The Builder Magazine
November 1921 - Volume VII -
Memorials to Great Men Who Were Masons
RUSSELL A. ALGER
GEO. W. BAIRD, P. G. M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
RUSSELL A. ALGER was born in Medina County, Ohio, in 1836, and died at
Detroit, Michigan, in 1907. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery, where the
memorial shown in the frontispiece of this issue of THE BUILDER, was erected.
ancestors were English and Scotch. His grandfather, John Alger, took part in
many battles of the Revolution. His father was one of the early settlers on
the Western Reserve, Ohio, where he emigrated in 1820, sharing in the
hardships of the pioneers, and dwelling in a log hut.
Alger was left an orphan at the age of twelve, and became the head of the
family, a younger brother and sister depending upon him. He worked for his
board and clothing, and was permitted to attend school three months in the
year. But he was soon advanced to better wages, and relieved by the thrift of
the younger brother and sister. This early thrift and responsibility probably
led to the distinguished career which followed, and which the Child Labor Law
of today would have prevented. His labor as a farm hand brought him the best
wages of that day. He worked his way through the Richfield Academy, sawing
wood at night, and doing other chores. At an early age he began to teach
school, and this occupation is what probably developed his mind, for there is
no better way to reach a good understanding of a subject than to teach it.
the study of law in 1857 - an apt student, with acquired and natural
application, and no disposition to seek pleasure. After having been graduated
in the law, and admitted to practice in Ohio, his health became impaired, and
he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he soon became a leader.
afterward the Civil War broke out, and Alger enlisted as a private in the
Second Michigan Cavalry. He was promoted to a Captaincy and became a Major all
within a year. His record as a soldier was brilliant, as might be expected of
a boy who had been so early thrown on his own resources. He had served in more
than sixty battles and skirmishes during the first year of the war. In
October, 1862, he was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel of the Sixth Michigan
Cavalry, and in February, 1863, was made a Colonel of the Fifth Michigan
Cavalry. He commanded the first Federal Regiment to reach Gettysburg, and
rendered splendid service there. He was commended for bravery by General
Custer, and in 1865 was brevetted Major General.
Alger took up his residence in Detroit in 1866, and became president of two
large lumber companies possessing immense estates, which led to fortune. He
was an enthusiastic business man, delighting in the employment of men and the
development of industries, but expressed disapprobation for "stock
speculations," "selling of futures," etc. He said he hasd often tried to make
his word his bond, and in this he succeeded, for everyone had implicit
confidence in him.
He was a
Republican in politics, from the beginning of the party, but was never a
candidate for office until 1884 when he became a delegate to the national
convention, and the same year was nominated and elected Governor of the State,
serving one term and declining renomination.
he was brought forward by his friends for the Presidential nomination which,
however, went to Harrison.
became Secretary of War in 1897, while McKinley was President, and served with
great credit, but feebleness obliged him to resign before the expiration of
his term. He corrected many objectionable methods in the War Department, and
always in a pleasant way. He was easily approached, always ready to listen to
reason, but very determined in his decisions.
Alger was married in 1861 to Miss Annette Hemy, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and
nine children were born to them.
Masonic membership was held in Corinthian Lodge No. 241, F. & A. M., Detroit,
Michigan. He liked to talk Masonry, particularly Scottish Rite, and never lost
his interest in it.
MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES
SAM H. GOODWIN. P.G.M., GRAND SECRETARY, UTAH
BUILDER has carried several articles during the past three years, descriptive
of the formation and activities of the MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION. This
material has not been in the nature of propaganda. The writer has always felt
that the merits of the MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION would prove themselves, and
that his personality should not be injected into the situation in any
Jurisdiction which did not join the Association, as might be the case if THE
BUILDER were to sum up the arguments favoring such an association in its
weeks, however, has come to my desk a copy of the report of a Fraternal
Correspondent of a certain nonmember Grand Lodge which is so absolutely
misleading as to justify a reversal of this position. He says:
National Masonic Service Association is also pressing for recognition. Some
twenty-three American Grand Lodges have given adherence to it. This movement
seems to have attained its greatest strength and several Grand Lodges, five at
least, which became members of the Association, have given notice of
are that at this writing, October 1, there are thirty-four Grand Jurisdictions
which are members of the Association. These are:
joined and withdrawn: ALABAMA, COLORADO FLORIDA, IDAHO (Rejoined September,
1921), KENTUCKY, WASHINGTON.
following summary of the arguments for and against membership in the
Association is contained in the Report on Correspondence of that eminent
Brother, Sam H. Goodwin, P.G.M. Grand Secretary of Utah. Because we believe it
to be a fair statement of the case we feel that the brethren of our Grand
Lodges, whether members of the Association or not, are entitled to study for
themselves and draw their own conclusions.
Executive Commission, M.S.A.
the outstanding feature of the year among American Grand Lodges has been the
Masonic Service Association. To be sure the flocking of candidates to our
lodges, and the heroic efforts of lodge officers to meet this unusual demand
for our degrees have been the object of much comment. But this movement has
been so far from being dissociated from the Association, that it has really
emphasized the need of such work as that contemplated by this organization.
The lodges have been making members as never before but the deepening
conviction that membership under such conditions is very far from being an
unmixed blessing -may be, in fact, a menace has led thoughtful, far-seeing
Craftsmen to cast about for means and methods of developing this material, of
shaping these rough ashlars for the Builder's use, that they may not presently
be found in the "rubbish of the Temple."
As was to
be expected, when the question of what to do, and how to do it came up,
differences of opinion appeared. Fortunately we are not all cast in the same
mold, have not been subjected to the same laws of heredity and environment,
and no less fortunately the Masonic Fraternity has within its membership so
large a percentage of men who do their own thinking. We do not, cannot see
things and measures in precisely the same light. But we may endeavor, if we
will, to appreciate the other fellow's viewpoint: no harm can be done at all
events by an attempt to ascertain the grounds upon which he rests his
just closed has witnessed two movements in connection with the Masonic Service
Association. One within the Association itself, and to be seen in the efforts
made, as it were, to find itself - to survey, and to give some degree of
definiteness to the boundaries of the field it is entering. The other has been
among the members, or possible members, of this Association. Among these there
has been on the one hand a settling of membership upon a firmer basis, a
renewal of pledges to cooperate and to support the work. On the other hand,
some jurisdictions which had accepted membership tentatively have drawn back
for reasons to them sufficient. Perhaps the phenomenon most difficult to
understand is the active propaganda carried on against the Service Association
by certain erstwhile leaders of Masonic thought in their respective
jurisdictions. This opposition has not been very extensive, and we are more
than inclined to believe, not very effective.
It is not
our purpose here to argue the value of this organization - there are others
who can do that much more effectively. We do want, however, to note some of
the objections urged against the Masonic Service Association, and then to
direct attention to some of the general results, which to us appear to justify
its support by all Craftsmen, who believe that the whole is greater than any
of its parts, and that unity of effort and not isolated endeavor is.the
desideratum to be sought.
principal objections urged by those who have entered the lists against the
there is no call or occasion for such a movement. "There is nothing that can
be attained by its existence," says one committee. A rather positive
statement, it seems to us, where there may be abundant room for difference of
opinion. A careful consideration of the Plan and Scope of the Association, the
plans developed later and the influx of members referred to above, seem to
contradict the committee's statement.
the financial burden entailed would be too heavy to be borne. Taken as a lump
sum the amount furnished by any jurisdiction might seem to be considerable.
But considered from the membership point of view, the enormous burden of
one-half the price of a very ordinary cigar given once in twelve months does
not impress us, as it seems to the objectors. We really feel that almost any
of us, even though somewhat indisposed, could stagger along under such a
tremendous load !
the payment of five cents per member for the work of the Masonic Service
Association represents "An invasion of the sovereign rights of each Grand
Jurisdiction," and "a surrender of sovereign rights and powers of our Grand
Body." That would be really fearsome, if there were a scintilla of truth in
it. Let us see. Grand Lodge makes the donation of a certain amount for the
Masonic Service Association. That amount was suggested only, not demanded, not
imposed. Grand Lodge could give it or withhold it or fix on some other amount
as it pleases, and if it gives this sum, through its representatives it has a
voice in saying how each year's contribution shall be expended. Now, Grand
Lodges are getting back of the George Washington Memorial Association.
Illinois, Indiana and Washington are giving thousands of dollars to this
object; the Grand Masters who made recommendations against the Masonic Service
Association are heartily in favor of the work of She Memorial Association: the
Chairman of the drive in Illinois to secure "the full quota of $1.00 per
member" (not five cents per member) was a member of the committee, which
attended the Cedar Rapids Conference and later joined in an adverse report.
"Full quota of $1.00 per member" ? Did some one suggest that $1.00 per member
be raised, and was that "some one" Illinois? Verily, we suspect not. The same
"suggestion" reached Utah from outside sources and Utah "went over the top" at
once with the full amount and no one ever suspected that Grand Lodge
sovereignty was being knocked into a cocked hat. $1.00 per member! That would
pay the contribution to the Masonic Service Association for a period of twenty
years ! And Utah, as does every other member of the Service Association, has
much more to say concerning the expenditure of the five cents given than it
does as to what shall be done with the $1.00! Some things are funnier than
others - this is one of them. "We love to strain at a gnat," while we gulp
down a camel without batting an eye.
we do not need it - will get nothing we do not pay for. "We . . . can live
comfortably and happily without it"! No doubt that is true if we are content
to measure our Masonic responsibilities by what satisfies us and concerns us
only. The principle of isolation, the practice of limiting Masonic obligations
by state boundaries: these have been outstanding characteristics of Masonic
endeavor in the past, and they may continue to be dominating features in some
jurisdictions in the future. But we are glad to think that the bulk of the
rank and file of Masons and not a few Grand Lodges are coming more and more to
an appreciation of that fundamental declaration to be found in the Book, which
we insist shall lie on our altars and of the contents of which we know so
little: "None of us liveth to himself alone."
other objection may be cataloged here in the words of a recent Grand Master
(one of those who support the $1.00 assessment for the George Washington
Memorial Association, but sees bankruptcy in a five cent contribution for the
Masonic Service Association): "It (the Masonic Service Association) is such an
organization as is contemplated in the term General Grand Lodge." The
absurdity and absolute groundlessness of this charge disarms one, the
conditions whence it springs are so hopeless: what can one say? We shall do no
more than to quote a few words from the Grand Secretary of North Dakota: "The
persistence with which they dig up ghosts and skeletons of General Grand
Lodges, which have been positively and finally laid to rest by the Masonic
Service Association, would lead us to believe that there is no such thing in
their minds as honesty of Masonic purpose."
undertaking to argue the points, the following are some of the general and
desirable result coming from the Masonic Service Association:
1. It has
disclosed the existence of a remarkable unanimity in thought and point of view
among the Craft and the Grand Lodges of this Country. How else can we account
for the favor with which the idea of organized, unified service has been
2. It has
given unmistakable emphasis to the conviction that the era of "Words, words,
more words, no matter of the heart," is passing and that the time has arrived
when Masons must "Suit the action to the word," if they are to keep peace with
themselves and retain the respect of the world.
3. It has
shown that the Masonry of this Country will have none of the General Grand
Lodge idea. Those who profess to see in this organization a General Grand
Lodge in the making, or, "a wedge" that will open the way for such, we are
confident represent few besides themselves.
4. It has
given unmistakable confirmation to the conviction that a majority of American
Grand Lodges, and we doubt not of American Masons, believe in coordinated
effort directed to the accomplishment of definite ends.
other results were accomplished, those here named are ample to justify the
organization and the support of the Masonic Service Association.
CATHOLICISM AND FREEMASONRY
DUDLEY WRIGHT, ENGLAND
SEPTEMBER 25th, 1865, a further fulmination against the Freemasons was
launched by the Roman Pontiff, Pius IX, an Allocution delivered in a Secret
Consistory, the document being known from its first two words, Multiplices
inter. It was worded as follows:
"Venerable Brethren: Among the numerous machinations and artifices by which
the enemies of the Christian name have tried to attack the Church of God, and
sought to shake and besiege it by efforts superfluous in truth, must
undoubtedly be reckoned the perverse society of men called Masonic, which at
first confined to darkness and obscurity, now comes into light for the common
ruin of religion and human society. Immediately that our predecessors, the
Roman Pontiffs, faithful to their pastoral office, discovered its snares and
frauds, they considered there was not a moment to lose in holding in check by
their authority, and in striking and lacerating by an admonitory sentence as
with a sword, this sect pursuing crime and attacking holy and public things.
Our predecessor, Clement XII, by his Apostolic Letters, proscribed and rebuked
this sect, and dissuaded all the faithful not only from joining it but also
from promoting or encouraging it in any manner whatever, since such an act
would entail the penalty of excommunication, which the Roman Pontiff can alone
remove. Benedict XIV confirmed by his Constitution this just and legitimate
sentence of admonition and did not fail to exhort the Catholic Sovereign
Princes to devote all their effort and all their solicitude to repress this
most immoral sect, and defend society against a common danger. Would to God
these monarchs had listened to the words of our predecessor! Would to God that
in so serious a matter they had acted less feebly! In truth, neither we nor
our fathers would then have had to deplore the many seditious movements, the
many incendiary wars which have set the whole of Europe in flames, nor the
many bitter misfortunes which have afflicted and still afflict the Church. But
the rage of the wicked being far from appeased, Pius VII, our predecessor,
struck with anathema the sect of recent origin, Carbonarism, which had
propagated itself, particularly in Italy, and inflamed by the same zeal for
souls, Leo XII condemned, by his Apostolic Letters, not only the secret
societies we have just mentioned, but all others, of whatever appellation,
conspiring against the Church and the civil power, and warned all the faithful
to avoid them under penalty of excommunication. Nevertheless, these efforts
of the Apostolic See have not had the success expected. The Masonic sect of
which we speak has not been vanquished or overthrown; on the contrary, it has
so developed itself that in these troublous days it exists everywhere with
impunity, and carries an audacious front. We have, therefore, thought it our
duty to return to this matter, since, perhaps from ignorance of the guilty
intrigues clandestinely carried on, an erroneous opinion may arise that the
character of this society is inoffensive, that its institution has another
object than that of succouring men, and assisting them in adversity, and that
in this society there is no need to fear for the Church of God. But should
this not comprehend how this sect departs from the truth? What is the object
of this association of men belonging to all religions and every belief ? To
what end these clandestine meetings, and the rigorous oath exacted from the
initiate, binding them never to reveal anything of what may be discussed?
Wherefore that unheard of atrocity of penalties and chastisements which the
initiated bind themselves to accept should they fail to keep their oath? A
society which thus avoids the light of day must surely be impious and
criminal. 'He who does ill,' says the apostle, 'hates the light.' How
different from such an association are the pious societies of the faithful
which flourish in the Catholic Church! With them there is no reticence, no
obscurity. The law which governs them is clear to all; clear also are the
works of charity practised according to the gospel doctrine. Thus it is not
without grief that we have seen Catholic societies of this nature, so
consolatory and so well calculated to excite piety and succour the poor,
attacked and even destroyed in some places, while, on the contrary,
encouragement is afforded to secret Masonic societies, so inimical to the
Church of God, so dangerous even for the security of kingdoms.
"Venerable Brethren, we feel pain and bitterness to see that when it is
requested to rebuke this sect according to the constitutions of our
predecessors, some persons show themselves indulgent, almost supine; whereas,
in so grave a matter, the exigencies of their functions and their charges
demand that they should display the greatest activity. If these persons think
that the Apostolic Constitutions, fulminated under penalty of anathema against
occult sects and their adepts and abettors, have no force in the countries
where the said sects are tolerated by the civil power, they are assuredly very
greatly in error. As you are aware, Venerable Brethren, we have already
rebuked, and now anew rebuke and condemn, the falsity of this evil doctrine.
In fact, can it be that the supreme power of pastoring and guiding the
universal flock which the Roman pontiffs received from Christ in the person of
the Blessed Teacher, and the supreme power they must exercise in the Church,
should depend upon the civil power, or could they for any reason be
constrained and done violence to thereby? Under these circumstances, for fear
lest youth and unthinking men should allow themselves to be led astray in
principle, and for fear our silence should offer any opportunity of protecting
error, we have resolved, Venerable Brethren, to raise our apostolic voice, and
confirming here in your presence the constitutions of our predecessors, on
part of our apostolic authority we rebuke and condemn this Masonic society and
the other societies of the same description, which, although differing in
form, tend to the same end, and which conspire overtly or clandestinely,
against the Church or legitimate power. We desire that the said societies
should be held proscribed and rebuked by us, under the same penalties as those
which are specified in the previous constitutions of our predecessors, and
this in the sight of all the faithful in Christ, of every condition, rank, and
dignity, and throughout all the earth. There remains now nothing wanting to
satisfy the wishes and solicitude of our paternal heart than to warn and
admonish the faithful who should have associated themselves with sects of this
character to obey in the future wiser inspirations, and to abandon these fatal
counsels, in order that they may not be dragged into the abyss of eternal
perdition. As regards all others of the faithful, if they wish solicitude for
their souls we strongly exhort them to be upon their guard against the
perfidious language of sectarians, who, under a fair exterior, are inflamed
with a bunting hatred against the religion of Christ and legitimate authority,
and who have but one single thought and single end, viz., to overthrow all
rights, both human and divine. Let them well understand that those affiliated
to such sects are like the wolves which Christ our Lord prophesied would come
disguised in sheep's clothing to devour the flock; let them understand they
are of the number of those whose society the apostle has also forbidden to us,
eloquently prohibiting us from even saying unto them - Hail!
