The Builder Magazine
October 1925 - Volume XI - Number
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Idealism of Masonry - By BRO. H.C. DE LAFONTAINE, P.G.D., England
Jones, Scottish Mason, American Patriot - By. BRO. WILLIAM M. STUART
WAS FREEMASONRY DESIGNED TO BE? - By BRO. SILAS H. SHEPHERD, Wisconsin
Masonry Is Not - BY BRO. GEORGE H. DERN, Governor of Utah, P.G.M.
Between Lodge and Chapter - By BRO. N.W.J. HAYDON, Toronto
Story of Freemasonry in Colorado - By BRO. GEORGE B. CLARK, Colorado PART II
ATTACKS ON FREEMASONRY IN AUSTRIA BY BRO. THEODOR HILM, AUSTRIA
DOES IT STAND FOR?
LEADERS OF THE BLIND
ALANSON B. SKINNER
Is Symbolism? - By BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
KEYS OF FREEMASONRY
STORY OF SAMSON AND ITS PLACE IN THE RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT OF MANKIND
QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE
REGULATING THE INTERVAL BETWEEN DEGREES
EVOLUTION OF THE LODGE
GENERAL GRAND LODGE
OF THE EASTERN STAR
PRESIDENT HAYES A BAPTIST?
SHOULD GIVE INSTRUCTION?
Idealism of Masonry
BRO. H.C. DE LAFONTAINE, P.G.D., England
main purpose of this article is sufficiently indicated by the title, and the
author has set forth what in his opinion Masonry should be and what it might
be. But there is an additional interest to American readers, in that it will
help them in forming a picture of some of the many differences in usage and
custom between Masonry as it has developed on the two sides of the Atlantic,
though, as the article demonstrates, the spirit is the same.
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, in his admirable and much-to-be-recommended book entitled
The Builders, when discoursing on the subject, "What Is Masonry?" says:
"Masonry is the activity of closely united men who, employing symbolical forms
borrowed principally from the masons' trade and from architecture, work for
the welfare of mankind, striving morally to ennoble themselves and others, and
thereby to bring about a universal league of mankind, which they aspire to
exhibit even now on a small scale." This is a quotation from a German Handbuch
on Masonry, and you might say with some reason that these noble sentiments
come from a tainted source; but, as a Mason, I cannot render myself so bigoted
a person as to refuse to employ a definition which so aptly expresses the high
aims and intentions of our system. Had our own Masonic intellectuality evolved
a similarly expressive statement, I should not need to have borrowed from a
has been much talk about the League of Nations; indeed, there already seems to
be a Wilsonian directness about the phrase. We, as non-political brethren,
cannot deal with the question. We can only make large eyes and meditate on the
disingenuous method of securing in the future universal and permanent peace by
constituting a vast continent to be the arbiter of world decisions. A League
of Nations is an idealism that is beyond the bound of possibility or
probability; but, on the other hand, a League of Mankind, though again an
idealism, is something that can be brought down to earth, that, indeed, is
actually here, though men know it not and go on inventing impossible schemes,
when they have already to hand in the inner teaching and the foremost
principles of Masonry the greatest panacea for the softening and obliterating
of this world's troubles that people have ever known.
"Amidst bitterness and strife Masonry brings men of every rank and walk of
life together as men, and nothing else, at an altar where they can talk and
not fight, discuss and not dispute, and each may learn the point of view of
sometimes hears the sentiment voiced, "Masonry is my religion," and one can
sympathize entirely with such an expression of opinion. For Masonry in its
highest essence "is Religion, a worship in which all good men may unite, that
each may share the faith of all." "No part of the ministry of Masonry is more
beautiful and wise than its appeal, not for tolerance, but for fraternity; not
for uniformity, but for unity of spirit amidst varieties of outlook and
Masonry imposes no dogma, invents no shibboleth, imprints no creed. In its
vast idealism, it embraces all peoples, tolerates all world-wide religions and
narrow sects, holds out its hand to all who are groping in darkness for a way
to light, and says benignly ill words, not strange to our ears, "Come, I will
show you a more excellent way." I quite believe that many Masons do find in
the higher teachings of Masonic science that which more nearly satisfies their
spiritual yearnings than any carefully elaborated system of religious thought
which, encrusted into rigidity by tradition, has come to be known as all that
is necessary to the soul's health. One of the great powers of Masonry, and one
of the chief factors in its stability is that it "seeks to free men from a
limiting conception of religion, and thus to remove one of the chief causes of
cannot, in leaving this ideal aspect of the Craft, forbear quoting a few
sentences from The Builders, and if you know them already, I must apologize,
but for myself I think we can never hear them too often. They come upon us
like a rush of sweet, clean, invigorating air, fresh from the Atlantic,
permeating all the recesses of our somewhat effete civilization.
is a man a Mason ? When he knows that deep down in his heart every man is
noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself. When he
knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea even in their sins.
When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to
keep friends with himself. When he can be happy and high-minded amid the
meaner drudgeries of life. When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain,
and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he finds good in every faith
that helps any man to lay hold of divine things, and sees majestic meanings in
life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he has kept faith with
himself, with his fellow man, with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in
his heart a bit of a song, glad to live, but not afraid to die."
Masons often fall far below their high ideal, it is because they share in
their degree the infirmity of mankind. He is a poor craftsman who glibly
recites the teachings of the Order and quickly forgets the lessons they
convey; who wears the honourable dress to conceal a self-seeking spirit; or to
whom its great and simple symbols bring only an outward thrill, and no inward
urge toward the highest of all good. Apart from what they symbolize, all
symbols are empty; they speak only to such as have ears to hear."
IS A CHASM BETWEEN PRACTICE AND PRECEPT
cannot be denied by anyone who has any power of observation that there is a
wide divergence between practice and profession in Masonry. But this is common
to every human institution, and must always be so, according to the nature of
things. And nowhere is this more vividly illustrated than in the history of
religion. The teaching is sublime, but the disciple, overburdened by human
weaknesses, drags it down and endeavors to fit it to his own earthly ends. It
is prone to all of us to make the most solemn professions with our lips, and
to go away and belie the spirit of what we have said. And then men blame the
teaching, and not the feeble human instrument. Masonry is founded on those two
principles which go to make up the whole of religion, independent of any
accretions which may have hidden them from immediate view or endeavored to
strangle them out of existence, and these principles are, as you well know,
love of God, and love of man, both reacting and interacting on each other. One
is the complement of the other; you cannot separate them; they stand or fall
together. We all respectably declare ourselves God-lovers, though in some
instances, if the love that we show to a fellow man exemplifies our love to
the Divine Being, the Divine Being must be a very neglected and solitary
selfishness of humanity is the great hindrance to the realization of the inner
strength of Masonry. Remember the five points of fellowship! They bind
together brother Masons in the strongest bond of charity that can be imagined.
You greet your fellow man as a brother, and in doing so you become his ally
for life; your further actions touch every point in his life, domestic, civil,
and religious. And yet who has not known many who have faller from grace, who
have endeavored to interpret their vows and obligations in the manner in which
people interpret the Bible, squaring precepts and texts to their own
advantage, sheltering themselves under the much abused maxim "Autre temps,
autres moeurs!" But these reflections need not make us despondent or reduce us
to a condition of hopelessness--the lesson for us is to show a bright example,
to make others see by our own lives and conduct that Masonry is not a simple
medium for convivial entertainment, that it is not a benefit society, and that
it is not an association for the enticement and beguilement of hoary headed
veterans and down-cheeked youngsters from homestead or from amorous dalliance,
but that it affords to all, if properly understood and consistently practiced,
the right means for living an upright life, a life which may be said to be
passed in the shadow of God's smile.
directed your thoughts to the ideals of Masonry, I now turn to mundane
considerations, and proceed to note some details in the working and practice
of Masonry. As to the forms in which our present Masonry is enshrined, opinion
has varied from time to time as to the expediency of uniformity. From a
general survey of the question I think anyone must see that any endeavor in
this direction would be rather like an attempt to revise the Book of Common
Prayer of the Church of England. And the result would be the same--many
historical landmarks would be lost for all time, and a somewhat emasculated
version of our ceremonies would have to pass muster. At a Quarterly
Communication of the Grand Lodge of England, you may remember that a brother
once brought forward a resolution advocating uniformity ritual. It met with no
approval, and no one could be found to act as seconder. You cannot deduce from
this too much, as possibly the same resolution at some other meeting of Grand
Lodge, attended by another contingent of Masons, might have met with some
support. Yet I do not hesitate to say that I believe that the majority of
really working Masons are opposed to any attempt to reduce our ritual to one
monotonous level of sameness.
would suggest, however, to all private lodges such a measure of uniformity as
enables the officers to work in harmony conjointly with the Master. To take
only one instance to illustrate what I mean--a candidate, if he is paying due
attention to the ceremony, must be somewhat mystified to be told by the Master
that it was in this position that Moses prayed fervently, etc., and then to be
told, when conducted to the Senior Warden's pedestal, that it was really
Joshua who so prayed, and not Moses at all. It would be well that a Master
should state the working he intends to adopt, and should suggest to his
officers the practice of uniformity in working. But in the case of long
standing oral traditions, the Past Masters of a lodge have much to say as to
the regulation of the ritual so that the poor Master's constitutional
authority vanishes into thin air. However, if Masters will be so weak as to
come in danger of being snuffed out, they must blame their own supineness.
ANACHRONISMS ARE NOTED
candidate who takes a lively interest in Masonry will notice in the Craft
degrees many anachronisms, many redundancies of speech, many misquotations,
and not a few grammatical errors, and will he correspondingly shocked or
astonished; but the way can be made smooth in this respect, and we cannot
argue from this that a brand new ritual should be evolved which should
endeavor to satisfy all parties. There is no doubt that Emulation (1) working
has made great and astonishing strides, and is much in favor. Personally, I
have always considered that, whatever the ritual, the question of paramount
importance is to interest, to teach, to instruct the candidate. Avoid all
parrot-like utterances, and do not say things like a machine, even if you do
lose a match-box. Be natural, be easy, have your ritual at your fingers' ends,
be able to play with it as you like, pause for effect at the proper moments,
and never let the candidate see that you are at a loss for a word, quickly
substitute another, if it is in a nonessential part of the ceremony. The
candidate, the candidate, that is all you have to think of; not yourself; you
must throw away every shred of selfconsciousness when you begin your work.
Then you may succeed in doing justice to yourself, but not otherwise. A most
unfortunate effect is sometimes produced by a Master suddenly stopping and
again repeating what he has previously said, under the impression that he has
not used the actual words. This breaks the continuity of the ceremony, jars on
the candidate, and produces a feeling of nervous insecurity in the lodge. The
intonations and inflections of the voice also have much to do with the
effective rendering of the ritual. A persistence in one hard, dry, rasping
note not only fatigues the listeners, but is wearisome to the speaker. But it
is so easy to give advice. I think I might now fitly say, as was said to one
of old, "Physician, heal thyself."
been speaking about the candidate, and this leads me to the consideration of a
point on which I have always felt very strongly, and which I think deserves
serious thought, and that is the training of young Masons. If I may speak from
my own experience, my initiation meant nothing to me. The ceremony was
shuffled over in a very perfunctory sort of way, with the result that I went
away thoroughly unedified. You will, therefore, not be surprised to hear that
it was two years before I presented myself for my Master Mason's Degree. It
was then indelibly imprinted on my mind how different my entrance into Masonry
might have been under other circumstances. According to the present method, it
seems to me that you hatch your chickens, you then hide away the mother-hen,
and the only nutriment you provide for the callow brood is a few scattered
grains pressed down into the cracks of the earth by the greedy struggles of
the fully fledged birds. The retort may be made that there are lodges of
instruction for all Masons both young and old, (2) and I would not for one
moment gainsay the usefulness of these organizations, nor decry the valuable
work that they have done. Here the newly-made Mason may begin to take part in
the purely ritual part of Masonry; his mind may also be further trained and
enlightened by hearing the working of the various sections of the lectures.
But, when all is said and done, this is only the fringe of the great
enveloping vestment; the threshold, as it were, of that mighty temple not made
with hands; the tiny candle which attempts to hold a light to the sun. Dr.
Newton, in the preface to his book, has these words:
"Fourteen years ago the writer of this volume entered the temple of
Freemasonry, and that date stands out in memory as one of the most significant
days in his life. There was a little spread on the night of his raising, and,
as is the custom, the candidate was asked to give his impressions of the
Order. Among other things, he made the request to know if there was any little
book which would tell a young man the things he would most like to know about
Masonry. What it was, whence it came, what it teaches, and what it is trying
to do in the world. No one knew of such a book at the time, nor has any been
found to meet a need which many must have felt before and since. By an odd
coincidence, it has fallen to the lot of the author to write the little book
for which he made request fourteen years ago."
will now see an additional reason for my having recommended this work to your
notice at the beginning of my remarks. But even this book, admirable as it is
in itself, does not altogether satisfy me. It seems to want directness, and it
lacks practicality, a point I always judge to be of supreme importance. It has
also the characteristic of being what I should call "high falutin". I say this
not unkindly, but only as a concession to the beginner in Masonry. I therefore
am still waiting for the manual which will be an adequate vade mecum to the
neophyte in Masonry.
ought here, however, to mention that a little work, excellent in its way, has
during the past two years been published and put in circulation. What Is
Freemasonry? is the title of this brochure, and the well known name attached
to it, that of Bro. Crowe, vouches for its correctness and usefulness. I have
many times given it to Entered Apprentices, and I hope they have profited by
the information it contains. Lord Ampthill, in the preface that he wrote for
the book, says:
seize this opportunity of repeating a suggestion which I have often made,
namely, that there should be some brief discourse on Masonic history, Masonic
principles, or on the administration and activity of the Craft at every lodge
meeting. Let the Past Masters take it in turn to speak for five minutes and
tell the junior members of the lodge something about these matters, or advise
them what to read. Let the younger brethren be examined in their knowledge of
these subjects after they have had a chance of reading." Also, "The precepts
which have been handed down to us from the days when everything depended upon
oral tradition, repeatedly emphasize the duty of imparting instruction over
and above that contained in the fixed ceremonies."
manual is really a step in the right direction; I cannot say it is all
sufficing, but a notable point in its favor is that it contains a copy of a
letter which is sent to every candidate for initiation in the old lodge.
"Union des Coeurs," at Geneva. I have never read anything more suitable in
tone and more felicitously expressed, and as Bro. Crowe points out, "it is
suited both to candidates and newly-made brethren of every country." Lord
Ampthill thinks that our own lodges should send out a similar letter.
nevertheless abide by my previous statement--that I am still waiting for an
adequate Masonic vade mecum; the book I have mentioned goes part of the way;
Dr. Joseph Fort Newton's book goes a long part of the way; but there is still
a longer journey.
MASONIC EDUCATION DESIDERATED
for some time thought that, besides lodges of instruction, there ought to be
classes for those Masons who are disposed to take an interest in the science.
And here we enter on the educational side of Masonry. These classes should be
held weekly, or fortnightly, if possible, and should be presided over by
experienced Masons. Occasionally an examination might be held to test the
growth of knowledge on the part of the students. Some well-known Masonic
textbook, if such a thing exists, might be made the basis of instruction, and
a catechism might even be devised as a useful adjunct. You will be thinking
that I am now plunging into a sea of utopian impossibilities, and that I am
addressing Masons who have no business avocations to engage the most part of
their time and attention. It is truly said, however, that the busiest people
can always make time for further labors, and I honestly believe that such a
course as I am suggesting would come as a positive refreshment to the
continued poring over the hard arid facts of life, and would serve to recreate
and enliven a sometimes jaded mind and body. At all events, let trial be made
before the notion is swept into the dust-heap of wild-cat schemes.
proof of Masonry being an educational science, I may once more revert to words
from Dr. Newton's book, which, I perceive, is fast obsessing my mind as being
a useful foundation on which to build. He is quoting from Albert Pike's MS.
Lessons in Masonry and the subject is the inner meaning of the three grips
which occur in the ritual of Craft Masonry. The first the Entered Apprentice's
grip, may be likened to the power and function of science. "Science, so far
from proving the immortality of the soul, lays aside its instruments, unable
to prove that there is a soul. Not by that grip can man be raised from a dead
level to a living perpendicular. Logic," as personified by the Fellow Craft's
grip, "then tries to demonstrate that the soul in its nature, is indivisible,
indestructible so immortal." But not even "by that grip can man be raised to
walk in newness of life. There remains," in the Master Mason's grip, "the
strong grip of Faith"; "once we know that the soul is akin to God .... we have
a reach and grasp and power of faith whereby we are lifted out of shadow into
OFFICERS SHOULD NOT OVER MEDDLE
the conduct of private lodges, one must speak with a becoming discretion, as I
have no eyes of admiration for the newly-appointed Grand Officer who thinks he
has a mandate from the Grand Master to oversee and correct what he judges to
be irregularities and departures from the usual ritual. He blusters with a
newly-acquired importance, and often through his own imperfect knowledge makes
confusion worse confounded. At the same time I have always declared that Grand
Lodge does not make a sufficient use of those whom it appoints to office. They
might, those of them who have leisure for the same, be sent to visit Provinces
and to collect information as to the work and progress of lodges, which, when
tabulated, might be of great assistance to those working in the office at
Freemasons' Hall. This is only one direction in which work might be done.
Naturally, such visitation must be in no sense inquisitorial; that would be
fatal; it must be in the nature of kindly friendship, sympathetic guidance,
and counsel. Therein, I suppose, is the danger, that if such a system were
instituted, square pegs might not fit into round holes.
is one practice which even in the mildness of my nature I cannot avoid
condemning, and that is the practice, seen in so many lodges, of saluting
every officer after his investiture by the Master. I can find no authority for
this, and I see no meaning in it. And strange to say, it is only too often a
Grand Officer, who as Director of Ceremonies, shouts, "To older, brethren."
