The Builder Magazine
July 1918 - Volume IV - Number 7
AND AMERICAN BROTHERHOOD
A LEAGUE OF MASONS
BY BRO. SIR ALFRED ROBBINS
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF
GENERAL PURPOSES, UNITED GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND
The spell of this wonderful article is still upon me - I doubt
whether it will ever disappear. With consummate grace,
with all the
niceties of expression to which our common tongue lends itself, this eminent
English brother speaks words which ought to ring in the ears of every American
Mason. Not content merely to say he yearns for the intimate fellowship of his
American brethren, he extends his own hand across the sea. Can we do less than
grasp it? With no professions that he understands America, and no
protestations that he sympathizes with our historic separation from the
British Empire, disclaiming in fact any Masonic responsibility for that
separation, he boldly and frankly says that in Revolutionary days England,
under the leadership of a king with German blood in his veins took a position
which Masonry did not then countenance, any more than it does so now; that
English Masonry of today, even as the English nation of this day, loses its
regrets for that unhappy separation in its joy over the reunion of the present
in our common cause; rejoices, indeed, in this thrilling consummation of the
liberties then won; and pledges, himself to the battles of the future in
behalf of Masonic ideals, inviting us to join him at the Masonic Altar, renew
our vows to Masonry, and then, hand in hand, keeping step one with another, go
forward to accomplish the destiny of our ONE Fraternity, Soberly, prayerfully
consider the fraternal alliance which his words contemplate. Dream if you will
- but dream not too long - over the wonderful possibilities of this joint
effort in behalf of a war-torn and suffering Humanity. Starting from this true
to LEVEL, what cannot Masonry accomplish? Let us not dream, let us act!
Representatives? Ambassadors of Good Will? Yes, let us have them, and let us
USE them! Let our acts, not less than our words, prove to Sir Alfred Robbins
and the Grand Lodge of England that we are as free and as fervent in spirit as
"And may the day soon dawn,
when all the earth shall be ONE HOLY LAND, and all mankind ONE GREAT LODGE OF
BRETHREN, and when all religions of hate and fear shall have vanished away,
and wars and persecutions be known no more, forever!" EDITOR
ON the evening of September 2nd, 1914, the United
Grand Lodge of England held its first Quarterly Communication after the
outbreak of war. It was a moment fraught with fate, not only for the British
Empire, not alone for her Allies, but, as every Mason present felt in his
heart, for liberty, for humanity, for civilization itself. The armies of
France, of Britain, and of Belgium alike had been forced back in the sudden
overwhelming onrush of the invading hosts; the enemy were sweeping on to the
gates of Paris; the crowning mercy of the Marne was yet to come and was hardly
dared hope for; and darkness had descended on many a soul. It was Sedan Day,
the date fixed in the long-devised time-table of the enemy High Command for
triumphal entry into the French capital; and the grim anniversary loomed an
omen of evil out of the news that sobered all. In the Grand Temple of
Freemasons' Hall in that awe-inspiring hour, not a word of gloom, not a hint
of despondency, was to be heard. The Right Worshipful, the truly Right
Worshipful Deputy Grand Master of the English Craft - a legislator of
prolonged experience, an administrator of proved skill, and a member of His
Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council - struck on the instant a clear note.
He at once proposed, in eloquent and moving terms, a resolution deeply
appreciating the loyal and devoted service to their country rendered by
brothers of all ranks, and offering an earnest prayer for their continued
well-being. It was my privilege, as President of the Board of General Purposes
of Grand Lodge to second this; and my closing words I echo today: "Those of us
who are compelled to stay at home are prepared to make what sacrifices they
can in the present emergency. There is probably not one of us who has not
someone close to him concerned in this struggle. They go forth knowing that
they possess all our confidence and our hope. We know our confidence will be
justified. We earnestly pray our hope will be fulfilled. Grand Lodge sends
forth this message to those fighting for their country, feeling confident it
will cheer them in the hour of battle to know that with them are their
At this moment, and speaking, as I hope to do, to
American Freemasons, especial interest attaches to the words of our Deputy
Grand Master in submitting the resolution: "We have all come together in the
hour of danger. We are gratified to have with us a Past Grand Master of South
Carolina. Although I cannot, perhaps, allude to him as being entirely
committed to this motion, because he belongs to the Grand Lodge of another
Jurisdiction and to a neutral country, yet we feel that he is of a people who
are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. America is a neutral country but
I believe that our American brethren must appreciate, as we do, the manner in
which our brethren and countrymen have risen and flocked to the service of
King and Country in the hour of need." This proved a fitting prelude to the
most impressive demonstration of Anglo-American Masonic fraternity ever known
up to that time in the whole of the two-century annals of our Grand Lodge.
At the desire of the Grand Master - H.R.H. The
Duke of Connaught, at that moment serving the Empire as Governor-General of
the Dominion of Canada, there was read by our revered but now departed Grand
Secretary, Sir Edward Letchworth, this communication from the Grand Lodge of
"As your eldest child in the Western hemisphere,
the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, while officially avoiding partisanship in
the civil conflict, nevertheless cannot let this hour pass without advising
your Grand Lodge of its deep concern for those of your brethren and their
dependants who are suffering in body or estate, and we wish to offer all the
Masonic succour within our power consistent with citizenship in a neutral
nation. I beg that you, not in any military or civic capacity, but solely as
Grand Master, will cause me to be informed of any such aid or comfort to
afflicted brethren or their families within our power to extend."
Promptly Grand Lodge adopted with enthusiasm a
second resolution, thus associating itself with the Grand Master in thanks to
Bro. Melvin Johnson, Grand Master of the Masons of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, and in deep appreciation of his message as voicing a sincerity
of Masonic feeling especially welcome to the Grand Lodge of England. "We are
not insensible," exclaimed the Deputy Grand Master in making the motion, "to
the sympathy and love of our brother Masons in foreign jurisdictions in this
time of trouble and stress." "Grand Lodge," added the Provincial Grand Master
of Norfolk (the late Bro. Hamon le Strange) in seconding, "must be deeply
gratified by this mark of interest and sympathy shown by our eldest child
across the Atlantic. We deeply appreciate the truly Masonic spirit shown by
the Masons of Massachusetts, and their willingness to succour the old country,
from which they came, in its hour of need." A striking and even dramatic
episode immediately followed the resolution's unanimous acceptance. The very
first visitor of distinction from America ever known to have attended a
Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge of England was, as his name appears
on our records, "John Hammerton, Esq., P.G.M. of S. Carolina." As in April,
1738, so in September, 1914, that State had a distinguished representative in
Grand Lodge; and on this latter occasion it was Bro. J. Adger Smyth, Past
Grand Master of South Carolina, who thus addressed the assembled brethren:
"I am the representative of the United Grand Lodge
of England for the State of South Carolina, and have served you in that
capacity for thirty years. My father was an Englishman, my grandfather was an
Englishman, and my grandmother was a Scotch woman. If my sympathies do not
flow out to you, my brethren, in this hour of distress and national anxiety, I
am no living man. I wish you to know that I represent the feelings and
sentiment of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina when I say to you, and the
brethren in this country, that we heartily endorse and say word for word what
has been so well said by our brethren of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts."
The thrill experienced in that earliest moment of
the tremendous struggle still proceeding can never be forgotten. Every brother
in Grand Lodge that night - from the venerable and venerated Deputy Grand
Master of the English Jurisdiction to the youngest Junior Warden of a Private
Lodge - had passed on his way into Grand Lodge a fine portrait of America's
first President, Masonically clothed, which stands prominently forth, as a
most honoured possession on the great staircase of Freemasons' Hall. Entering
Grand Lodge under the serenely smiling shade of Washington, hearing, in Grand
Lodge, united voices of cheer and hope from North and South, typified by
Massachusetts and South Carolina, the English Masons felt, in Grand Lodge, an
uplifting of the spirit of true Brotherhood which since has deepened and at no
time has failed. As from Grand Temple they went forth to their homes, and
midnight came, and Sedan Day, threatening so foul, passed with gleam of hope,
there were those of us who from our hearts echoed Lincoln's immortal words.
For we likewise that day had highly resolved that our dead should not have
died in vain; that our nation, under God, should have a new birth of freedom;
and that Government of the people, by the people and for the people should not
perish from the earth.
One further war-time association between American
and English Masons - and this even more intimate, for they now had become
Allies - is to be recalled. At the Bi-centenary commemoration in June, 1917,
of the first Assembly of the Grand Lodge of England, eight thousand brethren
learned with deep satisfaction that messages of congratulation had come from
the Grand Lodges of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, of Rhode Island and New
Jersey, as well as of South Dakota, which I have the honourable privilege to
represent at Freemasons' Hall. In his opening address to that vast meeting of
Masons, the Grand Master accorded hearty greeting to all the distinguished
brethren from other Jurisdictions, emphasizing, amid loudly approving cheers,
his welcome to those from the United States. "They well know," said His Royal
Highness, "that we hold fast to our immemorial and immovable principles, and
that, even in this time of very great difficulty to very many among us, we,
through the agency of our Masonic Institutions, are ever broadening the
avenues of benevolence towards those who fall by the way. And, with the fear
of the Great Architect of the Universe ever before our eyes, we today dedicate
ourselves anew to the supreme task of so maintaining Masonry in its fullest
splendour, that the result of our counsels and our acts shall be the
dispensing of justice to all men, the maintaining of the honour and safety of
the Realm, and the uniting and knitting-together of the hearts of all our
brethren in Love, Charity and Masonic Truth." Later, the Duke of Connaught
added these words of special welcome: "To our American brethren, we say how
sincerely we recognise that love of truth and loyalty to freedom which have
led their Nation to join with our own and with our Allies in the present
struggle. From its beginning we have felt that the cause which we defend is
that of Masonic Brotherhood in its noblest aspects, and that the victory of
our cause will ensure the spread throughout all lands of the Three Grand
Principles on which our Order is founded, and the triumph of which was never
more necessary, and, we trust, never more assured, than it is at this hour."
And the loud acclaim which arose from every part of the great assemblage
testified the instant effect of the appeal.
I have dealt thus in detail with these
circumstances because they are the most recent illustration - and afforded in
the present war-time - of the bond of unity which throughout our Masonic
history has existed between British and American Freemasonry. Boundaries
whether of nature or nationality have never, as such, served to sever from us
our brethren, wherever dispersed over the face of earth or water. "Masonry",
it is laid down in the very first of the Antient Charges of a Freemason,
prefaced to the Book of Constitutions, a copy of which is placed in the hands
of every English Initiate "is the centre of union between good men and true,
and the happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who must
otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance." "It has ever flourished in
times of peace," says the second, "and . . . Craftsmen are bound by peculiar
ties to promote peace, cultivate harmony, and live in concord and brotherly
love." No one, and especially today, will dispute these verities from of old;
and in no direction have they been more persistently testified than in the
relations of Anglo-American Freemasonry.
It is no exaggeration to say that, if the rulers
of the English States had displayed the same breadth of wisdom and
understanding towards her children and kinsmen in America as from the very
outset was shown by the rulers of the English Craft, there would have been no
War of Independence. The fullest liberty of self-government would, from the
beginning, have existed, and would have been sweetened by the strongest yet
simplest bonds of fraternal relationship, regard, and trust. Let us take of
this the surest test - that not of theory or of tradition but of recorded
fact. In 1730, and on the Fifth of June - American Masonry's Independence Day
- the Duke of Norfolk, as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England, signed
in London a "Deputation to Daniel Cox, Esq., to be Provincial Grand Master of
the Provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pensilvania in America." In this
instrument, the one who was proud to describe himself therein as "Earl Marshal
and Hereditary Marshal of England, after the Princes of the Royal Blood, first
Duke, Earl and Baron of England, Chief of the Illustrious Family of the
Howards," sent greeting "To all and every our Right Worshipful, Worshipful and
loving Brethren now residing, or who may hereinafter reside, in the Provinces
of New York, New Jersey, and Pensilvania." He declared that, in response to
the desire and application of the Freemasons in those parts, Daniel Cox of New
Jersey should be ordained, constituted and appointed Provincial Grand Master
of the three Provinces "with full Power and Authority to nominate and appoint
his Deputy Grand Master and Grand Wardens for the space of two years from the
Feast of St. John the Baptist now next ensuing, after which time it is our
Will and Pleasure and We do hereby ordain that the Brethren who so now reside
or may hereafter reside in all or any of the said Provinces, shall and they
are hereby I powered every other year on the Feast of St. John the Baptist to
elect a Provincial Grand Master, who shall have the power of nominating and
appointing his Deputy Grand Master and Grand Wardens."
American Freemasons, therefore, possessed the full
choice of their immediate rulers in the Craft from the earliest moment of
organised existence. They had virtually selected their first chief; they were
directly empowered to elect every successor; and, in return, all that was
required was that they should observe the Book of Constitutions, and forward
to Masonry's central home an annual account of their lodges and membership
"together with such other matters and things as they shall think fit to be
communicated for the Prosperity of the Craft." There was no question of
"Taxation without Representation." The American lodges from the beginning
controlled their own finance, without either remittance or reference to
England. All that was suggested in this direction was that their ruler at each
annual gathering "at that time more particularly and at all Quarterly
Communications do recommend a General Charity to be established for the
Reliefe of poor Brethren of the said Provinces," this being the usual course
adopted at home. Freedom to choose their own chiefs; freedom to work in order
and regularity under those chiefs; freedom from overseas interference with
their finance - these were the cornerstones of the Charter of Independence
sent from England to American Masonry on June 5, 1730. They were not fully
asked from England by American citizenship until July 4,1776.
From the outset, the relations thus happily and
spontaneously established worked with smoothness. American Provincial Grand
Masters, on the rare occasion of a stay in England, visited Grand Lodge and
were placed in the official records with the rulers of the Craft. Individual
lodges occasionally communicated with the central authority; but so little was
there any idea of interference that the records of Grand Lodge during the War
of Independence may be searched in vain for trace of intervention in the
struggle or of intent to inqpose English ideas on American Masons. Grand Lodge
at the very beginning had accorded liberty of thought and action, and it never
departed from that original standpoint. Brethren remained brethren despite
constitutional dispute and civil discord; and even today in some of our
ancient lodges, closely allied by circumstance with Atlantic voyage, each
entrant to the Craft has the universality of Masonry forcibly impressed upon
him by allusions plainly dating from Continental times. "Wherever it shall
please the will of Providence to cast your lot," he is told, "whether you
traverse the banks of the Mississippi, whether you dwell amid the immeasurable
wilds of the scattered Indian tribes across the mighty Atlantic, aye, even on
the battle-field itself, you will everywhere find a brother who will greet you
- in every nation a brother, in every clime a home."
A profound cause exists for this abiding alliance
in spirit between American and British Freemasons. They alike hold in highest
regard honourable obligation, moral responsibility, and human freedom. The
"all men are created equal" of the Declaration of Independence is but to
emphasise the demonstration by the Level that we have all sprung from the same
stock, are partakers of the same nature, and sharers in the same hope. The
First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, directing that
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or
prohibiting its free exercise, is in absolute accord with the First Article of
the Antient Charges, which enjoins: "Let a man's religion be what it may, he
is not excluded from the Order, provided he believes in the Glorious Architect
of Heaven and Earth, and practice the sacred duties of morality." And nothing
more completely could consort with the theory and practice of American
citizenship than the declaration of our Fourth Article: "All preferment among
Masons is grounded upon real worth and personal merit only; that so the lords
may be well served, the brethren not put to shame, or the Craft despised."
These are of the fundamentals of Freemasonry as
known and practised by American and British brethren alike; and they never
better deserved remembrance than in this hour of allied nationhood amid
external strife. It is a time for the ideal to be a beacon-light to the real,
not to discover divergence but to cement union. "In things essential, unity;
in things non-essential, diversity; in all things, charity." For two
centuries, English and American Freemasons, standing side by side, have worked
hand in hand. Rendering services not of the lip but of the life to the
immortal truths - embodied in the principles of the Craft - not wasting
energy in mystical speculation, but bending strength to practical endeavour -
the union of hearts existing throughout our common Masonic history should now
lead to a union of hands. It is given to us of today to dissipate the belief
of the bygone that "Masonry has been always injured by war, bloodshed and
confusion." The nominal official relationships long established between the
majority of the Grand Lodges of the United States and the United Grand Lodge
of England should be extended to all, and in every case made more real. Let
the distinguished brethren thus accredited on both sides of the Atlantic act
as ambassadors, keeping each other in constant comradeship. Let there be
organised a system enabling representative English Masons visiting the United
States and representative American Masons coming to this country - for, when
the present stress ends, there will be even increased inter-visitation
compared with pre-war times - to attend lodge meetings at their desire during
their stay. Let means be devised for making us better acquainted with each
other's ideas, each other's ways, for the first condition of true friendship
is full knowledge. Even now there exists the nucleus of such a system in the
two London lodges under the English Constitution in special kinship with the
United States, the one composed of Americans by birth or association, the
other of Americans alone. Development of the idea would demand time, entail
trouble, necessitate thought. But the time, trouble, and thought alike would
be well expended to bring the Craft in both countries into closer communion
and surer touch.
