had to suffer for our Masonry are
not as fully cognizant of its sweetness as those whose Masonic history
includes the sacrifice of the lives of brethren, the suppression or their
lodges, the prohibition of use of the name, the struggle for Light in the
thick darkness, and the most strict selection of members lest one enter who
could not be implicity trusted and who would deliver the Mason to be executed,
- these are the fires of purification which have sanctified the Fraternity
here and resulted in the formation of a Masonry sublime, glorified.
As time passed it seemed more and more imperative
that if we were to accomplish the greatest good of which we were capable,
Masonry in these far flung isles must present a solid front before the world.
To use an overworked expression it really seemed as if the psychological
moment had arrived for bringing all the lodges working under the various
Jurisdictions into our Grand Lodge. For well we knew the sincerity and love
for the Fraternity which had been shown by the brethren in the lodges working
under foreign Grand bodies. Some, yea many, of whom had suffered, bled and
even died solely and simply because they were members of our beloved
Fraternity. So a special committee was appointed and empowered to take any and
all necessary steps to regularly and properly bring in the several lodges then
working under other Grand Jurisdictions, at our meeting of all the members of
the Grand Lodge which was held informally several months ago.
Later we again met informally with a large
majority of the Grand Lodge present and after full and free discussion we
finally decided upon the methods of regularizing and admission of the lodges
by being granted Dispensations by the Grand Master after all necessary steps
had been accomplished. This was done, and today these lodges return their
Dispensations and request Charters, together with those who have been working
only under Dispensation, and who never have been heretofore constituted. I
recommend that the report be unanimously approved.
By this action we will take into our fold 27
lodges, most of the members of which heretofore were under the Grand Oriente
Espanol. They have now been brought into regular affiliation with our Grand
Lodge by the means acknowledged as proper and correct. You are nearly all in
full possession of a true conception of the splendid heart Masonry represented
by the members of these lodges, many of whom were Masons before some of us
were born, and their sterling attachment to the principles of our Institution,
and the work of their lodges, has in truth glorified Masonry, the which we
have observed approvingly during the years of Americanism in these Islands.
Whether "La Regeneracion" Lodge, under the Grand
Orient of Spain, was merged bodily into a Lodge under the Grand Lodge of the
Philippines is doubtful, since the Lodge of that name ("La Regeneration, No.
36") is stated in the 1917 Directory of the Lodges of the Grand Lodge of the
Philippines to be located at Tarlac, and not at Manila.
The status of this particular Brother, therefore, would
determined by his membership in a regular Lodge, chartered by the Grand Lodge
of the Philippines. The Grand Orient of Spain, according to Brother Engle, has
been recognized only by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia.
The Grand Lodge of Hungary is recognized (in
America), according to Brother Engle, only by the Grand Lodges of Alabama,
British Columbia, Canada, and New York.
Under such circumstances as Brother Jones relates,
of course, the real meat of the question has to do with the Recognition of
Grand Bodies, for it may be stated as a general rule that visitation in a
Lodge deriving authority from a Body not recognized by the visitor's own Grand
Lodge is forbidden.
Have any of our members made an exhaustive study of these two
subjects, "Recognition of Grand Bodies" and "The Right of
Visitation"? We would welcome papers on these subjects. G.L.S.
* * *
MASONIC BAPTISM FOR THE YOUNG
The inquiry of Brother W.L.A. in the August issue,
in regard to a Louveteau is prompted by the article that appeared on pp.
159-160 of the May BUILDER, reprinted from the New Age of 1915 and written by
Brother Albert G. McChesney, Master of St. John's Lodge, No. 11, Washington,
We are not aware that any Grand Lodge has prepared
a baptismal ceremony for use in this country. The only endeavor of the kind
that occurs to us in the English language is the one by General Albert Pike.
This farsighted leader labored most diligently and with a rare degree of skill
toward fullness of ceremony, the ritualistic completement of the Craft.
