The Builder Magazine

June 1920 - Volume VI - Number 6

 

MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS

JAMES A. GARFIELD

BY BRO. GEO W. BAIRD. P. G. M.. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

A PARTICULARLY beautiful, artistic memorial to President James A. Garfield stands at the Maryland Avenue entrance to the Capitol grounds, in Washington City. The memorial was modeled by Niehaus and Ward, and is a masterpiece.

 

Garfield successfully combined the arts of statesmanship and war in a fashion equalled by few other men. He had the distinction of being the only man ever elected to membership in the House, membership in the Senate, and to the Presidency in the same year.

 

James Abram Garfield was born November 19th, 1831, at Orange, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, descending from Welsh and Huguenot ancestry. His father died when James was less than two years of age, and his mother ran the farm and kept her boys together, so that James at an early age became a farm hand. This early "hustling" is probably what kindled industrious habits in the boy, who never in his life found toil to be a burden. No honest toil was too meagre for him to attempt, in order that he might earn for the support of his mother. Could there be a nobler purpose?

 

Garfield attended school as opportunity and circumstances permitted, and his ambition was to fit himself to be a teacher. No wiser plan ever existed in the heart of a boy, for the very reason that a boy best masters a subject when he attempts to teach it. There are many superficial scholars, but few superficial teachers.

 

As a teacher he began in a school possessing several rowdy students, which was not unusual in his day; but Garfield was not only a lusty youth but handy with his fists as well, and it was only a short period of time until he had a well disciplined school.

 

He experienced religion at an early age, and became a devoted member of the Campbellite branch of the Baptist Church, continuing such for the remainder of his life.

 

He made his first political speech in support of the nomination of General John C. Fremont, the standard-bearer of what was then the Republican party, after which he attended Williams College and began to teach ancient languages in Hiram College, which is evidence of his progress as a scholar. He was afterwards made President of Hiram College, which office he held in 1859 at the time he was elected to the Ohio Senate where he soon became a quick and ready debater. In one of his speeches he is quoted as saying:

 

"I regard my life as given to my country, and I am only anxious to make as much of it as possible before the mortgage on it is foreclosed."

 

In 1861 Governor Denison offered Garfield the commission of Lieutenant Colonel, which he accepted and joined the Forty Second Ohio Regiment, but he was soon promoted to be Colonel of the Regiment. He made good as a Colonel and was later promoted to be a General Offiicer. He was in the battles of the Big Sandy River, Shiloh, Little Creek, Pittsfield, and others. In 1863 he resigned his commission in the Army and returned to his seat in Congress. Here he was soon recognized as a powerful speaker.

 

His first speech of importance in the House was in January 1864, when he advocated the confiscation of certain rebel property. His best speeches were on tariff revision and against inflation of the currency. He was strictly a party debater, and was a leader of his party in the House.

 

It had long been a custom in the House for the older and stronger members to browbeat the younger ones, and while Garfieid was active in this yet he was not as bad as many of his predecessors. A story is told of the eccentric John Randolph of Roanoke. John was not only a leader, but something of a bully. It was his custom to arrive late, and to take off his overcoat as he strode down the aisle. One day a new member had ventured to rise to a privilege, and just then Mr. Randolph arrived, removing his overcoat as he advanced. The young member hesitated. "Mr. Speaker," said Mr. Randolph, and the Speaker recognized him. There was silence for a moment, when Mr. Randolph said: "Mr. Speaker, the calf from Maryland has blatted at last." But, while Mr. Garfield seemed to hold the younger members in check, he was never as unfair as Mr. Randolph.

 

At the Republican convention in Chicago, in 1880, Garfield appeared in the interest of John Sherman for the nomination to the Presidency, and he labored faithfully. But before long it became manifest that Garfield himself was to be the nominee of the meeting. There followed a vigorous campaign, in which the "credit mobilier" figured vividly. His election to the Presidency was, however, by a good majority and was generally accepted by the whole Republic. Garfield was a hearty, affable man, easy to approach, and was a good listener. He had the merit of never keeping a petitioner waiting; his reply was always ready, positive and decisive, but never offensive. His Secretary of State was James G. Blaine, who had been Speaker of the House, and who was probably the quickest and most incisive debater ever on that floor. Blaine knew how to make friends, in which his personal magnetism helped to a great extent. In campaigns he was a hearty hand-shaker and had a cheerful, encouraging word for the ward-heelers. Among these heelers was Charles J. Guiteau, a good voter, and one who expected to be paid for his vote.

 

But Mr. Blaine was like the Irishman during election time. The day after election Pat said: "Boys, yesterday I'd have kissed the foot of any of you - but now you can kiss mine." So, when Guiteau came to the State Department believing Mr. Blaine would reward him for "services rendered," he was disappointed. Whereupon he resolved to have Mr. Blaine "removed." This he effected, but the rest of his plan failed. He believed that if he killed President Garfield, making Mr. Arthur President, the latter would pardon him. He waited at the railroad station, shot President Garfield, was arrested, tried, pled insanity, and had a large number of sympathizers who sent candy and flowers to him while in jail, but Arthur did not pardon him. He had assassinated the President, who had never offended him, and plunged the nation into mourning without remorse or regret, simply to satisfy his political cravings.

 

President Garfield was a member of Pentalpha Lodge, Washington Royal Arch Chapter, and Columbia Commandery, all located in Washington, D.C.

 

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WHAT THE OFFICIAL ORGAN OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HAS TO SAY OF THE ALLEGED K. OF C. OATH

 

The reappearance in certain sections of the country of the bogus Fourth Degree oath of the Knights of Columbus has led Supreme Knight James A. Flaherty, of Philadelphia, to issue a warning to any who take part in circulating this alleged oath and to request the press of the United States and Canada to aid in enlightening the public regarding the falsity of this "oath."

 

"The Knights of Columbus," Bro. Flaherty has stated, "invite information from anybody regarding circulators of the alleged K. of C. Fourth Degree oath. This bogus oath, revolting in character, has been in circulation for many years. It is a blasphemous and evilly designed document, calculated to stir up religious hatred and to inflame bigotry.  Strangely enough, its appearance coincides with general election years.

 

"The Knights of Columbus is not an oath-bound organization, and as far as secrecy is concerned, we have more than once submitted the internal workings of the Order, even to the details of degree work, for examination by non-Catholics, even ministers of Protestant denominations, who have found us to be simply a patriotic organization striving to do good wherever and whenever we can.

 

"Recently this disgusting bogus oath, containing foolish threats of massacre and carnage against those who do not agree with us in religious matters, was circulated in Albany and Providence and in up-State parts of New York and rural sections of other States.  An attempt was made to circulate it during the war, but the Department of Justice stopped that, the circulator bong an alien enemy - and that fact is significant in the present attempt to revive the 'oath.' The 'oath' is usually printed with a catch lie at the bottom, stating that it has been taken from the Congressional Record.  The truth is that it has appeared in the Record, as evidence in an election case in which it was successfully used against a candidate who happened to be a Knight of Columbus.  His opponent strongly disclaimed knowledge of the 'oath.'

 

"The Knights of Columbus believe that this 'oath' is circulated by ignorant persons who are victims of a more or less intelligent attempt to discredit the organization and cause religious strife, for political or other ends.  We shall prosecute those who malign us by distributing this 'oath' whenever and wherever we may find them.  We have already obtained a large number of convictions in various parts of the country.

 

"The press of the country can render a distinct service by warning the public against this foolish attempt to create bigotry and ill-feeling, especially at this time."

 

The real obligation taken by the K. of C. is in itself sufficient proof of the vile absurdity of the so-called oath.  It follows:

 

"I swear to support the Constitution of the United States.  I pledge myself, as a Catholic citizen and Knight of Columbus, to enlighten myself fully upon my duties as a citizen and to conscientiously perform such duties entirely in the interest of my country and regardless of all personal consequences.  I pledge myself to do all in my power to preserve the integrity and purity of the ballot, and to promote reverence and respect for law and order.  I promise to practice my religion openly and consistently, but without ostentation, and to so conduct myself in public affairs, and in the exercise of public virtue as to reflect nothing but credit upon our Holy Church, to the end that she may flourish and our country prosper to the greater honour and glory of God." From the April, 1920, issue of "The Columbiad," the official organ of the Knights of Columbus.

 

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Kindness is wisdom. There is none in life But needs it and may learn.

 

-Bailey.

 

NOTES ON THE EARLY HISTORY OF MASONIC RANKS

 

BY BRO. SIR FREDERICK POLLOCK, ENGLAND

 

The story of Freemasonry is now a twice-told tale, but it is a story which seems never to grow old.  THE BUILDER has more than once published brief accounts of that history but it needs not to apologize for giving to our readers another account, somewhat longer, written by a brother who has devoted much thought to this important subject.  We ask our readers to study this essay with care for it will give them a bird's-eye view of a vast field of history.  Essays are very often valuable, in that they give a busy man a rapid glimpse of a small section of a great theme; a treatise like this is of far more value, even if it does require more patient study, for it enables him to comprehend the story of Masonry as a whole - Editor.

 

I. THE NATURE OF THE INQUIRY

 

All brethren who have paid any attention to the early history of the craft are aware that our present ceremonial, while it embodies archaic features easily recognized by any one moderately acquainted with medieval language and formulas, and such as no eighteenth century antiquary could have interpolated, (1) is in its form and order the work of the founders of the Grand Lodge Of England and their successors down to the union of the rival Grand Lodges in 1813.  It is certain that its framers from Anderson and Desaguliers to Preston recast and greatly amplified their materials.  We do not know fully what those materials were; indeed Anderson, who was anything but a critical antiquary, seems to have wilfully thrown a cloud of obscurity round his operations; nor is credulity the worst that has to be laid to his charge.  Accordingly, so far as any direct evidence goes, it is very possible to entertain the gravest doubts as to the authenticity not only of Anderson's superstructure but of his foundations.  These doubts have been carried by some learned brethren to the length of maintaining that superiority of the Master to the Fellow Craft is a pure invention or misconception void of historical warrant in the practice of the old operative lodges.  With great respect for the much needed and excellent critical work of those brethren - it is enough to name Gould, Hughan, Speth, Chetwode Crawley, last but not least Dr. Fort Newton, and Dr. Hammond the accomplished librarian of the Grand Lodge of England, who are still with us - I cannot follow them to that length, and shall try to show cause for holding that there was an element of genuine restoration - restoration to be distinguished from unbroken continuity, but not merely fictitious - in the eighteenth century fabric of speculative Masonry.  That Anderson and Desaguliers did not find three degrees existing in practice at the beginning of the eighteenth century may be taken as established: the only arguable question is whether we shall speak of two or one.  But it is another thing to deny that there had ever been three ranks in operative Masonry; whether properly called degrees or not, is a minor question.  So far as I know the word "degree" does not occur as a regular term in any of the earlier documents.

 

I shall not enter on detailed criticism of previous opinions, which would only make a tedious and intricate discussion, but give my own view of the evidence on the principle of trying to establish fixed points by the use of the best available means, and not attempting to reconcile the variations or Contradictions that occur in sources of inferior authority.  This method, I believe, gives the best chance of finding useful clues when one is confronted with a tangle material in which the sound and the unsound seem at first hopelessly mixed. At least it will enable me to follow the order  of time without perplexing digressions. We have to look for indications leading to conclusions or a choice of plausible opinions on the following points. What were the recognized ranks in medieval operative Masonry? How were they acquired or conferred? How far were the distinctions observed in practice in the time of transition from operative to speculative lodges? In the absence of any central authority we must not expect, in any  case, to find complete uniformity. Medieval institutions of all kinds, it may be added, are full of exceptions and anomalies; one quite common note of the antiquarian  (or otherwise interested) falsifier is that he makes things too neat and complete.

 

II. THE COMACINE MASTERS

 

In the course of the last twenty years attention has been called to the importance of the Lombard association of builder-architects (not an ordinary trade gild) known as the Comacine Masters. The recognition of their special standing as independent of any local regulations, and their influence on the general development of European architecture in the Middle Ages, may be taken as proved. (2) It is not to my present purpose to touch on more or less plausible conjectures as to their remote antecedents and possible connection with Eastern traditions. What concerns us here is the fact that the magistri Comacini claimed and exercised  a cosmopolitan privilege very like that of the Masters or Doctors of medieval universities, namely the right of both practising and teaching their art anywhere. There is no authentic evidence of any express imperial or papal grant of any such privilege, (3) but in the Middle Ages custom and repute would for most working purposes do as well as formal title, the notion of possession with its highly important juridical consequences being extended  to usage of all kinds. The University of Oxford had nothing else to rely on for its authority to confer degrees; and in the craft itself we have the "time immemorial" lodges. Now the analogy of university degrees to the ranks established in the Comacine fellowship demands a word of special notice; (4) I do not think it can be accidental: In the Comacine ranks we find the three grades of novices or apprentices, operatori or craftsmen, and magistri. Brethren will remember that at this day the F.C. is still formally exhorted to study the liberal arts and sciences - the medieval trivium and quadrivium and the M.M. to assist and instruct the Brethren in inferior degrees. The parallel to university ranks is exact.  We have in the medieval university system, especially in its English form, the commencing student or undergraduate (a convenient English term lacking a Continental equivalent) who is a member of the body but a mere learner under constant discipline, having only inchoate rights of promotion on satisfying the proper tests; then the bachelor of arts, (5) recognised as proficient to a certain extent, and with a limited authority to teach, but still learning and not released from discipline (in statu pupillari); and lastly the master of arts or doctor, (for down to the fifteenth century these titles were equivalent) who is not only qualified to teach but bound to teach and preside as "regent" at disputations for a certain time.  Traces of the distinction between "regent" and "non-regent" M.A.'s survived in England till our own days.  The essence of the master's or doctor's degree was license to teach in any recognised university; whether any or how many students would come to be taught being a matter dependent on the master's own ability.  In like manner the Master Mason was free, in the operative period, to undertake a contract and form a working lodge to execute it.  In the fully developed university system of the later Middle Ages, now most nearly preserved in England, the doctor's degree belonged only to the superior faculties of theology, medicine and law. (The Faculty of Letters is a creation of our own time, and music is on a rather different footing). It would be fanciful to seek for any real analogy between the faculties outside Arts and the Masonic or quasi-Masonic orders and degrees outside ancient craft Masonry; but it seems worth remark that in the majority of European universities there has been a dislocation and consolidation of degrees curiously like that of which we have indications in the later operative Masonry, the faculty of Arts having made its mastership a doctorate under the name of Doctor of Philosophy, and the bachelor's degree having atrophied or never been fully established.  The preliminary point I am here making is that the general idea of three ranks, namely, novice, worker still under instruction, and master giving instruction, is no modern invention but rooted in authoritative medieval tradition.

 

It is certain that Italian master-builders came to England at the very beginning of the Middle Ages; it is a safe inference that they brought the Comacine tradition, as there is positive architectural evidence that they brought Comacine symbolism with them; and no one acquainted with the wide and rapid spread of medieval institutions and forms by direct imitation (in the universities, again, as much as anywhere, also in municipal and other customary rules) will hesitate to believe that they found imitators.  The later importation of Italian masters and artificers towards the end of the fifteenth century was of a different kind, and is not to the purpose here.  We are now ready to proceed to the evidence found in English documents.  I may premise that I take no notice of modern publications purporting to reproduce ancient texts or give the substance of ancient materials, but having no authentic history, coming from no proper custody, and lacking corroboration from more trustworthy sources.  Happening to be rather familiar with documents of that kind in the medieval history of English law, I am clearly of opinion that even so far as there is nothing extravagantly improbable in their contents it is unsafe to treat them as historical proof of anything.  One cannot so much as infer from them what was current belief or tradition at the time when they were written; for they may represent nothing but the conjecture or invention of some eccentric writer who was wilfully manufacturing evidence in support of his peculiar views.  It is an elementary caution that any copy of a alleged original which fails to account for that original, or even gives a false account, must be regarded with the gravest suspicion, a suspicion not to be removed by the matter being on the face of it consistent with genuineness, if it is so.  Many forgeries have been very plausible; and interpolations in copies or reconstructions of perished or lost genuine documents may give much trouble, and on the whole have given more than downright forgery.  The fact that a copy comes from proper custody (such as, to take the simplest case, the place where the missing original or an official duplicate ought to have been) is a reason for giving it faith and credit, but unfortunately not a conclusive reason.

