The Builder Magazine
September 1923 - Volume IX -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WOLFGANG GOETHE. MASTER MASON - By Bro. W. Harvey McNairn, Canada
ANGLO-IRISH GRAND LODGE – By Bro. Joe L. Carson, Virginia
OLD CHARGES AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO US - By Bro. H. L. Haywood
GREAT JOURNEY - By Bro. William Fielding, California
HOODWINK - By Bro. Henry Taylor, Missouri
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History of Freedom of Thought
Great Work on Symbolism
Urgent Necessity for More Research
Old Charges and What They Mean to Us
Means "Ancient Free and Accepted Masons"?
Was the Pope Declared Infallible?
Broadside Against Chain Letters
Peary Was Made a Mason
Concerning the Grave, Number Six, etc
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Articles in this Magazine Copyright 1923 by the National Masonic Research
Wolfgang Goethe, Master Mason
Bro. W. HARVEY McNAIRN, Canada
Here is an article of so many excellencies that to praise it would be
presumptuous. It tells of Goethe, the author of Faust, a world figure in
literature along with Homer, Dante and Shakespeare, and one of the greatest
teachers of the race that has ever lived. Freemasonry mirrored itself in his
mind as a universal brotherhood within the circles of which men may learn to
live happily together in forgetfulness of the animosities of religion, race
and politics; he saw it as an earnest and prophecy of the good time coming
when the brotherhood of man will be something more than an ineffectual dream.
How noble is such a conception, and how wise, when compared with the attempts
now being made in some quarters to drag back into the lodge the old religious
hatreds and sectarian bitternesses thrown aside by our forefathers long ago!
This is a story of the Craft in days long past, and in a world of men and
ideas far distant from that in which we live and move. In it we have a
picture of Freemasonry as practised in the eighteenth century by the court
circle of a little Saxon Duchy. In it we see how the Craft freed itself from
the shackles of a dangerous and unmasonic rite, which threatened to destroy
its usefulness and its appeal to our common humanity. In it we catch glimpses
of that immortal figure who, amid the crowding duties of a busy life, gave of
his time, his influence and his abounding talents, to advance the interests of
that Order which he recognized as one of the most potent influences for good
in his time.
After a hundred years of quiet development, during which the ritual, up till
then practically the exclusive possession of the operative trade, was enriched
in its symbolism and philosophy, purified in its literary form and rendered
more dignified and stately in its ceremonial, Freemasonry revealed itself to
the world at the beginning of the eighteenth century as a great spiritual
system, with an infinite appeal to just and upright men of all races and
creeds. It is not surprising, therefore,, that the fraternity spread with
great rapidity over the civilized world, and that each nation selected, amid
the kaleidoscopic variety, some plan that appealed to its particular mental
attitude and political system. In England, the land of its origin, the ideal
of brotherhood seems to have been the most highly prized contribution of
Freemasonry. Hence it was that within the tyled temple, peer and artisan sat
side by side, forgetful of the artificial barrier of race or caste. Hence also
rose those great Masonic charities which are the pride of the Craft and an
inspiration to lovers of mankind over all the world.
the Continent, where the blood-bought privileges of political and spiritual
freedom had not yet been purchased, the lodge became the symbol of liberty of
conscience. Here alone was it possible for men to give full expression of
their ideas without the shadow of the prison or the gibbet darkening their
assemblies. And in Germany, in particular, the study of the philosophy and
symbolism of Freemasonry, even before the end of the eighteenth century, had
already begun to occupy a great deal of attention.
is then with a Masonic atmosphere of this kind that we have now to deal. The
fundamentals are all here: the ritual, the "table lodge," or banquet, the
virtue of charity, and added to them an enthusiasm for liberty of thought and
an interest in the deeper significance of the usages of the Craft.
GOETHE A UNIVERSAL GENIUS
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is the great outstanding figure in German
literature. Poet, dramatist, philosopher, scientist, statesman, he, more than
any other modern man, is the type of the universal genius. It is no wonder
then that German Freemasons point with pride to his connection with their
Order, and that no German history of the Craft is complete without many
references to his influence in promoting its interests in the Fatherland.
was born in Frankfort on the Main, on the 28th of August, 1749, of parents of
wealth, culture and social standing, and was intended for the law. He studied
at Leipzig, his father's university, and at Strassburg, and on receiving his
degree, returned home to practice his profession. But the humdrum of a legal
career was ill-suited to his poetical temperament, and a few years later, he
joined the court circle of the young Duke of Weimar, where he found his
surroundings so congenial that he spent the rest of his life there, giving his
services to his Prince, and at the same time producing that series of works in
poetry and prose which have made for him a lasting memorial which will remain
as long as literature is studied.
GOETHE WAS A MASON
But it is not his life and writings, interesting as such a study is, that must
occupy our attention at present. The story of his connection with the Ancient
and Honourable Fraternity of Freemasons has been the theme of very many books
and pamphlets and magazine articles, few, if any, of which, are available for
While still a young man he had learned something about Freemasonry, had become
acquainted with distinguished members of its select circle, and had recognized
the social and fraternal advantages which it offers. In his Poetry and Truth,
he says: "The field of German intellectual and literary culture at the time
presented the appearance of newly-broken ground. Among business people there
were far-sighted men on the lookout for skilful cultivators and prudent
managers to till the unturned soil. Even the respected and well-established
Freemason lodge, with whose most distinguished members I had become acquainted
through my intimacy with Lili, found a fitting means of bringing me into touch
with them; but, from a feeling of independence, which afterwards appeared to
me madness, I declined all closer connection with them, not perceiving that
these men, though forming a society of their own in a special sense, might yet
do much to further my own ends, so nearly related to theirs." (1)
But this attitude of aloofness towards the Society did not long persist.
Unlike his great contemporary and friend, the poet Wieland, who did not see
Masonic light until he had reached the age of 76, Goethe had the advantages of
membership early impressed upon him during a journey which he made with the
young Duke of Weimar in the latter part of the year 1779. Many times during
the four months of their tour, he realized that the entre of the lodges would
have offered him opportunities of close acquaintance with men of weight and
personal charm, opportunities which were not otherwise available.
Accordingly, only three days after his return he began inquiries preliminary
to presenting his petition to the local lodge. (2) But it was not until the
13th, February, that he addressed the following letter to Privy Councillor, J.
F. von Fritsch, at that time Worshipful Master of Lodge Amalia:
take the liberty of importuning you with a request. For a long time I have
had occasion to wish that I might belong to the Society of Freemasons: this
desire became very strong during our journey. It is only on this score that I
have missed the opportunity of walking in closer union with persons whom I
have learned to respect. It is the social feeling alone which leads me to
seek for admission. To whom could I better entrust this matter, than to your
Excellency? I await the kindly guidance of what you advise in this matter. I
await, moreover, your gracious hints, and sign myself respectfully, Your
"Obedient servant, Goethe." (3)
The recipient of this letter, Privy Councillor, Baron Jakob Friedrich von
Fritsch, was not very favourably disposed towards its acceptance. Six years
previously, when the Duke had proposed appointing Goethe to a position in his
cabinet, Fritsch had strenuously dissented, and had even presented his
resignation from the council in protest, and although the charming manner and
generous nature of the younger man soon won over his irascible and gruff
colleague, the truce was only temporary. From time to time the eagerness and
optimism of youth clashed with the conservatism of the middle aged Junker. No
doubt this will account for the fact that four months passed before the desire
expressed in his petition was gratified.
so happened that there was then staying in Weimar probably the best qualified
man in all Germany to advise Goethe before his admission and to guide his
subsequent researches. Johann Joachim Christoph Bode, musician, teacher of
languages, translator of, among other books, The Vicar of Wakefield, and the
publisher of several of Goethe's works, was some twenty years older than
Goethe. He was a deep student of Masonry and had accumulated a library of
some eight hundred volumes covering the whole subject of secret societies, a
remarkable achievement in those days. In recognition of his services to the
Craft he had been elected, some years before this date, the Deputy Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge of Hamburg, which, then, as now, stood for pure,
unadulterated Craft Masonry of three degrees. (4) It was to this man, whose
honesty of purpose was so clearly seen, that Goethe applied for guidance, and
it is a reasonable conclusion that for the remaining thirteen years of his
life, Bode was one of Goethe's best Masonic advisers.
the 23d of June, 1780, the eve of the Festival of St. John the Baptist, the
most important occasion of the German Masonic year, Goethe, then in his
thirty-first year, was duly initiated in the Lodge Amalia in Weimar. He had
previously made two unusual stipulations, first, that he should not be
blindfolded, but that his word of honour to keep his eyes closed should be
accepted instead, and secondly, that the ritual of the Grand Lodge of Hamburg
should be substituted for that ordinarily in use in his lodge, which then
followed the Rite of Strict Observance. (5) In the latter we probably see the
influence of Bode, who occupied the chair during the ceremony. Fritsch, whose
right it was to preside, was not fully reconciled to the admittance of the
poet, and felt it impossible to take any part himself, in the initiation.
Fritsch had been unfavourably disposed towards the candidate to begin with,
the setting aside of the Strict Observance ritual, of which he was a staunch
supporter, would not help in smoothing away the difficulties. This no doubt
accounts for the fact that nearly a year elapsed without any move being made
towards passing Goethe to the Fellowcraft Degree. Accordingly, on the 31st of
March, 1781, he again addressed the Worshipful Master in the following letter:
"May I, your Excellency, on the near prospect of a lodge meeting, also urge my
own small interest? While I submit myself to all the rules of the Order,
though unknown to me, yet, I wish, if it be not contrary to regulations, to
take a further step, in order that I might approach closer to the essentials.
I desire this, not only on my own account, but also on account of the
Brethren, who are frequently in the embarrassing position of having to treat
me as a stranger. Should it be possible to advance me to the Master's degree
at your convenience, I would learn of it most thankfully. The pains which I
have given to the useful knowledge of the Order have, perhaps, rendered me not
altogether unworthy of such a degree.
"However, I freely leave all to your Excellency's courteous discernment, and
sign myself with unchanging esteem,
"Your Excellency's "Most obedient,
a result of this petition he was passed to the Fellowcraft Degree on the eve
of the festival, 23d June, 1781, the anniversary of his initiation. Lodge
meetings were held rather infrequently in those days, and nothing is known of
Goethe's activity in Masonry, but it, is safe to conclude that he was present
at the convocation held on the 5th of February, 1782, in which his princely
friend, Carl August, Duke of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, or, as it is usually
written, Duke of Weimar, was made a Mason. A month later, on the 3rd of
March, they were both raised to the degree of a Master Mason. Shortly after,
Goethe, as was the custom among members of Strict Observance lodges, proceeded
to the degree of a Knight Templar.
Almost immediately after his entrance into Lodge Amalia, the Duke took his
stand strongly in opposition to the rite of Strict Observance, and on the
occasion of the next festival of St. John, a bitter discussion arose in open
lodge. In this argument, the Worshipful Master Fritsch, an unwavering
adherent of the old system, was supported by Bode and opposed by Friedrich
Justin Bertuch, the Duke's secretary, and in his day an eminent and capable
ruler of the Craft. The Convent of Wilhelmsbad, a Grand Lodge meeting which
gave the death blow to the Strict Observance, had not yet been opened, but the
feeling of dissatisfaction and unrest was, as we shall see, becoming every day
more critical. The Master seems to have delivered an impassioned address in
which he expressed his "disgust and weariness and, indignation at the
innumerable errors, deceptions and frauds in the Masonic world, and his
uncertainty as to which system one should follow." (7) Bertuch then presented
a motion that "since in the present unrest, that peace, without which the
ideals of the Institution must fail, cannot be preserved" the Lodge should
"discontinue its work." (8)
order to understand all this it is necessary to review, briefly, the rise,
development and fall of this fantastic Masonic system which was then
undermining the unity of European Freemasonry, and which, had it become
dominant, would probably have destroyed the appeal and the usefulness of the
One of the many extraordinary excrescences which defaced the primitive
simplicity of Freemasonry during the latter part of the eighteenth century was
the Order of Strict Observance. The fundamental doctrine of this rite was
that Freemasonry was derived from the Knights Templars. During the
persecution which followed the suppression of the Order in 1307, its leaders,
so ran the theory, under the disguise of Masons went over to Scotland where
they carried on their ritualistic work and secured the continuance of their
knighthood under the protection of the lodges of Operative Freemasons. The
lodges of speculative Masons were therefor nothing more than Conclaves of
Knights Templars under a different name, and the ceremonies there practised
were those which they had jealously guarded. It necessarily followed that,
although the higher degrees of knighthood had been separated from the Craft
degrees, in which in old time the operative brethren had been permitted to
take part, every speculative Mason must be a Knight Templar. In order to
emphasize this theory each member was designated as Eques, or knight, and was
required to select an additional Latin appellation for himself, which was
filed with the registrar. For instance, the leader of the system called
himself "Eques ab Ense," knight of the sword. But the crowning glory of the
system was the fiction that the supreme government was in the hands of men of
high Masonic rank and social and political distinction. Who these leaders
were, no one was allowed to know. They were called "the Unknown Superiors,"
and their commands were to be implicitly obeyed.
The originator of this rite was a German nobleman, Karl Gotthelf, Baron von
Hund and Altengrotkau, a man of a childlike simplicity and credulity, and
according to some of his biographers, of inordinate vanity. One might also be
justified in suspecting that he was also characterized by a judgment somewhat
lacking in strength and common sense. He received his higher degrees in the
Chapter of Clermont, which was held in Paris in 1754 for the purpose of
reorganizing the Craft. Not long after he elaborated his system, which had an
extraordinary vogue in Germany for more than half a century. The Fraternity
seems to have been torn with dissensions; the more conservative members wished
to retain the ancient simplicity of ritual and tradition which had come to
them from England, while the Modernists longed for the spectacular innovations
and aristocratic doctrines of the new system. It was this struggle which led
to the suspension of the work in Lodge Amalia for twenty-six years, and which,
on its happy reorganization in 1808, made it impossible for their old
Worshipful Master, Fritsch, to weild the gavel once more.
Long before this, however, the founder of the system, von Hund, had met his
Waterloo. Charged, at the Congress of 1775 to reveal the names of the
"Unknown Superiors," and to produce his documentary evidence of Masonic rank,
he was unable to give satisfactory answers. He was consequently discredited,
his order divided and he died in the following year. (9)
GOETHE RETAINED HIS INTEREST
During the twenty-six years in which the lodge was dormant, neither Goethe nor
the Duke lost their interest in Freemasonry. But the times were not yet
propitious for the resumption of the work. It was necessary first that the
host of charlatans, alchemists, spiritists and the rest, who had invaded the
Order, and reduced it to the low condition in which it then was, must be
cleared out, and the eagerness for the higher degrees brought within
the 14th of October, 1806, was fought the battle of Jena, and Napoleon's
victorious armies commenced their march into Germany. Under these distressing
circumstances, the Freemasons of Jena felt that the ministrations of the
brotherhood would be of the greatest comfort and efficacy in "dissipating the
dark clouds which surrounded them." In response to their petition to be
allowed to found a new lodge, Goethe was appointed by the Duke to his first
commission as a Masonic statesman. After due consideration of the case, he
gave as his advice that Jena was not the place nor that year the time for
renewed Masonic activities.
But a pleasanter task was soon to be his. A few months later conditions had
sufficiently improved to warrant a consideration of the possibility of
reopening Lodge Amalia. Accordingly, in April, 1808, the Duke appointed
Goethe, Bertuch and seven others a commission to undertake the preliminary
was a fortunate circumstance that a very distinguished ritualist and high-souled
Mason, Friedrich Ludwig Schroeder, the author of a famous system of Masonry
which bore his name, was at that very time at Weimar with the purpose of
laying his plan before Goethe, as the highest arbiter in all literary
matters. The poet, who had always been opposed to the claims of the higher
degrees, as he knew them, was favourably impressed with the simplicity and
directness of the new ritual. He therefore strongly recommended it to the
Duke, at whose command he wrote the following letter to the Lodge Gunther of
the Standing Lions, at Rudolstadt, which was working under the Grand Lodge of
"Time and circumstances caused us in 1782 to discontinue the work of our Lodge
Amalia and to allow it to stand idle till now. Time and circumstances now
cause us to open our Lodge Amalia once more, and once more there to renew our
labours. In this we, as Masons, have not been idle. We have observed, in the
world of nature and of men, the spirit of the time, and the results of its
operation in the progress of Masonry towards its perfection, and, though
without lodge connection, we have endeavoured, as far as it was possible for
us, to fulfil in truth, our Masonic obligation. In the meantime we have
accumulated a great deal of experience and valuable enlightenment concerning
the aims and character of our Order. These facts have influenced us to decide
to discontinue the System of Strict Observance, for a long time in use in the
Lodge Amalia, as it is no longer useful, and to accept that of the Provincial
Grand Lodge of Lower Saxony at Hamburg, under which you also work. This
system is much more purified, more suitable, and corresponds better with the
spirit of our time and knowledge. We have also decided to unite ourselves with
the aforesaid Provincial Grand Lodge. Not only have the Worshipful Master and
brethren of the Lodge Amalia signed with me, but also other brethren who live
here, and still others who have united with us in the reopening of the Lodge
Amalia according to the above system. All this is done with the highest
approbation of our revered and august brother, Carl August, our beloved Duke
and governor." (10)
Presumably this letter was intended to be an application for the consent of
the lodge at Rudolstadt, and it would seem that such consent was forthcoming,
for the work of reorganization was carried through.
was Goethe's wish that they should re-elect Fritsch, the Worshipful Master of
the lodge, before its suspension, but the loyalty of that unbending man to the
now thoroughly discredited System of Strict Observance did not waver and he
would not consent to submit to a system which sought to trace the origin of
the Craft to a society of humble artisans, instead of the aristocratic,
medieval Knights Templar. Accordingly, at the reorganization meeting on the
27th of June, 1808, Bertuch was elected Worshipful Master. The election,
however, was not, unanimous, for the ballots showed that a substantial
minority wished to place Goethe in the Master's chair.
the 24th of October the lodge was at length successfully started upon its new
career, and it remains to this day, using the same ritual, and proud of the
illustrious name so closely connected with this critical period of its
history. Unfortunately, the poet, who was that year under treatment for the
gout, was unable to be present. The seventeen charter members were all
officials of the little court of Weimar, and five of them close personal
friends of Goethe, a fact which attests their culture and ability and
congeniality. Pietsch, in his little book on Goethe's centennial, adds
enthusiastically, "and what a lodge!"