If we adopted this as our ideal, means would be
found to make it real. While Statesmen strive to establish a League of
Nations, let us set up, for ourselves and the brethren with whom we always in
principle and practice have been allied, a League of Masons. Reverent
recognition of The Eternal, resolute renouncement of the political - these are
the foundation and corner stone of our Masonic system. On so sure a base, a
superstructure can be raised embracing, as in a house of many mansions, the
vast Masonic family, independent as units, united as a whole. Britain and
America, Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the Cape, India and the Isles
beyond seas can dwell together under that roof. It may be but a vision, and
yet even as a vision it inspires. That first Grand Original who stood upon
Mount Pisgah could only see, could never enter, the Promised Land. Yet even
the sight gladdened his failing eyes after his long toilings to lead his
people into the light.
In the pursuit of so high an endeavour,
difficulties exist only to be dispersed; and never was it more true that where
there is a will, there is a way. Bound to each other by ties of common origin,
identical ideals, and never broken friendship, American and British
Freemasonry could render inestimable service, not only to the Brotherhood, but
to mankind, by more intimacy of association and intensity of aim. What we have
to do is at once to put ourselves to work and discover whether, by making the
best use of Masonry, lasting good may not be gained from the present
world-welter of war. It is a task worthy of the devotion of us all, and Masons
on both sides of the Atlantic should worthily rise to so supreme an occasion.
Then, even war will have its compensations. Out of the eater shall come forth
meat, and out of the strong shall come forth sweetness. The far-flung
battle-line shall give place to the far-flung brother-line; and, great though
will be our labour, our reward shall be sure.
FURTHER NOTES ON THE COMACINE
BY BRO. W. RAVENSCROFT,
In presenting this article we
wish again to emphasize that Brother Newton says of Brother Ravenscroft's work
on Page 88 of the March issue of THE BUILDER. We have no hesitation in saying
that this presentation of the latest researches of our noted English brother
is in our judgment the most important contribution to the subject of the
sources of Freemasonry as it now exists which has been given to the Masonic
world since the organization of this Society. While perhaps not all Masonic
scholars have agreed with the conclusions of Brother Ravenscroft in his small
but monumental book, "The Comacines," it must be admitted that the new
material herewith presented is of great value in supporting his former
contentions. Members of our Society will find cause for gratification in the
choice of THE BUILDER as the medium through which Brother Ravenscroft gives us
this added light, and we welcome the opportunity to still further acknowledge
our gratitude to our English brother for his continuing interest in our
"You have often heard it said
that Scotto was the founder of Art in Italy. He was not: neither he, nor
Cianta Pisano, nor Niccolo Pisano. They all laid strong hands to the work, and
brought it first into aspect above ground; but the foundation had been laid
for them by the builders of the Lombardic churches in the valleys of the Adda
and the Arno.
"It is in the sculpture of
the round-arched churches of North Italy bearing disputable dates, ranging
from the eighth to the twelfth century, that you will find the lowest struck
roots of the Art of Titian and Raphael." --From John Ruskin's "Two Paths."
SEVEN years ago I wrote a
little book, published by Elliot Stock, London, with the title, "The Comacines,
Their Predecessors and Their Successors." It closed with the following summary
of the points I wished . __ to emphasize:
1. Centuries before Christ
and the foundation of Rome a race of Hametic descent spread along the
Mediterranean shores and afterward became known in Syria and Asia Minor as
Hittites, in Greece as Pelasgoi, and in Italy as Etruscans.
2. Hittites were engaged in
building the Temple at Jerusalem, the fame of which spread far and wide.
3. The Romans learned their
arts of building, decoration and pottery, etc., from the Etruscans, who were
the same race as the Hittites, and carried with them some at least of their
4. In Rome developed Collegia
of Artificers, and in early Christian days these had traditions of King
5. At the downfall of Rome
the Gild of Artificers left and settled in the district of Como, holding as
their centre the Island of Comacina.
6. That thence they spread
their influence over all Western Europe and even to our own shores.
7. That they merged into the
great Masonic Gilds of the Middle Ages.
8. That as these Gilds died
out their forms and ceremonies were preserved to a great extent in our Masonic
lodges; at any rate those under the English and American Constitutions.
Since my book was published I
have continued to make its subject one of my principal studies and through the
courtesy and influence of Cav. A. G. Caprani, the owner of the island of
Comacina, I have obtained interviews with several Italian archaeologists who
gave me valuable help in my investigations. This resulted in the collection of
notes and drawings which, together with what I have been able to obtain by
personal inspection in many Italian towns and especially in the Como district,
forms the basis of what I have written in the present paper.
Of what I previously wrote on
this subject I have had scarcely any adverse criticism, but I have seen the
Comacines described by one writer as an "obscure association," while another
refers to their story as a myth. One is reminded thus of the traveler who
stated that he knew the Lake of Como from end to end and could positively
assert that there was no island in it whatever.
It is not my intention here
to recapitulate what I have already written, but rather by added evidence to
substantiate the more important points therein. At the same time by keeping
before the reader the eight points listed at the beginning of this article I
hope as far as possible to make this paper self-contained.
One would not lay too much
stress on the first three of these statements, especially on the first, which
one has, of course, always regarded as more or less hypothetical. The
statements numbered two and three have been repeatedly confirmed by American
as well as English writers, but far as one could find, nowhere traversed.
The late J. Tavenor Perry,
F.R.I.B.A., in an article communicated to the "Architect" of July 24th, 1914,
entitled "The Origin of Lion Bases," traces direct Hittite influence on the
lion bases found throughout Italy, and so intimately associated with the later
Comacine work, his argument being that the use of beasts in connection with
architecture especially as supporting the columns of porches, doorways, etc.,
was popular from the tenth century throughout Italy and parts of Southern
France. These beasts, although by no means exclusively so, took generally the
form of lions and were certainly much in vogue for a considerable time.
Mr. Tavenor Perry traces a
striking likeness between Hittite lions, as revealed in sculptured remains,
supporting pillars and doorposts, and those of Italy, and, differing from
Riviora, who claims Etruscan source for the latter, concludes that the idea
was brought home by returning Crusaders who, as they passed through the
Hittite country, saw and carried home the recollection of the beasts in
This suggestion that the lion
inspiration was originally Hittite, makes intelligible the associations of
lions with King Solomon's throne, as also the Etruscan development of guardian
lions. In this connection it is worthy of mention that during recent
excavations at Corstopitum, near Corbridge on Tyne and Hexham, a lion,
remarkably like those of the Comacine type, was discovered, of which the
report of the excavation committee said:
"The lion, though in some
respects a familiar Roman type, embodies artistic tendencies which break loose
from Roman art and anticipate the Middle Ages."
The discovery of this lion in
English soil properly suggests the enquiry as to how far it is associated with
Comacine work in England to which a further reference in these pages will be
made. A few notes relating to the Collegia of Artificers will help to confirm
Pliny in a letter to the
Emperor Trajan at the end of the first century refers to a college of workmen.
This is confirmed by Professor Baldwin Brown in "From Schola to Cathedral"
(Douglas, Edinburgh, 1886), while Villari in "The Barbarian Invasion of Italy"
(Fisher Unwin, London, 1902), refers to there being found after the sack of
Rome no artificers skilled to design buildings there.
Professor Merzario in his "Maestri
Comacini," vol. I, p. 54, (Milan, 1893), tells us that when Constantine went
to Byzantium, A. D. 328, he was accompanied by artificers who worked in Roman
style. He also says there is reason to believe that unions of architects,
workers in marble, painters, wall builders, joiners and other workmen existed
in Rome to about the year 400 A. D. and that down to the fall of Imperial Rome
there were similar unions in other important cities of Italy, particularly in
Ravenna and Milan, which for many years were seats of Empire (vol. I, p. 36).
With regard to point five
that "At the downfall of Rome the Gild of Artificers left and settled in the
district of Como, holding as their centre the island of Comacina," there are
to hand many items of interest.
It is to be presumed that no
one questions the association of a Gild of Artificers with the Lake of Como
from somewhere about A.D. 500 to the time when they were finally driven from
the Island of Comacina by the men of Como, A. D. 1169. Two charters granted
the Gild by Lombard Kings, that of Rotharis, A.D. 643, and that of Liutprand,
nearly one hundred years later, beside many other documental references, give
evidence of this. Nor will it be denied that these artificers developed a
style of their own which probably underwent modifications according to the
extent to which it was subjected, from time to time, to external influences.
But what may not be thought
conclusive is that these were the men who, for five centuries at least, made
their mark on, nay, were the chief factors in the development of architecture
in Italy and Western Europe. In other words, that the Comacine Gild
practically fills the hiatus which has been supposed to exist between the
downfall of Rome and the development of what is generally understood as
medieval architecture in Italy and the West. The point then is to establish
that the Comacine influence was as widespread as is claimed for it.
But first as regards their
connection with the Roman Collegia, and examination of some of their plans and
of the detail of their ornament together with the general use of the
semi-circular arch will render assistance. Wherever else the Comacine Masters
may or may not have worked, they are clearly responsible for the buildings of
their period in the district of Como, and indeed of the Lombardy plain
generally, for the Lombards were no builders, and hence needed skilled
assistance in the construction of their buildings.
Now whether we take the
ground-plan of a Comacine Oratory, Church or Cathedral, we shall find its
prototype chiefly at Rome. There is a small building of the eleventh century
in the Comacine district known as the Oratory of S. Benedetto in Civate, and
its plan, as well as the shaping of its roofs, shows striking similarity to
one of the oldest Christian buildings in Rome, "The Memorial Cella" in the
Cemetery of S. Callisto, each plan consisting of a rectangle with three
semicircular apses placed so as to form a kind of chancel with transepts; the
"Cella" dating from the end of the third century. The plan of the Comacine
Church of Sta. Maria del Tiglio, at Gravedona on Lake Como, is also similar.
And in this connection it is noteworthy that in one of the oldest but most
recently discovered of the Catacombs at Rome, that of Priscilla, there is a
second century chapel called, because of some of the inscriptions it contains,
the Greek chapel, almost identical in plan with these. (Figs. 1, 2 and 3.)
In this district also are the
Churches of S. Pietro at Monte (Fig. 3a), S. Andrea at Lenno, S. Giacomo at
Spurano, the Church of the Ospedaletto between Campo and Sala, and the Church
at Piona, with many others, all consisting of rectangular aisleless naves and
semicircular apses following the plan of the larger Scholae at Rome. Then
there are Baptisteries, such as that at Lenno, to all appearance modeled on
the plan of early Christian ones in Rome, some dating from the establishment
of Christianity by Constantine. And there are the larger churches, such as S.
Benedetto di Monte Oltirone, (Fig. 3b), S. Giovanni at Bellagio, S. Eufemia on
the Island of Comacina, S. Abbondio at Como, and hosts of others all
following, with slight modifications, the general type of plan used for a
Christian basilica in Rome in the early centuries of Christianity. Clearly so
far as the general types of plan are concerned the Comacines, at any rate in
their churches close at home, drew their inspiration from Rome.
In the development of the
capitals of columns we get distinct traces of Roman influence both on the
Island of Comacina and the district around. Three instances will suffice to
In the ninth century Crypt of
S. Stefano at Lenno, with some variations, occurs the later type of Roman
volute--the acanthus and even the aloe leaves of debased Roman capitals (Fig.
4). The capitals of some of the columns in the Church of S. Abbondio, Como,
are obviously derived from Roman corinthian capitals and in the Baptistery at
Gravedona the influence of the acanthus is unmistakable.
In this connection the
association of the Comacine Masters with the Quatuor Coronati perhaps does not
count for much, since these four martyrs were probably not only the patron
saints of the Comacines, but also of other Gilds of Artificers, as certainly
they were in subsequent times; but it is interesting to record the dedication
of Comacine Churches to their memory as four as well as to individual members
of them such as that of S. Carpoforo, just outside Como.
The antiquary, Sig. Ugo
Monneret de Villard, who has been for a considerable time studying the
Comacine district and has recently published the result (1) of his
explorations on the Island of Comacina, and of research in the Archives of
Milan and Como, etc., relating thereto, all carried out under the authority of
the Italian Government, regards the Comacine Masters as the descendants of the
Roman Collegia, but doubts the correctness of the statement that they fled
from Rome, contending that they had before its fall established Collegia
throughout Lombardy and elsewhere in the Roman Empire, and that from Rome's
enemies rather than directly from Rome, they fled to Comacina.
He also thinks that the Gild,
as such, ended with the twelfth century, and this would synchronize with the
fall of Comacina, albeit at the dissolution of the Gild the individual members
carried away traditions in many directions.
In this connection it may be
desirable to recall the Greek name given to the Island of Comacina by one
Abbot Floriano, "Christopolis," by reason of its having become a place of
refuge for the many peaceful Romans who fled for security from the Lombard
invasions and from the strife, turmoil, bloodshed and devastation of which the
Lombardy plain and its surrounding districts was the unhappy scene. Not only
would the Island be some little security against the Lombards, but also
against Teutonic invasion from the Northeast, and from the valleys round the
lakes; for the progress of Christianity in this district was but slow and the
formation of the Episcopal see of Como was comparatively late
Fortified very strongly, the
crowded little Island would thus become as fitting a home as could be found
for the Magistri who made it their centre and marvelously contrived to carry
on their craft in the surrounding district through ages of turmoil and
internecine war. Refugees from their conquerors, they were in course of time
called back when Craftsmen and builders were needed by the Lombards, and these
Craftsmen would bring with them stone, marble and wood, since the Lombardy
plain could not supply such materials.
Thus much for the relation
between the Comacines and the Roman Collegia, but it is not suggested that the
Comacines developed their style and worked out their buildings unaffected from
without by other influences.
On the contrary it is evident
that a Byzantine character was given to a good deal of their work, especially
as it moved Eastward; and while asserting the claim for individual character
in it against the criticism which complains that they are credited with what
does not belong to them, it cannot be denied that, in the development of their
style, Byzantium had some part. Indeed the suggestion of the following notes
is that it was to a considerable extent through the Comacines that Byzantine
art found expression in the West.
Up to the commencement of the
great schism in the eighth century, it would be natural to expect Eastern
influence to be direct and easy; but from that time onward it would be equally
natural to look for its cessation, or at least diminution. And yet it seems to
have been maintained right through the centuries, even to the twelfth, in
which it is clearly discernable. How was this ?
For the following reasons one
would venture to believe that it was through the Comacines largely and in
spite of the separation of the Churches, that its flow was more or less
maintained. First, the Comacine district proper may be said to have extended
from the plain of Lombardy at least as far as Istria. Secondly, this district
was under the Ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Aquileja, and
hence looked to Byzantium rather than Rome. Thirdly, Sig. Caprani says:
"The badge of the former
inhabitants of the Island Comacina was most likely at the time when the town
was destroyed (A. D. 1169) a Byzantine Cross, as they depended in
Ecclesiastical matters from the Patriarch of Constantinople. Their
descendants, the people of Varenna, are still called 'Patriarchini,' by way-of
allusion to their Ecclesiastical allegiance to Byzantium instead of Rome. (2)
"It is supposed that this
continued after the fatal year 1169, and the fact that in the parish of
Varenna the Ambrosian Rite is observed instead of the Roman that is observed
in all the parishes of the province of Como, may be in consequence of their
political lien with Milan as their former adherence to Constantinople, was
probably the reason for not depending from Rome in religious matters."
As a postscript to the above,
Sig. Caprani adds:
"Referring to what I have
already brought to your notice of what is related in the Revista Archaeologia
of Como, 1908, I observe that the Byzantine Cross precedes the inscription
found on a capital of the cloister of Voltorre (on Lake Varess), which
includes the assumption that it was built under the direction of Magister
Lanfrancus, one member of the Comacine Gild.
"This Magister Lanfrancus was
perhaps the same who, in 1099, with increased fame, an acknowledged architect,
began the renovation of the Cathedral of Modena and directed those works, at
least until the end of 1106, called 'Mirabilis artifex mirificus edificator,'
and who, in a tablet placed on the back of the apsis at Modena, is remembered
with the following epitaph:
"Ingenio clarus Lanfrancus
Doctus et aptus est operis Princepo Hujus Rectorque Magister.