 

III. OPERATIVE MASTER MASONS

 

Let us begin with a class of testimony which is undesigned, authentic and strictly contemporary, the designation of masons in medieval building accounts, or fabric rolls, to use a term current among antiquaries.  Mr. W. R. Lethaby's book "Westminster Abbey and the King's Craftsmen" (1906) gives us a good selection. (6) We read of a "magister Robertus cementarius" in 1169 (p. 115).  Then from the middle of the thirteenth century onwards we have a series of King's Masons beginning with Master John of Gloucester (p. 161, etc.) who are regularly called Master: but this was not merely an official title, for several other masons are so called, and in 1307 Master Richard de Wytham, mason (therefore already a master) was appointed to be Master at the King's Palace and the Tower, that is, director of the works. Towards the end of the thirteenth century timber was ordered "to make a lodge for Master Michael and his masons" (p. 181). "Master" therefore certainly meant something definite. Mr. Lethaby thinks there was some sort of gild which conferred the title, and mentions as a known fact that "in the fifteenth century there were yearly congregations of masters": of which more presently. The election by the masons of the City in 1315-6 of six paviors to repair the pavements (p. 186) proves that they were then recognized as an organized body.

 

There is also frequent mention of Master Carpenters, but nothing to show exactly how far their position was like that of Master Masons.

 

So far then we know that a master mason was a mason qualified in some ascertained way to undertake and control building operations, (7) and that in the City of London there was an established community of masons in the early fourteenth century, probably much earlier. It does not seem likely that in such a body the designation of Master rested on nothing but unofficial reputation.

 

Riley's Memorials of London (1868) furnish valuable supplementary matter. In 1356 regulations were made for the trade of masons by "twelve of the most skilful men" equally representing the "masons hewers" and the "light masons and setters" (p. 280); these skilful men are referred to as "the said Masters so chosen" by the body of th trade. Among other rules "no one shall take work in gross" - that is as a contractor- "if he be not of ability in a proper manner to complete such work." In 1298 Master Simon de Pabingham and Master Richard de Wetham, masons, are reconciled before the Mayor (nature of difference not stated).  As to Masters in other callings, the master farriers apparently control their trade (A.D. 1356, p. 292), and in the Barbers' gild it seems that the only Masters were the two elected Wardens (A.D. 1376, p. 394).  Variations in the usage of different trades are only what we should expect.

 

Now let us turn to the Sacrist Rolls of Ely edited from the muniments of Ely Cathedral by Canon F.R. Chapman and dating from the late thirteenth and the first half of the fourteenth century. (8) We meet with one John Attegrene who is mentioned several times during five years before he is entitled Magister Cementarius' in 1339-1840; therefore, in the learned editor's words, "not apparently at first a master mason, but attaining that distinction after some years": vol. i, p. 47; the words of the entry are "in stipend.  Johannis Attegrene Magistri Cementarii per ann. 1.pound 6s. 8d" (ii.  99). Canon Chapman's inference appears not only natural but inevitable, and the supposition that "magister" was only a customary title of office during a particular employment is excluded by the evidence of the Westminster rolls already cited.

 

From the fabric rolls of York Minster published by the Surtees Society (9) we learn that in the fourteenth century the regulations as to hours of work were laid down in detail by the Dean and Chapter, and the master masons and his fellows swore to observe them.  The conditions on which a new worker is received are rather strict.  After a week of probation the reception has to be "of the common assent of the master and keepers of the work, and of the master mason." The master and keepers first named appear to be supervisors appointed by the Dean and Chaper. If the master mason is disabled the warden ("magister secundarius cementariorum") is too act as deputy with half the salary." (10)

 

It is certain that the trade had an active government of its own in the fourteenth century and that regular assemblies fixed or attempted to fix wages. "The masons seem to have resisted the Statutes of Labourers more successfully than any other craft." (11) In 1360-1 (34 E. III, c. 9) Parliament declared all such trade regulations void as contrary to the Statute of Labourers (25 E. III. st. 2. c. 2, A. D. 1350) and insisted on wages being paid by the day and not otherwise according to the Statute at rates not exceeding 4d. a day for a "mestre mason de, franche peer" (12) (freestone mason) and 3d. for others; but the right of lords to make their own bargains with contractors is saved. In 1425 (3 Hen. VI. c. 1. often cited in the modern literature of Freemasonry) this was reinforced by an absolute prohibition of the meetings themselves; the conveners were to be adjudged felons, and those attending to be liable to arbitrary fine and imprisonment.  It is by no means clear that these Acts ever had much effect; in any case the Elizabethan lawyers treated them as repealed, though not expressly, by the legislation of their own time.  All the medieval labour statutes were repealed in the course of the nineteenth century.

 

So far the extraneous evidence, as we may call it.  As witness for the state of things about the end of the fourteenth century we have the operative masonic documents collectively known as Old Charges.  A list of them is given in a most useful book to which we shall recur, Edward Conder's "Records of the hole craft and fellowship of masons," Lond. 1894, et. p. 219. (13) The number there given as extant is 63, but in 1915 as many as 75 were known. (14) Most of these are seventeenth century copies of earlier originals (one late 16th, about a dozen 18th), seemingly good copies in the main; but two, the "Halliwell" or "Regius" and the "Cooke," both in the British Museum, exist in actual medieval MSS, (15) and moreover appear by internal evidence to be the earliest in original date.  All these documents contain generally similar matter though not always in the same order; the usual order is as follows: (1) Invocation of the Trinity. (2) Definition of the liberal arts and especially geometry. (3) Origin of geometry and architecture given in a legendary chronicle form.  The confusion of persons and times, such as Euclid being Abraham's clerk, and Charles Martel (in some MSS. corrupted into Marshall) speaking with a man who had been at the building of Solomon's temple, is no more than occurs in other medieval legends. (4) Foundation of masonry and yearly assemblies by King Athelstan." (16) (5) Charges to be delivered to masons for their instruction: here the most considerable variations occur.  There are "articles" addressed to masters and "points" to working fellows.

 

Let us now see what we can find about master masons in the Old Charges, beginning with the earliest.

 

The "Halliwell" or "Regius" document, the oldest of all in substance, is unique in its form, being versified. It is written in a "Gothic" hand of about the end of the fourteenth century; the text has been accessible in print for more than seventy years. (17) The title is "constituciones artis gemetrie secundum Enclydem," geometry being identified with the higher skill of architecture (a word not yet known) as distinct from the mere journeyman's craft; and the space given to the relation of master and apprentice - an apprentice bound for seven years (v. 122) - is ample proof that the writer's object was quote practical.  The apprentice must be free born, for otherwise his lord might reclaim him even in the lodge (v. 129 seq).  The master is bound to teach the Prentice (v. 241); and the precept "to him that was higher in this degree" (18) to "teach the simplest of wit" is exalted by being ascribed to Euclid (vv. 35-40).  The prentice must keep his master's counsel's and what is done in the lodge to himself (vv. 275-286), but there is nothing to show whether any secrets are formally imparted to him or not; and every working mason is to take his pay from the master "full meekly" (v. 298). (20)

 

Masters are the more skilful and worshipful of the craft (vv. 31-46) and are bound to attend general congregations of which they have notice, except for sickness or other reasonable excuse (vv. 105-118); evidently an important duty, as it has a whole "articulus" to itself.  A master must not undertake work unless he is capable of carryings it through, as we have seen already (v. 195).  Receipt of summonses to congregations would presumably be conclusive proof of mastership; whether there was any other form of admitting or recognizing masters does not appear so far.  Masons (including masters, it would seem) address one another as fellows (v. 51).  But at the assembly "there shall be masters and fellows also" (v. 409).  If plain English words have any meaning, the writer regarded masters as superior to ordinary fellows, however their condition was acquired.  These assemblies were public functions at which the Sheriff, the mayor of the city and other magnates were expected (v. 411). (21) We cannot doubt that they were really held and did regulate the trade; otherwise there would have been no occasion for Parliament first to annul their rules and then to forbid them altogether.

 

Next we turn to the Cooke MS (22) which need not be much later than the Regius; indeed the originals (for it is a combination of two documents, as Speth has proved in his excellent critical commentary appended to the Quatuor Coronatorum facsimile) (23) may have been earlier.  It is written in a book hand of the first half of the fifteenth century. (24) The contents are in many ways peculiar.  It begins with a sort of general thanks-giving instead of an invocation, and gives consecutively two different versions of the Euclidean legend, in the second of which the scribe mechanically copied the corrupt form "Englet" or "Englat." The first version refers (1. 640) to the "book of our charges," which probably resembled if it was not identical with the charges following the second version.

 

In a general way the matter is much like that of the Regius, but there is a unique passage about the congregations said to have been instituted in King Athelstan's time (1. 700 sqq.). These were to be annual or triennial, and "at such congregations they that be made masters should be examined of the articles after written, and be ransacked whether they be able and cunning to the profit of the lords" (i. e. employers) "of whom they take their pay for their service and for their travail," 1. 725.  Evidently the author of this passage believed that a master mason's standing was not or ought not to be complete until he had satisfied the masters assembled in a regular congregation that he was well acquainted with the articles, that is, the duties of a master as delivered in the charges, and that he was competent as a practical undertaker of building works.  The former branch of the examination may well have been on the way to become a mere ceremony at the beginning of the fifteenth century; (25) we do not know how the latter was conducted, but perhaps testimonials of work actually accomplished would be accepted as sufficient proof of competence.

 

The later MS. recensions of constitutions and charges, read in their natural sense, plainly confirm the witness of the Regius and the Cooke MSS. that master and fellow were the names of distinct ranks.  In an affirmative sentence, indeed, "masters and fellows" may be thought ambiguous.  But there is nothing ambiguous about the repeated negative injunctions enumerating the various things that "no master nor fellow" or "no master nor no fellow" may do. (26) Not that I assert or believe that the distinction was still alive when our present copies were written; but it must have been alive at the date of their originals. If "no master nor no fellow" is not a decisively disjunctive phrase, I do not know how the idea of two distinct classes is to be conveyed in the English language.

 

IV. THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY PRACTICE

 

What can we infer from our documents as to the actual usage of the later Middle Ages? I submit, with all due reserve and subject to correction or new information, that it was something like this.  Any qualified fellow of the craft may take a contract if he can find an employer to intrust him with the work, and companions to work under him. So long as the building is in progress, be the time longer or shorter, he is "governor of the work" and called master, but strictly master only of the lodge he has formed for that special undertaking (there is no election of a master by the lodge in the purely operative period, except possibly, one may guess, if the master dies or is disabled before the work is finished). (27) In order to obtain the permanent rank of Master he must be approved and certified in a general assembly. We have seen that the proceedings were public, and that public officers were present who were not members of the craft.  It is therefore most improbable that any new secrets were then and there inaparted to the approved master; indeed it is hard to see what more he can have had to learn.

 

Now let us turn again to the statement in the Cooke MS. about the examination of masters.  It is not a common form; the author whose work our scribe copied must have made it with a purpose.  It looks as if he thought the practice of examination had been unduly relaxed, and wished to reinforce it by the mythical authority of King Athelstan, or it may be that he objected to the methods of new unionism (to use a modern phrase) whereby the congregations fell foul of Parliament, and intended to give his companions a hint that it was better to stick to their ancient office of keeping up the technical standard.  Again he may have had some personal interest in the fees paid by masters on approval and have been anxious about their falling off.  Fees were a great matter in the Middle Ages.  This, however, is guesswork.

 

Then the Cooke MS. has yet another curious passage after the "Points" - perhaps not in its right place, perhaps taken from a different source - where we hear of a class of "new men." "At the first beginning" (of the congregation) "new men that never were charged before be charged in this manner" - namely, in short, to keep no company with thieves, to work honestly, render true accounts in things for which they are accountable, behave as lawful men generally, "and that they keep with all their might and (sic) all the articles aforesaid:" Something must be wrong with the text; for the duties specified are those of ordinary workers but the Articles dealt with those of masters.  One suspects an accidental omission; perhaps we should read "[all the points] and all the articles aforesaid"; but the lacuna may be more considerable.  We can infer, as the MS. stands, only that at these assemblies a charge in the nature of general exhortation and distinct from the "articles" and "points" was delivered to masters or fellows, or both, attending for the first time, and that every man newly qualified as fellow or master was bound to attend at the first opportunity.  Charges of this type are familiar to all Brethren in our modern ritual.  To my mind the passage (assuming it to be a correct statement of actual practice) leaves us in doubt whether this exhortation was the preface to a formal admission, and does not enable us either to affirm or to deny that there was such a ceremony.

 

On the while it seems likely that in the first half of the fifteenth century the craftsman who had executed one or two contracts with success was already apt to be so well content with the reputation of a de facto master as to be in no hurry to incur the trouble and expense of proceeding to the official completion of his title. But that completion may have been expected of a mason who aspired to be master of the works for a great undertaking such as the building of a collegiate church or material additions to a cathedral or minster. Similarly, in a rough way, the M. A. degree is kept alive in England at this day mainly as a qualification for academic franchise or scholastic or ecclesiastical office. The university analogy further suggests that only formally approved master masons had an effective vote in the general assemblies.  I have not found any clear indication of the time when the practical business of the congregations died out, or when they ceased to be even formally convened; but I should guess that the former date cannot be put later than about the middle of the sixteenth, or the latter than the first quarter of the seventeenth century.

 

V. THE TRANSITION PERIOD

 

In the sixteenth century there was a general decay of the old craft regulations, those of masonry among them; but there was also a special reason for the standing of a master mason losing its importance.  The introduction of the word "architect," hardly in use before the sixteenth and not common till the seventeenth century, marks the advent of a sort of men, trained not in the old craft ways, but in the new art that had come in with the new learning, who treated their profession as being of a higher order than the builder's industry. When the architect who had never been a craftsman was the real "governor of the work," and the master mason was no better than a foreman or clerk of the works, it was no longer worth while to be an operative master mason.  The operative lodges gradually became little more than social clubs preserving the symbolic traditions of the craft with various degrees of care and fidelity, something like the Inns of Chancery in the legal profession when they ceased to be active bodies working in auxiliary subordination to the Inns of Court: and as a measure of self-preservation they reinforced themselves by adopting or "accepting" honourary members who had nothing to do with the operative craft. These "accepted" members were the ancestors of our modern fraternity, and "speculative" in the sense of having studied, or being deemed to have studied geometry and architecture without being craftsmen. (28) We may see in the adoption of Sir Christopher Wren at the very latest stage of the transition, if it took place, an expiring attempt on behalf of the attenuated operative tradition to revive its credit by linking it with the new school of architecture. But the fact is in doubt; we have here an example of perhaps the most troublesome kind of minor historical problem, here the affirmative side rests on weak though in itself not incredible evidence, the negative on the lack of confirmation in the quarters where we might reasonably look for it. (29) Aubrey's well known memorandum 1691 (30) cannot, however, be dismissed as void of all foundation; no motive for invention appears, and if Wren was invited to become a brother late in his life, at is not unaccountable. The simplest explanation is that nobody thought of it sooner; or for some reason Wren may have had difficulties about accepting, and taken a long time to decide. A more careful diarist would have saved posterity much trouble by being at the small pains of ascertaining that the meeting  he noted as appointed for that very day, May 18, 1691 was actually held. But Aubrey was careless. Later inaccurate gossip is of no value as confirmation, but so far as its particulars are inconsistent with Aubrey's contemporary note it is equally worthless as contradiction. As Chetwode Crowley judiciously said, Aubrey's testimony remains admissible for what it is worth. (31) It seems just possible that Wren was adopted in expectation of active assistance, and that he failed to render it; if so there might be a grain of truth in Anderson's otherwise very suspicious story of his neglect. (32) But, whether we decide for or against Sir Christopher's membership, or leave the matter as an unsolved puzzle, there is nothing in it to help us to any general conclusion.