Such a practice seems to me to harmonize but ill with the dignity of the
ritual, and Grand Officers ought to know better than to give it countenance.
DIVISION OF LABOUR RECOMMENDED
think a Master, if he presides over an actively working lodge, should endeavor
to distribute the as widely as possible, and not to keep the lion's share for
himself. He may be the best of Masters, but he imposes on himself a needless
strain when in one evening he makes himself responsible for the three degrees,
and he is not giving the Past Masters that opportunity of pleasant
reminiscence which they sometimes so ardently desire.
the lodge, in most instances, follows the meal, the pleasant symposium, where
all can meet on a thorough basis of equality as at a common table, and
exchange confidences, and make acquaintances which strengthen the Masonic
bond. A pleasant and useful function, but by no means to be looked on as an
integral factor in Masonry. To talk of it as the Fourth Degree is to lower
oneself into an abyss of Masonic ignorance, appalling in its height, depth,
and breadth ! To hurry over work in lodge, in order to get to the dinner
table, is to prove that for some Masonry means little else than a private
feeding club! But, now as to the Fourth Degree ! How can one discover a Fourth
Degree, when, as Royal Arch Masons will know, and as others will come to know,
we are expressly told that there is no Fourth Degree in Craft Masonry, but
only a ceremony which is a completion of the Third, or Master Mason's Degree ?
I venture therefore to plead that this utter misnomer be once and for all
abolished from periods of refreshment in any lodge. If, during its working,
any lodge is called off, the brethren are called "from labor to refreshment",
not "to attend to the work of the Fourth Degree".
in an old Masonic work, published in 1769, the following suggested by-law for
lodges, and I quote it as containing a perhaps useful admonition for all,
though the convivial side of Masonry is not now the mad carouse which in some
instances it used to be. It runs:
nothing has a greater tendency to bring the Craft into disrepute than keeping
late hours on lodge nights; the Master shall be acquainted by the S.W. when it
is Nth o'clock, and shall immediately proceed to close the lodge; either of
them failing herein shall forfeit the sum of . . . and any member who is in
the lodge (and not being a traveller or lodger in the house) remaining in the
same house after Nth o'clock, shall also forfeit the sum of . . . It is hoped
and expected that no member will offend against this law, calculated to secure
the honor and harmony of the lodge, to prevent uneasiness to our relatives at
home, and to preserve the economy of our families."
MUSIC IS NEEDED IN LODGES
lastly, as to music in lodges. I note that in Anderson's Constitutions there
is, at the end of the book, an appendix, containing "Some of the Usual
Freemason Songs." Amongst these may be found the Master's Song and the
Warden's Song, both by Bro. Armstrong, as also the Fellowcraft's Song, by Bro.
Charles de la Fay, and the Entered 'Prentice's Song, by Bro. Matthew Birkhead.
Above the song is written "to be sung after grave Business is over." Then
follows a collection of songs under this heading: "The following songs are not
in the first book, but being usually sung, they are now printed." These
comprise the Deputy Grand Master's Song; the Grand Warden's Song, by Bro.
Oates; the Treasurer's Song; the Secretary's Song, and the Swordbearer's Song.
It may be interesting to note, under this heading, that Mozart owed many of
his impulses as a composer to his connection with Freemasonry. Indeed a short
Masonic cantata, which was composed on Nov. 15, 1791, and performed a few days
afterwards at the consecration of a new Masonic temple, is the last work which
Mozart completed. I suppose it is not generally known that in the overture to
Mozart's famous opera, "The Magic Flute," there occur three chords, three
times repeated, with pauses between, given out by the wind instruments alone,
and the rhythm of these chords is a musical expression of the knocks in the
Third Degree. They occur again in the opera in the scene of the Temple
assembly as a sign that Tamino, the hero, is accepted and appointed to undergo
the tests. But this by the way of parenthesis.
that I have spoken about, you will see, goes to prove, except in one or two
instances, that music has been more especially prominent in connection with
the convivial side of Masonry than with actual ceremonies in the lodge itself.
I dare say I am somewhat hypercritical as to music, but I do say
unhesitatingly that rather no music at all than music inefficiently performed.
There is but little scope for music in the Three Degrees of our Craft ritual,
though a skillful organist can by a well chosen and well modulated
accompaniment considerably enhance the beauty of the Master Mason ceremony.
The greatest scope for music is afforded by the consecration of a lodge. I
have attended numberless consecrations, and I can only say that I have thought
both the music then given and its general rendering pitiful and beneath
contempt. I am afraid music is taken but little notice of by the ruling
authorities in the Craft. It is curious to me that no Grand Organist has
compiled or collected a selection of music worthy of the dignity of our Order.
The only music I ever remember hearing in connection with Masonry which at all
impressed me was at a rehearsal of the consecration ceremony by a London Lodge
of Instruction. It was made a special feature of the occasion, and great pains
had been taken to secure adequate talent. The result was most harmonious,
which will not be so if I drag out to further length these reflections. I have
endeavored to give them a certain degree of practicality, and I hope that
which I have written may bear a little fruit in a greater devotion to our
Order, and a fuller acquaintance with its sublime principles.
be thought that in the latter part of my remarks I have wandered altogether
from my subject, but I would rather contend that the several points I have
noted, if looked at and considered in the right spirit, do tend to the
elevation and the proper presentment of the high ideals on which the Order is
founded. I must confess that the recent great world struggle rather struck
Masonry at its base, and caused one to have grave doubts and apprehensions as
to its future. But through the providence of the Great Architect of the
Universe, it has recovered its equilibrium, and now stands in a position of
greater strength than possibly it has had at any period of its present form of
existence. I feel that this very strength is a clarion call to consolidate our
efforts in promoting peace and harmony and earnest good will amongst ourselves
and the peoples of the earth. I think it is a wise decree that prohibits us
from employing Masonry politically. If anyone has studied the history of
Masonry in other countries, particularly in those where the Latin races
abound, he will see that our Order has been made a screen to mask the most
daring and appalling crimes. And yet, in view of this, I do venture to say
that we do not actually live up to the high standard of our Masonic calling.
Of course it will be understood that I am speaking of Masons in the aggregate,
and not of individual and honorable exceptions. If I should seem severe or
captious, I can only say that Masonic zeal perhaps tempts me to make
over-heated statements, but as to their veracity I feel certain. Masonry if
properly apprehended, opens the door to a new world --we pass from darkness to
light--see to it that that light irradiates in an ever widening center, so
that you may communicate wisdom and knowledge during your path through life!
(by the Editor)
There are several forms of ritual followed in England among which those taught
by the "Emulation" and "Stability" Lodges of Instruction are perhaps the best
known. Those who would like more light on this subject would do well to
consult Sadler's history of the former (if they can get hold of it) and
Golby's "Century of Stability." The "Masonic Ritual Described Compared and
Explained" by J. W. Hobbs would be very useful in this connection. 2. This of
course refers to England where lodges of instruction are common. They are
regularly organized and are open to all Master Masons.
Jones, Scottish Mason, American Patriot
BRO. WILLIAM M. STUART
author of this vivid historical story of Revolutionary days is becoming widely
and deservedly known as a writer of American fiction, and we are glad to be
able to introduce him to our readers, and to be able to promise them further
productions of his pen.
the tale of a mythical god of old Athens reads the record of that courageous
gentleman of the long ago, who though born in one of the lower stratas of
Scotch society, attained riches, titles and honor; who came to walk with
kings, but whose proudest boast ever remained that he was an American citizen.
Jones, the son of a poor Scotch gardener, was born July 6, 1747, in Arbigland,
parish of Kirkbean, stewartry of Kirkcudbright. It was on the estate of Lord
Selkirk, a nobleman of distinction, whose castle was on St. Mary's Isle, that
Paul first saw the light of day. Years after the future commodore of the
American navy was to do the employer of his father an injury and then make
youth of Paul Jones was spent on the shores of the Solway Frith across the
channel from Whitehaven, which also he was to bring into the limelight of
Although the name has now become so familiar that it is difficult to think of
him in other terms, it must not be forgotten that the famous sailor's birth
name was not Paul Jones, but John Paul. Under that name he was at the age of
twelve apprenticed to a Mr. Younger of Whitehaven, a merchant engaged in
trading with America. Before he was thirteen John Paul sailed for
Rappahannock, Virginia, in the ship Friendship. From the first he liked
America. His elder brother, William Paul, had already settled in Virginia, and
it was in his home that John stayed while on this first voyage to America.
business failure on the part of Mr. Younger now induced that gentleman to
release John from his apprenticeship, and the boy was therefore thrown upon
his own resources. He, however, improved to the full such limited
opportunities as he had. Filled to the brim with the thirst for learning, he
studied late at night, not only navigation and kindred subjects, but French as
well. In time he became a very good French student, and his scholarship in
other lines was such that he did not have to blush when in the presence of the
was still but a boy when he shipped as third mate on a slaver hailing from
Whitehaven. And in 1766 he secured a berth as first mate on the brigantine Two
Friends, also engaged in the slave trade. At this time the business of slave
trading was considered entirely respectable, but John Paul grew so disgusted
with it that he left the business after the ship had arrived in the West
Indies, and returned to Scotland as a passenger on another vessel. On the way
over both the captain and the mate of the ship died of the fever, and Paul
took command, bringing the brigantine safely into port. This act earned for
him the appointment as master of the ship.
year 1770 he commanded the Betsy of London, a vessel engaged in the West India
trade. John now entered into speculations and made considerable money. It was
in this same year of 1770 that, being ever in search of Light, he was
initiated in St. Bernard Lodge, No. 122, F. & A. M., of Kilwinning,
Kirkcudbright, Scotland. This was on Nov. 27.
next year John Paul renounced Scotland as his home, and in 1773, being called
to virginia to settle the estate of his brother, William Paul, he decided to
stay there and set up as a planter. He now had some property, although it
would appear that he never was a very rich man. It was also probably about
this time that he decided to change his name by adding to his birth name that
recently it had remained a mystery just what induced him to take this step.
But a few years ago that indefatigable historian, Cyrus Townsend Brady,
cleared up this point. It seems that during his lean years Paul had grown on
very friendly terms with a gentleman of North Carolina by the name of Wiley
Jones. Although Brady does not mention this point, it is exceedingly probable
that the cause of this friendship was Masonry. Jones was of much help to John
Paul when the latter sorely needed it, and in romantic gratitude Paul added
the name of Jones to his own. Later Wiley Jones was instrumental in securing
for John Paul Jones his first commission in the infant navy of the United
Paul Jones seems to have been an enthusiastic and consistent Mason. Both
before and during the Revolution he was a frequent visitor at the lodges in
Boston, Philadelphia and New York. There is not the slightest doubt but that
it was Masonry which first brought him to the attention of influential
Americans. Later most of the officers who sailed with him on his various
cruises were Masons, including the afterward famous Richard Dale, lieutenant
on the Bonhomme Richard at the time of her battle with the Serapis. Dale and
Jones were firm friends as well as Masonic brothers, and worked together in
Dec. 7, 1775, John Paul Jonex received his commission as lieutenant in the
Continental navy, being ordered to service on the Alfred. It is said that to
him fell the honor of hoisting the first American flag over a ship of war.
This was the celebrated Rattlesnake flag with the motto, "Don't Tread On Me."
first independent command was the schooner Providence of seventy tons burden
and armed with four tiny guns. With this feeble force he made a very
successful cruise in which he captured sixteen vessels and destroyed British
property aggregating a million dollars.
Shortly after this, while in command of the Alfred he made another cruise and
captured great stores of clothing, of which the patriots were then in much
Jones was commissioned a captain on the very day that the stars and stripes
were adopted as the national flag. Ordered to the command of the Ranger, a
corvette of three hundred tons, he hoisted at her masthead on the 4th of July,
1777, the new flag. This particular ensign had been made from "slices of their
best silk gowns" by the Misses Mary Langdon, Augusta Pierce, Caroline
Chandler, Dorothy Hall and Helen Seavey, of Portsmouth, N. H., for
presentation to Jones for this very ceremony. The ladies were present on the
deck of the Ranger when the flag was raised.
flag had a glorious history. It streamed over the Ranger when Jones set sail
to carry to the King of France the news of Burgoyne's surrender; it still flew
from the masthead of this famous ship when she captured the Drake; it received
from the united French fleet at Brest on Feb. 14, 1778, the first salute by a
foreign naval power; and it went down with the Bonhomme Richard after the
desperate fight off Flamborough Head.
According to Augustus C. Buell in his history of Paul Jones: "When Jones
returned to this country in February, 1781, he found Miss Langdon of 'the
quilting party' a guest of the Ross family whose house was always his home in
Philadelphia. By way of an apology he explained to her that his most ardent
desire had been to bring that flag back to America, with all its glories, and
give it back untarnished into the fair hands that had given it to him nearly
four years before. 'But, Miss Mary,' he said, 'I couldn't bear to strip it
from the poor old ship in her last agony, nor could I deny to my dead on her
decks, who had given their lives to keep it flying, the glory of taking it
did exactly right, Commodore,' exclaimed Miss Langdon, 'that flag is just
where we all wish it to be--flying at the bottom of the sea over the only ship
that ever sunk in victory.'"
arriving at Brest with the message for the French king, Jones soon took the
Ranger on a cruise destined to be famous. He fairly swept the English Channel
and the Irish Sea of British commerce, causing the price of marine insurance
to sky-rocket and himself to be denounced as a pirate, a blackguard and a
Knowing the harbor of Whitehaven like a book, he determined to surprise it and
burn the shipping. Taking two boat crews, he landed in the night, surprised
the forts, which appear to have had but small garrisons, then attempted to
burn the fleet of merchantmen that fairly crowded the harbor. But here fortune
turned against him. His torches had burned out. Running into a nearby house he
secured some fire which he placed in the hold of a vessel warped to a dock.
Soon this ship burst into flame.
now the dawn had come up and the populace were aroused. Jones himself
describes what ensued. He says: "The inhabitants began to appear in thousands,
and individuals ran hastily toward us. I stood between them and the ship on
fire, with my pistol in my hand, and ordered them to stand, which they did
with some precipitation. The sun was a full hour's march above the horizon;
and as sleep no longer ruled the world, it was time to retire. We re-embarked
without opposition, having released a number of prisoners, as our boats could
not carry them. After all my people had embarked, I stood upon the pier for a
considerable space, yet no person advanced. I saw all the eminences round the
town covered with the amazed inhabitants."
raid had been but partly successful, yet it served to terrorize the
inhabitants of the British coast towns and awaken them to a feeling for the
coast-wise citizens of America, who for so long had been forced to endure the
aggressions of the British navy.
ever in the mind of Paul Jones to secure as a hostage some prominent Briton,
that his captivity might serve to mitigate the evil experienced by the
Americans. With this end in view he approached St. Mary's Isle and saw through
the clustered foliage the turrets of the castle of Lord Selkirk.
estate of this nobleman Paul had played as a little child. He knew every inch
of the surrounding country. He held the family of Lord Selkirk in the highest
respect, for the Lady Selkirk had in old times often befriended his mother.
But he knew that if he could secure the person of the nobleman it would go a
long way toward insuring the good treatment of American prisoners, such as
were at this time languishing in that floating hell, the Old Jersey prison
Choosing two boat crews of his most trusty men, Jones debarked from the
Ranger, landed on the shore of St. Mary's Isle and proceeded up the broad
driveway that led to the castle.
very soon upon two countrymen, the Americans learned that Lord Selkirk was
away from home. This was bitter news for Jones; but as the person of the lord
was all he wanted, he gave the command to his men to right about face and
march to the pier, but the men were inclined to revolt. They wished to loot
the castle of the family plate that they knew it must contain.
pondered their grievance. He well knew the mental processes of the average
common sailor. In those days if a sailor could not make prize money or secure
loot he was very prone to mutiny. Bitterly Jones resented being placed in the
position of a plunderer, and at that of one who had befriended him in his
childhood. However, he could not risk a mutiny at this time.
therefore, directed the officers of the party to proceed with the men to the
castle and secure the plate, but on no account to permit any other pilfering,
or any injury to the people of the castle. He then returned to the shore and
awaited the return of his men.
party, now fully satisfied, made its way to the castle, secured the plate and
returned to the Ranger without doing any further damage either to property or
when the plate was put up for sale, Jones, although he really could not afford
to do so, purchased it and returned it to Lord Selkirk with an explanation and
apology. His courtesy and thoughtfulness were acknowledged by Lord Selkirk in
a letter which was printed in various papers, but which did not serve to
lessen the storm of abuse showered upon Jones by the British public. The
British had grown to fear him, hence they hated him.
raid has been made the subject of a novel by Cooper, and The Pilot has had a
popularity with the reading public that has continued to this day.
Shortly after this event Jones was attacked by the British man-of-war Drake
near Carrickfergus. The Drake was a ship about equal to the Ranger in size and
weight of metal, but was heavier manned.
late in the afternoon when the action commenced. It continued for over an
hour. At the end of that time the Drake's rigging, spars and sails were cut to
pieces, one-fifth of her crew had fallen, and she was completely helpless. She
was therefore forced to strike. On the Ranger but two men were killed and six
wounded. Jones carried the Drake into Brest harbor as a prize.
the French alliance, Jones thought it probable that he would be able to secure
a command sufficiently strong to work havoc upon the British shipping. Said
he, "I do not wish to have command of any ship that does not sail fast, for I
intend to go in harm's way."
met with many discouragements. Franklin tried to aid him, but it was not until
the summer of 1779 that he was enabled to secure a command that promised to be
of any avail. Then he was given the Duc de Duras, an old, rotten East
Indiaman, which he proceeded to turn into a warship. Many of her guns, forty
in number, were rusty and positively dangerous. Her crew had to be raised
among the offscourings of the docks and wharves. Of her entire personnel, but
seventy-five of the seamen were Americans. The rest were foreigners of various
breeds, including even so, me Malays. The French government loaned him an
hundred soldiers to act as marines. The officers were mainly American and
included the brave, active and efficient Lieutenant Richard Dale, personal
friend and Masonic brother of Jones. The flag that floated over the old ship,
renamed the Bonhomme Richard, now in the harbor of L'Orient, was the same that
Jones had raised on the Ranger in Portsmouth harbor.
