The Builder Magazine
October 1918 - Volume IV - Number
OF THE TEMPLE
BY BRO. H. L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
MORE than a year has passed
since I paid my first visit to the House of the Temple, headquarters for the
Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction, which stands in Washington, but
the impressions remain as vividly as though I had seen it yesterday. There are
many remarkable buildings in our Capital City, some of them historic, a few of
them beautiful; but, with the possible exception of the Capitol building
itself, the House of the Temple is the most wonderful and beautiful of them
all. He who has seen the building, outside and inside, will say this whether
he be a Mason or not.
I shall never forget my first
view of it. On a misty April morning it stood amid the fog as something almost
eerie and unearthly, like that palace which Coleridge saw in his vision of
Kubla Khan; there was that about it which seemed to speak of antiquity, as
though the genius of the ancient East had wandered into the Capital City of
the new West; it had an air of timelessness about it which made it hard to
believe that it had not yet been completed five years.
In general shape it is
patterned after the original Mausoleum which Queen Artemisia erected to
contain the ashes of her husband three hundred and fifty-three years before
the birth of Christ. The body of the building is cubical, as is appropriate in
a structure which is to serve as an altar of Freemasonry. The roof is a series
of stone terraces which rise to an apex. The decorative work around the
cornice is as beautiful as was ever seen on a Grecian Temple.
The building is much larger
than it first appears, especially when seen from a distance. One approaches it
up a series of three, five, seven and nine steps; the platforms between these
series are so wide that one could set a large building on each one. At either
side stands a huge sphinx, dreaming and brooding with level eyes, as though it
were still standing on the banks of Mother Nile.
My mind still lay under the
hush of these eternal watchers when I knocked at the door and was received by
a guide who is there to take care of the hundred or more visitors who enter
the portals every day. He stowed my umbrella away in a safe place and told me
to feel at home. But one couldn't very well feel at home home in that
magnificent, but subdued, atrium in which I found myself. Far overhead was a
carved and gilded ceiling, like a dream of beauty in the upper twilight; on
either side was a row of giant monoliths, pillars of the house, of green
Vermont granite, their sides fluted. Behind each of these stood a seat, also
of granite; in the center was a table of Cavanazza marble. At the further end
was the curving stairway which leads to the council chamber of the Supreme
Council; to break the coldness of its white marble, John Russell Pope had set
in a band of dark marble; it is one of the boldest strokes of architectural
genius about the entire building. Keeping watch at the foot of this stairway
were two Egyptian figures, a further reminder, were one needed, that Masonry
is as old as the world.
On both sides of this atrium,
or lobby, are the doors leading into the offices of Grand Commander, the
Secretary General and the library; at the left side is the entrance into the
executive chamber of the Supreme Council; these walnut doors are so hidden
away in the shadows at the side that they do not disturb the unity or serenity
of the great chamber itself.
From Secretary General
Brother John H. Cowles I received a welcome as warm as the cheerful fire which
blazed in the wide fireplace near his desk. He introduced me to the Librarian,
Brother William L. Boyden, who "showed me around" the library. Being something
of a bibliomaniac I have been privileged to see many libraries but none that I
have ever entered has left quite the same impression. It is dignified but
homelike and the atmosphere about it was almost as conducive to prayer as to
study. The library room proper lies in a corner of the building; it opens into
a semi-circular series of stack-rooms which stretch across the end of the
building that lies opposite to the entrance.
The center of interest in the
library (stack-rooms) is the collection of mementoes of Albert Pike. Here were
several photographs, one of his body lying in a casket; here was one of the
quill pens with which he wrote; the scrap of paper containing his last words
before death; badges and ribbons which once decorated his breast; family
albums; his family Bible, and a ritual which he wrote. There was also a
collection of pipes, one of them valued at $600, a prize winner at the Paris
Exposition. Brother Boyden told me that the General had used every one of
them; the size of two or three gave me an added respect for the General's
powers. One of them looked as though it would have held enough tobacco for a
The center of the Pike
collection, it needs not be said, was in the cases full of his original
manuscripts. He had written all of these by hand, with meticulous care, so
that one might look through several pages without seeing so much as one
misformed letter; the writing was not in the usual flowing script but more
like a page of copperplate, the letters being shaped like print. Of these
manuscripts, all of them bound like books, there were, I believe, about
eighty: "Maxims of Roman Law" in thirteen volumes; "Maxims of Military Science
and Art" in six volumes; "Vocabulary of Indian Language" in one volume;
materials for a history of France in six volumes (part of this has been
published); "Commentaries of the Kabbala" in two volumes; Masonic Rituals in
twelve volumes; moreover there was also a volume of biography written by his
secretary from notes dictated by Pike himself. There were many volumes of
Eastern Philosophy which he had translated. These evidences of the man's
titantic intellect impress one almost more than the size and grandeur of the
building in which they are preserved.
In addition to all this there
was a compass which he had used in the Southwest; his set of chess men; a
chair which he had constructed for himself, with a patent, spring in it for
raising and lowering the back; his ring for the fourteenth degree, and much of
his Masonic Regalia. It may be added that the last words before mentioned were
addressed to Brother Frederick Webber, Secretary General at that time, and
read as follows:
"Shalom: Peace --that comes
with blessing to carefretted men, when death's dreamless sleep ends all
suffering and sorrow."
One of the rare mementoes in
the library is a signature of Albert Mackey made in January, 1859. Among the
85,000 volumes in the library, 40,000 are on Masonic subjects. There is also a
collection of rare old Scottish Rite patents and many other documents of
almost priceless value. About the room stand some six busts, one of them of
Pike; these faces of past leaders, and the thousands of volumes ranged about
them, brought home to one's mind how vast has been the intellectual labor
devoted to Masonry.
On the same floor with the
library is the executive chamber of the Supreme Council. Honorary members of
the Council are permitted to attend when meetings are held in the great
chamber on the second floor but only "active Thirty-Thirds" are ever admitted
to the executive chamber while the Supreme Council is in session there. The
room is so beautiful as to defy description. It is the most beautiful room
that I ever saw. An altar stands in the center; seats for the members are
built against the wall, and each seat is furnished with an accoustic apparatus
which enables the hard-of-hearing to catch every word that is uttered.
Needless to say, there is a complete telephone service in this and in every
room in the building. It would be hard to find anything that is lacking in
that marvelous structure.
The floor immediately beneath
this is mainly devoted to the banquet room, albeit there are a number of
committee rooms around the side. In the banquet room are twelve tables which
will seat ninety-six men; chairs and tables are in fumed quartered oak, ivory
finish; carpets, hangings and walls would make a king proud. Behind the
banquet room is a serving room, completely tiled, and furnished with every
Immediately underneath is a
kitchen that would make any housewife green with envy. I shall not describe
that kitchen lest every woman who chances to read this will apply for a
position there the next time the Supreme Council meets. It is a dream of
a-kitchen. On this same floor is a heating plant, with capacity for four
hundred tons of coal; also a ventilating plant that cost $80,000.00, and
Somewhere on one or the other
of these two lower floors (I do not remember just where) I ran across the
office of that genial and well-read Mason, Brother Horace P. McIntosh, the
editor of The New Age. He told me many strange things about Masonry in foreign
parts, all of which were true, for, though Brother McIntosh was once a sailor,
he is also a Scotchman. He showed me a complete file of The New Age with a
great deal of pride, as was fitting, because The New Age is the best Masonic
magazine in the world with the exception of one; what that one is I am too
modest to say.
The heart and soul of the
House of the Temple is the Supreme Council Chamber which occupies the floor
just above the entrance floor. The door leading into the chamber is itself a
supreme work of art; it is of oak covered with leather. Just inside is a high
wooden screen which shuts off the view of the interior when the door is
opened; in a concealed room above this door is the pipe organ, not a sign of
which is anywhere visible in the chamber itself. I shall not attempt to
describe the chamber itself; I don't know how.
At the center stands an altar
of black marble, round the bottom of which runs this legend:
"From the light of the Divine
Word, the Logos, comes the wisdom of life and the goal of initiation."
As a frieze about the room
runs another sentence, also selected by Brother George F. Moore, Grand
"Unto the Divine Light of the
Holy Altar, from the outer darkness of ignorance, through the shadow of our
earth life, runs the beautiful path of initiation."
Above the Grand Commander's
station is a vast window, round which coils a huge serpent which symbolizes,
one may suppose, wisdom. Along the two sides of the room are twenty-six desks
for the active members; behind these are seats for the honorary members. There
are great windows at the side hung with massive curtains, and at the top are
sky-light windows, the shades over which are operated electrically. The
furniture is in Circassian walnut. This sounds as if the room might appear
luxurious, but it is not so; the effect is one of quiet dignity and grace, as
befits the council chamber of a Scottish Rite.
At one corner of the room,
behind a small door, is a spiral stairway leading down to the bottommost
floor. One look down that dizzy well of space helps one to understand the
total height of the building, which is more than four stories, though it does
not appear so high from the street.
Everything about the building
was especially designed for it; nothing was used out of stock. The entire
structure, it may be said for those who are curious about such matters, cost
more than two million dollars. Some fifteen or more employed in the building
all of the time.
The erection of the House of
the Temple was under the direction of an executive committee of five, the
chairman of which was Brother Charles E. Rosenbaum, of Little Rock, Arkansas,
General Pike's old home. The architect was John Ruessell Pope, whose design
for the building won the national architectural prize in 1916.
The House of the Temple is
the Headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite; it is also
a monument to the memory of General Albert Pike whose genius made the Scottish
Rite what it is. As one walks through it he feels as if the heroic, scholarly,
eloquent spirit of that great character were hovering about him.
THE MASON'S HOLY HOUSE
(By Albert Pike)
We have a Holy House to
A Temple splendid and divine
To be with glorious memories
Of Right and Truth to be the
How shall we build it strong
This Holy House of praise and
Firm set and solid, grandly
How shall we all its rooms
For use, for ornament, for
Our God hath given the wood
And we must fashion them
Like those who toiled on
Making the labor their
This House, this palace, this
This Temple with its lofty
Must be in all proportions
That heavenly messengers may
To lodge with those who
Build squarely upon the
The two symbolic columns
And let the lofty courts and
With all their golden glories
There, in the Kadosh Kadoshim
Between the broad-winged
Where the Shekinah once abode
The heart shall raise its
Of gratitude and love to God.
SPECULATIVE MASONRY IN THE
BY BRO. OSSIAN LANG. GRAND
HISTORIAN. GRAND LODGE OF NEW YORK
CENTRAL TENETS OF THE
BRETHREN OF THE ROSY CROSS
FLUDD and Frisius agree in
essential points. As the "Summum Bonum" supplies all we need for our present
purpose, we may gather from this work whatever information is desired for our
inquiry. The central symbolism turns around the stone, Aben, (1) and the
building of the House of Wisdom. There is an abundance of allegorical uses of
the word stone or stones, in the Old and New Testaments, which are made use of
by Frisius to justify the philosophy of the Brethren of the Rosy Cross.
"Thus saith the Lord of
hosts: Consider your ways Go up to the hill-country and bring wood and build
the house." --Haggai I, 78.
"They that are far off shall
come and build in the temple of the Lord." --Zechariah VI, 15.
"Wisdom hath builded a house,
She hath hewn out her seven pillars." --Proverbs IX, 1.
"Through wisdom is a house
builded, "And by understanding it is established; "And by knowledge are the
chambers filled "With all precious and pleasant riches." --Proverbs XXIV,
"The wise man buildeth his
house upon a rock. The rains may descend and the floods come; the winds may
blow and beat upon that house: it will not fall; for it is founded upon a
rock." --St. Matthew VII, 24-25.
Aben, Frisius argues, is the
cabalistic stone. In it, we have the Holy Trinity. For in Hebrew, Ab means
Father and Ben Son; but where the Father and the Son are present there the
Holy Ghost must also be.
Aben is then explained as the
foundation stone of the universe, the macrocosm. ("The Lord answered Job out
of the whirlwind and said, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the
earth? Declare if thou hast understanding. Whereupon are the foundations
thereof fastened? or who laid the cornerstone thereof ?"--Job XXXVIII, 1, 4,
The macrocosmic Aben, then,
is the foundation stone of all and for all. It was laid in Zion, and all the
prophets and apostles built upon it, though the ignorant and wicked builders
rejected it as a stumbling block and stone of contention:
"Thus saith the Lord God:
"Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, "A tried stone, a costly
corner-stone of sure foundation. "He that believeth shall not make haste. "And
I will make justice the line, "And righteousness the plummet." --Isaiah XXVIII,
"According to the grace of
God which is given unto me as a wise Master builder, I have laid the
foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he
buildeth thereupon.... For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,
which is Jesus Christ." --St. Paul, 1; Cor. III, 10-11.
"The stone which the builders
rejected "Is become the chief corner-stone." --Psalm CXVIII, 22.
"As it is written in the
scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he
that believeth in him shall not be confounded.
"Unto you, therefore, which
believe, he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which
the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone
of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word,
being disobedient." --I Peter II, 6-7-8.
If we consider the
significance of Aben for the individual man (the microcosm, or the universe on
a small scale), we find we are parts of the same spiritual stone, "cut out of
that catholic (universal) rock":
"Coming to Christ, as unto a
living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious: Ye
also, as living stones, be ye built up a spiritual house." --I Peter II, 4-6.
In other words: Build
yourselves upon Christ, as the foundation stone, as living stones, to a house
"We are labourers together
with God: Ye are God's husbandry, Ye are God's building." --I Cor. III, 9.
"Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile
this temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy which
temple ye are." --I Cor. III, 16-17.
Nor are those excluded who
are-not of our faith. The temple of God is built up of all men who seek Him
and strive to know Him. Quoting John, the Baptist: "Say not within yourselves,
'We have Abraham for our father': for I say unto you, That God is able of
these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."
The plan of the building
which the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross is seeking to establish is given in the
words of Hebrews XIII, 1: "Let brotherly love continue."
"Behold, how good and how
pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." --Psalm CXXXIII, 1.
An example of the mystic,
allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures, met with everywhere in Rosy
Cross literature, is the following:
As Christ was hidden in that
Rock or Stone, before the days of Moses, since the spiritual is usually
concealed in the physical, so also does Moses conceal in his writings the
spiritual Aben; that is why we say he wrote under a veil, i. e. mystically.
That is why the Apostle Paul says (II Cor. III, 6) "The letter killeth, but
the spirit giveth life."
"The Lord said unto Moses,
Behold, I will stand before thee, there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shall
smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may
drink." --Exodus XVII, 6.
"Moreover, brethren, I would
not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud,
and all passed through the sea; "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud
and in the sea; "And did all eat the same spiritual meal; "And did all drink
the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that went with
them: and that Rock was Christ." --I Cor. X, 1-4.
the water which sprang from the Rock was potable gold, the word of God, words
That suggests also what we
Alchemists mean when we speak of producing gold. It is not the gold the
multitude hankers for. Ours is living gold, the gold of God, that which the
Psalmist calls silver:
"The words of the Lord are
pure words, "As silver tried in a crucible on the earth, refined seven
times." --Psalm XII, 7.
The Rosy Cross alchemy in the
transmutation of base metals into gold, is not that of the spurious
Rosicrucians who deceive the avaricious by false promises; it takes the base,
natural man and turns him by its art into a new, spiritual man, through the
Word of God and the practice of charity.
In the same manner the rough
ashlar is turned into a perfect ashlar.
As God has promised to dwell
among men, to have his tabernacle among them, we must with all our strength
and with spiritual tools strive for Aben. As the prophet Isaiah says: "Ye that
seek the Lord, Look unto the rock whence ye were hewn." (Isaiah LI, 1.)
The first step toward finding
this Rock (the Philosopher's Stone) is to look for it within yourself; hence
begin to know thyself. If you desire help from the writings of the Alchemists,
remember that these wrote them in a veiled, mystic manner. Thus Darnaeus says
"Change--oh! change yourselves from dead stones into living philosophical
In order to realize the
chemical steps of progression, we must first seek to discover the true sense
of the Alchemists through careful insight. Then it will be found that they
wrote differently and wanted to be understood differently. (Masonically
speaking, one must first possess "the key of a fellowcraft" to interpret
We summarize, as follows;
always following the "Summum Bonum":
The human body is a temple.
Christ is its cornerstone. When we raise this corner-stone, His temple is also
raised, as was the Temple of Solomon, when his players were fulfilled and the
glory of the Lord descended.
"Similarly, Kephas and Aben
were at one time only dead stones, now become living stones through an actual
transmutation, in that from the condition of Adam after his fall from grace
they transformed themselves into Adam's original state of innocence and
perfection; just as if there had been effected a transmutation from ordinary
dirty lead into the purest gold. And this transmutation took place by the
intermediation of that living gold as of the mystic stone of the Philosophers,
which to us represents the divine emanation of wisdom. This wisdom, however,
is the gift of God, and nothing else."
MORE LIGHT FROM THE "SUMMUM
The study of true Magic, the
Cabala and chemistry are the sciences called the three principal columns of
the house of wisdom. By Magic is meant the art of wisdom practised by the Magi
who came to worship the new born Christ. Cabala stands for mystic mathematics
(or strength). Chemistry is explained as the study of nature (beauty). The
true Brethren of the Rosy Cross are called architects who build the house of
God, after the manner already explained.
Why did the Brethren adopt
the name of the Rosy Cross? There is an order of the Holy Cross. The Knights
who went to war against the Saracens bore on their cloaks the emblem of a deep
red cross. The Brethren have chosen the true and living cross of Christ as the
emblem of wisdom, that mystic wisdom which the Bible calls the Tree of Life
whose root is the Word of Light.
The color of the cross is
that of blood or as that of red roses mixed with lilies.
(We omit all mystic
elaboration of the ideas here briefly indicated nor do we include other
matters which have no bearing on the development of the Freemasonry of the
R. C. BRETHREN AS MASTER
BUILDERS AND FORM OF THE LODGE
Finally, the Brother is to
labor at the perfecting of this work in the character of an architect, or
master builder. (I Cor. III, 10-11).
In order that the structure
may be firmly established, in order that we may arrive at the rosy blood of
the cross hidden within the foundation stone, we must dig from the surface to
the center, we must seek and knock; unless we pursue our work with zeal, all
our efforts will be wasted. All bodies have manifest height, occult depth and
intermediate breadth. From the manifest form of a body we can only conjecture
what its occult form must be, when we destroy the manifest to advance to the
revelation of its occult form. The truth of this is found when we contemplate
the depth of the geometric cube.
The wise artist and the true
religious philosopher must penetrate the earth and labor in every particle of
the threefold dimension, if he wants to find the true rectangular foundation
stone which God has laid in the foundation of the earth (Job 38, 4-6). Then he
will know that "the love of Christ passeth knowledge, and that ye might be
filled with all the fullness of God." (Eph. III, 19).
Then knock and strike
zealously and strenuously, for "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving
against sin." (Heb. XII, 4). Here the Apostle teaches us occultly that a
transgression here, something foreign there, not emanating from the pure truth
which is Christ Jesus, is present, which must be broken off and gotten rid of,
from the human or soul-endowed stone; then truth will illumine the master
builder and true Brother, and it will gleam in a rose-red or blood-colored
glow, and he will see in this divine light his own light and receive and enjoy
at last the wages of his labors. Then he shall be justly called a Brother of
the Rosy Cross and he shall be called a member of the true Fraternity.
THE ROYAL ART
Everything thus far has been
gathered from the "Summum Bonum," arranged so as to serve best our present
purpose and in language more suitable to our times, without however changing
the essence and the spirit. I shall add no extended comment. The brethren who
are at home in the language, the symbols and the spirit of Freemasonry can
gather their own conclusions. What has been gleaned from the work of Frisius,
together with the notes on the symbolism of the Alchemists, would seem to be
quite sufficient to explain why the Brethren of the Rosy Cross should have
been considered the forebears of the Accepted Free Masons. Before offering a
brief concluding summary, we must give a moment's attention to the development
of the idea of the Royal Art which is the true name of Freemasonry.
First let us take another
word from the "Summum Bonum," which describes the Rosy Cross view of the Royal
There were in antiquity, four
renowned schools of natural Magic, to-wit, the Hindoo, the Persian, the
Chaldaic and the Egyptian. From the Persians came those three Kings (Magi,
Wise Men) who were seeking the new born "King of the Jews," to present gifts
unto Him and to worship Him. The sons of Persian Kings, as Plato has related
in his "Alcibiades," were initiated into Magic that they might learn from the
study of the pattern of the universe how best to govern their own dominions
and to preserve order and administer justice therein. Cicero, too, speaks of
this, in his "De Divinatione," saying that no one was crowned among the
Persians with the royal diadem until after he had been fully instructed in
Magic. That is why Oriental kings were so well grounded in wisdom and coveted
the name of Magi or Wise Men. Hence those who came from the far East to
worship the Christ child, were called by the Holy Spirit "Magi."
Recalling that in the early
days of the Grand Lodge of England we met repeatedly with the declaration,
"There have been Kings that have been of this sodality," we shall have another
clue to the genealogy of Freemasonry, as it was conceived by the organizers of
the speculative craft.
Or take this quotation from
"The Master's Song" of the premier Grand Lodge:
Thus mighty Eastern Kings,
and some Of Abram's Race, and Monarchs good Of Egypt, Syria, Greece and
Rome. True Architecture understood.
Who can unfold the ROYAL
Art? Or sing its Secrets in a Song? They're safely kept in Mason's heart
And to the ancient Lodge belong.
Those familiar with the
Constitutions of 1723 know what changes were made to make the ancient
"Charges" conform to the newly established ideals of the Fraternity. What was
there said regarding the attitude toward the "old Gothic Constitutions,"
applies also to the religious tenets of the Brethren of the Rosy Cross. The
changes gave a simplified definition of the "Royal Art," though the spirit
remained what it had been in the "Summum Bonum." Indicating the new meaning in
the briefest form, I would answer:
What is the Royal Art? The
practice of the Royal Law. And the Royal Law?
"If ye fulfill the Royal Law
according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do
well." So wrote St. James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem, the same who
declared that "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this;
to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself
unspotted from the world."
In conclusion, I beg to
submit a summary statement embodying findings based on many years of search to
arrive at some sort of satisfactory solution of the puzzling question as to
the derivation of the substance of Freemasonry. This summary is not complete
and is intended to serve merely as a supplement to my paper on "Freemasonry
and the Medieval Craft Gilds."
The establishment of
Christianity was accomplished chiefly by the marvelous rise of the power of
the Church and the rigid application of this power. The first need and
therefore the first care was to establish catholic unity in the faith.
The disintegration of that
which had been the Roman Empire had sounded the death knell for pagan
civilization. An era of confusion followed. The most extravagant teachings
were in circulation. Passions and vices ran riot because of the prevailing
anarchy. A cult of a thousand years had been dispossessed by a young cult
which had the promise of eternity but had not then been established firmly
enough to compel respect. People hesitated between the creed of the yesterday
and the creed of the tomorrow. There was one giant among men, who had the
courage to choose, and having chosen, to battle for his creed without
weakening. That was St. Augustin, the great Doctor of the Church, mystic and
man of action, philosopher and master organizer and administrator. He united
in himself the genius of the Semitic race with the wisdom of the Latins, the
Greeks and the Alexandrians. He may well be called the establisher of the
Roman Church which became, and for a thousand years thereafter remained, the
supreme ruler of Western Europe. (2)
One indirect but quite
logical effect of St. Augustin's war upon heresies was the suppression of
every form of free speculation in philosophy. Unity of creed must be
established at any cost. The apostasy of the Emperor Julian had convinced
doubting ecclesiastics of the danger lurking in an unbridled freedom of study.
Three years after the death of St. Augustin, the Fourth Council of Carthage
(in 398) formally prohibited the reading of secular books even by the bishops.
In 529, the philosophical schools were abolished by decree of Emperor Julian.
Freedom of thought cannot be
suppressed by decrees. But a check may be put on the expression of thought.
And it was put on. Then there sprang up secret ("invisible") Colleges,
Academies, Lodges, etc., for meetings of independent seekers after truth. In
Italy, particularly, these secret associations-displayed great activity,
hiding their real purposes under names, auspices and forms selected to mislead
the watchful spies of the hierarchy. (4)
Members of the Academy of the
Trowel, for example, would wear builders' aprons and display builders' tools,
presenting the appearance of a gild of operative Masons. By giving mystic
meanings to emblems of a seemingly operative character, they could freely
discuss prohibited topics in a manner only understood by trusted initiates. If
they wished to be regarded as men engaged in architectural subjects, they
would try to have those present who were generally reputed to be interested in
such matters. The membership was made up largely of scientists, philosophers,
architects, musicians, painters, sculptors and poets.
In spite of their camouflage,
the brethren of these "invisible" lodges were occasionally discovered. Yet so
well were their secrets guarded that practically no first hand knowledge of
them has come down to us, though we can obtain information enough from Roman
Catholic sources, if we make proper allowances for always unmistakable
prejudices. Thus Pastor in his famous "History of the Popes" refers to the
"invisible" Roman Academy founded by Julius Pomponius Laetus, professor in the
University of Rome, in the fifteenth century, as "the center of meetings for
all discontented and pagan Humanists." We are told that the initiates adopted
religious usages, regarded themselves as a college of priests, with Pomponius
as Grand High Priest. Gregovorius who is quoted with approval, calls the
Academy "a classical Freemasons Lodge."