 

We have anticipated a little, but the digression is not material.  The really dark time of the transformation is the sixteenth century.  Lodges had been temporary working associations for a time varying with the magnitude of the undertaking. They became local and permanent, with something of a superficial likeness to craft gilds, from which they were really as different as could be.  There were, of course, real craft gilds of masons in the towns, distinguished from other trade gilds by the customary right of intercommoning, to borrow a legal term from another region, whereby the fellow of any one gild was entitled to be received and to work in the jurisdiction of any other.  Hence the need of passwords and tokens for recognition. But we have no evidence that the fixing of lodges to a local habitation was accomplished by any process of amalgamation with gilds. That which actually happened in the singular case (so far as we know) of London was, as we shall immediately see, not so simple.  It is easy to suppose then when a master mason of good repute had fulfilled a contract and had reason to expect another, his companions might find it more profitable to stay with him than to disperse in search of other work. That would account for a lodge acquiring a continuous existence, but it would bring it no nearer to the change of the master from the founder into an annually elected officer. I have not met with any light on the process, nor even any attempt to explain it. One little fact waiting to be fitted into its right place is that operative bodies continued to deliver the old charges, or abridgments of them, to their apprentices as late as the eighteenth century. (33)

 

Early in the seventeenth century we have a glimpse of the transition from operative to speculative masonry nearly but not quite accomplished in the "new articles" that occur in a few MSS. of the constitutions. (34) No person is to be accepted a freemason "unless he shall have(?) a lodge of five freemasons at least, whereof one to be a master or warden" - where "master" is obviously the name of office only - "of that limit or division wherein such lodge shall be kept, and another of the trade of freemasonry." This is not altogether clear, but it seems that a lodge was not correctly formed without at least one operative member. Now the need for such a rule shows that in most lodges the majority had ceased to be operative.  This was certainly the case, as we now know, in the Warrington Lodge to which Elias Ashmole was admitted in 1646; (35) indeed it is at least doubtful whether any operative mason was present.  "I was made a Free Mason" is the whole extent of Ashmole's disclosure as to what passed, besides the date and the names of members of the lodge attending.  Many years later, in 1682, Ashmole attended a lodge "at Mason's Hall, London" where six named persons "were admitted into the Fellowship of Free Masons." Ashmole "was the Senior Fellow among them," and the Master of the Masons' Company (of London) is named among "the Fellows" present.  There is no word of Ashmole having ever gone through any other ceremony than that of Oct. 16, 1646, at Warrington, or of any one being called Master except in virtue of his office for the time being.  The natural inference is that an "accepted" i.e. non-operative freemason was admitted as a fellow without going even in form through the stage of an apprentice (though a cumulative ceremony is not absolutely negatived), and that there was no speculative degree corresponding to the old operative rank of master mason, which had become obsolete, or confounded with that of fellow, in the course of the sixteenth century; whether practice was uniform everywhere we cannot be quite sure, but at all events there is no sign of different usages in London, and at Warrington. Honourary degrees in universities are in like manner conferred without any mention at all of the stages passed through by an ordinary candidate, and indeed degrees are quite commonly so conferred by the governing body on office-holders if they are not already graduates of the university.

 

The Masons' Hall where Ashmole attended a lodge meeting was the hall of the Masons' Company of London, and the lodge was attached to the company in the sense that the company accepted honourary members through (and it seems only through) the lodge; but the company as a subsisting craft gild was more extensive than the lodge, and the records of the lodge, unfortunately not extant, were quite distinct from those of the company. This appears in the extracts from the Company's accounts, beginning in 1620, published by Bro. Conder.  New members admitted to the Company and "coming on the livery upon acceptance of Masonry" paid distinct fees to the lodge and to the Company. (36) Apprentices taking up their freedom in the regular way of the trade after serving their seven years under a freeman might and commonly did pay a special fee of 3s. 4d. for "admission then to be a Master." This had nothing to do with the lodge, for there is no corresponding item in the fees paid by the "accepted" members. It was therefore a survival of the old operative rank, consolidated with that of fellow - a rank still distinct from membership of any merely local body, even that of the eminent London Company, and carrying in theory the privilege of being free of the craft everywhere. Its working value however does not seem to have been rated high in the year 1636, judging by the amount of 3s. 4d. as compared with the 20s. paid "by way of gratuitie to this Companie." (37) By rights, it would seem, the 3s. 4d. should have gone to some representative of the general assembly of masons and not into the Company's account.  Evidently there had long ceased to be any such person; I may add by the way that I cannot believe there was a Grand Master of Freemasons (except so far as the president of a general assembly, so long as the assemblies were held, may be regarded as such for the occasion, as Speth suggests in his commentary on the Cooke MS.) or any regular body acting like a Grand Lodge, before 1717.  The "admission to be a Master" still practised in the Masons' Company in 1636 appears to be the latest officially recorded trace of the use of that name in the old operative sense.  An inventory of 1665 shows that the Company kept a list of "the names of the accepted Masons" - that is the members of the lodge - "in a fair inclosed frame with lock and key." (38) Nothing in the Company's books tells us what became of that lodge.  It may have died out or may have separated from the Company and continued under some new name; Bro. Conder suggests as a pious conjecture that the Lodge of Antiquity may have arisen from it. (39)

 

The formation of purely speculative lodges not having any professed operative character appears to have begun only in the eighteenth century, not without discontent on the part of operative lodge members. (40)

 

Finally we have Anderson's statement about the meeting of four lodges which was the origin of the Grand Lodge of England. (41) "They and some old Brothers met at the said Apple-Tree, and having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro tempore in due form," etc.  The same term is applied at little further on to the chairman of the assembly and feast held at the Goose and Gridiron on St. John the Baptist's day, 1717, when Sayer was elected Grand Master. It seems natural that an actual Master of a lodge should take the chair on both occasions. Anderson's phraseology may have been intended to minimize the fact that the only persons then recognized as master masons were those who were or had been Masters of lodges, Installed Masters as we now call them: but it does not appear to me that any certain inference can be drawn.

 

VI.  THE SPECULATIVE RECONSTRUCTION

 

The state of things before the creation of the Grand Lodge of England seems to have been as follows:

 

In the community of operative masons there had been three grades, namely apprentice, fellow and master, resembling the undergraduate student, bachelor and master or doctor of a university.

 

The rank of master mason had become less important from the fifteenth century onwards. It was practically extinct about the middle of the seventeenth century.

 

In the subsisting lodges about 1700 there was only one rank, generally under the name of fellow, but it seems that an actual or past Master of a lodge was entitled to some precedence.

 

I have endeavoured to give a connected view of these stages, distinguishing those points which are established or made highly probable by good witness from those which are left open by the known evidence and give room for some latitude of conjecture.  In my judgment no greater certainty is now to be looked for save by some unexpected stroke of good fortune.

 

The founders of modern freemasonry, having in their hands copies of the "Old Charges," and perhaps other material now lost, were acquainted with the old operative classification and proceeded to reconstruct it in the speculative form now familiar to us.

 

Thus was our stately and superb edifice, for so we may justly call it notwithstanding all confessed errors in design and faults of execution, built up on the ruins of the medieval order.  Our founders were credulous their credulity, as too commonly happens, was not free from admixture of something indistinguishable from pious fraud; but the blemishes affect only details of their work. The last word must be of thankfulness for the daring ingenuity which rescued the permanent and cosmopolitan elements of the ancient craft symbolism and developed them with enhanced spiritual value.

 

 (1) There is at one point an element of distinctly northern and maritime origin; I must not be more explicit in print.

 

(2) See W. Ravenscroft, The Comacines, their predecessors and their successors, London, 1910 (where other works are referred to); J. Fort Newton's The Builders, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1916, pp. 85-102, 113, 114.

 

(3) Rivoira, Le origini dell' architettura lombarda, i. 130.

 

(4) It has already been observed as regards medieval gilds in general: P. J. Hartog in Encycl.  Britann. 11th ed. x. 41, s.v. Examinations.

 

(5) The importance of this degree seems to be confined to Paris, Oxford and Cambridge.  Originally it was only the state of a candidate for the master's or doctor's licence.

 

(6) Not actual extracts from the unpublished rolls, but the scholarly character of the work is sufficient warrant.

 

(7) This confirms Gould's conclusions (History, i. 431) that a M.M. was "a duly passed apprentice who was competent to take work on his own account." The open question is what was the appointed proof of such competence.

 

(8) Cambridge University Press 1907, vol. 1, notes on transcripts, Vol. 2, transcripts: privately printed. I owe the communication of this important work to my friend Mr. Hubert Hall of the Public Record Office.

 

(9) 1859, p. 181, extract in Coulton, Social Life in  Britain, from the Conquest to the Reformation, Camb. 1918, p. 489.

 

(10) p. 166.

 

(11) Coulton, op. cit. p. 481; and see Wyclif's censure of "Freemasons and others" for their restrictive rules, ib. p. 490. "  (12) Note the division of masons as "de franche pere" or "de grosse pere." The meetings are described as alliances and covines of masons and carpenters.  In later terminology "covin" refers to fraudulent agreement, but here it is a body of confederates, see Oxford Dict. s. v. I have verified the French original of both Acts in the Statutes of the Realm. (13) Cp. Stillson and Hughan's History (Boston, New York and London, 1891) pp. 161 seq. Conder's list appears to represent a later revision. Hughan's article on Freemasonry in the Encycl. Britann. (1910) says "numbering about seventy."

 

(14) Ars iv. Coron. xxviii. 189.

 

(15) Complete facsimiles in Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha, vols. 1, 2. Several of the later MSS. are also facsimiles in the same series. The spelling of quotations here given is modernized.

 

(16) This tale, being unknown to all historians from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle downwards, must be set down as pure fiction. I am inclined to ascribe its origin to the antiquarian English revival under Henry I. which produced, along with Latin versions of genuine laws, the spurious laws of Edward the Confessor and other inventions. But there was also some antiquarian romancing early in the fourteenth century. Mr. Coulton (Social Life in Britain, p. 488) ingeniously suggests that "the craft chose him" (Athelstan) "as their eponymous hero on the strength of the stan (stone) in his name."

 

(17) The early history of Freemasonry in England. By James Orchard Halliwell (afterwards Halliwell-Phillips) 2nd ed. Lond. 1944. Also extracts in Coulton, op. cit. pp. 481-489. Cp. W. Cunningham, Notes on the Organization of the Mason's Craft in England (British Academy, 1913).

 

(18) I do not think any stress can be laid on the use of this word.

 

(19) The words "Privite of the chamber" which follow seem to refer to private instruction from the master.

 

(20) Brethren will hardly need to be reminded that a trace of this point, from whatever documentary source actually derived, exits in our modern ceremonies.

 

(21) What was the Sheriff doing there? Was this piece composed before 1360? or was the Statute a dead letter? Or was the Sheriff's business to see  that there was no meddling with wages?

 

(22) The history and articles of Masonry - ed. Matthew Cooke, Lond. 1861. Cooke's transcript requires correction in places as appears by the facsimile, and the MS. itself has several copyist's errors. I am indebted to my friend Mr. Hubert Hall for a fresh critical estimate of the dates.

 

(23) There is one amendment to be made in the verbal interpretation. In 1. 290 "Kindly" is not "fortunately" but "by natural reason"; "law of kind" is the medieval English for "lex naturalis"

 

(24) So Conder, Hole craft &c. p. 29, n. "circa 1430." In his texk at p. 48 an unlucky misprint reads 1480.

 

(25) So in the ancient English universities proceeding to the M. A. from the B. A. degree has long been a matter of right on payment of the fees; the last semblance of examination was abolished early in the nineteenth century. (26) e.g. Clerke MS. ap. Conder, The hole craft &c. at p. 216

 

(27)But this was at least sometimes otherwise provided for, see as to York Minster p. 12 above. cp. art. 141 of the current English Book of Constitutions.

 

(28) See Cooke MS. 1. 623 wad Speth's comment thereon.

 

(29) Especially the silence of Sir Christopher's son, who was certainly a Freemason. Preston's assertion counts for nothing, Anderson's for rather worse than nothing.  The minutes of the Lodge of St. Paul's (1723) restore the balance but are not quite convincing.  See the controversy summed up in Calvert, The Grand Lodge of England, 1917, pp. 44-52.

 

(30) Facsimiled in Chetwode Crowley's "The Masonic MSS. in the Bodleian Library," reprint from Ars IV. Coron. 1898.

 

(31) If it is worth anything it shows that Wren was not a Freemason before 1691. The alternative of supposing that Aubrey misunderstood his information or was misinformed, so that the ceremony may have really been, an installation, would leave us with no standing-ground at all   (32) Aubrey's entry is also strictly compatible with Wren, having at the last moment refused or failed to attend the meeting, and thus never having been adopted.

 

(33) Conder, op. cit. p. 142.

 

(34) Condor, The Hole Craft &c., p. 225.

 

(35) Facsimile from his diary in "The Masonic MSS. in the Bodleian Library," many times printed, last in Newton, The Builders, p. 162, and Calvert, The Grand Lodge of England, p. 2, also in Conder, op. citi 203-4.

 

(36) The Hole Craft &e. pp. 140, 171.

 

(37) Ib. pp. 162, 163.

 

(38) The Hole Craft &e. p. 179.

 

(39) op. Cit. p. 13.

 

(40) Calvert, The Grand Lodge of England, p. 17.

 

(41) Book of Constitutions, 2nd ed. 1738, p. 109.  Facsimiled in Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha, vol. 7.

 

-----o-------

 

THE MASONIC TRINITIES

 

BY BRO. L. B. MITCHELL. MICHIGAN

 

Brotherly love, the fundamental grace

By which man finds his true and rightful place;

Wc cannot know how much its meaning holds

For life with it to all that's best, unfolds.

 

Relief, the deed responsive to the sway

Of Love that loves in sacrificial way,

And thereby finds that life's a golden mine

With dividends that truly are sublime.

 

And Truth, the find of right relation to, -

Like sun and sight, - reveals unto the view

The right of things in bold finality

And then responds with its so mote it be.

 

* * * * * *

 

Friendship, the tie that gives to life its zest,

The bond by which we know each other best,

The sweetest chord in human harmony

And timed to meet its need upon the way.

 

Morality, the sense that qualifies

To virtues held as nature's highest prize,

The test alone that measures to the man

And which by right all compromises ban.

 

And brotherly love, the soulness of the Art

That gives to life its courage and its heart;

It is indeed the soul-bind of the earth,

The kindredness that gives the world its worth.

 

-----o------

 

Prosperity has this property: It puffs up narrow souls, makes them imagine themselves high and mighty, and leads them to look down upon the world with contempt; but a truly noble spirit appears greatest in distress; and then becomes more bright and conspicuous. - Plutarch.

 

THE MYSTIC TIE

 

BY BRO. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, NEW YORK

 

"The moral solidarity of mankind is dissolved.  The danger is imminent that the end may be a war of all against all.  Sects and parties are increasing; common estimates and ideals keep slipping away; we understand one another less and less; even voluntary associations, that form of unity peculiar to modern times, unite more in accomplishment than disposition, bring men together outwardly rather than in reality."

 

These words, written by Rudolph Eucken in 1912, were like a star-shell over No Man's Land, revealing the divided mind of the world, and they had a terrible fulfilment.  The War, by its principle of violence, made no positive contribution to society, but only stirred up and brought to the surface what already existed.  For both men and nations it intensified tendencies already active, precipitated passions held in obscure solution, and brought to a focus forces that had long been uneasily accumulating.  It neither initiated nor changed the direction in which the world was moving, but it did quicken the pace, and, in quickening it, revealed it.  That is why a haunting uneasiness possesses the minds of men today. Even when local disturbances subside and isolated disputes are settled, we still doubt whether a stable tranquillity has returned or ever will return again.  For these things are only symptoms of a profound and widespread mental ferment and moral restlessness.

 

The insight of Eucken goes further back and deeper down to the real root of the matter, divining the causes and logic of it all to be moral, spiritual, religious.  For, if anything is made plain by history, it is that the mystic tie which holds humanity together in ordered and advancing life is moral and spiritual, and when that thread is cut anything may happen.  From the beginning of the century the spiritual disintegration of the modern world, the breaking of the ties that bind together the fabric of civilization, had been observed and noted by many.  Faith grew dim, moral sanctions were relaxed, and it was deemed clever and smart to talk lightly of those sanctities without which no society has long existed.  Much of our literature has been intellectually Bolshevistic for thirty years, attacking the basis of marriage, of the home, of the church, of the state, as if the moral laws were only conventions, if not fictions.  Verily we have our reward; we know now that when fools play with fire they get burned.

 

For a time, during the stress and strain and terror of the war, there seemed to be a reknitting of the ties that bind men and nations together; but it was only seeming. It was the power of fear and force, not the power of faith. How unreal, how artificial it was is shown by the rapidity with which that amazing solidarity was demobilized, to be followed by a revival of class rancor, sectarian ardor, and a narrow, myopic nationalism. A world which, having sent young men to die by the thousands for magnanimous ideals, has already half forgotten them as it cooly and briskly resumes business at the old stand - such a world may be grieved, but it ought not to be astonished, at the revolt of both the minds and souls of men.  Not that the immediate future will see a triumph of subversive schemes and radical ideas. If we follow an almost universal precedent we shall pass first through a period of luxury and extravagance, and there will he a momentary craving for the old social and religious orders, as in the years following the Napoleonic Wars.  But this is not significant.  It is merely the first reaction from the emotional strain and nervous tension of the war.  This mood will soon spend itself, and then, at once, new forms, new forces, new demands will begin to arise which will sweep away much that has seemed precious and permanent in our lives.