GOETHE IS ASKED TO BECOME MASTER
The remainder of Goethe's Masonic career is simply told. He attended the
meetings but rarely, and as time passed his visits were at longer intervals.
He never held office, and yet his influence among the brethren was great for
two years later. When the little lodge had increased in numbers to fifty,
Bertuch felt constrained to lay down the gavel and Goethe was elected to the
chair, but the pressure of public business had become so very great that it
would have been impossible for him to have undertaken the responsibility, and
he was unable to accept the position. IN fact, so little time had he for the
lodge business that he felt constrained to apply for a demit, which he did in
the following letter, dated 5th, October, 1812, addressed to Bertuch's
"Your honour would do me an especial favour if you would took upon my absence
as being regular, and not unMasonic, and could release me from my obligations
to the society. I would unwillingly relinquish entirely this honourable and
interesting connection, but it is impossible for me to attend lodge regularly,
and I do not wish to set a bad example by my absence. Perhaps I may learn the
particulars by word of mouth, until which time I shall reserve my apology."
This, however, did not sever his connection with the lodge, and probably the
resignation was not accepted nor the demit granted.
The last occasion on which Goethe was present at the regular work of the lodge
was on the 5th of December, 1815, when he had the satisfaction of seeing his
only son, Julius August Walther, made a Mason. The young man was then
twenty-six and his father sixty-five and although the subsequent career of
August Goethe was a source of anxiety and sorrow to the poet, his membership
was a great advantage to Lodge Amalia. He became an enthusiastic Mason, was
elected Junior Steward, which office he held until his death in 1830, and
constantly acted as an intermediary between the lodge and his father.
Possibly a good deal of Goethe's assistance in the interests of the lodge was
due to his desire to further the advancement of his son.
One cannot help feeling at times that, in their desire to exalt the dignified
standing of the Order, the German historians have rather over-emphasized
Goethe's interest in the Craft. A biographer who could speak of him as "the
greatest poet of all time" (12), or as one who had lived "perhaps the richest
and most beautiful life that has ever been vouchsafed to any mortal" (13),
might easily be so misled by his enthusiasm for Freemasonry and for his hero
as to exaggerate the position the one held in the heart of the other. Indeed,
some of their own historians apparently take this view. Kneisner, in his
History of German Freemasonry, says: "Goethe had not often visited the lodge,
and took no part in its meetings when it wag reopened." (14)
And yet we have the testimony, not only of the historians, but also of his
Masonic contemporaries, that his interest was deep and lasting. "Although he
never held office he was, and continued to be until his advanced age, the
spiritual centre of the Lodge Amalia." (14) Or as Pietsch expresses it, "he
was the centre of crystallization of his beloved lodge." We are also told by
Pietsch that, whenever possible, he attended the meetings of the "Historical
Select Union." This was an inner circle, restricted to Master Masons and
devoted to a study of the history, symbolism and philosophy of the Order. The
originator of the rite had designed the Union in the hope, which was
abundantly justified, that with the opportunity of gaining accurate Masonic
knowledge, the desire for higher degrees would be less imperative. Shortly
after the reopening of the lodge a Select Union had been attached to the Lodge
Amalia. This was in 1810. That these opportunities for gaining an
understanding of the fundamentals of Freemasonry were not lost by Goethe is
claimed by Caspari, who says, "Goethe, like Lessing, comprehended the
potential depth of the Masonic life. He had a presentiment that here a great
evangel would be preached, that must become world-wide, if only it could be
separated from the dross." (15)
The most definite statement of his Masonic activities was made at a service
held in the lodge in commemoration of his death, at which the Worshipful
Master, K. W. von Fritsch, the son of the previous Master of the name, stated
that "at every important event, at every great celebration of the lodge, he
had taken so active a part that all the more important addresses, songs and
general arrangements had the advantage of his previous examination and
is important, in our study of Goethe's Masonic life, to refer to some of these
undertakings. In 1813, his friend and fellow poet, and brother in the Craft,
Wieland, passed on to "the Eternal East," and Goethe undertook to prepare the
funeral oration, "To the Fraternal Memory of Wieland." That this was
considered a Masonic duty is shown by the fact that before he delivered it
standing beside the sarcophagus of his departed friend, it had been sent for
examination and approval to the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Ridel.
1821 the then Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Ridel, died, and his memory, and
that of four other brethren who had passed home before him, was the object of
a Lodge of Sorrow, which was held on the 15th of June. The oration delivered
upon this occasion seemed of sufficient value to be printed, and Goethe
undertook the responsibility of writing an introduction. In it he says that
the distinguishing characteristics of the Order "lead us to renounce our
particular ambitions and to consider higher and universal aims," and that the
Lodge of Sorrow is the place "where this distinguished life as well as the
undistinguished appears in its individuality; where we see examples for
ourselves in the departed."
the 23rd of June, 1830, the lodge celebrated the jubilee of his admittance
into Masonry. The previous day a delegation had called upon him with a
diploma of honourary membership and invited him to attend the meeting, but his
advanced age, he was then approaching his 81st birthday, made it impossible to
be present in person. However, he composed a short poem for the occasion, and
this is naturally very highly prized by the Lodge Amalia. Its literary merits
are, it must be admitted, not very high, but it stands with Burns' famous
"Farewell to Torbolton," as among the few poems which have been dedicated to
Masonic lodges by poets of the first rank. It may be translated rather freely
"Fifty years have passed forever,
Like a few days they have flown,
Fifty years, returning never,
From the earnest, dim unknown.
"Yet a living, high endeavour
Shows itself forever new.
Love of friends that nought can sever,
Human worth, forever true.
"And our bond of union, surer
the years pass, widely spread,
Gently shine with light e'er purer,
Like the faint stars overhead.
"Let us then in happy union,
Firmly stand in true communion,
of old it used to be."
His pleasure at the honour done him by his mother lodge was expressed in a
letter which he wrote about three weeks after to his friend and Brother Zelter,
a well-known musician of the time. He writes: "It is quite pleasing that you
have celebrated your Masonic jubilee at the same time as mine. On the eve of
St. John's festival I was a member of the Order for fifty years. The
gentlemen have managed these epochs with the greatest courtesy, and on the
next day I replied in a friendly manner to their sentiments." (17)
MASONRY IN GOETHE'S WRITINGS
Goethe's Masonic studies are mirrored in his writings. The varied and
fascinating by-paths of forgotten lore along which one is led when studying
the history and symbolism of the Craft, could not fail to attract the mind of
the poet. Indeed, it has been suggested by one of his biographers that his
interest in studies of this kind was one of the main reasons why he was first
attracted to Masonry. "It is in line with Goethe's inclination towards the
symbolical as it is revealed in the Mysteries, though also with sociable
considerations, that he became a Freemason." (18) While this may be true, it
is clear that the evidences of his Masonic membership are numerous and
distinct. "After he became a member of the Society, he accomplished no great
work which did not ring in Masonic accord, he completed nothing which did not
lead back to a Masonic origin." Although this statement of Pietsch's may be
exaggerated, it is a well-known fact that all through his works, both prose
and poetry, there are numerous references to Freemasonry. These have been
carefully brought together and collated. Indeed, a study of them would
require a volume of respectable size for any adequate presentation.
Many of Goethe's songs are made use of by the lodges, and practically everyone
of their song-books contains a beautiful lyric, the first verse of which
"In all such pleasant weather,
When flushed by love and wine,
This song we'll sing together,
And hand to hand entwine.
May God keep us united,
Who us hath higher led,
The love-flames he had lighted,
by our friendship fed." (19)
But this was written several years before he entered the Society, and
consequently has no distinctively Masonic reference.
The song which is best known to English-speaking readers as being most
definitely a Craft poem is called "The Masons' Lodge," and has been translated
by Carlyle. It has been already published in THE BUILDER, and so only the
first stanza need be quoted:
"The Mason's ways are
type of existence,
And his persistence,
as the days are
men in this world." (20)
MASONIC GREATNESS LIES IN MASONIC SERVICE
Wherein does Masonic eminence consist? It is not in the accumulation of
degrees, interesting as these may be. It is not in the receipt of honours,
nor the holding of exalted rank, though to serve the Craft with distinction is
a privilege to be coveted by all good men. It is not even the attainment of
scholarship, though a knowledge of Masonic philosophy cannot fail to have its
effect in upbuilding character. It is not any of these that can place a man
in the proud position of being a Mason in the fullest and completest sense.
It is to exemplify in one's dealings with mankind those virtues of charity, of
kindness, of tolerance which the Ritual so forcefully inculcates by precept
and by symbol. It is to be a brother, not only to the household of the
faithful, but to every man, irrespective of colour or creed or race, whom
economic conditions, or ignorance, or unfavourable heredity and environment
have reduced to those depths from whence he can be rescued only by the
fraternal assistance of those more favourably situated. Judged by these
criteria, Goethe seems to have shown himself a real Freemason in his dealings
with his fellow men. To quote Pietsch again: "Not only in the lodge did
Goethe reveal himself as a perfect Freemason, but also he knew, as no other
man did, how to sustain the Masonic ideal in the outer world, and to reveal it
in all departments of spiritual culture and practical life." He was always
ready to help those in distress, and that his benefactions flowed from the
goodness of his heart is shown by the unostentatious way in which he bestowed
them. "To his prince and the country, to a share in whose government he had
been called, he was the truest and most energetic servant; to his friends, the
most devoted friend; to his parents, the best and most lovable child, and to
his son the fondest father." (21)
is clear, then, that the great heart of the poet ever beat true to the guiding
principles of the Craft; that his interest though not evidenced by regular
attendance, was still profound and lasting, and that it is with no
unjustifiable pride that German Masonic historians refer to his name as the
most illustrious on their register. A society that numbers among its
membership such famous men as Lessing, Wieland, Mozart, Haydn and Fichte can
justly claim the respect of all thinking men, but brighter than all these
shines the unquenchable light of Goethe.
Goethe - Dichtung und Wahrheit (Poetry and Truth), trans. M.S. Smith, 1908,
H. Dunizer - Life of Goethe, trans. T.W. Lister, N.Y. 1884, P. 306.
J.Pietsch - Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe als Freimaurer (J.W. Goethe as a
Freemason), Leipzig, 1880, p. 8.
Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei (General Handbook of Freemasonry, an
Encyclopedia), 3rd Ed. Leipzig, 1900, 1:114.
Pabst - Geschichte der Loge zum Goldnen Apfel in Dresden (History of the Lodge
of the Golden Apple in Dresden), quoted by Handbuch.
Pietsch p. 12
Pietsch p. 15
10. Pietsch, p. 17.
11. Handbuch, 1:373
12. Pietsch, p. 4.
13. Pietsch, p. 62.
14. F. Kneisner - Geschichte der Deutschen Freimaurerei (History of German
Freemasonry), Berlin, 1912, p. 114.
15. Otto Caspari - Die Bedeutung des Freimaurertums (The Signification of
Freemasonry), Berlin, 196, p. 97.
17. J.G. Findel - Geschichte der Freimaurerei von der Zeit ihres Entstehens
bis auf die Gegenwart (History of Freemasonry From the Time of its Origin Down
to the Present), 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1866, p. 601.
18. R.M. Meyer-Goethe, Berlin, 1905:253.
19. Sammlung mauerrischer Gesange, herausgegeben von der Grosz National
Mutterloge zu den drei Weltkugeln (Collection of Masonic Songs, issued by the
Grand National Mother Lodge of the Three Globes), Berlin, 1865, p. 71
20. THE BUILDER, V:260 Sept., 1919
21. A.W. v. Simmerman, quoted by Handbuch.
The Great Journey
Bro. WILLIAM FIELDING, California
ONE of the most impressive moments of the initiatory ceremony is a certain
rite known as Circumambulation. The candidate himself is at a loss to
understand the meaning or purpose of this, and it is probable that after the
ceremonies are completed he seldom recalls it, or ever gives it a thought.
The interpretation of this rite is usually given as a symbolical
representation of the great journey of life. We men come into this world in
ignorance and helplessness: dependent on others we must permit ourselves to be
led about: and on the way we encounter many obstacles, many dangers, and many
fears. Of this experience, so we are often told, Circumambulation is a
picture. There is nothing in this interpretation in itself that flies against
fact or offends the reason, but we may be sure that there is far more to it
Circumambulation is very old and well nigh universal. The Egyptians, in many
of their cult practices, used it much, as when images of Isis or Osiris would
be carried about the temples or around the altars. The Jews had solemn
ceremonies of a like nature, as when the priests would march in a circle about
the sacrifices: and so did the Arabs, who shared with the Jews so many of
their customs. To this day it is used by many branches of the Brahmans. The
priest must drive about a sacred tree or pool during his initiation. On
arising in the early morning he faces the sun, then walks about in a circle,
keeping the center to his right. The Laws of Manu prescribe that in the
marriage ceremony, the bride is to circumambulate the domestic hearth.
Ancient Buddhists considered such a ceremony so important that they built
stone galleries about shrines to accommodate the pilgrims and worshippers who
came to pay homage to the image of Buddha by walking around it.
Homer tells us that Achilles led his squadrons three times about the body of
Patroclus, in this fashion, so we may suppose, paying the dead hero divine
honours. In Greek sacred dances Circumambulation was often reversed: the
movement from right to left was called the "strophe," that from left to right,
the "antistrophe." The Romans laid great stress on the necessity of making the
movements only from right to left because they deemed the leftwise movement a
piece of black magic that would bring ill upon them: our own word "sinister"
was born from that idea and still reminds us that the use of the left hand is
not as fortunate as the right. Roman marriage customs, many of them, like the
Laws of Manu, demanded circumambulation.
Celtic scholars tell us that among Celts of all nationalities the rite has
been practically universal. Doctors would make circuits around the sick in
order to invoke the powers of healing; mourners followed the dead in going
about the graveyard before interment was made: and often in religious
ceremonies priests and people began by making a procession about the church,
as is still the case in Roman Catholic ceremonies when a bishop is enthroned.
J.G. Frazer, in his Balder, describes a Scotch custom of Circumambulation
practised in the highlands as late as 1850.
is probable that in Freemasonry the rite has been used from the beginning. In
one of the very old York rituals we find that the Apprentice when he came to
demonstrate his fitness to be made a fellow, passed from station to station
where the Master and the Wardens each one put his master's piece to a
different test. These are but a few examples drawn at random from countless
numbers. We might have run up a list of illustrations from the habits of
American Indians, as in the Pawnee ceremony of "Hako", about which Miss
Fletcher has written so entertainingly in the Bulletins of the U.S. Bureau of
Ethnology: and we might have drawn many examples from the customs of Central
American natives and South American. The cases already given are sufficiently
What gave rise to this rite in the first place? The clue is furnished us in a
saying attributed to the priests of Apollo at Dellos, as preserved in one of
the hymns of Callimaches: "we imitate the example of the sun." In our northern
hemisphere the sun rises in the east, and then appears to move to the west by
way of the south. Almost all ancient peoples, and almost all peoples now
living in a state of primitive culture (there are exceptions, as in the case
of the Eskimos) look upon the sun as one of the principal sources of life and
power, and accordingly worship him. Circumambulation is a product of sun
But there is an origin anterior to this. Why, did ancient peoples believe that
imitating the sun's pathway through the skies was an act of worship! It is
because they believed in what anthropologists have come to call "sympathetic
magic." Nearly all early peoples believed that they could gain control of, and
power over, natural forces and gods and demons by imitating them. The modern
Red man will beat his drum and scatter dust in the air in order to compel the
rain to come; the drum rattle is the thunder; the dust falling is the rain;
this imitation, according to the logic of magical ideas (which logic is now
almost completely lost to us) is itself a method of compelling the gods of the
rain to pay heed. The man who prays for rain, according to magic, makes it
rain. In the Ancient Mysteries, many of them, the central ceremony was a
drama in imitation of the experiences, perhaps the tragical life and death, of
The magician who practised his ceremonies in harmony with the orderly forces
of nature, who always, as it were, kept to the right hand, was a practicer of
"white magic": while that one who reversed the normal processes, who made the
thunder go back into the sky, and the rain go back into the cloud, was a
practicer of the "black magic".
I have said above, the whole logic of these magical doctrines is lost to us:
it is doubtful if, by the greatest stretch of the imagination, we can bring
ourselves to think or feel as ancient peoples did. But there is one idea
enshrined here in the midst of this ancient ceremony that we can understand.
It is the idea of Harmony with Nature.
Democritus was fond of the saying, "Nature conquers Nature." It kept him in
mind of the fact that man is powerless to conquer her, though he talk much
about it: it is only when he sets a greater natural force against a lesser
that he can persuade Nature to do his bidding, as when the sailor adjusts his
sail to the winds in order to overcome the inertia of the water, or a woodman
cuts away the root of a tree in order that gravity May bring down the great
trunk. The farmer conquers by learning how to keep step with the seasons, by
harmonizing his sowing and cultivating with the rain, the frosts, and the dew,
by rotating his crops, by learning how to fit his own small powers in with the
great powers of sun, soil, and the rain: and so is it, in one form or other,
with us all.
Thus, to some extent or other, and under one disguise or other, the Rite of
Circumambulation is the ceremony of the harmonious adjustment of one to one's
world. The candidate must pay homage to the Master, he must salute the
Wardens, he must learn to keep step with his guide, and how to approach the
East; and he must be made to understand that he will never know the power and
privileges of Masonry unless he learns how to harmonize his life with the laws
and forces of Masonry.
NOTE:-The literature on Circumambulation is coextensive with the literature on
folk-lore, magic, mythology, and primitive culture in general. This would
include such well-known works as Frazer's Golden Bough, Tyler's Primitive
Culture, Brinton's The Myths of the New World, etc., etc. One of the best
short treatises extant is that contributed to Hasting's Encyclopedia of
Religion and Ethics by our illustrious Masonic scholar, Count Goblet d'Alviela.
The little article in Mackey's Encyclopedia is also very good, though it has
little to say about modern practices of the Rite. See also Plutarch's Isis
and Osiris. In THE BUILDER see Volumes III, IV and V, consulting the
indexes. Note especially Volume III, page 245.
"Every Year," An Explanation
Mrs. R. M. Packard, West Newton, Mass., is a grand daughter of Albert Pike who
has in her possession a number of mementoes of the great Mason, notable among
which are a number of original manuscripts and letters. When these invaluable
relics, the sight of which would make the blood ran faster in the veins of any
member of the Craft, were laid on the table before Ye Editor, he immediately
asked permission to publish in these pages Albert Pike's explanation of his
famous poem, "Every Year," about which there has been at times some
controversy. Brother R.M. Packard, a member of this Society, very generously
offered to make this possible through the use of a photostat, and to him we
are much indebted for that kindness. It may also be added here, and by way of
indicating to what further extent we Masons are under obligation to Brother
and Mrs. Packard, that they secured from the other members of the family
consent that Brother Dr. Joseph Fort Newton should prepare an authentic
biography of Albert Pike. He is now at work on that task.