All-Merciful God, hearing our prayers, grant that with the aid of His grace
the insensate may return to reason, and those who have gone astray be led back
to the path of justice. May God grant that after the suppression of the
depraved men, who, by the aid of the above-mentioned societies, give
themselves up to impious and criminal acts, the Church and human society may
be able to repose in some degree from such numerous and inveterate evils!
that our vows may be heard, let us also pray to our Mediatrix with the
All-Clement God, the Most Holy Virgin, that Mother Immaculate from her birth,
to whom it has been granted to overthrow the enemies of the Church and
monstrous errors. Let us equally pray for the protection of the blessed
apostles, Peter and Paul, by whose glories built this noble city has been
sanctified. We have confidence that with their assistance and aid we shall
the more easily obtain what we ask of the Divine bounty."
problematical whether Pope Pius IX would not have stayed his hand, or his pen,
if he had possessed the foreknowledge of the storm of criticism, satire,
derision, and ridicule which his puerile denunciation aroused in all sections
of the public press throughout the land, but infallibility is not a term
inclusive of foreknowledge. Courteous attention is always accorded the
opinions of the heads of all religious bodies by the members of the "fourth
estate," even when they travel beyond the bounds of reason, but here there was
a general consensus of opinion that, in common parlance, the Pope had made
himself "look silly," and many papers did not hesitate to express this opinion
in the plainest possible language.
in a leading article wrote:
telegraph informed us a few days ago, as much to our surprise as to our
satisfaction, that the Pope, in Secret Consistory, had delivered an allocution
denouncing all secret societies, and particularly the Freemasons and the
Fenians. Although we knew that the Roman Catholic clergy were uniformly
hostile to the Fenian movement, we could hardly have expected that the Pope
himself would come forward with such vigour and promptitude to render us a
service at such an opportune moment. The text of this unexpected allocution
has now reached us, and will be found today in another column of our
impression. It will be seen that though it does not denounce the Fenians by
name, it is directed against all secret societies 'by whatsoever name called,
which conspire against the Church and civil power.' There have been few secret
societies which answer to this description more exactly than the Fenians; and
the Roman Catholic clergy, it has been amply proved, had as much reason as any
other class of the community to assist in the suppression of this disorderly
brotherhood. We may, therefore, congratulate ourselves on having for once the
cordial assistance of the Pope in our Irish policy. We cannot but be very much
obliged to so exalted a personage for thus going out of his way to support us
against the machinations of Mr. Stephens and Mr. John O'Mahoney. We are,
indeed, somewhat afraid that these conspirators and their American allies will
derive more satisfaction from the dignity of being by implication made the
subjects of a Papal allocution than they will be afflicted by the tremendous
denunciations which are launched against them. Nevertheless, it cannot but be
well, as far as it goes, that the head of the Roman Catholic Church should
have formally supported his subordinates in denouncing these foolish and
wicked conspiracies. Our New York correspondent lately informed us that among
the extraordinary hallucinations of Fenianism in America was a rumour that a
special order had been issued from Rome, expressed in true papal Latin
Fenianos non esse inquietandos. If anything can disabuse an Irish-man of a
favourite delusion, or induce an American to relinquish a smart fabrication,
the rumour in question ought to be effectually dispersed by this papal
thus expressing our acknowledgments to the Pope for his well-intentioned
services, we must, at the same time, indulge our surprise at the main purport
of the document before us. The denunciation of Fenianism is, as we have said,
only implied incidentally. The Papal thunders are more immediately directed
against a very different society; and if the allocution is to have any effect
it will somewhat diminish the satisfaction with which we receive it that it
consigns to perdition, along with the Fenians, all the members of a society
which is as numerous in England as in Ireland, and which spreads its
ramifications over almost every country in the world. This unhappy society is
none other than that of the Freemasons. 'Among the many machinations,' says
the Pope, 'by which the enemies of the Christian name have dared to assail the
Church of God, to destroy and sap it by methods alien from the truth, must
doubtless be reckoned that wicked association of men called Masonic.' Such an
alarming exordium will probably be as surprising to the Freemasons as to every
one else; but it is only an appropriate introduction to the vehement
denunciations which follow. Freemasonry is a 'dark society - the enemy of the
Church and of God, and dangerous even to the security of kingdoms.' If
Freemasons do not give up their 'wicked assemblies' they must expect to be
'hurried along into the abyss of eternal ruin.' They 'are kindled with an
ardent hatred against the religion of Christ and legitimate authority.' They
are the wolves in sheep's clothing of whom it is predicted in the Gospel that
they would come to devour the flock. They have lost their reason, their acts
are 'impious and criminal' and their errors 'monstrous.' The Popes, it
appears, have long ago detected their snares and deceptions, and one after
another have resolved, 'without losing a moment' to 'strike and lacerate with
a sentence of excommunication as with a sword this sect breathing crime and
attacking civil and sacred life.' No fewer than four pontiffs appear to have
launched their thunders against these enemies of all enemies of all justice
and religion, and nothing can exhibit the intense iniquity of the society in a
stronger light than that it has survived these excommunications and in these
distressed days everywhere shows itself and lifts its audacious front.' The
paternal heart, therefore, of the present Pope compels him to suppress these
wicked men and relieve society from such enormous and inveterate evils; and
terrible are the punishments which he threatens for this benevolent purpose.
In the first place, all the Freemasons are in danger of eternal ruin, and all
the other faithful must refuse them any countenance if they would avoid
sharing their fate. They are to be interdicted from all Christian society,
for the Pope assures us that they are the very persons with whom the apostle
forbids us to eat, or so much as to exchange salutation. Finally, the divine
aid, and that of the Virgin and the Apostles, is solemnly invoked, and the
Pope concludes by expressing his conviction that with such assistance he shall
succeed in extirpating this abominable association.
cannot but ask ourselves in simple astonishment - what does all this mean? Is
the Pope inspired or frenzied, or is he merely practising his Latin so as to
keep his hand in for the Emperor Napoleon when he commences the withdrawal of
his troops from Rome? The Pope, we know, in Secret Consistory, talks neither
English nor any other modern language, and it may be that this astonishing
fulmination is only his way of saying that he disapproves of Freemasonry. We
are all more or less familiar with the Freemasons. We know that they have an
elaborate organization, and call each other long names, that they wear upon
occasions very strange aprons, that they preserve certain antiquated
ceremonies, and, above all, that they give very good balls and excellent
dinners, and are generally a very hospitable and liberal set of men. We know,
again, that the Freemasons profess to take certain solemn oaths, and to be in
possession of some secrets which explain the whole mystery of political
society upon architectural principles, or something equally magnificent. But
as to assertions that they devote themselves to 'unheard-of atrocities of
penalties and chastisements in case they should break their oath,' we feel
pretty sure the Pope must be misinformed. We have never observed that they
were oppressed by any such weight as would necessarily hang over their minds
if they were at all times conscious that a single inadvertence would expose
them to such tremendous danger. It would require, in fact, even in a Roman
Catholic, a very strong faith in the infallibility of the Pope to accept his
description of this Society. Indeed, we sincerely condole with the Roman
Catholics if they are to be absolutely debarred, for the future, from enjoying
Masonic hospitality. Must the faithful, as a French journal inquires,
immediately cut their Masonic friends, and refuse them even a distant bow?
Freemasons, so far as we know anything about them, are neither revolutionists
nor atheists. If we are not mistaken, Lord Palmerston himself is one of their
number, and the late Marshal Magnan, one of the pillars of the new French
regime, was the head of the Order in France. What can the Pope be thinking of
to select this innocent and convivial association for these tremendous
denunciations? If he had simply consigned all the Fenians, in so many words,
to eternal perdition unless they, immediately repented and revoked their
wicked errors before the nearest priest, the allocution might have appeared to
possess some point, some justification. But what have the Freemasons done to
provoke such a demonstration? It is said that the Archbishop of Paris lately
gave great offence at Rome by attending the funeral of Marshal Magnan. The
Archbishop was probably profoundly ignorant of the wicked devices of the
Marshal and his fellow Masons, and ordinary observers must avow themselves
equally in the dark. In truth, it reminds us of Jupiter thundering in a clear
sky, to witness these rattling thunderbolts let loose upon so unobtrusive a
society as the Freemasons. Jupiter, like Homer, must, we suppose nod
sometimes, and the Secret Consistory must, one would think, have gone to
sleep, and this allocution must have been delivered and have been listened to
in a dream.
in short, often had occasion to remark, that the Papacy is either greatly
above or greatly below the level of commonsense. In the present instance, we
have not much hesitation in deciding in which category the papal allocution is
to be placed. We can only explain such an uncalled for burst of pontifical
wrath on the supposition that the Pope is profoundly ignorant of the
circumstances of modern life and society. In Italy, indeed, where the
excessive jealousy of the Church tends to invest even the most innocent
combinations of men with a political meaning, it is possible that even
Freemasonry may assume some definite character of antagonism to the papal
pretensions. But that the Pope can think it worth this violent allocution
only proves how completely he is in the dark as to the real influences which
are actuating men's minds. It is not Freemasonry, nor any other secret
society, which has withdrawn from Catholicism so much of the intelligence of
Italy and all Europe, and has robbed the Papacy of its ancient possessions. It
is simply that general advance of free thought and of personal liberty which
has exposed at once the unfounded character of the papal claims and the
injurious nature of their assumptions. Ridiculous, in some respects, as are
such exhibitions, it is impossible not to feel a certain melancholy when we
behold the Papacy thus fighting in the air. In former days it at least knew
in what direction to strike, and its blows were as well aimed as they were
vigorously delivered. At the present day it appears to have lost at once its
sagacity and its vigour. It is blind to its real danger, and its language is
as impotent in its violence as its blows are feeble and misplaced. It lives
in the world of four centuries ago, and judges alike of men and of events by a
medieval standard. If the Pope could but leave the Vatican for awhile, and
place himself in one of the real centres of modern life, in London or Paris,
or even in Florence, he would discover at once that he had been living,
writing, and speaking entirely in the clouds. Such societies as the
Freemasons may have been formidable a few centuries ago, but they are of about
as much importance to the course of civil and religious life as any other of
the now extinct associations of the middle ages. With a similar blindness to
his real position, the Pope is said to be firmly convinced that the French
troops will never be withdrawn from Rome, and he obstinately refuses,
therefore, to come to terms with the only government which, when that
inevitable event takes place, can afford him any effectual protection. He and
his Church resemble nothing so much as the city to which they cling. A new
world has grown up all around them, and they remain venerable but decaying
monuments of an ancient but now overthrown empire. The very foundations of
Catholicism are sapped, its temporal and spiritual dominion is passing away,
and the Pope vaguely conscious of some impending danger, summonses a Secret
Consistory and launches his excommunications against Freemasonry!"
Liverpool Mercury was even more trenchant in its criticism of this absurd
document, and its comments could not have afforded much satisfaction to the
Roman Catholics in the northern Midlands. Its leading article on the Bull was
recent papal allocution against the unfortunate Freemasons is one of the very
oddest things we have come across for a long time. All of a sudden, without
any imaginable why or wherefore, just when the queer but harmless fraternity
of Freemasonry is about the very last subject in men's thoughts, the Holy
Father comes out with a tremendous volley of anathemas in the best style of
ecclesiastical Latinity, against a set of people of whom the world knows
nothing worse than they have an uncommonly eccentric way of promoting certain
very innocent and laudable objects. When all mankind is thinking about
Schleswig-Holstein, or the cattle plague, or the cholera, or President
Johnson, or the Fenians, or the bank rate of discount, or the Italian
elections, or some other topic of intelligible mundane interest, infallibility
flares up into a blaze of holy wrath against a respectable (though rather
funny) body of men who are chiefly known by giving good dinners and wearing
curious aprons, and who have never been credibly accused of doing or meaning
harm to any living creature. What, in the name of all that is rational, is
the pother about? What horrid crimes have the Freemasons been perpetrating or
meditating? There do happen to be secret societies in the world - our own
Fenians, for instance - against which a little papal invective might seem not
absolutely out of place; yet His Holiness has not a word to say about
Fenianism, unless some remote allusion to it can be faintly detected under one
or two of his sonorous generalities. But what have the poor Freemasons done
to bring down on their heads this lava torrent of denunciation and abuse? What
on earth can it all mean? We are told that our Archbishop Manning, from a
loyal wish to do the British Empire a good turn, asked His Holiness to launch
a handsome fulmination against the Fenians, and that this Allocution is the
result. If so, the Archbishop must be considerably pleased. Can it be that
His Holiness has made a mistake, misunderstood the drift of the archiepiscopal
suggestion, and hurled his thunders in the wrong quarter?
not going to pause for a reply, for we might have to pause for a long time. We
have not the slightest expectation that infallibility will so far condescend
to human weakness as to explain its own oracles. All that we are permitted to
know is that these Freemasons are the most wicked wretches that ever
conspired, in a favourite phrase of the papal vocabulary, to 'violate all laws
human and divine.' They are pernicious, perverse, impious, immoral, audacious,
criminal, and perfidious, depraved, and all the other ugly adjectives known to
allocutionary billingsgate. They 'pursue crime and attack holy things.' They
'give themselves up to impious and criminal acts.' They hold 'fatal councils,'
and make it their business to drag others into the same 'abyss of eternal
perdition' to which they are hurrying themselves. They have but one single
thought and single end, namely 'the overthrow of rights, both human and
divine.' They are at the bottom of all the mischief that is and has been in
the world for at least a century or two. To their account must be set down the
many seditious movements, the many incendiary wars, which have set the whole
of Europe in flames, and the many bitter misfortunes which have afflicted and
still afflict the Church.' Such is the papal reading of the philosophy of
modern history. It is a sin and shame that civil governors should tolerate
these implacable foes of all that is good and holy. The venerable pontiff
cannot contain himself for rage when he remembers how they and their abettors
have been excommunicated over and over again, and yet nobody seems to mind it.
Clement XII put them down; and Benedict XIV put them down again; and so did
Pius VII; and so did Leo XII; and yet they are not really put down at all, but
flourish more exuberantly than ever, 'existing everywhere with impunity and
carrying an audacious front.' What can have possessed the 'Catholic sovereign
princes' that they have not devoted all their efforts and all their solicitude
to repress this immoral sect and defend society against a common danger?
However, let it be hoped that Catholic sovereign princes and the faithful
generally will be roused at last to a sense of their perils and their duties.
Henceforth let it be quite understood that these horrid Freemasons, one and
all, are excommunicated, and that their guilt and its punishment are shared by
all who 'promote or encourage them in any way.' These wolves in sheep's
clothing 'are of the number of those whose society the apostle has forbidden
to us, eloquently prohibiting us from saying unto them, Hail!' No true Roman
Catholic from this time forward must so much as say, 'How do you do?' to an
acquaintance of the aproned fraternity. It really is not quite so clear as one
could wish that there would be any particular sin in a true Roman Catholic
killing the first Freemason he meets. It is at least certain - as far as
infallibility can make it - that the Freemasons are the arch enemies of the
Church, religion, law, government, truth, morality, and everything else which
men count sacred, and that all the heresies, seditions, revolutions of modern
times may be traced to the machinations of this thrice accursed sect. With
that stupendous perversity civilized society persists in seeing nothing in
Freemasonry but a somewhat fantastic sort of benefit society, organized for
purposes of charity and good fellowship!
really imbecility in excelsis. The force of infallible folly surely could no
further go than in launching this prodigious piece of ecclesiastical thunder
against a body of decent gentlemen, whose 'machinations,' though they may
begin (for aught we know) with a droll ceremonial which frightens raw novices
half out of their wits, end in nothing more terrible than good cheer and a
mutual benevolence fund. The Pope's last is certainly his best. We have had
many curious allocutions in our time, but this beats them all. Serious comment
on such a heap of stark, raving nonsense is impossible. The spectacle of
absurdity in a towering rage, a silliness foaming at the mouth, is one that at
once defies and disarms criticism. There is nothing to be said of it except
that it is a pity that an ancient institution which has outlived its day
cannot make a more respectable preparation for its inevitable end. The
temporal power of the papacy is justly doomed as an offence against
civilization, a wrong to Italy, and a scandal and hindrance to the very
religion whose name it takes in vain; but no chivalrous enemy can desire that
it should make itself unnecessarily ridiculous. We sincerely sympathize with
those multitudes of enlightened and right-minded Roman Catholics to whom it
must be unutterably painful to them to pity a pontiff whom they would fain, if
Dublin Evening Mail was no less scathing in its comments. A short leader in
that paper said:
in our columns today the last peal of thunder from the Vatican. It is designed
to frighten the Freemasons; but it only makes known the force of the now
impotent thunderer. Amid the empty sound and puerile verbiage of this
allocution, a whispered confession of real motives tells the tale of the crime
of Freemasonry in papal eyes: 'A false opinion may arise that the end of this
society is inoffensive, and that this institution has no other end but to
succour men and to aid them in adversity, and that the Church has nothing to
fear from this society. Who, however, does not understand that this is far
from being the truth? What does this association of men of all religions, of
all creeds, mean?' It is truly strange that, wrapped up as it may be in any
amount of fustian, the secret design of the Vatican heart is never
successfully concealed in an allocution. Nothing can be more true than that
the papal power has everything to fear from every peaceful and kindly
'association of men of all religions and of all creeds.' It is, therefore, the
thunder is directed against a form of association which peculiarly tends to
unite men in bonds of charity, mutual tolerance, and good will. The present
allocution is, in fact, not merely a denunciation of Freemasons, but a
practical comment upon the Roman reading of the divine proclamation of 'Peace
on earth, good-will to men.' Pio Nono and his Secret Consistory proclaim,
according to their version, 'Peace on earth to men of good-will,' but only to
those whose will is good towards the papal system. Carried out to its logical
end, the proposal 'to strike and rend' as with a sword 'the Masonic Society'
is an anathema against all forms of union or association between men of
different creeds - it is an edict of non-intercourse among fellow subjects,
Gloucestershire Chronicle prophesied an early downfall of the Papacy, based
upon an estimation of its apparent effete and decadent condition:
are some constitutions," the writer said, "which, when about to break up
through old age or some heavy infirmity, betray traces of their earlier vigour
by bursting forth at times into paroxysms of passion as impotent as they are
ridiculous. This seems to be the case with the Pope, who, some time ago, in a
secret consistory held at Rome, delivered an allocution, or, more properly, an
anathema, chiefly against the Masonic Society, and also against 'all other
societies, of whatever appellation, conspiring against the Church and the
civil power.' Europe is rather astounded; it can hardly believe its eyes when
the explosive document is thrown before it. Various reasons are assigned for
the papal thunder in a clear sky, for the revival of absolute dictation to the
governments of the world, as though the spiritual power of the papacy were
this day an acknowledged fact, in full supremacy, when the truth is it is
nothing more than a feeble voice issuing from a throne both spiritually and
temporarily shaken almost to dissolution.