Jones' little squadron there were also four other vessels, the Pallas, Cerf,
Vengeance, Alliance. The last named was a small, well-built American frigate
with an American crew, but commanded by the Frenchman, Captain Landais, who
had been given this command as a compliment to the French government. Landais
was a half-insane, wholly-jealous crank, who bitterly resented having Jones
rank him, and who proved when the crucial moment came that he was more of a
menace than a help. The three other vessels were small affairs, thoroughly
French throughout, but flying the American flag. With this polyglot and feeble
command Jones started out to win honor for the flag and immortality for
himself. And, strange as it may seem, he succeeded in doing both.
Sailing the temporarily quiet waters of the North Sea on the evening of Sept.
30, 1779, Jones on the quarterdeck of the Bonhomme Richard sighted near
Flamborough Head a large fleet of merchantmen convoyed by two powerful ships
of Britain's navy. The first, a fine new frigate of fifty guns, was commanded
by Captain Pearson. This frigate was the Serapis. The second ship of war was
the sloop Countesss of Scarborough.
already growing dark; a finger of light streamed from the tower on Flamborough
Head; the moon was shedding its soft radiance over the water; the light of the
battle lanterns made plain the rows of portholes in the sides of the ships.
Crowds of curious people had gathered along the heights to watch the expected
fight. The merchant vessels scuttled for cover, but the warships came straight
toward the challenger of the naval supremacy of England.
now from the dark shadow with the double row of lurid portholes came a loud
cry, "What ship is that?"
answer Paul Jones gave a command and a heavy broadside rang out from the
the flash of the guns had died out an answering broadside crashed from the
eighteen-pounder gun of the Serapis. Through the rotten sides of the Richard
the heavy balls tore, splintering beams and tearing human flesh.
too, there was other cause for apprehension on the part of Jones. Two of the
old rusty cannon in the lower tier of guns burst with the first discharge,
killing their crews and hurling pieces of metal everywhere, some of them even
penetrating the deck above.
the Richard surged slowly ahead while Jones tried to manoeuvre her into
position for raking. Still firing heavy broadsides, the Serapis avoided her
antagonist and came sweeping up on the port side. Soon the bowsprit of the
Serapis got entangled in the rigging of the Richard and locked together the
two ships swung side by side, the bow of each pointing in a different
direction. Jones hastened to lash the ships together, for he well knew that
his chance of success lay in making it a close fight. If he allowed the
Serapis to chose her distance she could knock the rotten old East Indiaman to
pieces with impunity.
now the Pallas, another one of Jones' squadron, proceeded to attack the
Countess of Scarborough. The other ships gave no aid. Rather, the crazy
Frenchman, Landais, took himself off with the Alliance, while the other ships
stayed at a safe distance.
gloom of the autumn evening had fallen fast; it was now quite dark, except for
the joint illumination of the moon and the ever-flashing broadsides of the
ships. The roaring of the heavy cannonade echoed and re-echoed along the coast
and far inland, filling the hearts of the peasantry with foreboding.
high poopdeck of the ancient ship stood Paul Jones watching the enemy pound
his command to pieces under his very feet. For the decayed planking of the
Richard offered but slight impediment to the flight of the heavy balls from
the battery of the Serapis. Within an hour from the time the action commenced
the main battery of the American ship was silenced, everything in the path of
the terrible discharges from the enemy being blown either out or in. It is
said that from this time on the balls from the eighteen-pounders of the
Serapis went straight through the Richard without hitting anything, the
planking and timbers on both sides having been cut asunder and hurled out of
the way. The gundeck was a veritable shambles. And now the ship caught fire !
immediately after this the ship's carpenter told Jones that in the hold the
water was pouring in very fast. The old tub was sinking under their feet. And
to add to the confusion, someone released the two hundred prisoners that had
been held below deck on the Richard. These men came tumbling up the hatchways,
adding tremendously to the hazard of battle, for they were all British seamen.
And now among the mongrel crew of the Richard some began to cry for quarter,
while even among the officers murmurs were heard that Jones should strike.
Surely this was the time to try a man with a heart of oak. But Jones had a
heart of steel and fire.
now from the Serapis came the hoarse cry, "Have you struck?"
Immediately Jones sprang upon the rail and, funneling his hands, roared back
through the sulphurous gloom, "sir, I have not yet begun to fight !"
as though in an effort to blast that unconquerable spirit, the broadsides of
the Serapis reopened with added intensity. Splinters flew in clouds, the
flames secured a new start, masses of stifling smoke rolled up from below
decks and almost strangled the men. All of which but served to stir Jones to
he caused a rumor to be circulated among the released prisoners that the
Serapis was sinking, and that the only salvation for both crews was to keep
the Richard afloat. The terrified prisoners thereupon, rushed to the pumps and
worked heroically, releasing for other duty many of Jones' men. Next he hauled
two nine pounders across the spardeck, had them loaded with chainshot and
grape, and opened fire on the mainmast of the Serapis, hoping to bring it
down. Then he directed the fight in the tops and the rigging of the entangled
this time Jones stopped long enough to reprove one of the junior officers for
indulging in profanity. "Don't swear, Mr. Stacey," said he. "In another moment
we may all be in eternity, but let us do our duty."
view of the fact that the British have always characterized Jones as a pirate,
this seems rather strange language to use at such a time and place.
British had it all their own way below decks, it was not so either on the main
deck or aloft. The French soldiers of the Richard had from the rigging of the
American ship fairly swept the deck of the Serapis clear of men. Also, the
Americans had speedily swarmed into the tops and upper rigging of the Richard
and, crossing over into the rigging of the Serapis, had driven the topmen out
and gained command, thus being able to fire directly down on the British deck
and into the various hatchways that led to the gundeck below.
now an old American tar, taking a bucket of hand grenades, crept out along a
yard that hung directly over the main hatch of the British ship, calmly
lighted the fuse of one of his missiles and tossed it down into the hole.
Almost immediately there followed a terrific explosion, which tore up part of
the deck of the Serapis and put many of the guns of her main battery out of
seems that the powder monkeys of this battery had accumulated behind each gun
several surplus charges, while some had been broken open and the powder strewn
along the decks. When the grenade exploded here the loose powder was ignited
with disastrous results.
the Americans fairly rained grenades on the deck of the Serapis and even
tossed them through the portholes of the ship. If most of their cannon had
been rendered useless, they yet retained and could use a most formidable
weapon. And now the Serapis caught fire. The Richard had been almost
continuously on fire.
Richard the doctor came running on deck bawling that the water was gaining so
fast in the cockpit that it already floated the wounded there. He advised an
immediate surrender. "Tut ! Tut ! Doctor," smiled Jones amid all that reign of
horror, "would you have me strike to a drop of water? Just help me a bit with
crew of the Serapis growing desperate, attempted to board. They were beaten
back. The crew of the Richard made a like attempt which also failed. But the
continued hammering of Jones' two ninepounders against the foot of the
mainmast of the Serapis bore fruit. The mast tottered and swept downward into
the sea carrying the top of the mizzen mast with it.
Jones things now looked brighter. But at this instant out of the gloom came
the Alliance firing alike upon both the Serapis and the Richard. In vain the
Americans shouted for the crazy Frenchman to hold his fire. Broadside after
broadside he discharged, returning again and again to the attack. Many of the
Richard's crew were killed by the missiles from the Alliance, the captain of
which desired to make the Richard strike to the Serapis that he might have the
honor of taking both ships.
that their calls were unheeded, the Americans of the Richard's devoted crew,
now under fire from both friend and foe, turned again to their job. Lieutenant
Richard Dale had been wounded, but in the excitement of the fight failed to
realize it. Throughout the contest he was a veritable tower of strength to
contest had now been raging for three hours. About half of the crew of the
American ship had fallen; nearly two-thirds of that of the Serapis. The Pallas
had captured the Scarborough. This fight could not go on forever; human
endurance could not stand much more; nor were there men enough left in both
crews to furnish food for powder for many more hours. Someone had to yield.
Jones would not. Hence on the deck of the Serapis, the commander, Captain
Pearson, tore down the British colors with his own hands.
bloodiest fight in all naval history was over !
perfidious Landais had at last sailed away with the Alliance. Lieutenant Dale
led on board the captured Serapis a prize crew and sent Captain Pearson and
his first lieutenant to the Richard. When Pearson handed to Jones his sword in
token of surrender, he is reported to have made a remark to the effect that he
would hate to fight with a halter around his neck.
answer of Jones was characteristic of him; courteous, high-minded gentleman
that he was: "Sir," said he, "you have fought like a hero; and I make no doubt
your sovereign will reward you in the most ample manner."
Pearson's sovereign did just that thing; he made Pearson a knight. When a long
time after this Jones heard about it, he remarked dryly, "He deserves it. And
if I ever fall in with him again, I'll make him a duke."
morning after the bloody night battle it was soon found that the poor old
Bonhomme Richard, which Jones had named in honor of his friend, Dr. Franklin,
could not be saved. Therefore, the prisoners and the wounded were transferred
to the deck of the Serapis, jury masts were rigged on the latter, and sail set
foremost the Richard sank into the sea, from her topmast still streaming the
first Stars and Stripes ever hoisted over an American man-of-war.
Arriving at the Texel, Jones was commanded by the Dutch to either set the
French flag over his ship, accepting a French commission, or give up his
one of Jones' famous sayings was that "I have ever looked out for the honor of
the American flag."
this occasion he lived up to that saying, as he always did. He refused to
lower the American flag, choosing rather to give up his prizes. Deposing
Landais from the command of the Alliance, Jones shifted his colors to that
ship. After carefully refitting her, Jones put to sea in the teeth of both a
howling gale and a whole fleet of blockading British ships and brought the
Alliance safely through the English Channel to Corunna in Spain, and later to
a French port. The five hundred and four prisoners that he had taken were
afterward exchanged for a like number of patriots who had been languishing in
was now not only a hero, he was the talk of all Europe. The French created him
a Chevalier of the Order of Merit. He returned to America in February, 1781.
Congress proceeded to pass a flattering resolution concerning him.
end of the war found no command for him in the American navy, for the navy was
temporarily abolished at the close of the struggle. Jones went to Russia and
was commissioned by the queen a rearadmiral, later being promoted to the grade
of admiral in command of a squadron in the Black Sea. In the Russian navy he
displayed his genius as of yore, but he did not like the service. He
eventually returned to Paris, where his health began to fail. He died July 18,
1792, being but forty-five years of age.
According to the historian Brady, to whom reference has already been made,
there was found among the papers of John Paul Jones the following in his own
1775, J. Paul Jones armed and embarked in the first American ship of war. In
the Revolution he had twenty-three battles and solemn recontres by sea; made
seven descents in Britain, and her colonies; took of her navy two ships of
equal, and two of superior force, many store ships and others; constrained her
to fortify her ports; suffer the Irish Volunteers; desist from her cruel
burnings in America, and exchange as prisoners of war, the American citizens
taken on the ocean, and cast into prisons of England, as 'traitors, pirates,
and felons !' "
since being made a Master Mason Jones had retained his membership with the
lodge at Kilwinning, but it does not appear that he received a Masonic burial
in Paris. The Protestant cemetery in which he was interred was officially
closed in 1793, and the location of his grave was forgotten. But a few years
ago General Horace Porter, then United states Ambassador to France, caused a
search to be made, the results of which were that the body of the hero was
discovered, identified, and brought back to America on the deck of a warship
more powerful than he had ever dreamed of.
Annapolis his casket now rests, at the famous school where young fledglings of
the Eagle's brood are taught technical details of the sea officer's trade, and
filled with the heroic traditions of our navy. And among those traditions
there are none more inspiring than those which cluster about the name of him
who has at last been brought back home.
urge of his fiery courage and unquenchable spirit has tended to animate
thousands of young officers who have made the navy of the United states a
thing known and honored throughout the world. It was the spirit of such as he
and Lawrence which doubtless nerved the crew of the Cumberland to keep on
firing while fighting a battle that they knew was hopeless; the spirit of
never-say-die that kept them cheering for the flag above even as the ship sank
into the waves.
when many centuries shall have rolled by and our beloved nation, following
along the path blazed by the inexorable law of decay and death, has sunk into
the oblivion that cloaks the dust of Chaldea, Carthage and Palmyra, wise men
of a strange new race, as yet ill the loins of the future, searching for the
glory that was America, shall marvel exceedingly over the record of that
dauntless man, who, when the way was dark and to all others the cause seemed
lost, hurled back in the teeth of the enemy that indomitable cry of defiance
I have not yet begun to fight!"
WAS FREEMASONRY DESIGNED TO BE?
BRO. SILAS H. SHEPHERD, Wisconsin
letter accompanying the following too brief article Bro. Shephard says:
"Perhaps I have stressed brotherly love rather forcibly, but it seems to me it
really needs stressing. I have met many brethren who admitted they did not
believe in it. They were unwilling to practice what Freemasonry teaches." One
wonders very much why such brethren ever joined the Order. It hardly seems
possible that they could have truthfully answered the questions put to them
before they entered the lodge, unless this attitude be due to disillusionment.
It is as true of Masonry as of anything else, one only gets out of it what one
puts into it, and only one who practices the fraternal precepts of the Craft
can ever know what brotherly love may be.
Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons is the custodian of a system of
symbolic teaching which had its origin in a remote antiquity. From the
earliest records of humanity we find evidence of the use of geometrical and
architectural symbols being used to teach basic moral and spiritual truths.
advantage of this method of teaching is twofold. It makes a deeper and more
lasting impression, not only on the mind, but on the heart and soul of the
candidate and it precludes the dogmatism which verbal teaching has so often
included, and which has obscured the vital and fundamental truths.
symbols and allegories used by Freemasonry are all symbolical of basic moral
and spiritual truths. The verbal explanations offered may be considered as
commentaries. The symbol or allegory is always of greater value than the
commentary. In fact the great design of Freemasonry is to build a Temple of
Character by the use of the symbolic tools and implements, and every effort to
arrive at a clearer conception of Freemasonry should have this purpose ever in
enduring things in life are those that are true and vital. The Fatherhood of
God and the Brotherhood of Man are basic laws of nature, and our failure to
recognize and obey them is the cause of all our economic, social and political
strife and discord. Nature displays harmony, and mankind should subdue the
passions of ignorance, prejudice and superstition, and improve themselves by
building a character which is found to be square, level and plumb.
profess Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth as our tenets. We explain our broad
and comprehensive idea of Brotherly Love. It must be made more than lip
service to be of value--we must make it an active principle of our lives.
brethren who formed the Grand Lodge of England, in 1717, clearly defined the
only basis on which a universal brotherhood can be established. To "Only
oblige them to that Religion in which all men agree." Are we doing this today
when we refuse to recognize Freemasons who have adhered to this basic
principle more carefully than we have?
is great difference of opinion among Masonic writers regarding the exact
status of Freemasonry regarding religion. Some say it is not a religion. By "a
religion" we infer one of several or many religions, and in such a sense they
can, however, participate in the forms and ceremonies and fail to have the
highest emotions of his religious nature reached. Here he finds the vital
truths of his particular religion, be they what they may.
Freemasonry is such a wonderful system of morality that it reaches the heart
of the most humble initiate and is profound enough to make the greatest
intellects its lifelong students.
fact that it contains a whole philosophy of life and immortality and has
hidden and veiled allusions to the details which each brother must work out
for himself, makes it advisable for us to frequently revert to the vital and
fundamental truths which differentiate it from all other institutions.
Square of virtue includes, in its visible symbolic form, the lines which are
symbols of the Level and the Plumb. It also includes in its Masonic
application the basic duties of man to God by an upright life, and to our
fellowmen by equality, or Brotherly Love. The point within a circle is capable
of many interpretations and much speculation. When we consider that from a
center there are radii which project as the spokes of a wheel, we can receive
a most beneficial idea of how Brotherly Love conforms to a great law of
spiritual development. The center symbolizes the Supreme God. Each radius
symbolizes an individual. As the several radii draw away from the center they
draw further away from each other. The only way we can do our full duty to God
is by fulfilling our duty to our fellowmen, and likewise the only way we can
do our full duty to our fellowmen is by doing it to God.
builders of character we have to become proficient in the use of the tools and
implements of the several degrees, and these are for use on our own character
only. Not until we have thoroughly learned how to apply them are we given the
Trowel, which is the first implement that in any way affects others.
use we may learn to actually practice the tenet of Brotherly Love, and
consider every human being as a brother. True, he may err most grievously and
appear to deserve our severest condemnation but who among us does not err, and
are we not in a measure responsible for the environment which may have
contributed to his errors? The poorest human creature is our brother, and even
though his faults appear most grievous we must remember a most wise
admonition, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."
great design of Freemasonry is to build character. To live up to the tenets we
profess ought to be of first importance. If Brotherly Love is not true we
should cease to teach it. If it is true we are bound by every obligation of
honor and duty to put it into practice.
in a Supreme Being, whom Freemasonry designates as The Great Architect of the
Universe, and belief in the Immortality of the Soul are the only basic
religious tenets which can possibly unite men of every country, sect and
in the tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth are as far as we may safely
go in social relationship.
individuals we must continually apply all the tools and implements so that we
may complete our Temple and receive the reward, Truth--the long lost WORD. We
must use the twenty-four-inch Gauge and Common Gavel; the Plumb, Square and
Level; the Trowel and all they signify continually. Never let them rust for
want of use.
every member of a lodge has some such conception of the design of Freemasonry,
our Fraternity will function as it was designed to do, and Plenty, Health and
Peace will abound, and Peace and Good Will prevail on earth. So mote it be.
