The Builder Magazine
November 1924 - Volume X - Number
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FRONTISPIECE - DANIEL COXE'S LETTER
MORMONISM AND MASONRY - ANTI-MASONRY IN THE BOOK OF MORMON - By Bro. S. H.
Goodwin, Grand Secretary, Utah
DANIEL COXE'S RELATIONS TO AMERICAN FREEMASONRY - By Bro. David MeGregor, New
GRAND VIZIER'S QUEST - By Bro. Sidney Morse, New York
IT NOW !" - By Bro. Gene T. Skinkle, Illinois
HARRIS ON THE ORIGINS OF AMERICAN MASONRY
MEN WHO WERE MASONS - SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN - By Bro. G. W. Baird, P. G. M.,
District of Columbia
CHRISTOPHER WREN AS MAN AND ARCHITECT - By Bro. William B. Bragdon, New Jersey
Masonic Education Under Grand Lodge Auspices
Story of Freemasonry in Hawaii
Beginning of a New Series of Transactions
SECOND DEGREE AND THE DOLLAR MARK
Studies of Masonry in the United States - Part III, Beginnings in
Pennsylvania. - By Bro. H. L. Haywood
QUESTION BOX AND CORRESPONDENCE
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Wrote "The Martyrdom of Man"?
Webb's Monitor, Freemasons' Monthly, etc.
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Mormonism and Masonry- Anti-Masonry in the Book of Mormon
Bro. S. H. GOODWIN, Grand Secretary, Utah
Goodwin contributed to THE BUILDER for February and March, 1921, two studies
of Mormonism and Masonry, both of which are recommended to be read in
connection with the present study, which will be concluded next month. The
former articles were published in book form in August of that year; the book
met with such a demand that a second impression was made in the following
October. One hopes that Bro. Goodwin will find it possible to issue, in the
same form, these new essays, even more interesting, if possible, than their
previous paper the writer presented certain aspects of the contact of
Mormonism with Masonry, the historic and local background of which was
provided by the Nauvoo period of the development of this peculiar people.
the present study of the same general subject our investigations take us back
to a point some fifteen years earlier, to the beginnings of the Latter Day
faith, and into the then primitive and sparsely inhabited region of western
New York. Further, as we begin our study of the subject in hand we shall find
ourselves in the midst of conditions unique, even in the colorful experiences
of the American people, and disastrous - even threatening annihilation - to
the long established and highly respected and respectable Institution of
particular period to which attention is here directed is that within which the
Anti-Masonic excitement had its rise, and reached and passed its peak. 'The
years which may roughly serve to mark the boundaries of that period are 1826
to 1831, or 1832, inclusive. Within those limits the Anti-Masonic furore,
tremendously accentuated by, but not primarily due to, the disappearance of
William Morgan, reached and passed the height of its amazing course.
During the time indicated - though interrupted by absences of varying lengths
- Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, had his home in Manchester, N. Y., not far
from the center of the infected area; and in no single instance did he go
beyond the predominating influence of the one event which for nearly, or
quite, a decade overshadowed every other interest or consideration in the
public mind. In this environment, and during those years when the flames of
hatred and bigotry and religious intolerance burned fiercest, Joseph Smith
brought to light and published his "Golden Bible", the Book of Mormon. In what
here follows the writer undertakes to point out somewhat of the prophet's
reactions to his environment, and to assemble some of the evidence in support
of the contention of this paper.
elder Disraeli, when considering the origin of Dante's Inferno, called
attention to the fact that the sombre Florentine was greatly influenced by his
environment - by the objects and feelings which occupied his own times.
Indeed, he did not hesitate to affirm that the entire work of the Italian bard
is "a picture of his times, of his own ideas, of the people about him.'' (1)
Whatever may be thought of this characterization of Dante's work, if applied
to the book for which Joseph Smith was responsible, its accuracy, in many
particulars at least, can be easily demonstrated. In very considerable
portions of the Book of Mormon, exhibiting, to be sure, varying degrees of
attention to detail, the Mormon prophet has preserved, unmistakably, "a
picture of his times, of his own ideas, of the people about him." This fact is
practically admitted (as perforce it must be) by the more thoughtful of the
church writers who have undertaken to give a rational account of the origin of
the Book of Mormon. (2)
BOOK SHOWS TRACES OF ITS ENVIRONMENT
Others have traced to their sources in local conditions prevailing in western
New York, where this latter-day prophet had his home, many of the incidents,
and controversies, and doctrines, and stories of visions and dreams, as well
as numerous idioms, modernisms, colloquialisms, and errors in grammar which
stud the pages of this "American Bible". (3) With these we are not here
primarily concerned. They are referred to in passing because they furnish
corroborative proof of the proposition discussed in this paper. Our principal
task, as intimated in an earlier paragraph, is to show how, under the
transparent disguise of a similar organization - said to have existed among
the ancient peoples of South America - innumerable reflections of the
Anti-Masonic episode which burst into fierce flame in 1826 are easily
discernible. These reminiscences parallel so closely, and comprehend so fully
the manifold charges which the venomous hatred of their enemies heaped upon
the Masons in the period specified, that the present writer is forced to
regard the usual explanation given by church authorities as being wholly
inadequate to meet the situation. (4)
the benefit of readers who may not be familiar with the claims made for the
Book of Mormon by its "Author and Proprietor", and by his disciples, a brief
statement touching those claims is given place here.
Book of Mormon purports to be "the record of God's dealings with the people of
ancient America from the era of the building of the Tower of Babel to four
hundred and twentyone years after the birth of Christ." The records whence it
was compiled (and- of which there were tons) were written during a period of a
thousand years. They were preserved through the centuries on "plates", a part
of which, at least, were of pure gold. The abridgement of those records, for
which the prophet Mormon was responsible, was also engraved on "plates", and
these were deposited in a stone box, together with two stones in silver bows
which were attached to a breast-plate - which constituted the Urim and Thummim
- and this box was buried on a hill near Manchester, Ontario County, New York.
FAMOUS "PLATES" WERE DISCOVERED
Manchester, as noted above, was the home of Joseph Smith during much of the
time under review. Here, or on the hill referred to, on Sept. 22, 1827,
slightly more than one year after the disappearance of William Morgan, the
"plates" were finally transferred to the prophet. During that year and the two
succeeding years, in which the Book of Mormon was in course of preparation,
the Anti-Masonic excitement passed all bounds of reason and became a disease.
No profane, it appears, escaped the infection. The subject of this study
implies, and the Book of Mormon seems clearly to demonstrate, that the Mormon
prophet, in common with his neighbors, was a victim of this malady.
the treatment of the subject, the material at hand will be considered under
three divisions. First, the Morgan affair and its effect upon the public mind;
second, selections from the Book of Mormon which may fairly be taken as being
illustrative of their local archetypes; and third, contemporary opinion.
interesting writer on the political aspect of the Anti-Masonic period
characterizes "the mysterious abduction of William Morgan and the excitement
which followed it", as forming "one of the most singular and interesting pages
in American history". (6) Morgan appears to have been of the "rolling stone"
variety - a sort of ne'er-do-well. He was a native of Virginia, where he
married in middle life one who was young enough to be his daughter. He is said
to have followed a variety of vocations to gain a livelihood: soldier,
merchant, brewer, and stone, or brick, mason, at none of which were his
efforts rewarded by success. At some point in his career he became a Mason -
of the time and place of this event, however, nothing is known, as no record
of his initiation has been found. Following the loss by fire of the brewery in
which he appears to have had a small interest, he returned from Canada to New
York and for a time was in Rochester, where, it seems, he was given financial
assistance by the Masons of that city. In time, and not long before the events
now under consideration, he drifted into the little village of Batavia, the
county town of Genesee County.
not an easy matter to determine just the sort of man he was, for the
descriptions which have come to us vary so greatly, and are so manifestly
determined by the point of view and colored by the prejudice of the writer.
Here, for example, is one of his partisans who declares that William Morgan
"was man of honor and sensibility. He was a gentleman in his manners, and
possessed of mental powers superior to his humble occupation in life. He was
well informed, of a generous, humane and benevolent disposition. Though 'a man
of sorrows and acquainted with grief', yet his misfortunes never led him to
descend to any acts of meanness. Amid the shafts of adversity, 'the proud
man's contumely, and the oppressor's wrong', he still preserved the equanimity
of his temper, and the dignity of his character * * * his noble soul revolted
at the bare idea of a dishonorable deed. * * * Captain Morgan was, indeed, a
man without guile; brave, frank, and unreserved; modest in his demeanor,
delicate in his expression; and respectful to the feelings of those with whom
he associated." (7)
REAL MORGAN IS DESCRIBED
view of the bit of literary work with which Morgan's name is linked, and of
the fact that he set about this self-imposed task because of anger over some
slight, real or imaginary, and of the further fact that he expected his
Illustrations of Masonry to place his finances upon a stable foundation. one
may be pardoned for an inclination to discount, very materially, the highly
idealistic characterization quoted. And an additional reason for caution may
be found in the fact that the pen which drew the above portrait was that of an
aspiring, but uniformly unsuccessful politician, who sought to profit by the
excitement which he helped to create and extend; whose talents were utilized,
but whose character failed to win the confidence of stronger men, who used the
Morgan episode to further their own interests. (8)
the other hand, Morgan is represented as being "an idle and dissolute man * *
* continually placed within the jail limits, in consequence of debt". (9)
According to a seceding Mason and strong advocate of Anti-Masonry, "more can
be said than will do good to his memory, * * * he was of rather a
prepossessing appearance, with a quick, intelligent, but sly and
sinister-glancing eye; he had received a common school education, but had
added to it by considerable reading; he was a hard drinker, and his nights,
and sometimes his days also, were spent at tippling houses, while
occasionally, to the great neglect of his family, he joined in the drunken
carousels of the vilest and most worthless men. * * * his disposition was
envious, malicious and vindictive.'' (10)
appears that Morgan had not been long in Batavia when the information was
noised abroad that he had in preparation, and was about to publish, a book
which would disclose the secrets of Freemasonry. It also appears that D. C.
Miller, an Entered Apprentice, and publisher of the local newspaper, was to
print this book and share in the profits of its sale. (11) From a source
unfriendly to Masonry - although in the main facts, corroborated by others -
we learn that "the knowledge of these facts excited great commotion, among the
members of the Masonic fraternity in that vicinity, and in a wide extent of
surrounding country. There was a great heat and intemperance of expression in
relation to the expected work, and an open avowal by members that it should
never see light.” (12)
BECAME OF MORGAN?
what followed various accounts are available. The subject in hand does not
require that any of these should be considered here, but this much may be
said: Morgan was forcibly taken from Canandaigua - where he had been placed in
jail for debt - by a few misguided members of the Craft, carried to Ft.
Niagara, a hundred miles or more from his home in Batavia, ferried across the
river to the Canadian side, soon after returned to the Fort, where, it is
said, he was known to have been as late as Sept. 19. Then he disappeared, and
no subsequent search succeeded in establishing his whereabouts, or what became
of him. Judicial enquiry did establish the facts here enumerated, and the men
who were shown to have had part in the abduction were punished for their
inexcusable folly. It should be added that, after a most searching
investigation, the same tribunal exonerated these men from participation in
any crime, beyond that for which they were punished, and which at the time
was, by law, a misdemeanor only. (13) The popular belief was that Morgan was
put to death by Masons. This was affirmed without any qualification, and often
with much fullness of detail, innumerable times in the Anti-Masonic press, and
by practically every writer and orator who entered the lists against
Freemasonry. But after four years of effort and investigation the nearest to
proof of the alleged fact that seems to have been discovered was presented to
the United States Anti-Masonic Convention, held at Philadelphia, in the
statement: "Several persons have been informed, by those who were understood
to be cognizant of the guilty secret, that such was the fact.'' (14)
public opinion, later shrewdly manipulated by self-seeking politicians,
condemned not only those individual Masons, who were shown to have had a part
in the abduction, but also the Fraternity as an institution. It was held, and
proclaimed abroad, that Masonry, by reason of the character of its obligations
and teachings, should be held responsible for the seizure and murder of
the student of the period passes from a consideration of the immediate cause
of the excitement, which swept like a prairie fire over the affected areas, to
a contemplation of the excitement itself, and some of the multitudinous ways
in which it found expression, his amazement well-nigh passes all bounds.
Occupying, as he necessarily does, a point of observation far removed and
detached from the events and passions and contributing causes of the matter
under review; with practically a full century of time stretching between him
and them, and with all the jangle of confusing and discordant voices, and
embittered and impassioned claims and counter-claims stilled forever, he takes
up the printed record, unmoved by the volcanic and tremendous forces which
shook to their foundations every relationship - and many institutions - and
finds himself fairly dumbfounded by what that record discloses. The writer
disclaims any intention of attempting to present anything like an adequate
picture of conditions as they existed in western New York, and elsewhere,
where the infection of this paranoia spread from 1826 to 1830. He will be
quite satisfied if he succeeds in outlining a rough sketch of events which
powerfully reacted upon the minds of the people of those days - including the
Mormon prophet reminiscences of which appear unmistakably to be reflected on
the pages of the Book of Mormon.
Following the disappearance of Morgan and his failure to return to his family
in Batavia, stories began to circulate of alleged incidents connected
therewith, and rumors multiplied concerning the reasons for his forcible
removal. Conditions were ripe for the unusual - all that was required was the
initial impulse, and this was supplied in the mystery attending the
disappearance of the author of Illustrations of Masonry. (16)
seems that almost immediately after the fact became known that Morgan had been
taken away from the Canandaigua jail, neighbors of the family in Batavia began
to make inquiries as to his whereabouts, and sought to uncover the reasons for
his continued absence from home. Finding that their investigations failed of
results, a committee of ten prepared, and issued to the public, an address
bearing date of Oct. 4, 1826. This briefly rehearsed the steps thus far taken,
and the facts ascertained, and called upon the people of western New York to
assist in solving the mystery. (17) This document was given wide distribution
through the press of the state, and from this time forward one circumstance
followed close upon the heels of another, and all combined to whip to a fever
pitch the excitement of the people.
FREEMASONRY WAS ACCUSED
fact was soon developed that the men who were responsible for the abduction of
Morgan were members of the Masonic Fraternity, and this focused public
interest and attention upon that organization. Mass meetings and conventions
followed in quick succession. Resolutions, increasingly vitriolic in tone,
condemning the guilty, demanding their speedy apprehension, trial and
punishment, and presently, denouncing Freemasonry as a menace to the welfare
of the people and the state, were adopted with enthusiasm and scattered to the
four winds. Addresses, orations, sermons and articles on the one general theme
multiplied, and were given wide publicity through the newspapers and in
Masons, among them men who had been highly honored by the Craft, swept from
their feet by the storm, renounced all connection with the institution -
"publicly wiped the stain of Freemasonry from their skirts", and soon were
lined up with those who denounced and reviled the Order which, up to that
time, they had held in highest esteem. Concerning these men a bitter enemy of
Masonry - himself a seceding Mason - declared: "A Mason converted to
AntiMasonry, is two-fold gain: once in the loss to the enemy, and again in the
increase of our ranks. None are truer to our cause, none are more dangerous to
Freemasonry, none are so hated and dreaded by the adversary, as renouncing
Masons.'' (18) As is usual with men who have betrayed a trust, no length
seemed too great for them to go in their accusations and condemnation. They
came together in conventions, drafted long lists of specifications, in which
practically every crime in the catalogue was enumerated and charged to
Freemasonry; and to these, resolutions were attached in which they pledged
undying hatred of the Brotherhood. At one of these gatherings was adopted what
the delegates were pleased to designate, the "Antimasonic Declaration of
Independence". This was signed by more than one hundred renouncing Masons.
Concerning these signers a vindictive opponent of Masonry spoke: "This list we
will look upon, revere, and remember. They have done a service to mankind, not
inferior to that of the signers of the Declaration of Independence of the
United States of America. Their descendants will be proud of them, and point
to them, saying, Behold our fathers !!'' (19)
renouncing Masons none seemed more determined, persistent, and bitter in their
attacks than ministers of the several denominations, and, perhaps, none better
served the cause of Anti-Masonry. By reason of their calling, training,
experience in public address, and the position they held in the esteem of the
communities they served, theirs was a powerful influence in molding sentiment
and inflaming and directing public opinion. While not a few of these men
entered the opposition ranks from motives rooted in religious convictions,
others, beyond a doubt, were swayed by a desire for public approbation, and
still others took this step because of fear of the disapprobation of, or in
consequence of, pressure exerted by church conferences, or ecclesiastical
here reference should be made, in passing, to an incident which throws not a
little light on the AntiMasonic situation, and makes clear the fact that that
movement did not originate in the Morgan episode. In July, 1826, a book was
published under the title of An Inquiry Into the Nature and Tendency of
Speculative Freemasonry. The author was a Baptist preacher, and seceding
Mason, John G. Stearns by name, who has the doubtful distinction of being "the
first American Mason to publish his convictions and the reasons for them".
(20) It seems that Stearns was a Mason when he entered Hamilton College,
Clinton, N. Y., for his literary and theological preparation. There "he was
interrogated in 1819, whether he was a Mason; and being charged while there to
abstain from Masonic associations, he replied that he had made up his mind to
have nothing more to do with Masonry''. (21) Coming from the press, as it did,
at this particular juncture - two months before the abduction of Morgan - and
followed a few months later by a summons to the author from his lodge to
appear for trial, and this, together with his reply being given to the press,
all combined to create such a demand for the book that it soon passed to a
second edition, and within three years five editions had been put out. This
work exerted a tremendous influence, and was speedily followed by others of a
similar character. Concerning it an Anti-Masonic writer of the times declared:
"Mr. Stearns' volume * * * is one of the ablest productions which has appeared
on the subject. Its service to the cause of Anti-Masonry has probably been
greater than that of any work of the kind." (22)
incident related above is significant from the further fact that it clearly
shows that at least as early as 1819, seven years before the trouble in
western New York, Hamilton College appears to have been the center of an
active Anti-Masonic propaganda.
in the winter following the abduction of Morgan the first trials were held of
men accused of participation in the affair. Three of these men confessed to
having had a share in transporting Morgan from the Canandaigua jail to Ft.