allege the Pope takes this left-handed way of administering a heavy blow to
the Emperor of the French, because he is about to withdraw his troops from
Rome, and has also countenanced Masonry in France; in this manner revenge the
Emperor's withdrawal of his military protection and planting a spiritual thorn
in the bosom of his subjects. This has always been the subtle policy of Rome,
to make mischief between sovereigns and subjects; she scatters a few religious
seeds of discord, and rejoices to set a spiritual at variance with the
temporal allegiance. A small spite this, now, especially in our age; but the
allocution is full of little cat-spittings, so to speak. Again, it is said,
the Archbishop of Paris stands rebuked for having attended the funeral of
Marshal Lamoriciere, who was formerly the Grand Master of Freemasonry in
France; also that Dr. Manning, being desirous of obtaining the Pope's denial
of any sympathy with Fenianism, suggested a denunciation of all secret
societies, thus believing the net would be large enough to haul in the Fenians
together with Freemasons and Carbonari; lastly, it is stated the allocution is
a sort of protest against the decline both of the faith and influence of the
Church in Italy, as though the falling-off were to be traced, not to the
inherent weakness and corruption of Rome herself, but to the 'perfidious
nature of sectarians, who, under a fair exterior, are inflamed with a burning
hatred against the religion of Christ and legitimate authority and to have but
one single thought and single end, viz., the overthrow of rights both human
and divine.' It is possible some truth may underlie every one of the motives
thus suggested; at any rate, 'Rome has spoken,' and if all the world attended
to Rome's senile mutterings, every Freemason would be excommunicated, in the
blessed company of Fenians, Carbonari, bandits, and brigands.
horror of the Pope at Freemasonry is depicted in very strong language, with a
remarkable display of ignorance, and a total unconsciousness of history. He
describes it as 'that perverse society of men, vulgarly styled Masonic, which
at first confined to darkness and obscurity, now comes into light for the
common ruin of religion and human society.' He calls it 'a most immoral sect.'
At its door he lays 'the many seditious movements, the many incendiary wars,
which have set the whole of Europe in flames; as also the many bitter
misfortunes which have afflicted and still afflict the Church.' He speaks
tremblingly of 'Clandestine meetings,' 'rigorous oaths,' an unheard-of
atrocity of penalties and chastisements to be inflicted upon the perjured
Mason; and he winds up with an emphatic conclusion: 'A Society which thus
avoids the day must surely be impious and criminal.'
add a few more choice specimens of papal eloquence, but these are sufficient
for our purpose, unless, indeed, we might be tempted to give our Masonic
readers the opportunity of knowing what a disgusting, outlawed, and
excommunicated set of vagabonds they really are, as seen through the
infallible microscope. 'Let them well understand that those affiliated to such
sects are like wolves, whom Christ our Lord prophesied would come disguised in
sheep's clothing to devour the flock; let them understand they are of the
number of those whose society the Apostle has also forbidden to us, eloquently
prohibiting us from even wishing them god-speed.'
these are truculent expressions which are sufficient to raise the hair on the
head of those benevolent gentlemen - there are thousands of them - who,
thinking no harm, sit down to dinner after the labours of the lodge are
concluded, and drinkings; a glass of wine to all good brethren scattered over
the face of the globe, believe they are friends with the world. What a
dreadful portrait has the Pope drawn of them, in revolutionary costume, eager
to slay, burn, and destroy! Now, none would imagine after reading the
allocution, that at the close of the eighth century, the popes conceded to the
Masons of Como the exclusive monopoly of erecting churches; they were
associated as a craft or brotherhood; they were invested by papal bulls with
extensive privileges; they were subject only to their own laws, and were
untaxed. 'The lodges of the north' built Strasbourg and Cologne cathedrals;
they were encouraged and protected by ecclesiastical authority; Europe abounds
with their labours, and the marks of their secret craft are still upon the
stones, just as they are Masonically accepted this day. William of Wykeham and
Waynefleet, both Bishops, were Grand Masters in England; several of our own
Bishops, both past and present, have been Masters of lodges. What then becomes
of the Pope's history, and of what force are his denunciations? Masonry has
always remained the same; its principles are unchanged; the symbolical
teachings were the same in the Como lodges as they are this day in London; the
secrets are the same; the ceremonies are identical. The simple fact is, when
the Masons ceased to be working societies, and were unnecessary for building
churches, Rome threw Masonry on one side, like a useless glove. More than
this, Rome will never suffer any intellectual movement over which she has lost
the control. But Masonry laid down the trowel and the hod, practically, and
confined itself to the speculatively teaching, which was once marvellously
united to every stone in building; then the Church of Rome quarrelled with the
institution because it presumed to work out a system of morality and religion
upon the same foundation of revelation with the Church, but quite distinct
from the Church, yet in agreement with the fundamental doctrines of the
Church, at the same time not interfering with any Mason's allegiance to the
Church. The cause of offence was that this was done without consulting or
admitting any ecclesiastical authority. This is the secret of Rome's
unmitigated hatred of Masonry; it is her insatiable desire to govern the whole
machine of thought and action by priestly hands; while justice and inquisitors
exist, the Pope can scarcely with a grave face inveigh against clandestine
meetings, rigorous oaths, and the atrocity of penalties and chastisements! We
are as certain that the monstrosities imputed by the Pope to Freemasonry are
as false as that Freemasons have anything to fear from the Virgin Mary, 'to
whom,' says the Pope, It has been granted to overthrow the enemies of the
Church and monstrous errors'; or that the Pope will be 'protected by the
blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, in his crusade against Freemasonry.' One
great principle of Freemasonry is not to interfere with the peculiar religious
forms of belief professed by any of its members; armed with this neutrality
the Freemason will listen without hatred to the invocation of saints to come
down and extinguish the institution; he will only be sorry that such an excess
of mistaken zeal should be so uncharitably exercised; for we read in the
news-papers the assemblies of Freemasons are already disturbed by ignorant
Roman Catholic mobs, who are ready to back the Pope's mild language with any
amount of physical assistance.
We know a
considerable amount of prejudice exists against Freemasonry even in this
country, perhaps chiefly because feminine curiosity remains unsatisfied, or
because an exclusive law shuts out the public. For its harmlessness and
innocence we might summon the testimony of the many eminent characters in the
world who have sanctioned its proceedings from manhood to old age with their
countenance; for its benevolence, we can only point to the noble charities
sustained from year to year with unostentatious munificence; for its influence
we can appeal to the friendly understanding among Masons, and to their kindly
offices one towards another. We are told by those who have pursued the real
symbolical science of Masonry that it is a fascinating study, demanding the
fullest exercise of the mental faculties; that it applies the old scriptural
system of instruction by emblem and figure to the acquisition of moral and
scientific truths, which are grouped together, engage the memory and captivate
the imagination. This, we believe, is the real work of Masonry, and, no
doubt, where people have the requisite gifts, nothing can be more lofty or
improving, but, in the absence of such qualities, the general body of Masons
is content with superficial knowledge; the brethren know enough to come in and
out of the lodge, they are ready with their money for any emergency; they will
give to good fellowship; there is a freedom of thought which delights them
when they are confident they are speaking in the bosom of the family where
there is no skeleton and no misinterpretation of the language used. This is
the English aspect of Freemasonry - a set of open-hearted, good-humoured,
charitable fellows, brimming over with benevolence, thinking no evil, somewhat
mystified with signs and words, but on the whole merry and wise. How different
from the Pope's idea! Slouched hats, dark clothes, daggers, manifestos
shrouded in vapour, conspirators deadly against popes, and kings and saints,
scathing and adverse comments were by no means limited to English newspapers.
Much space could be occupied with extracts from various foreign newspapers on
the Pope's allocution, but two only must suffice. La Siecle wrote:
million of our fellow-citizens are struck with the most terrible engine which
the representative of God upon earth can dispose of. It is true they perform
their ordinary business just the same as though interdicted from fire and
water. The worst that can happen to them is that they cannot be sponsors if
they should be asked to do so; but this is an occasion which does not often
present itself, and they may find consolation in the circumstance that it will
save them the cost of comfits. What interest can the Church of Rome have in
thus exposing the impotence of its spiritual chastisements and the complete
indifference with which modern society hears the rumbling of the Church's
thunder? What man will give up the title of Freemason, or who will hesitate to
become a member of a lodge, through fear of excommunication? The era of these
papal thunder peals has passed, and the Papacy should renounce these miserable
parodies of the past which had its grandeur."
expository from the Masonic point of view was the criticism of the New York
Reporter in which paper the following article appeared:
"Freemasonry has been denounced and suspected, in consequence of its being a
secret Order. Secrecy in all things, where secrecy is maintained, is not only
consistent with innocence, but is also imperatively enforced by necessity, as
well as demanded by every consideration of policy. The direct benefits
flowing from Masonry are, of course, intended for, and should be participated
in, only by its members - by those who have been regularly initiated into its
mysteries and contribute to its support. They are secured by a knowledge of
universal language, which is used as a test of brotherhood. This universal
language (universal to Masons) is, under no circumstances, communicated to the
world at large. The words and signs of it are secret; for to communicate them
would at once destroy its utility. And, strange as it may seem to the
uninitiated, our Society professes to have no secrets beyond these. There is
little, very little, in the lodge to gratify the eye of the inquisitive. We
do not tempt them with offers to unfold some mighty mystery; we can impart to
them no superhuman wisdom; we possess not the elixir of life, nor the
philosopher's stone, nor the spells of the Tarshun; we cannot and do not
profess to be bound by any ties but such as are consistent with our duty
towards ourselves and families, our neighbours, our country, and our God.
the general end of lodge transactions, every one can know as much, as any of
its members; but fear of any apprehension on this subject, we would briefly
state that nowhere are order and decorum more strictly enforced than in our
lodges; our business there is charity and brotherly communion, the admission
of candidates, and the transaction of such other matters as necessarily
pertain to every association. Now, all this is of such a character, that it
may with great propriety be kept to ourselves. We are brothers - members of a
large family - met for the purpose of transacting our own business, with which
the world has no concern; and why should the world be permitted to witness its
disposition? Does a needy brother receive assistance, it is not for us to
vaunt it, and it might not be agreeable to him to proclaim his wants before
strangers, or to have the fact of his being relieved published; and it would
certainly be impolitic and uncharitable, by publicity, to trammel the
discussion of character; and how could the announcement of the rejection of
candidates for our confidence be otherwise than prejudicial to us, by exciting
enmity and dissatisfaction in the world. We seek not coalition with the
world, made up of a thousand creeds; our objects are few, and their pursuit is
quiet and secret; and we have, as Masons, naught in common with the mass of
mankind. We do not meddle with politics, nor the extension of the creed by
proselytism; we seek only to cultivate the social virtues among ourselves, to
benefit each other by deeds of love, and indirectly to benefit the world by
our own improvement."
EVERLASTING NECESSITY FOR BROTHERHOOD
mankind from the day of the flood, steadily followed some of the lessons
taught them by the industrious bees, had they associated themselves together
in lodges, and taught and faithfully practiced Toleration, Charity and
Friendship; had even those of the human race done so who have professed the
Christian faith, to what imaginable degrees of happiness and prosperity would
they not have attained! to what extreme and now invisible heights of knowledge
and wisdom would not the human intellect have soared! Had they but practiced
Toleration alone, what a Garden of Eden would this earth be now! Blood enough
has been spilled for opinion's sake, to fill the basin of an inland sea!
Treasure enough has been expended and destroyed to have made the world a
garden, covered it with a network of roads, canals and bridges, and made its
every corner glorious with palaces; and the descendants of those who have been
slain would have thickly peopled every continent and island of the globe.
earliest of all lessons taught mankind was the necessity of association; for
it was taught in unmistakable terms by his own feebleness and weakness. He is
an enigma to himself.. Launched, blind and helpless, upon the great current of
Time and Circumstance, he drifts, like a helpless vessel, onward to eternity a
mere atom.and mote of dust, clinging to infinity, and whirled along with the
revolutions of the Universe. He knows nothing truly of himself and his
fellows. His utmost effort never enables him to get a distinct idea of his own
nature, or to understand in the least degree the phenomena of his mind. Even
his senses are miracles to him. He remains feeble as a child. Between him and
the future is let down a curtain, dark, palpable, impenetrable, like a thick
cloud, through which he gropes his way and staggers onward. At every step
Destiny meets him in some unexpected shape, foils his purpose, mocks at his
calculation, changes the course of his life, and forces him into new paths, as
one leads a blind man by the hand; and he never knows at what unexpected
moment the arm of Death will be thrust suddenly forth from behind the curtain
and strike him a sharp and unerring blow.
sudden shifting of a wind, a few cold drops of rain, an unseen stone lying in
his path, the tooth of an unregarded serpent, a little globe of lead, the
waving of a rag near to a shying horse, a spark of fire on a great boat of a
dark night, upon a wide, deep river; all are to him Death's messengers, and
overtake him with a peremptory fate. Stumbling over some object at every step,
he needs constant sympathy and unremitting assistance. Fortune smiles today
and frowns tomorrow. Blindness or palsy makes the strong man an infant; and
misfortune, disaster and sad reverses trick him like gaunt hounds, lying in
wait to seize him at a thousand turnings.
Unfortunately, the obvious truth that every man either actually needs, or will
at some time need, the charitable assistance, or, at least, the friendship,
the sympathy, the counsel, and the good will of others, like other truths,
produced but small effect upon the early human mind. Pressed by the urgent
necessities of the moment, by which alone, ordinarily, men's actions are
governed, they did associate themselves with communities, and institute civil
government, as often, perhaps, for purposes of aggression as of defense or
other associations. We hear and know nothing for very many centuries, and
then, except where the light of Masonic tradition reaches, dimly and obscurely
only, as in the case of the Eleusinian Mysteries; whose purpose we can merely
guess at from the faintest possible revelations, - hardly able to say more
than their forms and ceremonies bore a faint resemblance to some used in our
time-honored institution. It is highly probable that they had a philosophical
and religious rather than a charitable object. - Albert Pike.
in misted April
is growing green.
the sweeping meadows
looming mountains rise,
battlements of dreamland
the brooding skies.
are breaking through,
the heart of all things
languor ever knew.
goldenwings and bluebirds
their heavenly choirs.
are blued and drifted
smoke of brushwood fires.
And in my
little breezes run,
blowing in the sun.