Fourthly. It is a matter of
history that in A.D. 553 an Aecumenical Council was held in Constantinople
(the fifth acknowledged by the Christian Church) and condemned as heresy the
writings of three deceased Bishops known as the "Three Chapters," two of
which, however, had been previously, at the Council of Chalcedon (A. D. 451),
It appears that in A. D. 557
the Archbishop of Aquileja called together his suffragans and rejected the act
of this council of 553, thereby estranging themselves in this particular
matter from the Church's accepted view, both Eastern and Western. At the same
time they constituted their Archbishop "Patriarch of Aquileja." At the close
of the sixth century Pope Gregory the Great sought to bring them into line but
they refused to obey his summons to Rome. In connection with these events
there appears on the scene a Bishop of Como, Agrippinus, who died about 620
A.D., or perhaps, as some say, a little earlier, and whose seventh century
epitaph is still to be seen in the Church at Isola on the mainland close to
Comacina whence this epitaph was brought, Agrippinus having been buried on the
Island. In this epitaph testimony is given to the part Agrippinus played in
the controversy on the side of Aquileja. Since that time repeated efforts have
been made to bring the district under the authority of Rome, but until the
eighteenth century with but small, and that intermittent. success.
S. Carlo Borromeo tried it,
as many of his predecessors had done, and yet it remained Eastern in its
obedience until Aquileia. in a re-distribution of authority, lost its
importance and ceased to have its jurisdiction. The point of all this for our
purpose is obvious, since geographically as well as through religious attitude
of its hierarchy this district could not be other than a direct and easy
channel for the flow of Eastern ideas in matters of art as well as religion.
Lastly, the Church of S.
Pietro al Monte di Civate (eleventh century Comacine work, Fig. 3a) had its
altar three-quarters of the length of the church toward the West, in such a
manner as that the celebrant faced the East and the people, according to the
more ancient and oriental rite. This in the West at so late a date is very
exceptional and a clear indication of the association. Taking together then
these five points and remembering the connection between the Church and Gilds
in the Middle Ages it is surely justifiable to suggest that its was to a great
extent through the Comacines that Byzantine art owes largely such acceptance
as it found in the West.
(To be continued)
(1) "Isola Comacina."
(2) In an article on Varenna
recently published in an Italian journal occurs the following: Nel 1169 gli
abitanti di Cristopoli (another name for Comacina) dai Comaschi cacciatidale
Isola Comacina si refugiarono a Varenna portandovi il loro rito patriarchino
dicui non sono del tutto estinte le traccie.
In our study paper
"Approaching the East," by Brother Haywood, which appeared in the April
Correspondence Circle Bulletin, was discussed the meaning of the expression
"Gone West." Our members, especially those who belong to lodges or study clubs
where our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study" is being used, will find the
following item which recently appeared in "The Christian Commonwealth" of much
In his "First Expedition to
Africa," Livingstone tells of his encounter with a lion, in which he reveals a
very interesting fact. Once the-beast had him by the shoulder, and had shaken
him like a rat, all sense of terror and pain vanished. The shock produced,
naturally, a condition of anesthesia. This seemed to the explorer a merciful
provision of Nature to lessen the pain of death.
A similar, less intense,
though more prolonged condition of anesthesia seems to supervene where men
spend days and months in the presence of imminent death. The presence of death
itself seems to produce an anesthetic effect. In pre-war days death, viewed at
a distance by the average healthy man, had, to say the least, a very sinister
aspect. Today all is changed. Men poke fun and talk slang in the dread
presence. Humanity's propensity for humour will not stop short even here.
Cartoons from the trenches show how true this is. To hob-nob with death seems
to deprive it of the horrors it assumed when we knew it only as a nodding
acquaintance. Anesthesia is produced by the very thing we feared.
The soldier refers to it in
phrases which may well be classed under the heading of verbal anaesthetics.
Take, for example, such a phrase as "Gone West." Here is a verbal charm before
which grimness and ghastliness disappear. Instead, the mind is filled with
suggestions of golden romance, sunset splendour, and a new world of distant
These, at least, if nothing
more definite, are suggested, and these do draw the sting and sweeten the
bitterness a little. It is surprising what effect even a beautiful phrase may
produce. And this is but one of many verbal anesthetics which we gladly use
It may surprise some of us to
be told that "Going West" was a phrase well known to the old Egyptians, to the
men of the Torres Straits, Fiji, Brazil and India. And they used the phrase
with more definite conceptions than our soldiers do today. Let us see what
some of those conceptions were.
The belief in an under-world,
to which the souls of men journeyed, was common, of course, to the Hebrews,
Greeks and Romana Certain tribes as far apart as South Africa and Mexico had a
similar belief. If such a place existed it was only natural that it should
have an entrance. And speculation, of course, was rife as to where the
entrance was. The Romans believed it to be in the Comitium. In Ireland there
is an old legend, which tells how Sir Oswain and a monk, Gilbert, discovered
the entrance in an island of Lough Derg, in Donegal.
These, however, were purely
local, and there was the suggestion of an entrance obvious to all. The sun, it
was thought, passed into the under-world at his setting and emerged from it at
dawn. Obviously, then, the sunset was the real entrance to the spirit abodes.
A conception arose,
therefore, in some races that it was essential to journey with the sun, and
under his charge to pass the clashing gates that guarded the entrance to the
land of spirits. Such was the "Going West" of primitive man in Australia,
Polynesia, India and Brazil. Among the Aryan races such a picture did not,
however, prevail--to the Romans, e. g., it was unknown.
Amid the more primitive
peoples it did exist, and was by some extended to embrace the idea of two
worlds. To the idea of the gloomy underworld was added that of islands of the
blessed which lay in the sunset, and to which went only the virtuous and the
brave. The underworld was for bad men only. The nether world thus assumed a
gloomier aspect. But the islands of the blessed were happy and fruitful abodes
of joy and peace.
No such conceptions as these
are present to the modern soldier; and whether his phrase "Gone West" can be
traced back to any such origin or not, the fact remains that we have here a
phrase which provides an esthetic, hides the terror of death, and suggests
instead the distant glory of a new romance.
THE MEANING OF OUR RED CROSS
The red in our cross stands
for sacrifice, for giving life, as the warm, crimson blood gives life to the
body. The cross has the same length on all four sides of its arms, to signify
that it gives life equally to all, high or low, east or west. It stands alone
always, no words or markings on it, to show that the Red Cross workers have
only one thought--to serve. They ask no questions, they care not whether the
wounded be ours or of another people--their duty is to give, and to give
The Red Cross stands on a
white ground, because real sacrifice can come only from pure hearts. Service
must come, not from hate, but from love; from the noblest thoughts and wishes
of the heart, or it will fail. That is why children love this flag. It is
drawing them by millions in the schools of our land, in a wonderful army of
rescue under the President, to make, to save, to give for others. And some day
the children of all lands, under the Red Cross, will teach the grown people
the ways of understanding and of friendship; the beautiful meaning of the Red
Cross which is echoed in their lives.--H. N. MacCracken.
THE FIRST DEGREE
The first degree in Masonry
inculcates a knowledge of himself, and rightly understood, teaches the
Initiate how he may "in the beginning" re-create himself. Man becomes king of
the brutes by subduing or taming them. Brutes are fit types of our passions
and are the instinctive forces of nature. Physical laws are millstones; if you
are not the miller, you must be the grain. To attain the sanctum sanctorum,
you must possess four indispensable capacities: an intelligence illuminated by
study; an intrepidity which nothing can check; a will which nothing can break;
and a discretion which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate. "To know,
to dare, to will, and to keep silence" were the four indispensable conditions
for gaining admission into the ancient mysteries and are true today for real
initiates. Have you really studied yourself ? Are you insensible to temptation
? Have you overcome the vortices of vague thoughts? Are you without
indecision? Do you consent to pleasure when you will or when you should? To be
able and to forbear is to be twice able. To learn self-conquest is to learn
life. The intelligence and will of man are instruments of incalculable power
and capacity. Properly directed imagination is a helpmeet, coupled with
intelligence and will, that will make man almost omnipotent. Who would be a
slave to his senses when he may be a king and reign with power and
--Rob Morris Bulletin.
All our wants, beyond those
which a very moderate income can supply, are purely imaginary.
If a man makes me keep my
distance, the comfort is, he keeps his at the same time.
THE BUILDER JULY 1918
THE FAITH THAT IS IN THEM--A
EDITED BY BRO. GEORGE E.
PRESIDENT. THE BOARD OF
Wildey E. Atchison, Iowa.
Geo. W. Baird, District of
Joseph Barnett, California.
John W. Barry, Iowa.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
Henry R. Evans, District of
H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
Joseph C. Greenfield,
Frederick W. Hamilton,
H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
Harold A. Kingsbury,
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Julius H. McCollum,
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin.
John Pickard, Missouri.
C. M. Schenck, Colorado.
Francis W. Shepardson,
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
H. W. Ticknor, Maryland.
Denman S. Wagstaff,
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 Question Box and
QUESTION NO. 11--
"Shall each American lodge
appoint one of its members as a personal representative in the lodge and in
the home community of and for each member of the lodge who is on War duty in
"If so, shall each such
personal representative be made responsible for furnishing personal letters,
magazines, books, gifts, etc., to his Masonic brother in France?
"What other systematic scheme
do you propose that will as effectually remind Masons in France of their
Masonic brothers at home, as the K. of C. buildings remind Catholic soldiers
of their Catholic brothers at home?"
Rotate the Work.
In the ritual of an ancient
organization, one undergoing trials says, "My brother, my brother, hast thou
Our enlisted Masonic brethren
must not be neglected, even though they are well looked after by those in
National authority, and even though we have subscribed liberally to the
Y.M.C.A. for that particular purpose. All material needs are doubtless well
cared for. What Masonry should do is to supply the personal friendly and
sympathetic and appreciative element. Each of the boys in France should
receive a letter from the lodge from time to time. And the boys should be
encouraged to write the lodge, so that those less fortunate than themselves
may be cheered up by learning that the lodge is not forgotten amid new and
interesting experiences in foreign lands.
It would be an unreasonable
burden on Secretaries of lodges to ask them to write to all the members in
camp. Nor is it likely that any individual or group of individuals appointed
permanently would accept such duty. It would probably be more fruitful if men
were appointed for one such service, to be succeeded by others from time to
time. And one man might write a letter to each of three or four men once or so
in a year, either in his own name or in the name of the lodge. Most members
would probably gladly do their share, and would take special pleasure in
writing to those with whom they were intimately acquainted.
As regards books and
packages, it would be still easier to interest members. Everyone would make
some sacrifice in that way. But it is not at all certain that such things
would reach our boys. Every ton of ship space is urgently needed for other
purposes. Even if packages should reach France, there is no probability of
immediate transportation to the front. For the present it would probably be
wasted effort to send anything but first-class mail. Joseph Barnett,
* * * The Plan Works. I am
strongly in favor of having every American lodge assign to an individual
member the pleasing duty and responsibility of keeping another member, absent
on service, informed of affairs at home.
Those who have had
opportunity to visit the battle front state that nothing is more helpful to
the soldiers than a cheery letter from home. I can see how a brother, who
caught the idea, might make of such an assignment an opportunity for real
service, not only encouraging his fellows in the trenches, but also finding
his own patriotism strengthened by reason of constant thoughtfulness about
things that might be of interest to the absent one.
College fraternities are
making much of a similar plan. Each brother in service, whether known to the
correspondent or not, is kept posted on affairs in the college, current
events, and every possible item which might be of interest to one remote from
the ordinary source of news. There is no reason for thinking that a work which
has found abundant justification among college boys should not also commend
itself in actual experience to those of maturer years. Francis W. Shepardson,
* * * Let the Secretary
Write. It seems to me that the Secretary of a lodge is the proper person to
furnish personal letters, magazines, books, gifts, etc., to members serving in
the army in France. Such work would add to his duties, but he is the proper
channel for all lodge activities, such as the getting out of notices,
bulletins, etc. He is familiar with the personnel of the lodge. Why transfer
such activities to another? He might be given clerical assistance, however.
The members of a lodge are better acquainted with the Secretary than with any
individual member thereof. The members drop out, leave for other
jurisdictions, etc., but the Secretary remains.
It seems to me that the
combined Grand Lodges of the United States should take up the matter of
establishing Masonic centers with our army in France; appointing a general
committee and asking for funds from each jurisdiction to maintain such
centers. We do not want to compete with the Y.M.C.A. in its particular line of
work, but we could have centers where the brethren might meet and exchange
views and obtain assistance when necessary. Henry R. Evans, District of
* * *
Special Deputies. I think the
positive suggestions contained in the question are both of them admirable.
I do not think that our
brethren at the front need the same kind of mental treatment as is
administered to the Catholics through the K. C. buildings. I think there is
some confusion of thought prevalent among us with regard to this particular
The K. C. work is not
primarily fraternal in the sense that ours is, but it is the Catholic
substitute for the Y.M.C.A. with increased emphasis on the religion side.
The method of Masonic
communication adopted by this Grand Lodge is the appointment of a special
deputy with each military or naval unit in which there is any considerable
number of Massachusetts men. These special deputies interest themselves in the
promotion of Masonic clubs which are intended to organize Master Masons, and
serve generally as a center around which the Masonic interests of the command
may gather and as the means of regular communication between the brethren and
the Grand Master and Grand Lodge. Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.
* * *
A Committee of Earnest Men.
I do not approve of
appointing one member of a lodge to look after the comforts and interests of
each soldier member. This is a lodge matter; every brother thereof should have
the same burden on his heart and conscience. It is unfair, although easy, to
put onto the other fellow the duties one should assume for oneself. On an
average, only about ten per cent of a lodge roster is in the service. It would
be manifestly unjust to put the work on one-tenth of the membership and let
the other nine-tenths drift into the slacker class. Furthermore, it would be
better for the nine-tenths themselves if they had a personal interest in the
matter. It would keep war needs constantly before them, stimulate the fires of
patriotism, and make them realize they are an important, integral unit in the
If anything is done, it
should be by a committee. I realize that committees are too often
unsatisfactory and that one member thereof generally does the work. But this
committee should be carefully selected, not named haphazard, as is too often
done in Masonic lodges. It should demand and receive active support and
assistance from every member and should insist on each one doing his part.
Community effort is more productive of results than individual effort when
wisely and tactfully handled. A band of earnest men acting as a unit can
accomplish much, while the individual is limited by his ability or his
I note your question seems to
refer to our brethren while in France. I believe the time to look after them
is before they go, and after they come back. This man's army is going to
France for strenuous work; it may be the last stand for freedom of thought and
pure democracy of government. While over seas there will be little time to
read books and magazines, and the soldier with a sixty pound pack on his back
will not care to increase it, no matter how sweet the spirit of the giver.
But, before he leaves America, he is ofttimes home-sick; many times anxious
about those he is leaving behind, and ignorant largely of what is on the other
side. And when he comes back, he will be confronted with lost years of effort
for himself and with questions regarding the future. Joseph C. Greenfield,
* * *
Teach Masonry at the
The idea does not appeal to
me. I would want no one to represent me or to feel that he was in any way
responsible for my acts, wants or needs.
As a member of the Masonic
fraternity I would like to feel that my entire home organization took an
interest in me but I would not want that interest focused in any one
individual outside of my family.
"What would remind me of my
brethren at home as the K. of C. buildings remind Catholic soldiers of their
Catholic brethren at home ?"
I would want no gifts, but I
would welcome newsy and cheerful letters--many of them--and the privilege and
ability to have Masonic intercourse with Masons of my own and of all other
nationalities on and behind the firing line. But how many of us are equipped
for such fellowship ?
Let me illustrate. Thousands
of young men are drafted into the service. Before going to France they are
intensively trained for six to nine months or a year. Then they are in a fair
way to care for themselves. Now consider what we Ancient Free and Accepted
Masons do for our recruits. We take them in today and tomorrow they are Master
Masons, entitled to all the rights and privileges of the fraternity. Most of
them learn nothing but the catechism. True, a lot of brethren do assemble and
enjoy themselves with the constant repetition of the ritual but let us give
Masonic "meat" to the serious minded men who are going abroad. This will, in
time, leaven the whole body of the Craft. How would I accomplish this ? By
establishing Masonic schools at each cantonment in the United States and in
France and putting them in charge of such a man as Frank C. Higgins, who would
teach us something worth while of Masonry so that we would not appear as
intellectually poor Masonic relations when we come into contact with English,
French and other brethren. Then let our Grand Lodges rescind their decrees
relative to non-intercourse with other nations so that we can fraternize with
Masons of every land and nation whom we are likely to meet. That's what I
would like to have you do for me if I were going to France. I'd take chances
with my fellows--Masons and non-Masons--on getting the material things in
life. John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
* * * "The Junior Warden." I
absorb this inquiry as I would a timely admonition, as I think it needed. The
question "Am I my brother's keeper?" thus comes home to us as men and Masons.
