The Builder Magazine

August 1925 - Volume XI - Number 8

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Society of Operative Stone Masons; Its Links With Operative and Speculative Masonry of the Present Day - BY BRO. BERNARD H. SPRINGETT, L. R., England

How St. Alban's Abbey Came to Be Built - BY BRO. N.W.J. HAYDON, Associate Editor

Daniel Coxe and St. John's Lodge, Philadelphia - By BRO. DAVID MCGREGOR, New Jersey (Concluded from last month)

A Spanish American Masonic Lecture - Translated by BRO. J.W. CHAPMAN, New Mexico

A Brief Application of the York Rite to Daily Life - BY THE GRAND HIGH PRIEST, Texas

Great Men Who Were Masons - Jabez Bowen - By BRO.GEORGE W. BAIRD, P.G.M., District of Columbia

ONE - Gerald Nancarrow

Joseph Robbins' Famous Masonic Oration - WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR

 

EDITORIAL

PRESENT DAY GILD MASONRY

WHY HISTORY?

THE QUESTION OF REFRESHMENT

 

The Late Thomas R. Marshall

 

An Appeal to the Masonic Fraternity

 

THE POLITICAL IDEAL IN FREEMASONRY

 

GEMS FROM "MORALS AND DOGMA" - Selected by Charles Henry Smart, 32nd degree, Sec. of the Scottish Rite bodies, Nashville, Tenn.

 

A ROYAL ARCH PROBLEM

 

THE LIBRARY

THE MASTER BUILDER

THE CENTRE

WORLD REVOLUTION, THE PLOT AGAINST CIVILIZATION

HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY IN WYOMING

A GROUP OF BOOKS ABOUT MASONRY IN SCOTLAND

OM, THE SECRET OF ABHOR VALLEY

 

What to Read in Masonry - Jurisprudence, Constitutions, Monitors, Etc.

 

THE SECRETS OF ARCHITECTURE

 

THE QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE

THE ROYAL ORDER

NEGRO FREEMASONRY

THE MORGAN EPISODE

ANDREW JACKSON'S MEMBERSHIP

THE AMERICAN MASONIC FEDERATION; HIRAM ABIF AND THE BIBLE

"THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST" FOR SALE

 

YE EDITOR'S CORNER

 

----o----

 

The Society of Operative Stone Masons; Its Links With Operative and Speculative Masonry of the Present Day

 

BY BRO. BERNARD H. SPRINGETT, L. R., England

 

THE BUILDER is happy to publish this carefully considered study, submitted to it for that purpose by the author. The subject is one that has received much discussion, especially in England, where brethren have long been keenly interested in the origins of our Speculative Fraternity. Bro. Springett holds many Masonic honors, won for him by years of activities in many branches of the English Craft. On this side of the water he is widely and favorably known as the author of a fascinating book, "Secret Sects of Syria and the Lebanon."

 

AS probably most readers of THE BUILDER are aware, we have working in London today, as for many years past, a keen body of Freemasons, including many well-known Grand Lodge officers, who use a ritual supposed to have been invented, according to those who have no sympathy with us, by Clement Stretton, John Yarker and Dr. Carr, all keen searchers back into Masonic history. It is really a revival of what we have every reason to believe was worked by the members of at least one of the four old lodges who banded themselves together under Anthony Sayer in 1717 to form the first Grand Lodge.

 

While the landmarks of Speculative Masonry are identical with those of Operative Masonry, as everyone would expect to find them, in the latter many of the reasons for certain words and much of the floor work which Anderson retained are more clearly defined, and it is the usual thing for those who join us to find explanations for much that had previously been looked upon as unexplained symbolism.

 

In Scotland, all the older lodges show distinct traces in their minute books of having gradually changed over from Operative to Speculative--that is, from confining admission to pure Craftsmen to extending the benefits of initiation into Freemasonry, at first to a limited number of professional men, and continuing to increase the proportion of these latter, with the gradual extinction of the former. In 1708 no fewer than forty members of No. 1 Lodge of Edinburgh, generally known as St. Mary's Chapel, seceded from their Mother Lodge on account of the increasing number of admissions of men who were not Craftsmen, and formed a lodge of their own, "The Lodge of Journeymen, No. 8," from whose own history we get a very interesting insight into the work that was carried on by them, as handed down by tradition--certainly not taught by book. Up to 1840 this lodge insisted on one-tenth only of its members being non-Craftsmen, the remainder being purely "Wrights and Masons," the former signifying most of the trades other than stonemasons who would be engaged in the building trade, and it was from this portion of its members that the officers of the lodge were selected, with the exception of the Secretary, who was usually a lawyer. These officers consisted of a Warden, sometimes called also the Deacon, or "Deces," who presided over the lodge; a Box-master, or Treasurer, and one who was known as "The Eldest Entered Apprentice," who seems to have been elected annually from among the members of the lodge and to have taken a leading part in the initiation of candidates. The latter, as in all Operative lodges, had to undergo a rigorous examination as to their physical capacity, for which purpose they were stripped completely, and were then re-clothed in a long white garment, a practice still observed in most countries but our own.

 

In England and Ireland we have the Operative Stonemasons, pure and simple, holding their lodges all over the country, but especially in connection with stonequarries and where large edifices were under construction, employing a great many skilled craftsmen. These Stonemasons worked a very simple ritual, but allowed no one to join their ranks except through an initiation ceremony closely resembling that known to us today.

 

Owing to the doubts cast on Bro. Stretton's account of the ceremonial worked in the Mount Bardon quarries, near Leicester, I have spent quite a lot of time looking into this particular question, and have been able to satisfy myself, as well as many Masonic friends who previously had some doubts, that even to this day Operative Stonemasons are quietly working a ritual, greatly emasculated, it is true, since the advent of trade unionism, which they have clearly derived by oral transmission from medieval times.

 

Papers and books of account which have been kindly loaned to me by the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers, through their genial Secretary, Mr. George Hicks, show that at the commencement of the last century many such lodges were in existence. They worked a ritual somewhat resembling in many respects that of our own lodges--that is, as regards the admission of new members--that at first sight it might be taken for a crude imitation of our own ceremony of initiation, the result of some Operative Masons being also Freemasons in our established use of the word. But there seems no reason to doubt that both bodies derived their ceremonial from a common source, this being, in my opinion, the trade gilds of the Middle Ages, themselves deriving from Eastern ancestors.

 

I have been able to find records of 191 of these lodges in England and Wales, and I have had particulars of seventeen in Ireland. All of these were subject to the rules of a Grand Lodge, to which they elected delegates, with a certain number of District Lodges to act as intermediaries. These met quarterly, while the Grand Lodge met twice a year, for many years at Huddersfield, and afterwards at Manchester. But the greatest possible secrecy was always observed with respect to these lodges, which will account for so very little being known of them by the ordinary Mason, of whom they seem to have been extremely jealous, regarding him as the unqualified usurper of the name of a trade of which he knew nothing. With the coming of trade unionism, and the passing of the Act of 1838 prohibiting the holding of all unauthorized secret assemblies, mainly at the instigation of our then Grand Master, the Duke of Sussex, still greater secrecy and still simpler ritual resulted, and a skeleton form of the ritual, formerly imparted in the tap-room or the quarry, is, I am told by one who ought to know, now gone through quietly on the scaffold.

 

Mr. R. W. Postgate, in his valuable trade union work, The Builder's History, writes as follows:

 

"The various Acts passed between 1799 and 1810, under which all combinations were forbidden and heavy penalties for infraction from time to time enforced, drove those trades whose organisations did not disappear to more secret organisation. Some such as the London tailors, went in for a semi-military system. The Building Unions practised the oaths and initiations which played such a large part in their later history. Without, like some trades, seeking to extend their clubs beyond the limits of a small town they confined themselves to the little local clubs which were the predecessors of the modern Trade Union movements. These did not disappear. All over England and Scotland the skilled craftsman continued to hold the fort nightly meeting of his trade club at the public-house, and the records and rules of some of these clubs have survived. The old traditions were very strong, and the desire for mutual improvement, as men an as craftsmen, was very marked. The Falkirk Society excluded all lewd, disorderly and fractious persons, and drunkards swearers, and Sabbath-breakers. Other societies, such as the Newcastle Operative Masons, stressed the improvement effected in man's nature by association. In some case there was also a rule against the introduction of politics a destructive of harmony.

 

"The festive nature of these gatherings must not be forgotten. The Masons' Society and the two Carpenters' Societies which existed at Newcastle, had rules to the effect that twopence per night must be spent on beer by every member, while the first entries in the Preston Joiners' Cashbook. 1807--perhaps the oldest remaining Trade Union document--relate to the purchase of beer."

 

I am indebted to Mr Sidney Webb, a very prominent member of the late Labor Government, for giving me a clue to obtaining much valuable information as to these stonemasons' lodges and their ceremonial. Mr. Webb, with the assistance of his wife, wrote The History of Trade Unionism, which is very justly considered the standard work on the subject. In this he states:

 

"The Operative builders did not rest content with an elaborate constitution and code. There was also a ritual. The Stonemasons' Society has preserved amongst its records a manuscript copy of a 'Making Parts Book,' ordered to be used by all lodge of the Builders' Union on the admission of members. Under the Combination Laws, oaths of secrecy and obedience were customary in the more secret and turbulent trade unions, notably that of the Glasgow Cotton Spinners and the Northumbrian Miners. The custom survived the repeal, and admission to the Builders' Union involved a very lengthy ceremony, conducted by the officers of the lodge: the outside and inside Tylers, the Warden, the President, the Secretary, and the Principal Conductor, and taken part in by the candidates and the members of the lodge. Besides the opening prayer, and religious hymns sung at intervals, these 'initiation parts' consisted of questions and answers by the dramatis personae in quaint doggerel, and were brought to a close by the new members taking an oath of secrecy. Officers clothed in surplices, inner chambers into which the candidates were admitted, blindfolded, a skeleton, drawn sworn, battleaxes, and other mystic properties enhanced the sensational solemnity of this fantastic performance. Ceremonies of this kind, including what were described in Home Office Papers of 1834 as 'oaths of an execrable nature,' were adopted by all the national and general unions of the time. Thus, we find items 'for washing surplices' appearing in the accounts of various lodges of contemporary societies."

 

A similar ritual is printed in Character, Objects and Effects of Trade Unions, published in 1834, as used by the Woolcombers' Union. Probably, says Mr. Webb, the Builders' Union copied their ritual from some Union of Woolen Workers. I would prefer to think it was the other way about. The stonemasons' MS. contains, like the copy printed in the pamphlet just mentioned, a solemn reference to King Edward the Third, who was regarded as the great benefactor of the English wool trade, but whose connection with the building trade is not obvious. In a later printed edition of The Initiating Parts of the Friendly Society of Operative Masons, dated Birmingham, 1834, his name is omitted, and that of Solomon substituted, apparently in memory of the Freemasons' assumed origin at the building of the Temple at Jerusalem. "The actual origin of this initiation ceremony," continues Mr. Webb, "is unknown. John Tester, who had been a leader of the Bradford Woolcombers in 1825, afterward turned against the unions, and published in the Leeds Mercury of June and July, 1834, a series of letters denouncing the Leeds Clothiers' Union. In these he states "the mode of initiation was the same as practiced for years before the flannel weavers of Rochdale, with a party of whom the thing, in the shape of it then wore, had at first originated. A great part of the ceremony, particularly the death scene, was taken from the Odd Fellows, who were flannel weavers at Rochdale, in Lancashire, and all that could be well turned from the rules and lectures of the one society into the regulations of the others was so turned, with some trifling verbal alterations." In another letter he says that the writer of the "Lecture Book" was one Mark Ward.

 

The series of "Initiating Parts," or forms to be observed on admitting new members, which are preserved in the archives of the Stonemasons' Society, I have been able to borrow and make extracts from, at the same time getting some of the pages photographed in order to show where I have personally obtained the material for much of this article. They reveal a steady tendency to simplification of ritual. We have first the old MS. doggerel already described, copied most probably from a still older manuscript. The date of this present copy Bro. Wonnacott considers would be considerably anterior to the first printed ritual, which is dated 1834. This, whilst retaining a good deal of ceremonial, turns the liturgy into prose, and the oath into an almost identical declaration, invoking the dire displeasure of the society in case of treachery. A second print, which bears no date, is much shorter, and the declaration becomes a mere affirmation of adhesion. The society's circulars of 1838 record the abolition, by vote of the members, of all initiation ceremonies, in view of the parliamentary inquiry about to be held into trade unionism.

 

(To be concluded)

 

----o----

 

How St. Alban's Abbey Came to Be Built

 

BY BRO. N.W.J. HAYDON, Associate Editor

 

THE varying forms of the Legend of the Craft related in the old MS. Constitutions of the Freemasons, are all agreed that St. Alban introduced Masonry into England and was the builder of the first church at the place now called after him. Needless to say this account is not historical. However, the traditional connection should make the subject of this article by Bro. Haydon of especial interest to our readers.

 

 THE legend of the building of St. Alban's Abbey is particularly interesting as it is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, references to the Masonic Craft (Operative) in English literature, which is founded on evidence still to be seen after a lapse of many centuries. The first historian to whom we owe an account of this event is Roger de Wendover, a native of Buckinghamshire, who was Prior of Belvoir, a dependence of St. Alban's Abbey, and who died in 1237 A. D. He wrote The Flowers of History and gave us the tradition as it had come to him. The translation used here is that by J.A. Giles, D.C.L., as published in Bohn's Antiquarian Library.

 

A generation later, another learned monk of the same abbey, known as Matthew of Paris, compiled his Chronicles of English History, bringing the tale down to 1273 A.D., and incorporating the writings of his predecessor, so that at first later scholars were of the impression that he was responsible for the whole. The photograph reproduced on the next page shows a page of his manuscript.

 

The first printed edition of these "Chronicles" was produced, in Latin, in 1639 A. D. by Watts, under the title of Vitae Duorum Offarum, and the translation given here is made from that edition by one of the scholars attached to the British Museum; I am also indebted to the co-operation of the curator of the manuscript department, Professor J.A. Gilson, for becoming possessed of the photograph.

 

While it will appear on examination that the Watts' edition does not follow too closely on the heels of Matthew of Paris, the combination of this rendition with that contained in the Bohn publication covers the ground sufficiently to give us a reasonably complete story. Students of the history of our Ritual who are also Companions of the Chapter will no doubt be impressed with certain resemblances between the legend of the R. A. and that supplied by the learned Roger de Wendover.

 

THE STORY RELATED BY ROGER DE WENDOVER

 

"The same year (A.D. 793) while Offa, the most potent king of the Mercians, was residing at Bath, and was taking his rest on the royal couch after the labors of the day, he was admonished by an angel from heaven to disinter Alban, the Saint of God and first martyr of the English, or Britons, and to place his relics in a shrine more worthy of them.

 

"Anxious to obey the divine commands, the King straightway summoned Humbert, of Lichfield, archbishop of the Mercians, who with Ceowulf, bishop of Lindsey, and Unwona, bishop of Leicester, together with a great multitude of each sex and every age, met the King at Verolamium on a day appointed.

 

"As he was journeying thither, the King beheld a ray of light like a great torch sent down from heaven and illuminating the place of the sepulchre. This miracle, which was seen of all, confirmed their faith in the truth of the vision.

 

"Now the memory of the martyr had perished and the place of his burial been forgotten for about 344 years, for the pagan Saxons, Jutes, an Angles had driven out the Britons, burnt their towns and levelled their sacred places and churches, mercilessly destroying the face of the island from one sea to the other. At this time therefore, the church of the blessed Alban, described by Bede in his history of the English, had been utterly destroyed, with the other churches in the desolation of that country.

 

"After these things the King summoned a council of the province and consulted with all the primates about the privileging of a monastery in the place which had been consecrated by the blood of the martyr. They all were pleased with the King's design and, that these things might have a more worthy effect, they gave their counsel that the King should either send envoys, or in his own person, treat with the court of Rome about them. And the King undertook the laborious journey to the end that as the blessed Alban was the first martyr of the English, so his monastery should surpass in possessions and privileges all others in his kingdom.... At length arriving at Rome the King made his earnest petition to the chief pontiff, Adrian, both for the canonization of the blessed Alban and the founding of the monastery. The court yielded a ready compliance, the more so that the discovery of the martyr was the effect of divine revelation, confirmed the privileges the King desired, and adopted the monastery as a favoured daughter of the Rome See--'subject to our Apostolic See, without the intervention of King or Archbishop.'

 

"The King considered within himself how he could make recompense for such a gift, and the next day, going to the English school which flourished at Rome at that time, he made a grant to it for ever for the support of such of his kingdom as shall come there, of a penny from every family that had possessions to the value of thirty pence, and for this liberality he obtained that none of the English nation should suffer evil by way of doing penance. After making this grant the noble King returned home.

 

"He next summoned a council of nobles and bishops at Verolamium and conferred ample possessions on the blessed Alban and ennobled them with a multiplicity of liberties. He then brought together a convent of monks from the most religious houses to the martyr's tomb and set over them an Abbot named Willigod to whom he granted the monastery with all royal rights. Now the great King Offa reigned over twenty three provinces, which the English call 'shires' and from all these, the King granted the blessed Peter's penny, which the English call 'Romescot.' Moreover the most mighty King Offa conferred on Alban his own royal villa called Wunceslaw about twenty miles from Verolamium, with the land around it, as the King's writings testify which are to this day preserved in the Church aforesaid.'

 

THE STORY OF MATTHEW OF PARIS

 

From. "Vitae Duorum Offarum"

 

"After completing the arrangements for this endowment, the King made confession of all his sins (especially in having waged so many batiles) and the founding of the said monastery was accepted as his penance the King then returned home under the brightest auspices and with the fervent blessing of the Pope.

 

"The Monastery founded, and an Abbot and Convent placed there, Offa then summoned to Verolamium his council of bishops and magnates, and, with their unanimous consent and good will, conferred on the blessed Alban wide lands and innumerable possessions, with the idea that free hospitality should flourish there. For through that place there runs a highway and street used by those coming from the North and returning from the South, called Watling Street. And it seemed to him a thing of grace that all who passed through should find there a shelter provided for them of grace by his alms. Therefore he granted to the said place dedicated to the said monastery extraordinary privileges and liberties; and at the tomb he assembled a convent of monks from diverse religious houses, but chiefly from the house of Bec in Normandy; and he appointed as Abbot over them a man named Willegod, which being interpreted is WILLING GOOD. And he was, indeed, a man of good will, a scion of the royal race, and near of kin to King Offa. He had been present at the finding of the said Martyr, and had seen the rays of heavenly light that appeared, when his body was being found and raised out of the ground, and which disappeared after this had been accomplished, as though its mission had been fulfilled. He had therefore at once resolved to take the monastic habit and to devote his life to the service of God, and to so holy a martyr; and when the story became generally known, very soon after the body had been found, the King without delay began to build the Church. And he laid the first stone of the foundation, saying TO THE HONOR OF GOD ALMIGHTY, THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY GHOST, AND OF HIS MARTYR ALBAN, THE FIRST MARTYR OF MY WHOLE LAND. And then he knelt down and with closed hands and tears running down his cheeks, he continued:

 

PRAYER OF THE MOST CHRISTIAN KING OFFA FOR HIS WORK

 

"OH, LORD JESUS CHRIST, TO THEE, AND TO THEE, MARTYR ALBAN, AND TO THEE, WILLEGOD, I COMMIT THIS THY HOUSE, FAITHFULLY TO BE KEPT. A CURSE UPON ALL WHO OPPOSE OR DISTURB OR SPIRITUALLY DETRACT FROM IT. MAY ALL ITS BENEFACTORS RECEIVE REWARD ETERNAL. And to Willegod who was then already a monk, the King gave abundance of treasure and appointed him overseer of the fabric [construction] of the Church, and he granted him all regalities and liberties. And this the King took care to do before he set out on his journey across the Alps, not knowing what God might ordain concerning his life. But after his return in such happy circumstances he solemnly renewed and confirmed all these things, and he appointed the said Willegod Abbot in the presence of his son and heir EGFRID, and of Humbert, archbishop of Lichfield, and a number of other bishops and magnates of the land, for of a truth, he had found this same WILLEGOD most faithful in the keeping of his kingdom, which the King had committed to his son and to him, while he went to Rome. And he established a convent of monks from the most renowned houses as is above said, and at his own expense he constructed all the buildings, except the very oldest one (pristinium), which he found already made out of the old buildings of the Pagans. And in the same Church the most christian King Offa acting as steward and special keeper passed some years of lis life. And one day he ordered the charters, and all the instruments given and acquired, to be brought (and) placed them on the High Altar, 'that they might become consecrated in that Holy Place as a witness and a memorial to those who might come after him.'"

