The Builder Magazine
March 1918 - Volume IV - Number 3
IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
BY BRO. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER,
33d HON., DEPUTY FOR CHINA
BROTHER J.E. Morcombe in a
series of scholarly papers once declared (1) that after "a very serious course
of historical reading extending through several months and covering (the?)
period of the last three centuries" he was regretfully forced" to reject "as
mainly mythical the alleged participation of American Masonic Lodges, as such,
in affairs of the Revolution."
A statement like this, coming
from such a diligent and distinguished Masonic student, deserves consideration
and analysis. If correct it destroys many cherished beliefs; if incorrect it
ought, in justice to the craft, past and present, to be so declared.
My own investigations have
led me to a somewhat different conclusion. And while I am not prepared to say
that the direct "participation of American Lodges" in our struggle for
nationality was extensive, still I cannot but feel that their indirect
assistance was great and their actual participation at certain stages
determining. I will, therefore, state the results of my survey (2) of this
field in language employed when it was first completed and, that my readers
may themselves be enabled to judge of the soundness of my conclusions, I will,
for each important statement, cite my authority.
At the outbreak of the
Revolution Masonic lodges in America were few and feeble. The oldest of them
had existed less than half a century (3) and the membership was exceedingly
small (4). But what was lacking in members was more than supplied in quality.
The Freemasons of that period included the flower of colonial citizenship and
their very fewness was a source of strength. In a small lodge all could know
and trust each other; all felt the need of absolute secrecy in
deliberation--of solidarity in action. Hence it is not strange that some of
these colonial lodges became the centers of revolutionary propaganda (5).
ST. ANDREW'S LODGE
Foremost among these was the
Lodge of St. Andrew at Boston. Founded in 1756 and chartered by the Grand
Lodge of Scotland in 1760, it began its career independent of English
influence and just in time to share in the opening scenes of the war for
independence. Joseph Warren was its Master, Paul Revere one of its early
initiates and secretaries and later its Master, and on its rolls were the
names of John Hancock, and James Otis and many others who are now recognized
as the leading characters of that eventful epoch. And almost every important
movement in the patriotic cause in Boston, preceding and precipitating the
Revolution, may be traced back directly or indirectly to St. Andrew's Lodge.
The famous "Sons of Liberty,"
organized in 1765 to resist the enforcement of the Stamp Act, were but an
offshoot of this Lodge, and was also the "North End Caucus" (6) to which was
committed the execution of some of the most daring plans of the patriots. Both
of these organizations met at the Green Dragon Tavern which was owned and
occupied by St. Andrew's Lodge, and the members of the latter were leaders in
the former. It was at this tavern that the historic Boston Tea Party was
planned by Warren, Revere and other members of St. Andrew's (7). The records
of the lodge disclose that on the evening after the tea-laden ships arrived in
Boston Harbor there was an adjournment on account of small attendance and the
secretary adds the significant note that "consignees of tea took the
brethren's time." The minutes of December 16, 1773, the date of the tea party,
show that the lodge was again adjourned until the next evening (8). Its
members were among that band of enthusiasts who had boarded the ships and were
rapidly heaving the obnoxious tea into the waters of Boston Harbor.
In the stirling days which
followed it was Paul Revere of St. Andrew's Lodge who earned the title of "The
Patriotic Mercury" or "The Messenger of the Revolution." Thousands of miles he
rode on horseback, spreading the news of the destruction of the tea, bearing
despatches to other colonies, to New York and Philadelphia, to Provincial and
Continental Congresses (9). And on that memorable night before the battle of
Lexington it was by order of the Master of St. Andrew's, Joseph Warren, that
Bro. Paul Revere set out upon his famous ride to Concord to warn his
countrymen of the foe's approach--a ride which has been immortalized by the
magic pen of Longfellow who tells us that
"Through all our history to
the last In the hour of darkness and peril and need The people will waken
and listen to hear The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed And the midnight
message of Paul Revere."
And when at last the storm,
which for years had been gathering, burst in all its fury, it was St. Andrew's
Lodge which furnished the first great martyr to American liberty. Joseph
Warren, Major General in the Continental Army, fell at Bunker Hill; and thus
the lodge which had almost initiated the war gave up its Master in the battle
which determined forever the supremacy of the American arms in Massachusetts.
No other organization, civic or military, of its numbers, can be compared to
St. Andrew's Lodge in the extent of its contributions to the American cause.
The title "Cradle of Liberty," which has been applied to Faneuil Hall,
rightfully belongs to the Green Dragon Tavern where gathered that little band
of Masons who precipitated the American Revolution.
THE OTHER PATRIOTIC LODGES
But there were other lodges
which rendered valuable services in the war for independence. St. John's
Provincial Grand Lodge at Boston, the older rival of St. Andrew's, furnished,
in the person of its Deputy Grand Master Ridley, the engineer who planned the
American fortifications at Bunker Hill (10). St. George's Lodge at Schnectady,
N. Y., where many Revolutionary officers were made Masons, honored itself and
the order by appropriating lodge funds for the support of the families of its
members who had been taken prisoners (11).
The intimate connection
between Masonry and the patriotic movements is also shown by the growth of the
order at this time. Master's Lodge alone, at Albany, received eighty-three new
members during the historic year 1776 (12).
But the most important
service, after the Revolution was fairly launched, was rendered by the lodges
formed in the Continental Army. There were ten of these (13), they were
scattered among the camps from Massachusetts to North Carolina, and their
growth was fostered and encouraged by the Commander-in-Chief. Washington
himself attended their communications frequently--now as a visitor, meeting
soldier brethren on the level (14) and now as Master sitting in the Oriental
chair and bringing a candidate to Masonic light (15). It was in one of these
lodges--American Union at Morristown, N. J.--that Lafayette is believed to
have received his degrees (16). Lodge meetings were sometimes held in
officers' tents (17) and sometimes, as in the case of the army encamped on the
Hudson, in a permanent building specially erected for that purpose (18). And
so active were these military Masons that a movement was started and several
conventions held at Morristown with a view of establishing an American General
Grand Lodge and making Washington Grand Master of the United States (19).
It is difficult to
overestimate the strategic value of these army lodges. In the first place they
promoted fellowship and solidarity in the ranks and sympathy between officers
and men. In an army where the humblest private might sit in lodge on a level
with the Commander-in-Chief there arose a spirit of self-sacrifice, mutual
helpfulness and devotion--an esprit du corps--which no hireling soldiery could
have. Where the distinctions or rank were lost in the ties of brotherhood,
even the sufferings of that terrible winter at Valley Forge might be made
Again, the prevalence of
Masonry in the patriotic army insured secrecy in the plans of campaign and
fidelity in their execution. Councils of war it is said, were frequently held
in the lodge room where their deliberations were under the double seal of
Masonry and patriotism. Generals could entrust their dispatches to couriers
who were brother Masons and feel certain that nothing would be divulged. Thus
our eighteenth century brethren formed the strong arm of the Continental
service. It is claimed that nearly every American general was a Mason (20);
certainly the leading ones were. Even the allies, Lafayette, the Frenchman,
and Steuben (21) and Dekalb, the Germans, were members of the order. John Paul
Jones, the founder of our navy, is known to have petitioned St. Bernard's
Lodge at Kirkcudbright, Scotland, and probably was a member of it (22). Had
the Freemasons been withdrawn from the Continental forces the Revolution must
have been a dismal failure.
OUR BRETHREN OF THE OPPOSING
But we must never forget that
not all Freemasons of the Revolution were enrolled in the patriotic ranks--
that they were numerous in the opposing army as well. Peter Ross, the
historian of the Grand Lodge of New York, records as operating during the war
in that state more than thirty British military lodges (22a). And to the fact
that Masons were actively engaged on both sides is due some of the most
gratifying incidents of the war. It has been said that the fairest flowers are
those that bloom over the wall of party; but how much more must be said of
those that bloom amid the strife of armies.
Early in the war an event
occurred that proved the strength of the Masonic tie. At the battle of the
Cedars near Montreal, Col. John McKinstry, a Freemason, was captured by a band
of Indians, allies of the British, whose chief was the celebrated Joseph
Brand, also a Mason. In accordance with savage custom the prisoner was bound
to a stake, fagots were piled around him, and the torch was about to be
applied, when he gave to Chief Brand the sign which Masons know the world
around--the grand hailing sign of distress. Indian though he was, the chief
recognized the sign and ordered the torture to cease, and he and his captive
became fast friends for the rest of their lives (23).
Again, in 1779, Joseph Burnam,
a Mason who was held by the British as a prisoner of war in New York City,
escaped and sought shelter in the Green Bay Tree Tavern, kept by another Mason
named Hopkins. This tavern served as a meeting place for St. John's Lodge,
which was composed mostly of British officers. The fugitive was secreted in
the tavern garret which was just above the lodge room, and while he was
reclining at night on the planks which formed the garret floor these gave way
and precipitated the unfortunate guest into the center of the lodge in the
very midst of its deliberations. The landlord, who was also the Tiler, was
called upon for an explanation, and he, like a good Mason, made a clean breast
of the whole affair. Whereupon the members of the lodge took up a contribution
for the fugitive brother and, though his enemy in war, assisted him to reach
the American lines across the Hudson River (24).
Another instance of Masonic
magnanimity occurred when the brave Baron DeKalb, our German ally, was slain
at the battle of Camden in 1780. Although he had crossed the Atlantic to take
part in a quarrel that was not his, against the British, he was buried by them
with both Masonic and military honors (25).
But perhaps the most
significant illustration of the effect of Masonry on the war was the action
taken by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It is well known that the war was
unpopular in many parts of Great Britain; but some of the subordinate Scottish
Lodges, urged perhaps by government officials, had offered bounties for
recruits to the army. When the Grand Lodge met it condemned this practice in
unmistakable terms and in its instructions declared: "Masonry is an order of
peace and it looks on all mankind to be at peace or at war with each other as
subjects of contending countries." (26)
RECIPROCITY IN THE AMERICAN
These are illustrations
which, thanks to Masonic teaching, reveal the foe in a better light than some
are wont to think of him. Let us notice some expressions of the same spirit on
the American side.
At the battle of Princeton,
1776, Captain William Leslie, a Mason and son of the Earl of Leven, of the
British Army, received a severe wound. He was taken in charge by Dr. Benjamin
Rush, the celebrated surgeon who was then on Gen. Washington's staff, but was
found to be "past all surgery." He was also buried with Masonic and military
honors and this fact was announced by Col. Fitzgerald, Gen. Washington's aide,
who entered the British Camp for that purpose under a flag of truce. Later Dr.
Rush erected a monument, which may still be seen, at Brothel Leslie's grave
"as a mark of esteem for his worth and respect for his noble family (27)."
Lodge Unity was a military
lodge in the 17th foot of the British army. In 1779, while the regiment was
engaged in a skirmish, the constitution and jewels of the lodge were lost, but
were returned to it by Col. Parsons of the American Union Lodge in the
opposing army, with a letter reciting that:
"As Masons we are disarmed of
that resentment which stimulates to undistinguished desolation; and however
our political sentiments may impel us in the public dispute, we are still
brethren, and (our professional duty apart) ought to promote the happiness and
advance the weal of each other." (25)
An even more striking
instance occurred when the Masonic chest of the 46th British infantry was
captured by the Americans. Upon hearing of it, Gen. Washington ordered the
chest and other articles of value returned to the owners accompanied by a
guard of honor (29). The London Freemason's Magazine, commenting on the
circumstances, from an English standpoint, says:
"The surprise, the feelings
of both officers and men may be imagined when they perceived the flag of truce
that announced this elegant compliment from their noble opponent but still
more noble brother. The guard of honor, their flutes playing a sacred march,
the chest containing the constitution and implements of the craft borne aloft
like another Ark of the Covenant, equally by Englishmen and Americans, who,
lately engaged in the strife of war, now marched through the enfiladed ranks
of the gallant regiment, that, with presented arms and colors, hailed the
glorious act by cheers which the sentiment rendered sacred as the hallelujahs
of an angel's song."
Thus, above the storm and
stress of armed strife. the soothing spirit of Masonic fellowship brooded like
a bird of calm. If Masons precipitated and promoted the struggle they likewise
mitigated its horrors and made possible the disclosure of the noblest traits
in both American and Briton. It is the proudest heritage of Revolutionary
Masons on both sides that the fraternal tie was one which not even the shock
of arms could sever, and that amid the fiercest passions engendered by war
they never quite forgot they were brethren. The record of this forms the
fairest, brightest page in the history of the Revolution.
IN THE COUNCILS OF STATE
When we turn from scenes of
carnage to the more peaceful haunts of diplomat and statesman, during the
Revolution, we find Freemasons there active and influential. It is a notable
fact that the earliest suggestion of a Federal Union of the American colonies
came from the first American Grand Master, Daniel Coxe, who in 1730 received a
deputation as Provincial Grand Master, made this suggestion in a work
published as early as 1716, (30) and may therefore properly be called the
first Federalist. It was this idea, adopted later and advocated by another
eminent Mason and Provincial Grand Master, Benjamin Franklin, that grew into
the union established by the constitution framed two generations later. The
Declaration of Independence, it has been declared, (31) was the work of a
Mason and many of the signers of that instrument are believed to have been
members of our order (32). Freemasons were foremost in the Philadelphia
Convention that framed the Federal Constitution and thus completed the work of
the war. Besides Washington, the President, and Franklin, the Nestor, of that
body, Hamilton, the genius of the Convention, was a Mason (33).
AT THE COURTS OF EUROPE
But after all it may be that
Masonry's most effective service to the American cause was rendered not at
home but abroad. We know that the aid of France was a powerful, if not
indispensable factor in the outcome of the war and that the sympathy of other
Continental powers was advantageous. But why should these haughty monarchists
of Europe look with favor upon the struggling republic of the New World ? Why
did they not turn the same deaf ear as recently to the Boer envoys? There
seems to have been some mysterious influence which changed their once hostile
attitude into one of friendship; and recent investigations have led to the
belief that this influence was the Masonic order (34).
When Franklin, the Freemason,
went to Paris to plead the American cause at the court of St. Germain, he
naturally sought out the members of the fraternity. At the "Lodge of the Nine
Muses," where he often attended, he met the intellect and statesmanship of the
gay French capital, and it is believed that partly, at least, through these
influences he was enabled to reach the ear of Louis XVI, to secure for us the
French fleet and army, and thus to turn the tide of the war in favor of the
American cause at its darkest hour. And thus the record of Masonic service in
the Revolution is complete. There was no part of it in which Masons did not
share and no important phase which would probably have succeeded but for them.
But we fail to grasp the full
significance of this noble record if we see in it only a source of pride and
gratification. It is all this but much more; for every page imposes duty,
obligation, responsibility. If it be true, as the record seems to teach, that
American nationality was largely brought about by Masons, and that to this end
the best energies of the craft were devoted in the trying times of the
Revolution; if our predecessors gave "their lives, their fortunes and their
sacred honor" to start the republic on its glorious career, surely we can best
prove true to the traditions of American Masonry by continuing the work which
they began. Our advantages, if not our opportunities, are greater than theirs.
The feeble fraternity of that day has become a powerful order now--from a few
thousands it has grown to nearly two millions, carefully selected from the
ranks of American citizenship. Its representatives are found in every official
station (35) from Presidents (36) down. What possibilities for good government
and high political ideals do these facts express; what a mighty leverage for
civic progress and reform ! And this is the highest lesson taught us as a
craft by Freemasons of the American Revolution: To place patriotism above
partisanship, to preserve and extend the free institutions of the republic, to
maintain the honor and dignity of the nation at home and abroad, and thus to
realize the lofty ideals of our eighteenth century brethren, bequeathing them
as a priceless heritage to generations yet unborn.
(1) Record of Intolerance, 21
Am. Tyler-Keystone 549. See a reply in Vol. 22 of the same periodical, page
(2) Undertaken while
preparing an address as Grand Orator before the Grand Lodge of Nebraska.
(3) The earliest American
Lodge is claimed to have been St. John's at Philadelphia, formed about 1730.
See Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 233, et seq.
(4) Bro. Ross, historian of
the Grand Lodge, concludes (N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc. 1900) that there were not
more than 250 members of New York Lodges during the Revolution.
(5) There seems every reason
to admit what has been so often claimed by our historians, that the Masonic
Lodges scattered throughout the country were as beacon lights of liberty, and
that within our tiled doors the Revolution was fostered and strengthened." --
Ross, Historian of Grand Lodge, N. Y. Proceedings (1900), p. 315.
(6) Goss, Life of Paul
Revere, (1891), pp. 117, 121-2.
(7) Centennial Memorial of
the Lodge of St. Andrew, and the Massachusetts Grand Lodge (1870).
(8) Goss, Life of Paul
Revere, (1891), pp. 121-2; Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 347.
(9) Id. p. 118 et seq.
(10) Gould, History of
Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 220.
(11) Ross, Historian of Grand
Lodge, N. Y. Proceedings (1900) p. 313.
(12) Id. p. 315.
(13) Gould, History of
Freemasonry, Vol. IV, pp. 222, 227.
(14) Ross, Historian of Grand
Lodge, N. Y. Proc. (1900) pp. 298, 305; Hayden, Washington and His Masonic
Compeers; Capt. G. P. Brown in American Tyler, Dec. 15, 1900; Mackey,
Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, p. 869.
(15) Ross, Historian of Grand
Lodge, N. Y. Proc. (1900) p. 308.
(16) Gould, History of
Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 224.
(17) Id.; Ross, Historian
Grand Lodge, N. Y. Proc. (1900) p. 308.
(18) Capt. G. P. Brown in
American Tyler. Dec. 15, 1900, says: "American Union Lodge was the banner
lodge of the Continental Army. It had a very large membership, including
several of Washington's foremost generals. In 1782, while the patriot host was
encamped on the banks of the Hudson the attendance of that renowned lodge
became so large that it was necessary to erect a building for its regular
meetings. At a stated assembly of the lodge the question arose. General
Washington was among the large number of visitors present and spoke at some
length on the erection of a suitable building for Masonic purposes. And it was
but a few days later when the noble-hearted commander-in-chief and eminent
Freemason ordered the erection of a wooden structure. It was nearly sixty feet
long and of the old style, one-story plan. It formed a complete oblong square.
It had but one door, which was on the west end; its windows were fairly good
size, square and over six feet from the ground, thus to keep off the cowan and
eavesdropper which were so plenty in the Continental army at that time.* * *
One of the many noted Masonic celebrations held within those sacred walls was
the festival of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, A. L. 5782."
(19) Gould, Vol. IV, pp.
224-5; Ross, pp. 304-5; Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, p. 870.
(20) Gould, Vol. IV, p. 224.
G. P. Brown, in the article last above quoted, gives the following list of
those who participated in the celebrations there mentioned: "Generals
Washington, Gist, Putnam, Hamilton, Jackson, Armstrong, Parsons, Heath,
Thompson, Patterson, Clinton, Dayton, Greaton, Brooks, Huntington; Colonels
Cilley, Gridley, Burbeck, Nixon, Bradford, Clarke, Parke, Gray, Johnston,
Sherman; Captains Marshall, Brown, Hait, Coit, Redfield, Lacey, Chapman, Ten
Eyck; Lieutenants Heart, Hosmor, Hobart, Buxton, Russell, Barker, Sherman,
Curtis, Heath, Bush, Spear, Cleveland, Palmer and a host of petty officers and
privates. General John Stark, the hero of Bennington, was a Mason, initiated,
according to Brown, in St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Portsmouth, N. H.; according
to Ross, in Master's Lodge, Albany, N. Y.
(21) Baron Steuben was a
member of Trinity and an honorary member of Holland Lodge, both of New York.
See N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900), p. 309.
(22) See American Tyler, Vol.
15, p. 478
(22a) See also Sachse, Old
Masonic Lodges of Pennsylvania, 1730-1800, especially the chapter on Unity
Lodge No. 18, A. Y. M., abstracted in the New Age, XXIV, 539.