Niagara, and were sentenced to serve terms of varying lengths, up to two and
onehalf years, in the common jail. These events added immeasurably to the
popular excitement. The confessions prevented the examination of witnesses and
the bringing out of details eagerly sought by the public, and the light
sentences led to the belief, and the charge, that Masons and Masonry had
interfered and blocked the course of justice. The judge who presided was
accused of being a Mason, and unsparingly criticized, although in passing
sentence he was careful to point out that the matter did not rest in his
hands. The legislature had left the offense of kidnaping to be determined by
the common law, which treated it as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and
imprisonment in the common jail. (23) The legislature was petitioned to assist
in ferreting out the guilty, and "to strengthen the arm of justice in such
manner as to reach this case,” by providing a special court to take cognizance
of the cases growing out of the Morgan affair, because it was affirmed, "the
ordinary process of our courts is not competent to reach the many branches of
this conspiracy". (24) The Governor was importuned to offer suitable rewards
for the discovery of Morgan and the apprehension and punishment of those who
were responsible for his disappearance, and this he did, on at least three
PUBLIC MIND BECAME INFLAMED
the these state of the public mind, only that which exaggerated, or went to
extremes, met with general approval. A natural consequence of this condition
was that newspapers came in for a share of harsh criticism and condemnation.
To the fevered, inflamed imagination opinion seemed not to give as much
attention or space to the one subject of supreme interest as it was thought
should be given. They were accused of being dominated, or muzzled by Masonry;
of being “parse by a power unseen, and controlled by an influence of unlimited
operation". (25) Due to Masonic influence, it was charged, the papers
throughout the country suppressed information, and refused space to the
reports of proceedings of "Morgan meetings", as they were called, and yet, the
most impartial periodical of the times, perhaps, reported in its issue of
March 16, 1827: "It is no uncommon thing, so great is the excitement, to find
from five to six columns in one New York paper about it;" and then one
particular paper was named, in a recent issue of which, "seven and one-half of
its capacious columns were filled with it." (26); But this did not satisfy.
Apparently, the people would read about nothing else. The result was, as told
in the language of an Anti-Masonic committee: "In the region where this
outrage had been perpetrated, the criminal apathy or connivance of the
conductors of the press, alarmed the people; they arose in their might and
established independent papers." The number of these Anti-Masonic publications
reached a very considerable figure, of which 53 were in Pennsylvania, 46 in
New York, 9 in Ohio, 5 in Massachusetts, and the remainder scattered in six
other states and territories. In the words of the committee, quoted above,
these Anti-Masonic papers were "established by the zeal, and supported by the
liberal contributions of the middling and unambitious classes of society; with
no motive but the attainment and dissemination of those alarming truths, which
they sought for in vain, through the ordinary channels of intelligence". (27)
The work of these papers was supplemented by a profusion of pamphlets,
discussing various phases of the one subject that was uppermost in the public
mind, and by exposes which purported to give all the work of the several
was to be expected, the churches took a prominent part in the controversy. The
period under consideration was characterized by frequent religious revivals;
great "camp meetings" brought together thousands of people whose minds were
peculiarly susceptible to mystical phenomena; the Bible was practically the
only literature; the church was the only means of social intercourse; it
dominated the entire social consciousness. (28) Reference has been made to the
activities of "renouncing" ministers. Under their leadership, or independently
of it, organized Christianity entered the fray with a fervor, bigotry, and
bitterness of invective which at first blush passes comprehension. But the
reason for this becomes plain when it is recalled that for a quarter of a
century or more there had been great religious excitement, and confusion, and
turmoil, and doctrinal controversies - surprisingly vindictive and unchristian
in character - out of which had been born several denominations and a
multitude of sects and isms. Among these a wordy warfare had been waged
against one another. Now they joined forces in an attack upon what was
conceived to be a common enemy.
this assault, the Presbyterians appear to have been in the van, but they were
scarcely a step in advance of the Congregationalists, Methodists, Baptists,
and Lutherans, and even the Universalists, who up to this time had been
fighting for a foothold, and whose liberality and detestation of spiritual
tyranny it was supposed would be a safeguard against any attack of bigotry,
did not escape the infection. (29) At District and State Conferences,
Conventions and Consociations - and by individual churches, even -
resolutions were adopted, aimed not only at ministers' but at the Masonic
laity as well, ordering all who were connected with the Fraternity publicly to
withdraw or suffer excommunication from the church. (30):
FREEMASONRY WAS CONDEMNED ACCORDING TO FORMULA
Sometimes the action taken was not quite so extreme. Here is an example of the
milder form - a resolution adopted by the Genesee Consociation, in June, 1828:
"Resolved, That the Consociation will neither license, ordain, or install,
those who sustain any connexion with the institution of Masonry, or who will
not disapprove and renounce it; nor will we give letters of recommendation in
favor of such persons to preach in any of the churches in our connexion.''
(31) Churches refused to listen to preachers who belonged to the Craft, and
insisted, where their pastors were Masons, that they should not only renounce
Masonry, but denounce it as well, and this, not in any terms they might
choose, but according to a fixed and approved formula; and instances are on
record where churches dismissed their ministers because they belonged to the
Events and activities multiplied incredibly, all of which were calculated
still further to inflame the passions, and to solidify antagonism to Masonry.
AntiMasonic papers carried innumerable editorials, special articles and
letters which abounded in the most extravagant assertions and claims. As a
sample of the lot, here is part of a letter (Italics and all) which appeared
in one of the newspapers about a year after Morgan had disappeared:
Lodge and Chapter in this [Batavia] and other places," declares the writer,
“acted in concert and under the direction of the Grand Lodge of the State, and
the said Grand Lodge did cast lots who should come out and despatch Morgan and
Miller if necessary to suppress the development of Masonic secrets." (33) And
this was written by a seceding Mason!
Juries were summoned and after having used every means in their power to
ascertain the truth, reported, that while many rumors were afloat, sufficient
evidence for an indictment could not be secured. Still another Grand Jury
spent four days and examined forty-six witnesses, and reported back that no
facts had been disclosed upon which they "could impeach, or make presentment,
or indictment against any citizen for the offense aforesaid, or for any
opulence connected "hereunto".
Trials were held of men who were charged with conspiracy to abduct William
Morgan, and its consummation, but the testimony was not of a character to
connect the defendants with the crime, and they were acquitted. (34)
POLITICAL ANTI-MASONRY WAS LAUNCHED
the 24th of June, 1827, a meeting was held at Batavia, the people, some 3,000
in number, "of all ages and sexes," and from various parts of Genesee county,
coming together to consider "the question which has produced so much
excitement in the western part of the State". Resolutions were adopted in
which, among other things, the people present pledged themselves not to
support any Mason for public office.
in September, following the meeting just referred to, one Timothy Monroe was
drowned in Lake Ontario. A month, or thereabouts, later the body was
recovered. It was at once proclaimed, and accepted, as the body of William
Morgan. A coroner's jury so declared, upon the testimony of a number of
witnesses, including Mrs. Morgan. In due time the widow of the drowned man
learned of the discovery of the body, and the statements of some of the
witnesses at the inquest led her to suspect that the body was that of her
husband. Upon her representations disinterment was made, and a second inquest
was held and the body was identified by the widow, a son and a friend, as
beyond a doubt that of Timothy Monroe. Concerning the first inquest, the
editors of what appears to be the most impartial paper of the period,
expressed the opinion: "By the description of the clothing of Timothy Monroe,
no shadow of doubt remained that the jury had been mistaken, or deceived on
the testimony of the witnesses themselves, we hope, mistaken," (35) and the
body was finally buried as that of Timothy Monroe. This incident added greatly
to the excitement that had prevailed for more than a year.
Ambitious politicians, without a party and with no other means of furthering
their own interests and gaining the attention of the people, took advantage of
the situation, and through skilfully manipulated conventions rode into
prominence and power, if not into place. (36)
Renouncing Masons regaled the curious at largely attended gatherings by
exemplifying the several degrees and lecturing on the atrocities of
Freemasonry; excited mothers met in conventions and passed resolutions
declaring that their daughters should never marry Masons; a candidate for
sheriff announced in his advertisement that if elected he would use his "best
endeavors to prevent Masons from being selected as jurymen" (37); candidates
for office, and even the President of the United States, were interrogated
concerning their attitude toward Masonry (38); by virtue of the fact that an
agent of the Government was in charge of Ft. Niagara when Morgan was taken
thither, a memorial was presented to Congress asking for an investigation
(39). In fact, Anti-Masonry touched every interest, found its way into every
walk of life. It entered the home and divided families; it shattered
friendships that had weathered every other gale; it ruptured social relations;
it denied the sacrament to communicants; it rent churches; it ruined business
and impoverished many. Its effect upon Masonry was far reaching and
disastrous. Before the biting fury of this storm hundreds of Masons scurried
like rats from a sinking ship; lodges went down like block houses, and even
Grand Lodges in some states barely continued to exist, or entirely suspended
JOSEPH SMITH WAS NOT IMMUNE
taking leave of this phase of the subject the reader is reminded of the fact
that the preceding paragraphs are not to be regarded as a comprehensive
account of the Morgan affair. Only so much has been presented here as, it is
hoped, will enable those who have not looked into the Anti-Masonic episode to
gain a fairly accurate understanding of the character of the environment in
the midst of which Joseph Smith prepared and published the Book of Mormon.
Enough has been said, it would seem, to convince the impartial student of that
particular period that it is highly improbable that anyone who lived in the
very thick of such intense, prolonged and volcanic excitement - unparalleled
in our history, we are asked to believed - (41) an excitement from which none
was immune; which left no interest or institution untouched, or as it was
before, and which entered with unhallowed tread the most sacred precincts, and
scattered devastation wherever it came - it is not only improbable, but
incredible, that the Mormon prophet alone, of all the people of that region,
escaped unaffected by the Anti-Masonic upheaval. That he did not constitute an
exception in this respect, the Book of Mormon itself, more particularly the
first edition, furnishes most conclusive proof. And the fact is significant
that church apologists admit, as necessarily they must, the very great
influence of environment upon the "boy prophet", and they do not challenge the
testimony offered in support of this fact, save in a single particular -
Freemasonry! "The Book of Mormon says nothing of free masonry," declares one
of the leading teachers of the church. (42) According to him all references to
secret societies found in the Book of Mormon relate to societies which existed
among the Jaredites and the Nephites - ancient American nations! One inclined
to be a little skeptical, and the student who seeks to discover facts
connected with the period and events, here being passed under review, are
certain to find difficulty in accepting such an explanation. They will feel
that this does not adequately account for the inclusion in the Book of Mormons
a part of the history of those "ancient secret societies" - practically every
charge laid at the doors of Freemasons by their enemies during the AntiMasonic
persecution of the time we are considering, and this with a most significant
and remarkable fidelity to detail! (43)
Curiosities of Literature, Isaac Disraeli, vol. 2 p. 421, ef. The Founder of
Mormonism, I. W. Riley; 1903, p. i64.
New Witnesses for God, B. H. Roberts, 1909, vol. 3, pp. 409, 413, 415, Mormon
Point of View, N. L. Nelson, 1904, p. 115.
Psychological Tests for the Authorship of the Book of Mormon, W. F. Prince;
American Journal of Psychology, vol. 28; 1917; pp. 373-489; The Founder of
Mormonism, I. W. Riley; p. 148f; Delusions: An Analysis of the Book of Mormon,
Alex. Campbell, many references, Two Thousand Changes in the Book of Mormon,
Lamoni Call; 1898; much of the book.
New Witnesses for God, B. H. Roberts, 1909 - vol. 3, p. 484.
The Myth of the Manuscript Found, Geo. Reynolds, 1883; p. 43; History of the
Church, Period I, Joseph Smith, B. H. Roberts, vol. 1; pp. 10-16; Mormon Point
of View, N. L. Nelson; 1904; pp. 107, 108, 110.
The Anti-Masonic Party: A Study of Political AntiMasonry in the U. S.,
1827-1840, Chas. McCarthy Annual Report, American Historical Association;
1902; p. 371.
Anti-Masonic Review; vol. 1; 1828, pp. 55 80, Opinions on Speculative Masonry,
J. C. Odiorne; 1830, p. i94.
Autobiography of Thurlow Weed; vol. 1; 1883; pp. 46 86, 306.
History of Freemasonry in New York, C.T. McClenachan; 1892; vol. 2; pp.
W. L. Stone, quoted by Drummond, History of Portland Lodge, No. 1; 1881, p.
It appears that this was not Miller's first venture in printing works of this
character. Some twenty years before he brought out a new edition of Jachin and
Boaz, a book that was first published in 1762. Miller was initiated at Albany
N. Y., about the time he was at work on the book just named. See The Broken
Seal, S. D. Greene; 1873, pp. 45-46.
Proceedings of the U. S. Anti-Masonic Convention, Philadelphia, 1830,
Whittlesey's Report; pp. 15-32.
History of Freemasonry in N. Y., McClenachan; 1892; vol. 2; pp. 505-509.
Proceedings of the U. S. Anti-Masonic Convention, Philadelphia; 1830;
Whittlesey's Report, p. 21; Niles Register; 1829; vol. 35; p. 355.
Anti-Masonic Review, vol. 1; 1828; pp. 57, 209, 244, 275; Opinions on
Speculative Masonry, J. C. Odiorne, 1830, pp. 103194, 115f, 164-165, 275; An
Inquiry Into the Nature, Etc., J. G. Sterns, 1826 pp. 106, 09
The Anti-Masonic Party, McCarthy, Annual Report American Historical
Association, 1902, p. 368, History of the People of the U.S., McMaster, 1900;
vol. 5, pp. 82-122, Autobiography of Thurlow Weed, 1883, vol. 1; pp. 355-359;
Mormon Group Life, Erieksen; 1922; p. 14.
The Broken Seal, S. D. Greene,. 1873, pp. 118-119.
The Anti-Masonic Review, vol. 2; 1829, pp. 130-131.
Catalogue Anti-Masonic Books, H. Gassett; 1852; p. 88; cf. Proceedings U. S.
Anti-Masonic Convention, Philadelphia; 1830, p. 98.
The Anti-Masonic Review, 1829; vol. 2, p. 248.
The Anti-Masonic Review, 1829; vol. 2, p. 241.
Opinions on Speculative Masonry, J. C. Odiorne, 1830; p. 33, Note; of. Letters
on the Masonic Institution, J. Q. Adams, 1847; p. 229.
History of Freemasonry in N.Y., C.T. McClenachan 1892; vol. 3; p. 507;
Freemasonry in Michigan, Conover, 1897 vol. 1; p. 169; cf. Niles Register,
1828, vol. 35, p. 253.
Niles Register, 1827; vol. 32, pp. 59, 60, 121. The Committee on Courts and
Justice - in the Legislature - to which these memorials were referred
requested that it might be discharged from further consideration of the
subject in view of the feet that a majority of the Committee were Masons. This
request was granted and a special committee of Anti-Masons was appointed, but
the resolutions it presented were rejected by the Assembly, by a vote of three
Proceedings U. S. Anti-Masonic Convention, Philadelphia 1830, p. 42; The
Anti-Masonic Review, 1828; vol. 1, p. 62.
Niles Register; 1827; vol. 32; vol. 32; pp. 59, 60.
Proceedings U.S. Anti-Masonic Convention; Philadelphia; 1830; pp. 41, 42.
Mormon Group Life, Ericksen; 1922; p. 14.
Memoirs of the Life of Nathaniel Stacy; 1850; p. 250. History of Utah, H. H.
Bancroft; 1891; pp. 37, 38.
The Anti-Masonic Movement, E. S. Gibbs; Proceedings Grand Lodge Massachusetts,
1917, p. 497.
The Anti-Masonic Review; 1828; vol. 1; p. 226, Opinions on Speculative
Masonry, Odiorne; 1830; p. 128; Niles Register; 1829; vol. 37, pp. 53, 149.
Cf. McMaster, History of the People of the U. S.; 1900; vol. 5; p. 115.
S. D. Greene, National Observer, Oct. 2, 1827.
Niles Register, 1827; vol. 32, pp. 59, 60, 82, 181, 326.
History of the People of the U. S., McMasters, 1900; vol. 5; p. 117; Niles
Register, vol. 33, pp. 161, 162.
Autobiography of Thurlow Weed; 1883; vol. 1; pp. 298f.
Niles Register, 1830; vol. 38; p. 339.
Masonic Light on the Abduction of Wm. Morgan, P. C. Huntington; 1880; pp. 136,
137; Niles Register; 1828; vol. 35; p. 5.
Niles Register; vol. 34; p. 198.
History of Portland Lodge, No. 1, Drummond, 1881, pp. 130f; Early Records
Grand Lodge Vermont, 1794-1846, pp. 373f 407f, 396f; History of Freemasonry in
the State of N. Y., Ossian Lang; 1922; p. 176; Freemasonry in Michigan;
Conover; 1897; vol. 1; pp. 136-138.
Niles Register; 1827; vol. 32, pp. 59, 60.
New Witnesses for God, B. H. Roberts, 1909, vol. 3; p. 484; Mormon Point of
View, N. L. Nelson; 1904 p. 183, Note.
The Founder of Mormonism, I. W. Riley, 1903, p. 160; The Latter Day Saints,
Kauffman, 1912, pp. 125, 126; Psychological Tests for the Authorship of the
Book of Mormon, Prince American Journal of Psychology, 1917, vol. 28, pp. 373f
Authorship of the Book of Mormon, Schroeder, American Journal of Psychology;
1919; vol. 30; pp. 66-72.