COMACINES - THEIR PREDECESSORS AND THEIR SUCCESSORS
W. RAVENSCROFT, ENGLAND
let us endeavour to trace the constitution of these Comacine lodges, and to
ascertain something of their relation to the world at large.
capable of proof that in the seventh century the Magistri Comacine were a
properly organized body, having different degrees of rank. The higher order
were called Magistri, and were competent to act as architects. With and under
them worked the Colligantes: these appear to have consisted of novices and
craftsmen. These Magistri Comacini are first mentioned by name in the laws of
the Longobard King Rothairis (A.D. 652).
under church of S. Clemente at Rome there is a fresco of the tenth century
which shows the master mason directing his men, and some think they can
discern beneath the toga a master's apron. For my own part, although I looked
carefully for it, I should not like to say it is undoubtedly there; but be
this so or not, there is no mistaking the Master who is named Sesinius, and
who somewhat angrily directs his men, calling them sons of Pute. Under the
life of S. Clemente, Voragine in the Golden Legend gives a different version
to the Masonic traditions of Sesinius, but which scarcely corresponds with the
Italian writer, referring to these guilds (Cesare Cantu Storia di Como), says:
"They were called together in the Loggie (hence Lodge) by a grand master to
hear of affairs common to the order, to accept novices, and confer superior
degrees on others. The chief Lodge had other dependencies, and all members
were instructed in their duties to the society and taught to direct every
action to the Glory of the Lord and His worship - to live faithful to God and
the government - to, lend themselves to the public good and fraternal
charity." "Strength, force and beauty were their symbols; Bishops, Princes,
men of high rank who studied architecture fraternized with them." "From the
tenth to the thirteenth centuries grand masters took oaths of discretion and
fidelity. Masters coming from other lodges were received and employed,
Apprentices were not paid in the same manner as Craftsmen, and all questions
were settled in Council."
authority under this head may suffice - Signor Agostino Segredio, who, in his
work on the building guilds of Venice, says:
are speaking of the Masonic Companies and their jealous secrecy we must not
forget the most grand and potent guild of the Middle Ages, that of the
Freemasons; originating most probably from the builders of Como (Magistri
Comacini), it spread beyond the Alps. Popes gave them their benediction,
monarchs protected them, and the most powerful thought it an honour to be
inscribed in their ranks; they with the utmost jealousy practised all the arts
connected with building, and by severe laws and penalties (perhaps also with
bloodshed) prohibited others from the practice of building important
edifices. Long and hard were the initiations to aspirants, and mysterious
were the meetings and the teaching, and to enable themselves they dated their
origin from Solomon's Temple."
so far as to say these guilds of craftsmen in the Middle Ages expanded their
ritual to the extent of giving to their working tools moral, and even
spiritual, significance. That may be a not unlikely outcome of their system,
but whether so or not, they had their symbols, without doubt. This is
illustrated in a house at Assisi having the date on its door 1405, but perhaps
of greater antiquity, shown to this day as that of the Comacini, and on the
keystone to the entrance is still to be seen carved the open compasses
containing a rose. This badge also, together with a Masonic square, the
Comacini have left on the castle at Assisi, where also they worked.
greatest distinguishing badges of the order are the endless knot and the Lion
of Judah. The endless knot appears to mark off the work of the earlier when
the more elaborate carvings and the richer details of later centuries
prevailed. This endless knot is to this day one of the most beautiful and
interesting of ornamental details in connection with the carving of stone, and
while its pattern is varied in many ways, its principle is one and the same
throughout. It consists generally (mainly, indeed, but not always) of a cord
of three strands -sometimes of two - and this cord generally is without
beginning or end; sometimes, however, it has a beginning and end, but without
a break, and its interlacings are so intricate as to give it the name of "Intreccia."
It is to
this day known in Italy as King Solomon's Knot, and finds its place on the
surface of arches, in the capitals of columns, on altars, tympana, arcades and
panels, but perhaps in its most beautiful development, in screens. Those in
S. Clemente at Rome are wonderfully fine, and, be it remembered, as we shall
see presently, this ornament comes home to us in our Celtic crosses and
monumental slabs. It is not disjointed like some Byzantine surface
decorations, but consistent to its character throughout. It is everywhere the
badge of the same Brotherhood - the sign-manual of the same Guild of
Craftsmen. The symbolic allusion in this remarkable badge would appear to be
the inscrutable character of the Divine Being whose ways are past finding out,
and whose existence is without beginning or end - an unbroken unity. Whether
the three-fold strands have reference to the Trinity in such unity or not, it
is impossible to say, but such would be by no means an unlikely thing; or the
allusion may have been to the threefold cord which is not quickly broken.
struck by the extraordinary amount of this ornamentation to be found in Italy,
much still in situ, and one would almost say still more in fragments, built
into walls and varied in character to a remarkable degree. The churches about
Como, chieflys perhaps, that of S. Abbondio, have some rich illustrations of
the Comacine knot-work. When we remember that the two great pillars which
stood at the entrance to King Solomon's Temple were adorned with network as
well as other devices, we get at least a suggestion that here may be the
origin of King Solomon's knot, and this is emphasized by the fact that there
stands in the court of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem a pillar
having a basketwork capital with this identical interlaced pattern. Does it
not look very much as if the traditions of the network had lingered and found
expression again in this product of a later age?
interesting in passing to note that the Romans had a similar, but less
intricate pattern in a great deal of their paving, and might not that have
been in their day the working out of a "Temple tradition" received through the
Etruscans, and the type of the fuller knot developed by the Comacines? As
regards the Lion of Judah, there is more difficulty; indeed, there is here the
mystery which enshrouds all the grotesque work of the Middle Ages, whether
lions, griffins, or other monsters. Leader Scott would have us believe the
lion here is the type of Christ, and that when columns are on the back of
lions, as at Pisa and Siena, they represent our Lord as the Pillar of Faith,
springing from the tribe of Judah; while, when surmounting the column, He is
figured as the Door, the latter being the earlier form - viz., that which
prevailed from before A.D. 1000 to 1200, while the former held from A.D. 1200
to 1500. This all fits in with such representations as at Monza, where the
lion is nursing a lamb; but when, as at Assisi or Siena, the lion is eating
man or animals one wonders how this symbol applies. This wonder is increased
by finding lionesses and cubs, as at Siena. True, it may be that some such
representations in a rough and coarse way may suggest the absorbing power of
Christianity, or convey something akin to what we read in the Apocalypse about
the "wrath of the Lamb." But if Ruskin and others who have studied the subject
can only guess at a meaning for these strange creatures, we must be content to
leave the mystery unsolved.
wonders, however, why, if the association with King Solomon's Temple is so
manifest in the knot, the lions should not have their relation to the same
beasts which adorned the approach to King Solomon's throne. And it must not
be forgotten, again, that the Hittites' influence is in the oldest piece of
sculpture in Europe - viz., the lions at Mykenae; while the Etruscans also
attempted representations of the king of beasts, generally as guardians of a
gate. Slate tablets also found some years since at Abydos represent lions
devouring captives. Tolerably certain, however, it is that the lion of the
later Comacines' work had some reference to Christ, and found its way, as the
badge of the Brotherhood in some form or other, into most of their more
important buildings .
ancient badges (for the Comacines were full of symbolism, whether in planning
or decorating their buildings), such as the pentalpha and the hexalpha, they
had, and these can be traced back to centuries before Christ. And then there
are the Mason marks, which from their position can only have been for the
identification of work with workmen, and which we find to be identical in
churches as far apart as Cefalu, in Sicily, and Canterbury, Lincoln, etc.
INFLUENCE IN THE BRITISH ISLES
before we reach the closing part of our theme, let us refer again to the
influence of the Comacines on the architecture of the British Isles, for I
think it can be demonstrated that such really did exist, and to a quite
keep in memory a few facts:
that with the Roman legions there came to our shores Lodges of Artificers.
They in time became Christian, and probably built the Romano-British churches,
of which we have already seen there were a considerable number in our land -
one, as is well known, at Silchester. Then we get a slacking off in many
directions when the Romans left our shores, and after that the inroads of
Pagan Saxons gradually obliterating, although not wholly destroying, the
influence of Christianity - at any rate, driving it westward until it was
almost extinct in the Saxon kingdom. Then, be it remembered, the trend of the
Christian migration was to Cornwall, Wales, and Ireland, where in all these
districts the Christian faith was kept alive, but cut off from intercourse
with Europe, and especially with Italy, except by the open sea.
know that such communication by sea was maintained, and, indeed, existed at
least 700 years before the time of Christ. We further find that the Christian
Church of Ireland sent the Culdees to Scotland, and thence Christianity spread
to the Northern Kingdom, quite before the time of St. Augustine. These
Culdees, by the way, are said (Gould's Freemasonry) to have had connection
with the Romans in Britain, and to have learned the art of building from their
Collegia. They also had the endless cord.
this being so - and let it be emphasized that the districts we are now
considering were practically cut off from the civilized world, except by the
open sea, by the Pagan Saxons - what do we find? In every one of these
countries, even to Northumbria, but practically nowhere else in Great Britain,
the Comacine knots, in some cases of two, in some of one, strand only. Also
in a few instances the Chi Rho, so abundant in Italy; while in Ireland we get
the round towers, about which so much has been speculated, and which are so
strikingly similar to those of Ravenna.
It may be
said that the surface ornament, of which we are chiefly speaking now, was but
the development of the Runic ornament of the Scandinavian, the answer to which
is: These are Christian; and while similar ideas may have been carried to the
Scandinavians by the Phoenicians, with whom they had early intercourse (and
these latter held traditions of Solomon's Temple), it is far more likely it
came to our western shores by direct intercourse with Italy.
regard to the question as to how the Round Towers came into Ireland, Leader
Scott's book says: "In the first place, where can similar towers be found
dating from times contemporary? The answer is decided in Italy: in Ravenna and
Lombardy, from the date A.D. 300 to the fifth and sixes centuries; and they
show just that Eastern touch which distinguishes the Byzantine Roman
Architecture of Ravenna, and has caused authors to seek the origin of the
Round Towers farther east than Italy." Again, with reference to the Solomon's
knot, the same author says: "By the ninth and tenth centuries the Irish Cross
had reached its full development - it was no longer a sign or slab, but a
beautiful upright sculptured Cross, with a circle crowning it like a halo, and
suggesting the eternity of the human Cross of our Saviour." St. Patrick,
Ireland's great missionary, too, A. D. 375-464, was of continental origin on
his mother's side, and Miss Margaret Stokes tells us a great deal about the
intercourse between Italy and Ireland - enough to show that it was very direct
and complete. Indeed, in her interesting book entitled Six Months in the
Apennines, she seems to have renounced the theory that the interlaced work on
the Irish crosses and other such devices originated with the Irish or their
predecessors, and is forced to the conclusion that from the number of Irish
saints who visited or settled in Italy were transmitted to Ireland that which
they already found to be in existence in the country of their adoption. St.
Patrick, moreover, obscure as in many respects his doings may be, undoubtedly
travelled in Italy, and was for some time in the monastery on Lerinus, an
island just off Cannes, in the Mediterranean. St. Columbanus also was an Irish
saint, and about 613 came to Italy, where he became a very important person,
both as a Churchman and a scholar. In Old Cornish Crosses Romilly Allen
remarks the connection between Italian and Cornish details.
then, for our western shores. We turn to Saxon England, and have already seen
that St. Augustine in A.D. 598 brought over with him several of the community
of the Liberi Muratori, and to this it may be added that in 604 he wrote to
the Pope asking for more architects and workmen, and these Gregory sent him.
Further, it is remarked by the Rev. W. Miles Barnes that the Saxon font in
Toller Fratrum Church, Dorset, and the eighth-century well-head at the office
of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rome, are decorated with precisely similar
interlacing bands in three strands, bordered by a cable moulding. Again, in
601 Pope Gregory sent Paulinus and others to England to assist in missionary
work, and this Paulinus is called Magister, implying he was an experienced
architect as well as a missionary, and he had his hand in Lincoln and York,
the latter a church of basilican type. About this time also the crosses of
England began to have interlaced ornamentation, and the Church of St. Andrew
at Hexham, built by Wilfred of York, was basilican in its character, with its
apse at its west end. More might be said as to phrases and words which
indicate Comacine influence on Saxon work, as also to striking similarities in
the character of such work - e.g., the round arched external arcades with
shafts, capitals and bases, as at Comacina and Bradford-on-Avon - but time and
space will not permit; and, in concluding this part of our subject, we may
well ask the question: If the Christianized Saxons did not get the ideas of
building from Romano-British traditions - and that is not at all likely -
whence did they receive them? Surely from the Continent; and if from there,
especially during the time when Gregory was Pope, the only conclusion we can
regard as reasonable is that either men of a guild who were in favour with him
were employed, or Saxon ecclesiastics who had graduated in their schools
executed the important works of their day in England. Probably both
conclusions are correct, and similar arguments might be applied to the
connection between the later developments of architecture in England and
reached the last part of our study. Can we claim that the great Masonic body
of to-day in England, America, and the Colonies and Dependencies of the
British Isles, are legitimately descended from the Comacines? Through the
building guilds of the Later Middle Ages we can, for they were the offspring
of that body; and notwithstanding that in 1717, as already stated, our modern
Freemasonry was remodelled largely on the regulations of the German
Steinmetzen (themselves descendants of the Comacines), yet this by no means
proves that it grew out of it. On the contrary, we claim that what happened
was an existing corporation or corporations, growing yearly less and less
operative and more and more speculative, was finally recast in 1717. This is
borne out by the following:
Aubrey MS. we find: "Sir William Dugdale told me many yeares since that about
Henry the third's time the Pope gave a bull of diploma to an company of
Italian architects to travell up and downe over all Europe to build churches.
From those are derived the fraternity of Freemasons. They are known to one
another by certain signes and markes and watchwords; it continues to this
day. They have severall lodges in several countres for their reception, and
when any of them fall into decay the brotherhood is to relieve him, etc. The
manner of their adoption is formall and with an oath of secrecy." Again, in
the year 1375 the term Freemason first appears in the records of the City of
LOndon, and this is meant to apply to operative masons who are free of certain
taxes, restrictions, etc., and free to travel in time of feudal bondage.
Italian book, quoted by Leader Scott, 1788, describes the institutions, rules,
and ceremonies of Freemasons, and begins with Adoniram, who had so many men to
pay at the building of the Temple that he had to divide, them into three
classes - novices, operatori, and magistri - each of which class had secret
signs and pass words, so that wages could be fixed and imposture avoided. It
is significant that these classes existed in the Roman Collegium and the
Comacine Guilds, the latter of whom are described in an ancient MS. as Libera
Muratori (Free Wall-builders).
briefly sum up our argument.
Centuries before Christ and the founding of Rome, a race of Hametic descent
spread along the Mediterranean shores, and afterwards became known in Syria
and Asia Minor as Hittites, in Greece as Pelasgoi,
Italy as Etruscans.
Hittites were engaged in building the Temple at Jerusalem, the fame of which
spread far and wide.
Romans learned their arts of building, decoration and pottery, etc., from the
Etruscans, who were the same race as the Hittites, and carried with them some
at least of their traditions.
Rome developed Collegia of Artificers, and in early Christian days these had
traditions of King Solomon.
5. At the
downfall of Rome the Guild of Artificers left and settled in the district of
Como, holding as their centre the island of Comacina.
thence they spread their influence over all Western Europe, and even to our
they merged into the great Masonic, Guilds of the Middle Ages.
as these guilds died out, their forms and ceremonies were preserved to a great
extent in our Masonic lodges - at any rate, under those of the English and
in conclusion. Masons more than others will be able to judge adequately the
similarity between ancient rite and modern practice. This is inevitable in a
subject such as this.
the bidding prayer of English and American Freemasonry must put into prominent
rank those grand originals, the Quatuor Coronati, and close upon them, in
order of merit, the Comacines.
FRANCIS E. WHITE,. GRAND SECRETARY, NEBRASKA
Bro. Francis E. White, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska,
attended the special session of the Grand Lodge of England, June 23rd, to June
30th, 1919, to commemorate the ending of the World War, as guest of the Grand
Lodge of England. The following article is a part of his report to his own
Grand Lodge last year. It is recommended to our readers as containing an
exceptionally full and detailed account of the machinery of the Grand Lodge of
England, and its subordinate bodies. Bro. White has a barrel full of things to
say about Masonry but he is so modest a man it is next to impossible to
persuade him to appear in public. It is to be hoped that, now that he has once
appeared in the columns of THE BUILDER, he will come again.
LODGE of England consists of the Grand Lodge Officers and what is known as
subscribing Past Masters, (a subscribing Past Master is one who pays annual
dues, including the four shillings a year for benevolences) and the Masters
and Wardens who are in office.
Lodge meetings are held quarterly, officers are elected annually. The
following only are elected: The Grand Master and the Grand Treasurer. These
officers are elected by the Craft, (members of the Grand Lodge). All other
officers are appointed by the Grand Master, annually, excepting the Grand
Secretary, who is appointed only in case of a vacancy, and holds office so
long as his services are satisfactory to the Grand Lodge. The same rule
applies to the Grand Tyler.
attendance at quarterly meetings is about 800 members. The Grand Master does
not deliver an address, but may make communications on some special subject.
The Pro Grand Master presides and transacts business in the absence of the
Grand Master. If both these officers are absent, I assume the Deputy Grand
Master would preside. No mileage and per diem, nor expenses, are paid to
members of the Grand Lodge.
Lodge, on ordinary occasions, is in session for from one to two hours. The
special Grand Lodge meeting which the delegates from over seas attended,
seemed to me more like a church than a Masonic lodge. There is no moving
about, no whispering; the utmost decorum is observed, and the closest
attention is paid by all members of the Grand Lodge to what is presented for
a Director of Ceremonies, one Deputy Director and twelve assistants, who
conduct, with the aid of stewards, all ceremonies, and much attention is given
to these features. Every little detail is arranged for in advances and carried
out with dignity, order and precision. In all ceremonies we witnessed, which
included the conferring of the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry,
installation ceremony, and the constituting of a lodge, no Monitors were seen.
Every officer knew just what he was to say and how he was to say it, and he
required neither aid nor prompting.
income of the Grand Lodge is derived from investments, fees for initiation,
dispensations, and warrants. Fees for warrants for new lodges are about $75
fees for dispensations to confer degrees on more than two candidates at one
time, $2.50; the same fee for a meeting of a lodge at a time different from
the one regularly provided for, or to change the place of meeting, or to wear
Masonic clothing in public.
permanent investments of the Grand Lodge are about $9,000,000. The real
property is about $1,000,000, not including buildings used for charity, such
as the three Royal institutes, one for boys, one for girls and one for aged
appointed Grand Officers are required to pay an honor fee. This runs from
$25.00 to $50.00.
fees collected by the Grand Lodge from the subordinate lodges, or the
brethren, are for what is known as their benevolent fund. These consist of 4
shillings (96 cents), payable quarterly, for members in London, and one-half
of this amount for members in Provinces in England.
that has existed continuously for 100 years is entitled to a centenary
warrant, for which it pays $50.
numbers of members of the fraternity belonging to English lodges is estimated
of General Purposes has thirty-six members presided over by a President; eight
members are appointed by the Grand Master, twelve are elected by lodges in
London, and twelve are elected by lodges outside of the City of London. Eight
members of the board retire each year. The board holds its meetings monthly.