The Brethren of the Academy
of Pomponius were accused, under Pope Paul II (1464-1471), as having conspired
to kill the Holy Father, that they were pagans and materialists, etc.
Imprisonment and death threatened the Brethren. "Safety first" in those days
meant punishing the accused first and investigating afterward. Most of the
Academicians fled. Ultimately all were, on the principle of Scotch verdict,
absolved from the charge of heresy. Owing to the intervention of the scholarly
and liberal Cardinal Bessarion, Pomponius and the others were allowed the
freedom of the city, under close surveillance.
The Academicians were
predominantly Platonists. So were the members of most of the other forbidden
secret societies (or occasional gatherings), while the Church officially
upheld Aristotle and for a long time sought to suppress Plato to whom religion
consisted essentially in the practice of justice.
In the Teutonic countries,
speculative philosophers were to be found largely among the mystic Alchemists
who are often spoken of as "Hermetic Philosophers," in Masonic writings. They
had no central organization. Wherever two or three of them met together, they
formed a lodge for mutual intercourse and the initiation of worthy candidates
who, after a period of probation more or less extended, would be put in
possession of the secret symbols and traditions whereby they might obtain a
key to the literature of all the mystics.
In Great Britain, the
Rosicrucian Alchemists were, as has been indicated, essentially Christian
theosophists. They studied nature, but not for purely scientific purposes;
they sought rather to discover in nature the traces of the mystic Supreme
Architect of the Universe, revealed as well as concealed in and by the visible
and discoverable phenomena.
The predominance of religious
speculation led to the separation from the mystic Alchemists of those who
preferred to specialize in the experimental study of nature. The philosophical
reform work of Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was probably the chief cause of the
At the beginning of the
seventeenth century, through the influence of Robert Fludd (1574-1671), the
Fraternity of the Rosy Cross arose in Great Britain. This Fraternity
represented the mystic portion of the Alchemists whose practices they
followed. "Heresy" had been no safer under the Protestant "Bloody Bess" than
it had been in Pre-Reformation times; the only difference being in the kind of
"heresy" for which men were hanged or burned by the executioner of the power
which happened to be in control at the time. That, together with the
predilection for symbols having to do with house and temple building, no doubt
accounts for the appearance of the names of reputed Rosicrucianism the
membership lists of the operative gild of Masons. The Alchemists of an earlier
day are supposed also to have been identified with this particular gild. The
inference is that they formed occasional lodges of their own and were the
"secret brotherhood" in the bosom of the Masons Company referred to in the
records of that Company. This would account for the presence among the
"Accepted" Masons of Elias Ashmole, Sir Robert Moray, Dr. Thomas Wharton, Sir
George Wharton, William Oughtred, Dr. John Hewitt, the astronomer and
astrologist, William Lily and Sir Christopher Wren, all of them distinguished
scientists interested in the Rosy Cross program.
And now a word to account for
the statement in the Constitutions of 1738, at a time when there were many
alive who would have objected to it if it had not been true, that the decay of
the lodges of Accepted Freemasons, shortly after 1708, was due to Sir
Christopher Wren's neglect of the office of Grand Master. Gould's insistence
that Wren was not a Freemason and never could have been Grand Master, in spite
of trustworthy evidence which should have caused him not to be so positive, is
easily explained. Gould is usually very careful, content with nothing but the
original sources but it is quite evident here that he had never given serious
consideration to the possibility of Rosy Cross relationships.
Sir Christopher Wren was a
speculative Mason, nevertheless, and may have been known as Grand Master of
the "Accepted" circle. His "neglect of the office" shortly after 1708 appears
quite natural to me. That which had attracted him into the "Acceptation" was
no doubt the calibre of the men who were associated with it and who were
active in it. But, in 1662, there had been incorporated in London the Royal
Society, which as time went on, absorbed more and more the spare time of the
men more directly interested in scientific progress. After the close of the
seventeenth century, "acceptation" of men of this stamp in the Masonic
fraternity ceased altogether. The lodges became mere convivial clubs and for
these Sir Christopher had no time.
This leads me to advance a
conclusion for which I hope to have prepared the ground. I believe that the
Royal Society and Freemasonry both sprang from the same original source or
"Alchemy" which comprised in
Pre-Reformation days all pursuits in science and philosophy had passed into
Rosicrucianism. Bacon's "Novum Organum," in 1620, having established the
necessity for specialization in experimental science, Rosicrucianism was
doomed to final extinction. Bacon's "New Atlantis" (1624) set up a new ideal
for men eager to enlist in the service of mankind by the advancement of
"The New Atlantis" was
written, as Diderot pointed out in the prospectus of the French
Encyclopedistes, "at a time when, so to say, neither sciences nor arts
existed." The twilight efforts of the Alchemists no longer sufficed. More
light was wanted. Day was at hand. "Solomon's House, that beautiful dream of
the philosopher, began to be realized less than forty years after his death."
(6) The picture of Solomon's House drawn by Bacon in "The New Atlantis" was
the model from which the Royal Society was built. (7) The historian of this
Society, Dr. Thomas Sprat (1636-1713) Bishop of Rochester, made acknowledgment
of this when he wrote: "I shall only mention one great man who had the true
imagination of the whole extent of this enterprise, as it is now set on foot,
and that is Lord Bacon." (8)
Professor Nichol sums up the
established testimony of all authorities on the subject, in these words: (9)
"It is admitted that the suggestion of the College of Philosophy instituted in
London (1645) and after the Restoration extended into the Royal Society (1662)
was due to the prophetic scheme of Solomon's House in the New Atlantis.
Wallis, one of the founders of the Society, exalts him by name, along with
Galileo, as heir master. Sprat says "It was a work becoming the largeness of
Bacon's wit to devise and the greatness of Clarendon's prudence to establish."
Boyle invokes for its inauguration "that profound naturalist * * * one great
The spirit that animated the
whole conception of Solomon's House was "the love of man and the honoring of
God." The Royal Society limited its membership quite naturally to men
considered capable of rendering eminent service to the advancement of
scientific discovery. Thereby it assured the progress of the great work it had
undertaken, but it limited, at the same time, the realization of the ideal
pictured in the "New Atlantis." The consciousness of this fact, together with
the remembrances of the derivation from the true seekers after truth among the
earlier Alchemists, were, I am persuaded, the chief reasons which prompted
many of the members of the Royal Society to join the "revived" Society of
Freemasons, shortly after the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England. In
Freemasonry they hoped for the complete and universal realization of the whole
ideal of the "New Atlantis," with the Royal Society as the scientific center
of Solomon's House.
This is, briefly and
summarily told, my conclusion regarding the evolution of "Speculative"
Freemasonry, more particularly during the seventeenth century, for "the love
of man and the honoring of God." Imperfectly as the result of my researches is
placed before you, my brethren, I hope to have at least suggested where to
look for traces of the origins of our beloved Fraternity founded upon the
Fatherhood of God, the mystic foundation stone of the universe, and the
practice of the Royal Art which is the fulfilment of the Royal Law according
to the Scripture: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'
I trust I have not given the
impression that the substance of modern Freemasonry was derived from the
Rosicrucians. An organized Fraternity of the Rosy Cross probably never existed
outside of books. The writings of Fludd and Frisius formulated for Great
Britain a body of Rosy Cross tenets differing in essential points from the
teachings of the Rosicrucians of Continental Europe. English and Scottish
Alchemists followed Fludd and Frisius. Their attempts to translate the plans
of these leaders into practice, appears to have induced some of them to form
occasional lodges, either independently under the designation of
Freemasons--the name of Rosicrucian having fallen into disrepute--or in the
bosom of Masonic craft gilds, as a separate "secret brotherhood" of Accepted
Freemasons. Read in connection with "Freemasonry and the Medieval Craft
Gilds," the suggestion will be clearly understood.
Freemasonry, as established
by the Constitutions of 1722-3, represents the confluence of two streams, each
having many tributaries: The sources of the one stream must be looked for in
the Anglo-Saxon gyld, and its name is democracy; the sources of the other must
be looked for in the earliest academies of philosophers searching for the One
Living God, Father of all men, and its name is liberty of conscience.
(1) Aben or Eben (as in
Ebenezar) is Hebrew for stone.
(2) For a vivid picture of
life in the fourth century, the period so trying for men's souls, I refer
those who read French to the charming, wonderful book of Louis Bertrand on
(3) See Laurie's "Rise of
Universities," first two chapters.
(4) Especially from the
fourteenth century onward.
(5) "Doubtless it was one of
Bacon's highest hopes that from the growth of true knowledge would follow in
surprising ways the relief of man's estate; this, as an end, runs through all
his yearning after a fuller and surer method of interpreting nature." --Dean
(6) M.C. Adam's "Philosophie
de F. Bacon," Paris, 1890, p. 328. Bacon died on April 9th, 1626. The London
"College of Philosophy" which became the Royal Society, was instituted in
(7) G.C. Moorr Smith, in his
edition of "The New Atlantis,' (Pitt Press Series) Cambridge, 1900, page 28.
(8) "History of the Royal
Society," edition of 1667, page 35.
(9) "Francis Bacon; His life
and Philosophy," (Blackwood's Phil. Classics) 1889, vol. II, p. 136.
SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE
BY BRO. OLIVER DAY STREET,
PART III THE SYMBOLISM OF THE
MASTER MASON DEGREE
MANY of the lessons of the
third degree are obvious to the most superficial mind, but others (and these
the most important) are grasped only after long and patient study. I shall not
attempt anything original, but only lay before you in an imperfect way a few
of the reflections and conclusions of some of our most trustworthy Masonic
I believe it susceptible of
the clearest proof that Freemasonry, viewed in the aggregate, is an elaborate
allegory of human life, that the three degrees considered collectively,
symbolically epitomize man's existence both here and in the hereafter. My
excuse for recurring to this idea is that in my judgment Speculative Masonry
can not be otherwise adequately explained. The lodge is emblematical of the
world; initiation, of birth; the Entered Apprentice, of the preparatory stage
of life, or youth; the Fellow Craft, of the construction stage, or manhood;
the Master Mason, of the reflective stage, or old age, death, the
resurrection, and the everlasting life. This explanation of the three degrees
is briefly given in our lecture on the "Three Steps" delineated on the
Master's Carpet. Any symbol or any meaning attributed to a symbol which does
not legitimately contribute to this allegory may be discarded as nonMasonic.
THE ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC
The age of our symbolism is
an important question in this connection, because upon it to a great extent
depend the meanings that must be assigned to our symbols. While some of them
may be of comparatively modern origin, many of them are older than the oldest
Says Brother Robert Freke
Gould, one of the most cautious of our historians:
"The symbolism of Masonry, or
at all events a material part of it, is of very great antiquity, and in
substance the system of Masonry we now possess, including the three degrees of
the Craft, has come down to us in all its essentials from times remote to our
Another of our historians of
the most exacting school, Brother William J. Hughan, declares that "symbolism
in connection with Freemasonry antedates our oldest records."
Even this cautious statement
would date our symbolism back more than five hundred years, and Brother Gould
is on record as declaring that, if it can be put back that far, there is
practically no limit backward to which its beginning must be assigned. (2)
Another distinguished Masonic
scholar, Brother George William Speth, records his belief that "the greater
part of our symbolism (including all essentials) is undoubtedly medieval at
least, and probably centuries older than that." (3)
Still another, Brother
William Simpson, distinguished as an orientalist, says:
"The more important Masonic
symbols are ancient and their true meanings can only be found by tracing them
back into the past. This will be found to be particularly the case with the
third degree; its true meaning can only be realized by the study of similar
rites which appear to go far back into the history of our race." (4)
These are the opinions of men
who, noted for their scholarship, have disregarded our Masonic traditions and
studied the question from the purely historical viewpoint.
Following them, (and if they
cannot be followed there are none who can be,) our symbolism has come down to
us from ancient times.
Of some of these symbols we
know a part at least of their meanings, but of some we know nothing at all. We
get a hint from Brother Pike that much of our symbolism has been forgotten,
and Brother Gould asserts the same and declares that "to a considerable
portion of the symbolism of Freemasonry, even at this day, no meaning can be
assigned which is entirely satisfactory to the intelligent mind." (5)
Heckethorn, a non-Mason, says
that many of the mystical figures and schemes of very ancient times are
preserved in Masonry though their meaning is no longer understood by the
It should therefore be
obvious that if we are ever to reacquire this lost knowledge, we must have
recourse to the records and institutions of ancient times.
THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES
Do we find any institutions
in ancient times similar to our own and employing our symbols for like
purposes? I answer at once that we do.
In all periods from the dawn
of history till about the fifth century, A. D., there is recorded the
existence in nearly every known country of secret societies which, so far as
our knowledge of them enables us to judge, were strikingly like Freemasonry in
all except name. Our foremost Masonic historian, Brother Gould, says that they
taught precisely the same doctrines in precisely the same way. These ancient
societies bearing different names in different countries, yet appearing
everywhere to have been the same thing, are generally termed "The Ancient
In Egypt they were known as
the Mysteries of Osiris and Isis, and these appear to have been the model for
all others. They prevailed in Egypt, India, Persia, Phoenicia, Greece, Rome,
Gaul, Britain, and many other countries. The most ancient of these were
certainly in existence as early as 3000 B. C., and some of them were still
flourishing in Western Europe, in a corrupted state, it is true, as late as
the fourth century of the Christian era.
differences in name, it does not admit of a doubt that they were all
substantially the same; "so much so," it has been said by high Masonic
authority, "that we may conclude either that they were all independent copies
from a great original or that they were propagated one from another." Brother
Gould, than whom no more judicious historian has ever written on any subject,
thinks they were only differentiated types of one original form of worship,
the object of which was in every instance the God of Light and of Truth and of
Beneficence. The Osiris of Egypt, the Brahma of India, the Mithras of Persia,
the Bacchus (or Dionysius) of Greece, the Bel (or Baal) of the Chaldeans, the
Belenus of Gaul, the Baldur of Scandanavia, the Adonis of Phoenicia, and the
Adonai of the Jews were all the same god; each, to his own people, was the
Supreme One, the Creator, the Enlightener, Lord and Master. All the mysteries
taught a more or less pure system of monotheism, though coupled with the idea
of a Trinity, or one God in three persons. Their Trinity differed from ours,
however, in that they conceived it to be a male, female and off'spring, or
Father, Mother and Son. They taught also the doctrine of the resurrection of
the dead and the immortality of the soul. (7)
Cicero tells us that in the
Elusinian Mysteries they were taught to live virtuously and happily and to die
in the hope of a blessed futurity. (8)
"The great doctrine of
immortality of the soul," says Brother Gould, "and the teachings of the two
lives, the present and the future, are to be found in the Ancient Mysteries,
where precisely the same doctrines were taught in precisely the same way" that
they are now taught by the Freemasons.
It seems that among pagan
people of ancient times a few superior minds and spirits were found who did
not accept the idolatrous notions of the populace as an adequate conception of
the Deity and who searched constantly in the great book of nature in the
effort to find out and understand him aright. To have openly proclaimed their
beliefs and their rejection of the popular gods and popular religion would
have but called down upon themselves contempt and ridicule and doubtless
persecutions. They, therefore, chose to drift along with the common herd to
all outward appearances, reserving the contemplation and discussion of their
cherished beliefs for secret communication with those of kindred mind in
societies where they were secure from observation and the interference of the
outside world. Such seems to have been the occasion of the origin of these
These societies were
characterized by fixed forms of initiation, successive steps or degrees, oaths
of secrecy, a symbolical system of teaching, and the possession of emblems and
perhaps of grips, signs and words of recognition. (9) Their rites were usually
celebrated at night in chambers securely guarded against intrusion and
arranged similarly to our lodges, often with the three chief officers seated
in the South, West and East.
With all of them the East was
an object of peculiar veneration as the source of light and knowledge.
Initiation was an allegorical
search for light and knowledge and consisted of prescribed physical and moral
preparations of the candidate, lustrations, purifications and the
administrations of oaths of secrecy; the ushering from darkness to light
symbolizing a transformation from ignorance to knowledge, from corruption to
moral and spiritual purity; the investiture with an emblem of this purity
consisting sometimes of a white apron, sometimes of a white sash or robe; the
encountering of trials and dangers sometimes mock and sometimes real. In the
Mithraic Mysteries the candidate was received into the place of initiation
upon the point of a sword piercing his naked left breast. Many of their
symbols were identical with those that can now be seen in any Masonic lodge.
To each of the Ancient
Mysteries pertained a characteristic legend, which w as made the
instrumentality of teaching with great impressiveness the doctrines of the
resurrection and immortality.
The legend of Osiris,
probably the oldest and the model for all the others was as follows:
Osiris, meaning the soul of
the Universe, the Governor of nature, was at once king and god of the
Egyptians. The name appears as far back as 3000 B. C. Having taught
civilization, the arts and agriculture to his own people, he magnanimously
resolved to spread in person their benign influence throughout the world.
Leaving his kingdom in charge of his wife, Isis, he departed upon his
beneficent mission. After an absence of three years he returned, but meanwhile
his brother Typhon had organized a conspiracy to murder him and seize the
throne. At a grand banquet given in honor of his return, Typhon provided a
magnificent chest which exactly fitted the body of Osiris. All the other
guests being in the conspiracy, they feigned great admiration of the chest and
finally Typhon announced that he would give it to the one whose body it would
most neatly contain. Osiris, trying the box, was no sooner in it than the lid
was clapped down and securely fastened and the whole thrown into the river
Nile. It was borne out to sea by the current and in course of time was cast
ashore at Byblos, in Phoenicia, at the foot of an acacia tree. The tree grew
up rapidly and completely encased the chest containing the body of Osiris.
No sooner had Isis learned of
the fate of her husband than, weeping, she set out in search of his body and
on her way interrogated every one she met for information concerning its
whereabouts. Virgins accompanied her who dressed and combed her hair.
She finally discovered the
body in the acacia tree, but the king of that country, struck with the tree's
beauty caused it to be cut down and a column made of it for his palace. Isis
thereupon engaged herself to the king as a nurse for his children and asked
and received for her pay this column. The column was broken and the body
released and at once borne back to Egypt, but before it could be properly
interred it was again seized by Typhon and cut into fourteen pieces and these
hidden in as many places. After long search Isis succeeded in finding and
bringing together all the parts except the phallus, and the body was embalmed
and buried in due form. It will be borne in mind that according to ancient
Egyptian ideas there could be no resurrection in the absence of the body;
hence, the great care with which they embalmed their dead. As soon as the body
of Osiris had been recovered and buried, it was announced that he had risen
from the dead and had resumed his place among the gods.
The ceremonies of initiation
into the Egyptian Mysteries dramatically represented the death of Osiris, the
search for his body, its discovery in the acacia tree, and its burial and
resurrection, the murdered god being personated by the candidate.
Pertaining to each of the
Mysteries was a counterpart of this legend. In Greece, Osiris becomes Bacchus,
(not the drunken Bacchus of later ages,) who is slain by the Titans and his
limbs torn asunder. Isis becomes Rhea, who after long and bitter search finds
and inters his body, and in due course he takes his place among the gods. In
the Dionysian Mysteries celebrated in his honor an effigy was stretched upon a
couch, as if dead, while his votaries bitterly bewailed his decease. After a
proper time the figure was quickly removed and the announcement made that the
god had risen from the dead. Likewise in some of the Mysteries of India the
candidate underwent an allegorical death, burial and resurrection. Those
celebrated in Phoenicia during the time of Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram,
King of Tyre and Hiram Abif were obvious copies of those of Egypt. Adonis and
Venus became substitutes in the legend for Osiris and Isis. During the course
of these Mysteries, with which our three ancient Grand Masters must have been
familiar, an image was laid upon a bier as if it were a dead body. During a
momentary darkness the figure was invisibly removed, after which it was
announced that the god had risen from the dead. The substantial identity with
each other of all these Mysteries and doctrines they were intended to
inculcate is obvious.
It is claimed by students of
ancient mythology, that this legend of the Mysteries and the ceremonies based
on it were all prophetic of the coming of a Messiah, who should triumph over
death and the grave, and thereby demonstrate to mankind for a certainty that
there is a life after death. That this was common belief, not merely among the
Jews, but the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians,
Chaldeans, Hindus, Greeks and Romans is now generally conceded.
The teachings of the
Mysteries have been thus summarized:
"They diffused a spirit of
unity and humanity, purified the soul from ignorance and pollution; secured
the peculiar aid of the gods; the means of arriving at the perfection of
virtue; the serene happiness of a holy life; the hope of a peaceful death and
endless felicity in the Elysian fields; whilst those not initiated therein
should dwell after death in places of darkness and horror."
Thus did these ancient
societies seek by means of the dramatic presentation of a legend to teach the
great Masonic doctrines of the resurrection and the life after death.
There were lectures
explanatory of the Mysteries but the crowning ceremony of initiation was the
communication to the candidate of an ineffable name which it was lawful to
speak only on certain occasions and in a certain manner. Among the Egyptians,
Persians and Hindus, notwithstanding their pride separation, this was the
mysterious AUM, pronounced OM. I have purposely mingled things dissimilar with
things similar to Freemasonry but the intelligent Master Mason will be able to
detect the points of resemblance.
Brother Robert F. Gould, whom
I have already several times quoted, without venturing to pronounce
Freemasonry and the Ancient Mysteries identical, says:
"It is a well known fact that
these Mysteries offer striking analogies with much that is found in
Freemasonry; their celebration in grottoes or covered halls, which symbolized
the Universe, and which in disposition and decoration presented a distinct
counterpart to our lodge; their division into degrees conferred by the
initiatory rites wonderfully like our own; their method of teaching through
the same astronomic symbolism the highest truths then known in Philosophy and
Morals; their mystic bond of secrecy, toleration, equality and brotherly
He intimates strongly his
belief that Freemasonry is a development out of the Mysteries of Mithras,
which, originating in Persia, spread to Greece, Rome and Western Europe and
lingered there until the fourth or fifth century, A. D.
Enough has been said on this
point to make it plain that anyone who would understand our Masonic symbolism
must at least make a study of what these same symbols meant to these ancient
THIRD DEGREE SYMBOLS
I shall not lengthen this
paper and tax your patience by repeating explanations laid down in our
monitors and lectures. I shall for the most part confine myself to things that
are not explained at all, or that are explained inadequately.
Many of the symbols of the
Master's degree are common to the preceding degrees and these I shall touch
upon very briefly. There is, however, discoverable in their use as the degrees
progress, an increasing seriousness and depth of meaning.
For instance, in the first
two degrees, the lodge symbolizes the world, the place where all workmen labor
at useful avocations and in the acquisition of human knowledge and virtue. But
in the Master's degree it represents the Sanctum Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies
of King Solomon's Temple, which was itself a symbol of Heaven, or the abode of
Deity. It was there that nothing earthly or unclean was allowed to enter; it
was there that the visible presence of the Deity was said to dwell between the
Cherubim. In the Master's lodge, therefore, we are symbolically brought into
the awful presence of the Deity. The reference here to death and the future
life is obvious and is a further evidence that this degree typifies old age
But there is even a deeper
symbolism in the Master's lodge. The allusion is not only to the sacred
chamber of Solomon's physical temple, it alludes also to the sacred chamber of
that spiritual temple we all are, or should he, namely, a pure heart, and
admonishes us to make of it a place fit for Deity himself to dwell.
The likening of the human
body to a temple of the Deity is an ancient metaphor. Jesus said, in speaking
of the temple of his body, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise
it up." Again, Paul says, "Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that
the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroyeth the temple of God,
him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, and such arc ye." I
quote these passages, not as a Christian doctrine, but as a beautiful
expression of Jewish thought far older than Christianity. We can with
difficulty conceive the extreme sacredness of the Temple in the eyes of the
Jew. It far exceeded the veneration with which we now regard our churches and
synagogues. This idea once comprehended shows how greatly this figure of
speech ennobles the human body. It declares it a fit dwelling place for Deity
In the Entered Apprentice and
Fellow Craft degrees, Light typifies the acquisition of human knowledge and
virtue; in the Masters degree it typifies the revelation of divine truth in
the life that is to come.
In the first two degrees the
square and compasses denote the earth and inculcate and impress upon us the
desirability of curbing our passions; in the third degree the compasses
symbolize what is heavenly, because to our ancient brethren the visible
heavens bore the aspect of circles and arches, geometrical figures produced
with the compasses.