Daniel Coxe's Relations to American Freemasonry
Bro. DAVID McGREGOR, Historian of Union Lodge, No. 2, Orange, N. J.
order that readers who have not followed previous discussions in THE BUILDER
may catch the full significance of Bro. McGregor's contribution we ask his
permission to make a word or two of explanation concerning the points at
issue. The principal point arises out of the friendly rivalry between the
Grand Jurisdictions of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts as to which can justly
claim, on the basis of records, priority in the establishment of regular and
duly constituted Freemasonry in this country. In the letter alleged to have
been written by Henry Bell to Dr. Thomas Cadwallader the writer affirms that
Daniel Coxe had issued a charter to a lodge in Philadelphia in the autumn of
1730. Massachusetts brethren argue that we have no proof that any such letter
ever existed, and affirm that Daniel Coxe could not have issued the charter
because he was in England during the two years covered by his deputation and
therefore never exercised the authority that had been given by him. In his
Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, page 56, Bro. Melvin Johnson states the
Massachusetts position in this manner: "There has appeared no evidence,
however, that he exercised this deputation or even that he was on this side of
the Ocean during the said two years." Bro. McGregor now comes forward to prove
that Coxe was in this country during that period and offers the evidence. At
the same time he comes to the support of the famous Bell letter. Consult THE
BUILDER Vol. I, pages 111, 174, 229, 251, 245; Vol. II, pages 70, 211, 317,
Vol. V, page 35, also November, 1923, page 329 and April, 1924 page 109. See
also The Study Club in this issue. - The Editor.
THE Builder of April last there appears an article by Bro. Melvin M. Johnson,
P.G.M. of Massachusetts, criticizing one by Bro. Ernest A. Reed, P. G. M. of
New Jersey, on "Freemasonry in New Jersey," in which Bro. Johnson says:
feet is, that while Coxe was appointed June 5th, 1730, as Provincial Grand
Master of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, for two years, he was not on
this side of the Atlantic at any time during those two years. During that
entire period he remained in England.... When therefore in January 1730-1 Coxe
attended the Grand Lodge in London, he naturally was recorded in accordance
with the Commission which he held although he had never exercised it."
give expression so emphatically to such unqualified statements of fact, based
solely on the lack of evidence to the contrary, especially by one who is
recognized as an authority on American Masonic history, and who so strongly
condemned the tendency in others "to give credence and currency to errors of
the past by their re-publication," is, to say the least, surprising. Doubtless
the fact that such opinions have gone so long unchallenged has given rise to
the belief that they must be true; but recent research on the part of the
writer has uncovered documentary evidence to prove that Coxe did return to
America, and was a resident of New Jersey during part of the period covered by
his deputation, viz., from June 24, 1730, to June 24, 1732.
evidence is to be found in the records of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and
in the voluminous manuscripts of James Alexander now in the possession of the
New York and New Jersey Historical Societies; and the strange thing is that
such readily accessible evidence has remained so long unnoticed.
Before proceeding, however, to present this indisputable evidence, it may be
well to say something about Alexander. He came to Perth Amboy in 1715 as
surveyor-general of East and West Jersey, an office he held for many years. He
was a prominent lawyer and attorney general of both New York and New Jersey;
is especially remembered as having defended Peter Zenger in his fight for the
liberty of the press; and also as the father of Major General William
Alexander (Lord Stirling) of Revolutionary fame.
had engaged James Alexander's services in certain suits of ejectment entered
by him against several residents of Maidenhead (Lawrenceville) and Hopewell
who occupied lands he claimed as his.
Alexander's Account Book, Vol. I, page 309, under date of May 17, 1729, the
following entry appears: "Received of Daniel Coxe in his Maidenhead suit 3.3.9
pounds." At the foot of page 323, under date of April 19, 1730, he has
entered: "Received of Reed in behalf of Col. Coxe 12 pounds proclamation money
towards carrying on the suit in Chancery." On the following page under date of
July 11, 1730, we find: "Received of Col. Coxe in his suit ads. Smith procl.
4.10.0 pounds." On that same day he argued this suit before Governor John
Montgomerie, acting as chancellor.
will be noticed that the first and third items acknowledge the receipt of
money directly from Coxe himself, while the second item acknowledges the
receipt of money on Col. Coxe's account through an intermediary, suggesting
the thought that he was here on May 17, 1729, and on July 11, 1730, but not on
April 19, 1730. That he was in New Jersey until late in 1729 is proven by a
deed given by him to his son Daniel Coxe, Jr., on Aug. 27, 1729; and by giving
his bond as administrator of the estate of Charles Weston, of Burlington, on
Oct. 2 of that year. On Feb. 12, 1730, he received a deed from Daniel Bird of
London for an extensive tract of land in New Jersey, indicating that he had
reached London some time previous, and we know from the records of the Grand
Lodge of England that he was there on June 5 when he received his deputation
as Provincial Grand Master.
CONFIRMATORY EVIDENCE IS GIVEN
already stated, the wording of his entry in the account book under date of
July 11, 1730, would make it appear that he had returned to Jersey. This of
itself, however, would not be accepted as positive proof of such a claim
unless supported by confirmatory evidence. Fortunately we are able to present
something more positive and convincing in the form of a letter written by
Daniel Coxe to James Alexander, dated Trenton, July 31, 1730, in reply to a
letter he had just received from Alexander and in which he refers him to the
contents of a letter written to Mr. Murray, Alexander's partner, on the 29th
inst., dealing with the subject of Alexander's inquiry, showing not only that
Coxe was in Trenton on July 29, 1730, but had been in Perth Amboy some time
previous to that date; while at the same time it strongly confirms our surmise
that he was in Jersey on July 11. We have other reports to prove that he
continued a resident of New Jersey until late in 1730. On Aug. 28 he signed a
deed at Burlington for land to William Merrill at Hopewell, and from the
records of the Supreme Court of New Jersey we learn that he gave his bond on
Nov. 16, 1730, "at Burlington by his certain writing" for 1750 pounds to be
paid to Cap. Warren or demand.
has thus been clearly shown that Daniel Coxe did return to America and was a
resident of New Jersey about four months of the year 1730.
will be noticed that Coxe's deputation was dated June 5, 1730, although it was
not to go into effect until June 24. This leads us to inquire what was the
reason of its being granted nineteen days ahead of time ? Our answer is that
he might take advantage of an opportunity to sail for America on or about June
5, in order to appear before the Court of Chancery as soon as possible in the
suit he had pending there. The interval of five weeks between the date of his
deputation and his presence here on July 11 was not an unusual performance at
that time. The New York Gazette of Nov. 22, 1731, was disappointed that "it
did not find by the London Prints of the 15th of September last that they have
not any account of the death of our late Governor Montgomerie", which occurred
on July 1, 1731, thus allowing only six weeks for the transmission and
publication of news; while in the same newspaper of May 31, 1736, we find a
notice to the effect that "On Saturday last Captain Warren in His Majesty's
ship, The Squirrel, arrived here eight weeks from England, and on Thursday
last a ship arrived at Philadelphia having had five weeks' passage." The
Captain Warren referred to is the same person that is mentioned in Coxe's
letter, a photographic copy of which is here reproduced in order that there
might not now or hereafter be any doubt upon its authenticity, as has been in
the case of the noted Bell letter, on account of our Pennsylvania brethren not
being able to produce the original.
feel that the publication of this letter at this time justifies a
reconsideration of the criticism that has been directed against Bell's letter,
whereby its authenticity and truthfulness has been seriously questioned, even
though the Grand Lodge Library Committee of Pennsylvania stated that it bore
all the marks of being genuine, and they had no doubt of its being correct. It
is to be deeply regretted that the original Bell letter is not available so
that the question of its authenticity might be definitely settled; and it is
also unfortunate that Bro. Francis Blackburn did not copy the letter in full
when he had the opportunity to do so in 1873, as the context might have been
helpful in confirming its veracity. Yet as it stands, there appears to be
sufficient circumstantial evidence to render the statements in that letter
entirely acceptable to an unprejudiced mind.
excerpt of this letter said to have been written by Bro. Henry Bell of
Lancaster, Pa., to Dr. Thomas Cadwallader of Philadelphia on Nov. 17, 1754, is
you well know, I was one of the originators of the first Masonic Lodge in
Philadelphia. A party of us used to meet at the Tun Tavern in Water Street and
sometimes opened a Lodge there. Once in the fall of 1730, we formed a design
of obtaining a charter for a regular Lodge, and made application to the Grand
Lodge of England for one, but before receiving it we heard that Daniel Coxe of
New Jersey had been appointed by that Grand Lodge as Provincial Grand Master
of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we therefore made application to
him, and our request was granted."
KNOW LITTLE ABOUT HENRY BELL
the identity of the writer we know little save that the name of Henry Bell
appears in the tax list of Derry Township, Lancaster, Pa., about that time.
The recipient of the letter, Dr. Thomas Cadwallader, was a prominent citizen
of Philadelphia, who had been educated in the Friends' Academy and then took
up a course in medicine and surgery in London. On his return he established an
extensive practice in Philadelphia and became a noted physician. He was
admitted to membership in St. John's Lodge, No. 1, on June 6, 1737; and on
June 24, 1738, was appointed one of the Grand Wardens of the Grand Lodge.
became actively identified with the public life of the city and was associated
with Franklin in many of his public activities. He was one of the founders of
the American Philosophical Society and of the Pennsylvania Hospital. He moved
to Trenton for a time and while there was selected in 1746 to be the first
Chief Burgess (Mayor) of the town, Daniel Coxe, Jr., son of Col. Daniel Coxe,
being also one of the members of that body. In 1750 he again took up his
residence in Philadelphia, where he became professionally associated with the
new Pennsylvania Hospital.
having the complete text of Bell's letter we are forced to venture a surmise
as to the object of his that time, and on that particular subject; there was
evidently some special reason for his doing so, which reason may be found in
the fact that early in 1754 the brethren of the "Grand and First Lodges of
Philadelphia" opened a subscription list for the building of a Masonic lodge,
which was formally opened on June 24, 1755, the first of its kind in America,
and in which ceremony Dr. Cadwallader took a prominent place. In view of such
a ceremony it may be that Cadwallader wrote to Bro. Bell asking for what
information he could give as to the establishment of the first lodge in
Philadelphia, more particularly the part played in it by one who had been a
noted resident of the town which had so signally honored him by making him its
first mayor. He was evidently aware that Bell had taken an active part in that
movement which is implied by the first sentence quoted in the letter, "As you
evident intent of the letter was to establish the regularity of -St. John's
Lodge, and it is scarcely conceivable that Bro. Bell would make such an
historically, important statement to another brother Mason, eminent in the
public life of the city and in the ranks of Masonry, and one so closely
associated with Franklin, Allen and Daniel Coxe, Jr., without it being founded
on truth, and the burden of proof as to its being unreliable rests upon those
who would seek to discredit his assertions.
Conscious of this burden, those have sought to do so on two grounds: first,
that Bell's name does not appear among the original members of St. John's
Lodge; and second, that the time mentioned, "the fall of 1730," would not
permit of doing all he claimed was done in time to institute the lodge late in
1730, or early in 1731.
TWO OBJECTIONS ARE CONSIDERED
Concerning the first objection, it is easily possible that Bell found it
necessary to move from Philadelphia before the lodge was duly constituted,
although he had taken an active part in the preliminaries of organization;
even the first Master, William Button, found it necessary to do so a few
months after his installation; nor does Bell's letter make any claim to his
having been a member of it. The only connection with it that he lays claim to
is that he was "one of the originators".
the second point, it must be remembered that this letter was written
twenty-four years after the event, and it is not surprising that he was rather
indefinite as to the exact date; there are but few of us frail mortals who can
charge our memory with precision as to dates so long gone by. Of course the
second criticism was made solely on the theory that Coxe was in London in the
fall of 1730, which has been proven untenable; his presence here during that
period must be looked upon as one of those corroborative facts which the Grand
Lodge Library Committee of Pennsylvania considered desirable to give full
credit to the letter, and make its statements entirely acceptable. There
appears, therefore, no just reason why Bell's statement should not be accepted
as fact, and that Coxe should be credited with exercising his authority, at
least in this one instance.
we willingly admit that St. John's Lodge, No. 1, of Philadelphia, was the
first regularly constituted lodge in America, which entitles the City of
Brotherly Love to the honor of being known as the Mother of Freemasonry in
America, we feel that New Jersey is at the same time entitled to the credit of
having as one of its noted citizens a brother who is equally entitled to be
called the Father of American Freemasonry, inasmuch as he was the first Grand
Master in America, and the medium through whom, and through whom only, the
institution of the first legitimate lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in
America could and did take place.
Grand Vizier's Quest
Bro. SIDNEY MORSE, Executive Secretary, Bureau of Social and Educational
Service, New York
all the seas were one sea
a GREAT sea that would be!
if all the trees were one tree
a GREAT tree that would be!
if all the axes were one axe
a GREAT axe that would be!
if all the men were one man
a GREAT man he would be!
if the GREAT man took the GREAT axe
cut down the GREAT tree
let it fall into the GREAT sea
a splish splash that would be!
upon a time, as the fairy tales say, there was born in the royal palace of the
Caliph of Bagdad a prince destined to be renowned in story as the great
the early course of his education was drawing to a close, the Caliph one day
summoned the Grand Vizier, Abin El Yusef, and set on foot an inquiry for a
suitable tutor for the heir apparent. One after another the most famous
scholars of that era of learning sought to embrace the opportunity of having
as their disciple the future Caliph. But each applicant desired to teach only
a single subject and seemed to be largely ignorant or disdainful of other
branches of learning. The celebrated mathematician, Abdullah El Hasin, knew
little of dialectic and avowed a poor opinion of its value. Even masters of
the same forms of knowledge could not agree among themsleves how these
subjects ought properly to be imparted. In short, they quarreled fiercely and
agreed only in holding all knowledges but their own in slight esteem.
this state of affairs was reported to the Caliph his brow darkened. Summoning
the Grand Vizier, he said:
from finding a suitable tutor for the Prince, you have added to my perplexity.
The heir to the Caliphate is not to become a mathematician, a dialectician, or
a philosopher, but a king and ruler of men. He must learn obedience and
reverence for age and for the wisdom of the fathers. How can he fail to imbibe
prejudice from the bickerings of these pedants ? How can he arrive at truth
among such contradictory opinions? Reverence he is not likely; to learn from
men who have no respect for themselves to teach them what is due to one
another. Go among them and announce that this is the Caliph's test. The
Prince's tutor must have equal knowledge of every subject. He must be at peace
with himself and with all the world. He must have a blameless reputation for
wisdom. He must have skill in all the arts of peace and war. Make proclamation
that I will endow such an one with honor and riches. I will give him a
Princess to wife, a portion from my own table and equal authority with myself
over the Prine's person."
proclamation was made and ambassadors were sent to foreign parts to extend the
tidings. At first the wiseacres declared that no one had ever heard of such a
man but, incited by the hope of reward, scholars, priests, warriors and
impostors from all parts of the world began to flock to the royal city by the
Tigris. Examinations under the directions of the Grand Vizier were conducted
daily, but to no avail. No one gave the slightest promise of passing the
Caliph’s test. The city and its environs swarmed with hungry hords of
chagrined place-seekers, all of whom refused to abandon hope until the prize
had been actually awarded. The Caliph's test was the topic of the hour. The
ordinary interests of the realm languished. At last, to check the nuisance of
rival claimants, the Caliph announced the pains of death against him who
attempted the test unsuccessfully. Danger served only to fan the zeal kindled
by the brilliance of the proposed achievement. Hundreds paid with their lives
the penalty of their rashness. When finally a number of the most renowned
scholars in the Caliph's dominions had been executed, he one day summoned the
Grand Vizier and bade him withdraw the proclamation.
"For," said the Caliph, "I see that Wisdom is humble and abases herself. It
may be that she is not to be found by proclamation of rewards and honors, nor
by awaiting her in courts or palaces. Let us make diligent search for her
among the lowly. The duty of every age is to transmit to posterity with
usufruct its heritage from the fathers. The education of the Prince is
therefore my chief concern. If you fail in this, you fail in all things. I
give you a year and a day to bring me one who shall pass my test. Otherwise I
must appoint your successor and banish you to perpetual exile."
GRAND VIZIER HAD A WEARY TASK
Grand Vizier, bending low, received to aid him in his search the Caliph's
signet, and made his way from the royal palace with a sad heart. Having
furnished himself with a belt full of jewels and gold from the royal treasury,
he bade adieu to his favorite wife, Sadie, left his harem in the charge of his
chief eunuch, Balthassah, and, with many misgivings, set out upon his journey.
would take too long to recite all that befell the Grand Vizier. Suffice it to
say that he visited by turns every district of the Caliph's empire. All doors
flew open to the royal signet. The fame of his quest outran him. The faithful
vied with each other in directing his attention to every subject who had any,
even the slightest, reputation for wisdom. As he traveled away from Bagdad he
found, to his surprise, few indeed who knew even by reputation the eminent
doctors there congregated. Each community had its own wise men who embodied
the traditional lore of the vicinity. There were many of blameless life and
catholic sympathies, but they were without learning. They had much lore of
stars, desert, and mountains; of beasts and plants of the field and those of
stall and garden; of measuring and surveying; of leadership in war and
government in peace; of the nature of men and women and the love of little
children; of justice and of true religion; but of mathematics, astronomy and
other sciences, and of dialectic, philosophy or theology they had never heard.
Obviously, such men were unfit to venture their lives on the test of the
long nights, under the gorgeous eastern firmament, gloriously blazoned and
tapestried with the stars, did the Grand Vizier consult on the state of the
Caliph's realm with these common men. As the year of his quest drew to its
close and its object seemed more and more to be unattainable, he lost sight of
his own unhappy lot in a heart-felt yearning to undo, by means of the vast
fund of wisdom he had thus unwittingly acquired, the mistakes of his earlier
years in the Caliph's service. At length, when less than a month remained
before his banishment would become perpetual, the Grand Vizier, in his camp on
the eastern foothills of the Hindu-Kush mountains, chanced to hear rumors of a
vastly wise Nan, an anchorite, dwelling in a cavern overlooking the desert of
Gobi. Resolving to leave no stone unturned, he determined to throw all upon a
single cast of the die. Descending to the bed of the Karkand and thence by the
valley of the Tarim, he made his way by incredible exertions thither.
shadows of the last evening but one of the Caliph's year were chilling alike
his body and his spirit as he toiled, painfully and alone, up a rocky pathway
toward the entrance to the sage's cavern. The aged man arose at his approach
and welcomed him in silence but with gentle dignity. The two broke their fast
without speaking. The experience of the past year had taught the Grand Vizier
that the words of the wise are few in proportion as they are precious. When at
last the full moon arose, silvering the weird expanse of the ancient desert
into the likeness of a wide, mysterious sea, the aged seer broke the silence.
are not unheralded," he said, "nor unexpected. You have lost yourself in the
search and have thus found the will and the way to serve your fellowmen. You
have accordingly been led by Allah to the one place on earth where your quest
can be satisfied. With prayer, vigils and much mortification of the flesh, for
many years, I have sought the secret of wisdom. I have been successful. But my
life has unfitted me to enjoy its fruits. The Caliph has wisely asked for his
heir wisdom rather than power, riches or honor. Hence all these may be added
unto him. The Prince is destined to be by far the most celebrated among the
Caliphs of Bagdad. To you it has been granted to receive a revelation of the
sources from which universal wisdom is derived."