Masonry Is Not
BRO. GEORGE H. DERN, Governor of Utah, P.G.M., Associate Editor, Utah
generally like to hear or read a discussion of what Masonry is and what it
the ways of proving a thing is by elimination, and perhaps some light may be
thrown upon the subject of what Masonry is by telling a few things that
Masonry is not.
NOT A REFORMATORY INSTITUTION
first place, Masonry is not a reformatory institution. We make no pretense of
going out into the highways and byways, picking up men who have strayed and
fallen, making them members of our Fraternity and reforming them. That sort of
work is highly commendable, and Masons, as individuals, may be proud to engage
in it, but it is not the mission of Masonry. A man, to be eligible for
Masonry, is required to come up to a certain standard, and we need not fear
that the standard will ever be too high.
brother who knows that a man who has petitioned for the Three Degrees has
certain moral defects, but who says, "Well, he is a pretty good fellow in
other ways, and perhaps Masonry will help straighten him out," and therefore
permits the petition to go through, is not doing his duty.
not doing his duty, first, because, as already stated, Masonry is not a
reformatory. We have troubles enough of our own without deliberately dragging
not doing his duty, second, because you cannot reform a man by making a Mason
of him. If he is a bad Indian before he becomes a Mason he will be a bad
Indian after he becomes a Mason. A man's character is not changed by repeating
a few set phrases to him. It is not changed by what he hears, but by what he
does. His character is formed by his past life, and he will always act in
accordance with his past experiences. We are beginning to learn that a man
does not make a deliberate choice every time a question comes to him. His
actions today are determined by his actions of yesterday. His actions of
yesterday were determined by his actions of the day before, and so on back to
Psychologists sometimes explain this on the theory of brain grooves. The first
time an individual is confronted by a certain set of conditions he makes a
deliberate choice and acts accordingly. The act of making this choice makes a
groove in his brain. The next time he is confronted by a similar set of
conditions his mind has a tendency to follow this groove. It is the easiest
thing to do, and the doing of it makes the groove a little deeper. The third
time the same situation is before him it is still easier to follow the groove,
and the groove is further deepened. As the process is repeated time after
time, the groove gradually becomes so deep that the mind follows it
instinctively and without any effort. Indeed, it requires a conscious and
decided effort not to follow the groove. A fixed habit has been formed, which
has become a part of his nature. He will always and unconsciously let his mind
run in this groove, and he cannot help acting in this particular fashion
unless by a determined and persistent effort of the will he acts otherwise and
starts a new groove.
Masonic Degrees may furnish him a temporary moral stimulant that will be
beneficial if he acts according to the emotions that they arouse in him, but
almost invariably that stimulant will soon wear off, and he will then be his
normal self, and will live according to the actions of his past. If his life
has contained hate and avarice and deceit and cruelty and slander and
backbiting and lewdness, then those vices are a part of his make-up and they
will show up in the future as they have shown up in the past.
if we think we are going to make a man over by giving him the Masonic Degrees
we are sadly mistaken, for the thing is scientifically impossible. When we are
considering a petition we should think only of the man's past, and not of his
future, because his past will absolutely determine his future. If he is not a
good Mason before he gets the degrees he never will be.
NOT A CHARITABLE INSTITUTION
second place, Masonry is not a charitable institution. That is, we are not
banded together for the purpose of administering charity. It is allowable and
proper for a lodge, if it has the money, to relieve the pressing needs of its
distressed members, to help the families of deceased members when their
necessities require, and even to contribute to other worthy purposes; but
nowhere in the Ritual, code or by-laws is there anything that makes it
obligatory upon a lodge to dispense charity under any conditions. In fact, our
lodge dues are not generally figured on any such basis.
this may be surprising to some of us, especially in view of the fact that one
of our chief teachings is charity. The explanation is right here. We teach our
members to be charitable. We bind ourselves, not as a body, but as
individuals, to relieve the distress of others. It is the duty of every
individual Mason to practice charity. Masonry, as an organization, is not a
charitable institution but a teaching institution, and charity is one of its
teachings. The Mason with a true understanding of his art therefore is not
chagrined when other orders dispense greater sums in charity than do our
Masonic lodges. He is only chagrined when members of other orders are more
charitable than Masons.
NOT A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION
third place, Masonry is not a religious institution. Members of every sect and
opinion are eligible, according to our basic law, and we have no right to
reject a man solely on account of his religious belief. We hear an
enthusiastic brother say, once in a while, "Masonry is my only religion," but
in so doing he hardly uses the word religion in the accepted sense. Would it
not be more accurate to say that Masonry is a system of morality, which she
teaches to her devotees? Masonry exacts no faith or dogmas from her members.
She only requires them to be good men and true. Religious liberty and
tolerance are vital Masonic principles. Let us not forget that while we fight
intolerance in others we must also fight it in ourselves.
NOT A MONEY-MAKING INSTITUTION
fourth place, Masonry is not a money-making institution, neither for its
members nor for itself. Men are not supposed to join Masonry for business
reasons nor because they think they will reap a financial profit by so doing.
Doubtless some do, but they are careful to keep the fact in the background,
and they solemnly declare that they came uninfluenced by mercenary motives. If
you know a man has put in his petition because he thinks it will help his
business, you have an excellent reason for using the black ball.
Neither does Masonry exist to make money for itself. There are good reasons to
believe it does not do a lodge any good to become extremely wealthy. Its
ideals are apt to be higher while it is poor. It is like the early Christian
monasteries. When they were founded they had a high ideal, and their very
poverty helped them live up to that ideal. In the Middle Ages, when they had
become wealthy, many of the monasteries and convents were dens of vice and
debauchery. Possibly the same thing could be pointed out in the high life of
today. Let us hope Masonry will never have to sigh for the time, as Riley
says, "When we were so happy and so pore."
are other things that Masonry is not. This little essay does not pretend to
speak of them all. Neither does it undertake to tell all that Masonry is.
Suffice it to say in brief that Masonry is an organization of high grade men
with only one real mission, and that is character building. We may divide and
subdivide as much as we please, but it all comes back to this, that we aim to
develop the characters of our members, and we expect thereby to send a set of
men out into the world who will have an uplifting influence upon everything
Between Lodge and Chapter
BRO. N.W.J. HAYDON, Toronto
connection between "Ancient Craft Masonry", as modern American Freemasons
understand it, and the Capitular Degrees has always been more than ordinarily
interesting to the inquiring member of the Craft. In this review of the origin
of the separate ceremonies, which seem to have been more closely linked
together in earlier days, our Associate on the Board of Editors, Companion
N.W.J. Haydon of Canada, treats very interestingly the known links in the
chain of history. There is still much more to be learned, though whether all
the historic facts will ever become clear is somewhat doubtful.
a man has been received into a Masonic lodge, he is apt to become bewildered
by several claims on his attention, not the least of which are those of the
so-called "higher degrees". Finding himself almost at the bottom of the degree
ladder, instead of the top as he had rather expected to be, he will --if he
has the money to spare, and no one is good enough to advise him to digest
first what he has already experienced --inquire as to what comes next and
proceed with his travels. So the purpose of this paper is to help him discover
what "next" is most natural, Masonically, and where to stop if he would profit
by his experience.
has been in all known Masonic history but one formal and authoritative
declaration ax to just what constitutes "Ancient Craft Masonry". This is to be
found in the "Articles of Union" drawn up in November, 1813, and accepted as a
basis for the healing of the Masonic differences which had for over sixty
years (since 1751) divided our English predecessors into two hostile camps. Of
these twenty-one Articles, the second reads as follows:
declared and pronounced that pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees,
and no more; viz, those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft, and the
Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.
this article is not intended to prevent any Lodge or Chapter from holding a
meeting in any of the degrees in the Orders of Chivalry, according to the
constitution of the said Orders.
which it will be evident that all other so-called Masonic degrees or
ceremonies, of whatever title, can claim to be such only because their
membersh ip is confined to those who have passed through these original three.
EARLIEST KNOWN RECORD
when these "Degrees" became separate and secret ceremonies is still unsettled.
The earliest known record of such is dated 1702, in the minute book of a lodge
at Haughfoot, Scotland (1) and the others must have been revived prior to
1723, as they are mentioned in the First Book of Constitutions, of that date,
drawn up by Dr. Anderson.
whole history of our Order forbids any opinion as to the degrees being
originated at this date, as the brethren were so opposed to anything new that
even the changes in the Constitution, which made possible the present
broad-minded basis of admission to membership, were sufficient to commence the
bitter disputes referred to above.
Royal Arch Degree was first conferred in lodges, the word chapter coming into
official use in England about 1768, though Stirling Rock R. A. Chapter of
Scotland claims a charter of 1743. The earliest known mention of it as a
separate ceremony is found in an Irish work dated 1744 (2), but the statement
there made is that this degree had been conferred "some few years" previously
in York and in London and further, that it was conferred only on "Most
Excellent Masons" who were "an organized body of men who have passed the chair
and given undeniable proofs of their skill in architecture", so that this
degree must have been originally a reward of Operative merit.
years passed this pre-requisite became a barrier to the support of Royal Arch
Masonry, so we find that in 1768, at Bolton, in Lancashire, nine brethrer,
were "installed" Masters in order to qualify them for the Royal Arch (1), thus
making them virtual or honorary Past Masters as, distinguished from those who
were actual Past Masters, through service in the chair. The fact that nine
brethren were so treated is evidence that the custom was much older than this
record, and this method finally became a matter of routine as it is today.
Irish scholar (3) has preserved for us the record in a Dublin newspaper of
1743, that in a celebration by a lodge at Youghal, there was a procession in
which was seen "the Royal Arch carried by two excellent Masons" and a minute
of the same lodge of two brothers "passing to the dignity of Royal Arch
Masons. they being proper officers of this lodge".
AMERICAN EARLY RECORD
earliest record of this ceremony being conducted in the American Colonies is
that of a lodge at Fredericksburg, in Virginia, dated 1753, which states that
on the same evening two brethren were "raised to the Degree of R. A. Mason"
following which an Entered Apprentice's Lodge was opened.
is much more interesting material available to fill in the above outline but,
the present purpose being just to show the historical connection of the
chapter with the lodge, the reader would gain more profit by making use for
himself of the references given at the end of this paper.
next question is whence was the material drawn for the Royal Arch ceremonies;
has it any symbolic connection with the lodge; does it serve to complete the
instruction given therein?
will be remembered that, on becoming a Master Mason, one learned that, owing
to the death of the Chief Architect, the plans were all awry because the
knowledge that alone could make them serviceable was cut off. As a result
there was received only that bare statement and further Masonic progress was
based entirely on the hope that oneself or some other brother might regain
that which was lost, thereby making possible the completion of the Temple, as
existing in both h member and our Order as a whole.
CENTRAL IDEA OF OUR SYSTEM This loss and recovery of some essential element of
progress, generally termed "The Word," is the central idea of our Masonic
system. The idea is not original with us as Words of Power were known and
referred to many centuries ago, but we being Speculatives lather than
Operatives see in it not some method of ceremonial magic, but a reminder of
the perpetuation of life through the natural processes of death and renewal of
our bodies. And, since familiarity has made us contemptuous of their divine
character, we need to learn their correct use as they are the appointed
pathway to that Temple of which all humanity are the ashlars.
Oliver tells us (4) that in his time the candidate, this exaltation, was
addressed as follows:
me to congratulate you on your admission into the sublime and exalted Degree
of a Royal Arch Mason, which is at once the foundation and copestone of the
whole Masonic structure. You may perhaps conceive that you have received this
day a Fourth Degree of Freemasonry, but such is not the case; it is only the
completion of that of a Master Mason.
be said, then, without passing the limits of due caution, that the completion
of the lodge in the chapter is the finding of the lost Word of Power, embodied
in one of the Names whereby the Great Architect is known throughout this
material universe. But, because these Names are as infinite of variety as they
are of potency, we use as a focus for our finite intellirence that ancient
form preserved in the Hebrew scriptures, known as the Tetragrammaton, and
revered for centuries by countless worshippers.
this usage preceded the official separation we also learn from Dr. Oliver, as
he tells us (5) "I have before me an old French engraving of the Ground Work
of the Master's Lodge, dated 1740, containing the usual emblems and, on the
coffin, is the 'True Word' in Roman capitals."
SEPARATION OF THE CEREMONIES
why or how this conclusion of the Master Mason ceremony came to be separated
from it and worked up into a different name and condition is difficult to
state in a few words. A natural theory is that the same influence which
brought about an earlier change in Masonic methods, making it possible for
lodges to pass and raise their own members instead of leaving that power in
the hands of Grand Lodge alone, was also responsible, as our Order increased
in numbers, for granting the Royal Arch to brethren who could pass the
prescribed trials of skill and firmness, but were prevented by that same
increase from passing the chair. Even if, as is certain, the working was less
elaborate than it is today, the complete degree would be inconveniently long,
especially with the ceremonial changes involved. So that as the growing
popularity of the Craft brought in men who had to consider the value of their
time, the blemishes of "short forms" and of "hearing the lecture on
some-future occasion" could only be avoided by the actions of those who, out
of respect for the ceremonies, finally brought about the division into two at
the natural point of cleavage.
is one more consideration that should be dealt with--what good will be served
by joining the chapter and being exalted to the Royal Arch? If the Royal Arch
truly contains the discovery of the Omnific Word or of the Ineffable Name, as
it is also known, why is it that one sees the sign of the chapter on the
persons of so many ordinary citizens?
we touch on the mystical side of things, for neither lodge nor chapter is like
a College of Surgeons, which requires its students to prove their practical as
well as their theoretical knowledge of its secrets and mysteries, before they
are granted the honors and responsibilities of graduation in their degrees.
science can be learned only by experience in service and while that is
coincident with our whole life, we should not refrain from entering upon it
just because the end seems so far off. As a matter of fact we reap every day
the slowly converging results of our efforts, some long past and forgotten,
some recent, bnt the more we try to serve the more marked and speedy are the
results. As Bro. Wilmshurst tells us (6):
pursuit of "secrets" is certain to prove futile, for the only secrets worth
the name or the tinding are those incommunicable ones which discover
themselves within the personal consciousness of the seeker, who is in earnest
to translate ceremonial representations into facts of spiritual experience.
the purpose of all initiation is to lift human consciousness from lower to
higher levels by quickening the latent, spiritual, potentialities in man to
their fullest extent through appropriate discipline.
higher level of attainment is possible than that in which the human merges in
the Divine consciousness and knows as God knows.
being the level of which the Order of the Royal Arch treats ceremonially, it
follows that Masonry, as a ceremonial system, reaches its climax and
conclusion in that Order.
Canadian chapters we have three ceremonies or degrees, the other two being
known as the Mark Master and the Most Excellent Master, both of which precede
the Holy Royal Arch and act as links between it and that of the Master Mason
with their bases of history, symbol and mystery-teaching.
England and its dependencies the Mark Degree has been a separate Institution,
governed by its own Grand Mark Lodge since 1856, owing to its being refused
recognition by that Grand Chapter as a separate degree, because of the terms
of the Act of Union. There, too, it also consists of two parts, Mark Man and
Mark Master, usually worked on the same occasion, the former applying to
workmen who had gained some skill but were not yet able to work alone, and the
latter to Fellowcrafts who had earned the right to travel in foreign lands and
work as Masters (7). This recognition has now been granted officially and some
changes of organization may ensue as a result.
Scotland, the Mark is conferred in lodges, but the Royal Arch is not
recognized by that Grand Lodge, while, in Ireland, both are serving Masonic
use of the Mark is, naturally, very ancient and widespread, as Operatives,
being usually illiterate, had to use symbols for purposes of identification.
Collections of Marks have been gathered from all parts of the world where
stone has been worked, and ingenious theories devised by Masonic scholars to
reduce their various shapes to a system. For the most part they consist of
straight lines making an uneven number of angles, but curved lines have been
found in Scotland (8) and India. Indeed, the theory has been advanced that our
present alphabet, through its descent from Phoenician and Greek
letter-systems, owes its origin.s to the marks used by operatives who built
the temples of Egypt and its Colonies in Asia Minor (9).
when a distinct ceremony was first used is not definitely known. The oldest
record of its working as such is dated 1769 (10), but the famous Schaw
statlltes of Scotland under date of 1598, require that when a Fellow of the
Craft is received, his name and Mark must "be orderlie buikit" (11).
Symbolically, the granting of the right to use a Mark is akin to the Rite of
Confirmation in the Church, and to the legal "coming of age". It was not
granted until the apprentice had finished his term, passed his test, and been
received as a Fellow of the Craft by his lodge. Then, no longer need his work
be governed at every step by some more skillful Craftsman. He now stands on
his own feet and accepts responsibility for his own acts. He is considered a
man of mature years, sound judgment and good morals. His Mark is put on his
work; on it he builds his reputation and, if his sons follow in his trade,
they would frequently use his Mark, though with some slight difference. We,
though Speculatives, still follow this custom, and every Mark Master is
required to select and register his Mark and cut it on his "Chapter penny".