 

Without a spiritual renewal, without a reknitting of that "moral solidarity," of which Eucken speaks so eloquently, - without the Mystic Tie - we may not hope for security and real progress.  The truth is that we have been trying to build a human civilization on a materialistic foundation, and it cannot be done.  No human community can long exist on such a basis.  Russia has rendered incalculable service to humanity, by showing, with deadly consistency, how materialism issues into anarchy and animalism.  Hear now a proof of this in the words of a spiritually-minded man who lived in the midst of it, watching the decay and destruction of his country.  Eugene Troubetzkoy, Professor of Law in the University of Moscow, in the Hibbert Journal, for January, 1920, shows us what happens when the tie of spiritual faith and fellowship is broken.  Here are words which he who runs may read:

 

"Bolshevism is first and foremost the practical denial of the spiritual.  They flatly refuse to admit the existence of any spiritual bond between man and man. For them economic and material interests constitute the only social nexus; they recognize no other.  This is the source of their whole conception of human society.  The love of country, for example, is a lying hypocritical pretence; for the national bond is a spiritual bond, and therefore wholly factitious.  From their point of view the only real bond between men is the material - that is to say, the economic.  Material interests divide men into classes, and they are the only divisions to be taken account of.  Hence they recognize no Nations save the Rich and the Poor.  As there is no other bond which can unite these two Nations into one social whole, their relations must be regulated exclusively by the zoological principle revealed in the struggle for existence.

 

The materialistic conception of society is the Bolshevist method of treating the family.  Since there is no spiritual bond between the sexes, there can be no constant relation. The rule is therefore that men and women can change their partners as often as they wish.  The authorities in certain districts have even proclaimed the 'nationalisation' of women, that is, the abolition of any private and exclusive right to process a wife even for a limited period, on the ground that women are the property of all.  The same children.  A powerful current of opinion is urging that children must be taken from their parents in order that the State may give them an education on true materialistic lines. In certain communes some hundreds of children were 'nationalised,' that is, 'taken from their parents and placed in public institutions."

 

There it is, showing us what the red logic of hell means when it works itself out in action, and what results follow when the Mystic Tie of spiritual faith and fellowship is cut.  Political anarchy, social animalism, moral bedlam follow with mathematical certainty, and all the fine and holy things of life are thrown into the junk heap. Man has an animal inheritance - moods of ape and tiger mingle in him with divine dreams and thoughts that wander through eternity - and when the Divine is denied, he reverts to the law of the jungle, and the hard-won trophy of spiritual struggle and agony vanishes.  What happens, happens again.  The Bolshevists are men of like passions as ourselves; they simply carry out with the fatal logic of fanaticism the dogma of materialism upon which we have been trying to base our modern civilization.  If anyone thinks that what has taken place in Russia cannot happen in America, he knows little of history and less of human nature.  The practical denial of the Divine dehumanizes humanity, and the rest follows as night follows day.

 

For that reason, if it should be a part of our religion to be patriotic, it must be a part of our patriotism to keep the light of spiritual faith aflame on the altars built by our fathers. Down in Wales, at a time when it seemed that revolution was inevitable, I asked a labour leader what bond held men together.  He said: "All that holds these men back is the fact that they were trained in the Sunday-schools of these Welsh chapels years ago.  That is all that keeps the spark from blowing up." Within the last four years ten thousand Sunday-schools have ceased to exist in America, and the end is not yet.  Facts such as these, and others of like kind, make a thoughtful man wonder as to what the future will be.  What confronts us is not specifically indifference to religion, but indifference to pretty well everything outside the circle of creature comfort and self-gratification.  There are many exceptions, of course, but in the main it is true that society has as yet been able to persuade only a few of its members to be really interested in its higher concerns.  By the same token, men who do care for what is finest in our national life must make use of every opportunity, every instrumentality, to keep alive the faith that makes men faithful, and the vision of the moral ideal that lights our human way toward the city of God.

 

There is no need to apply what has been said, least of all to men to whom the Mystic Tie is a reality, and who are bound together by it in a fraternity of spiritual Faith and Fellowship. In every degree of Freemasonry we are taught - by art, by drama, by symbol - the moral basis of human society, its spiritual interpretation, and the necessity of a fraternal righteousness among men, without which manhood is rudimentary and intellectual culture is the slave of greed and passion. Of Lincoln it was said, that "his practical life was spiritual," and by as much as Masonry builds men of like faith and fibre who, in private life and public service, keep a manhood neither bought nor sold, true of heart and unbefogged of mind, it is helping to weave that Mystic Tie that holds the republic together. The words of James Bryce, in "The American Commonwealth," ought to be written and hung up in our hearts:

 

"If history teaches anything, it teaches us that hitherto civilized society has rested on religion.  It was religious zeal and religious conscience that led to the founding of the New England colonies two centuries and a half ago. Religion and conscience have been a constantly active force in the American Commonwealth ever since.  And the more democratic republics become, the more the masses grow conscious of their power, the more do they need to live not only by patriotism, but by reverence and self-control, and the more essential to their well-being are those sources from which reverence and self-control flow." 

 

------o------

 

As a citizen there is one very important duty and that is the duty as a voter. Let us, brethren, lay just a little bit more stress on the observance of this privilege and this duty and a little less stress on who and what we are voting for. Oh, it is so easy to get up excitement over an individual; it is so easy to get up a temporary excitement over an issue, but it is hard to get up enthusiasm and excitement over just ordinary duty. But voting is not an ordinary duty. It is the greatest duty that we as citizens have to perform.

 

Masonry should likewise enter into the everyday life of the individual if these problems are going to be solved. Masonry is not a thing for the lodge room alone; it is not a thing for our festive occasions alone, but it is a practical everyday philosophy of life. A man to be a good Mason should be a good business man, should be a good lawyer; should be a good bricklayer or a good mechanic. Into his everyday work should go the principles that have been inculcated in his life through the medium of his lodge. He should feel that he is endeavoring to dignify his craft or his profession, he should endeavor at all times to show that the word of a Mason in business or as a laborer or as a professional man is absolutely inviolable. The fact that he is a Mason should be sufficient recommendation of his character. And in our lodges we should lay emphasis upon that fact. We should teach the fact not alone in the beautiful phraseology of our ritual, but in the common ordinary language that every man can understand, and if we find in our community Masons who are not living up to the teaching of - Masonry in their everyday business life and affairs, then some means should be found to show them the error of their ways.

 

The teaching of Masonry is nothing more or less than old fashioned, common honesty and common sense. Those are the things that are particularly needed in this hour of crisis. There is no new panacea for the ills of the world. Work honestly performed, duty faithfully done, will bring peace and happiness and contentment to our land. Let us in our lodges give consideration to the old fashioned virtues; let us bring them before our membership as we have never brought them before. Let us put greater stress upon the social side of our Institution, so that we can come to understand and know our brethren better; let us give them the inspiration of our companionship; let us give them the helpful and strengthening influence of a closer acquaintanceship; let us have them feel that as they go out in their several walks of life that they have the interest and support of the brethren of their lodges. Let us endeavor by this close, active connection and acquaintanceship and frequent meetings together to weld ourselves into one solid mass that will stand for righteousness and for honesty and for uprightness in our civic as well as our private dealings; let us be bound together into one great mass that will move forward as a solid unit for righteousness.

 

- Bro Charles H. Victor California.

 

FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING

 

CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN NO. 39

 

Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood

 

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.

 

MAIN OUTLINE:

 

The Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:

 

Division I. Ceremonial Masonry.

 

A. The Work of the Lodge. 

B. The Lodge and the Candidate. 

C. First Steps. 

D. Second Steps. 

E. Third Steps.

 

Division II. Symbolical Masonry.

A. Clothing. 

B. Working Tools. 

C. Furniture. 

D. Architecture. 

E. Geometry.

F. Signs. 

G. Words. 

H. Grips.

 

Division III. Philosophical Masonry.

A. Foundations. 

B. Virtues. 

C. Ethics. 

D. Religious Aspect. 

E. The Quest. 

F. Mysticism. 

G. The Secret Doctrine.

 

Division IV. Legislative Masonry.

 

A. The Grand Lodge. 

1. Ancient Constitutions. 

2. Codes of Law. 

3. Grand Lodge Practices. 

4. Relationship to Constituent Lodges. 

5. Official Duties and Prerogatives.

 

B. The Constituent Lodge.

1. Organization. 

2. Qualifications of Candidates. 

3. Initiation, Passing and Raising. 

4. Visitation. 

5. Change of Membership.

 

Division V. Historical Masonry.

 

A. The Mysteries--Earliest Masonic Light.

B. Studies of Rites--Masonry in the Making. 

C. Contributions to Lodge Characteristics.

D. National Masonry.

E. Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study. 

F. Feminine Masonry. 

G. Masonic Alphabets. 

H. Historical Manuscripts of the Craft. 

I. Biographical Masonry.

J. Philological 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 PAPERS

 

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 study period.

 

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 paper.

 

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.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

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 "THE TROWEL"

 

THE BUILDER JUNE 1920

 

In conducting the study meetings the Chairman should endeavour to hold the discussions as closely as possible to the text and not permit the members to speak too long at one time, or to stray onto another subject.

 

Whenever it becomes evident that a discussion is turning from the original subject the Chairman should request the speaker to make a note of the particular point or phase of the matter he wishes to discuss or inquire into, and bring it up when the Question Box period is opened.

 

Have some brother recite the monitorial lecture on the Trowel as the working tool of the Master Mason. Why is the Trowel most appropriate to the Master Mason degree? What are the working tools of an Entered Apprentice, and their uses? What are the working tools of a Fellow Craft, and their uses? What is the function of the Trowel in the hands of a Master Mason? Why is the Trowel most symbolic in the work of temple building?

 

Of what power may we consider the Trowel to be a symbol?

 

What do we say of men who lack unity in their makeup? Whence came the word "character"? What is its present-day meaning? What may a man who lacks character do to better himself ?

 

What can he use to accomplish this end?

 

How did the builders of ancient times lay out their building designs? How and by whom was the degree work laid out in early English lodges? What was the duty of the youngest Entered Apprentice after the conclusion of the ceremony? How was the "plan of work" later displayed? What is the tracing board of a degree? Are the tracing boards of the several degrees represented in your lodge? How? Of what is the tracing board a symbol?

 

How would you answer Brother Haywood's question "What is the force that can unite individual Masons into a unified and harmonious order"? What is it that ties you to your fellow Masons? What is your conception of the "Brotherhood of Man"?

 

SUPPLEMENTAL REFERENCES

 

THE BUILDER: Vol. I. - What is Masonry, p. 295. (Reference to the Trowel.) Vol. II. - The Trowel, p. 335. Vol. IV. - The Trowel, p. 38.

 

Mackey's Encyclopedia:

 

Trowel, p. 804

 

THIRD STEPS BY BRO.  H. L. HAYWOOD, IOWA

 

PART IV - THE TROWEL

 

This emblem is like a key; insignificant in itself it opens up matters of such vast import that to pursue its teachings through all their ramifications would itself require a book; consequently I can only hope to set down a few hints of the richly various applications of this emblem.

 

There is no need to say that of all working tools it is most appropriate to the Master Mason degree; it carries that significance upon its surface.  For the Entered Apprentice, who can make only a beginning at the task of shaping the ashlar, needs only the gavel and the gauge; the Fellow Craft, to bring the stone into completeness of size and form, requires the plumb, square, and level; the Master Mason's task is to set the finished stone in its place, and bind it there, for which purpose the trowel is his most necessary tool. Therefore the Master Mason has been given the Trowel as his Working Tool because it is most symbolic of his function in the great work of Temple Building; when that tool has done its work there is nothing more to do, because the structure stands complete, a united mass, incapable of falling apart; the stones which were many have now, because of the bonding power of the cement, become as one stone.

 

If the stones represent individual men, and if the Temple represents the Fraternity as a whole, it is evident that the Trowel is the symbol of that which has power to bind men together. Therefrom arises the question, What is this unifying power? Let us undertake to answer this question from the several points of view of the individual, the Fraternity and the world at large:

 

1. We very frequently meet with men who seem to lack unity in their makeup; a spirit of disorganization or anarchy is at work in them so that they seem to live  at cross-purposes with themselves.  What they know they should do they do not, and many things which they do they do against their own will. They may have personal force but it is scattered and their lives never come to a focus. Of these men we say that they lack character and we say right.  Character comes from a word that meant originally a graving tool; after long use the name of the tool came to be applied to the engraving itself, and thus the term has come to stand for a man whose actions give one an impression of definiteness and clearcuttedness, like an engraving. A man who lacks character is a blur, a confused and self- contradictory mass of impulses and forces.  The one salvation for such a man is to find some means of unifying himself, of using himself to some purpose so as to arrive at some goal.

 

What can he use? We may answer, perhaps, that he can best use an ideal, for an ideal is nothing other than a picture of what one wills to be which he ever keeps before him, as an architect refers to his blue prints.  In short, the man needs a plan to live by, a thing we have symbolized in our ritual by means of the tracing board.

 

Before the time of the Reformation, builders did not use plans drawn to scale as architects now do, but laid out their building design on the ground, or even on the floor of the workshop or the lodge.  In early English lodges this design was often drawn on the floor in chalk by the Master and the youngest Entered Apprentice would erase it with mop and water at the end of the ceremony; after a while, to make this labour unnecessary, the "plan of work" was drawn on a permanent board which was set on an easel and exhibited during the degree, as is still done in England.  The tracing board of a degree, therefore, is the plan of work for that degree, drawn in symbols and hieroglyphics, and the tracing board itself, as it stands in the lodge, is a constant reminder to the Mason that, as a spiritual builder, he must have a plan or an ideal for his ideal for his life; and when the Mason does live in loyalty to an ideal he is a man of character; his faculties work in unison, there is no war between his purposes and his behaviour, and he is able to stand among his brethren as a complete temple.  Such a man has used a trowel in his own life.

 

2. It is more difficult to answer the question, What is the force that can unite individual Masons into a unified and harmonious order? but a practical answer may be found by asking a further question, What is it that now unites us, even if imperfectly? What is the cement? Perhaps we cannot point to any one thing. When I inquire of my own heart what it is that ties me to my fellow Masons I find myself thinking of many things.  There is the sense of a wonderful history which links us up to unknown brethren who lived generations ago; there is the symbolism of the Society, in which precious truths and living philosophies have been poured as into golden vases; there is the spirit which pervades the Order, a sense of oneness in purpose and aims, of tolerance, of charity, of patience and forbearing; there is also the remembrance of the obligation which I voluntarily assumed, and which wove into my heart a silken thread, the other end of which is woven into the hearts of my brethren; these, and similar influences, hold me to the Craft now and ever shall, but how to sum them up in one word I know not, except it be Brotherhood.  Brotherhood has suffered much from over-use, from sentimentalism, and from oratory, but no other word can be found to take its place. Therefore we may say that, so far as the Fraternity itself is concerned, the trowel, and the cement spread on by the trowel, is the sweet, pervasive, irresistible spirit and power of Brotherhood. True is it that

 

"Fellowship is heaven The lack of fellowship is hell."

 

3. If this be true we have already to hand an answer to our last question, What power can unite the scattered peoples and nations of the earth, especially in a time like this when they are more than ever sundered by passion and by hatred? Surely, if the spirit and influence of Brotherhood can call together two million men out of all classes and localities of America and can bind them into the solidarity of a great unified Order, that same power can accomplish similar results if applied to the world at large.  Diplomats and politicians do not seem to believe it, the lords of industry do not seem to believe it, but it is true nevertheless, trite as it may sound and Freemasonry's benign genius of fraternity was never more badly needed in the earth than just now.  Every device has been used to bind the peoples together: force, money, fear, superstition, what not; let us hope that soon or late the race will try the means proved so effective by more than two hundred years of Freemasonry.

 

STUDY CLUB PAPERS DISCONTINUED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 

 

In accordance with the custom of previous years the Correspondence Circle Bulletin section of THE BUILDER will be discontinued during the months of July and August. This is done in order that we shall not get ahead of the lodges and Study Clubs following the Bulletin Course of Masonic Study who usually call off during these two months.

 

Brother Haywood's papers will be resumed with an installment on "The Hiramic Legend" in the September number.

 

-------o------

 

All history teaches that each period of desperate struggle is followed by a time of equally violent reaction: It is not surprising then that the reaction following upon the great and devastating war should swing further in effect than ever before. It should he remembered also that for some years past a real reaction has been in progress. Until the war it was proceeding by easy and natural steps, but nevertheless there was to be noted an increasing revolt against the arid and unsatisfying rule and extreme dogmatism of materialistic science.

 

The tension of the war and the relaxations that followed has accelerated the reactionary movements already in progress and it will not be surprising if the tendency is to an unwise and detrimental extreme. Strong men accustomed to conflict, hardened by discipline, grown ruthless as to methods and careless as to consequences, may, perhaps, go to the extreme of atheism and anarchy, with violent revolution as their ultimate object, but these are the minority.

 

The masses, nerve worn and exhausted of spirit, will gladly cast aside, for a time, the sense of personal responsibility and even of duty, and will be content to walk in paths that present the fewest difficulties.

 

In religion, for instance, they will listen to the voice that speaks with seeming authority rather than to the stern dictates of reason, and yield to that form of religion or church which offers its consolations at the cheapest rate.