Checking the Grand Vizier as he was about to acknowledge with joy this welcome
intelligence, the sage busied himself with drawing together upon an open patch
of stone at the entrance of his cave the embers of his scanty fire. Blowing
gently upon the coals until they glowed again, he scattered among them a few
grains of incense, gesticulated mysteriously, and whisperingly gave utterance
to the mighty Name.
Instantly a thin column of fragrant smoke rose from among the ashes. As it
curled gradually upward a light gust of air, like a tiny whirlwind, caught it
up and detached it from its base. Slowly at first but with gathering intensity
an ever-increasing cloud of smoke or mist, like the top of an inverted
pyramid, spinning spirally, made its way toward the open sands down the vista
of a gorge fronting the anchorite's cavern. A low hum sharpening to a hiss and
then deepening to a shrieking roar apprised the ear of its accelerating
progress. The mighty funnel, writhing and twisting as it went, swept the sands
of the desert aloft as some gigantic waterspout might lift the waves of the
sea. In plain view of the awe-struck onlookers it paused, balanced itself,
rotated slightly and, such was its magnitude, clean-swept the accumulated sand
of centuries from the primeval rock, and for a vast space laid bare the hidden
bones of the world. Smoke, mist and sand finally vanished and only the raucous
voice of the gale vibrating stridently across the moonlit void and the altered
aspect of the sands were left to offset the sense of unreality.
WISDOM'S MAGIC IS COMPLETED
last the sage signalled the Grand Vizier to rub with his palm the Caliph's
ring. As he complied, instantly, from all quarters of the globe, its entire
human population, as disembodied spirits, was summoned to appear. Men, women
and children of all races and conditions, past and present, were swept by the
four winds from every land, washed by the seven seas. Grasped by the
all-compelling vortex they were caught up and whirled resistlessly aloft. At
the touch of the wondrous current each human frame miraculously fell apart
into its component elements. Limb fell from limb and organ from organ. Nerves,
muscles, fibres and cells parted company, to reassemble, like with like, as
the elements of a new and greater whole. Rapidly the majestic drama was
enacted. Ere the moon set the entire range of the Thian Shan was darkened by
the shadows of a colossus in human form towering majestically among the stars.
human heart that ever beat had gone to the making of this heart of Man. Every
human brain that ever thought was united in this brain of Man. Even in stature
the body of Man, the product of the combination of earth's billions of living
and dead, towered over the globe many times her own diameter. With few strides
Man could have circled the planet, overstepping earth's greatest rivers,
fording her oceans and spurning her loftiest mountains in his march. Thus he
stood, capable of treading cities and armies beneath his feet, or of
destroying the beautiful world itself with a single blow of his mighty fist.
face of Man could not be seen. The dumb roaring of the blast subsided. The
desert air commenced once more to vibrate, but this time with a prelude of
softest harmony. Suddenly the earth quaked once and again. The gigantic frame
shuddered and seemed to wrestle with an inward agony. Life had commenced. The
functions of all the individual members, set up anew, poured as it were into
one mighty caldron the total product of their individual selves. The contents
and workings of every man's brain were suddenly fused into one. All feeling,
emotion and sentiment of the hearts of every man found itself in the heart of
a heart was there! Into its mighty depths was poured the fierce glow of
barbaric victory and the ecstacy of Christian martyrdom. Heroism of warriors
and fanaticism of zealots blent with melting tendernesses of lovers, of
mothers and of little children. The gentle sympathies and affections of saint,
sage and poet, united with the crude affections of camp, court and
market-place. Not one was lost, but from their union was created a greater
than them all, a mighty cord of universal brotherhood, of human sympathy that,
rendered audible by some heavenly instrument, enraptured the listener's soul
as if by the fabled music of the spheres.
like manner was built up the great and common brain. As each group of cells in
the brain of every man discharges a distinct function and thus represents
certain characteristics acquired by the interplay of blood and breeding, so
were grouped those parts of the united brain that registered similar memories.
Thus met the thoughts and minds of those that had knowledge of the stars and
those that knew about the soul; and so of all other branches of our knowledge.
And as the mind of man cannot contain opposing errors but they will kill one
another and all will fall dead in the presence of Truth; so after brief war,
from the shock and conflict of opinions came peace and inward harmony. As when
with fierce reaction in the alembic of an alchemist, many crude ingredients
resolve themselves into a sovereign elixer, so from the crux of meeting
creeds, systems, prejudices and opinions seething together, was distilled the
clear elixer of Truth.
harmonies became ecstatic. The Heavens opened. And from their bonded depths a
host appeared hovering enraptured above the form of Man. At length a deep
toned voice caught up the heavenly close in accents unmistakably human. A new
self had been awakened, a universal consciousness in which all mankind had
part. Humanity had found itself.
MANKIND BECOMES THE TEACHER OF MAN
more the sage signalled the Grand Vizier to rub the Caliph's ring. As he
complied, the mist swiftly settled upon the desert. The gigantic outlines of
universal Man became indistinct in its shadows and were quickly blotted out.
The full moon sank. The Grand Vizier's spirits fell. But ere he could voice a
question or assure himself whether he waked or dreamt the bulk of an
approaching figure took shape from out the mist and a stranger entered the
circle of light radiated by the anchorite's tiny fire. Although no more to
outward seeming than the normal stature of mankind, he bore indelibly stamped
upon his person the impress of his origin. He was no other than Humanity, the
universal Man! The Grand Vizier's quest was at an end!
onlooker of that austere mountain side might have been supposed to see a group
of three men bowed with years, the world worn Vizier, the prematurely aged
victim of self-mortification, and, oldest of them all, the Universal Spirit of
Mankind. His figure embodied no less than the entire thought content of the
race. His memory was one with human knowledge. His recollection embraced all
erudition. His sympathies ranged from the greatest to the least of human
affections. His nervous system tingled with every skill and aptitude of
craftsman or of artist. But, in fact, it was not a withered and decrepit old
man who answered to the Grand Vizier's inquiring glance. The universal spirit
had assumed a younger form. He seemed as one whose earthly life had yet to run
more than half of the allotted three-score years and ten. Ruddy, erect and
vigorous, his form and eye bespoke the fire of a warrior, the energy of an
enthusiast. The gentle dignity of his carriage betokened a reverent respect
for wisdom and for age.
councils were held about those dying embers it were too long to tell. Enough
to say, according to the ancient manuscripts of the historian, Ben Rydyl
(discovered in a library at Granada, nearly a century after the expulsion of
the Moors), that the distance from the Thian Shan to the valley of the Tigris
presented no insuperable obstacle to the universal wisdom.
Caliph convened his court upon the morrow to appoint the Grand Vizier's
principal rival, head of the opposing family of Ommiades, as his successor,
and to announce the deposed minister's banishment. But to the immense
confusion and discomfiture of his opponent, no less than to the Caliph's joy,
who should appear at the nick of time but the Grand Vizier himself ! And in
his company appeared the long-sought tutor who, in the resulting examinations,
by conquering in succession the most celebrated scholars, warriors, artists,
craftsmen, poets and musicians who opposed his election, made good his claim
to the humble title of El Mu'allim (the teacher) for which he modestly avowed
related that the young prince welcomed most kindly his new instructor, who
thus combined equal skill in every manly accomplishment with universality of
knowledge. The future conduct of his education was transformed by the love he
bore El Mu’allim from a thing of heaviness to a means of constant inspiration
and delight. In time, half by unconscious imitation, half by conscious effort,
the prince imbibed the major part of the wisdom and accomplishments of El
Mu'allim. At the mysterious disappearance of the latter (which occurred on the
occasion of the Caliph's death) there remained but little to choose between
the conduct of the disciple and the master. The renown of the great
Haroun-al-Raschid is the all-sufficient testimony to the worth of the tutor,
El Mu'allim, which the merits of his illustrious disciple have obscured.
it is regarded as a significant thing by the original historian, in support of
the authenticity of this legend, that Haroun-al-Raschid himself should have
sought for wisdom among the commonalty of his realm, having often, in the
guise of adventure, mingled freely in the khans and bazaars, with shopkeepers,
craftsmen, travelers and others, and thus kept at all times in closest touch
with human good in "widest commonalty spread." Thus he sought, in the opinion
of Ben Rydyl, in emulation of his departed master, to himself embody the
spirit of human brotherhood and the substance of the practical knowledge and
wisdom of his race.
It Now! "
Letter From Bro. GENE T. SKINKLE, Illinois
in the year word went out to the Round Table of Masonic editors that the
unique and beloved Gene T. Skinkle had resigned the tripod of Oriental
Consistory Magazine. Would he also resign from activity in the Order? Ye
Editor immediately wrote him to ask that important question. No, he replied,
he would stay in the good old game, but not as an editor. He was retiring into
an attic at Wilmette, Ill., and would therefrom issue such edicts and
pronunciamentos anent things Masonic as the spirit might move him. The project
for a national Masonic Tuberculosis Hospital in the Southwest moved him
mightily, as witness his hand in the following:
tender to you, and to Bros. Robert J. Newton, of Texas, and W. O. Saunders,
sincere expressions of congratulation and appreciation for what I consider two
of the best articles on practical Masonic progress published in many years. I
refer to the articles in the October edition of THE BUILDER captioned "J'Accuse
! - A Challenge to Freemasonry", and "Let's Stop Blowing Bubbles," both of
which are worth reading and re-reading - and then considering seriously and
deeply. We need more and more Newtons, Mike Thomases, Louis Blocks, Forrest
Adairs, W. O. Saunders and such thinking, practical Masons and a few less
feeding, smoking, entertaining limelight Masons.
more than thirty years I have been out with a sledge hammer pounding Masonic
profligacy and waste, praying for a Moses to lead "the children of light" out
of the wilderness of words, into the promised land of practice, and others
have been "seeing the signs" and blazing the trail to redemption. The day is
dawning when, I hope, preaching will give way to PRACTICE.
Bro. Newton's estimates of cost and operation of Tuberculosis Hospitals is
conservative is evidenced in the report of the Secretary of the National
Methodist Hospital and Home Association for the year 1922, extracts from
which, and my own computation of averages of investments per bed and cost per
patient, I enclose herewith.
good friend and brother, W. Freeland Kendrick; 33d, saw the star and followed
its guidance when, after a visit to the hospital at Atlanta, Georgia, he
fought for, and eventually secured the support of the Imperial Council of the
Shrine to the Orthopedic Hospital development that is proving such a blessing
to crippled and maimed children in America.
Block, 33d, of Iowa, had a dream of Masonic concentration to practical
purposes and saw his dream come true in the organization of the Masonic
Thomas, 33d, of Texas, demonstrated practical Masonry when, as Grand Master,
he caused to be built the dormitory for the Lone Star State University.
Robert J. Daly, 33d, and James McCready, 33d, of Illinois, are doing splendid
practical work for the Masonic Orphan's Home, at LaGrange, and the Old Mason's
Home, at Sullivan, Illinois.
Everybody knows what Forrest Adair, 33d, has accomplished for practical
Masonry in Georgia; to repeat his record would require the space of many of
Buffalo, New York, George K. Staples, 33d, has worked for years in behalf of
the betterment of the waifs from the streets and alleys; and in Pittsburg,
Pa., "Uncle Bill" Brown, 33d, and his Nobles of Syria Temple, have kept an eye
on the boys and kept them out of troubles. So also "Freer" Kendrick (the
Mayor) keeps an eye on the "kiddies" of Philadelphia.
are others, many others, that could be cited illustrating diversified
practical Masonic progressive
NATIONAL METHODIST HOSPITAL AND HOME ASSOCIATION
E. N. Davis, Corresponding Secretary
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 1922
Cost of Maintenance
Value of Property
Free Service Value
Homes for Aged
Homes for Children
beds, property cost, $23,000,000; average per bed, $3,584.64 investment.
220,000 patients; annual cost, $6,600,000; average per patient, $30.
Averages on Totals
11,256 beds; property cost, $35,605 000; average per boa, $5,355.65.
224,040 patients, annual cost, $7,200,000; average per patient $32.13.
Average period per patient, 18.34 days. Average cost per patient per day,
developments. For instance, through the courtesy of Bro. William Wonnacott,
Librarian of the Grand Lodge Library and Museum, London, England (where Bro.
Robert I. Clegg, 33d, of Ohio, was a recent visitor), I have before me the
history and reports of the three British Masonic charitable institutions, the
Royal Masonic Institute for Boys, the Royal Masonic Institute for Girls, and
the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution for Aged Masons and Widows of
Freemasons. These are not Grand Lodge dependencies, but are supported by
individual Masonic contributions and are governed by officers elected by vote
of the contributors. It may be that readers of THE Builder will be interested
to learn that the contributed income for the three charities named, for the
year just passed, was "well over 300,000 pounds”, or nearly a million and a
half dollars figured in American money. The Benevolent Board grants annuities
or pensions to aged Masons to the amount of 100 pounds and to widows one-half
the amount of the deceased Mason's grant. Also a limited number are admitted
to the Institute Asylum at Croydon.
ARE GUILTY OF PROFLIGATE WASTE
have treated particularly in this article on several isolated, local and
independent Masonic activities (outside of the Shrine Hospital and the British
charities) merely to show what has been and can be done when Masons get right
down to practical exemplification of the lessons they are teaching. Enough
money has been promiscuously and profligately spent in wasteful, unnecessary
extravagance in the past years to have built and supported the practical,
necessary institutions the practical Masons are now calling for so piteously,
and the profligacy will continue unless our Grand Lodges and Grand Masters
call a halt on the waste and pass laws to compel our lodges and our individual
Masons to conservate their incomes and devote the savings to practical
demonstrations of Masonic teachings.
is most needed at this time is concentration and business application to
meritorious purposes. United on any one purpose, the three million Masons in
the United States could accomplish anything they started out to do; divided,
their aims and purposes are desultory in results and, many times, futile in
the united support of the Fraternity in this country the crying need of
Tuberculosis Hospitals in the Southwest will cease to be a dream and our
60,000 afflicted brethren will be assured of comfort, care and necessary
medical attention, free from the anxiety and worry of the future for their
Symbolic Masonry has a total membership of nearly three millions in the United
States, the Shrine a membership of about 600,000. Two dollars per annum from
each Shriner supports the Orthopedic Hospitals; $2.00 per annum from each
Symbolic Mason would give an income of five times the income derived from the
Shriners, and $6,000,000 per annum would build and pay the operating expense
of the Tuberculosis Hospitals so badly needed for our suffering brethren.
Concentrate on this, talk it over at every lodge meeting, set it to music and
sing it to your home folks, publish it in your local fraternal papers, give
parties and dance to it - in other words, make up your minds to start this
movement - and go right out and GET IT. DO IT NOW !
disproportionate amount of money being spent for purposes of fun and
sociability as compared with monies devoted to relief and charity has been
discussed by many Grand Lodges during the past three or four years. One such
pronouncement on this subject, representative of many others that might be
quoted, was made by Bro. Arthur Potterton as Grand Master of New Jersey. It is
offered here in support of Bro.: Skinkle's plea:
recommend that every lodge adopt the budget system of controlling its
finances; the budget to include in addition to the regular earring charges,
items for charity, entertainment and incidentals, and when the amount of the
budget shall have been determined, that the dues of the members be adjusted to
make the lodges self-supporting.
can be no doubt that Relief is one of the three principal tenets of Masonry,
and the only one that calls for a material sacrifice. Throughout the Craft, as
well as those not in our Fraternity, the belief is general that Masonry
teaches charity and helpfulness, and that belief is responsible for the high
regard in which Masonry has so long been held. Many of those who have had
opportunities to observe and who cared to do so have been forced to admit that
the per capita outlay for charitable objects has not kept pace with the
material prosperity of our lodges, while on the other hand the expenditures
usually classed as "Refreshments and Entertainment" have increased to such an
extent as to create in the mind of the newly-made member the thought that
Masonic Lodges are little, if anything. more than social bodies, whose efforts
are directed, not to help the broken and helpless, to be found all around us,
who know little else but want, hunger and discouragement, but to providing
dances, amusements and refreshments for the members.
Masonry to decline to a mere source for supplying these demands? Can nothing
be done to impress our brethren that the funds of a lodge, beyond paying
necessary expenses, are a sacred trust, and to be expended only in the way
called for by our tenets and teaching?
During the past year almost $150,000 was expended by our lodges for
entertainment and refreshment, while only about one-third of that amount was
expended for Charity.
my belief that this is wrong - a wrong that will soon work incalculable injury
to our Fraternity. With a showing like that what chance have we to attract to
our ranks the solid, serious and charitable men we so seriously need, and who
alone can keep our Fraternity on the high level it has occupied in the past.