Apart from this we emphasize the lessons of the Master Mason by regarding the
Mark as made visible in personality and character, than which no man can go
degree is not worked in Great Britain but is peculiar to Canada and the United
States, and the latter still work the ancient ceremony of "passing the chair"
in memory of the old regulation as to Installed Masters.
the phrase "Excellent Master" has a definite place and value in Capitular
Masonry from its earliest times, it does not appear that there was also a
special or distinct ceremony conferring such a title until much later. M. W.
Bro. Mackey tells us (12) that originally "this degree was the sixth of the
York Rite" and he adds that it was "the invention of [Thomas Smith] Webb, who
organized the Capitular system of Masonry as it exists in America". As this
first Grand Chapter for the United States had not come into being in 1798, and
the original York Rite had ceased to exist by about 1789 at the latest, it
seems more probable that Webb's "invention" was simply an adaptation of
material already respectable with long use.
legend of this degree is concerned with the Keystone, and in conjunction with
the Mark, teaches the lesson of patience under injustice caused by official
ignorance, and the final triumph of work properly done.
Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry, by W. J. Hughan .
Serious and Impartial Enquiry, etc., by F. Dassigny, M. D.
Caementaria Hibernica, by W.J. Chetwode Crawley, LL. D.
Origin of the Royal Arch, by Rev. Geo. Oliver, D. D.
The Necessity of the Royal Arch, by M. Ex. Comp. William F. Kuhn.
The Meaning of Masonry, by W. J. Wilmshurst.
Ways of Freemasonry, by Rev. J. T. Lawrence, M. A.
Treatise on Masons' Marks, by Charles A. Conover.
Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. 3, page 189. Kenning's Cyclopedia of
Concise History of Freemasonry, by R. F. Gould.
Mark Masonry, by W. J. Hughan.
Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, M. D.
Story of Freemasonry in Colorado
BRO. GEORGE B. CLARK, Colorado PART II (Concluded)
ATTENTION has been directed to the fact that the authority exercised by the
Grand Lodge of Colorado was obtained from that delegated to it by the lodges
forming the Grand Lodge. Those lodges derived their authority by reason of a
warrant or charter of Constitution granted to them in regular form by the
Grand Lodges of Kansas and Nebraska. This question may be asked: from what
sources came the authority exercised by the Grand Lodges of Kansas and
Grand Lodge of Kansas was erected March 17, 1856, at Leavenworth, by
representatives of three lodges all chartered by the Grand Lodge of Missouri,
1--Smithton Lodge, No. 140, at Iowa Point, chartered May 30, 1855. No.
2--Leavenworth Lodge, No. 150, at Leavenworth, chartered Mav 30, 1855. No.
3--Wyandotte Lodge, No. 153, at Wyandotte, chartered May 30, 1855.
Grand Lodge of Nebraska was erected Sept. 23, 1857, at Omaha, by
representatives of three lodges all chartered as follows:
1--Nebraska Lodge, No. 184, at Bellevue, chartered Oct. 3, 1855 by Illinois.
No. 2--Giddings Lodge, No. 156, at Nebraska city, chartered May 28, 1856, by
Missouri. No. 3-Capital Lodge, No. 101, at Omaha, chartered June 3, 1857, by
Grand Lodge of Iowa was erected Jan. 8, 1844, at Iowa city, by representatives
of four lodges all chartered by the Grand Lodge of Missouri, viz:
1--Des Moines Lodge, No. 41, at Burlington, chartered Oct. 20, 1841. No.
2--Iowa Lodge, No. 42, at Bloomington, chartered Oct. 20, 1841. No. 3--Dubuque
Lodge, No. 62, at Dubuque, chartered Oct. 10, 1843. No. 4--Iowa city Lodge,
No. 63, at Iowa city, chartered Oct. 10, 1843.
Grand Lodge of Illinois was erected April 6, 1840, at Jacksonville, by
representatives of six lodges chartered or under dispensation as follows:
1--Bodley Lodge, No. 97, at Quincy, chartered Aug. 30, 1836, by Kentucky. No.
2--Equality Lodge, No. 101, at Equality, chartered Aug. 29, 1837, by Kentucky.
No. 3--Harmony Lodge, No. 24, at Jacksonville, chartered Oct. 2, 1838, by
Missouri. No. 4-Springfield Lodge, No. 26, at Springfield, chartered Oct. 8,
1839, by Missouri. No. 5--Far West Lodge, No. 29, at Galena, chartered Oct.
10, 1839, by Missouri. No. 6--Columbus Lodge, U. D., at Colunlbus, under
dispensation from Missouri.
Grand Lodge of Missouri was erected April 24, 1821, at St. Louis, by
representatives of three lodges all chartered by the Grand Lodge of Tennessee,
1--Missouri Lodge, No. 12. at St. Louis, chartered Oct. 8, 1816. No.
2--Joachim Lodge, No. 25, at Herculaneum, chartered Oct. 5, 1819. No. 3--St.
Charles Lodge, No. 28, at st. Charles, chartered Oct. 5, 1819.
Grand Lodge of Tennessee was erected Dec. 27, 1813, at Knoxville by
representatives of nine lodges all chartered by the Grand Lodge of North
Carolina, or perhaps more properly by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and
Tennessee. This was accomplished at the direction of and under orders from the
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. The following participated:
1--St. Tammany Lodge, No. 29, at Nashville, chartered Dec. 17, 1796. No. 2,
Tennessee Lodge, No. 41, at Knoxville chartered Nov. 30, 1800. No.
3--Greenville Lodge, No. 43, at Greenville, chartered Dec. 11, 1801. No.
4--Newport Lodge, No. 50, at Newport, chartered Dec. 5, 1806. No. 5--Overtor
Lodge, No. 51, at Rogersville, chartered Nov. 21, 1807. No. 6-King Solomon
Lodge, No. 52, at Gallatin, chartered Dec. 9 1808. No. 7--Hiram Lodge, No. 55,
at Franklin, chartered Dec. 11, 1809. No. Cumberland Lodge, No. 60, at
Nashville, chartered June 24, 1812. No. 9--Western star Lodge, No. 61 at Port
Royal, chartered Nov. 21, 1812. The title Grand Lodge of North Carolina and
Tennessee was assumed in 1801.
Grand Lodge of Kentucky was erected Oct. 16, 1800, at Lexington, by
representatives of five lodges, all receiving authority from the Grand Lodge
1--Lexington Lodge, No. 25, at Lexington, chartered Nov. 17, 1788. No. 2,
Paris Lodge, No. 35, at Paris, chartered Nov. 25, 1791. No. 3--Georgetown
Lodge, No. 46, at Georgetown, chartered Nov. 29, 1796. No. 4--Hiram Lodge, No.
51 at Frankfort, chartered Dec. 11, 1799. No. 5--(Solomon) (Abraham) Lodge, U.
D., at Shelbyville, under dispensation.
authority of the Grand Lodge of Colorado is thus traced in a regular manner
and in a direct line to that of the Grand Lodges of virginia and North
Carolina. The establishment of Masonry in these and the other colonies is
another story. Suffice it to say here that Masonry was established in North
Carolina directly from the Grand Lodge of England in two lodges and then,
through the appointment by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England of
Joseph Montfort as Provincial Grand Master for North Carolina, by the
chartering by him of some nine or more lodges. After the Revolutionary War,
these lodges, in 1787, threw off the English connection and erected the Grand
Lodge of North Carolina as a sovereign Grand Lodge which functions to this
Masonry was established in the Colony of Virginia independently by the Grand
Lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland. No Provincial Grand Master ever
functioned for Virginia, its lodges receiving charters from and reporting
direct to the Mother Grand Lodges over seas. At the time of the Revolutionary
War in 1778, nine of these lodges declared themselves independent and erected
the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
this very small beginning of 52 members in three lodges at the time of the
formation of the Grand Lodge of Colorado in 1861, the progress has been steady
and very satisfactory. At the present time, according to the returns as of
July 31, 1925, there are 31,159 members in 145 lodges, an average of 215
Masons to each lodge.
NAMES ARE MENTIONED
every branch of human endeavor there are some names that stand out over and
above the others, some names that are remembered for personal excellence or
great activities while the names of the others are lost. Colorado Masonry has
some such names, those of personages who have loomed large in Masonic affairs
and whose names and deeds it is well to remember.
first great name in Colorado Masonry is that of its first Grand Master, John
M. Chivington. Great, not because of being Grand Master, but great because he
made it safe for people to come to Colorado and enjoy life. It is to Col.
Chivington, who taught the Indian that the trails must be kept open for the
white man to come and go in peace, that the honor goes. A minister of the
church he was, but also a soldier, and one whom the Indian feared and
well to remember here at this time the name of Allyn Weston who gave us our
Ritual, which Ritual stood the severe test of a frontier civilization.
next great name to remember is that of Henry M. Teller, for so many years
Grand Master of Masons in Colorado, who carried the name of Colorado into high
places as United states Senator and Cabinet Member, and whose ability carried
the Craft through trying periods.
greatest Masonic project of our times, the George Washington Memorial Building
now under construction at Alexandria, Virginia, is the result of a suggestion
given to the Masonic world by a Grand Master of Colorado, Roger W. Woodbury.
It was he who proposed a national memorial service for our first President,
out of which came as a direct result the great memorial building. Thus the
suggestion of our Grand Master was the inspiration for two of the greatest
Masonic gatherings ever held in the United States. The first was the occasion
of the centenary of the death of Washington, held at Mt. Vernon in 1899; the
second was when the cornerstone of the Washington Memorial Building was laid.
And no doubt the third and largest will be held when the building is completed
of us have read that famous poem, "The Lodge Room Over Simpkins' store." Have
we realized that its author, Lawrence N. Greenleaf, was recognized as the poet
laureate of Freemasonry, that his fame as a Masonic poet was nation-wide? As
Grand Master ot' Colorado, as editor, as writer of correspondence reviews, and
in his many other activities he should be remembered by all Colorado Masons.
the greatest Masonic students of the country wrought among us for many years
and we are even yet slow to appreciate his greatness. Coming generations will
read the works of Henry P. H. Bromwell and perhaps find the secrets that he
tried to tell but which we of today are but beginning to suspect.
time presses, we must hurry on. We can but point out a few names here and
there and trust the future biographer to tell the greatness of these Masons.
There is E. LeN. Foster, who has given years and years of himself in the
service of his brethren through the upbuilding of a Benevolent Fund. There is
Robert D. Graham, student and probably the greatest Masonic lecturer on the
platform today, who is proud to point to a Colorado lodge as his home. Great
and wise Masons said that Uniformity of Work in the Ritual was impossible of
accomplishment--yet it was accomplished and the one responsible for it was
William W. Cooper, then Grand Lecturer and now Grand Secretary. The last name
we shall propose for coming generations to remember, is that of the most loved
of Colorado Masons of recent years, Charles H. Jacobson, for so many years
are by no means all the great names produced by Colorado Masonry but rather
just a few, a few who will never be forgotten. Nearly every lodge can tell of
men whose activities are worth recording yet who worked in the comparative
quiet of their own communities, satisfied that their fame should travel no
ROYAL ARCH IS ORGANIZED
the coming of the parent body of Ancient Craft Masonry to Colorado, came also
the concordant orders of Royal Arch Capitular Masonry, Royal and Select
Cryptic Masonry, Knight Templarism, and the Scottish Rite. Unlike the lodge
system these other bodies are governed by national organizations; and original
jurisdiction is maintained over all territory not served by a state body of
that Rite. These central national bodies had been in existence many years
before Colorado was made into a territory and naturally they claimed
jurisdiction there. In a new state these bodies are generally established in
regular order. First comes the lodge, then the Royal Arch chapter, then the
commandery of Knight Templar, and finally the council of Royal and Select
Masters. The Scottish Rite may be established at any place in the series when
there are sufficient members to justify it.
have seen that the Grand Lodge was established in 1861. We next see that the
Royal Arch appeared as early as 1863. As exclusive jurisdiction over Colorado
territory was held in the General Grand Chapter it was to this body that
petition must be made for the establishment of chapters of Royal Arch Masonry.
Dispensations were issued by the General Grand High Priest at various times
for the formation of five chapters in Colorado and each temporary organization
was perfected into a chartered chapter in due time. In this way regular
authority was given to five chapters located as follows:
Central City and numbered 1 " Denver City " " 2 " Pueblo " " 3 "
Georgetown " " 4 " Golden " " 5
1872, while there were but three chapters chartered, an effort was made to
form a Grand Chapter, but due to one of the chapters declining to take part
nothing came of it. At this time a suggestion was made that the three chapters
in Colorado and the two chapters in Wyoming combine to form a Grand Chapter,
but this movement was over-ruled by the General Grand High Priest as not being
possible under the laws of the General Grand Chapter.
the date of April 22, 1875, the General Grand High Priest gave his consent to
the formation of a Grand Chapter in Colorado. Representatives of the five
chapters met in convention on May 11, 1875, and perfected the organization of
the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Colorado on that day with five chapters and
282 members. This meeting was held in the Fink Block, corner of 15th and
Holladay (now Market) streets, Denver, Colorado. Wm. N. Byers, of Denver city,
was elected Grand High Priest, and Ed. C. Parmelee, of Georgetown, as Grand
Secretary. This branch of Masonry has advanced steadily from 5 chapters
averaging 56 members each in 1875, to 51 chapters with 8064 members, an
average of 158, as of July 31, 1925.
the benefit of the student the following table is submitted of the data as
they appear in the records of the General Grand Chapter:
Date of Date of Chapter No. dispensation Charter Central
City, No. 1. .March 23, 1863 Sept 8, 1865 Denver, No. 2.........April 1863
Sept 8, 1865 Pueblo, No. 3.........May 24, 1871 Sept. 20, 1871 Georgetown,
No. 4.....Aug. 12, 1872 Nov. 15, 1874 Golden, No. 6.........Dec. 8, 1873
Nov. 25, 1874
participated in the formation of the Grand Chapter of Colorado May 14, 1875.
TEMPLARISM IS ESTABLISHED
Templarism first appeared in 1875, as is evidenced by a dispensation issued to
members at Denver City under the date of Jan. 13, 1866, by the Grand Master of
Knights Templar of the U.S.A. to form a commandery there. Following this,
under date of Nov. 8, 1866, a dispensation was issued, authorizing the members
at Central City to form a commandery. Eight years elapsed and the next
dispensation was issued Aug. 17, 1874, for the formation of a commandery at
Pueblo. There being now three commanderies in Colorado it was deemed wise and
proper that a Grand Commandery should be formed. Sanction was given by Grand
Master J. H. Hopkins on Feb. 10, 1876, and the representatives met by
agreement at Denver on the following day. On March 14, 1876, the Grand
Commandery of Colorado was established. The first Grand Commander was Henry M.
Teller, and the first Grand Recorder was Ed. C. Parmelee. From the small
beginning in 1876 of three commanderies with an average of 42 members,
progression has been steady to the present count as of July 31, 1925, of 36
commanderies with 4771 members, an average of 133 members each.
CRYPTIC MASONRY IS ESTABLISHED
Cryptic Masonry first made its appearance in Central city in 1871, when the
Grand Master of the Grand Council of Illinois issued a dispensation under date
of Nov. 9, 1871, to several Companions to form a council there. The charter
was granted Oct. 23, 1872, as Central city Council, No. 54, on the Illinois
register. This council continued with varying success until 1875, when it
ceased to function. Nothing further was done until 1891, when through the
efforts of Companions J.C. Johnston and Henry Dowson the Cryptic Masons of
Dever were gathered together to form a council. A dispensation was issued by
the General Grand Master under date of Jan. 16, 1892, to 23 members to
institute Denver Council, No. 1. The charter was granted by the General Grand
Council, Oct. 26, 1894, to 93 members. In rapid succession dispensations were
issued and charters granted establishing councils in Trinidad, Durango,
Pueblo, Canon city, Akron, and Gunnison. The latter two, however, were not
constituted, having failed to complete their organization.
convention was called according to agreement to meet in Denver on Dec. 6,
1894, for the purpose of organizing a Grand Council. There were represented at
this convention Denver Council, No. 1, of Denver; Rocky Mountain, No. 2, of
Trinidad; Durango, No. 3, of Durango; Akron, No. 4, of Akron; Canon city, No.
5, of Canon city; and Pueblo, No. 6, of Pueblo. The charter of Akron Council
had not arrived at this time but, by vote, its delegate was seated as regular.
Organization was perfected and the Grand Council of Colorado erected in form
on this date, Dec. 6, 1894. A disagreement arose between the new Grand Council
and the General Grand Council over the manner and form of the organization of
the Grand Council of Colorado. This condition existed until July 30, 1898,
when all differences were adjusted and the Grand Council cf Colorado became a
full member of the family of the General Grand Council of the United States.
the start of 5 councils with 191 members, or an average of 38, progression has
been slow but steady until at the present time, July 31, 1925, there are 14
councils with 2454 members, an average of 175 to each council.
SCOTTISH RITE IS ESTABLISHED
the time that the chapter and the commandery were being established, those
interested in the Scottish Rite began the agitation for the introduction of
that branch. The idea is generally prevalent among nonMasons that the Scottish
Rite is one branch of Masonry in which a Mason receives at one time all the
degrees from the 4th to the 32nd, inclusive. As a matter of fact this Rite is
composed of several bodies, separate and distinct, yet all reporting to one
common body. These bodies are known as:
Lodge of Perfection, conferring the degrees of 4th to 14th, inclusive.
Chapter of Rose Croix, conferring the degrees of 15th to 18th, inclusive. The
Council of Kadosh, conferring the degrees of 19th to 30th, inclusive.
Consistory, conferring the degrees of 31st and 32nd.