 

Bound up with the early history of this ancient building are two other matters which link it closely with items of great interest in the development of that system which has become our Speculative Masonry of today. There is, for example, the claim of some Masonic scholars that our M. M. Degree has become what it is as a result of the old English custom, wherein certain gilds regularly portrayed in dramatic form portions of the known Scriptures, for the benefit of an age when illiteracy was general.

 

Wm. Hone, in his book.on the English Miracle Plays (Ancient Mysteries Described, London, 1823), writes:

 

"The first trace of theatrical representations in this country is recorded by Matthew (of) Paris, who relates that Geoffrey, a learned Norman, master of the school of the Abbey of Dunstable, and afterwards Abbot of St. Alban's Priory, composed the play of St. Catherine, which was acted by his scholars. Geoffrey's performance took place in the year 1110, and he borrowed copes from the sacrist of the neighbouring abbey of St. Alban's, to dress his characters."

 

The other matter is connected with the name "Naymus Grecus" which has so long puzzled our antiquarians, and for which solutions are offered by Bros. C.C. Howard, of New Zealand, and S. Russell Forbes, in A.Q.C., Vols. IV and V, from which it appears that this old Master of Masons is mentioned in three of the early MSS. of our Ancient Charges, towit, the Cooke, 1430, the Lansdowne, 1560, and the Buchanan, 1660. Their writers refer to a "Curious Mason named Naymus Grecus" who came to France in the time of Charles Martel, and taught him the secrets of Operative Masonry. ("Curious" here means skilful.) This Charles Martel is one of the heroes of early French history, who turned back the conquering Saracens at Tours about 729 A.D., and as St. Alban's Abbey was built some sixty-five years later, it is reasonable to admit that the fathers of its builders, as well as their Operative instructors, would be acquainted with the stories that were growing up about the great deeds of Charles Martel, that were afterwards interwoven with the great poem, "The Song of Roland."

 

Although the date when King Offa visited Rome is in dispute, there is still evidence there of the Saxon colony he helped to establish, the streets are still named "borgo" from the Saxon word "burgh" and the old church "S. Spirito in Sassia" is still standing. At this time also there was in Rome a Greek colony with its church, formed of Greek exiles driven out about 760 A. D. by theological opponents, and the road on the south side of their church is still known as the "Via della Greca."

 

We may assume that during one of his several visits to Rome, Charlemagne, who was finally crowned Emperor there in 800 A.D., engaged the skilled Mason, Naymus, of the Greek colony in Rome, with his coworkmen to build his cathedral at Aix-la-Chapelle. Thence Naymus passed either in the company of, or at the request of, King Offa, when the latter returned from his pilgrimage, to St. Alban's. As a result Operative Masonry was first organized in Eritain at this city, but was broken up by the Danish wars of the next century and then reorganized at York under Athelstan in 926 A.D.

 

This ingeniously constructed chain of events--of which I have given only an outline--received various historical criticisms from the learned brethren to whom it was offered, but, on the whole, they accept it as feasible. One serious objection, however, is made by Bro. Mattieu Williams, who holds that Greek architects, or workmen, or artists, had no influence on the early builders of Britain, since their own types are destitute of Gothic character, nor had he found any Greek names in Britain, though there are many in Southern France.

 

Of all the theories as to the source of Gothic architecture Bro. Williams finds only one probable, that it is Scandinavian, inasmuch as the pointed arch and the nave (navis--ship) derive from the customary tomb of the sea-king, his ship, which was hauled ashore a placed keel uppermost on the natural rock pillars of the craggy coasts of Norway. The track of the Vikings, and their descendants the Normans, is marked by Gothic structures, nearly all situated on islands or near the sea coast. English workmen built the cathedral at Stavanger, the second in age and importance in Norway, about 862 A.D., and from 900 to 1300 the literary center--with all that implies--of Northern Europe was Iceland, whose Skalds visited these Courts and have left honorable memories.

 

Of general interest as relics of our Operative ancestors are the accompanying pictures, one of which is taken from a fifteenth century wood cut--the scene is laid in Germany. It can be seen how the use of the wheel and crane had gradually improve the shape and efficiency of this mechanism. The masons are also shown as wearing aprons, which in the earlier drawing they do not seem to have. Further comparison, too, can be drawn between King Offa's Master of the Masons and the effigy of William Warmington (died 1427), a Master Mason (No. 4), who built Croyland Abbey. This is reproduced by Conder in his Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons, who refers to it in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. V, p. 2.

 

An enlarged copy of the Offa photo was presented by the Toronto Society for Masonic Research to the Temple Board where they meet, and any other Temple Boards, or Societies for Research, that would like copies can be supplied as I have the negative.

 

ADDENDUM

 

The illustrations of parts of the abbey itself give one an idea of the immense amount of interest the building provides, for the lover of history and architecture, though these are only a very small part of the things worth noting in this structure.

 

The so-called shrine of St. Alban stands in the Saint's Chapel, just east of the great Reredos, or screen, behind the high Altar. The original shrine was small enough to be carried in processions on festivals, being made of precious metals, and has long since disappeared. Thousands of pilgrims from many countries have visited the spot depicted in this photograph (No. 5); for centuries it was one of the most favored places for pilgrims from France, who often made the journey under most unfavorable conditions, to leave an offering and to say prayers at the shrine, or tomb, as it has often been called, of St. Alban.

 

Many considered that the bones of the martyred Saint possessed curative qualities, and in the base of the present shrine holes can be seen in which cloths were placed, so as to be impregnated with the supposed curative powers. Many pieces of stone were chipped from the carving to be taken away home to heal those who could not make the journey to the shrine.

 

The Watching Loft, seen in the background, was built in 1400 A. D. to provide shelter for a monk who was appointed to protect the shrine from damage, and to receive the alms brought by the pilgrims. The steps to the loft are solid oak logs, and the lower part contains cupboards in which relics were once stored but are now used to preserve pieces of Roman pottery and other articles of interest.

 

At the first glance of the interior may be noticed the extreme plainness of the Norman work compared with other buildings of the same period, and this is explained by the fact that most of the material used by the Norman Masons consisted of Roman brick or tiles carried from Verulamium, just a few miles away, where an immense mass of such material was found on the spot where the town of Verulamium was burned by the Saxons after the Roman evacuation of Britain. The bricks not being amenable to carving, did not allow the Masons to display their usual beautiful work, and it necessitated the building of the arches and pillars in a very severe manner. The rough work was plastered over, any many frescoes were painted on the large square-shaped pillars in the nave. In the South Transept, the plaster has been removed in places in the triforium, where the edges of the Roman brick are seen in the Norman arches.

 

An interesting point in the same location as the above is the presence of ringed baluster shafts of Saxon work, being beyond doubt part of the original Church built by King Offa, 793 A.D. The Norman Masons were never so much enthused with their own work as to ignore the beauty of work done by their predecessors, and in several places the Saxon work has been incorporated in a Norman building, for example, the Celtic window, high up in the west end of Kilpeck Church, that wonderful little gem of Norman architecture.

 

On the exterior of the North Transept, we see by our illustration how the Norman builders used the Roman material. The white stones are flint gathered from the fields in the vicinity by the Normans.

 

The Reredos was completed in 1484, its only rivals being that of Winchester and Durham, and the similarity of design and workmanship makes one almost sure that both were the efforts of the same gild of workers or craftsmen. It is a superb piece of stone tracery.

 

I am indebted to Bro. H. J. Unwin, formerly of St. Alban's, for these final notes, and for the photos which are enlargements of his snapshots.

 

----o----

 

Daniel Coxe and St. John's Lodge, Philadelphia

 

By BRO. DAVID MCGREGOR, New Jersey (Concluded from last month)

 

Surely Franklin was sufficiently conversant with the eighth section of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of England, which he had recently published, to know just exactly what was meant by the term "rebel brethren"; if, as is claimed, he had not himself been a regular Mason at that time, it would have been a case of the pot calling the kettle black !

 

No one will doubt that Franklin had a sufficient command of the English language to use the proper words to convey his thoughts; therefore when he used the word privileges he meant exactly what it implies, viz., that they were then enjoying something that had been granted to them, not an inherent right assumed by them; and the granting of those privileges must have been by a person who had the authority to do so --none other than the Grand Master of England.

 

In making the request Franklin approached the matter as would any regular Mason, expressing his willingness to submit himself to higher Masonic authority wherever it existed, at the same time asserting the dignity of his own position in the words, "The Grand Master of Pennsylvania only yielding his chair when the Grand Master of All America shall be in place."

 

As to the extension of Price's jurisdiction, it is unfortunate that neither the newspaper notice of it in the Boston prints, nor the original document or even a copy of it can be found. Nor does the records of the Grand Lodge of England contain any reference to it, as they do in regard to Coxe's deputation. It is desirable to know whether or not it was limited territorially as were most all such deputations issued by the Grand Masters of England, so as not to include territory where Provincial Grand Masters had been already appointed.

 

FOR "ALL AMERICA"

 

This limitation has been ignored in Bro. Melvin M. Johnson's references to these deputations in his recently published Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, leaving the reader to infer that all deputations to the Provincial Grand Masters of New England, with the exception of Robert Tomlinson, were for All America unrestrictedly. We know this is not a fact. True, the newspaper's report of Price's deputation to Franklin as Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania in 1735 designates Price as "Grand Master of His Majesty's Dominions in North America", which on the face of it is not correct, as it was not within the province of the Grand Master of England to depute to any brother an authority of equal prestige to his own, that belonging exclusively to the Grand Lodge as a body, his powers being limited to the deputizing of Provincial Grand Masters, so that, as in all others emanating from that source, Price's deputation must have been for a Provincial Grand Mastership.

 

The omission of this qualifying prefex leads us to suspect that territorial limitations were also omitted-thus establishing a precedent that has become a regular habit among the historians of New England Freemasonry.

 

It was no doubt known to Grand Master Crauford that a self-perpetuating deputation had already bee issued for a Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania; and it is highly improbable that he would have done anything to cause confusion or dissension among the brethren here by permitting the overlapping of jurisdictions.

 

In regard to this report which appeared in the Philadelphia Weekly Mercury as to Price's appointment for all America, it looks rather strange that such an important item of news failed to appear in Franklin's Philadelphia Gazette. It is scarcely conceivable that after making application for it, if it was received and accepted by Franklin, he would have neglected to give it all the publicity possible, in order that the "false and rebel brethren" of Philadelphia might be promptly informed, as it was to meet their criticisms that the deputation had been asked for. If Franklin did receive it, his refusal to publish it seems to indicate that Price had not been able to satisfy him fully as to his authority as Grand Master of All America as he had requested him to do. In fact, neither Price nor any of his successors ever had any authority delegated to them to appoint anyone to the office of Provincial Grand Master, the full extent of their deputations being the appointment of a Deputy Grand Master and Grand Wardens, also the issuing of warrants for the institution of subordinate lodges within the territory prescribed by their deputation; therefore if Price did issue such a deputation to Franklin he assumed an authority that belonged only to the Grand Master of England.

 

While even admitting that Price may have received some authority or order to extend his territorial jurisdiction, we are not prepared to admit, as claimed by Bro. Johnson, that its publication in a Philadelphia newspaper was "unequivocal evidence of the extension of Price's authority over all America, and Pennsylvania's recognition thereof". Surely he does not mean to suggest that Bradford's Weekly Mercury (a paper not in any way identified with Masonry, and one which earned for itself the appellation of being the first anti-Masonic paper in America) presumed to represent the Pennsylvania Masons, the only persons whose recognition could be considered in the matter! In fact, its non-appearance in Franklin's paper may rather be looked upon as an absolute refusal on the part of himself and those for whom he spoke to recognize it in any way.

 

GRAND LODGE MET AS USUAL

 

This much we know. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania continuing on the even tenor of its way, met on June 24, 1735, and elected a successor to the office of Provincial Grand Master for the fourth or fifth consecutive year. Had Franklin and the Grand Lodge accepted the deputation from Price dated Feb. 24, 1735, it is not likely that he would have been requested or even willing to retire from the chair, after serving but four months under the new dispensation. If Price's deputation meant anything to Franklin, it surely meant at least a full year of service under it.

 

In later years Price does not appear to have been so certain as to that extended deputation to All America; in one letter he said he had received it in 1735, instead of 1734; and when the Provincial Grand Lodge in Boston petitioned for a deputation to Jeremy Gridley to be "stiled Grand Master of All America," which they persisted in asking for on every opportunity, Price urged the granting of the comprehensive title in a letter to the Grand Master of England, under date of Aug. 6, 1755, in which he said he had received his deputation from the Right Honourable Lord Montague in April, 1733 (which was for New England only), "which I held for four years, and constituted several Lodges, and was succeeded in the office by Bro. Tomlinson" (whose deputation was also for New England only). No mention whatever was made of a deputation for "All America." Then he proceeded: "Now with my consent all the brethren in North America have made choice of our Bro. Jeremy Gridley, Esq., to be Grand Master for three years." The only lodge officially represented on that occasion outside of those in Boston, was the New London Lodge. Price was surely suffering from an attack of Bostonitis, in which the mental vision of the patient is so restricted that he believes that "The Hub" is the whole wheel !

 

Despite this request so strongly urged and endorsed. Gridley's deputation was, as usual, issued for "Provincial Grand Master of all such Provinces and places in North America, and the Territories thereof, of which no Provincial Grand Master is at present appointed".

 

Price's memory was evidently failing him when in 1768 he claimed in a letter to the Grand Master of England that "his deputation was the first that the Grand Lodge ever issued to any part of America". If he did not know better, he was sadly ignorant of what his protege and successor in Solomon's Chair, Jeremy Gridley, was fully cognizant of years before.

 

We find that when Jonathan Hampton applied to Jeremy Gridley in 1762 for a warrant to institute a lodge in Elizabethtown, N.J., Gridley refused to grant it until he was fully satisfied that Daniel Coxe did not still have jurisdiction over that Province; and it was only after Hampton had apprized him of the fact that Coxe had died before Gridley was appointed Provincial Grand Master, that he acceded to the request and granted a warrant for the second known lodge in New Jersey.

 

PRICE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE "ALL AMERICA IDEA"

 

The more modern and modified form of the claim that "The deputation to Price was the first to be transmitted across the seas", must now be also abandoned in view of what was proven in my previous article.

 

It is quite apparent that Price was largely responsible for the promulgation of this unrestricted "All American" idea; and as he advanced in years he became more and more obsessed with it, until he actually permitted himself to believe that no other deputation of equal Masonic authority was ever granted to an American. Of the actual existence of such deputations he was forcibly reminded by the Grand Secretary of England, who, in answer to a request that he [Price] be given proper priority in the records of the Grand Lodge of England, advised him that "no deputation which has been granted since your appointment, for any part of America can affect you, as their authority can only extend over those Provinces where no other Provincial Grand Master is appointed", as did his. This equality of jurisdiction in Provinces where no Grand Master existed, is clearly shown in the case of New Jersey, where within a few years lodges were instituted on warrants derived from three Grand Jurisdictions, New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania; New Jersey being then, Masonically speaking, a no-man's-land.

 

This obsession of Price goes beyond the bounds of charitable interpretation when, after having for the fourth time installed successors to himself in the office of Provincial Grand Master, he turns around and challenges the Grand Secretary of England to find that he had at any time resigned from the office of Grand Master of All America. Did he consider himself to be a Supreme Grand Master, exercising authority over and above the regularly appointed successors to himself as Provincial Grand Master where no Grand Master had been appointed?

 

While we are willing to draw the mantle of forget fulness over such evidences of mental aberration, we do not feel justified in accepting his claims as to his authority or the extent of his jurisdiction in the year 1734/5 but fully believe that he had no jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, where a Grand Lodge existed; nor had he any authority to appoint a Provincial Grand Master anywhere in America. The attempt to use Franklin's letters to Price, as proof of the irregularity of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, is utterly futile.

 

----o----

 

A Spanish American Masonic Lecture

 

Translated by BRO. J.W. CHAPMAN, New Mexico

 

THIS lecture was given in "The Worshipful Lodge, Condor No. 9," and published in The Rivista Masonica of Chile. It is interesting from at least two points of view. It indicates a number of evident ritual variations, and it also sets out quite clearly the ideals and aspirations of Masonry in that part at least of Spanish America.

 

As it is known, the Masonic practice is to teach by making use of symbols, which have been preserved and transmitted from remote times. Thus, when we reach the doors of the temple, we see objects which represent principles and ideas which are impressed on our minds.

 

The lodge meets in places called "temples," which are of rectangular form and extend from East to West. When we enter, our attention is called to two great columns, generally of bronze, whose chapiters, of Corinthian order, are decorated with pomegranates and lilies. These pomegranates signify to us that we must preserve a close and cordial union rather than isolation, and that the nucleus of ideas and doctrines have their beginning in these places, which we must shuck out from all parts, acquiring Knowledge and Virtue. These columns have the letter B on the left-hand one and J on the other, which we recognize is somewhat distinctive of the two first degrees.

 

Beyond in front of the entrance and in the East, is an elevated dais where sits the Worshipful Master, who presides and directs our steps. In the west is another dais, a little smaller than the first, where sits the Senior Warden, who pays our wage and preserves harmony among the workmen. In the south is installed the Junior Warden, in a seat similar to the other, who observes that labor is performed properly and profitably.

 

There are three columns which form the supports of the lodge, or, the three principal Lights which illuminate it, and represent Wisdom, Strength and Beauty; the first to conceive and direct; the second to realize; and the third to beautify and adorn the work.

 

THE BIBLE IS NECESSARY

 

In the center of the lodge is a small altar, triangular in form, with three lights, and on which rests the Bible, the symbol of that enlightenment which it gives to our minds, and the square and compasses; that one (the square) signifies that we must always think and act with rectitude, and this one (the compasses) that we must proceed with regularity in all our endeavors. So likewise here is encountered the Constitution, the fundamental law of organization and procedure of Symbolical Masonry.

 

At the left of the Worshipful Master and next to him is the Orator, the Counsel of the Lodge, who gives attention to the respectful and faithful application of the Constitution and regulations. At the right is the Secretary. A little below and on the left and right, are the Treasurer and the Dispenser of Alms, the latter being charged to heed and care for those who need the assistance of the lodge. In the middle of the temple in front of the Junior Warden, is the Master of Ceremonies, and opposite him is the Expert, who is learned in the ritual and in the requirements of Masonry. Finally, the entrance is guarded by the Temple Guard. Around the foot of the station of the Worshipful Master are the members of the lodge, who form the legal institution and permit it to function regularly.