(23) Stone, Life of Brant,
(1838), Vol. I, pp. 18-33; Vol. II, p. 156; Gould, History of Freemasonry,
Vol. IV, p. 221; Ross, N.Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900), 307.
(24) Ross, N. Y. Grand Lodge
Proc. (1900), 302, giving an extract from the printed history of St. John's
Lodge; Mitchell, History of Freemasonry (1817), p. 501.
(25) Gould, History of
Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 222.
(26) Lyon, History of the
Lodge of Edinburgh, p. 83; Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, p. 868.
(27) Sachse, Old Masonic
Lodges of Pennsylvania, abstracted in New Age, XXIV, 539.
(28) Ross, 2, 98, 99. The
letter is reprinted in the New Age (XXIV, 639), from Sachse, Old Masonic
Lodges of Pennsylvania. This Lodge Unity appears to have received successive
warrants from the Grand Lodges of Ireland, Scotland and Pennsylvania.
(29) Ross, 299, 300.
(30) The work was entitled "A
Description of the English Province of Carolina." See Gould, History of
Freemasonry, Vol. IV, pp. 231-2; Ross, N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900), pp.
(31) Capt. G. P. Brown, of
Boston, in a private letter, furnished the information on which this statement
(32) P.G.M. Baird in THE
BUILDER (II, 351), mentions twenty-three. Cf. Gould, History of Freemasonry,
Vol. IV, p. 220; N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900) p. 81; John Carson Smith in
American Tyler-Keystone, XXIII, 300.
(33) Ross, N. Y. Grand Lodge
Proc. (1900), 305
(34) The late Gen. John
Carson Smith, of Illinois, to whom I am indebted for favors, conducted these
(35) In a recent enumeration
of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Legislatures more than one-third of the
members were found to be Masons; in one branch the proportion was one-half. 15
Annals of American Academy 81.
(36) P.G.M. Baird in THE
BUILDER (II, 351), presents a list of seventeen Presidents who were Masons,
and mentions another (Grant) who may have taken the E. A. degree. This is more
than two-thirds of the whole number.
GOING UP IN MASONRY
BY BRO. DENMAN S. WAGSTAFF,
When "Mother" seems so very
old and gray, when she can not exactly keep up with your "growing" disposition
and the exuberance of animal spirit now so fair an average of your condition,
you really turn your back upon her! You seem to prefer faster company! You
have about forsaken the place whence you came and in a haze of expectation
joined what to a student of Masonry would resemble an "aristocracy of
ignorance." You have come to the "parting of the ways" between what the "nickle-plated"
world designates "higher and lower" Masonry ! It seems an awful task now to
contemplate the retention of the necessary knowledge to enable you to pass the
Tyler at some "strange" Lodge. With Charity it may be said that it is hard,
for you never knew much about it and should not be upbraided for something you
are not altogether to blame for. It is this lack of knowing which is the cause
of complaint and the fact that drives you to something easier--something that
does not require knowledge to maintain a standing in, as long as the dues are
paid. Yet individuals are not altogether to blame. The habit of "hurry" we
acquire in business and social life urges us on. Many of us go into business
almost as soon as we are able to read a market report. Other "frills" in the
educational line are deemed unnecessary. We get to do "business" with
everything. Our souls are risked ofttimes before we really know where we could
find another, were such a thing suddenly lost to an opponent on the mart of
trade. If we could but pause when we find ourselves going too fast! If we
could but stoop to commune with an innermost self at such a moment! There are
many of us who have not continued such practice through life. We have
forgotten so much as "Blue Lodge practice" has by degrees faded farther and
farther from the limit of memory.
The Masonry of many men is
all encompassed by the somewhat obscure significance of a "prominently"
cherished "watch-charm," constantly carried as an aid to a less precious
memory. I do not, by this means of public censuring, even expect to lure men
into the practice of the science of faithfulness in daily life or avowed
purpose, neither do I expect them to altogether forsake "Mammon." I can hardly
stem the tide which seems to force men to a love of display--of even Masonry.
I can not force them to attend their Lodges long enough to give them an
understanding of all the symbolism of the ancient Craft. If these lagging
souls could but feel the "pull" of the cabletow about them, as it binds each
willing heart with a living touch, to the real practise of Faith, Hope and
sweet Charity! I do not, in a day, expect to lead men from their world-idols.
To cure them of the indolence that goes with borrowed thought and trailing
Yet I have hope, for there
are other days dawning and still other men, who believe in the "Blue Lodge" as
a grand preparatory school, where Masonry can be studied, both to her
advantage and with every recurring benefit to the student. Aye, the School of
Applied Science where successful methods may be grafted into one's system by
simple contact with honest practitioners, who if they fail today, will be ever
patient in the trying, until Faith brings victory.
This practice, in the
fundaments of Masonry, will give renewed strength and an increase of
intelligence, and will assist materially in the unfolding of the beauties of
so-called higher degrees, both of Masonry and daily life, (and they should be
one,) until new lanes of travel are opened toward the Light, impelling the
splendid glorification of the visible body and soul of a fraternity which to
date has given everything to her children, expecting only that which she gets
in the "siftings" as the Mill grinds and grinds!
BY BRO. P. E. KELLETT, GRAND
LET us now briefly consider
the great point of cleavage between Anglo-Saxon Masonry and the Masonry of the
Grand Orient of France. This cleavage is based largely on the suspicion, if
not on the definite charge that French Masonry is atheistic in its practices
or in its tendencies.
The Grand Orient of France
was organized in Paris in 1736. Its constitution was of the model of
Anderson's original Constitution 1723. The Grand Orient was recognized as
legitimate Masonry by the Grand Lodge of England, and in fact by all
legitimate Masons throughout the world. At that time in all Masonic
Constitutions there was an absolute absence of dogma concerning in which all
men agree; that is to be good men and true, men of God and religion, and
Masons were bound only to that religion in which all men agree; that is to be
good men and true, men of honor and honesty. The aim of the fraternity was
purely humanitarian, its principles broad enough for men of every diverse
opinion. The desire was simply to unite them, whatever their private religious
beliefs, in uplift work for themselves and for humanity.
Changes came first in
England. About the middle of the eighteenth century, the so-called Landmarks
regarding a declaration of belief in the G. A. of the U. and the placing of
the Bible on the Altar, were adopted. Following this, for the greater part of
a century the French Constitution adhered strictly to the original plan of the
fraternity and did not contain that formula which has since, in some places,
come to be regarded as essential. During this time neither the Grand Lodge of
England nor any other recognized Grand Lodge took any exception to this
notable omission. French Masons were considered neither "Godless" nor
"Atheistic." As time went on, the French Constitution was changed to conform
to that of the Grand Lodge of England. One writer has said this was
co-incident with a closer political approach of the two nations, England and
France. The constitution of the Grand Orient of France followed the English
copy until shortly after the Franco Prussian war, when they reverted back to
what it had been originally. Co-incident with this change, history records
political estrangement between France and England which continued until recent
years. When France reverted back to her original constitution, the Grand Lodge
of England immediately afterwards severed relations with France, and generally
speaking, Masonry of English speaking countries followed suit, claiming that
the change made by the Grand Orient of France was Atheistic in tendency.
Can French Masonry be said to
be atheistical ? Atheism is the doctrine that there is no God. It is no longer
considered reasonable for anyone to dogmatically assert that there is no God,
and it is a question if such a being as an atheist exists today.
There is no unbelief.
Whoever plants a seed beneath
And waits to see it push away
He trusts in God.
Whoever says, when clouds are
in the sky,
"Be patient, heart; light
Trusts the Most High
Whoever sees, 'neath winter's
fields of snow,
The silent harvest of the
God's power must know.
Whoever lies down on his
couch to sleep,
Content to lock each sense in
Knows God will keep.
Whoever says, "Tomorrow,"
"The Future," trusts the
He dares disown.
The heart that looks on when
the eyelids close,
And dares to live when life
has only woes,
God's comfort knows
There is no unbelief;
And day by day, and night
The heart lives by that faith
the lips deny--
God knoweth why!
To be atheistic, French
Masonry would need to have made the dogmatic assertion, "There is no God."
This it has never done. It neither affirms nor denies anything relative to
God. To suppose that French Masons deny the existence of God is to totally
misunderstand them. They are as much averse to a dogmatic assertion of that
kind as to one of the opposite kind. They are simply against a dogmatic
assertion of any kind, as Masons, believing that Masonry is antidogmatic.
Many, and possibly all, of their members would doubtless declare a belief in
God at the proper time; but not as Masons in a Masonic Lodge.
The French Masons found their
attitude on the first edition of the Constitution, which obliges Masons only
to that religion in which all men agree; that is, to be good and true, or men
of honour and honesty.
Let us briefly examine what
ground there is for their stand, and see whether or not we are justified in
condemning it. For this purpose I want to direct your attention to:
ANDERSON'S CONSTITUTION, 1723
Concerning God and Religion.
A Mason is obliged by his
tenure to obey the Moral Law, and if he rightly understands the Art he will
never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient
times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that
country, or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only
to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their peculiar
opinions to themselves; that is to be good men and true men of Honour and
Honesty by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished;
whereby Masonry becomes the centre of union and the means of conciliating true
friendship among persons that must have remained at a perpetual distance.
OUR OWN CONSTITUTION
Concerning God and Religion.
A Mason is obliged by his
tenure to obey the Moral Law, and if he rightly understands the Art he will
never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. He, of all men,
should best understand that God seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the
outward appearance, but God looketh to the heart! A Mason is therefore
particularly bound never to act against the dictates of his conscience. Let a
man's religion or mode of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the
Order, provided he believe in the Architect of Heaven and Earth, and practice
the sacred duties of Morality. Masons unite with the virtuous of every
persuasion, in the firm and pleasing bond of fraternal love; they are taught
to view the errors of mankind with compassion, and to strive by the purity of
their own conduct to demonstrate the superior excellence of the faith they may
profess. Thus Masonry 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.
CONSTITUTION OF GRAND ORIENT
Freemasonry, an essentially
philanthropical and progressive institution, has for its object the pursuit of
truth, the study of morality, and the practice of solidarity; its efforts are
directed to the material and moral improvement and the intellectual and social
advancement of humanity. It has for its principles, mutual tolerance, respect
for others and for one's self, and absolute liberty of conscience. Considering
metaphysical conceptions as belonging exclusively to the individual judgment
of its members, it refuses to accept any dogmatic affirmation. Its motto is:
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
As to whether the Grand
Orient of France has departed farther from the spirit and the letter of
Anderson's original Constitution than we have is not open to much controversy.
The change they made in 1877 rather reverted back to it than went farther away
from it. To show the real misunderstanding that has occurred with regard to
their position let me quote from the minutes of their General Conventions when
the change was made. We can then understand what the real meaning of their
At the French Masonic
Convention of 1876, on the proposal of a Lodge in the department of the Rhone,
a Committee was appointed to consider the question of suppressing the second
paragraph of the first article of the Constitution, concerning God and
Religion. The Committee recommended that the proposition be postponed, and in
recommending this the reporter of the Committee, Bro. Maricault, made the
"Your Commission has
recognized that bad faith alone could interpret the suppression demanded as a
denial of the existence of God and the immortality of-the soul; human
solidarity and freedom of conscience, which would be henceforth the exclusive
basis of Freemasonry, imply quite as strongly belief in God and in an immortal
soul as they do materialism, positivism, or any other philosophic doctrine."
Postponement met with
opposition. Bro. Andre Roussell, in advocating immediate action, among other
statements made the following:
"I am anxious to recognize
with my brother, the reporter of the Commission, that Freemasonry is neither
deistic, atheistic, or even positivist. In so far as it is an institution
affirming and practicing human solidarity, it is a stranger to every religious
dogma and to every religious Order. Its only principle is an absolute respect
for freedom of conscience. In matters of faith it confirms nothing and it
denies nothing. It respects in an equal degree all sincere convictions and
beliefs. Thus the doors of our temples open to admit Catholics as well as
Protestants, to admit the atheist as well as the deist, provided they are
conscientious and honourable. After the debate in which we are at present
taking part, no intelligent and honourable man will be able to seriously state
that the Grand Orient of France has acted from a desire to banish from its
Lodges belief in God and in the immortality of the soul, but, on the contrary,
that in the name of absolute freedom of conscience it proclaims solemnly its
respect for the convictions, teachings, and beliefs of our ancestors. We
refrain, moreover, as much from denying as from affirming any dogma, in order
that we may remain faithful to our principles and practice of human
Bro. Minot, in speaking on
the same subject, said: "The Constitution of 1865 had realized a transitory
progress. The work must be completed and purified by suppressing dogma and by
rendering Masonry once again universal, by the proclamation of the principle
of absolute freedom of conscience. Let no one be mistaken in this. It is not
our aim to serve the interest of any philosophic conception in particular by
our action in laying aside all distinction between doctrines. We have in view
only one thing: Freedom for each and respect for all."
The recommendation of the
Committee prevailed, and action was postponed. In 1877, after a year's study
by the Lodges, the change was adopted by an almost unanimous vote. The
reporter of the Committee at the time said: "Who is not aware, at this moment,
that in advocating this suppression no one among us understands himself as
making a profession of atheism and materialism. In regard to this matter every
misunderstanding must disappear from our minds, and, if in any Lodge there
should remain any doubt in reference to this point, let them know that the
Commission declares without reservation that by acceding to the wish of Lodge
No. 9 it sets before it no other object than the proclamation of absolute
liberty of conscience."
When the proposition of the
Committee had been adopted by the General Assembly, the President proposed, as
an amendment, the insertion of these words: "Masonry excludes no one on
account of his beliefs." Many regarded this as superfluous, but the President
was insistent, in order that it might be clearly established in the eyes of
all that Masonry is a neutral territory, in which all beliefs are admitted and
treated with equal respect. The suggestion was adopted.
It may be interesting to note
that the original proposer that the Grand Orient of France should suppress the
formula of the G. A. of the U. was a clergyman of the Protestant Church, and
he stated, in justification, as follows:
"In suppressing the formula
respecting the G. A. of the U. we did not mean to replace it by a
materialistic formula. None among us in proposing this suppression, thought of
professing atheism or materialism, and we declare formally and emphatically
that we had no other end in view than to proclaim absolute liberty of
I have given the words and
opinions of those responsible for the change in the Constitution so that there
may be no room for misunderstandings. The Grand Orient of France, in making
the change, has done no more than was done by the Government of Great Britain
when she admitted members to seats in the House of Commons by allowing them to
make an affirmation only when their convictions would not allow them to take a
religious oath. The same custom prevails in our Courts of Justice.
Their position will bear a
little further examination to make clear its consistency. The story, as
depicted by our Ritual, tells of a great loss and a life-long search for this
something, which was lost. Masonry ends at the point when something else is
substituted to temporarily make good that loss, and at the point where Masonry
ends we are expected to begin the search.
Various explanations have
been given as to what this is that was lost, and which all Catholic and
Protestant, Jew and Gentile, Christian and Pagan, are seeking for. The
simplest and clearest explanation of this that was lost is that it was "the
way back to God."
"The way back to God." That
is the door then to which Masonry leads. Cannot any of us go as far as that
door with any, be he Agnostic, Deist, Buddhist, or any other, so long as he
conforms to Anderson's original specifications, and is a good man and true, a
man of honour and honesty? At the door, of course, we would separate, each to
follow on his own way. But happily we can come back to the Lodge again and
again for mutual encouragement, and for strength for a fresh start on our
several paths, all of which are alike dark and obscure.
It is not the function of
Masonry to solve the riddle of life but to propound it and stimulate and
encourage each of her initiates to search for his own solution. It takes each
man so far, and there leaves him to find the answer for himself. By the very
fact that Masonry itself gives no answer, it demonstrates clearly that the
answer is not the same to every man. All this would seem to lead to freedom
from dogma of all kind and justify France and Belgium in the stand they take.
I do not wish to be
understood to say that it is wrong for a Mason in Lodge to declare belief in
God. But I would like to be able to accept as brethren any good men and true,
men of honour and honesty, who are earnest searchers after the same truth as
we are, even though they do not insist in Lodge on a declaration of belief in
God. French Masons appear to be worthy men, doing a wonderful work for the
cause of progress and enlightenment.
Another so-called grievance
against the Grand Orient of France is that they have taken the Bible off the
altar. Many of us have imagined that because the Bible is one of the Great
Lights according to our Ritual and usage that its place has been in Masonic
Lodges from time immemorial. To most the presence of the Bible on the altar is
in some way a landmark. Surprising it may be, but the Bible was not even
mentioned in Masonic Rituals until 1724, and it was in 1760 that Preston moved
that it be made one of the Great Lights of Masonry. One might properly
question whether Anglo-Saxon Masonry did not violate a landmark when she
introduced religious dogmatism into Masonry in the middle of the Eighteenth
As Masons, we have before us
the great object of the fraternal brotherhood of man. This will carry with it
peace and prosperity. Is not the attainment of this worth the abolition of
narrow intolerance ? Let us maintain, if we wish, our own principles
concerning God and religion, but forever banish all dogmatism as to what
others shall do in this connection, so long as they are earnestly working to
attain the great principles of Masonry. Does not the situation demand the
serious thought of every Master Mason?
Should not Tolerance and
Fraternity prevail ? France is holding out the brotherly hand to us, saying:
"Let by-gones be by-gones, and let us look solely to the future." Should we as
Masons hold at more than arm's length an institution which consistently
devotes itself to those lofty aims and pursuits which we preach better than we
Even as the Arts, Sciences,
and other phases of human activity have benefited by international discussion
and concord, so also can Masonry benefit. If Masonry is to sustain in the
future its splendid record, and attain the object she seeks, is not world-wide
international co-operation necessary? How else can we attain a Universal
With the present world crisis
the time has come when Freemasonry should stand forth, free from all
entrammelling influences, in its grand simplicity. Our Lodges should be
centres of thought, influence and effort, holding no task alien that will
advance the cause of righteousness on earth. To this end we could learn much
by confraternity with such an organization as the Grand Orient of France. Is
"Brotherly Love" to be nothing more than a label which we carry but which does
not properly belong to the goods at all ?
THE FAITH THAT IS IN THEM --
A FRATERNAL FORUM
Wildey E. Atchison, Iowa.
EDITED BY BRO. GEORGE E.
PRESIDENT, THE BOARD OF
Frederick W. Hamilton,
Geo. W. Baird, District of
H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
Joseph Barnett, California.
John W. Barry, Iowa.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
Henry R. Evans, District of
H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
F. B. Gault, Washington.
Joseph C. Greenfield,
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. 9-- Is it
advisable for the Master of each Lodge to refer applications for initiation
and membership to one standing committee on membership appointed annually? If
so, shall this Committee be composed of past officers? If not, what other
methods may a Lodge adopt in maintaining uniform standards of membership
Standing Committee Works
As to the advisability of a
Master referring applications to a standing committee appointed annually
(based upon long usage in my own Lodge, Excelsior No. 369)--emphatically yes.
Too much care can not be exercised in looking into the antecedents of those
knocking at the Portals of Masonry if we are to maintain the same high
standard of membership which has made our Institution unique among all others
for Quality of Membership. A Committee honored with this considerable
responsibility extending over a twelve month period must naturally feel the
same sort of responsibility as the line officers of a Lodge and acquire added
and valuable experience "each time out" upon a "character-quest." We have had
such satisfactory results with our own Standing Committee in Excelsior that
for some years now they have been annually reappointed and have yet to give us
any cause for complaint. It is frequently their custom to ask "more time" for
investigation and when one finally does pass the doors of Excelsior Lodge No.