Added to his work on the series of grades in the
much favored Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, he developed a ritual of
Adoptive Masonry for women, the near relatives of Masons. Elaborative and
dramatic as it was we are not able to discover that to any considerable extent
this ritual has been used. Another admirable effort of Brother Pike's was in
the three ceremonials prepared by him in 1871 for the Supreme Council of the
Southern Masonic Jurisdiction, and entitled "Masonic Baptism," "Reception of a
Louveteau," and "Adoption." Each of these ceremonies is preceded by the
various instructions necessary to make the proceedings most impressive and of
"A 'Louveteau' is the son of a Mason. The word is
of very ancient origin, so ancient that it was long ago corrupted into other
words, and its etymology unknown. The initiates into the mysteries of Isis
wore, even in public, a mask in the shape of a wolf's head gilded; and
therefore came to be themselves called 'Wolves'; and their sons, 'Young
Wolves.' A wolf, in French, is soup,' and a young wolf, 'louveteau.' The wolf
was peculiarly sacred at Lycopolis (Wolf-City, from the Greek lycos, a wolf,
and polis, a city), in Upper Egypt, where, Plutarch says, that animal was
revered as a god. Eusebius says that the wolf was honored in Egypt, because
when Isis, with her son Horus, was on the point of encountering Typhon, she
was assisted by Osiris, who came from Hades in the shape of a wolf. Macrobius
says that the sun was at Lycopolis called Lukon, a wolf; and that they
worshiped Apollo and the wolf with equal honors, in each venerating the sun.
In Greek, the same word, lukos or Iykos, meant a wolf and the sun; and Lykeios,
or wolf-like, was one of the titles of Apollo, the sun-god; because, says
Cleanthes, as the wolves carry away the flocks, so the sun with his rays
consumes the vapors and mists, because, Macrobius says, the shades of night
flee before him as the sheep flee before the wolf."
The above explanation is by Brother Pike.
We doubt much whether in all the ritualistic
labors of Brother Pike he did anything nobler than the preparation of these
ceremonies. The admirable addresses to the young are in the simplest words and
opportunity is taken to describe the teachings of Freemasonry, the objects of
the Craft, the qualities and the rewards of the Mason. Nothing better for the
purpose of our correspondent is known to us.
Perhaps the use of the ritual might be secured
through the officials of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite at Washington,
D.C., Sixteenth and S. Streets. We are also assuming that the matter will be
taken up with the Grand Lodge authorities of his State before our
correspondent as Worshipful Master introduces such a ceremonial to his lodge.
That would be but a matter of courtesy due the governing body. Less than this
we could not advise.
Then, too, it has been and is now our great good
fortune to carry a commission issued by this grand old Masonic body!
* * *
PRESENT STATUS OF MASONRY IN
I have had a question come up to me that I would
like your information upon. Is it true that the Imperial German Government, as
such, will not permit any of its officers, either Government, Army or Navy, to
become affiliated with the Masonic Order, for reasons of State? - C.A.C.
At latest reports the Emperor's cousin, Prince
Leuitpolt, continued as the Grand Master of the Grosse Landesloge. Since the
beginning of the war several lodges of the Masonic brotherhood have received
military charters. One of these, as we learn from the Bulletin of the Bureau
of Masonic Relations, is the "Iron Cross of the East" and has been stationed
at Warsaw. These facts appear indisputable and certainly do not accord with
the points raised in the question. Should different information be in the
possession of any of our friends we shall be pleased to receive it.
CARVING ON HIRAM'S TOMB
Bro. Editor: - Not to criticise, but to shed light
on Brother J. W. Barry's excellent and scholarly articles on the "Pillars of
the Porch." In the July number of The Builder, he says, in connection with a
picture of Hiram's tomb, near Tyre: "To the right will be noticed a compass
and square cut in the rock, by whom and when are questions that can not be
Brother Rob. Morris, in his book on "Freemasonry
in the Holy Land," gives an exhaustive set of measurements of the tomb, etc.,
and says that he carved the compass and square upon it, in the place shown in
Bro. Barry's picture of the tomb. Such excellent matter as Bro. Barry is
furnishing, and the general contents of "The Builder," make it of priceless
value. Long live The Builder!