Pike was more than once accused of plagiarism in composing "Every Year." The
value of the following "Explanation" is that it disposes of this question once
This poem, as first published, without my consent or knowledge, in a San
Francisco paper, was made up for Elias C. Boudinot, to be sung by him out of
five verses of six written by Colonel Halpine C. Miles O'Reilly, under the
heard Dr. Duncan, of the U.S. Volunteer Service, sing the five verses at
Vicksburg after the Civil War, and afterwards at Washington, without knowing
by whom they were written. I do not think that he knew - if he did, I never
heard him mention the author.
Mr. Boudinot learned these verses from him and was in the habit of singing
them, and to oblige him, I changed them in part, correcting defective rhymes
and what seemed to me crude and in bad form, making a single verse out of the
second and third, added four verses, and afterwards had what was so produced
printed, as in part new and in part old, there being eight verses in all,
without name of any author. I never heard Col. Halpine's name mentioned in
connection with it until years afterwards.
The poem, as he wrote it, or as it has been since published as his, is as
The Old Bachelor's New Year
Oh! the spring has less of brightness
And the snow a ghastlier whiteness
Nor do summer blossoms quicken,
Nor does autumn fruitage thicken
it did - the seasons sicken
is growing cold and colder
And I feel that I am older
And my limbs are less elastic,
And my fancy not so plastic-
Yea, my habits grow monastic
becoming bleak and bleaker
And my hopes are waxing weaker
Care I now for merry dancing,
for eyes with passion glancing?
Love is less and less entrancing
Oh, the days that I have squandered
And the friendships rudely sundered,
the ties that might have twined me,
Until time to death resigned me
infirmities remind me
Sad and sad to look before us
With a heavier shadow o'er me
behold each blossom faded,
And to know we might have made it
immortal garland, braided
Round the year.
Many a spectral, beckoning finger,
Year by year,
Chides me that so long I linger,
Year by year;
Every early comrade sleeping
the churchyard, whither, weeping,
- alone unwept - am creeping
Year by year.
The last verse Dr. Duncan and Boudinot did not sing.
The four verses made out of the first five, for Mr. Boudinot, were printed on
note paper, thus:
song Old and New - the New in Italic)
The Spring has less of brightness
And the Snow a ghostlier whiteness
Nor do Summer howers quicken,
Nor Autumn fruitage thicken,
they once did, for we sicken
is growing darker, colder,
the heart and soul grow older
care not now for dancing,
for eyes with passion glancing,
Love is less and less entrancing
Oof the loves and sorrows blended
the charms of friendship ended
the ties that still might bind me
Until Time to Death resigned me,
infirmities remind me
Ah! how sad to look before us
While the cloud grows darker o'er us
When we see the blossoms faded
That to bloom we might have aided,
And immortal garlands braided
These verses were followed by the last four of the poem which I afterwards
published as my own.
copy of the poem, "Old and New," on note-paper, was given to a lady from
California, who was expressly informed that it was not to be published; but
when she returned to San Francisco she lent it to someone who had it
published, all in Roman letter, i.e., without the distinction between the old
and new portions made by the italic type. A copy of the journal in which it
was so printed came to me, and I immediately sent to its editor a copy as
printed on note-paper, asking its publication, to relieve me of the imputation
of having published part of an old poem by an unknown author as my own.
This request was complied with, but it was too late. The mischief was done,
for the poem as printed first in that journal was widely copied and the error
could not be adequately corrected.
Then I wrote three verses, in lieu of those of Col. Halpine, and printed the
poem as my own.
Boudinot, whom Pike mentions above, wrote a letter to the Editor of the
Arkansas Sentinel, which is incorporated here by way of corroboration.] To the
Editor of Arkansas Sentinel:
short poem, with the above refrain, has been going the round of the newspapers
of the country and credited to Gen. Albert Pike. It has appeared in different
shapes, but all purport to be composed by the General. I know personally that
General Pike has made no claim to the authorship of several of the different
versions of the poem which have appeared in the papers, and ascribed to him;
and as I have been unintentionally responsible in some measure for placing him
in a position unpleasant, I consider a short explanation in order from me.
"The Old Bachelor's New Year" was written by Charles G. Halpine, well known to
the reading public as "Miles O'Reilly." Twelve years ago I sang some of the
verses to General Pike, who was pleased with them; but he suggested and made
several changes in the verses. Afterwards he revised them in other
particulars, until the verses of "Every Year," printed below, numbered 2 and
3, found their way into print without my knowledge or consent with the name of
Albert Pike as the author. The last poem - number 4 - was written by Albert
Pike, and is the only one to which he claims authorship.
[The earlier versions mentioned by Mr. Boudinot are printed above in Pike's
account. The only complete version claimed by (Boudinot's number 4), and
therefore to be taken as authentic and on his authority, is that which
Life is a count of losses
For the weak are heavier crosses,
Lost with sobs replying,
Unto weary Autumn's sighing
While those we love are dying,
The days have less of gladness,
The nights more weight of sadness,
Fair Springs no longer charm us,
The wind and weather harm us,
The threats of Death alarm us,
There comes new cares and sorrows,
Dark days and darker morrows,
The ghosts of dead loves haunt us,
The ghosts of changed friends taunt us,
And disappointments daunt us,
the past go more dead faces,
And the loved leave vacant places,
Everywhere the sad eyes meet us,
the evening's dusk they greet us,
And to come to them entreat us,
"You are growing old," they tell us,
"You are more alone," they tell us,
"You can win no new affection,
You have only recollection,
Deeper sorrow and dejection,"
The shores of life are shifting,
And we are seaward drifting,
Old places, changing, fret us,
The living more forget us,
There are fewer to regret us,
But the truer life draws nigher,
And its Morning-star climbs higher,
Earth's hold on us grows slighter,
And the heavy burden lighter,
And the Dawn Immortal brighter,
AngIo-Irish Grand Lodge
Bro. JOE L. CARSON, Virginia
following brief sketch - too brief - was written by a brother who owes it to
the Craft to write more than he does. He was personally acquainted with Hughan,
Speth, Gould, Lane, Crossle, Crawley and others among the giants across the
sea; also it is worthy of note, and of being here placed on record, that
Brother Carson assisted Henry Sadler in his search for the materials for his
epoch-making work, Masonic Facts and Fictions. It is usually supposed that all
modern Speculative Freemasonry has descended from the Grand Ledge organized in
London. in 1717, but this is not quite true to the facts, for that Grand Lodge
had a competitor to deal with from 1750 or thereabouts until 1813, when the
"United Grand Lodge of England" was formed by an amalgamation of the two.
Lodges in this land were formed by" both these Grand Bodies, so that almost as
many must trace their origin) to the Anglo-Irish, or Antient, Grand Lodge as
to the other, and this helps to explain the variations in ritual which
continue to puzzle so many. Until the end Gould, who did more than any other
to fasten on the Antients the stigma of "schismatics", refused to capitulate
to the wealth of proof advanced by Sadler, not even though his colleague and
adviser, Hughan, strongly urged him to change front. This wan one of the
principal reasons that led Brother Fred J. W. Crowe to revise Gould's Concise
History, which revision was critically renewed in The Builder January, 1922,
p. 23. The reader should also consult a communication from Brother Crowe,
published on p. 183 of the June issue, same year.
"Anglo-Irish" Grand Lodge, known as the "Antients," in their Warrant No. 11,
dated 18th June, 1755, called "The Antient Grand Lodge" - in Warrant No. 63,
dated 14th April, 1757, called "The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons" -
in Warrant No. 65, dated 27th December, 1757, called "The Most Antient and
Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons" - in Warrant No. 15, dated
17th May, 1758, called "Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted York
Masons" - in Warrant No. 44, later No. 47, called "The Grand Lodge &c
according to old constitutions granted by His Royal Highness, Prince Edwin of
York. Anno Domini - Nine Hundred Twenty & Six."
Grand Lodge was also known as "The Atholl" Grand Lodge because the third and
fourth Dukes of Atholl so long occupied the Grand Masters' chairs, and its
members were known as "Antients," "Schismatics," "Seceders," Irish-Masons,"
etc., just as the members of the Mother Grand Lodge of 1717 variously called
"The Modern Grand Lodge," "The Regular Grand Lodge," "The Constitutional Grand
Lodge," were known as "Moderns" and "Prince of Wales Masons." As a matter of
fact brethren of these rival Grand Lodges were frequently distinguished from
each other by the names of their Grand Masters.
the following short article, I will use the term "Antient" and "Modern" in
referring to these respective Grand Lodges.
the year 1740 the silk weaving business, which had for a century flourished in
and around Dublin, Ireland, began to decline as the competition of the
industry established in Spitalfields, London, attracted the operatives by the
prospect of better wages and more settled conditions. Gradually the migration
continued until finally whole "convoys" of these weavers crossed the Irish
Channel and, with their families, settled in London. Amongst these settlers
were numbers of Irish Freemasons. As a matter of fact, the first Antient Grand
Lodge roll contained the names of many of these brethren; indeed, they formed
a very large majority of the first adherents to this body. Following their
names in the occupation column, hundreds of them are described as "Weavers
Amongst the members of Lodge No. 26, Dublin, was Laurence Dermott, who "had
faithfully served all offices" and "had been regularly installed Master and
Secretary upon the 25th day of June, 1746." Dermott was a painter by
profession, clever and well educated; who, with many other members of this old
lodge followed the stream of migration to London.
the Modern Grand Lodge minutes of 11th December, 1735, we find the following
"Notice being given to the Grand Lodge that the Master and Wardens of a Lodge
from Ireland, desiring to be admitted, by virtue of a deputation from the Lord
Kingston, present Grand Master of Ireland. But it appearing there was no
particular recommendation from his Lordship in this affair, their request
could not be complied with unless they would accept a new; Constitution here."
would be more natural than these Irishmen saying to each other, "Our Grand
Master's Authority is as good and better than any New Constitution they can
give us," therefore, in consequence of the Grand Lodge doors being closed in
their faces, they naturally joined the "St. John's," or irregular lodges,
nearest their place of residence in London, or by virtue of their
"dispensation from Lord Kingston" assembled themselves in lodges of their own
formation, free from the trammels of any higher authority. These lodges became
the rallying ground for Irish Freemasons. In them they found a Masonic home in
lodges, working their own beloved ritual and speaking the "Language of the
Tribes." That such was the case is proved by the fact that in less than a
score of years, after the refusal of the Moderns to recognize or admit the
"Irish Deputation" as visitors into their aristocratic assembly, these very
brethren and their lodges were strong enough to organize themselves into a
Grand Lodge in 1753, a Grand Lodge that for sixty years was powerful enough to
shake the very foundations of the Moderns, and in 1813, at the "Glorious
Union," they practically dictated their own terms, which were akin to
unconditional surrender by the Modern Grand Lodge. Many Masonic historians
would have us believe they had been seceders, who, while far from believing
their Grand Lodge more "Antient" than that of the Moderns, believed, and were
undoubtedly correct in their belief, that their ceremonies, customs, ritual
and procedure were more ancient.
those early days, indeed, they were not looked upon as seceders, for Brother
Heseltine, Grand Secretary
FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 1803.
GRAND PROCESSION OF HIBERNIAN
EXPECTED TO PARADE. CONTRARY TO THE LAWS,
BETWEEN THE HOURS OF TEN AND FOUR FROM
CORNHILL. TO A NEW BUILDING, PELL'S GARDENS.
RATCLIFF-HIGHWAY NEAR SALT-PETRE BANK.
THENCE TO CANNONBURY HOUSE.
SOCIETY IS CALLED THE
UNITED IRISHMANS WAKE OR ROYAL MARINERS LODGE.
meeting will be conducted and headed by
PEDLER, DEPUTY GRAND.
SCOUT, GRAND SCRIBE.
PADDY O'BLARNEY, * MASTER OF THE CEREMONIES
OF FALSE WITNESSES AGAINST AMERICAN
other gentlemen of equal respectability, from that
Illustrious family at VINEGAR-HIDL near WEXFORD.
ADMIT MEN OF COLOUR, If unwilling to engage in
DESTROYING the ROYAL NAVAL and the REGULAR ANTIENT
CONSTITUTION which unfortunately for us has stood sev
thousand years and still appears like a rock &,
smiles at our attack. We have therefore come to this
resolution, that all persons who will REVOLT frolic THE
REGULAR ANTIENT ESTABLISHMENT, and VIOLATE the
SACRED TIES, AS WE HAVE DONE, and who will exert
themselves in OVERTHROWING the REGULAR ORDER of
GOVERNMENT (will be admitted gratis)
CHARITY CHILDREN will be procured and march,
BILLY PAUNCH’S COAT SHED, GREEN BANK, of
WHARF, to sanction our proceedings, all under
garb of Morality.
to be opened every Wednesday evening
o'clock, at the VIRGINIA on Pells Street,
Order of the Society,
O'BLARNEY, * W. M.
TYLER AND LECTURE MASTER.
15 Chimney Sweeps will attend the
Procession dressed in Masonic Paraphanalia.
REPAIR MY JEWELS, QUICK! To THE HIBERNIAN
RENEGADE LODGE, PELL'S STREET
the PUBLIC LEDGER AND OTHER PAPERS OF FEB.
Another rod in pickle, PAT.
THOMPSON. PRINTER. 21 EAST SMITHFIELD. LONDON.
OF "MODERN GRAND LODGE’S POSTER REVILING THE
SIZE 22 X 17 1/2 INCH - 1803.
EXPLANATION OF THE POSTER
Pedler - Thomas Harper - D.G M. of the Antients. A goldsmith and jeweller in
Scout - Robert Leslie - Gd. Sec. Antients.
Paunch - William Burwood - G.S.W. Antients. Coal merchant and tavern keeper at
Green Bank, Wapping.
Mariners' Lodge - Held in Virginia Coffee House, Corn Hill, and afterwards in
their hall Pell St., Ratcliff.
poster was written by one Doctor Francis Columbine Daniel, a Modern Mason
initiated in Lodge No. 344. His intention was to bring ridicule upon the
Antients, particularly on Thomas Harper, Robert Leslie and Miriam Burwood.
the Moderns, in his famous letter of 8th August, 1767, says, "They are a set
of men who first made their appearance about the year 1746." This does not
look like schismaticism, and Heseltine would not have spared them if he could.
Laurence Dermott, in his appearance in the Antient Grand Lodge, was at once
elected Grand Secretary by the powerful majority of Irish votes, and the "Ahiman
Rezon," which he immediately proceeded to publish, bears a remarkable
resemblance to "Spratts' Irish Constitutions." The title "Ahiman Rezon" was
first used by and originated with Dermott.
this period the "Moderns" so altered their ceremonies and ritual in many of
their vital parts that the members of the Antient Grand Lodge, or the Grand
Lodges of Ireland and Scotland, were unable to work an entrance to the Modern
Lodges or recognize each other in ancient Masonic manner.
his election as Grand Secretary, Dermott had to undergo a "long and minute
examination relative to Initiation, Passing, Installations, and general
regulations, &c, &c, &c, and Brother John Morgan declared that Brother
Laurence Dermott was duly <qualified for the office of Grand Secretary."
Brother John Morgan was the late Grand Secretary of the Antients. If,
therefore, Dermott was so well qualified on all points and had just arrived
from Ireland, the Irish and Antient working must have been very close kin to
each other if not exactly alike.
the Moderns themselves acknowledged their formidable rival to be Irish we have
ample proof. In 1766 an Antient Mason is described in their books as an "Irish
York Mason." In 1776 the Antients are called the "Irish Faction." In 1786
Antient Warrants were referred to as "Irish Warrants," and Antient lodges
were, in 1793, dubbed "Irish Lodges."
Nearly all the members of the first lodge in the Antient roll were Irishmen,
many of them belonging to Lodge 26, Dublin, the lodge, as I said before, to
which Dermott belonged - Dermott, now their Grand Secretary, and afterwards
their Deputy Grand Master.
Antients and the Grand Lodge of Ireland had the same method of affixing Grand
Lodge seals. The seals were affixed on the same colored ribbons and in the
same manner. The Moderns never used ribbons for seals or warrants at any time.
The Irish warrants covered all degrees up to the Royal Arch, and often higher,
as also did the warrants of the Antients.
Irish and Antients had their certificates in Latin and English, the Moderns in
systems of registration in the books of the Irish Grand Lodge and those of the
Antients, their Book of Constitutions, their By-Laws of private lodges, Grand
Lodge seals, etc., etc., were very similar if not exactly alike, and both
entirely different from those of the Moderns.
Naturally the Grand Lodge of Ireland extended a speedy and hearty recognition
to this Irish-born Grand Lodge. From the minutes of the Grand Lodge of the
Antients, March 1,1758, we learn from a letter under the hand of Brother John
Calder, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, that "The Grand Lodge
of Ireland did mutually concur in a strict union with the Antient Grand Lodge
in London, and promised to keep up a constant correspondence with them."