369, it is evidence that such a one comes with a clean slate. Blackballing is
an infrequent occurrence in our Lodge as the Committee generally recommends
the prompt withdrawal of a petition which it can not report "full and
favorable." Not one of our present Committee is a Past Officer but each of the
three is a long time and faithful attendant upon Lodge, endeavoring to live up
to the traditions born of fifty-two years of existence. With considerable
pride I can point to the membership of Excelsior as justifying in every minute
particular the extreme advisability of having a Committee of this kind. We
have never found it necessary to advertise our meetings in the daily press
inasmuch as the interest and enthusiasm of our own members is sufficient to
assure us a representative attendance at our meetings and such visitors as
enter our portals from time to time of their own free will and accord
generally indicate their approval of our old-fashioned ways and adherence to
the ancient landmarks by coming again. Much of the credit for which is due to
an experienced and careful Investigating Committee. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
* * * Method of a San
Francisco Master. I may only answer from a "California" standpoint, and as
"It is not only inadvisable,
but without the law, both written and unwritten, to appoint a committee of
three, who shall jointly hold office for a year; and as such pass upon all
applications that may be made to the Lodge for membership within that time."
Personally I believe this to
be GOOD LAW and have this to say in its defense. In all notes on Masonic
procedure of the past in America, where Masonry is or was Masonry, we have
evidence that, unless the Lodge were so small as to preclude the possibility
of appointing a new Committee each month and a separate one on each Candidate,
the practice has been to do so. This is California law. May I not ask why it
should not be so ? I may be here permitted to answer as follows:
One of the principal
Landmarks--indeed one of the corner stones used in upbuilding our structure is
and always has been--secrecy. We aim to avoid letting it be known "who shall
judge of our qualifications, as men fit to be Masons." We aim to protect our
membership from the "venom" of a man found unworthy! Hence we keep the
identity of our committee-men on petitions secret! We aim to appoint
Committees that are unknown, even to the members of the Lodge, so that
unbiased, free and impartial judgment, pro or con, may be rendered by such
Committee. If a Lodge member has detrimental evidence, he can consult the
Master, who is and should be the only "standing committeeman." Thirty days
should be ample to disclose most "hidden" characteristics, where a committee
has but the one object to work on; and if not long enough another thirty or
even sixty days for further investigation may be allowed.
More than one investigation
in a month rather dulls the interest any man may have in such duty, and in
consequence, such a disposition naturally reflects on the results the Lodge
relies on so implicitly. Any "standing committee" would soon become "public
property"--as from mouth to ear, the most inconsequential matters are
rehearsed, even "on the square."
To gain a uniform standard
for membership and to ascertain the qualifications of a candidate, the
committee should not be afraid or too politic to ask questions. As the Master
of Fairmount Lodge No. 435 of San Francisco, I made use of a printed list of
questions. In addition we have always been in the habit of notifying sister
lodges. These forms are of course supplementary to a standard committee-man's
notice. Now if you are not too "awfully polite" about getting the "ORIGINAL
INFORMATION" your standard of qualification may be easily fixed and forever
maintained. Denman S. Wagstaff, California.
* * *
Appoint Strangers. As to the
advisability of the Master of each Lodge referring applications for initiation
and membership to one standing committee on membership, annually, I would
advise that it would not be fair to impose so much work on any one committee:
nor could we expect a single committee to give so much time and labor,
The purpose of a committee on
petitions is to verify whether or not the postulant is worthy. It has become a
custom to name, on such committees, the friends or neighbors of the
petitioners, in the interest of convenience, time and labor. While this has
its advantages, it has, also, its disadvantages. A man's friends are right
sure to report favorable.
A friend is one who sees your
good qualities in preference to your bad ones. The petitioner is apt to resent
rejection by "getting even" with the man he suspects of blackballing him. The
neighbor or friend who served on the committee and visited that petitioner,
thus may become an innocent mark.
A glance at the Grievance and
Appeals Reports which are to be found in so many Grand Lodge publications, is
quite enough to convince even the shortest haired brother that we are taking
in too many. The purpose of the Lodge and of the Order is to select quality in
preference to quantity; and, with this in view, we would give it as our advice
to put all strangers on such committees, i. e. strangers to the petitioner,
and we also think the committee should be required to search the character of
the petitioner from his cradle to the date of his petition. This may take time
and may require labor, but it is worth the while.
We have heard very good
brethren, when defending their favorable report, say that they were unable to
find anything against the petitioner. With this the writer has always
disagreed, and has urged that we should find the petitioner to be good,
upright, respected, worthy, held in high esteem, in fact an acquisition. One
who would bring something to the Lodge in lieu of deriving character from it.
We should not forget that a
Masonic obligation is mutual; it pledges the entire fraternity to the
initiate, as well as pledging him to the Fraternity. The Lodge, per se, is
secondary, in this matter; the Lodge is responsible to the Grand Lodge for its
mistakes. Geo. W. Baird, Washington, D. C.
* * *
Emphatic "No." Regarding the
Committees of Investigation on the application of candidates for
membership--First, should it be an annually appointed standing committee ?
Emphatically NO; any such move tends to remove from the body and personnel of
a Lodge the very important attitude of personal responsibility, to me one of
the most dangerous states of mind into which any association can fall; it is
hard enough now with so many Lodges having become mere work shops to find any
incentive for the innocent bystander to attend. The whole matter of candidates
is so closely a family matter that I would make it a first consideration, and
then if there was any time left I would confer a degree. Every member should
be made to feel his interest in the Lodge by every means possible, and it is
not so important that you have had a scientific combing out of the character
of a candidate as it is to have your members think they are doing something
for the Lodge; if your Master can't handle the situation hurry it up so he
will get into the glorious army of Past Masters and get somebody in his place
with brains and executive ability in his head and Masonry in his heart.
Second--If a standing
committee should it be composed of Past Masters? Also by the same token, an
emphatic NO; beyond all things NO. If there is anything else in the machinery
of a Lodge which causes trouble more often than anything else it is the Past
Master, or past officers; by their assumed wisdom and standing they tend to
attract to themselves that power of ipse dixit, and instead of the Mason being
a member of a Lodge he soon gets to be an echo and then a very faint one. The
main thing is to magnify the member, the past officers have had their chance.
Third--What should be done to
maintain a standard of membership? It is a question if we want any uniform
standard other than the Constitutions demand. By that I mean any hard and fast
drawn detailed specifications, unnatural and unapplicable. Masonry is a
progressive institution and candidates as well as members must keep up with
the general development.
I am a Masonic Progressive in
every sense of the word where my good sense points out, but in this case of
committees on applications I do not believe there is or can be any better
method than the old way. Any variation tends to lack of interest in the second
most important feature of our work, the getting of proper candidates. The
first most important feature is to keep him when you get him and make
something out of the raw material God has entrusted to your skill and human
interest. The third important feature is to confer the degrees by which you
teach him his Duty to that God and the neighbor and anything which interferes
with these orders of importance in my opinion is wrong and tends to
disintegration and decay. T. W. Hugo, Minnesota. * * * Lodges in Small Towns.
My experience in Lodges of
250 or less, situated in towns of less than 20,000 population, is to the
effect that it is better to handle these matters by the appointment of a
special committee of three members on each application. Whether in larger
Lodges and in more populous centers it would be better to adopt the plan
proposed is a matter which from my experience I would not be able to judge.
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin.
* * *
Give Duties to All Members.
I would not advocate
reference of applications for initiation for membership by the Master to a
standing committee on membership for the reason that it places too much power
in the hands of a few men. This does not impugn the motives of the few men,
but I have noticed that where the same committees are constantly appointed by
the Master the rest of the members seem inclined to let them do all the work.
The best results for a live Lodge in my own experience as Master have been
obtained by setting every member to some kind of work. If the committee is
composed of officers entirely, this creates the impression that the rank and
file do not amount to much in the consideration of the Master, so I would say
that wherever possible different committees for every petition should be
appointed so as to put the entire membership to work. They will be better
acquainted with the persons who apply and there seems to be some spirit of
brotherhood in this. J. W. Norwood, Kentucky.
* * *
No Universal Method Feasible.
It is customary in this section to appoint a special committee of
investigation on every petition presented. So much so is this the case that
when the question was presented for my consideration I looked up the law
expecting to find it so laid down. Strict search of the subordinate and Grand
Lodge by-laws, however, revealed the fact that they were to be referred to a
committee of investigation, no provision being made as to whether it be a
standing committee or special.
It would seem as though no
general or universal rule could be made governing this. Local conditions would
influence this largely. In the large city Lodges where a large number of
applications are received, no one committee of three men could investigate and
do it thoroughly on every petition presented. On the other hand, when a
limited number of petitions are presented a standing committee of men well
known to be thorough, conscientious and fair-minded might be of advantage.
Should such a committee be raised I do not think it should arbitrarily be made
up of Past Masters, but rather of men who are known to possess the proper
qualifications as partially listed above and to which might be added spare
time and willingness.
Considering the subject from
all points, however, I think the work will be more thoroughly done by
carefully selected special committees than by a standing committee, there
being danger of the standing committee growing stale and doing the work in a
perfunctory manner. Julius H. McCollum, Connecticut.
Use Brains--Not Blanks.
If a Lodge is a small one, it
might be practicable and perhaps would be desirable to have all applications
for the degrees passed upon by a single committee. In case of a large Lodge it
seems to me that such a course would not be practicable as the committee would
be so over-burdened with work that its investigations would lack thoroughness.
If such a committee exists it
should be appointed by the Worshipful Master and great care should be taken in
its selection. I see no reason why it should be limited to past officers
although the presumption would be that past officers would afford the best
material for such committee.
The real safeguard of a Lodge
consists in care with which the Committees on applications are appointed. Only
too often this appointment is merely perfunctory and weak committees are
This and many other matters
upon which the wellbeing of the fraternity depends can be safeguarded only by
care and diligence of officers and members. My personal conviction is that
there is at present a regrettable tendency to attempt to provide for these
matters by machinery. I do not believe that blanks can take tile place of
brains or that machinery can take the place of the personal care and attention
which must be given to our affairs if they are to be carefully conducted.
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.
* * * Experience of a
Colorado Past Master. Some out of the ordinary conditions exist in the
Colorado Lodge which I served as Master. The membership of this Lodge is
divided into practically three classes, approximately one-half being composed
of railroad men--officials, enginemen, trainmen, yardmen and shopmen,
three-eighths of business and professional men living in the city, and
one-eighth of farmers and stock-growers living in the country.
It is the usual custom in
this Lodge to appoint on the petition of an engineman a committee of his
fellowworkers--for instance a fireman, or engineer, or both, and a conductor
or brakeman, or a similar combination; on the petition of a shopman, two
fellow-shopmen and usually a townsman not connected with the railroad. The
townsman, a business man, would investigate the petitioner's standing among
the business men of the city--making inquiries as to whether or not he was
prompt in meeting his bills, etc., an important item in railroad towns having
a large floating population. On the petition of an official of the railroad
would be appointed railroad men of various occupations--possibly a
train-dispatcher, a shopman and a conductor, fireman, engineer or brakeman.
The jurisdiction of this
Lodge extends forty-one miles in a southwesterly direction, and embraces a
large farming and cattle-raising country. Many farmers and cattle-men in this
territory have joined the Lodge. On a petition of one of these would be
appointed three of his neighbors.
Railroad men who are out on
their runs nearly half of the time could not efficiently investigate a
petitioner living on a ranch forty miles from town, nor would a committee
composed of these ranchmen be expected to successfully investigate a trainman
A fireman, conductor and
brakeman composing a committee on an engineer's petition would have the
opportunity to investigate the petitioner's actions and conduct at the distant
railroad terminal where nearly half his time is spent in lay-overs. Also his
fellowworkers on a shopman's petition could make a more thorough and
satisfactory investigation than could a committee of business men or farmers.
In communities where the
above conditions obtain it is obvious that one standing investigating
committee would not be as efficient as the class committees mentioned, even if
such a standing committee could be found who would be willing and able to act
as such. Out of the entire membership of the Lodge, which numbers some 250, I
doubt if there could be selected three members who would have the time to act
on such a committee. Wildey E. Atchison, Iowa.
* * *
No Committees in Virginia.
Virginia allows no Committee
on petitions for initiation or applications for membership. Our reason for
this is our unwillingness to trust their perfunctory reports and our
consciousness that the members would trust too much to those reports. Is not
this all too true, where the system prevails? We require the avouchers to
satisfy the Lodge, from personal knowledge of the fitness of the candidate,
and some of the officers and members are sure to make some investigations "on
The above answers your whole
block of questions and my long Masonic experience convinces me that no other
plan would work so well. Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
* * *
Experience in Ireland.
On the question before the
Fraternal Forum this month a Lodge to which I belonged in Ireland had the
following fixed regulation:
All names proposed for
membership were passed on by a Committee of four, the W. M., Secretary, and
two members appointed by the popular voice of the Lodge. The W. M. conveyed to
the proposer and seconder the finding of the Committee. If the "Tongue of Good
Report" had not been heard in favor of the candidate the name was usually
If they insisted on going to
ballot, the W. M. read the Report of the Committee before "circulating the
Ballot," and the Lodge usually "governed itself accordingly."
I never knew the Lodge to
make a mistake and the membership was of the best Masonic material. J. L.
* * *
Theoretically, the idea is a
good one, a standing committee of high grade men working together will, no
doubt, maintain a high physical, mental and moral standard in candidates
reported on favorably.
But the great objection to
this plan is that it may lead to clannishness. It also takes away the feeling
of responsibility all members should feel in the fitness of candidates seeking
This responsibility is felt
more by the membership if separate committees are appointed by the Master to
look up each aspirant for Masonic initiation.
I would suggest, however,
that each Lodge prepare a code for the guidance of its investigating
committees. I would also require that each member of each investigating
committee personally see each candidate and assure himself of his fitness.
Then the three investigators and Master should confer on each aspirant--not
simply make and receive a brief report as is so commonly done now just before
the ballot is taken. John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
DO IT NOW
Do not keep the alabaster
boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your friends are dead, but
fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving and cheering words while
their ears can hear them and while their hearts can be thrilled by them. The
kind things you will say after they are gone, say before they go. The flowers
you mean to send for their coffins, bestow them now, and so brighten and
sweeten their homes before they leave them.
If my friends have alabaster
boxes laid away full of fragrant perfumes of sympathy and affection, which
they intend to break over my dead body, I would rather they would bring them
now in many weary and troubled hours and open them that I may be refreshed and
cheered while I need them and can enjoy them. I would rather have a plain
coffin without flowers and a funeral without an eulogy than a life without the
sweetness of love and sympathy. Let us learn to anoint our friends beforehand
for their burial.
Post-mortem kindness cannot
cheer the burdened spirit. Flowers on the casket spread no fragrance backward
over the weary way over which the loved ones have traveled. --John Lloyd
THE STORY OF THE SCOTTISH
BY BRO. C. C. ADAMS, ENGLAND
The warrant for the existence
of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Masonry is found in a number of
documents which are now in the possession of the Supreme Council for the
Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, and it is from these
that it is possible to gather up the threads which go to form the history of
one of the greatest organisations of Masonry.
The beginning of the Scottish
Rite is from a Templar source, so we cannot do better than go back to the
period after the Crusades, when the defenders of the Cross were returning from
their wars in the Holy Land. Although primarily driven forward by religious
motives, and eager to save the land of Palestine from the hands of the
Saracen, there is no doubt that many of these cavaliers were also out to
capture what worldly property they could from the hated Turk, with the result
that as soon as the wars were finished they found themselves rich and settled
down to a life of ease on the plains of central and southern Europe. The
wealth and power of the Order soon aroused the avarice and envy of both the
Church and the State with the result that a number of persecutions were
deliberately organised with the object of overthrowing the Order and
forfeiting its possessions. Many charges, the chief of which was idolatry,
were trumped up against the Knights with the object of bringing them to trial.
The culmination of these persecutions occurred in Paris in the year 1314, when
Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Order, was publicly burned to death.
This caused a general dispersion of the Order and there is a great deal of
doubt as to what followed. There are a number of versions which might almost
be called legends of the subsequent history, the majority of which are
probably fictitious, but it is an undoubted fact that after this time the
Templars flourished and remained free from persecution in Scotland where they
are said to have united with the Freemasons. This was the beginning of all
High Grade and Scottish Masonry.
A number of Scottish Templars
entered Robert Bruce's army and after the battle of Bannockburn were formed
into the Royal Order of Scotland which consisted and still does consist of two
degrees, the Order of Heredom and the Knighthood of the Rosy Cross.
All High Grade Masonry claims
the Order of the Temple as its origin and this was the basis of a system
founded at Lyons in France in the year 1743. Six degrees were recognised of
which the first three or Craft degrees were not worked; the remaining degrees
were the fourth degree or the Knight of the Eagle, the forerunner of our
present eighteenth degree of Sovereign Prince Rose Croix, the fifth degree
entitled Illustrious Knight or Templar, and the sixth and last degree of
Sublime Illustrious Knight. From this the titles of Illustrious and Sublime
used so freely in the Scottish Rite of today evidently originated. The system
which I have just quoted also shows the connection between the Masonic grades
of Rose Croix and Knight Templar, a connection which is obvious from many of
In 1747, Charles Edward
Stuart, the Pretender, while in exile in France is said to have instituted a
Chapter of Rose Croix Masons at Arras to which he communicated the Scottish
Masonry which he had brought from his own country.
Another interesting step in
the history of these degrees is the Baldwyn Encampment of Knights Templar at
Bristol, England, which was working shortly after this time and conferred the
1d Entered Apprentice.
2d Fellow Craft.
3d Master Mason.
4d Royal Arch.
5d Knight Templar and Knights
6d Rose Croix.
7d Knight Kadosh (the present
The origin of this encampment
In 1754 the Chevalier de
Bonneville established a Chapter of high degrees in Paris at the College of
Jesuits of Clermont. This was called the Chapter of Clermont and at first
worked only the three degrees which were conferred at Lyons eleven years
before. The system was, however, soon expanded and renamed the Rite of
Perfection or Rite of Heredom of twenty five degrees. This system included all
our present degrees from the first to the twenty-second. The 23d of the Rite
was our present 28d and was then called the degree of Knights Princes Adepts.
The degree of Knight Kadosh (30d) was the twenty-fourth degree and the system
was completed by the twenty-fifth degree now known to us as the thirty-second
degree of Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret. Throughout this system the
theory was maintained that Freemasonry had its origin in the Order of the
The derivation of the word
Heredom is unknown but it appears to have come from Scotland and it is
probable that this name and several of the Scottish factors were taken from
Scotland to France by the Stuarts in their exile.
Four years after the
formation of the Chapter of Clermont, that is to say, in 1758, a new body was
organised in Paris which absorbed the Clermont Chapter. This was called the
Council of Emperors of the East and West and governed the twenty-five degrees
of the Rite of Perfection. The Emperors governed what was entitled the Holy
Empire which title still survives in our present Supreme Councils, whose
Secretary is called the Secretary General H. E. (in some countries Grand
Secretary General H. E.)
We have copies of the
Statutes of the Sovereign Grand Council at this time and it appears that there
were headquarters at Berlin, Paris and Bordeaux.
There were then:
Lodges of Perfection--1d to
Councils of Knights of the
Councils of Princes of
Chapters of Princes Rose
Croix--17d to 18d.
Consistories of S.R.P.S.--19d
At this time any member of
the 15d could confer the lower degrees of the Rite on Entered Apprentices,
Fellow Crafts and Master Masons, and any member of the Rose Croix degree could
make Masons in a district where there was no Symbolic Lodge.
In the year 1761, Stephen
Morin, who was leaving France for the West Indies, was given a warrant by the
Council of Emperors of the East and West to propagate the Rite in America. He
made several Inspectors General in North America, one of whom, M. Hayes, had
power to appoint others and made Isaac Da Costa Deputy Inspector General for
South Carolina, who, in 1783, established a Grand Lodge of Perfection at
At this time the Rite still
consisted of twenty-five degrees but soon afterwards Frederick the Great
became Sovereign Grand Commander in Germany and he again reorganised the
German symbols, such as the
Teutonic Cross and the Eagle were introduced into many of the degrees and
seven new degrees were added making a total of thirty-two degrees. The
regulations of Frederick the Great of 1786 provided for the government of the
Order by a Supreme Council who were to be of the thirty third degree of
Sovereign Grand Inspector General.