 

The pride and the necessities of the strong and self-reliant are personal service, reasoned conduct of life and freedom of conscience, but men worn to the raw with pitiless grindings will shirk the onerous requirements involved in the retention of such soul possessions.

 

Whatever the masses may surrender to, there will yet remain those who are trained to think, and who will not under any conditions forego their mental habits, and these will, in the meantime, surely submit every institution to the most searching analysis. Neither governments, churches, nor fraternities will be exempt, whether upon the plea of necessity, or sanctity, or antiquity.

 

Against them all will be brought the indictment, in many counts, that they failed utterly, in time of crisis, to perform that part for the weal of humanity that they were designed to take.

 

Against government, that it allowed dynastic interests or special privileges, whether of capital or labor, to prevail against the welfare of the whole people; that its systems of diplomacy were worthless in that they broke down utterly in the face of national jealousies and greed.

 

Against the churches, that their teachings for two thousand years has not been able to minimize in the least the evils of strife; that the great message of Peace and Good Will upon the earth was no more than a formal utterance upon the lips of priests, and found no influence in the minds and hearts of men.

 

Against fraternities, our own in particular, as the most ancient and most widely spread, because the boasted "Brotherhood of Man" was little more than a phrase, easily and quickly forgotten in the heat of passion; that precepts most elaborately set forth, had not been transmuted into action, nor urged with unity of purpose.

 

What answer shall the Masonic Fraternity, this institution of immense potentialities and pitiable accomplishment, have as an adequate defense to this indictment?

 

Will we be satisfied, or can we satisfy the thinkers, with the sophistry that has heretofore led to a shirking of the larger duty - the plea that Masonry operates only in and through the individual ? To gain to larger good this answer will not suffice.

 

Good of any sort worth estimating is gained in this world only by mass movements of ordinary but earnest and faithful men - not by any number of isolated saints mumbling prayers, or announcing pleasing dogmas - the underlying idea of fraternity - the greatest reason for its existence - is to gain force by organization, to improve by discipline, and to turn the many to an united effort for the accomplishment of worthy purposes.

 

Fortunately there is time to bring words to the test of action. But it is needed now, and imperatively, that there be clear altruistic purpose full in view; wide as the world and as comprehensive as the race, with an intensity pervading the whole Craft that will balk at no obstacle on the path to accomplishment.

 

Let us have done with barren formalisms and uttered formalities, and seek by every means to gain to an understanding of the needs of men. Let us break down once and for all time the petty barriers that ignorance and prejudice have erected between us and our brethren.

 

Good citizenship implies more than a mere negative goodness, merely refraining from law breaking of any sort. Duties of a positive nature are imposed and these are incumbent upon us as a part of our masonic obligation. It can be insisted that we are bound, even more than others, to support the institutions of the Republic and to uphold the American Ideal and principles. That such institutions and principles are akin, in very essence, to the ideas and ideal of masonry, is plain to those within and without the Fraternity.

 

Our ideals must become the world's ideals. -P.G.M. Robert S. Teague, Alabama. 

 

 

FIRST LODGE HOUSE OWNED BY A MASONIC LODGE IN AMERICA

 

BY BRO. ISAAC HENRY VROOMAN. JR., NEW YORK

 

INEFFABLE and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection, located at Albany, N.Y., is the oldest working body of the Scottish Rite in existence. It received its charter from Right Worshipful Henry Andrew Francken on December 20th, 1767 (a photographic copy of which appears on page 160.) The early records of the lodge were long lost; but were recovered some years ago through the efforts of Illustrious William Homan, 33d, Deputy for New York. He caused the Minutes from 1767 to 1774 to be published in the Proceedings of the New York Council of Deliberation for 1902, and a photographic copy of them in the Proceedings for 1906. There appeared also in the 1902 Proceedings a concise history of Ineffable Lodge by Ill.’. John Hally Lindsay, 33d, then its T.’.P.’.G.’.M.’.

 

These records throw a flood of light upon the early history of Scottish Rite Masonry in Albany, and in conjunction with the records of Masters Lodge No. 5, F. & A. M., give us a fairly complete story of the building of "The First Lodge House Owned by a Masonic Lodge in America.

 

This house was situated at the northwest corner of Maiden Lane and Lodge Street (hence the name), on the site of the present Masonic Temple; a bronze tablet in the vestibule of which records the fact that:

 

ON THIS SITE

PURCHASED OCTOBER 17 1766

BY

BROTHER SAMUEL STRINGER

THE FIRST LODGE HOUSE

OWNED BY A MASONIC LODGE IN AMERICA

WAS ERECTED IN 1768

AND REMAINED THE PROPERTY OF

MASTERS LODGE NUMBER FIVE

UNTIL PRESENTED TO

THE MASONIC HALL ASSOCIATION

IN

1895

 

There is no known description or picture of the Lodge House; but on a map of the City of Albany, made in 1790, by Simeon De Witt, Surveyor-General of the State of New York, and preserved in the office of the City Engineer, there is a plan of a building on this site, which is marked "Lodge." Assuming this to be an approximately correct outline, it represents a building, the easterly end of which is; about thirty feet westerly from Lodge Street, having a frontage on Maiden Lane of about eighteen feet and a depth of about twenty feet. This was, probably, the anteroom and vestibule. Adjoining this in the rear is an extension, about twelve feet in width and about forty feet in depth, which must have been the lodge room. This gives the building a total depth of about sixty feet.

 

Dr. Samuel Stringer was born in 1735 and died in 1817. He received the Ineffable degrees from 4th to 14th, December 20th, 1767, in Albany, N.Y., and in March, 1769, was appointed a Deputy Grand Inspector by Ill.’. Henry Andrew Francken, being the first so appointed in America.

 

He was the Senior Warden named in the Charter of Masters Lodge, No. 2 (now No. 5), F. & A. M., (March 5, 1768), and on June 24th, 1768, was elected its Master. In this capacity he served during the years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1773, 1774, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780. (A more complete biography of Brother Stringer will be found in the Proceedings of the New York Council of Deliberation for 1904, pages 119-122). Prior to the formation of Masters Lodge, Brother Stringer was, doubtless, a member of Union Lodge No. 1, at that time the only Masonic lodge in Albany.

 

In 1766 he obtained a grant of land from the city, as appears from the following:

 

"At a Common Council held at the City Hall on Saturday, 18th Octr, 1766.

 

"Resolved by this Board that the Mayor in behalf of the Corporation sign the following Deeds, viz: one to Peter Binneway for one hundred and eighty-seven acres of wood land adjoining the line of Saratoga Pattent, as also one [to] Samuel Stringer for a Lott of Ground on the Hill near the Fort adjoining the English Burying Place."

 

(Munsell's Collections on the History of Albany, N.Y. V.I., p. 172.)

 

(In passing it may be noted that in 1766 the northeast corner of "the Fort" [Frederick] stood on the site now occupied by St. Peter's [Episcopal] Church, and the Fort extended nearly across what is now State Street. "The English Burying Place" was to the north of the Fort and between it and the Hospital, which was on the site of the present Lutheran Church, at the northwest corner of Lodge and Pine Streets).

 

This Indenture to Dr. Stringer bears date the 17th day of October, 1766, and is recorded in the Office of the Clerk of the County of Albany in Book of Deeds 23, page 216. In it the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonality of the City of Albany "Do give, grant, convey, Release and Confirm unto the said Samuel Stringer, his heirs and assigns a certain Lot of ground Lying in the Second Ward of this City on the hill near the Fort Beginning at a place on the East Side of the Church of England Burying Ground which Rangess with the South Side of the Lott of ground sold at Vendue to John Hewson From thence Southeasterly keeping the same range thirty-five feet, then north twenty-eight degrees East Seventy feet, then north Sixty-Eight Degrees west thirty-five feet to the said Burying ground, then along the Burying ground to the Place where it begun . . . Yielding Rendering and Paying for the said piece of ground unto the said Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty and their successors yearly on or before the First day of September the Yearly Rent of Four pound current money of New York...."

 

This lease was to Dr. Stringer individually, although he may have obtained it for Union Lodge, as at one time that body appears to have had possession of it. In any event, Union Lodge considered the erection of a building on this lot; for, in the Minutes of the first meeting of Ineffable Lodge, on January Pith, 1768, we read: "The Constitution, Dispensation, Laws & the founders Instruction to the Master ware read, as Likewise a proposal to the Union Lodge, that the Ineffable Body should have a Joynt Right in the Intended Building, to which they are the principle subscribers." (Original Minutes of Ineffable and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection, in Supplement to Proceedings of New York Council of Deliberation, 1906, p. 36.)

 

At this meeting, the Master, William Gamble, appointed Samuel Stringer Sr.’. G.’.W.’. and Thomas Lynott Jur.’.G.’.W.’.

 

Union Lodge's reply to the proposal is not recorded; but evidently it was not favorable, for, at the meeting of the Ineffable Lodge on February 23rd, 1768:

 

"It was agreed that a proposal from Mr. Peter Sharp to Build a Lodge house agreeable to a plan Laid Before the Lodge this night should be accepted at 300 pounds.. -and Brs. Gamble and Rensselaer engaged to contract for the same, upon the Lodge engaging to endemnify them as fast as the Money towards erecting the Said Building comes in the direction whereof they are to have." On "Feby 27 Br. Sam. Stringer paid Union Lodge for the deed of the Lot to Build the Lodge on - 4 pounds . 0. .0" (Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 46).

 

Work was at once commenced on the building and, the lot being found too small, steps were thereupon taken to acquire more land, and six feet on the east side were obtained. Bro. Stringer's petition to the Common Council is of interest and is reproduced.

 

"At a Common Council held for the City of Albany at the City Hall of the said City on the first of April, 1768:

 

"A Petition being presented to this board as follows: To the Worshipfull Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the City of Albany, in Common Council, the Petition of Saml Stringer, Humbly sheweth, That on Mr. Bleekers measuring the lot lately granted by the Corporation to Samuel Stringer, situated between the Fort and Hospital and adjoining to the English Burying Place, there appeared to be still vacant about eleven feet on the east side of sd Lot between it and the street laid out parallel to it. Your Petitioner therefore being greatly Pinched in Ground to erect the intended Building on, which building the workmen are now actually ewployed in and by Contract is to be finished by the 24th of June next Prays that the said eleven feet or as many as shall be found vacant may be included in the aforesd Grant and confirmed to him without any additional quit rent, as that is supposed to be already greater in any Lot besides in the City and the Building being for a Publick use and in no wise lucrative to those concerned. Your Petitioner further prays, that as the time in which the aforesaid building is to be finished is limited, it may be taken as soon as possible into consideration, and he will forever pray. "(Signed) Sam'l Stringer.

 

"Resolved by this Board that there shall be granted to the said Samuel Stringer six feet along the East part of the said Lott heretofore granted to him and to contain the seventy feet in length northerly along his said Lott and that the Mayor sign his hand for that purpose under the former deed where this addition is to be inserted." (Munsell's Hist. Coll. V. I., p. 185.)

 

On March 5th, 1768, Masters Lodge, No. 2, received its warrant from Bro. George Harison, Provincial Grand Master, and in it William Gamble was named as Master, Samuel Stringer as Senior Warden, and Jeremiah Van Rensselaer as Junior Warden. These were the brethren having in charge the erection of the Ineffable Lodge House and the following subscription list indicates that Masters Lodge soon joined in the enterprise.

 

"We the Subscribers do give the Sums opposite our Respective names towards completing a House now Building at Albany for the accommodation of the Ineffable Lodge, and the Masters Lodge No. 2 of Free, Accepted Masons.

 

Names                        Sums

 

William Gamble   5 - -               paid

Francis Pfister    5 - -

Samuel Stringer 10 - -               paid

Jacob G. Lansing   5 - -               paid

Jer. V. Rensselaer              10 - -               paid

Thomas Lynott      5 - -               paid

Peter Schuyler  5 - -               paid

Fredk. Wm. Heckt     3 5 -               paid

Thomas Swords  5 - -

Col. John Reid        5 - -               paid

John Farrel 5 - -

T. Sm. Diamond 5 - -               paid

Stephen March      5 - -               paid

Thomas Shipboy 3 4 -               paid

 

On the back is the following endorsement:

 

"Such well disposed Brethren as choose to contribute, as within will please to pay their Benefactions to Br. Peter Schuyler.

 

(Signed) William Gamble, Master

Saml. Stringer

Jer. V. Rensselaer

Wardens"

 

This list is on parchment and is preserved in the archives of Masters Lodge, and a photographic reproduction of it appears on pages 156-7. There is no date on it; but, since Samuel Stringer was elected Master of Masters Lodge on June 24th, 1768, it must have been written before that time.

 

It is interesting to note that eight of the fourteen brethren whose names appear on the list were members of both Masters Lodge and Ineffable Lodge, five of neither one, and one of Masters Lodge only. Out of the thirtythree names on the Membership roll of Ineffable Lodge, as compiled from the first minute book, all but six also appear on the roll of Masters Lodge. It was therefore but natural that the two Lodges should unite in the erection of their Lodge House.

 

That some agreement, which does not appear in the Minutes of either body, was entered into by the two Lodges is evidenced by the following extracts from the earliest known By-Laws of Masters Lodge:

 

"Art. 3rd. The Body shall continue to meet once every week and that on Mondays in Building being erected by our Brethren of the Ineffable Lodge of Perfection (as pr written Agreement made between the Two Bodies dated the March 1768). As long as any three Members shall chuse it shall be held there.

 

Art. 4th. In consideration of the many Advantages and conveniences this Body will enjoy by Virtue of the Above Mentioned Agreement; the Dues of Initiation & of Brothers joining, as well as of transient Brethren advanced, together with Quarter Dues & Fines & all other Monies, except what the Body may require to defray the contingent Expenses, shall go to the Ineffable Body towards paying the expense of the Building, untill the same shall be entirely paid for, & no longer: And afterwards the Dues of Entrance, of Brothers joining, and transient Brethren advanced, together with Legacies, are to compose a Charity Fund, to be let out upon the best security; & the Interest thereof only applied to such Charitable purposes as the Body shall think fit....

 

"Art. 5th. Every Member of this Body except such as are exempted by agreement with the Ineffable Lodge, shall pay Quarterly towards its support Five Shillings...."

 

Note to Arts. 3rd & 4th in these By-Laws on margin: "The Property has been purchased from the Ineffable."

 

"Art. 30th. When the Building before mentioned is paid for these Laws are to be revised, fairly Copied & such Articles as will then be found unnecessary omitted."

 

A reproduction of a page of these ByLaws, showing portions of Articles 3rd and 4th, is shown on this page.

 

The next item of interest is the cornerstone laying; notice of which is contained in the following:

 

"Lodge No. 15.

 

"Ascension Day, Albany 12th May 1768.

 

"The Corner Stone of the Foundation of the Ineffable Lodge was Laid, for which Purpose the Body went in Procession.

 

"Present

 

William Gamble

Samuel Stringer

Jer. V. Rensselaer

Stephen March

Thomas Smith Diamond

William Hogan

Henry Beasly

 

"Lodge clos'd." (Ineffable lodge Minutes, p. 52.)

 

Masters Lodge did not join officially in this ceremony, but all the brethren who took part were members of both bodies. This was one of the earliest cornerstones laid in this country and it was undoubtedly the first ever laid by a Lodge of refIection in America.

 

Although, in his petition to the Common Council, Bro. Stringer stated that the contractor was to finish the building by the 24th of June, it apparently was not ready on that date. June 24th, being St. John's Day, the Ineffable Lodge met as Entered Apprentices and were visited by "Our Rt. Worpl. Founder Henry Andrew Francken" - the members then "Went in Procession to Church" (St. Peter's) "where an excellent Discourse was Preached by the Revd. Mr. Munro, and from thence to Brother Cartwright's, where the Body dined, and Proceeded from thence to the Lodge and Closed." (Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 54.)

 

No mention is made of the dedication of the Building at this or any subsequent date.

 

Masters Lodge also met on June 24th and "Br. Stringer duly elected Mr. of this body who appointed Br Rensselaer Sen & Diamond Jun Wardens." (MS Minutes, Masters Lodge, No. 2, [No. 5] F. A. M.)

 

That progress was, however, being made on the building is shown by the petition of St. Peter's Church, which was presented to the Common Council on July Pith. 1768. In it the Church asks for a lot of ground "being the vacancy situated between the Free Masons building and the street leading down past the Hospital, in rear adjoining to the Burial place of the said Church." (Munsell's Hist. Coll., V. I., p. 191.)