"Ordered that the Grand Secretary shall draw up and answer in the most
respectful and Brotherly terms, wherein the general thanks of this Grand Lodge
shall be conveyed, and assure them that we will, to the utmost of our powers,
promote the welfare of the Craft in General." From the date of that
recognition, in 1758, to the date of the International Compact, in 1814, the
fraternal communications with the Grand Lodge of the Moderns ceased, so much
so that wherever the Grand Lodge of England is mentioned it was the Grand
Lodge of the Antients that was meant.
the relations with the Moderns were thus severed, year by year official
compliments were regularly passed between the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the
Grand Lodge of Scotland was almost as uncompromising in holding aloof from the
Grand Lodge of the Moderns. It was not until the International Compact
restored homogeneity to the Freemasonry of the British Isles that she dropped
her hostility. As a matter of fact, the Grand Lodges of both Ireland and
Scotland, as well as the Antients, seem to have been ignored by the Grand
Lodge of the Moderns, nor did this Grand body seem to have greatly cared to
extend its fraternal relations to any of them; perhaps its aristocratic
learnings inclined it to view with supreme indifference, the claims of
brethren who had their being in less favored social circles.
right of visitation was refused and the Grand Lodge of Ireland felt
constrained to place in their minutes a resolution, "That they do not feel it
possible to make any order for the admission of 'Modern' Masons into Antient
1759 the Moderns refused assistance to the Irish Brother, William Carroll. The
Irish Committee of Charity followed the ill-omened example by turning down
every application for relief from adherents of the Moderns. The Grand Master
of Ireland, William, Duke of Leinster, assisted by the Grand Master of
Scotland, installed the Duke of Atholl as Grand Master of the Antients in
1775; conversely, in 1786, the Earl of Antrim, Grand Master of the Antients,
presided in the Grand Lodge of Ireland on St. John's Day, signing the minutes
as "Grand Master of England."
several years fencing and compromise, in which there had to be a great deal of
"give and take," the spirit of brotherhood overcame all other feelings and
interests; the "Glorious Union of December, 1813," happily united these
warring factions, and the Antients and Moderns joined hands to form "The
United Grand Lodge of England.” This was followed, in 1814, by the
International Compact, the most important official document ever promulgated
among English-speaking Freemasons, which settled forever all points of
communion, intercourse and fraternization between the Grand Lodge of Ireland,
the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the United Grand Lodge of England.
anyone, in the face of such evidence, believe that these Antient brethren were
"Seceders," "Rebels" or "Schismatics"? The stigma has been on the fair name of
the Antient Grand Lodge so long it appears only fair to let Ireland again
"come into her own," give Irish Freemasons credit for the salvation of Craft
Masonry at a period when Modern rubbish was beginning to bury the ancient
foundations under a landslide of quasi-Masonic ceremonies, and call the
Antient Grand Lodge by its proper name, the "Anglo-Irish Grand Lodge."
on record that the Fourth Duke of Atholl, about nine months before he attained
his majority, on March 1, 1775, was initiated, passed, raised, installed as
Master and elected as Grand Master all in one day. - The Masonic Record.
Masonic Knowledge a Necessity
One of the chief obstacles in the path of the great enterprise of Masonic
education is the feeling that a knowledge of the Craft is a luxury in which a
few may indulge themselves, but has no other function or need. As a matter of
fact, nothing is more necessary to us all. To carry on our work as Masons
without a clear understanding of what we are about and how to do it, is as
impossible as to run a business, with no understanding of trade or commerce.
one of us untravelled persons were to be unexpectedly abandoned in the heart
of Paris he would find himself in a predicament; he could not make his wants
known to the nauves with their so different tongue; he could not find himself
about the streets with unintelligible names; he would not even know how to
protect himself against possible dangers in a place with the ways of which he
had no familiarity at all. In such a pass a man might unwittingly do
something exceedingly rash, or he might stand miserably still and do nothing,
or, what would be even more unpleasant, might, by his untaught actions, make
himself ridiculous. To become the butt of ridicule is not by any means the
least of misfortune.
This is a picture, over-coloured perhaps, yet not greatly exaggerated, of the
plight in which an initiate finds himself after he has been raised to the
Sublime Degree of Master Mason and given the freedom of the lodge. In the new
world into which he has been born he hears a language with which he is only a
little familiar; he is set to do unwonted tasks; he is at great difficulty to
find his way about among rules, rites and customs that are as unlike the
habits of the outside world as anything could be. It is perfectly obvious
that this man must do one of two things; he must quietly retreat and not run
the risks of activity where he knows so little, or else he must learn
something about the great organization with which he has united.
the old days when Masons were engaged in the actual tasks of erecting
buildings, the initiate was not thus left to his own devices, but was
indentured to a Master Mason obligated to teach him the rudiments of the
trade; he was instructed carefully in the rules of a lodge; and he was not
permitted to engage in the occupations of a builder until he had learned
something of the art. Above all, he was not allowed to sit idly by, or to
have no further connection with the lodge except to pay his dues. The officers
saw to it that he was given his place, set his task, and instructed in his new
Lodges and Grand Lodges of Speculative Masonry - which is engaged in building
men rather than cathedral, a more delicate and difficult task - are beginning
to learn anew the necessity for some such instruction of the initiate. They
believe it is unfair to expect a man to learn all about so complicated a thing
by himself; they are seeing that it is expecting too much of him to become
active in such a Craft out of his own initiative. Consequently, they are
beginning to encourage the organization of Study Clubs, to create an adequate
and intelligible literature, and to stimulate interest in Masonry among
Masons. Also it is coming more generally to be understood that petitioning
for membership in a lodge is in itself a tacit agreement to assist in carrying
on the lodge's activities, and that a member, by virtue of his membership, is
honour bound to learn something about Masonry in order that he may take his
place and fulfil his duties, so that the individual himself is more and more
feeling the need for some sort of education in the arts, parts and mysteries
of Freemasonry. One thing is certain: a man cannot hope to pass through the
chairs with credit to himself, or engage in any other activity of his lodge,
or enjoy his own rights and privileges in Masonry, or ever have a true and
intelligent understanding of Masonry, without a little study of it. Such
study is not a luxury for the few, but a necessity for the many; it is a duty,
a practical need.
There is much to learn about Masonry, because it is so very great. There are,
more than two and three-quarters of millions of men under the obedience of
Grand Lodges in this land alone; and there are nearly three-quarters of a
million brethren living in foreign lands, if it is allowable to call any land
foreign to a Mason who believes that
"God hath made mankind one vast brotherhood, Himself the Master, and the
world His Lodge."
There are in the United States more than 700,000 Royal Arch Masons; about
275,000 members of the Council and about 375,000 Knights Templars; in the
Scottish Rite bodies are some 500,000, and the Shrine, which is so closely
allied to the Masonic bodies strictly so called, has passed the 500,000 mark.
THE CRAFT IS A COMPLICATED STRUCTURE
The life of this vast fraternity is almost as rich and multifarious as that of
a nation of people, so that the organizations necessary to carry forward such
an amount of activity are numerous and, to the novice, bewilderingly
complicated. The first three degrees, Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and
Master Mason, are administered under the jurisdiction of lodges and Grand
Lodges, and together comprise what is familiarly known as the Blue Lodge -
more accurately called Symbolical, or Ancient Craft Masonry.
The four degrees called Capitular (meaning done in a chapter) are conferred in
a Royal Arch Chapter, and these chapters, in most cases, are under the
supervision of the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons. The three Cryptic
degrees (having reference to a vault or underground passage) are conferred in
a Council, and councils are under the jurisdiction of the General Grand
Council, Royal and Select Masters. The three Templar degrees (so called from
connection through tradition with the Temple at Jerusalem) are conferred in a
Commandery, and commanderies are governed by a Grand Encampment of Knights
The thirty Scottish Rite degrees are conferred in the Southern Jurisdiction by
four separate bodies; four to fourteen, inclusive, in a Lodge of Perfection;
fifteen to eighteen, inclusive, in a Chapter of Rose-Croix; nineteen to
thirty, inclusive, in a Council of Kadosh; and thirty-one and thirty-two,
inclusive, in a Consistory. The thirty-third degree is conferred in Supreme
Council. In the Northern Jurisdiction these degrees are differently
distributed, as follows: four to fourteen, inclusive, in Lodge of Perfection;
fifteen and sixteen, inclusive, in Council, Princes of Jerusalem; seventeen
and eighteen, inclusive, in Chapter Rose Croix; nineteen to thirty-two,
inclusive, in Consistory; and thirty-third in Supreme Council. There are two
Supreme Councils, one the Northern, having jurisdiction over all Consistories
north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi, and the Southern, which
rules over all other states.
addition to all these bodies, which comprise what may literally and accurately
be described as Freemasonry in this land, there are scores of auxiliary, or
non-Masonic bodies, closely allied and requiring Masonic membership, or blood
relatives in Masonic membership: the Shrine; Eastern Star; Grotto; Sciots;
Tall Cedars; Red Cross of Constantine; Rainbow; Job's Daughters; Daughters of
Nile; National League of Masonic Clubs; Masonic Service Association, etc.
The majority of Masons never go farther (as we say) than the Blue Lodge, but
it would be a mistake to assume that Blue Lodge Masonry is elementary or
simple; on the contrary, it is something very profound and world-wide so that
a man may devote himself to the study of it for a lifetime and never come to
the end. The winning of Masonic knowledge properly begins with the first
three degrees, and with the magnificent organizations built up about them, and
the equally magnificent and very humane activities through which they express
themselves in the life of men.
this land all Blue Lodges operate under the authority of Grand Lodges, of
which we have forty-nine, one for each state, including the District of
Columbia. Each Grand Lodge is sovereign and supreme in its own jurisdiction
and will permit no other Masonic authority whatever to organize lodges inside
its boundaries, a principle known as "the doctrine of exclusive jurisdiction."
Attempts have been ever since the eighteenth century to organize a National
Grand Lodge, and even now an occasional individual raises a plea for such a
body, but it is pretty certain that such a thing will never be, for it would
require every Grand Lodge to depart from its own constitutions and landmarks,
and that is impossible to contemplate.
But while these Grand Lodges are thus separate and apart, like independent
political states, there is another sense in which they are all one, because
they employ the same ritual (except for various modifications to be studied in
these pages in the future) and adhere to a set of landmarks, customs and
practices which render it possible for them to cooperate in many ways. When a
Grand Lodge believes that some other Grand Lodge has wandered from the true
Masonic path it withdraws Fraternal Recognition, as we say, and forbids its
members visiting in any of the subordinate bodies of the offending Grand
Lodge. (Kansas and New Hampshire have recently suffered such a split.) Each
Grand Lodge maintains its own institutions, charities, set of officers, has
its own traditions, landmarks and history. Nothing is more fascinating than
to study how all these Grand Bodies maintain a real and deeply rooted unity in
spite of all their differences, and nothing is more necessary to a Mason than
such a study, unless he is content to remain in utter ignorance of
"IT IS THE DEAD WHO GOVERN"
When a Mason comes to learn about this world-encircling organization which has
conferred on him the honours of membership, he will discover that these
lodges, chapters, councils, and commanderies and consistories, are one and all
governed by the past in a way true of no other institution except the Roman
Catholic Church. The great saying so beloved of Albert Pike is almost
literally true among us, that it is the dead who govern, the living who obey.
Freemasonry cannot initiate a candidate, or pass a law, or strike out on any
new path whatever without first consulting its own history; nor can any man
capture the most elementary understanding of the work of any or all of the
degrees except he first learn something of that story.
Freemasonry is a structure in which there are a few things new and many things
old; in which there are stones, statues, pictures, pedestals, capitals and
carvings from every nation under the sun, and inscribed with all the languages
of the world, living or dead, so that if one is to trace out the origin and
meaning of each thing in it he will have to travel far through many records
and make acquaintance with all mankind. Every scribe who has ever tried to
write a history of Masonry has encountered this difficulty, that he does not
know where or when to begin, and is embarrassed to discover how to crowd into
one book a story that touches upon all the ages and borrows something from
almost every civilization and culture that has ever existed. The evolutions
and affiliations of our ritual, philosophy, symbology, jurisprudence and
history go out in all directions and in some way link onto tribes and people
whom most of us have utterly forgotten, and in many cases of whom few of us
have ever heard. The rank and file cannot, of course, ever have the wish or
opportunity to acquaint themselves with so rich and inexhaustible a history as
this, but everyone, unless he is content to remain in utter ignorance, must
learn something of it all in broad outline and in principle. If we are going
to abide by the ancient landmarks we must understand what the landmarks are,
and what they mean.
This great Society is a vast and complicated organism, and to govern and
manage it is in itself almost a profession. There are many offices to be
filled; many tasks to be performed; many committees to serve; laws to pass,
interpret and enforce; and there are millions of dollars invested in building
and charity funds which must be protected and wisely administered. The rules
and regulations for carrying on such activities make up Masonic jurisprudence,
and that also is a subject rich in interest, about which each Mason must learn
Meanwhile this Society is at work in the world today, as it should be,
influencing the lives of men and helping to shape the policy of nations.
Things are going on somewhere all the time, and Masons, in the name of their
obedience, are helping carry forward the work of the world. Unless one is
content to live blindly in his lodge, and continue untouched by the breath of
the rife that quickens everywhere, he will need to know something about
Masonic history as it is now making itself. The past that we inherit is not a
dead thing that lies inertly in our possession; it is alive and moving,
creating today and shaping the unborn tomorrows.
MASONRY IS FULL OF RICHES
Outside of and apart from all this - perhaps I should have said, over and
above all this - there remains the discovery of what a privilege it is to be a
Mason. In our mysteries there are unsearchable riches for the individual
mind. Some of these days a fine and beautiful literature will grow out of the
Masonic life; dramas will be written, poems created, music composed and
pictures painted to express the secret gifts which the Craft is able to confer
on the heart and imagination of the private member. We shall discover
ourselves in ownership of a treasure, the value of which we have until now
largely overlooked, and we shall want to appropriate for our own uses all
these unsearchable riches.
Thus it comes about that the study of Masonry is not a thing for students
merely, for the few, carried on in bookish corners to satisfy a craving for
erudition, but is the breath and moving power and active wisdom of all,
without which it is impossible for lodges and Grand Lodges to get forward with
their business, or for individuals ever to enter into the fullness of the
inheritance which is theirs. Its purpose is to put Masons into possession of
their Masonry, and to make Masonry prevail in the world.
Bro. HENRY TAYLOR, Missouri
the candidate's experiences of initiation the hoodwink plays a larger part
than we are wont to think. To him it is one of the most impressive of the
things that are done to him. Being darkened, his other senses are all the
more alert; what he touches, hears or smells takes on an added significance.
His imagination is aroused, everything becomes magnified, so that some of the
simplest things done about him, steps taken or words said, assume almost
terrifying magnitudes. His fears and apprehensions are abnormally active. In
this state he is, so far as his emotions and mind are concerned, in a state of
such impressibility that every stage of his experience leaves behind it an
indelible memory. The reader may verify this for himself by recalling his own
impressions, especially of his First Degree, though there were times
afterwards when his being in darkness possessed an even greater power to move
him to fear and awe. It is, no doubt, because darkness heightens all the
sensibilities, and thereby increases the effect of the ceremonies, that the
Hoodwink is used. It is an instrument of psychological effect.
This was early discovered by those in charge of initiations, for it is a
matter of record that in the most ancient ceremonies the candidate was made to
walk in darkness, either by shutting all light from the room or by the use of
the Hoodwink. It was so in the ceremonies of Eleusis, of Isris and of Mithras;
it was doubtless so in a hundred other secret fraternities of which no records
remain to us.
regards our own rites, it should be carefully noted that the purpose of the
Hoodwink is not to hide things from the candidate. There is nothing to hide.
Moreover, all that there is is later on revealed, for the Hoodwink is removed
in the early part of the ceremonies. The Hoodwink is a thing to be used to
bring about a certain state of mind, and to suggest certain ideas, and may,
therefore, be classified as a symbol.
Like the manner in which the candidate finds himself clothed, and the way
whereby he finds himself rendered helpless and utterly dependent on his
guides, the Hoodwink may be considered as a symbol of the weakness and
destitution of the uninitiated. Initiation is a process of birth into a new
world, or into a new relation, or into a new order of experience: relative to
that new world into which he is about to enter, the candidate is like the babe
unborn, a helpless creature lying bound in its mother's womb. Accordingly he
is in darkness: not yet born he has no use of his eyes, and no light whereby
to see if he could use them.
The effect and meaning of the Hoodwink, as the candidate himself knows and
feels it, may be thus interpreted, but there is a larger meaning to the
Hoodwink, considered as a thing apart, as one of the many symbols of the
lodge, which, if we will consider it aright, will lead us into an order of
ideas from which much light flows. Indeed, I have come to believe, after some
study of the matter, that the Hoodwink, and the rites and experiences
attendant upon it, deserves a place among the outstanding landmarks (if I may
thus use a word usually reserved for other connections) of our system of
searching for its meaning as one of the major symbols it is significant to
note that the Hoodwink is removed (symbolically, that is) by the declaration
that there must be light, and that there is light. When the light comes the
darkness flees away. The lodge does not cause anything to come into existence
that was not already there; it creates nothing; it furnishes the candidate
with no new faculties or senses; it furnishes nothing but light.
All this is true in a great way of human experience everywhere. The "profane"
is one to whom a thing has not yet been revealed; he cannot see. But it is
not because anyone has deliberately and arbitrarily forbidden him to see; his
blindness is in himself, and is his own fault. There at his side is the
object of his search, or, it may be, the great truth of which he has dreamed,
but he sees nothing of either because his eyes are holden. When he has
learned how to open his eyes, light comes and he can make his own that for
which he has searched. The real initiation is an internal awakening whereby
he who before was blind to that which lay before him can now behold it, who
now can make his own that which he needs.
another order of speech this is fitly called "revelation," which word carries
within itself its own truest definition. Revelation does not create that
which did not before exist; it lifts the veil and makes apparent. One stands
before a window which opens out upon a range of the Alps, but the blind is
drawn and the mountains are as if they were not; then the blind is lifted and
the mountains stand forth to the eye. That is a picture of what takes place
When the first man drew breath in this life it was true that objects acted
toward each other in that invariable manner which we describe as gravity, but
this gravity was as though it were not until at last, in this far end of
history, Sir Isaac Newton found his Hoodwink lifted and his eyes opened. That
same first man walked about upon a spherical earth which turned upon its own
axis and revolved about the sun, but it was not until Copernicus and his
followers learned to see this which had so long existed that for us it became
a fact. In both cases nothing was created, a blind was lifted.
When in our own lodges the candidate is brought to light it is in order that
he may have unimpeded vision of the Great Lights of Masonry, which same lie
before him as symbolized by the Holy Book, the Square and the Compasses. Now
there is no need here that we undertake an interpretation of these symbols; it
will be understood what are the realities represented by them. The point is
to note that the things for the sake of which Masonry exists are things that
Masonry did not bring into existence and which are in no sense its private
property. Always and forever God is, and God is the Father of us all; always
and forever man is the brother of man, whatever man himself may believe about
it; always and forever the human being is immortal, and all the laws of
righteousness are as universal and immutable as gravity itself. But just as
the law of gravitation was hidden from human minds for millennia of time until
there came minds capable of seeing it, so with these matters, the purpose of
the Masonic initiation is to "open the young man's eyes" in order that he may
be brought into possession of those truths. Masonry does not create, it
reveals, and the removal of the Hoodwink symbolizes that fact.
the case of the scientists above mentioned the act of vision came after a long
intellectual preparation. That intellectual preparation was to them their own
proper internal initiation. In making one's own those moral and spiritual
realities of which Masonry is composed, and which is its function to put into
the possession of its initiates, something more than intellectual preparation
is required, though it must ever be remembered that Masonry is a patron of
education and the sciences, as well as of the moral and religious life. A
preparation of the whole man is needed, of the hands, the ears, the emotions,
the memories, as well as the intellect.