Scottish Rite is administered in the united States in two jurisdictions, the
Northern with headquarters at New York C ity, and the Southern with
headquarters at Washington, D. C. Colorado is in the Southern Jurisdiction.
first body of this Rite to be established in Colorado was the Delta Lodge of
Perfection, chartered Jan. 26, 1877, followed by the Mackey Chapter of Rose
Croix, chartered April 11, 1878. For ten years there were the only bodies
chartered, but the degrees beyond the 18th were made available by
"Communication", this ceremony being generally performed by the representative
of the national body, who at that time was Bro. L. N. Greenleaf.
Council of Kadosh received its charter Sept. 3, 1888, followed very shortly by
Colorado Consistory, on Oct. 17, 1888. Colorado now had its full complement of
Scottish Rite bodies. These four bodies were all numbered 1 and located in
Denver. In 1918 a second series of bodies of this Rite were chartered in
Denver, and in 1919 a third series in Pueblo. The first returns available for
Colorado Consistory for 1889, show 53 members; while the latest returns as of
Dec. 31, 1893, show 5368 members for the three consistories .
"Shall I ask the brave soldier, who fights by my side
cause of mankind, if our creeds agree?
I give up the friend I have valued and tried
kneel not before the same altar with me?
the heretic girl of my soul should I fly,
seek somewhere else a more orthodox kiss?
perish the hearts, and the laws that try
valor, or love, by a standard like this!"
ATTACKS ON FREEMASONRY IN AUSTRIA BY BRO. THEODOR HILM, AUSTRIA
CONDITIONS in Austria in recent years have been of much interest to
Freemasons, but little has been permitted to become known because of the
necessity for extreme secrecy as to membership, even to the adoption of
Masonic names by members of the Craft--aliases as it were--that their true
identity might not become known to those interested in creating difficulties
for the Institution. In this brief article some little light is thrown on some
of the conditions prevailing in that country and also on the work which
zealous members of the Craft are accomplishing.
seems to be an endless campaign, the fight of the day with the night, of the
good with the evil, of the truth with the lie. Where are the stronger forces?
Where shall lie the victory ? The millennium, when Christ will reign and Satan
shall be bound, is it still far away? Are the efforts of those who are
striving onwards and upwards, are they in vain ? Is it a natural law that when
the glory of the light has ended, the forces of the darkness will begin to
act? Will those who bear the light, will they make it shine, all powerful,
omnipotent, or will they stumble and fall and extinguish the flame?
is strength. This has always proved true; it is of greater importance now than
ever before. Masonry today is almost divided into two camps, Anglo Saxon and
Latin, but the battle it has to fight is the same all the world over, as it
meets with the same type of opponents. Does that not mean preparing the way
for the enemy? Or are there hidden influences? Divide et impera, divide and
govern, a stratagem of ancient Rome--has Rome ever forgotten it ? Parts are
more easily defeated than is the whole. Hungary and Italy are good examples.
Who is to come next?
is a singular coincidence in the ways of war. The same kinds of soldiers are
used, national troops on business, Field Marshals, like Mussolini, visible to
all eyes, commanding. The wise General Staff in the background gives the
necessary directions. And Mussolinis, small and tall, appear everywhere.
Austria has her share, though there is paper war only. Michl, an Austrian
Pan-German, is accusing us as originators of the World War, of the murder in
Sarajevo. His recent voluminous pamphlet has been much noticed in Austria and
Germany and has found a wide circle of believers. Numerous attacks have
followed. The most important perhaps, and of more recent date-where the
General Staff even appeared on the scene-was an article in the "Reichspost,"
the official paper of the Roman Catholic party, the mightiest in Austria.
article, which appeared on April 4, 1925, is entitled "The Secret Brothers."
It tells first of the successes of Freemasonry in Austria, how the Viennese
Grand Lodge, founded Dec. 18, 1918, with fourteen lodges and a thousand
members, shows today sixteen lodges and 1500 members and is principally
interested in educational problems. This, it says, it learns from the Narodny
Listy, a leading Prague journal, while the viennese Press, where the lodges
have widespread connections and wield a power as never before, does not speak
about these successes. The article says it is as if the lodges did not exist
and did not have influence in every form of local government and legislation.
The Press is silent, it says, hiding by this silence the proceedings which go
on behind closely drawn curtains, concealed from the eyes of the mortals which
do not belong to the secret fraternity.
general turnover after the war the lodges succeeded in getting official
acknowledgment, according to this writer, for at that time nothing appeared so
urgent in legislation as to grant this permission. To speak the truth, the
article says, the lodges had never had great troubles before for, disguised as
humanitarian associations, they were doing their work and their members were
only obliged to go to the near Pressburg for the ritualistic assemblies. Now,
having free course, says the writer, it was presumed they would come out of
their secret corners and tell the world what they had to say, what gifts they
had to bestow on mankind.
things happened differently, according to the article in question. A festival
meeting was held on the first of June, 1919, in the palace of Archduke Ludwig
Viktor--a great triumph, with 600 brethren present, all in Masonic clothing.
"Now we are trusting the future," an orator declared. "If we have been taken
until now as some kind of valets of the King of Hungary, as mere harmless,
peaceful dreamers, what an error, we are not quite so harmless. Now the way is
free, as there are kings no more." In the same meeting the Grand Master
proclaimed: "Now a real Masonic activity will begin !" Nevertheless, the "Reichspost"
says it is hidden, the brothers disguised as philanthropists, as popular
educators and orators, acting in a hundred changing forms, always one aim in
view which they are concealing now ,just as they did then. They are not mere
dreamers, the article asserts. "Masonry intends and will bring war !"
thus the article goes on, accusing us as antagonists of Christendom, of
religious education, as promotors of dangerous school reforms. The 1500
brothers, it says, in sixteen lodges, is a small number, but the number does
not make it. This secret society, which wants to stay secret in the full
freedom it has been granted, does not boast itself in sumptuous temple
buildings like their American brethren, but has a predominating influence in a
very powerful political party, according to the "Reichspost," while the social
democratic Austrian workman has become its plaything. The real leaders of the
workmen are losing their power under the sway of Freemasonry, it declares,
adding that one of the most important political facts is found in the
influence of an uncontrollable international secret society on Austrian
socialism which, it says, must seriously be taken into account.
article was reprinted in full in the "wiener Freimaurer Zeitung," of April,
1925, as it supplied a welcome occasion to show that erroneous opinions
prevail in many quarters. As a reply it was stated that Grand Lodge has by no
means to shun the light of the day, that it is quite unpolitical, that it has
none of the alleged aims in view, that it has nothing to do with government or
is only one idea which the Grand Lodge is eager to serve, and that is the idea
of peace, mutual understanding and reconciliation. On numerous occasions Grand
Lodge has openly and repeatedly declared its principles, and in the six years
of its life has supported officially many institutions for the furtherance of
peace. It was specially active in propagating the Pan-European idea as a means
to enable the League of Nations to become more efficient than it is at present
and in this way to seek permanent peace on this continent. With regard to our
alleged attacks on religion and education it remains to be said that the
lodges are formally and conscientiously bound by the "Ancient Charges" which
form an essential part of our Constitution. The lodges have among their
members adherents of many parties, conservatives and progressionists, and this
being the case, it is not true that they could decisively influence a
writer's opinion the continual attacks are very much to be deprecated, as we
are rapidly approaching a new state of things, a new age, and the occasion
will need the co-operation of all forces which could serve the public weal. Of
course, if our aspirations are intentionally misunderstood, we can do nothing
more than strictly follow the way marked out by the principles of our Order
and patiently endure the assaults from whatever side they may come.
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
rather quaint that at this late day in the greatest and most civilized country
in the world, particularly remarkable (neglecting aeroplanes, gramophones,
jazz, wireless, evolution, etc.) for the enormous number of daily papers and
magazines that are published and the still more enormous number of people who
read them, that an editor should have to rise up and remark that he disclaims
all official responsibility for the opinions of his contributors. The primary
function of THE Builder, the one for which it was started and to which it has
always remained steadfast, is to provide members of the N. M. R. S., and the
Craft at large, with accurate and trustworthy information about Masonic
subjects. Some subjects are controversial and in these cases the only
possibility is to present both sides of the question as brethren able to do so
can be prevailed upon to write about them The fear of truth and knowledge,
even knowledge about the other side, is certainly not Masonic.
* * *
DOES IT STAND FOR?
present time a great many Masons are asking the question "What does
Freemasonry stand for as an Institution?" Also it would be useless to ignore
the fact that many brethren think it ought to stand for something - that it
ought to advocate patriotism or public schools or Americanization or law
enforcement. Well-intentioned brethren say, "What is it good for if it doesn't
stand for something - if it doesn't take a stand for something?" Not perhaps
in these words or exactly by the same mental steps. Many pass from an idea
that is legitimate to one that is not; from a conception of what Masonry is,
or at least should be, to one which is quite foreign to its spirit and intent.
this to be judged? To give a concrete example, it is quite within the bounds
of Masonry's traditional functions for a Grand Lodge to build a home or a
hospital or a school, and endow or maintain it. It would be, we think, though
perhaps some would disagree, quite proper for a lodge to maintain a bed in a
local hospital, to assist deserving young people with the expenses say of
going to college, to contribute to the relief of families in poverty or other
distress - without any Masonic claim on the part of the recipients of the
benevolent or charitable action. But on the other hand it would not be proper
for a Grand Lodge to recommend the building of a hospital or the founding of a
university by the state or city, and still less so for it to consider ways and
means by which a State Legislature or City Council could be induced to
undertake such projects, or the people led to support a demand for them,
however laudable the proposals might be in themselves.
this illustration a principle emerges quite clearly. Any action which is
wholly confined to the Order, over which it has complete control and which
remains entirely due to its own volition, and within its own hands, and which
is also, of course, in conformity with the tenets of the Institution, is
legitimate. But as soon as such action involves the consent or cooperation of
the community at large, or sections of the community, it becomes illegitimate.
No matter how laudable a proposal may be, no matter how necessary it may seem,
if it be one requiring the action of the community as a whole, or in the
persons of their constitutional representatives, it becomes a political
question. It is a political question even if the majority in the community
were overwhelmingly in favor of it, even if opposition to it be quite
non-existent. The mere fact that it involves political action in Council
chambers or legislative halls, or even that it requires the support of
non-Masons, puts it outside the class of things in which Freemasonry can act
as an Institution, and into that other class in which Masons must act! or
refrain from acting, as individuals, and each according to his own opinion and
will be worth while to consider the matter further, and ask the question what
the true function and purpose of Freemasonry really is. In. a large measure
Bros. Shepherd and Dern have answered the question in their brief but pithy
articles that appear in the present issue of THE BUILDER. That they have
approached the question from the opposite standpoints of the affirmative and
negative has not prevented them from reaching essentially the same
conclusions. Masonry is an association of Masons, and its function is
primarily just that, to enable Masons to associate together, learn to know
each other, help each other, teach and inspire each other. An institution of
civil engineers, a learned society of students or scientists is founded and
conducted on exactly the same principles, their particular functions, the
reason for their existence, is to afford means for an interchange of ideas and
information. An association of master-builders does not bid for contracts as
such, neither does a society of architects enter a competition for the design
of some great building. In each case individual members compete or bid, yet no
one thinks or says that their organization has no use. Freemasonry is
symbolically a society of architects and builders engaged in erecting
spiritual habitations; the Great Architect has charge of the Temple. It is
Freemasonry's function as an Institution to teach the Apprentice and train the
Craftsman - but the work is done by each individually as he finds employment
in the world.
* * *
LEADERS OF THE BLIND
WILLIAM F. KUHN, whose death was such a great loss to the American Craft, was
responsible for the following clever parody of a well-known definition of
Freemasonry. He said that to many Masons it was apparently "a beautiful system
of gymnastics illustrated by signs, steps, grips and words."
would be quite possible to take this seriously and give it a meaning quite
other than its apparent one - the one intended. For gymnastics properly mean
education as a whole, not merely physical training, the ordinary meaning in
colloquial English, and Masonic education is symbolically illustrated by steps
and signs and words, when the inquiring Craftsman begins to look beloved the
surface. But of course what Bro. Kuhn wished to emphasize was that in so many
lodges no one ever did look below the surface, and his adaptation of the
traditional formula was intended as an ironical rebuke to those ritualists who
are also literalists and have not perceived that the letter alone killeth,
that the meaning, the spirit, alone maketh alive.
Block, Past Grand Master of Iowa, is responsible for the following anecdote:
is what actually happened not long since in a certain lodge not a thousand
miles from here. The Grand Master was paying the lodge an official visit. He
had been duly received and welcomed, conducted to the East, and seated beside
a leading Past Master of the lodge. He returned the gavel to the Master of the
lodge and the work proceeded.
'Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth - '
the G. M. in an undertone to the P. M.: 'Listen to this, for I want to ask you
sortie questions.' 'All right.' . . . 'in the day when the keepers of the
house shall tremble and the strong men shall bow themselves - '
to P. M. 'What does that mean?'
to G. M. 'I don't know.'
". . .
'and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden,
and desire shall fail.'
to P. M. 'What does that mean?'
to G. M. (irritably) 'I don't know. I never did know! I haven't the slightest
idea what any of it means!'
many times he had recited it - many more he had heard it recited. Yet to him
it meant no more than does a Latin prayer to a worshipper who knows no tongue
but English. . . ."
such ignorance, which in this case could have been so easily remedied - any
public library would have the material, any clergyman could (we hope) have
explained the passage - is to be found among the rulers of the Craft, whose
duty primarily is to give instruction, what are we to expect of the rank and
there is not only ignorance of the meaning of Masonic teaching and the truths
underlying the symbols, but also of the legal and executive side of the
Institution. To see the number of questions that are referred to our Grand
Masters and their Deputies that could be answered at once by consulting the
constitutions, the code or regulations of the jurisdiction, is enough to make
one wonder if aspirants for office have the least idea of the qualifications
they ought to possess. The fact of the matter probably is that the ritual
bulks so large in lodge activities, and requires so much effort on the part of
the average officer, that knowledge of the constitution and Masonic law, and
even often enough the by-laws of his own lodge, is thrown into the shade, and
simply forgotten. There are many Worshipful Masters, unfortunately, who hardly
know how to put a motion properly and are quite unable to properly decide any
point of order that may arise. And there are very many more who have no idea
what the functions and prerogatives of the Master of a lodge really are, even
in executive matters. It is most deplorable where such conditions exist, and
shows the great need for the stimulation of a desire to learn more than the
bare forms on the part of every Mason. Without that desire little improvement
is to be looked for.
* * *
ALANSON B. SKINNER
following letter speaks for itself:
attaching a news clipping from the Fargo Forum containing an account of Bro.
Alanson B. Skinner's tragic death near Tokio, N. D., on Aug. 17. Bro. Skinner
had a very interesting article in THE BUILDER several months ago and I later
received a most interesting letter from him with reference to Masonry and the
Chippewa-Ojibway tribe, or rather that was the subject discussed.
sure that the country and Masonry has lost a most valuable citizen and brother
through his untimely death.
Hynes, North Dakota.
the clipping it appears that Bro. Skinner met his death in an automobile
accident while engaged in prosecuting his archeological researches. From 1919
to 1924 he had been employed by the American Museum of Natural History, and
was Curator of the Milwaukee Station. His Masonic affiliations were also in
Milwaukee. At one time he was on the board of Associate Editors of THE BUILDER
and it is with very great regret that we learn of his death.
Is Symbolism? By BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
SUBJECT that perennially crops up among Masons whenever they are discussing
the more serious aspects of the Institution is symbolism. It might well
appear, judging by the flow of books and articles on the symbols and symbolic
teaching of Masonry, that the subject must be worn quite threadbare, yet even
a casual acquaintance with what has been written will show that this is not
the case, indeed it will often appear that the would-be expositors are more in
need of explanation than the symbols of which they treat. It would, therefore,
seem that it might be better to attack the problem from a different angle, for
a problem Masonic symbolism has certainly become. To adopt the words of Paul
the Apostle, it is foolishness to some and to others a cause of stumbling and
Mackey, whose explanations of Masonic symbolism, in spite of much that is
questionable, are probably still the best and safest, speaks of a "Science of
symbolism," and he would define Masonry as a "system of morality developed and
inculcated by the science of symbolism." Strictly speaking, in the present day
sense of the word, there is no such thing, and what it is proposed to do in
the present article is to approach the subject from the strictly scientific
point of view.
who are at all acquainted with the story of the development of our modern
science, the really great achievement of our civilization, are aware that the
great strides that have been made in all directions in recent years have been
in part due to the breaking down of the old water-tight compartments that
separated one science from another. The comparative method has been the potent
apparatus by which so much has been done in the latest investigations,
especially in subjects dealing with man himself, individually and
collectively. It fact, many subjects not long since regarded as quite
insusceptible to scientific treatment have been elevated into sciences
properly so-called through the application of this method alone. The problems
of the different forms of religion among the various races and peoples of the
earth have very largely been elucidated by comparing them together, and
obscure survivals in one explained by cases where the custom or belief was
still in full force. And later still much has been done by considering them in
the light of psychology. Nothing is actually isolated in the world, we have to
distinguish and separate, analyze and abstract, in order to deal with the raw
material of knowledge, the multitudinous phenomena of the world around us.