 

THE CHAIN REPLACES THE CABLETOW

 

Decorating and encompassing the ceiling is a chain, emblematic of the intimate and fraternal union which reigns among Masons, in which everyone is a strong link attached to the other; a chain comprised of Masons of the world, one and all. At the west of the ceiling are a multitude of stars, which, as the East is approached, diminish in number and increase in size, so we are taught to enjoy the light of Truth and Wisdom.

 

The floor is laid out with black and white squares, and this represents the toleration which reigns among us concerning all opinions and creeds, notwithstanding there may be differences of opinion; and also, to remind us that all the actions of life have a diversity of appearance which we must interpret with reason before forming judgment.

 

In the East, at the foot of the station of the Worshipful Master, are two stones: the one on the left is unpolished, its sides are uneven, and is wholly unfitted for use in building. On the other side is the true edged stone, with its smooth surfaces, already prepared for the builders' use. The one is the symbol of our natural personality, filled from the beginning with imperfections and impurities, and which may be purified by the love of study and work, and by the constant practice of virtuous deeds, to which we are induced and bound by the Masonic obligations.

 

ALLEGORICAL PICTURES USED TO DECORATE THE LODGE

 

Some pictures decorate the walls of the place: in the East, at the right, is Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom; at the left is Hercules, emblem of Strength; and east of that one is Venus, symbol of Beauty: three conditions necessary for individual and collective progress.

 

Another mural picture represents a very fine sieve, which represents Masonry boldly selecting from the materials introduced, and from which are obtained those to be promoted to higher dignity. And another represents a magnificent uncompleted edifice. This is the palace of Knowledge and of Civilization, which Humanity is perpetually constructing but never completing.

 

One of the virtues which recommends itself to us most zealously is Work, and so it is said that Masons work tranquilly devoting ourselves to preparing sepulchres for vice, and to raising up temples to Virtue.

 

In return, according to our efforts, we receive our wage; and likewise, speaking symbolically, as we are employed with rough materials, we must use an apron, of white skin with a flap raised for better covering.

 

THE ENGLISH WORKING TOOLS ARE EMPLOYED

 

Also, it is said that we work in our degrees with chisel and hammer; and again, that we do not write except to trace out plans with marker or pencil. So it is necessary that we have a Master to teach us to use the implements and to oversee the work; and as he is a just and kind director, he wins our respect and appreciation, and on account of this we call him "Worshipful."

 

The Wardens aid the Master in inspecting our work, paying the wages, and encouraging us to perfect our rudimentary knowledge.

 

For this reason the apprentices, whom we arrange on the left of the lodge, are said to be in darkness and are not permitted to kindle a light from our side.

 

Masonic lodges are workshops where the laborers work freely and conscientiously, and who are divided into three classes or basic degrees: Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master.

 

THE DEGREES SIGNIFY THE THREE AGES OF MAN

 

These degrees have also other significances: they represent the three principal periods of the life of man.

 

That of Apprentice is equivalent to Childhood, that age in which all is seen and observed, and in which knowledge and experience is constantly acquired. Forsake the darkness for the light.

 

The second degree, or Fellowcraft, represents Manhood, that period in the life of a man which is complete without the impetuosity of youth and childhood, in which he begins to acquire practice in the use of his faculties and in the employment of the implements of his work, and finally reaches the way which he pursues to the end of life.

 

And the third degree, or Master, represents Maturity, and the full knowledge of skill to which it is dedicated, of the use of the working tools, and of the theories by which the laborer is instructed. It is knowledge of life, and of the pleasure, happiness and triumphs which it offers to us.

 

THE NUMBER THREE IS STRESSED

 

Already we will have perceived that all these symbols and instructions have three points of support or aspects. In addition, the triangle is the figure most used and respected in the Order.

 

It is said that this is the proper emblem of a complete philosophical system, especially of Freemasonry.

 

The triangle reminds us that we must unfold our personalities, parallel and harmoniously, according to natural philosophy, intellectually and morally, then we will approach an indestructible whole.

 

And this triple instruction repeats itself in the call for entrance into the lodge, in the steps which we must take, in the three great lights which illuminate, etc., etc.

 

It is curious to note the importance of trinity with us, Wisdom, Strength and Beauty have a certain equivalence with the Holy Trinity of the Catholics, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

 

THE PURPOSE OF MASONRY STATED

 

Finally, it is permitted to express the conception, which, through the medium of lectures and addresses by well-informed brethren, is and has been formed of Symbolic Masonry, and it is that which we pursue.

 

Masonry is an institution which has existed from remote times and in distant countries, and which has been formed of men eagerly desirous of Wisdom and Purification. Always it has held one essential basis, philosophy and progress. It searches for the truth with solicitude, and is tolerant of all opinions and doctrines, it conducts itself with circumspection, is submissive to harsh and rigorous analysis.

 

It has never been a religion, but has always pursued knowledge with a zeal almost religious; and the methods of instruction, in which the symbol is foremost, has a resemblance to many of the religions of the East and West.

 

Its purpose has ever been for mutual profit, and not, as some believe, to fight forcibly against the clergy.

 

Being an institution, essentially philosophical and reasonable, it has as its foundation liberty of conscience and freedom of inquiry. From these proceed, as result, its permanent and fundamental disputes with all religions and sects which attempt to muzzle human thought.

 

So has been preserved, across the centuries, the symbol of the Grand Architect of the Universe, to whom we render tribute of studying and of inquiring into the Supreme Law, the Power or the Great Principle, however we may desire to invoke Him, who directs and co-ordinates this vast and unceasing movement of matter in all of its infinite manifestations.

 

Prejudices limit freedom of inquiry; and these are essentially un-Masonic.

 

For the attainment of morality and intellectuality among our adepts, it has been, and is, one of the first principles of our Order to require physical perfection.

 

Anciently, candidates had to submit themselves to rigorous and very long tests, which sometimes continued for years, before they might be introduced into the Temple for initiation.

 

Now, we observe the life of the aspirant, and demand information more less strictly.

 

But we must call to mind and hold, dismissing all prejudices to the contrary, that the complete purification of the individual is a Masonic obligation, and an essential duty of a good Mason.

 

----o----

 

A Brief Application of the York Rite to Daily Life

 

BY THE GRAND HIGH PRIEST, Texas

 

THE Grand Chapter of Texas, R.A.M. alive to the need for a richer understanding of the magnificent mysteries of the chapter, eager to put every Royal Arch Mason into a more complete possession of its wealth of wisdom, has published for distribution among Texas brethren a little book bearing the above title, here published by permission of the Grand High Priest. It is a hint of what may be done by way of bringing home to a man in his own bosom, as something good to know and to have, the lore and wisdom of Masonry, than which nothing is more practicable.

 

MASONRY is the ocean of fraternity, and every Mason should strive to sail its broad expanse, because its profound solemnity and matchless beauty can never be appreciated by those who merely wade in the shallow waters at the shore. The tides of time have rolled mighty waves upon its bosom, and the storms of centuries have lashed the billows into foam upon its surface, but beneath there have remained, undisturbed and immutable, the principles of the Brotherhood of Man.

 

No Mason should deny himself the privilege of knowing at least the salient features of our Fraternity, and we owe it to the ancient and honorable institution to learn enough of its teachings to grasp their deeper significance, so that we shall not be gigglers in the Master's degree nor Shriners in the Royal Arch degree. If the Masonic bodies of all rites and branches will, during the next five years, be as diligent and efficient in making Masons as they have been during the past five in making members, our great Fraternity will be a tremendous power for good, a power made possible by numbers and knowledge, but not by numbers alone. A uniform does not make a soldier and a button does not make a Mason.

 

When the beginner in Masonry first starts his inquiry into the principles of the Fraternity, he should be advised of the necessity for bearing in mind at all times that the Temple, which plays so important a part in the lodge, is a symbol of the Temple on High, and that this symbolism also applies to the king and to the master builder, as well as to all in the Blue Lodge, or Symbolic, degrees. He should also be advised to disregard the history of Masonry in the beginning of his studies, since great confusion is certain to result, and he will waste his time. Unfortunately, our most scholarly historians are pleased to begin their history of Masonry at a time when it had already grown great in influence and hoary with age, having brought down through the centuries the traditions which have fascinated the Speculative Masons. Such a history of George Washington would date his birth at the time he was inaugurated President of the United States.

 

But the beginner does not need history; the degrees themselves contain earmarks of antiquity which will be convincing enough for the beginner. Teach him that the ritualistic work is only an index to Masonry, merely enabling him to read the symbols. Masonry is a picture of human life, real life as it was yesterday and as it is today, of man struggling between the fallacies of the senses and the infallibility of divinity, going down to the grave without seeing his life-work bloom in full fruition, then rising to immortality through the merits of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

 

Man's mortal existence is great subject, but Masonry deals with more than this, for it impregnates a part of each Degree with a little something which leads the mind of the thinker to something higher, to greater possibilities. One of the great lessons of the Fellowcraft's Degree is that a thorough, well-round education forces the thinker to recognize God; rationalistic in every sense, laying aside the Bible and teaching only the sciences and arts, yet leading to that important conclusion, and making this Degree the predicate for all that follows it in Masonry.

 

This profound system of thought, this marvelous cycle of symbolism, the beginning of which the Grand Lodge of Texas interprets in the York Rite, can be completed only in the York Rite. Unless a Mason proceeds further in the York Rite, he never sees the divine light which is promised him; he stumbles through life with a Substitute Word; he fails to recognize the priceless heritage for which he should work; he never learns of the greatest part that Masonry has play in history; he never knows the debt of gratitude which the world owes to our great Fraternity.

 

York Rite Masonry is a book of many chapters, each chapter dependent upon those preceding it; the actual life of man and his rewards are the golden threads which run through the entire story. The following lines are written with the hope that they may be assistance to members of our Fraternity in interpreting the Degrees to the young Masons, so that they may enter into the real spirit of the ceremonies, grasping their deeper meaning and enjoying the splendid lessons which they teach to the thinking Mason.

 

THE MARK MASTER'S DEGREE

 

The Mark Master's Degree is a part of the Fellowcraft's and is founded on the ancient custom of requiring each workman to place his mark upon his work. It teaches many lessons and is historical as well as philosophical. It teaches that the world demands substantial service which should measure up to certain standards, must pass the squares of certain authorities, and must bear our mark if we would take credit for it. This is a worldly lesson, yet there creeps into it the idea that the work of a Greater Artist may be accepted by most of us, whereas the supposed high authorities will reject it until it is redeemed by the highest authority. Think back on the Fellowcraft's Degree and study its prophecy on the work of this greater artist; if you do not know the Fellowcraft's Degree, you have no foundation for Masonry.

 

Although supposed to do so, a Mark Master may not record his mark in the lodge, but in daily life he has no option; it is recorded for him. The Book of Mark in the lodges is the Book of Life in the world; in one, his mark is what he says it is; in the other, it is what the people say it is; in the Book of Marks on high, it is probably exactly what he has made it by thoughts, words and actions. In the commercial world, the value of the trade mark is well understood. In humanity's clouded vision, where many a scar is mistaken for a stain, a man's reputation is his mark and it may be better or worse than he deserves. By his mark, the Mark Master shall be known and he should record it in the keystone which binds the arch, the stone which is the work of a greater artist, and it is surrounded by two circular lines, enclosing a mystic sentence, which is translated in plain English as follows: "The Master Builder of God's house reserves this space for me to register my pledge of faith."

 

This degree also teaches services and co-operation, and demonstrates that we can often assist a friend when we actually feel that we cannot; even the pass grip is a symbol of assistance and co-operation in getting up the steep places of life with the valuable qualities of character which go into our spiritual building. It also touches upon man's selfishness in claiming a greater reward than his fellow, overestimating the value of his own efforts and underestimating the other man's, but it shows that merit stands the test when referred to the wise and impartial judge.

 

A Mark Master is taught charity in the true sense of the word; charitable thinking is often more valuable than money. Common experience teaches us that men are prone to err and this Degree emphasizes that forgiveness, after suitable punishment, may enable a man to come again, regain what he has lost, perfect his life, and bring up good and square work. which is always acceptable.

 

THE PAST MASTER'S DEGREE

 

The Past Master's Degree is strictly a Blue Lodge Degree, and is frequently conferred upon the Master elect of a lodge in a convocation of Past Masters, none of whom are members of the chapter. From time immemorial, it has been the custom that none but those who had been elected to the East in a lodge, could be exalted to the Royal Arch Degree; this custom debarred thousands of deserving Master Masons from the chapter, or Capitular, Degrees. On this account the Past Master's Degree is conferred in the chapter and those who receive it become "virtual" Past Masters as distinguished from actual Past Masters.

 

After a Mason has heard the obligation and the ancient charges, rules and regulations, he gets an insight into lodge procedure which he has never had before; he learns the "whys and wherefores" of certain practices, such as either opening or closing the lodge in long form in order to give a part of the trial lecture; he also learns why Masters frequently make certain requirements that the written law does not demand. Correctly conferred, the Degree does much toward really qualifying a candidate to preside over a lodge, and is a wonderful assistance to one who has had no experience in presiding or parliamentary practice. Care should be taken to see that this instruction is given.

 

It also teaches lessons of a moral and symbolic nature. It demonstrates that there is a correct method of teaching, which will drive home a lesson after other methods have failed. School teachers should understand this principle, although they may not be Masons. It also teaches obedience to the law, something that a Master must recognize at all times, and it calls attention to the necessity for closely following set rules while striving to master a new vocation, science or art. A beginner in music, medicine or Masonry must give the strictest attention to certain rules and formulas if he would become a Master; having become a Master, he may vary from them, perhaps, but not as a beginner.

 

Masonry has a central theme which runs entirely through the York Rite, and the Past Master's Degree usually demonstrates that evil consequences may develop if we lose sight of a central thought. Some men possess splendid qualifications and are capable of excellent work, but they are in the clutches of some particular sin which prevents them from achieving success. "One thing thou lacketh," Jesus told the young ruler. The Past Master's Degree, like all other Degrees in the York Rite, deals with man in his actual life, and it teaches in a striking manner that a man may be well qualified in many particulars, and yet meet with failure because he overlooks or underestimates the importance of some one feature.

 

Whereas the Mark Master's Degree teaches that men have an individual responsibility although working in the masses, the Past Master's Degree brings out the thought that this responsibility increases in proportion to the power that is placed in one's hands, and that the truly great man, while occupying the highest place of power, bears this responsibility without forgetting for a moment that he is a brother to the lowliest. Although circumstances may lift a man to an exalted position, a haughty or arbitrary spirit is very unbecoming, since other circumstances may work his undoing and reduce him to the level of those about him.

 

THE MOST EXCELLENT MASTER'S DEGREE

 

The Most Excellent Master's Degree is still another picture of man in actual life, but it is founded on one of the high lights in history. As it is conferred in Texas, the candidate never gets anything out of it, because he does not comprehend it; he stands off to one side and watches the proceeding, but it is meaningless to him. If he takes time to study it after receiving it, he discovers that it is a congratulatory degree, a degree of rejoicing, thanksgiving and praise. The materialist, the strictest rationalist, can apply every feature of it to his own views, but into the Mason's mind again creeps that spiritual touch, a symbolic hint of something finer than clay, something beyond the finite. When we really understand this Degree we find that it has been conferred on us many times, and that we have helped confer it on others long before we received it in the lodge room. When the boy or girl masters the course in school and receives a diploma, it is the Most Excellent Master's Degree that is conferred upon them. In business, society or politics a man may plan his work, follow it to a successful termination and look back upon it with thanksgiving and praise to those who have helped him, and receive the Most Excellent Master's Degree. When a man marries the woman he loves he receives the degree, and when these two build their first home, how strikingly they confer it upon themselves; however humble that home may be, however dim the lights within, a fire churls down from heaven and illuminates the souls of these two who have set the capstone and finished the house.

 

THE ROYAL ARCH DEGREE

 

The most important Degree in Masonry, regardless of Rite, is called the Royal Arch, but in reality this name should be applied only to York Rite Masonry in its entirety, since it alone is the stupendous Royal Arch, the rainbow of hope set in the heavens, with one end resting upon Eden and the other on the crumbled ruins of the world.

 

Into the Royal Arch Degree is compressed more information, more food for thought, than any other degree, and its sheer greatness is shown by the variety of views of its votaries, each seeing it from his own angle, and its seriousness is impressed upon each in proportion to his natural ability and his knowledge of the Degree. Serious situations are not always so regarded by onlookers, whose ignorance of existing conditions prevents their appreciation of the seriousness; in one of the Great Nazarene's tense moments the rabble laughed. The Royal Arch Degree is still another picture of man in actual life--and the rabble still laughs.

 

One of the lessons of this Degree is that the greatest of rewards is due to loyal service, especially service which is rendered at a sacrifice, for that shows the heart of the man; vicarious suffering is worthy of the noblest rewards. No matter whether one's abilities be great or small, his service is valuable and his reward should be in proportion to his zeal and fidelity rather than according to the high or low plane in which the laborer toils. The reward given in this Degree should be studied from every angle by every Royal Arch Mason, and he should strive to master its full meaning; he can get a very clear and distinct idea of what Masonry really means to him by attempting to fix a value upon the Recovery; his whole idea of Masonry is involved in the value he places upon it.

 

The historical sides of this Degree should appeal to every candidate, whether he is able to follow its symbolism and philosophy or not, and he is invested with secrets, or traditions, of which he may be justly proud, since he finds a heritage worthy of any man, learning that he is the successor of men who did more than any other in preserving the very foundation stone on which our civilization rests, on which our nation must stand or fall, on which Masonry is founded and must stand throughout the ages.

 

In the life of every man there is a Babylonish captivity, but it is only the good man who hears the news of his release and hastens to offer his services in a noble and glorious undertaking without the hope of fee or reward; in the life of every man there is a long and weary journey on which he passes the ruins of other lives, the blighted hopes and shattered ambitions which stand out like stupendous rows of columns and obelisks, and from which he should derive a serious lesson; but the good Mason is justified in believing that he can pass the rough and dangerous places in that straight and narrow path, refreshing himself in an occasional oasis, finding time and opportunity to render thanks for his protection and deliverance, and finally reach the goal where, by the signet of eternal truth, he may pass the thin veil which hangs between the finite and the infinite.

 

The greatness of the Royal Arch Degree cannot be written nor can it all be told even behind tiled doors; perhaps its whole story can never be told; it touches not only those in the lodge room, city, state or nation, not only the world today, but it reaches back into the dim, distant past and likewise projects itself into the future until the universe shall be dissolved and time shall be no more.

 

THE COUNCIL DEGREES

 

With the possible exception of Ohio, the Grand Council, Royal and Select Masters of Texas is the largest Council Jurisdiction in the world. It controls three Degrees, but only two have ever been taught by the Committee on Work; these are the Royal Master's and the Select Master's.

 

After a Royal Arch Mason has devoted himself to thought on the Chapter Degrees, especially the last one, numerous questions present themselves to his mind, and he is unable to answer them; during the period in which he is pondering over these problems and trying so hard to solve them, he is "ripening" for the Council Degrees, for they explain the perplexing points of the Royal Arch Degree.