For it is true that, as the old saying attributed to St Francis has it, "We
know as much as we are." In proportion as a man grows impure all that is meant
by purity ceases to exist or grows remote and apparently unreal. "Blessed are
the pure in heart for they shall see God." In proportion as a man develops the
habit of lying and of being a lie, the truth will fly from him and seem to
vanish. The pathway to moral reality lives through character.
This, I believe, holds true of that which is the search of searches, the one
Grand Object of all Initiation - the knowledge of God. Why is it that to so
many men God is as though He were not? It is not because God Himself sets out
to conceal Himself from His own children; it is not because, for some profound
reasons of providence or creation, it is necessary that God veil Himself. It
is because these men have never made that internal preparation whereby alone
God can be known. The path to Him is the most secret of all paths, not
because He has arbitrarily chosen to make it so, but because it leads through
the hidden motives of the heart and the innermost chambers of the soul. One
of our poets has written of this with penetration:
made a pilgrimage to find the God;
listened for His voice at holy tombs,
Searched for the prints of His immortal feet
the dust of broken altars; yet turned back
With empty heart. But on the homeward road
great light came upon me and I heard
The God's voice ringing in a nesting lark;
Felt His sweet wonder in a growing rose;
Received His blessing from a wayside well;
Looked on His beauty in a lover's face;
Saw His bright hand send signal from the sun."
can afford to ignore the note of unreal sentimentality in these lines in order
that they may furnish us with a concrete picture of that which is the ultimate
secret in all initiations whatsoever. As you read, as I write, God is about
us each; He is here as surely as He is in any other world whatsoever; we are
as well able to find Him here and to know Him here as we shall ever be. There
is no veil between us and some other world in which He dwells; this world in
which we live is as much His world as any, and He is here if only we can learn
to know Him. And we can learn to know Him if we rightly practice the profound
saying that the pure in heart shall see him. The gentle Linnaeus inscribed
over his doorway the sentence, "Live innocently, God is present." We might,
without irreverence to that wise teacher, reverse the saying to read, "If you
live innocently God will be here." For all knowledge comes to us through the
soul, and if the soul itself is veiled and clouded by passion and untruth, how
shall we know? How shall we know anything that is worth knowing? "If thy heart
were right," says Thomas a' Kempis, "all creatures would be to thee a book of
These reflections have conducted us to the true meaning, I venture to believe,
of esotericism, or of Occultism. There is and can be no esotericism in the
sense that God has whispered into the ears of a few favourites the ultimate
truths and left the rest to us, the uncounted millions of the rest of us,
outside the closed circle of those knowing ones. There is no esotericism in
the sense that in order to discover any truth we must join some secret
society. No secret society in existence, one may venture to say with a touch
of dogmatism, possesses any truth that the wise men of the earth have not long
ago discovered. The truths taught by all the occult fraternities are truths
that men tell each other on the street corners. But there is a true
esotericism, one may say that it is almost an eternal esotericism, for it is
inconceivable that it will ever cease to be, and it consists in this, that
truth is possessed only by those who are inwardly prepared to possess it. A
man who possesses the light may help another to see it; may teach him many
things that help him to open his eyes, but after all is done the major part
remains to the seeker himself. He must open out the paths through his own
mind and heart; he must inwardly prepare himself. Until he does the light
cannot be his, and to him those who do possess it are living in an esoteric
the inward and constitutional lack of faculty, the Hoodwink is the fitting
symbol. It stands for that darkness which is due, not to accident, or to
tyranny, but to a lack in the soul itself, which the darkened one alone has
the means to remove.
MEN WHO WERE NOT MASONS
greatly indebted to you for recent assistance, and also for opportunity to see
Masons as Makers of America, by Dr. Madison Peters. I note that Dr. Peters
claims Sam Adams for the fraternity, but you write that he was not a Mason.
The Grand Secretary of Massachusetts has also written that he was not.
also read in some Masonic literature, issued I believe by the Grand Lodge of
New York, that James Madison was a Mason, but you say that he was not. Dr.
Peters says he was. I wish we could prove Peters right because Madison had a
chief hand in writing the Constitution of the United States.
Accuracy is needed in these matters and I hope you are bent on accuracy and
nothing less than accuracy. Once we learn who were and who were not Masons we
can proceed more intelligently in our account of the part Masonry has played
in American life.
hope you will find out positively about General Winfield Scott, General Meade,
Admiral Farragut and Admiral Dewey.
Lincoln was not a Mason. I once wrote John Hay, who was one of Lincoln's two
secretaries, to ask that question, and he replied in the negative. Neither can
we claim former President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard for our membership. He
has written me himself to that effect.
R. Rose, New Jersey.
are right, Brother Rose, in demanding accuracy in these matters; to claim
every great man right and left, regardless of proof, is a piece of vulgarity
from which we shall profit nothing. Meanwhile, let us have for THE BUILDER
your own findings in regard to these important matters, yours and any other
brother's who may be similarly at work. As for accuracy we may reply in the
words of the girl in The Lady of the Decoration, that "we do our darnedest."
Men Who Were Masons
Commodore Edward Preble
Bro.GEO. W. BAIRD, P.G.M., District of Columbia
THOUGH it is not familiar to the average , citizen, Edward Preble's is one of
the best known names in the history of the Naval Service, and one of the most
interesting. He was born in 1761 on what was then called Falmouth Neck, Maine,
the site of the now populous city of Portland. He died there in 1807, and was
buried in the old Eastern Cemetery, the grave being marked by "a simple stone,
with the inscription, 'In memory of Edward Preble of the United States Navy.
Died August 25, 1807, aged 46 years. Commodore of the U. S. S. Constitution.'"
"Commodore" was a title of courtesy and was, and still is, bestowed upon an
officer commanding more than one ship. The first commission our government
ever issued to a commodore was to D. G. Farragut in 1862.
Except for the very modest stone above mentioned no memorial to Commodore
Preble is in existence; but there is a very superior portrait in oils at the
Naval Academy, a reproduction of which accompanies this article. I am indebted
to Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, present Superintendent of the Academy, for
Edward Preble began his career as a sailor on board a privateer in 1777 and
continued two years in that service. All ships depended on sails in those
times, so that life was strenuous from the time anchor was weighed until it
was let go again and the sails clewed up and furled. It was an imperative
thing that a youth know how to knot and splice, as well as to reef and furl;
such education left little time for leisure, but it built into his nature the
habits of industry and discipline.
1779 our hero entered the provincial marine of Massachusetts as a midshipman,
the duties of which were not so strenuous so that he found some time for
study. It is remarkable to discover how much he, and other men under similar
circumstances, managed to learn from books. He was in the action between the
Protector and the British privateer General Duff during the Revolution.
Afterwards he was captured and confined on the prison ship Jersey in the
harbor of New York. When released he joined the Massachusetts war vessel
Winthrop and remained with that ship until 1782, during which period he once
distinguished himself by boarding, with fourteen men, an armed brig lying off
Castine and carrying her off under fire of the enemy's shore batteries. After
peace was declared Preble returned to the merchant service, in which he
remained fifteen years. The nation was too poor at that time to afford a navy
in peace times.
1799 he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Navy and was given command of the
Pickering, a small ship stationed in the Windward Islands; but later, in the
same year, was promoted to a captaincy and given command of the Essex. While
on this command he once convoyed home from Batavia a fleet of fourteen
merchant vessels to prevent their being pillaged by the French, who were then
preying on our commerce.
1803 he was placed in command of the fleet sent by our Government against
Tripoli, his flag ship being the old Constitution. He came to anchor with a
part of his squadron at Tangier and there carried on the negotiations that
prevented a war with Morocco. A month later he declared a blockade of Tripoli.
The Philadelphia, under command of Captain Bainbridge, had been run upon the
rock by the Tripoli seamen and thus captured, but was afterwards destroyed at
anchor by Lieutenant Decatur, also a Mason, in February, 1804.
July 25 of the same year Captain Preble appeared before Tripoli with fifteen
vessels, including eight small ships borrowed from the Neapolitan government,
and began an attack, which he concentrated on the Tripolitan squadron,
protected by shore batteries. Of these he captured three and sunk three more.
On the 7th he made another attack, but with less success, as the Tripolitans
remained nearer shore. In this attack he lost one of his own vessels. He
renewed the attack on the 28th, upon which one of the enemy vessels was sunk,
two were driven ashore and the others retreated; during this engagement the
Constitution itself lay nearly an hour within pistol shot of the mole to
deliver a destructive fire on the town batteries. A week later Preble once
again returned to the attack, but this time was so hotly repelled that he was
obliged to haul off his whole fleet. The Intrepid was then converted into a
fire ship, with one hundred barrels of powder and one hundred and fifty shells
above the powder, which Captain Somers and Lieutenant Wadsworth, with thirteen
men, volunteered to take into the harbor to explode; but the shore batteries
opened successful fire upon her and exploded her prematurely, and not one of
the volunteers escaped. Soon afterwards Captain Samuel Barron arrived aboard
the frigate President and relieved Preble of command. Upon his return to the
United States Preble was given the thanks of Congress and a gold medal.
Grand Secretary of Massachusetts writes me that Edward Preble was initiated in
St. Andrews Lodge, Boston, May 8, 1783, and took the Fellowcraft Degree
February 9, 1786.
STRUGGLE FOR MENTAL LIBERTY
HISTORY OF FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, J. B. Bury, No. 69 of Home University Library.
Published by Henry Holt & Company. Cloth, 252 pp., bibliography, index. May be
purchased through book department of the National Masonic Research Society.
the collapse of the civilization of the Roman Empire there gradually grew up
in its place another civilization which may be described as Medievalism, and
which found its perfect and adequate literary expression in Dante's Divine
Comedy and in Thomas Aquinas's Summa, and which reached its most perfect
political and moral expression in the Holy Inquisition. The root of this
entire system was supernaturalism. Men devoutly believed that over and outside
of this known human world there stands another, a non-human world, in which
alone is truth, and life, and God; between these two worlds was a wall great
and high through which no mortal could make his way. But it was further
believed that this wall had been broken through from the other side, and that
there had been built up in the human world a great supernatural organization
by means of which men could be governed out of heaven, and this organization
was known as the Roman Catholic Church, which was not a church at all, in the
present day sense, but a world order having final authority over everything,
so that in its keeping were the keys of heaven and hell, and all other things
beside. Under such a system it was deemed a crime for men to think or act for
themselves, because in their own nature there was nothing but corruption and
error. This system lay on Europe like an incubus until at last it had
destroyed science, mutilated art, and left the mind of man atrophied and
a state of affairs could not be indefinitely tolerated, for man has in himself
a craving for life and more life that cannot forever be brooked; therefore,
under the leadership of brave and mighty souls a war was made upon Medievalism
until at last it was broken and shattered, and left like a mossy ruin on a
hill apart. The history of this struggle between light and darkness, between
life and death, between freedom and slavery is one of the most thrilling and
enthralling in all the annals of our race, and in that history there is no
chapter so illuminating as that which tells of how we men wrested from
authoritativeness the right to think for ourselves, and to shape our lives to
happiness in the world as it actually is.
history is on record in a number of works of great scholarship, among which
are these: History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in
Europe, by W. E. H. Lecky; History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in
Christendom, by A. D. White; A Short History of Free-thought, Ancient and
Modern, by J. M. Robertson; The History of English Rationalism in the
Nineteenth Century, by A. W. Benn; A History of the Inquisition of the Middle
Ages, by H. Lea; History of Freedom and Other Essays, by Lord Acton; the
Cambridge Medieval History, to which many specialists contributed; and The
Conflict Between Science and Religion, by J. W. Draper.
difficulty with all these works, so far as the average busy man is concerned,
is that they require an amount of erudition and of time which he does not
always have at his disposal, so that he is like one who cannot travel in a
country for lack of means to enter it. It is this fact that helps us to
appreciate the value of the little book, A History of Freedom of Thought, by
J. B. Bury. Professor Bury is one of the very chief of living scholars and
historians, as the reader will know who has seen his History of Greece,
History of the Eastern Roman Empire, History of the Later Roman Empire, and
his piquant book on St. Patrick. In the History of the Freedom of Thought, to
which it is the purpose of the present essay to call attention, he writes with
as much scholarship as in his larger works, but he has designed it in matter
and manner so as to make it easy to read by those who have not a large
background of historical knowledge. It is published as No. 69 of The Home
University Library, produced by the Henry Holt & Company. It contains only 250
pages, in clear and pungent language, along with an index and a bibliography.
are seven chapters in addition to an Introduction, the titles of which will
more quickly convey a sense of the scope and sweep of the book than any amount
of description: Reason Free ( Greece and Rome); Reason in Prison (The Middle
Ages); Prosspect of Deliverance (The Renaissance and The Reformation);
Religious Toleration; The Growth of Rationalism (Seventeenth and Eighteenth
Centuries); The Progress of Rationalism (Nineteenth Century); and The
Justification of Liberty of Thought.
are faults here and there, as goes without saying, and there are some
over-statements born out of a burning zeal for his subject, but such
shortcomings are of little consequence; the principal thing is that Professor
Bury infects his reader with his own enthusiasm for the cause of Freedom of
Thought, and at the same time furnishes him with a clear outline of the story
of how men have striven to wrest themselves free from superstition without and
within. This is sufficient to recommend the work to us Masons, for if there is
anything true of Freemasonry it is that it exists to break a lance in the
warfare for humanity, and teaches to all men the goodness and graces of
toleration, freedom, enlightenment, and the utmost liberty of the mind. "Let
there be light," such is the Masonic word; we have need of every possible aid
in making that word prevail, because there yet remains in the world, for all
the upheavals that have taken place in it, a vast amount of bigotry, ignorance
GREAT WORK ON SYMBOLISM
Symbolism of Churches and Church Ornaments, a Translation of the First Book of
the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, written by William Durandus, with an
Introductory Essay and Notes by J. M. Neale and Benj. Webb. Third Edition.
Published by Gibbings & Company, London. May be purchased through the National
Masonic Research Society.
WILLIAM DURANDUS was born in Provonce in or near the year 1220. He first
attracted general attention by a learned work on canon law; afterwards he
became, in turn, Chaplain to Pope Clement IV; Auditor of the Sacred Palace; a
captain of Papal Forces, in which office he proved himself a soldier fearless
and valiant, and lastly Bishop of Mende, a high office of which he became
incumbent in 1286. It was during this bishopric that he composed the work here
under review, described by the learned editors as being "the most valuable
work on Symbolism which the Middle Ages can furnish."
Rationale was the first book, except for works of the Biblical writers, ever
to pass through the printing press. It first appeared from the press of Fust
in 1459, which was eight years after the reputed natal date of Christopher
Columbus. Thirteen editions appeared during the fifteenth century and thirteen
during the sixteenth. The edition here noted was translated from the editions
of 1473 and 1599.
Nothing but praise can be said of this translation. the editors contribute,
out of their own wisdom, a wonderfully beautiful Introductory Essay on
symbolism that one will find it hard to equal for quiet insight and gentle,
almost delicate, expression. As for the text itself, that is more perfect
still, as chaste in manner as a classic and always instinct with beauty.
William Durandus has been well dealt with by his friends after these four
our brethren of those old times a church was not the same thing as among us,
but far more; it was a place in which to worship; a shrine of the actual
presence of God; a community center; a public exhibition of art, and a great
writing in stone and wood which the common folk loved to ponder over in a time
before the printed page was dreamed of. Into the facades of the greater
buildings the Masons somehow managed to incorporate, by sculpture, picture and
inscription, almost all of the then known knowledge, so that a cathedral was
not only a Bible, as Ruskin once described it with happy inspiration,
embowering the mysteries of redemption, but also an encyclopaedia crowded with
the equally sacred mysteries of the arts and sciences. Properly considered,
those old structures remain until now as an index rerum of the best that was
thought and known in the Middle Ages, so that one gains a new insight into the
length, and breadth, and height of the genius of the operative builders who
wrought their lives and souls into their work.
church, then, was far more than a building. Every part and detail of it had
many meanings and uses. A post had to serve as the suggestion of the pillars
of wisdom as well as to uphold a roof; a door was the hint of an entrance into
divine things as well as the means of admittance to a room; the roof, and the
tiles upon it, the lintel, the door posts, the capitals, the aisles, the
altar, and each and every other detail served the many purposes of thought and
imagination and fancy as well as of utility. The people went to read and to
think as well as to worship, for their churches were structures of theology
and of the arts more than buildings.
natural it was for the builders and architects of these wonderful old edifices
to transform their own work into a ritual, their tools into emblems and their
guilds into mysteries of thought and religion! In this we have a plain hint,
so it appears to the writer, of the origin of our own ritual, for the men who
created Freemasonry were the same men that built the churches of which William
Durandus wrote with such enduring genius.
Students of our Masonic symbolism are advised to possess themselves of this
work. They will find in it many a hint as to the original meanings of much
that we witness on our lodge floors and in our emblems. Here and there are
explanations of the meaning of the altar, circumambulation, orientation,
colors, sacred numbers, the cross, degrees, allegory, the Agnus Dei, cement,
crypts, the door, entrance, Maundy Thursday, sanctuary, stones, tiles, veils,
walls, and countless other such subjects as we Masons have become familiar
YOU MAKE IT
the preacher, life's a sermon,
the joker, it's a jest;
the miser, life is money
the loafer, life is rest.
the lawyer, life's a trial
the poet, life's a song;
the doctor, life's a patient
needs treatment right along.
the soldier, life's a battle
the teacher, life's a school,
Life's a good thing to the grafter
a failure to the fool.
the man upon the engine
Life's a long and heavy grade;
a gamble to the gambler,
the merchant, life is trade.
is but a long vacation
the man who loves to work;
Life's an everlasting effort
shun duty, to the shirk.
is what we try to make it -
Brother, what is life to you ?
S. Kiser, in The Craftsman.
* * *
LOT OF US
"There is so much good in the worst of us,
so much bad in the best of us,
it best becomes the best of us
praise the best in the worst of us,
ill becomes the worst of us
mock at the faults in the best of us.
let the best and the worst of us
the good in the both of us
hide the fault in the lot of us."