Outside our lodges are many men who are leading more truly Masonic lives than
those within our ranks, whose selfish demands on our lodge treasuries are so
strongly tending to keep them in such financial condition as to be unable or
less able to meet the calls that can be heard by all whose ears are attuned to
the cry of distress. This condition in our lodges is steadily growing worse
and the difference between the outlay for "refreshments" and that for Charity
is steadily growing greater.
have reached the high place that Masonry has attained in the respect of the
world - even among our enemies - is one thing, but to keep that place is quite
another thing. The first was the work of many generations of earnest men who
saw in Masonry only an enlarged opportunity for doing good in the world; the
second is for the present in our hands, and no greater responsibility can ever
come to us. Is this-responsibility being met as it should be when we find so
large an amount expended for "entertainment and refreshment" and such a
comparatively small amount for Charity,- as was reflected in the financial
statements of the lodges for last year?
one - and there are many more - who believe such a condition to be a Masonic
never have a better opportunity to call this state of affairs to your serious
and thoughtful consideration, and I believe I should be false to my duty if I
failed to do so. It is my opinion that something definite and decisive should
be done now, to impress on OUI' membership that the funds of their lodges do
not belong to them, and that they are for the time being only the trustees of
such funds, charged with the solemn duty of disbursing them in Masonic ways
only. I am as well aware as one could be that hitherto our lodges have had
full power to use their funds in any way they liked, but if they are risking
the high standard of their Masonic teaching and thereby lowering the
reputation of our Fraternity, is it not a matter that concerns this Grand
believe it is and I, therefore, recommend that no lodge be permitted to use a
larger proportion of its yearly income for entertainment and refreshment than
it does for Charity.
adoption of this recommendation would have the double effect of increasing the
amount devoted to Charity and of reducing the amount selfishly expended on
HARRIS ON THE ORIGINS OF AMERICAN MASONRY
of the most illustrious of all American Masons in the eighteenth century was
the Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, one time Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts, Deputy Grand Master, and Corresponding Grand Secretary. He was
born at Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1767 and died at Boston, April 3, 1842.
His first Masonic publication was a collation described as The Constitutions
of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, which he
published in 1792. His best known volume was a collection of speeches
published under the title of Masonic Discourses in 1801. In 1798 he published,
at the request of the Grand Lodge of his State, a sketch of early Masonic
history. From that volume the following paragraphs, here printed because of
their abiding value, have been taken. An excellent sketch of Bro. Harris was
published in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for 1917,
reader will note how the author describes the formation of a lodge as
"erection", whereas we now use the term "constitution".
* * *
PROCEEDINGS IN MASONRY FROM THE FIRST ORIGIN IN NEW ENGLAND
HISTORY OF ST. JOHN'S GRAND LODGE (sometimes called tile Grand Lodge of Modern
Masons) AT BOSTON, as descending from the Grand Master of England.
consequence of an application from several brethren residing in New England,
Free and Accepted Masons, to the Right Honorable and Most Worshipful Anthony,
Lord Viscount Montague, Grand Master of Masons in England, he was pleased, in
the year 5733 [1733 A. D.] to constitute and appoint the Right Worshipful
Henry Price, Provincial Grand Master of New England aforesaid.
the receipt of this commission the brethren assembled July 30, and the Charter
of Constitution being read, and the Right Worshipful Grand Master duly
invested and congratulated, a Grand Lodge was formed under the title and
designation of "St. John's Grand Lodge," and the following officers chosen and
installed: "Right Worshipful Andrew Belcher, Deputy Grand Master; Right
Worshipful Thomas Kennelly, Senior Grand Warden; Right Worshipful John Quann,
Junior Grand Warden, pro tempore.
petition was then presented by several worthy brethren residing in Boston
praying to be constituted into a regular lodge, and it was voted that the same
be granted. [This lodge was styled "The First Lodge in Boston," or "St. John's
was Masonry founded in North America. The anniversary of St. John the Baptist
was celebrated June 24, 5734 [1734 A. D.], in ample form, after the manner of
petition being presented from Benjamin Franklin and several brethren residing
in Philadelphia, for a Constitution for holding a lodge there, the Right
Worshipful Grand Master, having this year received orders from the Grand Lodge
of England to establish Masonry in all North America, was pleased to grant the
prayer of the petitioners and to send them a deputation, appointing the Right
Worshipful Benjamin Franklin their first Master - this celebrated philosopher
and statesman died in Philadelphia in 1790, age 84 - which is the beginning of
Masonry in the State of Pennsylvania.
petition from the brethren resident in Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, for the
erection of a lodge there, was also granted, denominated "The Holy Lodge of
was Masonry introduced into Boston, and thus it was propagated in the two
states of New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. It is for that Masons should more
frequently mention the Masonic character of the philosopher Franklin, who not
only was initiated into the sacred mysteries, but was active in the
introduction of it into the "City of Brotherly Love," where its prosperity,
purity and power are alike marked and cheering. It is one item of the glory of
the ancient Institution that such worthy men as Franklin and Washington
enjoyed its privileges and influences, while they were honorably active in
multiplying lodges and teaching Masonic science and morality, and while they
were practising upon its sublime and immortal virtues.
* * *
Mysterious Night! when our first parent knew
from report divine, and heard thy name,
he not tremble for this lovely frame,
glorious canopy of light and blue?
a curtain of translucent dew
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
lo! creation widened in man's view.
could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy rays, O. Sun, or who could find,
Whilst fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
to such countless orbs thou mad’st us blind?
do we then shun death with anxious strife?
light can thus deceive, wherefore not life?
Joseph Blanco White.
Men Who Were Masons
Bro. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P.G.M., District of Columbia
the biography of Sir Chrisitopher Wren, written by the English Architect,
James Elmers, London, 1823, we find:
1666 Sir Christopher Wren was appointed Deputy Grand Master under Earl
Rivers.... He was Master of St. Paul's Lodge, now the Lodge of Antiquity, of
which his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex is Past Master, and attended the
meetings for upwards of eighteen years."
Elmer's statement was very possibly based on William Preston's Illustrations
of Masonry. Critics of the modern school have long doubted the authenticity of
Preston's statements, but it seems to me that we have good grounds for
believing that Wren was a member of the Craft. These grounds are set forth in
Bro. Ryland's Records of the Lodge of Antiquity and in Bro. A. F. Calvert's
The Grand Lodge of England. Because of the skepticism of some of the best
scholars I hesitated to include Wren among "Great Men Who Were Masons," but
finally decided to do so, leaving it to the individual reader to omit Wren if
he wishes to.
was a versatile genius. He made many inventions, including "the wheel
barometer and mezzotint engraving"; wrote on astronomy, on instruments of
scientific application, hydraulics of ship building, whale fishing, methods of
determining longitude, etc. These exhibitions of his intellectual power, in
addition to his world-famed genius as an architect, explains why there
gathered about him the men who formed the Royal Society, England's most famous
was elected professor of astronomy in Gresham College at London and professor
of astronomy at Oxford three years later. After this he was for a time
assistant to Sir John Denham, the surveyor-general. In 1663 he designed the
Chapel of Pembroke College at Cambridge and in the same year was commissioned
to make a survey of St. Paul's Cathedral with a view to so restoring that
building as to adapt the whole structure to the famous Corinthian portico
added by Inigo Jones.
September, 1666, St. Paul's Cathedral was completely gutted by the fire which
almost destroyed London. Wren was chosen to rebuild it. After a great many
difficulties, during which the whole city participated in debates concerning
plans submitted by Wren and by his adversaries, work was begun on the new
structure June 21, 1672. The last stone was set thirty-five years later and
Wren was, fortunately, still alive to see it. We can find no record of a
Masonic service having been used either at the laying of the cornerstone or
Christopher Wren as Man and Architect
Bro. WILLIAM B. BRAGDON, New Jersey
Bragdon's little study of a great architect arrived at the same time as Bro.
Baird's "Memorial," printed just above, almost in the same mail, and since
they discuss the same subject the two are here published one after the other
There has been a long debate to determine if we have solid grounds for
claiming Wren as a Mason; Gould waved it all aside as a fabrication of
Preston's imagination, but there are some of us who believe that in Bro.
Ryland's careful history of the Lodge of Antiquity is legitimate reason for
holding that Wren was a Mason.
CHRISTOPHER WREN, the son of a clergyman, was born at East Knoyle, Wiltshire,
England, on Oct. 20, 1632. He graduated from Wadham College of Oxford
University in 1650, having distinguished himself in such subjects as geometry
and applied mathematics.
Tracing his collegiate life still further, we find him a Fellow of All Souls
in 1653, a professor of astronomy at Gresham in 1657, and Savilian professor
of astronomy at Oxford in 1660. Thus his early training and educational
inclinations disclosed an unusual mathematical mind, which was to develop
later a proficiency in structural engineering.
architect Wren is unquestionably the most famous product of England, and the
rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral, in London, his greatest popular
achievement. Most historical characters rise to fame through circumstances as
well as genius, and the great fire in London in 1666, which destroyed the old
St. Paul's and fifty or more parish churches, offered him an exceptional
would be impossible in so short a sketch to trace the history of his
associations with new St. Paul's, which was begun in 1675 and finished in
1710. After being commissioned the architect for the restoration of the old
church just previous to the fire, and then again for the new rebuilding, his
designs were criticized and his work hampered at almost every turn.
story is told of how he was ordered by the Worthy Council, who sat in judgment
over his plans, to double the number of columns that were to support the great
dome, as this august body felt inclined to doubt the wisdom of the arrangement
of Wren's design. Accordingly he did as he was bid, but a century later it was
accidently discovered that half of the columns lacked six inches of reaching
the base of the dome and were consequently without structural foundation.
Wren's salary for planning and supervising the erection of St. Paul's, which
cost an amount equalling $3,740,000, and is considered the fifth largest
church in the world, was the trifling sum of $1,000 a year. For this, the
Duchess of Marlborough says, he was content to be dragged up to the top in a
bucket three or four times a week.
there is every evidence that he did his work thoroughly nevertheless, and
exercised his control over his workmen with a moral and spiritual guidance as
well as an aesthetic. One of Wren's orders, which is said was affixed in many
parts of the building, read as follows:
"Whereas, among labourers, etc., that ungodly custom of swearing is too
frequently heard, to the dishonour of God and contempt of authority; and to
the end, therefore, that such impiety may be utterly banished from these works
intended for the service of God and the honour of religion - it is ordered
that customary swearing shall be a sufficient crime to dismiss any labourer...."
was also employed as architect for the rebuilding of the smaller parish
churches in London, and it was here that he displayed his constructive genius
to even better advantage. In the rebuilding of St. Michael's Cornhill, St.
Bride's Fleet Street, Mary-le-Bow Cheapside and St. Stephen's Welbrook he was
the creator of the English Renaissance type of steeple with conical or
pyramidal spire on a square belfry tower which later influenced the American
St. Paul's New York, Christ Church Philadelphia, St. Michael's Charleston,
Trinity Newport, and "Old South" Boston.
HE A MASON?
follow Wren's Masonic life is a more difficult undertaking. Tradition informs
us that he was a member and Master of the "Old Lodge of St. Paul," which was
changed to the "Lodge of Antiquity." No proof exists, however, of this fact as
all the records of this lodge of that time have vanished.
the archives of the Lodge of Antiquity is a mallet which it has been claimed
was presented by Sir Christopher Wren. In 1827 the Duke of Sussex attached to
this mallet a plate engraved as follows:
L. 5831. A. D. 1827. To commemorate that this, being the same mallet with
which His Majesty King Charles II levelled the foundation stone of S. Paul's
Cathedral, A. L. 5677, A. D. 1673. Was presented to the Old Lodge of S. Paul,
now the Lodge of Antiquity, acting by immemorial constitution, by Brother Sir
Christopher Wren, R.W.D.G.M., Worshipful Master of this Lodge and Architect of
lodge also has in its possession three gilt wooden candlesticks inscribed, "Ex
dono Chr. Wren Eq. A. L. 5680."
although he is frequently mentioned by learned writers as Master of St. Paul's
Lodge and also Grand Master of the Ancient Order of Free and Accepted Masons,
it is difficult to reconcile oneself to these statements without further
Parentalia, or "Memoirs of the Family of Wren," from which we obtain our most
accurate knowledge of his life, makes no mention of Sir Christopher Wren as a
Mason, although by implication this fact seems apparent.
would seem possible, however, that Wren could not have lived when he did and
as he did without having been in some way identified with the Craft. He was
not only a confirmed churchman, but he was anti-Roman in his beliefs. In
addition, his associations with prominent Master Masons of his time, and his
relations with the Royal Society, must have brought him in close contact with
was a member of Parliament for many years, and for fifty years held the high
office of Surveyor of the Royal Works. He died in 1723 and lies buried under
the Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, where a tablet over the inner north doorway
is inscribed as follows:
Lector, Si monumentum requiris, circumspice - “Reader, do you ask his
monument? Look around.”
Masonic Education Under Grand Lodge Auspices
wide Masonic education under direction of a Grand Lodge has been carried
forward in so many Grand Jurisdictions during the past few years that the
enterprise may be justly considered as having emerged from the merely
experimental stage. A number of Grand Lodges have developed their methods
independently of all outside efforts; others have worked through the Masonic
Service Association or in conjunction with the National Masonic Research
Society; in any event they have achieved results, an analysis of which would
show what devices might be adopted in any state without much fear of failure.
Without attempting such an analysis in the present instance it may be of
service to the workers in and under Grand Lodge Educational Committees to
indicate a few of the methods thus far verified by experience. The majority of
these methods come under one or other of two heads: speakers, or programs
featuring a speaker; and the printed word in the form of leaflets, bulletins,
magazines or books.
SPEAKERS. In developing a program of speaking to be carried into local lodges
it is best for a committee to begin with the speeches rather than with the
speakers. The purpose in view is not to have a given list of men heard in
lodges, but to have certain messages concerning Masonry carried home to the
brethren, therefore the speeches are more important than the speakers. A
committee can study its own field to discover what are the lessons of Masonry
most needed by its brethren; in some cases a speech can be planned on Masonry
in general, suitable to be given anywhere; in other cases subjects purely
local will be preferred. After the subjects are chosen and laid out speakers
can be selected capable of delivering just those subjects and in just the way
desired. This arrangement will avoid the difficulty encountered in some states
of having a corps of speakers sent into lodges who talk about everything
except Masonry. If conditions are such as to warrant a speech on some
non-Masonic topic (as sometimes happens) the committee should nevertheless
retain control lest a speaker forget himself and jump over the fence into a
discussion of religion or politics or other forbidden topics. This control by
the committee furthermore makes it possible to protect lodges against hearing
wild misinterpretations of Masonry made by brethren who have not had
opportunity to become sufficiently well informed.
Speakers can be listed through local lodges, almost every one of which will be
glad to recommend some capable brother on the roster, and these brethren can
then be booked for lodges not too far from home, in order to keep down
expenses. Such of them as insist on preparing their own speeches can be helped
by a loan of materials and they can have their speeches O. K'd by the
committee before delivery. The secretary or chairman of the committee can meet
with groups of these speakers at least once a year in order to help train them
by conference methods. If lodges report attendance at a speech, along with
some indication of how well it was received, the committee will know at any
given instance what is being accomplished by its staff in the field. After a
speaker becomes sufficiently well established and proves that he knows
something about Masonry and how to tell it, he can be used all over the state
and left pretty much to his own devices.
the large centers Masonic mass meetings can be held, all of the Masonic bodies
in a given territory participating. In such cases it is often possible to
invite some brother of national reputation for the occasion, paying him his
expenses and possibly a fee. There should be no objections in such cases to a
fee, because such a speaker will often be a business or professional man who
can ill afford to remain away from his office for two or three days at a time.
USE OF MASONIC LITERATURE. Every Grand Lodge committee should have at its
disposal a Masonic library. This need not be large but it should contain the
standard works, histories, encyclopedias, etc., with as much material on the
Masonry of its own state as possible, Grand Lodge proceedings, lodge
histories, biographical sketches of its own celebrated Masons, and a supply of
clippings and other loose material suitable for loaning to speakers.
number of Grand Lodges have successfully used the Traveling Library method. In
such a case the committee purchases a number of sets of standard Masonic
books, ten to thirty in number; these are put into substantial packing cases
and loaned to lodges making requests, for periods of three to six months, the
lodge loaning the volumes through its own committee or secretary in the same
method as is used by a public library. If a lodge desires to purchase one of
these outfits it is permitted to do so, at actual cost.
Grand Lodges, notably New York, have been encouraging the formation of Book
Clubs. According to this method a number of brethren in a community, eight or
ten of them, agree among themselves each one to purchase a book at some
average price, say two dollars; and at the same time each agrees to loan the
book to each member of the club in turn, until it has gone the rounds, when
the original purchaser retains it as his own. In this manner each brother can
read a number of books with very small expense to himself. The Study Club, to
which THE Builder a department each month, is a method that may easily combine
the use of a speaker with reading. The nearest analogue to such a club outside
of Freemasonry is the Men's Bible Class of a Sunday School. It may be made a
voluntary undertaking among a group of brethren, or else it may be launched by
a lodge, with official sanction, the small expenses needed being paid from the
lodge's treasury. Such a club is a flexible organization, easy to adapt to
local conditions. The usual method is for a number of brethren to agree to
meet once or twice a month; to elect a president and secretary-treasurer and a
study director, the last mentioned functioning much as does the leader of a
Bible Class, in order to study systematically some branch of Masonry. A text
book may be used, or else a topic may be selected anew for each meeting. If
such a group can find a good director, and if it will stick faithfully to its
purpose, it can be made one of the most enthralling of all methods for
studying the ritual, jurisprudence, or history of the Craft, for its appeal
can be almost infinitely varied.
Stereopticon outfits or moving pictures may be used in connection with any or
all of these methods above suggested. Grand Lodge committees in Grand
Jurisdictions affiliated with the Masonic Service Association can secure the
use of movies produced by the Association; others can make arrangements for
appropriate films through a number of film booking companies, a few of which
specialize in such services. Stereopticon outfits can be made to order at a
not exorbitant price.
the early days when these methods were new some Grand Lodge leaders questioned
them lest they add more wheels to the machinery of organization; or get out of
hand; or become a new Side Order; or become nothing but a kind of Masonic
chautauqua. Experience has allayed these fears. After all, the whole
enterprise of Masonic education is one of the proper functions of the Craft
itself, for which the necessary machinery has long existed. As our Fraternity
increases in membership and its problems increase the need for education
becomes more urgent, lest the grand purposes of Masonry become lost behind a
confusion of small activities, and Masons lose their Masonry through inability
to find out what it is all about.