Rear. F. W. Hart, 32d,
* * *
"BROTHERHOOD OF THE WISE"
Dear Brother: - That article on the Brotherhood of
the Wise was written before I was raised in Masonry. It had a certain interest
then as a record of observation among the Ingiet of the Bismarck Archipelago,
but I am not willing to publish it in that form at the present moment because
I can well see that it does little more than scratch the surface of a most
interesting field. Military operations in the western Pacific have prevented
me from carrying out my plan of returning to the islands for further field
investigation of this as well as many other themes.
When this war is over, when the ban is lifted in the Pacific
and I am discharged from my voluntary service here, I shall hasten back to the
Pacific. Then I expect to do something really worth while along the line of
the Ingiet signs and perambulations; for the present it would be unwise to
publish the incomplete and faulty records.
Washington, D. C.
* * *
A NETHER VIEWPOINT OF
When a body of troops is to go into a region where
Masonry does not exist a military lodge may have a legitimate reason for
existence, as distinguished from a merely sentimental one. But under ordinary
circumstances a military lodge seems to me to be of doubtful expediency as it
creates in the military body, say the regiment, an organization to which all
the members of the military body do not belong. That is, it creates internal
subdivisions in the military body. It requires no argument to show that such a
thing is bad. Therefore, under the present circumstances I do not approve of
the chartering of military lodges in out expeditionary forces.
If the permitting of the Brethren to attend French
and Belgian lodges would entail the recognition of lodges which, because of
their unmasonic tenets, are at present, and for good reasons, unrecognized by
legitimate Masonry, then I do not think that the brethren ought to be
permitted to visit such lodges.
Harold A. Kingsbury,
* * *
WHAT lS TAUGHT BY THE SYMBOLS AND CEREMONIES OF
We are indebted to the courtesy of Brother Thomas
Isitt, Past Grand High Priest of Ohio, fear the opportunity to transcribe a
letter in his possession written by Albert Pike to Brenton D. Babcogk of
Cleveland. It is as follows:
O. '. of Washington - 25
Dear Bro. Babcock:
Like you, I laid away the enclosed "Screed," and
it has been only now got out from a mass of papers which I have had to look
over. I have read it, but I don't think it would pay to investigate and
I think that no speculations are more barren than
those in regard to the astronomical character of the symbols of Masonry,
except those about the Numbers and their combinations of the Kabalah.
All that is said about Numbers in the lecture, if
not mere jugglery, amounts to nothing. That the object of Masonry is "to
preserve weights and measures," is an entirely new notion; and I fail to see
how it preserves them.
If the Symbols and Ceremonies of Masonry don't
teach great religious truths, not in the ancient ages made known to the
Profane, they are worthless. The astronomical explanations of them, however
plausible, would only show that they taught no truths, moral or religious.
As to the tricks played with Numbers, they only
show in what freaks of absurdity, if not insanity, the human intellect can
As you may want to keep the Lecture as a
curiosity, I return it to you, with thanks for your kindness in sending it to
Always fraternally yours,
"EVEN THIS SHALL PASS AWAY"
"Once in Persia reigned a
Who upon his signet ring
'Graved a maxim true and
Which, if held before the
Gave him counsel at a glance,
Fit for every change and
Solemn words, and these are
'Even this shall pass away.'
Trains of camels through the
Brought him gems from
Fleets of galleys through the
Brought him pearls to match
But he counted not his gain,
Treasures of the mine or
'What is wealth?' the King
'Even this shall pass away.'
In the revels of his court
At the zenith of the sport,
When the palms of all his
Burned with clapping at his
He, amid his figs and wine,
Cried: 'Oh, loving friends of
Pleasure comes, but not to
Even this shall pass away.'
Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his
Soldiers with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his
Groaning from his tortured
'Pain is hard to bear,' he
'But with patience, day by
Even this shall pass away.'
Towering in the public
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue, carved in
Then the King, disguised,
Stood before his sculptored
Musing meekly, 'What is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay,
Even this shall pass away.'
Struck with palsy, sere and
Waiting at the gates of gold,
Said he, with his dying
'Life is done, but what is
Then, in answer to the King,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray -
'Even this shall pass away."'
- Theodore Tilton