URGENT NECESSITY FOR MORE RESEARCH
of our contemporaries, who writes pungently, and out of a rich knowledge of
Masonry, has recently argued the point that Masonic research has exhausted its
usefulness for lack of anything more to do. It is probable that this brother
had his mind fixed on England when he wrote these surprising words, because it
is the only country of which they may be said at all; but even of England they
are not true, because in spite of the herculean efforts of many distinguished
English students a very great deal remains to be done by our cousins across
the water. It was only the other day, and in a private letter, that one of the
most brilliant of these brethren was bewailing the fact that so little had as
yet been accomplished in clearing up the history of Freemasonry in England,
and in making known to the rank and file of the Craft what Masonry is now
doing in the world. He said that much remains uncertain about the Grand Lodge
era, and especially about Anderson, upon whose labors the whole edifice of
Masonic jurisprudence has been pretty largely built.
for our own land, and there is no need to labor the argument by other
references though there are many countries that would better serve as horrible
examples, Masonic research has not made a good start, let alone exhausted the
field. It is true that hundreds of books have been written, but of what value
are they, most of them ? Very little, and often they are so utterly lacking in
scholarship that they are so misleading as to be absolutely pernicious.
know almost nothing at all about Masonry prior to the Revolutionary War, and
what little we do know is hidden away in scraps and pieces in old magazine
files and forgotten books. Of the Revolutionary period itself, and of the
period between it and the Civil War the same thing can be said, except for the
Anti-Masonic craze; and so also with the Civil War period, the Masonic records
of which have never yet been mined out. Of the post-bellum period, and of
Masonry's activities in the recent World War we know as little; at least, we
have not much done into reliable books.
is said of Symbolical Masonry. The same thing could be said, and with even
greater emphasis, of the other bodies. We have no thorough and up-to-date
history of the Scottish Rite; we do not even have biographies of Albert Pike,
or of Dr. Mackey; we have no histories of the Royal Arch, of Cryptic Masonry,
or of Knight Templarism, at least nothing of any value.
this is not a condition crying loudly out for more research and study and
writing, one would be hard put to imagine one that would.
research would not be a means to satisfy a mere antiquarian or academic
interest; it is a necessity if we are ever to get through with our Masonic
tasks, as necessary as hospitals or boards of charity, or new temples, or
even, one might add in sarcastic vein, as circuses and balls. The Masonry of
today, which is so powerful and so militant, is by its very nature dependent
on the Masonry of yesterday; our landmarks, our jurisprudence, and our ideals
all hark back to the past, and without an accurate and available knowledge of
that past our rulers are certain to go astray and to embroil us in many
difficulties, and the great numbers of brethren whom they rule in the life of
the lodge will go on to the end without an adequate conception or appreciation
of all that Masonry means. The present is not safe in our keeping until we
have the past wholly in our possession.
course, Masonic research is not confined entirely to the past. One of its
great tasks is to educate Masons now living, and to enlighten them as to the
activities of the Order in this present day. If that isn't a practical kind of
necessity nothing is. If anyone supposes that these tasks are now complete he
should look abroad a bit; for he will discover that there is just now no more
urgent need than that Masonic research be carried forward.
* * *
Herbert Spencer, from his early thirties on, was addicted to ill-health; he
had dyspepsia, insomnia, chronic headaches, and similar maladies due to his
lack of exercise, his over-use of his brain, and his proud and petulant
refusal to have his teeth attended to. As a consequence he was usually unable
to work more than two or three hours a day lest his brain become congested.
Therefore, to avoid having his brain worked more than was absolutely
necessary, Spencer contrived just the sort of thing one would expect from a
superior but rather crusty bachelor - he devised a pair of automatic ear-pads
which he would flip over his ears the moment an argument hove in sight. If a
friend were talking to him - he never had many friends - and the friend would
dispute some point made by him, down would come his ear-pads! When Spencer had
called in Sir Ray Lankester to give him some data on a problem concerning
biology Spencer began by offering some theories of his own at the very outset;
Sir Ray controverted these theories, or at least started to, when down came
the ear-pads! It makes one think of Elisha Mulford and his ear trumpet which
he would quietly withdraw from his ear when a conversationalist became
a handy thing were those ear-pads of Spencer's ! How convenient ! You have a
theory, a friend advances facts to oppose your theory, and presto, you save
your theory by pulling down the ever-handy earpads! Could one imagine a more
admirable device for keeping one's opinions intact? No need to stick your head
in the sand like the stupid ostrich, just pull on the ear-pads!
it won't do to poke too much fun at poor Spencer for wearing his ear-pads,
because we all wear them, in one form or another, though we don't like to
admit it. For instance, there were the theologians in Spencer's own day. These
brethren had worked out a set of theories to which they clung like grim death;
indeed, they held that a man couldn't be saved unless he accepted them. Then
along came Charles Darwin, and Huxley, and Wallace, and Spencer himself, with
a wagon load of facts which played havoc with the theologians' theories. Did
the theologians pay heed ? Not they: they didn't want to hear about those
upsetting facts, so they all pulled down their mental ear-pads, and there you
were! Some of them haven't yet removed them.
there are others. In a certain New England town - there is no need to mention
names - a group of active citizens had a survey made of their city. Experts in
all lines of municipal activities were employed to ferret out all the facts
concerning the way in which that city was carrying on its business: after the
data was collated charts were made and set up on display in a downtown show
window. The charts were put on exhibition on Saturday morning; before Saturday
night all the charts were taken out of that window. The good citizens didn't
want to hear the facts about themselves. "It will spoil the reputation of our
fair city," "It will ruin municipal patriotism," etc. So they pulled down the
ear-pads. How happy that made the local political crooks and town bosses! They
always enjoy seeing the citizens wear nice, effective ear-pads.
Ear-pads are the life-savers of partisan politics. A boy's father is a - well,
in order to avoid hurting any feelings, let us say - Populist. Because his
father is a Populist the boy becomes a Populist, he roots for Populist
candidates, he votes for them, when there are any; he is always a loyal
Populist. In his daily paper, in conversations with friends, in contact with
daily life in all its forms, that person sees and hears a great many things
that run counter to his Populist prepossessions: does that change his
theories? Not at all: when a word comes along that doesn't jibe with Populism
he simply pulls down the ear-pads, and presto change, his Populism remains
of our more recent presidents - there is no need to give his name - was so
averse to hearing criticisms of his administration that he would always go off
in a fit of ill temper whenever such a thing was brought to his attention. At
last his secretary fell into the habit of standing as a screen between his
chief and the public: letters were carefully sorted out in order that nothing
unpleasant would grate on the poor man's sensitive ears. What a fine pair of
are a good many wearers of ear-pads in the Masonic Fraternity, are there not ?
More perhaps than elsewhere, because there is in Freemasonry more opportunity
for opinionativeness. Much in our history and in our teachings remains
uncertain, and where there is uncertainty your bigot finds it all the easier
to stick to his own theories, however fanciful they may be, or unsupported by
facts. But where Freemasonry has done its perfect work in a man it has opened
his ears as well as his eyes, taught him that it is one's duty to listen as
well as to see, and that it is no more possible for a man to be a real Mason
who keeps earpads on his ears than it is for the man who keeps a hood-wink on
Palmers were so-called from a bough of palm they usually carried, especially
after having visited the holy places of Jerusalem. A Pilgrim had some dwelling
place, a Palmer had none. A Pilgrim visited some particular place, a Palmer
all sacred places. A Pilgrim went at his own charge, a Palmer professed
willful poverty. A Pilgrim might leave his pursuit, a Palmer must be constant
to his profession. - Charles W. Moore.
The Old Charges and What They Mean to Us
Bro. H.L. HAYWOOD THE BUILDER SEPTEMBER 1923
WHAT THE OLD CHARGES ARE
have just come from reading an article in one of the more obscure Masonic
periodicals in which an unknown brother lets go with this very familiar
remark: "As for me, I am not interested in the musty old documents of the
past. I want to know what is going on today." The context makes it clear that
he had in mind the Old Charges. A sufficient reply to this ignoramus is that
the Old Charges are among the things that are "going on today." Eliminate them
from Freemasonry as it now functions and not a subordinate lodge, or a Grand
Lodge, or any other regular Masonic body could operate at all; they are to
what the Constitution of this nation is to the United States Government, and
what its statutes are to every state in the Union. All our constitutions,
statutes, laws, rules, by-laws and regulations to some extent or other hark
back to the Old Charges, and without them Masonic jurisprudence, or the
methods for governing and regulating the legal affairs of the Craft, would be
left hanging suspended in the air. In proportion as Masonic leaders, Grand
Masters, Worshipful Masters and Jurisprudence Committees ignore, or forget, or
misunderstand these Masonic charters they run amuck, and lead the Craft into
all manner of wild and unmasonic undertakings. If some magician could devise
a method whereby a clear conception of the Old Charges and what they stand for
could be installed into the head of every active Mason in the land, it would
save us all from embarrassment times without number and it would relieve Grand
Lodges and other Grand bodies from the needless expenditure of hundreds of
thousands of dollars every year. If there is any practical necessity, any
hard down-next-to-the-ground necessity anywhere in Freemasonry today, it is
for a general clear-headed understanding of the Ancient Constitutions and
landmarks of our Order.
the Old Charges is meant those ancient documents that have come down to us
from the fourteenth century and afterwards in which are incorporated the
traditional history, the legends and the rules and regulations of
Freemasonry. They are called variously "Ancient Manuscripts", "Ancient
Constitutions", "Legend of the Craft", "Gothic Manuscripts", "Old Records",
etc, etc. In their physical makeup these documents are sometimes found in the
form of handwritten paper or parchment rolls, the units of which are either
sewn or pasted together; of hand-written sheets stitched together in book
form, and in the familiar printed form of a modern book. Sometimes they are
found incorporated in the minute book of a lodge. They range in estimated
date from 1390 until the first quarter of the eighteenth century, and a few of
them are specimens of beautiful Gothic script. The largest number of them are
in the keeping of the British Museum; the Masonic library of West Yorkshire,
England, has in custody the second largest number.
already said these Old Charges (such is their most familiar appellation) form
the basis of modern Masonic constitutions, and therefore jurisprudence. They
establish the continuity of the Masonic institution through a period of more
than five centuries, and by fair implication much longer; and at the same
time, and by token of the same significance, prove the great antiquity of
Masonry by written documents, which is a thing no other craft in existence is
able to do. These manuscripts are traditional and legendary in form and are
therefore not to be read as histories are, nevertheless a careful and critical
study of them based on internal evidence sheds more light on the earliest
times of Freemasonry than any other one source whatever. It is believed that
the Old Charges were used in making a Mason in the old Operative days; that
they served as constitutions of lodges in many cases, and sometimes functioned
as what we today call a warrant.
The systematic study of these manuscripts began in the middle of the past
century, at which time only a few were known to be in existence. In 1872
William James Hughan listed 32. Owing largely to his efforts many others were
discovered, so that in 1889 Gould was able to list 62, and Hughan himself in
1895 tabulated 66 manuscript copies, 9 printed versions and 11 missing
versions. This number has been so much increased of late years that in "Ars
Quatuor Coronatorum", Volume XXXI, page 40 (1918), Brother Roderick H. Baxter,
now Worshipful Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, listed 98, which number
included the versions known to be missing. Brother Baxter's list is peculiarly
valuable in that he gives data as to when and where these manuscripts have
For the sake of being better able to compare one copy with another, Dr. W.
Begemann classified all the versions into four general "families", The Grand
Lodge Family, The Sloane Family, The Roberts Family, and The Spencer Family.
These family groups he divided further into branches, and he believed that The
Spencer Family was an offshoot of The Grand Lodge Family, and The Roberts
Family an offshoot of The Sloane Family. In this general manner of grouping,
the erudite doctor was followed by Hughan, Gould and their colleagues, and his
classification still holds in general; attempts have been made in recent years
to upset it, but without much success. One of the best charts, based on
Begemann, is that made by Brother Lionel Vibert, a copy of which will be
published in a future issue of THE BUILDER.
The first known printed reference to these Old Charges was made by Dr. Robert
Plot in his Natural History of Staffordshire, published in 1868. Dr. A.F.A.
Woodford and William James Hughan were the first to undertake a scientific
study. Hughan's Old Charges is to this day the standard work in English.
Gould's chapter in his History of Masonry would probably be ranked second in
value, whereas the voluminous writings of Dr. Begemann, contributed by him to
Zirkelcorrespondez, official organ of the National Grand Lodge of Germany,
would, if only they were translated into English, give us the most exhaustive
treatment of the subject ever yet written.
The Old Charges are peculiarly English. No such documents have ever been
found in Ireland. Scotch manuscripts are known to be of English origin. It
was once held by Findel and other German writers that the English versions
ultimately derived from German sources, but this has been disproved. The only
known point of similarity between the Old Charges and such German documents as
the Torgau Ordinances and the Cologne Constitutions is the Legend of the Four
Crowned Martyrs, and this legend is found among English versions only in the
Regius Manuscript. As Gould well says, the British MSS. have "neither
predecessors nor rivals"; they are the richest and rarest things in the whole
field of Masonic writings.
When the Old Charges are placed side by side it is immediately seen that in
their account of the traditional history of the Craft they vary in a great
many particulars, nevertheless they appear to have derived from some common
origin, and in the main they tell the same tale, which is as interesting as a
fairy story out of Grimm. Did the original of this traditional account come
from some individual or was it born out of a floating tradition, like the folk
tales of ancient people? Authorities differ much on this point. Begemann not
only declared that the first version of the story originated with an
individual, but even set out what he deemed to be the literary sources used by
that Great Unknown. The doctor's arguments are powerful. On the other hand,
others contend that the story began as a general vague oral tradition, and
that this was in the course of time reduced to writing. In either event, why
was the story ever written? In all probability an answer to that question will
never be forth-coming, but W. Harry Rylands and others have been of the
opinion that the first written versions were made in response to a general
Writ for Return issued in 1388. Rylands' words may be quoted: "It appears to
me not at all improbable that much, if not all, of the legendary history was
composed in answer to the Writ for Returns issued to the guilds all over the
country, in the twelfth year of Richard the Second, A.D. 1388."
XVL page 1)
II. THE TWO OLDEST MANUSCRIPTS
1757 King George II presented to the British Museum a collection of some
12,000 volumes, the nucleus of which had been laid by King Henry VII and which
came to be known as the Royal Library. Among these books was a rarely
beautiful manuscript written by hand on 64 pages of vellum, about four by five
inches in size, which a cataloger, David Casley, entered as No. 17 A-1 under
the title, "A Poem of Moral Duties: here entitled Constitutiones Artis
Gemetrie Secundem." It was not until Mr. J.O. Halliwell, F.R.S. (afterwards
Halliwell-Phillipps), a non-Mason, chanced to make the discovery that the
manuscript was known to be a Masonic document. Mr. Phillipps read a paper on
the manuscript before the Society of Antiquaries in 1839, and in the following
year published a volume entitled Early History of Freemasonry in England
(enlarged and revised in 1844), in which he incorporated a transcript of the
document along with a few pages in facsimile. This important work will be
found incorporated in the familiar Universal Masonic Library, the rusty
sheepskin bindings of which strike the eyes on almost every Masonic book
shelf. This manuscript was known as "The Halliwell", or as "The
Halliwell-Phillipps" until some fifty years atfterwards Gould rechristened it,
in honour of the Royal Library in which it is found, the "Regius", and since
then this has become the more familiar cognomen.
David Casley, a learned specialist in old manuscripts, dated the "Regius" as
of the fourteenth century. E.A. Bond, another expert, dated it as of the
middle of the fifteenth century. Dr. Kloss, the German specialist, placed it
between 1427 and 1445. But the majority have agreed on 1390 as the most
probable date. "It is impossible to arrive at absolute certainty on this
point," says Hughan, whose Old Charges should be consulted, "save that it is
not likely to be older than 1390, but may be some twenty years or so later."
Dr.W. Begemann made a study of the document that has never been equalled for
thoroughness, and arrived at a conclusion that may be given in his own words:
it was written "towards the end of the 14th or at least quite at the beginning
of the 15th century (not in Gloucester itself, as being too southerly, but) in
the north of Gloucestershire or in the neighbouring north of Herefordshire, or
even possibly in the south of Worcestershire." (A.Q.C. VII, page 35.)
1889 an exact facsimile of this famous manuscript was published in Volume I of
the Antigrapha produced by the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, and was
edited by the then secretary of that lodge, George William Speth, himself a
brilliant authority, who supplied a glossary that is indispensable to the
amateur student. Along with it was published a commentary by R.F. Gould, one
of the greatest of all his Masonic papers, though it is exasperating in its
rambling arrangement and general lack of conclusiveness.
The Regius Manuscript is the only one of all the versions to be written in
meter, and may have been composed by a priest, if one may judge by certain
internal evidences, though the point is disputed. There are some 800 lines in
the poem, the strictly Masonic portion coming to an end at line 576, after
which begins what Hughan calls a "sermonette" on moral duties, in which there
is quite a Roman Catholic vein with references to "the sins seven", "the sweet
lady" (referring to the Virgin) and to holy water. There is no such specific
Mariolatry in any other version of the Old Charges, though the great majority
of them express loyalty to "Holy Church" and all of them, until Anderson's
familiar version, are specifically Christian, so far as religion is concerned.
The author furnishes a list of fifteen "points" and fifteen "articles", all of
which are quite specific instructions concerning the behaviour of a Craftsman:
this portion is believed by many to have been the charges to an initiate as
used in the author's period, and is therefore deemed the most important
feature of the book as furnishing us a picture of the regulations of the Craft
at that remote date. The Craft is described as having come into existence as
an organized fraternity in "King Adelstoune's day", but in this the author
contradicts himself, because he refers to things "written in old books" (I
modernize spelling of quotations) and takes for granted a certain antiquity
for the Masonry, which, as in all the Old Charges, is made synonymous with
Geometry, a thing very different in those days from the abstract science over
which we laboured during our school days.
The Regius Poem is evidently a book about Masonry, rather than a document of
Masonry, and may very well have been written by a non-Mason, though there is
no way in which we can verify such theories, especially seeing that we know
nothing about the document save what it has to tell us about itself, which is
his Commentary on the Regius MS, R.F. Gould produced a paragraph that has ever
since served as the pivot of a great debate. It reads as follows and refers
to the "sermonette" portion which deals with "moral duties": "These rules of
decorum read very curiously in the present age, but their inapplicability to
the circumstances of the working Masons of the fourteen or fifteenth century
will be at once apparent. They were intended for the gentlemen of those days,
and the instruction for behaviour in the presence of a lord - at table and in
the society of ladies - would have all been equally out of place in a code of
manners drawn up for the use of a Guild or Craft of Artisans."
The point of this is that there must have been present among the Craftsmen of
that time a number of men not engaged at all in labour, and therefore were, as
we would now describe them, "speculatives." This would be of immense
importance if Gould had made good his point, but that he was not able to do.