 

The Royal Master's Degree depicts a scene which took place before the events of the Master's Degree occurred, and the great artist of the Master Mason's Degree is the moving spirit of the Royal Master's Degree. On this account, the candidate wonders why the Council Degrees are conferred subsequent to the Chapter Degrees, but a little knowledge of the entire system will convince him that Texas confers the Council Degrees at the right place. If Masons were unwise enough to demand chronological sequence, the Council Degrees would necessarily be conferred before the Master Mason's Degree.

 

The Royal Master's Degree is a little gem and is perhaps the only Degree which makes the candidate wish they would turn right around and confer it on him again. It is in this Degree that the master builder delivers a discourse which is one of the most impressive and beautiful parts in all the ritualistic work of Masonry.

 

One passes the "circle of perfection" in the Select Master's Degree, which is one of great importance and relates a tradition that is always remembered by the candidates. When the important part of the Degree is reached the candidate is given a seat and the team proceeds to do the work. A person must see and hear it several times in order to grasp its full significance, but when it is understood the Select Master is in position to look back over the entire system of Ancient Craft Masonry and view the perfect whole.

 

THE COMMANDERY OF KNIGHTS TEMPLAR

 

There are no Degrees in the Commandery; they are called "Orders" and there are three of them, namely, the Order of the Red Cross, the Order of Malta, and the Order of the Temple. It is a useless waste of time to attempt to trace a lineal kinship between them and the knightly orders of the Crusades, but this could be done perhaps, if the Masonic historian were as credulous of medieval and modern history as he is of all things pertaining to King Tut. However, this is wholly unnecessary, because the Orders speak for themselves, and the Order of the Temple is the very capsheaf of Masonry.

 

Around the altar of the lodge the Gentile and Jew, the Hindu and Mohammedan, can fraternize in the Brotherhood of Man, acknowledging their dependence on the Most High and enjoying the blessed communion of "brethren who dwell together in unity." In the chapter and council the Jew and Gentile enjoy a closer relationship, since their philosophy and their theology have stood the test of time, and there is a harmony which must be experienced to be understood. But only the Christian can conscientiously pass the portals of the Commandery, because two of these Orders are founded on the deeds and customs of the knights of old, who were devout Christians, and since 1760 only Royal Arch Masons who were Christians have been eligible to knighthood

 

CHRISTIAN FREEMASONRY

 

The Order of the Temple is veritably the Christian's paradise for reflection, for here he can interpret Masonry conformably to his religious belief. Jesus Christ has no place in the lodge, chapter or council, and the Mason who tries to place Him there is a supreme egotist. If God, in His wisdom, saw fit to withhold the Christ from the world for four thousand years, it is not becoming in any Mason to deviate from the Divine Plan or attempt to improve upon it by forcing Jesus into Masonry until Masonry is prepared to receive Him. The lodge, chapter and council deal historically with events under the Mosaic dispensation, and not until the Mason has reached the Commandery is he symbolically entitled to the Christ. As men of old looked forward with longing eyes to the time when the Star should appear in the East, so should every earnest Christian Mason look forward to his entrance into the Commandery where he is entitled to a realization of his fondest hopes.

 

The Knight of the Order of the Temple, or Knights Templar, can look back upon the whole plan of Masonry with a clearer view; it seems to be a more vitalized and a more sacred system than ever before. He recalls the marvelous parallel of the Old Testament and the Fellowcraft's Degree, both a thousand years old when Jesus was born, the Old Book prophesying that there would come One upon the earth through whom all men must enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Fellowcraft's Degree telling us of a man, half Jew and half Gentile, a master builder, whose blood represented alike God's Chosen People and the Gentiles, who constructed the two large brazen pillars that were set up at the entrance porch and between which all men must pass into King Solomon's Temple, which was the symbol on earth of the heavenly temple. If the Christian's mind should be perplexed as to whom this man typifies, all doubt disappears when this master builder, this paragon of fidelity and integrity, falls without sin or blame and is borne almost in the direction of Calvary, and is raised from the tomb by him who symbolizes on earth the Great King on His heavenly throne.

 

When the devout Christian, who is likewise a zealous Mason and Knight Templar, looks back upon Masonry in a contemplative mood, he seems to see the footprints of the Creator in every avenue; the Divine hand seems to have fashioned each setting; he beholds each scene illuminated by a new light; each Degree has a new and deeper meaning. The Christian Mason closes his York Rite career with the Order of the Temple, a ceremony so solemn, so beautiful and impressive, so tender in allusion, so sublime in thought, that he never forgets it, never regrets, but enjoys it more and more as he advances in learning and experience; then, after a few years of earnest thought and patient study, he must guard against over-zealousness, or his reflections will bring him perilously near the conclusion that Masonry is a divine science.

 

CHAPTER STUDY CLUBS

 

For the past few years such a tremendous amount of Degree work has been required of the chapters that there has been but little, if any, time for most of the active workers to devote themselves to a study of the philosophy and symbolism of the Degrees. This has proven unfortunate, and it is high time that we get back to study. We should not only know what the Degrees mean, but we should teach the newly-made Companions.

 

We now have a vast army of recruits who have never been trained. In military circles such, as an army, would be considered valuable only because of its possibilities; it requires months of hard training to qualify a recruit as a soldier, and it also requires hard training to make real Masons out of young and untrained members.

 

There is hardly a chapter which would not profit very much by organizing a Study Club for the purpose of sounding Capitular Masonry to a profound depth, and High Priests will also find it advantageous to have a talk by some well-posted Companion each time the Royal Arch Degree is conferred. Every intelligent candidate will appreciate any effort which is made to give him more light on the work he has just taken and help him to understand its true significance.

 

----o----

 

Great Men Who Were Masons

 

Jabez Bowen

 

By BRO.GEORGE W. BAIRD, P. G. M., District of Columbia

 

JABEZ BOWEN was one of the early members of St. John's Lodge at Providence which was organized in 1757. The date of his initiation is not known but he is said to have been made a Mason some months before the full age of twenty-one. In 1762 he was Junior Warden of his lodge, and again from 1766 to 1769, when for some reason the lodge became dormant for nine years. In 1778 the Grand Master of Massachusetts, John Rowe, authorized him to revive the lodge and to act as its Master. At the end of the following year he was re-elected and continued in this office by his lodge for a period of thirteen years, to 1791. Under his guidance the lodge seems to have flourished, and a new impetus given to Freemasonry in Providence. In 1791 the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island was formed and he was elected as the first Deputy Grand Master. This office he held until 1794 when he was elected Grand Master and was re-elected for six years in succession to this exalted office.

 

He was born in Providence June 2, 1739, his father being Ephraim Bowen and his mother Mary Penner, both descended from the best Puritan stock. He was educated in his native town and at Yale University. After graduating in 1757 he returned home and began the practice of law. His superior attainments and sterling qualities won him many friends and naturally resulted in his entrance into public affairs. In 1773 he was elected a member of the Town Council, then a much greater honor than it would be considered today, and in 1777 he was returned as a representative in the General Assembly, and a year later was chosen deputy governor to succeed the Hon. William Bradford. He was also appointed a judge of the Superior Court. the equivalent of the Supreme Court today. In 1786 he was chosen by the Legislature as a commissioner to represent Rhode Island in the Convention of States proposed to be held at Annapolis, and was a delegate to the convention at which the Constitution of the United States was adopted, and was very active in securing the support of Rhode Island in its favor. During Washington's administration he was Commissioner of Loans for his own state, a position of trust but not of emolument.

 

Among other activities in the public welfare he served as President of the Bible Society of Rhode Island, he was a member of a committee to take charge of the public schools, the first appointed by the town. He also took a great interest in Rhode Island College, now Brown University, an institution that has had so much influence in the development of the state. He was a member of the Board of Fellows in 1768, after which he became a Trustee and in 1785 was elected Chancellor, which office he held until his death.

 

The college conferred on him, in 1769, the degree of L.L.D., honoris causa, and in 1800 Dartmouth honored him in the same way.

 

He was a sincere and devout member of the First Congregational Church, and his earnestness in urging that the Bible was the rule and guide of our faith will endear him to the heart of all good Masons.

 

He married Sarah, daughter of Obadiah Brown Providence, who bore him seven sons and a daughter. After her death he married a second time, the daughter of Judge Leonard, of Raynham, Mass.

 

Governor Bowen had the reputation of being a man of remarkably even temper; he apparently let nothing disturb him, his mood was ever the same. In his old age he was as eager to learn as in his youth. He was a public spirited citizen as his record proves. He exercised a great and wholesome influence in the community because of his integrity, capacity and unselfish interest in the general welfare. The same qualities enabled him to contribute largely to the revival of the Masonic Order in Providence and the state generally. His interest in Masonry never flagged and to the last he was one of the most faithful and regular attendants at the meetings of his lodge. He was at good father and had the great happiness to see his children follow in his steps. He died May 7, 1815, full of years and honors, and was buried with Masonic rites in the burying ground of the First Congregational Church of which he had been for so long a member. A simple stone was placed over his grave, but it is now so weather worn that the inscription can with difficulty be read. True he was one of those of whom it can truthfully be said that his memorial should be in the hearts of his brethren, yet surely, for the honor of the Craft, a more fitting monument should be erected lest they forget.

 

----o----

 

ONE

 

Howe'er I view this thought of God,

A star, a babe, a tree, a clod

I know that in it all there lies

His Thought and Breath that never dies.

 

Nay, know we not there is no death

For all the Atoms of His Breath?

Can o'er to nothingness depart

The very stream from God's own heart?

 

God is! For see we not His face

In every form, in every place?

In every smiling summer tree?

In every calm or raging sea?

 

In every sun in every sky,

In every bright gleam in the eye;

In every sense and thought we know

In His own Life our highways go.

 

In all our actions and repose

In every dewdrop on the rose;

Infinite Space and Endless Time -

It all is God - The One - Sublime

 

- Gerald Nancarrow

 

----o----

 

Joseph Robbins' Famous Masonic Oration

 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR

 

It is a good thing for us to celebrate famous men not alone because of the inspiration gained from their personal achievements but in order that we of today may sit at the feet of the masters of yesterday, the better to learn wisdom. From few of the great and wise teachers of Masonry now gone to the Grand Lodge above would one learn more than from Bro. Joseph Robbins, whose almost epoch making oration is printed below.

 

Joseph Robbins was born in the good town of Leominster, Mass., Sept. 12, 1834, of the best of stock, his granduncle having fallen in the Battle of Bunker Hill, his grandfather having served through the Revolutionary War, and his mother having been a descendant of the first president of Harvard College, all of which means that sound red blood coursed in his veins, a fact not belied by his own militant career. Little is known of his early education except that it was both broad and deep, so that at the comparatively early age of twenty-seven he was able to graduate from Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia. Upon his graduation he set himself up in practice in Quincy, Ill., where in the course of time he became a kind of institution, with a notable practice. He was too charitable to make much money, but he made a host of friends, and had countless admirers among his own profession. In his late years he abandoned general practice altogether to become a consulting specialist. After his honorable and arduous career he fell into everlasting rest at Quincy, July 19, 1909.

 

Dr. Robbins was made a member of the Craft by Quincy Lodge, No. 296, on December 16, 1859. Of this lodge he was W.M. during the period 1863-1869 inclusive, and then again in 1880. From his first visit to Grand Lodge in 1863 until and including 1908 he did not miss a session except for the year 1864. In addition to numberless other offices and honors of Grand Lodge he was Grand Master for 1876 and 1877.

 

The beginning of this Grand Lodge career was anything but auspicious. Thereby hangs a tale, the substance of which as here given has been borrowed from Bro. Owen Scott's little book The Standard Work of Illinois. It appears that in 1844 Bro. Levi Lusk, then Grand Lecturer, reported to Grand Lodge that pursuant to a resolution adopted by that body in the preceding year he had visited with Bros. Carnega and Foster at St. Louis, both of whom had been delegates from the Grand Lodge of Missouri at the Baltimore Convention, and from them had obtained the lectures as these had been adopted by that convention. Upon this, Bro. Lusk was asked to exemplify the work of the Third Degree that night; presumably this was done, for Grand Lodge at the same session voted to adopt his report and to use the Ritual as recommended by him as the Standard Work for Illinois.

 

 Unfortunately no adequate machinery was devised, except for the appointment of Lecturers and Inspectors, to set up this new standard in the constituent lodges, so that for a period of twenty years or so "the conferring of degrees [I am quoting Bro. Scott] produced as great a variety as the hues of the rainbow."

 

Then came a new actor into the scenery. Bro. Robert Morris of Kentucky had organized what he called the "Conservator's Association," a secret society, the purpose of which was to propagate among all Grand Lodges the Webb-Preston Ritual, as it was called. This society succeeded in winning over Quincy Lodge, of which Dr. Robbins was a member, and later W.M. When Quincy Lodge stubbornly adhered to the Webb-Preston work, defying the edict of Grand Lodge to the contrary, G.M. Thomas J. Turner reported to Grand Lodge in 1865 of this "contumacy" and recommended that Bro. "Joseph Robbins, W.M. of Quincy Lodge, No. 296, be suspended from all the rights and benefits of Freemasonry for the period of twelve months for contumacy and disobedience of the resolution of the Grand Lodge and the lawful edict of the Grand Master." Later in the day Bro. Robbins appeared before Grand Lodge and "made suitable explanations and acknowledgments," and the matter was dropped.

 

Evidently this bit of disciplining had little effect on the young W.M's popularity with his brethren at Grand Lodge for after three years he was elected Grand Orator, and as such delivered, in 1869, an oration, herewith published, described by Bro. Scott as "the greatest exposition of the aims and purposes of Masonry ever presented in the Grand Lodge."

 

In this same year Bro. Robbins began his duties as Fraternal Correspondent, in which office he shone with an ever growing lustre until at the end of his career his name was known from one end of the country to the other. He contributed reports in 1869, 1871 to 1875, 1879, 1880, and then from 1888 to 1903 inclusive, making thirty reports in all.

 

My, how the man could write! His sentences are as lithe as an athlete's muscles, with never a waste word, or ornamental phrase, or idle trope, bound together into paragraphs as succinct as were ever printed. In and out of them play summer lightnings of wit and sarcasm, and at times a faint shimmer of poetry. Neither Parvin nor Drummond was a harder hitter; and as for comprehension of Freemasonry as a whole, and knowledge of its facts, Robbins had not a superior.

 

These high qualities were recognized by Grand Lodge when in 1916 it directed Bros. Owen Scott, Alexander H. Bell and George A. Stadler to prepare a memorial volume In Appreciation of the Character and Services of Joseph Robbins. In this cloth bound book of 163 pages one will find a collection of excerpts from his reports in which are faithfully mirrored his genius and character. The oration immediately following has been taken by permission from that volume.

 

 ONE year ago tonight, when the last moments of the session were waning, and the hand on yonder dial had almost reached the hour of low twelve, some of us heard the beautiful address of the Grand Orator. All who were then present will understand why I approach my duty with diffidence, and hesitate to break in upon the murmuring echoes of that rippling river of silver speech, the spell of whose eloquence yet rests upon us like a benediction of peace.

 

It is no light thing to follow such a man and, in doing so, only your commands can acquit me of presumption. I ask your indulgence, then, while we consider the force that has sent us up hither from every part of this great state. What is this Institution whose interests today engross our attention ? Whence comes it, and why does it exist?

 

What is the peculiar nature of this paradox of all time which, though wholly a voluntary association, can preserve its unity when families are divided, when churches are rent asunder, and even states go whirling out of their accustomed orbits ? This Institution which, though almost autocratic in its government, yet finds a common level whereon all, from the least to the greatest, stand as equals? This Institution which, though it embraces enough to satisfy the highest mental culture, yet adapts itself with equal facility to those who might almost be termed illiterate? This Institution which, though it comes down to us venerable with the weight of uncounted years, stands today with its frontlet unmarked by the furrows of time, the dews of eternal youth glittering on its brow?

 

There must be some intrinsic reason for this wonderful vitality which has preserved it intact, and substantially unchanged, through so many centuries, enabling it to withstand alike the disintegrating influences of time; the prejudices of the ignorant; the anathemas and persecutions of the Romish Church, and the wiles of king-craft and state-craft vainly seeking to use it for selfish ends.

 

There must be some wonderful adaptability in an Institution that can command alike the allegiance of the highest culture, and the mind whose outlet goes no further than the daily routine of a life of toil. In this, Masonry is like music. They are twin daughters of that harmony which we are wont to claim as the strength and support of our Society. Doubtless he who understands the whole science of music may find in it a keener esthetic enjoyment than the uneducated; but he who knows not a note may have his soul lifted to the skies on the wings of its melody, and filled to the measure of its capacity with its harmony.

 

WHAT MASONRY IS NOT

 

In attempting to inquire what Masonry is let us first see what it is not. In the first place, Masonry is not a church nor, primarily, a religious organization. It is only so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under obligations to pay a rational homage to the Deity. It knows nothing of sectarian lines, requiring only of its initiates a recognition of the one everliving God--the Creator and Governor of the Universe.

 

As it knows no sect, so it knows no party, enjoining only on its members the duties of loyalty to their country, obedience to the civil magistrates, and a cheerful submission to the government under which they live. It is not a moral reform association. Not that it neglects the duty of reforming its own members, but it does not exist for the purpose of taking up the outcasts of society and attempting to reform. On the contrary, it requires that the candidates for its privileges shall be men of honor, integrity, and of good report.

 

But do not these things--the relation of the individual to God, the state, and to his fellows-include everything for which institutions need exist among men ? And if Masonry is not a church, a political organization, nor primarily engaged in the work of reform, why should it exist?

 

All institutions spring up to meet some real or fancied human need, and exist to conserve some truth, to give it expression and make it a vital force. If the truth, of which they are the outgrowth, be a central--a fundamental--one then have they within themselves the elements of perpetuity; but if it be fragmentary, then have they equally within themselves the germs of dissolution, and are smitten, even in their first inception, with the effacing fingers of decay.

 

The highway that leads down to the present out of the misty past is strewn with the crumbling debris of institutions founded by men who caught at a fragment of truth and vainly supposed they possessed the key that would unlock the system of the universe.

 

Out of the great central truth that God is, has grown, as an expression of man's reverential adoration, the institution of the church; and so long as there exists finite beings to adore an Infinite God, so long will the church--using the word in its larger sense-endure.

 

But men have often confounded their theological opinions with the essential verities of religion; and have projected institutions for the conservation of their particular dogmas. Founded in no essential truths, their wrecks lie stranded all along the shores of time.

 

From the necessity of public peace and individual security, has grown the institution of civil government; and so long as a man is an imperfect being, governments must exist. But peculiar governmental forms and political institutions have grown up, whose founders either lost sight of, or made secondary to their own selfish interests, the great essential purpose of all just government--the security of the individual and the common good--and these have either quietly disappeared through their inherent tendency to decay, or they crumble and go down, as in our own day, in the blood and flame of a Gettysburg or Sadowa.

 

So of the home, an institution comprehending all that we hold most dear. Being the natural outgrowth of that affection which binds together kindred or congenial souls, it must continue while love endures.

 

But, catching at the fragmentary truth which we recognize in the mutual inter-dependence of all man kind, and overlooking the greater truth that the impulse of love is stronger than any merely economical consideration, men have attempted to erect socialism into a permanent institution. The attempt failed, not because it was founded wholly in error, for the system contained some elements of success, and these are being utilized and preserved in the co-operative associations of the present day. It failed because its truth was but fragmentary, and because its plan ignored the isolated home, founded on the sanctity of the family relation and that love which will tolerate no profanation of its holy of holies.