In some of the monitors we
are told that "the compasses are peculiarly consecrated to this degree," but
the reasons there given are not satisfying. In ancient symbolism the square
signified the earth, while the circle, a figure produced with the compasses,
signified the sun or the heavens. The square therefore symbolized what is
earthly and material while the compasses signified the heavenly and the
spiritual. It is not without significance, therefore, that in the Entered
Apprentice degree, both points of the compasses are beneath the square; that
in the Fellow Craft degree one point is above the square, while in the
Master's degree both points are above, signifying that in the true Master, the
spiritual has obtained full mastery and control over the earthly and the
Discalceation, or the
plucking off of one's shoes, was in the Entered Apprentice degree, as we there
learned, a symbol of fidelity to our fellow man. In this degree, however, it
alludes to an ancient act of homage paid by man to Deity, namely, the Eastern
custom that prevailed among both Jews and Gentiles of entering only barefooted
into any sacred place or upon any holy ground. In the one case, this practice
was a testimony of man to man; in the other, it is a testimony of man to his
Pythagoras taught his
disciples in these words, "offer sacrifice and worship with thy shoes off."
Adam Clarke includes the universality of this custom among his thirteen proofs
that all mankind has descended from common ancesters. A Master Mason's lodge
represents, as we have seen, the Holy of Holies of Solomon's Temple into which
the High Priest alone entered only once yearly, and then with bare feet. The
lodge in some of the old rituals is said to stand on holy ground. God said to
Moses at the burning bush: "Put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place
whereon thou standest is holy ground." (11)
Note also the deeper
significance of the shock of reception as the degrees progress. In the first,
the appeal is to the sense of fear, in other words, purely physical. In the
second, appeal is made to the moral sense and inculcates fair dealing with
men, but in the third it is not merely to our sense of justice towards our
fellow man, but to our brotherly love for him and to those higher reflective
elements of our nature whose proverbial seat is the breasts.
It is a mistake to limit the
"Brotherly Love" of this degree to members of the Masonic fraternity. If the
lodge symbolizes the world, as it undoubtly does, so should its members
symbolize all the inhabitants thereof. The love that should prevail among the
members of the lodge, therefore, typifies the love that should prevail among
all mankind. In the highest sense all men are our brothers precisely as we are
so strikingly taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan that all men are our
Circumambulation, from the
Latin word "circumambulare," to walk around, is a very ancient rite, one
common to all the Ancient Mysteries. The sun, the fructifier and giver of
life, in his daily course across the heavens, appears to those living in the
Northern Hemisphere, where the ancient world dwelt, to proceed from the East
by the way of the South to the West, and thence through the darkness of the
night via the North back to the East again. Vegetation was seen to spring up,
animal life to be aroused from slumber and take on increased energy, as the
King of Day moved with dignity across the heavens. To the untutored mind of
primeval man it is not strange that the sun should appear to be the giver of
life, the very Creator himself. His apparent course, therefore, from East
through the South to the West and back to the East by way of the North became
the "course of life", as the ancients expressed it.
The ancients in their
ceremonies when representing life pursued this course, and we Masons follow
their example. To proceed in the reverse direction typified death, and as
every Master Mason knows at one important point in our ceremonies we take this
reverse course. At the grave of a deceased brother, however, contrary to what
might be expected, we still follow the course of life as a token of our belief
in the life that follows death. (11)
THE WORKING TOOLS
With us in America the
especial working tool of a Master Mason is said to be the Trowel. In England,
this symbol is almost obsolete, and they employ the Skirrit, Pencil and
Of the Trowel, Dr. Oliver, a
noted but somewhat discredited Masonic authority, says:
"The triangle, now called the
Trowel, was an emblem of very extensive application and was much revered by
ancient nations as containing the greatest and most abstruse mysteries that it
signified equally Deity, Creation and Fire." (12)
We will learn directly
something more of the symbolical signification of the triangle.
The Skirrit, the Pencil and
the Compasses are not enumerated in America among the working tools of a
Master Mason. The Skirrit is an instrument working on a center pin and used by
the Operative Mason to mark out on the ground the foundation of the intended
structure. The Pencil is employed in drafting the plans and the Compasses in
determining the limit and proportions of its several parts. Symbolically they
are explained in English (Emulation) working in the following words:
"The Skirrit points out to us
that straight and undeviating line of conduct laid down for our guidance in
the volume of the sacred law. The Pencil teaches us that all our words and
actions are not only observed, but are recorded by the Most High, to whom we
must render an account of our conduct through life. The Compasses reminds us
of his unerring and impartial justice, which having defined for our
instruction the limits of good and evil will either reward or punish us, as we
have obeyed or disregarded his divine commands." (13)
We must admit that the trowel
would seem more properly to belong to the Fellow Craft, who in Operative
Masonry puts the stones in place, rather than to the designer and overseer who
corresponds to our Master Mason.
Brother John Yarker in his
Arcane Schools says that the Skirrit as a hieroglyphic signifies the origin of
DEITY AND IMMORTALITY
There are a few who feign
that they believe nothing that cannot be experienced through the five senses
of the body. Wonderful as are these faculties, I am persuaded that we are
possessed of a sixth sense which is higher and finer even than those of the
body. By this sense we perceive though we see not; we feel though we touch
not; we understand though we hear not; we know though we neither taste nor
smell. By it, also, we are aware of all the higher aspirations of the mind and
soul; by it alone are we conscious of our own existence. Seeing is not
thinking. Nor is hearing, or feeling, or tasting, or smelling. These five
senses are but ministers to this sixth sense. The five senses of human nature
we were concerned with in a former degree, but we are here concerned with
something far superior to them, whatever we call it, whether consciousness,
faith, mind, soul or spirit. Are the testimonies of this sixth sense any less
real or any less reliable than those of the five senses of the body? By it
mankind has always, in every age and in every condition, felt intuitively that
there was a God and that we shall live again. These beliefs are so strong and
so ever present with us that we never doubt them until we begin to argue about
There is nothing in Masonry
so constantly pressed upon our thoughts as these two great doctrines. Signs,
symbols, and legends are all repeatedly employed to emphasize them.
In the Master's degree, the
Pot of Incense, the All-Seeing Eye, the Three Grand Masters, the Triangle, and
the legends of the Temple and of Hiram Abif are all employed for this purpose,
as I shall attempt to show.
We read with incredulity that
men could ever bow down to, and worship, idols. Doubtless the thoughtful and
intelligent ones have never done so even in pagan countries. They looked
beyond and viewed the idol as merely a symbol. As the idol among pagan people
usually assumed a human form, the Jews as well as other believers in
monotheism of ancient times, forbade the employment of the human effigy as a
symbol of Deity. To supply the need so keenly felt by the ancients of a symbol
to represent every idea, conventional figures such as squares, circles,
triangles, etc., were adopted by the ancient monotheists to symbolize the
Deity. Thus perhaps it is that the being which alone is said to have been made
in the image of his Creator is nowhere employed in our symbolism to represent
the G. A. O. T. U.
THE HIRAMIC LEGEND
The most important series of
symbols in Freemasonry is the legend concerning Hiram Abif and the other
symbolic allusions connected therewith. For obvious reasons, I do not attempt
to narrate the story of this legend. Nor shall I undertake to make any
systematic or exhaustive study of it, but only to discuss in a disconnected
way those symbols associated with it that are most important or whose meaning
is least obvious.
As we have already seen, the
Ancient Mysteries employed a legend dramatically presented to teach the great
doctrines of the existence of Deity, the resurrection of the body, and the
immortality of the soul. Among Freemasons, the legend of Hiram, the builder,
is employed in a strikingly similar way to teach the same truths. It is not
permissible, even if it were necessary, to enter further into details in order
to demonstrate this parallel, but the points of resemblance will be
sufficiently obvious to the intelligent Mason.
A few observations upon the
name Hiram Abif will not be out of place. Abif is certainly not a surname as
our use of it would seem to indicate. It is translated in the English Bibles
"Hiram, my father's" and "Hiram, his father." This scarcely makes sense; and
hence the general consensus of opinion among Masonic scholars is that "Abif"
is a Hebrew idiom indicating superiority in his Craft and may therefore, in a
general sense, be said to be synonymous with "Master." (15)
The name "Hiram" itself has
been supposed by many to bear a symbolic meaning. In Kings it is written
"Hiram" but in Chronicles it is written "Huram." Brother Albert Pike contends
that the proper form is "Khirum" or "Khurum." The former Khirum is from the
Hebrew word "Khi" meaning "living", and "ram" meaning "was or shall be raised
or lifted up." Hence Khirum means "was raised or lifted up to life." The other
form, Khurum, means nearly the same, "raised up noble or free." Brother Pike
shows this name to be synonymous with the Egyptian Her-ra, and the Phoenician
Heracles, the personification of Light and the sun, the Mediator, the Redeemer
and the Savior.
But do not be mislead into
supposing that the reference is here Christian. The idea of a Mediator,
Redeemer or Savior is far older than Christianity and by no means confined to
the Jews. It is a concept that seems to have been almost universal in the
Again, it is said that Hiram,
in its pure and original form, literally meant Light or the sun. His murder by
the three ruffians is by many scholars believed to have symbolic reference to
the declension of the sun towards the south during the three winter months
with its accompanying temporary death of many forms of vegetable and animal
life; the discovery and raising of his body, to the return of spring with its
manifestations of newness of life in its thousands of forms. There is no doubt
that this astronomical phenomenon, so typical of both death and a new life,
was extensively employed by the ancients to teach the doctrines of
resurrection and immortality.
Those who attach an
astronomical signification to this legend of Hiram Abif believe the fifteen
Fellow Craft to be a faulty symbol; that the true number is twelve,
corresponding to the twelve signs of the Zodiac through which the sun
apparently passes every year; that the number of those who conspired and the
number who recanted have been confused; that name, typifying those who
recanted, fill the spring, summer and autumn with their seasons of planting,
growth and harvest, while the three who persisted typify winter, when all
nature, if not dead, appears to be dormant. It has been pointed out as
corroborating this interpretation of this legend that our two festival
seasons, June 24th and December 27th, the birthdays respectively of John the
Baptist and John the Evangelist, very nearly coincide respectively with the
summer and winter solstices; that is to say that when the sun is at its
greatest intensity, and, when in the dead of winter, having reached his
furthermost limit to the South, he begins his fructifying and vivifying
journey towards the North again.
I can but touch upon this
abstruse symbolism, and invite the serious student of Freemasonry to its
study. It cannot be covered in an evening; volumes have been and may still be
written upon the subject without exhausting it. (16)
In nearly all the ancient
systems of religion, Deity was regarded as a triad or trinity, by whom, acting
conjointly only, could anything be done that was done. Our own doctrine of the
Trinity is but a mere spiritualized modification of this ancient trinitarian
conception. The secrets known only to our Three Grand Masters typify divine
truth known only to this trinitarian Deity, and which is not to be
communicated and made known to man, the Fellow Craft, the workman, until he
has completed his spiritual temple. Then, according to divine promise, if
found worthy, if this temple he nobly and worthily built and made a fit
dwelling place for divine truth, these secrets will be communicated to him. He
can then travel into that foreign country whither we all are bound and there
obtain the wages of the master, that is to say, the reward of a righteous and
well spent life. But he who would force or steal this knowledge or obtain it
other than by faithful labor and effort to prepare himself for its
understanding and enjoyment is no better than a murderer and robber. It is the
same allegory as that of Adam eating of the tree of knowledge. For a like
offense, stealing the sacred fire of the gods and bestowing it upon man, was
Prometheus bound to the rock, his body torn open and his liver fed upon by the
vultures of the air.
THE THREE RUFFIANS
One having the least
familiarity with the religions of the East cannot fail to recognize in the
names of the three ruffians the name of the gods of Palestine, Phoenicia and
Egypt, Jah, Bel and Om, spelled AUM. This will be even more striking to the
Royal Arch Mason. Whether this is a mere coincidence or the result of design,
or if designed, what is the significance, are unknown. (17)
LOW TWELVE In ancient
symbolism, the number twelve denoted completion. Whether this meaning arose
from the fact that twelve months completed the year, or twelve signs of the
Zodiac, or whether from the fact that what was regarded as the most stable
geometrical figure known, the cube, is marked by twelve edges, opinions
differ. At any rate, it denoted a thing fulfilled. It was, therefore, an
emblem of a human life. Death followed immediately after life; the number
thirteen immediately after twelve; it is for this reason that thirteen has
long been regarded as an unlucky number. With us the solemn stroke of twelve
marks the completion of human existence in this life.
THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF
The Lion from most ancient
times has been a symbol of might or royalty. It was blazoned upon the standard
of the tribe of Judah, because it was the royal tribe. The kings of Judah
were, therefore, called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and such was one of
the titles of Solomon. Remembrance of this fact gives appropriateness to an
expression employed at one point in our ceremonies which is otherwise obscure,
not to say absurd. Such is the literal meaning of this phrase, but it also has
a symbolical one.
The Jewish idea of a Messiah
was of a mighty temporal king. He was also designated as the Lion of the Tribe
of Judah; in fact this title was regarded as peculiarly belonging to him. The
expression does not, as many Masons suppose necessarily have reference to
Jesus of Nazareth. The Christian Mason is privileged to so interpret it, if he
so likes, but the Jew has equal right to understand it as meaning his Messiah.
Indeed, every great religion of the world has contained the conception in some
form, of a Mediator between God and man, a Redeemer who would raise mankind
from the death of this life and the grave, to an everlasting existence with
God hereafter. The Mason who is a devotee of one of these religions, say
Buddhism, Brahmanism or Mohammedanism, is likewise entitled to construe this
expression as referring to his own Mediator.
In an ancient Egyptian
inscription is depicted a lion seizing by the wrist a man lying in front of an
altar, prostrate upon his back as if dead. The lion seems to be raising the
man up and to symbolize that power by which the dead are brought to newness of
life. Near the altar stands a man with his left arm elevated in the form of a
(To be continued)
(1) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum
vol. III, p. 10.
(2) Idem, p. 24.
(3) Idem, p. 27.
(4) Idem, p. 26.
(5) Idem, p. 23.
(6) Idem, p. 24.
(7) Gould's Concise History,
pp. 24, 25
(8) Mackey's Symbolism, p.
(9) Yarker's Arcane Schools
(10) Morals and Dogma. pp.
(11) Mackey's Symbolism, pp.
(12) Oliver's Signs and
Symbols, p 10; Universal Masonic Library, p. 14; Transactions Lodge of
Research 1909-10, p. 42.
(13) Aiken, p. 80.
(14) Yarker's Arcane Schools,
pp. 33, 220.
(15) Mackey's Encyclopedia,
p. 3: Morals and Dogma, p. 81.
(16) Festival of Mal-Karth,
Morals and Dogma, p. 78.
(17) Morals and Dogma, pp.
80, 82, 448, 488: Tyler Keystone, Aug. 20, 1908, pp. 77, 78.
(18) Portal, p. 30; Masonic
Magazine, p. 328: Morals and Dogma, pp. 79, 254, 461.
READY TO BE TRIED AGAIN
'Tis no matter how much work
we have done ere dawned today
'Tis no matter how we've
striven on an upward, onward way;
There are duties ever new
falling due each day to men,
And the one who does them
best waits but to be tried again.
Though we have been tried as
came duties new upon the way,
Though the storm obscured the
sun that was bright as dawned the
Though the yesterdays are
past 'tis no matter what they've been,
'Tis today that we must be
ready to be tried again.
There's no wage can come to
us only as our work is done,
There's no premium to life
save as are its triumphs won;
Recompense comes with the
toil e'en as we the task begin,
E'en as we report to self,
ready to be tried again.
And as Masons we are taught
that while we've been often tried
We are never by the Craft of
the privilege denied
Of the trying for the work
that it makes so clear and plain,
And for which we all should
be ready to be tried again.
And the fact that we're in
wait may unlock the mystic door
To the findings in the Art
that may prove a golden store;
'Tis an inspiration e'en if
there's not a moment when
We're not in the firing line,
ready to be tried again.
And by trial comes the glow
of a brighter, keener joy--
That real something that we
know in the mystic Arts employ;
Tis the thought unfolding to
the ideal it gives to men
That the trial is in being
ready to be tried again.
And the thought is larger
still, 'tis a trial now and here
For and in and as the task as
each day's new claims appear,
Trial measured by the TRUTH
as it may respond amen
As we ever DO and DARE, READY
TO BE TRIED AGAIN.
--Bro. L. B. Mitchell,
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO
BY BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P.
G. M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
THERE is a bronze statue of
Dr. Rush in front of the United States Naval Hospital, in Washington, not
erected by a grateful Republic, to a famous patriot and signer of the
Declaration of Independence, but by the Medical Societies of the United
States, more than a century after the War of the Revolution.
Out of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration
there are but three memorialized in the Capital City; not one by the
Government, but all by private subscription. To Medical Director A.L. Gihon,
U.S.N., more than to any other one man, the subscription for this monument and
its location are due. Unfortunately it is in a part of the city not frequently
visited by tourists.
Dr. Rush, a signer of the Declaration, was born in
Philadelphia in 1746, and died there in 1813. He was the first American
Alienist; the first Surgeon-General of the U.S. Army; a Member of Congress,
and the author of a number of books on medical subjects. He was descended from
one of Cromwell's officers. An orphan at the age of six years he was educated
by his uncle, the Rev. Dr. Finley, and was graduated at Princeton College. Dr.
Rush kept a diary, which proved to be of great use to his successors in the
medical profession, particularly in his notes on the yellow fever epidemic in
Dr. Rush was ever
warmly patriotic, but he disliked politics. He was a quick and ready debater,
which led his
friends to put him forward in politics. He was a consistent and conscientious
Christian, a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and though a
Freemason, was probably never active in it. Records, however, in his day, were
not carefully kept nor preserved, which may have obscured his activity. In the
Masonic History, Vol. IV, he is recorded by that Prince of Masonry, Gould.
The statue shown in the cut was modeled by R.
Hinton Perry and Lewis R. Metcalf, and was unveiled on the 11th day of June,
1904, with all the eclat, eulogy and honor the American Medical Association
could give it, and but for the presence of the uniformed medical officers of
the Navy and the Army there would have been an absence of Nationalism. The
Government authorized the placing of the statue on the lawn, in front of the
buildings of the Navy Medical School and Hospital. It is a beautiful piece of
Dr. Rush left one son who was held in high esteem,
and a grandson, a Commander in the Navy, whom the writer has ever held in
close friendship and memory.
The American people, so full of patriotic oratory,
have sadly lacked a practical proof of that highly commendable quality.
Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible
sun within us. - Sir Thomas Browne.
The fearful Unbelief is
unbelief in yourself. - Carlyle.
FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING
BULLETIN--NO. 21 DEVOTED TO ORGANIZED MASONIC STUDY Edited by Bro. H. L.
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF
MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
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 papers by Brother Haywood.
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.
Division IV. Legislative
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 Haywood, 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 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
Haywood 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 Haywood'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 Haywood's
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1. Reading of the first
section of Brother Haywood'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 Haywood'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.
QUESTIONS ON "SIGNS, TOKENS,
WORDS, AND THE RITE OF SALUTATION"
I Give examples of the use of
secret modes of recognition in past times. What does Gould say about the use
of signs, grips, etc? Why, do you suppose, are these "common features" of all
secret societies? In what way do they protect secrecy? Why should secrecy be
protected? Can you name any political, social, religious, or literary clubs
which employ secret modes of recognition? If so, why do they use them? If not,
why do they not use them? Chemists and druggists employ arbitrary signs to
stand for various formulae and these are understood only by themselves. Are
such signs analogous to our own ?
II What evidence is there to
show that Freemasons used signs in old times ? Why is the evidence so slender?
Why were not these signs published and explained ? What is the point of the
quotation from Ferguson ? Even if the early Operative Masons had been able to
read and write, could they have dispensed with their signs and grips? We can
all read and write: why have we not dispensed with them ?
III Can you guess what the
Scotch "Mason Word" may have been ? What was the significance of "words" among
Masons in other countries at that time? How, and for what purpose, do we use
words? Can you define a "password"? What are its usages and advantages ? Does
the army employ passwords ? Why ? What other organizations do so ? In what way
is "Word" used in the third degree ? What is the meaning of "The Lost Word" ?
What is the "due-guard" ? Why
was it invented and taken up by American lodges ? What is the meaning of "an
Americanism" as Mackey employs the term?
In what way are grips and
tokens different from pass words? Can you give any examples of your own use of
these outside the lodge room? When we say we have given a friend "a token of
our esteem" do we use the word in its Masonic sense? Why are Masons entitled
to use secret modes of recognition? Can you give reasons not given in this
VI What is the meaning of
"salutation"? How is it used in general society? Is tipping your hat to a lady
a salutation? Why does a private salute an officer in the army? Give all the
reasons you can think of to explain why the candidate should salute the
Wardens. In what way do they represent the law and authority of the lodge?
VII What is there in the
principles of Masonry that has ever caused it to be the champion of liberty ?
Can you offer examples not given in the paper? Can you tell the story of
Masonry's part in the Revolutionary War ? What great leaders in that day were
Masons? Was LaFayette a Mason? Washington? Franklin ? Where was the Bible
obtained on which Washington took his oath of office ? Can liberty exist in a
monarchy as well as in a democracy ? What is the difference between "freedom"
and "liberty"? Between "liberty" and "independence"? Can a nation be
independent without enjoying liberty? Did Italy secure liberty when she gained
independence from Austria and France? What is a "free thinker"? Are Masons
"free thinkers" ? Why is law necessary to liberty ? What would become of
liberty if laws were destroyed ?
VIII What does law do for us
in our daily life ? Why should a man desire to be free? What are the
advantages of freedom? What are the relations between liberty and authority ?
Are they opposed to each other? Why are Masons bound to uphold the dignity of
law and order? What is meant by "civil skepticism"? Does the habit of speaking
sarcastically of law and of courts help to uphold men's respect for social
order ? What should be a Mason's attitude toward the laws of his own
community? Suppose, as was the case in Italy, that Masonry itself were
declared unlawful, should a Mason under such circumstances oppose the law ? If
so, why ? In what way should such opposition be different from lawlessness ?
Is the desire to substitute a good law for a bad law, lawlessness? How were
the laws of Masonry instituted ? How are they enforced? In what way do they
protect the liberty of each member? Would you say that the Masonic
organization is a constitutionalism or a democracy? What is the difference?
Mackey's Encyclopedia: Sign,
p. 690; Significant Word, p. 691; Sign of Distress, p. 691; Token, p. 789;
Word p. 856. THE BUILDER; Vol. I--Shibboleth, p. 43; The Master's Word, p.
285. Vol. II.--A Grip, p. 57; Masonic Signs, p. 253; Masonry and The
Mysteries, p. 19; The Three Grips, p. 30. Vol. III--Aboriginal Races and
Freemasonry, p. 96; Masonry Among Primitive Peoples, p.39; Modes of
recognition, June C.C.B., p. 2; Secret Societies of Islam, p; 84; Sign, Token
and Word, p. 207. Vol. IV.--Voice of the Sign in this issue.
FIRST STEPS BY BRO. H.L.
PART IX--SIGNS, TOKENS,
WORDS, AND THE RITE OF SALUTATION
I THE USE of signs, grips,
words, tokens, etc., is very ancient and universal. Some historians believe
that a sign language was in use before oral words were invented; whether that
be true or not it is certain that long after language was spoken and written
these secret methods of communication were in common use. The Spartans always
preferred gestures to words; the initiates of the Mysteries were given a very
elaborate system of passwords and grips; the custom is even referred to in the
Bible, as in the case where Ben-Hadad saved his life by making a sign. Both
the Essenes and Pythagoreans communicated with each other by signs. In Rome
whole dramas were produced on the stage by gesture alone by the Pantomimi, who
anticipated the art of the movies. In medieval monastelies the Monks were
frequently taught a sign language "like the alphabet." Brother R. F. Gould,
whose essay on "The Voice of the Sign" is a repository of such examples,
writes that "signs and passwords, I think, we may confidently assume, were
common features of all or clearly all secret societies from the earliest times
to our own."
Strangely enough there is no
documentary evidence to prove that Freemasons used signs earlier than the
seventeenth century but all analogy and all indirect evidence goes to show, of
course, that in common with other secret societies they employed that familiar
means of identification and recognition. Ferguson, in his "History of
Architecture," explains why we may be morally certain that the medieval
founders of our fraternity did make use of words, grips and passwords just as
we continue to do today:
"At a time when writing was
unknown among the laity, and not one Mason in a thousand could either read or
write, it was evidently essential that some expedient should be hit upon, by
which a Mason traveling to his work might claim the assistance and hospitality
of his brother Masons on the road, and by means of which he might take his
rank at once, on reaching the lodge, without going through the tedious
examinations or giving practical proof of his skill."
At one time in Scotland a man
was made a Mason by merely having conferred upon him the "Mason Word": what
that word was we know not, but it was probably something more than a
"password"; among Operative Masons in other countries "the word" seems always
to have been used in the last named sense. We continue to use passwords in our
speculative lodges and also, it should be noted, we have given it a high
symbolic meaning, as may be clearly seen in the legend of the "Lost Word" in
the third degree.
IV "Due Guard," it is
probable, was never used in English lodges but came into use in this country.
Mackey calls it "an Americanism." It is a perpetual reminder of the obligation
and is always used in entering or retiring from a lodge.
V Grips and tokens are signs
of fellowship and recognition which may be used both within and without the
lodge room. How long they have been employed among Masons it is impossible to
know for manifestly their nature and purpose has been such as to make written
records or explanations impossible; but we may feel sure that they have been
used ever since Masonry has been a secret society.