Why do I say "men-and Masons"? By the ceremony of Masonic transubstantiation
we have taken to ourselves a real heritage, separating us throughout our
conscious lives from the common grovelling serfdom of ignorance, wherein we
would say for examine, do live the beasts of the field who weave not, neither
do they lay up treasures for the winter's day, but die with the grass. So when
we call upon Masons, we call upon men, made Masons, who, by vow and practice
have risen to the dignity of Masters, not slaves. This mastery is of self
alone. When we have thus risen to our feet upon this great battlefield we
become like those heroes upon the fields of France. We become then, mindful of
the other fellow first. So men charge with bayonet and sword, through ringing,
singing, screeching rain of shot and shell, and when the fight has lulled, go
back again to seek upon the sodden field some brother who has fallen wounded
sore, that this brother may by his side hobble back to life. This is the
spirit of the field and trench, the humanity of a Christ, above the self that
was once first--the Masonry above the ego of the world.
My lodge has sixty-five
Masons in the war. We have four hundred at home. We have a large "field
committee" constantly in touch with the absent ones. We publish a lodge paper,
"The Junior Warden," that goes each month with its chats and home news to each
boy in the army. The mail, too, is well loaded with these publications from
I am not seeking argument,
but I would say that one copy of "The Junior Warden" would look as big as the
Vatican buildings and farm, to a soldier in the field because we as Masons
have not asked him to divide his fealty. The "Junior Warden" means more to
such a man than club houses could mean to a man not sufficiently free to form
an intelligent idea of anything. We sow the seed in prolific soil. It puts
nothing above Country. A man gets pretty close to God when he fights for his
Flag. Masonry means Country first and in that service we find heaven within
our grasp with all its realization, beatitude and glory. Masonry holds the key
to every barrier that ofttimes seems to obstruct and nearly bar our upward,
onward march. Denman S. Wagstaff, California.
* * * Have Postal Cards in
the Lodge Room. I firmly believe in any plan which will cause our lodges to
give proper care and attention to the brethren at the front. The suggestion of
appointing a member as a personal representative of each brother is good. Some
Michigan lodges are appointing committees of various size who see that each
brother gets a letter at least once a month and a present of some kind once a
Some lodges have adopted the
circular letter plan, the letter being specially written and containing not
only lodge doings but also information about the families of the boys. One
lodge has adopted the most admirable plan of having cards at its lodge room
and each brother attending a meeting is requested to then and there write a
card to a brother in service.
It appears to me that each
lodge must determine the most effective course for itself. The principal thing
is to see that the boys are reminded of their brethren back home and feel that
the lodges have an interest in them.
By the way, one of the
Canadian brethren, recently returned wounded from the trenches, told me that
the most valuable packages that could be sent to the boys in France are those
containing tobacco, good soap and a bath towel. These articles are practically
unobtainable at the front, and a good smoke and a real bath and rub-down
constitute the height of luxury for the soldiers when they return from the
front trenches. Louis H. Fead, Michigan.
* * *
Help the Y.M.C.A. I think it
would be well for the brethren to give to the Secretary (the only paid officer
of the lodge) excerpts from personal letters received from brethren at the
front from which the Master should formulate and disseminate information to
the members in open lodge. This would increase the work of the Master and
Secretary, but it would also make them more interesting personages to the
The best scheme that presents
itself to me at this moment by which to keep the soldier brethren mindful of
their lodges at home, is to help, aid and assist the Y.M.C.A. units at the
front, and identify them with the fraternity; to keep our soldier boys
provided with Christian, Masonic, Patriotic and Americanized literature; to
make it possible for them to fraternize with Masons in Europe, and to
encourage them to kill the Huns.
The adherents to the food
administration scheme believe the best way to win the war is to consume less
food; the fuel administration adherents believe it may be done by burning less
fuel, while the girl who sells Liberty Bonds believes it may be won by
purchasing the bonds. My own belief is that the best way to end the war is to
While the soldier in the
cantonment has leisure to play ball, write letters, attend dances and receive
the coddling of sentimental maidens, he will not find these conditions when he
reaches the firing line. In fact the boys on that line are harassed, hungry,
in momentary danger of death; spending sleepless nights, plagued by vermin,
suffering from sores and fevers, and their thoughts are probably more
concerned with the making and transportation of the munitions which they need
for defense, than of literature or love letters from lodges. They probably
deplore a strike in a munitions factory at home and regret that they have
relatives engaged in that enterprise. George W. Baird, District of Columbia.
* * * A Sympathetic and
Effective Plan. I think it would be an excellent idea to have a personal
representative or Masonic god-father in each lodge and home community for the
member who is on war duty in France. It would surely be appreciated by their
families, and by the boys. However, I think the best service could be obtained
by calling for volunteers instead of having them officially appointed. It
seems to me the most sympathetic and effective plan for keeping in touch with
the Masonic brother in France would be through personal correspondence with
the brother and letting it be known to his friends on this side that all gifts
could be sent through him. This would help the Post Office as well as the
New York is not waiting for
the co-operation of other Grand Lodges but is going to establish Masonic
centers of its own. The best scheme to effectively remind brothers in France
of the brothers at home seems to me to be through a National Council of
Defense. I am a warm admirer of Brother Schoonover's plan. Joseph W. Norwood,
* * *
Georgia Lodge Sends "The
Builder" to Each Member in the Army in Addition to a Letter Every Week. I
suggest that each lodge that has members now serving in the National Army,
either at home or abroad, subscribe for THE BUILDER for each member so
employed. The Secretary of Columbia Lodge No. 7 has been instructed to prepare
a list of those of its members now in the Army, order THE BUILDER sent to them
and to write each a letter telling him of the action of the lodge and
requesting him to leave the magazine, when read, upon the table in the Y.M.C.A.
By this we hope to let our boys have a monthly reminder that we are interested
in them but we hope further to put good Masonic literature where it will be
effective in educating young manhood and leading them to a lofty conception of
Our Secretary has been
instructed further to prepare lists of our Army boys in groups of four, making
four lists each containing the same four names, but the names so arranged that
No. 1 on list No. 1 shall be No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 on the other lists. Each
of these lists will be taken by some brother who agrees to write one letter a
week. He will in this way write to four men in four weeks, and as each name
appears on four lists, it will insure each man a letter every week. It will be
more interesting to receive letters regularly from foul men at home than from
only one as would be the case if only one man were appointed as correspondent
for each soldier.
Hal Riviere, Georgia.
The word "craft" is a very
ancient one, signifying an art, mystery or science, which we as Masons claim
to possess and impart in the "work." It meant the knowledge and skill,
together with the practical application of the same, by which an artisan
carried on his work, which constituted a system of knowledge of a distinctive
or peculiar character. The "arts, parts and points" of Masonry consist of a
system of science, philosophy and morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated
by symbols. It is so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under
obligation to pay that rational homage to the Deity which is due from a
creature to its Creator. Its foundations lie in teaching man how to live a
higher and more perfect life, and nearer the conception of a Christ.
Well-meaning, but improperly
instructed Craftsmen, for many generations, have endeavored to turn the Craft
aside from its God-given message, and-to make of it an institutional
organization masonic homes, asylums, endowments and schools have too
frequently proven sources of envy, discord and confusion among the Craft. The
lesson of the degrees is to teach the individual the benefits of Friendship,
charity and brotherly love, so that by his own Self-denial, he may be
purified. Institutions are good in their proper sphere, and as society is
constituted today, are a necessity. As individuals and as taxpayers, We should
support them by every means in our power. When we take up such work as
craftsmen, there is a grave danger that We may thereby make them the keepers
of our masonic conscience; washing our hands of our personal responsibility
thereby losing the "rights, lights and benefits," which is the real value of
the "work" and which we have so earnestly asked for. We must guard the "Craft"
against pharisaical and smug respectability, which our crosses, double eagles
and crescents tend to foster, and see that the Degree mills turn out something
more highly polished and Ornamental than gate-posts. It should be impressed
upon the mind of every Initiate, that Masonry is not a mutual benefit
organization and that by becoming a craftsman he receives nothing of a
"metallic" or pecuniary value. Too often the eastern skies at dawn are murky
with clouds and the darkening eve brings a sense of relief. Let no Initiate
come within our portals with an untruth upon his lips or in his heart, that so
Masonry may not prove to him an apple of Sodom.
-Rob Morris Bulletin
From naked stones of agony
I will build a house for me;
As a mason all alone
I will raise it, stone by
And every stone where I have
Will show a sign of dusky
I have not gone the way in
For I have good of all my
My spirit’s quiet house will
Built of naked stones I trod
On roads where I lost sight
- By Sara Teasdale.
From her “Love Songs,”
published by Macmillans
MEMORIALS TO GREAT BEEN WHO
BY BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD,
P.G.M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
BROTHER ROBERT MORRIS, a signer of the Declaration
of Independence, whose Masonic history is given in Volume IV, Library of
Masonic History, was born in Lancashire, England, in 1731. His father came to
the colonies and settled in Talbot County, Maryland, and Robert came to join
his father at the age of thirteen. He received his early education in
Philadelphia and began clerking in the counting house of Charles Willing. He
entered into business in partnership with the younger Willing in 1764, and the
business, "merchandising," grew rapidly.
He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal
Church, was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress and chairman of the
secret committee to procure arms and ammunition, and served oil the Committee
of Ways and Means and on the Committee on Naval Affairs. He came into the
limelight through his forceful speeches on the regulations and restrictions of
trade. He borrowed large sums of money on his own responsibility to send to
General Washington which enabled the initiation of active movements resulting
in the battle at Trenton. Owing to the effects of gun-shot wounds received in
his boyhood, he was was not a participant in this battle.
Brother Morris was reelected to Congress and was a
member of the Conference Committee which visited Army Headquarters, and, in
1778, having been continuously the "financial manager" of Congress, was made
Chief of the Committee on Finance.
He established the Bank of Pennsylvania in 1780,
which was the first extensive monied institution in the United States. He
later "gave the first vehement impulse toward the consolidation of the Federal
Unions by the creation of the Bank of North America which soon after was able
to loan the Nation $400,000 and also released it from its subscription of
$200,000. In February, 1771, he was elected Superintendent of Finance at the
most critical period of the War. In accepting the office he said "The United
States may command everything I have except my integrity."
He personally supplied the troops with thousands
of barrels of flour, as well as lead for their bullets. He supplied General
Greene's army with funds, when Greene was in the last extremity, and he
managed the equipping and provisioning of Washington's army, with which
Washington entered the campaign against Cornwallis. To this end Morris issued
his own notes to the amount of $1,400,000.
Not only was his entire estate pledged but he made
many additional pledges in borrowing from his friends. We have given but a
part of his financing of the War of the Revolution, but enough to remind the
brethren of today what aid was rendered by a de facto brother in that dark
hour of need.
Morris married Mary White, daughter of Thomas
White and sister of the second Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in
the United States. He was elected in 1778 a member of the convention which
framed the Federal Constitution, and elected to the first United States
Senate. In 1784 he sent the first American vessel that ever appeared in the
Port of Canton, China. He died in Philadelphia in the eighth of May, 1806, and
was buried in the cemetery of Christ Church (P.E.) at Philadelphia. The
engraving shows the modest memorial placed over the grave of this great
patriot and brother. That part of the inscription on the tablet referring to
Morris, reads as follows:
"The Family Vault
Wm. White & Robt. Morris
The latter who was financier
of the United States
during the Revolution,
died the 8th May 1806
aged 75 years."
"A CERTAIN POINT WITHIN A
BY BRO. WILLIAM F. BOWE, PAST
GRAND COMMANDER, GEORGIA
William Fairbanks Bowe was
born August 9th, 1866, at Augusta, Georgia, his present home. During his
boyhood he attended the private schools in that city of educational advantages
and culture, until the age of fourteen years, when on account of his
superabundant energy and the eagerness of youth he chose to enter the
work-a-day world rather than pursue further his academic studies. He started
his career as a true operative Mason. He served his time as a brick-layer and
became a finished workman in that and the kindred crafts; was active during
youth and early manhood in the civic organization that flourished in that day
and time in his city and vicinity He was initiated as an Entered Apprentice,
March 11, 1885, in Zerubbabel Lodge, Savannah and was raised in the same
Lodge, June 11th, 1885.
He was always active in the
local affairs of Masonry, passing through the chairs in both the Blue Lodge,
Chapter, and Commandery, at the same time being an active member of Adoniram
Council, R. and S. M., and also taking sympathetic interest in the affairs of
the Eastern Star; he was a Trustee of the Masonic Hall in the city of Augusta
for a period of fourteen years, serving as Chairman of the Building Committee
of that body during the period of the erection of the present Masonic Hall.
But his activities were not by any means confined to the local field. He was
really the organizer and founder, as well as the first elected Master of
Richmond Lodge, No. 412 F. & A. M. He served as local secretary of the State
of Georgia for the Correspondence Circle of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2,057,
in London, since 1897, and has served with distinction and success as the
Georgia head of two of the Grand Bodies, the Grand Commandery and the Grand
PERMIT me to endeavor to
present to your minds an historical view and the physical attributes of an
ancient and important Masonic symbol, for the facts of which I am mainly
indebted to the researches of Brother Sydney Klein. "A Certain Point within a
Circle" is our subject. It is not even designated as the central point of the
circle, but simply "A Certain Point within a Circle."
Dr. Anderson, in the Grand
Lodge Constitutions of 1723, declares that "Pythagoras instituted a lodge of
good Geometricians and communicated to them as a secret" "That amazing
proposition which is the foundation of all Masonry." This announcement of very
few words contains a number of assertions of very great import. Note them
again, "Pythagoras instituted a lodge of good Geometricians and communicated
to them as a secret," "That amazing proposition which is the foundation of all
The history of those ancient
days leads us to believe this to be true and it probably occurred at the time
he settled in the Dorian Colony at Cretona, Italy, where the Pythagorians are
said to have first coined and used the word "Mathematics."
Like many unhistorical
verities the symbol of "A Point within a Circle" comes to us from a past so
remote that all knowledge of its origin is lost; and during its sojourning,
its meaning and intention had been forgotten, and its real symbolism has been
so changed that the interpretation now given to it by our Masonic Monitors is
strained and insufficient and does not receive the approval of students of
Masonry. Mackey does not give any historical reference to "The Point within a
Circle," although he recites that, according to Higgins, "Circular Temples
were in the very earliest ages universally erected in Cyclar Numbers to do
honor to Deity," and that Oliver relates that the Druids erected a circle of
about forty perpendicular stones, and in the center one stone of greater
height than the others. To my mind there is no connection between these
examples and our symbol of "A Point within a Circle."
McClenachen says there are
found on ancient Egyptian monuments the figure of the point within the circle,
and on each side of the circle an erect serpent. This figure is interpreted to
mean: "The Alpha and Omega or the Egyptian omnipotent God surrounded by his
creation, bounded by his limitless wisdom and power"; whether this
interpretation is satisfactory or not to the ancient Egyptian I do not know.
It cannot be affirmed that
this figure is or is not connected with our emblem, but in either event it
does not affect the following historical fact, which is confidently believed
to furnish the true explanation of our great Masonic symbol, "A Certain Point
within a Circle."
In its travels down the
corridors of time, the form of the emblem has been only slightly modified or
added to; so the grave difficulty before us is to discover the teachings of
the symbol, and I may here state my belief that any present day symbol of
Masonry that is not understood, no matter how incongruous it may now appear,
carries or conceals from the distant past some distinguishing element of
I shall only present one
historical view of such a symbol: "A Certain Point within a Circle." In order
that you may easily conceive the ideas which I will attempt to convey, I must
ask you to believe a proposition upon which this view is largely predicated:
namely, that the great secret of the ancient Mason was the knowledge of how to
make a perfect square without the possibility of error.
Time will not permit the
giving of reasons calculated to establish the probability of this foundation,
and many eminent Masonic students do not believe that the reasons given are
sufficient to establish it as a fact; but I assure you that a strong argument
can be made in support of the contention that the Great Secret of ancient
Masonry was the knowledge of how to make a perfect square without the
possibility of error, which I shall hereafter designate as the "Knowledge of
Brother Sydney Klein, in his
wonderful exposition of "The Great Symbol," expresses his belief that this
"Knowledge of the Square" was referred to by Dr. Anderson in the Grand Lodge
constitution of 1723 as that "Amazing proposition which is the foundation of
So, for the purpose of this
discussion, it is assumed that all of my readers believe (temporarily at
least) that the knowledge of how to make a perfect square without the
possibility of error was a great Masonic secret known only to Masters of
lodges and handed down by them to their successors with scrupulous secrecy,
and it is worthy of consideration whether or not this knowledge was the secret
intrusted to a new elected Master before he was inducted into the chair of K.
This knowledge of making
perfect squares was known to the ancients; for Pamphalia, a female historian
of the time of Nero, says that, "Thales, the Tutor of Pythagoras, learned in
Egypt how to describe a right angled triangle in a Circle." Appolodorus says
the same of Pythagoras. Plato, Proclus and many other ancient Greek writers
refer to the right angled triangle as being Divine. The right angle of the
square symbolizing the perfection of Deity. Your imagination may revel in the
thought how ancient is the common Masonic saying, "To act by the square"--it
means now, as foreshadowed by Plato, to live according to Divine Law.