In 1801, the Grand Lodge of
Perfection at Charleston adopted the new continental system of thirty-three
degrees and a Supreme Council was formed, this being the Mother Supreme
Council of the world. The title of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was then
taken. From this Supreme Council, a Council for France was established in 1804
and one for Italy in 1805. In 1813, the Supreme Council for the Northern
Jurisdiction of the United States was formed and in 1845 the Supreme Council
for England, from which originated, in 1874, the Supreme Council for Canada.
There are now Supreme
Councils in almost every civilised country, and the Rite has spread to a
tremendous extent. There are, however, different systems for conferring the
degrees in different countries. In the Southern Jurisdiction of the United
States there are Lodges of Perfection 14d, Rose Croix Chapters 18d, Councils
of Knights Kadosh 30d, and Consistories of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret
32d; in the Northern Jurisdiction, there are also Councils of Princes of
Jerusalem 16d, but Councils of Knights Kadosh 30d are not held. In Canada,
there are Lodges of Perfection 14d and Rose Croix Chapters 18d; also one
Consistory of the thirty-second degree for each Province.
In England, Scotland and
Ireland, the system is very different; there are Rose Croix Chapters which
communicate the degrees from the 4d to the 17d in a short form and the 18d of
Sovereign Prince Rose Croix in full. There are no Consistories in these
countries and all degrees above the 18d are conferred only by the Supreme
In the Northern and Southern
Jurisdictions of the United States and in Canada there are thirty-three active
members of the Supreme Council and a number of honorary members, all of whom
are of the thirty third degree.
In England there are only
nine members of the Supreme Council and the total number of members of the
thirty-third degree is limited to thirty-three. Also, under this jurisdiction
the numbers are limited in all the high degrees. Candidates for the 30d must
have been members of the Rite for at least three years and installed Most Wise
Sovereign of a Rose Croix Chapter. The number of members of the 31d is limited
to 99, and of the 32d to 63, the vacancies being filled by selection by the
Supreme Council. The Scottish and Irish arrangements are very similar to the
English in this matter. The English Supreme Council also dropped the title
"Scottish" some years ago and the Rite is now known in that country as the
"Ancient and Accepted Rite."
In conclusion, I should point
out that there is a great deal of doubt as to the origin and early history of
these degrees; during the eighteenth century a great number of so-called High
Grades sprung up all over Europe and the origin of most of them is very
obscure. Undoubtedly, there is a connection between this Rite and the Order of
the Temple, and it is probable that the House of Stuart, the Pretenders to the
throne of England were a factor in the case.
The true value of this Rite,
as of any other, is to be found in what it gives to its members; however
obscure the history may be, we have in the Ancient and Accepted Rite, a system
of degrees whose teaching is of the most sublime nature to be found in the
GOD grant me understanding,--
That I may put away myself
and think of others;
That those with whom I daily
work may be my brothers,
And to them from my heart
show true affection.
Thus may I bring my life to
GOD grant me understanding.
GOD give me understanding;--
That I may feel the sorrows
others feel when most they grieve
That to my lips may come the
cheery work they would receive;
That I may give to some one
hope to work out their new plan;
That I may read my dear
friends' thoughts if I their faces scan.
GOD grant me understanding.
GOD give me understanding;--
To tune my soul in sympathy
with others' joy,
To live a life of Charity
To know how life is seen by
those about me
And help them know they
cannot live without Thee.
GOD give me understanding.
E. E. M.
FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING
DEVOTED TO ORGANIZED MASONIC
Edited by Bro. Robert I.
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF
MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for
its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE BUILDER and Mackey's
Encyclopedia In another paragraph is explained how the references to former
issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be worked up as
supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with
the paper by Brother Clegg.
The Course is divided into
five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
Division I. Ceremonial
A. The Work of a Lodge
B. The Lodge and the
C. First Steps.
D. Second Steps
E. Third Steps
Division II. Symbolical
B. Working Tools
Division III. Philosophical
D. Religious Aspect.
E. The Quest.
G. The Secret Doctrine.
IV. Legislative Masonry.
A. The Grand Lodge.
1. Ancient Constitutions
2. Codes of Law.
3. Grand Lodge Practices.
4. Relationship to
5. Official Duties and
B. The Constituent Lodge.
2. Qualifications of
3. Initiation, Passing and
5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical
A. The Mysteries---Earliest
B. Studies of Rites---Masonry
in the Making
C. Contributions to Lodge
D. National Masonry
E. Parallel Peculiarities in
F. Feminine Masonry.
G. Masonic Alphabets
H. Historical Manuscripts of
I. Biographical Masonry.
Masonry--Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting
a paper written by Brother Clegg, who is following the foregoing outline. We
are now in " First Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be twelve monthly
papers under this particular subdivision. On page two, preceding each
installment, will be given a number of "Helpful Hints" and a list of questions
to be used by the chairman of the Committee during the study period which will
bring out every point touched upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall
reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from other sources
which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother
Clegg in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental
papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of
references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to
the attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of
the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be used one
month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committee will have
opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings
and the Brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will
be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and
studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL
Immediately preceding each of
Brother Clegg's monthly papers in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be
found a list of references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These
references are pertinent to the paper and will either enlarge upon many of the
points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and discussion. They
should be assigned by the Committee to different Brethren who may compile
papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances
the articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the
originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not feel
able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed
appropriate without any alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND
CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The Lodge should select a
"Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members The study meetings
should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the Lodge called
for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the
Lodge routine) should be transacted -- all possible time to be given to the
After the Lodge has been
opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the Lodge
over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully
prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom
references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with
their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Clegg's
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1. Reading of the first
section of Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers thereto.
(Suggestion: While these
papers are being read the members of the Lodge should make notes of any points
they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is opened. Tabs
or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed
among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
2. Discussion of the above.
3. The subsequent sections of
Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up, one
at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
4. Question Box.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE
FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
Invite questions from any and
all Brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their
particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions
they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to
facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the
paper. If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them,
SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in
an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make
special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers
within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand
Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the
Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised
by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information
should enable local Committees to conduct their Lodge study meetings with
success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications from
interested Brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely
clear to them, and the services of our Study Club Department are at the
command of our members, Lodge and Study Club Committees at all times.
HELPFUL HINTS TO STUDY CLUB
From the following questions
the Committee should select, some time prior to the evening of the study
meeting, the particular questions that they may wish to use at their meeting
which will bring out the points in the following paper which they desire to
discuss. Even were but five minutes devoted to the discussion of each of the
questions given it will be seen that it would be impossible to discuss all of
them in ten or twelve hours. The wide variety of questions here given will
afford individual Committees an opportunity to arrange their program to suit
their own fancies and also furnish additional material for a second study
meeting each month if desired by the members.
In conducting the study
periods the Chairman should endeavor to hold the discussions closely to the
text and not permit the members to speak too long at one time or to stray onto
another subject. Whenever it becomes evident that the discussion is turning
from the original subject the Chairman should request the speaker to make a
note of the particular point or phase of the matter he wishes to discuss or
inquire into, and bring it up when the Question Box period is opened.
1. What does
"circumambulation" mean ? What illustrations does Brother Clegg give of it?
Can you name other very ancient rites still in use ? Why do they appeal to men
? Do you see in any of the ceremonies of this kind mentioned by Brother Clegg
anything which parallels the Masonic ceremony of circumambulation ? If so,
what is it, and to what may it be likened ?
2. What is sought in this
ceremony ? How did primitive man hope to control the forces of nature ? Have
we learned any better way than by acting in harmony with them? How do we
control the forces of steam, of electricity, of water, of power, etc. ? Why
did primitive man expect to secure favors from the gods by sacrificing to
3. How did this idea of
sacrifice tend to develop a ritual ? From what probable source did the rite of
circumambulation as we know it, develop ? Why do the sun and stars still
appear as symbols in religious systems? Can you give other examples of the
tendency of mankind to imitate the heavenly bodies ?
4. Who was anciently
considered to be the god of the Sea / of War? of the Sun? the goddess of the
chase? Can you name other Greek and Roman gods and goddesses? Imitation of the
heavenly bodies eventually came to be told as the story of the actual
experience of the gods and goddesses; how did this finally lead to
dramatization of these stories ? Can you give other illustrations of common
myths in which this tendency is shown to be the foundation of various
5. Why does the candidate
meet obstructions? What are the obstructions that you meet from day to day ?
Does your experience in Masonry help you to overcome them? What obstructions
has Masonry met in the past ? What obstructions does it meet now? Co-operation
means to "work together, or in harmony"; how can we co-operate to enable
Masonry to do its work in the world ? Are you a "co-operator" in the Lodge, or
a "knocker" ? Which does the Lodge the most good ? Which does you the most
6. Why does the Lodge ask you
if it is of your "own free will and accord" so often? Why does not Masonry
force itself upon you? Do religion, or culture, or knowledge force themselves
upon you? What does it mean to have a "free will"? How can an enslaved will be
freed? How can a weak will be strengthened? Is not this the idea of
"co-operation with the forces of nature" taught by the rites we are now
studying ? How does Masonry free our wills from the slavery of passion
ignorance, prejudice and vice?
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL
The articles by Brother Clegg
and Brother Haywood in this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin
comprise practically everything we are able to discover on the subject of
"Circumambulation", with the exception of the following references:
THE BUILDER: Vol. III--"What
An Entered Apprentice Ought To Know," by Bro. Hal Riviere, April C. C B., p.
Circumambulation, Rite of, p. 162.
nothing more as a word than to walk around. The sailor trudging around the
windlass, the faithful quadruped plodding around the horsepower machine, the
children in their various games holding hands in circles and tripping around
joyously, are all walking around but this is not all there is to
True, the children may be
performing a mere play, as in the dance of the Maypole, a veritable fragment
of an ancient festival, the ceremonial ushering in the month of flowers, the
ceremony then taking on a religious aspect and exhibiting a thankfulness at
the departure of darkness and winter and at the arrival of spring with its
opening buds and beautiful blossoms.
Among the Romans there was a
festival or holiday devoted to the god Terminalia. He was especially connected
with the boundary marks and limits of property or landmarks. On the day
assigned to his praise there were visits to the various landmarks and young
and old improved their acquaintance with the very important means whereby
property owners are enabled to preserve their respective land rights and
Up to recent times the custom
has prevailed. Shorn of its early showy tribute to the pagan god, something
curious and quaint still survived. Not long ago in England, for example, it
was the custom on one day in the year for children to be conducted around the
several landmarks of the parishes and towns. These were explained and pointed
out as impressively as was possible. In fact, it was the custom for the
schoolmasters to soundly flog a boy at every landmark ! With this training of
the memories of many boys the boundaries were long and accurately remembered!
When the customs and
ceremonies here mentioned were fresh in the minds of men, our own allusions to
the landmarks in Masonry had a significance to which we modern members of the
Craft are almost strangers. Something yet remains to us of course in the march
around at the dedication and consecration of a new Lodge, a very appropriate
ceremony indeed to all the observing and especially so to the student of
symbolism, indeed much more than a mere suggestion of the scope of the Lodge
in the sweeping circle of its action for the future.
The blessing of the
boundaries is a familiar ceremonial in the Roman Catholic church. The
officiating priest passes around to all the landmarks of the site for the new
church, stopping at each, and with solemn phrase offers up a fervent plea at
Shakespeare has the witches
in Act 4, Scene 1, of "Macbeth," dancing around the caldron in which simmer
and boil the horrible ingredients of magical evil. Later they caused several
spirits to rise from the earth and advise the misled Thane of Cawder. Compare
with this the account of the witch of Endor in your Bible, the first book of
Samuel, chapter 28, and the advice of Samuel tendered to Saul in similarly
Granted, then, the frequent
use of circumambulation in ancient and modern times, among the wise and the
ignorant, to what may it be attributed? Be it the cultured mystic with his
circles and ovals plain or serpentlike, embellished or simple, or the wild
riot of the savage around his totem pole or around the tortured victim at the
stake, there is still the supernatural objective being sought. There is thus a
seeking after more than ordinary means. To what then will man appeal and how
will he act? Obviously he will seek the aid of the Great Architect of the
Universe and in motion of body will conform as fully and thoroughly as is
possible to emotion of mind, suiting the action of the word.
Now the courses of nature are
marked out daily and yearly by repetition. Flowing rivers and recurring rains,
the light and warmth of the sun, the glory of the stars, the ever restless
sea, and the changing winds are seldom quite the same in viewpoint yet always
similarly to be seen. Various aspects are favorable, others affrighting. The
waters of the sea engulf the struggling swimmer from the shipwreck, the rain
may flood or parch the husbandman in farming, the lightning strikes down the
unwary wayfarer, the sun sends its beneficent rays upon the fertile earth and
the fields ripen into lusty harvest, and in all these agencies the early mind
as well as the latest of scientific thinkers see powers to be controlled.
To us as Freemasons, there is
the glory of God in all things great and small; to the savage mind all things
were governed by gods great and small. He saw only the same way of controlling
these powers as the one by which he was himself influenced. Food appealed to
him, therefore a sacrifice of flesh or fruit became the medium of securing
In the sacrificial offering
itself there soon came about a rigidly prescribed method, this set rule of
operations was the ritualistic ceremony, such as it was, crude and doubtless
To keep the ceremony intact
of form, uniform of action and language, we had in the primitive tribes a
special class of officials, the Levites of Israel, the medicine men of the
aborigines of the United States, the priesthood of many cults and faiths and
peoples recent and remote. These were the chosen few, ministering factors for
Of such were the priests of
the Mithras, that great cult of the early era of Christendom, that faith to
which so clear a thinker as Renan assigned so promising a place as a
competitor of Christianity, unsuccessful as it was in the finishing of the
To Freemasons the Mithraic
ritual pertains so much to the same symbolism we use that the similarity
becomes very interesting. In fact the comparison is far more than a
coincidence. Probably we inherit through hundreds of years, while philosophy
moral and natural has been taught by this simple address to surrounding forces
and objects, a rich legacy from the old religion of Mithras with its
references to the East and to the sun and other celestial bodies.
The signs of the Zodiac, the
names of the stars, the allusions to Phoebus driving the glowing chariot of
the sun, and all the other reminders left to us by the mythology, the study of
the myths, of the pioneer peoples of the earth, show how close and dependent
was the confidence of the rude unschooled mind upon the facts that were linked
with his observation of the heavenly bodies. He besought the supernatural by
sacrifice and by invitation, worship of such movements as seemed most typical
of the superior force and forces. His dances around the sacrificial altar were
typical of the apparent motion of sun and moon and stars. Nay, today, the wild
men of the West dress themselves in skins and imitate the animal's walk and
stealth and spring before they go forth to the hunt. Girls in garlands of
flowers in May's month of spring beauty are themselves showing how easily this
universal trait of humanity grows and flourishes into prominence at the
Down to our own times comes
the suggestive saying, "the stars in their courses fought against Sizera."
Truly, the courses and paths of nature's movements have in all seasons of the
world's story impressed serious lessons on the mind of man. Of such was born
the art of astrology, the forerunner of scientific astronomy.
To imitate the action of
nature leads readily to a representation of the doing of the fabled personages
to whom the elements are dedicated. The ocean is as truly Neptune's as is war
belonging to Mars, the arts of Apollo, the chase to Diana, and the Sun to Zeus
or Jove. Their loves and labors, their jealousies and bickerings, as portrayed
by the earliest authors like Homer and continued by innumerable writers and
singers and storytellers through the ages were then as now recited
dramatically, first as a tale and then in a play form befitting the stage.
Of such were the pioneer
initiations, the ancient mysteries, and the moralities of medieval days, all
growing as the branches from the ceremonies built upon the rite of
circumambulation and its causes and controls.
In going around the celestial
courses there are obstructions at the stages or stations corresponding to the
principal divisions of the compass, that sure guide to all travelers on this
earthly sphere. We are indeed free to go but we are not free from the
consequences of our going. Inspection we must pass and from all angles, not
evading scrutiny because of personal position nor missing complete examination
by reason of but part being seen instead of the whole.
What then is the teaching of
this portion of our rite to which your attention has been invited? There are
several answers. We need not dogmatize nor travel afar for light. Only the
obvious lesson need be learned.
Nature and we are in touch.
The more intimate we move in harmony with nature's forces the better for our
health of mind and body. Reflect upon this union of ourselves and our
surroundings. Think of the condition of him who is out of "gear" with things,
out of "touch" with affairs, and thereby out of the "running."
Environment does indeed count
for very much in our daily lives. Get in tune. Keep the feet moving naturally
within that circle beyond which no real Mason should step and where so
circumscribed he can not materially err.
CIRCUMAMBULATION IN RELIGIOUS
It was the ancient custom to
use Circumambulation during the performance of religious ceremonies. In
Greece, while the sacrifice was in the act of consuming, the priests and
people walked in procession round the altar thrice, singing the sacred hymn,
which was divided into three parts, the Strophe, the Antistrophe, and the
Epode. While the first part was chanted, they circumambulated in a direction
from east to west, emblematical of the apparent motion of the heavenly bodies;
at the commencement of the second part, they changed their course, and
proceeded from west to east, pointing out their real motion; and, during the
performance of the Epode, they remained stationary round the altar--a symbol
of the stability of the earth, waiting for some propitious omen which might
announce the divine acceptance of the sacrifice.
In Britain, the devotional
exercises of the insular sanctuary were conducted on a similar principle.
Ceremonial processions moved round it, regulated by the mystical numbers, and
observing the course of the Sun; sometimes moving slowly and with solemn
gravity, chanting the sacred hymn to Hu; at others, the devotees advanced with
great rapidity, using impassioned gestures, and saluting each other with
secret signs. This was termed "the mystical dance of the Druids." The circular
movement was intended to symbolize the motion of the earth, and to give an
idea of God's immensity which fills the universe. --"Signs and Symbols,"
THE RITE OF CIRCUMAMBULATION
BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
By permission of Brother H.L.
Haywood, Editor of the Library department of THE BUILDER we print the
following extract on the "Rite of Circumambulation" taken from the manuscript
of his forthcoming book on the "Interpretation of The Three Degrees of Blue
Lodge Masonry." Study meeting leaders should use this as a supplemental paper
at the meeting devoted to the study on "Circumambulation." EDITOR.
PRIMITIVE people, as we have
been more than once reminded, firmly believed that they could wield influence
over a god by imitating his actions. They believed the sun to be a god, or the
visible embodiment of a god, who made a daily tour of the heavens beginning in
the East, and progressing toward the west by way of the south; it was most
natural, therefore, that they should evolve a ceremony in imitation of this.
Accordingly, in India, in Egypt, in Greece, and in Rome we early find the
practice of Circumambulation.
In Greece the priest, or the
priest leading the worshippers, would walk three times around the altar,
always keeping it to the right, sprinkling it the while with meal and holy
water. The Romans employed a similar ceremony and called it "dextiovorsum,"
meaning "from the right to the left." Being so often used in connection with
the rites whereby a person or an object was "purified" Circumambulation
became, after a time, the Roman equivalent of Purification. Also "among the
Hindoos," says Mackey, "the same rite of Circumambulation has always been
practiced," in illustration of which he cites the early morning ceremonies of
a Brahmin priest who first adores the sun then walks towards the West by way
of the South saying, "I follow the course of the sun." Mackey likewise refers
to the Druids as having performed the same rite, and to the fact that even in
recent years it was a living custom in the remoter portions of Ireland. Some
have seen in the circular row of stones at Stonehenge, a huge altar built for
the purposes of Circumambulation, and others have seen in the various
processions of the early Christian Church a revival of the same custom. It
will be interesting, further, to note that the Greeks accompanied the journey
with a sacred chant, divided into three parts, the strophe, the antistrophe,
and the epode, on which Mackey makes a significant comment: "The analogy
between the enchanting of an ode by the ancients and the recitation of a
passage of Scripture in the Masonic Circumambulation, will be at once
What is the meaning of
Circumambulation for us as Masons, and in our daily lives? In answer to this
we may offer a few typical interpretations including one of our own.