Story of Freemasonry in Hawaii
TELLIER'S LODGE AT HONOLULU - A MASONIC HISTORY, by Ed. Towse; P. M. Privately
printed; blue cloth; 118 pages; illustrations on gold paper. May be purchased
through National Masonic Research Society. $2.65.
the old palmy days of whaling in the northern Pacific it was the custom for
hundreds of ships to put in at Honolulu for stores. The great majority of
these were "Boston men", five or six years away from home, rough adventurous
fellows like those one meets with in Dana's Two Years Before the Mast, with a
penchant for humid hilarity while in port. Now it happens that among all these
Yankees there was one French whaler, M. Le Tellier by name, master of the bark
Ajar, who had a keen interest in Freemasonry, he having been made a member of
a French lodge under the aegis of the Supreme Council, Scottish Rite, for
France. In 1841 he appeared among the American, English, Scotch, Irish,
French, German, Italian and Latin-American Masons of Honolulu with a
commission from that Supreme Council empowering him "to set up lodges in the
Pacific Ocean and elsewhere in his voyages; to issue warrants, to call upon
the Supreme Council for charters; to make Masons at sight; to forever be given
the grand honors upon his appearance in any lodge of his creation."
a number of these brethren supporting him, they having accepted his
credentials in good faith, he organized on board the Ajax a lodge of Masons,
destined to a long career. Bro. Towse has written a history of this lodge from
its beginnings, with dated items from year to year, all interspersed with
sprightly comment, and with many side-lights on life in what were then known
as the Sandwich Islands. The result is 118 pages of more human interest than
most lodge historians have apparently believed that any lodge history has a
right to possess, not the least fetching of which is the long list of brightly
colored vignettes of prominent Hawaiians received at various times into the
lodge's very representative membership.
Tellier," writes Bro. Towse, "organized 'Lodge le Progres de l'Oceanie,' U. D.
(Under Dispensation), aboard his bark in Honolulu harbor on an unfixed date in
1841, issued the warrant and sent for the charter. The Lodge proceeded to
business at once and had had a continuous and most useful and honorable
existence ever since, under its original name and the number 124 until the
year 1905, when it transferred, by the consent and with the assistance of the
authorities of the Supreme Council of France, to the jurisdiction of the Grand
Lodge of California, first with the name 'Oceanie,' later with the original
name and with the number 371."
Towse's modesty caused him to omit the fact that he himself was made the
official delegate to California to negotiate the transfer of allegiance. He
was at that time a P.M., and Orator of the lodge. Added to the history of the
lodge are six chapters on various topics. The first is the speech delivered by
His Excellency Bro. J. M. Kapena, Minister of Foreign Relations, on the
occasion of the laying of the cornerstone of the new Royal Palace at Honolulu,
Dec. 31, 1879. By that time two of the Hawaiian kings had been members,
Kamehameha IV, and Kamehameha V, and the then reigning monarch, Kalakaua, had
"ascended all the steps of the craft, and ….. reached the pinnacle of Masonic
honors." This is followed by the account, "printed on silk," of the "Grand
Masonic Banquet at Iolani Palace given by His Majesty King Kalakaua in honor
of his Brethren of the Mystic Rite at Honolulu, on St. John's Day, December
27, 1882." On page 113 is a sketch of Captain John Meek; on page 114 a similar
sketch of Kamehameha IV; and on page 116 a "Contemporaneous Chronology." We
shall steal the last page entire; it furnishes information about Hawaiian
lodges often sought after:
"Hawaiian Lodge, No. 21, Honolulu - Granted a dispensation by the Deputy Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge of California January 12, 1852.
"First meeting held Feb. 10, 1852. Charter granted May 5, 1852.
Lodge, No. 223, Wailuku, Maui - Dispensation granted by the Grand Master of
the Grand Lodge of California July 10, 1872. Charter received October 18,
1872. After a few years, many of the members having left the Island, the
charter was surrendered and dimits taken by the remaining brethren.
"Honolulu Lodge, No. 409, Honolulu - Granted a dispensation by the District
Grand Master of Queensland, Australia, working under the Grand Lodge of
Scotland, January 4, 1895 - Chartered August 1, 1895. This was under the name
Pacific Lodge, No. 822. As favorable opportunity offered the change was made
to the jurisdiction of California.
"Kilauea Lodge, No. 330, Hilo Hawaii - First meeting under dispensation held
February 22, 1897. Chartered by the Grand Lodge of California October 15,
"Lodge Maui No. 472 at Kahului, Maui - Chartered from Scotland February 2,
1905. Chartered from California October 18, 1918.
"Schofield Lodge, No. 443, at Schofield Barracks - Dispensation from
California December 8, 1913. Chartered from California, October 15, 1914.
"Note: - 1924. Lodge forming on the Island of Kauai, to be under the
jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of California."
* * *
BEGINNING OF A NEW SERIES OF TRANSACTIONS
Masonic literature of the world has for these many years past been greatly
enriched by the publication of transactions of the various English societies
and lodges for Masonic research, so much enriched that students are ever on
the lookout for copies of them. All such students will therefore welcome a
most worthy addition to these available sources of knowledge on themes not
generally expounded in the popular Masonic press in the form of the
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MERSEYSIDE ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC RESEARCH, holding its
sessions generally at Liverpool. We regret that the exigencies of space has
caused a deplorable delay in our notice of the first volume, Which covers the
year 1922-3. An account of the origin of the Association is given in a
"Preliminary" to the Proceedings:
formation of the Merseyside Association for Masonic Research is entirely due
to the unremitting labours of W. Bro. the Rev. Archibald Ball, M. A., P. P. G.
Chaplain (Scheshire). As far back as February, 1919, he mooted the idea, but
not being able to find a Brother willing to act as Secretary, nothing occurred
until December, 1921, when about a dozen Brethren of Birkenhead and Liverpool
met, at his request, in the Exchange Hotel, Liverpool, to discuss the need of
a Research Society or Association in this district. Such was the enthusiasm
that at a further meeting, held on the 1st of February, 1922, the Association
came into being, Bro. Ball being elected first President, together with a full
complement of officers."
John Mumby, of Birkenhead, one of the most gracious Masonic gentlemen in the
world, was made secretary, and the inaugural meeting was held in Liverpool,
Sept. 29, 1922. By the end of the first year 250 brethren had become members.
Bro. Ball describes the ideal of the Association in his Foreword to the first
volume of the Transactions:
necessity of such an Association on Merseyside is proved by the great influx
of members desirous of that daily advancement in Masonic Knowledge which they
were enjoined to make at their Initiation. The object of the Association is
the exploration of the Symbolism and History of Freemasonry. . .Our ancient
Institution is realised to be something far removed from an artificially
constructed machine or social club. It is a living, evolving organism, every
part of which has a meaning and a lesson."
first volume of the Transactions proves that the Association began at once to
translate this fine ideal into reality. It contains these various
contributions: "Masonic Research; What it Has Done and Can Still DO," by John
T. Thorp, first published in THE BUILDER March, 1916; ''Some Points in
Ritual," by Alex. T. Brand; "Origin of Gilds and Freemasonry," by Rev. H. G.
Rosedale; "The Third Degree," by Lionel Vibert; "The Growth of Modern Ritual,"
by J. Walter Hobbs; and "Masonic Old Charges," by Rodk. H. Baxter. The
majority of these names have long been familiar to students on this side of
the Atlantic. The volume was edited by Bro. Chas. P. Sayles.
have not asked permission of Bro. Mumby to refer interested inquirers to him,
but we venture to do so. His address is "Ashville," Kingsland Road,
shining city, one
in snow and sun
singing in the rain
is a dream to keep,
Builders, from your sleep.
foolish Builders, wake,
your trowels, take
poet's dream, and build
city song has willed,
every stone may sing:
all your roads may ring
* * *
SECOND DEGREE AND THE DOLLAR MARK
have been told that at the building of King Solomon's Temple the Fellowcrafts
were paid their wages in specie, that is to say, in cash. There is a curious
connection between this degree and specie which may be new to some. At the
porchway or entrance of the great temple of Melkarth at Tyre, erected by King
Hiram, and which, no doubt, formed the pattern after which the more famous
temple of Solomon was subsequently modeled, stood two great pillars, and a
representation of the temple and pillars appeared on the coins of Phoenicia.
About 1100 B.C., it is said, the merchants of Phoenicia founded Cadiz in
Spain, a tradition which is cherished by that ancient city. When coins were
struck in the new colony the famous pillars appeared again as an emblem of its
Phoenician origin. Twenty-six centuries later Charles V., Emperor of Germany,
and King of Spain, used the same symbol on one of his coins. This was
currently called a "colonate" or "pillar piece," but in this, as a matter of
decoration pure and simple, each of the pillars was entwined by a scroll. As
time passed the two scrolls were united and from this evolved the familiar
this every-day symbol carries us back across the ages to that famous building
which is today the central symbol of our system.
William Harvey McNairn.
Studies of Masonry in the United States
Bro. H. L. HAYWOOD, Editor
III. BEGINNINGS IN PENNSYLVANIA
Studies of Masonry in the United States
Bro. H. L. HAYWOOD, Editor
mentioned in the concluding paragraph of last month's Study Club article there
has long gone on a battle royal between the brethren of Massachusetts and of
Pennsylvania as to which of these Grand Jurisdictions can justly claim the
honor of being considered the cradle of American Masonry. Brethren of South
Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey have also had a hand in this, with claims
for their own states. Reserving these latter for subsequent consideration in
due order it will simplify the problems to focus attention on the first two
just here. My purposes do not require any attempt to arrive at a decision as
between these claims and counter-claims, not because the question is not
important, or because all 'the evidence is not in, but because a student,
especially a beginner, will find it more worth his while to arrive at his own
opinions. I shall consider my own proper function served if I can set forth
the facts as impartially as possible.
begin with Pennsylvania. In his Pennsylvania Gazette, No. 108, Dec. 3 to 8,
1730, Benjamin Franklin printed an "Account of Freemasonry in London" prefaced
by this significant statement:
there are several Lodges of Free-Masons erected in this Province Pennsylvania,
and people have lately been much amused with conjectures concerning them, we
think the following account of Free-Masonry from London will not be
unacceptable to our readers."
"following account" consisted of a story from London, under date of Aug. 12,
to the effect that "By the death of a Gentleman who was one of the Brotherhood
of FREE-MASONS, there has lately happen'd a Discovery of abundance of their
secret Signs and Wonders," etc. In other words, this was supposed to be a kind
of expose of Masonic "secrets". The important point in the matter is that
Franklin stated that "several lodges" were then in existence in Pennsylvania.
If he was correct in his statement it necessarily follows that organized
Masonry had existed in the Province before 1730. Was he correct? He was at
that time only twenty-four years of age, and not yet a Mason; Masonry at that
time was considered a very mysterious affair about which many rumors were
afloat, so that it may very well have been that Franklin was merely passing on
a bit of gossip without foundation in fact. On the other hand he had been in
London during 1725-6, where he might have learned about Freemasonry, had then
resided in Pennsylvania for three years, and had been one of the publishers of
the Gazette since September, 1728; he was wide awake to everything going on in
the Province, keen for news, and quick to catch at every movement of general
interest, so that he may very well have ascertained the facts for himself. It
is one of the many points on which each reader will wish to form his own
forming that opinion a reader will need to examine in this connection the
claims made for the famous "Bell letter." That much discussed document, the
very existence of which has been called in question, was written in 1754 (or
is alleged to have been written) by one Henry Bell, of Lancaster, Pa., to
Thomas Cadwallader, a physician of Philadelphia. It reads in part:
you well know, I was one of the originators of the first Masonic Lodge in
Philadelphia. A party of us used to meet at the Tun Tavern, in Water Street,
and sometimes opened a Lodge there. Once in the fall of 1730 we formed a
design of obtaining a Charter for a regular Lodge, and made application to the
Grand Lodge of England for one, but before receiving it we heard that Daniel
Coxe of New Jersey had been appointed by that Grand Lodge as Provincial Grand
Master of New York New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. We therefore made application
to him, and our request was granted."
this letter could be proved authentic it would be of the utmost importance,
for it would settle many points at issue; but unfortunately that seems to be
impossible. Bro. Clifford P. MacCalla, editor of the Key Stone, one time Grand
Master of Pennsylvania, and one of the carefulest Masonic scholars
Pennsylvania has produced, gave a cautious statement concerning the letter in
an address to Quatuor Coronati Lodge in London, in which he said: "It [the
Bell letter] was - in 1872 - in the possession of a Mr. Bancker (since
deceased), and an extract was by permission made from it by Brother Francis
Blackburne, a clerk in the Grand Secretary's office, Masonic Temple,
Philadelphia, in that year, but it has never been seen since. Besides, Henry
Bell does not appear to have been a member of St. John's Lodge, so that it
seems not to have been the Lodge referred to in the letter as warranted by
Coxe. We can surmise what we may, but we cannot at the present tine prove that
Coxe warranted either the Philadelphia St. John's Lodge of 1731-1738, or any
other Lodge - although the latter is implied in the Bell letter, if it is to
be regarded as authentic. In the absence of the original, however, we may not
fairly argue anything from it."
Library Committee of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania said of the letter: "The
letter was exhibited in the Grand Secretary's office, Philadelphia, in 1872.
It bore an marks of being genuine, and we have no doubt of its being correct."
But the Committee failed to furnish the grounds on which it based this
decision. By what method did it prove a document authentic 118 years after it
had been written? Where had the letter been all the while ? "These," remarked
Sereno D. Nickerson, "and numerous other questions, must be satisfactorily
answered before we can admit this piece of evidence." Gould and Hughan agreed
with Nickerson, and so did John Ross Robertson. Bro. J. H. Drummond refused to
admit even the probability of its genuineness. He says:
"Liber B [of which more anon] shows that the statement of the writer of the
letter that he was connected with this Lodge is absolutely false. It shows
that he was never a member of it, nor made in it, or had anything to do with
Melvin Johnson (Beginnings of Freemasonry in America) goes a step farther and
calls the whole letter "a 'fake' pure and simple."
letter, as already read, was not produced until 118 years after it had been
(supposedly) written; only an extract was published; Bell's name does not
appear in the St. John's Lodge roster; there is no known record of the Coxe
charter; the letter sounds as if only one lodge existed in Philadelphia in
1730, whereas Franklin said there were several; after 1872 the letter passed
utterly from sight and has remained so; these are a few of the reasons for
questioning the authenticity of the document. On the other side of the
argument is the plain statement made by the Grand Lodge Library Committee, and
such considerations as have been urged by Bro. McGregor in his article printed
on page 328 of this issue.
Another important item in connection with early Pennsylvania Freemasonry, also
much debated, is the "Tho. Carmick MS.," of which a critical analysis was
contributed to Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, XXII, page 95, by Bro. W. J. Hughan,
the authority par excellence on the Old Charges. This MS. is a copy, or so it
is believed, of an older document, which Bro. W. J. Songhurst believes may
have originally come from Scotland, an opinion based on certain peculiarities
of diction. Dr. Julius Sachse, who edited it for the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania (it was published by that Grand Body in 1908), described it as
consisting of "twenty-two pages, eight by six inches, and is signed by Bro.
Thomas Carmick, a connection of the Frazer family, whose name also appears
upon one of its pages." At page 20 is a signature by Persifor Frazer to the
effect that he owned it in 1756. Opposite Carmick's signature is the date
"1727." A complete transcription is given in A.Q.C., as above referred to.
this MS. be accepted as genuine it proves that a lodge, or lodges, must have
been active in Pennsylvania three years and more before Franklin's item in his
Gazette. Bro. Hughan appears to accept its genuineness; he writes that the MS.
"is most suggestive of the probability that the original from which this
transcript was made in 1727, was used at initiations (as also the copy itself)
by members of St. John's Lodge, Philadelphia." Bro. Johnson rejects all such
claims: "The contention is unworthy of serious discussion. The Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts owns a similar manuscript dated 1677 but makes no claim by
virtue thereof." (See also Massachusetts Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1909, pp.
105‑109.) This abrupt dismissal of the Carmick MS. will not satisfy all
critical readers of The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America; for one thing,
Bro. Hughan found it worthy of serious consideration; for another, it is
difficult to see what the spuriousness of a MS. in Boston has to do with the
genuineness of a MS. in Philadelphia.
turning next to the case of Daniel Coxe (also spelled "Cox") we are on surer
ground, at least so far as records are concerned, though it also raises many
questions not yet answered. Coxe enjoyed the distinction of receiving the
first deputation to serve as a Provincial Grand Master on this continent. He
was the son of Dr. Daniel Coxe, of London, who had been physician to Queen
Anne, and later Governor of the Province of New Jersey. The son was born in
London, Aug. 3, 1673, and was brought to New Jersey early in life. He went to
England in 1716, where in 1723 he published a book, A Description of the
English Province of Carolina, in which he sought to enforce his claim,
inherited from his father, to a vast region comprising most of the
southeastern corner of what is now the United States. He was a member of Lodge
No. 8, which met at the Devil Tavern, London, and had been constituted in 1722
(not "1772", as given by Gould). Records show that some time after 1728 he
returned to America.
June 5, 1730, the Duke of Norfolk, Grand Master of England, appointed Coxe
Provincial Grand Master for New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The
deputation is printed in full in Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha, Vol. X, pages
123-125, and shows that his authority was for a limited time only, from "the
Feast of St. John the Baptist next ensuing" (June 24) "for the Space of two
years." The text shows that application for this authority had been "made unto
us by our Rt. Worshipful and well beloved Brother Daniel Cox of New Jersey
Esq. and by several other Brethren free and accepted Masons residing and about
to reside in the said Provinces." In the same volume of Q. C. A. - it
contains "The Minutes of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of England, 1723-1739,
Illustrated With Plates and Facsimiles, With Introduction and Notes by William
John Songhurst" - it is shown that Coxe was present at a Quarterly
Communication of Grand Lodge held Jan. 29, 1731, and that his health was
drunk, on proposal by the Deputy Grand Master, as "Provincial Grand Master of
proves that the Grand Lodge of England exercised authority over lodges on this
continent, and that Coxe was undoubtedly considered officially in office, but
neither these records nor any other prove that Coxe ever exercised his
authority here by presiding over a Grand Lodge or by issuing charters for the
formation or regularization of lodges, unless one is prepared to accept the
very dubious testimony of the Bell letter, above described. It has been almost
universally alleged by American writers that Coxe was not even in these
Colonies during his term in office, but Bro. McGregor has offered proof in his
article already referred to that this opinion must now be revised. His proof,
however valuable it is, has thus far a negative value only; it yet remains to
show that Coxe issued a charter to St. John's Lodge of Philadelphia, or any
the meantime one very important fact must stand; the deputation to Coxe proves
that in 1730, and presumably before, there were Masons in New York, New
Jersey, or Pennsylvania, else nobody would have petitioned for a Grand Master;
and that there was a lodge, or lodges, in existence sufficiently regular to
meet the approval of the Grand Lodge of England, else Grand Lodge would have
paid no attention to that petition.
is another important piece of evidence to prove that at least as early as 1731
there was an active lodge in Philadelphia: this is in the form of a lodge
ledger discovered in 1884 by Clifford P. MacCalla, which piece of good luck he
himself described as follows: "In 1884 I had the good fortune to discover,
among the archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Liber B. of St.