It is divided into six regular committees, and special committees are
appointed when needed.
duties of the board are to consider everything for the upkeep of the Grand
Lodge, finances, care of buildings, complaints (grievances). - They have a
right to suspend members of lodges. They recommend legislation and consider
all matters that are presented to the Grand Lodge. All of their acts are
subject to the approval of the Grand Lodge. The board makes its report by its
president at the quarterly meeting of all of its acts, but these do not become
law, or go into effect until approved at the quarterly meeting following
(quarterly meetings do not include the Grand Festivals). A pamphlet is issued
by the board and sent to each lodge ten days before the quarterly meeting. It
contains a report of the work of the board, and the business that is to be
presented for consideration to the Grand Lodge.
about.800 chartered lodges in London and it is estimated that there are 50,000
Freemasons belonging to lodges in that city. The average number of members in
a lodge is about sixty, and a little more in the country lodges. Among the 800
chartered lodges in London, seven of them are what are known as Temperance
lodges, that is to say, lodges where neither spirituous liquor, wine, beer, or
anything of an intoxicating nature is used. I visited one of these lodges and
they seem to be very enthusiastic about the temperance feature of it. Some of
the brethren in conversation with me, said that the desire for temperance in
lodges was gradually growing and would hereafter be increased.
may belong to as many lodges as he is willing to pay dues to. One member
belongs to thirty lodges. By dispensation, a brother can be Master of more
than one lodge at the same time.
minimum fees for the degrees are about $20; fees generally are about from $20
to $25. Lodges meet generally only in the winter months, an average of five
stated meetings a year. They do not hold many meetings after April or May, and
begin again in September or October.
Stewards' Lodge has no number (the only one under the English constitution).
The lodge is entitled to rank before any other lodge. The members of the Grand
Stewards' Lodge must be Past Grand Stewards. There are nineteen lodges that
nominate a Grand Steward yearly. These, and previous members appointed, make
up the lodge. Their Masonic clothing is scarlet. The duty of the Grand Steward
is to arrange for the quarterly meetings, assist in the ceremonies, and
arrange for the Grand Festival and to pay any deficit that may arise from it.
There are Past Masters' lodges, consisting of Past Masters only, and they do
no work except on request.
lodges of instruction. They are not regularly chartered, but work under some
chartered lodge, which is responsible for all they do. They pay no benevolent
fund to the Grand Lodge, but do a great deal of charity work. The fee for
affiliation from brethren who belong to English lodges is about $1.25. If a
petition for affiliation comes from a lodge outside of the Grand Jurisdiction
of England, the petitioner is required to pay the same fee as for initiation.
have Provincial Grand Lodges. There are forty-six of them, presided over by a
Grand Master, who has a Deputy and a full set of officers. Provincial Grand
Lodges meet annually, but can meet oftener. Their meetings can be attended by
any Master Mason. Provincial Grand Lodges legislate on all local matters, but
if it relates to the constitution, must be approved by the Grand Lodge. All
Provincial Grand Lodges are governed by laws made by the Grand Lodge.
what we might call class lodges, that is to say, a lodge composed entirely of
members in a certain line of business, such as wholesale butchers, hatters,
have lodges for nationalities, such as Scotch, Frencll, Italian, etc. In the
last named lodges, the language of the nation is used. They also have school
a number of military lodges. The number has been limited to one in a regiment.
Formerly a military lodge could not receive petitions from one one below the
rank of corporal. This regulation has been changed, and anyone can petition
the lodge, regardless of rank.
is not as popular with the masses of the people as it is with us, but the
Freemasons of England prize their Masonry very highly, and are willing to
devote an abundance of time and ability to make it a success. I think this may
be said of all the officers and members
Dues in a
majority of the lodges in London (including dinners), run from (in lodges with
four or five meetings a year), $20 to $25. What they term nondining members
dues are from $5.00 to $7.50.
fourteen days' notice the Master can call an emergency meeting for the purpose
of balloting on a candidate. No special dispensation is necessary. The Master
has full discretion in the matter.
is automatically excluded when three years in arrears with his dues (temporary
legislation was affected during the war to preclude such exclusion of brethren
on war service). A lodge may also exclude a brother for un-Masonic conduct
under the provisions of Rule 210 but one is pleased to be able to say that
this power has very seldom to be taken advantage of. In either case, such
excluded brother can seek membership in a new lodge, but of course he must
produce a certificate stating the condition under which he left any lodge to
which he may have belonged.
for other causes than for non-payment of dues is about the same as our law. A
brother can appeal to the Grand Master and he has the power to set the
sentence aside, but a brother may be suspended by a higher authority.
Lodge law provides that not more than three black balls shall reject, but the
lodge can fix the number necessary, at from one, two or three.
several kinds of rituals, partly in cipher, but there are no official rituals.
The lodges select what they want and purchase them from their Masonic
publishing houses. The Grand Lodge has not recognized any of them. It believes
only in the mouth to ear way of transmitting the work. However, it does not
seem to be able to stop the use of the cipher ritual entirely. I saw no
monitors or rituals in use in any of the lodges. In all of the work that I
witnessed, the full ceremonial and the conferring of degrees was delivered
from memory and was exceedingly well done. The ceremonies all seemed to be
contained in the cipher book. Much more attention is paid to ceremonies by our
English brethren, and less attention to the work, than with us. Conferring
degrees is much more simple. They give all of the essentials, but not much
explanation of the symbols, etc. The working tools and the working chart are
about the same as we have them. Not much is required in the way of
proficiency. No general memorizing of lectures; they do something on this
line, but depend more on words, signs, grip and documentary evidence, and if
these are correct, it seems to be satisfactory. The opening and closing
ceremonies are a little shorter than ours. Otherwise, with a little difference
in the phraseology, it is much the same.
is required in the way of examination of visitors, except the essentials in
each degree. Reliance is placed in documentary evidence and personal
avouchment. Without one of the last two named, I seriously doubt whether
anyone could visit an English lodge. Visiting by unknown brethren is not
general or promiscuous, as with us. It is generally expected that visitors
will wait for an invitation, which can be obtained from some friend, a member
of the lodge.
things that most deeply impressed me as a visitor, was the equality that
seemed in evidence in all lodge meetings and Masonic gatherings. The brethren
seemed to truly meet upon the level. No class or distinction was evident among
important feature is the way our English brethren look upon a Masonic lodge.
It seemed to me as if it were in a good deal the same light as they would look
upon their homes. They gladly welcome all whom they find to be people of
character and standing, and when they are satisfied on this point, visitors
are made very welcome. A few of the Masonic lodges that I visited looked like
a kind of family affair. A percentage of the petitions that I heard read, came
from, say, a father recommending his son, or a member recommending his
son-in-law or some other relative, and in view of the fact that the lodges are
small compared with ours, these things bind the brethren together in a bond
which is no doubt very close indeed.
lodges that we visited commence work at about 5 or 6 o'clock in the afternoon,
and the work is all disposed of in less than two hours, and they take up the
social features of Masonry as they understand it, and practice it. They are
generally at dinner about 6:30 or 7 o'clock, and if they are like the brethren
that we met on occasions of this kind, they are certainly an extremely happy,
jolly, lot of fellows. We were made to feel that we were really one of the
brethren assembled, and we were expected to enjoy what they had to offer in
the fullest measure. They do not go in for long speeches at these banquets,
with tiresome talks and the relating of old stories. They have a few toasts
and these are responded to by singing the national anthem, or some hymn. We
were told on the way over that our English brethren do not believe in long
talks. A few witty remarks after a toast, seem to suit them better than an
oration that spreads all over the face of the globe and gets you nowhere.
programs for the banquets that we attended were largely on the same lines.
First, we were briefly but cordially and heartily welcomed in a few words,
expressing the great pleasure it was for our English brethren to meet the
brethren from over the sea. The first toast was "The King and the Craft,"
drunk standing. After the toasts were disposed of one verse of the National
Anthem was sung. The second toast was "The President of the United States,"
drunk in the same manner, and the singing-of one verse of "My Country 'Tis of
Thee." The third toast was, "Our Visiting Brethren From Over the Seas." This
toast was responded to with a great deal of enthusiasm, much applauding, and
even some cheering, and one or two of the American brethren and perhaps one of
the othe over-seas brethren, would respond. Then would come one or two local
toasts, generally about the lodges that we were visiting, or something along
that line, and by 10 o'clock we were dismissed.
all three of the Royal institutes and found them all well furnished, and the
residents receiving proper care. The Royal Institute for Girls is more is the
nature of a private school. The girls, so far as I could note, are fed,
clothed and educated. They weal uniforms, and in going through their
exercises, which they did for the entertainment of the visitors, presented a
very pretty appearance. The uniform as I remember it, was blue, with a red
belt, low or oxford shoes, dresses of a proper length, and closing properly
buttoned at the neck. The idea, as I understand it, is to turn out from the
Royal Institute young women of good character and good habits, and fully
prepared to enter the battle of life, with a good prospect of being
successful. The whole of the present teachers have all passed through the
Institute for Boys is run on the same lines as the Girls Institute, but the
boys do not wear uniforms. I have always been opposed to uniforming children
at Masonic Institutes, but after seeing the picture of the girls at the Royal
Institute for Girls in England, my opposition nearly disappeared.
Freemason" of London, in its issue of January 10, 1920, gives a total for the
last twenty years of the donations to each of the three principal benevb
lences under the direction of the Grand Lodge of England, the Boys' School,
the Girls' School and the Royal Beneficient Institution. This total is
2,327,171 pounds, equal to about $14,000,000.
I make no
comparison between our efforts at charity, and those of our English brethren,
but I do believe there are some lessons we could learn from them. Particularly
the segregation of the boys and girls, not only hanng them in separate
buildings, but in separate towns or cities. Our English brethren in their long
and extensive experience, I believe have found this the only way to proceed
with safety. Let us follow their example, profit by their experience, and make
the change as soon as possible, and not wait until some results follow, that
we would all regret but could not cure.
under the impression when I went to England, that Masonry there was largely
dominated and controlled by Royalty. This I learned was a mistake. Freemasonry
is patronized by Royalty. All Past Masters who are in good standing, are
members of the Grand Lodge, and they elect the Grand Master. It is however a
long time since anyone but a member of the Royal family, was Grand Master. The
fact that their constitution provides that where a Grand Master is a Prince of
the Royal Blood, he can appoint a Pro Grand Master, shows that someone outside
of the Royal family could be elected Grand Master.
ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE THE BUILDER NOVEMBER 1921
the increased interest in Masonry following the organization, of the Grand
Lodge of England in 1717, many new degrees were invented. About 1754, a body
of Masons in Paris selected a group of twenty-two degrees, which, with the
original three, constituted what was known as the "Rite of Perfection." These
degrees were later adopted by the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes in Berlin
and thus came under the patronage of Frederick the Great.
In 1761 a
patent was granted to Stephen Morin, authorizing him to carry the "Rite" to
America. Bodies were established at Kingston, Jamaica, by him, and at Albany,
New York, and Charleston, South Carolina, by deputies appointed by him. The
lodge at Albany failed to prosper and soon ceased to exist. The Sublime Grand
Lodge of Perfection established by Deputy Isaac DaCosta at Charleston in 1783
was the body from which later our Supreme Council was established. In 1786,
it is said, the Grand Constitutions were promulgated by Frederick the Great,
as Grand Commander of the Order of Princes of the Royal Secret. By this
document his Masonic prerogatives were deposited with a council for each
nation to be composed of "Sovereign Grand Inspectors-General of the
Thirty-third and last degree of legitimate Freemasonry, limited in numbers to
that of the years of Christ on earth." Two such councils were provided for in
the United States.
31, 1801, there was organized in Charleston, a Supreme Council of the
Thirty-third Degree for the United States of America, the Mother Council of
the World, having for its supreme law the Constitution of 1762, the Grand
Constitutions of 1786 and the Secret Constitutions. The first Sovereign Grand
Commander was John Mitchell.
5, 1813, the Supreme Council of the Northern Jurisdiction was established by a
special deputy from the original Supreme Council. By a treaty between the two
Supreme Councils, consummated in 1827, the jurisdiction of the Northern
Supreme Council was limited to the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The remaining
states and dependencies form the Southern Jurisdiction.
thirty-three degrees included in the Rite, but twenty-nine are exemplified in
its bodies in the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Chili, the Supreme
Councils in these jurisdictions disclaiming any jurisdiction over the degrees
of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. Elsewhere, Scottish
Rite Masonry is practically the only Masonry known and all of the degrees are
conferred in accordance with the ritual of the Rite.
Ineffable degrees, as conferred in the Southern jurisdiction, begin with the
Fourth and extend through the Fourteenth, and are conferred in Lodges of
Historical and Religious degrees begin with the Fifteenth and extend through
the Eighteenth, and are conferred in Chapters of Rose Croix.
Chivalric and Philosophic degrees begin with the Nine-teenth and extend
through the Thirtieth, and are conferred in Councils of Kadosh.
Official degrees are the Thirty-first and Thirty-second and are conferred in
of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour is not a degree, but a ceremonial
of Investiture established by the Supreme Council to point out and to honour
those brethren who have deserved well of the Rite.
thirty-third degree is conferred only by the Supreme Council. It is executive
in character. It is only conferred as an Honourary or Official degree on
those who as the result of faithful or distinguished service in the Rite, are
of Grand Cross of the Court of Honour is conferred on a very limited number
who, by exceptional service have merited this distinction.
Northern jurisdiction the grouping of degrees into "bodies" differs slightly
from that in the Southern jurisdiction.
degrees from the Fourth to the Fourteenth are conferred in Lodges of
Fifteenth and Sixteenth degrees are conferred in Councils of Princes of
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Degrees are conferred in Chapters of Rose Croix.
Degrees from the Nineteenth to the Thirty-second are conferred in the
no rank corresponding to either Knight Commander of the Court of Honour or
Grand Cross of the Court of Honour in the Northern Jurisdiction.
the mark God set on virtue. Every natural action is graceful. Every heroic
action is also decent, and causes the place and the bystanders to shine. - R.
TEACHINGS OF MASONRY
H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
The following paper is one of a series of articles on
"Philosophical Masonry," or “The Teachings of Masonry," by Brother Haywood, to
be used for reading and discussion in lodges and study clubs - From the
questions following each section of the paper the study club leader should
select such as he may desire to use in bringing out particular points for
discussion. To go into a lengthy discussion on each individual question
presented might possibly consume more time than the lodge or study club may be
able to devote to the study club meeting.
In conducting the study club meetings the leader should
endeavor to hold the discussions closely to the tenet of the paper and not
permit the members to speak too long at one time or to stray onto another
subject. Whenever it becomes endent that the discussion is turning from the
original subject the leader should request the members to make notes of the
particular points or phases of the matter they may wish to discuss or inquire
into and bring them up after the last section of the paper is disposed of.
The meetings should be closed with a "Question Box" period,
when such questions as may have come up during the meeting and laid over until
this time should be entered into and discussed. Should any questions arise
that cannot be answered by the study club leader or some other brother
present, these questions may be submitted to us and we will endeavor to answer
them for you in time for your next meeting.
Supplemental references on the subjects treated in this paper
will be found at the end of the article.
PART V -
RITUALISM AND SYMBOLISM
REPETITION is of the essence of ritualism; and since nothing can sooner grow
stale or inept than repetition we find many persons who think of ritual as
meaningless stage play. To go through the same performance over and over, to
say the same words in the same way, and often not even to know the meaning of
these actions and these words, is not that rather childish? This question, we
take it, has come home to numberless Masons, especially American Masons, for
in this country we have so prized originality, novelty, and individuality that
we all have a tendency to despise and to fear ceremonial. It may be well for
us to reflect a little on ritual, what it is, what it does for us, and why we
may all, individualistic as we may be, frankly and intelligently uphold it as
having a just right to a major place in the functionings of a Masonic lodge.
grow weary of seeing and hearing the ritual? If so, why? Do you believe it
would add to your interest in Masonry to have no two meetings the same? If a
man were to taunt you with being a part of a mere "ritual mill" how would you
being has been shaped by a Universe that loves repetition and ceremonial; the
inspiration to ritualism is everywhere. Night and day everlastingly succeed
each other; the four seasons continue their endless circumambulations, like
the candidate about the lodge room: the stars move about in their fixed
orbits, the tides rise and fall, moons wax and wane, seedtime and harvest come
and go, growth is followed by decay, birth is succeeded by death, and even the
comet, once deemed the most capricious of all the major objects of creation,
has been found to return upon his own path forever. As man gradually became
aware of the tirelessness of these cyclic changes, and as he discovered how
his own life was linked thereto, he was filled with awe, and himself learned
to form processions, to move in the rhythms of the dance, and to devise solemn
religious ceremonials in the hope of discovering the secrets of the Universe.
Miss Jane Harrison, in her "Ancient Art and Ritual," has given us a lifelike
picture of early man in his rude ritualisms and has taught us to see that to
ritualize is in man's nature, and that no amount of rationalizing will ever
eradicate from his soul his penchant for thus expressing his thoughts and his
give other examples of repetition in Nature? Did you ever read Herbert
Spencer's famous chapter on "rhythm"? What did ritual mean to ancient man?
What connection is there between our drama and ancient dancing and ritualism?