 

The building must have been nearly completed by the following winter, for we find these entries:

 

"Albany

9th Jany. 1769

 

". . . A List of Debts due by Peter Sharp for the materials of the Lodge amounting to 66 - 14 - was laid before the Body at his Request - praying them to take the payment of the same upon themselves, upon Condition that the said Sharp shall have no further demands upon the Lodge until the last payment of his Contract becomes due, and that he is willing to pay Interest for the sd. 66 - 14 until the same shall be paid to his Creditors & that whatever this sum of 66 - 14 - shall exceed the first pay. ment stipulated in the Contract between this Body and Mr. Sharp, and the amount of Mr. Sharp's extraordinary work, the same shall be deducted, together with what Interest this Body may have occasion to pay on accot. of the above sum (for one year only) from the Two hundred Pounds, which is to become due to the said Sharp at the Time limited by his Contract."

 

"Resolved that this Body shall meet at the House of Br. Gamble to consider fully what is to be done in this matter, at 10. oClock in the Morning." (Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 56.)

 

"Albany 10th Jany. 1769

 

"....The Brethren met agreeable to the resolution of last night and proceeded to a general settlement with Mr. Sharp, and it is proposed to finish the same tomorrow."

 

"Albany 11 Jany 1769

 

". . . The Brethren adjusted everything preparatory to a settlement with Mr. Sharp - And the same day the settlement was completed accordingly, when it appeared that Mr. Sharp had done extraordinary work on the Lodge amounting pr. acct.

 

to                45                       -                     -

                     

The sum for Building   300                       -                     -

 

                 345                       -                       -                     

 

"It appeared that he had at divers

payments pr. his Receipt of this Date  109                   10           11 1/2

 

"The Body assumed payment of sundry of Mr.

Sharp's debts amounting as pr. List        66                   14                     -

 

                 176                     4           11 1/2

 

"Ballance due Mr. Sharp & payable, agreeable

to Contract, as appears by mutual accts.

settled this day,          168                  15                1/2

 

(Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 58.)          345                       -                     -

"Albany 16th Jany 1769

 

". . . The same evening came to the Lodge the undermentioned Creditors of Peter Sharp, who agreed with the Body, to take Payment of them as is mentioned opposite their respective Names

 

Wessel Vanschaick 7                   12                       -              when convenient

Colo. Roseboom  8                       -                       - In six months

Mr. Hoogkirke    8                   16                      -           In a few weeks and when

The Remainder  7                      4                       -   convenient

David Irish   6                       -                       -    His Brother Consented

to take payment in three weeks Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 60.)

 

The Lodge took upon itself the task of finishing the building, as these entries indicate:

 

"Albany 27th Febry. 1769

 

". . . Br. March informed the Body, that he and Br. Diamond will come to work upon the Lodge the latter part of next week, or sooner if possible." (Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 62.)

 

"Albany 2d April 1769

 

". . . Br. Zephaniah Batcheler was initiated by the Rt. Worpl: Br. Stringer's Dispensation, into the 4th Deg: called Secret Master, in presence of Brs. Stringer Gamble and March, and is to pay the Dues &c. in work upon the Lodge." (Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 64.)

 

"Albany 1st May 1769

 

". . . Br. David Smith was by Petition to Br. Stringer, and the Consent of all concerned Initiated in the 4th Deg: of Masonry, and is to work upon the Lodge for the amount of his Dues." (Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 66.)

 

"If not before, by June, 1770 the two Lodges were meeting in the same place, doubtless the Lodge House, for, on June 24th of that year, "Br. Beasly agreed with the Body to act as Tiler for both the Ineffable & Master's Lodges at the rate of 6 - annually." (Ineffable Lodge Minutes, p. 82.)

 

In the following year more land was needed and, on April 5th, 1771, the Common Council passed the following resolution:

 

"Resolved by this Board that three feet to the north end of the Mason Lodge be granted to Samuel Stringer for the consideration ofCand that a Deed be drawn for the same in behalf of the Corporation and that the City Seal be affixed for the same." (Munsell's Hist. Coll. V. I, p. 226.)

 

There is no deed on record in regard to this transfer, but it is included in later measurements.

 

The Ineffable Lodge did not meet from December 9th, 1771, to August 16th, 1773, and in the meantime Masters Lodge looked after the property, as the following entries in the Lodge Minutes indicate:

 

"Albany 31 May 1773

 

". . . The Tyler also presented a petition of this date praying the body to build the house for him proposed, contiguous to the Lodge. The body took the Tyler's petition into consideration and ordered that Brs Stringer, Crukshank & Br Van Rensselaer be a committee to fix upon a plan for the Tyler s house, and consult with Peter Sharp as to the expense of said plan and the terms he would undertake to build it, & make their report to the Lodge as soon as possible." (MS. Minutes, Masters Lodge.)

 

"26 July 1773

 

". . . Mr. Sharps proposal for building the Tyler's house is accepted, to be performed next Spring for the sum of 86." (MS. Minutes, Masters Lodge.)

 

There are no details in the Minutes concerning the Tyler's house and no mention of payments, until December, 1775 and 1776, when there was paid to Peter Sharp a total of 120-2-8 "for a debt owing to him by the Lodge."

 

The Ineffable Minutes end with the Meeting of December 5th, 1774, when the "Lodge closed to this night fortnight."

 

The subsequent records of the lodge are missing, but it is hoped that some day they may be discovered and brought to light, for they must contain much material of value. It would be interesting to have them, for then we might have the complete story and learn all the facts, of which the following is one side:

 

At the Communication of Masters Lodge held June 23rd, 1777, "The Lodge took into their consideration the propriety of uniting the funds of the Ineffable Lodge & Masters Lodge and ordered that Brs. Stringer, Gansevoort, Vernor & Gansevoort Jr. be a committee for regulating the funds and make a report thereon to this body next Lodge night." There is no record of any report having been made.

 

By 1779 the title to the Lodge property had passed to Masters Lodge as this entry, in the Minutes of March 8th, 1779, indicates:

 

"The members present taking into consideration the yearly rent paid for the ground whereon this Lodge is erected & judging the same in the highest degree oppressive, Thereupon ordered that a petition be drawn & signed by the Secy of this body to the Worshipful Corporation of this city praying that the rent for the said ground may be reduced."

 

At a meeting of the Common Council held March 16th, 1779, "A Petition of the Master, Wardens and Brethren of Masters Lodge No. 2, in the City of Albany, was laid before the Board setting forth that in 1766 they obtained a Lease from this Board for a small Lot of ground in the second ward near the Fort under an annual Rent of four pounds per annum, which they conceived too great a discrimination of the Rent reserved on other Lots disposed of at that time, and praying an abatement of the said Rent or such other relief in the premises as to this Board shall appear meet and reasonable." "Ordered that the consideration thereof be postponed till the next meeting of this Board." (Munsell's Hist. Coll. V. I, p. 294.)

 

No action appears to have been taken; and it was not until 1843 that the lodge finally commuted the rent and received a deed from the City for the original lot.

 

As has been stated before, Samuel Stringer was Master of Masters Lodge, with two interruptions, from 1768 to 1781. In 1769, after being appointed Deputy Grand Inspector, he also became the head of Ineffable Lodge.

 

After many years of harmony, there appears to have been some friction among the brethren of Masters Lodge, for, at a summoned communication held on February 6th, 1781, "Brs Stringer, Eights, Lush & Dox moved the body that their names might be struck out of the bye-laws and that they might no longer be considered as members of this body." "The Lodge agreed to their withdrawing upon Br. Stringers first settling his acot with the Lodge & conveying the Lot which this House is built upon, to Brs Van Rensselaer, McClallen & John Lansing Jr Trustees appointed by the body this evening." (MS. Minutes, Masters Lodge.)

 

A committee was appointed to settle Br. Stringer's accounts, but the lot was not immediately transferred.

 

At the communication of August 7th, 1782, "Br McClallen moved the Lodge that Br Wendell draw a conveyance for the Lot of ground & Lodge room built thereon from Br Saml Stringer a member of this body to Brs Jer. Van Rensselaer, John Lansing Jr & McClallen as Trustees for this Lodge agreeable to a resolve entered into by this body the 6 Feby 1781." (MS. Minutes, Masters Lodge.)

 

On August 12th, 1782, "Agreeable to a resolve of last Lodge night Br Wendell has drawn a Deed by way of lease & release for the lot of ground whereon this Lodge is built, which Deed Br. McClallen as one of the Trustees Droduced to the body this evening signed by Saml. Stringer, and also the Lease from the Corporation to him - which deeds were delivered to the Treasurer in trust for the Lodge." (MS. Minutes, Masters Lodge.)

 

This deed is dated August 10, 1782, but was not recorded until April 26, 1895 - in Book 469, page 30, in the Albany County Clerk's Office.

 

St. Peter's Church obtained from the City of Albany the title to a parcel of land adjoining the lodge property on three sides and, in order to straighten the lines, as well as to obtain additional ground, on March 21st, 1791, "On motion of Br Pritchard, seconded by Watson Brs. McClallen, Pritchard & P.S.V. Rensselaer were appointed a committee for purchasing the lot west of the Lodge, and a small gore of land on the north and also on the east to the line of Lodge street, belonging to St Peters Church." (MS. Minutes, Masters Lodge.)

 

At the Communication on March 25th, 1791, the "Committee appointed last Lodge night for purchasing certain ground adjoining the Lodge Report they have purchased the same for 100." "Resolved, That the conveyance of the said land be made to the said Committee in trust for the Lodge." (MS. Minutes, Masters Lodge.)

 

No deed is on record concerning this transfer; but, on January 27th, 1845, St. Peter's Church quitclaimed its interest in the entire property to the lodge.

 

On April 4th, 179t, "On motion of Br. P.S.V. Rensselaer, seconded by Br. Cumpston.

 

"Resolved, that Brs Cumpston & Shipboy be a committee to superintend the building as necessary, and enclosing the ground belonging to the Lodge in good fence

 

"Ordered that a door be opened in the entry of the Lodge into the yard." (MS. Minutes, Masters Lodge.)

 

The following entries in the Minutes of Masters Lodge would seem to indicate that the Ineffable Lodge, for a time at least, suspended labor and was then revived.

 

"August 2, 1790

 

“. . On motion of Br. Gansevoort, seconded by Mr. Ellison, Brs. L. Gansevoort, T. Ellison & P.S.V. Rensselaer were appointed a committee to take such measures as to them shall seem expedient to examine into the situation of the Ineffable Lodge connected with this Lodge, and make report next regular Lodge night."

 

“Sep. 6 1790

 

". . . Brs Ellison and P.S.V. Rensselaer from the Committee appointed last regular Lodge night, reported - That they had seen Br. Stringers dispensation, which fully authorized him to grant the like dispensation to other brethren so as to open an Ineffable Lodge sand that he was willing & ready to do so immediately to the Worshipful Master of this Lodge."

 

"April 28 1794.

 

". . . Ordered that Brs. Fryer & Kinnear with one of the Ineffable members do attend the next rainy day to inspect the roof of this Lodge."

 

After April 27th, 1795, there is a long break in the Minutes of Masters Lodge and so it is impossible to trace this history further.

 

Masters Lodge continued to hold the lodge lot and, in 1859, leased it for a term of thirty years, in order that a rectory for St. Peter's Church might be erected thereon. The rentals from this real estate were set aside as a building fund and husbanded for many years. In 1894, when it was proposed to erect a Masonic Temple in Albany, the lodge donated its old real estate, to gether with an additional lot to the west, as the site for the present Masonic Temple; and so today the Masons of Albany continue to meet on the site of "The First Lodge House owned by a Masonic Lodge in America."

 

NOTE. - In 1869 M.’.P.’. Sovereign Grand Commander Josiah Hayden Drummond, 33d, in his Annual Address before the Supreme Council, 33d, gave a lengthy account of the early proceedings of Ineffable Lodge and Masters Lodge and incorporated many extracts from the Minutes of both bodies. This has been reprinted in Munsell's "Collections on the History of Albany," V. III, pp. 411-424. Unfortunately, many of the extracts have not been copied accurately and contain numerous errors, some of importance. These, whenever noted, have been corrected in the present paper.

 

EDITORIAL

 

"SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT" IN MASONRY

 

AMONG a number of very interesting and well thought out paragraphs to be found on the editorial page of the Illinois Freemason of April 20th is the following:

 

"There are two schools of Masonic thought at the present time; one is composed of the older members of the Fraternity who are opposed to anything of a progressive character while the other school is made up of the younger element who believe that the Fraternity should change its customs and become more directly in line with the spirit of the times. It will be a matter of much interest to know which of these two schools shall win out."

 

In another part of the magazine the editor recites an instance where a young man just twenty-one years of age, scarcely thirty days a Mason, approached him in an effort to find out what kind of a report the editor, as a member of an investigating committee, intended .to make regarding a certain applicant.

 

Brother Darrah, who is a Past Grand Master of Illinois, is one of the keenest analysts to be found in the list of Masonic editors in the United States. He is one of those leaders of the Fraternity who is keeping in touch with the larger movements of the world, and is trying with an honest mind to weigh the opposing forces which have turned the thought of men topsy-turvy. He is trying to make Masonry fit into American civilization as a stabilizing agency, for he believes sincerely that Freemasonry has something practical to offer in these times of stress. Withal, he is keeping in touch with what the men of the Fraternity, and particularly the younger men, are thinking, and is trying to understand the opinions which they hold of Freemasonry.

 

It is possible that Brother Darrah, in making the statement that there are two schools of Masonic thought, is thinking only of the older Masons whom he mentions as one school, and the younger and more recently initiated element as the other. If that is his vision of the problem, I quite agree. But as I have read and re-read the paragraph several times it occurs to me that possibly there was going on in his own mind a comparison between the Past Grand Masters and other leaders in the various jurisdictions whose heads have whitened with age, and the other group of corn paratively young men who, during the last five years or so have sat in the higher councils of the Fraternity. Brother Darrah himself is one of this latter group, and is, I suspect, trying to adopt a judicial attitude in the matter.

 

Whichever of the above interpretations is to be placed upon his suggestion he alone knows. If the first interpretation is correct he is eternally right in his estimate, for there is no doubt that the "school" of recently initiated Masons hold opinions at variance with those of our elder brethren: but if the second interpretation is the one he means, it deserves to be questioned.

 

It seems to me that Brother Darrah has hit upon two significant symptoms in these two articles. They are not as a matter of fact the disease itself, yet they are very closely associated in their meaning. As I view it, those men who were leaders of the Craft a score of years ago differ with the younger men in their opinions of the situation only in their view-point. I have a personal acquaintance with a large number of the younger men throughout the United States who have been advanced to the position of Grand Master in the last five years. I believe I know their opinions and understand them. They do not wish to depart from the Landmarks as Brother Darrah's editorial seems to hint. They do not want to depart from the historical customs of the Fraternity as some of the elder men seem to think. What they do want to do is to apply the principles underlying the Landmarks of the Fraternity to present day conditions just as the Masons of colonial days applied them, in writing the fundamental documents of government which are the priceless heritage of this Republic.

 

What I see in the contrast in view-point between the elder and younger members who have carried the burdens of responsibility in Masonry is something different. There can be no question that particularly in our western jurisdictions younger men reach the Grand East than was the custom a quarter of a century ago. This is of course in line with the spirit of the times. Younger men are in demand everywhere to hold the helm of business. Business has learned that the experience of the older man is valuable and they recognize it by placing him on "Advisory Boards," by putting former bank presidents as chairmen of "Boards of Directors," etc. But the demands of modern business are so exacting that they sap the energy of the older man in executive positions, and so it is that business has made it possible for young men who are ambitious and whose perceptions are quick and keen, to grasp not only the fundamentals but the details of business in a comparatively short time. The "wisdom" which they acquire is not always balanced by ripened experience, and these "Advisory Boards" and "Boards of Directors" not infrequently have to place curbs upon the young man in an executive position who becomes impatient with delay and tries "impulsively," as they say, to solve the immediate problem.

 

There are many evidences too, in business, that the older heads sometimes resent the rapid rise of the younger man. Others think they are "going too fast." Again there is sometimes an atmosphere of suspicion. As a matter of fact, these situations are created largely because of a lack of sympathetic understanding between the older and the younger man. The gulf is often a generation in extent. It is not easy to bridge. The older man is not in close touch with the enormous amount of exacting detail which is laid on the desk of the young executive. He fails to comprehend in its entirety the complexity of present-day organization. On the other hand, when the executive brings before him a single set of conditions and discusses the various methods in which certain principles may be applied, the judgment and experience of the older man makes it easy for him to solve the individual problem which looked complex to the younger because it is associated with so many others.

 

Analyzing farther, we find that the rapidly growing business which depends for the execution of its details upon the older man exclusively, often stands still or begins to show signs of failure. The young man, if left alone, is prone to plunge business into disaster. The combination of the two, when they come together in a proper spirit, brings undoubted success. The reason is not far to seek. The older man, schooled in the careful and painstaking methods of the past, and rising to responsibility by slow stages, does not grasp the intricacies of present situations with the same quickness that the younger does, and so the one needs the other. It is a vivid example of the interdependence of men. It is this kind of cooperation which has evolved the corporation.