It is important that during
this exposition you should remember the fact that our ancient brethren
probably approached the proposition of constructing a perfect square, with
feelings of awe, because of their belief that the process was a sacred
mystery, or a sort of divination.
In Europe during the Dark
Ages, say from A. D. 700 to 1300, the art of Geometry was entirely lost; but
the knowledge of how to make a perfect square within a circle was not lost.
This Truth is worthy of an
essay as to whether or not the "Knowledge of the Square" was preserved by
Freemasonry during those dark days when the intellect of men had become
depressed almost to oblivion.
I say advisedly that the
knowledge was not lost, because there is preserved to us a doggerel rhyme
called the Stone Mason's speech. The oldest copy is of date about A. D. 1500,
but it is evidently the copy of an older original. With this long prelude I am
now ready to endeavor to prove to you "that the point within a circle" was a
significant symbol at a period at least previous to the year A. D. 1500.
"The Stone Mason's Speech"
is, literally translated, as follows: What in stone-craft to see is
Which no error nor bypath is
But straight as a line; a line Through drawn the Circle, overall Thus
findest thou three in four stand. And thus through one in the center go Also
again out of the center in three Through the four in the Circle quite free
The stone-craft and all the things To investigate makes the learning easy A
point which in the Circle goes Which in the Square and three angles stand
Hit ye the point then have ye done And come out of Need, Fear and Danger
Herewith have ye the whole science Understand ye it not: so is it in vain
All which ye learnt have; Of that bewail yourselves soon, therewith depart.
Now this speech almost
certainly refers to the "Point within a Circle," because every direction given
in it is applicable to that symbol, and the result together with every fact in
the speech is in exact accord with the demonstration which I will now give.
First, I establish the point
(Figure 1) and with it as a center I describe the circumference and we have
the symbol of the "Point within a Circle."
The speech directs: "A line
through drawn the circle," draw line A-C through the center. "Overall thus
findest thou three in four stand."
That is to say you must draw
lines on three out of four sides; each line the length of the diameter, or
three lines equal to A-C on three sides (draw lines number one, two and
three), "And thus through One in the center go."
That is to say, from the
center of line No. 1 draw a line (draw a line from the center of side No. 1 as
A-B). "Also again out of the center which is in three," that is to say from
the center of side three draw a line (draw a line from the center of side
three as C-B). "Through the Four in the circle quite free."
That is to say the lines
should be drawn to the circumference of the circle towards the side four which
is quite free.
"The stonework-craft and all
the things To investigate makes the learning easy."
That is to say, any
investigation into the matters pertaining to stone-craft are made easy by this
"Knowledge of the Square."
"Now observe the result
according to the speech, "A point which in the circle goes, which in the
square and three angles stands, gives you the whole science and you cannot go
wrong." That is to say the point within the circle is within the square of the
two parallel lines and also within the triangle formed by the three angles,
and you have accomplished the whole science, and therefore cannot go wrong.
This is an evident fact
because no matter in what direction you draw the lines from A and C, provided
they are exactly joined at the circumference of the circle, they will form a
right angle or a perfect square, (see lines A-E and C-E) and, therefore, you
can form an infinite number of right angles within the circle, every one of
which will be a perfect square, and thus is accomplished the "Knowledge of the
First a straight line, Second
a square, Third a perfect knowledge of the square. As the speech further sums
up the result:
"Hit ye the point then have
ye done And come out of Need, Fear and Danger." Perpendicular, square and
A right angled triangle
invested with sacredness by our ancient brethren as containing within its
perfect angle the attributes of Deity formed not on the center, but by the aid
of the "Point within a Circle."
Now if this explanation of
our subject is plausible or even possible, let us endeavor to find a reason
why the meaning of so important a symbol could be lost.
We have assumed that this
"Knowledge of the Square" was confined to the Masters of lodges and whilst
this knowledge was of great importance to the Operative Mason it would be of
little practical use to a speculative Mason. In time the explanation would be
disused and the meaning of the ritual be lost--the same as the stone mason's
speech is preserved, but its teachings disused and its intention forgotten.
Notwithstanding our loss of
the symbolism of the square, we preserve the square as one of the Great Lights
and as an emblem peculiarly belonging to the Master.
Our ritual says:
The Bible is dedicated to God
(for a very good reason) .
The compasses to the Craft
(for a very good reason) . And the square to the Master for the totally
inadequate reason, "That it is the emblem of his office."
After this demonstration we
surely are compelled to believe that the square is dedicated to the Master for
a far more noble and important purpose; and as a suggestive thought, in this
connection, I leave with you a question: Is it not likely that the square may
have originally been the emblem suspended over the Master's chair and because
it is the exact shape of the Greek letter "Gamma" or "G," that in the
evolution of time the emblem finally became changed from the square to the
letter "G" ?
In the early days Masonry was
patronized by the controlling minds of the monasteries and they attached a
religious meaning to their principal emblems, and they would be certain to do
so to their symbols whose meaning was lost; and the concept would be natural
to them that the point within the circle represented the G.A.O.T.U. whose
horizon of operative power is a circle of infinite extent, and likewise we
derive from this solution of that "amazing proposition" the speculative theory
that the infinite number of perfect squares generated by the power of "A
certain Point within a Circle" must be emblematic of the infinite number of
perfect attributes of Deity, whose all pervading power is symbolized by the
"Point within the Circle."
Now in this representation,
according to this method, we have the point within a circle, but instead of
the Holy Bible on top we have the illustration of that "Amazing proposition
which is the foundation of all Masonry"; but can we give any reason at all why
these two perpendicular lines are characterized by us as representing the two
As a thought that may induce
some brother to make an investigation intended at least to disprove it, I
suggest that in order for the ancient Mason to demonstrate "The Knowledge of
the Square" he needed to use two straight edges, and in the sorcery of the
operation they possibly were stood one on each side of the circle the same as
these two perpendicular lines would be drawn.
And likewise, as has long
been the custom of operative craftsmen to give names to certain implements of
the craft, it is possible that during the construction of the Cathedrals by
the building societies of Masons, that these two straight edges may have been
named by them "St. John," especially so, since the operation of making perfect
squares was a hidden mystery, it naturally would be accomplished with some
element of mysticism.
Among present day
geometricians the solution of this knowledge of the square is very simple, but
even to this day few operative craftsmen are familiar with the process,
although the reverse of the proposition is readily known to all pattern
makers, and yet, strange as it may seem, when the pattern maker's task is
submitted to the geometrician it is equally incomprehensible to him as the
knowledge of the square is to the operative craftsmen.
THE PATTERN MAKER'S PROBLEM
In order to demonstrate this
I will make a physical exhibit. We have here a wheel six inches in diameter.
It is desired to cut a mortise in a block of wood or stone or metal so that
one-half of the wheel will perfectly fit the mortise. The problem is how to
cut out the material with a perfect certainty that the wheel will accurately
fit. I have here for convenience a piece of wood in which is a mortise six
inches wide and four inches deep. I will fill this mortise with plastic
modellers' clay, because, of course, if we accurately cut out the clay we
could do the same with either metal, wood or stone.
The distance A-B is six
inches, being the same as the diameter of the wheel.
By placing the two outside
edges of a square on the extremities of the proposed mortise, say points A and
B, with the corner or outside angle of the square "C" as a pointer to guide
the cutting, let the square slide around its sides resting continuously on the
two points A and B, and it will be found that the point or outside angle of
the square will perform a true semicircumference belonging to a diameter of
six inches, (see Figure 3), and by testing our mortise with the six inch wheel
we find that the fit is perfect. Having made a perfect semi-circle by the use
of the square it is readily apparent that the same operation will make the
remaining semi-circle, and by this means we can construct a perfect circle.
For convenience I have already prepared the remaining semi-circle, and by
joining them together we have the perfect figure as shown in Figure 4.
But the point within the
circle is not seen for the circumference was made by the square and not by the
compasses; and although the point is invisible, the Truth is self evident that
it is there within the circle absolute and perfect on the center.
Now it has been demonstrated
by the "Knowledge of the Square" that an infinite number of right angles or
perfect squares can be drawn within the circle, bounded by two parallel lines,
and touching the circumference.
And we now also know from the
explanation of the pattern maker's problem that if the edges of a perfect
square are kept in touch with the two parallel lines and caused to occupy an
infinite number of locations, that the extreme angle of the square originally
thought to contain the perfection of Deity, and (in this proposition) always
under control of the power of the center will describe the line of a true
circle, which will always be the circumference of the "Point within a Circle,"
and both of these propositions are true no matter how great the distance
between the two parallel lines.
Therefore, it is obvious that
if the distance of the two parallel lines is infinite then the circumference
is also infinite and the point within the circle is always on the center.
The existence of Deity has
been beautifully defined by Hermes Trismegitus, an Egyptian of the period 15
B.C., who says: "God is a circle whose center is everywhere, but whose
circumference is nowhere to be found." This abstruse thought can be analyzed
and proven to be conformable to our present exposition of "A Certain Point
within a Circle."
I will not invade the vast
field of speculative thought borne upon our minds by the demonstration of that
"Amazing proposition," although, a contemplation of the process of creating a
perfect circle by means of the square alone, naturally leads our minds to
inquire into the speculative properties of the square. I will be content
merely to continue the physical process or principle to its logical
We have proven that if the
edges of the square are operated as described against any two points that the
right angle of the square will describe a circumference line belonging to a
diameter, at the extremities of which those two points are located.
Now, if during the process of
making this circumference the right angle of the square is caused to rotate
into an infinite number of planes, that is to say if the square is caused to
move against the points and is also at the same time rotated in such manner
that its perfect angle will pass-through every point possible for it to do,
then every such point will be in a circumference line belonging to a diameter
equal in length to the distance between these two points.
It will be observed that in
whatever direction the right angle of the square is moved even if during its
rotations the edges of the square are continually moved against the two points
A and B, that the distance from the angle of the square to the center of the
circumference is always the same.
It is therefore obvious that
the perfect angle of the square defining similar circumferences in infinite
planes will inevitably produce the surface of a sphere.
Which is to say, that it is
proven by this operation that while the edges of the square are moved against
the two points and the right angle of the square at the same time is rotated
into every possible place every such place will be exactly the same distance
from the center, therefore the right angle or extreme point of the square
during this operation will necessarily produce the surface of a perfect
Hence we derive the geometric
fact that any two lines drawn from the extremities of every diameter of a
sphere and exactly joined at the surface of the sphere will form a right angle
or perfect square (Fig. 5) and we learn again the "Knowledge of the Square."
A - A Extremities B - B of
C - C Diameters
A - D - A Right angles B - A
- B of C - F - C Perfect squares
These Truths impress upon our
minds the concept that if the central points of the parallel lines are an
infinite distance apart, then every right angled triangle or square formed
within the circle or within the sphere, by the demonstration of that "Amazing
proposition," will be infinite.
Also that the circumference
line generated by the right angle of the square whose edges are in touch with
those distant points, as demonstrated by the pattern maker's problem, will be
infinite. But our wonder is yet more astoundingly excited when we conceive the
That the sphere designed and
created by the evolutions of the perfect square constantly in touch with those
two points of infinite distance, directed by the power of the center will be
infinity itself and the invisible point within this sphere will be absolute
THE MASONIC WRITINGS OF
GEORGE FRANKLIN FORT
BY BRO. OLIVER DAY STREET,
WHEN some years ago we sought
to learn something of Brother George F. Fort and his writings, we found that
printed information concerning him was not to be found. He is not so much as
mentioned in either Mackey's, Macoy's, or Kenning's Cyclopedia of Freemasonry.
Little more than incidental mention of him or of his work is made in the
writings of others, and then generally to disagree with him. Some of our
writers pay high tribute to the grace and elegance of his style, but make no
attempt to fix his position in Masonic literature or to estimate the
historical value of his writings. For years we sought in vain for an account
of him that would even afford information as to when or where he was born,
where he lived, or when or where he died. We appealed to the learned librarian
of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Brother Julius F. Sachse, who could only
refer us to Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, where Brother Fort
and his uncle of the same name are hopelessly confused and commingled in a
single sketch. Finally we addressed a query to Miscellanea Latomorum, London,
which may be found at page 69 in the January, 1914, issue of that excellent
little journal. Its intelligent editor, the late lamented Brother F. W.
Levander, became at once interested and made such search that he was able to
present a brief sketch of Brother Fort in the August, 1915, issue of his
paper, from the pen of Miss A. E. Bear, of Camden, N. J. Meanwhile we had also
located Mr. John H. Fort, a brother of George F. Fort, from whom we obtained
much information and who has furnished the readers of THE BUILDER an
entertaining and instructive sketch of his distinguished brother. It is indeed
strange that one of the most brilliant and scholarly writers on the subject of
Freemasonry should have continued so long virtually unknown to the Craft and
we take personal, satisfaction in having been to some extent instrumental in
reviving interest in our learned brother.
George Franklin Fort was born
at Absecon, Atlantic county, New Jersey, November 20, 1843. His father, John
Fort, was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his uncle, George
F. Fort, for whom he was named, was governor of New Jersey from 1851 to 1854.
Another distinguished member of the family, John Franklin Fort, was also
governor of New Jersey from 1908 to 1911. The family is an old and prominent
one and has resided in the neighborhood of Pemberton, New Jersey, since
George F. Fort, the subject
of this sketch, received a liberal education which he improved by extensive
travels in Europe, and by a course of lectures at Heidelburg University. It is
said of him that he was able to lead and write seventeen languages besides his
mother tongue and that some of these he could speak with fluency and ease. He
was also trained for the bar, was admitted in 1866, and practiced his
profession with success. But the study of history and antiquities was his
passion. Upon these subjects he was a frequent contributor to the press and
wrote among other things "Medical Economy in the Middle Ages" and an
exhaustive treatise upon "Norse Mythology," the latter of which, however, was
never published. He collected an extensive library in foreign languages
relating to many branches of knowledge, but particularly to mythology,
literature and art.
Substantial as were Brother
Fort's contributions to the field of knowledge in general, his enduring fame
must lest upon his Masonic labors. He was made a Mason in Camden Lodge No. 15,
Camden, N. J., from which he dimitted in 1870 to become a charter member of
Trimble Lodge No. 117, of Camden. He became Master of this last named lodge in
1871. He was a member of Cyrene Commandery No. 7, Knights Templar; of Van Hook
Council No. 8, R. & S. M.; and of Excelsior Consistory 32d, Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite, all of Camden. He was an Honorary Life member of York
Lodge No. 236, of England, and was the Representative of the United Grand
Lodge of England near the Grand Lodge of New Jersey.
He wrote a number of articles
which from time to time appeared in the Masonic press and was the author of "A
Historical Treatise on Early Builders' Marks" and of "Medieval Builders," both
important contributions to Masonic literature. But his chief work and that
upon which his fame as a writer depends is "The Early History and Antiquities
of Freemasonry." It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most
remarkable books that has ever been written concerning Freemasonry.
In order to assign to Brother
Fort his proper position among Masonic historians it will be necessary briefly
to review those historians of the Fraternity who preceded as well as those who
have followed him. Chief among his predecessors were Dr. James Anderson,
William Preston, Dr. George Oliver, Alexander Lawrie (or rather as is
generally supposed, Sir David Brewster), J. G. Findel, and W. J. Hughan.
Perhaps we should not omit from this list Mr. J. O. Halliwell-Phillips, though
a non-Mason. His most notable successors have been Robert Freke Gould, D.
Murray Lyon, George William Speth, all of Great Britain, and Wilhelm Begemann,
Masonic historians may be
divided in a general way into the Idealistic and the Realistic schools. With
the first of these may be classed the Rev. James Anderson, who wrote the first
"Book of Constitutions," published in 1723; William Preston, who wrote what
has been called the first Monitor, "The Illustrations of Masonry," published
in 1772; and the Rev. George Oliver, a voluminous writer of the middle of the
last century. To the Realistic school may be assigned Robert Freke Gould and
William J. Hughan of England; D. Murray Lyon, of Scotland; J. G. Findel and W.
Begemann of Germany. Each of these schools boasts a multitude of less
The Idealists do not feel
themselves restrained by the limitations applied to the history of other
subjects. They maintain, at least impliedly, that they are warranted in
accepting fully all the traditions of the Craft, as well as all that may be
legitimately inferred from them. Guided by this rule, or rather absence of
rule, they have furnished the fraternity with numerous fanciful and highly
improbable accounts of Freemasonry. It can not be denied that in recent years
they have been pretty thoroughly discredited as historians.
On the other hand the
Realistic school insists, at least impliedly, that nothing is to be accepted
as fact unless it is sustained by contemporaneous documentary evidence of
unquestioned genuineness. They reject tradition in toto, deny that any play is
to be allowed to the imagination, and concede small scope to reasonable
inference and deduction; forgetful that, if these rigid rules were applied,
the early history of no subject could be written.