This is the only way in which we can deal with it, and our minds are formed
innately and by habit to so function. But when this has been done, if we
forget (as it is so very easy to do) that our subject, our generalization or
abstraction, is intimately connected with other things at every point we lose
all sense of balance and proportion, and what knowledge we have gained becomes
in truth more or less falsified because we have lost the reality of its place
and connection in relation to the whole.
example, a very simple and obvious one we distinguish in our own bodies
various members and organs. In this case we are not likely to forget the
connection we are not likely to deem the hand an entity apart from the arm to
which it belongs, or the brain that directs it according to sensations
received by the eye or ear. But a mountain is as much a part of the earth as
the hand is of the arm, or the earth part of the solar system. The abstract
formulae of mathematics or chemistry are no more than representations of the
normal, usual or habitual way in which things behave, as much so as when we
generalize about our fellows in saying one is generous, or another irascible,
or another virtuous. Usually we prefer to say, speaking of inanimate things.
the invariable mode of action rather than habitual. But we cannot logically
use this or like terms absolutely, for our knowledge is based on a quite
limited amount of experience, and we are never likely to be able to
demonstrate that there are not minute variations in the reactions of material
objects. Human beings, and even animals, as individuals, show much variation,
but in the mass can quite well be covered by cut and dried rules as
statistical research has shown. So many individuals in a thousand will die in
a certain time, so many will be born, so many get married and so on. It is
true that the rates are variable from place to place and time to time, but we
are dealing with groups of individuals all of whom are highly variable in
themselves. If such groups can be so accounted for in useful fashion, if they
exhibit a tendency to act as a whole according to a rule or law, much more
will groups of individuals or units whose variations are very small, such as
the supposititious systems of molecules that form the material objects of
every-day life according to the accepted hypothesis of physical science. The
point is that the tendency of thought is always to make absolute and
invariable entities out of limited generalizations. We speak of justice, or
fortitude, and immediately that principle of action or disposition of mind
assumes a separateness and distinctiveness that it has not really got in
itself. This is true all through the whole field of experience, from a boy's
interest in batting averages to the business man's rules for disposing of
routine matters in his office, from the infant's first distinctions of
distance between the toy offered to it that it can grasp and the electric
chandelier for which it reaches in vain, to the biologist's classifications of
living organisms into groups and families and varieties. And so in dealing
with Freemasonry, those who are seeking further light, once they have acquired
the rudiments of the subject as taught in the lodge, can hardly have it too
often impressed upon them, that Masonry cannot be understood fully as an
isolated fact. Its history cannot be properly understood in ignorance of the
secular history of the countries and communities in which it has appeared, its
laws cannot be appreciated without reference to the science of jurisprudence
in general, its objects, its raison d'etre must be interpreted in the light of
social organization in general, and so too with regard to its symbols.
MEANING OF THE WORD DISCUSSED
first step it may be useful to see what the word symbol actually means.
Generally of course everyone knows its signification, but the history of a
word and its use often gives fresh light upon it. Webster's dictionary tells
us it is "the sign or representation of something moral or intellectual by the
images or properties of natural things," gives as synonyms, emblem, figure,
type. A sentence from Samuel Taylor Coleridge is quoted in further
elucidation: "A symbol is a sign included in the idea it represents--an actual
chart chosen to represent the whole, or a lower form or species used as the
representative of a higher in the same kind." It is also used in place of
letter, or character, as in algebra and mathematics generally.
word itself is pure Greek, transliterated without any change but the dropping
of the case ending. Symbolon. (the Greek letter "u" is usually represented by
"y" in English) is "a sign by which a thing is known or inferred," it is used
generally in Greek in the sense of sign, mark or token. Sumbola, symbols, in
Greek, were the same thing as the Latin Tesserae hospitalis, pieces of bone,
coins, or other objects broken in two, part being kept by each of two parties
as a pledge and proof of friendship. In principle these were essentially the
same thing as the medieval "tally," which was a piece of wood split in two,
after various notches had been cut on it, as a mutual record of an account. Or
the original form of cheque in which the paper was torn in two, the fitting
together of the two pieces being a proof of its genuineness. The derived
meanings of the word in Greek thus came to be the half of anything, a
corresponding part, a ticket, a permit or license, a verbal signal, a
watchword, any distinctive mark, such as the "Confession of faith" in the
Christian Churches, or the outward sign of a conception or idea.
allied word Symbolaion had the meaning of "a mark or sign from which a
conclusion is drawn" and came to be used for a covenant, contract or bond.
Both of these words were derived from Symballein, which is literally "to throw
together," a word used in very many ways, as to meet together, to fight. But
among the secondary meanings are those of guess, conjecture, interpret,
understand, compare, reckon, compute and agree upon.
all this we can see the line of development of meaning in this term, from
things put together, compared together, to things taken as representing other
things with which they have previously been put, compared or associated. There
is nothing mystical, abstruse or far fetched about all this. It is a matter of
every day usage. Limiting the meaning of the term in accord with ordinary
usage, to objects or representations of objects, that are taken to mean some
other thing or group of things not so easily described or depicted, we can
still find plenty of symbols in every day use wherever we choose to turn. Some
are very modern, as for example the trademarks of manufacturers, the badges of
societies, and some very ancient, as the letters of the alphabet. As is well
known the latter were in their origin pictures of actual objects, which were
conventionalized into pictographs such as were many of the Egyptian
hieroglyphs, and then by further simplification becoming ideograms, like the
characters of Chinese writing. How far we should be justified in calling such
designs, or graphs, symbols in the stricter sense above defined, is open to
question, but when these characters ceased to be taken as representing an idea
but were used to designate a specific soul, they certainly became symbolical.
The letter "A" in Greek is Alpha, from the Semitic, Aleph, which meant ox. The
original form of the letter was a drawing of a bull's head. In the course of
transmission, after it had become purely symbolical, the letter got turned
upside down. "B" is Beta in Greek, which is from the Semitic Beth, a house,
and was originally an outline drawing of a house.
process, however, does not altogether fit the definition given by Coleridge,
as here we have the greater representing the less, instead of the reverse, as
he postulates. Yet though the sound of the letter "A" is a simpler and a
lesser thing than Aleph, the ox, of which it is the first phonetic element,
yet as a whole the use of alphabetic writing is an enormous advance on
pictographic or ideographic. In any case whether the meaning ascends or
descends the principle of using one thing to stand for another is the same.
SYMBOLS ARE NOT OBSOLETE
symbolical devices, such as the use of a wheel in design for the badge of an
automobile association, of a wing to represent an aviator, or a word made up
of the initial letters of the full name of a firm or company, all these are
too much in evidence to need more than a bare notice in passing. Arbitrary
designs or trademarks would not, in the restricted sense, properly be called
symbols, but rather emblems or tokens (in the general sense). though whether
there are many such things as purely arbitrary marks or devices is doubtful.
In the minds of those who adopt them there is usually some connection or
association that would tend to bring them into the class of symbols properly
so-called. And here we reach the psychologic aspect of the subject. Though by
usage we limit the word symbol to an actual object, or the representation of
an object visible and tangible (or at the least a reference in words to such
an object as being real and actual) which is taken to mean something else, yet
we must not allow ourselves to be led to isolate the process of symbolizing
from the other mental processes or modes of expression in which one thing is
compared or associated with another and then used to represent, describe or
suggest it. Such rhetorical devices for example as metaphor, simile, allegory
and like figures and modes of speech are psychologically exactly the same kind
of thing as symbols.
matter of fact, many, perhaps the majority of words are the fossilized relics
of forgotten analogies, metaphors and symbolisms. For example, take the word
cylinder, which to most men will at once recall an essential part of an
engine. It is derived from a root meaning to roll, and from that root was
named a form of solid that would easily roll, a roller that is. This is
perhaps a secondary development, but let us take the word pipe, which probably
makes most people think of another mechanical artifact, a hollow piece of
metal usually. The root of this word is the same as that of "peep," a chirping
or whistling noise. This is itself probably onomatopoeic, that is, derived
from a conventionalized spoken reproduction of the kind of sound intended.
From this it is applied to a musical instrument devised to make such sounds,
such as the flute, whistle, or panpipes, and as these were all essentially
pieces of wood, metal or other material with hollow ducts, the word finally
comes to mean such objects for whatever purpose formed. Take another word at
random, the word "attend" will do. A meaning that will perhaps first occur to
mind is that of being "present at," not however just being present somewhere,
but at a special kind of occasion, nearly always implying the presence of
other people as well. The root of the word means simply to stretch. From
mechanical or physical stretching it is applied metaphorically to a stretching
or tension of the mind, to pay attention to something. From this it passes to
the sense in which one gives attention to another person, as a physician
attends his patient, and from that to attending a meeting, or a church service
where attention will be given to the proceedings. This sort of thing could be
illustrated from half the words that might be found in the pages of a
dictionary, and very likely if we knew more of ultimate derivations from the
great majority of words in all languages. Figurative and symbolical language
is especially the province of the poet and orator, but every metaphor and
simile, even of the most commonplace character and used by most matter-of-fact
people, is of the same kind thing. Either original or secondhand symbols are
our counters of conversation, and even in the driest and most precise of
technicalities may be traced what originally were fresh and poetic comparisons
and analogies. Except for an irreducible minimum of purely imitative word is
probably the most of our words were thus formed, and even the former really
follow the same principle, as to imitate a bird's note, a dog's barking, a
cow's lowing, brings those creatures to mind, the characteristic call or cry
of each standing as a representative of the individual. Some words in use
among us are patently thus originated--as the names of a chickadee and
bob-o-link and whippoorwill.
SYMBOLISM BASED ON ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS
the principle thus seen to be the underlying ground of symbolism is possibly
the characteristic mode of operation of our minds. Some psychologists have
referred all thinking to the association of ideas. This as a theory is
probably not now very widely accepted, but it, does undoubtedly have a large
place in our mental processes and it includes the kind of comparison that we
are specifically dealing with. Psycho-analysts would have us believe, not
without considerable warrant in fact, that we are all of us symbolists without
knowing it, that our dreams are elaborate and intricate systems of symbols
representing unconscious and repressed tendencies and wishes. Whatever
judgment may be passed on this theory such explanations it least again bear
witness to the universality of the principles involved, for even if they
import a symbolic meaning into phenomena in which it really does not exist, it
at least is an instance of the faculty of symbolizing, of setting one thing to
net result then of this preliminary survey is to show that the use of symbols
is a normal resource of humanity in the expression or recording of thoughts
and ideas. If this be so why is it that so many are moved to impatience and
even disgust with the elaborate symbolical explications of Masonry that form
such a considerable part of the literature of the Craft? This is a question
that could only be fully answered in detail, but in general this aversion and
impatience are probably very frequently due to a feeling that these intricate
systems are either not true, or if true are of no importance. Such an
impression is, we must confess, in many cases more than justified. But the
fault lies not with the employment of symbols but with the manner or purpose
of their employment. We do not quarrel with language or condemn its use
because some people tell us lies, or others bore us with uninteresting
relations of unimportant events. The fundamental trouble with most of the
elaborate interpretations of Masonic symbols is that their authors have tried
to read something into Craft teaching that was not properly there. Perhaps it
is not quite accurate to say properly there. It was Adam Weishaupt who said in
defense of his system that no one had propounded an explanation of Masonry or
an account of its object that received the consent of anyone else and that in
such a confusion of opinions he felt quite justified in adding another. The
truth must be confessed that Masons have never been agreed just what the
teaching of Masonry really is, or perhaps more accurately, what it should be;
and every would-be Masonic prophet and teacher has assumed, or attempted to
give the impression, that his explanation was the original and authentic one,
and was concealed in the symbols of the Fraternity by the mythical sages who
POWER OF SYMBOLS
However, these brothers are not to be condemned without deliberation; the
ground of their offending may turn out to be a trivial matter, or one of
detail only. One of the essentials of symbolism, of metaphor and simile, is
suggestiveness, which means, worked out in fact, that everyone has suggested
to him not wholly what the speaker or teacher has in mind, but largely what he
has of his own to bring to its interpretation. In technical language, and most
of our everyday language is the same kind as what is strictly called
technical, suggestiveness, vagueness, is as far as possible eliminated. When a
surgeon speaks of making an incision, or of the articulation of a joint,
though the words were originally figurative, in usage they have come to
designate very definite ideas. So when the mechanic speaks of a rivet, a bolt
and nut, or the exhaust of an engine; again all these words were originally
applied figuratively but understood very precisely. So also in such everyday
words and phrases as eating, getting up, cutting, and hundreds of others, the
meanings are so clearly defined that we all probably have about the same
mental reaction to them, that is, they have the same import to the hearer as
to the speaker. But when one describes the heat of summer, and says the "air
in the streets was like the blast of a furnace," we all realize that he means
it was very hot, but we all picture it differently according to our own
experience. One who knows furnaces will conceive it differently from one who
knows only the kitchen fire.
would be easy to select scores of illustrations from literature of this kind
of thing. Certain metaphors become fashionable, and then they start on the
downward path, and may eventually desiccate into technicalities. In general it
is unsafe for anyone to use a figure or a symbol that is out of his own
experience, the chances are a thousand to one he will not get it quite right.
That has been one great fault of many writers on Masonic subjects. They have
attempted to develop the allegorical use of Craft symbols with no knowledge of
operative Craft technique; as, for instance, when Mackey speaks of the
squaring of stones being less skilled work than that of setting them and
therefore left to the apprentices, whereas in fact it is rather the reverse.
It is easily seen that here he was constructing a supposed technical fact out
of the allocation of working tools to the three degrees in Speculative
Masonry. Some such errors are even to be found in our rituals, as where in one
degree something is said to be done "on the point of the chisel under the
pressure of the mallet." This almost reminds one of the famous definition of a
crab, that it is a red fish that walks backward. A chisel is a tool with an
edge not a point, and a mallet gives rather an impact than a pressure.
kind of mistake is more likely however to be made in the secondary development
of a symbol or group of symbols than in the original choice, and for a good
reason. A symbol or emblem (we are still using the words in their widest
sense) is first adopted to express some idea, and to express it intelligibly;
for by this time it should be clear that the primary function of symbolism is
to express, to reveal, not to conceal. Medieval craftsmen were at one in this
with Greek sculptors and primitive picture writers. One universal kind, that
in a restricted sense might not be allowed the name symbol, is the attribute.
An object which serves as a label. For instance a statue of a woman with a bow
and quiver is Artemis, with spear and helmet probably Athene. A naked man with
a harp is Apollo, with club and lionskin Hercules. So the Medieval artist put
in the wheel of St. Catherine, the lamb of St. Agnes, the keys of St. Peter.
This is quite elementary and due to simple association of such objects in the
story of the person represented, but it leads on to the symbolic
representation of abstract ideas. Before the writer lies a plate showing
insignia adopted for the Army of the United States. For the medical service is
a winged staff with serpents twined round it--the attribute of Aesculapius,
the god of healing. For foreign service is a partial view of the statue of
Liberty, for the musical service a conventional lyre, for the engineers a
castle, for aviation a perspective outline of a flying plane. This last and
several others not mentioned are on the first or pictographic level merely.
The second of those mentioned suggests that those who have been on foreign
service will have seen the statue of Liberty. The castle of the engineers
represents one of their chief functions, the designing of protective works. We
see in this modern instance a great variety of reason for adopting the
specific designs, and this has always been the case. The choice of an emblem
or symbol is due very largely to accidental circumstances, which also accounts
for the fact that the same object can represent different ideas, as the anchor
is the badge of naval service and also an emblem of hope. And on the other
hand the same idea can be symbolized in many different ways. We may have an
inflamed heart for charity, or a woman caring for little children. A torch or
a lamp or a book may represent knowledge. The torch again may mean truth.
Justice is represented by the balance, and also by the sword. The one thing is
that there should be some direct or indirect association that gives an
intelligible and natural connection between the thing represented and the
object representing it. This, of course, is contrary to the received doctrine
that symbols were chosen to conceal secret doctrines from all but the
initiated. That they have never been used in this way would, of course, be
going too far. But even here the general rule holds good? the symbol must be
obvious in meaning to those in the secret. The appropriateness of a symbol
depends on a common experience. The pictographic aeroplane is obvious in
meaning to all of us today. The more subtle symbol of the statue of Liberty
would be clear on reflection to most Americans, but might be very obscure or
unintelligible to people in other countries. The staff of Aesculapius requires
a knowledge of ancient mythology to appreciate fully, though it of course has
become almost as conventional as the letters of the alphabet.
symbol then is intelligible naturally and obviously to the group with the same
kind of experience as the one who chooses it. If the early Christians used the
fish as a secret sign it was obvious to them, it had references to baptism as
well as representing in a kind of picture puzzle a confession of faith. Jesus
Christ the son of God, the Saviour. For the initials of this phrase in Greek,
Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter, spell Iethus, the word for fish. The drawing
of a fish therefore became at once a symbol of the faith and a token of
conclusions then that we must come to are that Masonic symbolism, in the first
place, is no mystical or abstruse thing apart from everyday life, but rather
quite normal and inevitable; and secondly that the primary meaning of these
symbols is an obvious one so long as we keep in touch with reality. It may not
be always obvious to the uninitiated because he has not had the same
experience. It may not always be obvious to the uninstructed Mason because the
original fitness of the choice may have lain in a state of affairs now passed
away. To understand such as these wider knowledge is required parallel to that
necessary for the full explanation of the badge of the medical service, or how
"B" came to represent a certain consonant. But after this it must be
remembered that the advantage of symbolism is in suggestiveness, and that
everyone brings some new element to its interpretation, every one if he looks
can see some new shade of meaning. For those who like definite statements we
can conclude by saying that the primary, simple and obvious meaning is the
authoritative and authentic one, so far as these qualifying words apply, but
that any meaning the individual can find for himself is also just as
legitimate so long as it is in accord with the primary significance.
the purely Masonic aspect of the subject Mackey's Symbolism of Masonry and
Haywood's Symbolical Masonry are recommended. The latter work is the result of
two years intensive research in which about everything ever written on the
subject was examined. Mackey's Encyclopedia also has much on the subject under
psychological aspect has been extensively discussed in recent years by the
psycho-analytic school. Dreams and Myths by K. Abraham, Dreams and Totem and
Taboo by Freud, the originator of the method, and a Brief Outline of the
Freudian Theory by Barbara Low. Readers are, however, warned that they may
find much in books on this subject to repel them.
characters and symbols used in writing, the article on alphabets in the
Encyclopedia Britannica may be consulted. Of modern symbols there is a useful
list in Symbolism for Artists by H.T. Bailey and Ethel Pool.
symbolism of primitive magic Tyler's Primitive Culture and Frazer's Golden
Bough will be found useful as an introduction to the subject, more especially
as they are written with quite other purposes in view.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION What is a symbol? On what principle are symbols
chosen? How and by whom are they selected and why are they employed? Is
symbolism as a means of expression obsolete? What is it real function?