 

And so when Brother Darrah speaks of two schools of thought, I think he is only picturing this symptom of Freemasonry which is in fact an exact parallel to the comparison which I have drawn in the business world. Personally acquainted as I am with so many members of the Craft, old and young, I cannot help feeling that the tremendous increase in numbers in Masonry has introduced problems which did not exist when the older men were at the helm. The older men have not been thinking in terms of large jurisdictions. Many of them have not yet learned to regard Freemasonry as a popular institution. The result is that under their leadership, (and this absolutely without any fault of theirs,) the Landmarks of the Fraternity have not been interpreted in modern terms. The organization of the Fraternity has not always kept pace with the needs of a multiplied membership.

 

To use business terms again, retail methods which were sufficient when small lodges were the rule and ritualistic work came infrequently, must now be supplanted by a wholesale method which will meet existing needs. When a lodge initiated only two or three or a dozen members in a year, there was ample time to give each one of them the complete instruction which he needed in order to become a true Mason. Today there is no time for that. The conferring of degrees is in itself a wholesale problem. It is alone sufficient to sap all the energies of the Masters and Wardens of a lodge. The result is that the initiates of the past five years in particular have, on the average, a very poor conception of what Freemasonry really is; what its fundamental principles are, and for what it stands in the world. Some have characterized these young men as "half-baked Masons." In other words their instruction has not yet brought to them the same degree of understanding of Freemasonry that every intelligent initiate received twenty years ago.

 

The example which Brother Darrah recites of a young Mason coming to him, trying to find out what his report on a candidate was to be, is another symptom of the difficulty which faces us. To that young man it was a question of personal relationship. He wanted to know whether Brother Darrah was a friend of the young man or held a bias against him. He was honest. He did not want to intrude upon Brother Darrah's prerogatives, but he was utterly incapable of understanding Brother Darrah's conception of Freemasonry. He did not understand what phrases like "dwell together in unity" and "for the good of the order" meant. He wanted his friend to be a Mason and whether that friend would be a contribution to the Fraternity or a detriment to its personnel had not occurred to him.

 

Is not this a frank and truthful statement of the predicament in which Freemasonry finds itself? Certainly it affords an understanding of relations which sometimes appear complex, without impugning the good faith of anyone. If this line of reasoning is a challenge to the younger leaders of our Fraternity to study the history of the Craft and learn whither they are leading us, it is also a challenge to the older men to try to appreciate the intricacies of the problems which face the younger Grand Masters of today.

 

Because I know so many of the older men and appreciate the honesty of their convictions as well as the wealth of their spirit, and because I have recently passed through the chairs in my own jurisdiction, I venture to present this line of argument in the hope that all of us may try to understand each other better. I know that it is the ambition of all of us to make genuine Masons out of the initiates of tomorrow. I know that if we do understand each other, our only contention will be to see that the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man shall be interpreted to those who knock at our gates in the future, with the clearness and the honesty of heart which will make of these young men true Masons. To the younger generation of Masonic leaders all over the United States, this does not mean that we depart from our Landmarks; it does not mean that we change our customs; it does mean that we so modify the machinery of our organization as to make it possible to instruct the initiate of tomorrow as his father was instructed, that is, in the spirit of truth and in an atmosphere of Brotherhood. - G.L.S.

 

* * *

 

A NEED FOR OLD FASHIONED ECONOMY

 

Masons should practice good old fashioned American economy. During the great war self-denial was encouraged throughout the land. To many it came as a hardship. It was a hardship because of the fact that our prosperity had indicted us into luxurious and extravagant habits. A post-war reflection would perhaps reveal to us that the practices of self-denial that were in vogue at that time were but a return to good old fashioned habits which had in times past contributed in a material degree to the making of this nation great.

 

Prosperity and commercial knavery has in the department of clothing done a great deal towards making what were old time customs and practices in regards to clothes, discreditable.

 

The mothers of this land at one time considered the patching of clothes a virtue, and men considered the wearing of patched clothes a wise method of saving money. Simple boards, too, abounded in those days, and dyspepsia and the chronic neurosis that our physicians are combatting, were negligible quantities.

 

Recently we have heard the spoiled and pampered lover of luxury (which involves the greater part of the youth of this country) urged to dress well and let George wear the overalls. As if the overall were a badge of inferiority. Likewise we have heard of movements intended to make the overall prominent, by urging the formation of Overall Clubs in the hope that the wearing of them would reduce materially the high cost of clothing. Vain hope. For we have since discovered that the overall is to be decorated in some instances with gold buckles and other mercantile frumpery, so that they will be put beyond the reach of those who hitherto have had to wear them on account of the impossibility of paying what was required for other kinds of clothing.

 

In the practice of old fashioned economy, a patch was a badge of merit, and so could it become today. For if we would but look about us we should discover that men in most instances in the working ranks of life are living beyond their means in efforts to imitate those who have more than a sufficiency of this world's goods. Let us resolve that one of the cardinal virtues that can be practiced by a people is to live within their means.

 

An automobile by all means - when one can afford it. A phonograph - when it can be paid for. But away with easy spending and an undervaluation of the worth of the dollar, and a following of superficial and ridiculous suggestions such as the overall movement, which will be but as a cork upon the ocean insofar as it will tend to bring about national stability.

 

- Robert Tipton.

 

------o-----

 

We have in the Masonic Fraternity a real basis of democracy in our land which, it is not inconceivable to believe in these troubled days of the world, might become the bulwark of American liberty. Should foreign foes sufficient ever be marshalled against us to tear from the star-spangled banner of this Union, to suggest the words of Prentiss, every star that glitters to the proud name of a sovereign state, but leaving the stripes behind as fit emblems of our slavery and degradation - should vandal hands tear its silken folds into ribbons, and iron heels trample the shreds into the earth, I believe enough Masons would be left in our land to gather other bright stars from the sky of liberty, and weave other threads of red and white and blue into the same glorious emblem. While we are taught that Masonry is not to interfere with any duty we owe to our country, we are not to infer that we are to do nothing positive for our country. We are to live for our country. And in this unsettled time let us take into all the relationships of life the real democracy formed on the srround floor of King Solomon's Temple.

 

- Bro. R. H. Harper. Louisiana.

 

-------o-------

 

You find yourself refreshed by the presence of cheerful people. Why not make earnest effort to confer that pleasure on others? Half the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to say anything gloomy. - L.M. Child.

 

 

THE LIBRARY

 

EDITED BY BRO. ROBERT TIPTON

 

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.

 

It will be our aim to publish in this Department each month a list of such publications as we may be able from time to time to secure for members of the Society. However, a book listed herein this month may be out of stock next month, and further copies unobtainable, and for this reason it is recommended that when ordering books or pamphlets from these lists the latest monthly issue of THE BUILDER be consulted, and no orders be made from lists more than thirty days old.

 

In the monthly reviews the names and addresses of the publishers of the books are given in order that our readers may order such books direct from the publishers instead of through the Society.

 

THE BOYHOOD LIFE OF ROOSEVELT

 

"The Boy's Life of Theodore Roosevelt," by - Hermann Hagedorn. Published by Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, New York, N. Y.

 

UNTIL time is no more one of the continued habits of men will be to sing the praises of the great ones of the earth, in song and story. The habit of hero worship is incurable, and it is well that this is so, since by worship of the great ones are we encouraged to emulate their characters and imitate their virtues.

 

We are delighted to bring to the notice of the members of the National Masonic Research Society Hermann Hagedorn's "Boy's Life of Theodore Roosevelt." As was said of Lincoln, so may it be said of Roosevelt, that he now belongs to the ages, and his greatness and worth will come into clearer perspective as generation succeeds generation.

 

The problems of the future will not be like in character to the problems of yesterday, but the manner of solution of any problem will be the manner reflected in the life and character of Theodore Roosevelt. That it will challenge the best that is in the youth of our land goes without question. He will abide as one of the strong men who ever captivate the admiration of boys to whom such men personify in themselves the ideals of a nation. Roosevelt's wonderful daring, his fearlessness and his uncompromising character will ever be as a magnetic force that will serve to attract to the highest idealism the boys of America.

 

His wealth of experience, his untiring zeal in the interests of national betterment awakens the love for heroic achievement. Hagedorn has indeed rendered a timely service in bringing out this work, and we cannot but wish that its circulation will be wide and we heartily recommend it to the youth of the land. It will be a potent factor in the shaping of the ideal young American.

 

* * *

 

THE STUFF OF WHICH REAL MEN ARE MADE

 

"A Son of the Middle Border," by Hamlin Garland. Published by The Macmillan Co., 66 Fifth Ave., New York.

 

We wish that all Masons might read the opening chapters of Hamlin Garland's "A Son of the Middle Border." The stuff of which real men are made is charmingly reflected in this autobiography. The adventurous spirit that was the possession of those Americans who transformed the wilderness into a place of civilization is here described. We would also have Masons read these chapters that they might grasp fully the degeneracy which has seized upon us through soft living, easy money and luxurious and extravagant habits. While we would not vvish for any man the hardships endured by these pioneers, yet we cannot but believe that only in the school of hardship, sacrifice and patient endeavor have our best men been produced.

 

Hamlin Garland's father was of the type of men who have ever given this world, and especially this nation, great leaders. He was fearless, truthful and hardworking. That such men and their sons should ultimately become the prey of profiteers, unscrupulous politicians and blatant demagogues, is the great tragedy of America. The world that is portrayed for us in the opening chapters of this book is a real world, and the story is an epoch in which God, man, woman and little children and the elements are the realities. Insipid sentimentalities are as foreign to this environ as inhabitants would be to the moon. The healthy repudiation of that aristocratic snobbery which has had so much to do with fomenting national deterioration is sensed in the attitude of the author's mother, to whom an English visitor, with his personal table accoutrements in lieu of the homestead's plain knives and forks, was almost detestable.

 

There was not much play in the boy's life, and a halo of sadness prevails throughout the book on this account; but we discover later that such boys grew to be men who were strong of limb, clear of eye and sane of mind. They could lift prodigious weights, loved to wrestle for the sport there was in it, and they enjoyed the hunt and the splash in the cold running water. They were not humbugged by the movies, by sex stories, and by the pernicious imported examples of European moralities. They were wholesome and healthy and their virtues shine for us today in a resplendent fashion, and we say fervently that we wish that our youth could be imbued with the mighty spirit which actuated these pioneers.

 

 

ANOTHER WORTH WHILE BOOK FOR BOYS

 

"The Worst Boys in Town," by James L. Hill. Price $2.50. Published by the Stratford Company, Boston, Mass.

 

A dear friend who for many years has been interested in the boy problem of America recently brought this book to our notice, requesting that we say a word in its favor. Our perusal of the book has resulted in finding ourself without any qualm of conscience in recommending it as a work much worth while. The preacher method is predominant, and we judge that he is one of the old school, but the thing with which he deals as affecting boy life is dealt with in such a sane and practical fashion that we question not but that those who are privileged to read it will be much benefitted thereby. The erudition and scholarship greatly enhances the value of the work, and so brilliantly is it interspersed with anecdotes touching upon great men that it is rendered thoroughly readable from beginning to end.

 

It is a wholesome plea for the gentlemanly boy in America, and we may readily apprehend the necessary mission for such a work when we look about us and discover such a vast majority of the boys of the land almost utterly lacking in those refined characteristics which mark culture and good breeding.

 

* * * * * * * *

 

MEDIEVAL ARCHITECTURE AND ANECDOTES OF THE BUILDERS

 

"The Cathedrals of England," by M. J. Taber. Published by Page Company, 53 Beacon St., Boston, Mass. Price $2.50.

 

We have enjoyed the perusal of this work. It is not exhaustive, but it is one that conveys vivid impressions of those magnificent structures which bear witness to the idealism which actuated men in England some three or four hundred years ago. It is splendidly interspersed with anecdotes of men who were both great and good - and others who were not so good -   who occupied the bishoprics. The stories regarding the bad bishops would delight those scurrilous critics of a decadent ecclesiasticism, but to us as Masons the chief point of interest in the book would be derived from the knowledge that many of our Masonic predecessors had much to do with the erection of these magnificent churches.

 

The wonderful Gothic arches and stained glass windows, the statuary and paintings contained within these wonderful old buildings, should serve as a decided protest against the murky materialism that is threatening to lead us so woefully into disaster. They spell for us the fact that man does not live by bread alone. They preach an idealism that demands fraternity among men and an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God.

 

Artistically bound, charmingly illustrated, it is one of a series of books put out by the Page Company that one may well possess to enhance the charm of his library.

 

JUNE BOOK LIST

 

The following list embraces practically all the standard works on Masonry which we are able to secure and keep in stock for the accommodation of individual members of the Society, Study Clubs and Lodges.

 

We are finding it more difficult each year to procure new or second-hand copies of the earlier works on Masonry of which, owing to the limited market for them at the time of their publication, but a small number of copies were printed.

 

We are continually in search for additional items which will be listed in this column whenever it is our good fortune to secure them.

 

It is suggested that the latest list be consulted before sending in orders and that no orders be made from lists more than one month old, since our stock of these books is limited and a book listed this month may be out of stock by the time next month's list is published.

 

Since the publishers are constantly increasing their prices to us the following prices are subject to such changes.

 

1915   bound volume of THE BUILDER            $3.75

1916   bound volume of THE BUILDER            3.75

1917   bound volume of THE BUILDER            3.75

1918   bound volume of THE BUILDER            3.75

1919   bound volume of THE BUILDER (for delivery about

February 1st or 15th)            3.75

 

Philosophy of Freemasonry, Pound             1.25

Freemasonry in America Prior to 1750, Melvin M. Johnson, P.G.M., Massachusetts          1.35

1722 Constitutions ( reproduced by photographic plates from an original copy in the archives of the Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar Rapids). Edition limited,            2.00

"The Story of Old Glory, The Oldest Flag," Bro. J. W. Barry, P. G. M., Iowa, red buffing binding, gilt lettering, illustrated. A story of the Flag and Masonry,             1.25

"The Story of Old Glory, The Oldest Flag," paper covers .50

"Further Notes on the Comacine Masters," W. Ravenscroft, England. A sequel to "The Comacines, Their Predecessors and Their Successors," a Masonic digest of Leader Scott's book "The Cathedral Builders" and containing the latest researches of Brother Ravenscroft which present a very logical argument for the connection of Freemasonry of the present day with the Roman Collegia and traveling Masons of the early times, paper covers, illustrated            .50

Symbolism of the First Degree, Gage, pamphlet            .15

Symbolism of the Third Degree, Ball, pamphlet            .15

Symbolism of the Three Degrees, Street, 68 pages, paper covers. The lessons and symbols of each degree traced to their origin, in every instance that it has been possible to so trace them. Brother Street gives many explanations of our symbols in this little book on which our monitors but vaguely touch            .35

Deeper Aspects of Masonic Symbolism, Waite, pamphlet        .15

 

* * *

 

PUBLICATIONS FROM OTHER SOURCES IN IN STOCK AT ANAMOSA

 

"The Builders," a Story and Study of Masonry, by Brother Joseph Fort Newton, formerly Editor-in-Chief of THE BUILDER             $ 1.75

 

Mackey's Encyclopaedia, 1919 edition, in two volumes, Black Fabrikoid binding             16.00

Symbolism of Freemasonry, A. G. Mackey            3.15

Masonic Jurisprudence, A. G. Mackey            3.15

Masonic Parliamentary Law, A. G. Mackey            2.65

Concise History of Freemasonry, Robert Freke Gould  4.50

Collected Essays on Freemasonry, Gould  7.00

 

 

The foregoing prices include postage and insurance or registration fee on all items except pamphlets. The latter will be sent by regular mail not insured or registered.

 

 

THE THE QUESTION BOX

 

THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under this owl 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 al alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.

 

The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of an nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study club which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.

 

 

WASHINGTON'S GREAT-GRANDFATIIER NOT IRISH

 

A Sinn Fein speaker recently made the statement in this city that "John Washington, great-grandfather of George Washington, was 'probably' an Irishman." Is this true?

 

John Washington, the great-grandfather of President George Washington, was of English extraction and by religion a Protestant, belonging to the Episcopal faith.

 

* * * *

 

GENERAL PERSHING NOW A MASON IN GOOD STANDING

 

Please inform me if Admiral Benson, U. S. N., General John J. Pershing, and Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, are Masons.

R. F. C., Kansas.

 

Benson and Daniels are Roman Catholics.

 

General Pershing affiliated with Lincoln Lodge No. 19, A. F. & A. M., Lincoln, Nebraska, on February 3rd, 1920, and is now a member in good standing of all the Masonic Bodies in that city.