It is inevitable that between
two such diverse schools there could be slight common ground of agreement.
Hence, Dr. Oliver wrote that without doubt Freemasonry had existed from before
the creation of the world; Anderson that it dated from the days of Adam.
Preston is scarcely a less offender in this regard than Anderson. According to
these authors and their imitators, nearly every distinguished man of ancient
or Medieval times was a Grand Master, or a patron of the Craft.
The Realists generally, on
the contrary, contend that the earliest possible historical date which can be
assigned to Speculative Freemasonry is A. D. 1600, or thereabout, though they
admit that prior to that period and as far back as A. D. 1390, and probably
much earlier, there was an operative society of Masons from which the
Speculative is a development. These hardheaded brethren, who so completely
reject tradition of all kinds, have surely in recent years had their
skepticism rudely shaken by the confirmations which they have seen given to
Biblical stories, long regarded by some as mere fables, through the
excavations of scholars in Egypt, Greece, Babylonia, Palestine and other
countries. The lesson of it all is that it is equally unwise either to accept
or to reject tradition by the wholesale and unquestioningly.
It has thus happened that
during the period from A. D. 1722 to a time well after the middle of last
century much foolish stuff was put forth by Masonic writers under the
denomination of Masonic History. The foremost writers were our worst
offenders. No tale, it has been said, was too idle or too absurd to be
narrated or too marvelous to be believed provided only it was related
concerning the Society of Freemasons. But the pendulum has now swung to the
other extreme. Most of our leading historians as above stated now laugh at
tradition; they reject out of hand as absurd the idea that Solomon had any
connection with our fraternity or that the Temple was built by Freemasons.
They declare that Hiram Abif's death is a myth and that there is no evidence
of the existence of Speculative Freemasonry prior to A. D. 1600. They
pronounce as fables the traditions recorded in our "Old Charges," that Naymus
Graecus introduced Freemasonry into France, that Charles Martel there
patronized and became a member of the Craft, and that St. Alban introduced it
into England in the third century. They regard it as a waste of effort to
attempt to solve the meanings of these traditions among us. These incredulous
and perhaps overcautious brethren, it appears to us, have gone as far to one
extreme as did our historians of the past go to the other. The truth is no
doubt between the two.
Another large class,
therefore, of our Masonic scholars have recognized that there is something of
the extreme in the contentions of both of these schools. They have accordingly
taken a middle ground and hold that Masonic tradition, though to be received
with great caution is nevertheless entitled to consideration in even a sober
history of the Craft; that it usually possesses a grain of truth, and is not
to be lightly rejected; that it should be tested by the known facts of history
and if consistent with them and with reason, may be accepted in its broad
outline; and that to subject our traditions to this process is one of the
chief offices of the Masonic historian. They further hold that from the
established facts of Masonic history they are justified in drawing such
further inferences and deductions as may appear reasonable. This is the rule
applied to the history of all other subjects and they can not see why it
should not apply to Masonic history. The fact that the rule is one difficult
of application and requires the hand of a master does not render it any less
sound. Histories of Masonry thus written will be only of greater or less
value, as have been histories of all other subjects, according to the several
abilities of their authors.
Perhaps the most
distinguished representative of this intermediate school is the late Brother
George William Speth, of England, certainly one of the sanest and most
luminous minds that has ever written on the vexed subject of Masonic history.
To this school we assign Brother Fort also, but it would be a mistake to class
him as the follower or imitator of any one. Indeed his most notable
contributions to the literature of the Craft antedated those of Brother Speth
and others of this school.
The only general historians
of the Craft who antedated Brother Fort, whose works are accessible in English
and who can be said to have possessed the true historical spirit, were Sir
David Brewster (generally understood to have been the author of Lawrie's
"History") and J. G. Findel, of Germany. Lawrie's "History" is greatly marred,
if not rendered worthless, by the bias of its author in favor of the Essenean
origin of Freemasonry.
Findel's history betrays the
strong Germanic prejudice of its author. With all the zeal of racial and
national pride he set himself the task of proving that British Freemasonry was
derived directly and solely from the Steinmetzen of Germany. This, of course,
involved a denial that it descended from the Medieval and ancient building
corporations of Gaul, Italy, Rome, or Greece, to say nothing of those that may
have existed in Asia Minor, Palestine, or Egypt. Findel's idea seems further
to be that the German Steinmetzen borrowed little or nothing from the older
societies of Europe; that in short it was an indigenous product of German
soil. It is needless to say that British Masonic scholars have vigorously
taken issue with his theory. At the same time, it must be admitted that he
brought scholarship and a fluent pen to the support of his cause. His book is
plainly not to be classed with such effusions as those of Anderson, Preston
and Oliver. While strongly biased, it securely places Brother Findel among the
critical school of Masonic historians. It is now generally conceded that the
most that can be claimed for the Steimnetzen is a remote common ancestry with
Now in order to get a better
appreciation of Brother Fort and the place of his work in the literature of
the Craft, it is necessary to state somewhat fully his line of argument as
developed in his magnum opus, "The Early History and Antiquities of
Freemasonry." This is really as its title indicates two separate and distinct
works. The author has very properly discriminated both in substance and method
of treatment between what is historical and what is only traditional. The
"Early History" occupies the first half of the book and in it the author
endeavors to present, to use his own words, "a narrative of the state of fine
arts at the decline of the Roman Empire and also of the propagation of
architecture and its kindred sciences by bodies of builders, who developed
into the Middle-Age Freemasons, whose history is carried down to the formal
extinction of this society as an operative brotherhood in the year 1717."
Brother Fort's view is that,
in accordance with our oral and written traditions, the Speculative Craft is
directly descended from the operative societies of past ages. These societies
he conceives to have been in full development before the fall of the Roman
Empire. With the fall of the Western Empire, arts and the artists removed to
Byzantium, the capital of the Eastern Empire. In the fifth century, when
Theodoric and the Longobards undertook the readornment of Italy, artists came
from Byzantium and other parts of Greece and formed themselves into
corporations which, under the doctrine known as profession of law, enjoyed the
right of living under the laws of the country whence they came instead of
those of the country in which they were sojourning. The native building
societies of Italy which had survived the fall were thus brought in contact
with and subjected to the influence of these Greek artists, with the result
that in Northern Italy particularly there arose a school of architects known
as the Magistri Comacini, or Comacine Masters. They were organized into
societies quite similar to our lodges. These societies at a very early date
entered into close contact and association with the ecclesiastical
authorities. He points for evidence of this to the possession by our present
day Craft of a symbolism familiar to the church in its early ages.
Architecture received renewed impetus under the Carlovingian kings in France.
By the middle of the eighth century the building societies had become religio-artistic
from their close and long association with the monastic institutions of
Western Europe and in them architecture and its kindred arts were particularly
cultivated. Through Greek and Oriental artisans all the useful rules and
technicalities in possession of the East were introduced into Western Europe
and thus transmitted to the monastic artificers and finally by them in turn
abandoned to the lay corporations of the Medieval Freemasons.
This union of the religious
and the building orders resulted in a system of symbolism combining both
Oriental and Teutonic ideas. This mingling of the Eastern and the Northern,
Brother Fort thinks, first occurred in Northern Italy under the Gothic and
Lombardic rulers. With the eleventh century began an unprecedented era of
church building demanding great numbers of the most skilled artists. By the
end of the twelfth century these had grown into a very powerful and widespread
building society of a quasi-religious nature, combining the church symbolism
of the East with that of the pagan mythology of the North. Thus is explained
the strange mixture of Hebrew and Norse ideas found in Freemasonry. From the
monasteries, this building society appropriated the three grades of
apprentice, fellow and master. With the decline of church building the control
of architecture gradually passed from the church to the lay societies,
carrying into them the old system of symbolism.
By the twelfth century,
Brother Fort evidently regards Freemasonry and the building corporations as
identical. Boileau's Code of A. D. 1254, he thinks, proves the Fraternity of
Masons then fully organized in France with presumptively a long history
already to its credit.
His view is that the history
of British Freemasonry begins in A. D. 1136 with the building of Melrose
Abbey, but that it was not regularly organized in England till the thirteenth
century. He regards the York Assembly of A.D. 926 as fabulous.
Before the twelfth century
England depended on Gallic Masons and thus she derived her Freemasonry
directly from France. The influence, however, of German Masonry on that of
England is recognized.
Long prior to the middle of
the fourteenth century numerous so-called "statutes of laborers" had been
passed by the British Parliament regulating prices to be charged by the
various handicrafts. By A. D. 1350, the societies of Masons were so well
organized that they felt strong enough to resist these statutes. In A. D.
1451, those employed in constructing Windsor Castle "struck" for higher wages.
A statute was passed providing for their branding upon refusal to return to
work after due notice. Other legislation followed which was in turn broken by
the Masons. Finally in A. D. 1424, in the reign of Henry VI, they were
forbidden to assemble in their "chapters and congregations." Thus they were
deprived of the power of regulating the craft of Masons or of determining who
should work at such labors. Nevertheless, they continued to meet in their
lodges and to practice their ancient rites and ceremonies of initiation. But
by these measures they were reduced from the dignity of a craft to the
position of clubs chiefly employed in works of benevolence. At this period
perhaps must be sought the point of departure of Speculative Freemasonry from
the operative craft of Masons. The rites and ceremonies and moral instructions
hitherto in vogue in the lodges were however continued under the new regime.
Gradually the speculative features encroached upon and finally almost effaced
the operative. Even before A. D. 1424, "from a very early age," non-operatives
of high standing had been occasionally admitted to the lodges. In Italy this
custom prevailed from the time the gilds obtained a legal corporate
recognition. In like manner, Edward III became a member of the gild of Linen
Armorers. The change from the operative to the Speculative continued to grow
during the remainder of the fifteenth and the whole of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. This change became complete with the organization of
the Grand Lodge of England in A. D. 1717.
Brother Fort habitually
refers to the German Steinmetzen as the "German Freemasons." In thus
apparently assuming the identity of the Steinmetzen with the Freemasonry of
England, it must be admitted Brother Fort departs from sound historical
methods. While the evidence is very strong of their kinship and of their
development from a remote common source, evidence is lacking of their
identity, notwithstanding Brother Findel as above stated and other loyal
German brothers have insisted earnestly that Freemasonry is merely a direct
derivative from the Steinmetzen. It is very clear, however, that Brother Fort
did not mean identity in this sense.
This completes the review of
the first portion of Brother Fort's history, the portion which alone professes
to be an attempt to sketch an outline of the real history of the Society of
Freemasons. It will also be observed that this sketch does not attempt to go
further back than the "later Roman Emperors." By this expression he apparently
means Marcus Aurelius and his immediate predecessors, or from about the
beginning of the second century A. D.
The strength of Brother
Fort's theory lies chiefly in three things: (1) that it accords with our oral
and written traditions; (2) that it is not inconsistent at any point with the
known facts of history; (3) that it is throughout a reasonable hypothesis. He
wisely refrains in the historical portion of his book from any attempt to
trace the history or origin of the Society back of historic times.
No one would pretend that
Brother Fort has certainly hit the solution of the development of Freemasonry
during the last fifteen hundred years. If it can not be said of him, neither
can it be said of any other writer. Notwithstanding recent researches and much
that has been written on this subject since Brother Fort's day, the
probabilities still remain about as strong in favor of the truth of his theory
as of any other. Indeed our opinion is that it has the balance of probability
in its favor.
The crux of Brother Fort's
theory may be said to be that the Magistri Comacini of Northern Italy afforded
the connecting link between the ancient building societies of Rome and Greece
on the one hand and modern Freemasonry on the other. In propounding this
theory he may be fairly regarded as the pioneer. It must be conceded that his
conclusions are largely the result of inference and deduction. Many facts now
known to Masonic scholars were not known to those of Brother Fort's day.
Recent studies and discoveries have lent more or less corroboration to his
In 1899, there appeared a
remarkable book written by a woman and therefore a non-Mason, (The Cathedral
Builders, by Leader Scott), in which many proofs are adduced tending strongly
to corroborate Brother Fort. Brother Speth, in his Masonic Curriculum, thus
comments upon the support received from Leader Scott's book:
"It (The Cathedral Builders)
supplies the evidence which was lacking in Fort's work and is a brilliant
vindication of our brother's intuition, which I trust he has been spared to
In this same connection
Brother Speth refers to Brother Fort as "the first Masonic writer to show the
possibility of the reintroduction of the usages and traditions of the Roman
Collegia into Medieval Masonry." He also says that when Brother Fort advanced
this theory he was looked upon as an "ingenious visionary" and that his
surmises "evoked little comment."
Still later another learned
brother, Mr. W. Ravenscroft, of England, published a book, The Comacines, in
which he strongly supports the view so long ago expressed by Brother Fort.
Brother Joseph Fort Newton, whose studies entitle his opinion to great weight,
gives his voice in favor of a like conclusion.
The remaining portion of
Brother Fort's history can scarcely be called history, he himself denominates
it "Antiquities." It is a discussion of our traditions, customs and symbols.
The purpose, to state it in his own words, is "to note with care such portions
of Freemasonry as have descended unimpaired and unchanged from Gothic- sources
and at what probable epoch Judaistic rites began to be introduced into lodge
or gildic observances."
It would be tedious even to
enumerate the variety of topics touched upon in the second portion of his
book. Only a careful reading can give any idea of its store of learning.
He supports his argument with
such a wealth of illustrations and authorities that it would be presumptuous
for any but a profound scholar in the mythology of the Northern races of
Europe even to attempt a criticism of this portion of the book. Nor would such
a thing be possible within the limits of an article suitable for the pages of
THE BUILDER. Suffice it to say of this part of Brother Fort's work that for
elegance of diction and sustained interest of narrative no Masonic writer
certainly has ever achieved a greater success.
We have been promised at an
early date a volume embracing an adequate biographical sketch of Brother Fort
and reprints of his most important fugitive contributions to the Masonic
press. We trust the publication of this book will not be long delayed.
"A LEAGUE OF MASONS"*
IN my office as Ambassador I have the honor to
transmit herewith, through the Research Society, to the Masons of America a
message truly memorable in Masonic annals, and which will command the
attention of brethren of every jurisdiction. The distinction of its author,
Worshipful Brother Sir Alfred Robbins, the high office of President of the
Board of General Purposes of the Grand Lodge of England which he has held for
so many years, its vision of "English and American Brotherhood," its gracious
spirit, its lofty tone - all these set it apart as a document unique in our
literature, and prophetic of a closer fellowship in the days to be. It is a
pleasure to have suggested such an article; it is an honor to spread it before
the Masons of America, who will not fail to respond to its brotherly spirit
and its historic meaning.
Surely, in a world torn by strife, and divided by
so many feuds of race, religion and nationality we have a right to rejoice in
a fellowship, at once free, gentle and refining, which spans all distances of
space and all differences of speech, and brings men together by a common
impulse and inspiration in mutual respect and brotherly regard. It needs no
prophet to discern that such a fraternity, the very existence of which is a
fact eloquent beyond words, is an influence for good to which we can set pro
limit, and a prophecy for the future the meaning of which no one can measure;
doubly so now, because, by its genius, Masonry is international, and therefore
ought to be responsive to the ideal of world-fellowship which will surely
emerge from the welter of the world-war.
For that reason, in the reunion of
English-speaking peoples, upon which the future freedom and peace of the world
so much depend, among the many ties of language, literature, love of liberty,
respect for law, social institutions and historic inheritance, that unite us,
must be counted a common and great Freemasonry. By the same token, upon our
Fraternity rests an obligation only equalled by the opportunity, to have a far
reaching part in promoting fellowship, interpretation and sympathetic and
intelligent understanding between two peoples in whose history it is so deeply
interwoven, and of whose unity it is itself a tie, a token, and a prophecy.
Our differences are superficial; our unities fundamental. Such variations as
exist between English and American Masonry - like the differences between the
two peoples - are interesting, albeit insignificant, no more important than
the variations of accent and inflection, of dialect and brogue; its basic
truths and principles are alike, and its spirit is the same in its breadth,
beauty, and benignity.
If there is to be a League of Nations following
the war, such a federation of free peoples as shall make the repetition of
this disaster impossible, it should begin with a league of English-speaking
peoples who have one historic faith, one conception of civilization, and one
political ideal. Looking toward that consummation so devoutly to be wished,
how better can we begin than by seeking to realize a League of Masons, such as
Sir Alfred Robbins suggests; the more so because it is the declared purpose of
our Craft to labor for a league of mankind, which it seeks even now to exhibit
on a small scale. Freemasonry, by virtue of its exalted purpose, its high
intellectual quality, its noble morality. and its wise spirituality, ought to
lead the way toward that City of Equity which poets and prophets have seen
afar off adown the ages.