 

MINISTERS TO WANTS OF MEN

 

If, then, no institution can achieve a permanent existence unless it be an outgrowth of some central truth, and minister to some real want of humanity, the very permanence of Masonry, the fact that it has so long maintained its hold on human hearts, is sufficient evidence that it somehow ministers to the wants and aspirations of men.

 

Rejecting as fanciful the speculations of those who profess to trace Masonry back to the days of Enoch, we may yet say, with safety, that it is among the most ancient of human institutions; not, perhaps, precisely in its present form, but in forms so nearly allied as to leave little doubt of their identity. Whence this wonderful vitality ? The answer, already partly indicated, is that Masonry is founded on essential truths, whence naturally flow the great moral lessons it inculcates, and that it recognizes and responds to that yearning desire for human sympathy which is implanted in every human heart.

 

The great central truth--the alpha of Masonry--is that God lives and governs the world, at once the Supreme Architect and Universal Father; that all mankind are His children, the objects of His love, and entitled to our consideration as members of the same great family. What wonder, then, that in the long weary centuries through which man has struggled on towards the goal of a common equality, an Institution of which this is the central idea, should command the devotion of those who saw, even dimly, the logical sequence of this grand conception of the brotherhood of mankind. No human institution inculcates this truth with such force as Masonry. It views man separated from his accidents. It looks through the trappings of wealth; the insignia of rank; the humble garb of honest poverty, and sees alike beneath them all--the MAN. Within its charmed circles all are equal. Whether coming from the hovel of the peasant or the palace of the prince; at its portals they leave all worldly distinctions, and meet on the level of its checkered floor, brothers and equals by virtue of their manhood. The humblest and the proudest must travel the same paths to attain Masonic knowledge; are bound to the same fraternity and to each other by the same sacred ties; their equal covenants are made in the presence of the same Almighty Father. To you, my brethren, these statements are but truisms. But if the uninitiated would ponder them with a sincere desire to discover the springs of that power by which Masonry holds the life-long allegiance of so many men, they would go far in assisting him to a just conclusion. From this perfect equality of all Masons he will see how we naturally deduce those duties which we owe to our fellowmen; all summed up in the injunction-"Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you."

 

CHARITY TOPMOST ROUND OF LADDER

 

As naturally as the stream from the fountain, from this great central truth of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, flows the chief of Masonic virtues. Charity or brother love, the topmost round of that emblematic ladder which reaches from earth to heaven. This virtue Masonry inculcates at every step. It is this which should lead us to seek a brother's welfare and hold his reputation equally with our own; to he ready to go out of our way to succor him if he in need; to stretch forth our hands to support him if he be falling; to keep sacred in our own breasts the confidences which he give us, only because we are his brothers by this mystic tie, and to whisper tenderly in his ear alone that counsel which his errors and the purpose of his reformation may require. It is the assurance of the recognition of this virtue and the duties that grow out of it among Masons that hallows in their hearts the memory of the brother who dies among them a stranger, and whom they see perchance for the first time as they gather about his newly-made grave. It is this, too, that casts a halo of sanctity about his widow and orphans, and makes their future care the legacy of his survivors.

 

As the greater includes the less, so this broad charity includes the lesser of alms-giving. Thus Masonry teaches the claims of every human being on our sympathies; and if it recognizes as its first duty to minister to the wants of those who are of the household of the faithful, it does no more than is done by every association and institution under the sun. But the objection sometimes urged that Masonic charity is exclusive is true only in the technical and narrow sense that its revenues are usually applied to Masonic uses within the Fraternity. But millions outside its pale may bless the Order whose subtle sympathies have first roused the slumbering benevolence of the heart, made it sensitive to the cry of distress, and quick to respond, come from what quarter it may. Even those whose hearts have been quickened by the glow of its altar fires can never compute the beneficent influence of Masonry in this direction; still less can they who have never drawn from its fountain of inspiration.

 

If Masonry is an organized recognition of human brotherhood so, too, it is an organized expression of man's trust in his fellow man. So indispensable is a strict regard for that divine attribute, Truth, that without it Masonry would be but a form without vitality enough to preserve it from putrefaction. So carefully is it calculated, and so universally accepted, that when two strangers meet and find each other to be Masons each instinctively relies on the other's word, because each has learned to trust to the influence of Masonry on the life of his fellows. Moreover, each brings to the other the recommendation that some lodge has, by admitting him to membership, unanimously endorsed him as a man of honor and veracity. The fundamental idea of human brotherhood, and its necessary corollaries--Equality, Brotherly Love and Truth-constituting as they do the very essence of Masonic ethics, we can partially discern what it is that gives the Institution its vitality, and comprehend its hold on the affectionate devotion of so many of the good and great whose names adorn the pages of its history. But beyond all this--permeating Masonry as the sunlight permeates the air we breathe --is an element of wonderful power, its mysticism.

 

The incorporation of this element into its body is a practical recognition of a metaphysical fact of which all, perhaps, are conscious, but which few feel in its full force, THAT A SECRET HELD BETWEEN TWO OR MORE PERSONS IS A BOND OF SYMPATHY BETWEEN THEM. It brings them nearer together by giving them a point of common interest; and this aim is apparent in the whole plan of Masonry. It seeks attractions and not repulsions. It seeks and secures unity and harmony by carefully eliminating all causes of diversity and discord. Not that it asks men to yield their convictions, but only that they shall not attempt to divert the Order from its legitimate purposes and make it an engine of propagandism.

 

SECRET SOCIETY A MISNOMER

 

To you who have felt the power of this mysticism, there can be no better illustration of the potency of an idea than this: that while it is the custom to speak of Masonry as a secret society, yet so narrow is the thread of secrecy that runs through it, and so wide the margin of its definitely declared and published aims, that it is almost a misnomer.

 

Whosoever turns to its law and its literature may gain a correct and very full knowledge of its nature and design. Its principles are as plain as the noonday sun. Its charities are not paraded before the world, for it is too tender of the feelings of the recipients of its bounty to add another to the stings of that necessity which impels them to ask it. Nor does it give to be seen of men, but clings to the injunction of its own great light, the Bible: "When thou givest alms, give them in secret; let not thy left hand know what thy right doeth." It seeks not the meretricious popularity which follows in the wake of trumpeted charities, lest it should attract to its fold a class of mercenary persons whose affiliation would prove a source of weakness. But that which can really be called the secrecy of Masonry, lies only in its ritual and ceremonial, the true APPORETA which constitute that universal language spoken among people of every tongue and kindred, and by which a brother may recognize another anywhere under the wide arch of heaven. As at the Temple of Jerusalem, whither all the people went up to worship, though they were all possessed of the law and the testimony, yet the High Priest alone was permitted to enter the Sanctum Sanctorum, where dwelt the Shekinah--the symbol of the living Presence. So Masonry has its holy place and its mysteries too sacred save for its own anointed.

 

The subtle, indefinable influence, the quick, apprehensive sympathy, engendered by the possession of a common secret held sacred and inviolable, can never be fully comprehended by those who have not themselves felt its mystic power.

 

It quickens the impulses of charity; sharpens the sense of integrity; softens the asperities of political warfare; tones down the dogmatic acrimony of theological discussion; mitigates the horrors of war; and prompts to deeds of truest chivalry--of generous self-sacrifice.

 

THE SELF-SACRIFICING SPIRIT

 

Many a tombstone standing where pestilence has blazed its desolating way through crowded cities is but a monumental record of the self-sacrificing spirit, thus developed.

 

A striking illustration of its influence came under my own observation a few years since.

 

In a rural district, where the very name of the disease is terror, a Mason fell sick with smallpox. He was deserted by all save one young man, bound to him only by the Masonic tie, who watched over him while living, and alone cast the evergreen into his early grave. A few days later this young man came to the city suffering with the initial fever of the disease, and asked me to take him to the pesthouse, to remain until the danger of infecting his friends was past. In answer to my questions he told me how he had contracted the disease, remarking that the man was a Mason and he "couldn't see him lie there and suffer without care." He made no ado about it, and seemed unconscious that he had performed an act of selfsacrificing devotion requiring the highest type of courage.

 

This young man's surroundings, the atmosphere of his daily life, had not been of an elevating character. More than likely he neglected the "mint, anise, and cummin" of the law, and might have been termed a reprobate by those who adhere rather to the letter which killeth, than to the spirit which giveth life; but this compelling power of Masonry had taken root in his heart and blossomed into deeds redolent of the sweet odors of charity and blessed in the sight of Heaven. The influence of this spirit--I might almost say this INSTINCT of brotherhood--in mitigating the horrors of war is attested by many well-known instances, and many more are known only to those who were parties to them. It snatched Putnam from the torturing hands of his captors in the old French War. It more than once unnerved the arm of Butler when, with Brant and his savage followers, he swept with fire and sword the lovely valley of the Wyoming.

 

In the last great struggle for national existence it ministered to the necessities of our brave defenders who languished in southern prisons, snatching them from their living death, or failing in that, smoothing the pathway that led down into the dark valley of the shadow, for many a brother who offered

 

"The last libation that liberty draws, From the hearts that bleed and break in her cause."

 

It was this spirit which sent the heroic Kane on his crusade against the elements, far up in the regions of eternal ice, in a vain attempt to rescue his brother, Sir John Franklin; a forlorn hope, whose sad record shines on the page of history with a brilliancy which pales the very Aurora whose dancing rays beckoned him to this crowning chivalry of the century.

 

UNITES INTO A COMMON MANHOOD

 

It is this spirit which makes it possible to overcome the antipathies engendered by national, partisan, and sectarian jealousies, and bring men of every country, sect and opinion into one common fold. Without it, not even Masonry, which alone of all human institutions has been able to compass so grand a result, could bring men of the most diverse religious and political opinions into harmonious fellowship on the simple basis of a common manhood.

 

Whatever lies wholly, or even largely, within the domain of the feelings is difficult to analyze and understand; and so it happens that we are only able to apprehend, dimly, perhaps, the potency of this element of mysticism in developing that instinctive sympathy of brotherhood, that love which is the keystone of the Masonic arch; but if we grasp the idea with sufficient clearness to comprehend, even partially, its vivifying power, we can see how it would vitalize an Institution growing out of the ideas I have enumerated; deepen in the hearts of its votaries that reverence for God, order and law which its traditions inculcate; quicken and make real, impelling forces, springing up into active life, what would otherwise exist only as passive sentiments in the heart--the doctrine of the equality of all God's children; that all embracing charity which is its logical sequence, and that recognition of the sacredness of truth, without which there can be no confidence among men. These great principles are the warrant which Masonry offers for its existence, while its mysticism is the flux by whose aid its diverse elements are fused into one harmonious whole.

 

We can now see more plainly what it is that knits its members together as with hooks of steel, and holds them in willing allegiance to their common mother. We can see what sustained them through the dark days of the anti-Masonic crusade; that anomalous outburst of unreasoning bigotry which disgraced this free country during the present century, a persecution which lacked not the spirit but only the power that lighted the fires of Orleans, Smithfield and Madrid.

 

LANDMARKS SUPREME LAW

 

Another point not to be overlooked in our estimate of what tends to the perpetuity of Masonry is this: that these cardinal principles, together with its governmental and ritualistic forms, are unchangeable. They constitute the LANDMARKS, to which naught can be added, and from which nothing can be taken away. Unalterable as the laws of the Medes and Persians, they have determined the form and development of the Institution; given it stability through centuries of existence, and made it a gigantic moral lever, whose elevating and beneficent influence has been felt wherever civilization has given it a fulcrum.

 

Though the government of the Craft is vested in the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge, which is the representative body of the Fraternity, yet above all and beyond the power of the Grand Master, Grand Lodge, or the whole body of the Craft to change, stand the landmarks--the supreme law. Against these the tide of passion and prejudice may beat in vain. True, its flood has sometimes obscured them with its blinding spray, but its ebb has again revealed them, standing out clearer, for the storm that has washed from their hieroglyphics, the moss-grown coverings of error, and swept from their firm-set bases the burying sands of time.

 

Freed from the perturbations which must inevitably result from any fluctuation in its organic law, the Institution goes on from age to age, substantially the same today as when, already crowned with the benedictions of the widows and orphans of buried centuries, it emerged from the dark womb of the dim, traditional past into the clearer light of the age of written history.

 

MOST POTENT SOCIAL FORCE

 

Today it is felt as one of the most potent of the social forces; bringing millions within the scope of its humanizing influence, teaching them reverence for God, trust in their fellow men, and that most difficult of all problems--the subjection of the passions and the government of self. No one who knows, or who will take care to inform himself what Masonry is and what it teaches, can for a moment doubt its beneficent influence on its own members, or on the community in which it flourishes. Like a tree by the wayside, it yields its blessings, not alone to those who have planted and cared for it, but society, like the wayfaring man, plucks from its wide-spreading branches the fruits of peace and law, order and good government.

 

 To our care, my brothers, this Institution--founded in the broadest liberality, yet conservative in the best sense of that abused word-is committed in this generation, and it is our duty to see that it suffers no detriment at our hands. The puny efforts of narrow minded men outside the Fraternity can avail nothing against it; and so long as Masons themselves are loyal to its landmarks, true to its teachings, and faithful to the light they have received, it will continue to exist, an aid and solace to men in ages yet to come. So long it will continue to teach the worth of individual manhood; to reprove selfishness; encourage charity; promote peace, and vindicate its fitness to elevate and bless mankind.

 

DON'T HELP

 

"If your club is on the bum,

Blame the secretary;

If your members will not come.

Blame the secretary;

Don't take hold and do your part,

Don't help give the thing a start,

Show 'em all that you are smart-

Blame the secretary.

 

"If the programs are a frost,

Blame the secretary;

Don't help put the thing across,

Blame the secretary;

If the grub's not what you like,

Threaten to go on a strike;

Don't help, for the love of Mike-

Blame the secretary.

 

"When you get a bill for dues,

Blame the secretary;

When you're asked to help, refuse;

Blame the secretary;

Let her do it--she gets paid-

Why should she be seeking aid?

That is why her job is made-

Blame the secretary."

 

----o----

 

EDITORIAL.

 

BOARD OF EDITORS

Editor‑in‑Chief - H.L. HAYWOOD

 

ASSOCIATE EDITORS

 

LOUIS BLOCK, Iowa

ROBERT L. CLEGG, Ohio

GILBERT W. DAYNES, England

RAY V. DENSLOW, Missouri

GEORGE H. DERN, Utah

N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada

C. C. HUNT, Iowa

CHARLES F. IRWIN. Ohio

A.L. KRESS, Pennsylvania

R. J. MEEKREN, Canada

JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California

JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, New York

ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York

JESSE M. WHITED, California

DAVID E. W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada

 

PRESENT DAY GILD MASONRY

 

THE article by Bro. Springett, the first half of which we are able to present to our readers in the present issue, is of great value in itself as a contribution to the subject, and will be of especial interest to those Masons in this country who have been intrigued by the claims that the Operative Masonry from which our institution derives has continued to exist down to the present day in its original form; still fulfilling the functions of a mediaeval craft gild.

 

So far THE BUILDER has kept an open mind on the subject. A number of brethren whose opinion carries weight have been ardent advocates of the claims of the present day Operatives. On the other hand brethren whose reputation for scholarship is very high point out that no actual evidence has been put forward to substantiate these claims. Such evidence, in the shape of records and minutes is said to exist, and in overwhelming amount, but there is some scruple about making it public - or even submitting it to selected Masonic students for their appraisal.

 

Were there certainly any truth in the Operative's account of the beginnings of Speculative Freemasonry, that it was irregular or clandestine, we could understand that they might still traditionally hold to an attitude of non-intercourse, but it seems on the face of it a peculiar and almost inexplicable attitude to be willing to communicate the ritual secrets to Speculative Freemasons, but to refuse to show minutes and records, which presumably are concerned solely with purely business matters about which could be no especial secrecy. The early minutes of the Grand Lodge of England have been published, and those of many subordinate lodges, and are open to the world, and though recent minutes may very naturally be kept as private matters there could hardly be any real reason for making a mystery of those of a hundred years ago. The position seems topsy-turvy, and the net result has been to make those best qualified to judge very doubtful as to the reality of these claims. That our readers may hear both sides we are hoping to publish an article in the near future in which the subject will be discussed from the critical point of view.

 

* * *

 

WHY HISTORY?

 

MANY a worthy brother thinks, and not a few express the thought, sometimes in very forcible language, that there is altogether too much time and space devoted to Masonic history. "Why all this antique, out-of-date stuff?” say they, “What we want to know is what does Masonry mean to men today? What is Masonry going to be tomorrow?"

 

Doubtless there is truth and justice on their side. There is a small percentage of people who are interested in what is old because it is old. Another fraction of the race are interested in old things because they love to solve problems and puzzles, and of all problems those of history are the most puzzling to solve, and become in general the more difficult the further back in the past they go. But we can neglect this minority; the ordinary citizen, who is also the ordinary good sort of Mason, the bulwark and foundation of the ordinary lodge, cares for none of these things. He is interested in the problems of the day, and how his action now may affect the future, and so to him the historical has no appeal.

 

Perhaps the fault lies not so much with history in itself, but in the historian. It is only too true that those most gifted in digging out the facts from the records of the past are also too seldom careful to attempt to set them out in such a way as may hold the interest of those living in the present. It is perhaps possible that the only way to make history generally interesting is to write it with an eye on the present day. Macauley wrote a history of England that in its day was read almost as a "best-seller" novel - he wrote it with a strong partizan bias which gave it a "punch" for his readers. To take another example nearer home, Bro. Newton's The Builders has been read by hundreds, probably thousands of Masons who scarcely realized they were reading history, for the style and manner of presentation beguiled them, and the story of the past was shown to be connected directly with the problems of the present.

 

When we stop to think about it we are all necessarily interested in history, if not "ancient" history - but not because it deals with things past but because it is relevant to our purpose, because it has a bearing on our present needs. For instance, an employer is interested in knowing something of the history of an applicant for a position, but he probably is not interested in the history of the applicant's father or great-grandmother - yet if he were to learn that for several generations there had been insanity or epilepsy in the family, or that the majority of its members had been shiftless, dissolute and dishonest, then such "ancient" history would interest him very much, and might very materially affect his present decision.

 

In the case of a society or a nation we must go back much further into the past than in that of an individual if we are to understand the present. For an example if we know the history of Germany we can understand how she broke out in the Great War. To most people in other countries there was something inexplicable, something unnatural about it; but really it was very human, and in a sense inevitable. In the same way if an immigrant to this country is to be Americanized, he must be taught something of the history of the United States, he must learn something of the Constitution. But to fully understand the American Constitution it is necessary to go back still further in the centuries and learn something of the development of government and the age-long fight for individual liberty among the so-called nordic races and especially the Anglo-Saxon people.

 

Exactly the same thing is true of Freemasonry. It is a living institution, having its roots in the past, having its problems of today, that will affect its future. If those charged with rulership are ignorant of the past they may act to its serious detriment - and as Masonry is essentially democratic every Master Mason in part shares in the control of the destinies of the Order. For example, the question arises as to who is to be admitted to the Order, and it is decided by a reference to the oldest records of the Craft. What are the prerogatives of the Master of a lodge? Again a matter of history. Can a Grand Lodge take any of them away? Still again it must be decided by reference to our history. There are a thousand things that might be done to adapt Masonry to our own needs or desires - we might put Abraham Lincoln as a substitute for Hiram the widow's son, or George Washington as the builder of his country in place of King Solomon - and it might serve the purpose - but it would no longer be Freemasonry. Out of all possible paths that may be taken we have to choose those few which do not involve cutting ourselves off from the past - our past  - which do not lead to making our fraternity something organically different from what it has always been.