Accordingly, the society in which a man finds himself from his birth on is
filled with the elements of ceremony. When the child is born we have a
christening; when it enters church it is confirmed; it is taught to kneel when
it says its prayers; it is instructed how to comport itself at meals; when the
wedding day comes, the neighbours are invited for a formal ceremony; and death
is sealed by a "service" which must usually be as much like the ceremony in
universal use as possible. When we meet or part we shake hands; the gentleman
tips his hat to the lady, and we all arise when a guest or a stranger enters
the room. Our courts and legislative assemblies have ceremonies of their own,
we learn to keep step when we march to war, and the most informal public
assembly insists on some semblance of order. All these things are of the
essence of ritual, and hard would it be to give a purely rational
justification for them, but there is something in us that demands them.
other examples of ritualistic elements in society. Can you name the great
churches that make a large use of ritual? What part does ritualism play in
Roman Catholicism? What other kind of "Catholicisms" are there? Do you enjoy
being a part of ceremony? Why?
the social psychologist has not yet explained this penchant there is one
advantage of it which lies on the surface where we all can see: ritual floats
a man out of himself, and gives him a sense of a larger personality. The boy
playing in a band, the soldier marching with his company, the youth moving
with his athletic team, the adult in a parade - in these, and in numberless
similar instances, the individual forgets himself, and is swept by emotions
which seem to him grander and more worthful than his own habitual petty
private feelings. The enlargement of the individual consciousness into a
group consciousness, that, if we care to adopt psychological lingo, is the
secret of the prevalence of ritualistic ceremonies. If we will apply this
fact to the use of ritual in the Masonic lodge we shall be better able to
appreciate and to understand its practice there.
you explain the appeal of ritualism? Why, for example, does a Roman Catholic
enjoy participating in a ceremony carried on wholly in Latin? Have you had the
experience described in the paper as being "floated out of yourself"?
a ritual as the basis of lodge work the lodge is saved from the caprices of
the individual, and from the dictatorship of some masterful leader. Suppose
that on each night that a degree is conferred the degree were to consist of a
speech by some brother, or by one of the officers, and that this speech would
be new for each occasion. For a time this might be refreshing and novel but
after a while the speeches would lose their interest or would become
stereotyped, simply because there are so few men that can make a successful
speech. The same would hold true of any form of initiation that might
dispense with a ritual: the failure of the individual, or the committee,
entrusted with the ceremony; or the crankiness of some man determined to have
things his own way, or the low quality of it all, would come in time to
disgust everybody. The churches in their present day experience illustrate
this, for those religious groups that have wholly depended on the preacher to
the exclusion of religious ritual are finding their attendance to fall away.
The individual soon wears out: but a rich and many-sided ritual, evolved
through generations of usage, full of glancing lights, shadows, and mysteries,
is never at the mercy of individual caprices or individual failures.
must not be supposed that a ritual, at any rate our Masonic ritual, excludes
novelty, and the opportunities for the individual to add to the richness of it
all, for there is always room for the member of the degree team to improve the
work by his better rendition of it, by his vocal interpretation, by masterful
gestures, by superiority of costume, and every lodge has opportunities to show
its own genius to the full by way of better equipment and furnishings:
moreover, for those who are able to give a speech there is usually plenty of
opportunity. The repetition of our ritual does no more destroy individuality
than did the constant repetition of "Rip Van Winkle" destroy the winsome
personality of Joseph Jefferson.
may be noted that a ritual, at any rate such as ours, is far richer in meaning
and power than would be the production of any one man; it has been shaped by
many hands; its wisdom has come from many minds, and from ages of experience;
the art of it has ripened through time like the tints of a mountain-side:
there is in it something profounder than any work of one person.
Masonic work be carried on without rituals? Do you believe that most of the
Protestant churches need more symbolism and ritualism in their services? In
what way is ritual an aid to worship? How could your own lodge improve its
presentation of the work? How did ritualism arise in Freemasonry ?
It is by
means of the ritual that Freemasonry maintains its own identity. Why have some
of our Protestant churches changed out of all recognition since their
inception? Because it has been left to each leader to shape things very much
to suit himself: a succession of private interpretations has overlaid the
original message. It would be so with us were it not for our ritual: that
ritual of course was changed, but so little, and so gradually, that tonight
the young man who takes his First degree will say and do things very much as
the young man did several hundred years ago. Also, it is a satisfying thing
for the young man tonight to feel that what he is doing in a lodge in the
United States some other young man is doing across the world, and other young
men, here and elsewhere, will do for ages to come. And when that young man is
witnessing in his old age the initiation of his favourite grandson it will
bring the tears to his eyes to see and hear just what he saw and beard on the
night of his own initiation. Thus it is that it is by means of the ritual
that the Fraternity keeps its identity and holds fast to its members the whole
world over, and is able to escape dissolution by the washings and the
attritions of time.
Furthermore we may say, though there is little room to say more on so rich a
subject, that the ever-lasting repetition of the same ritual means that every
word becomes associated in the mind of each Mason with varied experiences.
The fixed element in the life of the lodge is like a solid rock on which the
coral build, or like an old homestead which gathers associations from the
generations that have lived in it.
ritualistic element, being something that almost any man can learn, excludes
no man from participating in the lodge activities. If each lodge meeting
meant a speech, or a new program, or some novelty, only a few gifted men could
ever take a part. As it is there is not a member so ungifted that he cannot at
least join the side lines in the battery of acclamation when a candidate is
brought to light.
there more space for our thoughts twice as much could be said. It is
sufficient to recall to our minds how great a treasure we have in our ritual,
composed as it is of riches drawn from all parts of the world and from all
ages: and to know that it is the Order's great secret of vitality, undying
youth, and - this perhaps has not been sufficiently suggested - of a genuine
originality of individual development. For there can be no freedom for a man
where there is not also the strictest regulations.
the stars were to take to novelty, and move freely about like birds in the
air; if all the familiar things about us were suddenly to lust after
originality and begin rapidly each to become something else, we should have a
great insanity and no Universe at all, and in such an imbroglio freedom,
spontaneity, originality, individual liberty would vanish, for where order is
not freedom cannot be.
agree with the paper in saying that Masonry maintains its identity by means of
the ritual? How does a great political party maintain its identity? How long
does a political party exist as a rule? How long has Masonry lasted? Have you
found the Masonic ritual to grow in meaning through seeing it again and again?
How would you explain the fact that a fixed order is necessary to individual
originality? Does anarchy make for individual freedom?
Symbolism even more can be said than of Ritualism far it has been more
universally in use, and is capable of a much wider application. Symbols were
the first speech of man. Before words and letters were devised pictures were
drawn to convey thoughts, and arbitrary signs were made to stand for many
things. Nearly all primitive language is symbolical language, for "the voice
of the sign," as Robert Freke Gould has described it, can be understood by
children and savages. And in our own present day society, after the use of
words has been refined almost infinitely, symbols remain in use on every
hand. The crepe on the door is the sign of death; a ring stands for the
engagement of a man and a woman, or for their wedding; the lily signifies
Easter and immortality, and the employment of buttons, badges, heraldic
devices, flags, and what not, is endless. If one could trace a human life
through every detail of its existence from birth to death, he would find that
human existence is all covered over with symbols, like the Red Man's tepee.
you explain a symbol? Give as many examples as you can of the symbolisms you
have encountered during one day's experience. Is a flag a symbol? When did
flags first come in use? What did the Greeks and Romans use for flags?
nothing arbitrary or simple-minded in the use of a device so universal,
neither is there any difficulty in discovering why it is that symbols are so
native to us all.
thing, a symbol does not exhaust itself so quickly as words. There is mystery
and depth in it, an infinity of suggestiveness, an incitement to new
approaches of thought. Suppose, for example, that we should substitute a set
speech to convey to a candidate the lesson inculcated by the drama of Hiram
Abiff! The mere abstract ideas could be thus expressed but how soon they would
lose their power over the Man's mind! As it is, no man can witness the
symbolical presentation of the tragedy, even for the hundredth time, without
finding himself in a new mood, or in the possession of new thoughts. There is
something inexhaustible in the symbol, so that it will live long after many
languages have died. It keeps saying; to us, "You have rightly guessed this
meaning, and that; but I have a thousand other meanings you have not yet hit
suggests another of the best uses of symbolism. We cannot learn the message
of a symbol with a merely passive and receptive mind, because it is of the
genius of symbolism to hide as well as to reveal. When a thing is conveyed to
us in clear simple words, or in plain pictures, such as one sees in the
movies, there is no need that one make a great effort of his own mind to
comprehend it all; but when a symbol is put before us, and we have a reason
for securing its message to us, our own minds must act, for no symbol wears
its meaning on its sleeve. Its value for us is like gold hidden away in the
mountain - the miner must dig for it. And that in itself is a virtue, because
many men are cursed by the refusal to use their own faculties. They go
through the whole of their lives parroting other men's thoughts, and such a
life is necessarily lacking in the pleasure of making mental discoveries,
which is one of life's sweetest joys.
greatest things, love, friendship, death, immortality, religion, patriotism,
etc., speak to us through symbols. A flag fluttering at the head of a column
of soldiers will stir us as can no oratory: a cross will suggest more about
death than any sermon. Perhaps this is because the symbol has so many avenues
through which to reach the mind; it partakes of the qualities of the picture,
of acts, of sounds, of words, and of ceremony, and because of its wide use and
great antiquity there cling about it untold associations.
ever tried to decipher the meanings of our Masonic symbols? How many of those
symbols can you name? How would you set about to explain the meaning of the
apron? What advantage is there in the fact that each man must think out for
himself the meaning of a symbol? Do the ritualistic churches leave it to each
member to discover for himself the meaning of their symbols? In what way does
Freemasonry differ from those institutions ? What other institutions make a
large use of symbolism?
unless it is one invented by some individual in a purely arbitrary way, is
usually understood everywhere; it speaks a universal language. A circle to us
means "infinity," because it has neither beginning nor end. It means the same
thing in India and Japan. It meant the same thing to men who lived before the
dawn of history. Freemasonry could never have become a worldwide institution
had not its ritual been an assemblage of symbols, had not it learned long ago
to teach by means of emblems and symbols. If its teachings were set down in a
book that book would have to be translated from language to language, never a
satisfactory process; speaking in symbols its language is "understanded of the
symbolical character of the teaching of Freemasonry has tended toward that
intellectual tolerance which is one of its glories. There can be no dogmatic
and official interpretation of a symbol to compel the unwilling assent of any
mind; the symbol's message is, by virtue of its very nature, fluid and free,
so that every man has a right to think it out for himself. Of Masonic
teachers and scholars there have been many - Oliver, Preston, Pike, Mackey,
and others equally as honourable to our history - and these have given us
noble interpretations of Masonry, but no Mason is ever compelled to accept
them unless he choose. In a great Order which teaches by means of the living
"voice of the sign" there never can be a pope.
reminds us that symbolism in itself is no infallible thing, and not the whole
of wisdom. Just as there are good books and bad, and good men and bad, so are
there good and bad symbols, and each one must keep toward all symbolisms an
active and critical mind. We must always discriminate.
ever read Rudyard Kipling's story, "The Man Who Would be King"? If so, how
does it teach the fact that symbols are a universal language? How would you
yourself illustrate that fact? in what way does symbolism make for
intellectual toleration? Are any of the Masonic symbols failures as such? Are
there any you would care to have dispensed with? Why?
studying the philosophy of symbolism under the leadership of the foregoing
hints it will be well for the student or the study club to investigate a
further question: What rule shall, we go by in trying to interpret Masonic
symbols? What was said of each member's right to think out the symbols for
himself did not imply, of course, that he ever has a right to interpret a
Masonic symbol without thinking, or that he can ever discover a true
interpretation without due regard for what others have thought of it. That
procedure would be not free thought but an absence of thought. I myself
believe, and have found in practice the soundness of, the historical principle
of interpretation. By this is meant that if we undertake to interpret some
symbol we must first try to learn what that symbol has always meant to the
Fraternity during times past. If we ask ourselves, for example, what is the
meaning of the square and compass, we should try to discover when that symbol
came into use in the Fraternity; why it thus came into use; what it then
meant, and then we should try to learn what the Fraternity has understood by
this symbol during the subsequent centuries. This would save us from an
interpretation based on ignorance, or arbitrariness, or our own crotchets, and
it would also throw new light for us on what Freemasonry as a whole means.
you interpreted the Masonic symbols? Have you any rule to go by? Does the use
of a rule of interpretation interfere with the right of private
interpretation? If your son were to be initiated into the First degree
tomorrow how would you go about explaining to him what it all means? How would
it benefit the whole Order if all its members were to undertake to find out
what the symbols mean?
following references will furnish much interesting material on the subjects
touched upon in the preceding paper by Brother Haywood.
Masonry, p. 249; Exoteric, p. 257; Ritual, p. 627.
series of ceremonies combined into a system forms the ritual which in the
inner or outer aspects becomes esoteric or exoteric accordingly. Ritual is
the method of instruction by which the means of recognizing one another is
taught the newcomers among the Brotherhood, the signposts by whose light we
are directed to the scientific and philosophical treasures of the Craft and
the wealth of associations in the evidence and encouragement toward Masonic
progress submitted to the initiate by the lodge.
p. 240; Symbol, p. 751; Symbol, Compound, p. 752; Symbolic Degrees, p. 752;
Symbolism, The Science of, p. 754.
distinction between emblems and symbols is explained and the inter-relation of
them as the very alphabet of the Craft is made clear and helpful. These are
the very beacon lights by which the Writers and expounders of ritual blaze the
way to proficiency. They are aids to the memory, suggestive reminders of
important lessons, features that as the very elements in the face of an old
friend make Freemasonry known and beloved.
329; Hiram or Huram, p. 329; Hiram Abif, p. 329; Master Mason, p. 474; Temple,
p. 766; Temple of Ezekiel, p. 767; Temple of Herod p. 767; Temple of Solomon,
p. 767; Temple of Zerubbabel, p. 769; Temple, Symbolism of the, p. 774;
Workmen at the Temple, p. 857.
learn too much of the Third degree nor of the many matters suggested to the
thinking Freemason by the mere mention of it. Brother Haywood points out so
much indeed on which so little can be properly said in print that the above
references are offered to supply what this commentator would fain deal with
more fully if Masonic propriety permitted.
Bulletin Course of Masonic Study," of which the foreing paper by Brother
Haywood is a part, was begun in THE BUILDER early in 1917. Previous to the
beginning of the present series on "Philosophical Masonry," or "The Teachings
of Masonry," as we have titled it, were published some forty-three papers
covering in detail "Ceremonial Masonry" and "Symbolical Masonry" under the
following several divisions: "The Work of a Lodge," "The Lodge and the
Candidate," "First Steps," "Second Steps," and "Third Steps." A complete set
of these papers up to January 1st, 1921, are obtainable in the bound volumes
of THE BUILDER for 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920, and the remaining papers of the
series may be had in the 1921 bound volume which will be ready for delivery
early in December. Singles copies of 1921 back numbers are not obtainable, our
stock having become exhausted.
is an outline of the subjects covered by the current series of study club
papers by Brother Haywood:
TEACHINGS OF MASONRY
General Introduction. - A. Reasons for a course explaining what the "teachings
of Masonry" mean. - B. How one can arrive at his own Philosophy of Masonry. -
Conclusion. The Philosophy of Masonry is not a study of philosophy in general,
but a study of Masonry such as a philosopher gives to any great intellectual
2. - The
Masonic Conception of Human Nature.
3. - The
Idea of Truth in Freemasonry.
4. - The
Masonic Conception of Education.
Ritualism and Symbolism.
Initiation and Secrecy.
Masonry and Industry.
12. - The
Brotherhood of Man.
13. - The
Fatherhood of God.
Schools of Masonic Philosophy.
systematic course of Masonic study has been taken up and carried out in
monthly and semi-monthly meetings of lodges and study clubs all over the
United States and Canada, and in several instances in lodges overseas.
ORGANIZE AND CONDUCT STUDY CLUB MEETINGS
clubs may be organized separate from the lodge, or as a part of the work of
the lodge. In the latter case the lodge should select a committee, preferably
of three "live" members who shall have charge of the study club meetings. The
study club meetings should be held at least once a month (excepting during
July and August, when the study club papers are discontinued in THE BUILDER),
either at a special communication of the lodge called for the purpose, or at a
regular communication at which no business (except the lodge routine) should
be transacted - all possible time to be devoted to study club purposes.
lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should
turn the lodge over to the chairman of the study club committee. The committee
should be fully prepared in advance on the subject to be discussed at the
meeting. All members to whom references for supplemental papers have been
assigned should be prepared with their material, and should also have a
comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's paper by a previous reading and study
FOR STUDY CLUB MEETINGS
Reading of any supplemental papers on the subject for the evening which may
have been prepared by brethren assigned such duties by the chairman of the
study club committee.
Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper.
Discussion of this section, using the questions following this section to
bring out points for discussion.
subsequent sections of the paper should then be taken up and disposed of in
the same manner.
Question Box. Invite questions on any subject in Masonry, from any and all
brethren present. Let the brethren understand that these meetings are for
their particular benefit and enlightenment and get them into the habit of
asking all the questions they may be able to think of. If at the time these
questions are propounded no one can answer them, send then in to us and we
will endeavor to supply answers to them in to for your next study club
foregoing information should enable study club committees to conduct their
meetings without difficulty. However, if we can be of assistance to such
committees, or any individual member of lodges and study clubs at any time
such brethren are invited to feel free to communicate with us.