Circumambulation is sometimes
understood, among older Masonic writers, especially, as a symbol of the
progress of Masonry itself, which, according to the old Legends, was supposed
to have originated in the East, in Egypt more particularly. This is hinted at
in one of the Old Charges in which we find the following scrap of dialogue:
"When did it (Masonry) begin? It did begin with the first men of the East."
Other writers, Pike among
them, see in this symbolism a figure of the progress of the civilization of
humanity. Whether that civilization began in Egypt as some argue, or in
Babylonia as others contend, it did begin in the Orient and travelled thence,
along the Mediterranean, to the Occident, for, "all knowledge, all religion,
and all arts and sciences have travelled according to the course of the sun
from east to west."
Again, some students see in
Circumambulation a drama of the development of the individual life, which
begins in the young vigor of the Rising Sun, reaches its climax in the
meridian splendor of the south, and declines to the old age of the west.
Pierson sees in it an analogy
of the individual's Masonic progress: "The Masonic symbolism is, that the
Circumambulation and the obstructions at the various points refer to the
labors and difficulties of the student in his progress from intellectual
darkness or ignorance to intellectual light or truth."
Yet again, others see in it
an allegory of the pilgrimage of the soul through the shadows of this earth
life. We are born in darkness, and walk all our days in search of that which
is Lost, the lost harmony among the strings. Believing that somewhere there
exists the Absolute Life we make a continual search and transform our days
into a long Pilgrim's Progress.
interpretations, you will have observed, have their point of departure, one
and all, in that the Circumambulation is a journey; with this we can not
quarrel, but may we not also be permitted to fashion an explanation which
takes the fact that the Candidate walks in harmony with the sun as its point
To my mind this is its point
of greatest significance, even as it was evidently the original idea embodied.
Let the sun represent the powers and laws of Nature; let Circumambulation be
understood as an attempt to work in harmony with those powers and laws, and we
see at once that the rite gives us the secret of human accomplishment. To
fight Nature is suicide; to work in co-operation with her is power. To keep
step with her cycles, to move in sympathy with her vibration, that gives us
fullness of life. The sailor clasps hands with her winds, the farmer adjusts
himself to her chemic processes, the artist vibrates with the pulses of her
beauty, the poet rides upon her rhythms, the saint harmonizes himself with her
laws as they rise in the soul. It is thus and thus only that we mount the
stairs to Eternal Life.
IS FREEMASONRY RELIGION? BY
BRO JOSEPH BARNETT, CALIFORNIA
WHAT is Religion? Our
familiarity with churches and their claims of religious authority might lead
us to identify Religion with some complex set of doctrines such as distinguish
religious sects. In fact, such sects emphatically and persistently teach this.
In speaking of different religions, Christian, Jewish, Mohammedan, Buddhist
and others, we evidently recognize that there is some fundamental similarity,
if not a common basis, among religious sects.
The word Religion, in the
form religio, is as old as the language of ancient Rome. It is derived from
one out of two possible Latin root words--lego, I collect; or ligo, I fasten.
In each case, the central idea is that of Union. The prefix, re, is intensive.
The whole word Religion means a complete and mutual union.
From the special application
of the word, it must mean an exceptionally important union, the great union.
Through all its history, it has plainly been intended to express the idea of
union between man and God, the highest and noblest claim for humanity that man
has ever conceived. Out of this has grown a secondary meaning, union between
man and man. These two factors have always been given by spiritual teachers as
the essentials of Religion.
It is interesting to note
that these two factors have three co-ordinate relations: you, united with God;
your neighbor, united with God; you and your neighbor united together. This is
the emblematic Triangle, used as a symbol for Religion and the philosophy
The basic principles of
Religion, both natural and revealed, may be summed up, in the order in which
they appealed to mankind, as: 1. Belief in the Supreme Being, Creator and
Ruler of the Universe; 2. The claim of direct human relationship with God, as
children of the Supreme Father; 3. Recognition of the spiritual element
involved in this relationship, leading to belief in the Immortality of the
Soul; 4. The tenet that, as each has within him a spark of the Divine fire, so
each is especially worthy of consideration, the one by the other, developing
into Human Brotherhood.
Sectaries, while giving their
chief attention to other things, may allow these principles; Freemasonry is
based on them, and painstakingly avoids anything sectarian in its teachings,
but does not discourage the individual from favoring special doctrines. It
modestly, but effectually, gives special attention to the principle of
Brotherly Love, the humblest and most neglected of the great principles of
Religion, and the very principle that all great teachers have specially
emphasized. The whole ritual, from the first procedure in the center of the
Lodge, to the climax of the drama and its immortal lesson, teaches the
principles of Religion, and is intended to do so.
In Religion, hierarchies have
claimed exclusive authority and that through them only can Divine relationship
be established; Freemasonry teaches that Divine relationship is inherent in
every human soul, that all progress is associated with such relationship, and
that every man has the natural right to progress. Hierarchies have trained
priests to govern churches, and through them to govern States; Freemasonry
trains men to govern themselves, to subdue natural selfishness and vainglory,
and to regard all men as brothers, equal in all human and Divine rights with
themselves. Hierarchies assert and magnify doctrines and dogmas peculiar to
themselves, and call the complexity a religion; Freemasonry teaches and
practices and conserves the principles of Religion itself.
Is Freemasonry Religion ? The
question is already answered; not that it is a religion, but that Freemasonry
is Religion. And it is because Freemasonry is based on principles that are
common to all religious sects, principles that through all the ages have been
the foundation of the highest hopes of men, and that have an abiding place in
the hearts of all men, that our Institution appeals to all and is assured of
A GREETING TO THE MASTERS
Gauge and gavel and chisel,
Compass and square and plumb,
These have each wrought on
These by the strict rule of
All have had part in your
All have brought out the man,
These are your tools for your
May your powder not flash in
With the gauge measure up to
With the square prove each
thing that ye do,
And compass and gavel and
With the plumb will keep ye
To ye, Masters, much has been
From ye, Masters, much, much
For ye may not sit on the
Lest your lives at the ending
Where combat and action are
Where loudest are sounds of
There, Masters, your place is
Desert not while yet there is
Be the vows ye have taken
For light and for progress
Let truth sit enshrined in
And reward shall be yours at
Threefold is the price of
Threefold be the victory won:
Be ye men, not babes, O
Would ye gain the praise
Gavel and chisel and gauge,
Compass and plumb and
What do ye say of them,
Have ye let them do their
--Bro. James Alexander
Robertson, Manila, P. I.
McKINLEY THE MASON
BY BRO. FREDERICK W. HART,
Frederick William Hart, a
minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Northeastern Ohio, resides at
Jewett, that state. He was educated at Gambier and at Delaware, Ohio; and was
for several years editor of a county newspaper; then a commercial printer, and
since 1904, in the ministry. Made a Mason at Danville, Ohio, in 1897. Is Past
Master of Chardon Lodge No. 93, and has been an active Knight Templar for
several years, and is a member of Scioto Consistory Ancient Accepted Scottish
Rite, Thirty-Second Degree. Bro. Hart has been much in demand as a St. John's
Day speaker, and is a student of Masonic history and philosophy, and a charter
member of the National Masonic Research Society. He is 43 years of age, and
has a wife and five daughters. A friend and admirer of the late President and
Brother William McKinley. The portrait cut is from a Masonic Festal program,
of recent date.
THE State of Ohio has been
lavish in building Memorials to the memory of McKinley. No less than three
splendid Memorials in his honor grace the Buckeye landscape; a statue at
Columbus, a stately tomb at Canton, and an equally stately Memorial at Niles,
the place of his birth.
MEMORIAL STATUE AT WEST GATE
OF CAPITOL GROUNDS, COLUMBUS, OHIO
The first to be dedicated was
the memorial statue at the West gate of the State capitol grounds in Columbus,
within a few yards of the spot where he twice took the oath of office as
Governor of Ohio, and addressed his fellow-citizens in the open air. This
statue, of heroic size, represents McKinley delivering his last address at the
Pan-American Exposition the day before his death, and surmounts a granite
bench at the ends of which are allegorical figures representing American ideas
in typical form. The one statue represents Physical Force and Human Energy in
repose--the other shows the Heart and Home Life that characterizes American
ideals, and well represents and pays tribute to the home-loving McKinley, the
matron and maiden contrasting with the stalwart man and the youth in the other
group. There are selections from his Buffalo address on the sides of the
pedestal, and beneath the statue is the simple tale: "William McKinley,
President of the United States." The rear of the pedestal recounts his birth
and death, and says: "Erected by the State of Ohio and the Citizens of
Columbus, A. D. 1906." Half of the cost, amounting to a total of $50,000, was
given by the Columbus citizens, and the other half was appropriated by the
General Assembly of Ohio. Two of the quotations from his great Pan-American
speech are especially significant at this time, and we quote them:
"Let us ever remember that
our interest is in concord, not conflict: and that our real eminence rests in
the victories of peace, not those of war."
"Our earnest prayer is that
God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness and peace to all our
neighbors: and like blessings to all the peoples and all the powers of earth."
The statue and allegorical
groups are of bronze, and connected by a marble settee, where one may sit and
meditate, and the background is the beautifully kept capitol grounds with the
somber old State House brooding over all. The illustration shows well the
setting of this noble memorial to our brother; and the lifelike statue was the
work of the sculptor Herman A. McNeil. Mrs. Nicholas Longworth unveiled the
statue in the presence of 50,000 people, on Sept. 14th, 1906, and dedicatory
addresses were given by Supreme Judge W. R. Day of Ohio, and Senator John W.
Daniel of Virginia. And, facing the busy life of Columbus' busiest thorofare,
few visitors to the city fail to see and admire this dignified tribute to our
THE MEMORIAL AT CANTON
In Canton, where most of his
life was spent, and where his domestic ties were centered, and where he was a
continual member and attendant upon the activities of the Masonic bodies, it
is to be expected that one would find a noble and fitting tribute in stone, to
Canton's distinguished son. In beautiful West Lawn Cemetery, where the
McKinleys had long owned a lot, and where was laid the sacred dust of their
children, long years ago, there was chosen a commanding eminence, overlooking
the city, and graced by the landscape gardener's art, to erect a stately
mausoleum of enduring stone, reached by great flights of steps, and beautified
by the series of waterfalls that rise beneath and before the steps, and
finally disappear near the cemetery gates. The setting of the McKinley
National Monument at Canton adds materially to its beauty and impressive
character, and makes it an awe-inspiring sight to the visitor as he approaches
the four great flights of steps. Half way up the stairs is a statue of the
President, in bronze, located on a lofty pedestal-- in fact the entire
Memorial is lofty--and grand in conception and in realization. One passes up
the stairs reverently, and pauses to read upon the pedestal of the statue
"William McKinley, President
of the United States: A Statesman singularly gifted to unite the discordant
forces of government and mould the divers purposes of man toward progressive
and salutary action. A Magistrate whose poise of judgment was tested and
vindicated in a succession of national emergencies. Good Citizen. Brave
Soldier. Wise Executive. Helper and Leader of Men. Exemplar to his People of
the Virtues that build and conserve the State, Society and the Home."
The statue represents him in
his familiar attitude of public speech, right hand in pocket, manuscript
loosely held in the left hand. A chair is just behind h m, representing the
The great dome-shaped
structure at the top of the steps is fronted by a facade like a triumphal
arch-- and is itself a plain massive structure, of pure white, but crowned
with an ornate golden "wreath," which symbolism immediately is understood by
the most casual beholder. Through vast metal doors one may pass in, with
uncovered head, and behold two marble sarcophagi, side by side in which repose
the mortal remains of William McKinley and those of Ida Saxton McKinley, his
wife. Only the briefest formal inscriptions are on the tomb; but their
children are not forgotten by the remembering chisel. It is a place of vaulted
silence where one pauses and finally passes out with slow footsteps, to be
thrilled with the wide sweep of civic and arboreal beauty that reaches in all
directions. The People of the Nation built this-- perhaps you and I had a bit
in it--and his Canton fellow-citizens had large part in the enterprise, for
was he not their McKinley, whose hand was in the city's growth and progress?
And one leaves the place with a new concept of the large place that the man
had in the hearts of his townsmen and his countrymen. Canton guards the ashes
of our Brother, and guards them well.
THE NILES MEMORIAL.
The latest Memorial to rise
in white beauty is the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial at Niles, Ohio;
where, as is well-known, McKinley was born, January 29, 1843. In February of
1910 the Association bearing the above name, was born, at a Board of Trade
banquet, and the movement gained great impetus at once, and was chartered by
Congress March 4, 1911. To Mr. J.G. Butler, Jr., of Youngstown, is due the
conception of the idea--and the trustees of the Association embraced such men
as Milburn, at whose home McKinley died, Hon. M. T. Herrick, and others; and
the membership by contribution became nation-wide. On October 5, 1917, the
Memorial was dedicated with much ceremony and splendor, and the notable events
of the program were an address by ex-President Taft, and a great Oratorio,
written for the occasion by Mrs. M. E. Kelly, and sung by over two hundred
voices--a tribute to the "Triumph of Faith," as shown in the life of McKinley.
His sister, Miss Helen McKinley, unveiled the statue of her brother, and there
were civic and military honors paid. The Memorial stands in the central part
of the industrial city of Niles, a white structure of Greek architecture,
wings radiating from a central open court in which stands the statue. Before
this classic statue, moulded by J. Massey Rhind, is a beautiful fountain; and
around the court are busts of the associates and cabinet of President
McKinley. There are Roosevelt, Taft, Hanna, Root, Hay and others, in marble,
like the central statue of the man himself. The statue is inscribed "William
McKinley, Soldier, Statesman, President." The wings of the structure are
arranged in rooms and contain an auditorium, library, relic rooms, and housing
for other activities-- for this Memorial, unlike many, is to be a center of
real patriotic activities, and not a mere monument of silent stone.
It is an institution that can
only be appreciated through a deliberate visit and study of its treasures of
art and history; and since its halls are dedicated to history and patriotic
progress, with a noted musician engaged to take charge of its musical work,
and with lofty plans for usefulness not yet altogether disclosed, the founders
of this new sort of Memorial challenge our interest, and we shall watch it
grow and that expectantly. The Memorial is endowed for up-keep, and its future
permanence is already assured. This Memorial cost one-half million dollars.
And thus, in the town that
gave him birth, where his father was a pioneer in the iron trade and active in
civic matters, our Brother is highly honored with a great living, pulsating,
practical Memorial that shall bless and inspire for years and years to come.
The house in which he was born is also carefully preserved, but the site upon
which it stood in the forties is now occupied by a savings bank, and is
appropriately marked with a commemorative tablet. Like the other Memorials, no
Masonic design or reference is in evidence, but here at Niles, we are told,
the Masonic relics of McKinley will be kept, among others. And thus
appropriately, at his birthplace, his burial place, and the State capitol,
there stand three worthy and beautiful mementos of our Brother whose life was
a splendid exemplification of what a Mason should be--for McKinley was a
serious and faithful exponent of the principles of the Craft. He was a long
time member of the Symbolic, Capitular and Chivalric bodies at Canton, and his
interest and devotion to the Fraternity remained continuous to the end of his
life, and his memory is by the Craft safely deposited in the repository of
McKINLEY'S MASONIC HISTORY
While McKinley was a Major in
the Union Army and located at (or near) Winchester, Virginia, in May, 1865, he
was visiting the Union hospital and found a state of affairs that puzzled
him--dirty, ragged Confederate soldiers, and privates at that, in the
officers' ward and receiving good care. McKinley demanded what that meant, and
was informed: "They are our Brother Masons." He at once expressed a desire to
become a Mason himself, and the petition was drawn up and presented, but the
nearest Lodge of Masons was in the Confederate lines, and thither the petition
went. The members of that Lodge waived such laws and regulation as might have
prevented his acceptance; his petition was favorably received and he was made
a Mason in Hiram Lodge, No. 21, at Winchester, Va., in the spring of 1865. The
Masonic record of McKinley stands today on the records of that Lodge. Bro. J.
W. Eggleston, P. G. M., of Richmond, Va., to whom we are indebted for most of
these facts, says that in all, 32 Union soldiers were made Masons in the same
Lodge, during the progress of the War. After the War, McKinley received the
Chapter and Commandery degrees in Canton, Ohio, and the writer has a copy of a
half-tone picture of Sir Knight William McKinley in full Templar uniform, his
left hand resting upon the hilt of his sword. Repeated request has failed to
elicit from his few remaining relatives, or the Masons at Canton, any
information concerning the dates of his having received the various degrees,
but the dates are inconsequential; it is sufficient to know that Brother
William McKinley was a zealous and interested Mason, and maintained his
connection with the various bodies at Canton until his death.
There was something
beautifully significant in the spirit that the Masons of the North and South
manifested during the Civil War, and this beautiful spirit was well reflected
in the case of McKinley. In the course of time, this man who was made a Mason
among the Confederates, and thus paid tribute to his belief that the
principles of Brotherhood were broader than political division, or internecine
strife this man, then President McKinley, in 1898, found a War upon his hands.
He did the brotherly thing then, for in the prosecution of that War he not
only put ex-Union officers in command, but ex-Confederates as well; and, to
our mind, as he thus splendidly healed, or ignored, the last sore-spot of
sectionalism, he demonstrated the quality of his conception of what
Brotherhood means. The Spirit of Masonry helped, in this and other cases, to
close the breach between North and South, and will exert no little healing
influence when the World War is over. And Virginia "claims McKinley as a Mason
yet," they say genially. We can not forbear printing a delightful portion of a
letter from M. W. Brother Eggleston. He says:
"When McKinley died, I was
Grand Junior Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Virginia but the only line officer
in Richmond. On the day of his funeral I called all the local Lodges by
newspaper advertisement, together with their families, to meet that evening in
the Masonic Temple. I had no sort of authority to do so, but was endorsed
afterward. I asked an aged P.G.M. to preside after I had opened the meeting. I
had secured good joint church choirs, and as they came in I asked five
speakers to make impromptu addresses. It was a great success as a memorial to
the best-loved man and Mason who had died in one hundred years." And he
concludes, "You see we still claim him as a Virginia Mason."
Such incidents and such
spirit are the glory of the Institution, and prove how our Brother William
McKinley wielded his trowel and lavishly, wisely, splendidly spread the cement
of Brotherly Love. It was such a spirit, on both sides of "Mason and Dixon's
line" that obliterated that line and made us one Nation.
ORIGIN AND PURPOSE OF THE
BY BRO. H. G. ROSEDALE, P. G.
TWO STREAMS OF INFLUENCE
IT is these two streams of
influence which have led to the use of the two different spellings of the word
"Gild," the simpler spelling being derived from the Teutonic "gelden" or "gildan,"
meaning to pay or to contribute, in allusion to the common fund, out of which
doubtless payments to the King were made from time to time, whilst the form
"Guild" expresses the French or Latin meaning. Though holding strongly to the
view that our Gild life is more extensively Latin than Teutonic, we adopt the
former spelling merely from the fact that it is always found so written in the
"Laws of Athelstan" and in "Doomsday Book."
Soon after the "Conquest" all
the conditions of English life were changed. Norman methods were widely
introduced and took the place of the earlier Saxon practices. In spite of this
temporary arrest, the Trade Gilds and Religious Gilds were very soon hard at
work reestablishing their influence in the country, and, as in Saxon times, it
once more became impossible for any craftsman to carry on his trade without
the permission of, and his submission to, the directions of a Trade Gild. Even
the merchants, or middle men, had to combine into similar organisations, the
chief of which is known as "The Gild Merchant."