 

* * * * * * * * *

 

ANDREW JACKSON GRAND MASTER OF TENNESSEE

 

In the February, 1920, issue of THE BUILDER I read with much interest an article about Andrew Jackson. The article centered about the Jackson Memorial monument at Washington, D. C., but some reference was made to Jackson's Masonic history. Now I am told that some of the lodges in Tennessee have charters with Andrew Jackson's signature as Grand Master. It seems that one of the lodges at Jackson, Tennessee, has such a charter. Yet no mention of Tennessee was made in the article in THE BUILDER. Was Andrew Jackson Grand Master of Tennessee?

 

V. E. V., Tennessee.

 

Andrew Jackson was a member of Philanthropic Lodge Clover Bottom, Tenn., and served as Grand Master of Tennessee in 1822-23.

 

----o-----

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

MASONIC FINES

 

In the March number Brother Skinkle, of Illinois, asks for further information concerning "Masonic Fines." You refer the query to some Kentucky brother, but I wonder if extracts from the by-laws and records of an old New York State lodge would not prove of interest.

 

The following, from the by-laws of St. George's Lodge, Schenectady, will show for what offenses fines were collected and to what purposes applied. These old by-laws are dated August 18, 1774 - "The above by-laws are made and enacted at the commencement and opening of this lodge on Thursday, the eighteenth day of August, 1774" - and I am quoting from the original copy.

 

"Art. II. That a member neglecting to attend a public lodge shall pay a fine of two shillings, and a private lodge one shilling, if summoned to such private lodge, unless he makes excuse satisfactory to the Body: and a member coming to lodge after the appointed time shall pay a fine of six pence, for which purpose the Secretary shall every lodge evening call the roll and make report of those that are finable and minute the same.”

 

As for the terms "public lodge" and "private lodge," Art. I explains them:

 

"Art. I. That from and after the eighteenth day of August, 1774, this lodge shall assemble on Thursday every fortnight at the house to which the same is adjourned which shall be deemed public or general lodge night, but the Master or Warden, who fills the Chair in his absence, may convene an extra or private lodge whenever he shall deem it expedient.

 

"Art. V. That every member of this lodge shall pay quarterly towards its support to the Treasurer two shillings and six pence and in case of sickness or absence of a member he must appoint a brother to pay his dues for him under the penalty of one shilling for his neglect.

 

"Art. XIII. That if the Master or other officer who in virtue of his office is to keep the key or keys to the Chest shall not attend lodge in proper time and neglect to send the same whereby the business of the lodge shall be retarded such officer shall forfeit eight shillings and pay for repairing the Chest, box and locks in case they are necessary to be broke open in order to open the lodge.

 

"Art. XIV. That if the Master shall neglect or refuse to fine delinquents agreeable to these laws he shall pay the fine himself.

 

"Art. XV. That if any member of this lodge do presume to curse, swear or blaspheme in lodge or come there intoxicated or get drunk during lodge hours or make any disturbance or uproar therein or does not behave decent and is silent on the third stroke of the Master's mallet shall pay a fine of three shillings.

 

"Art. XX. That there shall be one fund wherein all the monies and fines of this lodge shall from time to time be deposited for charitable purposes and the necessary expenses of the lodge, which fund shall not be opened or inspected but in open lodge and no monies disposed out of it but by consent of a majority of the members present.

 

"Art. XXI. That for improving ourselves in the Royal Art a discourse shall be had every public lodge evening, or the Master or, in his absence, the Warden who fills the Chair shall pay a fine of eight shillings.

 

"Art. XXII. That the Senior Warden shall every lodge night acquaint the Master when it is ten o'clock for then the lodge shall be closed, unless in case of extra business: and on lodge evenings no member shall have more drink than for one shilling, and then only when the lodge is called off to refreshment, paying immediately for the same, under a fine of two shillings.

 

"Art. XXIII. That no member shall, after lodge is closed, have refreshment exceeding half a crown without the Master's consent previously had, under a fine of two shillings to be recovered the next lodge night."

 

In 1791 these by-laws were "revised by order of said lodge and amended agreeable to the Constitutions of the Ancient and honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons in the State of New York" - and all the articles mentioned above were retained and article 29 - a new one - added:

 

"That any officer of this lodge wilfully neglecting to perform such duties of his office as are not herein particularly mentioned shall be fined at the discretion of the Body in a sum not exceeding four shillings."

 

These by-laws were not again amended until 1824 when the articles relating to fines were stricken out. So much for the nature of the offense and for what purposes fines were collected. Now for a few extracts from the records of the lodge giving examples of the infliction of penalties - a few only from many:

 

"Nov. 10, 1774. Fines for coming after hours. Christopher Yates paid sixpence into the hands of Brother Clench."

 

This was the fourth meeting of the lodge, and Brother Yates was the Master.

 

"March 7, 1778. The Worshipful Master paid his fine for absence last lodge night and likewise for coming to lodge past hours. There was likewise a fine collected for an oath.

 

"Feb. 15, 1790. Brothers Barhydt and Main fined sixpence severally for coming to lodge at a late hour.

 

"March 1, 1790. The Worshipful Brothers Cummings and Peek fined sixpence each.

 

"Aug. 16, 1790. Brothers Watson, Barhydt and Beuler was severally fined sixpence for coming to lodge past the stated hour, and paid it.

 

"Oct. 25, 1790. This evening one of the keys of the chest being missing the bearer thereof is liable to pay a fine according to the by-laws.

 

"May 23, 1791. Brother McKinney paid a fine of two shillings for his absence last lodge night. The Worshipful Joseph C. Yates fined sixpence for coming after lodge hours.

 

"May 30, 1791. Brothers Yates, Alexander and Campbell were each fined sixpence for coming in at a late hour, which they paid. Brothers Fonda and Corl appeared and rendered satisfactory excuse to the Body for absence last lodge night.

 

"June 6, 1791. Brother Watson fined one shilling for his not attending the extra lodge when summoned.

 

"March 7, 1796. Worshipful Joseph C. Yates appeared and took his Chair - was fined sixpence for being tardy which he accordingly paid. Brother Rosa paid two shillings for neglect in not attending lodge last regular lodge evening."

 

Although the regulations concerning fines were carried in the by-laws until 1824 it seems they were not enforced later than 1805, when the Treasurer was fined for not appearing with his key to the chest. There were three locks to the lodge chest, which contained all its property, a key to each lock being carried by the Master, Secretary and Treasurer, and unless they three were present and agreed the chest could not be opened and the business of the lodge proceeded with.

 

I am under the impression that fines may still be inflicted, even if the by-laws do not provide for the same. In this jurisdiction the Master, in opening the lodge, says, "under no less a penalty than the by-laws prescribe or a majority of the brethren present may see cause to inflict." Now the brethren present may only inflict a repremand or a fine - expulsion and suspension being subject to certain regulations laid down in the Constitution of the Grand Lodge.

 

Hanford Robison, New York.

 

* * *

 

SOME OBSERVATIONS ON OUR MASONIC RESPONSIBILITIES

 

May I submit through your columns a few observations upon the responsibilities which now, more than perhaps at any other period, rest upon the initiated under the jurisdiction of the various Masonic bodies, especially of America? The occasion seems appropriate, the necessity apparent, and the object worthy.

 

In this turbulent period, "when the nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing," thoughtful men everywhere are seeking the pathway leading to a correct solution of the many problems presented by the unsettled social, political, religious and economic conditions.

 

I know of no period in the development of civilization demanding the conservative consideration of all classes more than that through which we are now passing. The world's progress at many periods in the past has been retarded by improper concepts of human rights. Fanaticism has been a canker upon the body of the tree of progress, which has militated against its production of the most wholesome food for sustaining the spiritual, intellectual, and material growth of the human family. It has stood as the contesting evil genius of truth, progress, and a correct interpretation of the purposes of mankind. The signs of the times, I fear, point with unerring finger, the world toward the path ending in another "Dark Ages."

 

In the opinion of many the recent scar was but a response to the ambitious designs of rulers, and yet, to me, it was but the logical consequence of conflicting ideals. The war, and its subsequent effect, portends a complete revolution in governmental, social, economic, and moral relations.

 

Under these conditions it stands every man in hand to take thoughtful consideration of his own responsibility in bringing harmony out of the chaotic attitude of the world's citizenship towards the human problems now confronting us. Harold Bell Wright has said: "Eyes blinded by the fog of things cannot see truth; ears deafened by the din of things cannot hear truth; throats choked with the dust of things cannot speak truth; brains bewildered by the whirl of things cannot think truth; hearts deadened by the weight of things cannot feel truth." I am impressed that this is applicable to the present age and to the present condition of the peoples. We are blinded by the fog, deafened by the din, choked by the dust, bewildered by the whirl, and deadened by the weight of the human responsibilities resting upon the citizens of the world. In groping in the maze of human error, seeking after the truth, we are blindly following every path through the morass of ease, pleasure, and ambition.

 

Under these weighty considerations, every institution that has been founded for the purpose of human advancement is resting under the most supreme obligation, - to its adherents and to the world, - to exert all of its influence toward bringing the people into the light of truth, clearing away the fog, the noise, the dust, the din, and the weight of things, so that the sunlight of truth may dispel the miasmas and give a view of the mountain top of proper solution.

 

There rests peculiarly upon the Masonic Fraternity the important responsibility of impressing the truths of liberty in thought and action upon the people. This great institution had its beginning in a period of the world's history almost, if not quite, identical with that through which we are now passing. Its founders were imbued with the idea of combatting the various diseases then preying upon the body politic of the world, and antagonizing the fanatical consideration of all questions material to the growth of humanity; especially of propagating through the diffusion of truth the ideals of human liberty in its relation to creation, government, and individual action. It has grown from an infant to stalwart manhood, consistently propagating its ideals, regardless of the antagonism of people moved by fanatical dogmas. It has sought to train men in the conception of truth, that they might, in building their own edifice of character, afford examples to the profane worthy to be followed. Its shortcomings owe their origin to the failure of its adherents to conceive its purposes, - or, if conceiving them, to exemplify them in their own lives.

 

Just at this time it is extremely important that every Mason should so shape his thoughts, his words, and his conduct, as to become a light-house on the shore of the sea of disturbed human thought and action, to guide safely into the harbor of solution the bark of civilization. If every adherent to the teachings of the Masonic Fraternity would earnestly endeavor to exemplify its truths in his life, its influence would become such a potent factor in the consideration of the problems now before the people that the world would be compelled to recognize it as one of the builders erecting the edifice of human progress. Masonry undertakes to teach men the truths of God, creation, and of individual responsibility. Its power for good in the present cataclysm is assured chiefly by the concept of its tenets by its membership, and of their effort to put them into practice. In all of its existence, it has sought to teach the truth, and it can only teach as those who are within its circle may exemplify truth in their own lives, and thus diffuse the light of truth. In the years of its existence as an operative and speculative organization, it has been the one consistent advocate of liberty of thought and action on the part of its initiates. It has opposed the domination of any one man, or set of men, in teaching religious thought. It has opposed autocracy in all the relationships of life. It has not sought to interfere with the religious opinions of its adherents, or their political creeds, or their social relationships, save only as these may have been of deterrent effect in the growth of civilization, antagonistic to the Creator's great purposes, and destructive of the beauty and symmetry of the human edifice.

 

It therefore becomes extremely important that we should redouble our efforts in impressing the tenets of our Order, not in a dogmatic but in a liberal way, upon the world at this time. Anarchy, socialism, autocracy, and injustice are the enemies of Masonry, and are to be combatted with all the faculties of our being. They are the enemies of Masonry, because they are in opposition to the great purposes of creation. They feed upon the jealousies of the people, they are grown fat upon the ignorance of mankind, - and if left to their free sway, will certainly destroy the progress of humanity and of the world, as the unchecked ravages of disease destroy the human body.

 

It is meet, therefore, that at this time we should gird our loins with liberality, and wield the sword of truth on the great battlefield of conflicting opinions, in an effort to place upon the embattlements of progress and civilization the ensign of liberty, as exemplified in the teachings of Masonry and as proved true by the experiences of mankind.

S. P. Sadler, Texas.

 

* * *

 

THE NUMBER SEVEN

 

Masonry like every other Science, whether moral or physical, to be rightly estimated must be understood in all its relations and conditions. It is of value to the member in the exact ratio that he has investigated and studied its philosophy.

 

The writer believes it had its foundation in the early ages of man's habitation of the earth; the exact date has not and cannot be fixed. We submit herein one of the reasons why we think the modern Order is undoubtedly linked with an age 1600 or 2000 years before Christ.

 

This one reason is the symbol Seven. Seven is a sacred symbol diffused in a hundred ways over the whole Masonic system. In every system of antiquity there is a frequent reference to the number Seven, showing that the veneration for it proceeded from some common cause.

 

Seven signifies full and complete in the Hebrew, Phoenician, Chaldean, Syrian, Persian and Saxon languages. In tablets in the British Museum dug from ancient ruins in the far East, accounts are given of the great flood where Seven appears to have been the sacred number. These records found were made about 4000 B. C. and in both the Babylonian and Chaldean tablets the ship or ark took seven days to build and had seven stories, or as we would say today, seven decks, or six decks and a holdCseven floors. On the seventh day birds were released from this ark on the mountain where it stranded on the seventh day.

 

Similarly the work of creation, according to these ancient tablets, took seven days, but was full and complete on the seventh day. Some say that because of the institution of the Sabbath is this so, while others hold it is because of the number of days in the week corresponding with the number of the planetary bodies as known to ancients.

 

In ancient systems there were seven planets.

 

Seven Pleiades - 7 stars.

 

Seven Hyades - 7 Hades.

 

Seven altars burned continuously before the god Mithras.

 

Arabians had seven Holy Temples.

 

Hindus believed the world enclosed within the compass of seven peninsulas.

 

The Goths had seven deities from whose names are derived the seven days of the week.

 

In the Persian Mysteries there were seven spacious caverns through which any candidate must pass. He met with seven obstructions, and his itinerary was called the road of seven stages.

 

And finally with the ancients and indeed in Biblical times sacrifices were always considered most efficacious when the victims were seven in number.

 

Seven holds a conspicuous place in the teachings of Pythagoras whose system is referred to in all Masonic work.

 

1. Egypt in early history had seven years of plenty succeeded by seven years of dearth. The waters of Egypt were turned to blood for seven days. Every seventh year was a Sabbatical year and the year following seven weeks of years was the year of jubilee.

 

2. Greeks in the time of Alexander referred in their writings to the seven Wonders of the World, namely:

 

1. The Pyramids of Egypt.

2. The hanging gardens of Babylon.

3. The Temple of Diana of Ephesus.

4. The Statue of Olympian Jupiter at Athens.

5. The Mausoleum.

6. The Collossus of Rhodes.

7. The Pharos or Lighthouse of Alexandra.

 

Among the Greeks Seven was sacred to many.

 

3. In the Jewish Era the three great festivals celebrated by the Jews each lasted seven days:

 

1st. The Passover - seven days.

 

2nd. The Festival of Weeks - 7 days and between each of these 7 days.

 

3rd. The Feast of the Tabernacle - 7 days.

 

Much of the Jewish Ritual was governed by this number. Oaths were confirmed by seven witnesses or by seven victims offered in sacrifice. The Sabbath was the seventh day. Noah was commanded to select beasts and fowls by sevens. Seven persons accompanied him into the ark. The intervals between dispatching the doves were each seven days, and the ark rested on Mount Ararat in the seventh month. The walls of Jericho were encompassed seven days by seven priests bearing seven ram's horns. Solomon was seven years in building the Temple at Jerusalem, which was dedicated in the seventh month, and the festival lasted seven days. The candlestick in the Temple had seven branches; the centre one represented the sun and had reference to Sunday; the other six to the other six days in the week. The tower of Babel was said to have been elevated seven stories before dispersion. In the New Testament (Rev. 1-16) we find the following: "And he had in his had seven stars." It is a symbol of the seven churches of Asia. There are many groups of seven to be found in the New Testament Apocolypse.

 

Seven Churches of Asia.

Seven Stars.

Seven Trumpets.

Seven Spirits.

Seven Horns.

Seven eyes of the Lamb.

 

And in the Old Testament (Isaiah 11-2) we find reference to the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, namely:

 

Wisdom

Understanding.

Counsel.

Fortitude.

Knowledge.

Piety and

The fear of the Lord.

 

4. Coming to more modern times we find Ruskin writes of and frequently refers to the seven lamps of Architecture, namely

 

Sacrifice        Truth               Power

Beauty                        Life                        Memory

Obedience

 

Therefore it will be apparent from what has been said that to the ancients down to and through Biblical times, the number Seven had great symbolical significance in the Science, Art and Religious life of men. And as we said in opening, we feel that the number Seven, owing to its frequent use in our work, is one reason (either great or small as you may view it) for the contention that Masonry had its foundations laid in very early times of educated human existence.

 

D. P. Kennedy, Canada.

 

 

         

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