YEARS now the Fraternity has been enjoying a renaissance. A new breath, like
that which passes over the numb earth in the spring-time, has gone over the
Masonic world and set the flowers to growing, the trees to burgeoning, and
made the sap of life to mount in the most withered limbs. Masons everywhere
have rejoiced in a new sense of corporate power.
of all this have been unmistakable. More new temples are now under way, or in
project, and they a finer and more costly lot of buildings than one would have
dared to hope for ten years ago. The community which was once proud of a
temple that cost a quarter of a million is now paying for a million dollar
edifice to house its Masonic bodies. Membership is on the increase, or rather
has been until lately, as will be presently noted. The nation has a Masonic
administration; and an increasing number of cities feel the impact of Masonic
power in school boards and other branches of municipal life. Grand Lodges are
attempting new enterprises, and a score of movements are consequently now
under way which would have proved impossible ten years ago. In the past two or
three years several new auxiliaries have been launched under what now seem to
be most favorable auspices, notably those for boys of Masonic parentage. A new
spirit is manifest in the Masonic press, and new enterprises are under way in
that difficult field. One of the most significant of these is the Fellowship
Forum, issued fron Washington, under the direction of some of the ablest men
in the Fraternity: this national weekly, which is devoted to the fraternal
interpretation of world events would be a credit to any institution in
existence. And so it goes. Evidently a new life is sprouting out of the
impossible to play the Jerenniah at such a time as this. But there is one word
of caution which wise Masons speak, and which it will be well for all Masons
to heed, more especially those brethren who, because of their office, carry
the responsibility for lodges. According to our statisticians the peak of
increase was reached last January. Since then the rate has been dropping
toward normal, and it is very evident that the extraordinary rush for Masonic
initiation will be over by this winter. Those who bear this in mind should
also remember that many young men entered our portals under the stress of war
excitement and that a percentage of these may not sustain their interest. From
now on, or at least this will apply to this winter, the number of those
suspended for N.P.D. will increase in something like a rate to correspond to
the abnormality of the recent increase.
will take note and govern themselves accordingly to these indisputable facts.
The small lodge and the young lodge should take in sail a little, and make
their plans to fit normal times. Large lodges should make sure that they can
finance their building plans before letting contracts. There is no need to be
caught by the shrinkage of income (comparative shrinkage, that is to say)
unprepared, especially when the figures are available. Above all, no lodge
should be carried away by enthusiasm for expansive enterprises to such an
extent as to jeopardize its powers for Masonic relief. All the temples and all
the projects are secondary to that. Every dollar spent to help the needy is
worth two dollars spent for any other purpose.
* * *
the most solid and constructive work being done anywhere in the Craft stands
to the credit of Employment Bureaus. The record is one of which a government
might be proud. And if the story could be written of all the men who have thus
been enabled to find their feet again; of families which by the Bureaus' aid
have been kept together; the boys and girls that have been saved from child
labor, and the crime that has been averted, it would fill a great volume alive
with human interest, human sobs, human tears, and no Mason could read it
without feeling that, after all, the treat claims which Masonry makes for
itself are abundantly justified. And if there be one who believes that, good
as this work is, it is not the proper function of a lodge, but should be
turned over to civil agencies, let him recall the fact that it is a Mason's
duty to help a brother in distress. If the being out of work is not distress
that hard word has no meaning at all. And if it be Masonic and kindly for one
man to help another to find work, how much better still is it where that
service is rendered by trained and experienced agencies with all the resources
of the Craft behind them!
* * *
Masonry is engaged in countless activities. During the Great War every Grand
Lodge in the nation took its glorious part in relief work of some kind. At the
present time a great majority of Grand Lodges are undertaking some form of
Americanization efforts inspired by the belief that to make men good and true
citizens is the best way to prevent much crime, disloyalty, and bad behavior.
One Grand is now carrying on a crusade against the social Another is founding
a system of dormitories in its university. A third is devoting most of its
effort a Masonic home which it hopes to make the mode its kind. Others are
deep in educational schemes, - Masonic education, that is. In the Northwest,
AntiBolshevism is very much in the air. And so it goes, ad infinitum!
sometimes led to wonder where the limitations of Masonic activity should be
set. What is Masonic duty and what is not? What are Grand Lodges in existence
to do? Should Masons lay on their conscience all the ills of the time? Is
Masonry responsible for the cleansing of every stall in the Augean stable?
A story -
told as a true narrative - went rounds of the churches a few years ago which
is here very much in point. The thing happened a year or two after Walter
Rauschenbush had published his "Christianity and the Social Crisis," and
preachers everywhere were being carried away by the crusade for social justice
and reform. One of the general conventions of a very large denomination was
deluged by resolutions and speeches urging the church to assume this burden
and that with a view of ridding the world of some evil until it seemed that
there would be a "world task" for every individual member. At last an elderly
brother secured a hearing long enough to say this: "Brethren, as I was coming
out here to this convention city, I noticed everywhere large billboards which
told us in strong language that the babies of the United States are everywhere
crying for Castoria. I submit to you, that if the babies of the country are
thus crying for Castoria it is the duty of the church to see that they get
It may be
that Grand Lodges are running amuck with the reform passion and undertaking a
hundred things that do not at all lie on the shoulders of us Masons. Be it so!
Such is a noble weakness, and a thousand times better than the old smug days
when the Craft gloried in its seclusion and aloofness like a monk on the
Thebaid. The Grand Lodges that try impossible things will soon weary of their
fruitless endeavors; and those that undertake too many efforts can abandon
such as they cannot carry. No harm will be done.
tend to grow bewildered by the numberless calls being made upon the Craft can
find safety in the very sound principle that in such matters experience must
guide, and that nobody can say in advance what a Grand Lodge should or should
not do in its efforts to do good. Conditions differ over the country differ
more than we may think, and it can be safely left to each Grand Lodge to meet
and solve its own problems, which are often peculiar to itself. It will not
bring disgrace upon the Fraternity if it overdoes itself in trying to help
mankind. The world never has to wear itself out giving thanks for such venial
mistakes, for such mistakes are not often made.
PUBLICATIONS WANTED, FOR SALE, AND EXCHANGE
constantly receiving inquiries from members of the Society and others as to
where they might obtain books on Masonry and kindred subjeets, other than
those listed each month on the inside back cover of THE BUILDER. Most of the
publications wanted have been out of print for years. Believing that many such
books might be in the hands of other members of the Society willing to dispose
of them we are setting apart this column each month for the use of our
members. Communications from those having old Masonic publications will also
Postoffice addresses are here given that those interested may communicate
direct with each other, no responsibility of any nature to be attached to the
requested that all brethren whose wants may be filled through this medium
communicate with the Secretary so that the notices may then be discontinued.
George D. MacDougall, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada: "History and
Cyclopaedia," by Oliver and Macoy; "A Concise Cyclopedia of Freemasonry," by
E. L. Hawkins, "Masonic Facts for Masons," by W. H. Russell; "Genius of
Freemasonry," by J.D. Buck; "The Traditions, Origin and Early History of
Freemasonry," by A.T.C. Pierson; "Illustrations of Freemasonry," by Wm.
Preston; "The Spirit of Freemasonry," by Wm. Hutchinson.
D.D. Berolzheimer, 1 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y.: "Realities of Masonry,"
Blake, 1879; "Records of the Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons," Condor,
1894; "Masonic Bibliography," Carson, 1873; "Origin of Freemasonry," Paine,
Ernest E. Ford, 305 South Wilson Avenue, Alhambra, California; Ars Quatuor
Coronatorum, volumes 3, 6 and 7, with St. John's Cards, also St. John's Cards
for volumes 4 and 5; "Masonic Review," early volumes; "Voice of Masonry,"
early volumes; Proceedings Grand Council of California for the years 1877,
1878 and 1879; Transactions Supreme Council Southern Jurisdiction for the
years 1882 and 1886.
Henry H. Klussmann, 310 Monastery St. West Hoboken, New Jersey: "The Masonic
Eclectic," volumes 1 and 2, published by Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing
Co., York, N. Y.; "The Historical Landmarks and Other Evidences of
Freemasonry," by George Oliver, D.D., published by Masonic Publishing Co., Wm.
T. Anderson, 3 East 4th St., New York, N.Y.
David E. W. Williamson, P. O. Box 754, Rerno Nevada: Perdiguier's "Livre du
Compagnonnage," and W.H. Rylands' "Freemasonry in the Seventh Century," quoted
in Gould's "Concise History of Freemasonry."
H. Sandelands, 9258 91st St., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: "The Spirit of
Freemasonry," by Wm. Hutchinson; Signs and Symbols," by Dr. G. Oliver;
"Symbolical Teachings of Masonry and Its Message," by T. M. Stewart;
"Sidelights on Freemasonry," by J. T. Lawrence.
Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Catalogue of the Masonic Library of
Samuel Lawrence," "Second Edition of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry."
Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Stray Leaves from a Freemason's Note
Book," by George Oliver. This volume also contains "Some Account of the Schism
showing the presumed origin of the Royal Arch Degree." Univ. Mas. Lib.
edition. Price $3.00. "Lights and Shadows of Freemasonry by Robert Morris.
(Fiction and anecdotes.) Price $3.50
F.R. Johnson, 3425 East 61st St., Kansas City, Mo., "The History of
Freemasonry," by Robert Freke Gould, published by the John C. Yorkston Co.,
silk cloth binding, first-class condition, four volumes, $17.00; "History of
Freemasonry," by J.W.S. Mitchell, P.G.M. of Missouri 1844-45, full morocco
binding, $15.00; "The History of Freemasonry," by Albert G. Mackey, seven
volumes, practically new, $30.00; "The Standard History of Freemasonry," by J.
Fletcher Brennan, published in 1885, one volume; "Gems from the Quarry," by
John H. Brownell, Editor of the American Tyler, 1893, $6.00; "Antiquities of
the Orient Unveiled," by M. Walcott Redding, 1877, $5.00; History and
Cyclopedia," by Oliver and Macoy, full morocco binding, $10.00.
BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its
contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own
opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of
opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of
Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for
fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society
at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly
invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study
clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When
requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in
AND THE FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM
the real origin of the expression "Eureka," and how did it get into the
extract from the article on Archimedes in Dr. Thomas' Biographical Dictionary
says that Archimedes, the greatest geometer of antiquity, was born in the
state of Syracuse, Sicily, about 287 B.C., and was of Greek extraction. He is
supposed to have been a pupil of Conon of Egypt, and a relative of Heiron II,
King of Syracuse. He enjoyed the favor and patrpnage of Heiron and of his son
Gelon. Among a few recorded incidents of his life is the following: He was
consulted by the king in regard to a gold crown which the latter suspected to
be alloyed with silver by a fraudulent artificer. While he was pondering the
mode of detecting this fraud, he immersed himself in a full bath-tub, and,
with the thought that the water which overflowed must be equal in bulk to his
body, he discovered the mode of ascertaining the bulk of the crown compared
with an equally heavy mass of pure gold. He was so transported with joy that
he ran home undressed, exclaiming, "Eureka (or, rather, Heureka), I have found
of the Lodge," by A.G. Mackey, (1863 edition), gives the explanation of the
47th Problem of Euclid as we have it in the present monitor of Wisconsin.
Freemason's Monitor," by Thos. S. Webb (1806 edition), has the same
explanation as at present.
"Illustrations of Masonry" does not enumerate the emblems but states that this
section "illustrates the hieroglyphical emblems restricted to the Third
degree." In a note by George Oliver in the 14th edition (1829), he says,
"Amongst these hieroglyphics we find the Pot of Incense as an emblem of a pure
heart, the Bee Hive as a symbol of industry; the Hour
point out the rapidity of time, and the Scythe to convince us of the
uncertainty of human life; the Anchor and Art to invigorate us with hopes of
future reward; the Sword of retributive Justice; the All-seeing Eye; the Three
Steps of Youth, Manhood and Old Age, &c., &c." It would be interesting to know
if the 47th Problem of Euclid was one of the &c's. As far as I have been able
to see representations of 18th century charts and floor cloths, there is no
pictorial representation of the 47th Problem.
So far as
I am able to verify, the earliest mention is by Webb in his "Monitor," and the
earliest pictorial representation is in Jeremy Cross' "Masonic Chart" of 1819.
appear doubtful if A. G. Mackey believed in the truth of the ritualistic
expression of Pythagoras making the exclamation "Eureka," as he does not
mention it in his article on Pythagoras in his Encyclop,edia of Freemasonry in
telling of his being credited with the discovery of the 47th Problem.
by Brother Shepherd in his paragraphs above, the ritualistic account of
"Eureka" is evidently very much mixed. It was not Pythagoras who exclaimed
"Eureka," but Archimedes. Pythagoras would not have sacrificed an hecatomb of
oxen because he was a vegetarian, taught the transmigration of souls, and
forbade his disciples to practice animal sacrifice, and there is no way of
proving that it was Pythagoras who discovered the Forty-seventh Proposition,
which proposition, by the way, is the Forty-seventh Theorem in Euclid's first
book. Vitruvius attributed it to him, and so did many ancient writers; but
Plutarch says - and there are other writers of that day to agree with him -
that the Egyptians knew and used the Proposition long before Pythagoras was
born. To some of the Egyptian schools, it seems, the base, or 4, represented
Osiris, the male principle; the perpendicular, 3, represented Isis, the female
principle, and the hypotenuse, or 5, represented Horus, the offspring.
Speth remarked about it that "for 160 years at least we have had that symbol
and do not yet understand it," but it is almost certain that we have had it
for a longer period than that. In one of the earliest editions of his
Constitutions Anderson had the Proposition printed on the cover - he himself
never tired of brooding over it. "It is the foundation of all Masonry if
properly observed," he said once, and again he spoke of it "as that amazing
Proposition which is the foundation of all Masonry." Masonic symbologists have
studied the Proposition most exhaustively. Bro. Hoffman wrote a whole book
about it. Bro. Sydney T. Klein wrote a great essay on the subject, "The Great
Symbol," which was published in the Transactions of the Lodge Quatuor Coronati,
volume 10, page 82, quite the best essay, in the writer's opinion, that now
exists on the matter. R.W. Billings says of it that "it contains perhaps more
than any other geometric figure the power of variation, and we have by no
means exhausted its fertility of change." He gives 100 examples. In it one can
find the jewels of the Worshipful Master, of the Senior and Junior Wardens,
the apron, the square, the tau cross, cross, etc. Its high place among the
geometrical symbols of the Craft, in both ancient and modern times, may very
well be due to its complexity, its almost infinite susceptibility to use.
* * *
THE NAMES "HIRAM ABIFF"
the origin of the name Hiram Abiff?
from which "Hiram Abiff" originated is found only in the Chronicles version of
the building of Solomon's Temple, and in that version, it so happens, the name
occurs in three different forms. In II Chronicles, 2:11, it is given as
Huram-abi; in II Chronicles, 4:11, it is given as Huram; and in II Chronicles,
4:16, it is Huram-abiu.
"Abiu" meant "his son," or "right-hand man," or trusted counsellor."
explain the inconsistencies in the account of this Hiram, who must be kept
distinct from Hiram King of Tyre, and to explain the differences in
nomenclature, Hebrew scholars have invented the most ingenious theories, none
of which has as yet been generally accepted. You will find the whole matter
very exhaustively canvassed in Brother A. S. MacBride's "The Four Hirams of
Tyre," the second part of which appeared in THE BUILDER for April, 1917.
studying all matters concerning the Temple of Solomon it is wise to remember
that the version given in our ritual has come to us from many sources other
than the Old Testament - that the tragedy of Hiram Abiff, as you will know, is
not found at all in the Old Testament.
* * *
AFFILIATIONS OF BROTHER JOHN GARFIELD EMERY, NATIONAL COMMANDER OF THE
tell me if the new National Commander of the American Legion, John G. Emery,
is a member of the Masonic Fraternity?
informed by Brother Lou B. Winsor, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of
Michigan, who personally conferred the Scottish Rite degrees upon brother John
Garfield Emery, the new National Commander of the American Legion, that
Brothel Emery is a very enthusiastic Mason. He is a member of York Lodge No.
410, F.&A.M., and De Molai Commander No. 5, K. T., of Grand Rapids, Michigan,
and has served as Captain General of that Commandery for several years.
Brother Emery's Scottish Rite membership is with DeWitt Clinton Consistory and
* * *
JUSTICE W. H. TAFT MEMBER OF A CINCINNATI LODGE
inform me if Ex-President William Howard Taft, who has recently been appointed
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, is a member of the
Howard Taft is a member of Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, F.&A.M., Cincinnati. He
was made a Mason "at sight" in 1909, shortly before his inauguration as
President of the United States, an account of which will be found on page 49
of the 1916 bound volume of THE BUILDER.
* * *
PICTURE ON $1 U. S. TREASURY NOTE OF NO MASONIC SIGNIFICANCE
scene depicted in the upper left hand corner of the face of the $1.00 U.S.
Notes, series of 1917, any Masonic significance?
will you kindly give me the history connected with it, the name of the artist
or engraver who is responsible for it, and any other facts in connection with
it which may be at your disosal?
say "no" until somebody brings forth some tangible evidence to the contrary,
such as the word of the designer of the picture.
depicted is of no Masonic significance, and as for the attitudes of two or
three of the characters they seem to be purely accidental. The gestures and
postures cannot, except by a liberal stretch of the imagination, be identified
with any Masonic sign or gesture. Whatever similarity there is, is doubtless
purely a matter of coincidence. You can prove this by reference to any group
picture in which there is a great deal of action - somewhere among the
characters you will find a man in an attitude or using a gesture that reminds
one of something Masonic.