In the Grocers' Company we
see the product of such an organisation, for that Company is the descendant of
the "Gild Merchant," and, as is well known, that its members are called
"Grocers" only because they sold in gross. Alas! as in our own days, the
quarrel between the merchants and the craftsmen often assumed bitter
TIME OF RICHARD II
About the time of Richard II,
Gild life had reached a high pitch of influence, and in London it was
certainly the dominating factor. In 1296 the Aldermen and Civic authorities
selected those who were to attend Parliament. In 1375 the Common Council had
for some considerable time nominated the representation of the City. As the
members of the Common Council were elected from and therefore representative
of the Trade Gilds, it is not surprising to note that from 1375 until the time
of Edward IV, the Parliamentary representatives of the City were appointed by
a Committee of the Trade Gilds. From that time forward, until the present day,
all the members of the City "Liveries" have had a voice in the election of
those who are to represent them in Parliament.
During the Wars of the Roses,
as was natural, many of the Gilds suffered both from the shrinkage in trade
and also from the demands so constantly made upon them by Sovereigns, who took
every opportunity to enrich themselves by plundering these wealthy
The process usually adopted
was to make some encroachment upon the privileges of the Gild, thus compelling
the Company either to defend itself vigorously - a very difficult thing to do
in those days--or to buy, generally at considerable expense, temporary
immunity from attack. This was done by taking out a new Charter, and of course
paying a very long price to the King for granting it.
Thus it will be seen that the
dates of the various charters, of which members of City Liveries have so often
been proud, rarely mark the date of their origin or indicate anything of their
antiquity, but certainly in the case of such trades as were in existence in
Norman times, only marked a period of weakness and decline such as compelled
them to yield before the forces brought to bear upon them for mercenary
A GREAT REVIVAL A great
revival in the Trade Gilds came about at the Restoration, chiefly due, we
presume, to the increased sense of order and government which the short period
of the Commonwealth had introduced. During the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries the Trade Gilds continued to live and flourish though they were
sorely tried by the loss of certain monopolies, and most of all by the growth
of what are known as the free towns, where goods might be sold irrespective of
Gild supervision and control, and consequently where the prices, as well as
the methods of production, were different from those of the Trade Gilds.
The impetus to commercial
progress which the establishment of factories produced in the nineteenth
century effectually destroyed the machinery of the trade fraternities, which
gradually declined owing to their loss of power. To illustrate the wide scope
of early English Gilds, let us quote from an interesting account of the rules
of one of the oldest--if not the oldest of all City fraternities--dated the
forty-seventh year of Queen Elizabeth, but being practically a revised version
of the orders dating back to the thirty-third year of Henry VI.
Firstly, that the Wardens and
Assistants of the Horners' Company are to appoint two honest, fit, meet and
sufficient persons to provide the raw materials for the various tradesmen, and
shall distribute them every month to the members in equal parts, provided
always that at every fourth division and allotment seven of the ancientest men
of the said Company that have borne the office of warden in the same, shall
have half one hundredth horns a piece out of the whole complement then to be
divided among any of the rest of the members, paying for the same, etc.
That no Freeman of the
Company he at liberty to keep at one time more than one apprentice, unless he
has been a warden or free of the said Company for at least seven years, in
which case he might take two.
That any person who shall be
made free of the Company shall serve as a journeyman for the space of two
whole years after receiving his freedom, and then--and not till then--may he
set up or keep shop for himself.
Also, that any brother of the
said Company breaking any of the ordinances, or who shall revile or abuse
publicly or privately any Wardens or Assistants of the said Company, with the
consent of the Lord Mayor for the time being may be committed by the wardens
to one of the Compters of the City for such a time as their offense shall
EASIER THAN NOW
From all this it will appear
that the process of becoming a member of one of the City Gilds was easier,
though a far more lengthy operation, than at the present time. As an
apprentice he was bound for seven years, and not until the expiration of that
period could he be made a Freeman of the Company, and even then it was
necessary for him to work as a journeyman for two years at least before he
could be a master of his trade, and so eligible for election to the "Livery"
of his Company.
From the Livery were elected
the Assistants, and from the Assistants the Wardens. So much, then, for the
organisation by which it was sought to protect each trade from the
difficulties of trade disputes, of unfair competition, and especially of lack
of cohesion in trade matters.
PROTECTION AGAINST BAD WORK
But there was another side,
and a very important side, to Gild-life. In return for the extensive powers
vested in the Gild its rulers were expected in their turn to carry out the
very useful office of protecting the public against bad and "insufficient"
work. We quote from a document of the Bottle Makers' Company, a Gild which,
after continuing 150 years under the aegis of the Horners' Company, finally
became merged in that Company. The document dates back to the time of Henry
VII or Henry VIII, and is a copy of the orders made for that Company in the
It states that as some of the
said craft make false bottles, as it appeareth by their workmanships to the
great damage of the Lords and Commons, and to the slander of the same good
folks . . . that every bottle maker from that time forward shall put his sign
on every bottle that it may be known whose work it is.
How severe were the
punishments against bad work is a matter of common knowledge. It was not at
all an uncommon thing, on the discovery of bad work, for the culprit to have
the whole of his stock confiscated and himself to be either mulcted into a
fine or in some cases even to be publicly whipped in the presence of the
Wardens and Assistants of his Gild.
From the foregoing it will be
apparent that the trade communities of London, and the same applies in great
measure to the other parts of England, were at once the educators of the
craftsmen and their rulers in all matters relating to the trade. They were
also the protectors not only of the trade secrets, but of the prices at which
articles might be sold, a protection which, as free towns grew and developed,
ultimately led to the decay of the very trade which the Gildsmen so ardently
sought to protect.
MORALITY OF THE MEMBERS
Then, further, they watched
over the morality of their members in the widest sense of that word. Whilst
avoiding the obvious danger of using labour without payment through the
unlimited employment of apprentices, they, alas! laid the foundations of ruin
to their own trades by failing to provide a sufficient supply of craftsmen.
This enabled those in the free towns who were not similarly bound and tied to
produce goods on so extensive a scale that the members of the Gilds found
their trades deteriorating to an enormous extent, except in the case of those
whose wealth was sufficient to secure practically the whole output of the raw
material. The sad story of the decay of the "allround" tradesmen, "the master
of his trade," and his replacement by the sectional workman, is ever present
There are those and many of
them who feel that a return to something in the nature of Gild-life, modified,
of course, by the demands both of science and increased population, would
prove the greatest boon to mankind. Unfortunately, the trade unions, who
themselves are in a sense the representatives of the spirit of the earlier
craft Gilds, have failed to recognise the importance both of thorough and
expert training for the young, and also of the value of moral rectitude in the
performance of all work for which payment is received.
It may be that a new life
will arise amongst our craftsmen after the war, but in the meantime our
existing Gilds are beacons pointing the way to further progress, and standing
as they do for the productive forces, which has made the City of London the
greatest and wealthiest Corporation in the world, they call for the
recognition by future generations of the principles for which the Gilds
stood--the duty of insisting not only on the rights and privileges of those
engaged in the work, but particularly on the responsibilities on the part of
the workers and traders to those communities on whom they live.
Once more, we cannot fail to
note that underlying the wisdom and shrewd sanity which characterised the
commerce of the centuries gone by was an intimate association between every
Gild and the vitalising forces of Religion. This was expressed in all their
assemblies. It is to be deeply regretted that the trade organisations of today
have cut themselves off from the modifying and balancing forces which
Christianity ever brings to bear on civil movements. It may be that the Church
itself is to blame for a want of vision and foresight, and it is probable
that, had the clergy shown a happier and more tolerant sympathy for the
aspirations of the great masses of the people, the Labour Associations, like
the old Board Schools, might not have been so severely dissociated from the
religious life of the nation.
FALLEN FROM GRACE
Our City Gilds have, in some
instances, fallen from grace; that is to say, they have lost sight of the fact
that without a Chaplain the Gild is an incomplete and more or less meaningless
Corporation. But the great bulk of the Gilds are still lighthouses amidst the
thundering waves of industrial strife which has been raging through the dark
night of mutual misunderstandings-- misunderstandings largely, we now believe,
stimulated by German treachery, and so long as the Gilds, true to their
purpose, continue to form that wondrous link with the past, which speaks to us
of the days when England was "Merrie England" (because its national life and
its industrial life cannot be separated from its religious life), so long
there will be hope of a return to happier times. To forward this end all true
Christians should throw their personal influence into the scale to preserve in
all their strength and beauty those glorious traditions which in so rich a
form England alone possesses, and which once destroyed can never be replaced.
London, England, will live so long as she has not lost faith in those truths
for which Gild-life has so successfully battled in the past.
ON THE RECOGNITION OF THE
GRAND LODGE OF PANAMA
BY BROS. M. M. JOHNSON, P.G.M.,
AND W.H.L. ODELL, P.D.G.M., MASS.
In connection with this
article the attention of our readers is called to Brother Johnson's article
"Masonry in Panama," in the November, 1917, issue of THE BUILDER and the
report of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence of the Grand Lodge of
Illinois concerning the recognition of the Grand Lodge of Panama, which will
be found on page 31 of the January, 1918, issue of THE BUILDER.
IT is unfortunate that the
Grand Lodge of Illinois has been misled by the report of the Brother who in
1917 was (but no longer is) its Committee on Correspondence, into declining to
recognize the Grand Lodge of Panama. The publicity given to this report in
your issue for January calls for an immediate reply lest other Grand Lodges
adopt the mistakes of this Committee.
The Committee recommends that
the Grand Lodge of Panama be not recognized for two reasons:
First, because its
constituent Lodges were originally founded by Supreme Councils;
Second, because its
constituent Lodges had charters from the Grand Lodge of Venezuela.
The second reason may be
easily disposed of by the statement that it is incorrect. None of the
constituent bodies of the Grand Lodge of Panama have ever "resorted to the
expedient .... of procuring charters from the Grand Lodge of Venezuela." The
Brother has drawn an inference from the inmost recesses of his mind which does
not exist in fact. A number of the constituent Lodges of the Grand Lodge of
Panama originally received their charters from Venezuela but not from the body
to which he refers. On the contrary, they w-ere received from the Supreme
Council which is recognized by the Supreme Councils of the Northern and
Southern Jurisdictions of the United States as well as by others.
The first reason requires
more extended discussion. Is it true that the Grand Lodges of this country are
to regard as outlaws Lodges of Symbolic Masonry which are founded by
legitimate Supreme Councils in countries where no recognized Symbolic Grand
Lodge exists? If it is, then the growth and development of Masonry in many of
those parts of the world where there are no legitimate Grand Lodges is forever
stopped and our claims to universality are a delusion and a snare. As we have
understood the rule, it is in brief to the effect that in countries where
there is no Symbolic Grand Lodge but where there is a legitimate and
recognized Supreme Council, the members of their Symbolic Lodges are accorded
by us a welcome and the right hand of fellowship. Though we have not
recognized a Grand Lodge to which they are subordinate, yet, nevertheless, we
hold fraternal intercourse with them, admit them to our Lodges, visit theirs,
extend charity to their Brethren when necessary and our Brethren receive the
same from them. This is true entirely apart from the question whether
Sovereign Grand Lodges may regard such territory as open to them for the
purpose of establishing Lodges.
It should be borne in mind
that the Brother who composed the Committee on Correspondence of the Grand
Lodge of Illinois for 1917 has very strong views with regard to all but the
first three Degrees and if we may judge from his writings claims that we have
no business to recognize any such as Masonic.
If we are not to regard the
Royal Arch Chapters, the Councils of R.&S.M., the Commanderies of K.T. and the
Scottish Rite from the Fourth to the Thirty third inclusive as Masonic, then,
of course, the position which he takes is correct, but we supposed that this
question had been forever settled during the decade of the 80's when, after
most elaborate consideration by the ablest Masons of the world, there were
written into very many of the Constitutions of the various Grand Lodges
provisions expressly recognizing the bodies mentioned as Masonic. This was
done in Massachusetts, for instance, after most exhaustive examination and
report by a Committee which was composed of Brethren, no one of whom had ever
received any of the Degrees of the Scottish Rite. If there be any serious
question that this whole matter has not been settled once and for all, then it
should be again discussed and disposed of.
however, should be pointed out which will follow if the views of this
Committee on Correspondence for the Grand Lodge of Illinois are to govern the
1. The inconsistence thereof
is shown, to begin with, by the fact that the Grand Lodge of Illinois
recognizes the Grand Lodge of Cuba. This Grand Lodge was organized under the
Grand Orient system. The charters of the Lodges which composed it upon the
adoption of its new Constitution in 1865 and of those who joined it for many
years thereafter had to be confirmed and vised by the Supreme Council. In its
organization it was not independent as our Grand Lodges are today. It was even
less independent of the Supreme Council than are the Lodges which compose the
Grand Lodge of Panama today, for at the organization of the Grand Lodge of
Panama its constituent Lodges became absolutely independent of any Supreme
Council or Grand Orient in the world.
2. If we are not to accept
the legitimacy of Lodges originally founded under the Supreme Council or Grand
Orient system, then the larger part of the territory of the world will be
without recognized Masonry from now on for there are in many countries but a
very few and in some countries no Lodges of Symbolic Masonry constituted by
Sovereign Grand Lodges, although there are many Symbolic Lodges constituted by
In the following countries,
for instance, substantially all the Masonry there is in the first three
Degrees is that established under Supreme Council or Grand Orient system,
namely: Central America (except Panama and Costa Rica), Argentine Republic,
Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ecuador, France,
Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Italy, Luxemburg, Paraguay, Servia, Spain, Turkey,
Uruguay and Venezuela. In all of these countries except Guatemala, Haiti and
Luxemburg there exist Supreme Councils recognized by the Supreme Councils of
the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of the United States.
In South America, for
instance, there are twentyfour Lodges under the obedience of the Grand Lodge
of England; seven under that of Scotland; three under that of Massachusetts;
and seven under that of the Grand Lodge of Hamburg. There are, however, known
to be at least seven hundred and sixteen Lodges organized under the Grand
Orient or Supreme Council system. The Grand Lodge of Brazil is believed to
have three hundred and ninety Lodges; of Venezuela, twenty-four; of Uruguay,
eighteen; of Paraguay, nine; of Parana, twelve; of Rio Grande do Sul, forty;
of the Argentine Republic, one hundred and thirty-five; of Chile,
twenty-seven. We have found these officially reported but we personally know
of many more which are not included in this computation. An extensive list
would require a tremendous amount of time in preparation and a large amount of
space to print. We, therefore, ask those who read this article to accept our
word for this statement. As to those listed, we suggest examination of the
Jubilee number of the Bulletin issued by the International Bureau for Masonic
Affairs and of the various Supreme Council reports which may be found on file
in the libraries of most Grand Lodges.
Although here and there in
these countries there are, as we have stated, a very few Lodges established by
foreign recognized Grand Lodges, yet the substantial Masonic unity of the
countries is under the Supreme Council or Grand Orient system and is
sufficiently important officially to be recognized as such by all the Supreme
Councils of the world. Where there is such strength, it is impossible to enter
the territory successfully with sufficient number of other Lodges founded by
Sovereign Grand Lodges to take possession of the Masonic field. Moreover, they
cannot oust the existing Symbolic Lodges whether they have charters from a
Supreme Council or a Grand Lodge. They would enter only as disturbers and
would accomplish nothing.
We recognize fully that in
all countries the Symbolic Lodges should be, and we believe ultimately will
be, self-governing but when the Grand Lodges in such countries are
established, if they are to be successful, they must have in each case as
constituent Lodges the substantial Masonic unity of the country including
those theretofore established by the Supreme Councils.
For brevity's sake, we do no
more than suggest the fundamental principle believing that the reasons
therefor and the proper development thereof will be apparent to every
thoughtful mind conversant with the situation.
3. If the Illinois policy be
adopted, then we are doing everything humanly possible to crush out Masonry in
many countries of the world instead of encouraging it. There are Blue Lodge
Masons holding allegiance to Supreme Councils who are as loyal to the
principles of our institution as are we ourselves. In most of the countries
named they are still struggling against intolerance, bigotry and persecution.
Individually (and in some places collectively) they are struggling for freedom
of conscience and the right which our fathers in the United States have
guaranteed to us through our Constitutions, to worship God as each conscience
chooses for itself. Masonry would be derelict in its duty and false to its
principles if it did not give moral encouragement to these great aims. Masonry
should be ashamed of itself if it is going to hunt for technicalities which
shall prevent the development of its principles in those parts of the world
where much is yet to be done. We should seek the substance and not the form
where we find men who claim to be Masons, who adhere to the landmarks, who are
the right type and who have received their Degrees in bodies which are
regarded by the substantial unity of the Masonic world as Masonic. We should
offer encouragement instead of proscription. Shall we be false to our
teachings and traitorous to our principles by splitting hairs ? If so, we
misunderstand the spirit of the Masons in this country.
4. The Illinois rule, if
generally followed, will only strengthen and perpetuate the Grand Orient
system. Where there has been the Supreme Council or Grand Orient system
governing Symbolic Lodges, there has almost inevitably resulted political
chaos. Brother Albert Pike's remedy for that was the establishment of the
three first degrees under an independent sovereign Grand Lodge composed of the
existing subordinate Lodges. And Brother Pike was right. We ought to encourage
this in Panama and elsewhere instead of forcing them to remain under a system
which we do not believe in. But if they are to be proscribed and outlawed when
they adopt our system of Masonic organization, then they will stay as they
BY BRO. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON,
THE COMACINE MASTERS
READERS of THE BUILDER will remember that some
time ago, in one of our announcements of articles to come, we promised a
further study of the Comacine Masters, by Brother W. Ravenscroft, of England.
Owing to the exigencies of the war, however, the article was not written, the
author being called back to his business from which he was retiring, because
so many of his helpers were in the service. At last, and not without real
difficulty, he has finished his study, which will in due time be presented to
the Members of the Society through its journal.
In my little book, "The Builders," it will be
remembered that I held, as I still hold, that the order of the Comacines was
the true link between modern and ancient Masonry, and for several reasons:
First, that the great Cathedrals were planned and built by the Craft Masons
described in our Old Charges, is to me a thing incredible. Second, we know
that those monuments of beauty and prayer were not devised by individual
artists, but by a Brotherhood and as such they are memorials of communities of
workmen. Third, it is no doubt true that Craft Masons - and even Gild Masons -
were employed in their construction; but they must have had the leadership of
an order of artists of a superior quality.
Hence my contenion, following bearer Leader Scott
and other students of the Comacine Masters, that the great order so named were
the real ancestors of Modern Masonry. So Brother Ravenscroft held, with great
ability, in his little book, "The Comacines, Their Predecessors and Their
Successors," published in 1910. After reading that little book, I asked the
author to give me for THE BUILDER the results of certain subsequent researches
he was known to have made in the same field. The result is the very fine
report now in hand, which, from first hand investigation on the ground as well
as from a comparative study of architecture, is a real addition to our
Of course, being a Mason, the author can speak
with more intimate knowledge than could Leader Scott, who was not a Mason -
albeit a brilliant and charming woman. The studies of Brother Ravenscroft
still further confirm my faith in the theory advanced in my little book, as
being the only intelligible explanation of the Cathedrals and of the
Fraternities that built them. Naturally, at the close of the
cathedral-building period, the Comacine order declined in influence and power,
and slowly blended with Craft Masonry; but its symbolism and its high
tradition were perpetuated - in a shadowy and imperfect form, it may be -
until they passed over into speculative Masonry. Of the facts in the case, our
readers will have opportunity to judge as the article appears, and I know they
will be deeply grateful to Brother Ravenscroft for his service to the Craft.
* * *
It is interesting to learn from an article on
"Freemasonry in 1917," in the London Times, written by its Masonic editor -
Brother Dudley Wright - that the Craft has actually made greater strides
during the three years and a half of war than during the same period before
the war broke out. Indeed the rush of candidates to its ranks has been so
great during the last year that the Grand Lodge of England deemed it wise to
limit the number of candidates who could be admitted to any degree at one time
to two, instead of five, as was previously the case. This has been so not only
in England, but in all Grand Jurisdictions in all lands, except in enemy
lands, and of conditions there we have little knowledge.