For, to say no more, our English-speaking race, by
its spirit, its genius, its history, no less than by its great Freemasonry, is
committed to the ideal of a Commonwealth, the application to the field of
government and social policy of the law of human brotherhood, the duty of man
to his neighbor, near and far, wherein lies our only hope of a world fit for
free men to live in, where maternity can flourish and the spirit of good will
can grow and be glorified.
- Joseph Fort Newton.
City Temple, London.
* See "English and American Brotherhood,"
beginning on title page of this issue.
Lots of sunny corners if you
only look around;
Lots of sunny corners that
are always to be found
When the heart with sun is shining and the love of
And the spirit of the sunshine in the voice of
Lots of sunny corners,
And they make the world so
When we strew its path with
For the sake of other feet.
Lots of sunny corners if you
try to make them so
With the gladness you inherit
and the beauty that you know;
With the blossoms you have gathered from the gardens of your
Just to scatter in those gardens that are deep
with weeds of strife.
Lots of sunny corners
If you only look around
Through the love that leads
Where the sunshine may be
When I am dead, Friends,
Carve no words in marble for
Nor raise for me a splendid
For at such things time shall
But hold me in your faithful
While briefly thought and
life are lent;
Your tears shall be my ample
Your love my monument.
BACK OF THE FIRING LINE
WE Masons back of the firing line must do our
part. What shall it be? A very obvious answer will be: Appoint a Committee.
Let every lodge establish a Committee, and let them begin work at once. A long
experience with Committees leads to the conclusion that an excellent one may
be of three members where the most self-sacrificing and efficiently adept of
them is protected from any interference or discouragement from the other two.
This arrangement insures such a high degree of effectiveness that there really
ought to be some way of increasing the popularity of the plan. It does
handicap the scheme that in order to be successful you must render the two
superfluous members absolutely harmless. As a rule you cannot expect that luck
will provide for one member of the Committee being called out of town and the
other not get back in time to trip up any of the good work done by the
laboring member on the job.
True, it can happen that the third member is
willing to wait for the other two and then that spoils everything.
Seeing that the one member can be so effective
when he has the ability, the capability, and the responsibility, the rest of
this article will be directed to him. And to him only. For be it understood
that we are he, all of us being that brother when all of us are what we should
be as Masons.
Two things are imperative, others may be chosen as
perhaps worth while in addition to these two but these twain are essential:
One-manned Committees completely competent and thoroughly active, and second,
the means whereby the energies of these Committees shall be universally, here
and abroad, contagious and infectious and inflammatory. Granted these things
and the rest follows. Therefore note the rest:
Let each of us do the Masonic act that is nearest
to his hand. Do that first.
Then keep your ear to the ground for the next
call, and answer it promptly.
If you are on the job, alert and resourceful, you
are in position to advise the other brethren and to do so powerfully. You will
be all the more powerful if you put all possible kindliness and prayer into
the proposal. A suggestion need not carry the punishment of the spur nor the
rankle of the whip. Appeal and persuade, reclaim and recall; that's the idea
and the programme.
Across the Atlantic Masons find companions. Drawn
together by the mystic tie of brotherhood the Masons of many lands are
bringing about that international bond of fraternal fellowship we have long
sought. Our search has not been in vain. The end is not yet, but in sight.
This goodly companionship of the faithful,
continuously increasing and deepening as it flows and swells, depending not on
the walls of any mere building of mortar-bound brick, needs to be fostered in
every sympathetic manner and by every appropriate means. Brethren will not
lack for places to meet. Be it in shell-scarred city or Hun-swept desert there
is a meeting place wherever is found the grip of Master Mason.
So then there is for those of us who stay, the
task primarily of taking the place of those who go.
Those who go should bear from us every evidence
that they are of us. Army and navy regulations do not permit as free use of
badges as some civilians employ. However, a ring may be distinctive yet
unobjectionable, and a diploma also is an excellent possession by the Mason at
large in other countries. More than these is the equipment of a knowledge of
the letter and the spirit of Masonry. With this information in the head and
brotherhood in the heart, Masons will meet on the level and they will know how
to make use of their meetings to the fullest extent if they are worthy of the
meeting. Robert I. Clegg.
* * *
WHY IS A CANDIDATE?
You have heard, we doubt not, that on some night
there will be big doings in the lodge. There will be, of course, a banquet.
That is so regular a feature of all special nights that it may be taken for
granted as the ever ordinary part of the extraordinary. Then comes the
appendix which is usually and maybe not inaptly the cause or the excuse for
the major operation.
Perhaps the oldest Past Master and the younger
dittos as satellites revolving about him will confer a degree. Maybe he has
not done it or seen it done in years. What of that? The others will prompt him
whenever his memory slips a cog. Sure they will.
It has happened that the one least expected to
fall down has been the very person to slip up. Sometimes that has been
embarassing and has even been known to be hilarious in the extreme, according
to the viewpoint.
When the same ceremonial is performed, as it
sometimes is, by persons who have never done it before, there is also an
opportunity for things to happen that never were expected to occur. A
spectator really enjoyed what he recently reported to us as a scene that the
candidate himself laughed about merrily as soon as he felt that the affair had
gone far enough so that he could safely do more than smile.
What everybody may deem proper and what anybody
may find funny is fairly well founded as an institution, but -
Mark you, my brethren, we have an ancient ceremonial valuable
only as a means of impression. We take a man of character and put the stamp of
Masonry upon him; thenceforward he is as a coin of sterling metal, pure gold
mint-marked, legal tender among all good men and
true. We are not makers of counterfeit money. Surely not. Yet false
impressions count. They last, and may blast efforts most arduous and
painstaking to correct them.
Did any candidate ever resent the lofty quality of
his initiation? Was he deserving of anything else? What was due him ? Did he
get what was due? If not, why not?
Certainly, the officers of a lodge may need a
rehearsal but why give that to the candidate? He does not need it if they do.
Give him the best for that is what an initiate today and in all the long
yesterdays of centuries has expected of Masonry.
Cut out the jesting, festering, blistering,
awkward appendix. Give the candidate THE WORK.
Robert I. Clegg.
EDITED BY BRO. H. L. HAYWOOD
The object of this Department is to acquaint our
readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best
Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may
especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will be very glad to render
any possible assistance to studious individuals or to Study Clubs and Lodges,
either through this Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish to
learn something concerning any book - what is its nature, what is its value,
or how it may be obtained - be free to ask him. If you have read a book which
you think is worth a review write us about it; you desire to purchase a book -
any book - we will help you get it, with no charge for the service. Make this
your Department of Literary Consultation.
IT is now pretty generally known that there once
lived such an individual as Mark Twain: indeed it is doubtful if there are
very many now living in the world who don't know that. Mark Twain, as William
Dean Howells once said of him, belongs to the solar system; he was one of the
solar system's greatest masterpieces; the man who hasn't read "Tom Sawyer," or
"Huckleberry Finn," or "Innocents Abroad," or "Personal Recollections of Joan
of Arc" is as much to be pitied as the man without a country. And now comes
Albert Bigelow Paine to add to the gaiety of the nations by telling us the
complete and authentic story of that amazing career. His story is published by
Harpers, in three volumes, and the price is $4.50.
The reader may be warned against undertaking this
book during a busy season; if he once gets into it he won't get out of it
until he has read the last page; he will forget to eat, he won't want to
sleep, he will be ready to go to bed for a week after he has read it. It is
about the most entertaining book that ever was written; moreover, it is a kind
of cyclorama of this nation's history from the 1850's on down, for Mark Twain
was always in the thick of events; if there were no events he would make some.
Mark lived through everything of which he wrote.
Tom Sawyer is a composite portrait of himself and two other boys; Huck Finn
was, in real life, a lovable little roustabout in Hannibal, Missouri, named
Tom Blankenship. "Roughing It” is photographic of Mark's career in Nevada;
except for a few exaggerations it is legitimate history. "Innocents Abroad" is
the history of a real journey, and the people described were real people.
Mark was a river pilot, a Rebel soldier on a
spavined old mule, a gold seeker, a newspaper man, a printer, a traveler, a
lecturer, a writer, an inventor, an investor (what he earned by writing he
lost by investing), and, altogether, a kind of epitome of Yankeedom in
general, a great, elemental, unspoiled, large-hearted human being.
While on the famous tour through the Holy Land a young man
showed him the miniature portrait of Olivia Langdon, of Elmira, New York; Mark
fell in love with the portrait, and afterwards fell in love with the original,
even more violently; after a courtship full of hardships and dangers he
finally succeeded in marrying Olivia and never was a married life more ideal
albeit the slender little woman had her hands full civilizing her half savage
husband. She called him "Youth” to the end of her days. He was always a boy,
full of mischief.
During his courtship he carefully concealed his
profanity from her; but he couldn't conceal it for long; there was too much of
it. One morning she amazed him by reciting some choice specimens of it to his
astonished ears but even that didn't cure him. Steve Gillis says that after
Mark once cursed a dog the owner sold the animal for a Hairless Mexican! He
was a constant smoker. William Dean Howells, while entertaining him, used to
slip into his room after he had fallen asleep in order to remove the lighted
cigar stubs which were endangering the house. Although a writer he was never
very literary and entertained a frank and outspoken contempt for most of the
standard authors, Scott for example. In a speech to a group of ladies at
Hartford he unburdened himself concerning the woes of spelling:
"I don't see any use in spelling a word right -
and never did. I mean I don't see any use in having a uniform and arbitrary
way of spelling words. We might as well make all clothes alike and cook all
dishes alike. Sameness is tiresome; variety is pleasing. I have a
correspondent whose letters are always a refreshment to me; there is such a
breezy, unfettered originality about his orthography. He always spells 'kow'
with a large 'K.' Now that is just as good as to spell it with a small one. It
is better. It gives the imagination a broader field, a wider scope. It
suggests to the mind a grand, vague, impressive new kind of cow."
Mark was not a church man himself, albeit he was
fond of preachers, certain of them; he used to call the church to which his
family belonged, "The Church of the Holy Speculators." But he had pious
aspirations; when asked to furnish a golden saying which might always be true
he gave this:
"We should all live so that when we come to die
even the undertaker will be sorry."
Under his Joker's exterior Mark was one of the
most human men that ever lived; he would share his last penny with the needy,
and he would spend himself without stint to defend the unjustly abused. When
Talmage remarked in a sermon that he didn't care to have laboring men come
into his church because they carried disagreeable odors Mark wrote one of the
most scathing replies that was ever put on paper: it completely destroyed the
odor of sanctity about T. DeWitt Talmage. So was it with his defense of
Harriet Shelley, with his loyalty to Grant in bitter times; with his caring
for his foolish brother Orion, and in a hundred other cases. Moreover, he was
a profoundly serious man at bottom and it may be safely said that in the
future his books will be even more read for the historical, sociological and
philosophical value in them than for the humor; that is saying much but it may
be safely said.
* * *
A WORD AS TO MASONIC BOOKS
One would naturally expect a fraternity numbering
almost two million members in this country alone, to be prolific in
literature. In one sense American Masonry is prolific in literature; there are
scores of journals and papers published, and hundreds of articles and
pamphlets; but Masonic books, strictly so-called, are all too few. The present
writer has discovered this in his attempt to conduct the Library Department.
Hardly once a month is it possible to find one new book on Masonry.
In consequence of this the policy was adopted of
reviewing old books in such a manner that the readers of THE BUILDER might
have some knowledge of their contents even if they never find opportunity to
read them; this was deemed of value because it was felt that every Mason
should know something of the Masonic classics. At the time this was undertaken
it was still possible to secure books from England where most of the older
works are published; but at the present time it is next to impossible to get a
single book across the Atlantic, for obvious and justifiable reasons. Hence is
it that we have been unable to secure some of the books reviewed for such
brothers as have desired the same. After the war has passed we will once again
be able to secure any of the books thus far reviewed, and we shall be very
glad to do so, albeit the Research Society has no desire to make any money out
of this service.
For this same reason it is often necessary to call
the Craft's attention to some work not dealing exclusively with Masonry, but
which may have an angle of interest for Masons. For the same reasons we are
asking that any brother who knows of a book, Masonic or semi-Masonic, which
would be worth reviewing, he will either send us a copy or notify us of the
same. The Library Department is intended to be of service to you; we are
asking you to help make it more serviceable.
* * *
This is the title of a slender little volume bound
in blue boards, written by Winward Prescott, and published by the Four Seas
Company of Boston, price not quoted. It is the third publication issued by the
Society of Bookplate Bibliophiles, and contains twenty-nine pages. Masons who
take pleasure, as many do, in the study of Masonic Bookplates will find this a
useful little hand-book, albeit it is not all that could be desired. The
author is evidently not a Masonic scholar, as his reference to the Knights
Templar as a "divisional body," would seem to indicate. One may also wish that
he had consulted the various volumes of the Proceedings of the Lodge Quatuor
Coronati, in which are photographs and drawings of hundreds of bookplates with
explanations and history. Those who have access to the Coronati Proceedings
will find a far larger collection than in the present book; but for those who
have not such access, "Masonic Bookplates," with its long list of plates and
its dozen or so of illustrations, will prove of value. The subject is by no
means an idle one; our historians have been enabled to untie more than one
riddle by a diligent study of Masonic Bookplates.
* * *
The old, old things are the poetic things. The objects, the
acts which have been steeped in human emotions through generation after
generation inevitably tend toward poetry. Therefore is it, and for other
reasons, too, that Masonry, especially the ritual of Masonry,
has ever tempted the singers. Many are the volumes, from Robert Burns and
Robert Morris unto our own day, in which Masonry has been set to music, the
better to evoke its haunting rhythms and its ancient meaning.
To this list of the poetic interpretation of our
lore must now be added a tiny, paper-covered volume from the pen of Odillon B.
Slane, 32d, of Peoria, Illinois, entitled "Story of the Ancient Craft; its
Lessons in Verse," and published by the author at twenty-five cents. The
author's songs are as modest as his price; he attempts no Miltonic flights but
prefers to stay in the minor key, as is fitting. "Opening," "From Night to
Light," "More Light," "Long Lost - Now Found," and "Closing" - such are his
titles. Exemplifiers of the ritual who seek to add the touch of music to their
renditions will find this a useful little book.
A generous and free-minded confession doth disable
a reproach and disarm an injury. - Montaigne.
Riches are the baggage of virtue; they cannot be
spared nor left behind, but they hinder the march. - Bacon.
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and
fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and
is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is
better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society as such, does not
champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another; but offers
to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or
fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are
open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on
Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those
connected with Lodges or Study Clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course
of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail
before publication in this department.
MASONRY IN GREECE
I have just received my first copy of THE BUILDER
and wish to say that it is just what I needed and something which every Mason
should have. It has given me my first light to the meaning of Masonic symbols
and I am happy to be a member of the N.M.R.S. and entitled to such a valuable
and enterprising journal as THE BUILDER.
I am of Greek origin and would like very much to
know something about Masonry in Greece (if there is any there) and will
greatly appreciate any information given me on the subject. A.S.R., Missouri.
From Vol. IV of Gould's History of Freemasonry we
learn that Freemasonry was late in obtaining a footing on the mainland of this
kingdom, but somewhat earlier accounts come to us from what is now an integral
part of the territory of Greece, the Ionian Islands. These islands, in early
days the prey of Naples, Genoa and Venice, were ceded to France in 1797. They
were next successively taken possession of by Russia and Turkey in 1800, by
France in 1807, and by England in 1809 The Grand Orient of France founded a
lodge at Corfu - St. Napoleon - in 1809, and a second in 1810. In 1815 the
islands were formed into the Ionian Republic under the protection of England,
and a lodge, No. 654, "Pythagoras” (to which a Royal Arch Chapter was
subsequently attached), was erected at Corfu in 1837. About 1840 we hear also
of a Grand Lodge of Greece at Corfu, with Angelo Calichiopulo as Grand Master.
He died November 13, 1812, and further information respecting this Grand Lodge
is altogether wanting Another English lodge - No. 1182, Star of the East - was
established in Zante in 1861. This and Lodge Pythagoras are still active
(1889). The lodges under the Grand Orient of France (1809-10) are extinct, but
two others were constituted by the same authority at Corfu - Phoenix, 1843 -
and at Zante - Star, 1859 - the former of which still survives.
On the mainland there was in existence in 1866 a
Provincial Grand Lodge or Directory under the Grand Orient of Italy, with
eight subordinate lodges - at Syra, Athens, Piroeus, Chalkis, Corfu, Patras,
Lamia and Argos - dating from 1860-1866. In 1867 these eight lodges, with the
consent of the Grand Orient of Italy, formed themselves into an independent
Grand Lodge of Greece. A council of nine members to direct the Grand Lodge was
appointed by the representatives of the lodges, July 9, 1872. By this council
- July 11 - Prince Rhodocanakis of Scio was elected Grand Master and retained
the office until 1881, when he was succeeded by Nicholas Damaschino. The Grand
Lodge shook off the fetters of the high degrees, but otherwise retains much of
an Italian impress. A Supreme Council 33d was, however, formed at a later
period for the degrees of the A. and A.S.R., with the same individuals as
office-bearers in the Grand Lodge, but without any control over or influence
in the latter.