This custom of having secret
modes of recognition among Masons has often been misunderstood among the
profane and sometimes derided, as when a friend remarked to the present
writer, "Masons are like little children with their signs, grips and such
nonsense." Had this man understood the nature and purpose of the fraternity he
would have spoken differently. Words and grips are as necessary as secrecy,
and for the same reasons. Masonry is a world within itself, and Masons are as
a hidden race among men, so that there is nothing more natural than that they
should have a language of their own. Moreover, modes of secret recognition are
always on the side of gentleness and charity for they often enable one brother
to assist another without the injury of self-respect through publicity.
VI After having taken the
obligation and received the words and grips the candidate is a real member of
the lodge according to the corresponding degree. The lodge formally recognizes
this fact by having the candidate conducted to the Wardens and Master who so
greet him; at the same time he is given a drill, as it were, in the use of the
modes of recognition he has just received.
But we are entitled to see
more in the ceremony than this. Like every other act of the candidate it has a
symbolic meaning of great value, if only we look beneath the surface.
Salutation is a two-sided act. The Wardens recognize the candidate as a
brother, the candidate recognizes the Wardens as the authorized
representatives and spokesmen for the lodge. He has now the freedom of the
lodge, but he is not free from the lodge; he holds his rights as a member only
under the Jurisdiction of the laws and masters of the organization of which he
has become a member. Are we not privileged to see in this a fact of large
significance, a fact that helps us to understand the Masonic principles of
VII Masonry has never given
anything to the world more precious than its influences toward liberty, not
only the liberty of thought and faith, but actual political and social
liberty. It worked like a leaven in France at the time of the Revolution; it
was one of the underground forces which made for independence and nationality
in Italy during the times of Mazzini and Cavour; and, as we all know, it was a
prime factor in our own Revolution. Albert Pike was but giving voice to the
Fraternity's achievements in actual history when he wrote that Masonry "is
devoted to the cause of Toleration and Liberality against Fanaticism and
Persecution, political and religious, and to that of Education, Instruction
and Enlightenment against Error, Barbarism and Ignorance.
VIII But to Masonry, and to
all who understand its true nature, liberty
is never freedom from but
freedom in the law. This is nature's way, and law is never saying else, if it
really be law and not mere custom, than e open path along which life walks to
ample power. He that keeps the laws of hygiene enjoys the vigor and liberty of
health; he that keeps step with the seasons and observes the ritualism of
seed-time and harvest will reap the usufruct of the fields; he that thinks in
the rhythm of the fact and evidence is made free of the truth. It is our
loyalty to just laws, whether they be natural, social or political, that sets
us free; it is our keeping the rules of the game that yields us the joy and
spontaneity of the game.
All just civil laws partake
of the same character, for their purpose is to release us from the bondage of
caprice, the dominance of the brutal, and all tyranny, whether it be the
tyranny of a monarch or the majority; it is law that makes it safe for women
and children to go about the streets unprotected; law is the friend and
protector of the human race and guards our property, arbitrates our quarrels,
secures us the fruit of our toil, and, night and day, stands watch above our
lives. Always the best country is that where the head is held high, the heart
is open, the mind free, and men walk in that true liberty which is "inbound in
If there is any danger
lurking in our midst today it is that subtle and insidious civil skepticism
which flouts authority and makes light of order. If these skeptics be rich
they will seek to prostitute the statutes of the land in support of ill-gotten
gains; if they be poor they will seek to fashion laws in order to wrest that
which they desire from those that have; and the anarchists, of whom there are
more in fact than in name, whisper that law is itself is bondage and every
authority a tyrant. Masonry teaches that whatever evils there may be in
present laws can only be remedied by making laws more wise and just, not by
denying the necessity and beneficence of law itself, and that the cure for bad
authority is good authority. It is a significant fact in our ritualism that
the candidate is no sooner released from the cable tow, which is the symbol of
bondage, than he is required to salute the Wardens in recognition of their
THE VOICE OF THE SIGN BY BRO.
ROBERT FREKE GOULD, ENGLAND
IN the "Naturall Historie of
Wiltshire," of which the last chapter was written in 1686, John Aubrey informs
us that the Freemasons were then "known to one another by certayn Signes and
watchwords," and Dr. Plot--writing in the same year-- mentions their "Secret
Signes" as being endowed with so singular an efficacy, that on the communition
of any one of them to a Fellow of the Society, he would be compelled to come
at once "from what company or place soever he was in; nay, tho' from the top
of the Steeple," to know the pleasure of, and to assist his summoner. This
whimsical conceit is thus pleasantly alluded to in a pamphlet of 1723:
"When once a man his arm
forth stretches, It Masons round some distance fetches; Altho' one be on
Paul's great steeple, He strait comes down amongst the people."
In the year last named (1723)
there appeared the first of the long series of Masonic catechisms, or
(so-called) exposures of Masonry, which has come down to us. It is almost
certain that there were earlier versions, but those of 1723 and 1724 styled
respectively "A Mason's Examination" and "The Grand Mystery of Freemasons
Discover'd," both of which are given at length in my history of our Society,
will amply serve to illustrate my purpose, which is to establish that, in the
popular estimation, at least, the gesture language of the Freemasons
constituted no mean portion of the learning of that Fraternity. Of this,
indeed, many other proofs might be afforded, though I cannot pause to cite
them, as I must pass on to my general subject, to which the preceding
observations must be regarded as merely preliminary.
Krause was of the opinion
that the Masons derived their custom of having signs of recognition from the
usage of the Monastic orders, but in truth, the existence of signs can be
traced back to the remotest antiquity, or, in other words, so far into the
past as there is either written history or evidence to guide us.
It is laid down by Warburton
in his famous "Divine Legation," that "in the first ages of the world mutual
converse was upheld by a mixed discourse of words and actions; hence the
Eastern phase of 'The Voice of the Sign,' and use and custom, as in most other
affairs in life, improving what had arisen out of necessity, into ornament,
this practice subsisted long after the necessity was over; especially amongst
the Eastern people, whose natural temperament inclined them to a mode of
conversation, which so well exercised their vivacity, by motion; and so much
gratified it, by a perpetual representation of material images." Of this,
innumerable instances are afforded in the sacred writings, from which we learn
that the prophets of old, by certain actions instructed the people in the will
of God, and conversed with them in signs.
As speech became more
cultivated, this rude manner of speaking by action was smoothed and polished
into an apologue or fable. We have a noble example of this form of instruction
in the speech of Jonathan to the men of Shechem, in which he upbraids their
folly, and foretells their ruin, in choosing Abimelech for their King. This is
not only the oldest, but, according to Warburton, the most beautiful apologue
of antiquity, and the same writer then proceeds to show how nearly the
apologue and instruction by action are related, which he does by instancing
the account of Jeremiah's adventure with the Rechabites--an instruction
partaking of the joint nature of action and apologue.
But it is not only in
Biblical history that we meet with the mode of speaking by action. "Profane
antiquity," says Warburton, "is full of these examples; the early oracles in
particular frequently employed it, as we learn from an old saying of
Heraclitus--that the King, whose oracle is at Delphi, neither speaks nor keeps
silent, but reveals by signs."
The Pythagoreans used certain
conventional symbols, by which members of the Fraternity could recognize each
other, even if they had never met before, and that, in all the Ancient
Mysteries the initiated possessed secret signs of recognition is free from
doubt. In the "Golden Ass" of Apuleius, Lucius, the hero of the story is
initiated into the mysteries of Isis, but finds that it is also expected of
him to be instructed in those "of the Great God, and Supreme Father of Gods,
the invincible Osiris." In a dream he perceives one of the officiating
priests, of whom he thus speaks, "He also walked gently with limping step, the
ankle bone of his left foot being a little bent, in order that he might afford
me some sign by which I might know him." In another work (Apologia), the
author of the "Metamorphosis" says:
"If anyone happens to be
present who has been initiated into the same rites as myself, if he will give
me the sign, he shall then be at liberty to hear what it is that I keep with
so much care."
Plautus, too, alludes to this
custom in one of his plays when he says: "Give me the sign, if you are one of
Chironomia, or the art of
gesticulating, or talking with the hands and by gestures, with or without the
assistance of the voice, was one of very great antiquity, and much practiced
by the Greeks and Romans, both on the stage and in the tribune, induced by
their habit of addressing large assemblies in the open air, where it would
have been impossible for the majority to comprehend what w as said without the
assistance of some conventional signs, which enabled the speaker to address
himself to the eye as well as to the ear of his audience. These were chiefly
made by certain positions of the hands and fingers, the meaning of which was
universally recognized and familiar to all classes, and the practice itself
reduced to a regular system, as it remains at the present time amongst the
populace of Naples, who will carry on a long conversation between themselves
by mere gesticulation, and without pronouncing a word. It is difficult to
illustrate such a matter in an article like this; but the act is frequently
represented on the Greek vases, and other works of ancient art, by signs so
clearly expressed, and so similar in their character to those still employed
at Naples, that a common lazzaroni, when shown one of these compositions, will
at once explain the purport of the action, which a scholar with all his
learning can not divine.
"The Pantomimi of the Romans
combined with the arts of gesture, music and dances of the most impressive
character. Their silent language often drew tears by the pathetic emotions
which they excited: 'their very nod speaks, their hands talk, and their
fingers have a voice,' says one of their admirers. Montfaucon (L'Antiq. Exp.,
v. 63) conjectures that they formed a select fraternity."
To judge by two familiar
anecdotes, the old mimes had brought their art to great perfection. Macrobius
says it was a well-known fact that Cicero used to try with Roscius, the actor,
which of them could express a sentiment in the greatest variety of ways, the
player by mimicry or the orator by speech, and that these experiments gave
Roscius such confidence in his art that he wrote a book comparing oratory with
acting. Warburton tells a story of a certain Asiatic Prince, entertained at
Rome by Augustus, being, among other shows and festivities, amused with a
famous pantomime, whose actions were so expressive that the barbarian begged
him of the Emperor for his interpreter between himself and several neighboring
nations, whose languages were unknown to one another.
The Spartans, indeed, (as we
are told by Herodotus) preferred converse by action to converse by speech,
believing that action had all the clearness of speech, and was free from all
the abuses of it. This historian, in his Thalia, informs us that when the
Samians sent to Lacedemon for succor in distress, their orators made a long
and laboured speech. When it was ended the Spartans told them that the former
part of it they had forgotten, and could not comprehend the latter. Whereupon
the Samian orators produced their empty bread-baskets and said they wanted
bread. "What need of words," replied the Spartans; "do not your empty bread
baskets sufficiently declare your meaning ? "
Of the Essenes, we are told
by Porphyry, that "though meeting for the first time, the members of this sect
at once salute each other as intimate friends"; and Matter informs us that the
Gnostics communicated by means of emblems and symbols.
A symbolic language appears
to have existed in the old monasteries, the signs not being optional, but
transmitted from antiquity, and taught like the alphabet. The Cistercian monks
held speech, except in religious exercises, to be sinful, but for certain
purposes communication among the brethren was necessary, so that the
difficulty was met by the use of pantomimic signs. Two of their written lists
or dictionaries are printed in the collected edition of Liebnitz's works; they
are not identical, but appear to be mostly or altogether derived from a list
drawn up by authority. Disraeli tells us:
"That the Monks had not in
high veneration the profane authors appears by a facetious anecdote. To read
the classics was considered as a very idle recreation, and some held them in
great horror. To distinguish them from other books they invented a disgraceful
sign; when a Monk asked for a pagan author, after making the general sign they
used in their manual and silent language when they wanted a book, he added a
particular one, which consisted in scratching under his ear, as a dog, which
feels an itching, scratches himself in that place with his paw--because, said
they, an unbeliever is compared to a dog. In this manner they expressed an
itching for those dogs Virgil or Horace."
A curious method of
recognition, also relating to the monastic orders, is thus pleasantly narrated
by the same ingenious author: "By the Monks it was imagined that Holiness was
often proportioned to a Saint's filthiness, and one of these heroes declares
that the purest souls are in the dirtiest bodies. On this they tell a story of
a Brother Juniper, who was a gentleman perfectly pious on this principle.
Indeed, so great was his merit in this species of mortification, that a
brother declared that he could always nose Brother Juniper when within a mile
of the monastery provided the wind was at the due point."
Much to the same point are
the remarks of a modern writer in his reference to the habits of the priests
of Diana, who were forbidden to enter the baths, and he observes, "that in all
religions emanating from the East, personal dirtiness has ever been the
recognized outward and visible sign of inward purity--fully exemplified in
fakirs, dervishes, and medieval saints."
I shall next allude to a
semi-monastical Association, the Komoso, which, according to Japanese
tradition, first came into prominent notice at the time of the rise of the
last or Tokugawa dynasty of Shoguns--i. e., in the year 1603. Its history
prior to that date is unknown, but from then down to the year 1868, its
existence was fully recognized.
The Society (or Fraternity)
was filled from the ranks of the Samurai class alone, and entrance into it
proved a means of refuge for any person who had committed a deed of bloodshed,
etc., which rendered it necessary for him to flee away from the territory of
his feudal chieftain. Thus its numbers were recruited chiefly from among those
who had, under the influence of intoxication, or in some other way than of
malice aforethought, killed or wounded a fellow clansman, a friend, or other
person. None, however, was admitted who had been guilty of any disgraceful
crime held to be unworthy of a Samurai--as, for instance, adultery, burglary,
The chief lands of the
Society were situated in the province of Owari, a little to the east of the
castle town of Wagoya, and slightly removed from the high road (Tokaido). Here
was the Honji, or chief temple of the society, but there were also Matsuji, or
branch temples, in different parts of the country. Meetings were held in these
branch temples at various intervals, and troops of Komoso were often to be
seen entering some remote town or village in different localities; but where
or when they met was a profound mystery, and the morrow's dawn saw them
leaving the place as silently as they entered it.
The Society was under the
command of a Chief, elected by the general votes of the members. Under him
were the Assistant Chief, Treasurer, and other officers; all chosen in a
similar manner. The Chief usually resided at the principle temple, and was
invested with wide powers. His style of living and general position are said
to have been equal to those of any Daimio. He had power of life and death over
all his fellows, and was only required to make a report to the Government in
the event of any Komoso being put to death by his orders. The Assistant Chief
might act in his stead whenever such necessity arose.
Anyone desirous of entering
the Society, used to go to the chief temple stating his case, and giving the
reason why he had left his feudal lord's domain. He was then lodged in the
temple while private inquiries were set on foot to ascertain the truth of his
statement; if it was discovered that he had committed some unworthy deed, he
was rejected and dismissed, but if it appeared that his offence of bloodshed
was not premeditated, he was admitted into the Society with all due rites and
ceremonies. What these rites were is unknown, but it is allowed that every
candidate was bound by solemn oath to conceal them.
The distinctive dress of the
Komoso was white, consisting of the loose Japanese Kimono and tight fitting
trousers. The wide trousers and upper mantle usually worn by the samurai class
were never used. They carried but one long sword. The hat was of bamboo, in
shape resembling a large inverted basket of circular form, with a small
aperture to enable the wearer to see freely. This hat was never removed during
a journey; it was worn, too, in lodging houses, and even at meals. When
sleeping, however, the Komoso might take it off, and in the temples of the
Society it could be laid aside at will. A long staff and a flute completed
their equipment, and certain notes blown on the latter formed one of the signs
by which the members could make themselves known to their fellows.
The lands granted to the
Society enabled its members to obtain sufficient means of maintenance. On a
journey they were assisted by other Komoso, and often by outsiders also. If a
Komoso met another person similarly attired, he at once challenged him by
signs, etc., to ascertain if he were a true member of the Society. In case of
failure to respond, such person was deemed to have assumed the garb merely as
a disguise (as was, indeed, often the case), and the true Komoso was then held
to be justified in seizing and confiscating the clothing of the pretender. The
white clothing was in the first instance given to each man by the superior
officers of the Society. The Chief, when traveling, was always attended by a
select band of his followers and their journeys were performed on foot.
No women were admitted into
the Society, and a man desirous of entering it used therefore to leave his
wife and family in the charge of relatives or friends. A son was often
admitted with his father, but boys of tender age were on no account received.
Communication with the outer world was discountenanced, and it was an
exceedingly difficult matter for any uninitiated person to gain access to a
friend who had entered the Society. He was always subjected to rigid
examination at the temple, before various members, ere he could be allowed to
see his friend, and even then the interview was but brief.
Those members who died were
buried in the temple enclosures, whenever this was practicable. The
tombstones, so tradition has it, always bore the true name of the deceased,
and thus, in death, were at last known the actual appellations of those who
during their lifetime, had wandered to and fro, homeless and unknown men. One
of the principal Komoso cemeteries is said to exist even now in the
neighborhood of Nagoya, and another to the east of Kioyoto; the very site,
however, of the latter is well nigh unknown, and it is probable that the
former has shared the fate of the chief temple to which it was originally
I pass over the shadowy and
half-mythical Rosicruicans, the Steinmetzen, the Companionage, and other
Secret Societies and fraternities, all of which may have and probably had
their special signs and modes of salutation and recognition, though we can
only speculate upon their possible existence, without getting much nearer to
what they really were. In a manuscript of the Order of Gregorians, written in
the last century, I find the following:
"The Sign Manual being given
by the Grand, he shall give in charge to the new Brother, that in all these
cases (for fear of discovery) he shd chuse rather to receive than give the
Signs and passwords, I think
we may confidently assume, were common features of all or nearly all secret
societies from the earliest times down to our own.
Boswell tells us:
"The inhabitants of Corsica,
like the Italians, express themselves much by signs. When I asked one of them
if there had been many instances of the General (Paoli) foreseeing future
events, he grasped a large bunch of hair, and replied, 'Tante Signore' (so
Among the aborigines of North
America the language of signs has attained a very high degree of development.
Sir Richard Burton says:
"A remarkable characteristic
of the Prairie Indian is his habit of speaking, like the deaf and dumb, with
his fingers. The pantomime is a system of signs, some conventional, others
instinctive or imitative, which enables tribes who have no acquaintance with
each other's customs and tongues to hold limited but sufficient communication.
An interpreter who knows all the signs which, however, are so numerous and
complicated, that to acquire them is a labour of years, is preferred by the
whites even to a good speaker. Some writers, as Captain Stansbury, consider
the system purely Arbitrary: others, Captain Marcy, for instance, hold it to
be a natural language similar to the gestures which surd-mutes use
spontaneously. Both views are true, but not wholly true."
It is, however, among the
Prairie Indians alone that gesture: speech has arrived at such perfection,
that it may properly be called a language, and this--as we learn from Colonel
Dodge-- for the very sufficient reason that these tribes use it not only in
intercourse with people whose oral language they neither speak nor understand,
but for everyday intercourse among themselves. In their own camps and
families, this language is used so constantly that it becomes a natural and
instinctive habit; almost every man, even when using oral language,
accompanying his words by sign-pictures conveying the same meaning. In this
way wonderful facility and accuracy of expression by signs is attained. Of
this "Indian pantomime," Tylor observes:
"Captain Burton considers it
to be a mixture of natural and conventional signs, but so far as I can judge
from the one hundred and fifty or so which he describes, and those I find
mentioned elsewhere. I do not believe that there is a really arbitrary sign
among them. There are only about half a dozen of which the meaning is not at
once evident, and even these appear on close inspection to be natural signs,
perhaps a little abbreviated or conventionalized. I am sure that a skilled
deaf and dumb talker would understand an Indian interpreter, and be himself
understood at first sight, with scarcely any difficulty. The Indian pantomime
and the gesture language of the deaf and dumb are but different dialects of
the same language of nature."
Within comparatively a few
years the attention of philologists has been particularly directed to the sign
language. Some authorities assert that "all the tribes of North American
Indians have had, and still use, a common and identical sign language of
ancient origin," which serves as a medium of converse from Hudson Bay to the
Gulf of Mexico. Others deny this. To learn it sufficiently well for ordinary
intercourse is no more difficult than to learn any foreign language; to master
it, one must have been born in a lodge of Prairie Indians, and have been
accustomed to its daily and hourly use from his earliest to mature years.
Two expert sign talkers
engaged in conversation will make every sign with one hand so distinctly as to
be understood. Two Indians, each wrapped up in a blanket tightly held with the
left hand, will thrust the right from under its folds and engage in animated
conversation. So also when on horseback, though the left hand is holding the
reins, the conversation will not flag nor be misunderstood.
On the other hand, however, a
slight unintentional gesture may entirely alter the meaning that an amateur
sign talker is desirous of conveying. Thus Baillie Grohman undertook to say to
an Arapahoe: "How has it come to pass that the bravest of the brave, the man
of all men, the dearest friend I have among the Arapahoes, has grown such a
flowing beard?" but only succeeded in informing the gentle savage "that his
face was like a young maiden's, and his heart that of an old squaw."
The Arapahoes, who possess a
very scanty vocabulary, can hardly converse with one another in the dark, and
like the Bushmen of South Africa--who intersperse their language with so many
signs that they are only intelligible during daylight---when they want to
converse at night are compelled to collect round their camp fires.
A story is told by Burton of
a man who, being sent among the Cheyennes to qualify himself for interpreting,
returned in a week and proved his competence. All that he did, however, was to
go through the usual pantomime with a running accompaniment of grunts.
The first lesson is to
distinguish the signs of the different tribes, each of which has not only its
distinctive name, but also its sign, by which it is known and designated by
all other Indians. "It will be observed," says Burton, "that the French
voyageurs and traders have often named the Indian natives from their totemic
or Masonic gestures.
"The Pawnees (Les Loups)
imitate a wolf's ears with the two forefingers; the right hand is always
understood unless otherwise specified.
"The Arapahoes, or Dirty
Noses, rub the right side of that organ with the forefinger. Some, however,
call this bad tribe the Smellers, and make their sign to consist of seizing
the nose with the thumb and forefinger.
"The Comanches (Les Serpents)
imitate by the waving of the hand or forefinger the forward crawling motion of
"The Cheyennes, Paikanavos,
or Cut Wrists, draw the edge of the hand across the left arm, as if gashing it
with a knife.
"The Sioux (Les
Coupes-gorges) by drawing the lower edge of the hand across the throat. It is
a gesture not unknown to us, but forms a truly ominous salutation, considering
those by whom it is practiced: hence the Sioux are called by the Yutas, Pampe
Chyimina, or Hand-Cutters.
"The Hapsaroke (Les Cerbeaux),
by imitating the flapping of the bird's wings with the two hands--palms
downward---brought close to the shoulders.
"The Kiowas, or Prairie-Men,
make the sign of the prairie and of drinking water.
"The Yutas, 'they who live on
the mountains,' have a complicated sign which denotes living in the mountains.
"The Blackfeet, called by the
Yutas, Paike or Goers, pass the right hand bent-spoon fashion, from the heel
to the little toe of the right foot.
Further tribal signs are
given by Dodge, from whose description I take the following:
"The Northern Arapahoes join
the fingers and thumb of the right hand, and strike the points on the left
breast several times.
"The Apaches move the right
hand in much the same way as a barber strops a razor."
Among the miscellaneous signs
may be cited those of "Hat Wearer," by which with apt gestures, the White Man
is referred to, "Beard Wearer," in like manner applied to Mexican, and "Black
White Man" to the Negro.
The sign of love is made by
folding the hands crosswise over the breast, as if embracing the object,
assuming at the same time a look expressing a desire to carry out the
operation. This gesture, Sir Richard Burton assures us, will be understood by
the dullest squaw.
The Indians, observes the
same careful writer, like the Bedouin and North African Moslems, do honour to
strangers and guests by putting their horses to speed, couching their lances,
and other peculiarities, which would readily be dispensed with by gentlemen of
peaceful pursuits and shaky nerves. If friendly, the band will halt when the
hint is given, and return the salute; if not, they will disregard the order to
stop, and probably will make the sign of danger. Then--ware scalp!
"It is asserted by squaw men
and others, in a position to know that almost every tribe of Indians has its
secret societies, which have passwords, grips, and signs, as the Masons. Odd -
Fellows. etc. I have never been able positively to ascertain the truth or
falsity of this statement. Most of the Indians deny it, but from the grim
silence that falls upon an occasional old head-man, when asked about it, I
suspect it may be true."
The existence, among the
Aborigines of North America, of Fraternities bound by mystic ties; and
claiming, like the Freemasons, to possess an esoteric knowledge, is, I
believe, fairly well attested. DeWitt Clinton relates, on the authority of a
respectable native minister, who had received the signs, the existence of-such
a society among the Iroquois. The number of the members was limited to
fifteen, of whom six were to be of the Seneca tribe, five of the Oneidas, two
of the Cayugas, and two of the St. Regis. They claim that this institution has
existed from the era of creation. The late Giles Fonda Yates, in his work on
the ceremonies of the Indian tribes, sought ingeniously, if not
satisfactorily, to discover a Masonic meaning in the Indian mystic rites.
The experiment of bringing
Indians and deaf mutes together has often been tried during visits of Indians
to the East, and they always communicate readily, the signs being, of course,
ideographic. A very wonderful demonstration of the extent of natural meaning
in signs and expression was a test exhibition by President Gallaudet, of the
National Deaf Mute College, at Washington, in which he related intelligibly to
a pupil the story of Brutus ordering the execution of his two sons for
disobedience, without making a motion with hand or arms, or using any
previously determined sign or other communication, but simply by facial
expression and motion of the head.