 

There is doubtless little need of such argument for the majority of the readers of THE BUILDER. They would not have joined the National Masonic Research Society had they not already seen the importance of such studies, but it may help to make clear how necessary it is, in view of the vital connection of the history of Masonry with its present day requirements, that there should be some forum where these questions can be discussed dispassionately, with the sole idea of arriving at the truth of the matter, unbiased by the desire to oppose some specific legislation or to advocate some course of action that may appear very desirable as a solution of the problems of the day, but which may also involve all kinds of unforeseen consequences as well.

 

* * *

 

THE QUESTION OF REFRESHMENT

 

A QUOTATION from an address by the Grand Master of Manitoba, Canada, has been brought to our notice which in part we reproduce here:

 

"Should not the same caution be used in tyling the door of the banquet room as is used in tyling the door of the lodge?

 

. . . To me the refreshment hour is as much a part of the lodge meeting as the ceremonies of the lodge room. Its standard of excellence should be as high as that in the lodge room, its atmosphere should be refining and the tenor of all addresses and entertainments should be educational.

 

"Let innocent mirth be there in abundance; let us have wholesome song and humorous story; but let it be always understood that at the table of a Freemason impurity of thought, speech and conduct are prohibited.

 

"At these gatherings there are always Masonic toasts, and they should not be proposed or responded to in the presence of strangers . . ."

 

In the United States the Masonic banquet has in general fallen from its high estate. It seems in most cases to be regarded as something to be explained away or excused; there is a feeling that a lodge that gives "feeds" is following a course that is verging on impropriety, that in so doing it is derogating from the dignity of the Institution. In short, the underlying assumption is taken for granted apparently, either that the lodge has a non-attendance problem which it seeks to palliate by bribing members with something to eat, or else that the members are not interested in Masonry but only in the pleasures of the table.

 

Just how this conception came to arise is difficult to say. Elsewhere in the world the Masonic banquet is still regarded as an integral part of the meetings of the lodge, and this usage goes back to the time when Ashmole attended the lodge held at the Mason's Hall and enjoyed "a Noble Dinner prepared at the charge of the New-accepted Masons." And it is as equally certain that this early glimpse of the Craft gives us a picture of neither a new institution nor an innovation in custom. The Ascetic and the Ultra-Puritan may desire to forget the body and its needs, but it is quite certain that not only must it be fed at frequent intervals, but also that to do so is normally one of the pleasures of life. Men have always felt this. When we wish to enjoy the society of our friends we invite them to dine with us. It is not just that they may satisfy their hunger, it is not to gobble the food down as if there were not enough and we were anxious like pigs at a trough to get all our share and if possible more, it is not so much what is eaten, but the eating together, the customary conventions and the conversation, that gives pleasure.

 

It is probably because the special conventions of a Masonic feast have been so completely forgotten in this country, that the hour of refreshment is looked at askance. Even the ordinary rules of courtesy seem frequently to be forgotten. It has been the experience of not a few brethren visiting a lodge to find that there is a mad scramble for the first seats at table, in which they are completely forgotten. The manners of a quick lunch counter do not lead to brotherly love, or to more intimate social intercourse. There is absolutely no need for this sort of thing; it is entirely in the hands of the Master and Wardens to remedy it. They will in very few cases have to do no more than suggest a better way, and their brethren will be only too glad to take it.

 

Many men join the Masonic Fraternity with the desire of finding brotherly intercourse, and to have an opportunity to enter into closer relations with their fellows than every day life normally affords. How many are deeply disappointed ? New organizations have been formed with little other real object in view than to satisfy this human need, and they, too, as they succeed grow unwieldy, and again the individual is lost. It is in the lodge that Masons should find brotherhood - and there they would find it if the wheels of the degree mill were allowed to slow down and more attention paid to cultivating brotherly love. And no machinery is better adapted to this than the Masonic banquet.

 

At the present time when Masonic education is attracting so much of the attention of the rulers of the Craft, it might be well worth the while of some Grand Lodge committee charged with this work to adopt manual for the guidance of lodge officers in this social side of the lodge with the definite purpose of reviving the ancient forms and usages of the Craft while at refreshment. This ceremonial is just as old, and just as much an original part of Freemasonry, as anything in the "work" of the lodge, and were it revived it might go far towards solving, indirectly, a number of the problems that are facing the Order in the United States at the present day.

 

----o----

 

The Late Thomas R. Marshall

 

BRO. THOMAS RILEY MARSHALL, Vice-President of the United States during the War, was born March 14, 1854, at North Manchester, Wabash Co., Indiana. He was initiated in Columbia City Lodge, No. 189, of Columbia City, in the same state, where he was raised a Master Mason Sept. 5. 1881. He was exalted in Columbia City Chapter, No. 54, six months later, on Feb. 11, 1882. He was created a Knight Templar March 8, 1888, in Fort Wayne Commandery, No. 4, Fort Wayne, later taking his dimit and becoming a charter member of Cyrene Commandery, No. 3, in Columbia City. He received the ineffable degrees, from the fourth to the fourteenth, in the Fort Wayne Lodge of Perfection, Oct. 25, 1887, while it was still under dispensation, and took the remaining degrees of the A. & A. S. R. up to the thirty-second at Indianapolis. On Sept. 20, 1898, he was crowned a Sovereign Inspector General, the thirty-third and last degree, at Cincinnati, Ohio, and was made an active member of the Supreme Council on Sept. 21, 1911, at Saratoga Springs, New York.

 

From 1890 to 1895 he held the offices of High Pries. in Columbia City Chapter, a long period, but exceeded by his tenancy of the office of Illustrious Master of the Columbia City Council, No. 55, which was from 1887 to 1895. In the latter year, 1895, he was electeded Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Indiana, and in 1897 he became Excellent Commander of Cyrene Commandery. His public career is so well known that there is no need to speak of it here.

 

----o----

 

An Appeal to the Masonic Fraternity

 

WE, the undersigned Master Masons, belonging to divers regular jurisdictions, impressed by the disagreement which persists between the various Masonic groups concerning points of essential Masonic importance, and feeling ourselves moved to discuss with each other whether means can be devised to create conditions favorable to a more complete understanding between all Freemasons scattered over the face of earth and sea, have met together, unofficially and confidentially, and having exchanged views, we now have the honor tentatively to submit two propositions, products of our deliberations.

 

The first of the principal causes of divergence between brethren is the difference of opinion which exists among them concerning the essentials and fundamentals of Freemasonry. We have taken conscientiously into consideration the views held by the several groups, and we now hope that all brethren, approaching the subject in a spirit of fraternity and tolerance, will feel able to agree to some formula such as the following viz.:

 

 

"Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. It is founded on the indestructible belief in the existence of a Force or Intelligence, Supreme and Infinite, causing humanity to progress and symbolically designated in our lodges by the term: - THE GREAT ARCHITECT OF THE UNIVERSE."

 

Another of these causes is the difference of opinion that exists concerning the attitude which Freemasons, as such, should adopt towards questions of a political or religious character. Touching this problem, we offer the following suggestion, viz.:

 

"It is considered to be a fundamental Masonic principle that political and religious discussions shall be excluded from all regularly assembled meetings of Freemasons. In putting it into practice, Sovereign Masonic Powers are guided by the spirit of this principle, and by the actual conditions existing within their jurisdictions."

 

We, the undersigned brethren, venture to submit the two foregoing formulae to the brethren of all jurisdictions. We beg you to take them into serious and kindly consideration and we appeal for your concurrence and approval of the step we have taken.

 

In inviting response to this appeal, we ask you to join with us in the earnest endeavor to bring together the too disunited members of our Great Fraternity, and thus contribute to a UNIVERSAL MASONIC ACCORD.

 

PROF. DR. J. G. CARPENTIER ALTING, Late Member of the Council of Netherlands, India, The Hague (Holland).

 

REAR ADMIRAL WILFRED HENDERSON, Ropley (England).

 

DR. W. A. BARON VAN ITTERSUM, Chamberlain to H. M. the Queen of the Netherlands, The Hague (Holland).

 

REV. A. E. F. JUNOD, Late Minister, The Hague (Holland)

 

A. ARIENS MAPPERS, Amsterdam (Holland).

 

DR. STEPHAN KEKULE VON STRADONITZ, Dr. jar., utr., Dr. Phil., late Chamberlain to H. S. H. the Prince of Sehaumburg-Lippe, Berlin (Germany).

 

PROF. DR. C. N. STARCKE, Prof. of Philosophy at the University of Kopenhague (Denmark).

 

TOWNSEND SCUDDER, late Justice of the Supreme Court of New York (U. S. A.)

 

----o----

 

THE POLITICAL IDEAL IN FREEMASONRY

 

HOWEVER much we may be interested in Freemasonry's historic past, certainly we are all more deeply concerned with its present and future. Masonry is a conservative institution like all others which have their roots in far-distant times. We are living in a day when all things are rapidly changing. Old customs, old practices, old ideas are going by the board. Human progress--at least we call-it that--advances at a rapid pace. Yet never was there greater need to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good in the old. One must be blind indeed to believe Masonry immune to the forces which make for change. Parrot-like repetition of the phrase "remove not the ancient landmarks" will hardly protect us. The changing ideals in Masonry simply must be guided into right channels.

 

"Saving the nation" has become a great American indoor sport. We are literally being "organized" to death by well-meaning persons to promote well-meaning causes. A regular technique has been worked out which is supposed to marshall public opinion behind such causes. Masons ought to realize what a tremendous temptation our Order offers to the professional uplifters, the faddists and the self-appointed saviours of the nation. We are a well-organized body of men, numbering several millions, with so far a good reputation for uprightness and sincerity of purpose. Little wonder they would do anything to align us behind their movements. There never was a time when Freemasonry should exercise greater vigilance than now in its commitments on public and political affairs. We have too many members within the Order who will not be happy until they have driven us to embrace permanently what can only be termed the Political Ideal in Freemasonry. These same members are loudest in their condemnation of European Masons who are said to have done just that same thing.

 

For some years there has been pending in Congress bill to create a Federal Department of Education. Basically, the plan consists of nothing more than offering the individual states a bribe or subsidy to do what each state has within its power to do, if, and when it chooses. Now no one questions the desirability of education. That is the difficulty. The intent is so excellent in these cases that we overlook fundamentals. Almost 5 per cent of the national income is being disbursed at present on similar subsidy plans. States like New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois in effect are taxed to aid less prosperous and populous states. Nevada, for example, is said to have received back, during the last fiscal year, $1.16 for every dollar paid to the federal treasury. This in itself may not be serious. The real danger, in the words of John Bassett Moore, is that "In a country so vast as ours the transfer to the sphere of national regulation and administration of matters which the Constitution left to the several states necessarily means the growth of a bureaucratic type of government. Such a type of government possesses certain inherent defects . . . want of intelligence and sympathy in dealing with local conditions . . . tendency towards disrespect for and disregard of the fundamental principles of individual liberty for the conservation of which the Constitution was ordained."

 

Some of our Grand Lodges have endorsed the bill to create a Federal Department of Education. When they did that, whether they realize it or not, they embraced the Political Ideal in Freemasonry. When they did that, they endorsed a principle which, if allowed to continue unchecked, must change the character of our government and the political conceptions of our people. I quite agree that Masonry must stand for something definite. In deciding what these definite things shall be, we do not need to be guided entirely by our traditions of two hundred years. Still, we surely should not be swayed by opportunism or an "emotional jag" in deciding them. Let us go forward wisely, sanely, calmly, with all the facts before us, but never sentimentally. Let those who pretend to speak for Masonry look to their mandate. Let us not sell our birthright, the heritage of two hundred years, for a mess of political pottage. Otherwise, though we may still be Masons we shall no longer be Free Masons. A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania.

 

----o----

 

GEMS FROM "MORALS AND DOGMA"

 

Selected by Charles Henry Smart, 32nd degree, Sec. of the Scottish Rite bodies, Nashville, Tenn.

 

Commercial greed values the lives of men no more than it values the lives of ants.

He that does me a favor hath bound me to make him a return of thankfulness.

Civil and religious freedom must go hand in hand, and persecution matures them both.

Offices, it is true, are showered, like the rains of heaven, upon the just and the unjust.

It is not beyond the tomb, but in life itself, that we are to seek for the mysteries of death.

The faithless and the false in public life and in political life will be faithless and false in private.

What is truth to the philosopher would not be truth, nor have the effect of truth, to the peasant.

Knowledge is the most genuine and real of human treasures, for it is Light, as ignorance is darkness.

The citizen who cannot accomplish well the smaller purposes of public life cannot compass the larger.

Though Masonry neither usurps the place nor apes religion, prayer is an essential part of our ceremonies.

The true problem of humanity is wrought out in the humblest abodes. No more than this is done in the highest.

 

----o----

 

A ROYAL ARCH PROBLEM

 

One subject which gives reason for grave consideration is the tendency of several of the Grand Chapters to enact legislation which will prevent the constantly growing eagerness to secure petitions for the Chapter Degrees without giving the members of the lodges sufficient time to appreciate the beautiful lessons taught in symbolic Masonry. We will all agree that there is a very close connection between the Symbolic Degrees and the Most Sublime Degree of the Royal Arch, and one which it is in all ways desirable to consummate.

 

Yet we do violence to our obligation to impart true Masonic light and knowledge to our less informed brethren when we wholly neglect to so direct them in their seeking after knowledge that we bring them to a point in their Masonic instruction far in advance of the lessons they should thoroughly know before assuming to take upon themselves the mastery of still higher and more important truths. We are constantly tempted to regard numbers first and a thoroughly qualified membership second. It is a constant study, requiring the best of good judgment to keep the proper balance.

 

As to the practice of using the chapter as a preliminary to the conferring of other and different degrees in Masonry and in related bodies not recognized as strictly Masonic, there can be no defense possible. The solicitation of members for such organizations before the initiates have become thoroughly grounded in the great truths that are intended to be conveyed to them, is harmful and works against the best interest of true Masonry.

 

Arthur Warren.

 

Chairman Committee on Foreign Correspondence, Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, New York

 

----o----

 

THE LIBRARY

 

SCIENCE AND FREEMASONRY

 

THE MASTER BUILDER. By S. G. Fielding. Stiff paper, 68 pages. Price, postpaid, 70c.

 

THE CENTRE. By the same author. Paper, 86 pages. Price postpaid, 80c. Very limited remainders of these two works have been obtained by the National Masonic Research Society's Book Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo., and will be sold at the above prices as long as the supply lasts.

 

THE first of these little books is based on a series of lectures given by the author while Master of his lodge -  and to digress a moment, what a great thing it would be for the Craft if more Masters not only could but did instruct their lodges in like manner. The subject treated in the lectures is truly, as Bro. Fielding intimates in his preface, well nigh a virgin field. In all the enormous number of Masonic works the question of the relation of Freemasonry to science has scarcely been touched; indeed since Preston composed the rather pompous and superficial lectures that form the basis of our present Ritual, the instruction in the Second Degree, few Masons seem to have even realized that there was such a relationship, much less that it might be profitably discussed. The present work is a most praiseworthy pioneer effort along these lines. The historical references are not entirely to be relied on, for instance, few Masonic students would agree that Sir Christopher Wren ever held the office of Grand Master, but in these matters the author has evidently taken these items as he found them in older and popular works on the subject, where they are usually asserted with an emphasis and confidence inversely proportioned to their accuracy. However, as his main argument does not depend upon the incidental historical details given the defect is in no way serious, his purpose being to bring the results of the biological sciences within the purview of Freemasonry.

 

In doing this he is of course merely carrying out the implications of the lectures of the Second Degree. He shows how the great advances made in scientific knowledge may be brought within the scope of Speculative Masonry and especially how the individual Mason should be prepared to apply them to the problems of the present day. Not merely to be willing to cast his influence on the side of building up a new and better social structure, but like his operative predecessor to have become a master of his craft in the narrow technical sense of Ritual accomplishment, or even in the more extended though necessary meaning of forming his own moral character by the precepts of Masonic teaching, but in the only sense in which Freemasonry can be said to have a mission in the world, by knowing and appreciating the various influences and forces which are shaping the destiny of mankind. Without such knowledge all effort is building in the dark without a plan, and in a confusion of tongues as it was at the Tower of Babel.

 

The second work, The Centre, is in a sense a sequel to the Master Builder, though it does not follow quite the same lines. The title has a significance that will be missed by American Masons who are unfamiliar with any but their own Ritual. In the forms followed generally in the British Empire a lodge of Master Masons is opened on the Centre. The symbolism is much the same as that of the Point within a Circle, but they also say that the only hope of finding the lost secrets is at the Centre. The author shows in the stages of his exposition how all things tend to a centre. Knowledge strives toward a comprehensive formula for the whole universe. In God is the centre of the Universe, in Love is the centre and meaning of Life. He concludes by taking the Temple of Solomon as the centre of the life and religion of the Hebrews, and finally the Abbey at Westminster as the symbolic centre of union of the peoples of the British Empire, a bit of national particularism pardonable in an Australian, and the more so as he transcends the limits of nationality in a vision of peace and good-will towards all men, of whom the true centre is the love and father hood of God.

 

It is very curious in this connection to consider the petrifaction which overtook the Masonic lectures in the nineteenth century. Before that they had been fluid, entirely in tie hand of the Master of the lodge. Preston elaborated a set of instructions for the Fellowcraft, with the hope of making the lodge a sort of school of culture; in which at least a desire for knowledge should be stimulated. His lectures were adopted, hardener into rigidity and have remained practically as he left them to this day, though the difference between our science and what went by that name in his day is as the difference between darkness and the brilliance of high noon. It has been a case where the letter killeth, and we need more Masters like Bro. Fielding to introduce more and further light into our lodge.

 

* * *

 

THE NEW ANTI-MASONRY

 

WORLD REVOLUTION, THE PLOT AGAINST CIVILIZATION. By Nesta Webster. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Green cloth, 328, pages. Price, postpaid, $3.75.

 

THIS book is as exciting as a story by H.S. Wells before he began to write with religious and moral purposes in view - it perhaps would not be quite fair to carry out the comparison and suggest that it is in the same category regarded as a contribution to history. One thing about it is certain, it is very powerfully written, and sweeps the reader away from all the moorings of accepted ideas and common sense - unless he hangs on very tightly indeed. The tale is put together so plausibly, and Mrs. Webster is evidently so sincerely convinced herself, that even those with some knowledge of history might waver, while those with none, unless they possess some of the gift of wholesome scepticism, are more than likely to fall under the glamour of her spell. The work is so fortified by reference and quotations that unless the reader critically scans the steps of the argument he may come to believe with the authoress that the world is in the grip of a dire anarchic society, persisting from century to century, closely and cunningly organized with no other purpose or function than to destroy - to make an end of civilization - to wreck faith and morals, good order and government.

 

Of course a refusal to be convinced, especially on the part of a Freemason, and more especially doubtless for a Mason reviewing the book in a Masonic periodical, will be taken by the authoress and those who agree with her, as merely one more instance of the policy of the inner ring of this conspiracy to conceal it by denying its existence. She hints quite strongly that historical writers have suppressed or falsified facts, presumably through this sinister influence, and how much more would a Masonic scribe be suspect when she indicts the Fraternity as being an accomplice, more or less willing and conscious, of the superhuman and monstrous council or clique that hides in the background, pulling the strings that raise up rebellions and revolutions and bring down kingdoms and their rulers.

 

But it would almost seem as if her rhetoric was contagious! However, those belonging to the Masonic Order realize, as those outside cannot very well, how much probability or even possibility there is for any group, no matter what their rank or degree, to control the thought and action of the rank and file. Outwardly Masonry may appear to the world at large as a complex hierarchical organization. The profane hear, either with awed astonishment, or possibly ribald amusement, of thirty-two or thirty-three grades of Masons, of Supreme Councils and Imperial Potentates, and most naturally they suppose that the few in these exalted positions control the many who are merely common or garden Masons – the whole nomenclature if the degrees gives the impression of ordered subordination as in an army - Worshipful Masters, Past Masters, Most Excellent and Grand Masters - it certainly sounds very imposing and tremendous, and it seems as if it must mean something. It is naturally difficult for the profane observer (in either sense of the word profane) to realize the breaks in continuity between Masonry, and the various orders, chapters and councils that are called Masonic; it may be even more difficult for him to realize that the most powerful bodies, the Grand Lodges, are in the series apparently the lowest, or that they are absolutely democratic. Outside the lodges the officers have no authority, and only so much respect as their own personal character and reputation inspires. Inside their power is concerned only with matters of ritual and order. A Mason is not obligated to obey anything but the moral law; his opinions, judgments and actions are in his own hands; his vows bind him only to such duties and responsibilities towards his brethren as any church member is supposed to render to any man, that very just and upright man would as a matter of course render to everyone. It is true that the formal oaths with their ancient find traditional sanctions, their archaic penalties, sound as if come dreadful machinery were actually in being - but mere common sense is enough to destroy the illusion without special knowledge. Thieves and criminals, political plotters and the like, do not need such oaths to bind themselves together, though they may at times have used them; the fact that they all stand in a real and common danger makes it obvious that discovery if their secrets must be revenged. Soldiers on enlistment take in oath of obedience and loyalty to their flag and country, but that is not the spring of military discipline. Rather it is the realization by all, consciously or unconsciously, less or more, that obedience in all ranks is absolutely essential if an army s to function at all, and that of necessity disobedience must he punished. The vows of a Mason are declaratory only of ifs principles and intentions, and like all else in the institution, they are couched in forms of immemorial antiquity.

 

It is quite true that the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is in appearance just such an organization as Mrs. Webster requires for her theory, but the slightest knowledge of the real history of this secondary Masonic institution would show how insecure a foundation it is for such a superstructure as she would place upon it. It was never created as a whole as Weishaupt's Order of Illuminati was, or even the Templar Rite of the Strict Observance. It was patched together here and there out of odd degrees, the aggregation growing like a snow-ball rolling down hill. Possibly, indeed very probably, among those connected with its formation, especially in the early stages of the Rite of Perfection and the Emperors of East and West, there was an idea, based largely on vanity and the very human desire for personal pre-eminence, that the vows of obedience of the lower grades to their titular rulers of higher order might somehow be made a reality - but the interminable and confusing story of divisions, schisms, and internal squabbling is enough to demonstrate that this could never have been much more than a pious (or impious) wish on the part of the ambitious. It is certain that until the Rite came to America it had no fixed form, and almost as certain that until Albert Pike re-wrote the rituals it was no more than a heterogeneous conglomerate of unrelated degrees. Whatever judgment may eventually be passed on Pike's work, there can be no doubt that he left his impress on the Rite, that he gave it form and as great a measure of consistency as could be expected of the materials he had to work with. But the result of his work was to give a philosophical and ethical character to the whole, and to use every detail as a symbol of some part of his system. It would therefore be quite accurate to say that the only meaning that the all-embracing vows of obedience and allegiance given by the initiates of the Rite refer to the obedience and loyalty all men, and especially Masons, are bound to render to Righteousness, Justice, and above all to Truth. It is absolutely certain that the least attempt of a Supreme Council to issue orders to Scottish Rite Masons dealing with matters beyond ritual and internal domestic routine would automatically result in the disruption of the whole edifice.

 

But even so, it might be argued, there is a possibility that some inner circle would have a special advantage in proposing political and other policies, and from their position of eminence in the Craft their influence might be very great. Such an argument would be, however, merely plausible from the outside. As every Mason knows, it would be impossible for any such matters to be even broached in the lodge, much less discussed, and unless it could be done in the guarded assemblies of the Craft, what advantage could such a clique have in propagating their ideas over anyone else? In free countries everyone can plead in favor of any opinion so long as he does not incite to crime or actions subversive of the State, and today all civilized countries in this sense are free except perhaps Italy and Spain  - Russia hardly counts as civilized - so that it is impossible here to set European over against Anglo-Saxon Masonry as has been done by Anti-Masonic alarmists since the days of Prof. Robison.

 

It has been necessary to take up so much space in showing what is obvious to all Masons, because Mrs. Webster gives the Masonic Order an integral part in her theory. It is true she admits that the average Mason is quite ignorant of any such purpose, and that even the leaders of the Fraternity (in her sense) are probably not fully admitted to a knowledge of the real object of the policies they are set (as she supposes) by their superiors (outside the Craft) to inaugurate and further according to orders received - in other words that the Masonic Institution is only one battalion in the army of anarchy and its officers take their orders from an unknown general staff without knowing what part they themselves are playing in the strategy of the whole movement. In brief, she supposes that some very secret and persistent international group has had the intention of breaking up and destroying our occidental civilization. She hints that such a group may have been organized even in the early Middle Ages, but she begins her detailed account with the free thinking and sceptic philosophers of the eighteenth century. She works in every rebellion, conspiracy and secret society, from that time to this, including Irish Fenians and Sinn Feiners and Trades Unions, Communists, Socialists and of course Bolsheviks, and makes a wonderful pattern of the whole. She connects different characters together by the fact that they were individually Freemasons wherever this is possible, and where not, then the fact that they were reformers or critics of the social order of their own time and place is sufficient.

 

Those with special knowledge of the history of the various movements which she brings in will find that her account of these is as little to be relied on as her impressions of Freemasonry. But the fatal flaw in her argument is the utter lack of motive that these suppositions enemies of the human race have for their desire to wreck civilization. The Roman Catholic, following Leo Taxil, might reasonably put it down to the direct inspiration and instigation of Satan, the personal devil. Our author does not even suggest this - the motives she does hint at are however just as incredible, as well as being inconsistent. Their inconsistency may be the reason that they are only hinted at. One of them must be due to a survival of war psychology, when she insinuates that Germans and Germany would be the gainers. The other is Anti-Semitic. But that Jew and German are partners she does not say, nor does it seem possible to make out any case for such a supposition. Certainly many of the social movements she includes were of German origin, but they were all ruthlessly opposed by German governments. Again if Germany is to be supposed the cat's-paw of the Jews, what do the latter stand to gain in the reign of anarchy, when trade and commerce are destroyed with the social order that gave them birth?

 

However, in spite of all the book is interesting, and anyone who enjoys a thrill of horror may be recommended to read it without a too critical eye. Civilization as we know it, may not be safe, it may bear the seeds of its own dissolution within itself, it may even be that as time is counted in the age of peoples and empires that its day is nearly done, but it will not be done to death by any such theatrical machinery as this book supposes.

 

* * *

 

A HISTORY OF WYOMING MASONRY

 

HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY IN WYOMING. By Alfred James Mokler, Grand Historian. Published by the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Wyoming, 1924. (J. M. Lowndes, Grand Secretary, Casper, Wyo.) Cloth, 12 mot, 267 pages; supplement. Illustrated. Price, postpaid, $3.15.

 

THE review of this attractively printed and bound volume of Wyoming Masonic history is approached in a spirit akin to that which actuates a father in saying to his offspring, before administering deserved corporal punishment upon him, "My son, this hurts me more than it does you." I wish to assure Bro. Mokler that it hurts grievously to point out faults in a volume so patiently compiled with only the best of motives and intentions. But like the father before mentioned, I also steel myself to the thankless task before me.

 

It is a habit of chronic readers to turn to two places of a book to find out what it is all about. The first is the table of contents, which usually gives one a good idea of the subject matter as a whole; the second is the index, without which no self-respecting volume seeks a place among representative books. Imagine my astonishment to find that the book before me has neither! Much as one bemoans the lack of an index, we have become more or less accustomed to such glaring defects in Masonic books; but who ever heard of a book without a table of contents? Even though an inexperienced writer would omit such an essential, surely a printer worthy of the name, no matter if his be a one-man shop or a plant covering acres, would not overlook such an essential. But the book before us is the exception which proves the rule.

 

With table of contents missing, one naturally leafs the book page by page, providing he has not thrown it aside by this time. Bookworms and bibliophiles are not discouraged by lack of signposts; they find their way through mystifying volumes just as the woodsman instinctively picks his path through the mountains. The opening chapter of the volume, more or less statistical, and unnumbered as are all the other chapters, covers "Fifty Years of Freemasonry in Wyoming." It is followed by the "Golden Jubilee Communication," held at Laramie in 1924.

 

The next section of the book consists of pithy and interesting histories of the forty-four constituent lodges, written by brethren of the local bodies. It is to be regretted that no account is given of Glenrock Lodge, No. 16, which received a charter in 1893, only to surrender it in 1896. One wonders why! (Perhaps there is an account of this lodge somewhere in the book, but as there is no index, the story cannot be found unless one seeks painfully through every page ! )

 

The constituent lodge histories are followed by biographical sketches of Grand Masters and other prominent Wyoming brethren. They are well handled; biographies are always difficult to write - especially if the subject of a sketch is still among us.

 

The volume closes with a chapter on "Ancient Freemasonry" which is a part of an oration delivered at the Grand Lodge in 1886. It is replete with misinformation, for the Grand Orator purports to give an account of Masonic history from "the deep shadows of Roman, Grecian, Hebrew and Egyptian antiquities"; and we are further informed that "Prior to 715 B. C. the Masonic Order is more or less traditional and mythical.... The Order first emerged upon the face of history in 715 B. C. in fully defined and distinct actuality - in full bodied maturity; in fact, strangely suggestive of the idea that it had a far extended pre-existence." And so on, ad nauseam. Apparently our good Brother Orator secured his startling information from Rebold's History of Freemasonry, a useless volume insofar as pre-1717 Masonic history is concerned. Let me say in passing that all Masonic histories written prior to 1860 must be taken with a grain of salt; and there are many more since that date which fall in the same category.

 

Bro. Joseph M. Lowndes, Grand Secretary of Wyoming, contributes a chapter on the genealogy of the Grand Lodge of Wyoming. He quotes Anderson in some highly erroneous statements and gives an account of Masonry from 1725 to 1813 which omits some vital points, such as are essential to the subject as he has treated it. A genealogical chart traces the descent of the Grand Lodge of Wyoming from England and Scotland through ten American Jurisdictions, and of which American bodies historical accounts are given, evidently based upon Mackey's History of Freemasonry (unrevised edition) A printer's error is responsible for giving the name of Iowa's first Grand Master as "Cook" instead of Cock.

 

The most interesting chapter to the general reader is the one entitled "Masonic Meetings on Independence Rock." [There was an account of this meeting in THE BUILDER for September. 1920, p. 243.] It presents the story of an early meeting by twenty Master Masons held July 4, 1862, on the Old Oregon Trail, about fifty-five miles southwest of Casper. Asa L. Brown. of Platteville, Wisconsin, presided at this meeting. That he was a zealous Mason is shown by his election as Grand Master of Washington in November, 1864. The Bible used on this occasion and the jewels made out of a paste-board box were preserved, and subsequently presented to the Grand Lodge of Wyoming. A Masonic Temple fire destroyed the jewels, but the Bible was picked up on the street, undamaged, and returned to the custodian. It was used again fifty-eight years later. when a memorial meeting was held on Independence Rock by Casper Lodge, No. 15, at which time a bronze plate was placed to commemorate the two historical events.

 

We also learn that Charles H. Collins was the first man to receive the degrees of Freemasonry in Wyoming, he having been initiated, passed and raised in 1868. Wyoming Lodge, No. 2, held its first meetings in a two-story log cabin, for which a monthly rental of $50 was paid. The altar, columns and pedestals used by the lodge were cut out and sawed by whipsaw, and hauled out of the mountains in the middle of winter.

 

An account is given where a white man's life was saved because he had been recognized by an Indian as a member of the, "Cross Finger" group; a visit of General Grant to Rawlins, Wyo., is recorded under the account of Lodge No. 5, as is also a hunting party of the seventies in which Thomas A. Edison participated; space forbids mention of other interesting sidelights of the places and periods under discussion.

 

Aside from its own high value as a historical Wyoming account, the book presents two important subjects worthy of serious consideration by every Masonic historian. First, care should be taken to compile a lodge history in accordance with approved and standard methods of book making. Inexperienced brethren are urged to call upon the National Masonic Research Society for the valuable suggestions and assistance which it can render. In the belief that the Society will endorse my recommendation, I suggest that Bro. Wildey E. Atchison, assistant secretary of the National Masonic Research Society from 1916 to 1922, and now residing at Rawlins, Wyoming, be asked to compile an index for the volume, which can be printed separately and distributed to all who have received the book. This index could also contain corrigenda vital to the authenticity of Bro. Mokler's capable undertaking.

 

The second point I wish to make is to emphasize the importance of writing lodge histories while the material is still available. One is appalled in reading the history of the local Wyoming lodges to learn that so many of the early records are lost - and all this in less than sixty years! Brethren who would have been able to give important facts were among us but a few short years ago; their deaths sealed sources of information now hopelessly lost.

 

We read in the preface that the volume was projected as early as 1908. Two years later an appropriation of $500 was made to cover the expense incident to a suitable compilation; in 1914 the subject was again stressed, but the brother appointed as a committee of one to begin the history received little support; from 1915 to 1922 the craftsman designated to do the work did not accomplish anything and it was not until Bro. Alfred J. Mokler was appointed Grand Historian that the work was undertaken in earnest. Wisely calling to his aid brethren in various parts of the Jurisdiction, he completed his task in two years, and the excellent work herein reviewed shows how effectively he worked. Only those who have undertaken the preparation of a lodge history can realize how arduous and discouraging the task becomes at times.

 

My hearty congratulations are extended to Bro. Mokler upon the successful completion of his difficult assignment. He has shown a typical Western spirit in blazing a trail which other trans-Mississippi Grand Lodges might well follow; and I wish to assure him that my criticisms are not intended to minimize the value of his book, but rather to indicate the pitfalls which future Masonic historians should avoid.

 

Jacob Hugo Tatsch.

 

* * *

 

A GROUP OF BOOKS ABOUT MASONRY IN SCOTLAND

 

A MANUAL OF FREEMASONRY, by WILLIAM HARVEY. Blue cloth, in case, price, postpaid, $1.25. Booklets on Freemasonry by William Harvey. The Northeast Corner, The Wages of an Entered Apprentice, The Pillars of Freemasonry, The Lodge and Its Furniture, The Altars of Freemasonry, The Third Degree, The Story of Hiram Abiff, The Mason's Apron, The Doorway of Freemasonry, and The Mason's Mallet. Stiff paper, from 20 to 25 pages each. Price for the ten, postpaid, $1.25.

 

Set of booklets of humorous character. The Deil Among the Masons, Tam O'Shanter and the Merry Masons, How Tamson Got the Third Degree, The Secrets of Freemasonry, A Tramp's Own Ritual, The Candidate's Dream. Price, postpaid, 70c.

 

All these may be obtained through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis.

 

BRO. WILLIAM HARVEY seems to be a most prolific writer. Among other efforts of his we have before us no less than fourteen little leaflets and booklets, besides a Manual of Freemasonry as worked in Scotland. This last is published in two forms, one as a single volume in a blue cloth case, and the other as separate booklets for each degree in a similar case. As in Scotland the Mark Degree is worked usually in the Blue Lodges, this is included in the Manual.

 

The Ritual used in Scotland in its general character is very similar to that generally followed in England, but in some respects, and especially in the Third Degree, it comes much nearer to the form used in America. · Brethren interested in variations in the work will find this manual most interesting.

 

The little booklets fall naturally into two groups, serious and humorous. Truth compels us to state that externally they are not very attractive, being merely paper covered, but the contents should be judged by the internal qualifications. The character of the first group may be judged by the titles. The Northeast Corner and The Wages of an Entered Apprentice deal with the First Degree. In both many features will seem strange to American Masons, and on one point Bro. Harvey assumes that Mackey made a mistake in his Lexicon because of his own very natural ignorance of the American usage to which, of course, Mackey was referring.

 

The Pillars of Freemasonry is intended for the Fellowcraft, and is designed as an alternative to the lecture in the Ritual, which will be found given in full in the author's Manual.

 

The titles of The Lodge, and Its Furniture and The Altar of Freemasonry are self-explanatory, while The Third Degree gives an alternative lecture explaining the emblems of the Master Mason as used in Scotland, which are those employed in England with the addition of some of those, such as the Hour Glass and the Scythe, which are used in America; while the Story of Hiram Abiff is a brief and very judicious discussion of the history and origin of the Third Degree.

 

The Apron is also in part historic, as is the Doorway of Freemasonry, which deals with the office of Tiler, while the Mason's Mallet is a consideration of the Master's gavel, its history, use and symbolism. Bro. Harvey writes in a pleasing style, simple, clear and interesting. He is not at all inclined to be led away by fancy and imagination, and though he evidently lacks neither quality he sticks closely to sober and accepted facts.

 

The second group comprise skits and parodies of a very amusing character with a strong Scotch flavor, The Deil Among the Masons and Tam O’Shanter and the Merry Masons and How Tamson Got the Third Degree are humorous poems, while The Secrets of Freemasonry is an amusing parody on the customs of the Craft.

 

In the same vein is the leaflet containing the Tramp's Own Ritual, which though published in Scotland certainly, from internal evidence, hails from the United States, and another humorous poem by William Haldane, The Candidate's Dream, would make a very good recitation.

 

The first group would materially assist an American Mason, in conjunction with the Manual, in getting a very good picture of Masonry as worked in Scotland. While the second group will undoubtedly be of service to any brother seeking something fresh for a program of entertainment in a lodge.

 

* * *

 

AN OCCULTIST NOVEL

 

OM, THE SECRET OF ABHOR VALLEY. By Talbot Mundy. Published by the Bobbs-Merrill Company. Indianapolis. May be purchased through the National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Green cloth, 892 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.15.

 

THIS is a mystery tale, with a propaganda purpose, or so it would appear. The scene is laid in India and Thibet, and the purpose more or less consciously in view is to further Theosophic belief. At least one can only take the quotations from the supposed sayings of Tsiang Samdup which appear - quite extraneously - at the close of each chapter as being intended seriously.

 

The author writes with an easy style that without any great pretensions to literary ornament, carries the story along without dragging, and the interest is well sustained to the end.

 

It is, however, not altogether easy for anyone to lay the plot of a novel in a foreign land, least of all in such a country as India, unless he knows it very well indeed. The author has visited the East, one would judge, but his characters, especially the Lama, show the influence of Kipling's Kim very strongly. His other native characters, especially the buffoon braggart, Dawa Tsering, are far from convincing; neither can one swallow such mysterious arrangements as the "Middle Way" without a very liberal allowance of salt. Secret lines of communication quickly spring up anywhere when there is a demand for them. There are such underground railways for introducing liquor and drugs into the U.S.A. There was one in Germany in 1915 for spiriting prisoners of war into Switzerland - if they had the price. And doubtless there are such in India. But the one used by the Lama and his cavaran is purely spectacular and seems otherwise without purpose.