Perhaps the reason is to be found in the
Brotherhood which Freemasonry offers, which is peculiarly welcome to men in
this time when so many ties are broken, and new ties are needed. Not many new
Lodges have been consecrated in England during the year; a very few in fact,
and those chiefly in connection with the various branches of the national
Service - as, for example, the Royal Anti-aircraft Lodge. Other new Lodges
worthy of special note are the Fratres Calami, mentioned in my last report,
and the Aldwych Club Lodge of journalists. The class Lodge, of which Americans
know little - and, in my opinion, should know nothing - is common in England,
extending even to Church Lodges; a thing which would be impossible in America.
But of this matter I shall have something to say at another time.
The war has brought into being a fourth Masonic
Institution - the Freemason's War Hospital - in which the Grand Master has
taken a keen interest, and the services of which are in keeping with the noble
spirit the Craft has shown all through this dark time. Masonic festivities
have been few. Ladies' nights have given place to entertainments for wounded
soldiers. The number of Brethren who have fallen in the war is very great, and
there can be few, if any, Lodges which do not have a Roll of Honor. Everywhere
the Shadow hovers, but it makes our Altar Light burn the more brightly, as a
foregleam of a time when the shadows will flee away and the morning come.
City Temple, London.
"WHAT IS MASONRY DOING IN THIS WAS AS A
THUS tersely does a Brother from the Grand
Jurisdiction of Washington state a question which has been coming to our desk
daily, in one form or another, for months past. It cannot be answered in a
word, or in a sentence. As a matter of fact, it must be answered by each Mason
for himself. For each of us has his viewpoint of what channels of Masonic
activity are legitimate, and because the answer is apologetic or enthusiastic
cannot in any sense be interpreted as an indictment of the good faith of the
Brother who gives it. Generally speaking, Masonic thinkers have always been
divided into two schools. First there were those who believed that Masonry was
an institution, as we said in our January issue, conceived and organized for
the purpose of developing individual character of the highest type among its
membership, and opposed to the idea of collective accomplishment such as is
aimed at by the great majority of human institutions. Secondly, there have
been those who felt that Masonry should stand forth as a star of the first
magnitude in that great galaxy of Fraternities whose entire aim is collective
and unified accomplishment. Both have used the oft repeated quotation, "By
their fruits ye shall know them." In the one case the ideal would perhaps be
best represented by those plants which produce but a single flower, perfect in
form and color and fragrance - a strictly individualistic type. With the other
group the ideal picture is of the tree which on its every branch bears ripe
and luscious fruit, presenting an example of collective efficiency calculated
to arouse the admiration and respect of the world at large.
Our answer to the question propounded by the above
Brother will depend upon which school of thought we champion. If we belong to
the first school, we can truly answer with enthusiasm that Masonry has been in
the front ranks of the armies of the Nation. Masons have volunteered their
services by the thousands. They have accepted the principle of the Draft as
the true and fair method by which a Republic defends itself and its
principles. The members of our great Fraternity have devoted time and money
without stint in behalf of their Country's need, whether it be in campaigns
for the Red Cross, the Army Y.M.C.A., or the sale of Liberty Bonds and Thrift
From this viewpoint, also, Masonry itself has met
the challenge of the War for Democracy within itself. Listen to these
significant words from the Grand Lodge of New York:
"Whereas, the Masonic Grand Bodies of France have,
by proclamation and deed, given fraternal Masonic welcome to our brothers now
in France and have proffered to them, in fullest measure, their Masonic
"Whereas, We believe the time has come when
Masonic brethren, children of one Universal Father, in whom humanity are
joined together in the Brotherhood of Man, should sweep aside the verbal
distinctions which separate them, and become united in the bonds of the Mystic
Tie, in order to accomplish the great work that will devolve upon Freemasonry
at the end of this World War, therefore -
"Resolved, by the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the
State of New York, That we give fraternal response to the overtures made, or
that may be made, by the Grand bodies of Freemasonry in France looking to a
full and complete restoration of Masonic unity on the basis of the principles
which are the foundation of all Freemasonry.
"Resolved, That during the period of the present
war we shall extend to every member of the Masonic fraternity under the
obedience of the Grand bodies of Freemasons of countries allied with us in the
present war, cordial and fraternal welcome to the lodges of our obedience in
the State of New York and authorize fully such reciprocal intercourse as may
be mutually agreed upon between Freemasons and the Masonic lodges of our
obedience and the regular Masonic lodges and Freemasons of those countries."
The Grand Lodge of California, under the
leadership of that indefatigable worker, Grand Master William Rhodes Hervey,
has done a splendid work among its membership, raising a substantial fund and
helping each of the local lodges to carry out effective plans for
entertainment and service at each camp within the Jurisdiction. At its recent
annual communication it also passed the following significant resolution:
"Resolved, That a special committee of five
members of this Grand Lodge be appointed by the Grand Master to report at the
next annual communication some plan whereby if possible the breach between
French and Anglo-Saxon Masonry may be healed without sacrifice on either side
of any essential principles or matters of conscience.
"And be it further resolved: That any inhibition
upon the right of visitation heretofore imposed by this Grand Lodge be, and
the same hereby is, modified to allow Masonic intercourse with the Masons in
France, Belgium and Italy and to visit any of their Lodges."
Similarly has the hand of fellowship been extended
across the sea by the Grand Lodges of Kentucky, Texas, Alabama and the
District of Columbia, to our certain knowledge, though their action is not
uniform. If further evidence of a desire for accomplishment in this hour of
Allied struggle is needed, it may be found in the following Resolution, passed
by the meeting of Grand Masters held in Washington on December 13, 1917,
following the conference called by Secretary McAdoo:
"Resolved, That We, the Grand Masters of Masons of
California, Utah, North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, I,ouisiana, Wisconsin,
Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West
Virginia, Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and the
District of Columbia, in conference assembled, in the City of Washington on
December 13, 1917, voting in our own proper persons and through our accredited
representatives, send these, our cordial and fraternal greetings to our
Beloved and Most Worshipful Brother Lurtin R. Ginn, Past Grand Master of
Masons of the District of Columbia, and through him to the Masons of France;
and commission him as our ambassador to express to them our very great regret
that conditions are such as to preclude some of our American Grand Lodges from
holding full Masonic intercourse with their Grand Bodies, and we fully empower
and urge him to use all proper means within his power to bring about such
changes as will permit the closest affiliation and co-operation between the
Masons of France and the Masons of the United States.
"JAMES W. WITTEN,
Grand Master of Masons
of the District of Columbia,
Chairman of the Conference.
WALTER L. STOCKWELL,
Past Grand Master of Masons
of North Dakota,
Secretary of the Conference."
THE ACTION OF INDIVIDUAL
In a large proportion of the States wherein
Cantonments are located (if not in all) the Grand Masters have issued
proclamations tending to insure the extension of Masonic fellowship to the
Masons training in them, and have set in motion agencies, usually through the
local lodges, to give to our Brethren of the Army and Navy every possible
evidence of the Fraternal Tie. Several have started, or have under way,
buildings at or near the Cantonments where Brethren may meet; facilities have
been provided whereby anxious parents may be put in touch with the boy who has
gone to the colors; in some cases free sleeping quarters have been provided in
adjacent cities; existing Clubs have freely tendered their facilities; a
census of the Masons who are in their Country's service has been taken, or is
in process of completion. Many of the Grand Lodges have recommended to their
Brethren particular industry in keeping track of the families left behind;
lodges have arranged for special bulletin letters to be sent at regular
intervals to the boys at the front. And so it goes, the efficiency of each
effort depending upon the energy and inventiveness of the particular group.
The Grand Lodge of Illinois stands alone, so far
as we are aware, in the formation of a permanent Committee on National Defense
with a strong and comprehensive State-wide program of immediate and effective
action as is indicated in the following letter sent by Grand Master Scrogin to
all of the lodges within his Jurisdiction:
THE MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND
OF A. F. & A. M.
Lexington, January 17, 1918.
To the Worshipful Master,
Wardens and Brethren of all
Constituent Lodges, A. F. & A. M., of Illinois.
Pursuant to a recommendation of the Grand Master's
Advisory Council, I have appointed a committee on National Defense, consisting
of the following brethren:
Ralph H. Wheeler, Chairman,
Arthur E. Wood,
Andrew L. Anderson,
Nelson N. Lampert,
William L. Sharp.
The purpose of this committee will be TO ASSIST
OUR GOVERNMENT IN THIS TIME OF NATIONAL PERIL, AND TO FUSE MASONRY OF ILLINOIS
INTO A MIGHTY AGENCY FOR PATRIOTIC ENDEAVOR. The officers and members of the
lodges are expected to co-operate with the committee in their work, which will
consist in the raising of funds, the relieving of distress among our soldiers
and their dependents, providing recreation or entertainment for soldiers in
and about concentration camps, particularly in Illinois, assisting in the sale
of the various bonds issued by the government, and likewise the war-saving
certificates, conducting of campaigns in the support of the Red Cross and
Y.M.C.A. and in fact, in any and every endeavor that will be of benefit in the
prosecution of the present war to a successful termination.
It is the desire and hope of your Grand Master, as
well as your committee, that all of the Masonic lodges in Illinois, and also
all Chapters, Councils, Commanderies, Consistories, Shrines, Grottos, and
Chapters of the Eastern Star, in the state, may concentrate their efforts in
this movement and by so doing accomplish the greatest possible amount of good.
The moneys collected by this committee will be
paid into the Treasury of the Grand Lodge and will be disbursed by the Grand
Master upon recommendation of the National Defense Committee and Finance
Committee of the Grand Lodge. This committee expects to raise funds by the
sale of memberships in what will be known as the "NATIONAL DEFENSE FUND OF THE
MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND LODGE A.F. & A.M. OF ILLINOIS."
Further details will be submitted to you at a very
early date and you are urged to give very prompt and active response to all
requests coming from this committee.
It is hereby ordered that this letter be read in
open lodge at the next stated meeting following its receipt by the lodge, and
that record be made in the minutes when it is read.
AUSTIN H. SCROGIN,
The Grand lodge of Minnesota also established a
permanent Committee on Our Nation's Welfare, but this Committee, so far as we
know, is not empowered to build up an organization for such activities as the
Grand Lodge of Illinois proposes. The list given is by no means comprehensive.
Practically every Grand Lodge that has met within the past six months has
taken definite action of one kind or another, looking to the fulfilment of its
obligations to its Soldier Brethren as it sees them.
WHY NOT A PLAN OF UNITED
In our January issue we presented the
possibilities of united action upon the part of all Grand Lodges, Rites and
Branches of the Masonic Fraternity, hinting that there was a need for the
Mystic Tie among our Brethren of the Army and Navy. Only the possibilities of
such a plan were discussed, with a view to discovering what the predominant
sentiment of American Masonry might be, along those lines.
It has been the custom of the writer, at the
Yuletide, to send, as a Christmas greeting to his intimate friends, a little
dissertation in the form of a letter, calculated to convey his good will, and
at the same time meet them upon the level of whatever discussion might most
closely approximate his own sentiments at the season. This year the arguments
for and against united action of Masons upon the question of Army Welfare work
seemed appropriate. Somewhere, somehow, the writer must have suggested that a
plan of action was slowly crystallizing itself in his mind, for immediately
there came back a large number of answers, asking for an outline of the form
of co-ordination which might, with proper rearrangement and modification, be
expected to accomplish the results argued for.
Accepting the challenge these letters contained,
we formulated the general scheme which is set forth in the center of the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin in this issue. This in its turn has brought
back many responses, all indicating that, while we may not be agreed in doing
anything at all, yet the subject is worth considering.
The responses thus far received seem to divide
themselves naturally into three classes. First are those who are against
unified action because they do not believe it is necessary, but feel that the
activities contemplated in the outline would be duplications, and more
expensive in dollars than the results could possibly be expected to justify.
But we submit that it would not be a fair test of the need for organized and
united effort to base it upon the opinions of a few. And those opinions should
be founded upon the statements of our Brethren who are in the Army. If they
say it is necessary, and will produce results which no other agency now
engaged in this work can produce, then we should not ignore their actual
Then there are those who are in sympathy with the
idea of the movement, but believe that we already have agencies established
around which as a nucleus can be built up the machinery of organization that
we really need. If this can be established, well and good. The writer is
looking only to efficiency and unanimous, intelligent co-operation.
Finally there are those who are whole heartedly in
favor of a new movement, who believe that while there may be organizations
whose activities, merged with an organization genuinely representative of
Masonry as a whole would materially add to its efficiency, and would in some
cases give us a personnel which would in itself insure the success of the
movement, yet feel that the keynote of the situation is unanimity, and are
willing to give of their time and their money and their energy to help in
whatever capacity they are needed.
Of the details of replies it may be interesting to
An eminent Brother in Canada writes:
"If one knew just how long this war was going to
last one could probably in a better way, pass judgment on this scheme. There
is every indication of many months of struggle yet it seems to me, so that
doubtless there would be time to organize along the lines that you suggest and
do some really efficient work. At the same time, when there is a crying need
for everything that it is possible to do being done to make the soldier's life
as pleasant as it is possible, it might be a wiser thing to use organizations
already in existence, rather than attempt to start another one. I refer
particularly to the Y.M.C.A. All Protestants, at least, can rally to the
support of that, and they can unite in supporting it and helping carry on its
"Now, generally speaking, our population and yours
is divided into two large classes - the Protestants and the Roman Catholics.
Do you think there would not be a possibility, (if your scheme were carried
into effect), that the Protestants' support would be divided, and each sect or
division considering their own importance, and their members would think that
it would be up to them to follow the Masonic lead. When you proposed this
idea, it struck me that it might have the effect, if that were done, of
hindering rather than helping, and on account of the pressing need of the
times at present, I would be inclined to say - give your endorsement and
support to the organizations that are now existent and leave this scheme of
yours for dealing with after-the-war problems. They will undoubtedly be many
and will present the greatest challenge to Masonry that it has ever had.
"There is another feature of your proposed
arrangement that in my opinion tends to weaken rather than strengthen the
organization. That is - the calling in of representatives from all of the
so-called Higher Branches of Masonry. I am a Scottish Rite Mason myself and
have nothing but good things to say with regard to that organization. I have
no doubt but just as good things can be said with regard to the other
organizations that you refer to. At the same time craft Masonry covers the
whole field. Your scheme would give a double representation and in some cases
it would be a treble and quadruple representation to certain sections who
belong to these other organizations. I believe that the other organizations, a
large membership of them at least, would rally around craft Masonry in a
movement of this kind, and if it were limited to the craft lodges I believe it
would do away with any feeling of superiority that might be in the minds of
some belonging to those other organizations.
"The point that I am trying to make is this: You
have unity in the one great organization, why even hint at the fact that there
might be divided opinions by calling in any of those other bodies? Why should
the members of those other bodies be entitled to double representation as it
were? They are all members of the craft lodges."
As to the well thought out criticism of the
proposed plan in this letter, ye scribe can only say that it represented his
own opinion, up to ninety days or so ago. But actual conversation with not
less than half a hundred men from widely scattered portions of the Country in
the Army and Navy in that period has changed his mind. Only one soldier Mason
thus interviewed failed, in one way or another, to ask the question, "What is
Masonry going to do?" And only one gave it as his conviction that the Y.M.C.A.
organization and methods would even approximate the effectiveness of Masonry
if engaged in similar activities in behalf of its votaries. Wherefore ye
scribe believes that Masonry should ask its Army members what their opinion
and desire is, and be governed by what, after a careful canvass of the
situation throughout the Cantonments, the majority of enlisted Craftsmen shall
* * *
The Society of Actual Past Masters of Marion
County, Indiana, adopted a resolution to the effect that they "hereby express
our sympathy with any and all efforts to co-ordinate the full strength of
regular Masonry in the United States in the interest of the Flag in general,
and specifically do we sympathize at this time with such efforts in the
interest of Master Masons who may now or hereafter be or become members of our
National Army and Navy."
* * *
Typical of the larger percentage of replies
received is this from an energetic Brother who believes that not only should
Masonry be doing its work within American boundaries, but that it should
extend "hands across the sea" in a manner calculated to promote
world-fraternity in every possible Masonic phase. He says:
"Americans have been talking loudly about every
man "doing his bit" before breakfast, or before dinner, or for a few minutes
at night. Perhaps we have been rather proud of the fact that every man, woman
and child seems to be doing something if it is only saying 'hurrah for the
Flag.' There has been a great deal of comfortable eating at food conservation
banquets and much flag waving and spilling of oratory in the cause of
patriotism and the boys we are sending to do the fighting. But we must not
talk about doing our bit, but 'doing our utmost.' Some of us are beginning to
suspect that before this war is over it will take every ounce of energy and
every dollar to spare that the country has. Instead of our bit, we must do our
ALL, for this is the true way of brotherhood. The ideal that we are now
fighting for must not be extinguished from the earth.
"Just this thing that has happened to the Nation
has happened to American Freemasonry. With smug self-congratulation we have
told how we invested our money where there was no chance of losing it, in
Liberty Bonds. We really have given something to the Red Cross, and done some
wolk for it, and contributed to the Y.M.C.A. A good number of eloquent
speakers who are keeping the country stirred up to remembrance of what we are
really fighting for are Freemasons of considerable practice on the Masonic
platform. Beyond talking and a little money, what have we done ? What can we
do ? What should we do ?
"Ask the boys in the trenches. I have talked with
officers and privates. They know what they want. They are pleased and proud
that we have done our bit. But really we owe them everything we can do for
them to the length of our cable tow, and who but ourselves can say how that
cable tow stretches ?
"It is a graceful thing that lodges have done in
relieving members of paying dues while they are in service, as some have done,
or sending Christmas gifts and keeping in touch with them by writing letters.
All of the small things that have been done by individuals to give them a
touch of home have been done, but the big thing that our soldier Masons want,
that they have told me about, is to have a chance to meet their brothers as
Masons in lodges abroad as they do here, to be able to grasp the hand of every
Mason and call him Brother, feeling sure that there is that sympathy which
cannot be felt elsewhere."
Wherefore it would seem that, no matter which of
the two general schools of Masonic thought best suits us, we have a very real
problem before us for solution. If our analysis of what so many Army Brethren
have said is correct, then Masonry should immediately study this problem. As
this is written, announcement comes that the Rockefeller Foundation is to
engage in welfare work in the Armies, and has made a large appropriation for
the purpose. What its particular scope is is not so important as the fact that
trained experts have found something to do which is necessary. No one agency
can hope or expect to minister to every need. Our inquiry should be "What are
the needs from the Masonic standpoint ?"
In formulating a business policy, or in analyzing
a financial statement to see what the results of any given policy are, "the
biggest fool is the man who fools himself." At best, human foresight cannot
visualize all that the future has in store. Wherefore ye scribe has been
ruthless in presenting more of criticism than of commendation in these
summaries. Whatever is done, we need the combined wisdom of our Fraternity to
plan, to develop, to execute. But let us not fear to get together, to discuss
our fraternal duties, remembering that
"The man who cannot think is
less than man;
The man who will not think is
traitor to himself;
The man who fears to think is
Summarizing our reply to our member's query, then,
we can only say that, though Masonry has accomplished much, both as an
organization and through its individual membership, it has only done its
"bit." There are many who feel, and, frankly, ye scribe is one of that number,
that, far from "doing our all," we have not yet even visualized our real
obligation. We must think this thing through as a Fraternity, we must act as a
Fraternity, if at all. Recognition of our ability to provide a world-wide
basis of co-operation must come from within. It is ours to discuss, not in any
spirit of self-adulation; but if the challenge to our efficiency is as real as
it appears to the writer, then the future influence of Brotherhood is at stake
from within as well as from without. - G.L.S.
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; if 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 well for the writer that his duties in the present
connection make no demand upon him to criticize the "Collected Essays and
Papers Relating to Freemasonry" by Robert Freke Gould; it is doubtful if there
live a dozen men with either the temerity or the equipment to wrestle with
this savant, so magisterial is his authority, so profound and spacious is his
learning. Already he has become a classic in Masonic scholarship and long will
the day be postponed when, on either side the sea, it can be said, "A greater
than Gould is among us." No, the purpose of this slender screed is to serve as
a kind of amplified table of contents to the work above named, but this
function, modest as it is, is one wherein a student may take delight, for the
better known are these essays the better it is
for the Craft.
A few of the papers collected in this book were
first published in English Masonic journals but most of them appeared
primarily as contributions to the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, and,
save for the Transactions of that Lodge, which may still be had by those with
enough interest and money, the book offers us the best specimen of the
enduring value of the Coronati papers of anything extant.
The first two essays deal with the many problems
clustering about the old manuscript constitutions, a collection of which were
made by W.J. Hughan. Being the oldest of all written records of Freemasonry
these "Old Charges" - as they are often called - are of unique interest to the
Masonic student. Volumes without number have been written about them by
specialists in many countries but the busy reader will find everything in
Gould's two essays that have any value.
Next after these there follows an essay on The
Assembly. Some writers have held that long before the first Grand Lodge,
Masons were accustomed to meet at long intervals in a great gathering wherein
all matters appertaining to the Craft at large were discussed and acted upon.
Gould believes that there may have been Assemblies of all gilds at various
times and places but he is in doubt about any Masonic Assembly.
Thereafter the author turns to a discussion of
"Old Scotch Masonic Customs" with the purpose of ascertaining what bearing
Scotch Masonry had upon English; his conclusion is that the English was the
original and owes little to the Scotch and he tears to pieces most of the
tales of the rise of the "higher grades" in Scotland.
In a brief paper he throws together all the actual
evidence which throws light on the evolution of the fraternity in England
itself; it would be a good thing if all flamboyant writers on our history,
bent on stretching every inch of fact into a mile of theory, were made to
learn this essay by heart. Of all writers Gould is least given to mere
theorizing, even as he is least given to dogmatizing, and the reading of his
few pages on the above theme has a sobering effect on every man who sets
himself to unraveling the fascinating but tangled skeins of our historical
In the "Antiquity of Masonic Symbolism" Gould
gives us his version of the history of those elements whereof our ritual is
made, while in his "Voice of the Sign" he has gathered together a mass of
material which throws light on the manner in which men everywhere have made
use of symbolism. He holds that a study of our history and our symbolism "must
be proceeded with conjointly" because the latter has so often arisen from the
former, and he believes that many of our most important symbols have come down
to us from very ancient sources. As an architect will sometimes build into his
walls stones taken from another building long in ruins so has the Masonic
institution made use of symbols originally a part of a more ancient
institution; this antiquity gives them more, not less, value.
In his essay on the question, "Whence came the
name 'Free' Masonry," he holds that even yet, in spite of the many learned
attempts to explain the matter, we have no secure answer, and he offers the
problem as a tough object on which future Masonic scholars may try their
Perhaps the most famous of all the essays included
in the collection is the study of the "Degrees Problem." How many degrees were
there before 1717? one or two? whence came the Third? Crawley, Speth, Hughan,
Begemann, and many other giants of research have wrestled with this. Gould
takes the position that Speth was right in contending for two degrees, but he
holds that the substance of all three were in existence long anterior to the
first Grand Lodge.
The "Holy Royal Arch" comes in for a royal study,
as do other matters about which there is not space to write. Perhaps THE
BUILDER may be justified in calling especial attention to the two or three
brief papers on "The Masonic Press." Gould holds that the function of the
press is not to serve out raw amateur theories of its own but to pass on to
the rank and file of the Craft the results arrived at by the specialists. The
closing sentences of these essays might fittingly be inscribed above the
lintels of the "House of Light" wherein the present journal is edited, for
they express to a nicety that which it is the hope of THE BUILDER to do:
"The extent to which the history of our own Craft
has been critically and intelligibly dealt with by writers of the present
generation, is a question on which, for obvious reasons, I should hesitate to
pronounce any judgment at all. But wherever they have failed to bring down to
the level of the ordinary mind the bearings of the latest discoveries, let us
hope that what Proctor did for Astronomy, what Huxley and Wallace achieved for
Natural History, what Tyndall accomplished for Physics in this country, and
Helmholtz in Germany, may be done for Masonry by the organized labors of the
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.)
NAMES OF CANDIDATES IN LODGE
The above caption in the Question Box for January
brings up a much discussed subject in the Lodge of which I am the Secretary. I
publish monthly a bulletin of coming meetings and have been asked repeatedly
to put in it the names of candidates for ballot and degrees. This I have as
repeatedly refused to do.
John Smith, a much respected young man in his
community, petitions the Masonic Lodge for membership. The Lodge receives the
petition and the Secretary sends each member a notice, (sealed, if you will,)
that John Smith will be balloted for on such and such a night. Mr. Thotless
Mason receives the notice, looks it over and lays it down on his desk. Mr.
Nozie Mann, not a Mason, drops in on business and in the course of
conversation spies the notice and learns that John Smith has petitioned the
Masonic Lodge. In due time, John Smith is balloted for and is rejected. Later,
Mr. Nozie Mann meets Mr. Smith and casually asks if he is a Mason.
The secrecy of the ballot has been lost. The
Secretary and the thoughtless member have both violated their obligations and
put the rejected candidate in a most embarrassing position.
Perhaps the imaginary circumstances are improbable
- even so, they are not impossible, and Masonic law does not caution us
against improbabilities. Connecticut law (Lockwood) says: "The rejection of a
candidate shall not be made known to the uninitiated other than the candidate
From your wider viewpoint, is the stand taken
Your argument is a very good one, Brother S., for
your side of the question. In many Grand jurisdictions the practice is
prohibited by Code, while it is authorized in others. We shall be glad to
publish what our other members have to say on the subject. Perhaps some
brother of a jurisdiction wherein the practice prevails may be able to give us
some good reasons why the names of prospective candidates should be published
in Lodge notices other than that given by Brother L. J. in the January
* * *
ENGLISH LODGES IN FRANCE
Have you any information concerning English Lodges
now Operating in France? I presume they would be Army Lodges. If there are any
Lodges of the sort, would they be recognized by Grand Lodges in this country ?
This question was recently disputed in our Lodge and any information you may
give will be a very great favor indeed. - C.R.A., Kansas.
We find record of three travelling Military Lodges
under jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England. One of these, the "Unity,
Peace and Concord, No. 316," is with the Second Battalion of Royal Scots.
Another, "Social Friendship, No. 497," is with the Second Battalion of the
Royal Irish Fusiliers. The military unit with which the third, "Pegasus, No.
2205," is connected, is not given.
It is very probable that all of these Military
Lodges are now at the front "Somewhere in France." As each of these Lodges is
working under a charter from the Grand Lodge of England, they are certainly
recognized by all the Grand Lodges of the United States.
* * *
What is the status of Masonry
in Germany today?
We presume the information
desired is concerning the numerical strength of the Masonic Bodies in Germany.
The following figures are taken from the List of the Masonic Grand Lodges of
the World published by the Masonic Relief Association of the United States and
Canada: Grand Countries Lodge of Saxony at Dresden.
Lodges, 34; Members, 5,001.
Recognized before the war by
Ga., Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y. Grand Lodge of the Sun at Bayreuth.
Lodges, 37; Members, 3,536.
Recognized before the war by
Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y. Grand Countries Lodge of the Freemasons of Germany at
Lodges, 141; Members, 15,373.
Recognized before the war by
Ga., Mo., N.J., N.Y. Grand Lodge "Zur Eintracht" at Darmstadt.
Lodges, 8; Members, 727.
Recognized before the war by
Colo., Mo., N.J., N.Y.
Grand National Mother Lodge
of the "Three Globes" at Berlin.
Lodges, 160; Members, 16,894.
Recognized before the war by D.C., Ga., Mich.,
Mo., N.J., N.Y.
Grand Mother-Lodge of the Eclectic Masonic Union
at Frankfort on the Main.
Lodges, 23; Members, 3,496.
Recognized before the war by
Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y.
Grand Lodge of Prussia, called "Royal York of the
Friendship" at Berlin.
Lodges, 78; Members, 7,936.
Recognized before the war by Mo., N.J., N.Y. Grand
Lodge of Hamburg.
Lodges, 61; Members, 6,372.
Recognized before the war by Mich., N.J., N.Y.,
S.D., Vt. Free Union of the five independent Lodges of Germany.
Lodges, 6; Members, 1,433.
Not recognized by any American Grand Lodges.
Our opinion of German Masonry and German Masons of
the present day is best expressed by Brother Newton in his article "Voices
From German Masonry" in the Library Department of THE BUILDER, volume III,
* * *
LODGE OF THE NINE MUSES
Can you give me any information regarding the
"Lodge of Nine Sisters"? - C.P.L., California.
Strict search throughout the several apartments of
"The House of Light" fail to unearth any reference to a "Lodge of the Nine
Sisters." Presumably it is the "Lodge of the Nine Muses" that you have in
mind. Of this Lodge we are able at this time to find only the following
"May 4th, 1775, Bro. Karsakoff 'of the Lodge of
the Muses at Petersburgh in Russia' was present as visitor. A Russian had been
initiated in the Lodge on February 23rd and another was passed on this
occasion. (The Lodge referred to must be the 'Lodge of the Nine Muses,' No.
466, which was warranted in 1774 by Senator Yelaguin, who had received a
patent from the Duke of Beaufort, G. M., as Prov. G. Master for all the
Russias. In 1776 it joined the National Grand Lodge of Russia, but was not
erased from the English Register until 1813. Gould and Lane.)" - From the
paper "Two Old Oxford Lodges," by Bro. E. L. Hawkins, in Transactions of the
Quatuor Coronati Lodge, vol. XXII.
In the article "Freemasons in the American
Revolution" by Brother Lobingier, in this issue, Brother Benjamin Franklin is
mentioned as being a frequent visitor at the "Lodge of the Nine Muses" in
Perhaps some of our members may be able to give us
more information concerning this Lodge or the several Lodges of this name.
* * *
MASONIC HEADQUARTERS IN PARIS
We are sending out a semi-monthly letter to our
soldier-brethren. Can you give me any information that will be of value to
them when they go over-seas? Where, if any, are the Masonic headquarters
(soldier-clubs) in London and Paris? I will thank you if you can give me any
information along these lines. - M.L.D., Indiana.
We can find no information concerning such
headquarters being maintained in London but have written an English brother to
learn if any such headquarters have been established.
The Masonic Bureau for the Allied Armies in
France, 16 Rue Cadet, Paris, has requested the publication of the following
letter, addressed to the Freemasons of the United States:
"The world-wide conflict for the liberation of
oppressed nations, and for the triumph of the principles of Justice and
Liberty in which a good many Allied countries now take an effective part, has
assembled on French soil most of the glorious armies fighting for right, who
are now to be joined by an imposing contingent of your noble country.
"In the first ranks of these gallant troops, their
arm strengthened by their ideal, we are sure to find, more numerous every day,
Freemasons of the United States of America, and we have thought of offering
them as soon as they arrive in the French capital, a warm, fraternal welcome,
becoming among brother Masons.
"Under the auspices of the Grand Orient of France
our worshipful Lodge, 'La Fraternite des Peuples,' has formed a reception
committee for Masons belonging to Allied countries with its seat at the Temple
of the Grand Orient, 16 Rue Cadet, a real Masonic home. Here our brethren will
always find devoted Masons, speaking their language, ready to answer all
inquiries and furnish any useful information they may require to assure them a
fraternal help in all circumstances, to keep in touch by corresponding with
them, to visit them in case they are ill or wounded, to serve as intermediary
between them and their relatives, etc.
"The usefulness of this central bureau will at
once be apparent to you, not only for our brethren who are in the army, but
also to those near and dear to them and who in their thoughts will follow them
across the Atlantic and who will know that they are not left to themselves and
abandoned among the dangers of everyday life, but that a fraternal and helping
hand is always extended to them in case of need.
"We therefore ask you to kindly inform the
brethren of your worshipful Lodge and their relatives that in applying to us
they will always find us ready to be of use to them and happy to render them
any service within the measure of our means and capabilities.
"Please communicate this letter to the Lodges
under the jurisdiction of your Grand Lodge.
"We are, worshipful sir and brethren, yours most
fraternally and sincerely, for and on behalf of the
"MASONIC BUREAU FOR ALLIED
ARMIES IN FRANCE.
"P. S. Please address your correspondence to the
W. M., A. Besnard, F. D. P., 16 Rue Cadet. Paris (9)."
ALABAMA GRAND LODGE GRANTS
ALABAMA MASONS TO VISIT
LODGES OF THE
GRAND ORIENT AND GRAND LODGE
I send you copy of a report submitted by me at the
last meeting of our Grand Lodge, touching the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient
of France. The report was unanimously adopted by our Grand Lodge. O. D.
To the Most Worshipful Grand
Lodge of Alabama, A.F. and A.M.:
Your committee of Foreign Correspondence has had
referred to it a communication from the Grand Lodge of France extending an
invitation to this Grand Lodge to enter into fraternal relations with it and
to arrange for an exchange of representatives. It is proper to state that this
is not the recently formed so-called "National Independent and Regular Grand
Lodge for France and the French Colonies" to which we refused recognition one
year ago, but a Grand Body organized in 1879 under the auspices of the Supreme
Council 33d, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. In 1904 it, however, became
entirely rndependent of the Supreme Council and now controls the three
symbolic degrees. The claims of this Grand Body to recognition have never been
fully considered by the Grand Lodge of Alabama. The nearest approach to such
consideration was in 1912 when the Grand Master answered an inquiry from New
Mexico that we did not recognize the Grand Lodge of France because it did not
require the Bible to be displayed in its lodges. This action of the Grand
Master was approved by the Grand Lodge.
Your committee has also received a communication
from the Grand Orient of France, a separate and distinct body from either of
those already mentioned, which controls many degrees including the first
three. In 1878, this body was carefully considered by the Grand Lodge of
Alabama and fraternal relations with it were severed, because it had in 1877
eliminated all reference to Deity from its constitution and ritual and no
longer required of its initiates a declaration of belief in Deity.
During the recent months, circumstances have given
renewed importance to the subject of the relations between the Masonic bodies
of France and those of the United States. Thousands of American Masons,
including many from Alabama, find themselves in France and companions in arms
with French Masons. It is not at all certain that there will be among them
lodges chartered by their own Grand Lodges wherein they may enjoy the
pleasures of Masonic intercourse and labor. But whether there are or not, it
is highly desirable that there should be, during the war, the fullest possible
measure of social and fraternal intercourse between American Masons and those
of France, not only that nothing may arise to disturb the harmony already
existing but that the people of these two great republics and traditional
friends may be knit together even more closely than ever.
At the same time, your Committee is not possessed
of sufficient information to make a recommendation at this time as to what
should be the permanent attitude of the Grand Lodge of Alabama towards these
two Grand Bodies. Without deciding this question the Grand Lodge of
California, Kentucky and New York have recently taken action authorizing
Masons of their obediences to visit lodges of the Grand Lodge and Grand Orient
of France and to hold Masonic intercourse with their members, pending further
consideration as to what shall be their final action. This appears to us as a
cautious and at the same time fraternal course and we have decided to
recommend that this Grand Lodge take similar action. It can certainly do no
harm and will afford an opportunity for us to learn more of French Masonry
than we have heretofore known.
We therefore recommend the adoption of the
1. Resolved, by the Grand Lodge of Alabama,
Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, that Masons holding membership in its
lodges are, until otherwise ordered, privileged to visit lodges of the Grand
Lodge and of the Grand Orient of France and to hold Masonic intercourse with
their members. And lodges holding under this Grand Lodge are authorized to
admit visitors from said Grand Bodies of France.
2. Resolved, that the Committee on Foreign
Correspondence gather all obtainable information and report to the next Annual
Communication of this Grand Lodge its recommendation as to what should be the
attitude of this Grand Lodge towards those Grand Bodies. OLIVER D. STREET,
Unanimously adopted December 6, 1917.
* * *
EXAMINATION OF VISITORS
Freemasonry lays claim to being an organization
universal in its recognition and brotherly in its fellowship, therefore the
implication naturally follows that an utter stranger from another part of the
state or country would be admitted to any Lodge as a visitor, provided, of
course, he could demonstrate the fact that he had been regularly initiated,
passed and raised to a Master Mason, was in good standing as evidenced by his
card and diploma to the satisfaction of the examination committee, that being
the agency by which the Lodge carries on negotiation with a visitor.
The committee is in a position of great
responsibility, in view of the fact that it may reject a worthy brother and
admit a rank impostor, and for this reason the committee should exercise the
greatest of care for the position carries with it a great honor.
Personally, I have had the honor of serving on
such a committee on different occasions and my position and actions can be
summed up in the following words:
1. Remember that you are either dealing with a
Mason or an impostor.
2. Be courteous and considerate, yet firm at all
3. Under no circumstances get funny or joky; be
manly and apright.
4. Don't use too much authority or be
unnecessarily strict; ideas are sometimes of more real worth than words, and
some mighty good Masons have very short memories.
5. Give no hints or suggestions and do not attempt
to correct any mistakes.
6. Let him tell his story in his own way and
accept what he offers.
7. Give no reason for rejecting him if you should
8. Be governed by his action and words as they
form the general results.
9. Some real Masons may answer your questions in a
way that you deem poorly.
10. The man that appears too bright and answers
all questions too glibly may arouse suspicion.
11. As I take it, it is the committee's business
to obtain evidence, the visitor to impart it.
12. Sometimes documentary evidence is not
altogether to be relied upon. Have known a rank impostor to have in his
possession Masonic evidence that did not belong to him whereby he deceived an
excellent and prudent committee, besides, documentary evidence is not required
in some jurisdictions while it is in others.
13. To be able to answer all questions may not
prove a visitor worthy, as has been demonstrated more than once, but if the
committee will use good judgment and watch the visitor closely as to his
general expression and manner of answering questions, it ought to be able to
determine pretty accurately the worthiness of the visitor after having gone
through with a reasonable number of test questions, and at the same time used
him in such a way as to let him know that you are protecting Masonry and
according him his due.
There seems to be no general set rules laid down
as to how the visitor is to be examined or as to what questions are to be
asked; some jurisdictions move along one line and another proceeds altogether
in a different manner, and some questions asked in one jurisdiction would be
considered absolute "tommyrot" in another, and as I said before, there being
no set rules for examining a visitor, the best way, in my judgment, is to use
good common sense. and treat the visitor as you would like to be treated. Take
this for what it is worth: I am only giving you my ideas and the way I have
acted when called upon.
Robert A. Turner. Washington.
THE LESSER LIGHTS
In the ancient rituals the three lesser lights
were the Sun, Moon and Mercury, which may prove of some interest in
contemplating the attributes of the Master.
Mercury was synonymous with Hermes or Thoth, the
Egyptian mythological being to whom is ascribed the invention of the art of
writing, and who presided over the true science concerning the gods. He was
worshiped as the god of wisdom, and to him is credited the formation of the
He is said to have inscribed his knowledge upon
two columns, one of brick and the other of stone. The one of stone, Josephus
says, was still to be seen in his day in the Siridiac land.
Manetho, a priest of the era of the first Ptolemy,
declared that he had seen it, and that it was engraved in sacred characters,
which after the Deluge were translated into the language of the priests.
In another place he is said to have recorded his
wisdom on an emerald tablet, embodying therein the great work of regeneration,
or the science of the return of the soul to the Father. Hence his attributes
are those of a "Master."
These curious conceits are scattered through
history and literature, and true students of the Mysteries are commended to
read Morals and Dogma, and more particularly pages 7, 254-255, 362-364, 614,
731, 774-776, 851. This is not nonsense, but bears pondering and deep thought.
It is the wisdom of a man to search out a matter. - Rob Morris Bulletin.
Keep possession of your soul. One is always a loser
at the game
which robs his soul of serenity.... - Peter du Moulin.