The best evidence of the
unity of the gesture language (to quote the words of Mr. Tylor), is the ease
and certainty with which any savage from any country can understand and be
understood in a Deaf and Dumb school. A native of Hawaii is taken to an
American institution, and begins at once to talk in signs with the children,
and to tell about his voyage and the country he came from. A Chinese, who had
fallen into a state of melancholy from long want of society, is quite revived
by being taken to the same place, where he can talk in gestures to his heart's
Alexander von Humboldt has
left on record his experiences of the gesture language among the Indians of
"'After you leave my
mission,' said the good monk of Uruana, 'you will travel like mutes.' This
prediction was almost accomplished, and not to lose all the advantage that is
to be had from intercourse even with the brutalized Indians, we have sometimes
preferred the language of signs."
Describing the Puris and
Coroados of Brazil, Spix and Martius, having remarked that different tribes
converse in signs, and explained the difficulty they found in making them
understand by signs the objects or ideas for which they wanted the native
names, go on to say how imperfect and devoid of inflection or construction
these languages are. Signs with hand or mouth, they say, are required to make
them intelligible. To say, "I will go into the wood," the Indian uses the
words "wood-go,' and points his mouth like a snout in the direction he means.
Gesture-signs are mentioned
by Captain Cook as forming an accompaniment to spoken language among the
Tahitians, who, he says, "joined signs to their words, which were so
impressive that a stranger might easily apprehend their meaning.
Mr. W. Simson, in his
"History of the Gipsies," says: "Not only have they had a language peculiar to
themselves, but signs as exclusively theirs as are those of the Freemasons.
The distinction consists in this people having blood, language, a cast of
mind, and signs, peculiar to itself."
Mr. Laurence Oliphant tells
us, "The Druses have secret signs of recognition, and are in fact organized as
a powerful political, as well as secret society," and the same writer goes on
to say, "among the Ansariyeh there are two classes, as among the Druses--the
initiated and uninitiated,"--but the curious reader who may wish to pursue the
inquiry is referred to the account of the "Ansaireeh or Nusairis of Syria,"
given in the "Asian Mystery," by the Rev. Samuel Lyde.
Of the Todas of the
Neilgherries, Sir Richard Burton says, "A Brother Mason informs us that the
Todas use a sign of recognition similar to ours, and they have discovered that
Europeans have an institution corresponding with their own." Yet as the great
traveler goes on to say, "but in our humble opinion, next to the antiquary in
simplicity of mind, capacity of belief; and capability of assertion, ranks the
Freemason - it will but, perhaps, not to lay too much stress on the alleged
similarity between customs that after all may, and probably do not, possess a
single feature in common."
Mr. Wilfrid Powell, who
passed three years of his life among the Cannibals of New Britain, thus
describes the Duk-duk Society of that island: "The Duk-duk is both a curse and
a blessing his people; he certainly keeps order and makes the natives raid to
commit any flagrant act of felony, but at the same time it encourages
cannibalism and terrorism
"There are secret signs
between the initiated by which they know each other from outsiders. It is
curious how widely distributed is this Duk-duk system in the north peninsula
of New Britain. It is in nearly every district, also in New Ireland, from the
west coast lying south of the Rossel mountains to Cape St. George, and how far
it may spread on the other side I cannot tell."
Dr. Milligan, speaking of the
language of Tasmania, the habit of gesticulation, and the use of signs to eke
out monosyllabic expressions, says that the Aborigines conveyed in a
supplementary fashion by tone, manner and gesture, many modifications of
meaning, which are otherwise expressed by ourselves.
With regard to the practice
of uncovering the feet, Tylor says, when we find the Damaras, in South Africa,
taking off their sandals before entering a stranger's house, the idea of
conducting the practice with the Ancient Egyptian custom, or of ascribing it
to Moslem influence, at once suggests itself, but the king off the sandals as
a sign of respect seems to have prevailed in Peru. No common Indian, it is
said, dared go shod along the Street of the Sun, nor might anyone, however
great lord he might be, enter the house of the Sun with his shoes on, and even
the Inca himself went barefoot into the Temple of the Sun.
The custom (or as called by
some Masonic authors, the rite) of discalceation--i. e., the act of putting
off the shoes as a sign reverence, is frequently referred to in the sacred
writings, and Dr. Adam Clarke considered the custom of worshipping the Deity
barfooted to have been so general among all nations of antiquity, that in his
commentary on Exodus he assigns it as one of his thirteen proofs that the
whole human race have been derived from one family.
The lowest class of
salutation, says Tyler, which merely aim at giving pleasant bodily sensations,
merge into the civilities which we see exchanged among the lower animals. Such
are patting, stroking, kissing, pressing noses, blowing, sniffing, and so
forth. The often-described sign of pleasure or greeting of the Indians of
North America, by rubbing each other's arms, breasts and stomachs, and their
own, is similar to the Central African custom of two men clasping each other's
arms with both hands, and rubbing them up and down, and that of stroking one's
own face with another's hand or foot, in Polynesia; and the pattings and
slappings of the Fuegians belong to the same class. Darwin describes the way
in which noses are pressed in New Zealand, with details which have escaped
less accurate observers. It is curious that the Linnaeus found the salutation
by touching loses in the Lapland Alps. People did not kiss, but put noses
together. The Andaman Islanders salute by blowing into another's hand with a
cooing murmer. Charlevoix speaks of an Indian tribe in the Gulf of Mexico who
blew into one another's ears; and Du Chaillu describes himself as having been
blown upon in Africa. Natural experiences of joy, such as clapping hands in
Africa, and jumping up and down in Tierra del Fuego, are made do duty as signs
of friendship or greeting.
There are a number of well
known gestures which are hard to explain. Such are various signs of hatred and
contempt--for example, lolling out the tongue, which is a universal sign,
though it is not clear why it should be so, biting the thumb, making the sign
of the stork's bill behind another's back (ciconiam facere), and the sign
known as "taking a sight," which was as common at the time of Rabelais as it
Shaking hands, it may be
observed, is not a custom which belongs naturally to all mankind, and we may
sometimes trace its introduction into countries where it was before unknown.
The Fijians, for instance, who used to salute by smelling or sniffing at one
another, have learned to shake hands from the missionaries. The Wa-nika, near
Mombaz, grasp hands, but they use the Moslem variety of the gesture, which is
to press the thumbs against one another as well, and this makes it all but
certain that the practice is one of the many effects of Moslem influence in
Tylor lays down that
gesture-language is a natural mode of expression common to mankind in general
and also that it is the same in principle and similar in its details all over
the world. "It is true," he remarks, "that the signs used in different places
and by different persons are only partially the same; but it must be
remembered that the same idea may be expressed in signs in very many ways, and
that it is not necessary that all should choose the same."
The "universelle longage of
Maconnes" is named in the Leland-Locke MS. as being among those secrets which
"the Maconnes concele aud hyde." This document has of late years been given up
as apocryphal, though it exercised no slight influence in its time. The
original was said to have been in the handwriting of King Henry VI., the copy
to have been made by John Leland, the antiquary, and the annotations to have
been the work of John Locke the philosopher.
In his alleged commentary
Locke is made to say: "An Universal language has been much desired by the
learned of many ages. It is a thing rather to be wished than hoped for." It is
evident, however, says Mackey, "that such a substitute for a universal
language has always existed among mankind. There are certain expressions of
ideas which, by an implied common consent, are familiar even to the most
barbarous tribes. An extension forward of the open hands will be understood at
once by an Australian savage or an American Indian as a gesture betokening
peace, while the idea of war or dislike would be as readily conveyed to either
of them by a repulsive gesture of the same hands." "These are not, however,"
continues the same careful writer, "what constitute the signs of Masonry." The
words last cited are worthy of remembrance, and may aid in dispelling many an
illusion. The crop of "traveller's tales" increases year by year, wherein as a
common feature, appear either the manifestation of the recognition of Masonic
signs by Arabs of the desert, native Australians, Bushmen, Afghans, and the
like. In the expressive pantomime of the gesture language an Indian, it has
been said, will by his signs, "talk all over," his whole body being made use
of to convey a message, but in all cases of the kind whatever resemblances may
appear to exist with our Masonic customs, will, in the vast majority of cases,
be fortuitous only, and fall within the doctrine of "chance coincidences" a
phrase very happily coined by Mr. Hyde Clarke in 1864.
THE TRIANGLE OF THE WORLD
MASONRY--the thread of
finest, purest gold
That is woven from the loom
of ages old
Has lived to see its
FRATERNITY--the Truth worked
out in man,
The only thing that has or
Bring to him peace and wars
DEMOCRACY--with love upon its
The fruitage of the seed that
has been sown
Will make the world a
sweeter, better home.
--Bro. L. B. Mitchell,
By wisdom wealth is won!
But riches purchased wisdom
yet for none.
Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
A word hurts more than a
BY BRO. DR. G. ALFRED
LAWRENCE, NEW YORK
"Neither in ancient nor in
modern time, has the schoolmaster made single step of progress, except by
holding on to the skirts of the soldier's coat. Regular armies gave the first
check to the barbarism of the Middle Ages, and it was under their protection
alone that arts, science, commerce and industry grew up and extended in
Europe." --Major Gen. J. Mitchell.
THE above statement of Major
Gen. Mitchell we believe is applicable to the role of Military Lodges in the
general diffusion of Masonry throughout the world. No other single factor has
been so potent and far-reaching. The flower of royalty, nobility, members of
the military and naval establishment, statesmen, men of letters and of the
liberal arts and professions of practically every civilized nation of the
earth have identified themselves with Masonry and many although not by
profession military or naval officers have at some period been identified with
the service and gained their first knowledge of the craft through Military
Lodges. A mere enumeration of the host of distinguished Masons in this class
would occupy many pages. Such men as Lord Nelson of Trafalgar, our own
immortal Commander-in-Chief, George Washington (and practically all of his
generals), Field Marshals Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener, and Sir Charles
Warren (first Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge of London), are striking
There were no less than
sixteen Military officers upon the membership roll of Lodge No. 4, which with
numbers 1, 2 and 3 founded the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Shortly after
this, in 1728, the first purely Military Lodge (of which there is any distinct
record) was established at Gibraltar and originally numbered 57 on the lists.
This was constituted by the Duke of Wharton while engaged in the Spanish
service and was thus also the first lodge in foreign parts to obtain a place
in the Grand Lodge of England.
In 1734 another Duke,
(Richmond), a gallant soldier and former Grand Master of England, assisted by
Baron de Montesquieu and others, at Paris, admitted many distinguished persons
into the Society of Freemasons and in the following year (1735) Desaguliers,
formerly Grand Master of England, while at the Hotel Bussy in Paris, admitted
into Masonry the Second Duke of Kingston (also a general) assisted by Lord
Dursley (afterwards Fourth Earl of Berkeley and a General in the Army.)
The Grand Lodge of York
(established in 1725, reconstructed in 1761, and expiring about 1792) issued a
Military Warrant to the Sixth Inniskilling Regiment of Dragoons in 1770.
The junior Grand Lodge of
England (established in 1751) which arrogated to itself the title "Ancients"
established many Military Lodges and was even more active in this respect,
especially in regions beyond the seas, than the parent Grand Lodge of England
established in 1717 and anomalously styled "Moderns" by these self-designated
"Ancients." This junior Grand Lodge of England was also designated as the "Atholl
Grand Lodge" from the Fourth Duke of Atholl who was Grand Master of same from
1775 to 1781 and Grand Master of Scotland during 1778 and 1779.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland
established in 1731 was also very active in establishing Military Lodges and
always worked according to the system in vogue among the so-called "Ancients."
The first warrant creating a travelling lodge of Freemasons by this Grand
Lodge--to which No. 11 was subsequently assigned--was issued to the First Foot
(then the "Royal Regiment" and now the "Royal Scots") a British Regiment, in
the year 1732.
The Grand Lodge of Scotland,
established in 1736, did not erect a Military Lodge until 1743 when William,
the Fourth Earl of Kilmarnook, was Grand Master. The petitioners were some
sergeants and sentinels belonging to Col. Lee's (afterwards the 55th) Regiment
of Foot. This lodge had no place accorded to it in the official roll however
so that the following lodge in another regiment of infantry is recorded as the
earliest Military Lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. This latter
was "The Duke of Norfolk's" in the 12th Foot and was placed on the Scottish
roll as No. 58 in 1747 and in their petition they averred that "The Duke of
Norfolk's Masons Lodge" had been "erected into a Mason body bearing the title
aforesaid, as far back as 1685."
It is a matter of interest to
note here that John Young, Deputy Grand Master of Scotland and a Lieutenant
Colonel at the capitulation and massacre at Fort William Henry in 1757 was in
this latter year appointed Provincial Grand Master of all the Scottish lodges
(mostly of a Military character) in America and the West Indies.
In addition to Military
Lodges established by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, "Mother Kilwinning" issued
warrants directly to many Military Lodges and was recognized as their superior
and entirely independent of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. In 1747 there was a
Military Lodge in the 2nd Dragoons (now the Royal Scots Grays), the exact date
of its constitution is uncertain but the interesting point is that it obtained
its warrant from Kilwinning through the influence of the Earl of Eglinton.
All these bodies issued many
other warrants in addition to the above. The Grand Lodge of Ireland shortly
after 1732 issued warrants to Military Lodges in four other British Regiments,
then bearing the names of their Colonels but which afterwards became the 33rd,
27th, 21st and 28th Foot--making a total of five at work under this
jurisdiction in 1734 and this number had increased to eight when the first
Military Warrant was issued by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1743. Two of
these eight, dated 1732 and 1734 and bearing the numbers 11 and 33 were
attached to the 1st and 21st Foot respectively--both Scottish Regiments. There
were other Military Lodges in existence in Scotland other than those above
enumerated as early as 1744 as the minutes of "St. John's Old Kilwinning" at
Inverness records the visit of "David Holland, Master of the Lodge of
Freemasons in Brigadier Guize's Regiment," afterwards the 6th Foot, then
"lying at Fort George." This lodge seems to have been without any charter or
warrant but the lost archives of the Grand Lodge of Ireland might have
supplied a key to the mystery and undoubtedly there must have been many Irish
Military Lodges in the British Army and elsewhere of which all traces have
been lost. There were actually 39 Military Lodges on the registry of the Grand
Lodge of Ireland and 5 on that of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, so far as the
records show, when the earliest Military Lodges were established by the rival
Grand Bodies of England.
A Military Lodge was
established in the 8th Foot by the "Moderns" in February, 1755, and one in the
57th Foot of the "Ancients" in September of the same year and as many more
constituted by both Bodies from this time forward.
Abraham Savage who was
authorized by the Provincial Grand Master of North America under the "Moderns"
"to congregate all Free and Accepted Masons in the Expedition against Canada
into one or more lodges" admitted into Masonry at Crown Point (after the
surrender of that fortified place) twelve officers of the 1st Foot in a lodge
he had established there and of which he was Master in 1759.
Later in the same year at
Quebec "the Anniversary of St. John the Evangelist was duly observed by the
several lodges of Freemasons in the garrison."
On October 1st, 1766, the
14th, 29th and part of the 69th Regiments arrived at Boston, Mass., and a
little later the 64th and 65th Foot direct from Ireland and the three Military
Lodges in the above all worked under the "Ancient system"--No. 58 in the 14th
Foot, No. 322 in the 29th Foot and No. 106 in the 64th Foot--holding under the
Grand Lodges of England ("Ancients"), Ireland and Scotland respectively. The
members of St. Andrews, a Scottish lodge at Boston, fraternized with these
visiting Military brethren and endeavored through this means to form a Grand
Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It is interesting to note that none
of these Army lodges were represented at the installation of the Provincial
Grand Master under England ("Moderns") in November, 1768, but all joined in a
petition to the Grand Lodge of Scotland requesting the appointment of a "Grand
Master of 'Ancient' Masons in America." In 1769 Dr. Joseph Warren was
appointed "Grand Master of Masons in Boston and within 100 miles of the same."
The 64th regiment having removed from this station in the meantime, the Grand
Lodge was formerly inaugurated by St. Andrew's Lodge, Lodge No. 58
("Ancients") in the 14th Foot and Lodge No. 322 (Ireland) in the 29th Foot. By
a further Scottish patent in 1772 Dr. Joseph Warren (afterwards killed at the
battle of Bunker Hill, where although holding a commission as Major-General he
fought as a volunteer) was appointed Grand Master for the Continent of
America--this patent being granted by the Fifth Earl of Dumfries, Grand Master
of Scotland, 1771-1772 and a Colonel of the Foot Guards. It is of interest to
note here that of the 27 Grand Masters of Scotland prior to 1769, 14 held
commissions in the army.
Under General Oughton in 1770
the Lodge "Scots Grays of Kilwinning" in the 2nd or Royal North British
Dragoons, having lost their charter and all their records in the wars,
petitioned for a warrant from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which was granted,
and the lodge reconstituted March 12th, 1770, as "St. Andrew's Royal Arch"
having as its Master Colonel William (afterwards Sixth Lord) Napier, then in
command of the 2nd Dragoons.
The Earl of Ancrum,
afterwards Fifth Marquis of Lothian and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of
Scotland in 1794-95 served for many years in his father's regiment (the 11th
Dragoons) in which a lodge was established by the Grand Lodge of England
("Moderns") "in Captain Bell's troop." In this troop he held a commission as
Lieutenant in 1756 and attained the rank of General in the army in 1796.
Of great interest is the fact
that the "Ancients" and field lodges in New York met as a Grand Lodge and
elected Grand Officers on January 23, 1781, and a warrant for a Provincial
Grand Lodge was granted by the Grand Lodge of England ("Ancients") September
5th, 1781. This Provincial Grand Lodge was duly inaugurated by three
stationary and six ambulatory lodges in December, 1782. The stationary lodges
were numbers 169, 210 and 212 on the rolls of the "Ancients"--the first
acknowledged as the leading authority by the various Army lodges and the
latter two were also to a great extent Military Bodies. Of the six Travelling
or Military Lodges, No. 52 was attached to the 37th Foot, No. 213 to the 4th
Battalion Royal Artillery and No. 215 to the Anspach-Bayrueth Regiment--all
three English ("Ancient"); No 132 attached to the 22nd Foot, Scottish- No. 441
to the 38th Foot, Irish; and Sions Lodge in the 57th Regiment holding under a
dispensation granted by Lodge No. 210 ("Ancients") with the consent and
approval of No. 132 "Moriah" in the 22nd Foot and No. 134 Eskdale Kilwinning
at Langholm in Dumfriesshire. In the following year (1783) a majority of the
Grand Officers left New York with the British Army and by that date lodges had
been formed by this Provincial Grand Lodge in New Jersey Volunteers, the
Regiment of Knyphansen, the 57th Foot and the Loyal American Regiment. During
this same period two Irish Lodges, Nos. 478 in the 17th Dragoons and No. 90 in
the 30th Foot, arrayed themselves under its banner. After the Revolutionary
War this Grand Body thus established by British Military Lodges abandoned its
provincial character and assumed the title of the Grand Lodge of New York. The
above mentioned No. 132, "Moriah" in the 22nd Foot originally received an
Irish warrant which it "lost in the Mississippi" about the year 1759 and next
applied for this Scottish warrant No. 132. This latter was granted in 1769.
After taking part in the formation of the Grand Lodge of New York as just
described, it experienced a most remarkable incident if the following
statement which appeared in the "Newcastle Courant" of January 4th, 1770, can
be credited: "This is to acquaint the public that on Monday, the first inst.,
being the lodge (or monthly meeting) night of the Free and Accepted Masons of
the 22nd Regiment, held at the Crown near Newgate (Newcastle) Mrs. Bell, the
landlady of the house, broke open a door (with a poker) that had not been
opened for some years past, by which means she got into an adjacent room, made
two holes through the wall, and by that stratagem discovered the secrets of
Masonry; and she knowing herself to be the first woman in the world who ever
found out that secret is willing to make it known to all her sex. So any lady
who is desirous of learning the secrets of Masonry by applying to that
well-learned woman (Mrs. Bell, that lived fifteen years in and about Newgate)
may be instructed in the secrets of Masonry."
Military Lodges continued to
increase in number and importance so that up to 1790 one hundred are recorded
as having been established by the Grand Lodge of Ireland (and doubtless many
others of which the records are now lost), twenty-one by the Grand Lodge of
Scotland, and fortynine directly by the "Ancients," in addition to a large
number of subsidiary lodges chartered by the provincial authorities under this
"Ancient" system in America, Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, Gibraltar
and Jamaica, including various Regimental lodges. To a more restricted extent
the "Moderns" also issued local warrants in foreign districts and up to the
above date fourteen Regimental lodges were listed. There were also about
fourteen Army lodges attached to various brigades in Bengal in addition to
many other stationary lodges of a Military character in all three of the
Indian Presidencies, especially on the coast of Coromandel. In addition to the
above there were "Royal Navy" Lodges at Deal, Gosport, London, and Halifax; a
Marine Lodge at Plymouth; "The Royal Military" at Woolwich; "Lodge of Mars" at
Yassy in Russia (established by the "Moderns" in 1784); "Carnatic Military
Lodge" constituted at Arcot in 1784; and "St. John's Lodge of Secrecy and
Harmony" (in the Order of Knights of St. John) at Malta, established in 1789.
Two years later in 1792 there were eleven Military Lodges at Gibraltar, one
Scottish, six Irish and three English ("Ancients") and one Provincial--in as
many different regiments then stationed there.
On St. John's Day, 1813, the
"Ancients" and "Moderns" united to form the "United Grand Lodge of England,"
of which the Duke of Sussex became the first Grand Master and by this action
the 116 Military Lodges established by the "Ancients" and the 25 established
by the "Moderns" came under the allegiance of this newly formed Grand Body.
The number of Irish lodges had increased to 190 and the Scottish to 21 making
a grand total of 352 Military or Regimental lodges created to this date. Many
of these had become dormant however so that only 219 were actually carrying on
After the battle of Waterloo
(1815) the decline in Military Lodges owing to the reduction of the British
Army to a peace footing was very rapid so that in 1822 only about thirty
Irish, 25 English and 2 Scottish lodges were chartered--57 in all-- thus
making a total of 409 Ambulatory lodges known to have been constituted by the
Grand Lodges of the British Isles. In addition to the above there were no less
than forty "Regimental," "Military," or "Army" lodges and several bearing the
title of "Royal Navy" or "Marine" warranted by the English provincial
authorities abroad and which were never registered in the books of any of the
Grand Lodges. The last Travelling (Military) lodge in the Scottish Roll was
"cut off" in 1860. In 1886 there were only fifteen such bodies working under
the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland and by 1889 these were still further
reduced to eight of which six were Irish and two English. It is of interest to
note here that the famous English Masonic Historian, Robert Freke Gould, was
the first Master of the Military Lodge, established in 1858 in the 31st Foot
and which continued in existence for over thirty years. Among others who made
Masonic History prior to this may be mentioned Edward Augustus, Duke of York,
and brother of King George III, who was the first member of the English Royal
family in the Naval service to become a Mason. He was initiated in 1765 at
Berlin in a lodge, which as a result of this event, assumed the title "Royal
York of Friendship" and is now the Grand Lodge of that name. Three years prior
to this Washington Shirley, Earl Ferrers, became Grand Master of England,
1762-1763, while a Captain in the Naval service (promoted to Rear-Admiral in
The Lord High Admiral, the
Duke of Clarence, afterwards King William IV of Great Britain; Sir John Ross,
the famous Arctic Navigator; Sir William Sidney Smith, who vainly endeavored
to effect a reunion of the Knights of all the European Orders and succeeded to
the Regency of the Knights Templar of France in 1838- General Sir James Outram
(the Bayard of India), Sir Henry Keppel, Senior Admiral of the Fleet, and
several of the Dukes of Wellington were famous in Naval and Military Masonry.
It is not generally known
that the celebrated Roman Historian, Edward Gibbon, was at one time a
Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army and made a Mason in the "Lodge of
Friendship" in 1775 and Sir Walter Scott held a commission in the Royal
Midlothian Cavalry in 1797 and became a member of the "Lodge of St. David"
Edinburgh in 1801.
Desaguliers, son of the famous Grand Master of that name, joined a Military
Lodge in the Royal Artillery and to his influence and example is attributed
the extraordinary prevalence of Military Lodges in this branch of the service
during the latter half of the eighteenth century.
Our own famous naval hero,
Paul Jones, our ambassador to France at a critical Military period, Benjamin
Franklin (also Colonel of a regiment in 1755), the famous Voltaire, and many
other Military and Naval brethren were members of the "Lodge of the Nine
Muses" at Paris.
Field Marshal Viscount
Wolseley was initiated in Military Lodge No. 728, Dublin, in 1851, served as
its Master, and with Field Marshals, Earl, Roberts and Kitchener was one of
the Past Grand Wardens of the Grand Lodge of England.