The greatest minds of the period in question were devoted to architecture, and
there is no reason not to believe that among the Craftsmen were members of
good families. Also the Craft was in contact with the clergy all the while,
and therefore many of its members may well have stood in need of rules for
preserving proper decorum in great houses and among the members of the upper
classes. From Woodford until the present time the great majority of Masonic
scholars have believed the Old Charges to have been used by a strictly
operative craft and it is evident that they will continue to do so until more
conclusive evidence to the contrary is forthcoming than Gould's surmise.
Next to the Regius the oldest manuscript is that known as the Cooke. It was
published by R. Spencer, London, 1861 and was edited by Mr. Matthew Cooke,
hence his name. In the British Museum's catalogue it is listed as "Additional
M.S. 23,198", and has been dated by Hughan at 1450 or thereabouts, an estimate
in which most of the specialists have concurred. Dr. Begemann believed the
document to have been "compiled and written in the southeastern portion of the
western Midlands, say, in Gloucestershire or Oxfordshire, possibly also in
southeast Worcestershire or southwest Warwickshire. The 'Book of Charges'
which forms the second part of the document is certainly of the 14th century,
the historical or first part, of quite the beginning of the 15th." (A.Q.C. IX,
The Cooke MS. was most certainly in the hands of Mr. George Payne, when in his
second term as Grand Master in 1720 he compiled the "General Regulations", and
which Anderson included in his own version of the "Constitutions" published in
1723. Anderson himself evidently made use of lines 901-960 of the MS.
The Lodge Quatuor Coronati reprinted the Cooke in facsimile in Vol. II of its
Antigrapha in 1890, and included therewith a Commentary by George William
Speth which is, in my own amateur opinion, an even more brilliant piece of
work than Gould's Commentary on the Regius. Some of Speth's conclusions are
of permanent value. I paraphrase his findings in my own words:
The M.S. is a transcript of a yet older document and was written by a Mason.
There were several versions of the Charges to a Mason in circulation at the
time. The MS. is in two parts, the former of which is an attempt at a history
of the Craft, the latter of which is a version of the Charges. Of this
portion Speth writes that it is "far and away the earliest, best and purest
version of the 'Old Charges' which we possess." The MS. mentions nine
"articles", and these evidently were legal enforcements at the time; the nine
"points" given were probably not legally binding but were morally so.
"Congregations" of Masons were held here and there but no "General Assembly"
(or "Grand Lodge"); Grand Masters existed in fact but not in name and presided
at one meeting of a congregation only. "Many of our present usages may be
traced in their original form to this manuscript." III. ANDERSON'S
CONSTITUTIONS AND OTHER PRINTED VERSIONS
One of the most important of all the versions of the Old Charges is not an
ancient original at all, but a printed edition issued in 1722, and known as
the Roberts, though it is believed to be a copy of an ancient document. Of
this W.J. Hughan writes: "The only copy known was purchased by me at Brother
Spencer's sale of Masonic works, etc. (London, 1875), for 8 pounds 10s., on
behalf of the late Brother R.F. Bower, and is now in the magnificent library
of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, U.S.A." This tiny volume is easily the most
priceless Masonic literary possession in America, and was published in exact
facsimile by the National Masonic Research Society, with an eloquent
Introduction by Dr. Joseph Fort Newton in 1916. The Reverend Edmund Coxe
edited a famous reprint in 1871. It is a version meriting the most careful
study on the part of the Masonic student because it had a decided influence on
the literature and jurisprudence of the Craft after its initial appearance. It
appeared in one of the most interesting and momentous periods of modern
Speculative Masonry, namely, in the years between the organization of the
first Grand Lodge in 1717 and the appearance of Anderson's Constitution in
1723. It is the earliest printed version of the Old Charges known to exist.
Another well-known printed version is that published in 1724 and known as the
Briscoe. This was the second publication of its kind. The third printed
version was issued in 1728-9 by Benjamin Cole, and known as the Cole Edition
in consequence. This version is considered a literary gem in that the main
body of the text is engraved throughout in most beautiful style. A special
edition of this book was made in Leeds, 1897, the value of which was enhanced
by one of W.J. Hughan's famous introductions. For our own modern and practical
purposes the most important of all the versions ever made was that compiled by
Dr. James Anderson in 1723 and everywhere known familiarly as "Anderson's
Constitution." A second edition appeared, much changed and enlarged, in 1738;
a third, by John Entick, in 1756; and so on every few years until by 1888
twenty-two editions in all had been issued. The Rev.A.F.A. Woodford, Hughan's
collaborator, edited an edition of The Constitution Book of 1723 as Volume I
of Kenning's Masonic Archeological Library, under date of 1878. This is a
correct and detailed reproduction of the book exactly as Anderson first
published it, and is valuable accordingly.
Anderson's title page is interesting to read: "The CONSTITUTION, History,
Laws, Charges, Orders, Regulations, and Usages, of the Right Worshipful
FRATERNITY of ACCEPTED FREE MASONS; collected from their general RECORDS, and
their faithful TRADITIONS of many Ages. To be read At the Admission of a NEW
BROTHER, when the Master or Warden shall begin, or order some other Brother to
read as follows, etc." After the word "follows" Anderson's own version of
Masonic history begins with this astonishing statement:
"Adam, our first Parent, created after the Image of God, the great Architect
of the Universe, must have had the Liberal Sciences, particularly Geometry,
written on his Heart, etc."
Thus did Dr. Anderson launch his now thrice familiar account of the history of
Freemasonry, an account which, save in the hands of the most expert Masonic
antiquarian, yields very little dependable historical fact whatsoever, but
which, owing to the prestige of its author, came to be accepted for
generations as a bona fide history of the Craft. It will be many a long year
yet before the rank and file of brethren shall have learned that Dr.
Anderson's "history" belongs in the realm of fable for the most part, and has
never been accepted as anything else by knowing ones.
The established facts concerning Dr. Anderson's own private history comprise a
record almost as brief as the short and simple annals of the poor. Brother
J.T. Thorp, one of the most distinguished of the veterans among living English
Masonic scholars, has given it in an excellent brief form. (A.Q.C. XVIII, page
9.) "Of this distinguished Brother we know very little. He is believed to
have been born, educated and made a Mason in Scotland, subsequently settling
in London as a Presbyterian Minister. He is mentioned for the first time in
the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of England on September 29th, 1721, when he
was appointed to revise the old Gothic Constitutions - this revision was
approved by the Grand Lodge of England on September 29th in 1723, in which
year Anderson was Junior Grand Warden under the Duke of Wharton - he published
a second edition of the Book of Constitutions in 1738, and died in 1739. This
is about all that is known of him." In his 1738 edition Anderson so garbled
up his account of the founding of Grand Lodge, and contradicted his own
earlier story in such fashion, that R.F. Gould was inclined to believe either
that he had become disgruntled and full of spleen, or else that he was in his
dotage. Be that as it may, Anderson's historical pages are to be read with
extreme caution. His Constitution itself, or that part dealing with the
principles and regulations of the Craft, is most certainly a compilation made
of extracts of other versions of the Old Charges pretty much mixed with the
Doctor's own ideas in the premises, and so much at variance with previous
customs that the official adoption thereof caused much dissension among the
lodges, and may have had something to do with the disaffection which at last
led to the formation of the "Antient" Grand Lodge of 1751 or thereabouts. The
"Anderson" of this latter body, which in time waxed very powerful, was
Laurence Dermott, a brilliant Irishman, who as Grand Secretary was leader of
the "Antient" forces for many years, and who wrote for the body its own
Constitution, called Ahiman Rezon, which cryptic title is believed by some to
mean "Worthy Brother Secretary." The first edition of this important version
was made in 1756, a second in 1764, and so on until by 1813 an eighth had been
published. A very complete collection of all editions is in the Masonic
Library at Philadelphia. A few of our Grand Lodges, Pennsylvania among them,
continue to call their Book of Constitutions, The Ahiman Rezon.
Anderson himself is still on the rack of criticism. Learned brethren are
checking his statements (see Brother Vibert's article in THE BUILDER for
August), sifting his pages and leaving no stone unturned in order to appraise
correctly his contributions to Masonic history. But there is not so much
disagreement on the Constitution. In that document, which did not give
satisfaction to many upon its appearance, Anderson, as Brother Lionel Vibert
has well said, "builded better than he knew," because he produced a document
which until now serves as the groundwork of nearly all Grand Lodge
Constitutions having jurisdiction over Symbolic Masonry, and which once and
for all established Speculative Freemasonry on a basis apart, and with no
sectarian character, either as to religion or politics. For all his faults as
a historian (and these faults were as much of his age as of his own
shortcomings), Anderson is a great figure in our annals and deserves at the
hand of every student a careful and, reverent study.
concluding this very brief and inconclusive sketch of a great subject, I
return to my first statement. In the whole circle of Masonic studies there is
not, for us Americans at any rate, any subject of such importance as this of
the Old Charges, especially insofar as they have to do with our own
Constitutions and Regulations, and that is very much indeed. Many false
conceptions of Freemasonry may be directly traced to an unlearned, or wilful
misinterpretation of the Old Charges, what they are, what they mean to us, and
what their authority may be. In this land jurisprudence is a problem of
supreme importance, and in a way not very well comprehended by our brethren in
other parts, who often wonder why we should be so obsessed by it. We have
forty-nine Grand Lodges, each of which is sovereign in its own state, and all
of which must maintain fraternal relations with scores of Grand bodies abroad
as well as with each other. These Grand Lodges assemble each year to
legislate for the Craft, and therefore, in the very nature of things, the
organization and government of the Order is for us Americans a much more
complicated and important thing than it can be in other lands. To know what
the Old Charges are, and to understand Masonic constitutional law and
practice, is for our leaders and law-givers a prime necessity.
(Note: - A study of the Comacine question should have been published in the
Study Club this month, but I was prevented from writing it by a rather
extended illness, and therefore substituted the present article, already
prepared. I shall hope to include the Comacine paper next month or the month
thereafter. I ask my readers to let me hear of any errors detected in order
that the same may be corrected before this article goes into book form. Also
I regret the fact that we were unable to incorporate in the present number
Brother Lionel Vibert's Chart of the Old Charges; this will appear in a future
issue in the form of a two-page spread, valuable for reference uses and for
framing. I have to thank Brothers Vibert and R.I. Clegg for a critical
appraisal of this present chapter. H. L. H.)
WORKS CONSULTED IN PREPARING THIS ARTICLE
Gould's History of Freemasonry, Vol. 1, beginning on page 56; A.Q.C., I, 127;
A.Q.C., I, 147; A.Q.C., I, 152; A.Q.C., IV, 73; A.Q.C., IV, 83; A.Q.C., IV,
171; A.Q.C., V, 37; A.Q.C., IV, 201; A.Q.C, IV, 36,198; A.Q.C., VII, 119;
A.Q.C., VIII, 224; Hughan, Old Charges; A.Q.C., IX, 18; A.Q.C., IX, 85; A.Q.C.,
XI, 205; A.Q.C., XIV, 153; A.Q.C., XVI, 4; A.Q.C., XVIII, 16; A.Q.C., XX, 249;
A.Q.C., XXI, 161, 211; A.Q.C., XXVIII, 189; Gould's Concise History, chapter
V; Gould, Collected Essays, 3; Stillson, History of Freemasonry and Concordant
Orders, 157; A.Q.C., XXXIII, 5; The Masonic Review, Vol. XIII, 297; Edward
Conder, Records of the Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons; Vibert, Story of
the Craft; Vibert, Freemasonry Before the Era of Grand Lodge; Findel, History
of Freemasonry; Hughan, Cole's Constitutions; Fort, Early History and
Antiquities of Freemasonry; Pierson, Traditions, Origin and Early History of
Freemasonry; Hughan, Ancient Masonic Rolls: Waite, New Encyclopedia of
Freemasonry; Clegg, Mackey's Revised History; Ward, Freemasonry and the
Ancient Gods: A.Q.C., Antigapha, all volumes.
THE OLD CHARGES AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO US Supplementary References Mackey's
Encyclopedia (Revised Edition)
Ahiman Rezon, 37; Antients, 55; Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, 80; Arts, 80;
Benjamin Cole, 157; Charges of 1722, 143; Congregations, 174; Cooke's
Manuscript, 178; Dr. James Anderson, 57; Dr. Robert Plot, 570; Four Crowned
Martyrs, 272; George B.F. Kloss, 383; Gothic Constitutions, 304; Halliwell
Manuscript, 316; John Entick, 246; Laurence Dermott, 206; Legend, 433; Legend
of the Craft, 434; Old Charges, 143; Old Manuscripts, 464; Old Records, 612;
Old Regulations, 527; Operative Masonry, 532; Parts, 544; Plot Manuscript,
569; Points, 572; Regius Manuscript, 616; Roberts' Manuscript, 627;
Speculative Masonry, 704.
WE LIVE AGAIN ?
Victor Hugo's great soul found utterance in his later years for these
thoughts, which will find an echo in many hearts:
feel in myself the future life. I am like a forest once cut down; the new
shoots are stronger and livelier than ever. I am rising, I know, toward the
sky. The sunshine is on my head The earth gives me its generous sap, but
heaven lights me with the reflection of unknown worlds.
say the soul is nothing but the resultant of the bodily powers. Why, then, is
my soul more luminous when my bodily powers begin to fail ? Winter is on my
head, but eternal spring is in my heart. I breathe at this hour the fragrance
of the lilacs, the violets and the roses, as at twenty years. The nearer I
approach the end the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the
worlds which invite me. It is marvelous yet simple. It is a fairy tale, and it
half a century I have been writing my thoughts in prose. and in verse;
history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode and song; I have
tried all. But I feel I have not said the thousandth part of what is in me.
When I go down to the grave I can say like many others, 'I have finished my
day's work.' But I cannot say, 'I have finished my life.' My day's work will
begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a
thoroughfare. It closes on the twilight, it opens on the dawn."
brother who could so far forget himself as to solicit, influence, or urge
anyone to become a member of our Orders is recreant to the trust reposed in
him. Friendship, high position or wealth can form no excuse for solicitation
to our mysteries." - Anon.
MEANS "ANCIENT FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS" ?
you give us an explanation of the words, "Ancient Free and Accepted Masons,"
which appears to be the official name of our Grand Lodge? The Secretary of our
local lodge tells me that about one-half of the Grand Lodges in the country
have the same title, but that the others have it shortened to "Free and
Accepted Masons". I know that there have been many explanations of these words
taken separately in back numbers of THE BUILDER, but I should like to see them
word "Mason" has been defined in many fanciful ways, as when one writer
derives it from a Greek word meaning "in the midst of heaven," and another
finds in it an ancient Egyptian expression meaning "children of the sun"; but
it is almost certain that the term came into existence during the Middle Ages
to signify a man engaged in the occupation of building. Originally it had
merely this trade significance; it was only after Masonry became a secret
society that it took on a wider significance. Of course there were builders
long before the Middle Ages, but they went by other names, just as today we
often speak of them as "architects," a term that came into use in the time of
Builders of the Middle Ages, like all other workmen, were organized into
societies, somewhat similar to, but by no means to be identified with, our
trade unions, which were known as guilds. These guilds were permitted to make
their own rules, and they were given a monopoly of the work done inside their
own territory. The builder guilds were usually more important than others,
because their work was more difficult and required a high degree of skill and
intelligence; such of them as had in hand the erection of the great cathedrals
possessed among their membership the outstanding geniuses of the times, and
wrought such works as to this day remain our wonder and despair.
art of building was, according to the customs of the time, held as a trade
secret, therefore the young men entering a guild of builders were solemnly
obligated to divulge no secrets of the craft. Inasmuch as the work was
difficult these young men were given a long course of education under the
direction of a Master Mason, in which, so it is believed. the tools and
processes of building were used symbolically and in order to impress certain
truths on the mind of the member. In this way, and because the builders were
in close touch with the church which employed systems of symbolism as today we
use books (the people could not read, but they could understand pictures), the
builder guilds came in time to accumulate a great wealth of symbolic teaching
and an elaborate ritual. In the eighteenth century this symbolical element
completely displaced the original craft of actual building, and Masonry became
"speculative," as we know it now, so that we are Masons only in a symbolical
are called Masons therefore because we are members of an organization that
harks back to the time when builders and architects were bound together in
closely guarded guilds. But why are we called "Free" Masons ? This is a more
difficult question to answer, as all our Masonic scholars have discovered, for
in spite of a great amount of careful research, they have never vet agreed
among themselves as to how the question should be answered. We have records of
the word as having been used six hundred years ago, but it is evident that
even then "freemason" was a term of long standing, so that its origin fades
away into the dimness of a very remote past.
of the commonest theories is that the freemason was originally the mason who
worked in "free stone," that is, stone ready to be hewn and shaped for the
building in contrast to the stone lying unmined. Such a mason was superior in
skill to the quarrymen who dug the stone from the quarry, and this is in
harmony with the fact that in early days freemasons were deemed a superior
kind of workmen and received higher wages than "the rough masons"; but it does
not explain why carpenters, tailors and other workmen were also called "free".