* * *
THE EASTERN STAR
opinion do you consider the Order of the Eastern Star a sectarian or a
non-sectarian fraternity? Has it a real connection with the Masonic
depends very much on what you mean by "sectarian." If you mean an organization
devoted to some one religion, or resting on some one religion, then the answer
is that it is not sectarian, because it is neither Jewish nor Christian. Its
principles, tenets, and spirit, however, seem to have more in common with
Protestant Christianity than with any other faith.
It is not
a Masonic organization in any sense of that word, except the loosest, which
would cover the whole family of societies associated with or similar to
Freemasonry, such as the Shrine, the Grotto, the Sciots, the Rosicrucians, the
Acacia Fraternity, etc. But in every stricter sense, in the legal and
historical definitions, the O.E.S. is not a Masonic body.
* * *
OF NEW DISCOVERIES ON THE SITE OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE
number of years our lodge has been a subscriber to THE BUILDER, but if
anything has ever appeared relative to the long-looked-for discoveries,
expected by all Masons, when the Allies displaced the Turks in the Holy Land,
at the site of the Temple on Mount Moriah, we have missed it. If you have
anything of interest on the subject we would appreciate a reference so that we
might look up the matter.
such revelations have been made they have not yet been brought to our
attention. Should any brother know of any such he will confer a boon upon us
all by communicating the same to THE BUILDER.
* * *
little book I was reading recently I came across a reference to "Black and
White Masonry." It seemed to me that the writer must have in mind something
about Negro lodges, but I could not be sure, so write to you for information.
author no doubt referred to the Knights Templar. In early days in Scotland the
Order, owing to the custom of wearing black and white, came to be called "the
Black and White Masons." According to the traditions, the Templars wore white
in the period when they flourished, but changed it to black after the
execution of the last (historical) Grand Master, Jacques de Molay.
* * *
meant by "Emulation Working" and where is it used?
Masonic systems under the jurisdiction of the Grant Lodge of England several
forms of the "work" are in use, the Grand Lodge leaving it to the subordinate
lodge to make its own choice. Among these forms are the "Ritus Oxoniensis" or
"Oxford Working," "Stability Working," "the Scottish Working," "Emulation
Working," etc. Among these the last named seems to be the most popular, and
dates from an early time, probably from about 1814 or 1815, soon after the
Union was effected between the "Ancients" and the "Moderns."
* * *
TROWEL DID NOT ORIGINATE FROM THE TRIANGLE
any reference that would substantiate that the origin of the Trowel was from
It is as
certain as such matters can be that there never has been any connection
between the triangle and the trowel. In the first place, there are no facts to
suggest such a connection; in the second place, it is unreasonable to suppose
such a thing because the two things are of so disparate a nature. The trowel
has a place among our working tools because it was used by Operative Masons.
The triangle is one of our symbols because it is a part of geometry. The idea
was suggested, it may be guessed, from their similarity of form, but this is
purely accidental because many trowels are round, or partly round, and
therefore unassociated with triangulated forms.
* * *
OF MASONIC BURIAL
give me some information on customs of Masonic Burial.
quite impossible in the space available to give you the data on this subject,
for there is no end to the matter. THE BUILDER has in preparation an article
on the subject. If you need your information at once consult an article on
"The Funeral Rites and Services of Freemasonry," which was published in Albert
Mackey's "The American Freemason," Vol. 2, No 28, April, 1860, page 390 of the
bound volume. The source of most of our present day customs will be found in
Preston's "Illustrations of Masonry." Webb's Monitor, first published at
Albany in 1797, was, so far as this matter is concerned, based on Preston.
* * *
for asking you a question that doesn't have any connection with Masonry. Can
you tell me what is the best collection of modern poems?
humble judgment, Burton Stevenson's "The Home Book of Verse" easily bears the
palm among all anthologies. It is amazingly complete, even to the extent of
including a long section of most excellent humorous verse. Whatever has been
of most worth from the medieval songsters to Walt Whitman and Carolyn Wells
will be found there.
* * *
OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE
Jews now have a temple on the site of Solomon's Temple?
not. Three times the temple was built and destroyed, the last time by Titus in
A.D. 70, after which it was never again rebuilt. For centuries the upper
spaces of Mt. Moriah were left desolate, washed by the rains, and blistered by
the suns, until at last almost every trace of the original structures was
lost, so that scholars still dispute as to the identical spot where the
original temple stood. The Mohammedans have a mosque there now, called "The
Dome of the Rock," and the hill itself is sacred to them, as it was to the
Jews, because according to their traditions it was from this same hill the
Mohammed made his ascension into heaven.
* * *
glancing over an old Masonic book I encountered the term "Geomatic" Mason.
This has aroused by curiosity: who or what were the "Geomatic" Masons?
is still in use among lodges of Scotland and was once, as was also its
complementary term, quite common. The term means "a gentleman, or speculative,
Freemason," as opposed to "domatic" which means "an operative, or practicing,
builder." In the Lodge of Aberdeen, where the two kinds of Masons lived side
by side until quite recent times, it was the custom, until 1840, to select the
Master from the Domatics, and the Senior Warden from the Geomatics. In his
essay on Time Immemorial Lodges Gould says that the former of these two
customs has been in force since 1670.
* * *
refers two or three places in his Encyclopadia the Cathari but doesn't tell us
much about them. Can you give me more information? Were they in any way
connected with andient Freemasonry?
doctrine at the heart of ancient Zorbastrianism was dualism. The good god
Ormuzda made perpetual warfare on the bad god Ahriman, and vice versa. The
Jews were evidently much influenced by this, when they were in Babylonia
during their captivity of 586 B.C., for their notion of a Satan was no doubt
inspired by the old Persian Arhiman. Later on this same dualism was inherited
by Mithraism, the great religion which crowded Christianity so closely during
the third and fourth centuries of our era. After Mithraism had passed, the
conception was taken up by Manes and imbedded at the heart of his system of
religion, which came to be known after him as Manichaeism. Also, the same
doctrine was built into Paulicianism, another great heresy which was
exceedingly strong in the eastern parts of the empire, especially at
Constantinople. Paulicianism and Manichaeism both took roots in those regions
and remained stubbornly alive for many centuries. This dualistic conception of
things gradually made its way eastward through Italy until finally it found
lodgement in the south of France where it passed through a new development,
being fused with orthodox Christianity and other elements, and becoming known
twelfth century the Cathari grew to such vast proportions that the Roman
church began to take action against them. They were at last subjected to a
very fierce purging of persecution. This persecution compelled them to adopt
methods of secrecy for the sake of protection. They had pass words and grips
and used esoteric methods of teaching and propagating their ideas. The
"perfect" among them had a peculiar dress. One feature of which was a "cord"
something like our Cable Tow.
Cathari shared many things in common with the Waldenses and the Albigenses but
must not be confused with them.
points of interest to a Mason are these: that they became a secret society;
used symbolic methods of teaching; wore a costume, some points of which were
similar to our own; were opposed to ecclesiastical tyranny; and constituted a
large fraternity in southern Europe which stood for much liberty of thought,
though it must be also mentioned that had they ever succeeded in gaining
control of things they would have had as little mercy on their foes as did the
popes. You will find a very excellent account of the Cathari in Lea's "The
Inquisition of the Middle Ages," Volume I.
* * *
Masonry gaining a foothold in Japan?
foothold, yes, but not much more. What the status is among the natives is a
matter on which THE BUILDER would welcome information. There are a few English
lodges there. They operate under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of
England and comprise five subordinate lodges, as The District Grand Lodge of
with a great deal of interest the article in the March number of THE BUILDER
on Masons' Marks. Have just finished reading an article entitled "The Orkneys
and Shetlands - a Mysterious Group of Islands," in the February issue of the
National Geographic, published by the National Geographic Society of
Washington, D. C. On page 205 are the pictures of two stones; on these stones
are inscriptions and emblems. The emblems I believe would be interesting study
to the author of Masons' Marks, as well as others interested in Masonic
research work, as among the emblerhs are skull and cross-bones, and just above
this a right hand grasping a setting maul, coffin, hourglass, spade, square,
and other emblems which I do not recognize.
author of the article in question himself gives a reasonable interpretation of
the symbols, which banishes any idea that they may possibly have been of
Masonic origin. On page 217 he says:
tombstones no longer pave the Cathedral, but many of them have been set up
along the walls. They are frequently decorated with the skull and cross-bones,
the skulls being invariably greatly enlarged on the left side, because of the
Orcadian belief that the spirit took its departure from the left ear. (Then
follows a long translation of some of the inscriptions, not material in this
connection). The picture represents Death breaking the urn of Life with an
arrow. A flame bursts forth from the punctured vessel, from the tip of which
the soul flies away in a northwesterly direction. An hour-glass with the sand
run out, a sun-dial, two spades, and a coffin complete the doleful ideogram."
The illustrations are on page 205.
* * *
I am much
interested in the letter from Brother Bingay in the issue of THE BUILDER for
September and, with your permission, should like to refer to some of his
remarks concerning myself, or, rather, concerning the articles appearing in
your magazine over my name.
heartily with his statement that men must either co-operate or fight, and the
Craft is waging no war against Roman Catholicism, nor has it ever done so in
the whole course of its history. Masonry has never acted on the offensive, but
very frequently it has found it necessary to be armed for defense in as
efficient a manner as possible. I do not know whether Brother Bingay is a
regular reader of the Roman Catholic press but if so he will surely admit that
there never was a time when it was more essential for Masons to be armed for
such defense than the present.
Bingay says that a Roman Catholic cannot be a Methodist or a Mohammedan.
Certainly, he cannot, but the analogy is an imperfect one. Methodist and
Mohammedanism are two religious creeds, each with tenets opposed to
Catholicism. Freemasonry may be the handmaid of religion, but it is not a
religious system, nor even a creed in the general acceptance of that term. Its
tenets are such that men of all religions who believe in the existence of the
Eternal (I must confess to a liking for old Moses Maimonides' definition),
such belief demanding the corollary of immortality, can join in the ceremonies
of the Craft without any violence to or denial of his own religious tenets.
Not long since I sat in lodge between a Jew and a Mohammedan, while there were
present at the same time, to my own personal knowledge, Episcopalians,
Methodists, Congregationalists, and, at least, one Parsee and a Buddhist. Yet
we all joined in the same ritual and sang together heartily the opening and
Freemasonry is not an anti-Catholic Order. Nor is it the enemy of any
religion. I venture to join issue with Brother Bingay when he says that my
articles will "provide ammunition for the bigoted and narrow-minded on both
sides." Such, at all events, is not my object. My aim is that Masons may be
well-informed as to the battery of guns and the power of the ammunition which
is still directed against them. The reason why in my articles I have published
all the Bulls from the earliest one is that they are all in force and binding
upon Catholics of the present day. I do not think I have "harped incessantly"
upon them. The Popes that came after Clement have done that in such a manner
as to render it unnecessary for me to do more than reproduce their statements.
Brother Bingay read of the instance which has occurred in Canada within the
last two or three months, how that a French Canadian Past Grand Master was,
just before his death, made to renounce Masonry in order that he might receive
the last rites of the Roman Church? Does he not know that such incidents in
Canada are by no means rare?
articles I have avoided denunciation and controversy and have confined myself
to the plain, unvarnished historical fact and statement. Unfortunately, it is
historically inaccurate to say that Roman Catholicism has no quarrel with
Masonry: at least, it has for more than two hundred years ever sought to make
one. Although Burke, as a Protestant, could speak and write in favour of
toleration, the words quoted by Brother Bingay could never have been uttered
by a Catholic, whose view-point is admirably stated in the words of G. Bernard
Shaw as quoted by Brother Bingay. But if Roman Catholicism has ever made it a
point and practice to quarrel with the Masonic Craft since its organization in
the early part of the eighteenth century, the Craft has never retaliated nor
has it sought to do more than (as, in a humble manner, I am endeavouring to do
at the present moment) defend itself against insidious attacks as well as open
persecution. This is not a case, as Brother Bingay seems to infer, of dealing
with individual "bigots in the Catholic Church." The warfare against Masonry
is conducted with all the powerful machinery at the disposal of the Catholic
Church and under the complete direction of the whole Roman hierarchy.
* * *
EXCAVATED NEAR TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI
enclosing you two crosses which were plowed up in fields near Tupelo, Miss. We
would be glad to have you examine them and give us your opinion as to their
origin and if they have any historical value.
read Mackey to see what he says of each; also, our own history which refers to
the battle here (Tupelo, Miss.) and at Cotton Gin Port on the Tombigbee,
between the French and the Choctaw Indians against the Chickasaw, and conclude
these were either medals of some kind of insignia worn by Masons, K. T., or
Roman Catholic priests who may have lost their lives here May 22, 1731.
such crosses have been found, one with three arms, one with two, and one with
one, the last of which has been misplaced.
were excavated near Tupelo, supposed to have been on the route followed by De
Soto. For information I am enclosing a clipping ( see below) giving a
tradition of De Soto's contest and travels through Lee County, formerly west
part of Pontotoc County. Colbert, the Indian chief, had a settlement on
Caonewah, four miles west of Tupelo.
following, mentioned above, was written by E. T. Winston, Pontotoc, Miss.,
Feb. 19, 1917. Unfortunately it does not appear on the clipping in what paper:
several years I have been interested in the various theories proposed as to
the identical spot upon which Hernando De Soto first saw the Mississippi
River, as well as the route he traveled to reach that destination.
a decade ago, while loitering along the street in Pontotoc, the late Col.
James Gordon. who was getting into his buggy to drive out of town, hailed me
with an invitation to "Jump in and drive down the road a piece." After I was
seated with the Colonel in his vehicle he told me of the Indian tradition he
had heard when a boy of the Spanish camp where De Soto and his men had made
their first halt after the disastrous battle in their winter quarters at
Chicaca, about fifteen miles south of Pontotoc. Pernut me to say here that the
Indian traditions are considered quite as reliable as the chronicles of the
the site of this camp was the object of Col. Gordon's drive, and he wanted me
as a witness to the location. The spot is about one and a half miles southeast
of Pontotoc, in a valley about half a mile from the traveled road and the old
Indian trail. The Spaniards had evidently sought this retreat to escape
pursuit from the Indians, but the latter came out from Chicacilla, routed the
adventurers from their camp and again sent them on their journey.
Chicacilla was doubtless in the northern environs of the present town of
Pontotoc, for a well-authenticated tradition has it that the land has been
cleared in this vicinity for at least 200 years; the extinct white settlement
of Victoria was located there and this settlement doubtless succeeded an
leaving Chicacilla, or the camp south of there, the Spaniards doubtless
continued northward, "crossing a savanna,” which is the Ingomar country, and
came to the "bank of a small river, near a ford." This description fits New
Albany where there was a stockade, and the Indians came out and gave the
Spaniards their last battle. The Spaniards seem to have gotten the better of
this skirmish, for they drove the Indians across the river, though of recent
years it has been revealed there was loss of Spanish life and property. When
the K. C., M. & B. Railroad was built through this section, the graders
excavating through the hill just west of New Albany, dug up a quantity of
bones, saddle trees, buttons, buckles, coins, etc., evidently of Spanish
origin, and of no conceivable location there except as relics of the De Soto
be observed that the Indians, as well as experienced travelers like De Soto,
sought the best available footing for their trails through the wilderness. So
it was that De Soto took the "ridge trail" from the Tombigbee to the Chickasaw
settlements of Longtown. He could have proceeded westward from Chicaca, but
the low, flat country makes it impracticable at that season of the year. Hence
the crossing of the Tallahatchie at New Albany to strike the trail from the
"Chickasaw Old Fields” and along the foothills as I conceive it, to the
Soto found sloughs, lakes and almost impassable streams, roads, etc., on the
upper route is granted. But with his sagacity and experience he would not have
turned into a tangled jungle of wilderness and come upon the Father of Waters
in an isolated spot as the place in Tunica County, cited by my friend and
excellent historian, Dr. Dunbar Rowland. He must have had some other object in
view than straggling around through a wilderness, and a better knowledge of
the country than to select the worst of routes.
reasonable theory presents itself to me than that De Soto, in turning
westward, wanted to see old Chicasa who lived in Memphis. Chicasa was
doubtless one of the two chieftains that led the Chickasaws in their migration
to this country. It is generally believed that they came from Mexico, and as
De Soto was with Cortez in the memorable conquest of Montezuma he either
wanted to know of the old Indian something of the routing into Mexico, and so
back to civilization, or he listened to tales of golden wealth to be found
beyond the Rocky mountains and headed in that direction.
of the ancient Spaniards for gold is well known, and we may imagine the grim
satisfaction of Chicasa, especially if he was a warm personal friend of
Montezuma, found in giving De Soto an "ear full of dope" on the size of golden
nuggets to be found in the Rockies, and so sent him on the wild goose chase
that ended so disastrously.
Note - The crosses are almost certainly of religious origin and use. At that
date it is highly improbable that any group of Spanish adventurers would have
been Freemasons. Moreover, the crosses are not analogous to any used by Masons
of any grade or time. Perhaps some of our readers can enlighten us on the
* * *
PRESIDENTS AND GOVERNORS OF TEXAS WHO WERE MASONS - A CORRECTION
207 of the July, 1921, issue of THE BUILDER in my list of Presidents and
Governors of Texas who were Masons there appears the name of A. J. Hamilton,
Governor in 1865, as a member of Palestine Lodge No. 31, Palestine, Texas. I
now find that Governor Hamilton was not a Mason and his name should therefore
be stricken from the list.
never made a good bargain.