John's Lodge, Philadelphia City - as the inscription on the cover of the
vellum-bound volume describes it, and which is well-known to you all. It is
the original stock or ledger account kept by the Secretary with the members of
the Lodge." In opening his records the secretary evidently made use of a book
that had already served for other purposes; after twenty-three pages filled
with an index of the Masonic entries there follow a number of records having
no Masonic reference at all. The Masonic records are in the back of the
volume. The earliest accounts with members of the lodge begin under date of
June 24, 1731, at which time there were evidently at least fourteen members.
By carefully checking up the lodge members named in this ledger Bro. MacCalla
showed them to have been of high standing in the community: eight were members
of the American Philosophical Society; nine were lawyers; seven were judges;
four were mayors of the city; two, sheriffs; two, physicians; two, coroners;
and two, Governors of the Province.
items of importance in the story of early Pennsylvania Masonry will follow in
due order; those already noted will, I trust, have made clear the principal
point at issue as between the brethren of that Province and of Massachusetts
as to Masonic priority so far as the Pennsylvania side of the case is
concerned. The point may be thus framed: The Grand Lodge of England adopted on
June 24, 1721, a regulation (given in the preceding Study Club article) to the
effect that no Masonic lodge could be accepted as regular and duly constituted
except it show a dispensation from the Grand Master or his Deputy; did St.
John's Lodge of Philadelphia, shown to have been active in 1731, have such a
dispensation? If not, it was not regular, according to the regulation adopted
ten years before; if so, it was the first known regular lodge on this
continent. So far as the present studies are concerned this point must remain
in suspense until other sides of the issue are set forth.
Philadelphia of 1730 was already one of the most interesting towns in the
Colonies with a history behind it full of color, dramatic incident, and of
promise of greater things to come. Its population had not reached any great
proportion, but the people were astir with life; there was a suggestion of
electricity in the spirit of the place, for all the sobering influence of the
Quakers, and the hampering effects of pioneer conditions. The streets went
unpaved until 1761, when Second street received a hard surface at the cost of
$7500, raised by a raffle. Street lighting did not come in until 1742; carpets
were first used in 1750; umbrellas were looked upon as a sissified contraption
until after 1771; carriages did not become popular until after the Revolution.
Ladies in their best dresses went off to their soirees on horseback through
the mud. The first English school was opened in 1683. In 1699 Captain Kidd,
more admired in story-tellers' yarns than he was in real life, played havoc
with Philadelphia shipping; four of his men were tried in the town for piracy.
Kidd was followed by other pirates. Three newspapers were published prior to
the Revolution: The American Weekly Mercury, begun in 1719; Franklin's
Pennsylvania Gazette, dating back to 1729; and the Pennsylvania Journal and
Weekly Advertiser, launched in 1742 as a successor to the Mercury. Slavery was
common until after the Revolutionary period. The famous state house was first
proposed in 1729; contracts were let in March 1732-3; the superstructure was
erected during Franklin's term as Grand Master; the Assembly met in one of its
rooms in 1735; the chamber now known as Independence Hall was added in 1742;
and the little steeple in which Liberty Bell was hung was completed in 1751. A
number of active Masons took a prominent part in this enterprise as they did
in almost every other forward movement in the little city. Of these Benjamin
Franklin was always among the chief; a detailed account of his Masonic
activities, to be given next month, will assist to fill in the picture of
Pennsylvania Freemasonry as it was known in its beginnings.
the Bell letter see Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, Melvin M. Johnson,
New York, 1924, page 59. History of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of
Free and Accepted Masons Stillson, Hughan, etc., Boston and New York, 1891,
pages 221, 273. History of Freemasonry, Robert Freke Gould; Cin. and Chicago;
Vol. IV, page 232. History of Freemasonry in Rhode Island, Henry W. Rugg;
Providence; 1895; page 24. History of Freemasonry in Maryland, Edw. T.
Schultz; Baltimore, 1884; Vol. I, page 20. Freemasonry in Michigan, Jefferson
S. Conover, Coldwater, 1897, Vol. I, page 6. History of Freemasonry in Canada,
John Ross Robertson; Toronto; 1900; Vol. I, page 142. History of the Most
Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons in New York From
the Earliest Date, Charles T. McClenachan, New York; 1888, Vol. I, page 70.
Mackey's Revised History of Freemasonry, Robert I. Clegg; Chicago; 1921; page
1326. Ara Quatuor Coronatorum; Vol. XXII, page 95.
case for the Carmick MS. needs a thorough overhauling. See The Constitutions
of St. John's Lodge, Julius F. Sachse; Philadelphia; 1908. A. Q. C., Vol.
XXII, page 95. Freemasonry in Pennsylvania, 1727-1907, Norris S. Barratt and
Julius F. Sachse, Philadelphia; 1908; Vol. I, page 2. Clegg, 1326. Johnson,
page 56. On this subject, as on all others connected with Pennsylvania, the
careful student will need all the titles published by the Library Committee of
the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. The present librarian, Bro. J. E. Burnett
Buckenham, Masonic Temple, Philadelphia, will furnish a printed list.
Daniel Coxe. Stillson & Hughan print the deputation in full, page 219.
Johnson; page 56. History of Freemasonry in the State of New York, Ossian
Lang; New York; 1922, page 11. Robertson; Vol. I; page 140. Gould, Vol. IV;
pages 230, 362. A. Q. C., Vol. III; page 124. Conover; Vol. I; page 5. Gould,
Concise History, Macoy Edition, page 437. Barratt and Sachse; Vol. I; page
443. Rugg; page 24. Schultz, Vol. I page 20. History of Lodge No. 61, F. and
A. M., Wilkesbarre Pa., Oscar Jewell Harvey; Wilkesbarre; 1897; page 15. Q. C.
A., Vol. X; pages 123 and 139, 140. Clegg; page 1325. History of Grand Lodge
of Iowa, A. F. and A. M., Joseph E. Morcombe; Cedar Rapids; 1910; Vol. I; page
33. Massachusetts Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1888, pages 131-137.
"Liber B." Benjamin Franklin as a Freemason, Julius F. Sachse, Philadelphia;
1906, see index. Account of St. John's Lodge, Philadelphia, and its Liber B.
James M. Lamberton. Johnson pages 31, 63. A. Q. C.; page 124. Gould, Vol. IV;
page 23i. Hughan & Stillson; page 272. Rugg; page 25. Clegg, page 1602.
McClenachan, Vol. I, page 72. A. Q. C.; Vol. XXII; page 96 (by Hughan).
Barratt & Sachse; Freemasonry in Pennsylvania, Vol. I; page 2.
early Philadelphia there are numberless books, of which three can be
mentioned: A Short History of Philadelphia; Susan Coolidge; Boston; 1887.
Philadelphia, the Place, and the People; Agnes Repplier; New York; 1899. The
Romance of Old Philadelphia, Jobn T. Faris, Philadelphia; 1918.
General references, in addition to those already given. The Evolution of
Freemasonry, Delmar Duane Darrah, Bloomington, Ill.; 1920; page 224. The
Builders, Joseph Fort Newton; New York, 1924; page 206.
general subject dealt with in this, and to be dealt with in succeeding
chapters, has been discussed with unusual fullness in THE BUILDER; May 1915,
page 111; July 1915, page 163; August 1915, page 174, October 1915, page 229;
November 1915, page 251, March 1916, page 70; July 1916, page 211; October
1916, page 317, page 320, November 1917, C. C. B., page 5, May 1917, page 156;
May 1918, page 152; February 1919, page 35; November 1923, page 329; April
1924, page 109.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
is the important point in Franklin's printed item? What was the date of this
item? What is meant by an "expose" ? How old was Franklin at this time ? Give
the substance of the "Bell letter." Who was MacCalla? What was his estimate of
the letter? What did the Pennsylvania Library Committee think of it?
Nickerson? Drummond? Johnson? Why is the authenticity of the letter
was the "Carmick MS."? What is Songhurst's theory concerning it? Describe the
manuscript. What is Hughan's estimate of it? Johnson's?
was Daniel Coxe? What were his American claims? Where did he hold his Masonic
membership? When was he made Provincial Grand Master? Over what Provinces? By
whom ? Describe his deputation. What does his deputation prove? Did he ever
exercise his authority?
is meant by Liber B? By whom and when was it discovered? What does it indicate
concerning early Philadelphia Masonry?
is the point at issue between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania? Describe
Philadelphia as it was in 1730. What do you know about Franklin as a
Freemason? What is meant by "duly constituted" Masonry? What has been your own
theory as to where "duly constituted" Masonry began in this country?
sends His teachers into every age;
every clime and every race of men
revelation fitted to their growth
shape of mind. Nor gives the realm of truth
the selfish rule of one sole race.
Therefore, each form of worship that hath swayed
life of man, and given it to grasp
master key of knowledge - reverence
Infolds some germs of goodness and of right.”
MASONIC BOOKS FOR SALE
have been appointed trustee to dispose of the Masonic Library of a deceased
brother. There are some six hundred titles all told, comprising encyclopedias,
bibliographies, histories, philosophies, symbolism, jurisprudence,
constitutions and old charges, anti Masonry, pyramids, phallic and serpent
worship, druidism, Roslcrucianism, occultism, and practically all the other
subjects that come with the Masonic field. Among the more important items are
a set of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vols. I to XXXIII; complete set of the New
Age Magazine, Vol. I to date; Hutton Webster's Primitive Secret Societies,
thirteen George Oliver items, six Henry Sadler items, Upton's Negro Masonry;
six Hughan items; Leader Scott's Cathedral Builders etc. No lists will be
furnished to dealers. Individual brother Masons in need of any of these titles
may secure complete information by addressing a letter to the undersigned.
W. Chandler (Trustee),
QUESTION BOX AND CORRESPONDENCE
TWO GREAT PILLARS" IN OLD BOOKS
the chance recently to see a rare curiosity in the way of an old English book.
It was apparently printed at about Francis Bacon's time The title page is
flanked by two pillars; can it be possible that these had anything to do with
our own Great Pillars?
Forgive us, Bro. L. P. G., for condensing your fine long letter into a few
words. Inasmuch as the writer is neither a bibliographer nor the son of a
bibliographer, he offers an amateur's reply to your inquiry, in the hopes that
some reader learned in such matters will make himself heard. There MAY be some
remote connection between the design described by you and our own Great
Pillars but the probabilities are very much against it, and the probabilities
are somewhat in favor of the two pillars on your old book representing the
Pillars of Hercules, which stand at the western entrance to the Mediterranean
Sea, and which in Bacon's time very frequently appeared in books and works of
art as two huge posts or pillars. Again it is possible that your pillars were
merely conventionalized representations of the two door-posts of some
cathedral or other public building. It was not at all uncommon during the
fifteenth and sixteen centuries for a front cover or title page of a book to
be designed as the entrance to such a building, suggesting no doubt that a
reader was about to enter a house of learning. In our files we possess a
photograph of the Directorium humanae vitae, published in 1488-1493, which
carries as a full page illustration the cut of an entrance to some
ecclesiastical structure, flanked by two pillars; also the photograph of a
Hortus Sanitatis, published in 1488, of which the same may be said; similarly
a work of Occam of 1497; also Breydenbach's Peregrinations in Terram Sanctam,
the first illustrated travel book ever published, of date 1502; a Dutch
Chronicle of 1530, resplendent with a fine doubleheaded eagle; Horae B. V. M.,
of about 1506; Robert Gaguin's La Mer des Croniques, etc., 1518; an edition of
the Book of Ecclesiasticus, 1563; and so on. In all of these, two flanking
pillars appear, but in every ease they are evidently intended to represent the
door-posts of a building - not any building in particular, but just a
building, a church perhaps or monastery. In this same connection it is
interesting to note that in two of these photographs appear the familiar
square and compasses (or "compass," if you prefer). They are very distinctly
worked into the ornamental initial of an Opus Geographie, by Claud Ptolemaeus,
published in 1522; and also into the title page designs of Arithmetica
Practica, by Orontius Finaeus, 1535. The last item is especially interesting
to the Masonic bookworm. In its ornate design are eight medallions
representing variously astronomy, music, geography, arithmetic, with Ptolemy,
Orpheus, Euclid, and Algus correspondingly opposite. Ptolemy holds a sextant,
our jewel of a Past Master, in his righ hand; Geography holds a square in her
left hand and a pair of compasses in her right. Were the square and compasses
used in those days as an emblem of geography? Perhaps some erudite reader can
* * *
WROTE "THE MARTYRDOM OF MAN"?
Please inform me through the Question Box what man wrote a book called Man and
His Martyrdom. Does it have anything to do with Masonry?
Y., New York.
very doubtless have in mind The Martyrdom of Man, by Winwood Reade, one of the
most extraordinary books of recent times, and one that has gone through nearly
thirty editions, the latest of which is an issue by Watts &; Co., Fleet
Street, London, E.C. 4, retailing at 2s. 6 d. Reade ( a nephew of Charles
Reade, the novelist, author of The Cloister and the Hearth, a book you should
know) began by planning a history of Africa but in working at his subject
found it necessary to incorporate in it a history of all religions, from
primitive cults down to Mohammed; and at last also brought into it a survey of
the evolution of the human mind, the materials for which were accumulated
before Darwin published his Descent of Man. As completed, the book was really
a history of the world in one volume. Cecil Rhodes said of it, "This book has
made me what I am." Sir Harry Johnson wished that a copy might be given to
every young man in the United Kingdom and in the United States upon reaching
twenty-one. H. G. Wells paid a tribute to it in the introduction to his The
Outline of History after this manner: "Remarkably few sketches of universal
history by one single author have been written. One book that has influenced
me very strongly is Winwood Reade's Martyrdom of Man. This 'dates,' as people
say nowadays, and it has a fine gloom of its own; but it is still an
extraordinarily inspiring presentation of human history as one consistent
process." "Gloom" is well said, for it is doubtful if a more pessimistic
volume was ever printed; it is so exceedingly pessimistic that only its
marvelous style saves it from being too depressing for perusal by normal human
beings, but that style is verbal magic pure and simple, enthralling,
enchanting, unforgettable. Ye scribe will never forget the day when, standing
in a summer excursion train for seven solid hours, he plowed through it from
end to end without a stop, the last page as breathless as the first.
difficult to believe that the pessimist who penned The Martyrdom wrote also
The Veil of Isis. It may be, Bro. W. T. Y., that you have had this title in
mind, for it has many things to say about Masonry, notably this fine tribute:
doctrines of Masonry are the most beautiful that it is possible to imagine.
They breathe the simplicity of the earliest ages animated by the love of a
martyred God. That word which the Puritans translated 'Charity,' but which is
really 'Love,' is the keystone which supports the entire edifice of this
mystic science. Love one another, teach one another, help one another That is
all our doctrine, all our science, all our law. We have no narrow-minded
prejudices, we do not debar from our society this sect or that sect, it is
sufficient for us that a man worship God, no matter under what name or in what
manner. Ah! rail against us bigoted and ignorant men if you will. Those who
listen to the truths which Masonry inculcates can readily forgive you. It is
impossible to be a good Mason without being a good man."
* * *
WEBB'S MONITOR, FREEMASONS' MONTHLY, ETC.
published an old magazine called. The Freemasons' Monthly? When? Where? Was
Webb's Monitor published in more than one edition?
According to Josiah H. Drummond's Masonic Historical and Bibliographical
Memoranda, The Freemason's Monitor, or Illustrations of Masonry, by Thomas
Smith Webb, was issued seventeen times, first in Albany, N. Y., 1797, and
last, New York, 1866. Rob Morris published an edition, Cincinnati, 1869, with
many changes and additions; and in 1860 issued still another edition, which
has been re-issued many times. Another noteworthy edition of this old classic
was published by Enoch T. Carson, Cincinnati, 1858, and many times re-issued
since. The same may be said of an edition put out by George W. Chaen, Boston,
no date given. Will bibliographical readers send further notes on Webb? The
Freemasons' Monthly Magazine was an octave monthly of thirty-two pages,
published at Boston, edited by Charles W. Moore. It happens that the Drummond
work quoted just above contains a paragraph concerning this great monthly,
quoted here as furnishing Drummond's own opinion of one of the best Masonic
journals ever produced:
"Edited and published by Charles W. Moore, he issued the first number in
November, 1841; it was begun as it ended, an octave of thirty-two pages,
published monthly. For thirty-one years, month after month, he issued the
magazine without a single lapse. The thirty-first volume closed in October,
1872, and he delayed the commencement of the thirty-second volume till
January, 1873; he lived to complete that volume; with it he finished his work
on earth. This magazine was the first published that was exclusively Masonic.
Its effect on the jurisprudence of Masonry cannot be estimated. It is justly
regarded as one of the most valuable works in a Masonic library."
own set of this valuable old magazine is bound in fraying sheepskin, after the
fashion of law books, and some of the volumes bear the autograph of T. S.
Parvin. If a reader chances to own a set, or any volumes belonging to it, he
will find plenty of brethren ready to buy.
* * *
visit of Lafayette to the United States in 1824-25, on invitation by Congress,
was a memorable event. He was sought as a public guest in all parts of the
country; his course was amid a universal tumult of honor and praise: and the
nation thronged around him to testify with one voice its gratitude and love.
Congress voted him a grant of $200,000 and a township of land. Lafayette's
son, George Washington Lafayette (1779 - 1849), named after George Washington,
and whom Lafayette sent to live with Washington during the French Revolution,
figured in French republican polities of the nineteenth century.