Another common theory has it that the early Masons came to be called "free"
because they were exempted from many of the tiresome duties that hemmed in the
laborer of the Middle Ages, and enjoyed liberties such as the right to travel
about (forbidden to most workmen of that period) and exemption from military
service, etc. It is held by some writers that the early Popes granted bulls to
Masons that freed them from church restrictions, but no amount of search in
all the libraries of Europe, or in the records of the Roman Church (that
church did not issue bulls against Freemasonry until 1738 and afterwards). has
ever succeeded in unearthing a single such bull or any record thereof.
are other theories. One has it that a Mason was free when out of the bonds of
apprenticeship and ready to enjoy the full privileges of membership in his
guild. Another, that there were grades of workmen inside building guilds and
only the highest type were permitted all such privileges, and that these were
called "free" in contrast to their less advanced brethren.
of the most acceptable of all these theories is that so brilliantly advanced
by G. W. Speth in the past century, in which that learned brother held that in
the Middle Ages there were two types of builders' guilds, those that were
stationary in each town and those that were employed in the cathedrals and
were therefore permitted to move about from place to place, or wherever
cathedrals might be in course of construction. Inasmuch as cathedrals
represented the highwater mark of skill and learning in that day such workmen
were very superior to those that were employed on the humbler structures in
the community, such as dwellings, warehouses, docks, roads, etc., so that
Freemasonry descended from the aristocracy of medieval labor.
have myself never been able to make up my mind as between these various
theories, except that it appears to me that Speth's is the most plausible. It
may be that several of them are true at one and the same time; such a thing
would not be impossible, because Freemasonry developed over a large stretch of
territory and through a long period of time.
is no doubt that in some cases this word has its face meaning and serves to
remind us that our Craft is very old. The first Grand Lodge of Speculative
Masons was established in London in 1717, but Masonry, even of the Speculative
variety was very old by that date. Boswell was accepted into the Craft in
1600, Moray in 1641 and Ashmole in 1646. Our oldest manuscript, usually dated
at about 1390, looks backward to times long anterior to itself. There is no
telling how old Masonry is; perhaps they are not so far wrong after all who
date it in antiquity. In any event it is "ancient," and has every right to the
use of that word.
in the majority of cases this word doubtless refers to the Grand Lodge that
came to be organized in England shortly after 1750. When the first Grand Lodge
(that of 1717) was formed it was planned that it should have jurisdiction only
over a few lodges in London, but as these lodges increased in number it
extended its territory to include the county, and later on to include the
whole country. A large number of lodges remained independent - they were often
called St. John's lodges - many in the north of England, and others in
Scotland and Ireland. As time went on there grew up a feeling among the
brethren of several of these independent lodges that the new Grand Lodge was
becoming guilty of making innovations in the body of Masonry, therefore, after
a deal of agitation had been made, a rival Grand Lodge was formed, and because
its older sister Grand Lodge had made changes they dubbed it "Modern," and
because they themselves claimed to preserve the work according to its original
form, they called themselves "Ancient." This Ancient Grand Lodge was fortunate
in securing as its Grand Secretary Laurence Dermott, who had such a genius for
organizing that in the course of time this newer lodge began to overshadow the
older. The rivalry, often bitter enough to be described as a feud, lasted
until 1813, when the first step toward a union was effected; out of this
effort at reconciliation there came at last "The United Grand Lodge of
England." Meanwhile the Ancients had chartered a great many lodges in the
colonies of America, and these, a large number of them,. carried on the name
long after American lodges had severed all relations with the Grand Lodges
across the sea. In this wise the word "Ancient" came into general use, and
remains today imbedded in the official titles of about half the Grand Lodges
in this land.
mystery still hangs about the word "Accepted," but in a general way we may
feel pretty safe in thinking that it refers to the fact that after the ancient
builders' guilds began to break up and to lose their monopoly of the trade,
they began to "accept" into their membership men who had no intention of
engaging in actual building, but who sought membership for social purposes, or
in order to have the advantage of the rich symbolism, the ritual and the
philosophy of the Order. The first man thus admitted of whom we have a record
is Boswell, who was made a Mason in 1600, as already noted, but it is fairly
certain that others had been similarly accepted long before. Indeed, there is
good reason to believe that non-operatives had been taken into membership from
the very earliest times, and it is possible that the word was also applied to
those members that devoted themselves to superintending and planning, but not
to physical work. Throughout the seventeenth century the number of accepted
increased until by the beginning of the eighteenth century many lodges were
almost wholly made up of such members, and in 1717 the whole Craft was
transformed into. a speculative science, though it is true that many operative
lodges remained in existence, and some are still functioning and claiming for
themselves the ancient lineage.
shall have to wait with patience until all problems concerning these various
words are cleared up, but meanwhile we can use them with a satisfactory degree
of certainty as connecting us historically with a process of growth and
development that began far back in the Middle Ages, or earlier, and has
continued until now. Verily it has been a history filled with wonders, and
even now there are few who have a full appreciation of the height and depth
and length and breadth and exceeding riches of Freemasonry.
* * *
WAS THE POPE DECLARED INFALLIBLE?
you please tell me when the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church was declared
infallible? Also, please advise as to something to read on the subject.
process whereby the authority and rights originally vested in the lay members
of the church became pyramided in a hierarchy and at last transferred to one
man is a long, long story, for the telling of which there is no room here. The
infallibility of the Pope was believed in for many generations, especially by
the church in European countries, but it was not officially made a dogma until
so proclaimed by the famous Vatican Council, held in Rome in 1870. The decree
was passed over eighty-eight dissentient votes and was formally promulgated in
solemn session on the 18th of that month. The best brief account of the
Council is the essay by Lord Acton, himself a Roman Catholic and the greatest
scholar in the Roman communion during the past century, which you will find in
The History of Freedom and Other Essays, published by Macmillan and Co., and
beginning on page 492. It is a treatise of repressed - fire and moral
indignation that deserves a place among the enduring human documents of modern
* * *
you any information concerning the operation of Triangles ? I understand that
several foreign Grand Lodges grant warrants for Triangles which, as I
understand it, consist of three men who confer degrees up to such time as
enough Masons are made to start a lodge. Does this conflict with any of the
George C. Phillips,
Box 583, Altoona, Pa.
ARE IN RECEIPT OF A FEW BOUQUETS
have not published letters of commendation in these pages it has not been for
lack of appreciation of the kindly things said of THE BUILDER by its readers
but because space is always at such a premium for other purposes. For once we
shall hide our blushes long enough to acknowledge a handful of bouquets which
have come unbought and unsolicited. They helped to sweeten the July mail, and
our thanks go to the brethren who sent them in:
of the leading and best Masonic monthlies in the world, for the reason that it
is full of advanced thought and solid Masonic food."
South Australian Freemason.
feel that the National Masonic Research Society is doing a world of good among
Harry A. Drachman
Deputy Supreme Council, A.A.S.R., Arizona.
last few issues of THE BUILDER have been the most impressive literary
publication I ever had the pleasure of reading. You certainly deserve
commendation and support for such comprehensive work."
Oak River, Man., Canada.
Masonic study, THE BUILDER is the best Masonic publication in the world, none
Texas Freemason, Dallas, Texas.
couldn't keep house without THE BUILDER."
F. Richardson, Superior, Wis.
BUILDER IS not only the essence of what is good but it is a literature worthy
to be supported by every Mason. I always read my copy from cover to common the
day it is received, and wish the Society every success in the magnificent
labors they have set out to perform and so wonderfully well succeeded in."
G. Carlgren, Schenectady, N. Y.
find THE BUILDER very interesting and it is greatly enjoyed by both myself and
wife. It is a good magazine to have in anyone's home."
H. Weston, Logtown, Miss.
BUILDER is the supreme authority in the U.S.A. On all things Masonic. It is
thoroughly sane and absolutely honest."
Kablegram, Mt. Morris, Ill.
have taken much interest in articles published in your monthly, THE BUILDER,
and would not want to miss a single issue. They are worth many times more than
their price to any brother Mason. Your good work deserves the support of every
Richard B. Hansen, Akron, Ohio.
Society is doing a wonderful work for the Masonic student."
Geo. L. Schmodt, New Ulm, Minn.
recently secured the bound volumes for the years previous to my becoming a
member of the Society, and would dike to state that they are a veritable mine-
of information and the best possible buy for a Masonic student."
have just finished reading the last issue of THE BUILDER, and, as usual, it is
the last word in a Masonic publication."
Editor, Scottish Rite Progress, Independence, MA
well pleased with THE BUILDER. It is a great treasure of knowledge upon
Masonry, and I only feel a deep regret for every Mason who is not as yet
brought to the light. You are doing a grand and noble work."
Otto Zeller, Tacoma, Wash.
find THE BUILDER most helpful in my understanding of Masonry, and much
valuable information is imparted to me that I would not otherwise acquire. It
helps to make me a better Mason."
Walter R. Dally, Valparaiso, Ind.
BUILDER is a wonderful magazine and a great help to, one either young or old
C. D. Henman, Yellowstone Park, Wyo.
receiving THE BUILDER regularly - it's great."
Warren E. Fisher, St. Louis, Mo.
wish to express my appreciation of the light which every issue conveys."
B. F. Greenman, Montclair, N. J.
BUILDER is of a truth a great work."
L. Williams, Enterprise, Miss.
strong for the N.M.R.S. and THE BUILDER."
G. Eldridge, Moscow, Idaho.
BUILDER is a magazine that should be in every home. It keeps the mind primed
up as to what our fraternity has done and is doing."
Wm. L. Pretzer, Detroit, Mich.
enjoy THE BUILDER immensely and have it to thank for an increased and deeper
interest into the real meaning of Masonry and its philosophy."
Ulrich, Canton, N. Y.
very much interested in the Society and have in my possession all the issues
of THE BUILDER in bound form. I prize them very highly."
Alex P. Clark, Scranton, Pa.
consider one copy of THE BUILDER worth what it costs for the entire year, in
fact, I think it is splendid and feel sure that no Master Mason would be
without it if he knew such a paper was in existence."
Kabacan, Philippine Islands.
BUILDER is the best publication of its kind now avail: able for Masonic
information and educational advantage, except perhaps, the 'Ars Quatuor
Coronatorum,' but I question if even that is of the same particular value."
Fortmeyer, P.G.M., New Jersey.
by day, in every way, THE BUILDER gets better and better."
Warren E. Fisher, St. Louis.
BUILDER gets better with each issue, and I am glad I am a charter member in
this splendid organization."
R. Dewey, M. D., Omaha, Neb.
get more real stuff out of THE BUILDER than from any other Masonic source."
DeWitt, Hitchcock Bldg., Nashville, Tenn.
BROADSIDE AGAINST CHAIN LETTERS
subject indicated by the above title, although frequently mentioned and always
condemned whenever referred to in fraternal correspondence in our Grand Lodge
proceedings, seems to be an evil of greater magnitude than a number of the
brethren are aware of, or else they are wilfully guilty of continuing this
ridiculous practice in spite of the large amount of remonstrance it has
Grand Master of Ohio, not long ago, took the pains to issue a special edict
condemning the practice, a copy of which was sent to every lodge in his
jurisdiction, and in the same year the Grand Master of Connecticut declared
the practice to be not only improper, but un-Masonic, while many other high
Masonic authorities have spoken in the same tenor of what they have been
pleased to term "the chain letter nuisance," and an apt and appropriate term
Doubtless the waste baskets of many of our brethren contain many of them, but
for the benefit of those who have escaped the pest, I present herewith a copy
of one only a few days old at this writing, as follows:
this and send it to nine people whom you wish good luck.
chain started with an American Naval officer and should go three times around
not break this chain, for whoever does will have bad luck. Do it within
twenty-four hours and count nine days and you will have some great fortune.
"'Remember, if you believe it, it's so."'
follows a list of names of thirty persons through whose hands this foolish
scrap of superstitious cant has passed.
Evidently not one brother in a large number believes in this silly prediction
and doubly silly threat of bad luck, for if one-fourth the number addressed
were to comply with its request, the number who would receive it in thirty
days would exceed the number of Masons in the United States.
Thirty names were on the one I received, but if there had been only TEN and
each had complied with its direction, beginning with the first up to and
including the TENTH, then 435,848,060 persons have received it, and if all up
to the thirtieth have been as energetic in compliance with the request, the
number of its recipients would exceed the total population of the earth from
the earliest dawn of civilization down to the present time. The paper mills of
the United States do not produce enough paper for such a gigantic "drive,"
which, considering the high price of paper, would impoverish the entire
Masonic fraternity to finance.
passing, I notice that two years ago the Grand Master of Louisiana ordered the
Craft to discontinue the nuisance which, he said, "is as hard to kid as the
proverbial eat," and I am writing this in order to supply some more ammunition
for the beast's destruction which I thought had been killed nine or ten times
Masons are taught to believe themselves to be under the care of an all-wise
Father who directs all of the incidents of their lives and to put their trust
in His wise administration, and the thoughtful Mason will not be cajoled or
frightened by any necromancy or charlatanic bluff by lending himself to the
furtherance of such stupendous folly.
* * *
PEARY WAS MADE A MASON
writer looked through Bro. Baird's article on Rear Admiral Robert E. Peary in
THE BUILDER for April last, but was unable to discover there the dates when
Peary was made a Mason. As a result I was led to write to Kane Lodge, of New
York City, and from those brethren learned the following facts, which I
believe you may care to publish: Peary was proposed Jan. 7, 1896, elected Jan.
21, 1896, initiated Feb. 4, 1890, passed Feb. 18, 1896, and raised March 3,
1896. Kane Lodge presented a medal to Mrs. Peary March 30, 1920. That lodge
holds among its treasures a Masonic flag presented to Peary prior to his
departure for the North, and flown by him at various points in the Arctic. The
Rag was formally returned to Kane Lodge after his last expedition.
Lieut. R. E. Bassler, District of Columbia.
* * *
SPURIOUS PICTURE OF ROOSEVELT
certain photographer of Spokane, Wash., is offering for sale a photograph of
the late President Bro. Theodore Roosevelt, showing' him with the regalia and
jewel of a Worshipful Master of a lodge. Inasmuch as Bro. Roosevelt never held
such an office, the picture conveys a false impression that Roosevelt himself
would not have sanctioned. Some lodges may, without knowing better, purchase
the picture for display in their apartments.
George W. Southworth, Massachusetts.
* * *
DR. JOHNSON ARTICLES
cannot begin to tell you how interesting to me were Bro. Heiron's Dr. Johnson
articles. I used to live in London and have traveled nearly every street
mentioned. Dr. Johnson frequented Lower Thames street and Radcliff highway,
also Old Dundee wharf where the rum and spices from Jamaica were unloaded. I
should like to know which is the older, Old Dundee Lodge or the wharf. I
should like to know the address of the "Cockney Mason," who contributed an
item to Ye Editor's Corner in the July issue. His brogue was great.
Brother Ernest E. Murray, Lewistown, Mont., can tell you who the Cockney Mason
is, Brother Wright. As for your question concerning Old Dundee Lodge, we shall
refer that to Brother Heiron, who can speak per curiam on that subject.
* * *
CONCERNING THE GRAVE, NUMBER SIX, ETC..
perusing the March number of THE BUILDER, which I read as always from cover to
back, I was struck by the concluding portion of a letter by A. L. Kress, of
Pennsylvania, regarding the Grave. This is very specific in the English, which
is laid down in the following words: "There is a grave from the center three
feet east, three feet west, three feet between north and south and five feet
or more perpendicular," etc. The reason for the depth of five feet or more
feet is that according to the various burial acts in the country a body must
be buried at least two feet below the surface, hence the space occupied by the
body is a parallelogram, or as it is more often called, a double cube six feet
long, three wide, three deep. This therefore corresponds with the altar of
incense found in the Royal Arch when it states, "In the centre of the vault
stood a block of White Marble, wrought in the form of the Altar of incense. a
double Cube" as regards the position of these two forms, viz.. horizontal and
vertical. The symbolism is apparent to all With reference to six not being a
Masonic number, that is true. but the English method avoids the six difficulty
by continually using three, which is most appropriate to that degree,
especially when one recognizes that the Third Degree is only a part of a
degree which is only completed when the Royal Arch is taken as after the
inscription on the latter occurs the following sentence, "You may perhaps
imagine you have this day taken a fourth degree in Freemasonry, such however
is not the case. It is the Master Mason Degree complete," etc. Hoping that
these remarks from an English brother may be acceptable.
Fielding published his Tom Jones in 1748, only thirty-one years after the
founding of the first Grand Lodge. This gives some point to a remark found in
Book II, chapter 4, which reads thus: "For the reasons mentioned in the
preceding chapter, and from some other matrimonial concessions, well known to
most husbands, and which, like the secrets of Freemasonry, should be divulged
to none who are not members of that honorable fraternity," etc. Is it possible
that the great Fielding was a member of the Craft ? Brother Heiron, the
question is referred to you.
NATIONAL MASONIC RESEARCH SOCIETY
National Masonic Research Society was founded in 1914 under authority of the
Grand Lodge of Iowa to serve as a national association for the dissemination
of Masonic knowledge and for kindred activities. It is strictly non-commercial
in its nature and aims only at the largest possible usefulness to Freemasonry.
Its record thus far fulfills the prophecies of its founders, and justifies an
ever larger hope for its future.
encouragement of every form of Masonic reading, study, research and
collection and preservation of materials of value for Masonic study.
publication of a journal devoted to the interpretation of the history, nature
and present day activities of all the Rites, Orders and Degrees of
promotion and supervision of meetings for Masonic discussion and study.
organization of Masonic Study Clubs and the publication of courses of study.
encouragement of individuals and groups devoted to private Masonic research.
Cooperation with all possible agencies in the creation of an adequate Masonic
literature, and in the development of a competent Masonic leadership.
Service to Grand Lodges and other sovereign Masonic bodies and responsible
agencies in special surveys, reports and investigations.
Assistance to lodges and other bodies in the formation of Masonic libraries,
reading rooms, book clubs, etc.
eight years and more the Society has been successfully carrying on the
activities described in the above list, which is typical and not exhaustive.
In so doing it has been assisted by Masonic officials, leaders, scholars,
authors and students in every state in the Union and in every country of the
world, all of whom by this activity have been drawn closer to that which is
the dream of every intelligent Mason - the Republic of Masonic thought and
BUILDER is the official monthly journal of the Society which goes to each
member as one of the privileges of his membership, and is not offered for sale
to the general public, nor is it in the competitive commercial field. It is
edited in the interests of sound, constructive policies and aims at creating
among Masons a more heartfelt appreciation of Freemasonry, and at making the
spirit and principles of Freemasonry prevail in the world. Every member of the
Society is requested to cooperate with the board of editors by contributions
and by constructive criticism.
Master Mason in good standing in any part of the world becomes eligible for
membership upon signing the Society's application form, a copy of which will
be furnished upon request. Each member is entitled to THE BUILDER, and to all
other privileges of membership, among which are the following:
Questions about Freemasonry are answered, and any kind of Masonic information
Clubs or other groups for Masonic study, or Masonic book clubs, or groups for
special research, are organized and encouraged.
Addresses or materials for addresses are furnished.
or second-hand Masonic books are secured, sold, loaned or purchased.
Architectural advice on the erection of Masonic edifices, or on the
remodeling, decorating or furnishing of lodge rooms is given.
Mason can be put in touch with any other Mason or group of Masons anywhere in
Selected lists of Masonic books are recommended to individuals or to lodges.
is no joining fee, and all members receive THE BUILDER free.
Membership dues are $2.50 per year. Membership may begin at any time.
Life members may commute dues for life by paying $50.00 at one time.
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Patrons, being Masons who shall have contributed $1,000 or more to the objects
of the Society, shall be entitled to all its privileges for life.
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Editor-in-Chief - H. L. Haywood
Robert I. Clegg, Ohio
Charles F. Irwin, Ohio
Alanson B. Skinner, Wisconsin
Dudley Wright, England
Address all communications to the
NATIONAL MASONIC RESEARCH SOCIETY
Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo.