The Builder Magazine
August 1925 - Volume XI - Number 8
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Society of Operative Stone Masons; Its Links With Operative and Speculative
Masonry of the Present Day - BY BRO. BERNARD H. SPRINGETT, L. R., England
St. Alban's Abbey Came to Be Built - BY BRO. N.W.J. HAYDON, Associate Editor
Coxe and St. John's Lodge, Philadelphia - By BRO. DAVID MCGREGOR, New Jersey
(Concluded from last month)
Spanish American Masonic Lecture - Translated by BRO. J.W. CHAPMAN, New Mexico
Brief Application of the York Rite to Daily Life - BY THE GRAND HIGH PRIEST,
Men Who Were Masons - Jabez Bowen - By BRO.GEORGE W. BAIRD, P.G.M., District
Robbins' Famous Masonic Oration - WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR
PRESENT DAY GILD MASONRY
QUESTION OF REFRESHMENT
Late Thomas R. Marshall
Appeal to the Masonic Fraternity
POLITICAL IDEAL IN FREEMASONRY
FROM "MORALS AND DOGMA" - Selected by Charles Henry Smart, 32nd degree, Sec.
of the Scottish Rite bodies, Nashville, Tenn.
ROYAL ARCH PROBLEM
REVOLUTION, THE PLOT AGAINST CIVILIZATION
HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY IN WYOMING
GROUP OF BOOKS ABOUT MASONRY IN SCOTLAND
THE SECRET OF ABHOR VALLEY
to Read in Masonry - Jurisprudence, Constitutions, Monitors, Etc.
SECRETS OF ARCHITECTURE
QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE
AMERICAN MASONIC FEDERATION; HIRAM ABIF AND THE BIBLE
SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST" FOR SALE
Society of Operative Stone Masons; Its Links With Operative and Speculative
Masonry of the Present Day
BRO. BERNARD H. SPRINGETT, L. R., England
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
W. Postgate, in his valuable trade union work, The Builder's History, writes
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
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."
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:
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."
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.
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
St. Alban's Abbey Came to Be Built
BRO. N.W.J. HAYDON, Associate Editor
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
STORY RELATED BY ROGER DE WENDOVER
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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.'
STORY OF MATTHEW OF PARIS
"Vitae Duorum Offarum"
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.
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
OF THE MOST CHRISTIAN KING OFFA FOR HIS WORK
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.'"
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.
Hone, in his book.on the English Miracle Plays (Ancient Mysteries Described,
London, 1823), writes:
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
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."
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Coxe and St. John's Lodge, Philadelphia
BRO. DAVID MCGREGOR, New Jersey (Concluded from last month)
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 !
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
LODGE MET AS USUAL
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.
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
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.
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.
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE "ALL AMERICA IDEA"
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.
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
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?
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.
Spanish American Masonic Lecture
Translated by BRO. J.W. CHAPMAN, New Mexico
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
BIBLE IS NECESSARY
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
ENGLISH WORKING TOOLS ARE EMPLOYED
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."
Wardens aid the Master in inspecting our work, paying the wages, and
encouraging us to perfect our rudimentary knowledge.
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.
DEGREES SIGNIFY THE THREE AGES OF MAN
degrees have also other significances: they represent the three principal
periods of the life of man.
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.
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.
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.
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.
said that this is the proper emblem of a complete philosophical system,
especially of Freemasonry.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
purpose has ever been for mutual profit, and not, as some believe, to fight
forcibly against the clergy.
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.
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.
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
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.
we observe the life of the aspirant, and demand information more less
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.
Brief Application of the York Rite to Daily Life
GRAND HIGH PRIEST, Texas
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MARK MASTER'S DEGREE
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."
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.
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.
PAST MASTER'S DEGREE
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
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
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
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.
MOST EXCELLENT MASTER'S DEGREE
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.
ROYAL ARCH DEGREE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
COMMANDERY OF KNIGHTS TEMPLAR
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Men Who Were Masons
BRO.GEORGE W. BAIRD, P. G. M., District of Columbia
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.
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.
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.
college conferred on him, in 1769, the degree of L.L.D., honoris causa, and in
1800 Dartmouth honored him in the same way.
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.
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.
Howe'er I view this thought of God,
star, a babe, a tree, a clod
that in it all there lies
Thought and Breath that never dies.
know we not there is no death
all the Atoms of His Breath?
o'er to nothingness depart
very stream from God's own heart?
is! For see we not His face
every form, in every place?
every smiling summer tree?
every calm or raging sea?
every sun in every sky,
every bright gleam in the eye;
every sense and thought we know
own Life our highways go.
our actions and repose
every dewdrop on the rose;
Infinite Space and Endless Time -
is God - The One - Sublime
Robbins' Famous Masonic Oration
AN INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR
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.
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,
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.
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
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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
MASONRY IS NOT
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
SOCIETY A MISNOMER
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.
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.
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.
tombstone standing where pestilence has blazed its desolating way through
crowded cities is but a monumental record of the self-sacrificing spirit, thus
striking illustration of its influence came under my own observation a few
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
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.
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
last libation that liberty draws, From the hearts that bleed and break in her
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.
INTO A COMMON MANHOOD
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.
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
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.
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.
POTENT SOCIAL FORCE
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.
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.
your club is on the bum,
your members will not come.
take hold and do your part,
help give the thing a start,
all that you are smart-
the programs are a frost,
help put the thing across,
grub's not what you like,
Threaten to go on a strike;
help, for the love of Mike-
you get a bill for dues,
you're asked to help, refuse;
her do it--she gets paid-
should she be seeking aid?
is why her job is made-
Editor‑in‑Chief - H.L. HAYWOOD
L. CLEGG, Ohio
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
H. DERN, Utah
CHARLES F. IRWIN. Ohio
E. MORCOMBE, California
FORT NEWTON, New York
C. PARKER, New York
M. WHITED, California
E. W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
PRESENT DAY GILD MASONRY
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.
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
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.
* * *
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
* * *
QUESTION OF REFRESHMENT
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.
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.
these gatherings there are always Masonic toasts, and they should not be
proposed or responded to in the presence of strangers . . ."
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Late Thomas R. Marshall
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.
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.
Appeal to the Masonic Fraternity
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.
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.:
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
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
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.
DR. J. G. CARPENTIER ALTING, Late Member of the Council of Netherlands, India,
The Hague (Holland).
ADMIRAL WILFRED HENDERSON, Ropley (England).
A. BARON VAN ITTERSUM, Chamberlain to H. M. the Queen of the Netherlands, The
A. E. F. JUNOD, Late Minister, The Hague (Holland)
ARIENS MAPPERS, Amsterdam (Holland).
STEPHAN KEKULE VON STRADONITZ, Dr. jar., utr., Dr. Phil., late Chamberlain to
H. S. H. the Prince of Sehaumburg-Lippe, Berlin (Germany).
DR. C. N. STARCKE, Prof. of Philosophy at the University of Kopenhague
TOWNSEND SCUDDER, late Justice of the Supreme Court of New York (U. S. A.)
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
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."
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.
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
that does me a favor hath bound me to make him a return of thankfulness.
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
not beyond the tomb, but in life itself, that we are to seek for the mysteries
faithless and the false in public life and in political life will be faithless
and false in private.
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.
citizen who cannot accomplish well the smaller purposes of public life cannot
compass the larger.
Masonry neither usurps the place nor apes religion, prayer is an essential
part of our ceremonies.
true problem of humanity is wrought out in the humblest abodes. No more than
this is done in the highest.
ROYAL ARCH PROBLEM
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.
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.
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.
Chairman Committee on Foreign Correspondence, Grand Chapter, Royal Arch
Masons, New York
SCIENCE AND FREEMASONRY
MASTER BUILDER. By S. G. Fielding. Stiff paper, 68 pages. Price, postpaid,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* * *
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,
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
* * *
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ! )
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* * *
GROUP OF BOOKS ABOUT MASONRY IN SCOTLAND
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,
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.
these may be obtained through the Book Department of the National Masonic
Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* * *
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 ?
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:
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."
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.
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."
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.
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
Rezon, Laurence Dermott.
Ancient Charges and Regulations, Cornelius Moore.
Ancient Masonic Rolls of Constitutions, Wm. J. Hughan.
By-Ways of Masonry, John T. Lawrence.
of Masonic Law, Robert Morris.
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.
of Masonic Jurisprudence. Henry A. Robertson.
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.
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.
Charges of British Freemasons, Wm. J. Hughan.
Constitutions of Freemasonry, Edited by Joseph Fort Newton.
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.
SECRETS OF ARCHITECTURE
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.
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.
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.
is the Royal Order of Scotland? Does it exist in this country?
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.
* * *
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.
St. Louis, Mo.
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.
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.
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.
* * *
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 ?
S., New Hampshire.
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
* * *
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
* * *
AMERICAN MASONIC FEDERATION;
ABIF AND THE BIBLE
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?
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 ?
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.)
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."
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.
* * *
SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST" FOR SALE
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.
C., c/o THE BUILDER
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.
* * *
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.
* * *
have received information of an error in tile title of a work given in our
book lists in the June number.
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.
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.
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.