Illustrative of the many
ramifications of the Military Lodge system a zealous Master of Royal Military
Lodge No. 371, Captain George Smith, while Inspector of the Royal Military
Academy at Woolwich and Provincial Grand Master for Kent, found some Master
Masons confined in the Kings Bench Prison. He adjourned his lodge, with the
Constitution, to said prison and there held a meeting and made Masons. This
was brought to the attention of the Grand Lodge which very properly ruled
"that in the opinion of the Grand Lodge it is inconsistent with the principles
of Masonry that any Freemasons lodge can be regularly held for the purpose of
making, passing, or raising Masons in any prison or place of confinement."
Whereupon this Royal Military Lodge No. 371 was erased from the list and still
later this Capt. Smith, who had committed a still graver misdemeanor, was
expelled from the Society.
A still more unique
experience was that of the American adventurer, General William Augustus
Bowles, who joined the British Army in 1776 and in 1791 was initiated in the
"Prince of Wales Lodge" and subsequently made "Provincial Grand Master" of the
Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians under the Grand Lodge of
These Military Lodges
wherever located, as a rule, worked harmoniously with, and exchanged Masonic
courtesies with the stationary lodges of the vicinity and of interest in this
connection is the fact that in 1759 when members of Lodge No. 74 in the 2nd
Battalion of the First Foot left Albany, N. Y., they granted an exact copy of
their Irish warrant to some influential citizens of that city, who in 1765
changed it for a Provincial charter and this lodge, "Mount Vernon," now holds
the third place on the roll in New York State. A still earlier patent--in fact
the first Military Warrant ever issued--had been previously granted to the
First Battalion of this same regiment and the lodge (Irish) never took a name
and was only known by its number (No. 11). In 1814 this latter Battalion
together with the Fourth Battalion having "Royal Thistle Lodge No. 289"
(Scottish) was stationed at Quebec. A third lodge "Unity, Peace and Concord,
No. 316" was established in this same First Foot (now Royal Scots) and in the
2nd Battalion. This latter lodge attained the longest span of uninterrupted
existence of any Army lodge, receiving its warrant in 1798 and renewed in 1808
when this Battalion was serving on the Coast of Coromandal "to some 'privates'
stationed at Wallahjabad." These petitioners, however, were not all private
soldiers but included a large number of non-commissioned officers. In the
following year (1809) the officers of this 2nd Battalion asked permission to
form a second lodge in the same corps to be styled "The Officers Lodge." The
result of this petition was not recorded but there are numerous examples in
India and elsewhere of lodges formed in Regiments, the membership of which was
restricted to commissioned officers. This lodge "Unity, Peace and Concord No.
316" undoubtedly was No. 74 originally granted by the Grand Lodge of Ireland
in 1737 and although cancelled in 1801 would almost certainly have been
renewed. This famous lodge is working today in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots
on the western battle front in France under the designation "Unity, Peace and
Concord, No. 316."
"The Military Lodge of the
Duke of Norfolk" in the 12th Foot was among those that walked in the
procession at the laying of the Foundation Stone of the North Bridge with
Masonic honors at Edinburgh in 1762.
A Military Lodge in the 25th,
now the "King's Own Borderers" obtained an Irish warrant in 1749 and the
minutes of an existing "Border Lodge" (which they evidently visited) is the
only record that the lodge chest of this regiment was lost at Munster,
Germany, and a new one was "consecrated" at Berwick in December, 1763.
At the first recorded meeting
of the Royal Arch Lodge "St. Andrews" in Boston in the month of August 1769,
foreign soldiers were chosen as the first officers of the lodge and William
Davis of No. 68 ("Ancients") in the 14th Foot received "four steps" described
as those of "Excellent, Super-Excellent, Royal Arch and Knight Templar."
About this same time "Royal
Arch Lodge No. 3" of Philadelphia was in close communication with No. 351
(Irish) in the 18th Regiment and these two bodies were in the habit of lending
their Royal Arch furniture to one another.
Some of these Military Lodges
later became stationary as "Fuzilier Lodge No. 33" originally chartered 1734,
later lapsed and their warrant renewed in 1817 in the Royal North British
Fuziliers and accompanied that regiment to Tasmania, where it was granted a
civil warrant with the old name and number and became the first stationary
lodge in that Colony in 1823.
There was much rivalry at
times between the "Ancients" and "Moderns." At Gibraltar, for instance, there
were various Military Lodges and No. 148 in the Royal Artillery wrote to the
Junior Grand Lodge of England "Ancients" stating "that a set of people who had
their authority from the 'Modern' Grand Lodge thought proper to dispute the
legality of said warrant, No. 148; that in the said garrison there were also
held Lodges 11, 244, 290, 359, 420 and 466 (in 1st, 2nd, 39th, 56th, 76th, and
58th Foot respectively) on the registry of Ireland and No. 58 (12th Regiment)
in the Registry of Scotland." Captain Murray, R. N. for services rendered to
No. 148 "in proving the authenticity of their warrant" was awarded a gold
medal by the "Ancient" Grand Lodge in 1777. Later in 1786 the Provincial Grand
Lodge of Andalusia which had been under the jurisdiction of the "Moderns" for
over twenty years applied for a warrant under the "Ancients" and refused to
act any longer under the former, although the Duke of Cumberland was said to
be Grand Master of the "Moderns."
There was a similar rivalry
between the "Ancients and Moderns" on the coast of Coromandal, India, in 1786.
Intimate social relations, however, were often maintained by these Military
Lodges with the stationary lodges in the community where they might be
stationed and it is recorded that members of No. 960 in the 2nd Dragoon Guards
"in token of respect for their uniform Masonic conduct during their stay in
Norwich were fraternally entertained by the Lodge of Eleusinian Mysteries at
that city in 1825." On St. John's Day (winter of 1838) a Masonic ball was
given by the "Cameronian Lodge" No. 26 at Calcutta to which visiting
(Military) brethren were freely invited. In the same year at a meeting of No.
7 in the 7th Dragoon Guards, then stationed at Edinburgh, deputations from
nearly all the lodges in that Metropolis were present. Later in July, 1844,
No. 26 returned from India and while quartered in Edinburgh assisted in laying
a foundation stone, officially recorded as follows: "Amongst the numerous
lodges in attendance was that of the 26th or Cameronian Regiment, in the
Registry of Ireland, which being a visiting stranger lodge, under the rule of
a Sister Grand Lodge was placed near the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
Coming to the period of the
Seven Years War (1756-1763) by Frederick the Great in alliance with England
against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden, Saxony and most of the smaller German
States, at the famous battle of Minden, fought on August 1st, 1759, so
numerous had become Military Lodges that every regiment of English Infantry
engaged (with the possible exception of the 51st) had one or more Military
Lodges in the same. These were the 12th, 20th, 23rd, 25th and 37th and lodges
were known to have also been attached to the troops of the other countries
About this time on the
Continent the Rite or System called the "Strict Observance" was in vogue based
on the fiction that at the time of the destruction of the Templars a certain
number of the Knights took refuge in Scotland and thus preserved the due
succession of the order by the election of Pierre d'Aumont as Grand Master of
the Templars in Scotland in 1313. For various reasons these Knights were said
to have joined the Gilds of Masons in the Kingdom and thus arose the Society
of Freemasons. The great doctrine laid down for the followers of this Rite was
"that every true Mason is a Knight Templar." Thus lodges in British Regiments
constantly worked side by side with lodges under the Strict Observance which
for twenty years at least pervaded all Continental Europe. The many Masons
taken by both sides fraternized with their captors and thus lodges composed of
such prisoners of war sprang into existence and the degree of Knight Templar
became a favorite one in the lodges of the British Army. They must have
derived their knowledge of this degree from associating with lodges and
brethren under the "Strict Observance" and thereby finally introduced the same
into England and America. It was due to intercourse with brethren belonging to
regiments that served in Ireland toward the end of the eighteenth century that
Scottish lodges actually owed their acquaintance with Knight Templarism. It
was known as "Black Masonry" and was propagated to a large extent through
charters issued by a lodge of Freemasons at Dublin, which had been constituted
by "Mother Kilwinning" for the practice of Craft degrees. This action of the
daughter lodge led to the belief in Kilwinning being a centre of so-called
"High Degrees" and in 1813 application was made to Kilwinning Lodge
requesting it to authorize the transfer of a "Black Warrant" from the Knights
of the Temple and of Malta in the Westmeath Militia (holding Irish warrant No.
791 cancelled in 1826) to brethren-of the same degree serving in the
Shropshire Militia (holding an English warrant and made civil and stationary
in 1820 and now authorized to assemble as Masons of the "Salopian Lodge of
Charity" at Shrewsbury). Kilwinning Lodge in reply to the Sir Knights of this
Shropshire regiment, however, repudiated the existence of any maternal tie
between herself and any Society of Masonic Knighthood and expressed her
inability-to regard anything as Masonry beyond the three regular steps. It is
thus probable that all degrees above the first three obtained a footing in the
British Islands through the medium of Army lodges. In Scotland these
additional degrees were first conferred by the lodges and afterwards more
often in Encampments. A Lodge "Aboyne" was formed in the Aberdeen Militia in
1799 and an Encampment in 1812 and moved with the regiment to Dover in 1812,
Liverpool 1813, London 1814 and returned to Aberdeen in 1815. In this latter
year the degrees practiced in this "St. George Aboyne Enampment" were arranged
in seven groups: 1. Master past the Chair, Excellent and Super-Excellent,
Royal Arch; 2. Ark, Black Mark, Link and Chain; 3. Knight Templar, Knight of
St. John of Jerusalem, Mediterranean Pass, Knight of Malta; 4. Jordan Pass,
Babylon Pass; 5. Knight of the Red Cross, 6. High Priest; and 7. Prussian
Blue. Both Master Masons and Royal Arch Masons were received as candidates and
if former they began with Group 1 and if latter with Group 2. When the degrees
of Group 1 were conferred the meeting was called a Chapter and for the
remainder an Encampment. In the "Moderns" the only degrees worked (with
official sanction) down to 1813 were the first three but by the "Union of
1813" the Royal Arch and Installed Master's degrees were accepted as additions
to "pure and ancient Masonry bequeathed to them in 1717." In the "Ancients,"
however, prior to 1813, both the Royal Arch and installed Master's degrees
were essential features of their system. The practice of conferring the higher
degrees under warrant for the first three degrees is shown by the following
letter received from the Deputy Grand Secretary by the Irish lodge "No. 441"
in the 38th Foot in 1822: "There is not any warrant issued by any Grand Lodge
of Ireland other than that you hold; it has therefore always been the practice
of Irish lodges to confer the Higher Degrees under that authority." "Minden
Lodge No. 63" of the 20th Regiment continued the work of the Royal Arch under
its original (Craft) warrant until 1838 when a separate charter was issued by
the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
This Irish lodge "No. 63"
just mentioned, took the additional name of "Minden" owing to the Regiment
(20th Foot) greatly distinguishing itself in the battle of Minden and
celebrated the century of its warrant in 1848--having received its warrant of
constitution "No. 63" in December 1748 from the Grand Lodge of Ireland and its
first Colonel (afterwards Lord) George Sackville was appointed its first
Master. This practice of appointing the Colonel (or commanding officer) of a
regiment the first Master was by no means unusual.
Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick,
who commanded the allied forces at this battle of Minden and served in several
campaigns under Frederick the Great, was initiated in December, 1740 in the
"Lodge of the Three Globes" at Berlin and in 1770 was appointed English
Provincial Master for the Duchy of Brunswick but in 1771 "he forsook pure and
ancient Freemasonry" and was admitted into the "Strict Observance."
Sir David Baird, Colonel of
both the 24th Foot, and the Westminster Militia stationed at Harwich, was
ordered with the former for service in the Baltic. So great was their
affection for their Colonel and Masonic brother that the members of the
Militia offered to a man to volunteer but it could not be done until the
Military transfer Bill was passed whereupon 223 of the 228 men enrolled
themselves with the 24th Foot. Military Lodge No. 426 of the English List for
1768 was in this 24th Foot and lodge "Westminster Militia" in this Militia
(To be continued)
If you quaff each joy
With its alloy;
If you heed no warning fears,
Deep in the heart
Is set apart
The pearl of tears.
If, crushed alone
'Neath sorrow's stone,
If your soul no fires
Deep in the heart
Is set apart
The diamond - Joy.
James T. Duncan.
There is nothing so powerful
as truth; and often nothing so
BY BRO. CHARLES SUMNER
The number of communications
which THE BUILDER has printed on Zionism proves that to many of our readers
this is a timely subject. The following article, written by a Mason, should
prove interesting to Zionists and students of the movement. -EDITOR.
SUCH was the title which
Tasso, the Italian poet of the late Middle Ages, chose for the epic in which
he sang the glories of the First Crusade. It and its seven successors fill a
notable page in human history, but it seems to have been reserved for our day
to realize the age long dream of the Crusaders.
Jerusalem was indeed
"delivered" by Godfrey de Bouillon and his army of Christian knights in 1099;
but the deliverance did not long continue, for the strength of the Seljukian
Turks was too great.
"The Christian throne of
Jerusalem fell in the dust. The Mosque of Omar still occupies the site of the
Holy Temple. The Crusades, with all their pomp and pageantry of war and
romance, went by, and have long since faded away in the dim past. A new age
has succeeded, with new ideas, new institutions, new aims; and if the Holy
Sepulchre is again to be the heritage of a Christian power, and the appanage
of a Christian Throne, that will be brought about by peaceful negotiation, or
as the result of a war between great nations, in God's good time, and not by a
Do these predictions written
many years ago, find fulfillment in the present mighty conflict? They would
certainly seem to in the light of recent events. The British army which, under
Sir Archibald Murray, started from Egypt a year and a half ago or more, has
been moving slowly but surely northward, not far from the traditional pathway
of the wandering Israelites. On December 10 last, Jerusalem was taken and on
the following day the commanding general entered the city and the British,
French and Italian flags were raised.
Thus for the first time in
seven hundred and thirty years the Holy City is once more in the hands of "a
Christian power" and it is not strange if some with historic vision see in
this the completion of the work of England's crusader king, Richard Coeur de
Lion. One such wrote even before the entry:
"Again the Briton nears the
ancient gates! The city of the Holy Sepulchre Sits in its Eastern calm and
dumbly waits The coming of the legions from afar.
They're dust a thousand
years, the knightly train That followed Richard's leopard-blazoned shield Down
the long road that valor pointed plain-- The path of honor to the stricken
Now men as bold as they,
their sires' sons, Toil through the sands where centuries ago Their forebears
fought - awake with roaring guns The dead who heard crusading trumpets blow.
Perchance the ghost of grim
old Saladin A scimitar across their path may fling. Yet shall one wave them
onward till they win-- The wraith of England's Lion-hearted King!" (1)
The taking of Jerusalem --
the most spectacular event of the present stupendous conflict -- has riveted
the attention of three worlds--Christendom, Islam and Israel--and for the
moment, at least, places the question of Palestine's future in the foreground
of discussion. On one point there is a singular unanimity. All of Christendom
and nearly all of Islam and of Israel will approve the position taken by the
head of the Roman church, and implied in both President Wilson's and Premier
Lloyd George's recent statements of the allied war aims, that the Turk must
not be allowed to reconquer the Holy Land.
It is not so long since the
Turk had his apologists. Lord Beaconsfield's party e. g. not only helped the
Sultan to keep his terrorized realm but actually defended his policy. "Oh,"
they would say, "the Turk is not so bad. Those Armenians are terrible fellows
and had to be punished for their crimes." Today this reminds one of a defense
of the Belgian atrocities. And even above the wretched babble of that day rose
the accusing voice of Gladstone, characterizing the Sultan as "The Great
Assassin." And such is the verdict of posterity. No one now speaks of the
Turk's right to rule. In the eyes of both Moslem and Christian he has long
since forfeited any claim to such right. This cruel barbarian from the steppes
of Central Asia, this abductor of children, defiler of women, murderer of
millions of his subjects and oppressor of all others, must no longer be
allowed to pollute earth's fairest and most historic regions. If the present
war ends without eliminating the Turk it will fail in one of its most
But when the selection of a
successor to the Turk is mentioned, unanimity is not so pronounced. Palestine
is the Holy Land not of one faith only but of many -- of all indeed who
profess to revere the God of the Old Testament and who venerate its heroes.
"Whatever is done there,"
says a recent writer, (2) "must be a setting aside of all places holy to
others. The Russians make pilgrimages to the Holy Sepulchre. The Crusades were
fought for it. Jerusalem stands next to Mekka in the Moslem mind."
Godfrey de Bouillon, indeed,
founded his Latin kingdom of Jerusalem on the cornerstone of religious
intolerance, marking his entry of the Holy City by the massacre, it is
recorded, of 70,000 Moslems, and the burning of the Jews in their Synagogue.
One who reads that ghastly story can scarcely regret or wonder that the Latin
kingdom was so short-lived, lasting barely two generations.
But how refreshing by way of
contrast is the account of the latest occupation. The allied forces (for there
were French as well as British) carefully planned and deferred their attack so
as to avoid a bombardment and to save the holy places. The Latin Patriarch
reports to the Vatican that there was no firing or damage in the city. And the
allied commander, Sir Edmund Allenby, entered Jerusalem on foot and was
greeted by the Sheiks at the Mosque of Omar (over which, with other places
sacred to Islam, he placed Moslem guards) and by the Patriarchs of the Eastern
The entry on foot was to
demonstrate, no doubt, that the allied commander came not as a conqueror but
as a deliverer. So the avoidance of damage and the detail of guards appear to
have been Britain's public redemption of a pledge made early in the war to her
Moslem subjects (of which she has more than any other power) that their holy
places would be respected and preserved.
In March, 1917, Sir Archibald
Murray, then commanding these new crusaders, issued a proclamation stating his
views, and presumably that of his government, regarding the future of
"There can be little doubt,"
he said, "that we should revive the Jewish Palestine of old, and allow the
Jews to realize their dreams of Zion in their homeland. Not all the Jews will
return to Palestine, but many will. The new Jewish State, under British or
French aegis, would become the spiritual and cultural centre of Jewry
throughout the world. The Jews would at least have homeland and a nationality
of their own. The national dream that has sustained them for a score of
centuries and more will have been fulfilled."
On November 2 last, Mr.
Balfour, British Foreign Minister, wrote to Sir Lionel Rothschild, Vice
President of the English Zionist organization:
"His Majesty's Government
views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the
Jewish people, and will use its best endeavors to facilitate the achievement
of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which
will prejudice the civil and religious right of existing nonJewish communities
in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other
For of all the aspirants the
claim of the Jews far antedates any other. They may not, indeed, have been the
aborigines of Palestine but they were at least the kinsfolk and successors,
even if dispossessors, of the latter. And of the long list of usurpers who
followed them--Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Saracens,
Crusaders, and Turks--the Jews alone have sufficiently preserved their
identity to be able now to occupy the Holy Land. Well may the Jew ask with
"Assyria, Greece, Rome,
Carthage, where are they?"
And the ghosts of those
vanished nations must answer with Kipling,
"Lo all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre."
But the Jew may invoke the
later lines of the same bard,
"The tumult and the shouting
dies, The captains and the kings depart, Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart."
After 2000 years of exile the
Jew still looks to the land of his fathers and is prepared to enter it once
more -- yea has already entered it in part, as will presently appear.
The land of his fathers;
there is another prop to the Jew's claim. For to no other claimant is
Palestine his ancestral home; it is merely a shrine--a repository of sacred
and historic remains. But Canaan is inseparable from Israel--the background of
its history, the scene of its Golden Age, the stage on which its national
tragedy was enacted.
Finally the Jew needs
Palestine. I am well aware that there are large and fortunate sections of the
Jewish race notably those of England and America-- whose own surroundings are
so favorable that they have no desire to return to Palestine and who even
oppose a movement to that end. But that should not obscure the obvious fact
that there are other larger and less fortunate sections, like those of Russia,
Rumania and Austria which have long needed and, despite impending political
changes, are still likely to need, an asylum. Have their coreligionists
forgotten Kishnieff, or the Rumanian persecutions of barely four years ago ?
I repeat, therefore, that the
Jew needs Palestine, meaning, of course, the oppressed and persecuted Jew. And
one of the best expressions of that need is the movement known as Zionism.
That movement really began with the operations of the Alliance Israelite
Universelle in 1860. But organized Zionism, formally inaugurated in the
closing decade of the last century by the late Theodore Herzl, merely gave
organized expression to Israel's age long dream of repatriation. At its first
Congress in Basel in 1897 it formulated a program for "the establishment of a
publicly recognized, legally secured, homeland for the Jews in Palestine."
That program has finally won
the adherence of some of the most representative Jews--Israel Zangwill, Jacob
H. Schiff, Adolph Lewisohn and Mr. Justice Brandeis of our Federal Supreme
Court. Last spring a resolution expressing confidence that the allies would
use their best efforts toward its realization was adopted by an organization
representing some 2,000,000 Jews of the United States. Last month a conference
of Orthodox Jews, representing widely scattered constituencies in America,
assembled at New York to organize for practical work in Palestine; and about
the same time a mass meeting of Jews was held in London, under the presidency
of Lord Rothschild, at which resolutions were unanimously adopted thanking the
government for its Palestine declaration and pledging its wholehearted support
to the Zionist cause. And later in the same month (Dec. 29) it was announced
that even the German Zionist Association had adopted similar resolves. The
claim that the Jews as a whole do not want Palestine meets almost daily
Nor does this need rest
solely upon the desire for an asylum of refuge. Says Dr. Harry Friedenwald, a
leading American Zionist:
"It is only in a great
re-settlement of Palestine, in the normal development of our people that it
can again rise to real greatness. The lioness of the forest does not bear
young in captivity, even well-fed and surrounded by comfort, and the lion of
Judah has failed to bring forth prophets and great men in 2,000 years of
captivity and dispersion."
So Mr. Justice Brandeis
"The Zionists seek to
establish this home in Palestine because they are convinced that the undying
longing of Jews for Palestine is a fact of deepest significance; that it is a
manifestation in the struggle for existence by an ancient people which had
established its right to live--a people whose three thousand years of
civilization has produced a faith, culture, and individuality which enable
them to contribute largely in the future, as they had in the past, to the
advance of civilization; and that it is not a right merely, but a duty of the
Jewish nationality to survive and develop. They believe that there only can
Jewish life be fully protected from the forces of disintegration; that there
alone can the Jewish spirit reach its full and natural development; and that
by securing for those Jews who wish to settle in Palestine the opportunity to
do so, not only those Jews but all other Jews will be benefited and that the
long perplexing Jewish Problem will, at last, find solution." (4)
I have said that the Jew has
already returned to Palestine in part. For that statement I need only refer to
the Jewish colonies which were planted and flourished there before the war. An
English writer (5) of the past year declares that
"the number of colonies has
risen to about forty, with 16,000 inhabitants in all and 110,000 acres of
land, and these figures do not do full justice to the importance of the
colonising movement. The 15,000 Jewish agriculturists are only 12 1/2 per cent
of the Jewish population in Palestine, and 2 per cent of the total population
of the country; but they are the most active, intelligent element, and the
only element which is rapidly increasing. * * * Under this new Jewish
husbandry Palestine has begun to recover its ancient prosperity. The Jews have
sunk artesian wells, built dams for water storage, fought down malaria by
drainage and eucalyptus planting, and laid out many miles of roads. In 1890 an
acre of irrigable land at Petach-Tikweh, the earliest colony, was worth
3.12s., in 1914 36 pounds; and the annual trade of Jaffa rose from 760,000
pounds to 2,080,000 pounds between 1904 and 1912."
Nor is this development
solely on the material side. Schools were long since established in which the
medium of instruction is the ancient Hebrew tongue.
"The foundation of a national
university in Jerusalem is as ultimate a goal for them as the economic
development of the land, and their greatest achievement has been the revival
of Hebrew as the living language of the Palestine Jews." (6)
Funds for such a University
were being raised years ago and included in the plan was a provision for
scholarships for advanced research. (7) Indeed we might expect such an
institution to occupy a place superior even to that of the University of
Athens which in recent years has attracted so many classical students from
foreign lands. What possibilities are here of research and discovery by Jewish
scholars working on their own ground in the tempting fields of Semitic
archaeology, history, philology and jurisprudence!
The aspirations of the Jew as
the restorer of Canaan need not conflict with the interests which any other
race or religion may have in Palestine. It is estimated (8) that the country
will easily support 3,000,000 people, or more than four (and some say ten)
times its present number. And that the Jew's presence has already benefited
the native, Arabic speaking population we have evidence from a source which
cannot be suspected of bias toward that side. In 1912 the German Vice Consul
at Jaffa (Joppa) reported:
"The impetus to agriculture
is benefiting the whole economic life of the country." (9)
Herbert Samuel, speaking at
the mass meeting in London last month, emphasized the thought that "in any new
development of Palestine there must be full recognition of Arab rights and
reverent respect for the Christian and Mohammedan holy places."
As to the Christian (and in
the main the Moslem) world at large, it has no desire for Palestine as a place
of residence. Its longings are satisfied if the ancient land is made safe and
inviting as a place of pilgrimage. The lack of that, you remember,--the
inability of pilgrims to visit the Holy Land in safety--was the immediate
cause of the First Crusade.