KEYS OF FREEMASONRY. By Charles E. Green. Published by R. S. Sampson, Perth,
Australia. May be purchased through the National Masonic Research Society Book
Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, illustrated, index,
163 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.00.
author states in the preface that much contained in his book was first given
in the form of lectures and addresses delivered in various places in Western
Australia, but this would not have been evident from a perusal of the work
itself, as in many similar cases it is.
rather a difficult book to classify. Arranged in the form of a connected
sequence, largely a historical sequence, it yet has much of the character of a
compendious encyclopaedia. While it is to a considerable extent (and quite
frankly) a compilation, yet the author's own thought is everywhere in
evidence. The larger part of the book is devoted to just Freemasonry, the Blue
Lodge, yet considerable space is given to the so-called higher degrees, and
their relationship, historical and symbolical, with the Craft is worked out.
chapter is in effect a select descriptive bibliography of Masonic literature.
Another is devoted to Masonic collections. There is much useful and
interesting information in the appendix. The extent of the author's reading is
in evidence on every page and the style, though unadorned, has a simple
directness about it that is pleasing. In short, it appears to be a most
excellent little book for the purpose for which it was written, an elementary
manual for the ordinary Mason who would like to know more about the Craft, but
has no access to Masonic libraries and has not the means to purchase many
books, or the time to read them. Practically every aspect of the Institution
is touched upon, including all the historical points on which there have been
or still are serious controversies. The author evidently relies a good deal on
Bro. J. S. M. Ward, more so perhaps than is really safe, as the enthusiasm of
this writer often leads him to leap to his conclusions over very wide gaps in
his argument. Bro. Green also adopts the "one degree" theory of pre-Grand
Lodge Masonry, though the evidence for two grades is almost overwhelming. He
has also evidently read the late Bro. Stretton's works and has inserted his
rather unconvincing diagram of the supposed method of raising large stones by
the Operative Masons. Bro. Stretton, by the way, an engineer by profession,
ought surely to have devised something more practical. In truth mediaeval
Masons did not use large stones as a rule. It was even one of their boasts
that their tremendous vaults and arches were built of stones that a man could
carry up a ladder on his shoulder; although of course the derrick and crane
were used by them as it was by the Romans. He also reproduces the present day
"Gild Mason's" division of the Craft into Square and Arch Masons, of which
there is no trace whatever in medieval or ancient records. It is simply a
technical feet that it is no harder to cut the voussoir of an arch than a
square ashlar. It is of course more difficult to build an arch than a wall,
but that there were ever two classes of mason setters has yet to be shown,
except the division still existing between skilled and unskilled.
points as these however can hardly be called blemishes, as the author is
entitled to present his own opinion on the points at issue; they are mentioned
only to caution readers of the book that there is a difference of opinion
about them, and that the consensus of Masonic scholarship is rather against
than for the point of view presented.
reproduction is given of the famous (or should we say, notorious) drawing in
the possession of the Grand Chapter of Scotland supposed to be by the Italian
artist Guercino. That the composition can be anything more than a sketch, is
obvious at a glance, supposing it to be by a competent artist; and on this
supposition it can hardly be intended for a real composition as the recumbent
figure is so utterly out of proportion to the others. It has never been
clearly stated on what grounds it was assigned to Guercino or to so early a
date as 1665. Nevertheless, in view of the claims made for it, it is very
interesting. and the author is to be thanked for making it accessible tin the
Craft at large.
make-up leaves something to be desired, and although the small type brings the
book down to a convenient pocket size. yet it would probably be more readable
were it larger. Wit offer this as a suggestion should the author contemplate a
* * *
STORY OF SAMSON AND ITS PLACE IN THE RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT OF MANKIND. By Paul
Carus. Published by The Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. May be
purchased through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research
Society, 1960 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Boards, 188 pages, illustrated,
index. Price, postpaid, $1.10.
little work arose out of a friendly controversy between Mr. George W. Shaw and
the author regarding the relationship between myth and history. Dr. Carus
takes the view, very generally accepted, that historical characters, that is
to say people who actually existed, often attract to themselves and their
stories legendary details from pure myths An instance is given of this, where
Alexander the Great has become the hero of quite mythical romances to the
complete exclusion of his real achievements. In like manner Dr. Carus is
willing to allow that there may have been a swashbuckling hero of the tribe of
Dan who bore the name Samson, or Shamshon, but holds that the stories
preserved in the Book of Judges are almost wholly, if not entirely, mythical.
name of the hero fits in well with this as it is derived from Shamash, a word
for sun, and literally would appear to signify "sun-like." This, of course,
though it fits the myth theory, is no evidence, as many real men have borne
names derived from the sun and other natural objects among all races, and
names of the same kind were common among the Hebrews.
author compares the Samson story, which is admittedly a fragment preserved by
Post-exilic scribes and editors of the sacred scriptures, with the legends of
Hercules, Izdubar, Dagon, Melkarth, Adonis and Osiris, and shows striking
parallels between them. Samson is not a builder, but his death in the
destruction of a temple is not without interest, and perhaps significance,
especially if the author is at all right in his guess that the original
unmutilated story gave an account of his resuscitation or resurrection.
is a great deal of material collected in the work, much of which is of
indirect interest to Masons, but it must be acknowledged that the style
affects the reader as somewhat scrappy. And though professedly written as a
popular work, yet a great deal is taken for granted the absence of which might
well leave those unfamiliar with these subjects in a state of doubt as to the
precise bearing of the facts alluded to. Also the author evidently has small
sympathy with the Hebrew point of view. In fact he compares the tribe of Dan
to gypsies and equates the Philistines with modern civilized communities, and
assumes that the real Samson, if he ever lived, was only an ancient rowdy or
tough, whom the Philistine police very properly sought to suppress. This
prejudice, however, does not affect the value of the book as a contribution to
the subject of solar heroes and demi-gods. A closer analogy would perhaps have
been the conflicts between the nomad Indians of the plains and the white
settlers. Only in the ancient case both Philistines and Hebrews were
immigrants and had an equal right, or no right, to the territory they
REGULATING THE INTERVAL BETWEEN DEGREES
Lodge le Progres of Honolulu was founded in 1841, chartered in 1842 as a
subordinate symbolic body of the Supreme Council of France, Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite.
Progres, as number 128, was carried upon the roll of the parent body at Paris
to the year 1895, when it came into the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of
California as number 371.
upwards of a generation the Lodge le Progres endeavored to operate as a
"Scottish Rite Blue Lodge." Its authorizations were derived from the Supreme
Council of France and were altered only as a friendly concession to York Rite
Masonry coming to the then Kingdom of Hawaii.
the writer is a copy of the "General Regulations of Scottish Masonry for
France and Her Dependencies," published in 1846. As a contribution to the
problem or question of the element of time in acquiring the "further" - not
"higher" - degrees, the following Regulation, being Article CCCXXV, is
delays between each of the three first degrees are fixed as f allows:
the proposition to the reception, three months;
the reception to the 2nd Degree, five months
the 2nd Degree to the 3rd, seven months; in all fifteen months.
"Nevertheless, in case of urgency, attested by an express resolution of the
lodge, and signed by the five highest officers, and clothed with the seals and
stamps, the above fixed delays can be abridged. This resolution should be
submitted to the Secretary General's office of the Rite, charged to transmit
it to the Lieut. Gr. Com., or to him who fills his office. who alone has the
necessary power to grant dispensations, of which the benefit can only accrue
upon certificate of payment of the cost of such dispensations into the hands
of the Treasurer of the Holy Empire."
Article CCCXXVIII reads:
advancement in degrees is asked for by the Senior or Junior Wardens for those
of the Apprentices or Fellowcrafts who have completed their time and who
appear to them to merit this favor, by their instruction, their assiduity and
your issue of June, 1925, just to hand, I notice an article headed "Should a
Grand Lodge Regulate Advancement to the Higher Degrees?" and I perused the
varying answers from quite a number of the American Grand Lodges.
Grand Lodge of Queensland is the baby Grand Lodge in the world, and I think I
am safe in saying that the control of admission to the Higher Degrees is
entirely outside its jurisdiction. The difficulties met with in your parts
are, however, provided for by regulation in the Higher Degrees themselves.
this State of Queensland it is impossible to enter Royal Arch Masonry within
twelve months of being raised as an M. M. A Royal Arch Mason can then take
some of the "side degrees," such as the Royal Ark Mariner, Red Cross Council
and the Cryptic Series almost any time he likes: but when it comes to the
really Higher Degrees, such as the Rose Croix or 18d, then so far as the
Scottish Rite is concerned, a Mason must have proved himself by long and
active service both as a Mason and as a Royal Arch Mason before his admission
would be considered. In the Rose Croix Degree the members are all elderly and
those who have won their spurs, and also very select.
again, it is provided by Constitution that a further five years must elapse
before he can be admitted into the 30d. So you will see how we are safeguarded
in Queensland. If you can publish this in your next issue of THE BUIEDER it
may do some good.
P. Marks, Hon. Sec'y, Supreme Council S.C.,
* * *
EVOLUTION OF THE LODGE
to thank you for your notes on the evolution of the lodge. When I was made a
Mason (in 1874) the lodges in this jurisdiction were always opened on the E.
A. Degree, and every Entered Apprentice had the option of joining the lodge at
the time of his initiation, and thus becoming a contributing member with all
the privileges and responsibilities of membership. He might remain
unaffiliated if he chose to do so. Two who took their degrees with me did not
join the lodge, because they were about to go to California. They visited the
lodge two or three times after receiving the degrees, and were recorded as
visitors from the lodges of the Holy Saint's John. I was sorry when our Grand
Lodge amended its regulations, and ordered that the work of the lodge should
be done on the Third Degree, and none but Master Masons admitted to
are many good things in THE BUILDER this month. Long may it flourish.
Vroom, New Brunswick.
* * *
GENERAL GRAND LODGE
would like to know the history of the attempts to form a General Grand Lodge
of the United States and the causes of failure. Where can I locate this
mention of this will be found in Masonic histories, both general and those
dealing with Freemasonry in the older States, but for some reason or other
historians seem rather to have shirked the subject.
have been many attempts to form such a General Grand Lodge, beginning as early
as 1779. On the 27th of December, 1779, American Union Lodge, attached to
soldiers of the Connecticut line while stationed at Morristown, N. J., adopted
a resolution for the appointment of a General Grand Master over all the lodges
in America. On Feb 7, 1780, a committee met at Morristown with delegates from
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
They endorsed a resolution for the formation of a General Grand Lodge.
Meanwhile, in January, 1780. the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania elected
Washington Grand Master of the United States and notified other Grand Lodges
of its action, requesting their approval. For reasons not known the thing came
to naught. In 1790 Georgia started agitation for a General Grand Lodge. In
1799 South Carolina renewed it. North Carolina made the proposition again in
1803. Prior to Washington's death, the plan always was to elect him the first
General Grand Master.
1806 plans were made for a convention in Philadelphia in 1807, and another in
Washington in 1808, neither of which met. Another unsuccessful effort was made
to hold a convention in Washington in 1811. The Grand Lodge of North Carolina
again proposed a convention to be held at Washington in 1812, which failed to
meet. In 1822 such a convention did meet there, presided over by Henry Clay.
Nothing came of it.
convention held at Baltimore in 1843 for the purpose of adopting a uniform
ritual, some discussion was given to the question, and they agreed to meet
again in 1845 and 1847. But once more, no results were forthcoming. Further
conventions were held at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1853 and at Washington in
1855 and Chicago in 1859. Like their many predecessors, they failed to
accomplish their purpose.
psychological moment for a General Grand Lodge passed by at the time when the
several states agreed to form the United States. Had the latter not taken
place just when it did, it is a grave question whether it could have happened
after say, 1800. So with a General Grand Lodge. The feeling of individual
independence has always been too strong for any of our Grand Lodges to
sacrifice any sovereignty whatsoever.
* * *
your account of the funeral of the late Thos. R. Marshall you say "It was
conducted by the A.&A.S.R." This is only partially true. The Rite held their
services at the home and Ancient Landmarks Lodge, No. 319, took charge on the
entrance of the cortege to the cemetery and conducted the services at the
commital. Bro. J. Clyde Hoffman, W. M., is shown at the head of the casket in
A. Lorenz, Indianapolis, Ind.
* * *
OF THE EASTERN STAR
before me a "Manual of the Order of the Easter n Star," published in 1872. On
the title page it is said to be "Arranged by Robert Macoy, National Grand
Secretary," and in the Introduction, which gives a brief account of the
various "Adoptive' degrees conferred on women in France and other countries, I
find the following:
systems of Adoptive Masonry have, from time to time, been introduced in the
United States, with varied success none of which, however, seemed to possess
the elements of permanency, except the Order of the Eastern Star, which was
established in this country during the year 1778."
copy of an address given by Dr. Robert Morris, before the Grand Chapter of the
Order of the Eastern Star of California, in April, 1876; Dr. Morris claims to
have originated the Order of the Eastern Star in 1850.
you advise me which is correct ? Was Bro. Macoy in error in his statement that
the Order was introduced in this country in 1778 ?
Order of the Eastern Star, in its present form, was really the creation of
Robert Morris, but he apparently took as the basis of his structure an
adoptive side degree of the same name, and one would judge from outside
indications of very similar content. This degree had no organization and was
conferred by any Master Masons who possessed it upon their female relatives.
There may have been individual chapters in some places of more or less
permanent character, and it is barely possible that it, or some degree like
it, was introduced as early as 1778, though without some confirmatory evidence
it would not be wise to put too much confidence in the statement you quote.
Substantially, however, the Order, as an independent institution, was started
in 1850, though the ritual and organization seems to have been quite radically
recast and simplified in 1855.
* * *
PRESIDENT HAYES A BAPTIST?
Referring to the matter on page 288 of the September issue of THE BUILDER
regarding denominational affiliations of the Presidents:
parents were ardent Baptists, and the Hayes-Tilden campaign was on when I was
a grown-up lad. My father made quite a point of the statement that Rutherford
B. Hayes was a Baptist, and in that connection I have a rather vague memory of
having been told that while Governor of Ohio, Hayes taught a class in a
Baptist Sunday School.
course this is not authentic proof of anything, but I should say that Baptists
in Columbus should know positively.
notice that Harding's name was omitted from the list.
* * *
SHOULD GIVE INSTRUCTION?
proper for anyone but a Master or Past Master. or possibly a Warden to deliver
any of the monitorial lectures or present aprons or working tools ? My
understanding of the matter is, that it is an unwritten law that none but the
above mentioned officers should do these things, but the Master can delegate
anyone to perform any of these ceremonies.
be glad to know if there ever has been a ruling made on this point, and what
that ruling may be or whether it is or is not proper for any but the above
mentioned officers to perform the ceremonies in question.
M., New York.
first place every state has its own independent Grand Lodge to regulate such
matters, and whatever rule or decision any one of them may have arrived at is
usually based on local customs or the ideas of influential members of the
Craft in that jurisdiction.
Arguing from first principles it is quite certain that all instruction is the
responsibility of the Master. He either gives it personally or selects
qualified brethren to do so in his place. Consequently, unless there is a well
recognized rule or decision to the contrary in the jurisdiction, the matter
would appear to be entirely in the Master's own hands. Actually there is a
great variety of usage, and it would take altogether too much space to attempt
to cover the whole ground, but it would be hard to think of any system of
allocation of the duty of giving charges and instructions that is not followed
* * *
time ago I wrote for you an article dealing with brethren who had been for
very many years useful, notable and active in our Masonic Fraternity.
let me call your attention to the September issue of the Bulletin, issued at
Redlands, Cal., by our good Bro. J. H. Logie. He instances a case of Dr. A. W.
King, a member of Redlands Lodge, No. 300, who, on Aug. 21, 1925, became one
hundred years old. Some months ago he attended lodge and delivered the charge
of the Third Degree. He was Master of his lodge in 1859 and for some years
I. Clegg, Associate Editor, Chicago, Ill.
* * *
you heard the story of the substitute? When Morrison was playing Faust - some
of you have seen the play - he was taken sick, and he had to use a substitute.
Faust was a very tall, slender fellow. The substitute was a short, fat fellow.
ln the last scene where the devil departs into hell, he goes through a trap
door. The substitute got along all right until he came to that part, and as he
was descending into the infernal regions, he was so fat he stuck in the trap
door, and those below stage pulled on his legs and tried to pull him through,
and those above tried to shove him through, but they couldn't do it, so there
he stuck. It got pretty amusing, but realistic to one of the boys in the
gallery. The boy in the gallery did not know why the actor could not get
through, but jumped to his own conclusion, and got on to his feet and yelled,
"Thank God, hell is full." This was one of Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn's stories.
* * *
extract from an address by Bro. I. E. Newsom, Grants Orator of Colorado, is
worth repeating, though the view spoken of is not altogether a new thing:
modern view of religion does not require that the devotee shall remove himself
from all contact with the world in order that he may thereby commune with God.
This view is well expressed in the following poem:
Climbed up a high church steeple,
he might hand
word down to the people.
he thought sent from heaven;
dropped this on
times one day in seven.
rage God said
priest cried from the steeple
art thou, Lord?'
here among my people."'