 

The protagonist of the Lama, Cottswold Ommany, the one from whose point of view the story is told, again reminds one of several of Kipling's characters, notably Strickland of the Police, but he is made the merest foil to the Lama and is put in quite unnecessarily humiliating positions. Also there is a great deal too much mechanism. If the Lama be endowed with all kinds of supernormal powers what is the need of the elaborate system of espionage that he employs? It would seem that the author lacked the courage of his convictions. If the Lama had been a fraud, then the web of intrigue and secret organization would be quite natural and proper. But he was not, and so it greatly detracts from the dignity of his character to employ it. Or rather the author does not tell us he did employ such means, but after indicating that he had them at his disposal, leaves us to choose which explanation we like best. From the point of view of literary craft the result is bound to be unsatisfactory.

 

Nevertheless, in spite of these defects, the story is interesting and one might spend a leisure hour far worse than in reading it.

 

R. J. M.

 

----o----

 

"It cannot be too strongly emphasized that Freemasonry is not to be entered in the hope of personal gain or advancement. Admission to the Order must not be sought from mercenary or other unworthy motives. Anyone so actuated will be bitterly disappointed, and  in all friendship we warn you. The aim of the true Freemason is to cultivate a brotherly feeling among men, and help where he can.”

 

----o----

 

What to Read in Masonry

 

Jurisprudence, Constitutions, Monitors, Etc.

 

JIJRISPRUDENCE is the science of which laws, their making, enforcement, and interpretation, are the subject matter. Is there, according to this strict use of the word, such a thing as Masonic jurisprudence? Or is the term merely an euphuism, meaning nothing more than that Freemasonry has a set of laws of its own, but no organized science of the same ?

 

Bro. Roscoe Pound raises these questions in the opening pages of his Lectures on Masonic Jurisprudence, published in 1920 by the National Masonic Research Society, the only volume on its subject, it may be parenthetically noted, written by a legal mind of high order, and in a class by itself, consequently, as compared to the works on jurisprudence composed by amateurs. Having raised the above mentioned questions at the beginning of his treatise Bro. Pound returns with his answer at the end, in a paragraph recommended to the attention of lawyer members of the Craft:

 

"In conclusion, let me repeat the disclaimer with which I began. I have not sought to expound the law of the Craft at large or of any jurisdiction in particular. I have sought rather to consider how far there may be said to be such a thing as Masonic jurisprudence, what materials are at hand for an organized body of knowledge that may be called appropriately a science of Masonic law, what general principles may be found for such a science, and in particular how far the problems of legal science generally may be found in and their solutions may be applied to the law of our Craft. So studied, the subject of Masonic jurisprudence has great possibilities which are as yet scarcely opened. The ambitious Masonic student who essays any of its problems as he would a problem of the everyday law, going through our Grand Lodge proceedings as l:e would the legal sources, using our texts as he would a legal text book, reasoning from our traditions as he would from the body of written tradition we call the common law. will not only be abundantly repaid but will do a service in helping to make Masonic jurisprudence a reality."

 

In his contribution toward a system of Masonic jurisprudence our distinguished brother classifies the source materials under three heads: (1) the Landmarks; (2) the Masonic common law; (3) Masonic legislation. "Presupposing this three-fold division," he goes on to say, "we have first, the Landmarks, a small, not clearly defined body of fundamentals which are beyond reach of change. They are the prescriptive or unwritten constitution (using constitution in the purely American sense) by which everything must be judged ultimately and to which we must all conform. Second, we have Masonic common law -  the body of tradition and doctrine, which falling short of the sanctity and authority of the Landmarks, nevertheless is of such long standing, and so universal, acid so well attested, that we should hesitate to depart from it and are perforce wont to rely upon it whether to apply our own law or to appreciate the law of our neighbors." These two elements rest in tradition; and in such doctrinal writings as Oliver's Institutes of Masonic Jurisprudence, and Mackey's Masonic Jurisprudence; decisions of Grand Masters and reviews thereof; and reports of Committees on Correspondence, etc.

 

The data of Masonic legislation are to be found in (1) Grand Lodge Constitutions, "which are usually compiled and edited from time to time and thus kept in organized, systematic form;" (2) "decisions of the Grand Lodge on appeal from the Masters of subordinate (or constituent) lodges or from the lodges themselves;" (3) edicts of Grand Masters; and (4) "answers of the Grand Master to inquiries as to the law submitted to him, or decisions of the Grand Master upon questions asked by Masters of lodges with reference to matters pending before them or their lodges."

 

The grand aim of Masonic jurisprudence must be to organize all such data into a genuine science, the function of which will be to bring the enactment, enforcement, and interpretation of Masonic laws under the guidance and control of sound and generally recognised legal principals.

 

How slender is the number of titles available for grouping under the general head of Masonic Jurisprudence is shown be; the list given below. For the convenience of the student a few books on Constitutions and Monitors have been included, these subjects being revealed by the titles themselves in most instances. As regards constitutions Ars Quatuor Antigrapha calls for special mention, not alone because of the number of early Old Charges given in fac-simile, but also by virtue of the last volume thus far published in the series in which are published the Minutes of the Grand Lodge of England for 1723-1739

 

Ahiman Rezon, Laurence Dermott.

Ancient Charges and Regulations, Cornelius Moore.

Ancient Masonic Rolls of Constitutions, Wm. J. Hughan.

By-Ways of Masonry, John T. Lawrence.

Code of Masonic Law, Robert Morris.

Common Law of Masonry, The, J. W. S. Mitchell.

Constitutions of the Freemasons, James Anderson.

Constitutions of the Freemasons, Wm. J. Hughan.

Constitutions of St. John's Lodge, published by Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

Cushing's Manual of Parliamentary Law.

Digest of Masonic Jurisprudence. Henry A. Robertson.

Digest of Masonic Law, George W. Chase.

Familiar Treatise on the Principles and Practices of Masonic Jurisprudence, John W. Simons.

Freemasonry and Its Etiquette, W. P. Campbell-Everden.

Freemasonry and Its Jurisprudence, Chalmers I. Payton.

Freemasons Guide, Daniel Sickels.

Illustrations of Masonry, John Cole.

Institutes of Masonic Jurisprudence, George Oliver.

Lectures on Masonic Jurisprudence, Roscoe Pound.

Manual of the Lodge, Albert G. Mackey.

Masonic Jurisprudence, John T. Lawrence.

Masonic Law and Practice, Luke A. Lockwood.

Masonic Manual, Jonathan Ashe.

Masonic Monitor, George Thornburgh.

Masonic Parliamentary Law, Albert G. Mackey.

Masonic Ritualist, Albert G. Mackey.

Masonic Trials, H. M. Look.

Monitor, Thomas Smith Webb.

Monitor, Thomas Smith Webb and E. T. Carson.

Old Charges of British Freemasons, Wm. J. Hughan.

Old Constitutions of Freemasonry, Edited by Joseph Fort Newton.

Old Constitutions, J. E. Cox.

Principles of Masonic Law, Albert, G. Mackey.

Standard Masonic Monitor, G. E. Simmons.

Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence, Albert G. Mackey.

Worshipful Master's Assistant, Robert Macoy.

 

----o----

 

THE SECRETS OF ARCHITECTURE

 

For architecture was in those medieval days more or less a secret art; its mysteries were carefully guarded within a group kept as small as actual demands would permit, its primary purpose being the preservation of the secrets of the crafts as well as the protection of its members. The group later became to be called a lodge, and the architect was the Master of the lodge. Here we have the origin of our Masonic Fraternity of today which, however, has become almost totally dissociated from the building craft except in elements of symbolism and ritual.

 

What the secrets of the ancient Masons were we can only discover by study of their works. There is little doubt that it was the rule to destroy all plans and models upon the completion of the buildings, and whatever records of the ancient formulae were kept in the archives of the lodges have either been lost or are no longer identifiable as such. There is, of course, much of the beautiful Masonic ritual that is of very ancient origin, and it is colored by the occupation of its originators, but brother Masons will agree with me that the secrets of the Order are not architectural.

 

The Fraternity claims the building of King Solomon's Temple as its birthtime and place, and this to the archaeologist seems a very modest claim of antiquity. There is not the least reason why gilds of builders should not have come into being in China India or Egypt, where most intricate building problems were solved long before Solomon's time, though I have been unable to find record of them. – From How to Know Architecture (Harper’s:1910), by Frank E. Wallis.

 

----o----

 

THE QUESTION BOX

and CORRESPONDENCE

 

THE ROYAL ORDER

 

What is the Royal Order of Scotland? Does it exist in this country?

 

G. E. C., Illinois.

 

According to its own account of itself, this Order, or rather Ale of its two degrees, "Heredom de Kilwinning," was founded by David I of Scotland; while the other, the Rosy Cross, was instituted, it is said, by Robert the Bruce after the Battle of Bannockburn, where the Sects defeated the English invaders so decisively. This legend however seems to be merely another form of the Templar theory of the origin of Freemasonry. Indeed, certain Knight Templars are said to have fought at Bannockburn on the Scottish side. R. F. Gould was of the opinion that its real origin was in France, in the middle of the eighteenth century. That it was connected with the so-called "Scots" or Ecossais" degrees. That it was brought to London about 1750, or a little earlier, from thence it went to Scotland, the fabled country of its origin, and there took abiding root. That it afterwards returned to London, the first chapters there having become defunct. The Scottish branch itself became dormant between 1819 and 1839, but was revived, and has apparently flourished ever since. In theory it is very exclusive, and very largely in practice also judging by all accounts. A chapter was authorized in Canada in 1875 and another for the United States in 1877, of which the charter was granted to Albert Pike and some other members of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. At first, the membership was limited in number, half to he taken from the Southern and half from the Northern Jurisdictions of the Rite, but apparently this restriction has since been removed. No place of meeting was mentioned in the charter, and it can assemble in any part of the United States, but not outside their limits. The subordinate bodies of this Order have the high sounding title of "Provincial Grand Chapters," but the term "Grand" is purely honorific here, and does not carry any of the usual significance attached to the word in Masonic terminology.

 

* * *

 

NEGRO FREEMASONRY

 

There are negro lodges of Freemasons in this city, and elsewhere in the United States, or so I have been told, and I should like to know if there are any regular negro Masons.

 

E. T., St. Louis, Mo.

 

The answer to this question must be an indeterminate one as it depends on the exact meaning to be given to the word regular. It may be said however at once, that in the sense of being recognized by the white Grand Lodges of the United States there is no negro Freemasonry that is regular. There is said, however, to be a regular lodge in New Jersey which at one time had a number of negro members. On account of the objections of other Jurisdictions, the Grand Lodge of New Jersey forbade the reception of any more candidates of that race, though some of those previously received may still survive.

 

It may be said that in its origin the Freemasonry of the negroes is as legitimate as any other. Certain defects in its transmission are frequently alleged, but if the argument for this holds good it would equally invalidate the regularity of most white Grand Lodges. It is also argued that it is illegal and clandestine from the principle of exclusive jurisdiction. Two Grand Lodges cannot exist in the same state, therefore it would follow that one must be clandestine. But here again neither men nor organizations can be judged for past actions by a law that did not then exist. A law cannot be retroactive in short. The doctrine of exclusive jurisdiction is peculiarly American, it has never been fully adopted by the rest of the Masonic world, and looking from the outside it cannot be fairly applied to negro Freemasonry, which existed in its won right before the other system was fully formed. The real feet of the matter is that this Masonry cannot be recognized for the same reason that negroes are not admitted to our own lodges, which is that the members of the two races are unable to enter into fraternal relations with each other.

 

It may be added that there are negro Grand Lodges in Haiti and San Domingo, which are regular in origin, and recognized by many other Jurisdictions - it is not necessary that a Grand Lodge be recognized by every other Jurisdiction to be considered regular. And also in many parts of the world individual negroes may be members of regular lodges, though we have no precise data on the subject.

 

* * *

 

THE MORGAN EPISODE

 

Could you tell me where it will be possible for me to find out more about the Morgan episode and the ensuing rise of the Anti-Masonic party ?

 

T. G. S., New Hampshire.

 

If you have access to any History of the Order that deals with American Freemasonry, you will find at least the salient facts detailed in regard to this matter. There is a good chapter on the subject in Mackey's History; also a useful account in Ossian Lang's History of Freemasonry in the State of New York; while volume seven of the "Little Masonic Library," published by the Masonic Service Association, is entirely devoted to this period of the history of American Masonry.

 

* * *

 

ANDREW JACKSON'S MEMBERSHIP

 

Referring to the article on Andrew Jackson, from the pen of our distinguished Bro. Erik McKinley Eriksson, which appears on page 164 of the June issue of THE BUILDER, I am gratified to note your reference to our leaflet on the same subject.

 

I note on page 166 that Bro. Eriksson says, regarding Bro Jackson's initiation, "The claim of Greeneville, No. 3, formerly No. 43, of North Carolina, seems to be the most weighty."

 

That is one of the misconceptions which I am having trouble to overcome. The feet is, the earliest positive record of Bro. Jackson's membership is found in an original transcript of the first meeting of Polk Lodge, U. D., afterward chartered as Tennessee Lodge, No. 2 (No. 41, of North Carolina), which is preserved in the archives of the Grand Lodge at Raleigh, of which I have an accurate copy, made under my personal supervision. This meeting occurred on March 24, 1800, and shows that Andrew Jackson was present as a visitor from Harmony Lodge at Nashville. This latter lodge was No. 1, of Tennessee (No. 29 of North Carolina), chartered in 1796 (Dec. 17). It had probably been at work several years earlier as the Grand Lodge had authorized a lodge in that vicinity in 1789.

 

The first meeting of Greeneville Lodge, No. 41, under dispensation, occurred on Sept. 5, 1801, and the original transcript at Raleigh shows that Andrew Jackson was present and served as Senior Warden, pro tem, in the absence of the three principal officers. While so serving, with his customary tendency to leadership, he made a motion to appoint a committee on bylaws. This is all the record now available of his connection with Greeneville Lodge, No. 41-3. This meeting occurred nearly eighteen months after his visit to Polk Lodge, U. D. Therefore he could not have been initiated in Greeneville Lodge, No. 41-3.

 

A roster of Philanthropic Lodge, No. 12, furnished by the Grand Secretary of Kentucky, does not include his name among its members, and he was known to be a Mason five years before that lodge was formed. He located at Nashville in October, 1788, before he was twenty-two, and was doubtless made a Mason in Harmony Lodge, No. 29-1. Tennessee Lodge, No. 2, was located at Knoxville.

 

He was either made a Mason in Harmony Lodge, NO. 1 at Nashville, where he resided from 1788 to 1800, or in some older lodge than either Tennessee Lodge, No. 2, or Greeneville Lodge, No. 3. Of this latter suggestion there is no record extant, whatever.

 

C. Comstock, Tenn.

 

* * *

 

THE AMERICAN MASONIC FEDERATION;

HIRAM ABIF AND THE BIBLE

 

I have a friend who recently came from Scotland. He is a member of Lodge St. John, Dalmuir, Glasgow. In a letter to him the Secretary warned him against the "American Masonic Federation" as being clandestine. After going to lot of trouble I have been unable to learn anything of such an organization, nor can I find anyone who has ever heard of it. Do you know of such a society?

 

I would like to ask another question at the same time. Is H. A. B. mentioned in the Bible? If not, what is the origin of the legend ?

 

T. M. P., Wisconsin.

 

In reply to your first question, the American Masonic Federation was a body organized by Matthew McBlain Thompson, who was, on May 15, 1922, tried and convicted with some of his associates of the offense of using the United States mails for fraudulent purposes, and condemned to two years' imprisonment. Notices of the trial appeared in THE BUILDER at intervals during 1922. (The references to this organization in THE BUILDER are as follows: Vol. II, p. 190; Vol. VIII, pp. 270, 299, 327, 361; Vol. IX, p. 311.)

 

The law could not, of course, take cognizance of the clandestine character of the Federation, but of the misrepresentation on the part of Thompson and his agents to the effect that those buying his degrees would be received as regular Masons all over the world; through which misrepresentation his dupes were induced to part with their money. Bro. Isaac Blair Evans has given a full account of the whole affair in The Thomson Masonic Fraud.

 

Regarding your second question, there are two accounts of the building of the Temple of Solomon given in the Old Testament. Hiram, the widow's son, is mentioned (I Kings VIII, 13, 14; II Chronicles II, 13, 14). The word "Abif," which represents the Hebrew "Abiv," is translated as "Father" in the early English versions. However, in the first complete printed English Bible, which was edited and published by Coverdale, though the translation in question may have been by Tyndale, the name appears in one place as Hiram Abif, and in another as Hiram Abi. This Bible was not in use very long and was superseded by later editions and translations in which this word was once more translated as Father. As a matter of fact the use of the word father in oriental languages has always been common as a term of respect, and the phrase might here be translated as "Master Hiram" or "Lord Hiram."

 

The origin of the legend is another matter altogether, and forms a problem on which there is at present very little agreement. There is nothing concerning it in the Bible, nor, so far as is known, in Hebrew tradition. Some scholars think there were two Hirams mentioned in the Bible, and argue that one of them must be supposed to have died and that the second one came to complete the work. But this argument is of the most tenuous description. Others have suggested that the whole story was made up by the group of early eighteenth century Masons who were responsible for the revival and new organization of the Craft. Others suppose that it may be an old pre-Christian myth that in the Middle Ages was given a new dress by connecting it with Biblical characters and the building of the Temple. At present it is impossible to say definitely what is the actual truth of the matter.

 

* * *

 

"THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST" FOR SALE

 

I have for sale a complete set of "The Sacred Books of the East," published by the Oxford University Press. This set is bound in three-quarter morocco, gilt top, and is really a most exceptional buy for anybody who is interested. Ten of the volumes are entirely out of print, and if they can be obtained at all, command high premiums. Will furnish price and all other particulars on request. Address

 

H. V. C., c/o THE BUILDER

1950 Railway Exchange

St. Louis, Mo.

 

----o----

 

YE EDITOR'S CORNER

 

Ye Editor's Corner now boasts a new occupant. Bro. R.J. Meekren, formerly of Stanstead, Quebec, and an Associate Editor, came to join the staff at headquarters last February. He is altogether too modest to permit us to tell much about him. However, this much may be said, the aforementioned modesty to the contrary notwithstanding, he possesses the rarest of qualifications for the place, and we are proud to have him with us. The above photograph was taken while he was Master of his lodge at Stanstead, with the wall of the Stanstead Masonic Hall as background. Bro. Meekren has been a diligent Masonic student for many years past, specializing in the history of the Ritual, and has contributed a number of essays to Masonic periodicals, the most memorable of which was published in THE BUILDER March, 1924, page 67.

 

* * *

 

In the signature to his two-part article on "Andrew Jackson, the Man and Mason," Bro. Erik McKinley Eriksson was given as Professor of History in Lombard College, Galesburg, Ill. Since that valued contribution was set in type, Bro. Eriksson has accepted a position with Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

 

* * *

 

A CORRECTION

 

We have received information of an error in tile title of a work given in our book lists in the June number.

 

When the book was first published it was under the title as given in our catalog The Builders of Man: The Doctrine and History of Masonry, or the Story of the Craft. The secondary title was later changed to the Romance of the Craft.

 

We will be very glad at any time to receive such corrections, as in spite of the greatest care mistakes will creep in and get overlooked.

 

----o----

 

Freemasonry is not something to join or a goal to be attained, but a way to be traveled, or rather a craft to be followed.

 

 

 

 

         

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