But now even the medieval
pilgrimage is largely obsolete. For during the centuries which have intervened
since the Crusades, Christendom has been slowly coming to realize the
conception of its Founder as expressed in that illuminating conversation (10)
at the Shechem well where one said:
"Our fathers worshipped in
this mountain and ye say that Jerusalem is the place to worship."
And the Other replied:
"The hour cometh when ye
shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father."
Our own Whittier echoes the
same thought when he sees
"That all the good the old
hath had, Remains to make our own time glad; Our common, daily life, divine,
And every land a Palestine"
Christians will be satisfied
if Palestine is made comfortable and attractive for travel and (since I have
heard Professor Sayce feel bound to add) excavation. They would like its
repulsive sights removed,--the noisy beggars who infest almost every scene and
mar its hallowed or historic association; the horrible incongruity of Turkish
soldiers guarding the Holy Sepulchre; the wailing of the wretched folk at the
temple enclosure. They would have the beggars and the wailers transformed into
an industrious yeomanry and the Turkish soldiers banished altogether.
And after all most of us find
no great enjoyment in visiting a mere ruin. We would like to see Palestine
restored as nearly as possible--its historic scenes reproduced--its ancient
prosperity revived. And who is more likely to accomplish that result than the
Jew? For him all this would be a labor of love. There he would find a most
congenial field for his thrift, for his enterprise and industry and above all
for his idealism. The Jew is best fitted to be Christendom's trustee and
caretaker of Palestine !
But it is recognized that the
trusteeship will need a protector at least for a time. General Murray's
announcement, it will be remembered, mentioned a protectorate under Britain or
France. Our own nation has been suggested. Norman Hapgood wrote long since:
"The position of the Jews in all countries will be improved if America can be
brought to accept a protectorate over Palestine. America is better situated to
conduct diplomatic negotiations fol a Jewish Commonwealth than any other power
because we are not the rivals of any other in the near East."
Doubtless the protector will
be one of these three powers. But the selection should afford no occasion for
rivalry or competition. It should offer no occasion for territorial expansion
but only one for humanitarian service, and the sole question should be, What
nation can best discharge the trust?
The deliverance of Jerusalem,
then, makes possible the realization of two age long dreams--that of the Jews
for repatriation and that of the crusaders for the possession of the Holy
Sepulchre. And each may be realized without hindering the other, indeed each
may greatly assist the other. Jewish genius devoted to the restoration of
Palestine and the good faith of Christendom, acting through a leading power
pledged to its protection, may together enable that ancient land once more to
assume a pivotal place in the world. Certainly there could be no more
effective object lesson in religious tolerance than the making of Palestine a
place where Christian, Jew and Moslem may meet on common ground in peace and
safety, reverently visiting the same shrines and acknowledging the same Deity,
each loyal to his own ideals yet respecting those of his neighbors and
considerate of their sentiments and convictions. And when that is made
possible by the generous policy of Christian powers it will be a long step
toward the brotherhood of man.
(1) O. C. A. Child in the New
(2) Lit. Dig., Vol. 54, p.
710 (Mch. 17, 1917).
(3) See The Nation (New York)
Vol. 105, p. 690.
(4) See The Nation (New York)
Vol. 105, p. 692.
(5) Turkey, A Past and a
Future, The Round Table, June, 1917, 60, 61. Cf. Zionism and the Jewish Future
(London, 1916) 138 et seq.
(6) Id. p. 64.
(7) The Nation (New York)
Vol. 93, p. 472.
(8) Id. Vol. 105, P. 555-
(9) Turkey, A Past and a
Future, The Round Table, June, 1917, p. 61
(10) John, IV, 20, 21.
THOMAS SMITH WEBB -- MASONIC
BY BRO. R. M. C. CONDON,
IN many cases the life story
of our Masonic forefathers is buried in a fog of tradition, not always
trustworthy, but not so in the case of Thomas Smith Webb. Fortunately he was
one of those rare men who kept a diary--it is still in possession his
descendants--and from this we can learn not only the events of his own private
career but many facts of wide interest concerning the Masonic Fraternity at
large, which is indebted to Webb as to few others. Brother Webb, who was born
in the time-hallowed city of Boston on October 30th, 1771, was the son of
Samuel and Margaret Webb who had migrated from Northern England some few years
previously, hoping to make their fortune in New England. As a child Webb was
unusually precocious, morally and temperamentally as well as mentally; even
while only three years of age his family and friends predicted great things
for him, he was so winning in spirit, so bright, so talented.
At an early age he entered a
public school, after which he made his way to a Latin school, from which he
graduated with highest honors. From boyhood he found his chief pleasure in
books, and, like many another boy book-lover, aspired to publish something of
his own, and, again like most young literary enthusiasts, he first attempted
poetry. Poetry is the most difficult of all literary forms but young Webb
became so proficient in it that his effusions attracted the attention of a
Boston editor who afterwards took the young man into a partnership which
enabled him to learn the printing business. Despite the drudgery of this work
he loved it, and persevered the while with his poetry, one of his songs,
"Companions Assemble on this Joyful Day," coming to have a wide popularity.
From Boston he moved to
Keene, New Hampshire, where he was initiated into Masonry, becoming a member
of Rising Sun Lodge. Later on he moved to Albany, New York, at that time one
of the principal centers of American Masonry. Here he opened a book store, one
of the most regular customers of which was himself, for he had grown in his
fondness for books. It was at this time, and while studying the old Preston
lectures, that he saw the need for a revision of the ritual for American use.
Thus it was that he came to publish in 1797, the now famous "Webb Freemason
Monitor," in which he re-systematized, and often re-wrote, the entire Blue
Lodge Ritual, adding some new material to it.
Needless to say, Brother Webb
became one of the most influential Masons in Albany; he was elected Worshipful
Master of Temple Lodge and took a prominent part in organizing a Royal Arch
Chapter and an encampment of Knights Templar.
From Albany Brother Webb
moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he became a member of St. John's
Lodge in 1801. So zealous in the work of Masonry, so earnest to have it grow
and flourish, and so efficient in all its various forms of activities, he was
soon prominent throughout the jurisdiction, so prominent that in 1813 he was
elected Grand Master, and then re-elected in the following year. During this
time he was successful in business, as might have been expected in one whose
talents were so various and yet so symmetrical.
It is believed by some that
the plan of organizing the first Grand Encampment of the United States was
originated by his brain; however that may be, it is certain that he played a
conspicuous part in the project. A measure of his popularity is indicated by
the fact that he was elected the first Grand Commander.
From Providence Brother Webb
moved to Walpole, Massachusetts, where he established a cotton factory which
was one of the first in the country to employ safety devices to protect the
life and limbs of employees.. In 1817 he moved this factory to Worthington,
Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, and put his associate Brother John Snow, in
During February of the
following year Brother Webb granted a dispensation to Brother Snow to form an
encampment in Worthington; at first the plan was to hold meetings for six
months in Columbus, but this plan was later changed, and all the meetings were
held in Columbus: thus was begun the famous Mt. Vernon Commandery which
recently celebrated its one hundredth anniversary with fitting ceremonies.
In 1819 Brother Webb started
on a business trip to Columbus, but while in Cleveland, Ohio, making
preparations to continue his journey, he was stricken down with apoplexy. This
was on June 6th. He died during the evening of the same day. The body was
interred in Cleveland but was later removed to Providence in November, at
which time the Masonic Bodies of the nation paid a solemn tribute to his
Before Philosophy can teach
by Experience, the Philosophy has to be
in readiness, the Experience
must be gathered and intelligibly
Philosophy is nothing but
The greatest trust between
man and man is the trust of giving
What do American Masons really believe is the proper attitude
for our Fraternity to adopt in the present world crisis? How far do they
appreciate how vitally Masonic principles are involved in the tremendous
struggle across the seas? We have taken a little space in these columns to
speak our convictions that this Fraternity of ours,
all-embracing in its American personnel, has not measured up to its
opportunities because it has as yet failed to consider the problems from a
national viewpoint. Optimistic to the core on the general subject of the
Masonic efficiency of the future, we do not despair. But we are still waiting
to discover the 1918 reincarnations of the Masonic Patriots of 1776. Where are
the General Warrens, the Paul Reveres and the Benjamin Franklins of today? The
historic personages who wove into the woof of this Republic the principles of
Freemasonry would not remain silent in these days when those principles are
attacked by the viper of Autocracy! To us it seems as if the voices of
thousands of Masonic Patriots are in the air, calling on us to defend the
priceless jewel of Freedom for which they gave their utmost energy!
And so, when Brother Greenfield, our esteemed
contributing editor from Georgia, voices the thought which to us seems a
dynamic force like the echoes which haunt Independence Hall, we wonder if
others would hear them if a convention of Masons were assembled to consider
Masonry's duty in wartime? Likewise there comes to us a voice from across the
seas - the voice of an American soldier who sees the vision of what an
American Masonic dynamo could accomplish in Europe today. It too, is an
editorial. Typical of hundreds that have come to us, it perhaps best
epitomizes a crying need of the hour as we see it.
Why can we not heed these clarion calls? Do we not
sleep too long? Is our sleep an indefinite sleep? Or is it a form of
hypnotism? Are we listening to soft voices which are false? Are our eyes
blinded to all but the routine duties concerning which we debate so much? Do
we know, or are we refusing to admit, that insiduous forces are at work among
us which would stifle our every effort to be "just to our Government and true
to our Country?" in the highest and most practical sense?
Pause and reflect, brethren. Let us TRUST ONE
STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN!
THESE four simple words are being placed at every
railroad crossing in the United States. They are words of tremendous import.
They are a warning to the wayfarer that here danger is always present and
that.upon obedience to that warning may depend human life.
This same command is worthy of regard elsewhere
than on the great highways of the continent. The young man enjoying the many
pleasures of life should stop, take counsel with himself, look forward to
where his mode of conduct is tending, and listen to the promptings of his
better judgment. The man of mature age engaged in the eternal fight for
financial independence, should stop, look into his own being, see if his
higher nature and nobler impulses are being warped and contracted, and listen
to those finer instincts that would mellow his life and make him a potent
factor in every forward movement. And the man whose life's sands are running
low should stop in his self-satisfied journey, look back over the road he has
traveled, and listen to the voice of the soul that asks, "Have you done all
your abilities and opportunities would have enabled you to do, for the benefit
of mankind and the glory of God?"
As with individuals, so with Fraternities, which
are made up of individuals, and as with Fraternities in general, so with the
Masonic Fraternity in particular. I single it out because it is the one we are
interested in, and because it is confessedly the greatest, the most
philosophic, the most universal (in a territorial sense) and the most
influential of all; Would it not be well if the Royal Craft would stop, look
We live in the greatest age of all centuries. We
annihilate distance, and talk through space without physical connections. We
create enormous waterways between oceans, defying in their construction,
pestilence, earthquakes and landslides. We abolish deserts; converting them
into fruitful fields and smiling gardens. We cast down the gauntlet to
disease, summon science to our aid, and cure deformities that a few years ago
seemed impossible of correction. We live on a high, although an exhaustive
plane; but we have bettered sanitary conditions, improved modes of living;
ameliorated labor annoyances, and have begun to pay some attention to our
neighbors' needs and woes.
The Masonic Fraternity is in the heyday of its
glory. It numbers it votaries by the million. Today it is quite the
respectable thing to be a Free and Accepted Mason. The masculine world is
knocking at theTyler's door, the membership is growing by leaps and bounds.
All over this broad land we hear of special functions of one sort and another.
The newspapers teem with notices of Communications, Conclaves, Reunions and
Ceremonials. All kinds of expedients are used to catch the attention. One
lodge announces a meeting on a mountain top, another in the dark recesses of a
canyon. Still another holds out as an inducement that a degree will be
conferred by a team of Past Masters, and so on.
Suppose we, too, stop, look and listen. Stop for a
season the work of doing nothing but making more Masons; look the tendency of
the drift of the Craft squarely in the face, and listen to what our reason and
our love for the Order tells us what we ought to do. And then above all things
let us do it.
We should stop in the mad rush for new members,
and the wild desire to add to our numbers. A healthy growth is both desirable
and necessary. It is needed to repair defections from death, dimit, loss of
interest and other reasonable causes. But is the present growth a healthy one?
The great desire of the average presiding officer is to add more to the roster
than his predecessor. He has ceased to be an instructor, a leader in actual
performance. His boast is the amount of "work” he has done and in time he
turns over his lodge to the Senior Warden, who, by virtue of the rotation
system now so largely in evidence, becomes the Master and who, as a rule,
keeps up the same old grind. The result is a relaxing of that strict inquiry
into fitness and character that once prevailed.
The effect of this is now too apparent. No one who
thinks, and is observant, can deny the fact that the morale of the Craft is
not as high as it used to be, and that it is not held in as high esteem, by
the profane world as formerly.
Why is it that few of the leaders of thought in
the land take an active part in the work of the Order? Masonic historians tell
us, and Masonic orators are fond of repeating the statement, that Washington,
and John Hancock, and Paul Revere, and Joseph Warren, and Benjamin Franklin,
and Henry Clay, and many others of that type, were proud to be Masters of
lodges and Grand Masters of their respective States. Today, hardly a figure of
national prominence is engaged actively in Masonic work. They hold membership,
it is true, but we only know it when one of them is a candidate for an
office.. Then the degrees he has taken are exploited in full in his press
announcements. Very often he becomes a regular attendant at the meetings until
balloting day is over, when he promptly drops out of sight until the time
comes for reselection. Such a member is not an asset to the Craft. More than
that, any member that fails to assume his share of the responsibilities, and
does nothing but pay his dues, is almost a distinct liability. He is not
actuated by the proper motives, and his object in retaining his membership is
generally a venial one.
We should listen to the criticisms of those
outside the Temple; listen to the murmerings of the Craftsmen themselves;
listen to the call for aid in combating the evils of our complex civilization;
prepare to face the problems of post-war conditions.
We often speak of the wasted talents of an
individual, but what of the wasted potentialities of Freemasonry? The failure
to use the powers and influences for good, of nearly two million selected men,
men of strong moral character, of keen business acumen, and presumably of high
ideals, is a reflection on the intelligence and leadership of those who are
directing the destinies of the Craft.
What can they do? Anything they win to do! I have
great faith in mankind and the potency of his determined will. They can cure
defects in the national moral spirit; they can elevate the "submerged tenth"
of our population; they can mould public opinion; they can control and dictate
the course of empire. I go further - there is not any great evil known to
mankind, no matter how strongly entrenched, that could not be stamped out of
existence by the intelligently directed power of the Masons of America. The
liquor traffic, the white slave trade, the sweat shop, child labor - all would
vanish like snow on a summer's day before the onslaught of such an army.
What stands in the way of such achievement?
Principally vanity, jealousy, the question of prerogatives, of precedence.
Some time ago I participated in an informal conference. There were all kinds
of high sounding titles present. There were Most Worshipfuls, Right Eminents,
and Very Excellents, and Most Puissant Companions. Even Inspectors General
were not missing. In the absence of something else to talk about, the subject
of the war came up. The argument was advanced, and eloquently supported, that
some united (mark the word "united") action should be taken by the Craft to
minister to the needs of our brethren with the Colors, while at Camp, in the
trenches and after the war is over. What was the result of that discussion?
One or two exalted brethren said their Grand Bodies had contributed to the Red
Cross and the Y.M.C.A. funds and they thought they had done their duty. In
other words, it was so much easier to let some one else do it. Others thought
it was a question for each particular jurisdiction. This meant they were only
interested in those that belonged to their own household of faith. Many sat
glum and noncommittal. Finally, as usual, nothing was done, and a magnificent
opportunity was lost to do something for God, for humanity, and for the
When the boys in khaki have done their duty at the
front and come back to civil life, what are you going to do for them? Are you
going to prepare in advance, meet them more than half way and help them to
reestablish themselves, or are you going to wait until they come knocking like
beggars at the doors of Masonic Relief Boards, and then salve your conscience
by handing them out a dole?
There ought to be started a great National Masonic
movement utilizing all Masonic activities, including the General Grand Bodies.
They ought to strip their treasuries to the last cent; co-operate with the
Government Industrial Vocation plan; sink petty jealousies; forget the
question of precedents, prerogatives and personalities; and act as a united
body of consecrated men, fired with the spirit of Masonic love, and governed
by that high sense of duty, that spirit of self-abnegation that is willing to
crucify itself on the altar of obligation. '
The great need of the Craft today is unity, unity
of purpose, unity of method, unity of action. We also need some sort of a
directing head. We now have forty-nine Grand Lodges pulling in forty-nine
different ways. Suppose our Nation was run in the same fashion. How much help
could we give towards winning the war ?
One of the ambitions of the Fraternity seems to be
building of Temples. They are good things; and after other more pressing
claims have been satisfied, it may be agreed that the dignity and grandeur of
the order demand them. But I would rather stand before the final judgment bar,
and proffer as my passport for admission into the Celestial Lodge, a crippled
child made whole, or a maimed soldier made self-sustaining, than all the
offerings of "frozen-music" that can be erected from now until the end of
We all have visions of the future, and I sometimes
picture to myself what Masonry will be, when all its various elements are
banded together in a common cause, and each indiidvual is doing his part.
There is a building in India called the Taj Mahal. It is said to be the most
beautiful structure in the world, but it is the tomb of a woman. The Pyramids
are the most stupendous example of the builder's art ever erected, but they
are the tombs of a vanished civilization. St. Peter's at Rome is the grandest
religious temple now in existence, but it is the tomb of a dying hierarchy.
Westminister Abbey is the pride of the Anglo Saxon race, but its glory is in
its memorials of the dead.
Freemasonry in the future will not be like these.
It will be a living, sentient, dominant force; a world power; one of the
instruments of Almighty God, moving forward to its appointed task, catching
the music of the spheres and joining in the anthem of the Universe; leading
the onward march of human progress entering the lists full panoplied against
the forces of evil, and fighting ever and always for the final triumph of all
that makes men pure and true and noble. It will be the incarnate spirit of
Brotherhood; the spirit of the Man of Galilee; the spirit of triumphant hosts
of heaven as they sing their hallelujahs around the threat White Throne.
And He who sitteth as the Judge Supreme looking on
the army of the Compasses and Square will smile with approbation, and from His
lips will come the blessed approval: "These are my beloved children," while
the glory of a constructive, character building Craft will rest like a benison
on the hearts of men.
May we all work together to hasten the coming of
Joseph C. Greenfield.
Since coming to France I have missed the Fraternal
affiliation so prevalent in my home State and especially those splendid
Masonic gatherings. While in the interior I had very little time to devote to
things of that kind, and while I am not much better fixed as regards time than
I was then, yet the opportunity here is pressing and should have attention.
In this vicinity is situated Base Section No. 1
for the United States troops and while numerous changes are being constantly
made, yet a large number are here constantly and in this number I believe I am
conservative when I estimate the number of Master Masons as being 500 at all
times. I was assigned to duty here about seven weeks ago and as soon as I got
my work in hand, began to investigate the situation and could find no traces
of any Masonic organization. I gathered five congenial spirits into my room
and we went to work on a club proposition with the expectation of other things
later. An informal banquet was held at which we had an attendance of
ninety-one and on last Tuesday evening we held a meeting for business at the
Y.M.C.A. with over 100 present. At this meeting I learned that three other
attempts had been made to start something but for one reason or another the
attempt ended with the election of officers. After the debris of the former
attempts had been cleared away we elected officers for Base Masonic Club No.
1, together with several committees. Since then we have rented a nice hall
that we can use temporarily at least for a meeting place to transact business
and furnish as a sort of club. We meet again tomorrow night and I expect to
see at least two hundred present.
A telegram was sent you a short time ago asking
advice as to the proper methods of going after a dispensation for the Order
here where only a few members of each jurisdiction were stationed and we would
be grateful, indeed, if the matter could be arranged. We have a crying need
for a Masonic organization here. In the first place we miss the fellowship and
naturally many of the opportunities for carrying out the responsibilities
which our obligation entails. Rapid means of communication is necessary for
the greatest good and this can be had only through organization. The club will
help in a great measure, but more is needed. I am sorry to state that I am
informed that several brothers, some of whom are wounded soldiers returned
from the front, have crossed the Great Divide right here without the
consolation of knowing that a brother has in charge their last messages to
friends and loved ones at home, or were ever visited by a brother Mason during
their stay here in the hospital. We have a sick committee now and will attend
to these cases so far as possible in the future. This will be a base for
troops until long after the war and it should be arranged in some way to have
a working Masonic body here. I personally know of a number of officers and men
who were able to get only the first degree before they left the States who are
more than anxious to complete the work. It is true that some officers might
change, but an emergency exists that should be met in some way. So far as I
can learn there are no Masonic lodges in France with which we can affiliate.
Here is a chance for the Masons of America to do
something really worth while, and I face the future with confidence that a way
will be provided for the relief of the present situation here.
An Army Captain in France.
Have I knowledge? Confound it
shrivels at Wisdom laid bare.
Have I forethought? How
purblind, how blank to the Infinites Care!
Do I task any faculty
highest, to image success?
I but open my eyes - and
perfection, no more and no less,
In the kind I imagined,
full-fronts me, and God is seen God
In the star, in the stone, in
the flesh, in the soul and in the clod.
And thus looking within and
around me, I ever renew
(With that stoop of the soul
which in bending upraises it too)
The submission of man's
nothing-perfect to God's all-complete,
And by each new obeisance in
spirit, I climb to His feet.
- Robert Browning.
Life is not measured by the
time we live. - Crabbe.
Dost thou love life ? Then do
not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. - Benj. Franklin.
A small degree of wit,
accompanied by good sense, is less tiresome in the long run than a great
amount of wit without it. - La Rochefoucauld.
Where Liberty dwells, there
is a country. - Benj. Franklin.
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.
POETRY OF THE DAY
WE ARE in the midst of a renaissance of poetry;
not since Browning, Tennyson, Swinburne and Wadsworth were in full song has
the world been blessed with such a choir of singers as today. John Masefield,
Alfred Noyes, Edwin Markham, Edwin Arlington Robinson and a few others are
known on both sides of the Atlantic: alongside of these are a host of lesser
lights, some of whom seem destined, it seems, to write great poetry.
For the most part these poets are content to use
the old meters and the old themes; certain of them, however, have struck out
on new paths. Impatient of what they believe to be the restraints of regular
rhyme schemes and weary of time-worn vocabulary of previous singers they have
fashioned a new style of verse and adapted to their uses such words as
Tennyson would have scorned to use. Whether or not imagism, verse libre,
Vorticism, Neopaganism, etc., are to win a permanent place in the future
classifications of poetry remains to be seen; meanwhile all lovers of the art
welcome the innovators for bringing a fresh stream of influence into a very
Edward J. O'Brien, himself a poet of the new schools, has
recently edited an anthology of this "New Poetry" under the not very
descriptive title of "The Masque of Poets." It is published by Dodd, Mead and
Co., at $1.25. The half hundred poems in this volume were originally published
anonymously in The Bookman, and the fact that they were well received by a
public ignorant of their authorship indicates that they possess intrinsic
value. Nevertheless one reads the slender anthology with disappointment. The
poems are over-sophisticated too subtle, too much in the way of an appeal to
an esoteric circle of satiated readers. In many cases the meaning escapes one
entirely, in other cases one feels that whatever meaning was intended might
better have been expressed in a less recondite manner. Edwin Arlington
Robinson's Browningesque dialogue is solid. Maxwell Bodenheim contributes a
few lines very much like Edgar Lee Master's "Spoon River Anthology." Amy
Lowell supplies one or two pieces of distinction. Vincent O'Sullivan
undertakes to infuse "magic" into his verse, after the manner of Walter de la
Mare. John Gould Feltcher displays a mind at work in his verse, a mind of
penetrative power; but for the most part there is not a page in this volume
that a reader will long remember. There is not a poem that contains the bread
The unsophisticated reader will find more to his
taste in the two volumes of present day poetry edited by Mrs. Waldo Richards:
"The Melody of Earth," ($1.50) and "High Tide," ($1.25), both published by
Houghton Miflin and Co., contain some four or five hundred poems, all written
in recent years. The "New Poetry" is well represented but the majority of the
pieces are such as one has been wont to find in the old familiar 'Standard
The "Melody of Earth" is an anthology of garden
and nature poems. T.A. Daly's two poems in Italian dialect are alone worth the
price of the volume. "High Tide" is a collection of poems "selected chiefly
because they strike the vital spark of inspiration and enthusiasm." The latter
volume contains Richard Le Galliene's great poem, "To a Bud at Dawn," and also
two poems by Alice Mynell, who is unquestionably one of the noblest of living
poets. It also contains the following poem by James Stephens, the Irish mystic
who wrote that delectable story, "The Crock of Gold." We believe these verses
will strike a responsive chord in the breats of all Masons.
Because our lives are so
cowardly and sly,
Because we do not dare to
take or give.
Because we scowl and pass
each other by
We do not live: we do not
dare to live.
We dive, each man, into his
And bolt the door, and listen
Each timid man beside a timid
With timid children huddled
out of sight.
Kissing in secret, fighting
We crawl and hide like vermin
in a hole
Under the bravery of the sky,
We flash on meannesses of
face and soul.