Demosthenes Depos, Master of Lodge Patria, Athens,
writing in the Bulletin of the International Bureau of Masonic Affairs, says
that in that country which, ever since antiquity has always shown itself
favorable to progress and which gave birth to the grandest ideas of ancient
civilization, it was impossible that the sublime ideal of Masonry should not
find ardent partisans. At the outset, however, Masonry met with a little
opposition on account of a certain bishop who aroused public opinion against
it. Several brethren were persecuted and one lodge, that of Patras. was even
dissolved about fifteen years ago. Its members had to flee in order to escape
from personal danger, as did in the olden times the disciples of the
cosmopolitan school of Pythagoras, the great Greek philosopher. But at the
present time Masonry enjoys great liberty in Greece, for neither the nation
nor the church forgets the great services rendered to the country by the
revolution of 1821, the instigators of which were members of the "Hetaireia."
This society had been founded by Freemasons and its organization was none
other than that of Masonry, it is claimed.
Two Masonic papers of considerable importance are
published at Athens: one "Pythagoras," edited by the celebrated Brother
Eminent Galanis, and the other, "Ypsylanti," by Brother Kiriasopoulos, a man
of great knowledge and a celebrated doctor of Athens.
According to the latest figures obtainable which
are given by the Masonic Relief Association of the United States and Canada,
there are eighteen lodges under the registry of the Grand Orient of Greece
having a combined membership of 950 members.
The Grand Orient of Greece is recognized by the
Grand Lodges of Arizona, Arkansas, Canada, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and
Nova Scotia. However, since you are a member of a Missouri lodge it is
doubtful whether or not your own Grand Lodge would knowingly concede to you
the right of visitation to Greek lodges such as is accorded the members of the
foregoing Grand Lodges. W. E. A.
* * *
OBJECTIONS TO THE ADVANCEMENT
OF A CANDIDATE
Will you please explain to me how a candidate can
be kept from advancing, and if possible, dropped entirely after taking the
Entered Apprentice degree?
Suppose objections are found after a candidate has
taken the Fellow Craft degree; what can be done to prevent him from becoming a
Master Mason? M.S., New York.
Section 96 of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge
of New York reads in part as follows:
"No written or verbal objection shall have the
effect to reject the petition of a candidate or the advancement of a brother.
An objections however, must be respected, and will defer the initiation of a
candidate or the advancement of a brother until a subsequent communication of
To stop the advancement of an Entered Apprentice in
(the laws on this subject are different in some other jurisdictions) a
complaint in writing must be filed with the proper authorities and a Masonic
trial must be had. If found guilty the penalties which may be inflicted upon
the individual are:
1. Reprimand or fine, or both. 2. Suspension from all the
rights of Masonry for a definite time. 3. Expulsion. 4. In case the penalty of
a fine be imposed, an alternative penalty
from all the rights and privileges of Masonry may also be imposed until the
fine is paid.
A Mason has the right to appeal to the Grand
Master or the Grand Lodge.
The laws governing the advancement of an Entered
Apprentice are equally applicable to the advancement of a Fellow Craft.
A digest of the laws of all the Grand Lodges of the United
States covering the following subjects will be found in volume III
of THE BUILDER
Affiliation, p. 9 (January
number); Advancement, p. 50 (February number): Ballot for the Degrees, p. 70
(March number); Dimits, p. 134 (May number); Physical Qualifications for
lnitiation, p. 278 (September number).W. E. A.
* * *
THE OBLONG SQUARE
I have derived much pleasure and profit from the
study of each copy of THE BUILDER as it comes to me. I have tried to learn the
real significance of the right and left angle of an oblong square. Upon first
thought the term would seem to be misleading and yet there is probably a
deeper significance than appears on the surface. A. C. M., Pennsylvania.
Right and left as applied to the oblong square
probably refers to the foot which first advances to form one side of the angle
of the square. As the left is regarded as the weaker part of man, we are
taught that it signifies the entering upon the weaker part or beginning of
Masonry. This explanation, however, is only partial. Oliver, Mackey, and the
early Monitors and rituals define the oblong square as "a rectangle, having
two sides longer than the others." An old catechism of the year 1760 is as
follows: "Of what form is your lodge?" "An oblong Square." "How long Brother?"
"From East to West." "How wide Brother ? " "Between North and South." "How
high, Brother ?" "From the earth to the heavens." "How deep, Brother ?" "From
the surface of the earth to the center." "Why?" "Because that Masonry is
The oblong square, therefore, represents the world
in which we live and in which we are to do our work. It is situated East and
West, with the Master, who represents the source of light in the East, the
long sides being in the North and the South. "As we face the East to catch the
first glimmer of the dawn of a new day, so the E. A. must face the East before
he can be brought to light. In this position the north side of the lodge is on
his left and the south upon his right. Thus the left angle of the oblong
square is the northeast corner of the lodge and the right angle is the
southeast. When placed in the northeast corner to lay the corner stone of his
Masonic Temple the E. A. must face the South and in this position the left
angle is formed as he faces the Master. In some jurisdictions he is placed in
the southeast corner in the Second Degree and informed that as in the First
Degree he was placed in the northeast corner to show that he was newly
admitted and had laid his foundation, he is now placed in the southeast to
mark his progress in the science; and as in the First Degree he had an
opportunity of making himself acquainted with the principles of moral truth
and virtue, he is now permitted to extend his researches into the hidden
mysteries of Nature and Science.
There is much which cannot here be revealed, but
briefly, we would say that as the left is regarded as the weaker part of man
so the left angle represents the weaker part or beginnings of Masonry. It is
weaker, however, only in the sense that it is the beginning, less active, and
less conspicuous. The child is weaker than the man, but the character
developed by the child becomes the foundation of the character of the man. So
while the left is regarded as the weaker part we must not forget that it is in
the N. E. corner that the foundation stone is laid and that upon the
foundation thus laid the Mason is to raise a superstructure perfect in its
parts and honorable to the Builder. As the right side of man represents the
active working side, so the right angle represents the part of the building
which is most used. One is just as important as the other. As the foundation
supports the superstructure so the left supports the right and "all the
building fitly framed together groweth into a holy temple in the Lord."
C. C. H.
GENERAL LAFAYETTE'S VISIT TO
Complying with your request on the inside back cover of the
March number of THE BUILDER, I am sending you a history of Richmond Randolph
Lodge No. 19, A. F. and A. M., of Richmond, Va., which owns and occupies the
first building erected in America for Masonic
purposes, showing that in 1824 General Lafayette; his nephew, George
Washington Lafayette, and General Lavasseur, of his staff, visited this lodge
and were elected honorary members. You will find the account on pages 15 and
16 and I trust it will prove of interest to the members of the Society.
W. A. James, Virginia.
The account follows:
The following is a copy from
the lodge records: October 6, 1824, at a stated meeting of No. 19, held this
evening at Masons' Hall, a communication was received from Richmond Lodge No.
10, through Worshipful Brother John Dove, concerning suitable arrangements for
the reception of Illustrious Worshipful Brother Lafayette. A preamble
unanimously adopted appointing a committee to confer with committees of sister
lodges, and to carry into effect such measures as may be deemed by them proper
for paying due respect to our illustrious brother, General Lafayette, when he
shall have arrived in this city and directed the Tiler to draw upon the
Treasurer for any expenses attending the illumination of Masons' Hall.
Reception, etc., to
Worshipful General Lafayette, Saturday, October 30, 1824. At a called meeting
of Richmond Randolph Lodge No. 19, held at Masons' Hall in the city of
Richmond, the lodge was opened in the first degree of Masonry in due form. On
motion of Wor. Bro. Cabell, seconded by Bro. Ives, Wor. Bro. Lafayette was
unanimously elected an Honorary Member of this lodge. On motion of Brother
Ives, Brother George Washington Lafayette (a nephew of Genl. Lafayette) was
unanimously elected an Honorary Member of this lodge. On motion of Bro.
Anderson, Brother Lavasseur was unanimously elected an Honorary Member of this
lodge. The lodge was then called from labor to refreshment.
The lodge, after having
joined in a procession, proceeded to the Union Hotel (corner Main and
Nineteenth streets) to partake of a dinner provided in compliment to Brother
General Lafayette. The lodge then escorted that brother to his lodgings at the
Eagle Hotel (corner Fifteenth and Main streets) and returned to the Masons'
Hall and resumed labors. Wor. Bro. R.A. Carrington was Master at this time.
The signatures of all the
foregoing Honorary Members appear on the recorded By-Laws of No. 19 preceding
the record of this meeting and reception and have been inspected by thousands
of Masons from all parts of the world.
At the November 3, 1824,
meeting it was resolved that the Master and Wardens of No. 19 procure
appropriate certificates of membership, written on parchment, and present them
to the brethren recently elected Honorary Members.
Wor. Bro. Genl. Lafayette
died on 20th of May, 1834, and this lodge held suitable memorial exercises to
pay the last sad tribute of respect to our deceased brother, June 23,1834.
* * *
GENERAL LAFAYETTE'S VISIT TO
In the March issue of THE BUILDER I notice that
information with regard to the Masonic connections of General Lafayette may
perhaps be of some service to the Society and interest to the members.
Wilbur F. Foster, Tennessee.
From a reprint of the Proceedings of the Grand
Lodge of Tennessee for 1826 the following facts are gleaned:
At a called meeting of the Grand Lodge of
Tennessee, at the Masonic Hall in the town of Nashville, on Monday, April 25,
1825, the M. W. Grand Master informed the Grand Lodge that the object of the
Convention was the reception of our illustrious brother, General Lafayette.
The lodge then adjourned until 7 o'clock P. M., April 26th, when it met
according to adjournment and the committee previously appointed by the Grand
Master to make the necessary arrangements for the reception of our illustrious
brother, General Lafayette, made the following report, which was concurred in
by the Grand Lodge:
Resolved, That the following general arrangement
be made: As soon as it is ascertained at what time Lafayette will probably
arrive, the Grand Lodge shall be convened, by order of the Grand Master, and
shall assemble at the Masonic Hall, in Nashville.
The Masonic Fraternity, as such, shall take no
part in the reception of Lafayette on his arrival in Nashville, but
immediately after he reaches his lodgings a committee, appointed by the Grand
Master, shall wait on him and inform him that his brethren of the Grand Lodge
of Tennessee will expect his company at the Masonic Hall the same evening, at
7 o'clock (or on such other evening as may conform with the general
arrangements), and that arrangements have been made for a Masonic dinner and
public parade to take place on the next day. The Grand Master, and other
principal Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge, shall then wait upon him at his
lodgings, and be introduced. In the evening, at 6 o'clock, the Grand Lodge
shall assemble in the lodge-room, and after opening, shall adjourn to the hall
below, which shall be previously fitted up for the occasion. A committee shall
then be dispatched in a carriage or carriages for Lafayette, and such of his
suite as are Masons, who, on their arrival at the hall, shall be received by
the Grand Marshal, and he shall conduct them to the lodge-room upstairs, where
they may partake of refreshments. The Grand Lodge, still in session, shall
then be notified of their arrival, and the Grand Marshal and committees shall
conduct them separately into the hall, and be received with appropriate
honors, and shall be seated on the right of the Most Worshipful Grand Master.
The Grand Master shall then deliver to Lafayette an appropriate address, in
the name of the Masonic Fraternity of the State of Tennessee, greeting him
with a hearty welcome.
The Grand Lodge shall then be called off, and
adjourn to the next day, at 1 o'clock P. M.
The brethren and their guests shall repair
successively, as may be convenient, to the chapter-room above, where a table
shall be previously spread, and partake of a supper provided for the occasion.
Lafayette and his suite shall then be conducted to their lodgings by the
The next day, at 1 o'clock, the Grand Lodge shall
again convene, in conjunction with the subordinate lodges and Royal Arch
chapters, and march to the lodgings of Lafayette, where he and his suite, and
such other persons as may be invited, shall join, and all shall proceed, under
direction of the Grand and Deputy Marshals, through the Public Square and
principal streets to the Presbyterian Church, where an oration, suited to the
occasion, shall be delivered by some brother previously selected for that
The procession shall then march to the hall, where
a Grand Masonic dinner shall have been provided, and after the enjoyment of
appropriate festivity, shall again escort Lafayette and his suite to their
lodgings, and return to the hall and separate. The Grand Lodge shall then be
Resolved, That Brother W. G. Hunt be requested to
deliver the oration.
Signed by the Committee.
On motion of brother W. G. Hunt it was resolved
that a committee be appointed to attend to the illumination of the Masonic
Hall on the evening of General Lafayette's arrival, and that they use the
necessary precaution to prevent any accident by fire or otherwise. A committee
was then appointed by the Grand Master for this purpose.
The Grand Lodge then adjourned during the pleasure
of the M. W. Grand Master.
The Grand Lodge met again on Wednesday, May 4th,
and at this meeting Brother Lafayette was unanimously elected an Honorary
Member. The Grand Lodge was then called from labor to refreshment, and formed
a procession in conjunction with Cumberland R.A. Chapter No. 1, Franklin R.A.
Chapter No. 2 and Clarksville R.A. Chapter No. 3, and Lodges No. 8 and 37, and
proceeded to the Nashville Inn, where they were joined by Brother Lafayette
and suite and returned to the hall.
The Grand Lodge was then called from refreshment
to labor, when Brother George W. Lafayette and Brother Lavasseur were
announced and introduced. Brother General Lafayette was introduced by Brothers
Andrew Jackson and G.W. Campbell, received with the Grand Honors, and seated
at the right of the Grand Master, who then rose and addressed him on the part
of the Masonic Fraternity of Tennessee.
After being informed that he had been unanimously
elected an Honorary Member of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, Brother Lafayette
made a feeling and appropriate reply, in substance as follows:
He felt himself highly gratified at being so
kindly welcomed by the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, and at being made an Honorary
Member of that body, in which he had been introduced by the distinguished
brother Mason who had erected the lines of New Orleans, and, in technical
language of the Craft, had made them "well-formed, true and trusty." He had,
he said, been long a member of the Order, having been initiated, young as he
was, even before he entered the service of our country in the Revolutionary
War. He had never for a moment ceased to love and venerate the institution,
and was, therefore, peculiarly delighted to see that it had spread its genial
influence thus far to the West, and that his brethren here were not only
comfortably, but brilliantly accommodated. He considered the Order as
peculiarly. valuable in this country, where it not only fostered the
principles of civil and religious liberty, but was eminently calculated to
link the extremities of this wide republic together, and to perpetuate, by its
fraternizing influence, the union of the States.
* * *
A ROMAN CATHOLIC AND MASON
I wish to call your attention to an incident that
occurred here on Sunday, April 7th, 1918. An incident that is unique and one
that is very seldom met with in Masonry.
Brother Clem Hodes had been a member of Eugene
Lodge No. 11, A.F. & A.M., for forty years. He esteemed Masonry very highly
and appreciated its teachings. Until failing health prevented, he was a
frequent attendant at the regular and special communications of the lodge. He
was also a member of the Roman Catholic Church.
On April 3rd, Bro. Hodes passed to that realm from
whose bourne no traveler ever returns, and his funeral was held on Sunday,
April 7th. He left a request for a Masonic burial, to be conducted by Bro. S.
M. Yoran. Eugene Lodge met in special communication Sunday afternoon, and
repaired to the chapel of the undertaker where the first service was held.
This service was conducted by the Roman Catholic Priest, who gave a short
address which was highly appreciated by our members - an address to which not
one person present could have taken the least exception. He then offered up
prayers for the repose of the soul of the dead to which there was a very
audible response from the members of the Roman Catholic Church present. The
service ended by the singing of "Nearer My God to Thee" by a choir composed of
members of the fraternity.
Eugene Lodge then took charge of the remains and
conveyed them to the Masonic Cemetery where they were interred in a crypt of
the mausoleum with full Masonic burial service conducted by Bro. S. M. Yoran.
There was a large attendance of Roman Catholics at this service.
I will not comment on this incident, but will only
say: May we have more such incidents.
C. S. Freeland, Oregon.
* * *
SOLOMON'S TEMPLE AND EARLY
HISTORY OF MASONRY - A CORRECTION
Under the above heading in the June Question Box
the latter part of the answer to the second question should read "most of what
we are told about him, however, is purely legendary, which means that we have
no way of proving that it is historical," and in that part of the answer to
the fourth question reading "the same size applies only to the main body of
the temple" the word "same" should read "small."
C.C. Hunt, Iowa.
Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under
the name of reason. - John Wesley.