During Lafayette's visit to the United States, he was the guest of honor at
banquets in all of our principal cities, and the guest at many Masonic
functions held in his honor. At these times he was made an honorary member of
many Masonic lodges, how many I do not know. He was made a member of
Fredericksburg Lodge, No. 4, Fredericksburg, Va.
badge, the photograph of which appears herewith, was photographed by me in
Fredericksburg November, 1923. It is owned by Mr. Fred I. Crane, formerly of
New York, but now I believe living somewhere in Louisiana. This badge was worn
by Myron King, the engraver of it, who lived at Troy, N. Y., at a banquet
given Lafayette in Albany, New York, 1825. It was given by him to his son, who
gave it to Mr. Crane. It is printed on cream colored silk, and is in a perfect
state of preservation. At the top are the holes made by the pin which held it
on the lapel of Mr. King's coat on the night of the banquet, ninety-nine years
ago, and at the bottom, written in lead pencil, is the date, 1825.
wish to know the names of all the Masonic lodges that made Lafayette an
honorary member. This information will be appreciated by me, if the brethren
who know any lodges of which he was such a member, will write me giving the
dates and the names of the lodges.
John J. Lanier, Fredericksburg, Va.
* * *
HIGHEST LODGE IN THE WORLD
Through THE BUI1DEB for May, 1924, Bro. L. B. Mitchell, of Michigan, asked
concerning the highest lodge in the world. The highest lodge in the world is
located in Cerro de Pasco, Peru, at an altitude of 14,208 feet above the level
of the sea. The members of this Scottish lodge, named "Roof of the World,"
have held meetings on a summit of the mountain (15,575 feet high) on the side
of which Cerro de Pasco is situated.
Stickney, Philippine Islands.
* * *
reading the history of Scottish Rite Masonry, I find mention in several places
of the "Secret Constitutions" of that body.
Reprint, Northern Jurisdiction, 1861-1858, shows that the Northern and
Southern Supreme Councils "hold in their archives certified copies of the
Secret Constitutions derived from the Grand Consistory held at Paris in 1761."
Northern Jurisdiction Proceedings, 1870, show that a copy of the Secret
Constitutions was transmitted by Bro. J. J. J. Gourgas to his successor and
came into possession of Bro. J. H. Drummond through the hands of his
would appreciate it very much if you would inform me through the Question Box
in THE BUILDER, what these "Secret Constitutions" are. By whom, when and where
were they promulgated ? What was their purpose, and why secret ?
Thanking you in advance for any information you may give me on the above
matter, I am,
Cyrus Field Willard, Editor of The Master Mason, San Diego, Cal., has been
kind enough to prepare an exhaustive reply to your inquiry for publication
answer to the questions submitted by your correspondent as to the "Secret
Constitutions" of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, I would say the
reason they are called "Secret Constitutions" is because that is their name as
given in the original document.
were promulgated, according to the assertions therein, by Frederick, King of
Prussia, better known as Frederick the Great.
assertion was considered by many Masonic writers for a long time as an
apocryphal statement. In this view the writer thoroughly coincided for a time,
but after a careful examination of all the facts and the written documents now
in existence, he has been led to reach the same conclusion as Albert Pike
expressed so strongly. That is, that the constitutions are genuine and were
drawn up by direction of Frederick II, signed by him despite all assertions to
the contrary, and promulgated to all the countries where there were bodies of
the Scottish Rite.
Frederick was initiated Aug. 14, 1738, as is well known. When the lodge "To
the Three Globes" was formed, in 1740, he turned it into the Grand Lodge of
the same name, became its Grand Master and was borne on its list of officers
as such until 1757. In 1758 the Scottish "Chapter of Clermont" was formed and
added to that Grand Lodge as higher degrees of Scottish origin On July 19,
1760, this chapter of Scottish degrees took the title of "Premier Chapter of
Clermont," which is supposed to be the date when Frederick placed himself at
the head of the Scottish degrees. According to the first circular letter
issued by the Supreme Council of the A. & A. S. R., in 1802, Charles Edward
Stuart, known as the "Young Pretender" of the royal line of Scotland,
transferred his authority over these Scottish degrees to Frederick, and this
took place either on Oct. 25, 1762, when the Constitutions were adopted by the
Grand Council of Berlin and signed by Frederick, or when the "Premier Chapter
of Clermont" adopted that title two years before. Charles Edward had formed a
chapter of the Scottish degrees at Arras April 15, 1747, and was present at
the meeting described in his diary by Baron van Hund in 1742, at Paris, when
the Earl of Kilmarnock, then Grand Master of Scotland, and also Master of the
Lodge Mother Kilwinning, in a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge
of Scotland, gave Baron von Hund the Templar and Scottish degrees which van
Hund took to Germany, and which Templar degrees were given in St. Andrew's
Lodge of Boston in 1769.
July 16, 1774, Frederick the Great granted his protection to the National
Grand Lodge of Germany and officially approved the treaty with the Grand Lodge
of England by which the National Grand Lodge had been established. In the year
1777 the Mother Lodge, "Royal York of Friendship," now a Grand Lodge at
Berlin, celebrated by a festival the king's birthday (Jan. 24, 1712), on which
occasion he wrote to them: "I cannot but be sensible of the new homage of the
Lodge Royal York of Friendship on the occasion the anniversary of my birth,
bearing as it does the evidence of its zeal and attachment for my person. Its
Orator has well expressed the sentiments which animate all its labors, and a
society which employs itself only in sowing the seed and bringing forth the
fruit of every kind of virtue in my dominions may always be assured of my
protection. It is the glorious task of every good Sovereign, and I will never
cease to fulfill it. And so I pray God to take you and your lodge under His
holy and deserved protection. Potsdam, this 14th day of February, 1777.
were two such constitutions, one of which is entitled "Constitution and
Regulations drawn up by Nine Commissioners appointed Ad Hoc by the Sovereign
Grand Sublime Council of the Royal Secret, Orients of Paris and B ," dated
Oct. 25, 1762, and the other entitled "The Most Secret Institutes and Basis of
the Most Ancient and Associated Freemasons, which is styled the Royal and
Military Order of Working in Stone," dated May 1, 1786.
April 30, 1770, a Grand Chapter of Princes of the Royal Secret was formed at
Kingston, Jamaica, by Stephen Morin and Henry A. Francken, the latter of whom
had formed the Ineffable Lodge of Perfection in Albany on Dec. 20, 1767. With
that Lodge of Perfection Francken left a copy of the Patent to Stephen Morin,
given in 1761, and to this was appended a copy of the Constitutions of 1762,
and these were in the collection of Enoch T. Carson (see page 617, Vol. IV,
Gould's History, American edition) while the original charter of that lodge
was given in fac-simile in THE BUILDER, June, 1920. As this copy of the
Constitutions of 1762 was deposited only five years after they were drawn up,
it would seem strange that so much doubt has been east on the authenticity of
these Constitutions did we not know of the bitter struggles for supremacy
between rival bodies.
charter of the Albany Lodge of Perfection says that Henry Andrew Francken was
authorized to confer the degrees UP TO THE 29TH! The charter of the Grand
Chapter of the Princes of the Royal Secret at Kingston, Jamaica, bears date of
April 30, 1770, and is positive proof of the feet that the Constitutions of
1762 were genuine and that there was a Supreme Council of Nine Commissioners
at Berlin as this MS. is in the Carson collection, for it says (Gould, IV,
page 634, American edition), "And that ye shall strictly behave yourselves to
all the statutes, rules and regulations of the Nine Commissioners named by the
Grand Chapter of the Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret at the Grand East of
Paris and PRUSSIA. Consequently, by the deliberations dated the 7th of
December, 1762, to be ratified and observed by the aforesaid Grand Chapter of
Prussia and France - to govern and regulate all Lodges, Councils, Grand
Councils, Grand Chapters, Consistories, from the Secret Master to the Royal
Secret," etc. This was only eight years after these Constitutions were drawn
up and the words conform to the title of the Constitutions of 1762.
minutes of the Albany Lodge of Perfection read: -
"Albany, 3rd Sept. 1770.
Stringer, Depy. Inspr. acquainting the Body that he had receiv'd an Order from
the Founder" (Francken) "to transmit the Minutes of the Lodge & the state
thereof to be forwarded to Berlin: in order that Minutes & Accounts might be
regularly Enter's and Posted in their proper Books purchased for that use."
Albert Pike, in his Historical Inquiry, on page 153, et seq., gives a view of
Frederick which is in consonance with the facts of history and which should be
read in its entirety. "It will be seen,” he said, “that toward the end of his
life he had reasons for wishing to control Masonry." The long and carefully
written description by Gen. Pike of events in Germany gives powerful and
sensible reasons for the acceptance of the chieftainship of this Order, which
enabled him to control Masonry in Germany by putting himself at its head and
thus defeating: the intrigues of the Papacy.
Constitutions of 1786, after its title "The Most Secret Institutes and Basis,"
etc., goes on to say, "We, Frederick, by the Grace of God King of Prussia,
Margrave of Brandenberg, etc., etc. Supreme Grand Protector, Grand Commander,
Universal Grand Master and Defender of the Most Ancient and Honourable Society
of Ancient Free and Associated Masons or Builders or of the Royal and Military
Order of the Free Art of Working in Stone or of Free Masonry."
Constitutions combine the various Scottish rites "known under the several
names of the Ancient, that of Heredom or Hairdom, that of the Orient (or East)
of Kilwinning, that of Saint Andrew, that of the Emperors of the East and
West, that of the Princes of the Royal Secret or of Perfection, the
Philosophic Rite, and that most recent rite of all, known as Primitive" (which
last had a rite of thirty-three degrees according to John Yarker). This
document goes on to say:
"Wherefore, adopting as the basis of our conservative reformation the first of
these rites and the number of the degrees of the hierarchy of the last,
DO DECLARE them all to be now and henceforth united and aggregated into one
single order which professing the Dogma and the pure and undefiled doctrines
of the Ancient Art of Masonry embraces all the systems of the Scottish Rite
united together under the title of 'The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.' The
entire doctrine will be communicated to Masons in 33 degrees," etc.
Constitutions and Statutes adopted at this time provided for a council of nine
members in each country of the 33rd and last degree and were signed by
Frederic D'Esterno (then French Ambassador at Berlin), Starek and Woellner
(both well known members of the Higher Degrees), H. Wilhelm, and others whose
names are now illegible.
is a certificate in Latin attached to the original Latin Constitutions of
1786, dated the 23rd of February, 1834, sealed with the seal of the Supreme
Council of France and signed by Lafayette and eight others of nearly equal
prominence in Masonry in France certifying that they had compared with it the
authentic French copy of the "True Secret and Fundamental Institutes,
Statutes, Constitutions and Appendices of the first of May, 1786" (V. E.) of
which the official copies are deposited and have been carefully and faithfully
preserved in all their purity among the archives of the Order. They,
therefore, certified that the said copies were faithfully and literally
conformable to the original documents. This certificate is printed by Sieter,
one of the signers, and is given in full in Robert B. Folger, A. & A. Scottish
Rite, New York, 1862, page 263.
Article II of the Constitutions of 1762, there are but twenty-five degrees
catalogued, which would seem to show that it was the Rite of Perfection or
Emperors of the East and West, while the Constitutions of 1786 raised the
number of degrees to thirty-three as we now know them and christened the rite
the "Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite."
we see in the Charter of Albany Lodge of Perfection that Francken was
authorized to communicate "up to the 29th" degree, and it would seem from that
fact that Morin and Francken must have known of the new arrangement and
introduced the extra degrees.
read in the records of the Grand Lodge of France, at the sitting of Aug. 17,
1766 (see Folger, page 37), which was five years after Morin received his
patent: "That considering the carelessness and the various alterations into
the Royal Art by Worshipful Brother Morin, her late Inspector, the Worshipful
Grand Lodge annuls the Brief of Inspector granted said Brother Morin and deems
proper for the good of the Royal Art to cause him to be replaced by Worshipful
Bro. Martin, Master of the St. Frederic Lodge, and that his letters of
Constitution for America be ratified."
revocation does not seem to have been regarded by Morin or to have had any
effect on his activities as the Grand Lodge was only one of the two powers
that united to give him his patent. We find him four years later at Kingston,
Jamaica, an English island, acting under the jurisdiction of the Grand Council
of Berlin and Paris. The Albany Lodge of Perfection was instructed to send
their minutes to the Grand Council of Berlin and nowhere is there any evidence
of any attention being paid to the Grand Lodge of France.
Grand Lodge of France has originally been started as a Provincial Grand Lodge
by the Grand Lodge of England and then called itself the National Grand Lodge
of France. In opposition to these English lodges, there had been organized
Scottish bodies by the Grand Lodge of Scotland before the National Grand Lodge
of France was organized. According to French historians this was done by Dr.
Ramsay and the Grand Master of Scotland himself, the Earl of Kilmarnock,
related in the diary of Baron von Hund as having taken place in 1742.
the statement made by the Grand Lodge of France, it would seem that there were
alterations made by Stephen Morin who was an American of French Huguenot
descent born in New York City, and it would seem that these alterations were
ordered by his superiors and recognized in the Constitutions of 1786, for
Frederick of Prussia did not hesitate, in 1740, to raise the local lodge, "The
Three Globes," to the dignity of a Grand Lodge by his own dictum, and his
action was recognized by the Grand Lodge of England as perfectly proper.
is a brief story of the Secret Constitutions of 1762 and 1786 to which all
Scottish Rite Masons yield obedience and over which barrels of ink have been
spilled in days gone by, especially by the French writers opposed to the
Scottish Rite Supreme Council of France.
would be considered necessary or advisable, I should be glad to furnish
verbatim translations of these two Constitutions taken from the best
authorities and shedding much light on the development of the Scottish Rite.
Field Willard, San Diego, Cal.
* * *
YOU GIVE US THIS INFORMATION ?
member asks for some information: "Can you advise me if the Colonel Driver, of
whom Bro. John W. Barry speaks as 'Old Glory Driver,' was a Mason, and if so
where was he raised ? Can you tell me who suggested the motto 'In God We
Trust' for our American coin, and if he was a Mason? I have somewhere read
that he was a Mason from Virginia." H. V. S., New Hampshire. Bro. Barry's
reference will be found on page 11 of his The Story of Old Glory, published by
the National Masonic Research Society. He based it on Essex Institute
Historical Collections, July, 1901, page 261.
another inquirer we have this: "Somewhere I read a story - it was some time
back - relating that the American degrees were conferred in a lodge in
England. I think it was during the World War. Can you publish the facts if
this is trued" W. P. B., New York.
* * *
A.B.C., of Michigan, author of "A General Account of the Swedish Rite," in the
September issue, asks permission to correct an error that slipped past both
him and Ye Editor:
was guilty of a lapses pennae on page 260 of my article, upper left-hand
corner, in mentioning Derwentwater as Grand Master in London instead of in
Paris. In his Frimureriet, the Danish Professor Starcke tells us that Count
Ch. Radcliffe Derwentwater was Grand Master of the English Grand Lodge at
Paris in 1737, that he resigned in the same year, and no successor was
elected. Undoubtedly Stareke - who by the way is no Mason himself - had his
information from German sources."
Cyrus F. Willard, editor of The Master Mason, San Diego, Cal., adds this
Derwentwater was Grand Master of the English (Provincial) Grand Lodge at
Paris, according to Rebold's list, in 1735. According to the same list, p.
688, Histoire des Trois Grandes Lodges, Lord Harnouester was Grand Master of
the English Provincial Grand Lodge of France only a part of the year 1737, for
Rebold says, page 45 idein, 'In 1737 Lard Harnouester, the second provincial
Grand Master wishing to return to England, demanded before his departure that
he be replaced by a Frenchman. The Duke I'Antin, a zealous Mason, succeeded
him in June, 1738.' If it can be proven that the Swedish lodges founded by
Baron Scheffer in 1737 really had a charter signed by Lord Derwentwater in
1737, it would tend to prove the surmise of Gould that Lord Derwentwater and
Lord I. Harnouester were the same individual, only the French weird spelling
of English proper names having confused the two to appear as two different
individuals. This is a lead worth investigating"
sense of humor is good sense.
* * *
esteemed contemporary (as the old manner hath it) published an article on
"Etiquette in a Crowded Street Car." "There ain't no sech animal."
* * *
Shriners don't appear to take their Arabic origin very seriously. All their
decorations at Kansas City were simon pure Egyptian.
* * *
Illinois Masonic Review announces suspension. Sorry it was necessary, Bro.
Jeffers. Hope you can resume one of these days. We need you.
* * *
George's Lodge of Schenectady (have I spelled it right?) celebrated its 150th
anniversary Sept. 13. The whole city united to pay tribute to its remarkable
record. The Schenectady Union-Star published a magnificent speech by that
magnificent old Mason, Bro. John W. Vrooman, Senior Past Grand Master of New
York, fifty-nine years in the brotherhood.
* * *
morning! Have you read anything on Einstein yet ? Einstein's Theories of
Relativity and Gravitation, edited by J. Malcolm Bird, pays a remarkable
tribute to our old friend, the Forty-seventh Proposition of that "learned
clerk," our Bro. Euclid. Wonder how many are in Fraternal correspondence with
* * *
free distribution, three N.M.R.S. leaflets: "An Interpretation of the Plumb
Line," "A Word to the Candidate Before Initiation," and "The Trestle Board."
Don't be bashful. Enclose a two cent stamp.
* * *
this is from the "Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts":
"There was a man driving along in his automobile, and the automobile broke
down. He went to the door of the ranch house knocked, and a big Swede came to
the door. The automobilist said, "Friend, do you have a monkey wrench around
here?" "No. My brother, he got a cattle wrench; my cousin, he got a sheep
wrench, but it's too cold for monkey wrench."
* * *
Eastern Star sisters have been razzing us for publishing the anti-feminine
oratory in this Corner last month. Here is something by way of retort:
Paris, Sept. 12.
According to the humorous weekly Pele-Mele a philosopher says there are three
things which a woman must resemble in one way, but not another:
must be like a snail, which never leaves its house, but unlike a snail, she
must not put all she owns on her back.
must be like an echo, which speaks only when spoken to; but she must not, like
the echo, always insist on the last word.
"Finally, she must be like the town clock, always correct and always punctual;
but she must not, as the clock does, make so much noise that she will be heard
all over the town.”