Let us go out and walk up the
And quit forevermore the
The lock and key, the hidden,
That separates us from our
And by contagion of the sun
Catch at a spark from that
And learn that we are better
than our clay.
And equal to the peaks our
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
MASONIC SYMBOLISM IN THE
FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM OF EUCLID
It has been stated that the Forty-Seventh Problem
of Euclid contains the entire symbolism of Masonry. I am unable to find even
all the implements of Masonry revealed therein. Can someone explain, or what
is better, submit drawings to illustrate ? O. B. S., Illinois.
By the statement that the Forty-Seventh Problem of
Euclid contains the entire symbolism of Masonry is meant that the symbolic
lessons taught by Masonry are also taught by the symbolism of the
Forty-Seventh Problem. It was used by the ancient Egyptians to measure and lay
out the ground on which they were to build their temples, as we use the
twenty-four-inch gauge to measure and lay out the time we are to spend on each
part of the work. The very word Geometry means measurement of the earth and
the Operative Mason measures his work by the twenty-four-inch gauge as the
ancient Egyptians measured theirs by the principle of the Forty-Seventh
Problem. By the common gavel, he breaks off the uneven surfaces which prevent
the stones from fitting squarely into the building. So it teaches us as
Speculative Masons to divest ourselves of all the vices which prevent us from
living on the square so that we can fit as living stones into that spiritual
building - the house not made with hands.
The plumb admonishes us to walk uprightly,
representative of the perpendicular. The horizontal reminds us of the level,
these two are at right angles to each other and represent the square. The
hypothenuse of the right-angled triangle which binds the two sides together
and keeps them square, represents the cement of brotherly love and affection
which is spread by the trowel. These are but hints of the resemblance between
the working tools and the Forty-Seventh Problem and may be carried further if
The ancient Egyptians in measuring out the ground
for their temples could determine the north and south line from the stars; but
the east and the west line was found by means of the Forty-Seventh Problem. On
the north and south line, as ascertained by the stars, a string or cord was
laid. (See diagram.) Let N S be the north and south line, A B C D the cord. On
this cord they took a rod of any convenient length and laid off three lengths
of the rod from A to B. four lengths from B to C, and five lengths from C to
D. The cord was then fastened by pegs or pins at B and C, and then A to D were
brought together at the same point as A prime D prime. A right triangle would
thus be formed with sides 3, 4 and 5 with the right-triangle at B. and the
east and west line of the building would be found in AB.
Anderson, in his Constitutions of 1723, page 21,
says "The Forty-Seventh Problem is the foundation of all Masonry, sacred,
civil and military." In his edition of 1738, page 26, he calls it "That
amazing proposition which is the foundation of all Masonry of whatever
materials or dimensions." The high regard in which the ancients, as well as
the earliest Masons, held this proposition has doubtless lead to the claim to
which you refer. Strictly speaking, it may not be true, and yet hints of the
lessons taught in each of the emblems of Masonry can be found in some
application of the Forty-seventh Problem. C.C.H.
* * *
"OFTEN TRIED, NEVER DENIED,
AND WILLING TO BE TRIED AGAIN"
The following question was recently brought up in
one of our study meetings and the Research Committee of Mount Moriah Lodge No.
69 found themselves unable to give a satisfactory answer to it. Can you answer
it for us ?
"What must be the condition of a brother to say he
has been often tried, never denied, and willing to be tried again?"
- J.I.R., Louisana.
This question has a two-fold application - the
literal and the symbolic. In the literal sense it means that the brother has
so posted himself that he is able to prove himself to be a Mason whenever
tested. He was tried when he presented himself for advancement; he was not
denied when the brethren voted him proficient. No well-informed brother after
trying him has ever denied that he was a Mason. Having thus been tried and
accepted in the past, he feels confident of his ability to prove himself a
Mason and is willing to be tried again.
In the symbolic sense, Life is a trial - a
continual trial. Each of us are moral builders for eternity. The Master has
never denied us as being unfit material to be worked into the spiritual
temple, and if we are true Masons, endeavoring to do our part, we are not only
willing, but desirous of continuing in the work, or in other words, willing to
be tried again.
* * *
THE UNKNOWN LIFE OF CHRIST
Has there ever been any systematic research work
relative to what transpired in the life of Jesus Christ between the time he is
recorded as having been found by Joseph and Mary in the Temple "sitting in the
midst of the teachers, both hearing them and asking them questions," and his
baptism by John?
The accepted belief is that this intervening time
was spent by him in Galilee as a carpenter. But, so far as the writer knows,
there is no positive proof that this is, or is not, a fact. Also there are
other theories, including that of being a member of the "Great School," but
these are apparently without authenticity.
I have oftened wondered why, if there has been no
such research work, that students have not considered it a subject worthy of
This query is not prompted by any disposition to
be irreverent or to create discussion, but by a real desire for information.
Ever since the canon of the New Testament was
closed this interval of time in the life of Jesus about which you inquire has
occasioned a vast deal of speculation and controversy. Some would have it
(Theosophists, for example,) that Jesus spent this period in Egypt or India;
others, that he lived in a circle of occulists somewhere - the so-called
"Great School" - and recently George Moore, in his "Brook Kedron" disinters
the old notion that Jesus was an Essene and spent those years in one of their
monasteries; unfortunately these theories, one and all, like the dome seen by
Coleridge in his dream, hang in the air.
Thus far not one single item of tangible evidence
has been brought forward to substantiate any one of these theories. It is easy
to make assertions, difficult to offer proof. On the other hand, the New
Testament discloses a number of facts which give much weight to the
traditional view that Jesus passed the interim in Palestine, presumably at
Nazareth; how otherwise would he have become as familiar with the ideas,
institutions and customs of his people, intimate with the slight details of
his daily life, a turn of phrase, a touch of nature, a private gesture. His
solidarity with his people implies that he had spent years among them.
You ask if any systematic research has been
devoted to this. Such research as the paucity of data makes possible has been
carried on, and that exhaustively, ever since the Renaissance times; those who
waive the "traditional views" aside so airily would do well to familiarize
themselves with the solid scholarship on which it rests. If you have not time
or inclination to read many books you will find an epitome of the various
arguments in the introductbry chapters of Moffat's "Introduction to the New
Testament," and in "The Jesus of History," by T. R. Glover. The latter work is
scholarly and intensely interesting, a book worth going twenty miles to read.
PERTINENT COMMENT ON THE JUNE
ISSUE OF THE BUILDER
NAMES OF CANDIDATES IN LODGE
While enjoying the contents of the June BUILDER, I
noticed some items on which a few words from me might seem interesting.
To begin at the end, I notice a brother is
condemning the practice of publishing names of candidates in lodge notices. It
is possible, of course, that harm might occasionally be done a candidate in
this way, but on the other hand, the safety and well being of the lodge is so
much advanced thereby that in the Grand Lodge of Canada, in this Province,
such publication is required by the Constitution. Then, too, although this
method works Bell enough for small communities where there are say a half
dozen lodges, it has been found necessary to go still further in the larger
cities. Here in Toronto there are thirty-six blue lodges, and up to about five
years ago there had been found cases of unscrupulous men so determined to
penetrate our ranks that they applied to two lodges at once, and were
sometimes initiated in one before the news of their rejection in another could
get around. Or they would re-apply shortly after rejection, instead of waiting
twelve months as required, and get in because our very numbers made the old
system too cumbersome. Also there were other causes for Masonic scandal in the
growth of our membership, which needed to be prevented.
Out of these condition arose the formation of a
Central Masonic Bureau, with which at first the lodges affiliated voluntarily
at their discretion. To the Secretary of this Bureau (I was Secretary for
three years) all names of candidates were sent, together with the dates of
their initiation or rejection. These names were card indexed and all new names
were compared with those on file, and if it were found, for instance, that
John Smith had previously applied to A Lodge, or had been rejected in B Lodge,
this information with dates and names was at once sent to the Secretary of C
Lodge so that they might know how to deal with his application.
This system worked out so well that after some
four years' trial it was adopted into our constitutional machinery by our
Grand Lodge, and I may add that it has saved our lodges and also our
Secretaries a vast deal of labor and other trouble. Similar bureaus can be
found in any town where there are two or more lodges having concurrent
jurisdiction, and the system also keeps a watch for those men who try to slip
in under the dual residence plan. I hope that eventually the Bureau will
become provincial rather than municipal, somewhat like that obtaining in the
Grand Lodge of Ireland in Antrim, when it will be about as good as we can make
ASSISTANCE FROM ENEMY MASONS
C.V.H. asks as to "enemy Masons having aided each
other" in the present war.
One of our brethren, who went over with the ranks
and returned a Lieutenant, told me this incident, which he had from one of
those who benefited by it.
It occurred at the second battle of Ypres. A
little group of English prisoners were being marched to the rear, when our
fire became so heavy that they and their captors had to seek shelter. During
this interval the "non-com." in charge of the English prisoners went through
the pockets of some of them and came across one of those certificates of
membership in three languages, which have been used quite extensively. It was
a question whether the party could proceed further without being destroyed as
a party, so the "non-com." handed back the card to its owner and told him he
could go where he liked with his prisoners.
I was also told by the editor of our "Masonic Sun"
that he knew a lady in this city who had been helped out of Germany, and
through Holland, by a German officer because he found her wearing a Masonic
THE CABLE TOW
Brother Haywood says, on page four of the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin, that "before the obligation the candidate is
held by compulsion," and cites the cable-tow as the symbol thereof.
I do not think this is well founded at all. I have
always understood that candidates expressly stated they were in that position
of their own free will and accord, and that it was unMasonic even to solicit
In more primitive times the cable-tow served as a
guide wherewith to draw the man along an unknown path, and, insofar as
initiation represents a new birth, the cable-tow can very properly be arranged
to represent the umbilical cord and its special uses. This would apply
especially to those States where the work acknowledges the particular
relationship of the J. D. to the candidate during his initiation.
* * *
A DISCUSSION OF THE
DISCREPANCIES IN THE FLAG NUMBER OF THE GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
Editor THE BUILDER:
I am returning the letter of Gilbert L. Grosvenor
together with my comments on same.
It seems to me that THE BUILDER is to be
congratulated on the very timely publication of the flag article. There is
hardly any subject on which there is greater interest than the flag.
I have been more than anxious that there should be
no error in that and I was equally more than anxious that there should be no
error in my reply to the Geographical Magazine. I have carefully looked up the
matter and I am fully convinced that we have made no error in any particular,
but I am more fully convinced than ever that the Geographic Magazine did make
a most serious error in omitting the flag of 1812. This in addition to the
outright blunders of history seems to me to make it more than reasonable that
the Geographic Magazine would make some corrections.
However, I am not so interested in
w hat the
Geographic Magazine does as I am that THE BUILDER is put absolutely right.
John W. Barry, P.G.M., Iowa.
A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR OF
THE GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
Editor THE BUILDER:
I have your favor of recent date with respect to
the criticisms of the Flag Number of the National Geographic Magazine by Mr.
John W. Barry, published in the April number of THE BUILDER. It is not my
purpose to engage in any controversy with Mr. Barry, but I am sure you will be
glad to publish the answer as you published the charge, as a matter of
fairness as well as of courtesy.
Mr. Barry states that the Geographic is in error in saying that
the Union flag was raised first on January 2nd. Admiral Prebble investigated
that matter and fixed the date as January 2nd. He cites the letter to the
Philadelphia Gazette reporting the activities of the army on that day, in
which it is stated that the flag "was raised on the 2nd in compliment to the
United Colonies." He also cites other letters to the same effect. General
Washington's Orderly Book does not say when the flag was
It is asserted by Mr. Barry that there was no such
thing as a Colonial standard, yet he says that the contemporaneous writings of
General Schuyler and the drawing in colors of the flag of the Royal Savage
showed definitely a Union flag. General Washington says in his letter to
Joseph Reed that "We hoisted the Union flag in compliment to the United
Mr. Barry then goes on to assert that this flag
was promptly abandoned, being an English flag. The record shows beyond
question that he is in error in that conclusion. First there is Major Samuel
Seldon's powder horn, dated March 9th, 1776, showing the ship Amaraca flying
the striped flag with the British crosses. That was the date when the British
were forced to agree to evacuate Boston. Again, under authority of Congress,
North Carolina issued paper money dated April 2, 1776. Thereon appears a
perfect representation of the Continental flag with the union crosses and the
thirteen stripes. Still further, under date of May 13, 1776, a writer from New
Providence to the London Ladies' Magazine, states "that the colors of the
American fleet were striped under the Union with thirteen stripes." Still
further yet, we find a report of the Virginia convention read to the army at
Williamsburg, May 16, 1776, in which it is stated, "The Union Flag of the
American States waved upon the Capitol during the whole of this ceremony."
These citations certainly prove that the Union
flag was in general use before the Declaration of Independence.
That this "Union Flag" was also in general use
after the Declaration of Independence is shown with equal clearness. On July
30, 1776, Captain Chapman, of H.M.S. "Shark" wrote to Vice-Admiral Young
saying, "I saw a sail in the offing with colors which I was unacquainted with
(being red and white striped, with a Union next the staff) found to be an
American armed ship, mounting 18 guns, 6 pounders, and wears a Jack, Ensign
and Pendant. I have since learned her name to be the Reprisal, Capt. Weeckes."
Here we have an American naval vessel flying the Union flag after July 4th,
1776, and the records show that she sailed from America after that date.
Again, sometime after July 12, 1776, Ambrose Searle, confidential secretary to
Admiral Lord Howe, wrote to the Earl of Dartmouth describing the colors used
by the American troops as follows: "Their colors are thirteen stripes of red
and white alternately with the English Union in the corner." Again, we find
the Royal Savage, as cited by Mr. Barry, flying the Union flag, yet Wyncoop
(whose schooner Schuyler says she was, and the notation on the water color
painting showing her flying this flag) did not take command until some time
after May 2, 1776, and Arnold did not supersede him until August. The ship was
run aground October 11th, 1776. Still again, under orders dated October 17,
1776, the Andrew Doria, Captain Isaiah Robinson, sailed for the Dutch island
of St. Eustatius, more than three months after the signing of the Declaration
of Independence. On November 16th, 1776, she was saluted by the Dutch Governor
of the island. Great Britain protested the salute and submitted two affidavits
showing that the Andrew Doria flew "the flag of the Continental Congress."
Again, under date of November 19th, 1776, we find a report to the Maryland
Council of Safety, from St. Eustatia, "All American vessels here now wear the
Congress colors." These citations show beyond controversy that the Union flag
was flown by Government vessels long after the Declaration of Independence was
adopted, and leave no ground whatever for the statement that the Union flag
was "promptly abandoned" because it was an English flag. They also show that
there was a "colonial standard," recognized as the flag of the Continental
Congress. Having direct, official, sworn testimony that the official ships of
the United States were flying the Union flag as late as November, 1776,
testimony borne out by ship masters and civilian observers, it were a waste of
time to discuss the contention that this flag was abandoned after July 4,
1776, or that Betsy Ross designed a flag that superseded the Union flag on
that date. After July 4, 1776, the American Army was using the Union flag and
so was the American navy.
As to the evidence upon which the Betsy Ross
legend is hung a passing notice is sufficient. Aside from the hearsay evidence
of her descendents, there is offered the fact that regiments were allowed
money after July 4, 1776, for altering their colors, that certain Indians
petitioned for a "flag of the United States" eleven days before June 14, 1777,
and that Captain Montgomery is alleged to have flown "the Stars and Stripes,"
on the Nancy. This last allegation is based on the statement of his daughter
that he received the news of the Declaration of Independence before sailing
from St. Thomas and a description of the new flag, from which he promptly had
one made and unfurled. Yet the records show that the Nancy was blown up off
Cape May June 29th, 1776, five days before the Declaration of Independence,
and that she had left St. Thomas before Betsy Ross is alleged to have designed
the Stars and Stripes.
Again Mr. Barry says that General Washington was
interested in having Betsy Ross make the flag, and in proof thereof cites a
letter to General Putnam, written May 28th, asking him to speak to the several
Colonels and hurry them to get their colors done. But how could these colors
be the Betsy Ross colors, if Mrs. Ross designed the flag in June, as her
Again, Mr. Barry says that the Union flag was the
flag of India, yet we have the statements of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams
that the ideas represented in the flag were borrowed from the Dutch.
Clearly the statement that the picture of
Washington Crossing the Delaware was painted by Peale was a slip of the pen.
The writer of those lines has seen the original hundreds of times and knows
well it was by Leutze.
With reference to the statement that the
Geographic had erroneously substituted another flag for the one adopted in
1818, it needs only to be said that the arrangements of the stars was not
specified by Congress. The navy always used the parallel lines of stars, and
the Army finally adopted the Navy arrangement. The flag as the world knows it
through the Navy must be the flag and that in 1818 had the stars in parallel
rows as it has always had since. Very truly yours,
Gilbert H. Grosvenor,
Director and Editor.
* * *
PAST GRAND MASTER BARRY'S
REPLY TO MR.GROSVENOR'S LETTER
I thank you for the opportunity to see and comment
on the letter from Gilbert H. Grosvenor, Editor of the Geographic Magazine,
referring to my article as published in the April BUILDER.
Now it is clearly apparent that what he or I may
say of events before our time is trustworthy only insofar as we may quote from
records of the time under consideration or from later but accredited
historians. The absence of authorities is the great defect in the flag article
in the October, 1917, number of the Geographic Magazine and from the letter
just handed me.
January 1, 1776 - True Date
of Grand Union Flag
The Orderly Book of George Washington is in the
Pension Division of the War Department according to last report. George Canby
in his "Evolution of the American Flag ' says on page 31, that he personally
copied therefrom the quotation given in my BUILDER article establishing the
date of January 1, 1776, as the date of first hoisting the Grand Union Flag.
My reference was: "American Archives, 4th Series, vol. IV, p. 568." Also
"Avery, vol. V, p. 307." Instead of saying the above is not true, it would be
more convincing to investigate - even photograph the page of the Orderly Book.
True, he cites Prebble, but he is on both sides, for on page 223, 4th edition,
he gives a picture of the "Grand Union" Flag with the date Jan. 1, 1776, while
in the text he says Jan. 2.
George Bancroft is generally recognized as an
authority on American history. In vol. IV, chapter XX, p. 322, he gives the
date of the Grand Union Flag as January 1, 1776. There is, therefore, no room
to doubt the correctness of THE BUILDER on this point. See also Joumal of
American History vol. I, p. 15.
Mr. Grosvenor holds me in error for saying there
was no Colonial flag and that many flags were in use. Yet pages 338-9 of the
Flag number of the Geographic show some of the many Colonial flags in use -
fully bearing out my statement. Further, previous to June 14, 1777, no flag of
any kind had been established by law, though various flags were in more or
less general use including the stars and stripes.
Grand Union Flag Abandoned
Seven Months Before Stars and Stripes Adopted
I quoted from that eminent historian, Avery, thus:
"After the Declaration of Independence the British Union was removed from the
colors of the new nation." For so doing, Mr. Grosvenor takes me to task very
severely - using a whole page of citations but without giving specific
references. However, they prove just what was said in THE BUILDER. The last
use of the Grand Union Flag was in November, 1776. No reference to any later
use has ever been found though careful search has been made, yet this was
nearly seven months before the formal adoption of the Stars and Stripes, June
14, 1777. Evidently Avery and THE BUILDER are right on that point.
Grand Union "A Signal of
Surrender" Because Flay of India
That the Grand Union Flag was the counterpart of
the flag of the East India Company is shown by Prebble, p. 221. Many of the
troops in Boston had seen service in India and when Washington raised this
flag Jan. 1, 1776, naturally they took it, to use the words of Washington, "as
a signal of surrender." "Thus," he says, "We gave great joy to them (the Red
Coats, I mean) without knowing or attending it." See Washington's letter to
Betsy Ross Made, and
Washington Designed, the Stars and Stripes
Mr. Grosvenor says that it is "a waste of time to
discuss the contention that Betsy Ross designed a flag." Now no one has ever
contended that Betsy Ross designed the flag, but that she did make the flag -
that is all. Washington is generally given credit for the design and may have
been assisted by Francis Hopkinson who rendered bills to Congress for such
service. His bills were not paid because he was already in government service,
and further, others had been consulted, but Betsy Ross was paid for making
flags about that time and continued many years at the same job and in the same
little house in Philadelphia. See also Journal American History, vol. I, p.
The Geographic Wrong as to
Trumbull and Peale
Mr. Grosvenor is not very discriminating. He
refers to the sketch on Major Samuel Sheldon's powder horn as perfectly good
evidence, yet I am unable to find the name of this Major in any reference book
available, though I have access to a fair reference library. On the other
hand, he gives no credit to John Trumbuil, one of Washington's noted
commanders, who in a painting commemorating the battle of Princeton, Jan.
3,1777, shows the Stars and Stripes in use six months before their formal
adoption by Congress. How does Grosvenor treat such a witness, who actually
participated in that battle? He says he left the country while Washington was
before Boston nearly a year previous and was away seven years. This must be
another slip of the pen for he was active in the U.S. until 1780 and later
Congress provided by resolution to pay Trumbull $32,000 to paint the events he
had witnessed - the four large pictures now in the rotunda of the Capitol at
Mr. Grosvenor makes only one admission in this
almost "Comedy of Errors," thus: "Clearly the statement that the picture of
Washington crossing the Delaware was painted by Peale was a slip of the pen.
The writer of those lines has seen the original hundreds of times and knows it
was by Leutze" - many thanks, but the Leutze picture is not in point. What
about Peale's picture of Washington at Trenton bought by Congress because of
its fidelity to fact and now hanging in a glass case in the Capitol at
Washington at the head of the grand staircase, Senate Wing? Has he seen this
once? It is the real thing. It shows the Stars and Stripes in use about seven
months before their formal adoption by Congress June 14, 1777. Peale was one
of Washington's commanders there and even Mr. Grosvenor should give him at
least as much credit as he does the unknown author of a sketch on a powder
horn. Neither was Trumbull in anyway related to Betsy Ross, as might be
assumed from Mr. Grosvenor's statement because their graphic records tend to
sustain her claims as the maker of the first "Old Glory." Mr. Grosvenor
confuses "colors" with flags - two very differed things. Even now the company
colors often have but little semblance to the flag. Washington's letter to
Putnam was mentioned to show that Washington had the matter of flags and
colors on his mind. No one conversant with the terms can misunderstand.
Mr. Grosvenor says "We have the statements of
Benjamin Franklin and John Adams that the ideas represented in the flag were
borrowed from the Dutch." Well, Ben and John have written much and I have read
some of it. But just what are the "statements" and where may they be found?
Please be a little more specific. Give book and page.
Admits Suppression of a Well
Mr. Grosvenor justifies the suppression of the
flag adopted by Congress in 1818 because the law did not specify the
arrangement of the stars. The same reason would justify omitting the flag of
1895. The original flag law of June, 1777, said nothing about the arrangement
of either stars or bars, because in all probability, Washington had laid
before them the flag he had Betsy Ross make for him. Now if in practice the
bars had come to be vertical as in some flags, the historian, in fidelity to
facts, should show the flag adopted. In 1818 the flag then adopted was very
different from the one now shown in the Geographic Magazine. It is true the
one shown is authorized because the law did not specify the arrangement of the
stars. But here again, in 1777, Congress was adopting a design actually before
the House and any attempt to excuse the historian from showing just what that
design really was is mere camouflage.
The records of Congress show, and so far as I can find no one
claims any different, that the flag adopted had its twenty stars arranged in
the form of one great star. The flag was made by Mrs. Samuel Chester Reid,
according to her husband’s design as adopted by Congress April 4, 1818. The
flag was ready April 13, and at once hoisted over the Capitol as shown by
my quotation from James Schouler in THE BUILDER.
Further, this form of the flag was in general use
for years - a fact shown by Rear Admiral George Henry Prebble whose testimony
is competent because he was many times an eye witness of that flag. In his
history of the flag first published in 1872, he devotes twelve pages to the
flag law of 1818. Just to show the flag suppressed by the Geographic Magazine
is in point of fact a serious omission from the flag story, let Prebble
testify. On page 348 of 4th edition he says:
"This, the first flag of the kind put together or
hoisted, was made at New York by Mrs. S.C. Reid, under the direction of her
gallant husband, and the twenty stars on its union, representing as many
states were arranged to form one great star.” See No. 22 in THE BUILDER.
Continuing, Prebble says:
"The unions of the flags which wave over our Fortresses, and in
use by the Military Department of the Government
if not always, so arranged. In the navy flags, the stars have always been set
in parallel lines."
Now, Mr. Grosvenor, inasmuch as the Geographic Magazine
purports to give the military and land flags as well as the flags of the navy,
the suppression of this Reid flag actually adopted by Congress in 1818 and
used so generally, as Prebble shows, can in no way be justified because of
changes made by executive direction in later years. You have omitted an
important flag, long the only one known to the interior of this
are not to blame for all these errors; they are almost inherent in such a
work. But I cannot see how you can be held blameless unless you correct them,
particularly this last one - the omitted flag.
John W. Barry, P.G.M., Iowa.